I am talking about it as 'a navigation project. In Ontario, where they found minerals in the north country, the provincial government built the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario road in order to permit the development of the mines.
Just one word more in connection with the Hudson Bay project. I wish to draw the attention of the Minister of Railways (Mr. Graham) to a press despatch in the Toronto Globe of April 30 which reads as follows:
Sir Henry Thornton to-day told a deputation from the " On-to-the-Bay Association " that he intended this summer to secure first-hand information on the Hudson Bay railroad through a personal trip of inspection which would take him to the end of steel and to the bay itself.
Then comes this, to which I wish the minister to pay particular attention:
Sir Henry Thornton said that if the government would vote the money for completing the road he was quite willing to go through with it.
Now I would like to ask the minister if this is what Sir Henry Thornton is paid $50,000 a year for, to pass the buck along from himself to the government and to parliament? I do not wish anyone to think that I have not a great deal of confidence in Sir Henry Thornton, because I have. I think he is a big man, and that he is handling a big job in first-class style. I do not think he gets a cent more than he is worth, and I am very doubtful if he is properly reported here, because that is not his duty at all. We' are not paying him for passing the buck, if he did so, on to the government and this parliament. He is the man who must decide upon these questions from a business standpoint. He must give them his consideration, and then give us his advice as to whether the Hudson Bay route will be a paying proposition. If he thinks otherwise, he should not advise this government or parliament to spend any money upon it; that is my idea, at any rate.
Now, Mr. Speaker, I would like to say a few words about water transportation. We have in this country the greatest inland system of water transportation on the globe, but we are not utilizing it to the extent we should as a cheap method of transportation. The reason is, there is no government regulation of freight and passenger rates. The rates in my part of the country between Owen Sound and the Soo have almost tripled in the last twenty years and I suppose this applies to all the lake traffic. The steamboat companies are a law unto themselves, and we all know what happened when the government tried to regulate the rates on grain between Port Arthur and Fort William and the lower lake ports last season, but I can assure the
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members of this House that the action of those large American steamship companies last year did more than anything else to crystallize public ownership sentiment in this country, at any rate in the province of Ontario, and we hope that during the coming year the government will utilize the merchant marine and other vessels to keep down the rates in the transportation of grain and other commodities from the western country. Another thing that should be done to cheapen transportation as soon as the finances of the country will permit is the construction of the Georgian Bay canal, which is about 300 miles nearer the seaboard from the head of the lakes than any other route.
Transportation experts claim that under normal conditions, even if the St. Lawrence waterway were deepened, grain could >be carried by the Georgian Bay route anywhere from 3i to 5 cents a bushel cheaper than by the St. Lawrence route, so that I am surprised to hear anyone have the hardihood to advocate the latter as far as navigation is concerned. Of course, we know that the development of eledtric power is really at the bottom of all this agitation for the deepening of the St. Lawrence waterway, but on the Georgian Bay canal we can develop nearly as much horse power and at about one-half the cost, and it will also help out, as I have said, . in the cheapening of rail and Steamboat transportation.
The Georgian Bay route will be free from international entanglements. It will give depth as well as length to our country. It *will assist in developing the immense mining regions of the northern country. It will permit Nova Scotia coal to compete successfully with the foreign American bituminous *coal, and thus the boats will carry grain from the west, and return to the head of the lakes with coal from the east, and as everybody knows return cargoes is the only method by which freight - rates can be lowered. I may say that about 350,000 tons of American coal will be shipped through my own home port of Little Current this year for the industries of the north, at a value of about $2,000,000. It seems too bad that that money *should be spent outside of Canada when by the construction of this Georgian Bay canal it *could all be spent in our own country.
Here is another opinion upon the Hudson Bay route. It is from a retired transportation man who is now living in the West and is published in the last issue of Toronto .Saturday Night. He says:
This is not the time to force the government or the people of Canada to be stampeded blindly into what may well be a colossal blunder, so let us get down to facts, at least, instead of proceeding on sentiment and theory-ascertaining what the practical expectation will be if this route is completed and provided with facilities. .
To start with, let us obtain a report from one or more thoroughly competent steamship officials, with managing and traffic experience in the North Atlantic trade, who can furnish the details of all costs which will have to be met, in addition, if any, to those applying in the St. Lawrence trade, in order that some reasonable estimate can be made of the probable freights which will have to be exacted from the bay. This will have to include extra costs of every kind in the ocean transportation, contrasted with costs from competing ports.
Another essential report should be one from the outstanding grain exporters, as to the value of grain available for export through the hay route, as against other North Atlantic routes in the world's grain traffic. From the same source, the extra charges for^ carrying grain over in storage at the bay, or in the interior, can be readily procured.
Surely we should be sensible enough to look to experts for such knowledge, on which the government might act with the full approval of the public which must eventually pay the bill, rather than the incitement to action by Grain Growers, Women's Clubs and others seriously lacking in expert knowledge of the business conditions and operations of the export trade. Regardless of political pledges covering the last thirty years, why not start out for the first time in a business-like manner?
Is not that good sound common sense? I will leave it to the judgment of the House. He continues:
We are struggling as best we can to reconstruct out lives and business under a smothering load of taxation and excessive cost of living. Let us not complete our ruin by rushing blindly into enormous, and probably useless expenditures on sentiment, theory or specious, if not opportunist, political pledges of the past.
I should like, in conclusion, to read a few extracts from the Sessional Papers of 1909 in regard to the Georgian Bay route. As all know, a thorough survey was made of that route, and the following is taken from the engineer's report in the Sessional Papers of this House of 1909:
Moreover, when this waterway can show from the head of the Great Lakes to the nearest ocean port, a through route shorter by nearly 300 miles than any other existing or possible route, thus assuring faster trips, quicker and larger returns, and lower through rates, it is bound in my opinion, not only to attract attention but to secure trade.
The Ottawa river route, which is the most direct and quickest possible waterway from the northwest to a sea port. Only that route, in my opinion, can ever successfully compete with the routes which the United States authorities are trying to develop, and keep the transport of our trade wihin Canadian territory.
And again the report says:
T' e Georgian Bay shin canal if built will occupy a privileged geographical situation over all other arter-
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ies of commerce leading to an ocean port. The reduction in time of transit will allow vessels to make more trips during the season, which will have a tendency to reduce the rates from Fort William to Montreal. Its northern position will give great advantage for the transport of perishable goods. Its course is far from international boundary lines and no international waters are involved.
And the last quotation is in regard to the importation of Nova Scotia coal to northern Ontario. The report says:
The advantages of the Georgian Bay ship waterway are apparent, as the Canadian coal shipped via the St. Lawrence comes directly in competition with United States coal, the route being along the international boundary. The proposed waterway, however, would carry it through the heart of the province .rich in minerals, the highest development of which depends upon coal.
Delivery can be made as advantageously to interior points in Ontario, from the line of the Ottawa route, as from St. Lawrence, lake Ontario or lake Erie ports.
The average lake rate on coal from lake Erie to lake Huron and Georgian bay ports is 35 cents per ton. The average rate to upper lake ports is 40 cents per ton. The average rail rate from the mines to, say, Cleveland is about 78 cents per ton, making a through rate of $1.13 to $1.18 respectively.
The average rail haul from the mines to the lake front is 140 miles. From Cleveland to Fort William about 800 miles-total 940 miles. Vessels engaged in this trade usually secure return cargo.
The distance Sydney to Montreal is 815 miles, Montreal to Fort William 882 miles, total 1,697 miles. Taking the lake rate Cleveland to Fort William as a basis, the rate Sydney to Fort William would be about 85 cents per ton as against a rate of $1.18 from 'the United States mines, with the advantage of nontranshipment. It will be noted that there is a difference of 33 cents per ton in the rate of freight to Fort William in favour of Canadian coal. To this add the duty of 53 cents per ton, making 86 cents per ton in all in favour of the home product.
Now, Mr. Speaker, I have summarized my suggestions as to transportation and they are as follows:
1. Amalgamate the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Canadian National lines.
2. Place the regulation of lake freight and
passenger rates in. the hands of the Railway Commission. .
3. Abandon the Hudson Bay route.
4. Utilize the Canadian Merchant Marine in regulating lake freight rates.
5. Encourage further development of the western transportation route both at Vancouver and Prince Rupert.
6. Build the Georgian Bay canal.
7. Government insurance of transatlantic traffic and regulation of rates by utilizing the merchant marine.
I think this is the most important question in Canada to-day and the only possible way for us to get the full benefit from it is to have complete government control of rates from the prairies of the West to the place where the grain of the West must be marketed,
in the Old Land, and the government must control it throughout, as hon. members can see from the experience we have had in the last year or two. They have cut down the rates on lake freight, but the other companies will say "Well, the traffic will stand a little more" and they will put up the ocean rates, and in that way the farmers of the West get no benefit.
I hope that the members of this House and the people of this country will get away from this narrow provincialism, get a wider outlook, and stop whining and whimpering about trade and commerce. Everything is going along all right in this country if we only think so.
The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell) yesterday read the Massey-Harris statement, just to show our Conservative friends that we are not going to the demqition bowwows all at once and entirely-
Subtopic: MINISTER OF FINANCE