Onésiphore TURGEON

TURGEON, The Hon. Onésiphore, B.A.

Personal Data

Gloucester (New Brunswick)
Birth Date
September 6, 1849
Deceased Date
November 18, 1944
editor, journalist

Parliamentary Career

November 7, 1900 - September 29, 1904
  Gloucester (New Brunswick)
November 3, 1904 - September 17, 1908
  Gloucester (New Brunswick)
October 26, 1908 - July 29, 1911
  Gloucester (New Brunswick)
September 21, 1911 - October 6, 1917
  Gloucester (New Brunswick)
December 17, 1917 - October 4, 1921
  Gloucester (New Brunswick)
December 6, 1921 - September 5, 1925
  Gloucester (New Brunswick)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 75 of 76)

April 7, 1903


It goes through a piece of land of about an acre.

Subtopic:   APPvlL 7, 1903
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April 25, 1902


I rise not to commend the action of the Minister of Railways though I would be pleased to do that; but

to commend the action of the railway administration at Moncton, which is well known the Dominion over, never wittingly to have sinned for the love of the Liberal party. I speak with some reluctance, because it was not my intention to take part in the debate, but if X did not refute some of the statements made by the hon. member for King's (Mr. Fowler) it might have gone to the province of New Brunswick that the member for Gloucester, from whose district largely these ties were supplied, felt that something had been done that ought not to have been done. I believe I am in a better position than perhaps other hou. gentlemen in this House to give a statement in relation to this matter. In a previous debate I dealt somewhat extensively with the general administration of the Intercolonial Railway, and I shall content myself now by referring to some matters of more local import. X expected that the hon. member for Iving's (Mr. Fowler) would have delivered an oration which would have gone to the province of New Brunswick as a great condemnation of the administration of the Intercolonial Railway, but the hon. gentleman's speech was short and ineffective. Far be it from me to impute a motive to any member on either side of this House, but sometimes I am amazed at the extraordinary memory of some gentlemen opposite, in its pliability to the requirements or the needs of whatever case they are trying to make out. When the inspector of ties was before the committee, he swore that he inspected ties for Mr. Curran and for Mr. Culligan, and for other parties during many years past. The hon. member for Hamilton (Mr. Barker), who was the chief cross-examiner before the Public Accounts Committee, got up in his place and left it to be inferred by the House and by the country that the contract to Mr. Curran had been awarded before the election, and in order to serve the purposes of the election. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Barker) made this statement in view of the sworn evidence of Mr. Pottin-ger, general manager, that the contract given to Frank Curran for ties was given in December, 1900, or in the early days of January, 1901, several months after the election, and therefore could not have been given for the purpose of influencing the electorate at that time. The general manager himself explained in his evidence, the first day he came before the Public Accounts Committee, that he had advertised for ties for the following year, just as he had done every year since the inception of the road. It is always in the fall of the year, in September, October, and sometimes in November, that ties are asked for by tenders for the next year. He stated that he required at least 000,000 ties for the following summer, and he made an appeal for tenders to the amount of 800,000, as the supplies of previous years had Mr. TURGEON.

invariably run short of meeting the requirements of the road. And I am hear to say that in the years 189S and 1899, Mr. Pott-Inger sometimes sent emissaries to me from Moncton, begging me to try to secure immediately in the district to which I belong ties of which the railway was short. On some occasions I was not able to do it, and they had to get the ties from the upper end of the province of Quebec in order to supply the foremen and the trackmen in the province of New Brunswick and the province of Nova Scotia what they required. Therefore, I say that when the general manager asked for 800,000 ties and in answer to that requisition obtained only 335,000, he was more than justified in taking the course he did. He was not influenced by any political or personal consideration, for I know that Mr. Pottinger has no personal interest in Mr. Curran, but he was bound to secure all the ties he would require for the following year ; and after having given that contract for 185,000 ties or thereabout, to Frank Curran, he was still short of the requirement. It has been stated in this evidence that he only gave that contract after having received in reply to his request tenders for only 350,000 ; and I ask every member of this House who has been in any way connected with railroads, if, after failing to get during the winter the supply of ties required for the following summer, he was not obliged to remain without them until the next winter. Therefore, the contract was given for no political consideration, but as a matter of necessity for the requirements of the road.

Then, again, comes the fact that after having given that contract to Frank Curran, the department had not yet contracted for the full quantities required for the next summer, and knowing by past experience that every summer he had been put to in-corivience because of the scarcity of ties and knowing also that the best quality of lumber for ties is getting scarcer and scarcer every year in our district, he said to those contractors, ' bring me all you can.' Is it to be supposed that for political considerations the general manager bought a number of ties and left them over for another year ? The road is bound to run for another year, and what is bought in one year will not have to be bought the next year. No doubt the reason why the general manager succeeded in getting a larger quantity of ties than he expected was that many men on the north shore, in the counties of Restigouehe and Gloucester, and I may say Northumberland as well, were induced to go into the tie business, which would enable them to stay at home during the winter instead of going into the lumber camps.

Then this stock of ties would be as valuable to the road the next year as it would have been this year. I even go further, and speak not from my own authority, but from the authority of men who have had

twenty or twenty-five years of experience on railroads in our district-not on the government railroad, but on railroads of private corporations. I speak especially from the authority of the traekmaster of the Caraquet Railway, which runs through the same district. He claims that if he had the means to do so, he would get all his ties a year in advance, because when a tie has been dried for a year it is more valuable and will last longer in the ground than a tie which is cut fresh from the wood.

Again the statement is made that the ties were no good. I know that complaints were macfe against the inspector. I know nothing personally of the action of the inspector. Although belonging to that district, I never had the pleasure of meeting the inspector from the time the contract was signed until I returned home last summer after my parliamentary duties had ended in June. It was while parliament was in session that I heard the complaint made against the inspector of receiving ties which were not according to the specifications. I might also add that while in this House last spring I received letters from some of my friends complaining of the difficulty they had to get their ties accepted by Inspector McManus, claiming that he was too strict, and that he should not have rejected their ties.

My own personal investigation has shown me that these men had a certain quantity of ties which were certainly not acceptable, and which Mr. McManus refused to accept. Regarding the letter of the minister about which so much has been said, in our locality the inspector has stated that there are two or three kinds of spruce, but that the best kind, which is black spruce, does not grow there. We only see it once in a while, and the spruce which he called white spruce is the ordinary spruce of the country. It is a quality of wood which is certainly even better than cedar for ties. Men of experience know that the white spruce will hold nails for the first five years better than cedar, and therefore is as valuable as cedar itself, which is considered a first class quality of wood for the purpose. I may say also that the supply of cedar is becoming exhausted in that district, so that it is a matter of necessity for the management of the road to accept the spruce which grows in that country. If the black spruce grew there, it is certainly to some extent superior to the white, but it is only a portion of the black spruce, at the butt of the tree, which can be used for ties. Some times out of one tree you will only get one first class tie, because ten or twelve feet from the root the wood has no more value for this purpose than the white spruce. When, therefore, the hon. minister, at the request of the contractor, whose political feelings cannot be appealed to for he is a well reputed Conservative, who worked for the Conservative party even after

he got this letter from the minister, accepted white spruce, he did what any business man would have done. No other spruce could be found in that locality, and it was in that locality the minister had to get his supply. That letter therefore, instead of reflecting on the conduct of the minister, shows that he had a practical knowledge of the locality and of the quality of wood required and which could be had there.

In answer to complaints a second inspection was ordered, and according to hon. gentlemen opposite that made a bad showing. Well, I claim that the ties which were supplied by these contractors and received by the inspector were fully equal in quality to those that were always received on the Intercolonial Railway during the administration of the late government. It has been shown also by the evidence of Mr. Pottinger and the inspector of ties that section foremen or traekmasters or roadmasters are often employed as inspectors themselves or as assisting the inspector, and it is well known that sectionmen, as a rule, are fully competent to judge the quality of ties which they are handling. In our district we have seven or eight section foremen. The county of Gloucester is an extensive county, and we have seven or eight sections running through it, and every one of the foremen employed-and who have been employed on the road fifteen or twenty years in most cases-declared over their own signature, and are ready to declare the same under oath if the opposition members want to call them as witnesses, that the ties received are just as good as those which had been received in previous years ever since they have been employed on the railway, and are even perhaps superior, if any discrimination is to be made. I now hold their signed statement in my hand. But these hon. gentlemen do not want to call these men. They only want the evidence of Mr. P. S. Archibald, and failing to get him they want none at all. We can conclude therefore that they must have a motive in refusing every other evidence except that of Mr. Archibald, who they called an engineer of the road. But Mr. Archibald has not been on the road during the last five years and as the reasons which brought about his dismissal have been referred to at length, I need not discuss them now. The inspector has declared himself that, according to his judgment, he was not accustomed to follow strictly the specifications but used his discretion in that respect, and he is a competent man who has been engaged in the lumber and tie business all his life. It is admitted by members on the other side, and it lias been proved, as well, that Mr. Chas. McManus is an honest man and that his family is one of the most honoured and respectable and well known perhaps in Nova Scotia as well as in New * Brunswick.

I do not think I need extend my remarks any further. All I intended was to sub-

stantiate the evidence of Mr. Pottinger and also the evidence of the inspector, as far as I could from my personal knowledge, and especially commend to this House the sound judgment of the present Minister of Railways when, travelling over the road and inspecting its work, in company with the officials, he took the action he did in the interests of the road and acting on the advice of most competent men.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   WM. PUGSLEY.
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April 2, 1902


(Translation.) Mr. Speaker, I shall ask the House to bear with me a few minutes more while I conclude my remarks. I think I have fairly done with the administration of the Intercolonial Railway and I shall come now to the financial situation of this country. Like most other people, Canadians are proud to know the financial standing of their country, and like from time to time to be enlightened oh public affairs. The people pay great attention of the national debt and naturally fear to see it increase. They are also much pleased to see new millions added from year to year to our imports and exports, more so when the agricultural products of the country are at stake. More than anywhere else perhaps, the public expenditure is

closely scrutinized. The electors are always anxious to know if the fiscal year will close with a welcome surplus or an unwelcome deficit. That national turn of mind might be called a social virtue, a kind of patriotism which is not without its wholesome influence upon the business of the country, the minds of members of parliament and the general administration. The Americans do not watch so closely the doings of their' congressmen, but the paramount question in the neighbouring republic is the scale of wages. If wages are high, they say that the administration is to be commended. If, on the contrary, wages are low, they say it is time for a change. Not so with us. The Canadian people are not satisfied to know if there is a surplus or a deficit in the public chest. Critical and inquisitive as they are, they will not be satisfied with the mere existence of a surplus or a deficit. A surplus of 3, 5 or $8,000,000 is always welcome, but the people want to know something more. They will inquire by what process that result was reached, and to what circumstances the surplus was due. There are different ways of piling up a surplus. A surplus is a sure sign of the prosperity of the country. If the- trade of the country is prosperous, if the balance is in our favour, the people will look favourably upon the government. If, on the other hand, the business of the country is depressed, even if there is a surplus, the people are anxious to know the cause thereof.

Under these circumstances, I may be permitted to give to the House a few figures from the financial statement so ably delivered a few days ago by the hon. Minister of Finance. He told us then that the revenue had increased to the unprecedented sum of $52,514,701. This result was reached by an increase in different sources of revenue, amongst which are to be noted the excise duties, with an increase of $450,170. The next increase is to be found in the earnings of the Intercolonial Railway, which amounted to $439,219. The receipts of the Post Office Department have been of $235,969 over those of the preceding year, notwithstanding the reduction in the postage dues. The actual receipts are already larger than they were before the reduction took place.

The above statement affords me the occasion ef commending the wise administration of the Postmaster General (Mr. Mulock). He has given us increased postal facilities, as well as a reduction of 23 per cent in the postage dues and a further reduction from 5 cents to 2 cents for all postal communications within the empire. Is it not a wonderful achievement ? The expenditure on consolidated fund has been of $46,866,367, an increase of $3,891,088 over 1890. We are then left with a surplus of $5,700,000. But the expenditure on capital account has been exceptionally high during the year, and that has resulted in a net increase in the public debt of nearly $3,000,000. This is

practically the first large increase of the public debt under the Liberal government.

Let us come now to that question of the increase of the public debt. When the Liberal government came into power, in 1896, the net debt, on the 30th June of that year, was $258,497,432.77, having increased during the same fiscal year by $5,422,505.68, for which the preceding government was partly responsible.

Now, what have been the increases in the public debt under the present government ?

1897, increase of $3,041,163.60

1898, "

2,417,802.451899, "

2,317,047.691900, decrease of

779,639.711901, increase of


giving a total increase during the five years of $9,982,570.92, which total divided by five gives an average yearly increase of the public debt of $1,996,514.18.

We are told that the Liberal government has increased the public debt. Nobody in this House will deny such a statement.

But we are in a position to show by comparison, that under the Liberal government the public debt has not increased in the same ratio as it did under the former government, and the showing is all in favour of the hon. Minister of Finance under the Liberal government.

The official records will show for the last seventeen or eighteen years of the Conservative administration an average increase of $6,563,075. Let us come now to the deficits and surpluses of the Liberal administration. In coming into office the hon. Minister of Finance had to acknowledge a deficit of $519,981.41 for the first year. Although comparatively small, part of this deficit must be credited to the old government. For that fiscal year, specially the first part of it, the hon. Minister of Finance had to comply with the obligations contracted by his predecessors in office. But the very next year, under the influence and magnetism of his genius and of his patriotic inspirations the tables were turned and the hon. minister was in a position to present the country with a surplus of $1,722,712.33.

In 1898-99, of $4,837,749 00In 1899-1900

8,054.714 51In 1900-1901

5,648,333 29

Total for five years.. ..$20,263,509.13

Deducting the deficit of $519,981.44 from the first year, we stand with a net surplus of $19,743,527.69. If we divide this last amount by 5, the number of years, we have an average surplus under the Liberal administration of $3,948,705.58.

Under what circumstances has the Minister of Finance been enabled to achieve such results ? All the public documents will tell. New industries have been established, old industries have been galvanized into life under the patriotic influence of the

Minister of Finance, and our trade has forged along by leaps and bounds.

Our total imports and exports aggregated the amount of $239,025,360 in 1895-96, and have crept to $386,903,157 in 1900-01, being an increase of $157,877,797.

Let us compare the development of our export trade during the last five years of the Conservative government and we have the following figures : *

1891- 92

$241,369,4431892- 93

247,638,6201893- 94

240,999,8891894- 95

224,420,4851895- 96 239,025,369

Butter exports for the lirst five years of the Laurier regime :

1896- 97

$2,253,4811897- 98

2,523,6641898- 99

4,025,4051899- 1900

5,429,5631900- 1901

3,355,197Total $17,587,310

Under the wise administration of the Laurier government in the short period of five years, from the butter exports alone, twelve million dollars more found their way into the pockets of the farmers of this country.

Let us look now into the cheese industry.

Total for the five years....$1,193,453,797

How slow, to say the least, has been the trade development during these years ! Let us see now what have been our imports and exports during the five years of the Liberal administration :

1896- 97 .

1897- 98 .

1898- 99 .

1899- 1900

1900- 1901

Exports of cheese for the last five years of the Laurier regime :

Total for five years $i;651,726,204

The total trade of the country during the five years of administration of the present government has exceeded by five hundred million dollars the total trade of the last

1896- 97..

1897- 98..

1898- 99..

1899- 1900

1900- 1901

five years of the Conservative regime. I leave it to the House and the country to draw the conclusion.

A great cause of rejoicing is the fact that this large increase in our exports has been most marked in the agricultural products. The agriculturist has a fair share in the marvellous expansion of our exports during the last five years. The non. Minister of Agriculture has bent all his energies towards promoting the agricultural prosperity of Canada. To him we must give credit for those transportation facilities and the establishment of a complete system of cold storage by which the farmers of the country have been greatly benefited. No wonder they are grateful for what he has done.

Allow me, Mr. Speaker, to give the House and the country a few more figures that are interesting to those of us who are representing rural constituencies. Let us look at the butter exports, so largely increased by the perfected system of cold storage established by the lion. Minister of Agriculture, and let us compare these exports with those of the last five years of the Conservative administration.

Butter exports for the last five years under the Conservative regime :

1891- 92..

1892- 93..

1893- 94..

1894- 95..

1895- 96..


There is a difference of thirty millions in favour of the Laurier regime.

We have an increase of thirty million dollars for cheese ; and an increase of twelve million dollars for butter.

It was during a period of such great business activity and progress that the government piled up surpluses to the tune of $19,743,527.69, or an average yearly surplus of $3,948,705.58.

But we are reminded that the Conservatives also had their surpluses. True, but as I have just shown, those surpluses were piled up while our import and export trade went on declining, and those results were brought about through violent means, and by protection which kept increasing from year to year, and to such a point that Sir Leonard Tilley, the then Minister of Finance, a truly patriotic statesman, foresaw that the moment could come when the country could no longer bear a greater load of taxation. The trouble .then was that manufacturers would always look to the government for an increase of duties and a further measure of protection, instead of relying upon their own strength and spirit of enterprise, and equipping themselves so as to meet foreign competition.

Before resuming my seat-for I see that I have spoken at greater length than I intended-I crave the indulgence of the House for a few moments more, while I say a few words of comment upon the motion of the hon. leader of the opposition. It reads :

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April 2, 1902


That all the words after ' that ' in the proposed motion be left out and1 the following substituted therefor :

This House regarding the operation of the present tariff as unsatisfactory is of opinion that this country .requires a declared policy of such adequate protection to its labour, agricultural products, manufactures and industries, as will at all times secure the Canadian market for Canadians. And, while thus firmly maintaining the necessity of such protection to Canadian interests, this House affirms its belief in a policy of reciprocial trade preferences within the empire.

Notv, Mr. Speaker, with all due deference to the hon. leader of the opposition, I may remark that I am reminded here of the fact that, ever since the Liberal party came into power, the opposition members and their organs have kept repeating that the Liberals, after their advent to office, had stolen their clothes, by adopting the Conservative policy. Now, with such a resolution a^ this on record, they will no longer lie able to say that the Liberals have stolen their policy.

It is stated in the motion that the time is come for us to adopt a policy of adequate protection to the labouring classes and to the farming interests. I think it is always the duty of the government to follow a policy aiming at the protection of the agricultural community, for agriculture lies at the base of our social system.

It is always time for the government! enforcing a policy of protection to the fishermen who prosecute such a hard and interesting calling.

We are told that we must adopt a national policy. I think the policy of any country should always be a national policy. France, when framing her tariff, adopted a national policy, adjusted to her geographical position and to the nature of the products of her soil. So did the United States, when they framed a national policy with a view to protecting their home industries. That protective policy they have maintained for forty or fifty years, although they have a very rich soil and vast natural resources, to which advantages should be added a large influx of immigrants, from all countries in the world, who by thousands come in every day and swell the army of workingmen, which means a considerable addition to the consumers of home products.

Great Britain herself also framed a national policy of her own, when adopting free trade with a view to protecting her industries, and when seeking new markets for the over-production of those industries, and for the relief of her own market, which was already glutted.

When the present government framed a policy which I might call a policy of discrimination between extreme protection such as is advocated by hon. gentlemen opposite and free-trade which could not be suddenly introduced into this country without jeopardizing the very existence of our

home industries, thereby depriving our workingmen employed in those industries, which had grown under the fostering care of a protective tariff, of their daily bread and labour, the government, I say, did also, under those circumstances, adopt a national policy. The hon. leader of the opposition and his friends took to the past for examples. They like to look backwards and to see how their predecessors have acted. I am also a student of history and I like to learn the lessons of experience. But we must also look to the future and not content ourselves with referring to past records, to see what our predecessors have done or how they have acted. We must adopt a policy of our own and one that is best calculated to develop our trade, our material resources, our industries and our agriculture. The methods that suited our country fifty or sixty years ago may not suit the present conditions of the country.

A government should learn the lessons taught by history, and look to the fathers of confederation as their guides in framing a national policy ; but they should adjust that policy to the conditions of the country and to her needs. This the present government have done, and they have succeeded in developing our national trade and in bringing about an unprecedented prosperity. The people of this country have full confidence in the policy so far pursued by the government, because they realize that'it is a policy calculated to promote the prosperity of the country.

On these several grounds. I cannot vote in favour of the motion of the hon. leader of the opposition. As I said a little while ago, we should not content ourselves with looking backwards to our past achievements, but we must look forward and entertain the brightest hopes for the future that is in store for us.

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April 2, 1902


advantages which would accrue to us of closer relations between the lower provinces and Canada, and from the traffic which this railway would develop. In the same national enterprise another statesman who has left such a bright record in the annals of the province of New Brunswick, the late Hon. Peter Mitchell, also found a theme of lofty inspiration. The same railway also found a patriotic champion in another Canadian statesman, one of the greatest men that Canada has ever produced, Sir George Etienne Cartier. This great man spoke most forcibly of the harmony which would be promoted from a closer intercourse between the people of the maritime provinces and the people of Canada. The other night, the hon. Minister of Customs (Mr. Paterson) and the member for Guysborough (Mr. Fraser) were eloquent exponents of those same views.

It looks as if the opposition had only one way of proving their patriotism, and that is to bring about the downfall of the government or one of its members. If 1 had time, it would be an easy matter for me to point out to this House the figures showing the result of the operation of the Intercolonial Railway for the different years elapsed since confederation up to our days ; and I believe that I could prove that the final result is all to the advantage of the present administration of the Intercolonial Railway, which has been operated in as efficient a manner as any other department. 1 shall not give all those figures. I shall content myself with showing the difference existing between the Intercolonial Railway in 1880, when the Liberal party came into power, and the state in -which it is now.

The people of the maritime provinces who daily see what is going on and notice the general increase of traffic on that road need not be enlightened on that point; but for the House and for the people of Canada at large, this comparison will serve a useful purpose, as it will show them how efficiently the Intercolonial has been operated since 1896 under Liberal rule, by the hon. Minister of Railways.

Owing to the prosperity which we have been enjoying these last five years, a large share of which the maritime provinces have had, the Intercolonial Railway has been equipped in an up to date fashion along its whole line ; and so, the feeling of discouragement which formerly prevailed among the people, has given place to a feeling of satisfaction and of hope in the future. The railway is now equipped in such a way as to be a credit to the whole country.

The Conservative administration, with a view to manufacturing small surpluses, had allowed the road to fall into a dilapidated condition ; and had such a state of things continued much longer, it would have resulted in depriving the maritime provinces of the facilities of communication which they are now enjoying, and they would

have found themselves severed as it were from the other provinces ; now, I need hardly add that it would have meant the ruin of that great enterprise and the ruin of the maritime provinces themselves. Therefore, I make bold to say, that from that standpoint, we look upon as a happy interposition of divine Providence the change of government that then took place, from which have flowed such beneficial results to the country.

We have heard a good deal of late from hon. gentlemen opposite about the deficit which we had last year ; but as I said, a little while ago, these hon. gentlemen take precious good care not to refer to the era of deficits under Conservative rule, and they abstain also from showing the difference between the present condition of the road and what it was five years ago. Now, thanks to the wise administration of the hon. minister, we have a road that is a credit to the country and a sure index to the prosperity of Canada as well as an omen of what the future keeps in store for us. There is no railway on this continent which offers better accommodation to the travelling public then does the Intercolonial, a fact to which several hon. gentlemen have borne witness. I may be allowed to refer here to an incident that occurred at a public meeting in the county of Gloucester, as an instance bearing upon this same subject. I had been telling the electors that the Intercolonial was now one of the best equipped railways on this continent, and one that afforded the best accommodation to the travelling public. Among those who attended the meeting were two reverend gentlemen who had lately returned from an extended trip in England and throughout France, Italy and Germany ; and when they heard me stating that our railways were, in the matter of accommodation and comfort to the travelling public, far ahead of the other lines on this continent, one of those reverend gentlemen got up and craved leave to say that, from his own experience, he might further add that our railways were far ahead of all those they had travelled on in Europe.

In order to show, Sir, the nature of this road,-were it for no other purpose than that of advertising it-I dare say that it affords the best accommodation to all travellers from the different parts of America and from Europe, who may come and visit our Canadian sea-ports and our picturesque sites ; and that, moreover, it can develop a cohsiderable trade, not only between the provinces themselves but also between America and Canada.

What I have said so far ought to suffice to show that the government and the Minister of Railways deserve full credit for their management of the road. But, in the matter of deficits, I have here a statement which will show the results of the operation of 64

the Intercolonial for the last five years under Liberal rule :

1896- 97, deficit $ 59,940.651897- 98, deficit

209,978.661898- 99, surplus

62,645.431899- 1900, surplus

120,667.021900- 1901, deficit


It is this last deficit about which hon. gentlemen opposite have made so much fuss. Therefore, we have a total of surpluses for the five years of the Liberal administration, of $183,312.45, against a total of deficits of $758,106.08, which leaves a loss, all earnings deducted, of $575,793,63, or an average of $115,158.72 per annum during the last five years.

While making the most of these deficits, such as stated by the Minister of Railways himself, hon. gentlemen opposite ignore altogether the deficits piled up under the late Conservative government. Allow me, Sir, briefly to refer to those figures, not so much in a spirit of disparagement or criticism as to the management of the former administration, as to place those facts in their proper light and to show what the present administration have done. From a mere comparison of the results achieved under both regimes, we shall be enabled to realize what the Minister of Railways has done to improve the road and put it in good working order. I ask the House to bear with me for a few minutes, while I enter into those somewhat tedious details. Let us take the results of the operation of the road, under Conservative rule, during the seventeen years for which they are fully responsible :

Surplus. Deficits.

1879- 80 $ 97,131 23

1880- 81 $ 542 65

1881- 82 9,605 18

1882- 83 10,547'83

1883- 84 6,981 30

1884- 85 ' 78,547 901885- 86

133,905 791886- 87

262,252 691887- 88

383,445 691888- 89

276,846 731889- 90

547,835 871890- 91

684,946 561891- 92

493,935 031892- 93

20,181 59 1893- 94

5,838 29 1894- 95

3,815 21 1895- 96

55,187 52

The deficits under the Conservative administration, during that period, amounted to $3,014,035.01. If we deduct from that total the amount of surpluses, or $57,512.05, We find that there was for that period a deficit of $2,956,522.96. Now, if we take the average for that period under Conservative rule, we shall find that, for the seventeen years referred to, the yearly average of deficits was $173,913.11.

The Conservative government having succeeded in showing small surpluses in the last years of their administration, it may perhaps have occurred to them that it entered into the views of divine Providence to maintain them in power ; but we know beyond a doubt that, even had they succeeded in having a small surplus, after piling up deficits for so many years, that result was due not to a policy of economy-for implies a wise and judicious expenditure of the public moneys-but to a cheese-paring policy by which the public service was starved and stinted ; a policy by which they put off from year to year equipping the road and repairing the rolling stock. As a consequence, the road went on losing in value and in power. But, as I said, when the present government came into power, a change came over the country.

Now, if we compare the five years, under Liberal rule, with the last five years of the last decade under Conservative rule, we shall find that during those last five years, there was a deficit of $2,155,327.54, or an average yearly deficit of $431,065.50.

The Intercolonial, as I said, occupies a most conspicuous position among American and European railways. It Is true that, last year, through unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstances, there was a considerable deficit. But before entering into a review of the causes which brought about that deficit, let me call attention to the fact that, if we take the last five years, under Liberal rule, and compare the deficits with the total revenues of the road, so as to find the percentage of the loss to the country in each year, we find an average of $115,158.72 out of a total of $19,246,336.89 of gross earnings, or the equivalent of 167 per cent, whereas, for the first five years of the last decade under Conservative rule, out of a total of $17,566,831.20 of gross earnings, we find a deficit of $2,155,327.54, or a difference of 8-14 per cent. These figures show a difference of 7 per cent in favour of the present administration, notwithstanding those extraordinary and unlooked for deficits which, later on, I shall try to explain, to the best of my ability. But though I may not be able to do full justice to the subject I am handling, I may say that the figures speak for themselves and are. as it were, self-explanatory ; and so, the French-speaking members of this House will give due credit to the hon. Minister of Railways for his management of the railway.

I may say that this deficit was brought about through a combine of the coal dealers who suddenly raised the price of coal by $2.10 ; coal, in previous years, having always sold at $3.20 a ton, after tenders had been called. So, the government had to pay $1.10 a ton more for cnal than in former years. That change in the price of coal involved an additional expenditure of $350,000. The hon. Minister of Railways could j not stop operating the railway, and had to J Mr. TURGEON.

pay the price asked for coal. Even had the price been $4 a ton, he would have had to operate the railway all the same. This accounts largely for the deficit which the Conservative papers have so bitterly criticised of late.

There is also the increase of wages paid to the workingmen on the Intercolonial bv the hon. Minister of Railways and I must say that, upon that occasion, he has shown great generosity towards the workingmen. At the very moment when that increase in the price of coal was being brought about by the combine of coal dealers, which created such a sensation all through the country, the hon. Minister of Railways did not hesitate to grant to the employees on the Intercolonial an increase of wages amounting to $200,000. Could not the hon. Minister of Railways have said, when the increase in the price of coal was known : [DOT]' I am now confronted by a state of things which was altogether unexpected, and which will create a deficit in the operation of the Intercolonial. In order to make up for it, I am going to cancel the increase of wages of from 10 to 20 cents a day I had decided to give those poor operatives on the railway.' Is there a man in this House, having at heart the interests of the working classes, who would have been lacking in patriotism to the point of suggesting to the hon. Minister of Railways to cancel the increase of pay granted to those poor workingmen and employees 7 I do not believe, Sir, that there could' have been found a man willing to offer such a suggestion, and had there been found one, he would have been unworthy of the confidence of his constituents. So those two additional expenditures of $390,000 caused by the raise in the price of coal, and the expenditure of $200,000 resulting from the increase of the pay of the workingmen who theretofore received only from $1 to $1.10 a day and from the general raise of the wages of the employees, those I say, are the two causes which account for the deficit.

As I said a little while ago, the hon. Minister of Railways has kept steadily developing and improving the equipment of the government railways, and not from day to day, as was the case under the former management who neglected their repairs and kept their rolling stock in an inefficient condition.

He knew that if he could not meet his expenditure one year, he was bound all the same to go on with the task of making the i'oad the safest for the passengers and the most favourable for the transportation of goods.

Moreover, there was this year an overcharge for coal. The minister had just ordered repairs to the road bed to the amount of $200,000. Following in the steps of his predecessors, he could have made an apparent saving in striking out these $200,000 ; but he does not intend to run the road from day to day ; he is building for the future, and he will be ready, at a given

time, to carry all tlie traffic that the provinces of Ontario and Quebec will be able to send, and also all the traffic that may come to Cape Breton and Nova Scotia from Great Britain.

Then taking into account the increase of $200,000 in the wages of the staff, a further amount of $200,000 expended on the roadbed and an extra sum of $1.10 on every ton of coal consumed by the railway, we arrive to the total amount of $750,000, which is more than required to wipe out the apparent deficit, and which has been expended wholly for the benefit of the trade and the advantage of the employees of the road.

At Six o'clock the House took recess.

After Recess.

House resumed at eight o'clock.

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