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 :
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
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.
House resumed at eight o'clock.
Topic: WAYS AND MEANS-THE BUDGET.
Subtopic: RISE IN WAGES UNDER PROTECTION.