Quite so, Mr. Chairman. I agree with your ruling. However, at this time I have taken a cue from some of the other hon. members who have said they were going to divide up their speeches and make them as the various items were reached from time to time when direct questions could be asked.
Under this departmental administration item comes our great question in the province from which I come. I refer to the great question of proper transportation. I have spoken on this subject a great many times and on this occasion I had intended to prepare something on our troubles with respect to transportation and the refusal of the different governments to live up to our contract of 1873; and if it had not been so late in the session I would have done so. However, I know it would not meet with the general approval of the committee if I were to talk for an hour and a half at the present time. I am therefore going to reserve some of my remarks until the specific items are reached when I can submit various questions.
However, I want to say this. Under the terms of union of 1873, the main reason why we ever joined Canada was that we expected to get transportation. But as all hon. members know, for years we have had difficulties. I blame nearly all governments -but the Liberal government is the greatest often de'r of all the governments-for not giving us a decent deal at all and for not living up to any of the terms of confederation. I might say that from 1873 the different governments tried out different steamers by way of getting transportation to the mainland. Under the Conservative government we obtained a couple of steamers which gave us fairly good transportation facilities in the summer but which were not able to cope with the winter troubles which confronted us in connection with ice.
However, the most trying circumstances and the worst example of all that we had from 1873 to the present time was in 1903. That is 50 years ago. Prior to that time we had had some good crossings and, as I said a moment ago, fair transportation in the summer time. But in the winter of 1903 there was no transportation. Not a pound of freight, not a letter nor a passenger was moved under the government contract for
40 days and 40 nights. I am not blaming the present Minister of Transport on this occasion. I have looked up the records and I find that was apparently the time that he arrived as a resident of Canada by the stork transportation system. However, we will come along later where we can blame him for negligence in not fulfilling-and that quite recently-the demands we have made upon him with reference to transportation.
I am not going to go into details but I want to ask the minister to answer a couple of questions when he is replying. One of them is a question dealing with our trade with Newfoundland. For over 50 years we had with Newfoundland an excellent trade in our farm products. I might say that now is our best opportunity-it is better for Newfoundland and better for Prince Edward Island- because we grow the best food supplies that can be grown anywhere in the world and, if we get the right consideration from the government, they can be easily shipped to the province of Newfoundland.
My question to the minister is this. What kind of service will there be between Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland for this present season? What boat or boats will call, and how often? I might also ask what is the subsidy paid, but I do not care what subsidy is paid because it is a matter of service that is due both to Prince Edward Island and to Newfoundland. This is an extremely important matter to my own province of Prince Edward Island.
I have another item I wish to mention but since I am cutting down on my general resume of hard-luck story with respect to the Liberal party of years past, I am cutting down on that. I want to put on the record another question for the minister to reply to. During the last six months or more negotiations have been carried on between Prince Edward Island and the Department of Transport with reference to a private-enterprise transportation system, namely the Wood Island-Caribou system. This system of private enterprise has been operating for some ten years and has been giving wonderful service to the people of Prince Edward Island. With the facilities they offer in the summer season they have certainly helped the Canadian National Railways to fulfil their responsibilities.
I understand the last delegation that came to Ottawa had to take just about what was given to them and sign on the dotted line, or get nothing at all. As yet I have not seen published a report of those transactions, but I would hope that the Wood Island-Caribou, or the Northumberland Ferries, as they are called, will be given consideration. It will be 68108-329J
recalled that last season, and also in the season of 1950, they offered the only means of communication with the mainland during a period in which there was a strike. We might get into another tie-up at any time, and we want to have available the services offered by this independent and private enterprise that has been giving such wonderful service. We want to see them treated right by the government, because it is a service that is bound to grow. Make it possible for them to give to the southeastern portion of Prince Edward Island the service it so richly deserves.
In common with other hon. members, when we reach a discussion of the individual items I shall have more to say.
Topic: CIVIL AVIATION
Subtopic: INQUIRY AS TO NEW COMMERCIAL ROUTES IN UNITED STATES