Mr. ALBERT E. KEMP (East Toronto).
Mr. Speaker, I have listened with very much interest to the discussion which went on yesterday afternoon in this House, and the discussion which has been going on this afternoon, on the transportation question. The proper solution of that question will result in great benefits to the people of this country. I am a great believer in water transportation, in regard to which we have advantages in Canada which no other country in the world possesses. We have a natural system of water communication ex-
tending into the very heart ot this continent, 2,000 miles from the Straits of Belle Isle ; and what the government of days gone by, as well as the present government, have been trying to do is to make that whole system navigable for vessels of 14 feet draught, of 22 feet draught, of 2S feet draught, Therefore, I have no hesitation in saying that I support the policy of the present government in going ahead and deepening the St. Lawrence canals to 14 feet. In the discussion of this question, I fear that it will be impossible for me to avoid criticising the government for some things which they have done in connection with what I may term their transportation policy ; but I desire to say at the outset, that it is not a studied criticism, and I am sure they will receive it in the spirit in which I give it.
On the motion which is before the House. I suppose we may reasonably consider the transportation question not only as it affects the great railways of this country, but as it affects the fresh water navigation and the salt water navigation. I was very much interested yesterday, or the day before, in the Railway Committee, in hearing a note of alarm sounded by the hon. Minister of Railways (Hon. Mr. Blair) in reference to the action of the Grand Trunk Railway in transferring Its terminus to Portland from a Canadian port, in which we had all taken great interest, which we had been trying to build up in the hope that it would ultimately rival the port of New York. Some years ago the hon. Minister of Public Works (Hon. Mr. Tarte) said he hoped to make Montreal the Buffalo of Canada. I also recall a letter which the hon. Minister of Public Works wrote a few days ago to the president of the Montreal Board of Trade, in which he expressed alarm at the position in which we found ourselves owing to the Grand Trunk having transferred its terminus from Montreal to Portland. The government of the last four years have made rather loud professions in regard to their transportation policy, and, therefore. I think it is fair to criticise what they have accomplished.
What we have been trying to accomplish in the last few years has been to secure for Canadian channels the carrying of the products of Canada and their delivery at Canadian ports at the lowest possible cost. The question is, how far have we succeeded in accomplishing this ? In connection with the transfer of the terminus of the Grand Trunk to Portland and the diversion of the business which should go to Montreal, I desire to refer to a matter which has already been very thoroughly discussed in this House ; that is, the agreement which the government made with the Grand Trunk Railway for bringing the terminus of the Intercolonial Railway to Montreal. I would like to point out that Mr. Hoys, who was at that time the general manager of the Grand 35
Trunk Railway, stated plainly and publicly, before the agreement was consummated, that it was his intention to carry out the policy which the Grand Trunk are now about to put into effect, of making Portland their terminus in the summer as well as winter seasons instead of Montreal. In a speech which he delivered in Portland in the year 1898, and which was reported in the public press, he made that statement. In this connection I would also direct the attention of the House to the following figures. The total amount contributed by the present government towards the reconstruction of the Victoria bridge was $500,000. The amount paid annually by the government for the use of the bridge is $40,000 ; the amount paid annually for the use of the track from Ste. Rosalie to St. Lambert is $37,000 ; and the amount paid annually for the use of the Grand Trunk terminals at Montreal is $62,000. I have come to believe that owing to the great liberality of this government to the Grand Trunk Railway, that company have been enabled to use the money paid by the government for these purposes, in obtaining communication with Portland all the year round ; and my contention is that as this agreement was not consummated at that time, it would have been fair for the government to have said to the Grand Trunk : If you intend to do what your general manager says, the people of this country will not put up with it, and we must insert in the agreement a clause prohibiting you from going to Portland, and passing by the port of Montreal in the summer season.
A good deal has been said here this afternoon about the difficulties of transferring freight from railways to steamships at Montreal, and there is a good deal of truth in what has been said. At the same time, we must not forget that the Grand Trunk Railway Company have spent an enormous sum of money at Portland in the last few years ; and I think it would have been fair to have said to the Grand Trunk Railway, as a business proposition : You spend so much and we will spend so much on Montreal harbour ; you are the great gatherers of freight in the country, and especially in Ontario; you are the people who control the commercial arteries of this country; you control the lines of traffic which carry the produce, and we cannot and will not submit to your making Portland your terminus to the detriment of a Canadian port during the season of open navigation of the St. Lawrence.
In this connection I would like to draw the attention of the House to the number of miles of railway which the Grand Trunk own in this country. They own 3.194 miles, of which 2,600 miles, or about 80 per cent, are in the province of Ontario. As this House knows, the province of Ontario is gridironed with lines of the Grand Trunk Railway, and the exports of this country
are gathered by this railway and are taken to the various ports for export.
It cannot be denied that the rates of freight which the Grand Trunk Kailway collect for the transportation of this business are of a character sometimes described as burdensome to the producer, and I think that in consideration of the great fa\ ours which the Grand Trunk Railway have received at the hands of this administration and of previous administrations, and the great amount of Canadian traffic they carry, they are not treating the country fairly. The government, I think, could have prevented this. It is a cold and heartless proposition to come from the Grand Trunk Railway. This company practically say : We will pass through the city limits of Montreal and carry freight to Portland, a greater distance by 300 miles, at the same rate as to 'Montreal. I hope that the Minister of Railways and Canals and the Minister of Public Works will not content themselves with merely protesting against this but find some way of effectively checking it. For what does it mean ? It means that by the great influence which this corporation can wield over steamship companies, steamship after steamship will be driven away from Montreal, and we find that although last year the great Dominion Steamship Company declined to make Portland its port, in the summer season, this year it has had to bow to the inevitable. What now is the policy of the Grand Trunk Railway 7 In 1899, they made arrangements with the Reford line for a service to London from Portland ; in 1900, they made arrangements with the Thomson line for a similar service; and in 1901, they have arranged with the Thomson line for a service to London from Portland. In 1901 also they will have taken the whole fleet of the Dominion Steamship Company from Montreal, and I am informed on good authority that they are engaging with a company which now runs to Montreal, to run a steamship service from Portland to Glasgow. I am further informed that it is likely that, in 1902, they will have a Bristol summer service from Portland, and expect to have a service to Antwerp and Hamburg also during the summer. Where are the steamships to be engaged in those services to be taken from ? From Montreal, and instead of the St. Lawrence route becoming more popular, instead of our building up business over that route, and utilizing the great expenditure on our canals, we will find business being diverted to Portland, and we will have to spend enormous sums to get the steamship companies to come back again. We ought to deal with tins question very soon before any more steamship companies are engaged to go to Portland and give up the port of Montreal.
I wish to refer to our canal system. 1 believe that the government was justified in spending sufficient money to give fourteen feet draught to the St. Lawrence canals.
I put a question a few days ago upon the Order paper with reference to the depth of water in the St. Lawrence channels and canals between Lake Ontario and Montreal, and the reply of the Minister of Railways seemed to indicate that some transportation companies have been trying to depreciate our canals in the eyes of the public. I am not in sympathy with any such tactics. I believe that the railway companies perhaps in yeai's gene by tried to curtail the expenditui'e on those canals. The question I asked was : When does the government expect that vessels of fourteen feet draught will be able to pass from Bake Ontario through the carals and St. Lawrence channels to Montreal without lightei'ing ? And the reply of the minister seemed to indicate that we had that depth of water last season. We had the assurance of the Minister of Railways and Canals that there is foux-teen feet depth of water on the mitre sills in the canals, but the infox'mation which I had previously, and which I have obtained since, is that you cannot get foui'teen feet of water in the St. Lawrence channels except when the wind blows in a favourable direction. If the wind blows from tlie east, you cannot get more than twelve feet or eleven feet and one-half. This is a matter which ought to be looked into. 1 am not stating this for tlie purpose of criticising the government, but simply to assure the government that if it be necessary to spend more money in order to complete tlie channels, I will support it in that expenditure.
I noticed a report a few days ago that four large steamers wei'e being prepared in Chicago to go to Eui'ope by the St. Law-l-ence straight through without transhipment. These steamers are intended to take perishable products in cold stoi'age and also lumber and iron, and steel manufactures, and they prefer the northern route rather than that via New York. This is an experiment and is based on the belief that there is a depth of fourteen feet of water along the St. Lawrence route. Would we not be in a peculiar position, if, when those vessels reach the canals, after passing through the first canal, they should find the wind blowing from the east and have a wait over in the channel until the water rose ?
Let me draw the attention of the Minister of Railways and Canals to an article which appeared in the press on this subject, written by a very reputable gentleman, Captain Thomas Donnelly. I shall not take up time by reading tlie letter, but he stakes his reputation on the facts and accuracy of of statements he makes.
If these steamers can go straight through to Europe with the produce of the United States, it is fair to assume that we might reasonably hope to work up a through service from Canadian points on the upper lakes. This problem of transportation is of immense interest to the people of our great North-west, from which we hope, in a few
Topic: TRANSPORTATION OF GRAIN.