Far be it from me to
appear to contradict the minister concerning the statement he made to the effect that the original proposal in regard to new equipment came from the private shops, but that statement I am sure is not quite correct. More than eighteen months ago I saw a memorandum prepared by officers of the Canadian National Railways calling for some 3,300 cars, among them 500 refrigerator cars, some general service cars, and two other types. So far as refrigerator service is concerned no type of railway traffic has increased as much in the last twenty years as has the refrigerator service. This increase is due to two factors, the increased movement of produce from the West Indies and from the Pacific coast, and the fresh fish trade both from the Atlantic and from the Pacific which has developed greatly during the last fifteen or twenty years. Much of the original refrigerator equipment is totally out of date; it is not fit for refrigerator work and is now used largely for the conveyance of potatoes and other agricultural products that have to be protected from the frost in the winter months.
There is no railway shop equipment to-day that can begin to compete with two or three of the private car-building plants in Canada. I say that with great deliberation, for I know the essential facts. Some twenty-two years ago we built the Eastern Car Company's plant in New Glasgow. The first order we executed was for 2,000 cars for the Grand Trunk Railway. Then came the war, and we undertook to supply 2,000 cars of the largest capacity ever produced in America, for the Russian government. These wr undertook to deliver on the tracks at Vladivostok. We fulfilled that contract, and within the specified date. Soon afterwards we undertook to supply 4,000 cars to the French government, and we put those cars over when great numbers of boats were being torpedoed, but we fulfilled our contract and so contributed very materially to the success of the allies in the war. When I say that no existing railway shops in Canada can compete with some of the shops I refer to, I know exactly what I am talking about. The Eastern Car Company have a plant at New Glasgow that cost $2,500,000. There is
Public Works Program
no similar car building equipment in Canada that will compare with it for turning out railway cars economically. That statement cannot be successfully contradicted. It may be in the interest of the railways to do a little repair work in their own shops from time to time to keep their organizations intact, but generally speaking the railway men of this country have been very well treated during the past four or five years. There are other .people in the country as deserving of being supplied with work as they are. That is all I have to say about the matter for the present.
Topic: PUBLIC WORKS PROGRAM
Subtopic: WORKS, 'UNDERTAKINGS AND GUARANTEE OP RAILWAY EQUIPMENT SECURITIES TO CREATE EMPLOYMENT