Debate on the Construction of the Grand Trunk Railway
     Transportation and Settlement in the Canadian West, 20th Century

Mr Davis (Saskatchewan) [Liberal Member of Parliament]
     Now, as to the necessity of this road, as I said before, I do not
think it needs any argument whatever.  The people of that country have
farmed on shares, so to speak, with the Canadian Pacific Railway Company
for twenty-three years.  Those hon. gentlemen who make speeches in this
House on this question allude to the grand scheme that was put through by
the Conservative party, and the hon. member for Marquette alluded to it as
the pioneer of progress in that country.  Pioneer of progress!  Why, Sir,
that scheme has had the effect of keeping that country back for twenty-
three years, and I say here without fear of contradiction that if the
advice of the Liberal party, when that scheme was put through this House,
had been taken, and the road had been laid out as proposed by the Liberal
party through the northern portion of that country, and built where this
road is going at the present time, in place of the 300,000 people in that
country, we would now have two or three millions; I say that without fear
of contradiction.  When this bargain was going through that these gentlemen
talk so much about, the Liberal party then, as they are to-day, were well
seized of the people's needs; and if their advice had been followed we
would have seen a different state of things in the North-west, and there
would not have been such a crying necessity for this road as there is at
the present time....
     I have pointed out that we pay freight rates twice or three times as
high as the freight rates that are paid in the east.  Now we are getting
people into that country and hon. gentlemen opposite are trying to take
credit for it; they say that thanks to the policy of the Conservative party
immigration is coming into the country.  Think of it.  For eighteen years,
until 1896, the people there were on the verge of starvation and when we
brought a few people into the country by one railway they dodged out by
another. . . .  And to-day they will tell you that they brought about
prosperity that now prevails there.  The hon. member for Marquette (Mr.
Roche), for instance, in an eloquent peroration referred to the buffalo and
the red men that once roamed on the western plains.  If these gentlemen had
been kept in power another seven years we would have had the red men back
on the plains -- the buffalo are extinct practically and could not be got
on the plains but the red men would have possession.  The other settlers
would have been starved out.  The idea of these gentlemen talking about
their having assisted to bring about the prosperity we enjoy at the present
time in western Canada.  They had as much to do with it as they had in
creating the universe. . . .

Source:   Canada, Parliament, House of Commons,  (28
          August 1903), 10023, 10029.