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Canadian Railways

Volume 180: debated on Thursday 8 August 1907

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I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he has any information in his Department with regard to Canadian Railways; whether any of the railways in Canada are owned and worked by the Government; and, if so, whether he can state how the profits earned on these Government railways compare with the profits earned on railways built and managed by companies.

The Canadian official documents show that there were 21,355 miles of railway open for traffic at the 30th June, 1906, and that of this total 1,713 miles were owned and controlled by the Government, viz, the Inter-Colonial and Prince Edward Island lines, besides the Windsor Branch line thirty-two miles long which is leased by them to a private company. The proportion of working expenses to receipts in the case of the 1,713 miles of lines controlled by the Government in the year 1905–6 appears to be over 99 per cent., and in the case of the 19,640 miles of lines controlled by private companies, which include the Canadian Pacific, Grand Trunk, and other lines, the proportion is about 67½ per cent. It will be obvious from the enumeration of the lines owned and the parts of the country served by the Government and private companies respectively that the comparison is not a fair one.

Is it not the fact that the Canadian State lines fail to pay because they follow the All-Red Route, the longest route, while private commercial companies have secured the shortest and best paying route?

[No Answer was returned.]