The Rainy River Railway Receives It’s Aid From the Dominion Government
On Thursday last the Canadian government submitted to parliament the proposed subsidies in aid of railway construction and in that connection have announced a policy that will be a source of unqualified satisfaction to the rate payers. In Plain words it is that from this time forward public money voted to aid of railway will no longer be a pure gift ; but merely an investment in consideration of which the railway shall annually render services to the government in the free carriage of mails, government stores and militia supplies, to an extent equal to interest on the money so advanced by the government.
Out of a total amount of subsidies approximating $6,500,000, the Ontario and Rainy River receives a sum of $886,000, viz.:
- For the line from Fort Frances to the mouth of Rainy River, 70 miles, $3,200 per mile.
- For the Stanley station in Port Arthur, Duluth and Western Railway to Fort Frances,140 miles, $6,400 per mile.
For years parliament has been voting millions of money towards railway construction, and when the railways were built the government has been obliged to pay the highest going rate on all government material, stores, mails and men sent over these lines. The result is that today Canada is paying each year more than $1,250,000 for transportation to railways largely built with public money. had this new principle, now inaugurated, been attached to railway bonuses in the past, the country would not to -day be obliged to pay for this large annual sum. Moreover, hereafter the railways are not going to be the parties to fix the rates, but they shall be settled by the government.
These important provisions entirely do away with the gift of bonus feature of railway subsidies and convert them simply into advances, securing railway construction and the development of the resources of the country, and at the same time providing for full and ample compensation for such advances by the companies being required, for all time to perform, free of charge, services for the government to an extent equal to all public money so advanced to them.
This successful grappling with this important subject, asserting as it does, the right of the people to receive value for their money, is not one of the least triumphs of the Canadian Government which in the short space of three years has courageously and skilfully so many problems of government that defied the efforts of their predecessors in office and emphasizes the return of the supremacy of the people over corporate influence.
An entirely new departure has been made by the government on granting these subsidies.
In the case of the Rainy River Railway, which will some day form the link of a great transcontinental railway, completing with the Canadian Pacific Railway, provision is made that it cannot amalgamate with the C.P.R. The independence of the road is preserved as far as it is possible to do.
Provision is also made that all the roads to which subsidies are given must grant running powers to all other railroads. In respect to rates and tolls a new clause in addition to the provision which already exists in the railway act, has been provided, making it imperative that these shall be approved and controlled by the Government. There is another important feature in the resolutions, and that is the all roads receiving public aid will be bound to perform work for the government to the extent of of interest at three percent the total subsidy voted. These roads must enter into a contract with the government to do this.