- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 6 Feb 1908, p. 153-156
- Hall, John T., Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- What the speaker means by the "last West:" the Province of Alberta. Requisites for the development of the country. The need for an adequate supply of fuel for Alberta to be a great manufacturing center. The abundance of coal right from the southern boundary to the Peace River Valley. A little belt about 100 miles long and 50 miles wide which is one of the most prolific gas fields of the North American continent. The all-absorbing question of electric power in the Province of Ontario. Developing power in the Alberta gas district. Some comparison costs for power development. A look at the amount of capital derived from the natural gas fields of the United States. The issue of who is going to develop the gas industry in Western Canada. The attitude of manufacturers from Ontario. The speaker's desire to see Canadian manufacturers take a more active interest in developing industries in Canada, establishing plants in Alberta. Relative costs of using local raw materials or hauling it from elsewhere. Advantages to offer in Alberta. Climatic conditions in Alberta. The wish to have Ontario manufacturers go out West and see the situation for themselves. "Made in Canada by Canadians."
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- 6 Feb 1908
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- Full Text
- THE INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT OP THE LAST WEST.
Address by Mr. JOHN T. HALL, Commissioner of Industries at Medicine Hat, Alta., before the Empire Club of Canada, on February 6th, 1908.
Mr. President and Gentlemen,
What do I mean by the last West. I mean practically the Province of Alberta. To be a great manufacturing centre, an adequate supply of fuel is necessary, and there is an abundance of coal right from the southern boundary to the Peace River Valley. That is one of the requisites for the development of the country. There is also a little belt about zoo miles long and 50 miles wide which is one of the most prolific gas fields of the North American continent. During, the recent municipal elections throughout the Province of Ontario it has struck me that the all-absorbing question was the question of electric power. You were told that you were going to get power for about $18-50 per h.p. per annum. We can develop power in the Alberta gas district for $2.40 per h.p. per annum for a to-hour day. A great many people will hardly believe that, but it is a fact. In connection with this I will say that your Industrial Commissioner passed through Medicine Hat, and he dubbed it "The City of Eternal Light." It is the city where the gas is never turned out. It seems a waste of gas not to turn it out, but it is cheaper to keep it burning. Gas there is so cheap that the great expense in connection with the lighting is in the mantles. Breakage of the mantles takes place when the gas is lighted, and that is the reason that the gas is never turned out in Medicine Hat.
When you think of the enormous amount of capital that is derived from the natural gas fields of the United States you will have some faint idea as to what that industry means to the development of a country. I take this from the Petroleum Gazette, published in New York, January, 1908: " The amount of gas, according to the United States Survey, produced by Pennsylvania for the year amounted to $18,558,245; West Virginia, $13,735,343. The total amount derived from natural gas in 1906 in the United States was over $468,000,000." The subject is altogether too large for me to go into in detail. In Hamilton, where I was Industrial Commissioner, I had to talk of a city; today I am talking of a Province. There is going to be great development throughout that last West, and who is going to develop it? I would like to see it done by Canadian capital and enterprise, but it looks as-if the Americans from the middle and western States were going to develop it. Just now the Province is undergoing a change; it is m the transition state from a ranching to a farming country. The ranchers have kept the farmers out as long as possible, but it is impossible to keep them out any longer. The country must be developed, and it means that the farmer's day has come. In a short time agricultural capital is going to be followed by a wave of industrial capital from the American States. They are the best class of people who are coming in; they sell their farms at a high rate in Dakota and Minnesota. They come in with money, and are an excellent class of people, but they are not our own people.
When you come down here and talk to the manufacturers in Ontario they will ridicule the idea of any manufacturing industries ever being established in the West. I do not think there will be manufacturing industries in Manitoba or Saskatchewan, because there fuel is so dear and power so high. In Winnipeg the price of electric power makes it almost prohibitive. It costs not less than $6o per h.p. per annum. I would like to see our own Canadian manufacturers take a more active interest in this subject, and establish plants in Alberta. They say the raw material costs so much, but it costs a great deal less to haul raw material than the finished article. These are the things which the manufacturer should consider. A few years ago, when I started first operating upon American concerns, I was in correspondence with the McCormick Harvester Co., and I have, through the courtesy of Commissioner McLeod, my successor in Hamilton, a letter which was written to him by this company. " Some time ago you addressed us on the subject of a location in your city, since receiving same I have fully canvassed the matter and concluded you cannot interest us, for the reason that we have abandoned the notion of building works in Ontario." today they are operating in Hamilton a plant with an investment of seven million dollars. In a short time these machines will be manufactured in the West, and the manufacturer who deludes his mind that there is going to be no manufacturing in the West, and that he is going to have a cinch in that market from the fast, will wake up to find that American people and push have taken the market away from him.
The next trip that I will take will be down in the middle States, telling the people of those States what advantages we have to offer in Alberta; that' we have cheap power, and it was cheap power that made Hamilton what she is today, and it is cheap power that is going to make the West. I have been only a short time in the West and I have not become possessed as yet of that spirit of extravagant optimism which I think does the West an injustice. That spirit of extravagance is detrimental to the interests of the country. Let us get at the facts. We had a visit recently in the gas region from Rudyard Kipling. He went up on one of the great Mogul engines operated by natural gas. They put a few inches of coal in' the bottom of the grate, have a short pipe burner about six feet long attached to the end of the tube, they turn on the gas, it kindles the coal from above down, and at the same time makes steam in the boiler. Kipling is a man who wants to see everything. Afterwards his description of the gas belt was embodied in this statement: " You people in this district seem to have all Hell for a basement." Admiral Lord Charles Beresford, a short time ago, spent three days in Medicine Hat, and his expression was that he believed there was going to be manufacturing done in the West, and that the gas-belt was going to be the manufacturing centre of the West because of its cheap power. Medicine Hat should become the Pittsburg of Canada. The line of vision of the average manufacturer does not, however, carry him beyond the western boundary of Manitoba. But conditions in the far West are not similar, they are entirely different. The climate of Southern Alberta is more like Northern California, but without the rain-fall. It is very warm during the day, 75 to 95 degrees in the shade, but you will be surprised that I have slept between blankets at night all through the summer. Of the northern part of the Province I am not prepared to speak, but there is a variety there not to be found in any of the prairie provinces. I would like to have our Ontario manufacturers go out there and see for themselves. I am satisfied that the manufacturing for the Provinces of British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba will in the near future be done in Alberta. Noting the condition of things there, I' see the same ear-marks of American immigration that I noticed ten years ago in Hamilton. I would like to see the country settled by Canadians, and I notice, Mr. President, in the closing remarks of your address you urged the people to buy and procure goods made in Canada. I would go further, and say made in Canada by Canadians. We have a grand heritage in that Western country. I do not thing you realize it. I thought I knew something about Western conditions by reading, but the longer I am out there the less I seem to; know about them. It has magnificent possibilities and the next ten, years will see a greater change taking place in the Province than has taken place during the last twenty or thirty years.