In order to realize what it is that I have been speaking of in my last two letters to the editor, one needs to understand the scope of the problem.
The numbers are staggering and, if I would have begun the first letter with numbers, I would be been disregarded as a wacko.
To demonstrate where I am coming from, I wish to again quote H.J. Pettypiece from his 1904 presentation to the Empire Club:
“In 22 states of the union, railway taxation is practically the whole source of the revenue.” He went on to say; “My expectation is, whether I will live to see it or not, that the people of this province will receive in a few years from now, if now immediately, a great source of revenue from the railways of this country.”
He was not referring to a few dollars per town.
If Fort Frances was located in Saskatchewan, and everything else that we know about our railway system was as it is, the town would assume $554,500 per kilometre, or $9,260,150 from the CNR instead of the $3,623 that we get from right-of-way property taxes at present.
In an Alberta scenario, we would receive the paltry sum of $6,878,078 instead of that $3,623 (Alberta only gets $453,173 per kilometre).
There is a yearly multiplier factor of 1.36 percent for the current year and a weight multiplier of 0.40 for more than 25 million tonnes. That is the actual amount from the Alberta schedule.
Grain and potash are economic drivers in Saskatchewan, and receive favourable reduced rates for those products. There are grain elevators and shipping facilities that contribute to the economy—and hence the tax base.
Realize that the line from Winnipeg that passes through the Rainy River District carries around 180 million tonnes of freight per year. All of the goods that travel through our district and then (some) through the rest of Ontario, add nothing more to our local economy.
We are a “pass through.” Other than the few who work for the railway, there is no further gain for the economy except that they are here.
The same holds true for southern Ontario, with products and goods that are loaded in Boston and other northern cities in the U.S., and in Halifax and Montreal, and pass through Ontario to markets in the Midwestern states.
It has been pointed out that goods loaded onto trains and transported from afar not only compete with goods that are made, or could be made, in Ontario, they usually are less expensive when they arrive at their destination.
It cost more to load and haul right here at home than it does to carry the same type of goods through. Ontario is the loser all around.
Getting back to MPP Pettypiece. His plea was made at a time when the Liberal government was in power in Ontario. He passed away in 1942 without being heard.
I have to ask if anyone is listening now? We are a further 112 years behind.
Coun. Ken Perry
Fort Frances, Ont.