Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 6, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
6 THE LETHBRIOGE HERALD Tuesday, August 6, 1974 6CP Rail given land to provide service' Concluded from P 5 is nationalized. Once they do that (unload) they likely couldn't care whether the railroad is nationalized or not." Mayor Blakie theorizes that once the giant conglomerate. Canadian Pacific Ltd., has transferred its valuable railroad property from the CEDAR HOME ANGUS FARMS Winner Of GRAND CHAMPION ANGUS BULL and SUPREME CHAMPION OVERALL BREEDS At Medicine Hat Livestock Exhibition CEDAR HOME BAR LAD 18E Owned by JERRY VIRGINILLO and Family WATCH FOR Southolm CEDAR HOME, STAR HAVEN PRODUCTION SALE Nov. 2 at Calgary Agri Mart control of its railroad sub- sidiary, CP Rail, to its real estate subsidiary, Marathon Realty, it will not be concerned if CP Rail is taken over by the government since only un- profitable land and operations would be left to take over. That theory, supported by several town represen- tatives in the South sur- veyed by The Herald, drew a hearty giggle from an of- ficial of the Canadian Tran- sport Commission inter- viewed by telephone. "That's a new one, ha, ha." he said from Ottawa. Mayor Lloyd Gregson of Cardston says. "We don't feel it's the right of Marathon Realty to get involved It's just a high- handed method of CPR to get out of the responsibility of looking after this land He calls it a first step toward railroad abandon- ment ot the Cardston line, a move he feels would be a considerable hardship on the town's economy. Without the line, farmers would have to haul their grain ''perhaps into Lethbridge" and one of the traditional roles of the town, that ol a grain ship- ment point, would be lost Mayor Gregson doesn't even want to believe that Marathon owns the land it's applying to subdivide But if. after all. it does legally own the land, then the whole matter is a high- handed swindle.' Mavor Alex Chronik ot COMB! MOTORS CHRYSLER INDUSTRIAL SIXES AND V8's AVAILABLE FROM STOCK! For complete details contact: BAALIM WHOLESALE LTD. 205 10th Street South Phone 327-8587 or the GARAGE or SERVICE STATION NEAREST YOU! Picture Butte is typical of several politicians in the South. He feels if the land Marathon wants to sub- divide wasn't such a poten- tial money maker things would be different. There is something almost immoral about Marathon making money on land originally given to Canadian Pacific, many feel. "If the CPR doesn't need it. then it should go back to the government." Land values in the 12 municipalities vary from to about an acre, officials say. Milk River town secretary George Roberts thinks Marathon can get even more for a piece of land than the normal market would bring. Asked to estimate the per acre value of the Marathon land in Milk River, he was hard put to come up with a figure but said town land nearby is selling for about But Marathon would like- ly sell it tor an acre the way they operate, he blurted. Marathon and CP Rail are not keen on saying much about the matter. Marathon has no specific developments in mind for most ol the 12 applications, says Earl Olson, a CP Rail public relations executive. He says the applications are mere housekeeping ac- tions. Things have gone smoothly with the other subdivision applications throughout the province but now the Old man planners seem intent on kicking up a tuss. The oflicial companv position is simple' "Some ot the people there (ORRPC) have the idea that the land should revert to the Crown. We don't buy that. This land is Mr Olson savs. Long The ownership question has been debated in different iorms since the 1881 Act ot Parliament that formed the Canadian Pacific Railway- There are few issues in the history of this country that have been more often and more vigorously debated in Parliament and out than the deal made bv Prime Minister John A. Macdonald with the men who made up the CPR. The fight in Parliament began with the Liberal op- position berating Mr. Mac- donald and his Conser- vatives for "giving away" too much. Today, Conser- vative critics such as Saskatchewan MP Alvin Hamilton press the govern- ing Liberals for change. Said Mr. Hamilton April 29. 1974 in The Commons during debate of the Liberal government's railway relocation bill: "Has the ministers legal opinion from the depart- ment of justice as to the ownership of the land un- derneath the rail? "I put my question another way by saying that under the charter of the CPR and under the charter of the various railways that make up the CPR, this belonged to the Crown and was granted to these railways for the sole pur- pose of transportation. "When any railway gives up the land and no longer uses it for the purpose for which the charter was granted, all that land beneath the rails reverts to the Crown, which was the grantee The original CPR act itself is open to interpretation, but one relevant clause jumps out: "I'pon the organization of the said company, and the deposit by them, with the government, of one million dollars in cash, or securities approved by the government and in con- sideration of the comple- tion and perpetual efficient operation of the railway by the same company It is the words "the com- pletion and perpetual and efficient operation of the railway by the said com- pany that debaters such as Mr. Hamilton seize upon. CP Rail takes a different view. Says Mr. Olson: "We were given that land to do a job and we did it." End of debate. The mayor of Taber and his council agree with Mr. Olson. No writer has summed up government aid to Cana- dian Pacific more suc- cinctly than Robert Chodos, a journalist whose book "The CPR, a century of corporate welfare" earned him a place on everyman's list of feared Canadian commenators. More orthodox historians are more kind to the railway and its founders, but Mr Chodos says this- "Largely because of the almost limitless aid provided by the govern- ment to get the railway- started, the CPR was at least a moderate success from the beginning. "The total value of that government aid is impossi- ble to estimate." Where will the campaign to have Marathon land revert to Crown lead? It would be -difficult at the least for a government to claim the land that lies under Palliser Square in Calgary, for example. It would be somewhat easier to claim railroad land lying undeveloped and con- sidered unneeded for tran- sportation purposes. The politicians might, if the issue ever got hot enough (and that's un- likely i defer the whole matter to the courts for an interpretation of the original contract with the CPR. But the wise money would seem to be on no real action by government at all Which would allow Southern Albertans to con- tinue their tradition of cussing the CPR. 'Where GOOD SERVICE Is AUTOMATIC" AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION 'LTD. Phone 327-0910 1520 3rd Ave. S. Guaranteed Servicing Rebuilding and Exchange VANEE LIVESTOCK LTD. FORT MACLEOD Direct line from Lethbridge 328-1477, 234-4074, 234-4428 Lethbridge 328-7331 328-3211 "Livestock Dealers and Order Buyers" Hogs Shipped Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday COMPLETE CATTLELINER SERVICE We buy feeders on all markets in Alberta Contact Us now for your feeder cattle.