Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - August 6, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
6 -- THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD - Tuesday, August 6, 1974 6 CP Rail given land to provide service 9 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 andSUPREME CHAMPION OVERALL BREEDS At Medicine Hat Livestocif Exhibition - , -r.......� , 'f - � % - I: 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 subsidiary, 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 representatives in the South surveyed by The Herald, drew a hearty giggle from an official of the Canadian Transport Commission interviewed 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 highhanded method of CPR to get out of the responsibility of looking after this land:" He calls it a first step toward railroad abandonment of 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 of a grain shipment 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 scandalous-"just a highhanded swindle." Mayor Alex Chronik of I 'mI -1 it 1^ � j hJriJ INDUSTRIAL SIXES AND 9 AVAILABLE FROM STOCK! For complete details contact: WHOLES 205- lOtli Street South Plione 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 subdivide 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 $250 to about $10,000 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 $300. But Marathon would likely sell it for $2,000 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 of the 12 applications, says Earl Olson, a CP Rail public relations executive. He says the applications are mere housekeeping actions. Things have gone smoothly with the other subdivision applications throughout the province but now the Oldman planners seem intent on kicking up a fuss. The official company position is simple: "Some of the people there (ORRPC) have the r idea that the land should revert to the Crown. We don't buy that. This land is ours." Mr. Olson says. Long debate The ownership question has been debated in different forms since the 1881 Act of 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 by Prime Minister John A. Macdonald with the men who made up the CPR, The fight in Parliament began with the Liberal opposition berating Mr. Macdonald and his Conservatives for "giving away" too much. Today, Conservative critics such as Saskatchewan MP Alvin Hamilton press the governing Liberals for change. Said Mr. Hamilton April 29, J 974 in The Commons during debate of the Liberal government's railway relocation bill: "Has the ministera legal opinion from the department of justice as to the ownership of the land underneath 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 purpose 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: "Upon 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 consideration of the completion and perpetual efficient operation of the railway by the same company ..." It is the words "the completion and perpetual and efficient operation of the railway by the said company (CPR)" that debaters such as Mr. Hamilton seize upon. 11 Where GOOD SERVICE AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION LTD. 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 Canadian Pacific more succinctly 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 government to get the railway started, the CPR was at least a moderate success from the beginning, "The total value of that government aid is impossible 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 considered unneeded for transportation purposes. The politicians might, if the issue ever got hot enough (and that's unlikely) 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 continue their tradition of cussing the CPR. .1 AUTOMATIC tt 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 1 ^3 "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.