§ SIR G. BADEN-POWELL (Liverpool, Kirkdale)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether, with a view to strengthening our commercial position, in China and securing an alternative and direct all-British route for mails, passengers, and light goods to the Far East, any steps have been taken to improve existing communications viâ Canada, and especially to institute a regular weekly mail by that route?
THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. R. W. HANBURT,) Preston
Under a contract with the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, which came into effect some seven years ago, it was arranged that there should be a mail service once in four weeks between the United Kingdom and China through Canada, but the company, while 715 performing the stipulated service once in four weeks in winter, have been in the habit of affording a service ones in three weeks in summer. The expense involved is very large as compared with the amount of correspondence conveyed, and further heavy expenditure has been authorised with the view of improving the communication between this country and Canada; but even when such improvement may be effected the western route could only be advantageous to the northern parts of China, while to Hongkong the time occupied in transit through Canada would actually be longer than that taken by the Suez Canal route. As an alternative route, that through Canada is of course very valuable; but the Postmaster General does not think that the large additional outlay which would undoubtedly attend the institution of a weekly service by that route would be warranted.