CANAL TOLL QUESTION.
How The Canadian Trade Is Affected.
"If the American Government take off the tolls on the Erie Canal," said a well known citizen yesterday, "then our Government must do something to counteract the effect, if we hope to secure a share of the Western grain trade."
"What would you have them do?" said the reporter.
"Well, there are several things they might do. If they struck off the tolls on the Welland Canal the remission would help the ports of Oswego and Ogdensburg. But to induce grain to be brought here and then transhipped for the east, the Government might remit the tolls upon it, both Canadian and American vessels to be treated alike. I think it would not be discriminating against the American ports. The tolls would still be imposed at the Welland Canal but remitted here when the vessels cargo was discharged."
The Collector of Customs was interviewed in the matter. He thought this could not be done, as the remission of tolls under such circumstances would be undoubtedly discriminating against the Americans. There should be freedom from tolls on all the canals, both American and Canadian. The Canadian route could hold its own. It should also be demanded by the Government of this country that all American canals such as the Lake Champlain and Sault Ste. Marie, should be open alike to Canadian as well as American vessels. The American Government say they are free, but the States in which they are located refuse to permit Canadian vessels to pass through them without the payment of tolls. It seems ridiculous that a State should rule a nation. If Kingston had lots of storage room for grain it could get the material to fill it.
The improvement of our harbor never was so necessitous as at the present time. The American Government has made large grants for the benefit of Lake Ontario ports. Sir Hector Langevin has given promise of what we hope Parliament will, at its next session, vote for the deepening of the water in shallow places, and the removal of dangerous shoals in this port. The competition for the frontier lake trade has become quite keen, and nothing should be left undone on the part of the civic and national Governments to make Kingston's facilities and advantages what they should be.