We were told this afternoon by the First Minister that the proper course for this House was to accept the judgment of the committee on a private Bill. It will be within the recollection of lion, gentlemen who were there that the Railway Committee, the other day, struck out a clause identical with this in the Bill relating to the St. Lawrence Lloyds. I can scarcely consent to giving power to this company which was refused- to- another, unless some very strong reason is assigned for so doing'. For one, I am opposed to this class of legislation. It is simply an invitation for this company to go to the Ontario government or the Quebec government and ask for a grant of land. Now, it is quite evident to those of ns who are watching legislation, more particularly of the province of Ontario, that all the valuable pulp wood of Ontario is rapidly passing
out of tlie hands of the government of the province, and is becoming the property of private individuals. This is an inheritance of the people, and it is unwise on the part of this parliament-and, if I were permitted, I would say on the part of any other government-to foster legislation that will tend in the direction of giving away what properly belongs to the people. It is said that in one instance, a company in the province of Ontario that received a gift of pulp wood, a short time after the grant was made sold one-thirtieth of it for $10,000. The property did not require development, but the moment they got the charter, were awarded by the government a gift of $300,000. Are we justified in promoting legislation that will help this sort of thing 7 True, we are not giving these people any land, but we are putting a clause in the Bill which enables them to accept such a gift, to own it and dispose of it. And, in all probability, it would be disposed of within thirty days at a very large figure, as there is a great demand for that kind of property at the present time. I dare say that legal men will tell us that it makes no difference to the company whether they get this power or not, that they will be able to accept such a gift if it should be offered. But, legal men tell us also that they will have no power to alienate it unless they get a clause like this in the Bill. That is why we should leave out such a clause, because it will compel the company, if they receive suich a gift, to develop iit, and to use it so that the people may get some benefit, and not have the whole value going into the pockets of a favoured few. I am decidedly opposed to this legislation, and I hope the committee will not entertain it, more especially as it was refused to another company. It would be very strange if we gave to this company what the Railway Committee refused to another company within the last ten days. Unless some very strong argument can be advanced in favour of legislation of this kind. I shall vote against it. In fact. I can hardly conceive of any argument that would convince me that legislation leading in the direction of giving away the public domain without compensation should be passed.
Subtopic: OTTAWA AND HULL POWER AND MANUFACTURING COMPANY, LTD.