Then we know where we are. It is no longer a question of provincial rights, it is no longer a question of whether the province of Manitoba will be ruined by this legislation ; because the gov-
eminent refuses to take any position after its Minister of Railways and Canals has strongly opposed the Bill in the Railway Committee. From my point of view, the question Is not whether the government of Manitoba are getting certain privileges by this legislation, it is not whether the parliament of Canada is divesting itself of some of its powers in passing this Bill; the question at issue is whether the railways are to be controlled by the Federal or by the provincial authorities. The action we are taking now for the first time since confederation, will decide whether this parliament is going to keep control of its great transportation lines, or hand them over to the control of provincial authorities who may be able to interfere more or less with the whole transportation problem of Canada.
I listened with great pleasure the other day to the remarks of the Minister of Public Works, who is always interesting in any of his public utterances. Of course, I would not like to break the rules of the House by referring to a past debate; but 1 remember the strong opinion which he expressed in the matter of the Prince Edward Island special grant ; he expressed the opinion that the parliament of Canada should not increase the powers of the pro vinces. Mr. Chairman, the question of the equilibrium between the Federal parliament and government on the one hand, and the provincial governments on the other, has been discussed many times in Canada since confederation, and that is going to be one of the biggest questions in the future. Whether as concerns matters of education, of trade or of railways, the future of this country depends to a great extent upon the harmony between the Federal and provincial authorities; the future and prosperity of this country depend upon whether the Federal authority shall retain complete control over matters that have been assigned to it under the British North America Act, and also whether the provincial governments are going to keep strictly within their functions under the same Act. I would not go so far as the Minister of Public Works went upon that occasion, and say that this parliament should be the supreme authority. I would merely say that so long as we have not found anything to replace our present constitution, the Federal parliament should be supreme in Federal matters, and the provincial legislature should be supreme in provincial matters ; and that whenever we, by our legislation, create friction between the two authorities, we fail in our duty towards Canada and violate the spirit of our constitution. We have already difficulties enough before us without creating new ones. We are confronted with difficulties on account of the geographical conditions in this country, on account of the differences of race and religion that divide our people ; we ought not to create any more difficulties Mr. BOURASSA.
by hasty legislation, simply to please a group of politicians in one province or to hurt another group.
Sir, the idea of provincial control Is spreading in the North-west, and why ? There is no doubt that throughout Canada as well as throughout all the civilized countries, there is developing a spirit of government control of public services. It has gone very far in England, it has gone further stili in Australia, it has gone far in France, Germany and other countries; it has not gone very far yet in the United States, because there the great trusts have acquired more power than the State. But on account of our proximity to the United States the same question will come up in Canada before long, as to whether we are going to keep control in this parliament of the great transportation facilities, or hand over that power to the trusts and corporations.
The people of the -western provinces have devoted more attention to this problem because they need more transportation than we do. Their population being smaller and scattered over a large territory, they suffer from high rates ; and, therefore, seeing that the government are not preparing to assume control of the railways, they are going in that direction themselves. A few days ago, on the 24th of April, the government of British Columbia put before the legislature and the public of that province a Bill to indicate their railway policy. By that Bill they are asking from the legislature of British Columbia the right to make a loan of $5,000,000 for subsidies to railways. The Bill is a long and interesting one. And to show boil, members who have not made up their minds as to this Bill, who, in that blind faith and happy confidence of my hon. friend from Guysborough (Mr. Fraser), have not come prepared to vote one way or the other at the disposition of those who are in command of this Bill, what is going on in British Columbia, I shall refer to the features of the measure introduced into the legislature there. What do we find in clause 10 ? As I am going to make an extended argument on this clause, I suppose we may call it one o'clock.
At one o'clock, the committee took recess.
Committee resumed at three o'clock.