May 13, 1901

LIB

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Liberal

Mr. BOURASSA.

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.

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LIB

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Liberal

Mr. BOURASSA.

Mr. Chairman, just before we adjourned, I was beginning to give to the House an analysis of the railway Bill which has just been introduced into the legislature of British Columbia ; and before proceeding with that, I want to call the special attention of the House, and of the right hon. leader of the government (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) in particular, to the bearing of this Bill. It is not an ordinary railway subsidy Bill. It is not one of those Bills that are, by this House, or by any provincial legislature in Canada, passed to sub-

sidize railways. The government of British Columbia have framed this Bill, and they are bringing it up for the discussion and vote of the legislature and presenting it to the people of British Columbia as the inauguration of their new railway policy in that province. They are endeavouring to get from the legislature the authorization of a $5,000,000 loan to subsidize the railway system of British Columbia. They have introduced a great many clauses into the Bill, giving the conditions upon which every one of these railways is going to be subsidized by the province. Among the conditions that are going to be attached to the payment of these subsidies, is the following one, in clause 10 :

The Lieutenant Governor in Council may enter into an .agreement with any person or company undertaking the construction of any railway under the subsidy that is hereto attached which may be necessary or convenient for the due construction and operation of such railway, which agreement shall in every instance, in addition to the other matters therein provided, contain the following provisions:

Among these provisions are those of subsection (e) :

The Lieutenant Governor in Council shall have absolute control of the freight and passenger rates to be charged by the railway company, and that notwithstanding and in the event of the railway being or becoming subject to the Jurisdiction of the Dominion government the same shall be deemed a contract between the province and the company.

Subsection (g) is as follows :

The conditions of this section may be varied at any time and from time to time as often as the Lieutenant Governor in Council may deem advisable, always provided that the control of the subject-matters referred to in this section by the government of British Columbia be not abrogated.

Sir, the very principle upon which the present legislation is based is the principle upon which the government of British Columbia have based their railway Bill ; that is, control of railway rates by the provincial government. They know, of course, as they know in Manitoba, that the Federal government, legally and constitutionally speaking, have jurisdiction over railway rates in general, that they fix the maximum rates upon all railways under federal jurisdiction ; but they have foreseen the case of railways subsidized by the provincial government becoming federal railways : they say that in these cases the Lieutenant Governor in Council shall have absolute control of rates, in virtue of a special contract between the government of British Columbia and the railway, which is the very thing we are called upon to sanction in this Bill, as far as the government of Manitoba and the Canadian Northern and Northern Pacific are concerned. Does that not authorize me to say what I stated the other day, and what I repeated this morning : that the tendency 1564

of the western provincial governments is to secure provincial control of railway rates ? Are we going to be told that this parliament, which, for the last thirty-five years has been working towards the equalization and control of rates of transportation, has no word to say on the doctrine that the lion. Minister of Public Works (Mr. Tarte) so justly stated the other evening? The doctrine is that this parliament should not divest itself of the powers that belong to it in favour of provincial governments ; not because the provincial governments or the provincial legislatures are not capable of dealing with such problems, but because, if they are left to exercise provincial jurisdiction over these matters, they would, of course, deal with them according to the special requirements of the people of their provinces.

If the government of British Columbia passes this legislation it will endeavour to control the rates in favour of British Columbia without any reference to the people of the North-west Territories and of Manitoba, in whom they have no political or commercial interest. Why has the Federal government power over these matters, if it is not to prevent a provincial government, either by public or private legislation, interfering with the rights of the other provinces, in order to gain some advantage for their own people? I may be answered that the control which the Minister of Railways said this government would keep over the Manitoba legislation, would still be in the hands of the Federal government; but I say that this control is either effective or ineffective. If that control be effective, then it cannot be exercised without violating the principle, and the only principle, upon which the members of this House, who are in favour of this Bill, are basing their decision. I have yet to hear any members of this House say that this bargain is a good one. I have been told that I and a few members who oppose this legislation want to pose as being the only authorities upon the matter. Not at all. If my worthy friend from Guysborough (Mr. Fraser) understood from me that my opinion is the only good one. and that the opinion of the rest of the House is bad, he has misunderstood me. I am afraid the hon. gentleman came to the House a little too much biased in favour of this legislation. Members of this House who have expressed any opinion at all admit this is a bad bargain, but they say they will not interfere with it, because the people of Manitoba want it. If that be the case they are nullifying in advance the clause introduced by the Minister of Railways to keep the federal control over these railways. If you admit that this legislation is calculated to bring on a clash between the Federal government and the provincial government, then you can only apply this Federal con-

trol by infringing on the absolute control of the Manitoba government. I would be pleased to hear the Minister of Railways repeat the statements lie made in the Railway Committee. We understood from him that he introduced this clause so that if at any time the government of Manitoba interfered with the rights of people of the other provinces; or so as to discriminate in favour of American railways against Canadian railways, the Federal government will then come on the scene and prevent them from doing so. That might be done in some cases by lowering the rates ; but in other cases, as the minister had to admit, the Federal government might have to raise the rates. What becomes then of the absolute right of the Manitoba government to get low rates under this Bill ? The Railway Committee of the Privy Council will have to choose between allowing the "Manitoba government to interfere with the rights of the people of Ontario and the North-west Territories, and possibly to divert trade in favour of American transportation lines, or between raising the rates that the government of Manitoba may have lowered so as to send the trade over American railroads. Therefore, you will have to interfere with the spirit of this legislation. It is impossible to avoid either of these alternatives, and why 1 Because as I repeat, and I cannot repeat it too often, we are asked to pass legislation by which the provincial government will have some rights and the Federal government other rights in a matter in regard to which the constitution says that the provincial government shall have no rights. We are simply trying to play with the spirit of our constitution. We are trying to cut the fruit in two and give one-half to the province and keep the other half for ourselves. In practice it will be impossible to do that, especially in regard to a province where the spirit of provincial autonomy has been viewed sometimes from a right point of view and sometimes from a wrong, and where both political parties have often tried to raise the cry of no federal interference. The moment you come to exercise or to apply that so-called protective clause of federal rights ; the moment you try to prevent the provincial government from exercising the rights you are giving them in another clause of this Bill, that moment you will be destroying this legislation, and therefore, you will have deceived the people of Manitoba. And what about the federal representatives of British Columbia here ? Their legislature is endeavouring at this moment to adopt a similar policy. Are they prepared to say, as federal representatives, that such legislation adopted by their province, shall be completely under the control of the Federal government ? Suppose the government of British Columbia should subsidize a rail-Mr. BOURASSA

way from the north to the south, the object of which would be to make better connections between the province of British Columbia and the state of Washington with a view of sending the trade of British Columbia to the United States, and of bringing the trade of the western states into British Columbia, which would result in interfering greatly with the Canadian Pacific Railway. Do the federal members from British Columbia think for a moment that the merchants of the eastern provinces and the producers of the North-west Territories would not appeal against that discrimination to the Federal government which has taxed them by the millions in order to build that railway for the benefit of the people of British Columbia ? We have no objection to Canadian competition on Canadian soil in matters of transportation, but none of the ministers will deny that there would be strong objection to see the province of British Columbia working their railway policy in such a way as to prevent the Canadian Pacific Railway or any transcontinental road doing the trade between the west and the east. In the Railway Committee, the Minister^ of Railways spoke of a possible clash between the Federal government and the Manitoba government. This is serious enough to impress itself upon the minds of all the members of this House who want to see peace prevail in this country. But I go further. I say that the principle which is at the bottom of this legislation, and the same which is at the bottom of the British Columbia legislation, is a principle which, if not courageously and immediately dealt with by the Federal government, will not only bring a clash between one province and the Federal government, but a serious clash between western Canada and eastern Canada. Signs of such a clash have already appeared, and they will appear still more in the future. The representation of the North-west Territories will grow. The proportionate strength of the western representatives in this

House will increase after each census. If we do not now see that those problems are put on a fair basis, if we do not make very clear now what are the powers of this government and preserve them untouched, the time will come when the western representation, taking advantage of political differences and personal influences similar to those which are being put into operation by this legislation, will, every time a Bill of this sort is brought before the parliament of Canada, make it the occasion of trouble between western Canada and eastern Canada. Sir, I do not want to pose as a pessimist. No, I am an optimist. I have the greatest possible faith iu the future development of Canada, and every part of Canada. I have visited the North-west and British Columbia, and certainly there is no

finer country under the sun than those *western provinces. I have the greatest sympathy -with my friends from the Northwest when they come here and appeal for better transportation facilities ; but it is not sufficient to attain some special end at the present. If by so doing we are opening the door for the greatest difficulties in the future, we are not doing our duty towards either Canada at large or the provinces concerned.

Now, with regard to the changes which have been made in this Bill, it has been contended on the one side-and I am one of those who have expressed that opinion- that this Bill is not the Bill which the Manitoba legislature passed. On the other side, it is said that the few alterations that have been made by the Railway Committee under the direction of the Minister of Railways and Canals, are changes of little importance and such as the people of Manitoba might expect to be made ; and that therefore on the whole the principle of this legislation is the same as the principle of the Bill which was before the Manitoba legislature. Now, Sir, I have my doubts as to that. Though I am called a very vain man, when I hear men of high standing and big Importance in this House and outside of it, men who fill their chair very easily, I am apt to take their opinions with a little more modesty than they think. But 1 have an objection to the newspapers putting in the mouth of the Speaker the opinions even of such a distinguished member of this House as the bon. member for Guysborough (Mr. Fraser). The Ottawa Citizen has made the Speaker responsible for the speeches of the hon. member for Guysborough. I admit that the hon. gentleman is well able to fill the Chair ; but I do not think it is in the interest of the dignity of this House that when the hon. gentleman undertakes to deliver a lecture to any man, the Speaker should be reported as being responsible for it. But let us pass over that. Even after that difference of opinion, I went again over all the Bills-the Bill of the legislature of Manitoba, the Bill as introduced into this House, and the Bill as it stands now, after being altered by the Railway Committee at the request of the Minister of Railways and Canals; and it seems to me that two very material changes have been made in this legislation. The Bill as it was introduced in Manitoba, as every one knows, caused a great deal of public discussion. Strong objections were taken to it. The Board of Trade of Winnipeg made a strong opposition to it, and appointed a delegation to meet the Manitoba government. What was the result of that interview ? It was stated in the Committee of Railways and Canals, and it has been repeated here, that the Attorney General of Manitoba had made it very clear that the Manitoba people should assent to the Federal government interfering and maintaining its control

over rates, as provided for by the Manitoba legislature. Well, Sir, I do not know the Attorney General of Manitoba; he may be a very high authority; he may speak very authoritatively either from a legal point of view or from a political point of view for the people of Manitoba. But surely, either as a lawyer or as a minister of the Crown, he cannot speak black and speak white, and express at the same time tiie law and the opinion of the people of Manitoba. On Friday, the 8th of March, the Hon. Colin Campbell opened his remarks on the second reading of the Bill. What did he say ? There is no ' Hansard ' in Manitoba, but I read from the report of the Winnipeg Morning Telegram of March 9, the organ of the Manitoba government:

It is the intention of the government that the government will absolutely control 'the rates, and that the rates will be fixed so that no one but the Lieutenant Governor in Council will be able to dispute them.

This is the opinion of the Hon. Colin Campbell, Attorney General of Manitoba, as expressed in the House of Assembly on the 8th of March, speaking on the second reading of the Bill.

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LIB

Robert Franklin Sutherland

Liberal

Hon. Mr. SUTHERLAND.

Will the hon. gentleman allow me to ask him a question? In that same speech did he not emphatically declare that they had this control under the contract, subject to the jurisdiction, of the Dominion goverment ?

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LIB

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Liberal

Mr. BOURASSA.

Not so clearly as that, but I will come to that point.

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LIB
LIB

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Liberal

Mr. BOURASSA.

I will give the two parts of the speech, as I am a fair-minded man. That was in reply to the representation made by the delegation of the board of trade which interviewed the government :

The board of trade represented that the government should make provision for passenger rates. Mr. Campbell said they had not yet been able to do this, but they would endeavour to do so. In conclusion, Mr. Campbell said he had very much pleasure In announcing that the government were willing to adopt all the suggestions of the board of trade, and he wished therefore to say that the government was not only willing to adopt the, safeguards that the board of trade had suggested, but all other suggestions that would be of material benefit to the province.

Wbat was the result of this declaration ? The result of it was that the majority of the board of trade withdrew their opposition. and practically ended their efforts to induce the Roblin government to change their legislation. Mr. Campbell is evidently a shrewd man. These remarks were made on the Sth of March; that was Friday. Saturday passed and Sunday passed and

Monday came. I suppose that the conscience of the lawyer was a little aroused, and he found that the position he had taken on Friday was apt to be discussed from a constitutional point of view, and therefore, on Monday he went on with his argument; and I am now coming to the point which the hon. member for North Oxford was so anxious to put forward. He went on as follows :

Now we come to the most important part ot the contract, in connection with which a great deal of discussion has arisen, namely, the imposition of tolls. There are gentlemen who desire to mystify the public in reference to this question. It is stated that the government cannot do what a private individual might do.

The Minister of Railways has laid down this proposition clearly and distinctly, that all the Dominion government does is to fix the maximum tariff. The Railway Act and the charter of the company give it the power to make and impose the tariff, that Is to say, it must go to the Dominion government for sanction; and we know the practice that prevails in the sanction of It. The government simply say what toll shall be the maximum toll. Now, the Railway Committee are permitted, and I have no doubt that hon. gentlemen who have anything to do with traffic know that they are allowed to contract within that maximum tariff. We find that this is done upon passenger rates; the rate is 3 cents a mile according to the maximum tariff, yet we find railways running cheap fares, cheap excursions, and if they were not permitted to contract at a less sum than the maximum tariff it would not be possible to get the benefit of these cheap fares. At the same time, we find there is a tariff for carrying freight at. a certain figure, yet the company are permitted, as Mr. Blair pointed out

I call the particular attention of the hon. member for North Oxford to this :

-to make whatever contracts they like within that limit. Now, all the government Is attempting to do is what each individual is doing for himself-that we are endeavouring to do for the whole people. That is to say, while I myself might go and make a contract, the government proposes to make that contract for the whole of the people of 'the province. The sections that deal with this matter state that there should be no discrimination, no special ratos, and no secret special rates, and there are other restrictions. Now, if the contract we propose to make were a discriminatory contract, it might be had under the Railway Act; but we are making a contract which is Just and equitable, and applies equally to every person in Manitoba. It is quite true that if we make a contract at a greater rate

Now, here is the point

-than that fixed as a maximum tariff by the Dominion, our contract would be superseded by the general tariff fixed by the government at Ottawa; but that would be no detriment to the people of this province, because we would get the benefit of the lowest tariff, whichever it might be. If the Dominion government made a lower tariff than the amount we had fixed, the people of the province would get the benefit of It; but if .our contract for rates was lower than the maximum, the people would get the benefit pf that, and that is what we propose to Mr. BOURASSA.

do. We have no objection to the Minister of Railways or the government at Ottawa, if they think fit, to make a lower tariff than we suggest; the people will have no quarrel with them, because we will receive the benefit of whichever Is the lowest tariff.

A great deal has been said about the Dominion government not allowing us to encroach upon their rights under the Railway Act, We do not desire to encroach upon the rights of the Dominion government, and I believe when the Dominion government come to ratify this contract, as they will be shortly called upon to do, they will say, as it is proper for them to say, that they reserve to themselves to fix any amount that they like, and if the amount is less than the amount we fixed no harm Is done.

You have there the point made by the Attorney General of Manitoba.

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LIB

Robert Franklin Sutherland

Liberal

Hon. Mr. SUTHERLAND.

Was there any further statement made by the Attorney General ?

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LIB
LIB

Robert Franklin Sutherland

Liberal

Hon. Mr. SUTHERLAND.

I do not wish to interrupt the hon. gentleman (Mr. Bou-rassa). But I think there was a further statement read in my presence in the committee by Mr. Barwick.

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LIB

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Liberal

Mr. BOURASSA.

Mr. Barwick read the part I have just given. There is no further statement by the Attorney General in support of the position of the hon. gentleman (Mr. Sutherland). This is the strongest part in favour of his position. The statement made by Mr. Barwick was what I have read here. The first part X have read was that by which the Attorney General succeeded in quieting the opposition of the board of trade by affirming that the Manitoba government was given full control.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

Would the hon. gentleman allow me to read a few lines which were not read in committee and which I think he has under his hand. This is Mr. Campbell, the Attorney General, dealing with the legal phase of the question :

A great deal has been said about the Dominion government not allowing us to encroach upon their rights-

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LIB
CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I did not hear the hon. gentleman read that.

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LIB

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Liberal

Mr. BOURASSA.

Yes, it is contained in the paragraph I have read. But that is the difference between the friends of the Bill and myself-they take a few paragraphs here and there, whilst I have read the whole of what Mr. Campbell has said about the Dominion interference.

Mr. SPROUI^E. I understand the hon. gentleman (Mr. Bourassa) to set up the contention that Mr. Campbell did not admit the right of the Dominion government to control rates.

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LIB

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Liberal

Mr. BOURASSA.

On Friday Mr. Campbell affirmed the principle without any qualification that the provincial government had absolute control, and this set at rest the fears of the board of trade. But Mr. Campbell who spoke on Friday was Mr. Campbell the politician. On Tuesday, Mr. Campbell the lawyer came forward with the statement and opinion that the Dominion government could interfere, and the part that the hon. gentleman (Mr. Sproule) has just read is taken from the paragraph that I read. But as I pointed out to the committee, and as I point out now, the only way in which the Attorney General of Manitoba said the Federal government could interfere would be in lowering the rates. But I put the question to the Minister of Railways in committee, and it was not challenged : In case the government of Manitoba fixed the rates in the interests of the people of Manitoba, not taking into consideration the rights of the people of the North-west or the people of Ontario or the people of Canada at large ; if they fixed the rates so that the whole grain trade of the North-west would be sent over American lines-could not the Federal government interfere and compel them to raise the rates, thus preventing discrimination in favour of the American lines ? The minister has admitted that the Governor in Council has the right to interfere. And I go further and say that it would be the duty of the government to interfere. If they are sincere when they tell us they want to build up this country, if they are sincere when, session after session, they ask millions to build elevators in Montreal and Port Colborne, to deepen our canals and maintain our national system of transportation, they must recognize their duty to interfere in such a case. If hon. members on both sides are sincere when they make such eloquent speeches about the development of this country, they will be in duty bound to interfere and prevent anybody from taking such action as will divert the trade of Canada to American lines.

There was some opposition to that Bill in the Manitoba legislature. Some of the members of the House, opposed to the Bill and supported at that time by the Winnipeg Free Press and encouraged by the Dominion government organs, both of Manitoba and of the province of Quebec, held public meetings. Some of them said : The great danger is this-we are going to vote for a measure which will bind the province, but in spite of which the Dominion government may interfere ; and so the province will be bound to assume an immense debt, but, it may be, without receiving any benefit. Well in this very same speech-and here I am going to complete the record of the argument of the Attorney General of Manitoba

in reply to Mr. Norris, member for Lans-downe. Mr. Campbell said :

Amongst the questions asked, was Question 5. As it was published in the first place It read: ' It Dominion parliament ratified entire

contract except as to rates and company used its best endeavour, as in paragraph 4, to obtain legislation ratifying rates, but failed, would there be any breach of covenant by the company ' ? Of course, the hon. gentleman said ' No.' Any lawyer would give the same answer. But at this time the local combine against this contract was being carried on these lines-the local lawyers had said if it ratified in part and not in whole, the province will be liable notwithstanding. (Hear, hear.) I take the sta.nd that the government take, that no legislative assembly in the British Empire would ratify a contract in part and not in whole. We take the part, and say if we do not get the whole benefit we are not liable I am afraid

the hon. member for Lansdowne on Saturday misled the farmers of Brandon when he told them the contracts may be ratified in part, and that they would not get the benefit of the whole contract. Perhaps he did so innocently. If he did, then I would accept his excuses, but if he did it knowingly, I do not know if the hon. gentleman is in the confidence of the Tribune or not, but if he did it knowingly, the legal gentlemen of Toronto had said the province could not be held in any way liable until the contract as a whole had been ratified, I cannot possibly find an excuse for him.

In the legislature of Manitoba one member was ridiculed by the Manitoba government because he said the contract would not be ratified wholly by this parliament. Now, we who are opposing this Bill are being ridiculed because we speak of the difficulties that may arise. When the government of Manitoba had to satisfy the board of trade, what did they do ? They spoke of the mortgage. Clause 8 of the Manitoba Bill says this :

There shall be included in the mortgage such terms to amplify and to carry out the provisions of the said indenture, and such other terms as the Lieutenant Governor in Council may deem necessary in the public interest.

At the time, this clause was introduced to meet the objections that were made in Manitoba against the Bill ; it was said : Of course, in the agreement there are many things that are objectionable, but there is going to be a mortgage deed, without which the contract is null, and in that mortgage will be added all the dispositions that the Lieutenant Governor in Council may deem necessary in the public interest.

When it came before this House, the Bill of the legislature was changed. Clause 2 of the Bill (No. 103) says :

The company may, in the mortgage securing the bonds mentioned in paragraph 5 of said indenture, agree to such terms to amplify and carry out the provisions of the said indenture and to such other terms as the Lieutenant Governor in Council of the province of Manitoba may deem necessary in the public interest.

This was almost a copy of the provision of the Manitoba Act. But these words were added : [DOT]

the Mortgage Act, which they would have by passing the Bill as-it was; but, by amending the Act in the Railway Committee we are giving the people of Manitoba the right to say that we are the entire cause of their ruin. They will say that this clause of the Bill by which the company was able to administer the road in such a way as to ruin them, would have been amended in the Mortgage Act. The government of Manitoba were open to the influence of public opinion which was agitated when they made the contract, and they got the vote of thelegislature by making the promise that they would amend the bargain by inserting the mortgage clause, which would become a part of the bargain and be construed with it. Therefore, I say that the moment that we prevent the government of Manitoba from amending the Mortgage deed we deceive them and we become re-ponsible for that legislation. I hope it will not be said that we are not responsible for what we do, and for mypart I am not ready to stand up with the hon. member for Guysborough (Mr. Fraser) and say that I am ready to vote for anything that I do not understand. I am not ready to vote with the hon. member for Guysborough and say that I am not responsible for my actions. My actions may be foolish, but I mean to be responsible for them ; and I would rather be a responsible crank than an irresponsible genius. We are

creating the right on the part of the people of Manitoba, five or ten years hence, to come and ask us to make good the deficit. When that time comes I will oppose it if I am still here ; but I say that we should not shelter ourselves now under the pretensions of provincial rights. When we have amended this Bill ourselves, it is perfectly useless to talk in that way.

A few day ago the government of British Columbia applied to the Federal government for a temporary arrangement of the fisheries of that province. I have not followed the question closely, but it is my impression that I have seen it in the newspapers that the government of British Columbia applied to the Federal government and asked them to make a temporary arrangement. The Federal government would not commit themselves. They replied that the question being pending before the court, the government wrould not commit themselves nor undertake to interfere in provincial rights. If the rights of the salmon of British Columbia are to be protected, why should not the rights of the people of Manitoba have the same protection ?

I was not a member of this House ten years ago, but I see several hon. members who were here ten years ago. In 1891, the Senate of Canada conducted an inquiry in which it investigated a matter which had occurred in the province of Que-Mr. BOURASSA.

bee without having the slightest shadow of federal jurisdiction at all. The Senate constituted itself a tribunal of justice, it called witnesses and inquired into certain payments made to a railway company that was entirely within the scope of the provincial government. The trial of that government was conducted. Upon that trial the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec, a servant of the Federal government, took upon himself to, as he said later on, jump over the constitution. Where were the great defenders of provincial rights ? Not a Liberal in this House stood up at that time to defend the constitution when it was being so grossly violated in the province of Quebec. The Toronto Globe wanted Mr. Mercier to be hanged at that time. The Toronto Globe made, the whole campaign against the provincial government upon a purely provincial issue, and the leaders of the Liberal party were ashamed to show themselves in the provincial contest which followed. Mr. Mercier was brought down to his grave and, a few years later, the Supreme Court of Canada decided that his government was not guilty in the matter. It is a great thing to have principles. It is a great thing to have big flags to wave when it suits our purposes and to bury in the ground when it interferes with our political ends. I do not pretend to be a man of principle. I have very few principles in politics, but on account of my poverty I am obliged to stand by these. I am not so rich that I can afford to have a set of principles in all of my pockets so that when one principle suits me I take it out of my pocket and if it docs not suit me I put it into my pocket and reach into another pocket for another set of principles that suit the occasion. To my mind, if there ever was a time when provincial rights should have been protected, when it was the duty of the defenders of provincial rights to stand up in defence of their principles, it was when the Senate of Canada took it upon itself to conduct an inquiry in purely provincial matters ; it was when the Senate of Canada constituted itself a Star chamber to decide upon the fate of a provincial government and to condemn it before anything was heard, and allowed the servant of the Federal government, the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec, to jump over the constitution and constitute a government of his own. When a party and when men have been silent upon an occasion like that, for the sake of the honour of this country, let them not come before the parliament of Canada and tell us that now, upon a matter which will, be ineffective if we do not sanction it, just as ineffective as the paper upon which it is printed,-they stand upon the doctrine of provincial rights.

It is a question also whether a representative of the government has the right to come before a committee of the House, and ask us to take from this legislation three-quarters of what is in it, and then tell us :

Do not touch the other one-quarter, because there stand the rights of the province and they are sacred. This treatment of legislation resembles too much the law of the Sandwich Islands before civilization was introduced, when the King could point to a bush or piece of land and say it is ' taboo,' and the moment it was taboo no one could touch it; but the next year it was some other bush or some other piece of land that was ' taboo,' and you could do anything you liked with the former. Now7, Sir, this is either a provincial or a federal matter. If it is provincial, we have no right to touch that contract : let us restore the Bill as

it was and let this parliament take no responsibility for it. If it is a federal matter, then you must safeguard the interests of the people of this country. If you do not want the Bill, throw it out: if you do want it, get up in the House and say it is a good Bill, and that you accept the responsibility of it. Let it not be a question of provincial rights in the House and a question of private interest in the lobby. I ret it be the same everywhere. That is all I ask. My opposition to this Bill came gradually. At first I had no opinion on the matter, but I became interested in the discussion in the Railway Committee, and I put a question to the Minister of Railways. I must say that the reply of the minister, coming after the several articles in La Pati'ie made me think that this was a serious question.

I did not found my opinion on the writings in La Patrie; I did not found my opinion on what the Minister of Railways said; I did not decide if I would vote this way or that way according to the little sign that was made to me by the government whip or by any minister. I studied the question, and when I saw that the arguments against the Bill were not replied to; the moment I saw that the Bill which was forced upon the members in the lobby had become a free Bill in the House, I said to myself: We must have the truth out, and

that is all I want. I do not pretend to be infallible in this matter. It may be that I am mistaken from beginning to end. It may be that this is a good contract for Manitoba. It may be that this parliament is doing right in voting for it. It may be that we would be interfering with provincial rights by not passing it; all I ask is that the men who have responsibility for the legislation of this country, and to whom the people of Canada look for the proper administration of the public affairs, should at least stand up and reply to the questions put to them. If they prove that this is a good piece of legislation: if they prove that this bargain is beneficial to the people of Manitoba while it does not interfere with the interest of the rest of Canada; if they tell me that they are ready to apply the clause which they have inserted in the Bill the very first time the government of Manitoba will establish rates in favour of

American lines; if they tell me that they are ready to apply this principle to the British Columbia legislation in order to prevent British Columbia favouring the Northern Pacific to the detriment to our railroads; then I am ready to stop discussing this question. I shall vote against it of course, because I think it is wrong, but I am prepared to admit that the government have more knowledge and more intelligence, and certainly they have more votes than I have and so I will leave the responsibility on them. And I say also that the leaders of the opposition must take some responsibility in the matter. They must tell us what they think of it. The government must tell us why they force that Bill upon parliament, because there is no doubt it is forced upon parliament. The notice that was given last week that this Monday would be taken by the government, read that government measures would have precedence, but, afterwards, it was changed so that this government day is given to private legislation. I have no objection to that. I have no objection to this Bill being discussed provided it is discussed on proper lines, provided that the men who are responsible for it shall take the responsibility of it; provided that the men who want to impose it on the people of Manitoba will frankly say that they want to do so, and provided they tell us: Don't

be afraid, we will protect federal rights. I have already given notice of an amendment because if this clause 3 of the new Bill is going to be introduced seriously -if it is not put there as a show in order to smooth the scruples of some of the federal members-then that clause 3 should be effective. I repeat that it does not make much difference so far as the rights of the Federal government are concerned, whether they say or do not say in this Bill that the Federal government maintains its jurisdiction. But I would like *that the warning that this parliament is going to give to Manitoba should be a complete warning, and that Manitoba should understand that in case they make a discrimination, not only against a certain set of shippers on that line, but in favour of foreign lines, or against the general trade of any one province, then this government shall step in and prevent any such discrimination. If the Bill must be forced on the House, I hope we will know before the debate is closed what is the opinion of the authority that will have to apply the law. The Minister of Railways gave certain opinions in the Railway Committee, and now that parliament is called upon to ratify that clause which the Minister of Railways added, it is the duty of the minister to come here and explain, in what way the Railway Committee of the Privy Council is ready to apply that clause, so that the people of Manitoba and the people of Canada may know what the effect will be; so that the people of Manitoba will know that their Bill

has been changed and that the Lieutenant Governor in Council of that province will not have absolute control over these railway rates. It is the duty of the Minister of Railways to tell this parliament that not only will Manitoba be hound to remain under the maximum rates, as Mr. Campbell says, but that if by lowering their rates they interfere with the general trade of Canada, then they will be checked by the Federal government. That is what I have been endeavouring to get for a week, and that is what I am endeavouring now to get from the Minister of Railways. The Bill has been given importance to, "in Manitoba and throughout the land, not only by newspaper articles, by speeches of members of parliament, by resolutions of the people, by discussions in Manitoba and elsewhere, but also by two straight declarations made by ministers of the Crown. Those men who made these declarations outside should make them inside of this House. That is what I am asking for, and I hope the preamble of this Bill will not be adopted before we get some explanation.

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The MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR (Hon. Clifford Sifton).

After some large amount of consideration I have made up my mind to vote in favour of the Bill which is before the committee. I think it is proper to give briefly my reasons for having arrived at that conclusion. Although I might have preferred not to speak until the third reading of this Bill, I think that perhaps the present occasion is as opportune as any other to say what I have to say in this connection. I may say, Mr. Chairman, that it is a question which has caused me a good deal of consideration, in arriving at a conclusion as to the course which ought to be taken in respect to this Bill. It is a question which involves the determination of the relations between the provincial authority and the Dominion authority. As every one of us is perfectly aware, the action taken in regard to questions of this kind in the history of Canada has been perhaps more fruitful of friction, of difficulty, of agitation and of trouble than any other class of action which either parliament or legislature has been called upon to take; and there is perhaps no class of questions which comes before either parliament or legislature in Canada in which it is more difficult to determine just exactly how far a member is justified in carrying his own views and wishes than the class to which this question belongs.

In order to give my reasons clearly, it will be necessary for me to state in a few words the nature of this transaction in its legal and constitutional aspect as I understand it. This is the more necessary, because those gentlemen who have discussed the question heretofore have not considered it necessary to make a statement of that kind. They have confined themselves to Mr. BOURASSA.

stating certain objections, and discussing in a general way the merits of the contract which the government and legislature of Manitoba entered into. In order, however, to get a clear idea of the position, I think it desirable to say a few words with regard to the general scheme which the Bill and the contract with which we are dealing present for the consideration of the House. The Northern Pacific and Manitoba Railway consists of about 3G0 miles of railway In the province of Manitoba, no portion of which extends beyond the provincial limits. That railway was built under a provincial charter, with the exception of a small portion of it which was built after it received a charter from this parliament. It was originally built in 1888 under a charter of the provincial legislature, which was hotly contested by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, which was opposed by the authorities of the Dominion, and which resulted in an extremely warm contest between the people of the province and the federal authorities, as well as the railway authorities. The validity of that charter was disputed and carried to the courts; and the Supreme Court ultimately held that the charter was good. The province bonused that railway, while the Dominion never did. No assistance was ever given to it by the Dominion authorities. My point in mentioning that is simply to show that it is a railway that was built under the auspices of the provincial government, bonused by the provincial government, opposed by the Federal government, and never assisted in any way by the federal authorities. Subsequently to the construction of the greater portion of the line, the proprietors of that road, for the purpose of resolving possible legal doubts, came to this parliament and got a charter, or a confirmation of their original charter. That is the Act which brings that road under the jurisdiction of this parliament. If that Act had not passed there would have been no necessity for that portion of this legislation which refers to the Northern Pacific and Manitoba Railway. The Canadian Northern Railway was an enterprise that was begun by being constructed from the town of Gladstone on the Manitoba and North-western Railway, with the object of going on to the Saskatchewan valley. Subsequently the same people built from Winnipeg south-eastward, with the assistance of the provincial government. They amalgamated with the Ontario and Rainy River Railway Company, which was largely assisted, as we all know, by the government of the Dominion.

Now, the scheme of the government of Manitoba, as presented in this Bill, is this, that they have made an arrangement with the Canadian Northern Railway which, as soon as completed, will have a line from Winnipeg to Port Arthur, a line northwestward into the country known as the

Dauphin country, and beyond that for 100 miles or thereabouts, and they propose to attach to that the 360 odd miles of the Northern Pacific and Manitoba Railway. So that they will have connectiofis in all parts of the province in competition with the Canadian Pacific Railway, and running down to the lake. The idea of the contract, therefore, is that by getting the line of the Northern Pacific and connecting with the Canadian Northern, they will have a system of railways practically covering almost every portion of their territory, and giving them an outlet to the lake; and by the terms of their contract they desire to secure control of the rates on that system, agreeing to guarantee the interest and the fixed charges of the road. My hon. friend who has just taken his seat discussed the question whether the Bill now before us gives -them control of rates or not. 1 may devote a few minutes' attention to that later on. In the meantime, I do not desire to appear in the House in any sense of the word as an advocate of this legislation. I will explain my position on it in a moment; but I am only doing what I conceive to be my duty as a representative of a constituency of the province of Manitoba in endeavouring to make the position as clear as it is possible for me to do it.

This unusual contract which has been brought before us has been brought about by a certain course of dealing and a certain state of feeling in the province; and every one will readily understand that that course of dealing, which has gone on for some years, and that state of feeling which has arisen in consequence, must have been of a somewhat unusual character to induce the provincial government to go into this transaction. The late government of the province of Manitoba, the government led by Mr. Greenway, was in charge of the affairs of that province some ten or eleven years, and Mr. Greenway had announced before he had been defeated that he had under contemplation a scheme for the building of a railway from the city of Winnipeg to Duluth, and connecting with it a system of feeders in the province of Manitoba to enter into competition with the existing lines, that is to say, the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Northern Pacific. Mr. Greenway did not carry out that plan, but he had announced that he was in favour of it, and intended to do it-had in reality engaged in negotiations in connection with it. He was defeated, and in my judgment very largely on account of the irritation created in the minds of the people of the province in regard to his railway policy, and very largely because of the fact that the people demanded a policy which was characterized by a more aggressive spirit as against the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. Mr. Hugh John Macdonald, who succeeded Mr. Greenway, proceeded to make

a contract with certain parties in New York for the construction of a railway from Winnipeg to Duluth, and for a system of feeders within the province. That project was practically the same as the scheme of Mr. Greenway. Later on Mr. Hugh John Macdonald vacated the premiership of Manitoba, and that contract was not submitted to the Manitoba legislature for ratification. Mr. Roblin succeeded as premier, and for reasons, which I do not know that I ever saw stated by himself, Mr. Roblin did not go on with the contract which his predecessor had made, but entered into negotiations which resulted in the agreement before us. This narration of facts and circumstances may seem to have no special connection with the subject, but the reason I call attention to them is because I desire to make it clear to the House that there have been three successive prime ministers in Manitoba who were all agreed that some plan of the kind referred to would meet with the approval of the people, arid were determined to carry such a plan into effect.

As the facts of this contract place themselves before my mind, the matter appears to take this shape. We have the province of Manitoba-which, in a matter of this kind, is wholly outside of our legislative authority-entering into contract with two railway companies, and these two railway companies are corporations chartered by the Dominion. These two companies therefore must receive their contracting capacity from the action of this parliament. The province of Manitoba receives no capacity to contract from any action taken by this parliament. I doubt if this parliament could give Manitoba any further power to contract than it has under the constitution. But the railway companies which seek to contract with the province, require to get their capacity to do so from this government. If hon. members will read the Bill, they will find that it is a Bill to give the two railway companies the power to make the contracts into which they have entered with the Manitoba government. There is nothing in the Bill that seeks to give Manitoba any power which that province does not possess now. It seeks to ratify no problem or obligation that the province has incurred. I venture to say that nothing which could be put into a Bill to be passed by this parliament and to become an Act of this parliament, could make Manitoba liable for anything for which she had not made herself liable, or bind her to any contract, covenant or obligation which she had not herself entered into. Therefore when it is suggested that this is a Bill to ratify a contract made by the province of Manitoba, that is wholly a mistaken and inaccurate statement of the facts in so far as thd obligation referred to proceeds from the government of Manitoba to the railway companies. The Bill therefore is an enabling Act to give

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power to the railway companies, but not an enabling Act in so far as the province is concerned. What I am endeavouring to make clear is that, as it appears to me, we have a contract between three parties, two of whom are railway corporations subject to the jurisdiction of the Dominion and the third is a province, not subject in any way in a contractual capacity, to our jurisdiction. These parties want to make a bargain among themselves, and the companies say : We cannot do it unless you give us the power ; we have not the corporate capacity, and we ask you to give us the power. The province simply says : We want to make a contract with the two railway companies ; give them the power and we will attend to the business and make our own contract and make it on our own responsibility. That appears to be a plain statement of the position in respect of this contract. I cannot conceive of any exception to this proposition, that where the sole power lies, there lies the sole responsibility. And inasmuch as the province of Manitoba has the sole power to place that province under a financial obligation by the payment of money or guarantee of bonds or anything of that kind, and inasmuch as we have no power, either to implement or assist or change or increase or diminish that power, surely the legislature of Manitoba is alone responsible for any action taken in that respect.

I do not think it is necessary for me to do further than indicate the conclusion I have arrived at on that point. It seems to me that the merits of what we have to consider are the merits of the legislation as respecting the railway companies which are under federal jurisdiction. What we have to decide is whether the powers which we are asked to give in this Bill to the railway companies, are powers which ought to be given them. If there is any objection to the powers which we are asked to give, from the standpoint of the general interests of the Dominion, or from the standpoint of sound principles of railway legislation, then the Bill ought not to pass. But when we come to consider that question, we find that the objections which are raised to the passage of the Bill are not based upon the idea that there is anything improper whatever in the legislation as applied to the railway companies, but upon the alleged fact that the province has not made a good bargain, that it has not protected itself, that in making this bargain it has been ill advised, that the bargain is improvident and hasty, and that the province would have better served its interests if it had not made this bargain at all. I am not sure that I do not agree in that view. Certainly, if I had been a member of the legislature of the province of Manitoba, I should have done, as my political friends did in that legislature. I should have opposed that contract on the ground that the liability is excessive, on the ground that the privileges which the Manitoba government Mr. SIFTON.

is getting in return are not sufficient to compensate it for the liability incurred, and upon the further ground, which was well enough stated by the hon. member for North Norfolk (Mr. Charlton) yesterday-and which, I think, I would have taken more strongly than any of the others-that having in view the rapid development of the western country and the fact that the Canadian Pacific Railway, Northern Pacific Railway and the Canadian Northern Railway would soon be competing for the business of the province, and having in view also the improvements which are taking place in transportation methods and facilities, as well as the increase in the volume of traffic which must naturally take place in the course of a few years-having regard to all these things, I think I would have been justified in advocating that the province should not. make this or any other contract in the meantime, because we know that in the natural course of events, undoubtedly, railway rates will be reduced considerably below those of the present time. That is the position I would have taken as a member of the legislature of Manitoba. That is the position which was argued there at great length, and with very considerable ability, by some members of that legislature. And the discussion which took place in that House has not been amplified here at all, in so far as any statement of fact is concerned, statements of fact which might be invoked to influence the minds of members of this House. The legislature of Manitoba considered that matter and they decided for themselves, in one case by a majority of 23 to 9, and in another by a majority of 23 to 12, that they should ratify the contract and carry this transaction into effect. I regretted that decision, because I thought the action taken by the legislature was not a wise action. But, when the matter comes before this House for decision, it appears to me that the position which we should take here is not the position of entering into a discussion of the merits of the action of the Manitoba legislature, revising their decision in regard to their dealing with the finances of the province of Manitoba, which are wholly and entirely and absolutely within their jurisdiction ; but that the questions which we have to consider are the questions which relate to matters within our jurisdiction-that is, the question of dealing with Dominion railways and the manner in which we should permit them to contract. Now, we have these questions constantly arising. We have had instances, many times before, when some of us were in other places, in which the question has arisen as to the limits of the federal and provincial authority., And it has not always been easy to settle upon the line of action that ought to be taken. There are occasions constantly arising where both parties have a possible jurisdiction. In the case of the Manitoba school question, we had a

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question in which the province took a certain line of action, and where it was held by the highest court in the realm that, to a certain extent, the federal authority had a right to override that action. There was no question as to the legislative power, hut, the question was as to whether it was wise to interfere-that was the question. And 1 cannot hut feel that in connection with a matter of this kind, where the province takes hold of a question and acts within Its own jurisdiction, it will prove to be an unwise course for this parliament to interfere in the financial merits of a question that the legislature have decided for themselves, and say that because we do not agree with the finding of the legislature in regard to financial matters, therefore, we will refuse the legislation which is necessary to enable them to carry their transactions into effect.

I may say that I have no special friendship for the government of the province of Manitoba, which proposed this contract to the legislature. As I have pointed out, my political friends in the legislature opposed the transaction. But while that is the case, I desire to point out that there has been no petition presented from the minority of the Manitoba legislature, asking this parliament to refuse this legislation. Members of that minority are without exception men who have taken part in the strong contests for provincial rights, for the principle that the only way in which the affairs of the Dominion can properly be carried out is to let the people of each province exercise their discretion in regard to matters of a local character. That is the position we have taken in Manitoba ; we have taken it repeatedly, and we have taken it very strongly, not only with regard to educational matters, but with regard to railway matters. And while I do not expect all, even of my political friends, to agree with me, I venture the statement that in attempting any other method of ruling our great western provinces, this Dominion parliament will find itself in continual difficulty and turmoil with those provinces. I have no hesitation in saying that, if I tvere to consult what might appear an immediate political interest, if I were to say what might, for a few days or a few weeks, be somewhat popular with persons, perhaps, who occupy a great space in the newspapers in the province of Manitoba, I would speak otherwise than I do to-day. But, I have taken the same position precisely with regard to any action of a government of Manitoba hostile to myself, and one that I did the best I could to prevent from coming into power, as I would take if it was a government with which I was in close political association. I do not believe that in this parliament members can take any other stand, unless they are prepared to bring about serious and lasting political difficulties in the different provinces of the Dominion.

The province of Manitoba is not a large province, it is not strong in its representation so far as members of this House are concerned. But, you have before you the constant possibility and the constant probability that similar questions will 'arise with other provinces larger and stronger in their representation, and you must establish a principle that will be the same for every province. You cannot apply one principle to one province and another principle to another. And if to-morrow, a Bill demanded by a large majority of the legislature of the province of Quebec or the province of Ontario, came before us, and this parliament, because it did not agree with the finding of the legislature of Quebec or Ontario, undertook to throw out that Bill, I ask the representatives of those provinces, what would be the position which the people of those provinces would take ? They would assume an attitude of hostility ; they would say that where their financial and provincial interests are concerned, it was competent for them to deal with them, this parliament being free to deal with matters of Dominion jurisdiction. That is the line of thought that has caused me to come to the conclusion that I ought to vote, for the passage of this Bill.

I listened to the remarks of my hon. friend from Labelle (Mr. Bourassa) with a considerable degree of interest, at least to those portions of his remarks that were relevant to the Bill that is before the House. 1 may say a word or two with regard to the statement that this Bill is to ratify a part of the contract, and that it would be unjust to ratify a part of the contract without ratifying the whole of it; that under this Bill the province of Manitoba will not have the control of railway rates as it bargained for.

In the first place, the expression ' ratifying a contract,' made between the two parties is an expression which is misleading, which does not convey a correct idea of what is attempted to be done by this legislation. The legislation gives to the company power to do certain things, to enter into certain covenants. Now, if the legislation failed to give to the railway company power to outer into a particular covenant which constituted a material part of the consideration for the liability which the province of Manitoba is entering into, there would certainly be something in the argument which the member for Labelle has advanced ; but upon examination of the Bill it does not appear that this is the case. The Bill says in section 2 :

The Canadian Northern Railway Company has and shall he deemed to have had at the time of the execution of the said indenture of the 11th day of February, 1901, full power

(a) to accept the assignment of the said lease;

(b) to make the covenants and agreements in the said indenture contained-

(i) relating to the said lease and to the payments thereunder and to the terms thereof;

(ii) relating to the bonds mentioned in clauses 5 and 6 of the said indenture;

(iii) relating to the rates to be charged or demanded by the said company for the carriage of freight and passengers.

So this Bill gives the company power to make the covenants which it has made in that indenture relating to the rates to be charged for the carriage of freight and passengers. As I understand the argument which is advanced by the hon. member for Labeile, it is to the effect that the saving clause in section 3 of the Act which provides that the power of the parliament of Canada and the Dominion government shall remain unimpaired in regard to this Bill, takes away the power of the local authority to reduce rates.

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Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Liberal

Mr. BOTJRASSA.

I did not say that this clause took away from the Manitoba government the power to reduce rates, but it meant that the Federal government kept the power of raising the rates, in certain cases, of the Manitoba government.

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The MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR.

My hon. friend's point is, according to his own statement of it, made just now, that the legislature of Manitoba, not understanding that this federal authority would retain the right to fix a rate higher than the rate which they fixed, have been deceived or would be deceived, and that they would not get the consideration which they had bargained for. Now, my hon. friend from North Norfolk (Mr. Charlton) quoted a speech of Attorney General Campbell of the Manitoba government, which was made at the time this Bill was before the Manitoba legislature ; and as I read Mr. Campbell's speech, it is a complete answer to the argument of my hon. friend from La-belle, for it shows conclusively that the government and legislature of Manitoba had in mind this very fact at the time when the legislation was passed. The speech was quoted by the member for Norfolk the other day, but in order that I may make my argument clear, I will refer to a few statements that are contained in it, because it will show clearly that this very point was in the minds of the legislature of Manitoba when this legislation was under discussion. Mr. Campbell says :

The Minister of Railways and Canals has laid down the proposition clearly and distinctly that all the Dominion government does is to fix maximum terms.

As a matter of fact that is all we ever do. The Governor in Council fixes the maximum tariff of a railway; the railway can charge that tariff or it can charge less, but I do not think anybody ever heard of the federal authority ordering a railway company to charge more than they were willing to haul Mr. SIFTON.

stuff for. Such a thing would not only be wholly unprecedented, but wholly absurd. The absurdity of doing that meets the point raised by my hon. friends in this connection, because they take the ground that inasmuch as the federal authority has an overriding right to deal with the question of rates, therefore, we have destroyed the control which Manitoba thought she had. Now, a federal authority can only do one of two things, it can fix the rate lower than the rate Manitoba fixed, or it can fix it higher. If it fixes a rate that is lower, certainly it does not hurt the province of Manitoba ; but if it were proposed that it should fix a rate that is higher, we would have the Dominion government seeking to compel a railway company to charge a higher rate than it is willing to charge for carrying freight and passengers. It is only necessary to state the proposition in order that the absurdity may appear; and in order to accentuate that absurdity be it remembered that the province of Manitoba would be paying the shortage, so that we would be asked to say to the province of Manitoba: It is true you have the right to fix the rate, but we will not let you fix it, we will not let you cut it down, although you are prepared to pay the shortage yourself. You are liable and we are not. The possibility of that state of affairs is the possibility which these gentlemen suggest as a grave and serious practical objection to the ratification of this contract. It strikes me that it is an absolutely childish absurdity, a thing which no serious minded man would consider for half a moment. It strikes me as being a thing that is contrary to our general principles of action, and as contemplating a possibility that never could arise under any circumstances. But I wanted to say that that point is not being made now for the first time, because what Mr. Campbell said before the legislature was this :

The Railway Act and the charter of the company give it the power to make and impose the tariff, that is to say, it must go to the Dominion government for sanction ; and we know the practice that prevails in the sanction of it. The government simply say what toll shall be the maximum toll. Now, the Railway Committee are permitted, and I have no doubt that hon. gentlemen who have anything to do with traffic know what they are allowed to contract within that maximum tariff. We find that this is done upon passenger rates; the rate is 3 cents a mile according to the maximum tariff, yet we find railways running cheap fares, cheap excursions, and if they were not permitted to contract at a less sum than the maximum tariff it would not be possible to get the benefit of these cheap fares. At the same time, we find there is a tariff for carrying freight at a certain figure, yet the company are permitted, as Mr. Blair pointed out, to make whatever contract they like within that limit. Now, all the government is attempting to do is what each individual is doing for himself-that we are endeavouring to do for the whole people. That

is to say, while I myself might go and make a contract, the government proposes to make that contract for the whole of the people of the province. The sections that deal with this matter state that there should be no discrimination, no special rates, and no secret special rates, and there are other restrictions. Now, if the contract we propose to make were a discriminatory contract, it might be had under the Railway Act; but we are making a contract which is just and equitable, and applies equally to every person in Manitoba. It is quite true that if we make a, contract at a greater rate than, that fixed as a maximum tariff by the Dominion, our contract would be superseded by the general tariff fixed by the government at Ottawa,

So they knew perfectly well they were subject to the powers of the government at Ottawa. The Attorney General said so at the time the contract was under consideration.

-but that would be no detriment to the people of this province, because we would get the benefit of the lowest tariff, whichever it might be. If the Dominion government made a lower tariff than the amount we had fixed, the people of the province would get the benefit of it; but if our contract for rates was lower than the maximum, the people would get the benefit of that, and that is what we propose to do.

The only objection that can be raised to that conclusion is that this government would undertake to order that railway company to charge more than, according to the contract, the people of Manitoba were prepared to pay. X think the people of Manitoba would be perfectly safe in taking chances upon that.

We have no objection to the Minister of Railways or the government at Ottawa, if they think fit, to make a lower tariff than we suggest; the people will have no quarrel with them, because we will receive the benefit of whichever is the lowest tariff.

A great deal has been said about the Dominion government not allowing us to encroach upon their rights under the Railway Act. We do not desire to encroach upon the rights of the Dominion government, and I believe when the Dominion government come to ratify this contract, as they will be. shortly called upon to do, they will say,, as it is proper for them to say, that they reserve to themselves to fix any amount that they like, and if the amount is less than the amount we fixed, no harm is done.

Let me read that again.

-they will say, as it is proper for them +o say, that they reserve to themselves to fix any amount that they like, and if the amount is less than the amount we fixed, no harm is done.

So that the Attorney General of Manitoba explicitly stated the case just as it is now.

Topic:   LEASE OF RAILWAYS BY MANITOBA.
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LIB

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Liberal

Mr. BOUEASSA.

I do not wish to interrupt the hon. gentleman (Mr. Sifton) too often, but will he allow me to make an observation upon that very point ? I understand the point he makes is, that the Attorney General of Manitoba indicated that 157

there could be no discriminating rate fixed by the government of Manitoba, because it would be favourable to the whole people of Manitoba ; but the point that I have been making does not refer to the case of a discrimination between classes of shippers, but to the case of discrimination between one province and another. In such a case the Manitoba government would fix a rate lower for the people of Manitoba and higher for the people of Ontario and the North-west Territories ; would not that be a case of appealing to the Railway Committee of the Privy Council to raise these rates ?

Topic:   LEASE OF RAILWAYS BY MANITOBA.
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?

The MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR.

That is a different point.

Topic:   LEASE OF RAILWAYS BY MANITOBA.
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May 13, 1901