May 13, 1901

CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAGGART.

Surely the railway companies have the right to make exceptional rates in favour of the people of Manitoba. What is meant by exceptional rates, is lower rates for the people of that province.

I rose merely for the purpose of expressing my dissent from the opinion expressed by the Minister of the Interior as to the liability of this government to the people with reference to this bargain. I believe that by empowering these parties to enter into the agreement, you affirm and endorse the contract on its merits. By ratifying the bargain, you affirm its merits. This is not an empowering Act. An empowering Act is one which always precedes the agreement, but this is an indenture that is completed, and into the merits of which you have the right to look before you ratify it. Your ratification of it may be only a matter of course. Very little discussion may be required before ratifying some domestic agreement which two corporations have agreed upon. Perhaps in such a case, a court would not look into the merits at all unless fraud were alleged. But when, as in this case, there is a minority which protests that their rights are being interfered with, it becomes a duty of the ratifying power to inquire into the merits before giving its sanction to the measure and to refuse its sanction unless it approves of the agreement on its merits.

As regards the power of the province of Manitoba to enter into the agreement, I am perfectly in accord with my hon. friend the Minister of the Interior. But if the province of Manitoba has not the power to enter into such an agreement, we are not capable of delegating to it any such power. Any legislation to that end would, in my opinion, be futile. We cannot divest ourselves of any power or delegate to a province any power which we possess ; and to pass any Act empowering Manitoba to enter into a contract, which she had the right to enter into of her own accord, would be simply a work of supererogation. If Manitoba had not the power to make this agreement, the agreement is null. It is legal and binding only to the extent to which the province has the power to enter into it; and any Act of ours empowering the province to do that which it cannot now do, would be nugatory. If our legislation amounts to anything at all, it is legislation confirmatory of the merits of the transaction. We are giving to railway corporations, which have their entity from this government, the right to do what they have done ; and in so doing, we ratify what they have done.

But I am inclined to think, with the Minister of the Interior, that this is a question that after all concerns Manitoba alone, and that perhaps it is not of the serious nature which some hon. members have argued it is, and will not so seriously interfere with the financial position of that province that we may be called on to come to its aid.

But let us make no mistake about it, in affirming this legislation, we are approving the whole thing on its merits, and are lending our sanction to an agreement entered into by the province and the two companies.

Topic:   LEASE OF RAILWAYS BY MANITOBA.
Permalink
LIB

Charles Bernhard Heyd

Liberal

Mr. HEYD.

I do not propose to take up the time of the House more than a very few minutes. It appears to me that after all these laboured orations, we have to come to the gist of the whole matter, and that is that two railway corporations, the creations of this parliament, are asking us for power to enter into an agreement with a third corporation, which is independent of this parliament. And the question for us to consider is whether we are willing that these two railway companies should enter into that agreement. I do not see how we, as a Dominion parliament, have any power to go into the merits of the question at all.

Topic:   LEASE OF RAILWAYS BY MANITOBA.
Permalink
CON

David Tisdale

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. TISDALE.

I wish to say a word or two on the constitutional aspect of

this question. I quite agree with my hon. friend from Lanark (Hon. Mr. Haggart) on hoth the points made by him. I agree with him that Manitoba would have the right to preferential rates, for without these the whole agreement would fall to the ground.

I am not going into the merits of the question. I am not going to discuss whether we could prevent this preference or whether we ought to prevent it; but supposing we had the power, I maintain, that, after affirming this contract, it would be bad faith on our part to exercise it. Supposing we do retain to ourselves the power to regulate the rates, surely it would be bad faith for this parliament, after ratifying this agreement, to say to the parties: we are not going to allow you to carry out the bargain you have made. Surely it (would not be fair for us to prevent the people of Manitoba enjoying this preference, which is the only reason why they have entered into this contract at all, which we are now asked to affirm. Such rates would not be in one sense discriminating rates any more than are those rates discriminatory which we allow to-day on traffic coming from the United States through Canada, and going to the seaboard. In my opinion, once we have put our seal in approval of this contract, we are bound for ever to keep our hands off. I merely mention this so that we may know what we are voting for, and am not saying, by any means, that I am going to oppose the Bill.

The only ground taken by the government for passing this Bill is that there is nothing involved in it but the question of allowing two railway corporations to make a bargain with a province. Well, I think that this House is entitled to have an opinion from the law officers of the Crown on the point raised as to whether, in making this agreement, the province of Manitoba has exceeded its jurisdiction or not.

I believe that hon. gentlemen on the other side will not deny that under our system the government have a certain responsibility to this House. But this is a case in which we are entitled to be instructed by the law officers of the Crown as to the constitutional principles involved. We have had no such instruction. I object strongly to the government not acting up to its duty in this matter. I agree with my hon. friend from Lanark as to the responsibility the government has taken in this matter, and I believe that a large majority of the members of this House are quite prepared to authorize legislation for the carrying out of this contract. But we all ought to understand the matter. And the government ought to take the responsibility of stating the principles involved, so that in legislation of this kind we may understand thoroughly our position.

Topic:   LEASE OF RAILWAYS BY MANITOBA.
Permalink
CON

Nathaniel Clarke Wallace

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALLACE.

I am sure that we all listened to the hon. Minister of the Interior

(Mr. Sifton) with great pain and anxiety. He told us that after the most careful consideration of the merits of the case, he had decided to support the Bill. I presume he has spent many anxious days and several sleepless nights in considering the question before finally coming to this decision. Of course, we do not know anything of what is going on outside, and therefore we are ready to swallow without consideration the statements made by the hon. gentleman. We know, of course, that the Minister of the Interior was quite undecided, until the last moment almost, as to how he should vote on this question-and, apparently, his mind is not very clear even yet as to several things. But, after judicial examination of the question he has finally come to the conclusion that he should support the Bill. Do not we know a little more than that ? Do not we know the history of the transaction ? Do not we know the interest that the Minister of the Interior has taken in these railroad questions in the past, and with the gentlemen who are more immediately concerned with them so far as this House has understood ? But where is the government on the question ? The Minister of the Interior, after painful struggles with his conscience and intellect, has decided upon a certain course. But here is one of the greatest questions that has come before the House of Commons, a great constitutional question, a question that has not arisen before in this House in the form in which it is presented to us now. And I think we can fairly ask : Where is the government upon this question ; what are their views ? I see the right hon. First Minister and the Minister of Railways present, and they are not overly anxious, but I presume they are just waiting for the opportunity to declare the policy of the government. Well, no, I cannot say that, because the Minister of the Interior has informed us that the government is not going to speak, as a government. We know that the government, on large questions of this kind, must be a unit, they must have one decision upon the question. But they have not done so, according to what we can gather from the statement of the Minister of the Interior. I think the House and the country are fairly entitled to information from the ministers as to their attitude upon this great and important question. The Minister of the Interior told us that he does not appear as an advocate of this kind of legislation. But he did not support it. He did do that which he said in the early part of his speech he would not do-appearing as an advocate. But he spoke, apparently, only for himself and not for the other members of the government. He said : We must not discuss the merits of the Manitoba bargain. The hon. member for South Brant (Mr. Heyd) said also that we are not concerned in considering whether it was a good bargain or a bad bargain. The Minister of the Interior says the people of Manitoba take this ground,

Topic:   LEASE OF RAILWAYS BY MANITOBA.
Permalink
CON

David Tisdale

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TISDALE.

and he approves of it, because he said : Let us settle this question for ourselves whether the bargain is a good one for the people of Manitoba or whether it is a bad one. Well, why does he not let them settle it for themselves ? What do they come here for ? In one breath he is for letting the people of Manitoba settle it for themselves, and in the next he says we must settle it for them. If we were to leave it to the people of Manitoba what would happen ? This bargain needs the ratification of the House of Commons, or they would not come here with this Bill. How would it do to leave it to the people of Manitoba to settle this question- and not deprive them of the opportunity, which, according to the Minister of the Interior, they so dearly love ? But that is not what is proposed. There are other interests affected. There are

the great combinations and great corporations who are interested in this matter, and therefore the Dominion of Canada is called upon to legislate upon it. I can imagine the attitude of this House of Commons. When you look around you see the Conservative party well lined up and endorsing the course of the Conservative government of Manitoba. That is a natural instinct, it is a natural political sympathy. But what do you see upon the other side of the House ? The government who would dearly love to floor the government of Manitoba, our good friend the Minister of the Interior, who would be delighted if he could get an opportunity of striking back at the government of Manitoba, for whom he has told us this afternoon he has not a particle of sympathy, but who says he is compelled to-day to support the policy of the Manitoba government in this respect. But it is more remarkable still to see what other members of the government are doing-the right hon. the leader of the government sitting there silent, although as the member for Labelle told us this afternoon, sending out his whips into the corridors saying this is a party question. Then the Minister of the Interior gets up this afternoon and says this is a question not to be viewed as a party question at all. The government, I say, therefore, is whipping its supporters into line, compelling them, whether willing or not, to support the policy of the government of Manitoba.

Now, Six', so far as the Dominion interests are concerned. I contend there is no obligation resting upon the parliament of Canada to suppoi't this measure. Let the province of Manitoba make the bargain they please, we are told. Well, we are all interested in the terms that are made, and we are all interested as the member for Lanark (Hon. Mr. Haggart) has told us this afternoon, in the final conclusion, because we have to assume the x'esponsibility of endorsing the bargain, whatever that bargain may be, that is made between these two railway companies, and the province of Manitoba

squeezed in between them ; and these two railway companies if we know the history of railways of this country, will do the squeezing, you may depend upon that. So I say that we are in the position of endorsing the course taken by the Manitoba government. But we are in a further position. If disaster should follow the course taken by the Manitoba government they will be able to come to this government and say : You endorsed this scheme, you made yourselves a party to it in every respect, disaster has followed, the province of Manitoba has no resources that we can fall back upon, and we are forced to come to the Dominion government, who have been partners in this transaction, and ask you to recoup the amount which may be required in order to pay the financial losses which have been incurred as a consequence. I am opposed to the bargain myself on account of the financial consideration. We were told that about $275,000 per annum were lost in the operation of these railways in Manitoba during the past yeai\ Well, if that is the case, I do not see how I can be a party to taking over a railway like that. My vote would be asked to become a party to that transaction, and I cannot see my way clear to becoming a pax-ty to a transaction by which a province takes over a railway which has lost $275,000 per annum. Then there is the construction. The road is to be bought at a price of $7,000,000. In my opinion that $7,000,000 is too much money to pay for such an extent of railroad.

Topic:   LEASE OF RAILWAYS BY MANITOBA.
Permalink
CON

Nathaniel Boyd

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYD.

Is the hon. gentleman aware that the Canadian Pacific Railway Company have made an offer for the road he is speaking about, whereby they pi'opose to make to the province of Manitoba a gift of $500,000 to go into the treasury, and a reduction of rates on the present tariff which will amount to between $5,000,000 and $6,000,000 in the next ten years ? Is the hon. gentleman aware of that when he makes that statement ?

Topic:   LEASE OF RAILWAYS BY MANITOBA.
Permalink
CON

Nathaniel Clarke Wallace

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALLACE.

Is that a better bargain for the province of Manitoba than this proposal 7

Topic:   LEASE OF RAILWAYS BY MANITOBA.
Permalink
CON

Nathaniel Boyd

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYD.

The men who ai'e responsible for it do not think so, the legislature of Manitoba.

Topic:   LEASE OF RAILWAYS BY MANITOBA.
Permalink
CON

Nathaniel Clarke Wallace

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALLACE.

The people of Manitoba then have accepted another agreement.

Topic:   LEASE OF RAILWAYS BY MANITOBA.
Permalink
IND

Robert Lorne Richardson

Independent

Mr. RICHARDSON (Lisgar).

I may say in l'eply to the question of the hon. member for Macdonald (Mr. Boyd) that the reason why the offer of the Canadian Pacific Railway was not accepted was that the company was so unpopular in Manitoba that no government entering into an agreement with it could live.

Topic:   LEASE OF RAILWAYS BY MANITOBA.
Permalink
CON

Nathaniel Boyd

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYD.

I do not think such a reason was ever given. The Attorney General

stated that he thought this was a better bargain, and the legislature of Manitoba, by their acts, thought it was a better bargain.

Topic:   LEASE OF RAILWAYS BY MANITOBA.
Permalink
CON

Nathaniel Clarke Wallace

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALLACE.

I can understand that the province of Manitoba has been endeavouring to get genuine railway competition against the Canadian Pacific Railway, and between two offers on the same terms, we will say, by the Canadian Pacific Railway and by some other independent company, they would undoubtedly accept the proposal of the rival company rather than the Canadian Pacific Railway, even if the Canadian Pacific Railway's terms were better for them than those of the rival company, because they want that competition, and there is a feeling up in the North-west of hostility in that regard against the Canadian Pacific Railway Company.

Now, Mr. Chairman, a point was raised here this afternoon and discussed by the member for Lanark and by the Minister of the Interior. The Minister of the Interior without a moment's consideration disposed of it off-hand by a snap of his finger and said there is nothing in that. The question is this : Suppose that the province of Manitoba agreed upon a rate, the 10-cent rate per hundred for wheat from Winnipeg and other points in the province of Manitoba to Fort William ; suppose that when the railroad comes this side of Manitoba, 120 miles this side of Winnipeg, when they would have about 300 miles to go to Fort William, a higher rate were imposed on the products of the people there than that imposed on the longer distance of 420 miles, where would be the remedy ? We would be parties to such an unfair agreement, and I refuse for myself to be a party to that unfair agreement, because I think if this government become in any way parties to an arrangement, they have got to deal with every place fairly. The province of Manitoba need not be guided by any such considerations, because they are making a bargain for the province alone, and they are not immediately concerned whether the province of Ontario this side of Manitoba is getting as good terms as they are. They are not concerning themselves about it; it is none of their affair. All they require for their own interest is to have a proper rate fixed for their own province satisfactory and suited to themselves. The hon. Minister of the Interior told us this afternoon that it does not affect the question at all, and he dropped it at that. I think it does affect the question. I think it is a matter of vital importance which should receive the consideration of the House.

Now, Mr. Chairman, there are other important features connected with this bargain. There are forty miles of railway in Minnesota where the bonding privilege can be withdrawn at a moment's notice and the railway might be unable to run. Another Mr. BOYD.

point is that the Dominion parliament, in my opinion, is abrogating its functions and handing them over to the control of one of the provinces. Some other province will, in the immediate future, ask for a similar concession. Some other province will, later on, come to us and say : We are going to exercise that privilege whether you like it or not. The Dominion parliament would not be in a position to refuse such a challenge and we will have great and important functions in the course of time handed over to the grasp of the provincial governments and of the provincial parliaments. I am an advocate of the retention of the powers of the Dominion that we possess instead of handing them over to any province-I do not care how good any province may be. I say that we are making a mistake in handing over the functions of the parliament of Canada that the Confederation Act clearly gives us to exercise.

At six o'clock, committee took recess.

After Recess.

Committee resumed at eight o'clock.

Topic:   LEASE OF RAILWAYS BY MANITOBA.
Permalink
CON

Nathaniel Boyd

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYD.

intention is to be as brief as possible. Since I have had the honour to be a member of this House I never have known a Bill to receive the consideration and attention that: this Bill has received from the Railway Committee, and I account for the patience of the Railway Committee by the fact that many legal questions were brought up which were of interest to every other province of this Dominion. The Minister of the Interior (Mr. Sifton) entered into considerable detail with reference to the railway arrangements of Manitoba since the government of that province commenced the bonusing of railroads. Since 1888 the Manitoba legislature has bonused, or has aided three different pieces of railway in the province of Manitoba, namely: The Northern Pacific, the Manitoba Southwestern, and the Canadian Northern. The present idea of the Roblin government is to amalgamate these three, and to give such aid as will ensure a connection between the province and Lake Superior. With that object in view they conceived it to be a good arrangement to lease that portion of the Northern Pacific Railway system within the province of Manitoba, extending 360 miles. They have leased that, and subsequent events have shown that they made a good arrangement. Some will say: Oh, but they have lost money on this transaction in the past. Well, that is accounted for by the manner in which the Northern Pacific Company did their accounting. The practice of that company is to make a mileage charge for the repairs of their engines, their rolling stock, their road-bed, and everything else that appertains to the railway, and to that system of accounting is attributable the figuring out of the loss. There has never been any loss in the province of Manitoba. If such had been the case, the proposition which was made by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company to the Manitoba government would prove quite conclusively that the bargain which the Manitoba government have made with the Northern Pacific railroad, even if they had done nothing more, is a good thing accomplished for the farmers of Manitoba. Now, what has the Canadian Pacific Railway done ? If you will allow me, Mr. Chairman, I will just quote the words of Premier Roblin in his speech before the Manitoba legislature, wherein, after speaking of the benefits which would accrue from an amalgamation of these roads, he says :

If that were not sufficient to show that we have made a good bargain, I have another reason-a testimony from one whose ability to appreciate the value of an enterprise no one will refute, and that is the president of the Canadian Pacific Railway. What does he say ? That the road is no good? That he would not take it off our hands ? That we will be embarrassed because of our inability to unload it on any other corporation ? Not at all. As soon as he learned definitely that we had se-Mr. BOYD.

cured control, he came to Winnipeg as quickly as a special train would carry him, in order to submit an offer, under his own signature as president of that great corporation-a proposition which I have before me, in which he offers a bonus of $550,000 to go into the consolidated revenue, and a reduction of rates amounting to between five millions and six millions of dollars to the farmers and consumers of the country within five years.

Now, Sir, I would like to have you bear this in mind when the opponents of this bargain tell you that it is an improvident bargain and one which the legislature of Manitoba should not have entered into. We have many figures which we could submit in support of it. The report which has been made by the Northern Pacific Railway Company to the Department of Railways and Canals, shows quite conclusively that some $950,000 worth of freight came out of and into the province of Manitoba and passed over the Northern Pacific system to and from the harbour of Duluth. I would like to call the attention of my hpn. friend from Labelle (Mr. Bourassa) who fears that^the effect of the arrangement we are now proposing will be to divert trade from Canadian into American ports, to this fact, that instead of doing that, we are by this means bringing back from American ports a trade of $950,000. Five million bushels of wheat passed over the Northern Pacific out of Manitoba and went to the port of Duluth, according to returns made to the Department of Railways. If to this $950,000 worth of freight you add $300,000 worth of local freight, which the Northern Pacific Railroad has in the province of Manitoba, you will have $1,250,000 worth of traffic, and, according to the sworn returns of the Northern Pacific Railway Company, they have managed their road for 48 per cent of the gross earnings ; and the Canadian Northern has managed theirs for less. So that you will have in that one item a profit of $600,000, to say nothing at all of the freight that will be secured on the division between Winnipeg and Port Arthur. I wish to impress that strongly on the minds of the members of this House, especially on the hon. member for Labelle, who fears that the result of this arrangement will be that we shall lose traffic from Canadian ports. The hon. gentleman may ask, as the leader of the opposition in the Manitoba legislature asked, Do you intend to build a branch into Duluth ? And he was answered by the premier of Manitoba : * So far as we were concerned, we did not care about it, but the promoters of the Canadian Northern asked for it, because they said, When we come to Port Arthur with our eastern trade, we are at the mercy, so to speak, of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and therefore, we wish to have power to get to the points east of Lake Superior if at any time they should act in a manner detrimental to our interests or unfair ' ; and I think the House will agree with me that

the Canadian Northern people were asking nothing more than any business enterprise would or should under the circumstances.

I think I have made it quite clear, first, what business the Northern Pacific Railway Company have had in the province of Manitoba, and, next, the business that will be diverted to the Canadian Northern Railroad from Duluth. I think X have shown quite conclusively that the Canadian Northern have a great asset in that.

Now, let us for a little while consider the Canadian Northern Railway Company. Under this amalgamation we shall have some 1,200 miles of railroad from Port Arthur to Manitoba, and within the province of Manitoba. Five hundred miles in Manitoba are bonded at $8,000 per mile, amounting to $4,000,000; then, there are 290 miles or thereabouts in Ontario, on which we secure the bonds, amounting to $20,000 per mile, making $5,800,000 ; or a total of $9,800,000, as the bonded indebtedness of the railway in Manitoba and eastward to Port Arthur. The average bonded debt of the Canadian Northern Railway Company will be the very small sum of $12,405 per mile, the lowest fixed charge for any road of the same size in the world. If you compare that with the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, you will find that the latter's stock and bonded debt amount to $58,146 per mile, on which interest and dividends must be paid. But suppose we leave the preference shares and the common stock out of the question, the Canadian Pacific Railway Company has a charge of $3.3,254 bonded debt per mile, on which, at 4 per cent, they must earn $1,330 per mile, as against $496 per mile on the Canadian Northern Railway Company and $591 per mile on the Northern Pacific lease.

Those people who are so solicitous about our future, who say that this is going to ruin the province, seem to have lost sight of the fact that the Canadian Pacific Railway have paid interest on their bonds and stocks at 4 per cent and 5 per cent. Who has paid that interest but the farmers of Manitoba ? And it may surprise this House to know that one-sixth of the whole business of the Canadian Pacific Railway is done between the boundaries of Manitoba and Port Arthur, and that the farmers of Manitoba are really paying the interest on that enormous mileage charge which forms the bonded debt of that company. Therefore, as I have shown to you, the Northern Pacific portion of this road cannot possibly fail to pay when we connect it with the Canadian Northern, and this whole system cannot possibly fail to be profitable owing to their very low bonded debt, so that I fail to see why any hon. member of this House should take such a very gloomy view of our affairs in that respect.

I regret very much that the hon. member for North Norfolk (Mr. Charlton), who is, I believe, an old and respected member of this House, should have been misled as he

appears to have been. He tells us that this contract means $17,500,000 of an obligation, or an annual charge of $700,000 per year. It does not mean anything of the kind. I defy any man in this House to show that the debt, guaranteed by the province of Manitoba under this contract, exceeds $12,500,000. In the first place, supposing the Manitoba government bought the Northern Pacific system for $7,000,000. Adding to that amount, the bonds guaranteed for the Ontario division of the Canadian Northern, amounting to $5,800,000, on the 290 miles, no one can say that it amounts to $700,000 of an annual charge upon the province, and whoever gave that information to the hon. gentleman certainly misstated the facts. The charge on the Northern Pacific is $210,000, and as I have shown you the Canadian Pacific Railway made a very handsome offer to get that road into their hands. Well, supposing that the Canadian Northern failed to pay the bonds, what would the result be ? The road would revert to the Manitoba government, and consequently it is not likely that Manitoba would be called upon to meet any such indebtedness. Then there is the other $232,000, or 4 per cent on that $5,000,000. So that at the very outside, the whole amount chargeable is $432,000 and no more ; and any man who says it is more should be prepared to produce some figures in order to substantiate his statement. I think that I have shown that there is no likelihood of the province being called on to pay one dollar, because the Canadian Northern is a system that has been carefully and well managed up to the present. The Canadian Northern was a small system which was bonused by the Manitoba government in order to open up the territory to Lake Dauphin. And what have they done since they procured their first bonus and built their first mile of railway into that country ? In 1897, they had 100 miles of railway on which their gross earnings were $70,119, and expenses $30,858, leaving a profit of $39,260. In 1898, they did a gross business amounting to $106,698, and their expenses were $46,394, leaving a profit of $60,304. In 1899, they did a business of $161,534, and their expenses were $73,670, leaving a profit of $87,864, and in 1900. on their 330 miles of road they did a gross business of $276,858, and their expenses were $133,750, leaving a profit of $143,107 ; or, they conducted their business at an expenditure of 48 per cent on their gross earnings on their then entire system, which really is but a branch line of their present system. And when that system is connected with the Manitoba and Northern Pacific system of 360 miles and that again connected with the portion which we propose to bonus to Lake Superior, any man who wishes to give the matter any thought at all will see that it cannot help to be a profitable undertaking for the country and railway company.

Then as regards the appointment of an auditor, it is stated in the contract that the executive of Manitoba have the power to put an auditor in the office of the company, and the Manitoba legislature have taken all the powers they believe necessary in order to control the rates of freight and passengers over the whole system.

As regards the mortgage, the hon. member for Lisgar says that we should have the mortgage on the Table, but I hold here the statement of the Attorney General of Manitoba that just so soon as those companies are authorized to enter into a contract with the Manitoba legislature, that legislature will prepare its mortgage and see that the interests of the province are protected to the fullest extent. You ask to have a mortgage laid on the Table before you have any deed or bargain or anything empowering the company to give a mortgage, but so soon as the parties are authorized by this parliament to make this agreement, then the mortgage will be drawn out, and the Attorney General of Manitoba promises that the best legal advice possible will be secured to see that the interests of Manitoba are duly protected. I think, therefore, that disposes of this objection on the score of the mortgage.

A great deal has been said by the hon. members for Labelle, Norfolk, Lisgar and Winnipeg, about the deception practised upon the provincial legislature. The hon. member for Lisgar told us that the members of the Manitoba legislature are new, simple young men who might be easily bamboozled.

Topic:   LEASE OF RAILWAYS BY MANITOBA.
Permalink
IND
CON

Nathaniel Boyd

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYD.

Well, I don't think that it is correct. The legislature of Manitoba is composed of forty members, and amongst them are farmers, lawyers, doctors and journalists ; and in intelligence, I think, they will compare with any other forty representative men that can be produced in the Dominion of Canada.

Topic:   LEASE OF RAILWAYS BY MANITOBA.
Permalink
IND

Robert Lorne Richardson

Independent

Mr. RICHARDSON (Lisgar).

I am sure the hon. gentleman (Mr. Boyd) does not mean to misrepresent me ; but I may set him right in this matter, as any misunderstanding may lead to trouble in the future. What I said was that most of them were young and inexperienced, and unable to cope with railway financiers of the class they were dealing with. I did not reflect on the honesty or even upon the capacity of members of the legislature.

Topic:   LEASE OF RAILWAYS BY MANITOBA.
Permalink
CON

Nathaniel Boyd

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYD.

If the hon. gentleman (Mr. Richardson) had listened to me he would have seen reason in the nature of the bargain, as I have laid it before this House, to show that lack of experience did not stand in the way of these men. I think it has been shown that the legislature were not inexperienced, and, so far as the members of the government are concerned. I am sure hon. mem-Mr. BOYD.

bers will agree with me that they did not in any way attempt to mislead or deceive the legislature. The Minister of the Interior read some remarks by the Attorney General of Manitoba to show that that was not their intention, and that they wanted the fullest investigation of the matter on the part of the legislature. And not only that, but a member of the legislature told me that for twenty-four hours this matter was before the Conservative caucus before it was submitted to the legislature, and every part of it was thoroughly discussed by the supporters of the government. As a great deal of stress has been laid on the question of the attitude of the Manitoba government toward the legislature, I will read a few statements of the members of the government. Mr. Roblin, the premier, in the course of his remarks, said :

They were discussing

This refers to a discussion that took place in this House

They were discussing the Crow's Nest Pass Railway in the House of Commons last Monday. Mr. Oliver asked the straight question. Mr. Blair answered that what the government had done was to fix the maximum rate, which had not yet been exceeded by the company, and that this allowed the company to charge less if they saw fit.

Mr. Greenway-That does not say you have control.

*Mr. Roblin-My hon. friend does not propose to take the position that because the railway charges $4 from here to Crystal City it is prohibited from carrying my hon. friend on a pass if It chooses. (Applause.)

The Attorney General spoke as follows :

It is impossible for any question to arise under the Canadian constitution that the Canadian government may not act upon and overcome. But, Sir, we propose, in dealing with this question, and have always acknowledged that it was absolutely necessary to call in the Dominion government to aid the local government in order that the objects we have in view may be effected. There may be some points in which this government may not co-operate with us in carrying out the objects wo are after, but I do not and will not attribute any such improper motives to the Dominion government. I believe they will act with fairness and with the sole object of promoting the public weal when this question comes before them for action, as it must do shortly.

Again be says :

I desire, further, to say that the province of Manitoba does not on this occasion, nor will it cn any other occasion, try to usurp the functions . or legislative powers of tfie Dominion parliament.

Is this the language of a man who is trying to deceive the legislature, or to lead them to believe that they were getting something that they were not getting ? Again he says :

The Canadian Pacific Railway, subject to the Dominion government and the Dominion Rail-

5017 MAY 13, 1901 5018

way Act, made us an offer; the Canadian Northern, subject to the same authority, also made us an offer, and it was the duty of the government to consider which offer they should accept. I noticed that in the discussions in this House there has been no suggestion that we should have accepted the Canadian Pacific Railway offer. Then, the only proposition left was that of the Canadian Northern, and that was certainly the best under the circumstances.

This shows conclusively that they knew and acknowledged that whether dealing with the Canadian Pacific or the Canadian Northern, they were governed by the legislation of this parliament ; and in no way desired to mislead or deceive the House. Again he says :

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 shortly be 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 fix no harm, is done.

Now, I think I may leave that portion of the question to the judgment of this House, because, as I said, I have endeavoured to show that we cannot possibly make a loss in regard to this transaction that has been entered into between the Manitoba government and the railway company. I have shown you that the legislators were in no way deceived, nor was the case in any way misrepresented. Hon. members in the course of their speeches in this House have seen fit to quote speeches made by members of the Manitoba legislature to show that the legislature did not understand this case. Why, Mr. Chairman, if there is one thing that the people of Manitoba do understand it is railroads and railroad laws. And for very good reason. The railroads stand between the farmers of Manitoba and their market, between the producers of Manitoba and the money they are going to make. It is necessary to their interest that they should be well posted on everything that appertains to railroads. I have shown you that one-sixth of the profits of the Canadian Pacific was paid by the farmers of Manitoba from the western boundary of the province to Take Superior. If we can pay as we have done, 4 per cent on that whole system, bonded as it is, for $54,000 a mile, is it reasonable to suppose that we cannot pay a dividend on a system bonded at $12,400 a mile ? It is all very fine for people to stand up and tell us what to do and how we ought to do it. I want to say to this House that we understand what we are doing. We know what the Canadian Pacific Railway stands for ; we know what any other railroad will stand for, if it has a monopoly as the Canadian Pacific Railway has had. As I have said before in this House, no man has been a better friend to the Canadian

Pacific Railway than I have ; I have stood up for it strongly, as well as my poor ability would allow, when they most needed it. Now they do not need it, and we do need competition. And when hon. members stand up in this House and raise objections of a merely technical character, they are not acting the part of friendship toward that people ; you cannot make the people of Manitoba believe that they are acting the part of friends of that great country.

Now, Sir, a great deal has been said about public opinion being against this Bill.

I wish to say right here that public opinion is not against it, the very opposite is the fact. Any representative of Manitoba in this House who is opposing this Bill, and will go back to his constituents on this question, will find out conclusively that he is not in accord with the wishes of the people of Manitoba. Mr. Chairman, tho whole opposition to this transaction originated with a few men whom I may call agitators in the city of Winnipeg. As some hon. members know, I was in Manitoba about the time this Bill was passing through the House, and I attended a public meeting where it is claimed the opposition to this Bill originated. I went in among the audience, and when hon. members tell this committee that the people of Winnipeg are opposed to this Bill with an overwhelming majority, I want to say that such is not the case. I must say that I never saw a more unfairly conducted meeting than that; it was a noisy meeting, there was opposition from the beginning, many men were not allowed to speak. One of the speakers was Mr. Isaac Campbell, a good speaker, a man who always gets a good hearing, and after making his speech, the chairman read this resolution, and asked those who were in favour of it to hold up their hands, and about one-third of them did so. I never heard the nays called, and while some of those men had their hands up, the chairman called the motion carried. I state that on my responsibility as a member of this House. Now they tell us that in all the public meetings that have so far been held in Manitoba the people have pronounced against this Bill. I wish to give that statement a direct contradiction. I wish to say further that the people of that province are not in accord with these hon. gentlemen. There was a circular sent out from that meeting to the mayors of several towns of Manitoba, and this is the way it reads :

Winnipeg, Man., March 16, 1901. To the Mayor of Gladstone, Man.

Dear Sir,-The accompanying resolution wa3 passed by a vote of fully five to one at one of the largest meetings ever held in the province of Manitoba. I have been asked to forward you a copy of the resolution and assist in every way to prevent tho ratification of railway legislation at Ottawa. I would suggest a public meeting to be held in your neighbourhood, and

Topic:   LEASE OF RAILWAYS BY MANITOBA.
Permalink

JOHN ARBUTHNOT,


Mayor of Winnipeg. That is the origin of the agitation that was got up by those few people of the city of Winnipeg. In response to that call made by the mayor of Winnipeg, a meeting was held at Gladstone and a resolution was passed, not supporting it, but condemning it; a meeting was held in the town of Neepawa, not supporting it, but condemning it, a meeting was held in the town of Manitou, not supporting, but opposing it; a meeting was held in the town of Holland, opposing it; a meeting was held in the town of Carman, opposing it; a meeting was held in the town of Emmerson, opposing it; a meeting was held in the town of Gretna, opposing it; a meeting was held in the town of Cartwright, opposing it; a meeting at which 500 people were present was held in the town of Virden, only one man, after hearing the matter discussed, opposed it. So when the hon. member for Lisgar stands up and tells you, Mr. Chairman, that three-fourths or four-fifths of the people of Manitoba are directly opposed to this bargain, he is stating what the facts do not bear out, and what he cannot substantiate. Now, Mr. Chairman, I represent a constituency in this House which sends six' members to the local legislature of Manitoba, and I have not received one letter, or one telegram, or one word of protest, from any man from that constituency, which I may say constitute one-sixth of the whole province of Manitoba. Now, is it possible that if such a feeling exists throughout the province as we are told, I should never have heard a word of it ? I believe that the hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Roche), if he speaks to-night, will be able to give similar testimony regarding his constituency. I cannot possibly believe that these men are acting conscientiously and in the interest of their constituents in opposing this Bill. After it was discussed four days in the committee, and this is the fifth day in which It has been discussed here, and we are told that we are to be kept here all night, it is evident that if I were to prolong the debate I would be playing into the hands of those who wish to kill the Bill. I cannot believe tjiat they are impelled by public opinion in the action they are taking. Certain I am that the hon. member for Lisgar (Mr. Richardson) does Mr. BOYD. not represent the wishes of those who sent him here. It is well known that the hon. member for Lisgar sits here by favour of Conservative votes, and I am certain that he is by no means representing the wishes of the people of that portion of the province, nor of any other portion of it, in his persistent opposition to this Bill. I have nothing further to remark than to say if this House, by any act on its part, goes against the wishes of the people who have been very recently elected to the legislature of Manitoba, and elected, Mr. Chairman, to give relief in regard to the traffic in grain and other merchandise in that province, it will have done an injury to Manitoba that will be felt for many a day to come.


LIB

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Liberal

Mr. BOURASSA.

I would like to ask the hon. gentleman (Mr. Boyd) to tell me the exact title of those statutes he has just quoted.

Topic:   JOHN ARBUTHNOT,
Permalink

May 13, 1901