May 13, 1901

CON

Nathaniel Boyd

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYD.

I will send them over to the hon. gentleman (Mr. Bourassa). They are the statutes for 1897 and 1899.

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LIB

Thomas Christie

Liberal

Mr. CHRISTIE.

Mr. Chairman, in rising it is not my intention to occupy the attention of the committee more than a few seconds. I simply desire to record my protest against this Manitoba Railway Bill. I may be mistaken, but, it does appear to me, that if this measure is sanctioned and carried out it will prove disastrous to the province of Manitoba. It will involve that province in such heavy liabilities that it must be more or less ruinous. But, that is not all. I am convinced that we, in this parliament, occupy a position of serious responsibility in regard to this question. If I understand the matter aright this measure has been amended and changed and it appears to me that it would be wise that we should delay proceedings and allow the measure that is now before us to be referred back to Manitoba for the consideration of the legislature of that province and in order that they may have an opportunity of pronouncing upon the measure which we are now dealing with. I will not further trespass upon the attention of the committee. I have just said in a single word what I think it would be wise to do.

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LIB

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Liberal

Mr. BOURASSA.

Mr. Chairman, before the preamble is adopted, I want to say a word or two in reply to the argument that was made this afternoon by the hon. Minister of the Interior (Mr. Sifton). That hon. gentleman, to my mind, has made the strongest argument that could be made against the adoption of this Bill by the House. He has admitted from the start that the measure is a bad one, that if he had been called upon as a member of the Manitoba legislature to vote upon it, he would have entered his protest and his vote against it. But now, as a member of the Federal House, he is ready to vote for it. The ground

which the hon. gentleman has taken to explain his position is that we are not called upon to ratify an agreement between the government of Manitoba and a certain railway company, but that we are simply empowering that railway company, which has no existence unless it is under our jurisdiction, to enter into an agreement with the Manitoba government, while the Manitoba government remains free to carry out the agreement if it likes. Here is a bargain which cannot exist unless it is signed by two parties, one of whom is the Manitoba government and the other the railway company. That bargain cannot be made unless this parliament empowers the railway company to enter into an agreement, and we are told that we have no responsibility in regard to the bargain. The hon. gentleman told us that the province had the sole power to assume the financial obligations if it liked, and therefore, that the provincial House of Assembly in Manitoba is the only body to-day that can legislate for Manitoba, or something to that effect. At all events, the point that he made would lead the House to believe that if this Bill is passed the Manitoba government may enter into any agreement it likes, and that, therefore, the people of Manitoba will get their rights. The hon. gentleman appealed to us not to interfere with the wishes of the people of Manitoba. But, Sir, if we are responsible for the action of the railway company who will be a party to the agreement, surely the hon. Minister of the Interior will not deny that the bargain cannot be entered into upon any other terms than upon the terms that the railway company will get power to enter into in virtue of this legislation. And therefore, although we have no direct power to legislate for Manitoba, still, we have a direct influence upon the bargain itself, because the bargain cannot be concluded between the parties unless we allow one party to conclude a bargain in such and such a way. Now, the hon. Minister of the Interior passed very quickly over the question of the mortgage, and he did well too. As far as that question is concerned the hon. member for Macdonald (Mr. Boyd) referred to some preceding statutes. There is something very peculiar about this Bill. It is that the more we go Into it and the more authorities are quoted by the supporters of the measure the stronger they make the case against it. The hon. gentleman has quoted two statutes of this parliament, one, chapter 49, 60-61 Vic., in respect to the Lake Manitoba Railway and Canal Company.

The second clause of that Bill is in favour of the contention we have been making all along. It says :

The mortgage (a copy of which is set out in schedule B of this Act) and the bonds and debentures secured thereby, are hereby sanctioned and confirmed and declared to be binding as therein expressed.

I

There we had remedied the very defect we are pointing out in this legislation. We complain tof the absence of the mortgage which has been declared by the government of Manitoba to form part of the agreement, and to be construed with it, whilst in the Act quoted by the hon. member (Mr. Boyd), the mortgage is produced and is ratified by the legislation of this parliament. The other Act relied on by the hon. gentleman (Mr. Boyd) is an Act respecting the Canadian Northern Railway (Chap. 57, 62-63 Vic.) and the second clause says :

The mortgage set out in schedule B to this Act is hereby declared to be valid, binding and effectual according to the terms thereof, and the same may be enforced as therein provided as fully and effectually as if the said terms were embodied in this Act.

Therefore in the two Acts cited by the hon. gentleman (Mr. Boyd), the very thing is embodied which we complain is absent from this Bill. The parliament of Canada knew upon what terms they were legislating, and the people of Manitoba were bound only by the straight terms of the contract which contains the mortgage. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Boyd) has referred to the speech of the Attorney General of Manitoba in support of this Bill, but let us see what occurred. Speaking of this mortgage, objection was taken by Mr. Young, of Deloraine, who said that they were called upon to pass an agreement part of which was to be completed by the mortgage, and the least they could ask for was to see the mortgage before they ratified the bargain. Here is a report of the language used :

Mr. Young-If we are a party to that mortgage, we should certainly know what is in it.

Attorney General-Although that Is an Interruption, I wifi answer the hon. gentleman. No mortgage would be taken until the parties were in a position to give a good title, and, Sir, the Canadian Northern cannot give _ us a good title until the Dominion government say that they have that title, and until is ha3 received the endorsation of the Dominion parliament. They cannot give us that title until they have the authority of the Dominion parliament, and I think that will be sufficient answer to the hon. gentleman's objection. And now let me say here, lest I forget it, that not only does the government of this province intend that the contract as amended by this statute shall receive the endorsation of the Dominion parliament, but we intend, and have notified the company, that we will not part with one dollar of bonds until the Dominion government have ratified the mortgage they propose to take, so that when our title is given it will be absolute and not open to question from any possible source. ,

The next morning the organ of the government published the opinion of the legal adviser of the Manitoba government; the very gentleman who came to this House and told us that the Manitoba government was satisfied with the Bill as we were ready to pass 1 it; the very gentleman whom the Minister

of the Interior invoked as an authority this afternoon. He gave several reasons, in support of the positions taken by tinj Manitoba government, and his Gtli reason was as follows :

The Bill now before the Manitoba legislature intituled * An Act confirming a certain agreement respecting certain railways and respecting freight and passenger rates,' is sufficient with respect to the government and the three companies having provincial charters, and if similar legislation be passed by the parliament of Canada nothing more will be required to make the contract, including clause S, fully effectual, and to enable the transaction contemplated by the lease and contract to be carried out.

Here are the two declarations of the Attorney General of Manitoba, here is the opinion of their legal adviser that the contract would not be complete until the Federal government had ratified both the agreement and the mortgage. The mortgage is held out as the only guarantee which the Manitoba people had that their interests would be safeguarded, but that clause we have put aside in the committee, and we have simply left in the clause of the primary agreement which takes from the Manitoba government the right to complete the agreement. Are we to be told now that the Manitoba government remains free to make this bargain the way they like ? The hon. gentleman thought he had made a strong point when he said there was no agreement; that this was not the ratification of an agreement, but that it was an Act to give power to certain railway companies to enter into an agreement. But, by that argument, the hon. gentleman has made his position worse and has made the position of those who are going to support the Bill worse, because in supporting it they pretend that they are carrying out the wishes of the people of Manitoba. If the two contracts, the one between the Manitoba government and the Northern Pacific on the one hand, and the contract between the Manitoba government and the Canadian Northern on the other, are null because these railway companies have not asked the power from the proper authority to sign this agreement, then I say that we are giving birth to a new agreement. It is very true that the legislature of Manitoba has given to the government of Manitoba the right to add to that contract, but the railway companies have no power to accept any addition. The railway companies are bound by every article of the legislation we are going to pass, and the Minister of the Interior will not deny that fact. Whatever may be the powers of the legislature of Manitoba or of the government of Manitoba, the railway companies cannot sign any agreement going beyond the powers which we consent to give them by this legislation. I think the hon. Minister of the Interior, with all his skill and ability, will not be able to get around that point, for the very good reason

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LIB

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Liberal

Mr. BOURASSA.

that I gave this afternoon. It is impossible to adopt legislation of this kind and make it sound. On the one hand, if you give to a province everything it wishes, you take from this parliament and this government powers that belong to them; but if you want to go half way, and satisfy provincial wishes and federal rights at the same time, you make absurd legislation.

Then, the hon. Minister of the Interior said that the point raised about the possibility of the Federal government interfering with the Manitoba government's control of rates in order to force them to raise rates instead of lowering them, was childishly absurd. That was not very complimentary to the Minister of Railways and Canals, who told the committee in so many words that that was the greatest point in regard to this legislation, and that it might cause a clash between the provincial government and the Federal government. Therefore, if I am childish in that, I am of the same age as the Minister of Railways and Canals. The hon. Minister of the Interior went pretty far on that line. He said that the sugges tion that the Federal government and the Railway Committee of the Privy Council would interfere with the power of the government of Manitoba to reduce rates, and would force them to raise x-ates, was perfectly absurd, and that such interference would not be justifiable. The hon. gentleman quoted words of the Attorney General of Manitoba which were an extract from the words which I quoted this afternoon ; but the difference is that I read the whole speech of the Attorney General upon the question, while the counsel for the government of Manitoba read a part of it in the Railway Committee, the Minister of the Interior read another part of it, and the hon. member who spoke last read another part. Of course each chose the part favourable to his contention. But if that speech has any authority at all on the legal bearing of this question, you must take the whole speech. You must not set aside the part I read this afternoon, on which the opposition of the Board of Trade of Winnipeg was withdrawn, that is, the part which stated that the government of Manitoba were securing absolute control of the rates. The hon. gentleman modified it a little, but not on the point I raised, which the Minister of Railways and Canals admitted involved the greatest difficulty, and might be the cause of a clash between the federal and provincial authorities. The Attorney General of Manitoba never touched that point; and when the hon. Minister of the Interior, representing the province of Manitoba, is called upon to give his opinion here on that point, he simply says it is childishly absurd. If I were the only man who raised that point, as I am accustomed to be treated in that way, I might admit it to be childishly absurd ; but when a colleague of the hon. gentleman's, the very man who

has jurisdiction over railway matters in this parliament, has said that it is the gravest point in this legislation, it is not sufficient, in order to dispel the argument, to say that it is childishly absurd. The hon. minister will not deny-in fact, he admitted this afternoon, and made a point of it-that the people of Manitoba are very touchy on these questions-that for years back they have been endeavouring to secure control of rates for freight and passengers in their province ; and he said l * Though the legislation is bad, and though I would have voted against this Bill in the legislature of Manitoba, I am asking the parliament of Canada to vote for the Bill, because, should we refuse to do so, the people of Manitoba would feel hurt in their love for provincial institutions, and would resent very strongly the interference of the Federal government.' That is exactly the point I was making on another occasion-that, in order toi avoid a temporary agitation which might result from our refusing this Bill, we are simply opening the door to a much more dangerous .agitation, We are now called to sanction a Bill that was secured by the legislature of Manitoba, after1 some discussion, and at a price which everybody admits to be very high for the sole purpose of getting lower rates ; and when the Minister of Railways and Canals tells us that a time may come when the government of Canada may be called on to interfere with those rates and force the province to raise them, the responsibility falls the more heavily on our shoulders. Does the Minister of the Interior think that the province of Ontario has no rights, or that the province of Quebec has no rights, or that the Federal government, whose duty it is to protect the interests of this country at large, would have no right to interfere with Manitoba and say : Do not interfere with the general trade of this country. The hon. gentleman said it was not the intention of the government of Manitoba to discriminate against anybody by this Bill. But when you put into the hands of a political body powers which should not belong to it, you must not treat that question from the same point of view that you would if the same powers were given to a private individual under your jurisdiction. If the people of Manitoba would resent our interference so much now, what would be the case after they had secured the right to fix rates ? Suppose they had the right to send the whole of the produce of Manitoba to American lines, and suppose we asked that redress should be given by the Federal government, the province of Manitoba would then resent much more strongly our interference than it would now. The hon. gentleman has repeated a quotation from the speech of the Attorney General of Manitoba to prove that the people of Manitoba expected this parliament to legislate on the matter. Therefore, if we should vote against this legislation, 15S

we would be simply doing something which the people of Manitoba expect and consider we have the power to do. Suppose we should throw aside this legislation because it is against the interest of the people at large, because it may be the cause of a conflict between one of the provinces and the Dominion, then we have sound ground for refusing to confirm the legislation. I do not care what language is used to describe our action ; let it be called ratification or granting power to the provincial government to enter into an agreement. Whatever the language is, the meaning is clear, that you put into the hands of a provincial government a power which may be used at any time against the general interests of Canada. In order to avoid a temporary agitation, you are sowing the seeds of a much more serious one. But. says the hon. the Minister of the Interior, neither the government of Manitoba nor the minority of the Manitoba legislature have protested against the Bill in its present shape. But when we find the Attorney General giving expression to two entirely different opinions on the same question in the same speech, it is not surprising that the members of the Manitoba legislature should not come to this parliament and ask us to refuse this legislation. The very reason why the government of Manitoba accept this legislation, and why the minority in that province, which voted against the Bill, will not protest against it, is the one pointed out by the Minister of the Interior. It is the feeling of provincialism which has been excited in that province for years back by both parties in their attempts to gain popular favour by narrowing the minds of the people. They have done this in matters of education and railroad policy. They have tried to make the people of Manitoba believe that in public matters, it is Manitoba first and all the rest of the Dominion after. But are we here to give away to any current of small local prejudice that may arise in any one province or another ? The Minister of the Interior has stated that he would be prepared to act in a similar way towards any other province. If so, he may find himself placed in a very awkward position. Suppose the province of Ontario should ask us to give her power to regulate the rates on the Car adian Pacific Railway running through that province, and on a certain part of its mileage in Manitoba, you would have the spectacle of one province imposing discriminatory rates on the railway mileage running within its own limits, and even on a portion of that mileage in the limits of a neighbouring province. The very basis of such legislation is absurd, and its absurdity proves how false a policy it would be for this parliament and government to divest themselves in any way of their sovereign jurisdiction on the transport system of this country. The moment we consent to an

agreement of this kind, let the reason be what it may, we are establishing a precedent that will impair federal control over railway matters. If any particular province deems itself subjected to any injustice in connection with our railway system, that province has the right to exercise its pressure upon this parliament in order to have its grievances remedied; and even if you should fail to apply the remedy, that is no reason why we should divest ourselves of our jurisdiction and power, and hand them over to a subordinate jurisdiction.

The principle of this legislation is a bad one. It is the principle of decentralization, so far as the administration of railways is concerned. If it be found that this parliament is not prepared to stand by its rights and keep in its own hands the control that properly belongs to it, we may have a different jurisdiction in each province so far as transportation is concerned. Freights and passengers, as they pass through each province, will find themselves subject to different jurisdictions and different laws. And if we are going to give each province the control over the railway mileage that runs through it, how could we refuse it the control of its own canal mileage. We may be called upon to give the province of Quebec the control of the ship channel, and to give every province the control of the harbours and rivers and canals in that province.

It may be argued that this matter before us is only a private one upon which the people of Manitoba have come to a decision. But we know the strength of a precedent in any British parliament; and the moment you grant this legislation in favour of Manitoba, the first time another province asks for similar legislation that precedent will be quoted against us. We may declare and reiterate as strongly as we please that the legislation asked for is vicious in principle: we will be met by the reply that at the time we passed the Bill now before us, we did so, although everybody in the House, with scarcely an exception, admitted that the bargain was a bad one and should not have been consented to by the province. If, therefore, we defer to the wish of a province in this matter, although we are convinced that the province is asking for something which is not in its interests, how can we refuse to accede to a similar request from any other province ? We cannot apply two standards to our legislation.

Coming back to the question of our responsibility as federal legislators, I maintain that having taken from the government of Manitoba, as we have done, the power to introduce into the bargain the safeguards they promised to embody in it, they will have the right to call on us subsequently for damages. It is no use in our raising legal quibbles about our inability to increase or decrease the powers of the Mr. BOURASSA.

Manitoba legislature. It is no use playing on words. The moment we have authority over one of the parties to the bargain and give our consent to it, we become a party to it. And the party over whom we have authority, and whom we authorize to enter into the agreement, cannot consent to any change in that agreement subsequently, but is limited by the authority we give it. Therefore, should the Manitoba legislature desire to amend this agreement in any way, what would be the result ? The representative of the railway companies would reply: It is all very well, and we are ready to consent to the changes you propose, but the parliament of Canada, from which we get our power to act, has not given its consent to those changes and we are debarred from consenting to any variance from the contract as it passed the Dominion parliament. The Canadian Northern will only rqonsent to an agreement drawn in conformity with the federal statute; and if the government of Manitoba should want to add any clause to that agreement, the attorney of the company will say that any change will render the contract null, because that change has not had the consent of the federal power. The company will urge that it can only consent to a mortgage based on the agreement as it passed the Federal parliament. This government and parliament, therefore, will justly be held responsible, because by our amendments to the Bill we have limited the powers of the railway company to consent to any change in the mortgage. And, after this Act has gone Into operation, if it is found not to do what was expected, if, on the contrary, it is found to produce the evils predicted by the hon. member for Lisgar and North Norfolk, and by the Minister of the Interior himself, who said this afternoon that if he had been a member of the Manitoba legislature he would have voted against it, we will be called upon to foot the bill.

If the Bill when applied should produce the evils that are contemplated by some of the men who are voting for it, and who are asking us to support it, the people of Manitoba have a right to come and say : You have prevented the Canadian Northern from consenting to the clauses we had contemplated for our protection ; therefore, if today we are ruined by the Canadian Northern, it is your fault, and you must repair our fortunes. And from what we know of the spirit of Manitoba, as it was spoken of by the Minister of the Interior, we know that they will make their complaint good. They have already asked for an extension of the limits of their province, they have already asked us to give them the Crown lands within their boundaries. Up to this time we have kept control of the lands and have assumed certain obligations because of that fact. So far as giving the administration of these lands over to Manitoba is concerned, I am

ready to agree to the principle ; but I would not assent to carrying that out, nor, I think would any member in this House, except on condition that the Manitoba government should compensate us for some of the works that we have carried on in Manitoba, because we were the owners of these lands. But if we put them in a position to be ruined financially by this Bill, they will be in a position to say that it is because of the limitations we have put on their legislation, and, therefore, we must compensate them and give them their lands. And the Minister of the Interior will be the first to push their claim. The hon. gentleman might be right in standing up for the rights and interests of his province. But we, the representatives of other parts of the country, are in duty bound to refuse to consent to injurious legislation by sheltering ourselves under false pretenses, to legislation that would compel a province to come and ask for further cpm-pensation because we have been the cause of their ruin. I expected from the hon. Minister of the Interior a strong argument on the case. I thought that he would tell us that the bargain was a good one, and that we ought to support it, in which case I would have withdrawn my opposition, though I still might have had my suspicions as to the method of this bar-gain. He tells us that the legislation is bad, but because we do not threaten legally the powers of the legislation of Manitoba we are not changing the bargain. I can only wonder what he thinks of relieving the other party from the obligation to conclude its bargain. It looks to me as if the hon. gentleman, who is a skilful politician, was looking in expectation that trouble would attend the future course of the Manitoba government, because of this bargain. It is perhaps his right and his duty to do all he can to defeat the government of Manitoba ; but this should not be done at the expense of the peace and prosperity of the province and the whole country. The hon. member for Macdonald (Mr. Boyd) has accused us of obstruction and of seeking to defeat the Bill. My position is perfectly plain and a clear one. I voted against it in committee, and I am ready to vote against it at every stage. I am willing to vote for the six months' hoist. The legislation is bad, and I am against it. And if we are forced by the majority to adopt the principle of the Bill, I think I have a right, without being called an obstructionist, to ask that the government should enlighten the House as to its position and to ask for explanation of several clauses as they come up. I am opposed to the preamble * of the Bill. And when it comes to clause 3, I shall move that amendment of which I have given notice. The discussion so far has brought out valuable expression of opinion. The hon. member for South Lanark (Hon. Mr. Haggart), ex-Minister of Railway and Canals, though he declined to oppose the Bill in committee as well as in the House, has had the courage 13S*

at least to take his full share of responsibility. He pointed out also that there was danger of a clash between the authority of the Dominion and the authority of the province. So it would appear that all the speeches we have made have not been lost, since it gave the hon. gentleman, after a week's reflection, the opportunity to come and speak his mind. I hope the discussion that goes on in the future will have the further effect that we may learn where the majority stand. We shall then know why this measure is adopted. Some say it should be adopted because the people want it. Some say it should be adopted because there is no danger in it, and some because we are keeping to ourselves everything the keeping of which would prevent a clash. There is a good deal of difference in these opinions, but I hope that there will be some unanimity before the House is called upon finally to sanction this bargain.

Mr. LaRIVIERE. I do not wish to make any lengthy remarks upon this measure, which not only has been discussed here, but has been adopted in the committee. While I shall not say I have admiration for the hon. member for Labelle (Mr. Bourassa), I must congratulate him on the courage he has shown since the beginning of this session in espousing causes that are really in need of being espoused by the minority, I cannot congratulate him upon the consistency he has shown in this case ? In the first place the hon. gentleman has tried to impress the House with the idea that Manitoba in making this contract was not getting what she expected to get, that is control of railway rates, and, therefore, this House was in duty bound to refuse the legislation which is now asked, because we then would be protecting the interests of Manitoba. The latter part of his speech was altogether to the contrary effect; he was opposed to this legislation because, he said, he was opposed to the centralization of power so far as railway administration is concerned; that is to say. be was opposed to thiu legislative body delegating its powers to the local legislature. Well, if there is in reality a delegation of legislative power from this parliament to the local legislature of Manitoba, it follows that the legislature of Manitoba will get some kind of jurisdiction over railway matters in that province, and that is exactly what is asked for by the legislation that has been passed in Manitoba. What are we now to decide ? We are now called upon to authorize two railway companies to be parties to a deal that they are to enter into with the province of Manitoba. We have nothing to do with regard to the province of Manitoba, the province is not a party to this question; and I believe that it would be outside our province to dictate to the legislature of Manitoba as to their duties. WTe are not here to interfere with the autonomy of that province, that auto-

norny is well safeguarded by the constitution; and only in cases where the constitution provides for our interference, and where any act of the local legislature would be antagonistic to the general policy of the central power, has this parliament or government any right to interfere with the action of that local legislature or any other in the Dominion of Canada. Therefore, 1 say that when we take into account the rights and privileges of the province acting by her legislature, we are going outside of our domain, outside of our jurisdiction, and we have no right to discuss the action of the local legislature, inasmuch as that action does not interfere with the general policy of this government.

In the present case does the legislation that is now asked for interfere with our rights and privileges ? Not in the least, because the power that the local legislature will exercise by the bargain they have made with these railway companies in no way interfere witli the power of the federal authorities in fixing the maximum rate that will be imposed by the railway company. The Federal government here will still continue to exercise its right as to the maximum rate, but it will not prevent the province of Manitoba or any other province under similar circumstances from dealing with one or more companies in order to secure lower rates, if they can secure them, because it will not interfere with the maximum rate that will have been established by the federal authority. I think, therefore, it is obvious to any one who will look into this question with a broad mind, that in passing this legislation we are not interfering with the powers that are vested in the central authority here; and on the other hand, if we were to refuse that legislation, we would interfere with the liberties of the local legislature. Now, I say we have no right to interfere with the local legislature until such time as they go beyond their constitution and jurisdiction, until such time as their action interferes with the Federal parliament. With regard to other matters, as I have said already, there is in the constitution some clauses whereby7 in certain cases the provinces are subjected to the jurisdiction of the central power. Therefore, I say it is the duty of this parliament, aftet having looked into this question, to accept the legislation that has been reported to us by the Railway Committee.

Now with regard to public opinion, though I do not believe we should for a moment take any notice of all that has been said about it, still we cannot get over the fact that this legislation was passed by the Manitoba legislature after a general election. and it expresses the wishes of the people of that province regardless of political proclivities. The mass of the people are undoubtedly in favour of this legislation. I know it is contended that there is some opposition, but it is claimed that the opposi-Mr. LaRIVIERE.

tion is much stronger than we on this side at least believe it to be.

But, Sir, it is not a fact. I know something about it. I have received more than one hundred letters from my constituents favouring the passage of this measure and I have yet to receive a single letter from my constituents opposing it. Therefore, I may say that I think it is plain that in this House I am carrying out the wishes of the mass of the people that I have the honour to represent. My hon. friend from Labelle (Mr. Bourassa) has been trying to explain how it was that the minority in the local legislature of Manitoba did not protest against this legislation. When the vote came for the passage of this Bill, what was the result ? Two of the. leading members of the opposition abstained from voting. They left the Chamber and they would not vote because they were in favour of the Bill,' and they did not like to vote with the government side. That is a matter of politics and it does not prove that they were against the Bill. On the contrary, it proves that they wanted to facilitate its passage. I am informed that two more said openly that if their votes had been required they would have voted for it, so that there were about half a dozen members left who never said anything and who silently opposed the Bill by merely casting their votes. Not one of them ever petitioned this parliament or protested against this legislation, so that I may say, even in the local legislature, there was a large majority of members in favour of this measure. But, Sir, if there were anything wrong I would not claim that this would be sufficient for us to pass the legislation that is asked for. Is there anything wrong ? I have made a careful study of this contract. For a long time I avoided expressing an opinion upon it because I wanted to be perfectly convinced that everything was right, and I have come to the conclusion that the action of the province of Manitoba, though a daring one, and in the west whenever there is something to be undertaken we are daring, we are progressive, is the best thing that Manitoba could do under the circumstances. I therefore hope that this measure will not be subjected to any factious opposition, and that, having carefully considered the question, as it has done, both in the Railway Committee and in the committee of the whole, without any party bias, the House will vote for this Bill. It is not a ministerial question, it is not a political question, it is a question of jurisdiction, of administration, a question that will tend to promote the welfare of the people of Manitoba and the North-west Territories. Well, Sir, how is it that the majority of lion, members on both sides of the House, coming from the west, are in favour of this legislation, throwing away all their party ideas and uniting together to secure the passage of this legislation which is considered to be beneficial in the best interests of

the west ? This alone would be sufficient in my mind to satisfy lion, members coining from other provinces that in this matter we are acting in a patriotic way, not only for the best interests of the province of Manitoba and the North-west Territories, but for the whole Dominion, because the success of Manitoba and the west is of the first importance to the whole country.

Topic:   JOHN ARBUTHNOT,
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CON

William James Roche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROCHE (Marquette).

Mr. Chairman, it was not my intention to engage in the *discussion of the subject-matter of this Bill until about an hour ago, as I felt that the Bill, having been before the committee and having been so fully discussed both in the Railway Committee and in this House, thus far by lion, members on both sides, I could add but very little of an original character, or of an instructive character to the debate. Lest, however, my silence should be misconstrued by those who, probably, are not as well posted as to the sentiments of the people of Manitoba touching this ques tion as those of us from the west are, and lest some of these impressions that are sought to be conveyed by the bon. gentlemen who are opposing the Bill should be taken for granted as being a true expression of the feeling of that province, I desire in as hurried and succinct a manner as possible, to place myself on record in support of the measure. I think it is rather a curious combination that has taken place of those who are opposing the Bill. Whom do we find ? In the first place we have the hon. member for Labelle (Mr. Bourn ssal yoked with the hon. member for West York (Mr. Wallace). I think the committee will admit that that is a very curious combination and we usually do not find them working together. As for the hon. member for Labelle, of course, we are accustomed to look upon that hon. gentleman as rather erratic and we can excuse a great deal in an hon. gentleman of his temperament and egotism, but, we are a little surprised at tile hon. member for West York, because he is usually a very level-headed business man and not usually open to the charge of setting himself up in a position of being able to judge and to discriminate as to what is right and proper in the interests of tlie people of Manitoba more than those who are the representatives of that province. I can easily see that he has been misled and has not given this question that careful scrutiny and study that he generally gives to the questions that he discusses on the floor of this House. He has read some figures that completely gave him away as not being thoroughly posted upon the matter. Then, we have tlie hon. member for North Norfolk (Mr. Charlton), an hon. gentleman who is such a staunch patriot and such a strong supporter of the rights of the province of Manitoba that he got up on the floor of this House a few weeks ago and endeavoured to have a duty placed upon lumber in the

interests of those suffering residents of that western country. Then, we have the hon. member for Lisgar (Mr. Richardson), a gentleman who has been talking for many years past in the public press against this great Canadian Pacific Railway monopoly that the country was suffering under and claiming, that, in connection with any aid that should be given by the Manitoba government for the construction of any new railways in that province, we should have some compensation, something in return by way of reduced freight rates, or control over freight rates, or government owuersmp of railways. Now he is doing his best by argument in this House to produce the impression upon the members of the House that it is absolutely impossible for the province of Manitoba to secure the fixing or control of rates, a most contradictory policy which he has been following out with the hon. members who agree with him. Then, we have the hon. member for Winnipeg (Mr, Puttee), with his running mate the hon. member for Vancouver (Mr. Smith), the president of the Trades and Labour Congress. These hon. gentlemen constitute the main opponents of this Bill. But, what is the objection they raised to this Bill at the outset ?

The hon. member for Lisgar (Mr. Richardson) can tell this House that the peojile in western Canada have been for years crying out against-whether rightly or wrongly it is not for me to say at present-against the monopoly enjoyed by the Canadian Pacific Railway. The people of the west have voted more than $700,000 in cash in years gene by for the introduction of the Northern pacific into that province to ensure competition against the Canadian Pacific Railway. Hon. members will recollect that when that Bill was going through the local legislature, it was declared by the then Prime Minister of the province, that he had a maximum rate fixed, and would guarantee that this maximum rate would not be exceeded in the taking of merchandise and wheat especially, out of the province. When that letter was published, showing that the only agreement entered into was that the Northern Pacific would not charge higher rates than the Canadian Pacific Railway, did we find the hon. member for Lisgar (Mr. Richardson) opposing the Bill, and calling upon the government to dissolve the legislature and go to the country to get the approbation of the people of that province ? Did we hear him telling tlie people that they were being misled, and that the Bill would never have passed the legislature had the people pronounced their opinion upon it ? No. On the contrary, he supported the Bill by his voice and by his pen. and he never called upon the local government to do what he is now asking this parliament to do. The Northern Pacific came into that province, and time has proven that while it lias been

beneficial to a certain extent in tbe district in which it operates, it certainly has not met in full the expectations of the people of that country. They have entered into a pooling arrangement with the Canadian Pacific Railway to charge the same rates for equal distances, and so not long ago negotiations were opened up with the president of the Northern Pacific with a view to having a line to Duluth. But the proposition made by the president of that road was such that it did not commend itself to the Manitoba legislature. In the first place he desired the province to enter into a partnership with them to build the line to Duluth in consideration of a reduction of rates, but the building of that road would entail a cash bonus of from four million to five million dollars, and the people of the province objected to that; some objected on the ground of sentiment, because it would help to build up a foreign port; others objected that it was entailing too great a liability on the province, because we were sure of being called upon to pay this four millions or five millions for the construction of the road. The management of the Northern Pacific refused to extend its line in the province of Manitoba, refused to reduce its rates, and under these circumstances the government had to find another remedy for the grievances of the people. They opened up negotiations with the Northern Pacific in order to take that line off their hands. Last year the owners of the Canadian Northern Railway attempted to purchase this line, I understand, and were blocked by the Canadian Pacific Railway. The government, however, entered into negotiations with the same company this year, and this contract with the Northern Pacific is the outcome. We now hear these gentlemen who are opposing this Bill talking about the great liability which the province is assuming in taking over the Northern Pacific, and they state it only cost four million dollars to construct that road. They say that the province is entailing a charge of seven million dollars for the taking over of that road. This is an entire misrepresentation of the facts. The Manitoba government have not paid seven million dollars for that road. They are not paying a single dollar for that road. They have the option of purchasing that line for seven million dollars at any time within thirty years, but is that a charge upon the province ?

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William James Roche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROCHE (Marquette).

They are not paying interest. They are guaranteeing the interest, but we claim the road will be a paying road itself.

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Robert Lorne Richardson

Independent

Mr. RICHARDSON (Lisgar).

They guarantee to pay a rental to the Northern Pacific which would amount to the interest on seven million dollars.

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CON
CON

William James Roche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROCHE (Marquette).

And whatever they guarantee to pay, the Canadian Northern guarantees to pay the Manitoba government the very same.

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Nathaniel Clarke Wallace

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALLACE.

That is without the interest on the cost of construction.

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CON

William James Roche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROCHE (Marquette).

Those are the total expenses and the total earnings. The hon. gentleman must remember that they are paying interest on some $8,500,000 of a capitalization.

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William James Roche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROCHE (Marquette).

No. But the hon. gentleman will see that the working expenses in connection with the Northern Pacific branch, run as a portion of the Canadian Northern, will be far less under the proposed arrangement than it would be under the Northern Pacific.

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William James Roche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROCHE (Marquette).

There is another reason why the government handed this over to the Canadian Northern. The Greenway government had already guaranteed the bonds for $8,000 per mile to the extent of some $4,000,000. They had already guaranteed to Mackenzie & Mann for the road already constructed some $4,000,000 of its bonds. Now, were the government going to enter into an arrangement-that is why some of the people objected-with the Northern Pacific line to assist them

5037 MAY 13, 1901 5038

to the tune of some four or five-million dollars to enter into competition with the Canadian Northern, to which the province was already pledged for some four or five million dollars ? Would not the government naturally assist the line that the credit of the province had already been pledged to ? As I stated, this road will not be in arrears, and will earn to much better advantage under the Canadian Northern management than it would under the Northern Pacific management. As an instance of the manner in which the working expenses have been made up during the past year, it is only necessary for me to repeat what was stated in the Manitoba legislature, namely : That the working and the repair of engines alone amounted to $82,913.41 last year, and all they have are nine standard engines. Is it not ridiculous to suppose that the working and repairing of these engines cost nearly $83,000 '! You could almost purchase new engines for that amount. It is simply because these working expenses were taken, not as a branch line, but as a portion of the main system of the Northern Pacific, that they have been found to be running in arrears during the last few years. If this is such a bad bargain for the province as some would make out, and if the Northern Pacific road is not a paying enterprise, is it not strange that Mr. Shaughnessy, that shrewd business man and the magnates of the Canadian Pacific Railway-these gentlemen whom the hon. member for Lisgar is so fond of holding up to the condemnation of the public as monopolists, who have made their money out of the poor working farmers of the North-west -is it not strange that these gentlemen were foolish enough to offer the Manitoba government to take over the road on the very same terms that the government were giving to the Northern Pacific, and to give the Manitoba government a cash bonus of over $550,000 besides ? I rather think that the Canadian Pacific Railway would not make such an offer as that unless they thought it would pay them. Besides that, they gave a pledge to the government to reduce freight rates to such an extent as to afford a saving to the people of Manitoba during the next five years of $5,000,000. Were the Canadian Pacific Railway magnates aware of the very bad bargain which they were making when they made such an offer as that to the Manitoba government ? I think that is sufficient evidence that the Northern Pacific end of the deal is not a bad one, from the government point of view.

Now, we are told that the road is not worth $7,000,000. that it only cost about $4,000,000. But these gentlemen surely will not argue that that road could be purchased to-day for what it was built for. Has not the road improved ? Has not the country through which it passes improved ? Have the company not built splendid stations and given facilities for the shipment of grain which did not exist before ? Have they not created traffic and made the property a more valuable asset to themselves ? So that necessarily they would ask more for it to-day than the mere cost of the construction of the road. But the government are not buying the road for $7,000,000. They simply have an option to purchase it at any time within thirty years, an option which Mackenzie & Mann take over from them.

So far as the Ontario and Rainy River section is concerned, the government guarantee the interest on the bonds to the amount of $20,000 per mile on 290 miles at 4 per cent half-yearly. That involves an annual charge of $232,000 on that section. The government also assume the rental of the Northern Pacific for ten years at $210,000 per year. Add these two together, and you have the total liability of the province, which amounts to $442,000 per annum. In return for that, they have what ? The fixing of the rates. I am not going to enter into an elaborate legal argument to prove that the province has the constitutional right to enter into this contract. That has been thoroughly threshed out. and that I think should be the only question to be discussed in this House. The merits of the bargain in my opinion are for the legislature of Manitoba to discuss, and not this House. My hon. friend from North Norfolk (Mr. Charlton) and my hon. friend from Lisgar (Mr. Richardson) have taken the stand, though they are laymen like myself, that the province has not the constitutional right to enter into such an agreement. With regard to the control of rates, what is the contention ? While the province is liable for $442,000 in connection with these two systems, they are only liable for that after the interest and working expenses are paid, these being a first lien on the earnings of the roads. In return for that, they receive the absolute control of rates by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. They simply take the place of the railway directors, who enjoy the privilege of fixing the rates subject to the maximum rate ordered by the Governor in Council. After fixing that rate, the government have not a dollar of unsecured liability until after the rates are reduced to 10 cents per 100 pounds on wheat and 15 per cent on general merchandise. They have a mortgage on the road, and if the company defaulted, under a provision of the mortgage the government could foreclose the mortgage and obtain possession of the road. Thus we would have what the hon. member for Lisgar has been so long preaching, the government ownership of railways.

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Robert Lorne Richardson

Independent

Mr. RICHARDSON (Lisgar).

But the Minister of Railways assures us that under the constitution the province cannot own a railway outside of the province.

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William James Roche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROCHE (Marquette).

I have not heard the hon. Minister of Railways state

that in this House. The hon. member for Lisgar and some other hon. gentlemen have accused the Minister of Railways and Canals of saying certain things in the Railway Committee, and have ashed him to repeat them in this House; but he has not done so, and I doubt if he will state that he made that statement in the committee. The hon. member for North Norfolk states that the province will be called upon to pay this liability-iD other words, that the road will not pay its way at 10 cents per 100 pounds on wheat and 15 per cent reduction on general merchandise, and therefore that the government will necessarily have to pay the deficit of the road. The hon. gentleman overlooks the large amount of traffice that will pass over that road. He forgets the 29.000,000 bushels which were shipped in 1899 over the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Northern Pacific. The deduction of freight charges on the Canadian Northern does not mean a reduction on that road alone, but on the Canadian Pacific as well, in order that it may compete with the Canadian Northern. The crop of 1899 will be nearly doubled this year; but suppose we sent out only the same quantity, the first year's saving alone, on a reduction of 2 cents per 100 pounds on wheat and 74 per cent on general merchandise, will amount to $601,000 to the farmers in these items alone. Can they not afford, with such a reduction, to assume a liability of $442,000 per annum ? Oh. but, says the hon. member, in three years' time, without the government giving any guarantee whatever, the rates will be reduced by competition below 10 cents per 100 pounds. In that case how are the roads going to pay their way without the guarantee of the province, when he states that they are not going to pay at 10 cents per 100 pounds, and the government will have to pay the difference ? The hon. gentleman contradicts himself, and I am surprised that so good a man of business should put up such a man of straw in order to have the pleasure of knocking it down. To show that this is not my opinion alone. I will quote just a few expressions of the premier of the province when this deal was going through the legislature. He states that in his negotiations with these gentlemen :

They undertook on their part to try to prove that with the Canadian Northern it was better to have a fixed rate-that we should have an immediate reduction, say, of 20 per cent on the tariff of the Canadian Pacific Railway. But I did not agree with them, for while 10 cents may be a fair and reasonable rate to-day, five years from now it might be an exorbitant rate.

Tust what the hon. member for North Norfolk said. The hon. member will see that the premier had in his mind that rapidity with which science is changing and developing railway transportation facilities, so that what would be a fair and reasonable rate to-day might to-morrow be un-Mr. ROCHE (Marquette).

reasonable. But if a 10-eent rate per 100 pounds should become excessive, has not the government the power to reduce the rate to 8 cents or even 5 cents, or whatever figure would be fair and reasonable ? And as soon as a maximum rate is fixed by the Governor in Council, that rate would be binding.

If the freights that are secured via Duluth by the Northern Pacific Railway lines in Manitoba were diverted to the Rainy river line, or Canadian Northern, to Port Arthur, the total gross earnings would be $1,712,233 in the one year. The Canadian Northern is operated, as my hon. friend from Macdonald (Mr. Boyd) has said, at a cost of 4S per cent of its earnings-a percentage lower than almost any other road. Supposing we put the operating expenses at 50 per cent, that would amount to $856,116 of its total earnings. That is the amount of trade that has gone out of Manitoba and been diverted over the Northern Pacific system to Duluth and vice versa, and which will be sent across this line to a great extent. It will not all be sent over this line, but the trade will increase as the population augments, therp will be more grain grown every year, and we feel confident that this road will pay from its inception. With regard to the objection of the hon. member for Labelle, that in case there should be discrimination against Canadian lines, this road may divert its traffic to the American lake port and thus cause great detriment to our own transportation companies, it is not likely that the government of Manitoba is going to allow the earnings of a portion of the road, upon which they have assumed liability, to be impaired by having the trade diverted to the American seaboard. They want all the trade they can get over their own system, in order to let them out of this liability which they have assumed ; and those in favour of the contract have not the slightest idea that the government of that province will ever be called on to pay a dollar of that liability. As my hon. friend from Macdonald has justly said, in the one year 5,000.000 bushels of grain are shipped across the Northern Pacific line out of Manitoba. Just Imagine that amount of grain passing over the Canadian Northern system to Port Arthur, and see what an immense reduction in freights 4 cents per 100 pounds on that traffic would amount to. It would simply mean that we will have the great bulk of the grain in that province and the North-west Territories going over our Canadian transportation lines to the great lakes, instead of being diverted to the American side of the line to build up American seaports.

It has also been stated that the fixed charges on this road are less than on the Canadian Northern Pacific or any other road on the American continent, or even in the world.

Hon. gentlemen have stated that $20,000 per mile is an excessive guarantee. The hon.

member for North Norfolk has stated that a bonus of $10,400 per mile has been voted by this parliament, and that if the Manitoba government guarantee bonds to the extent of $20,000 per mile, the total amount of aid and guarantee is over $30,000 per mile, whereas the road could be built for $12,000 per mile. On another occasion, he said $14,-

000. The hon. gentleman is unacquainted with the facts, for I am sure he would not willingly misrepresent the true state of affairs. If he had gone to the Railway Department, he would have found that the government engineer estimated for the construction of this very system, which the hon. gentleman says could be built for $12,000 per mile, $28,000 per mile, without terminals and rolling stock. Is not the liability of the province the $20,000 guarantee 1 That is all that the province is guaranteeing. It has nothing to do with the $10,000 voted by this parliament, for all the aid voted by this parliament, in the way of land or cash subsidies, has gone into the construction of the line. The liability of the government of Manitoba is simply its guarantee of $20,000 per mile, and every other bond that is out at present has to be called in before a single bond can be issued by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, so that the bonding power, under the guarantee of the Manitoba government, cannot exceed $20,000 per mile. The whole bonding power, therefore, will be $12,500 per mile, which is the lowest of any road on the continent. The Canadian Pacific has a bonded debt of $68,140 per mile, and the Northern Pacific has a bonded debt of $S9,700 per mile, upon which they have to pay interest, so that there is no probability at all that the Manitoba government are assuming a liability of which they will ever be called on to pay one dollar.

This road has to be up to the standard of the Crow's Nest Pass line, and lias to pass the inspection, not only of the provincial inspector. but of the inspector of the Department of Railways and Canals as well.

The opponents of this deal state that no provision is made for future extensions of the line and that the government have guaranteed extra bonds to the extent of $2,000 per mile on that portion of the line already guaranteed to the extent of $S,000 per mile. I do not agree with the hon. gentlemen. The government have permitted Messrs. Mann & Mackenzie to increase their bonding powers $2,000 per mile on the portion on which bonds are already guaranteed by the government, to the extent of $8,000 per mile, but are not guaranteeing those extra bonds. They are simply permitting Messrs. Mann & Mackenzie to increase their bonds to that extent, and the contractors have to expend that money on rolling stock.

And another thing which I may mention, although it has no direct connection with this Bill, so far as the members of this House can see, is that the government of Manitoba have provided for future extensions ; and as

an outcome of this deal with Messrs. Mann & Mackenzie, the government have been enabled to enter into successful negotiations with these gentlemen by which the bonds on that portion of their line of railway, which extends outside of the province, and upon which the late Greenway government guaranteed bonds to the extent of $8,000 per mile over sixty or seventy miles, will be transferred to the construction of new lines in Manitoba.

It has been stated that Manitoba has no legal authority to guarantee bonds outside its own province. But Manitoba has already done so in the North-west Territories. On this very same line of railway it has guaranteed bonds to the extent of $S,000 per mile over sixty or seventy miles in the Territories, aud the Manitoba government has been enabled to have that guarantee diverted to the construction of lines badly needed in other portions of the province, and the major portion of such lines has to be constructed this very year.

Hon. gentlemen have taken exception to the fact that almost anything can be included under the head of working expenses, but the government have to approve of the auditor, and the auditor has to see that only what are really working expenses are placed under that head. Working expenses are defined in the contract, as read by the hon. member for North Norfolk, and should any dispute arise between the government and the company as to what are working expenses, the dispute shall be referred to the Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench in Manitoba, Who shall have full power to take evidence and consult experts and use his own judgment in coming to a decision, and his decison shall be final and binding, without appeal.

Thus, in any disagreement in regard to working expenses, the chief justice of the province is the sole arbitrator. The government also provide terminals at Port Arthur, and the prices charged in operating these terminals are not to exceed the charges of the terminals at Duluth. Now, the late government of Manitoba had exempted the lines of the Canadian Northern from taxation, but, after 1905, under this agreement this exemption ceases, and after that their gross earnings are taxed to the extent of 2 per cent, which will bring in a revenue to the province, and will place this railway on the same footing as the Canadian Pacific Railway. These hon. gentlemen say that the government have no right to fix rates outside the province. But the government of the province had already fixed rates on a portion of the system known as the Manitoba Southeastern Railway, having a certain tariff on logs and other articles, and the Governor in Council has approved of those rates. Now. in regard to the expression of public opinion in the province, is it likely that the hon. member for Macdonald (Mr. Boyd),

the hon. member for Provencher (Mr. La-Riviere), and myself, would designedly commit political suicide by flying in tlie face of the well-known and clearly expressed opinion of the majority of the people of the province ? It would be foolish for us to do so. If we have any desire to remain in public life, we must wish, so far as is consistent with our opinions, to consult public opinion. I venture to say that public opinion is not against this measure, notwithstanding such expression as has been worked up by agitators sent out from the city of 'Winnipeg for the purpose. I may tell how these meetings are got up, judging from the experience in my own riding. An agitator comes up from Winnipeg and in some cases he does not even put out a poster, but goes to his friends, who for one reason or another are opposed to the Bill and gets them together at the meeting where cut-and-dried resolutions are carried much the same as the resolutions was carried in the public meeting in Winnipeg, as explained by the hon. member for Macdonald (Mr. Boyd). And this is what is called a great outburst of public sentiment against this measure. I have not had a single letter sent to me by any of my constituents asking me to oppose this Bill. And I feel assured that the people, irrespective of politics, approve of the measure. Of course there are some who, because they want to get a slap at the provincial government, would object to the measure whether it is right or wrong. We must make allowance for that kind of opposition. There is no outburst of sentiment against the measure. The agitation is confined to the city of Winnipeg, and, even there, to a smaller portion of the people than the hon. gentleman (Mr. Puttee) who represents the city would have us believe. It must not be forgotten that three Liberal members of the legislature refused to vote against the second reading of the Bill there. And so far as the Liberal member of the town in which I live is concerned, he refused to lend his countenance to holding an indignation meeting in the town where we both reside, on the ground that he had made his fight on the floor of the legislature and that ought to settle it. The citizens' committee who have come here from Winnipeg represent but a small proportion even of the citizens of Winnipeg. Many hon. members may have felt that this committee was a strong expression of general opinion against this Bill, but that is only because these gentlemen have been making journey after journey to Ottawa, have been button-holeing members, and flooding parliament with literature setting forth their case, whereas the provincial government have not bothered to send delegates, but have depended upon the good sense and judgment of the members of the House to do them justice and to allow them to enter into this con-Mr. ROCHE (Marquette).

tract by which this large amount of money will be saved and by which they will have full control of rates, subject to a maximum rate to be imposed by the Governor in Council. And as to that point, nobody is trying to mislead the House.

This railway will pass through a country that is vastly richer than that traversed by the Canadian Pacific Railway and its local traffic will be very remunerative. It passes through rich mineral areas, including iron ranges. The Duluth and Iron Range Railroad, which passes to the south, is paying $8,800 per mile over and above its working expenses. Then in lumber alone, during the current year I have it on excellent authority, 30.000,000 feet will be shipped out of the district seventy-five miles long between Fort Francis and Fort William. I believe also that a pulp industry with a capacity of sixty tons a day is to be established at Fort Francis. The agitation worked up by the hon. gentlemen who oppose this Bill. I feel confident will act as a boomerang to many of them. They say they do not wish to kill the Bill, but only to postpone it. The effect of postponement will be to kill the Bill. The hon. member for Macdonald has pointed out that the Northern Pacific Railway would be only too glad to back out of the contract if they could get a good excuse for doing so. They notified the government that time was the essence of the contract, and if the government were not in a position to take over the road on the 1st April, they would cousider the deal off. However, an arrangement was made with them that the bargain is to stand until the decision of this House at this session is given with regard to legislation. If the measure is referred back to the legislature; the effect would be to kill the whole scheme. There are prominent Liberals in Winnipeg who approve of the measure. For instance, Mr. J. H. Ashdown, the wealthiest man in Manitoba, who contested Marquette against me in 1896, is holding up both hands in favour of the Bill. He is as shrewd a business man as there is in the province of Manitoba, and in the position he takes in this measure he is an example of many. Now, I do not wish to occupy the attention of the committee any longer. I feel that the measure has been fully discussed in the Railway Committee. If I have not spoken here, it was not because I was unwilling to discuss the merits of the question, but because I knew there were some who were obstructing the Bill, and I did not want to play into their hands by occupying the time of the House unnecessarily. I realized fully that hon. members have pretty well made up their minds how they will vote. I trust that the legislation will be approved, and the amendments which some hon. gentlemen intend to move will not be accepted.

504&

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May 13, 1901