June 26, 1903

PRIVILEGES AND ELECTIONS.

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Mr. R. F.@

SUTHERLAND (North Essex) presented the first report of the Select Stand-Hon. Mr. FIELDING.

ing Committee on Privileges and Elections, as follows :-

Friday, June 26, 1903.

The Select Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections beg leave to present the following their first report :

Your committee having considered the question referred to them by your honourable House, on the 25th instant, as to whether Mr. Schell, member for Glengarry, has infringed the law respecting the independence of parliament, beg to report as follows :

That the goods in question were sold by the firm of which Mr. Schell is a member, under a written order, to one W. D. Scott, who appeared from such order to be the agent of the Glasgow International Exhibition, 1901 ; that the goods were charged to the said Scott personally, and paid for by him ; that there was nothing to lead the vendors to believe, and they did not believe that they were dealing with the Dominion government, or any agent thereof.

From the evidence adduced, your committee find that the goods in question were sold by the firm of Macpherson & Schell to the said Scott personally, and there has, therefore, in the opinion of your committee, been no infringement of the law respecting the independence of parliament in this case.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

(Sgd.) R. F. SUTHERLAND,

Chairman.

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FIRST READINGS.


Bill (No. 211) respecting the Nicola Kamloops and Similkameen Coal and Railway Company.-Mr. Galliher. Bill (No. 212) to incorporate tbe Alliance Bank of Canada.-Mr. Russell.


PROVINCIAL AUTONOMY FOR THE NORTH-WEST TERRITORIES.

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Tbe PRIME MINISTER (Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier).

I beg to lay on tbe Table of tbe House a return to an address of tbe House of Commons, dated tbe lltb of May, for documents relating to tbe granting of provincial autonomy to tbe Nortb-west Territories. I believe this is a preliminary report, and that there are other papers coming.

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DEATH OF MR. FARQUHARSON.

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Tbe PRIME MINISTER (Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier).

It is my sad duty to inform tbe House of tbe death of one of our colleagues in tbe person of Mr. Donald Far-qubarson, member for West Queen's, P.E.I., I believe that, though Mr. Farquharson was well known on this side of tbe House, be was not so well known on tbe other side, as be entered the House late during tbe present parliament. He was elected to parliament during tbe session of 1902. But, not being in robust health at that time, be never took in parliament tbe position bis undoubted talents would have won for him bad he been in good condition physically. His health did not improve, and to-day I have tbe sad intelligence that be has de-

parted this life. If Mr. Farquharson is not so well known as he would have been under more favourable conditions, everybody is aware that he had attained in his own province a high position, having discharged the duties of several most important situations to the satisfaction of the people he represented. All those who had the privilege of his acquaintance during the short time he was our colleague will agree with me that he won the good will and respect of all. His loss will be felt as the loss of one who, whether in low position or in high position, well discharged his duties as a good citizen and a good Canadian.

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Mr. R. I.. BORDEN@Halifax

I am sure that on this side of the House we all join in the expressions of regret which have been uttered by the Prime Minister with regard to the decease of Mr. Farquharson.

I had not heard of his death until it was mentioned by the Prime Minister. He had not been long a member of this House, and had not an opportunity of displaying those abilities which raised him to the very front rank in his own province. I am sure he enjoyed the esteem and respect of every member of the House, whether they sit on the right or on the left of the Speaker.

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INQUIRY FOR RETURN.

CON

Thomas Earle

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. EARLE (Victoria, B.C.).

Before the Orders of the Day are called, I wish to ask the Minister of Marine and Fisheries whether the correspondence promised some time ago is yet ready, in reference to the lease of some portion of False creek, in British Columbia. It is now over two months since I asked for the correspondence, it has been promised on several occasions, but I have not yet seen it.

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The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES (Hon. R. Prdfontaine).

I thought it would have been ready before now. I will inquire about it again to-day.

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RAILWAY ACT, 1903.


House again in committee on Bill (No. 21) to amend and consolidate the laws respecting railways.-The Minister of Railways and Canals. On section 231-telegraphs and telephones.


IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

poles, subways, bridges and other premises, on equitable terms, to be agreed upon. And the Railway Company will not grant similar facilities to any other Telephone Company.

5. The number of annual passes or franlts, free telephone connections, and extent of free transportation shall be determined from time to time by the president of the Railway Company and the president of the Telephone Company. as the expansion of both companies may require, and such passes, franks and telephone connections shall only be issued on written application of an officer of either party, as designated by the president of each company.

6. The terms and conditions of this contract, as applying to the Canadian Pacific Railway, shall also apply to the Canadian Pacific Railway Telegraph Company, and it is further understood and agreed that where telephone connection with local exchanges is required for an office of either of the above, the agent for which carries on any other business, or acts as agent for any other company, he shall pay one-half the regular exchange rates, and the company or companies represented herein by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company shall pay no-' thing for their services.

7. This agreement shall remain in force for a period of eight years from the date hereof.

In witness whereof.

And so on. Now, what is the effect of this agreement that no company hut the Beil Telephone Company, no private company operated by farmers or by municipalities, shall have any access to the railway stations of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, a company to which we have given, I do not know how many million acres of land, I do not know how many millions of dollars, I do not know how many other great franchises and privileges ?

I am glad to see the hon. Minister of the Interior

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

pany. As I pointed out the other day the citizens of the towns of Fort Arthur and Fort William, which are very progressive towns, have succeeded in establishing a municipal telephone system. To-day they are denied access to the Canadian Pacific Railway station in both of these towns by reason of this monopoly contract. They have spent a great deal of money, they are all good customers of the Canadian Pacific Railway, tlxey wish to do business with the station, they wish to know aboxit their freight and things of that kind, hut they cannot get into the Canadian Pacific Railway station with their telephone. I say this is a shame. I know the people will rebel against it and l heard a Liberal of this House say in one of the committee rooms the other day that if this is attempted in the North-west the people will rise and cut the wires. I do not wish to provoke anything of that kind but 1 wish to have an amendment made to the law which will forbid railway companies rom making any such contract as this to the detriment of the general public. It lias been argued that if you allow everybody to place a telephone line in the station you will take up all the agent's time and it will also be said that the telephone instruments will occupy all the wall space in the station, that is not a fact. The fact is that the railway companies are only too glad to have telephone communication with the public, but they wish to have it through the Bell telephone monopoly. As a matter of fact in all great cities the railway companies have ten, twenty, thirty and even forty telephones in their stations for the use of the pfiblic so as to he able to give the public all sorts of information in regard to business. They are glad to answer all the calls that are made. There are other railways competing with them and they are only too glad to answer these calls. If there should be two telephones in a railway station, which I cannot think is likely, vei-y little more wall space will be taken. There would be no more calls to answer if there were two companies having telephonic communication with the station instead of one. Therefore, that argument does not amount to anything. I am asking parliament to stop this discrimination and to compel these railway companies, in connection with telephones, to treat everybody alike just as we compel them to treat everybody alike in connection with express business. I am not asking for anything now that has not been promised to the people. The lion. Minister of Justice (Hon. Mr. Fitzpatrick) introduced a Bill last session dealing with the telephone question. He gave the people and the municipalities a solemn pledge-the pledge of a minister- that he would again introduce that Bill this session. He received a deputation representing all the municipalities of this country not long ago, he asked them for their views, they gave him their views and he said that on this information and the information that

lie had collected he Intended to introduce to parliament a Bill dealing with telephones. Granting that, I may be told that the proper place to deal with this question is in connection with that Bill. That is the answer you always get. You raise a question now, but you should raise it in some other way and at some other time. You ought to raise it in connection with something else.

1 am raising it in connection with the railway companies because the railway companies are violating a great principle of public policy. We are, in this Bill, regulating railway companies in regard to their treatment of express companies. My idea is that the same kind of provisions should be put into that railway Bill preventing these railway companies from discriminating against the public as represented by different telephone lines whether they are owned by the Bell Telephone Company or any other company. I,et me give one instance. The Bocust Hill instance is not the only one. There are dozens of cases where efforts were made to establish local lines. The Bell telephone people refused for years to give any kind of a local service at Bocust Hill at a moderate rate. They demanded an extortionate price and it was when the people built their own line and tried to get into the Bocust Hill station with it that they forbade their entrance and said that they were going _ to build a line themselves. The same thing happened at Newtonville on the Grand Trunk between Toronto and Kingston. A number of people there, drovers, millers and farmers living eight, ten and twelve miles away from the station, established a line at their own expense. They ran it to the Grand Trunk station, they asked to get into the station to find out about their freight and about trains and things of that kind, but were told that they could not get into the station because of this contract with the Bell Telephone Company. The hon. Minister of Railways and Canals (Hon. Mr. Blair) said the other day that I was introducing something of a socialistic character. I do not know that this is socialistic. If it is I am not ashamed of it. The hon. minister also called me a radical. Is he a radical ? Is he ashamed of being a radical, or is he a red-faced Tory ? I do not want to throw these little jibes across the House. I remember that the great charge that the right hon. leader of the government (Sir Wilfrid Baurier) made against me two years ago was that I was introducing something that was socialistic. He Is always telling this House and the country that he is a Gladstone Biberal, that he has founded his policy upon the policy of the Biberal party in England and that he looks for the foundation stones of liberalism to the Biberal party of England. If the Biberal party in England is mixed up with anything to-day it is mixed up with measures that may be described as socialistic and radical. Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman gave out his

portrait the other day as the leader of the radical wing of the Biberal party in England. They are not afraid to be called radicals or socialists because they demand square and fair treatment of the people. If there is a reason that the Biberal party have given for basing their claim to be called the Biberal party in this country it is that they have fought the people's battles in the past.

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The PRIME MINISTER.

Hear, hear.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACBEAN.

I cannot find that they have done anything of the kind. All I can find is that they are protectors of the corporations. They are protecting the corporations every day as against the rights of the people. They are not living up to their programme. They cannot justify themselves in being Biberals let alone being radicals or socialists. They are departing from all the principles that the right hon. leader laid down in former days. I hope the right lion, gentleman will give some attention to this Bill and to the amendment which I propose.

I have been looking around the House to see if I could find the hon. member for West Ontario (Mr. Gould). Those who are aggrieved in connection with the Bocust Hill incident are much more his constituents than they are mine and nearly all are supporters of the Biberal party. I had expected that the hon. member for West Ontario would be here to-day to assist me in asking for the adoption of this amendment. I may have to return to the subject again, but in the meantime, Mr. Chairman, I ask the committee through you, Sir, to accept this amendment as I propose it, or, to modify it in some way, but to accept the principle and most of all, I ask for the adoption of this amendment in the interest of the farming community of Canada, and more than any other section of the farming community, I ask that it be put into this Bill in the interest of the settlers who are going into the North-west. Nothing is of such vital importance to the farming community as telephone communication. I told the committee (he other day, that hundreds of men :ome miles to summon a doctor through my telephone, or to summon a veterinary surgeon, and they do it because they cannot pay the exorbitant price that the Bell Telephone Company exacts. Why should we permit a company that is treating the people as the Bell Telephone Company is treating the public in a great many portions of the country to continue its exactions ? Along its main line it asks as much as $150 for a telephone service. In the east end of Toronto it is asking the people $150 for a telephone service, and it is asking exorbitant rates in the west end for a telephone service. It is asking exorbitant rates all over the country. There is only one way to check this course of the telephone company, and that is to do away with the agreement ' that it has with the railways. This agree-

ment gives it a monopoly. It entrenches it in its monopoly all over the country. It s in a position to demand these exorbitant rates, but .let every body have access to the railway stations and companies will spring up that will compel the Bell Telephone Com pany to cut its rates in two and treat the public properly. I appeal to hon. members irrespective of party, I appeal irrespective of any class of the community, but sinq ly on the ground of the general public interest to accept this amendment to compel the railway companies to afford equal treatment and no discrimination in the matter of telephones, just as we compel them to give equal treatment and no discrimination to express companies.

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IND

Jabel Robinson

Independent

Mr. ROBINSON (Elgin).

Mr. Chairman,

I am fully in accord with the amendment moved by the hon. member for East York (Mr. Maclean). I believe that a clause should be inserted in this Bill now, providing that all telephone companies may have access to railroad stations. The farmers of this country before very long will be using telephones to a very large extent.

I am satisfied that our farmers will not sit idly by and allow the villages and towns alone to have the benefit of this great public convenience, the telephone system. I cannot see for the life of me why anyone should object to allowing all telephone companies to have access to the railway stations. In many of the states of the union a large percentage of the farmers are supplied with telephones. The top wire of the wire fences is made a conductor, and by placing a tube underneath, the telephone is taken from house to house at a cheap rate, averaging $10 or $12 a year. I believe that the farmers should have the benefit of cheap telephones and also rural mail delivery, and if the Minister of Railways and Canals does not accept the amendment of the member for East York (Mr. Maclean)

I trust he will add some provision to his Bill which will have the same effect.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

The desire of the present day is to economize time and labour, and our old system of doing business is rapidly giving way to the new. Telephones have been extended all over the older settled portions of the country, and they have proved to be of great advantage to the people generally. In my locality that is the case and it is the same in other localities. Sometimes there is a short telephone line and sometimes a long line, but in every case the farmers derive great benefit from them, as they are saved the trouble and loss of driving miles to town for market reports, for ascertaining if freight is at the station for them or not, for communicating with persons who come on the train to buy their produce, and the hundred and one other things which enter into the daily life of our farmers. The telephone system enables us to do our business with economy of time,1 Mr. MACLEAN.

economy of labour, and economy of expense, and yet the Minister of Railways and Canals would legislate so as to prevent a large section of our people in the country from reaping the advantages which may be gained by utilizing the railway offices, which after all are there for the public convenience. If one company is allowed to use railway stations why should not another. To deny this amendment is not only perpetuating discrimination, but also monopoly. Why should the Bell Telephone Company have a monopolistic right to do business, and why should other people be shut out. Those who are not fortunate enough to live on the line of the Bell Telephone Company in many cases wish to establish a line of their own, and why should we deny them the privilege of being able to utilize the conveniences afforded by these common carriers, the railway companies. The government are always declaring that they are opposed to monopolies. Here is an instance where they can put their declarations into practical effect. If the Minister of Railways and Canals refuses to avail of this opportunity, the people of the country will certainly think that he does not mean what he says when he declares himself as opposed; to monopolies. Section 253 of this Bill says :-

Nor shall any company by any unreasonable delay or otherwise.

I submit that the prevention of the use of their stations for a telephone system is one of the things which would be included in that word ' otherwise.'

Nor shall any company, by any unreasonable delay or otherwise howsoever, make any difference in treatment in the receiving, loading, forwarding, unloading, or delivery of the goods of any particular person, or company, nor subject any particular person, or company, or any particular description of traffic, to any undue, or unreasonable, prejudice or disadvantage, in any respect whatsoever.

If you allow the users of the Bell Telephone to have access to the railway stations are you not discriminating against the users of another telephone system when you deny them this facility ? This is as clear a ease of discrimination as there possibly can be, and yet this Bill professes to set its face against discrimination. I can tell the minister that the public will insist on getting the privilege which the amendment of the member for East York calls for. In my own locality there are two or three private 'phones, one of them ten or twelve miles long, and when the subscribers require to communicate with the railway station they are obliged to go to the trouble and delay of communicating with some one who has a 'phone on the Bell system, and they are put to the extra expense also because they have to pay tolls. That is very unfair. The telephone in my locality passes through a thickly populated country where there are

cheese and butter factories, and saw mills, and yet the value of their telephone is largely depreciated by reason of the fact that they cannot communicate with the railway station. I can tell the minister and the government, that if they refuse this amendment to-day, public sentiment will, within a short time, compel them to accept it, and they might as well do so with a good grace now. ,

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June 26, 1903