August 12, 1903

CON

Samuel Barker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SAMUEL BARKER (Hamilton).

Mr. Speaker, I was not present when the hon. member for North Norfolk (Mr. Charlton)

made his speech, but, I understand that he made some reference to running powers and sought to refute the statement made by the ex-Minister of Railways and Canals (Hon. Mr. Blair) yesterday on that subject. The hon. Minister 'of Finance (Hon. Mr. Fielding) has alluded to the same matter this evening, and I desire to say that I think the hon. member for North Norfolk has hardly been candid with the House in the reference he made to certain railways which are exercising running powers in Ontario. The hon. gentleman alluded particularly to the Wabash, a railway exercising running powers for a couple of hundred miles over the Grand Trunk Railway, but the hon. gentleman neglected to tell the House that while the Wabash is exercising running powers it does not do and it is not allowed to do local traffic. All that the company has power to do is to carry through traffic from the Detroit river to the Niagara river and if the hon. gentleman in his county wanted to send a ton of traffic to any point in Canada he could not send it by the Wabash although this road is exercising running powers.

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LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. CHARLTON.

I beg to correct the statement which the hon. gentleman (Mr. Barker) has made that the Wabash is not allowed to do any local business while running between Detroit and Buffalo. It does local business. I have shipped by that line myself local freight and it is perfectly untrammelled in picking up business upon this line and thus competing with the Grand Trunk Railway and all other lines for local business.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

I would like to differ from the hon. gentleman (Mr. Charlton). I know that what he says is not a fact.

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CON

David Tisdale

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. TISDALE.

I also know it is not a fact.

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LIB

Mahlon K. Cowan

Liberal

Mr. COWAN.

I do know that Wabash tickets are for sale 'in every ticket office on the line of the Grand Trunk Railway Company.

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CON

David Tisdale

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. TISDALE.

A Grand Trunk Railway ticket is not good on a Wabash train.

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LIB

Mahlon K. Cowan

Liberal

Mr. COWAN.

Nor is a Michigan Central ticket good on a Wabash train.

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CON

David Tisdale

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. TISDALE.

You can buy a 'Wabash ticket but you cannot use it on any train.

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CON

Samuel Barker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARKER.

I referred to freight. I said that the hon. member for North Norfolk could not send a ton of freight in any direction by the Wabash.

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LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. CHARLTON.

I have done it. I have shipped lumber by the Wabash road to Buffalo.

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CON

Samuel Barker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARKER.

I am speaking of what can be done generally by people along the

line. If the bon. gentleman has on some exceptional occasion or under exceptional influences obtained the privilege of doing that he knows that the public cannot do it. Take tlie Canadian Pacific Railway running between Hamilton and Toronto, they must run through trains and they cannot do local business, and the line over which they have running powers is only 40 miles long. Take for instance the Canadian Pacific Railway running to North Bay; they cannot do local business. I would ask the hon. gentleman what earthly good running powers over the 1,400 miles between Quebec and Winnipeg would be, if the various companies alluded to by the ex-Minister of Railways and Canals which were attempting to use this railway as a common highway, as it was put in the contract, could do nothing but through business. What advantage would it be to say that a railway using this common highway could pick up a passenger anywhere ?

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LIB

Mahlon K. Cowan

Liberal

Mr. COWAN.

The Wabash can pick up passengers.

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CON

Samuel Barker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARKER.

They have a special arrangement, but has been stopped at times owing to quarrelling about it.

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LIB

Mahlon K. Cowan

Liberal

Mr. COWAN.

Wabash tickets are on sale in every Grand Trunk Railway ticket office on the road over which the Wabash runs.

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CON

Samuel Barker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARKER.

I am perfectly aware of that and when it dees not work well the arrangement is stopped. They do it by the favour of the owning line. I would ask what value that would be over the 1,400 miles which is to be subjected to the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company. This is a freight line that we are talking about. Passengers are not going away north of the height of land when we have routes through more settled portions of the country for passengers. We are now talking about freight.

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LIB

Mahlon K. Cowan

Liberal

Mr. COWAN.

Is that not a question of agreement V

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CON

Samuel Barker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARKER.

I suppose the hou. member for Essex (Mr. Cowan) will be addressing us presently and if he will reserve his arguments until we get through, I think the debate would proceed more satisfactorily.

I am simply referring to the question which was raised by the lion. ex-Minister of Railways and Canals yesterday. There is not a railway man in the whole of America who would contradict his statement that it would be utterly impracticable to exercise running powers over a long line such as this. The Minister of Finance to-day has tried to put it in a different light by saying that there may be haulage, that practically one company will haul the whole of the traffic but that is a different thing from making a common highway free to all companies and I have simply referred to the matter, because it was made a point of, that Mr. BARKER.

this railway could serve every company in the land. The hon. Minister of Finance dwelt at some length on the western portion, or what is called the mountain section of the Grand Trunk Pacific. The hon. gentleman did what his leader did the other day ; he dwelt very fully upon all the characteristics of that portion of the line. I do not know, Mr. Speaker, that it is necessary for ns to criticise anything that has been said or that may be said about that section. That section will not be constructed by the government but by the Grand Trunk Pacific Company and judging by the successful manner in which its representatives negotiated this contract with the government I think we may safely entrust them with looking after their own interests in building that part of the road. What we are anxious to know now is what information the government has as to what is called the eastern division which they have undertaken to build. We want some information about that, and I noticed to-day that the hon. Minister of Finance, like his leader the other day, in dwelling upon the portion of the road between Winnipeg and Quebec passed very lightly over many hundreds of miles, using general words and expressions and giving as little information as is possible. The hon. Minister of Finance to-day alluded to some surveys in the Nepigon district'; and as to the section from Abbittibbi to Quebec we had from him some vague reference to explorations which have been going on for the last two hundred years, the result of which seems to be very meagre because a few years ago the province of Quebec caused further explorations to be made. It is quite clear that none of them have any information that would justify defining where a track could be put. The hon. gentleman dealt with the Moncton end of the line, with which, of course, he is more familiar, and he tells us that that line was practically surveyed in 1864 by Sir Sanford Fleming. He says there was a survey made in these days of the frontier line ; the centre line-which he says is practically the one they are adopting to-day-and the north line. Now, it is quite true that Sir Sanford Fleming in 1864 did survey that central line, but is there a gentleman in this House or in this country who supposes for one moment, that any company proposing to build a railway would contract to lay it in a particular line based entirely upon a survey thirty-nine years old. Why, Sir, the information that was obtained by surveyors in these days was for an entirely different purpose than for the construction of the railway that is necessary to-day. Who, in 1864. supposed that the railway they were contemplating would ever be carrying the grain of the great North-west to Halifax or St. John. No such thing was ever thought of then. That cheap kind of traffic, the necessities of it. that were comtemplated at that

AUGUST 12, 190i>

time, and a line that might have been considered satisfactory then would not be accepted for a moment to-day.

The hon. gentleman refers to Sir Sanford Fleming's reports. I have had the advantage of talking to Sir Sanford Fleming within a week, and that gentleman assured me, that it is not possible to obtain a line suitable for old grain traffic where the Minister of Finance says this line is to be put.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, hear.

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CON

Samuel Barker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARKER.

Sir Sanford Fleming at that time reported that the best line was near to the frontier, and that the next best line in view of matters as they stood in 1864, was over the heights through the centre of New Brunswick. Sir Sanford Fleming told me tha/t that line through the centre of New Brunswick would perhaps shorten the distance seventy miles, or perhaps a little less, as against the present line of the Intercolonial Railway, but he added that the high gradients and the curves would more than compensate for the shortening. It would be far better, he said, to continue the traffic over the present line than to attempt to send it through the centre of New Brunswick over the height of land. He said also, that if you want another line ; utilize the existing lines from Edmuudson to Fredericton, or to some point in that section, and thence on east and south. These lines, he said, will give you ais good a road, practically as short a road as the government is proposing to build, and it will be the best line obtainable. Why then undertake to build railways when we have them in existence to-day ? Why do we want to duplicate our railway line simply in order to run a track, as the Minister of Finance says, in an air-line to Moncton. He takes the map I suppose and runs a pencil across it and enters into a contract to build a railway. That is practically what the government is doing in this case. And yet, the Minister of Finance is astonished that any criticism should be made of such a line. He even,1 says it is extraordinary that any objection should be made to building a line competing with the present Intercolonial Railway. Surely, if the duplicating line is not going to be an improvement on the existing line, we are more than justified in our criticism, and so far as we know and so far as the minister knows the present line is better than the one which he proposes. The hon. gentleman (Hon. Mr. Fielding) told us that it is a common thing, and that we every day see a company building a railway to compete with the railway of another company. Yes, but you never heard of a company building a line to compete with its own line, and that is what the government is doing in this case. They have an excellent line now, but they want to build another one to compete with it. If they want to go south to St. John, and east by Chipman, they have roads in existence,

and surely they don't want to build new x-oads where ample railway accommodation already exists. The hon. gentleman cites as an instance supporting his contention, that the Canadian Pacific Railway some years ago proposed to build a line from Harvey to Salisbury near Moncton, and he thinks that because they proposed thus to get to Moncton it is an excellent reason why the government should get to Moncton. But when the Canadian Pacific Railway proposed to get from Harvey to Moncton it was because they had no connection with Moncton. The government have got a line to Moncton, but they are not content with one, they want another, and they tell us that the two cases are analogous, and that it is an excellent argument for the building of two lines by the government where ond is necessary. Then the Finance Minister jumps off into what lie calls the objection of the opposition to the improvement of the Intercolonial Railway, as if that, even if it were true, would have any bearing upon the question we are debating. Suppose that we most unjustly and most unfairly oppose improvements on the Intercolonial Railway, what on earth has that got to do with the question whether they are going to build another line or not ? We are treated to a long dissertation on that subject, as if the country were to be affected by such an argument. I deny that there lias been any criticism or any such objection on the part of the opposition. I have been in this House three years, and I have heard all the criticisms relating to the Intercolonial Railway, and I have never heard a gentleman on this side say one word in opposition to any improvements that could properly be made on the Intercolonial Railway. No gentleman on this side of the House has ever objected to the strengthening of bridges, to the increased weight of rails, or to works of that character. But the Finance Minister thinks that because we have not swallowed everything that has been done we were objecting to improvements on the line. The truth is that the objection we were making was to the way in which the hon. gentleman was adding to liis surpluses by creating pretended profits that never existed. The government instead of maintaining their line in the ordinary manner were putting down new rails and charging them to capital, when maintenance should have borne nearly all the charge. By that means the Minister was showing what a lot of money he was making and how prosperous the country was under the management of this government. Surely we had a right to point out that the hon. gentleman was not making the surpluses he was claiming. That had nothing to do with the legitimate improvement of the Intercolonial Railway. We are all glad to see* the Intercolonial Railway improved and we never raised a question about it. The Finance Minister speaks of our criticism of

$1,000,000 being expended at St. John in connection with elevators and other things in order that the grain traffic should be carried to that port. But our criticism was this, that although they had spent $1,000,000 on that work, they had never carried a bushel of grain there, although the money had been expended for the very purpose of promoting the grain traffic in that direction. That is the nature of the criticism, and that is what the hon. gentleman thinks indicates a desire on our part to crush the Intercolonial Railway. 1 think the Intercolonial, if it could speak, would say, save me from my friends.

Then, the hon. gentleman took up that awful bugbear, the bonding privilege, which his leader dwelt upon so eloquently the other day. The hon.'gentleman must know that the question of the bonding privilege has been hammered this way and that way for years, and we are just where we always were in that respect. The bonding privilege does not stay for our good. It does not exist to-day, any more than it has existed at any time, for our convenience. It does not exist because the United States are afraid of us or are friendly to us. It remains there because the New England states insist upon it, and the United States government cannot remove it without hurting their own people far more than they would hurt Canada. That is the truth of it, and the hon. gentleman knows it. What do people who understand the question show by their conduct ? Take the Grand Trunk Railway Company of which we hear so much. The Grand Trunk Railway Company owns a railway in the States from Port Huron to Chicago. It owns besides several hundred miles in Michigan. It owns a long railway in the state of Maine. In Vermont it controls, practically owns, the Central Vermont from the boundary line to Long Island Sound. Some of these lines it has acquired recently. Would the Grand Trunk Company risk all that if they thought there was any danger of the bonding privilege being taken away ? Are they afraid ? Are they shutting off business or building* other lines through fear of it ? Not at all. Within two or three years they have actually taken the ownership of the Chicago and Grand Trunk into their own hands, and it is now the Grand Trunk Western. They are not afraid, and why should the hon. gentleman be afraid ? Suppose the bonding privilege were stopped to-morrow, what would be the result ? Would the grain traffic that is now going by Portland go that way, or would it go over the Intercolonial ? Perhaps the hon. gentleman did not consider that. If the bonding privilege were stopped to-morrow, it might hurt the Grand Trunk, the Canada Southern and some other lines; but what hon. gentlemen opposite have been seeking, that the grain traffic of the country should go over the Canadian route, would be the inevitable result. It would have to

go to Halifax and St. John by the Intercolonial Railway. And yet the bon. gentlemen are going to build another line through fear that that would happen. That is the argument of the hon. gentlemen. They are actually going to spend millions now; they will not wait an hour or a minute. Now is the time-we cannot wait, because this bonding privilege may be stopped at any moment, and we must be independent of the United States. If the bonding privilege were stopped to-morrow morning, would it prejudice the Dominion of Canada as regards the ports of Halifax and St. John ? Not one iota. It would send the traffic that way. It is an argument against what , the hon. gentlemen propose; and yet it has been bravely imt forward by the First Minister and the Minister of Finance, as if it supported their view of the question. Now,

I beg to say, that even if there was anything in that, it would be far better for us to stand as we are, and take the chance of having to haul the grain for a few years over that sixty or seventy or one hundred extra miles, whatever it may be, around the Intercolonial and for the country to pay the extra expense of that, and so cheapen the rates to the public,' rather than go into enormous expenditures now, and pay inte-est in anticipation of a trouble that will perhaps never come. The hon. gentleman wants to spend: this money now lest some day or other the bonding privilege will be stopped. Why not wait, if that is the point ? We can afford for a time to carry the traffic over those sixty or seventy miles without charging for it much more easily than we can pay interest on the railway from Quebec to Moncton. Surely there cannot be any question about that, and I think the bon. gentleman must know it. I have never met anybody who seriously; looked on that bonding privilege question as a factor in the matter.

The hon. Finance Minister tells us, with a great deal of satisfaction to himself, that the Grand Trunk, with all its assets, is behind this scheme. I do not wish to say one word against the Grand Trunk. I do not think it is in the interest of the country to say anything against any corporation such as the Grand Trunk, the Canadian Pacific Railway or any other railway in the country. I believe in backing them up and saying a good word for them at all times. But when the Finance Minister uses the arguments we heard him use to-day about the Grand Trunk being behind this project, all I can say is that the Grand Trunk is behind it by getting $25,000,000 of common stock for nothing. That is the only way it is behind it that I can see. The Grand Trunk will guarantee something on the prairie section. That section I think it would be very easy to get anybody to guarantee.

There is a peculiarity about the argument of the Finance Minister contrasted with the argument advanced by the First Min-

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CON

Samuel Barker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARKER.

ister the other day. The Finance Minister told us this evening that the Grand Trunk are paying one-fourth of the cost of the western section. Well, the Grand Trunk, as I understand it, are guaranteeing twenty-live per cent of the cost, and the country is guaranteeing seventy-five per cent. The other day the First Minister told us that the country was not paying one cent. If the country, in guaranteeing the seventy-five per cent, is not paying one cent for the road, how can the Grand Trunk be paying one-fourth of the whole cost ? I leave the hon. gentleman to explain that. Then, as to the eastern section, the First Minister told us that we are not paying anything for that. I have always been under the impression that if I borrowed say $10,000 to buy a piece of property and build a house on it, I incurred a debt of $10,000, and added that to my obligations even if I was going to rent the house. And when this country expends $60,000,000 or $70,000,000 or more on that eastern section, and gives its own securities for fifty years for it, and contracts with the public to pay both the principal and the interest, it does seem to me that we shall be paying something for that road. If not, I shall like to pay my debts and obligations in a similar way. ,

Let me say further that the Grand Trunk Railway guarantee comes after its bonds and debentures. These amount to $100,000,000, and they are all ahead of this guarantee. Within four or five years, as the hon. gentleman knows, the Grand Trunk Railway came to this House for a Bill authorizing it to charge up to capital a portion of the interest on its securities which it had been unable to pay. That was only five years ago. I do not mean to say that it has not improved since then. It has Improved, and will go on improving, but it is idle to talk of a company like the Grand Trunk Railway as being of such material value as a guarantor. Whether the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway will be able to sell its bonds on the guarantee of the Grand Trunk Railway at par, and at three per cent interest, I do not know, but I very much doubt it, I think it will have to submit to considerable discount, which will add to its obligations, and which the public will have to pay interest on, just as they will have to pay sooner or later dividends on that $25,000,000 of common stock to be held by the Grand Trunk Railway, though the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway may never have received a cent for it.

As regards the rolling stock, section 22 provides that the company shall equip both divisions with modern and complete rolling stock and that the first equipment shall be of the value of at least $20,000,000, of which not less than $5,000,000 shall be supplied for the operation of the eastern division of the said railway, and the said $5,000.000 worth of rolling stock, together with all renewals thereof and additions thereto, shall be marked as assigned to the said

eastern division. I take it that that covenant will be sufficiently complied with by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway hiring the rolling stock. I am quite aware that there is another section concerning the purchase of supplies and equipment in Canada, but that section will be sufficiently' complied with if they hire the rolling stock in Canada. Let me refer to section 14 :

For the purposes of this agreement, the expression 'working expenditure,' as applied to the eastern division of the railway shall mean and include all expenses of maintenance and all such tolls, rents or annual sums as are paid in respect of the hire of rolling stock let to the company as part of the equipment of the said eastern division.

There are two aspects of that. One is how careful the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway is to have everything charged to maintenance, so that the government will not have much chance in the ten years of getting any profit. There will not be any profits on that line when all these charges are so carefully heaped up against the gross receipts. And i think you will find that probably all the rolling stock that will go on that line will be old rolling stock of the Grand Trunk Railway, made in Canada, of course, but sent up there on terms profitable to the Grand Trunk Railway, and that the company will make quite sure that the government will not get interest in the three years, any more than they will in the first seven.

Then the hon. gentleman made out his $13,000,000 as the actual cost to the country in respect of interest, &c., during construction. It is quite true that the ex-Minister of Railways yesterday made up to some $19,000,000 or $20,000,000 ; but the Minister of Finance cuts it down to $13,000,000. He works it out, with the help of an actuary, thus : He takes the items spread over seven years. These he says represent a present cash value, being discounted, of only $13,000,000, which he therefore claims to be the whole cost to us. But if we should advance that $13,000,000 in cash now, and receive nothing in return for seven years, we would have to take into account interest for the seven years. And if you take other items into account, as well, I fancy that the exMinister of Railways was not far out in his little computation of $19,000,000. as the sum .we are paying in the way of interest.

When I was referring to the Moncton end of the road, I omitted to remind the House how cocksure my hon. friend the Minister of Finance was about this line. It was practically an air-line, right from somewhere near a point where they turned down along the Maine frontier, to Moncton. He knew all about it. He had been reading in the archives, and he had plans and repoi'ts, and it was all right. However, he was less cautious than his leader, who in his speech, said :

From the town of Edmundston the railway will proceed eastward to the town of Moncton;

it is impossible to say at this moment by what route, perhaps by Chipman, or in the vicinity of Chipman. At all events, from this point it is impossible to exactly locate any precise line, or to say where it will be ultimately. Suffice it to say that we desire to have the best and shortest line between Levis and Moncton.

That was all the First Minister could say.

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August 12, 1903