September 15, 1903

CON

Edmund Boyd Osler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. OSLER.

If I were a lawyer, I would apologize for the length of it. But when I take a lawyer's opinion, and seek to communicate it to the lawyers in this House,

I suppose I must give the reasons for the opinion which I desire to submit. I liave seen longer opinions; but I like short ones myself.

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LIB

Duncan Cameron Fraser

Liberal

Mr. FRASER.

You will feel that way still more when you come to pay the bill.

Some born. MEMBERS. Oh, oh.

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CON

Edmund Boyd Osler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. OSLER.

If I have proved, as I think I have proved my original contention, 1 will gladly pay the bill, and save to this country and the manufacturers of this country, millions of dollars. This is the conclusion :

There is no reference in the contract to the construction of the eastern divsdon by contractors. That division Is to be constructed by the government, and no customs duties are to be charged by the government in respect of direct importations of supplies or material- whether for the original construction or for subsequent improvements or betterments. Economical construction being insured to the lessees by the agreement, the company is entitled to demand that the eastern division should be constructed as economically as possible, and the government could not, reasonably, or, in my opinion, legally, relieve itself from the obligation to import the supplies and material, if the effect of so doing would he to contribute to economical construction. As the Bill, in terms, confirms the agreement in all respects and provides that the eastern division .shall be constructed in the manner set forth in the agreement, it would appear to me to be a violation of the spirit and letter of that agreement to pretend that the delegation of the obligation of the government to its servants, the commissioners, in so far as the letting of contracts for the work is concerned, could have the effect of imposing a burden upon the company that, otherwise, it would not be hound to bear. The delegation of the ' charge, and control ' of the work of construction to commissioners. is a mere detail in the execution of the government's obligation to construct the-

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CON

Edmund Boyd Osler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. OSLER.

eastern division

and to construct it as economically as possible.

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DONALD MACMASTER.


Montreal. September 12, 1903. Now, I think I will be absolved from the charge of making rash statements, of which I have been accused, when I say that in reading this Bill I came to the conclusion that clause 17 could only have one meaning, that it was put there for a purpose, and that purpose was to enable the government to admit, if it wished, all supplies used in the construction of this railway free of duty. It struck me that that would be a very serious blow to the manufacturing interests of Canada, and I contend that my contention has been justified by the opinions I have received. I do not think that my contention required these favourable opinions, because I think that any sensible business man reading that contract would come to the conclusion that that paragraph had been put in designedly for the purpose I have stated, namely, to enable the government, if they wished to do so, to import these materials and supplies free of duty. Further, if this agreement is carried out in its entirety, I believe the Grand Trunk Company can force the government to charge that company interest only upon the cost of construction of the road constructed in as cheap a manner as possible, and still be constructed efficiently. Therefore, it would be incumbent upon the government whether they built it themselves or let it out by contract through commissioners, to provide that wherever the material could he imported for the construction of that railway cheaper than it could be produced iu Canada, they were bound under that contract to import and to admit free of duty the material so used. Now, it seems to me there should be no question of that being allowed for a moment. This government are to construct a railway-we will assume that it will be as beneficial as our friends opposite profess to believe. They are leasing it to a large railway corporation at a rental, at a price on the' cost of construction, lower than has ever been known before. They are giving a great corporation a property costing $13.000,000, as the Prime Minister says it will, or $150,000,000, as most people believe. I say it will cost a great deal more than that before the 50 years are up.


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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

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$500,000.000 V

CON

Edmund Boyd Osler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Jlr. OSLER.

Yes, if the expenditure goes on in the same manner as the expenditure on the Intercolonial has been going on, especially since our friends opposite came into power, if the capital expenditure goes on in the same ratio, and I see no indication of its ceasing, this transcontinental railway will reach the figure I have named, astounding though it seems to be. As I liave said, I do not propose to deal with the policy

of building this railway and handing it over to tlie Grand, Trunk Pacific, I am only criticising the contract whicli the government lias laid before us, and every clause in the contract I am entitled freely to discuss. Here is an enormous work, here is a work which will entail an expenditure by this country of $100,000,000. Now, I say that to cut our manufacturers out of the privilege of supplying these materials is to do a great injustice to them and to this country, because it is the country itself that has to pay for the cost. It is the country itself that will have to pay for the loss, if there be a loss, and I contend that in a ease like this, where the government are spending enormous sums of the people's money, provision should be made beyond the ordinary provision, and that as a rule all railway supplies and materials used In that road should be produced by Canadian manufacturers in this country. Even if it costs a little more, it will pay us in the long run. I am told, though I have not seen it myself, that tlie Australian government have advertised for tenders for a large number of locomotives for delivery commencing now and to last for several years to come, the condition of the contract being that these engines must be manufactured in Australia, giving employment to Australian workmen, no matter whether the locomotives will cost more or not. If you are to have manufacturers in your country you must first make a strong and stiff effort to begin them, even if you have to pay a little more at first. There is a great opportunity in this contract to establish railway manufacturing in this country, there is an opportunity which would realize what we all want to see, namely, the establishment of large rolling mills. Tjie extra cost perhaps would be less than the bounty that is now being paid on iron and steel if we insisted upon all these supplies being manufactured in this country. Other members of the Committee, I hope, will discuss these clauses very fully, because I feel perfectly sure that my contention, backed up as it is by the legal opinion I have quoted as to the meaning of this clause, is correct, and I say that the government ought to strike that clause out or amend it. Now, as the Prime Minister has taunted us with talking find not moving any amendments, I beg to move the following amendment to clause 1C :

Provided further that notwithstanding anything contained in section 17 of the said contract. any materials or supplies of any kind which are not the products of Canadian labour and which are imported for the purpose of the construction of the said eastern divison by cr on behalf of the said commissioners or by or on behalf of any contractors, workmen, agents or servants for the construction of the said eastern division, or for the improvement, replacement of structures or otherwise upon capital account for betterment for said eastern division as in the 16th clause of the said contract provided, shall be liable to the usual 355J

customs duties provided by the statutes in that behalf.

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LIB

Peter Macdonald (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER.

The Committee is now discussing section 13.

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CON
LIB

Peter Macdonald (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER.

No, section 13, and I call attention that this discussion Is out of order.

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The MINISTER OP FINANCE.

I am responsible for that. I asked that section 13 should be reconsidered, and that having been done and a satisfactory explanation having been given by the Minister of Justice, I thought we had passed it ; then we came to 16.

Section 13 agreed to.

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The MINISTER OP PINANCE.

Let us now take up clause 16.

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The MINISTER OF JUSTICE.

My hon. friend from Toronto (Mr. Osier) has already discussed the effect of this clause 16 of the contract, and I think he expressed at the time the Bill was under consideration for the second reading the opinion that he adheres to to-day. To-day. however, in corroboration of his opinion, he brings forward the opinions of two lawyers, Mr. Hell-mutli, formerly of London, Ont., but now of Toronto, and of Mr. Macmaster, of Montreal. Of course, it is almost impossible, listening to these opinions read hurriedly, to give any expression as to the value of them, and especially of the one we have just heard from Mr. Macmaster. It has been my good fortune to meet Mr. Hellmuth. 1 have had occasion to differ from him in regard to other things. It was my misfortune to differ from an expression of opinion be gave in tlie Supreme Court, and as to the result I will refer my hon. friend to the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of the Calgary and Edmonton Railway.

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CON

Edmund Boyd Osler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. OSLER.

That case lias not been decided yet. The Privy Council are still wrestling over their decision.

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The MINISTER OF JUSTICE.

A reference was made to the Privy Council, but I think they disposed very speedily of the reference. It was all one way.

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CON
?

The MINISTER OP JUSTICE.

My hon. friend took tlie words ont of my mouth. These differences merely prove that lawyers like doctors agree to differ, and I am sure that my hon. friend got from these eminent counsel, Mr. Hellmuth especially, a man for whose opinion I have the very highest regard, the opinion exactly that he wanted.

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CON

Edmund Boyd Osler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. OSLER.

I would be sorry to make that imputation against either of these two gentlemen.

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September 15, 1903