Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).
Mr. Chairman, it seems to me that the government is assuming a somewhat peculiar attitude in regard to this whole undertaking. The preamble of the Bill and the recital to the agreement both point to the fact that the intentions of the government in pressing this measure upon the House were to establish an all-Canadian route and to provide for the transportation of Canadian freight at Hon. Mr. FITZPATRICK.
as cheap rates as possible. Notwithstanding that fact, we had the spectacle yesterday of the government voting down all the stipulations suggested on this side of the House which were intended to prevent the diversion of traffic, and we had the spectacle, moreover, of the members of the government sitting 'Silently in their seats without saying a word after it had been pointed -out to them over and over again from this side of the House that the danger, as far as the diversion of traffic is concerned, was to be feared from the Grand Trunk Railway Company, and not from the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company. Notwithstanding that, there was an absolute refusal from the treasury benches to impose on the Grand Trunk Railway Company a single one of the stipulations which are imposed on the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company by this contract. Not only was this the case, but the hon. Minister of Finance (Hon. Mr. Fielding) was put up by the government, in the first place, to answer the suggestions made on this side of the House, by a reference of matters to fifteen or twenty years ago. After that we had the hon. member for North Norfolk (Mi-. Charlton) put up to deliver speeches, covering, I suppose, an hour, or an hour and a half in all, in regard to grades which were absolutely irrelevant to the subject we were then discussing. We can only assume, under these circumstances, that it is the policy of my right hon. friend (Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier), and of his government, to permit traffic to be diverted from Canadian routes, provided it is to be done by the Grand Trunk Railway Company. Otherwise, surely, there iis no reason for failing to impose upon that railway company some of the precautions which the government have thought wise to impose on the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company. That is one aspect of the ease. Another aspect of the case is the one to which I am about to draw attention in connection with 'the amendment I have moved. I gave notice of a motion to this effect, as an amendment to section 7 of the Bill :
That section 7 he amended hy adding thereto the following -subsections :-
Notwithstanding anything in this Act, or in the said agrememt contained, His Majesty the King, -acting as aforesaid, shall not be hound or obliged to -perform, cary out or fulfil any of the covenants, conditions or stipulations in the said agreemnt contained on behalf of the Dominion of Canada unless and until the Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada shall have subscribed for the common stock of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company payable in cash at par to the amount of not less than $24,300,000.
I understand that the hon. Minister of Justice is willing to accept that amendment, provided I strike out from it the words ' have subscribed for,' and insert in their stead the words 'shall acquire and
take,' and provided also that I shall strike out the words ' payable in cash at par.' I will read the amendment as it is suggested by the kon. Minister of Justice, because I will have to explain to the committee the reasons why I am unable to accept the amendment which is suggested by the government. The amendment as proposed by the bon. Minister of Justice is as follows :
That section 7 be amended by adding thereto the following subsections :-
(2) Notwithstanding anything in this Act or in the said agreement contained, His Majesty the King acting in respect of the government of Canada shall not he bound or obliged to perform, carry out or fulfil any of the covenants. undertakings, conditions or stipulations in the said agreement contained on behalf of His Majesty the King acting as aforesaid, unless and until the Grand Tramt 1 tailway Company of Canada shall acquire and take the common stock of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company to the amount of not less than $24,900,000.
My proposal is that the Grand Trunk Railway Company shall subscribe for the stock at par, and shall incur all liabilities incident to such subscription, hut the amendment which the Minister of Justice is willing to accept does not require the Grand Trunk to incur the liability entailed by subscribing for the stock, and it carefully eliminates the words ' payable in cash at par.' It is, therefore, carefully designed to permit the Grand Trunk Company to acquire $24,900,000 of stock for any normal consideration that the two companies, different in name, though in reality the same, may agree upon between themselves. I am unable to accept the amendment which the government suggests, because it so emasculates my amendment that it takes from it everything of value, and enables the Grand Trunk to obtain the complete control of this railway, without putting more than a few dollars into it. If that is the policy of the government, let us understand It. The policy of the government, as suggested by the alteration handed to me by the Minister of Justice, is, that no matter what comes of this contract, the Grand Trunk Company must have liberty to acquire nearly $25,000,000 of this stock at any consideration that may be arranged between these two companies, which, according to the statement made from the treasury benches over and over again, though different in name, are the same in reality. And after all, the company which is obtaining the benefit of this contract with the government is the Grand Trunk Company of Canada. So far as I could gather from the attitude of the government to-day and yesterday, it intends to establish a so-called National Transcontinental Railway, and to place the line absolutely under the control of a railway which has its chief terminal and its only winter terminal, not in the Dominion of Canada, but in the United States of America. That is the first part of the policy of |
the government, and the second part of their policy is to deliberately permit the Grand Trunk Railway Company to divert to any extent which they desire Canadian traffic from Canadian routes and from Canadian ports. That is perfectly plain, because I got no answer from the treasury benches when I repeatedly asked, what reason there was for not imposing upon the .Grand Trunk Railway Company the same restrictions as to the diversion of traffic which are imposed upon jthe Grand Trunk Pacific Company. I challenge the ministry to give any answer now. I ask my right hon. friend to give one single reason which is not applicable to the Grand Trunk Railway Company with greater force in that regard than it is applicable to the Grand Trunk Pacific. I pointed out yesterday that the danger of diversion of traffic was not through the Grand Trunk Pacific, but through the Grand Trunk at North Bay, at Gravenhurst, at Winnipeg, and even at Quebec and Montreal. The Minister of Trade and Commerce recognized this danger, but the only answer I got was from the Minister of Finance who was put up to talk about dispute under contracts of fifteen or twenty years ago, and from the hon. member for Norfolk (Mr. Charlton) who was put up to talk about grades. Another feature of the policy of the government seems to be to deliberately frame the present Bill and contract so that the Grand Trunk may he enabled to construct a line in the great North-west of Canada at no cost to itself, except the guaranteeing of bonds representing one-fourth the cost of construction. The Grand Trunk obtains the absolute control of that road in the North-west ; it guarantees the issue of bonds to the extent of one-quarter the cost, but it enters into no other covenant or stipulation with the government in return for that great privilege. The fourth feature of the government's policy is to create $25,000,000 of common stock in order that $24,900,000, of that stock may be obtained by the Grand Trunk Railway for a mere nominal consideration to be arranged between the two companies which, according to the declaration of more than one member of the government, are, after all, in effect, only one company. That is what the gentlemen on the treasury benches call making the Grand Trunk Railway Company . * In ' and ' of ' this contract. Well, it is ' in ' and ' of ' this contract in a very peculiar sense. It makes no stipulation with the government; it is at liberty to divert traffic as it sees fit ; it is at liberty to use its own terminals at Portland, and it is at liberty to acquire the controlling interest in the Grand Trunk Pacific for a mere nominal consideration. In return for all that, the Grand Trunk guarantees the issue of bonds to the extent of one-fourth of the cost. We have been told that, from the standpoint of the country's interest, this
is one of the most magnificent and praiseworthy enterprises that any government ever entered into. At an early stage of this debate, the Minister of the Interior pointed out that as regards the western division of this railway there is absolutely no possibility of failure. He spoke of the 50,000,000 acres that are to be opened for settlement in the North-west; he spoke of hundreds of thousands of immigrants pouring into that country ; he declared that the conditions which faced the Canadian Pacific Railway when they built theii road on the prairies were far more unfavourable than those which to-day confront the Grand Trunk Pacific. He demonstrated conclusively that the building of this railway through that western country was one of the best business propositions that had ever been undertaken by anj company. The Grand Trunk is to have-placed at its disposal that splendid business proposition ; it is to have a road built through the North-west at no cost or risk to itself, except the guaranteeing of the bonds for one-quarter of the cost, and in return for that, what does the Grand Trunk give ? It gives no stipulation to the government that it will not divert traffic to American channels. Is the government willing to impose upon it any restriction or condition in that regard ? The government is not willing. It is to acquire a controlling interest in the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company. Is the government ready to say that that interest must be purchased for a substantial consideration ? The government is not willing, because we are now dealing with an amendment which seeks to impose on the Grand Trunk Railway Company an obligation to subscribe for that stock at par. The government say they are willing to accept the amendment in this emasculated form, by which it will still be left open to these two companies, in reality one company, to arrange the terms between themselves by which that stock shall be acquired by the Grand Trunk Railway Company. Under these circumstances, in view of this attitude of the government, I am not prepared to accept for one moment this amendment in the form in which it has been handed to me by my hon. friend the Minister of Justice, and I propose to take the sense of the committee on the amendment in the form in which I first submitted it. [DOT]