September 24, 1903

CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

They laid down that doctrine but it has not been lived up to.

Topic:   NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.
Permalink
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

It is not being lived up to now, I confess. Now is the time to secure the performance of an obligation that should have been carried out years ago. I am not asking anything unfair when I ask that we shall compel the Grand Trunk Railway Company to fulfil the original obligations made by that company in respect of its line between Montreal and Toronto where the Grand Trunk Railway Company can well afford to give the people of Canada what they undertook to give fifty years ago-a rate of a penny a mile. It is not quite two cents a mile even. If the Grand Trunk Railway Company give this penny-a-mile rate they will have complied with the law. Is there anything wrong in asking in parliament for the performance of an obligation of this kind by a railway company over a portion of their road between Toronto and Montreal which is so congested with traffic that they have difficulty in handling their trains ? Tbe hon. Minister of Justice tries to lead us away from the point by saying that wn are trying to do something with the Grand Trunk Railway Company that involves their whole system. I do not say it does in connection with my argument but all I ask is for the performance of this specific obligation and I am asking for it at a time when we are giving a great fran-; chise, an immense value in the way of credit to the Grand Trunk Railway Company. Can, anybody conceive how valuable this conces-i sion is to the Grand Trunk Railway Com-, pany, enabling them to raise money at three per cent when money is so hard to get and, when interest is going up in every quarter.l The Pennsylvania and the New York Central Railway Companies to-day are paying five per cent for money in New York and they cannot get all they require even at that rate. We are giving the Grand Trunk Railway Company a valuable privilege when we enable them to raise money at three per cent. I was speaking to a well-known railway promoter in this country the other day

who lias had a very valuable guarantee given to him by this parliament. I said : Mr. So and So, you know what it is to walk the London money market to raise money for a Canadian railway enterprise. He said:

I do. I have done it many a time and, to use his own expression, I have been queered time and time again in my efforts to raise money in that way. I said : What is it worth on the London money market to have a scheme which is endorsed by the Canadian government ? He replied : It is

the easiest tl;ing in the world to raise money on such a project. It is worth hundreds of thousands every year to be able to raise money in that way. We are giving the Grand Trunk Railway Company something that will enable them to get all the money they wish at three per cent for the carrying out of this project when the New York Central and Pennsylvania Railway Companies cannot get money in New York today unless they pay five per cent for it. We give them that privilege and we give them every other great privilege that can be imagined and all I ask is that at the time we are doing this, carrying out the doctrine laid down by the right, hon. Prime Minister, we shall get something in return by compelling the company to simply carry out a former obligation to which they are delinquent at the present time. It is perfectly germane to this question and we should ask for the performance of this obligation at the present time. What guarantee have the people of Canada that the Grand Trunk Railway Company will fulfil their agreement, especially those features of it which are so important from the national point of view and on which great stress has been laid when they have been guilty of delinquency in the past ? I leave that question to be considered by hon. gentlemen opposite and by the country and I can assure hon. gentlemen opposite that the country is watching them now. What guarantee have we of the performance of these obligations when an undertaking entered into fifty years ago is still unfulfilled ? What position are hon. gentlemen in when they go to the country and ask for credit for passing a Bill of this kind and when they say : Look at the guarantees we have secured for you, look at the undertaking we have imposed on the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company and on the Grand Trunk Railway Company to send all their traffic through Canada and going right across the Atlantic at rates equal to those charged by way of New York and other American ports, when conditions imposed in the interests of the Canadian people fifty years ago are still unfulfilled? What guarantee have the people of the performance of this solemn obligation when we now have the confession by the government that they have been delinquent in regard to an obligation of fifty years ago ? It is a well-known maxim of law that there can be no 3834

cavil in regard to something imposed upon a corporation by an Act of Parliament. The performance must be immediate and specific. The Law Lords in England have laid it down and the courts are now guided by that principle. They cannot set up anything and when an injunction issues forthwith it must be complied with. Surely it will not be left to an ordinary citizen to go to the courts and seek redress of this kind. Surely the representatives of the people in this parliament, surely the government, surely the hon. Minister of Justice, surely the hon. acting Minister of Railways and Canals (Hon. Mr. Fielding) who signs this contract will say to the Grand Trunk Railway Company : Before the name of the Iving can

be appended to this document you must show that you have fulfilled all those undertakings that you gave in regard to railway tariffs in connection with your original charter. I have made out a clear case. My case is not based on party considerations at all ; it is based solely and wholly in the interests of the people and on a due performance ot the laws. I have heard a good deal in this House about vested rights. I have heard the Minister of Justice and the Prime Minister champion the vested rights of corporations ; but the public have some vested rights, and they are incorporated in the law, and one of these vested rights is a two-cent rate between Toronto and Montreal. Is this vested right of the public to be observed, or is it to be cast aside by legal quibbles ? It is only quibbling I have heard from the Minister of Justice so far. What has he to say now ; why does he not insist that this Act be complied with ? Why does he not insist on it before we hand over this great franchise to the Grand Trank Railway That is my case, and the people of Canada will comprehend it. I am willing to wait, and I am willing to assist the government in any way to secure an amendment to this Act which will compel the Grand Trunk to comply with the law. It may be said that this amendment has nothing to do with the present Bill; that it would-I think the lawyers say, ' deface ' it. The lawyers are very careful about disfiguring-yes, disfiguring is the word-an Act of parliament. Far my part, I do not care how much it. Is battered, if we secure the rights of the people.

Topic:   NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.
Permalink
CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARKE.

Try to batter some good out of it.

Topic:   NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.
Permalink
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

Yes, let us get a crack at the Grand Trunk now, and in the interest of the people disfigure this Act if necessary. If a man does not do what he ought to do, somebody goes up to him and disfigures him, and if the Grand Trunk will not comply with the law, let us disfigure the Grand Trunk rather than have the rights of the people sacrificed. I appeal to the Prime Minister as a friend of the people, as a friend of the farmer, as a man ready

to weep for the farmer on occasions. I appeal to him to give us some assurance that before this Act becomes law, the people of Canada will get a two-cent rate between Toronto and Montreal, and as a result of that, practically a two-cent rate all over the country.

Topic:   NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Osborne Davis

Liberal

Mr. DAVIS.

Did the hon. gentleman lead us to infer that the granting of a two-cent rate between Toronto and Montreal would result in reducing the rate on every railway in Canada to two cents ?

Topic:   NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.
Permalink
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

I will answer the hon. gentleman by giving him an example, and there is nothing so cogent as example. The New York Central came to Albany one day and said : We propose to consolidate a little line with our system, and on that little line there is imposed the duty of giving the public ai two-cent rate. The legislature at Albany said : Mr. Vanderbilt, you can have this legislation provided you will make that two-cent rate apply all over the whole system of the New York Central. And the old Commodore, understanding the railroad business so well, replied : Yes, I will accept it. And there is a two-cent rate on the New York Central to-day, and it is the most profitable road in America, and its representatives told a Toronto newspaper man recently that there was more business in a two-cent rate than a three-ceut rate. I was on a portion of the Delaware and Laek-awana the other day where they could charge three cents, but as a general rule all through New York state they have a two-cent rate. The law of competition is, I hope, efficacious at times, and if the Grand Trunk gives a parliamentary rate between Toronto and Montreal, the Canadian Pacific Railway cannot do business unless they follow suit. Then when we get the commission at work, the commission will insist on no local discrimination in the matter of geography, and if you have a two-cent rate between Toronto and Montreal, you must have it between Montreal and Quebec or between Hamilton and London. The greatest reforms have not been effected by sweeping legislation, they have been secured by what the Prime Minister would call concessions gradually obtained in small matters, and here is an opportunity to get a concession.

Topic:   NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Osborne Davis

Liberal

Mr. DAVIS.

That is quite a speech, but it does not answer my question.

Topic:   NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.
Permalink
IND
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER.

This appears to be a new clause and if so it is hardly in order at the present moment.

Topic:   NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.
Permalink
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

I see no reason why it should not be proposed now. We are discusing clause 2 which asks us to ratify the whole thing.

Topic:   NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER.

The discussion would be more in order at another

Topic:   NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.
Permalink
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

stage of the Bill. The proposal is to add this as a clause to the Bill.

Topic:   NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Finish it now.

Topic:   NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.
Permalink
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

I can move it as an amendment to clause 2.

Topic:   NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.
Permalink
LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. CHARLTON.

I would ask the hon. gentleman (Mr. Maclean) if he knows of any railway in America that has a third-class rate ? Does he suppose that he, or any other self-respecting citizen of Canada, would ride at a third-class rate with accommodation so much inferior to the second class as would be likely to be given? While the hon. gentleman may appeal to popular sentiment, yet if his idea were carried out on the basis of third-class accommodation, it would not be in keeping with the general taste of the travelling public of this country. There is a prejudice even against the second-class, and few people travel by it. If a provision were made that the Grand Trunk should provide third-class cai

riages, and these carriages were as much inferior to second-class carriages as second-class carriages are inferior to first-class carriages. I doubt if anybody would avail of that accommodation.

Topic:   NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.
Permalink
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

I have been in the old country and I always travelled third-class, and nobody ever travels first-class there, but dukes and Americans. Probably the hon. member for North Norfolk (Mr. Charlton) travels first-class in Europe, but I have been content to pay a penny a mile and I would like to pay a penny a mile in Canada. I have travelled second class on the Grand Trunk, and I am not ashamed to say it. And I wish all the people of Canada had the opportunity of travelling third class. The railroads in the old country thought that the parliamentary rate would be the insignificant portion of their travel ; it is now 90 per cent of their travel, and as a consequence third-class travel in England is decent travel, you can travel in splendid carriages.

Topic:   NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.
Permalink
CON
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Sir. MACLEAN.

Good company ? Yes, the very best company. You do not travel in the company of dukes and of American millionaires but you get in with the plain people, and the plain people are good enough for me. I want to travel with the plain people, and I want a penny rate for the plaint people. Sly hon. friend from North Norfolk (Sir. Charlton) tells us they should travel in first-class cars like dukes and American millionaires.

Topic:   NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.
Permalink
LIB
LIB

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

Liberal

Sir. DEPUTY SPEAKER.

SYe are losing time in discussing this question. I think it should be taken up at another period. If the horn, gentleman (Sir. Staclean) moves this amendment, of course I will put it.

M r. MACLEAN. We are discussing clause 2 which says :

The said agreement bearing date 29th day of July, 1903, a copy of which forms the schedule to this Act, is hereby ratified and confirmed and declared to be legally binding.

And so on. I say that we should not pass that section unless this amendment is added, it will apply to this section and we are perfectly in order.

Topic:   NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.
Permalink

September 24, 1903