September 24, 1903

LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER.

The hon. member might move that as a subsection to be added to clause 2 and then I will rule upon it.

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IND
IND

Jabel Robinson

Independent

Mr. ROBINSON (Elgin).

I have not spoken on, this Bill since it was taken up in committee hut I feel that I should say a word or two upon this question. I am satisfied that nothing that the government could do would make this Bill as effective and as popular as to include in it a clause compelling the railway company to carry people for two cents a mile. I supported a motion of this kind some few *weeks ago and nearly every person I met afterwards seemed to be well pleased with that motion, and to think that the government should adopt such a policy and should incorporate it in the Railway Act which passed this House some few weeks ago. Since it was not placed in that Act I would like to see the government take action now. A two-cent rate is charged on the Intercolonial a,nd I think that some such provision should be included in this Bill. I believe that two-thirds of the members ou the other side of the House would vote for this amendment if they dared to do so and I do hope the government will accept the amendment proposed by the hon. member for East York (Mr. Maclean).

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The PRIME MINISTER.

The hou. member for West Elgin (Mr. Robinson) has altogether misapprehended the scope of the amendment which has jnst been moved by my hom. friend from East York (Mr. Maclean). That amendment does not have the effect of compelling the giving of a passenger rate of two-cents a mile upon this railway. Its object is to compel the Grand Trunk Railway to give a two-cent rate and to have third-class cars on the railway between Toronto and Montreal and I do not think my hon. friend (Mr. Robinson) is prepared to vote for that at the present moment. My hon. friend from East York appealed to me as a friend of the people. I [DOT] could not tell from the phraseology which he used if lie referred to me or himself as a friend of the people. I think he spoke of himself because those who pretend to be the friends of the people are generally the most clamorous but they are not the most effective; they talk more than they act. Whilst I recognize that my hon. friend (Mr. Maclean) is, like a certain hot place, paved

with good, intentions, he is very lacking in execution. In the present case, whatever his motives may be, he has not proposed anything that will be effective In promoting the object he has in mind. His amendment reads :

That the following clause be added to section 35 :-Notwithstanding anything in this Act the Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada shall not acciuire and take the shares set out in clause 27 of the agreement hereto attached until such time as the company has fulfilled t.ha following clause of its original charter, passed in 1852 :-The fare or charge for -each third-class passenger by any train on the said railway shall not exceed one penny currency for each mile travelled, and that at least one train per day having third-class carriages shall run every day throughout the length of the line.

That is to say my hon. friend (Mr. Maclean) asks us to attach to this Bid a clause requiring the government to take action to compel the Grand Trunk Railway Company to comply with an Act passed in 1852. I have very serious doubts ns to whether such an amendment is in order. I do not think it is germane to the present Bill which Is one creating another corporation to he known as the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company. I do not believe it would be germane to that Bill that we should take power to force another company to execute conditions imposed on it by an Act passed fifty years ago. I do not press the point of order at the present moment because I think it will require some further consideration, but, admitting for the time being that this amendment is in order, it would be very questionable legislation, as lias been pointed out by the Minister of Justice, to attach such a condition as that* to the Bill we now have in hand. Further than that I do not see how the horn, gentleman could enforce this amendment as it is now worded.

That the following clause be added to section 35 :-Notwithstanding anything in this Act. the Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada shall mot acquire and take the shares set out in clause 27 of the agreement hereto attached until such time as the company has fulfilled the following clause of its original charter, passed in 1852.

That is to say the Grand Trunk Railway will not be allowed to take any of the stock in this new undertaking of which it is provided they shall hold $25,000,000 worth until they have done what ? First until they have complied with the requirement that the fare for each third-class passenger by any train shall not exceed one penny 'per mile. That is easily enough clone, but it is required secondly that at least one train per day having third-class carriages shall run throughout the length of the line. L'hat is to say the Grand Trunk Railway Company shall be compelled to run a train every day. and until they shall have run a train every day they shall not be allowed to comply with the provision of this Act

with respect to the acquiring of stock in the Grand Trunk Pacific. There are 365 days in the year and there are many years to come and they would have to wait until the end of time before they would be permitted to subscribe for that stock. My hon. friend (Mr. Maclean) might say that they can put on a train to-day and then be permitted to subscribe. If they cam put on a train to-day they cam take it off to-morrow, and how has my hon. friend improved the situation ? If my hon. friend is in earnest in his efforts he will have to take some other means of securing his end. I rather think he should adhere to his first intention of going into the courts and trying to enforce the corporation to do its duty as laid down in the Act of 1852. Or he has another remedy ; he can bring in a separate Bill to that effect and this would be better legislation than the amendment which he now wishes to introduce.

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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 point mentioned by the right hom. leader of the government (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) is a point that struck me when I first read the amendment, but I wished to get it in the form of an amendment to the clause before I expressed an opinion. This amendment asks the Committee to introduce into this Bill a clause which is mot relevant to the contents of the Bill from the first to the last section. In asking the government to compel the Grand Trunk Railway to do what it promised nearly fifty years ago. the hon. gentleman is asking it to do something which is not relevant to this measure and conse-auently out of order.

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LIB

Charles Bernhard Heyd

Liberal

Mr. HEYD.

You should have ruled it out of order when it was introduced.

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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.

You must remember that it was out of order in another respect, and I asked the hon. gentleman who introduced it to make it applicable to a particular section. He changed it to make it applicable to clause 2, by moving it as a subclause of that section, and then I ruled that it could not be made applicable to that clause and was consequently out of order.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

Have you ruled that the amendment is not applicable to the Bill ?

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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.

I have ruled that it is out of order as being irrelevant.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

That closes the discussion, but it is a very extraordinary ruling.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

It does not even close the discussion.

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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.

There can be an appeal, but no discussion.

.Mr. MACLEAN. I am not going to discuss your ruling, Mr. Chairman, but I am going to accept it. After the right hon. the First Minister made his statement, we have the ruling of the Chairman that an Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

effort to secure the performance of an old agreement by the Grand Trunk Railway is improper, and the responsibility must rest with others than myself. But I am still discussing clause 2, which says that the agreement with a certain company is hereby ratified. I say that it shall not be ratified until the Grand Trunk Railway which according to the Prime Minister, is behind this contract, which is in it and of it, carries out the obligation it incurred some years ago and concerning which it is in default. We are dealing now with the Grand Trunk Railway. The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway is a mere fiction. It is a fence, and there is a number of fences in connection with this deal. I mentioned the name of an hon. senator and was told that we was not in this company at all, and yet we all know that he is. and there are fences between him and the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and between him and the government. You do not see him, but he is there. There are financial operations going on in Toronto to-day. which these men who, we are told, are not connected with this company, are conducting on its behalf. I am told that my amendment is not germane to the question, but I submit that we have the right, before passing this agreement, to compel the Grand Trunk Railway, which is behind this contract, to fulfil its obligations. We have a railway owned by this government, which carries first-class passengers 400 miles and over at two cents a mile. I refer to the Intercolonial. The solution of the transportation problem would be to put the Intercolonial alongside the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway as a competitor. Then you would get the rates you want. I stand here today, on behalf of the people of Ontario, for the extension of the Intercolonial from Montreal, alongside the Grand Trunk Railway, into the city of Toronto and to the Niagara frontier, Detroit river and the Georgian Bay. I would bring the Intercolonial, which now carries people at two cents per mile, into the North-west, and the people of the North-west would then be given a two-cent rate per mile passenger rate. In giving these millions to the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and the credit of the country besides, we are entiiled to ask that the Grand Trunk Railway, which, as the Prime Minister has told us. is in this contract, should perform its former obligations. But when a question of principle is raised in this House, you will always find a legal quibble resorted to. The true constitutional principle is that the proper time to rectify grievances is when money is demanded.

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Austin Levi Fraser

Mr. ERASER.

Where are the 400 miles over which a two-cent rate prevails on the Intercolonial ?

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

I quoted in this House the other day the original schedules of the Intercolonial, which provide for a sliding scale, three cents down to two.

1223S

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LIB
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

If the hou. gentleman will turn up ' Hansard,' on the day when 1 discussed the question, he will find the Order in Council. 1

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LIB
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

I went to Mr. Pottiuger in the Railway Department and asked1 him for the Order in Council regulating passenger traffic on the Intercolonial, and he immediately turned it up. I gave the whole thing in my remarks the other day. That Order in Council provides that the people shall pay at the most three cents for the first fifty miles, and then the rates decrease to two cents per mile for 400 miles and over. The people of Canada are getting a two-cent per mile rate .over their own road, and the Grand Trunk Railway undertook years ago to give a two-cent per mile rate, but have not done so. I am asking the Liberals to rectify the grievance to which I have alluded, and they raise a legal quibble and say that my proposition is not germane to the matter in hand. Sir, when you are voting away the people's money, is the time to rectify grievances.

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The PRIME MINISTER.

Then let my hon. friend wait until we go into Committee of Supply.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

That is a jollying proposition. I am bringing up my proposal now ; and if I did not raise it now I would be told, when going into supply, why did you not do it when we were ratifying the agreement. Now is the proper time to have this grievance removed. There are negotiations on and a railway deal, and the Prime Minister should see that the parties straighten out this thing and put that two-cent rate into effect before this agreement goes through. When negotiating with these parties, all that the Prime Minister need do is say to them : This is going to cause

me a great deal of trouble, and it will cause you a great deal of trouble. Let's avoid it. Fulfil your obligations, and we shall not then need to disfigure this Act of parliament with any such conditions. I do not know whether the -right hon. gentleman knows the immense influence he can exercise by simply writing a little note to almost anybody in this country, especially a delinquent.

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September 24, 1903