Mr. M. K. RICHARDSON (South Grey).
There is abundant evidence that there is a very important element of doubt as to the legal construction which may be put upon this section. While that element of doubt exists, it must have a very damaging effect on the manufacturing and other industries of this country. If the government have it in their power, as I believe they have by accepting this amendment, to eliminate' that element of doubt, thus giving a degree of stability to the industries of Canada which would tell immediately and for years to come on the advancement of the country in various directions, why cannot they accept it ? It is evident that this provision has been imported into the contract entirely in the interest of the Grand Trunk people, that it has been put there at the instance and by the action of their own solicitors.
It is clear, from the evidence produced in this debate, that while this element of doubt exists, it will have a depressive effect upon all the industries of Canada, not only in manufacturing, but in mining and agricultural industries. We have in section 37 of the contract a provision that:
The company shall purchase all material and supplies required for the construction of the western division and the equipment of the whole of the said line of railway from Canadian producers
But the conditions following that are such as to nullify it almost entirely. It just means this, that Canadian manufacturers and producers shall have the great privilege of competing on equal terms with the manufacturers and producers of any other country in the world, nothing more or less :
-when the same are produced in Canada, and when such material and supplies can be purchased in desired quantities and of equal quality suitable for the purpose required and for prices and upon terms equally advantageous with those procurable elsewhere.
And only on these conditions will it apply. The conditions are so onerous as to nullify the very pretense which the section makes of protection to manufacturers and all Canadian producers. It would appear to me to be almost imperative on the part of the government to accept any amendment which would eliminate this element of doubt in this section, which must have a very injurious effect on Canadian industries, Canadian wealth, and Canadian advancement. I do not intend to occupy any time on this matter. I simply desire to point out that Canadian manufacturers and producers should not merely be put upon an equal basis with those of other countries. If we are to get nothing else out of this railway project, which involves such an enormous outlay of public, money and such an enormous increase in the debt of the country, we ought at least to have this much out of it, to give Canadian industries that stability which is so much needed and which would warrant the investment of capital in this country in many directions. The government profess at times to have an interest in protecting our home industries ; and here is a great opportunity for them. If this railroad project is to be of any use to this country at all, here is the way and the only way which I can see at present by which we can get any good out of it, and that little modicum we ought to have at least.
House divided on amendment
Osier. YEAS :
Borden (Halifax), Boyd,
Reid (Grenville), Richardson,
Roche (Marquette), Rosamond,
Thomson (Grey), Tolton,
Bord'en (Sir Frederick), Bourassa,
Demers (Levis), Demers (St. John), Dugas,
Laurier (Sir Wilfrid), Lavergne,
Marcil (Bagot), Marcil (Bonaventure) Meigs,
Muloclc (Sir William), Murray,
Ross (Rimouski), Schell,
Hughes (King's, P.E.I.), Talbot, Johnston
Johnston (Lambton), Amendment negatived.