October 6, 1903

TREADGOLD COMMISSION.

?

Hon. J. I.@

I would like to inquire from the government whether or not any report has yet been received from the commissioners who were appointed to investigate certain matters in connection with) the Tneadgold and other concessions in the Yukon ? If the report has not been received, I would like to inquire whether or not the evidence has been received, and in either case I would like to know the intention of the government as to printing that evidence in full.

The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS Hon. James Sutherland). The right hon. the Prime Minister is not at present in the House, but I will mention the matter to him, and my hon. friend might renew his question when he is present.

Topic:   TREADGOLD COMMISSION.
Permalink

SUPPLY-MAIL SERVICE AT PICTON.


The POSTMASTER GENERAL (Hon. Sir William Mulock) moved that the House go again into Committee of Supply.


CON

George Oscar Alcorn

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. G. O. ALCORN (Prince Edward).

Before the House goes into Committee of Supply, I desire to call the attention of the hon. the Postmaster General to the very unsatisfactory condition of affairs at Picton post office. The mails for Picton are delivered from the (Grand Trunk Railway over the Central Ontario Railway. The trains over this railway arrive very irregularly, and in consequence the mails are not delivered in the post office until long after the proper hour. The railway company carries the mail on the same train that they use for shunting and handling all the freight at the stations along the line, so that its arrival at Picton is very irregular. While the railway company is largely to blame, the staff of the post office is also highly inefficient, and the time occupied by them in the sorting and distribution of the mails is utterly unreasonable. In fact the staff has never been an efficient staff. The postmaster has had no clerical training and the hands in the office have been boys, also without training. With the exception of one young mail named Belch, there has never been a really efficient or competent official in that post office under this (Government. I hope the Postmaster General will find means to remedy this evil,

which is a cause of inconvenience to all of the inhabitants of Picton. Mails which should be delivered at 9 a.m. o'clock, or 9.30 a.m. at the outside, are frequently not delivered until 11 o'clock, and a similar state of affairs exists in the afternoon.

Topic:   SUPPLY-MAIL SERVICE AT PICTON.
Permalink
?

The POSTMASTER GENERAL.

I am sorry to learn from my hon. friend (Mr. Alcorn) that any cause for complaint exists, and I will take all possible means to remedy any evil. As to the first portion of the hon. gentleman's complaint, that mail trains are used for handling local freight as well as for handling passengers, I fear the remedy is beyond the control of the government. As to any inefficiency on the part of the post office staff, that is a matter for which the government is responsible, and if this condition should continue it would be a ground of complaint against the government. Therefore, I assure my hon. friend that any ground of complaint of that kind will cease at the earliest possible moment. As to the former ground of complaint, I will bring that matter to the attention of the railway in question and ascertain whether it would be possible for them to improve their methods.

Topic:   SUPPLY-MAIL SERVICE AT PICTON.
Permalink

AMERICAN COASTING LAWS.

?

The MINISTER OF CUSTOMS (Hon. William Paterson).

I wish for .a few minutes to allude to a question on which some difference of opinion occurred in the House the other day, and which I think it is desirable to have cleared up. I refer to the differences of opinion between the hon. member for Leeds (Mr. Taylor) and the right hon. Prime Minister and myself with reference to the bonding privilege and coasting laws as exercised by the United States. It will be remembered that the Prime Minister thought that goods could not be shipped from one point or place in the United States to another American port or place except in American vessels. The hon. member for Leeds (Mr. Taylor) thought he was wrong in that, and that it might be shipped in Canadian vessels as well as in American vessels. On that occasion I read the law of the United States, which is: .

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled: That no merchandise shall be transported by water under penalty of forfeiture thereof from one part of the United States either directly or via a foreign port or for any part of the voyage in any other vessel than a vessel of the United States.

The leader of the opposition on that occasion said it would depend upon what interpretation might be put upon the word ' voyage,' and asked if there had been any decisions of the Supreme Court in that ease. I said I was not aware, that the commissioner of the department was looking to see. Well, the commissioner has not been able to find any decisions. But we have here Mr. ALCORN.

the customs regulations of the United States, the instructions given to their officers by the Treasury Department, which they are to carry out in this respect, and they are set forth in article 707 :

Merchandise in transit from one port or place within the territory of the United States to another by a route a part of which is by land carriage through the Dominion of Canada, and a part by the great lakes and the rivers connecting the same, or by the River St. Lawrence, may be transported by water in American vessels only from ports on the northern frontier of the United States to ports on the Canadian frontier for transhipment to railway cars, from points on the Canadian frontier at the termini of railway transportation, to ports on the northern frontier of the United States.

It is as the Customs Departmeut thought, and as the Prime Minister thought; it is absolutely forbidden by tbeir statute as interpreted by their customs regulations, to carry goods otherwise than in American vessels from one American port to another. However, while the department felt sure, it did not like to speak too positively, and we thought we would find out positively how this matter stood, and for that reason the Commissioner of Customs wired Mr. Drewitt, who is Canadian Customs Officer at Depot Harbour, ou October 1st, 1903 :

Regarding freight originating in Boston destined for Duluth, carried by railway to Depot Harbour, will American officer allow this to be carried from Depot Harbour to Duluth in British vessel, wire reply.

The reply is as follows :

Depot Harbour, Ont., October, 1903. To John McDougald,

Commissioner of Customs,

Ottawa.

American customs officer will not allow freight originating in Boston destined for Duluth to be carried in British vessels from Depot Harbour to Duluth.

(Sgd.) F. J. DREWITT.

While that has reference to package freight, we wanted to be sure. It was suggested then that they might allow it to be carried for export, that grain originating at Duluth or Chicago might be sent to Liverpool via Boston. I said at the time that I did mot think that could be done. But I did not wisli to speak too positively, and in order to find out that point positively, the commissioner, on the 1st of October, wired Mr. Drewitt, the customs officer at Depot Harbour, Ontario, as follows :

Regarding American wheat from Duluth to Liverpool transported by railway from Depot Harbour to Boston, will American officer allow this wheat to be carried in British vessel from Duluth to Depot Harbour ? Wire reply.

This is the reply : .

Depot. Harbour, October, 1903.

To John McDougald.

Commissioner of Customs,

Ottawa.

American customs officer will not allow American wheat from Duluth consigned to Liverpool

[DOT]via Depot Harbour and Boston to be carried on other than American vessels.

(Sgd.) F. J. DREWITT,

Customs Officer.

Now, I tliinlc that places the question in such a clear light before the House, that there can be no further doubt, and I have read these telegrams thinking they might be useful to the House.

Topic:   SUPPLY-MAIL SERVICE AT PICTON.
Subtopic:   AMERICAN COASTING LAWS.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN (Halifax).

The hon. gentleman has made a portion of that matter fairly clear, but there is one aspect of it which he has not made clearer than it was before, and as to which I do not think his references have any application. It is perfectly clear, .notwithstanding what the hon. gentleman has said that we can bring grain or any other freight capable of being stored in an elevator, from Duluth or Chicago to Depot Harbour, consigned to Depot Harbour,

- and store it in an elevator there; then, after it has been so stored, we can route it thence either by Boston or by any port in Canada. But I would like to point out to the Minister of Customs that what the right hon. gentleman said in the course of the debate to which he has made reference, is something very different from that which the Minister of Customs has placed before the House to-day. Here is the language of the right hon. gentleman to be found on pages 12647 and 12648 of 'Hansard':

We would have to manag a fleet of steamers. There is something more. The fleet maintained on the lakes for the purpose of supplying traffic to the' Canada Atlantic Railway is composed in part of American bottoms. It would be impossible to have the trade we have to-day unless it was carried in American bottoms. We can carry Canadian freight in Canadian bottoms, but you cannot take freight at Duluth, Chicago or Milwaukee or any of the western ports and bring it to Depot Harbour except in American bottoms.

The PRIME MINISTER Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier). That was qualified.

Topic:   SUPPLY-MAIL SERVICE AT PICTON.
Subtopic:   AMERICAN COASTING LAWS.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

The right hon. gentleman did not qualify it at all. I am reading his own language.

Topic:   SUPPLY-MAIL SERVICE AT PICTON.
Subtopic:   AMERICAN COASTING LAWS.
Permalink
?

The PRIME MINISTER.

That is not all.

Topic:   SUPPLY-MAIL SERVICE AT PICTON.
Subtopic:   AMERICAN COASTING LAWS.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I will read it all :

The bonding privilege of the Americans has been so devised as to make that a necessity. Therefore the Canadian government would have to become the owners of a fleet of steamers under American register.

It is perfectly obvious, not only from the fact that the right hon. gentleman did not qualify his language, but from another circumstance, that he was under that impression at the time; because we were not proposing to acquire the Canada Atlantic Railway or any other extension of the Intercolonial to the Georgian bay for the purpose of taking freight to Boston, we were proposing to acquire that railway for the purpose of taking freight to Halifax,

and St. John, and Quebec, and Montreal. That is what my right hon. friend was dealing with, if he was dealing with anything. Nothing could be more absolute, nothing could be more unqualified than his language which I have just read. The right hon. gentleman was dealing with a railway which, we will say, transports a considerable portion of grain from Duluth and Chicago to Depot Harbour. That grain, so far as I am aware, is carried principally if not altogether from Canadian ports. I asked my right hon. friend the other day whether he was aware that any considerable portion of this grain was exported from United States ports-I am referring to grain brought to Depot Harbour and carried by the Canada Atlantic Railway to Montreal. My right hon. friend was not able to say that any considerable portion of that grain did go by American ports. What w'e were dealing with was bringing American grain to Depot Harbour and transporting that grain to Europe via Canadian ports. My right hon. friend obviously was of the opinion that that could not be done, otherwise he would not have used the absolute and unqualified language which he did use with regard to that matter.

Topic:   SUPPLY-MAIL SERVICE AT PICTON.
Subtopic:   AMERICAN COASTING LAWS.
Permalink
?

The PRIME MINISTER.

I have only one word to say. I cannot find at this moment my language, but I am satisfied that if my hon. friend (Mr. Borden, Halifax) will look again and see what I said, he will find that I stated that the traffic of the Canada Atlantic Railway was American traffic passing from American ports to American ports and that that traffic could not be carried on the lake except in American bottoms to be bonded on the Canada Atlantic Railway. That is the statement which I made at the time, certainly which I intended to make and I am pretty sure that I did so in so many words in some part of the remarks which I made.

Topic:   SUPPLY-MAIL SERVICE AT PICTON.
Subtopic:   AMERICAN COASTING LAWS.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

My right hon. friend (Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier) stated that two days afterwards in reply to a question put to him, but I do not think he stated it at that time. May I be permitted to bring another matter to the attention of the gov* ernment, and it is the very negligent and careless way in which the returns have been brought down in compliance with an address of the House of Commons dated the 11th of May, 1903. I moved on that date for copies of all Orders in Council, memorials, letters, telegrams and other correspondence relating to the granting of provincial autonomy to the Nortlh-w,est Territories. On the 19th of June, I directed the attention of the government to the fact that these documents had not been brought down. On the 26th of June my right hon. friend the Prime Minister brought down certain documents and said that there were some more to follow. On the 29th of June I moved that these documents should be printed. On the

20tli of July, after having examined these documents which had been brought down, I spoke of this return and pointed out a very long list of documents which I had been at great pains to tabulate, and which had not been included in the return brought down. Some of the documents which had been omitted were of the most important character. My right lion, friend said that these further documents would be brought down. On a subsequent occasion the lion. Minister of the Interior (Hon. Mr. Sifton) made a request for the postponement of the discussion of certain financial questions touching the North-west Territories to which I agreed. This was on the same day, the 20th July, and I suggested that the documents should be put in chronological order and should be printed. On the 24th July the hon. Minister of the Interior brought down a further return. I pointed out to him once more that a number of documents which were of very great importance had not been included in the former return. He stated that certain of these documents could not be found, and I offered to supply copies of the documents which could not be found, because I had obtained them from the printed proceedings of the North-west Territories. The first return which was brought down is printed as Sessional Paper No. 110, and the second return is printed as Sessional Paper No. 116a. These returns are still imperfect as a very large number of letters have been omitted and particularly two letters of very great importance, one from the right hon. Prime Minister to Mr. Haultain dated the 8th of June, 1903, and Mr. Haultain's reply dated 15th June, 1903. Besides those I believe from the very hasty examination of the return that a very considerable number of other letters to which I called the attention of the government have not yet been brought down. I do not know whether they are of great importance or not because I have not had time to go over the matter again. I spent half a day in July in going over the documents, and I gave a long list of the letters which were required and which will be found at pages 6891-2 of the revised ' Hansard.' The right hon. gentleman will find that I gave a list of between thirty and forty letters that have not been included in the first return brought down. I do not know whether it would be possible at this period of the session to bring down these documents and have them printed. I do think a little more care should be exercised in regard to these matters. I know there was some difficulty because a certain portion of the correspondence was in the Department of the Interior, and a certain other portion was in the hands of the right hon. Prime Minister. The return which lias been brought down is in a most embarrassing condition. You look for a letter of June, 1901, and you find it at the end of Sessional Paper No. 116a, the second return, while Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

you find another letter of a subsequent date at the beginning of the first return. The letters seem to have been thrown together in a confused heap and printed just as they were brought down. To place these important documents before the House in that way is of no assistance to any member of this House who desires to understand the position of affairs as disclosed by this correspondence. If there is not enough clerical assistance in the service of the government or in the service of this House to see that the returns are put in proper order, 1 think we had better make a sufficient appropriation to provide for that work. I would be ashamed as far as any work in my own business is concerned, and I think any corporation would be ashamed to have documents brought down in so irregular and confused a condition for the purpose of dismissing a business question of any kind, and why we should have to submit to this in connection with the public business is more than I can understand. It is not for want of attention on my part, because I spent nearly a whole day some time before the 20th of July for the purpose of ascertaining what documents had not Ibeen brought down and of suggesting to the government the importance of having these documents brought down in an orderly arrangement. I trust that when documents of great importance are brought down in the future there will be some attention given to the work of having them arranged in chronological order. It would not be out of place where documents are somewhat voluminous to have the return accompanied by an index and to have the printed return accompanied by an index, so that we could readily get at any document that we require. But really a great waste of time is imposed upon those members who desire to study documents brought down in this manner and there must be an absolutely unnecessary waste of time under the circumstances of this case.

Topic:   SUPPLY-MAIL SERVICE AT PICTON.
Subtopic:   AMERICAN COASTING LAWS.
Permalink
?

The PRIME MINISTER.

There are two documents which perhaps my hon. friend (Mr. Borden, Halifax) would like to have ; those are the letter of myself to Mr. Haul-tain of the 8th of June, and the answer of Mr. Haultain of the 15th of June. I can bring these down this very day. In regard to the remarks made by my hon. friend, I must admit that the returns are brought down in a very slovenly manner. I shall give directions at once that an officer shall be appointed whose duty it shall be be to prepare all documents properly for presentation to this House. In former years I had often to complain of this matter. I am very sorry that we have not made very much improvement in this regard. I agree with what my hon. friend has said.

If I may be permitted to revert to the subject which was mentioned a moment ago, I would call my hon. friend's attention to page 12*147 of ' Hansard,' where he will find the remark that I made :

I come now to the main proposition of my hon. friend. He proposes to acquire the Canada Atlantic Railway as it exists to-day. But though the government may acquire the Canada Atlantic Railway, it certainly could not operate it. How could you expect that a Canadian government could possibly, with any advantage to the country operate the Canada Atlantic Railway. It is within the knowledge of everybody that at this moment three-fourths at least of the business of the Canadian Pacific Railway and three-fourths of the business of the Canada Atlantic Railway is American business. It is business connected with the western states and carried to its destination in the eastern states. The Canadian government could not compete for that business if we were to acquire that railway.

Then I proceeded to give the reasons.

Topic:   SUPPLY-MAIL SERVICE AT PICTON.
Subtopic:   AMERICAN COASTING LAWS.
Permalink

Motion agreed to, and House went into Committee of Supply. Abbott's Harbour, N.S., $700.


?

The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS (Hon. James Sutherland).

This is to build an addition to the beach protection 30 feet in length. This is the amount estimated to complete the work.

Topic:   SUPPLY-MAIL SERVICE AT PICTON.
Subtopic:   AMERICAN COASTING LAWS.
Permalink
CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARKE.

What county is it in ?

Topic:   SUPPLY-MAIL SERVICE AT PICTON.
Subtopic:   AMERICAN COASTING LAWS.
Permalink
?

The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

Yarmouth.

Topic:   SUPPLY-MAIL SERVICE AT PICTON.
Subtopic:   AMERICAN COASTING LAWS.
Permalink

October 6, 1903