May 13, 1904

FIRST READINGS.


Bill (No. 105) respecting the Lake Erie and Detroit River Railway Company.-Mr. R. F. Sutherland. Bill (No. 106) to incorporate the Chicoutimi and Northeastern Railway Company.-Mr. German. Bill (No. 107) to incorporate the Great Lakes and Northwest Transportation Company.-Mr. German. Bill (No. 108) respecting the Canada Life Assurance Company.-Mr. Campbell. Bill (No. 109) to incorporate the Montreal, Nipissing and Georgian Bay Railway Company. Bill (No. Ill) respecting the Edmonton Street Railway Company.-Mr. Scott.


OTTAWA ELECTRIC COMPANY.


Mr. CHAMPAGNE moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 110) respecting the Ottawa Electric Company.


IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

I would like to ask for a short explanation of that Bill.

Topic:   OTTAWA ELECTRIC COMPANY.
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LIB

Louis Napoléon Champagne

Liberal

Mr. CHAMPAGNE.

I am not quite familiar with the details of the Bill, but the substance of it is to increase the capital stock of the company.

Topic:   OTTAWA ELECTRIC COMPANY.
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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

Is power asked to consolidate with any other company ?

Topic:   OTTAWA ELECTRIC COMPANY.
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LIB

Louis Napoléon Champagne

Liberal

Mr. CHAMPAGNE.

No ; it is simply to increase the capital stock, so far as I can see.

Topic:   OTTAWA ELECTRIC COMPANY.
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Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


NAVIGATION OF CANADIAN WATERS.


Hon. RAYMOND PREFONTAINE (Minister of Marine and Fisheries) moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 112) to amend the Act respecting the Navigation of Canadian Waters. He said : The reason of the Bill is to allow the Department of Marine and Fisheries to provide regulations upon which all mariners on the large lakes have agreed. The rules for years have been those adopted at the convention in Belgium about ten years ago ; but on the lakes the Americans have been following their own rules and the Canadian mariners also their own rules. That has created much inconvenience, and the Canadians have come to the conclusion that they had better agree with the Americans and have the same rules of navigation on inland waters.


L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

Will the rules be the same as those for the sea-board waters ?

Topic:   NAVIGATION OF CANADIAN WATERS.
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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

No.

Topic:   NAVIGATION OF CANADIAN WATERS.
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Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


NATIONALIZATION OF TELEPHONES.

IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN (East York).

Before the Orders of the Day are called, I intend to call the attention of the government to a matter of great importance, and in order that I may do so, I beg to move the adjournment of the House.

The matter to which I propose calling attention is the nationalization of the telephone and telegraph systems in this country.

Topic:   NATIONALIZATION OF TELEPHONES.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

A very urgent question.

Topic:   NATIONALIZATION OF TELEPHONES.
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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

A very urgent question and one which comes home to every one, and there is no time more opportune than the present. Every day's delay will increase the difficulty and involve a greater national expenditure and bring in a greater number of interests to be dealt with. The Postmaster General gave the public in a way to understand some years ago that he had such a project in view, and the Minister of Justice is on record as having pledged the government to introduce a general Act dealing with the telephone service, in which Act he was to provide for the nationalization of existing lines by the government, in so far as the trunk lines are concerned, and for the municipalization of local telephone services. So far, however, no progress has been made, and if for no other reason, I am warranted m making this motion and calling the attention of the government to their pledge. The telephone is one of the greatest conveniences of modern life. Its possibilities of usefulness and development are very great, but in order to realize these to their fullest extent, the system must be nationalized. We are confronted already with any number of difficulties in connection with the telephone service. In Ottawa the people voted for the municipalization of that service, but so far there is no provision in the law which would enable them to get a municipal system by taking over the Bell telephone system at a moderate price. Nor is there any provision to compel one telephone company to interchange its service with another, as in the case of railway companies. In Fort William and Port Arthur the people are suffering great inconvenience because of their inability to connect the first-class plant which they have established with the Bell telephone system or with the Canadian Pacific Railway and Canadian Northern Railway services, because of certain monopolies'enjoved by the Bell Telephone Company. The result of this is a deadlock in these towns and in a dozen other localities in Ontario. Down in Quebec there are several private lines owned by private companies which are anxious to do business with the Bell Telephone Company on fair terms, but the latter company refuses to give them any connection. There never will be any removal of these grievances until there is a general Act regulating the telephone companies and empowering the state to take them over. The experiment of nationalizing either telegraphs or telephones is not a new one. It has proved a great success in Great Britain. Only the other day Lord Stanley, the present Postmaster General, son of a nobleman well known to the people of this country, showed that he had picked up some political ideas in America, by proposing to nationalize the telephone system. 1-Ie introduced a measure in parliament providing for the taking over of the national telephone lines in England. Here is the despatch giving the information :

Topic:   NATIONALIZATION OF TELEPHONES.
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TO BUY TELEPHONE COMPANY.


Lord Stanley announced in the commons that the post office was negotiating for the purchase of the National Telephone Company. He asked for a small select committee to consider details and £3,000,000 for the work of the next live years. The post office system would cost a little under £8 per subscriber, though 90 per cent preferred the call system, at £6 10s., with penny messages. There were 110,128 miles of wire at present under London. The post office scheme would cost £2 less than the cheapest now in use. The London county council plan contemplated a plant sufficient for 40,000 subscribers, of which the post office had 15,299. The committee was given. In London a national system is proposed, which the post office is to take over, and according to the first announcement they will give the public telephones for two pounds less per year than the public are paying to-day. But a still better instance of state ownership is to be found in Sweden, where the condition of affairs is summed up as follows : Sweden is a sparsely inhabited country with a total population of slightly over 5,000,000. Telephones in Sweden are owned partly by private companies, but chiefly by the state-the number of instruments on the government system at the end of 1902 being 61,000, while the number on the other systems was estimated at about 30,000. This gives a telephone for every 553 of the inhabitants. As indicative of the rapid expansion of the state system it may be explained that the number of instruments in 1893 was only 16,000 and the increase in 1902 was upwards of 5,000, or nearly ten per cent. Although the capital expenditure has been about $6,700,000 the present debt on the state system is under $1,800,000, the difference of close on $5,000,000 having been paid out of surplus profits. It is evident, therefore, that in a short time Sweden will possess a valuable revenue producing asset free from all incumbrances, and which will have cost her nothing. In 1902 the gross receipts were about $1,325,000, and the working expenses under $600,000. After paying interest at 3 per cent equal to $55,000,


May 13, 1904