I am referring to the hon. member for South Lanark (Mr. Hag-gart), who certainly has taken a very sectional view. I recognize this proposition as a necessity in the interests of the Intercolonial ; the Intercolonial I recognize to be a road in the interest of all Canada.
The bridge is an incident of the railway. I do not propose to follow my hon. friend in his remarks with respect to the railway, but I think I can fairly claim that this bridge is a coincident of the railway. The Canada Eastern is a necessity of the Intercolonial, and the maintenance of the Intercolonial is a necessity by reason of the pact of confederation, Under these circumstances, it seems to me my hon. friend from Lanark is travelling far afield, and most unfairly, in his remarks with respect to the purchase of this road.
The hon. gentleman is adopting a style of argument I have heard before. I heard a gentleman once brag that he was the Governor General of Ontario. He said that he ruled his mother, his mother ruled the bishop, and the bishop ruled the Governor General. That is the style of argument the hon. gentleman is adopting. He says the bridge is connected with the railway, the railway is connected with the Intercolonial, and the Intercolonial is one of the biggest works in the Dominion of Canada ; therefore, he can discuss almost any subject upon this question.
My hon. friend knows that he is wrong, and he knows that his friends will not support him. But I will not take up the time of the House in discussing the question of the bridge, he will appreciate that.
Now that the First Minister has come in, I would again call attention to that fourth section of the Bill. I think it was understood by the House that the intention was to take this bridge property over as property of the Dominion, in fact to foreclose the property. I am pointing out that under the provisions of that 4th section the government will be simply mortgagees in possession, liable to account for rents of the bridge. Now if the government say that is what they in-1 tend, well and good, we have to allow the government to do as it pleases. But it does seem to me an extraordinary thing, the mortgagor being in default, that we should simply take possession, leaving the ownership where it is. The result is sure to be that in a few years the gentlemen who are interested in the equity of redemption will be coming to parliament and making a case for the grant of a few hundred thousand dollars, because we have been in possession of a bridge and have been making money out of it, and that money ought to belong to them, and we should account for it. The hon. gentleman has perhaps made up his mind whether he is going to take that bridge off their hands or not, and if he intends to do that, this clause is not sufficient. But if he admits that he does not intend to foreclose ; then he is simply putting the government in possession, liable to the mortgagor to account for every dollar received on the bridge and every dollar expended upon it.
From the speeches of my hon. friend the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Emmerson) and of my hon. friend from Hamilton (Mr. Barker), I would infer that the bridge is not part of the railway proposed to be bought but belongs to some separate corporation. Under this Bill, the bridge being necessary for the running of the railway over the river and the bridge being in the possession of the vendors of the railway, the government are placing themselves in exactly the same position as that in which the vendors of the railway are at the present time.
The government have made large advances, no money has been paid, the parties are in default, it is a hopeless undertaking, but the government, instead of foreclosing the business, are simply going to enter into possession and be liable to account for all revenue and expenditure.
I was right in my understanding of the position of the matter. The vendors have running rights over the bridge and the government wish to place themselves by this Bill in the same position as that which the vendors of the railway are in.