April 10, 1905

THE TELEPHONE COMMITTEE.

LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK moved :

That Mr. Miller and Mr. Lewis be added to the Select Standing Committee on Telephones.

Topic:   THE TELEPHONE COMMITTEE.
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Motion agreed to.


INTERCOLONIAL RAILWAY-RUNNING

RIGHTS OYER CANADA ATLANTIC RAILWAY.

?

Hon. H. R.@

EMMERSON (Minister of Railways and Canals) moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 132) to amend the Government Railways Act. He said ; There is legislation before the House with reference to the transfer of the Canada Atlantic Railway system to the Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada, and by which legislative authority is sought to conclude the transaction. It was deemed advisable by the government in the public interest that notice should be given to the parties before this legislative authority is granted that certain running powers should be reserved over the Canada Atlantic Railway system for the government system of railways. The proposal in this Bill is to reserve running powers for the Intercolonial Railway system and for any extension of the government railway system over the line from Montreal to C6teau and over the main trunk line of the Canada Atlantie Railway and all its branches. This Bill provides that the government shall have the right to run through freight and passenger trains and to do a local passenger business over this line. It is provided also that the compensation which shall be paid by the government to the Grand Trunk Railway for this privilege shall be determined by the Railway Commission, from which there shall be an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. Under the Railway Act, 1903, an appeal from the decision of the Railway Commission would lie to the Governor in Council, hut as the government system of railways would be under the control and management of the Governor in Council, it would he anomalous that the appeal of one of the parties should go before that tri-

bunaI. The appeal Is therefore made by reference from the decision of the Railway Commission to the Supreme Court. The tariff rates shall be subject to the Railway Commission in the same way as tariff rates on other railways, that is to say, all freight and passenger rates over the Canada Atlantic system and the Grand Trunk system shall be subject to the decision of the Railway Commission. All freight originating on the Canada Atlantic system or on the Grand Trunk system for points on the Intercolonial (system shall be subject to the same tariff rates as freight originating on all other railways working on that system. It would be very unfair to have * the Intercolonial take freight at any point along the Canada Atlantic Railway upon terms that would be subject to its own decision. Therefore, it has been deemed wise to make the tariff rates along the line of the Canada Atlantic subject to the judgment of the Railway Commission, and also to make all freight originating on that system to be transported over the Intercolonial Railway to Canadian seaports subject to the judgment of the Railway Commission. I have thus in a few words described the purview of this Bill, and its further discussion will no doubt come up at a later stage.

Topic:   INTERCOLONIAL RAILWAY-RUNNING
Subtopic:   RIGHTS OYER CANADA ATLANTIC RAILWAY.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

Mr. Speaker, the minister has not favoured us with a very elaborate statement of the policy of the government which has resulted in this Bill. However, as he says, we shall have an opportunity of getting a little closer to that a little later on. I must confess that I do not at present understand what is the full scope of section 4 of the Bill, which I have only had an opportunity to glance at. I would not be surprised if the minister would find that that section at least will require some amendment. As far as the whole scope of the measure is concerned, I would like to point out that it is now five or six years since the late Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Blair) brought a measure into this House for the extension of the Intercolonial Railway from Levis to Montreal. We all know the ground upon which he advocated that extension ; first of all, that it was absolutely necessary, in the interest of the Intercolonial Railway, , that it should be so extended as to enable it to compete with the other great lines of the country for the traffic of the west. We know also the expectations which were then held out to the country by the government through the mouth of Mr. Blair. It was pointed out that the Intercolonial Railway for a number of years had been piling up deficits, and the government practically announced to the country that the era of , deficits was absolutely past, and that the ' extension of the Intercolonial to Montreal at very great expense would certainly resuit in our securing a very large share of the western traffic. We were to secure that by Mr. EMMERSON.

means of a certain traffic arrangement which we made with the Grand Trunk Railway Company at that time. Practically the only advantage which the Intercolonial Railway or the country has ever received from that traffic arrangement is an arbitration which is now going on between this country and the Grand Trunk Railway Company, in which the country is claiming that in respect of nearly every article of that traffic arrangement, the Grand Trunk Railway Company has not fulfilled its part, but has from the first carried to the city of Portland in the United States the traffic which should have gone over the Intercolonial Railway to our maritime ports. That is about the net result, except that the deficits on the Intercolonial Railway have been somewhat larger since that extension to Montreal than they were before. My hon. friend the Minister of Railways and Canals has not indulged in any prophecies to-day, which I imagine is very wise on his part; but let me point out for one moment what the attitude of the government is with respect to this very matter, compared with what it was only a few years ago. The object at that time, as declared by the Minister of Railways and Canals, was to reach out and obtain a portion of the western traffic. Mr. Blair, when Minister of Railways and Canals, frankly admitted to the House and the country that that extension of the Intercolonial to Montreal had not fulfilled his expectations, and had not resulted in giving to the country any appreciable share in that traffic which he had expected to procure ; and he pointed out, while he was still Minister of Railways and Canals, the desirability of carrying that railway still further west, because at Montreal, we had no western connections, whereas, if the Intercolonial Railway were extended to the great lakes, we would there be in a position to compete on even terms with the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Grand Trunk Railway. I cannot pass over this without once more directing the attention of the Minister of Railways and Canals to the fact that in addition to Mr. Russell, who represented Halifax and afterwards Hants in this House, my hon. friend the Minister of Railways and Canals, then a private member of this House, was perhaps the most earnest advocate of the extension of the Intercolonial Railway to the Georgian bay by the acquisition of the Canada Atlantic Railway itself, and not by the acquisition of running rights over that railway. The government apparently had new light on the question later on. They came to the conclusion, at the time the policy of the government respecting railway matters waa introduced by the Prime Minister in 1903, that the operation of railways in this country was not a good thing in the interest of the country. I could easily quote a dozen very strong statements to that effect by

the Prime Minister, the Postmaster General and others. The attitude of the government in the sessions of 1903 and 1904, when their railway policy was discussed, was this : it is not wise in the interest of

Canada to operate railways ; it is however wise in the interest of Canada to build our own railways, and to let private companies operate them. The position of the government to-day is just as complete a reversal of their attitude of last year and the year before as that attitude was a complete reversal of what they said in 1898. Their attitude during the sessions of 1903 and 1904 was this : let us build and own railways, but let us operate them. Their attitude to-day, as announced by the Minister of Railways, is, let us not build our own railways. hut let us operate railways owned by private corporations. This is exactly the reverse of the policy laid down in 1903 and 1904. For my part, X do not see how both these positions can be in consonance with what is wise in the interests of the country. If it be a good thing to operate this railway, it seems a little dif-ticult to understand why it would not be equally a wise policy to operate what is known as the eastern division of the Transcontinental. However there will be an opportunity later on to discuss some of these matters. Let me add this further. As far as I understand the policy of railway companies, such a company does not take or accept running rights whenever it can get anything better. Whenever it can acquire the ownership of a connecting road on fair and reasonable terms, it is always considered good policy to do so rather than content itself with running powers only, especially when the corporation which owns the road, over which running powers are required, must after all have a dominant voice in determining how those powers shall be exercised : The government told us last

session and the session before that it would be impossible to operate the Canada Atlantic successfully, even if the country owned it unless they equipped it with a fleet of steamers on the lake, built elevators at Parry Sound and kept an army of canvassers in the west to solicit trade in competition with the Grand Trunk Railway. Well, if all those things were essential after you had acquired the Canada Atlantic, will they not he much more essential if you propose to operate that railway, and operate it, not with perfect control, but in direct competition with the Grand Trunk Railway, which not only has jjractical control over it but will have connections all through that western country and that large fleet of steamers on the lake which the right bon. gentleman declared to be absolutely necessary. These are the considerations which struck me at first blush on hearing the Minister of Railways. We shall have an opportunity of debating the question later

on, but my own view certainly is, subject to what I may learn in the debate, that if it be a wise policy to extend the Intercolonial Railway to Parry Sound, it would be infinitely better to do this by acquiring this road and thus have our own line from Halifax or St. John to Parry Sound or some other point on the Georgian Bay, and operate it as a part of the Intercolonial Railway. These are the considerations which strike me at the moment.

Topic:   INTERCOLONIAL RAILWAY-RUNNING
Subtopic:   RIGHTS OYER CANADA ATLANTIC RAILWAY.
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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAGGART.

Some time ago I asked the right hon. gentleman the leader of the government whether any negotiations had taken place between the government and the Grand Trunk Railway or the Canadian Pacific Railway with reference to the acquisition of the Grand Trunk Railway by the Canada Atlantic or the obtaining by the government of any concessions or running powers over the Canada Atlantic. I was assured by the right hon. gentleman that no negotiations of any kind had been conducted. That reply seemed strange to me after the statement of the president of the Grand Trunk Railway when addressing the directors-not only his directors but the owners of the road over in England-that he was sorry that he could not take them fully into bis confidence because if he could there would be no objection to the proposition to acquire the Canada Atlantic Railway. That foreshadowed to my mind some negotiations, tentative or otherwise, with the government of this country or with some other corporation with reference to the acquisition of the Canada Atlantic. I have not seen the Bill which the hon. Minister of Railways has introduced and I cannot say positively in what manner he has secured over the Grand Trunk Railway and the Canada Atlantic running powers from Montreal to Coteau and from Coteau on to Georgian bay. As far as I can understand, he says the rates are to be fixed by a tariff, which must first of all be passed upon by the Railway Commission with a right of appeal to the Supreme Court. A tariff may be fixed in a great many ways. Running powers may contemplate the ownership or part ownership of tlie road and a division of charges according to the running rights which each company may exercise and the user of each, as is done in the case of the extension of the Intercolonial Railway into Montreal. In that case we virtually purchased a half ownership in the bridge and the connecting line to the bridge and the terminal facilities in Montreal, and then we pay into the Grand Trunk Railway according to the users of the Intercolonial Railway. If the tariff rates are to be fixed on any such principle as that, and they must be, the government are contemplating the ownership directly or indirectly of that portion of the Grand Trunk Railway between Montreal and Coteau and of the Canada Atlantic from Coteau to Georgian bay. Of course we will see all this when the Bill comes down as

well as the reasons which induced the government to take these running powers. As I have said again and again, I am utterly opposed to the acquisition of any road or any running powers on what may be exorbitant terms by the government from Montreal to Georgian bay. Even if we should get ownership on reasonable terms, I do not think there is any necessity for the .government obtaining possession ' of this road. I know that my own views in that re-sjject differ from those of a good many others. I believe that the time will come when it will not be an advantage for any railway company to haul freight from Georgian bay to Montreal. I believe that the time is coming fast when the hauling of freight by railway will be supplanted by more economical ways and that, therefore, there is no advantage to the people to be derived from the extension of the Intercolonial Railway to Georgian bay.

Topic:   INTERCOLONIAL RAILWAY-RUNNING
Subtopic:   RIGHTS OYER CANADA ATLANTIC RAILWAY.
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LIB

Henry Robert Emmerson (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. EMMERSON.

I understand my hon. friend to say that he is opposed to the acquisition of these powers or to the acquisition of the railway in any way upon exorbitant terms.

Topic:   INTERCOLONIAL RAILWAY-RUNNING
Subtopic:   RIGHTS OYER CANADA ATLANTIC RAILWAY.
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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAGGART.

I am opposed to- it at any time. I cannot see what advantage it would be. You have the Grand Trunk Railway, the Canada Atlantic and the Canadian Pacific Railway at present connecting with Georgian bay. If you have any freight to send to St. John or Halifax, you have competition to the fullest extent possible to Montreal, so that it will be of no advantage to the people or the Intercolonial Railway to have running powers over any other railway. These running powers can be of no use to the railway which has them unless for one object: that is as a lever in the making of freight arrangements with the road. We could have these running rights without any legislation whatever, for the General Railway Act gives the Railway Commission power to give running rights to one road over any part of another if it deems it necessary.

Topic:   INTERCOLONIAL RAILWAY-RUNNING
Subtopic:   RIGHTS OYER CANADA ATLANTIC RAILWAY.
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LIB

Henry Robert Emmerson (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. EMMERSON.

Not to the Intercolonial. The Railway Commission does not control the Intercolonial.

Topic:   INTERCOLONIAL RAILWAY-RUNNING
Subtopic:   RIGHTS OYER CANADA ATLANTIC RAILWAY.
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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAGGART.

I am not aware as yet, nor do I believe, that the Intercolonial or a government railway is an exception to that rule. Why should not the Intercolonial be in the same category as the others and have the same rights? However, I will put off further discussion of the subject until I see the Bill. I am rather afraid that the terms upon which we are to acquire the rights given under this Bill will not be of advantage to the people of Canada.

Topic:   INTERCOLONIAL RAILWAY-RUNNING
Subtopic:   RIGHTS OYER CANADA ATLANTIC RAILWAY.
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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I stated some time ago to my hon. friend (Mr. Haggart) that there had been no negotiations of any kind between the Grand Trunk and the government with respect to the acquisition by Mr. HAGGART.

the government of the Canada Atlantic Railway. That statement I now repeat.

Topic:   INTERCOLONIAL RAILWAY-RUNNING
Subtopic:   RIGHTS OYER CANADA ATLANTIC RAILWAY.
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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAGGART.

I rather thought my question went further than that.

Topic:   INTERCOLONIAL RAILWAY-RUNNING
Subtopic:   RIGHTS OYER CANADA ATLANTIC RAILWAY.
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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

What was the question?

Topic:   INTERCOLONIAL RAILWAY-RUNNING
Subtopic:   RIGHTS OYER CANADA ATLANTIC RAILWAY.
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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAGGART.

Whether the government had had any negotiations with the Grand Trunk Railway Company or the Canada Atlantic Railway Company as to the acquisition by the Grand Trunk of the Canada Atlantic Railway or contemplated running powers to the government road.

Topic:   INTERCOLONIAL RAILWAY-RUNNING
Subtopic:   RIGHTS OYER CANADA ATLANTIC RAILWAY.
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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

My answer is the same as in the other case. There have been no negotiations. With regard to the main feature of the Bill, I have simply to observe, in answer to my hon. friend for Carleton (Mr. II. L. Borden) and my hon. friend from South Lanark (Mr. Haggart), that the Bill simply gives power to the government to acquire running rights over the Canada Atlantic system from Montreal to Cdteau and from Coteau over the Canada Atlantic to Georgian bay. And it provides nothing else. It is not the intention of the government, at the present time, to run the Intercolonial up to Georgian bay and organize the system, but we take the power to acquire running rights, and then, if they are to be exercised, the terms are to be fixed by the Railway Commission. At present the Railway Commission has not jurisdiction over the Intercolonial. We take these powers, to use or not use as may seem wise.

Topic:   INTERCOLONIAL RAILWAY-RUNNING
Subtopic:   RIGHTS OYER CANADA ATLANTIC RAILWAY.
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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

The very clear and emphatic statement of the ex-Minister of Railways (Mr. Haggart), whom I may speak of as the railway expert of the Conservative party, has one advantage. It places matters very plainly before us from his point of view, and serves to disabuse the public mind of an idea, which, I think, has prevailed to a large extent. That idea is that it was the policy of the Conservative party, had it been returned to power at the last, general election, to acquire the Canada Atlantic Railway and extend the Intercolonial by that connection to Georgian bay, and that the failure of this government to so acquire the Canada Atlantic Railway was a grave mistake. It is always a fair matter of opinion whether these railway extensions are desirable or not ; but, in this instance, we have now, from the railway expert of hon. gentlemen opposite, a clear and emphatic statement, so far as he has a right to voice the opinion of the opposition-

Topic:   INTERCOLONIAL RAILWAY-RUNNING
Subtopic:   RIGHTS OYER CANADA ATLANTIC RAILWAY.
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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAGGART.

I am only voicing my own opinion

Topic:   INTERCOLONIAL RAILWAY-RUNNING
Subtopic:   RIGHTS OYER CANADA ATLANTIC RAILWAY.
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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

Quite so, I realize that.

Mr. HAGGART-as I voiced it before.

Topic:   INTERCOLONIAL RAILWAY-RUNNING
Subtopic:   RIGHTS OYER CANADA ATLANTIC RAILWAY.
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April 10, 1905