April 10, 1905

LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

But, occasional references are made to a former Minister of Rail-

ways on this side and to what he said, so, I think I can be doing nothing wrong in treating my hon. friend (Mr. Haggart) as the best authority on railway matters on the other side of the House. Therefore, I wish to call public attention to the fact that the idea, so widely prevalent that it was the policy of the Conservative party, if returned to power, to acquire the Canada Atlantic Railway, and that the failure of this government to acquire it was a grave mistake in the interest of the lower provinces-it is well to understand that this is all a delusion and that it was not the policy of hon. gentlemen opposite to acquire the Canada Atlantic Railway, inasmuch as their railway expert says that neither on exorbitant terms, nor on any other terms, would he agree to the acquisition of the Canada Atlantic Railway. And he objects to acquiring running powers over it. We have no reason to complain on that score. This Bill is a simple one. Many men in Canada -have thought that it .would be in the interest of the Intercolonial to acquire the Canada Atlantic Railway, or acquire running powers over it, or in some way use it as the western extension of the Intercolonial. A Bill having been introduced to transfer the Canada Atlantic to the Grand Trunk Railway-for that is what it means in effect ; though there will be two corporations, the Canada Atlantic Railway will be practically a part of the Grand Trunk Railway-it has been suggested, in deference to the opinion of many people who think we may be able to utilize the Canada Atlantic Railway as the western connection for the Intercolonial, that in passing that legislation we should reserve power to have running rights over that road, which power can be used if deemed expedient and practical. How far we may be able to use that power, how far it may be profitable-these are fair matters for consideration. We are not deciding that we shall use running powers, hut are simply reserving to the government and people of Canada power to have these running rights if, in the interest of the country, it be deemed expedient to use them ; and we provide that the terms and conditions on which we may claim that power shall be determined by the Railway Commission in the same way as a similar question would be determined if application were made by a private company. Now, I do not think there should be any opposition to that policy by those of hon. gentlemen opposite who believe in the policy of using the Canada Atlantic Railway as an extension of the Intercolonial. They should be pleased that we are acquiring, if not the road as they might desire, the running powers. And the hon. member for South Lanark (Mr. Haggart) need not be alarmed because we are simply reserving a power by legislation, leaving it to be considered hereafter whether that power can be profitably used. I agree with that hon. gentleman to a considerable extent that the argument in favour of securing running rights is that it puts the railway in whose favour tlie running rights are granted in a good position to claim a reasonable traffic arrangement. Even from that point of view, the taking of these powers might be of advantage to the Intercolonial. This is an empowering, permissive Bill. It secures to the government and people of Canada the right to use the Canada Atlantic Railway if it be found, at any future time, to be advisable.

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

Samuel Barker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARKER.

As I understand the hon. member for South Lanark (Mr. Haggart) he would object to acquiring either ownership or running powers. I do not see that to cite that opinion is an answer to the criticism of the hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden), who pointed out that you are taking the worst of the two. Having possibly the power to buy or the power to exercise running rights, the government take the one upon which they must lose. We are opposed, so far as we know the position now, to what is proposed by the Bill. I understand the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) to speak of this Bill as if it merely placed the government as regards a right to running powers in the position of an ordinary railway company under the General Act of 1903. But if that was what the minister intended, he has used rather singular words.

The minister shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, have, for the development of and in connection with the business of any government railway in his charge or direction by virtue of the Government Railway Act, running powers over

You are getting ' running powers over,' and does the Finance Minister mean to say that he is to take powers without paying for them ?

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.

No, certainly not. I stated that we were not bound to use the powers at all ; but we have the right under this Bill to use running powers over that road. If we do not wish to exercise that right, no harm is done ; but if we claim to exercise that right, we must have the terms fixed by the Railway -Commission.

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

Samuel Barker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARKER (reading) :

According to the terms and conditions and payment for compensation upon which said running powers may be so exereised.

Then you go on to settle it.

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 commission will settle that.

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

Samuel Barker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARKER.

Surely the gentleman who drew that Bill had no idea he was taking an option when the Bill gives absolute running powers.

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.

It gives them if the government claim them. It is an obligation on the Grand Trunk or on the Canada Atlantic Railway, but it is not an obligation for the government to pay for that which they do not use.

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

Samuel Barker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARKER.

The hon. gentleman says * if.' But there is no 1 if ' in the Bill, it is an absolute power.

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

Charles Fitzpatrick (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. FITZPATRICK.

There is no obligation to exercise it, surely.

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

Samuel Barker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARKER.

Does the Minister of Justice mean to say that we are to put in an Act of parliament power to do a thing and not exercise it ?

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

Charles Fitzpatrick (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. FITZPATRICK.

Undoubtedly. I can point the hon. gentleman a dozen clauses of the Railway Act which give actually the same powers, and these powers are not exercised. I think this discussion evidently demonstrates the wisdom of discussing Bills after they are printed, so that we may have some knowledge of their contents.

Mr. R, L. BORDEN. That is not the practice which has been followed lately.

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

Samuel Barker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARKER.

It demonstrates that they should be printed before they are introduced.

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

Charles Fitzpatrick (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. FITZPATRICK.

Then I think we had better introduce a new rule.

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

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

It demonstrates the unwisdom of the 21st of February.

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

Samuel Barker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARKER.

I would like to point out that the government are seeking these running powers to do a through-traffic which will necessitate the very thing the First Minister said would be ruinous if you owned the road. The First Minister told us two years ago, in discussing another matter, that if we were to acquire this railway we would have to build ships and hotels, and all that sort of thing ; and yet you are going to carry a freight and passenger traffic over the railway before you have any ships or hotels. What advantage would it be to you ? The owning company will build the ships and own them, and are they going to give you the traffic after bringing it there in their ships ? Common sense would tell the government that if they want any traffic they had better own the road, and give the rights to the Grand Trunk on any other company that wants them. You may find that when you are there with a privilege to exercise running powers-which is a very difficult power to exercise at any time-you will find obstructions in your way ; the Grand Trunk are not going to go out of their way to facilitate your business when, by a little trouble they will get the business themselves; while if you owned the road, the government of the country could treat the Grand Mr. BARKER.

Trunk, the Canadian Northern, or any other road, with perfect fairness. But you are putting yourselves in the hands of a rival company, a rival carrier, whose interest will be to prevent you getting one dollar's worth of traffic.

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

Charles Fitzpatrick (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. FITZPATRICK.

I think the country settled that question on the 4th of November last.

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

Samuel Barker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARKER.

Evidently this question has not been settled before introducing this Bill. There is a further point. This Bill on the face of it enables the government to carry through-freight only.

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.

And local passenger traffic.

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

Samuel Barker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARKER.

I think there is no serious question about passengers on that road for some time to come, but the freight is important. Now the Grand Trunk owning the road will have its own through-freight and the local freight, which latter is the fat freight, on which there is good profit. The Grand Trunk will have both the local freight, which is the profitable freight, and through-freight; while the government will have only skim milk through-freight which, under any circumstances, is likely to give a very thin profit indeed. The government is going to carry it for some .'175 miles in rivalry with a company that has both classes of freight. I think that any business corporation that had a opportunity to have both lines of traffic and preferred to take one, would not be regarded as a very keen business concern. The Grand Trunk can make money over that road when the government must lose, and yet voluntarily you take the losing position. Now the Grand Trunk cannot acquire the Canada Atlantic without the permission of parliament. If the Grand Trunk seek authority to acquire it, there is no obligation on the part of the country to give it that authority, not the slightest obligation to give any corporation power to buy up another corporation. We have only to hold our hands and they cannot do it, by simply remaining quiet, by holding our hands, we can prevent that line being bought up away from the Intercolonial. We are asked by another Bill before the House to facilitate the Grand Trunk in acquiring that property, and then we are to take the subordinate position. It seems to me an absurd thing from a business point of view.

,Mt. INGRAM. I quite agree with the Minister of Justice when he says that the discussion oi a Bill before it is printed is not profitable. But we are placed in that position by reason of other legislation that is likely to come before this House to-day, which may tell us something in connection with the Bill introduced by the Miuister of Railways and Canals. The hon. gentleman has not given a very elaborate discussion in

six minutes to this most important Bill, and he asks the members of this House to form an opinion and to criticise a measure which is to come up at a later period. Now the Minister of Finance also dwells on the statement made by the hon. member for Lanark, the ex-Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Haggart), and takes credit to himself because he finds that the ex-minister does not quite agree with some hon. gentlemen on this side of the House as to what ought to be the policy with reference to the extension of the Intercolonial. I would like to read for the benefit of my hon. friend what one of his colleagues in this House said on this question, and I think that people are inclined to hold a minister of the Crown much more responsible for his views than a private member, because they understand that he expresses the views of the government. The late Minister of Railways and Canals, when certain legislation was up for discussion in this House, said :

Now, my own view would be that if we wanted to pass railway legislation, if we wanted to do something of advantage for the transportation of the country, if we wanted to' secure to our Canadian seaports the transportation of western products, we would have extended the Intercolonial to Georgian bay by acquiring the Canada Atlantic.

That is the view of Mr. Blair when holding the portfolio of Minister of Railways in this government. Previous to this expression of opinion by Mr. Blair, we had the present Minister of Railways and Canals, then a private member, using this language, and 1 want to put both these gentlemen on record because I think they will offset the statement made by the Minister of Finance with regard to the remark made by my hon. friend from Lanark. The Minister of Railways and Canals, who was then a private member, used this language :

If the terms of confederation are to be carried out in their entirety, that the Intercolonial Railway shall be extended, it shall crawl further west year after year until possibly it shall extend to the granaries of the west and our seaports shall be the ports whence sail the rich products of the great western country. We hear much from hon. members who represent the western constituencies complaining of the exorbitant freight charges of the railway companies In the west. Complaint after complaint has been made, not merely in this House, but before the committees of this House. If there is to be remedy applied, one that will be apt and effective, that remedy will be found in the extension of the government system of railways into that western country, so that the government may control freight rates in the west in the same way as it now controls freight rates in the eastern section of Canada. I

I wish to put these two items on record to show7 that as a private member of this House the hon. gentleman entertained views entirely different from what the hon. gentleman entertains now7 and yet, knowing that to be the case that hon. gentleman has been made Minister of Railways and Canals. After all the statements that have been made in this House for seven long years in praise of the large sums of money expended on the Intercolonial Railway they have now turned completely around and are going to render the $70,000,000 we spent on the Intercolonial Railway less valuable to the people of this country by reason of their policy on the transportation question. I say, Sir, that the people of this country having expended a large sum on the government railways and having extended that system to Montreal, it is more than should be expected of the people of this country that they should accept this arrangement. If it is necessary that to make it a success it should be extended to the Georgian bay, I believe that would be in the interests of the people of this country, and I believe it would tend to lessen the large deficit we are bound to have from year to year unless something is done towards extending the Intercolonial Railway to the Georgian bay and the wheat fields of the west. I have heard what the ex-Minister of Railways and Canals has said, I mean the hon. gentleman from Lanark (Mr. Haggart), and I for one do not agree with his statement of action in regard to the extension of the government railway to the Georgian bay. As far as running powers over the Canada Atlanth, are concerned, any man w7ho knows anything about railway transportation at all knows perfectly well that the company owning the railway and granting running ights to another railway has a very unfair advantage over the company asking running rights over that railway and for that reason, I for one, am not satisfied with the legislation which is being introduced to-day ; neither am I satisfied with the legislation which was introduced the other day and which is likely to be discussed in a little w7hile from now, because I think the government is doing something they ought not to do in granting this legislation to the Grand Trunk Railway instead of acquiring the Canada Atlantic themselves in order to hold and manipulate the transportation lines in such a way as will benefit the Intercolonial Railway.

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

Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


April 10, 1905