April 10, 1905

CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAGGART.

We ought to have them here.

Mr, E. M. MACDONALD. My hon. friend will remember that the explanation was to the effect that these companies were kindred companies with the Canada Atlantic, and related to pieces of road which were not in Canada. My hon. friend will also recollect the statement which was there made with regard to the matter of stock, which statement I have not with me. I venture to submit that it is rather an un-sual proposition to ask that all these matters of detail which were thoroughly threshed out before the Railway Committee, should be gone into again. It seems to me that I have heard the rule laid down quite frequently, and sometimes by hon. gentlemen opposite, that when the railway or any other committee had considered such details, they were not to be taken up again by this House unless there was some grave reason for doing it.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   THE GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY COMPANY.
Permalink
CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

The House delegates to a committee certain duties but the House is larger than the committee. There are many members here who are not on the Railway Committee and consequently did not get the information which was furnished there, but even if they were all on that committee, the whole question comes up for review before this House and we have a perfect right to all these details. Often in unimportant matters that is not insisted upon, but we are certainly perfectly right in a case of this kind in insisting on having them. If the hon. gentleman is not in a position to furnish them this afternoon, it would be better for the committee to rise and report progress.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   THE GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY COMPANY.
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

My hon. friend from Pictou (Mr. E. M. Macdonald) is perfectly right. As a rule these Bills are threshed out in detail before the Railway

Committee and the House accepts them as they come from that committee without insisting that all these details be gone into again, unless there is some very grave reason to the contrary. I have never known a case in which the promoter of a Bill was expected to give here all the details which were given to the committee.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   THE GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY COMPANY.
Permalink
CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

He should be prepared to.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   THE GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY COMPANY.
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

These details are not absolutely material to the determination of the issue whether or not these powers should be granted. I beg altogether to dissent from the view that this Bill should be deferred until the Bill of the government is ready for discussion. It was deferred in order that we should have a declaration of the policy of the government. That declaration has been given. It is not our intention to acquire the Canada Atlantic or do anything more than acquire the running rights. It is not even our intention at this time to exercise those running rights, but I believe, with my hon. friend from Lanark, that those powers should be reserved, to be used or not as the circumstances may require. The policy of the government having been declared, there should be no further objection to going on with this Bill. It is simply a matter of private legislation. The question is whether to agree to it would be in the general interests of the country ; and if that be determined in the affirmative, it is of great importance to the Grand Trunk Railway that it should know our decision at once so that it may go on with the necessary operations.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   THE GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY COMPANY.
Permalink
L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

Is it not a fact that the government intended in the first instance to amend these Bills so as to cover the very point covered by the public Bill introduced to-day by the Minister of Railways ? When these Bills were before the Railway Committee, true this information was furnished, but there was also the understanding that when the government brought in their Bill more information would be furnished. It is true also that when Bills are reported to the House it is not usual to send them back, but in this case we are asking for certain information which is not forthcoming. Is it to be supposed that because the promoter has not that information at hand, we are to be refused it. This House has no record of the information' furnished the Railway Committee, but there is a record kept here of information furnished the House as a justification for the legislation it passes.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   THE GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY COMPANY.
Permalink
LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. E. M. MACDONALD.

It was stated before the Railway Committee that these two other companies the Canada Atlantic, the Canada Atlantic Transit and the Vermont and Province line, were companies in which the stock was largely controlled, if not wholly, by Mr. Booth. The proposal is to permit the Grand Trunk Railway to

purchase the common or preference shares in these companies. The vital part of this section is the latter portion which authorises the Grand Trunk Railway to guarantee payment of the principal and interest of the bonds, debentures or 'other securities of the Canada Atlantic. If my hon. friends desire information regarding the amount of stock, they can obtain it from the railway report. That report we had in the Railway Committee, and it showed that Mr. Booth was largely, if not altogether, in control of the stock. So far as regards the question who might he the holder of the stock in the Transit Company or the Vermont and Province line, that is of little importance, because the empowering part of the section only permits the company to purchase the common stock in these companies and does not authorise it to deal in their mortgages or bonds.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   THE GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY COMPANY.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

There might be a little more in this than the hon. gentleman thinks. This section is of a very comprehensive nature. The Grand Trunk Railway may acquire, hold, pledge and dispose of preference and common shares of the capital stock of the Canada Atlantic Railway Company, the Canada Atlantic Transit Company and the Vermont and Province Line Railway Company. It is necessary for the Canada Atlantic and the Grand Trunk Railway to come to this parliament in order that the stock of the former-practically the whole of which is held by Mr. Booth- may be transferred to the Grand Trunk Railway. As the Minister of Finance pointed out a minute ago, the real object of this Bill is to vest the Canada Atlantic Railway in *the Grand Trunk Company, although for the purposes of convenience the corporate existence of the Canada Atlantic Company is kept up. This Bill gives the Grand Trunk Company power to dispose of all this stock to any one to whom it may see fit to deliver it. It seems to me that it jvould not be wise to give it this absolute, unqualified power, and it does not seem necessary to the real object of this transaction, as explained by the Minister of Finance, that we should do this. The Grand Trunk will become, to all intents and purposes, the owner of the Canada Atlantic and be able practically to dispose of that road to any corporation or company either in this country or the United .States. Well, I would respectfully submit that that particular piece !of legislation ought to receive the attention of the government. Assuming that a Railway Company [DOT]in the United States had nower to take a [DOT]transfer of stock in any other railway corporation, would it not be quite possible under this charter for the Grand Trunk Railway Company to transfer to that corporation every dollar of the shares it will acquire under this Bill ? Are we not going a little too far when we vest in the Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada a power so extensive as this ?

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   THE GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY COMPANY.
Permalink
LIB
LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

Could not the Canada Atlantic Railway sell it to-day ? Is there any distinction, any new power created by this Bill ?

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   THE GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY COMPANY.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

The point of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) may be' a good one. But this transfer comes under the jurisdiction of parliament, for a particular purpose, namely, the vesting of the Canada Atlantic Railway in the Grand Trunk Company, and we need to see that it is done in such a way as shall limit the powers granted by the Bill to the purposes for which ostensibly the promoters come before parliament with this measure.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   THE GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY COMPANY.
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. FITZPATRICK.

Is there anything exceptional in this legislation ? I have not looked at it until this time.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   THE GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY COMPANY.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

There is, in this respect : Ordinarily you do not find a transfer of a railway taking place by means of tLis kind. Suppose, for example, this Bill were for the purpose of enabling the Grand ' Trunk Railway to acquire the Canada Atlantic Railway and to practically do away with the corporate existence of the Canada Atlantic in the future-because it would have no longer any property in regard to which its existence would be necessary-in that case you would have a Bill by which a deed of conveyance of that property from the Canada Atlantic Railway to the Grand Trunk Railway would be validated by parliament. Frobably it would be done in some such way. I am suggesting that if you did it in that way, you would not at the same time give the Grand Trunk Railway power to dispose of the railway whenever it might see fit. You would require the Grand Trunk to come back to parliament and to get power to transfer, just as the Canada Atlantic Company acquires power to transfer to the Grand Trunk Company. The Grand Trunk Company adopts this somewhat ingenious method of effecting the transfer, namely, by still keeping the Canada Atlantic Railway as a corporation retaining this property while bringing it under the complete control of the Grand Trunk through one or two of its officers. If we grant this and also grant full power to absolutely dispose of that absolute control of the Canada Atlantic Railway without coming back to parliament we seem to be going a little further than we would go under ordinary circumstances, and further than we have ever gone before, so far as I remember-I speak subject to correction.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   THE GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY COMPANY.
Permalink
LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

Are we not doing here precisely the same thing as has been done in a number of other cases ? I have one particularly in mind-the case of the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Kingston and Pembroke. The Canadian Pacific Railway,

I think, did not come here for special powers having in its General Act power to acquire

the stock of other railway companies. My recollection is that the Canadian Pacific Railway has acquired the stock of the Kingston and Pembroke, and that that road is operated under the old corporate name, but is well recognized to be a part or branch of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and officers of the Canadian Pacific Railway are directors of the Kingston and Pembroke. It seems to me it is precisely the same sort of case as this.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   THE GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY COMPANY.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

It may be so. The force of the argument I have made depends a great deal on the importance of the road that happens to be in question. I do not know how important a road the one is that referred to by the hon. minister (Mr. Fielding. [DOT] But here we have a very important road one connecting Georgian bay with the city of Montreal ; and it is proposed to make it part of one of the great national highways of the country. Under ordinary circumstances, as I understand it, the Grand Trunk Railway Company could not, without coming to this parliament or going to the Railway Commission, dispose of an important portion of a national highway. I have not in my memory exactly the provisions of the Railway Act with regard to the transfer of railways, but I feel sure it cannot be done without coming to some tribunal. What I am suggesting is that the effect of. this statute is to place the Grand Trunk Railway in a position to accomplish such a sale without supervision. I have no doubt that my hon. friend the Minister of Justice who is much more familiar with the terms of the Railway Act than I am, could tell us in a moment whether it is impossible for parliament or the Railway Commission to effect a transfer of this kind.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   THE GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY COMPANY.
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. FITZPATRICK.

The shares of a railway company can be acquired, but if the question is whether a railway charter can be disposed of without the sanction of parliament, I do not hesitate to say that it cannot.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   THE GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY COMPANY.
Permalink
LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

I understand that the Bill provides that the company may sell stock. But they may sell without coming here. And those who buy stock I understand, will hold it under similar conditions. Therefore, I fail to see that any new condition is created by this Bill. The property remains subject to the law of Canada, including the law which we propose to pass- whatever its merits-with regard to running powers. But the sale of stock can be carried on at any time. The shares of Canadian railways are being bought every day by foreigners. The sale of a railway is different and it is not contemplated by this legislation.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   THE GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY COMPANY.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I do not wish to be wearisome about this matter. But the Min134

ister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) I think, took exactly the right view when he spoke a moment ago on another matter. He said that the object is to vest the Canada Atlantic Railway in the Grand Trunk Company as part of a great Canadian railway system -it might almost be called an international system because the Grand Trunk Railway has both its terminals in the United States. But they do not go about it in the ordinary way. They transfer stock. It is convenient to do that, because all the stock happens to be held by one person. In ordinary cases it would not be convenient. The Minister of Finance asks if the same cannot be done in respect of any railway ? So it can. Some parties might buy all the stock of the Canadian Pacific Railway, thought it would be pretty difficult to accomplish that in the case of a railway very largely capitalized. But, when the object to be served is served in an indirect way in this statute, and when that indirect method has embodied in it the power to tile Grand Trunk Railway to absolutely dispose of that stock without coming back to parliament, it seems to me we go further than we ought to go. We may be perfectly willing that Mr. Booth, or whoever is the owner of this stock, may hand that railway over to another company so that it may become part of a great Canadian system of railways, but we might not be willing that the Grand Trunk Company should hand over a controlling interest in the stock of that railway, and therefore the control of the railway itself, to somebody who might not be approved by parliament. In other words, I regard the situation exactly the same as if the Grand Trunk Company were to come here with a conveyance from the Canada Atlantic and ask parliament to make that conveyance valid, and also to give it power without coming back for our approval, to dispose of that railway to whoever it saw fit. That seems to me to be practically the result of this legislation.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   THE GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY COMPANY.
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. FITZPATRICK.

The application of the Grand Trunk Company to parliament is to obtain permission to acquire stock ; once they have acquired that stock from the Canada Atlantic, the general law then goes into operation, because there is no law which prevents the Grand Trunk or any other company from selling its stock ; why then single out this corporation for special treatment ?

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   THE GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY COMPANY.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

What I mean is this : There is a certain purpose which the Minister of Finance has explained to us as the purpose of this Bill-and I agree with his understanding-that is, practically, to vest the Canada Atlantic railway in the Grand Trunk Company but it is not done in the usual way. If the Grand Trunk Company, in the Act validating the conveyance, should ask us to give it absolute and unlimited power to dispose of that rail-

way to any person, whether approved of by parliament or not, I say we should not hesitate to do so.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   THE GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY COMPANY.
Permalink

April 10, 1905