June 19, 1905

LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

If the non. gentlemen will state in so many words, in a written memorandum, exactly what papers they want, we will try to procure them to the best of our ability, but it is very hard to cover all the points on a mere cursory inquiry.

Topic:   HALF BREED SCRIP.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

I shall not hold the minister responsible for any papers not brought down which are not covered by the memorandum I sent to him. This memorandum calls for the missing parts of this correspondence. My hon. friend reiterated that in one part of the country I want to be understood as being opposed to the half-breeds getting their lauds and that in another part of the country I take the opposite position. For his first statement he cannot find any words of mine. There is no rason -why he should misrepresent the facts, and he ought to be furnished with the proof before making a statement. It is easy to make a charge of inconsistency, but it is another thing to establish it. I am not at all satisfied with the statement of the hon. minister that he pioposes to send somebody to investigate the matter. That does not fill the bill. It will not be filled until we get an opportunity, before some commission or somebody competent to take evidence, of examining the parties under oath

both the parties in and those out of the department. This matter cannot be hushed up by any little device of appointing a commission and sending it out to the half-breeds. That is only a small part ol the whole question raised. The question raised is as to what has taken place in the department and between the department and friends of these gentlemen, and we must have some opportunity somewhere and somehow of getting evidence under oath. I want the government to seriously consider whether or not they cannot give a subcommittee with power to examine under oath ; but if we come to the conclusion that we cannot stay here all year just for this matter, I am not unreasonable. We may leave the thing as it is now, and let the committee or commission be granted another year. We do not wish to keep the House unreasonably. But the case is not made at all by the minister saying he is going to send somebody down there to make investigations as to whether these half-breeds have told the truth or not. The matter goes far deeper than that, and T hope that the government will look at it in that way.

Sir WILFRID LAUR1ER. My hon. friend (Mr. Foster) should remember one point- and I am sure he will agree with me on re flection. The government must not hold an investigation simply upon hearsay or insinuation. but upon charges preferred. But the government will be bound to hold an investi-tio-u w^eu there is substantial cause for it. My hon. friend has made different state-"edtf had ?ot ^tended to take part

m the debate, but his later remarks make it necessary for me to say a word. We have Mr. HAGGART.

in the department a direct allegation of fraud made against this man Macdonald by the half-breeds who declare that their signature to certain papers was secured by false representations, and that the papers were really of a different character from that represented to them. When this allegation was brought to the attention of the Minister of the Interior he at once took steps to have an investigation made. Now, my hon. friend (Mr. Foster) to-day made a different statement. He did not make a direct allegation, but only an insinuation. Perhaps it is premature for him to make up his mind on the matter ; perhaps, as time goes on and he gets further information he will be prepared to make a direct statement. To that statement we shall be bound to listen. He made a statement the other day which, it seems to me, he ought not to have made unless he is prepared to substantiate it. He said a moment ago, in his first remarks of to-day upon this subject that there was a rumour that papers in the Interior Department had been tampered with, and that it was said there were even ex-employees who either abstracted, or did away with, or destroyed, papers which might be compromising to them. He did not state that of his own authority, but said that there was a rumour to that effect. That is a very grave statement

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

No doubt.

Sir WILFRID LAURIER-too grave a statement, to be made in the way my hon. friend has made it. It is not sufficient for a gentleman occupying the high position that my hon. friend does in this House merely to say that there are rumours afloat. They are always afloat ; some may be true, but many are false. When he has reason to think that these statements are true and that such acts have been committed, then I can tell him that I am as much interested as he is-more interested than anybody else-in learning the truth. The moment charges are made which necessitate an investigation, we shall have an investigation. But I think my hon. friend had better wait until he has all the facts before him, when he can make what charges he has to make. He has asked to have the papers brought down, and the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Oliver) has been most diligent in preparing them.

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CON
LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

It appears that all the papers are not yet down. It will be for the Minister of the Interior to see to it that they are brought down. If the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) finds that there are papers missing that ought to be there, he can make his statement, and we will be bound to give it our best consideration.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

May I ask the Minister of the Interior what steps have been taken to

hold the investigation ? What kind of investigation does he propose to make ?

Sir WILFRID LAUItlER. We have decided to have the matter come before a judge-County Judge Myers, of Winnipeg. That gentleman will hold an investigation into this assertion of the half-breeds.

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PROPOSED EXPERIMENTAL STATION, NIAGARA DISTRICT.

CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. E. ARMSTRONG (East Lambton).

Before the Orders of the Day are called, I wish to ask if the government will be good enough to lay on the table the correspondence from the Niagara fruit district in southern Ontario, with reference to the establishment of an experimental station in that district ?

Topic:   PROPOSED EXPERIMENTAL STATION, NIAGARA DISTRICT.
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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I will refer the matter to the minister in charge.

Topic:   PROPOSED EXPERIMENTAL STATION, NIAGARA DISTRICT.
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GRAND TRUNK PACIFIC RAILWAY.


The House went into committee on Bill (No. 115) respecting the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company.-Mr. L. G. McCarthy. On section 1 : mortgage in schedule A confirmed.


CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAGGART.

Would the gentleman in charge of this Bill be good enough to explain what the effect of this change in regard to mortgage is on the mortgage already authorized ?

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

So fur as the mortgage is concerned to secure the government's guarantee, the matter was placed by my hon. friend the Minister of Justice (Mr. Fitzpatrick) in the hands of Mr. Shepley, of Toronto, to advise, and his report has been printed and distributed. The mortgage is necessarily a very elaborate document, and we have to rely on the advice of legal gentlemen with regard to it. It was under consideration for a long time, a good many point's being discussed, sometimes between Mr. Shepley and myself, sometimes the Minister of Justice and Mr. Shepley. But the sum and substance is set forth by Mr. Shepley in his report which certifies that the mortgage conforms to the Act.

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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAGGART.

I have only this moment received a copy of Mr. Shepley's explanations. But the explanations seem just a little more difficult to understand than the document itself. Mr. Shepley says :

The first article gives extended definitions to certain compendious expressions made use of in the mortgage for purposes of convenience.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

This report is on the form of the mortgage.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Hon. CHARLES FITZPATRICK (Minister of Justice).

There are three schedules attached to this Bill. The first schedule is the trust deed which is necessary to carry out the provisions of the original contract

made between the government and the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company by which the government undertake to guarantee certain bonds which are to be issued by the Grand Trunk Pacific Company to enable them to finance the undertaking so far as the portion of the line is concerned between Winnipeg and the Pacific ocean. My hon. friend (Mr. Haggart) will remember that on that portion of the line the company is authorized by its charter to issue bonds not exceeding practically $20,000 a mile with respect to the prairie section and, I think, somewhere about $50,000 a mile with respect to the mountain section. The undertaking of the government is to guarantee that issue of bonds to the extent of 75 per cent of the cost of construction with respect to the prairie section limited to $13,000 a mile, and on the mountain section bonds to the extent of 75 per cent of the cost whatever it may be.

Then my hon. friend will remember that there is an obligation on the part of the government, or rather an assumed obligation, to exempt the company from the payment of interest on these bonds for the first seven years with respect to the mountain section ; and in so far as that section is concerned, if the interest on the bonds is not paid for the three years succeeding the first seven years, then that is to be a deferred payment. It is intended to give effect to that provision of the agreement. My hon. friend will notice that the only two departures from the original contract in this trust deed are, first, with respect to the prairie section, the government obligation to guarantee to the extent of $13,000 a mile remains * intact ; but under the provisions of the company's Act of incorporation their power to issue bonds is limited to $20,000 a mile with respect to the prairie section, and under the provisions of the trust deed, it having been ascertained that $20,000 a mile was not sufficient for the prairie section the trust deed provides that the company may issue bonds to the extent of $21,500. That is in accordance with the terms of the agreement between the government and the company, by which agreement it is provided that the company must find the money, whatever it may be. So our obligation to endorse is limited to $13,000 a mile, but the company will, under this schedule. get power to issue to the extent of $21,500.

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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAGGART.

It must be more, that would only be $1,500 more a mile.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. FITZPATRICK.

That is all, it is the provision of the agreement.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

The company assumes no further obligation.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. FITZPATRICK.

No. Then I draw attention to this further provision which constitutes a departure from the agreement as contemplated at the time the Bill went through the House. My hon. friend

will remember that provision was made respecting the issue of bonds, pending construction. The company was authorized to issue what we call interim bonds, and when the construction was completed it was made obligatory on the company to surrender these interim bonds which were to be endorsed t\p-. the government, so that they might be replaced by a permanent issue. It was found impossible, practically, to finance the scheme in that respect, because these bonds could not be floated ; bonds of that character which were practically interim bonds issued for six or seven years could not be floated. I understand there were financial difficulties In connection with the matter, and the result is that we have made provision under this section for a present issue of permanent bonds extending over the whole period ; so that instead of having an issue of bonds, as it was originally intended, of a temporary character which should be superseded by a permanent issue at the end of construction, the issue now is of a permanent character applicable to the whole period of construction, which is estimated at seven years.

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June 19, 1905