July 16, 1908

CON

John Barr

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARR.

I feel it my duty, notwithstanding the desire to get through the business of the House, to enter my solemn protest against this bonusing of railways which is condemned by the farmers throughout the length and breadth of Canada. One of the strongest planks in the Liberal platform of former days was that railway bonuses should cease, but the Liberals in power have forgotten that. The ' Farmers Sun,' the most able organ of the farmers of this Dominion, has condemned railway bonusing in the strongest possible manner, and in that opinion of the ' Farmer's Sun ' I cordially concur. And not only that, but it is worse still that in the dying hours of the session with prorogation in sight the government should bring down this enormous expenditure. If the government had submitted their measures months ago instead of waiting until a short time before prorogation the business of the House could have been disposed of long ago. The Ross government for years pursued a policy of delay in a similar way, but the Conservative opposition forced them to bring down their measures in proper time 4211

to allow of proper consideration. Here we are rushing millions and millions of the people's money through without due consideration. I believe, Sir, that the people of Canada will at the first opportunity retire from power the government which imposes such enormous burdens upon the people and which shows such procrastination in submitting measures to parliament.

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CON

John Dowsley Reid

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. D. REID.

The Minister of Railways has been most unfair to this parliament in delaying until the last moment the submission of these resolutions. It is now impossible to ascertain the facts and consider the proposals, as they should be considered. It appears ito be the policy of the government to grant bonuses to and to guarantee the bonds of railway companies, and that being their policy the Minister of Railways should have pressed for a grant of aid to the Ottawa and Brockville Railway which is a most important and necess-sary line. The capital of this Dominion has practically no direct railway communication except that which is afforded by the Canadian Pacific Railway, and I believe it would be a great help to the people of the district through which this railway runs as well as to the city of Ottawa if the Grand Trunk Railway Company had direct communication with the capital. The Minister of Railways has neglected the Brockville and Ottawa line, and as to that I would not complain at all were it not that he has subsidized railways in other parts of the province of Ontario which are not go much in need of railway facilities. With that feeling and knowing that it would be of such assistance to the country and to Ottawa as the capital, I think the Minister has not been fair to us in this district in not seeing that aid was given to the railway proposed by this company. If that had been done I am satisfied they would have proceeded with the building of the road at once.

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CON

Robert Abercrombie Pringle

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PRINGLE.

We have recently come through a provincial campaign in Ontario. The Minister of Railways (Mr. Graham) spoke on the platform with the leader of the opposition in the legislature, Mr. A. G. McKay, and the whole complaint was that last awful week in Toronto. What was that last awful week ? The Hon. J. P. Whitney enunciated in his platform of 1904 the principle that not one dollar of bonus should be given to any railway in the province of Ontario. He adhered to that policy rigidly ; the only complaint wras that he undertook to guarantee certain bonds of the James Bay Railway to the extent of some $2,000,000. The Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Graham) now asks this House not in the last week of the session, but in the last 48 hours to pass bonuses for millions of dollars and a guarantee of bonds for millions more. Personally I am not opposed to the guarantee of

bonds under proper conditions and proper circumstances. I believe it is the best way of assisting railways in opening and developing new territories and that history will show this country will not be called upon to pay one dollar of principal or of interest where the bonds are for a reasonable amount, and precaution is taken to see that the railway is built through a country that will likely be a good producing country. What I do complain of is the absolute hypocrisy of the party which went through Ontario condemning the Conservative party because the Conservative party guaranteed bonds to a small amount, and then asks us to-day, with 48 hours ahead of us, to grant bonuses to an extent of about $20,000,000. I have not had time nor has any hon. member to thoroughly investigate the bonuses to the different railways but I have run through some of them. In Ontario the Ross administration in its dying days granted a subsidy of $2,000 a mile to one railway which is now getting a subsidy of $6,200 a mile. The Ross government granted a land subsidy of millions of acres to another railway which is now getting a subsidy from these hon. gentlemen of $6,400 a mile. Under certain conditions it might be reasonable to grant certain bonuses. The province of Ontario in the past has done it, the Ross government left for the Conservative government a debt of five or six millions incurred in subsidies to railways. But since the advent of the Hon. J. P. Whitney to power in 1905 not one dollar has been granted in subsidies to any railway and yet the Liberals in Ontario raised the cry of that last awful week, simply because there was a guarantee of bonds which I believe was justified. I do not think it is possible for us in 48 hours to thoroughly consider these resolutions. We know we have to prorogue on Saturday and X with others feel that these resolutions should have been brought down weeks ago instead of being left to the last days of the session.

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CON

William Barton Northrup

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. NORTHRUP.

When, only a little over a month ago, hon. gentlemen opposite and their political friends throughout^ Ontario were making the welkin ring with their denunciations of that last awful week, to a certain extent I agreed with them. On the public platform in Ontario I said that while personally I agreed with the settlement of the mining suit and the guarantee of bonds under the circumstances and conditions under which the Whitney government had guaranteed them, I joined with hon. gentlemen of the opposite shade of politics in denouncing the Whitney government for passing such legislation in the dying days of the session. I feel that I am consistent to-day in protesting not merely as a Canadian ratepayer but as a member of this House, against the studied in-Mr. PRINGLE.

suit that is paid to members of this House by bringing down such important legislation in the dying days of the session. Not only is it impossible for us to give the proper consideration to these matters, but a blow is struck at the dignity of parliament itself. I venture to say there is not an hon. gentleman opposite any more than on this side who does not know that in the eyes of the great public of Canada the dignity of parliament is lowered and our influence is decreased by the fact that fourteen or fifteen hon. gentlemen who happen to occupy seats on the treasury benches can bring down such an immense grant at a time -when it is impossible for private members to vote intelligently, knowing that there is a sufficient number in the House who will be ready to vote blindly for whatever they may bring down. I appeal to supporters of the government to consider their own dignity, the respect we owe to ourselves as well as to our constituents and to protest against such enormous grants beioig brought down when the country knows we cannot understand what we are voting for. If they protest the Prime Minister must heed them.

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CON

Robert Nelson Walsh

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. N. WALSH.

Mr. Speaker, I wish to place myself on record as opposed to this resolution and I believe that in doing so I am voicing the strong feeling of the constituency which X represent.

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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

Mr. Speaker, I wish to join with other members in condemnation of the government for their extravagance in voting such amounts of money for aid to railways in Canada. I notice the resol- . utions cover some ten pages of the Votes and Proceedings of to-day and if we do not protest against the action of the government we will have some member of it, possibly the Minister of Customs, in a few days saying that the opposition members allowed millions to pass without protest. That is the kind of government we have to deal with so it is necessary, even if we take a little time, to enter our protest against these extraordinary expenditures.

In my own county, during the last year and a half, we have had an example of a large railway corporation constructing an important railway without the aid of a dollar from the public treasury, Dominion or local; that is the new Canadian Pacific Railway branch from Toronto to Sudbury, which is looked upon as one of the best roads in Ontario. The roadbed is perfect and it is a credit to the company. If the Canadian Pacific Railway are able to construct a line from Toronto to Sudbury without public aid, surely the other railways of Canada can construct some of these branches without money from the public treasury. Therefore without having had an opportunity to look into

these resolutions and refresh my mind as to the geography in order to ascertain where the lines are to be constructed, and not knowing the local considerations, I wish in a word or two to express my disapproval of the large vote the government is asking this afternoon.

Mr. ALEXANDER MARTIN (Queens, P.E.I.) I raise my voice, Mr. Speaker, against these railway resolutions, especially against the bonuses. Considering the heavy obligations to which the right hon. the First Minister has committed this country-the Transcontinental which is to cost between $200,000,000 and $250,000,000 ; the Georgian Bay canal, $100,000,000 ; the Hudson Bay Railway, $30,000,000 to $50,000,000 ; the Welland canal, something like $30,000,000-considering all these I think it is high time he should cry halt. The late Sir John Macdonald gave this country the Canadian Pacific Railway, and his memory is green and will remain green in the minds of the people for what he has done. What he did then was very costly, but the Canadian Pacific Railway has come to be one of the greatest and most successful undertakings that Canada ever ventured into. But the First Minister is coming now to the last straw which is going to break the camel's back. With the credit of this country in the markets of the old world diminished, he goes on favouring certain parts of Canada for political purposes. It is all very well to say we are building up a great country, but are we not travelling too fast? Here are estimates amounting to something like $180,000,000, yet ten years ago, when our estimates only amounted to $42,000,000, the right hon. gentleman considered them entirely too much. In 1890 he condemned railway subsidies in toto. The time had come, he said, when they should cease. Is he going to do for Canada what the late Mr. Mercier did for Quebec ? I am afraid he is. When we consider the niggardliness with which he treats some provinces-my own for instance-and the lavish expenditure he proposes to make in others, I am at a loss to understand how the hon. gentleman expects this country to bear the burden. He is incurring expenditures which are staggering the country, which he cannot justify, and now he comes down at this hour of the session and asks us to swallow a host of railway subsidies without giving them at all any consideration.

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LIB

Henry Robert Emmerson

Liberal

Mr. EMMERSON.

Could I be permitted to add a word to the testimony of hon. gentlemen opposite, though not in the same direction ? I do not think that to-day in Canada the people as a rule are playing the part of Rip Van Winkle. They have had their eyes open for some time, and they realize that the conditions to-day are vastly -different from what they were some years ago. There is one thing of which they are certain, and that is that the status

of Canada at present is far better than it ever was during any previous year in our history. There have been two or three objections raised to these resolutions. The main one is with respect to the lateness of their introduction. Well, I have to commend the government for what it is doing. In this the government are in harmony with the ideas of the people. They are in harmony with the popular sentiment when they realize existing conditions and our future possibility. They have at last, in the interval between all these cries of scandal and motions and resolutions, which we have had from week to week, designed some say for the purpose of obstructing the business of parliament, been able to bring down, in the form of a resolution, certain propositions, which, to my mind, crystallize the best hopes and aspirations of our people. My hon. friend from East Grey (Mr. Sproule) took one other exception, and it was that this was only one other means of bribing the people of Canada

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CON
LIB

Henry Robert Emmerson

Liberal

Mr. EMMERSON.

But he said the right hon. leader of this House would realize that the people of Canada were opposed to anything of the kind. Sir, if that be true, how is it possible that these railway resolutions ean be offered as acts of bribery ? I think that my right hon. friend is too astute a statesman to propose to the people something which will not be acceptable to them. Reading these resolutions in detail, I find that the views of the west are being recognized, I realize that the views and hopes and aims of the people of central Canada are being realized. I further realize that those propositions, whether they relate to the east or the west or the centre, are acceptable to the people of Canada. Why ? Because Canadian citizenship to-day realizes that we are on the threshold of great possibilities.

They realize that responsibilities rest upon them, and they want a government in power that can understand the conditions and provide for them. I have been for many years allied with the Liberal party. I was an opponent of the party of the hon. gentleman opposite when it was led by that great statesman, Sir John A. Macdonald. I want to say this in tribute to his memory- though he needs no such tribute-that he grasped the situation and provided for its possibilities and requirements. And I congratulate the right hon. leader of this government (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) that now, when conditions are changed, when we have made rapid strides, when we have attained a higher plane and. enjoy a wider view of the possibilities of our country, he makes provision for these great interests. For that, I believe he will receive, as he merits, the approval of the citizenship of Canada. I do not wish to join hon. gentlemen opposite in holding a post mortem on the past.

But I would call the attention of the leader of the government to the fact that in the past we have aided railways, particularly In the eastern section of Canada and have spent large sums on the government system of railways. My hon. friend from Queens, P.E.I., (Mr. A. Martin), a few moments ago, condemned the incurring of liabilities in the settlement of the transportation problem. And yet, in the next breath, he complained of the disregard of the requirements of his own province in the same direction. The hon. gentleman, I am sure, realizes that Prince Edward Island has received attention, and so have the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec in connection with the government system of railways. As subsidiary to the government system, this parliament has, from time to time, given aid toward the construction of railways which should be branches and feeders of that government system, and these contributions toward railway construction have benefited materially the government system. These expenditures in aid of branches of the government system were made for the purpose not only of increasing the traffic of the Intercolonial but of aiding the communities which these branch railways serve. Now, Sir, the government, having met the requirements of central Canada, as it is doing by these resolution*, should turn its eye to the conditions prevailing in eastern Canada. I shall not repeat the arguments I addressed to the House on a recent occasion, but I ask consideration of this: Is it not in the interests of the Intercolonial from a business standpoint, that the government should acquire the lines connecting with the government system, to make those lines do more perfectly their work as feeders and so increase and extend the traffic of the government system and to benefit further the communities served by these branches? Now that we have under consideration these propositions in the interests of the transportation problem of Canada, I would ask if the government has considered the desirability of acquiring these lines as feeders, thereby perfecting the government system and fulfilling the hopes of the communities served by these branch lines ? I do not wish the government to confine itself to one province, but to consider every province. In Nova Scotia, there are branch lines which are recognized as peculiarly coal branches that it would be desirable that the government should acquire, as their usefulness as feeders of the government system justifies that acquirement. And, while this policy would measurably solve the transportation problems of the east, it would enable the people of the west to secure the full benefit and advantage of a government system of railways. For it is not only to the east but to the west as well that the Intercolonial is doing good-

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LIB
CON

Alfred Alexander Lefurgey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LEFURGEY.

What are you going to do with Prince Edward Island?

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LIB

Henry Robert Emmerson

Liberal

Mr. EMMERSON.

The government is dealing generously with Prince Edward Island. Only the other night we approved a resolution authorizing the governmnet to construct a branch line there. I am sure that my hon. friend (Mr. Lefurgey) approves of that; and. if it is good policy for Prince Edward Island, it is good policy for the mainland as well.

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CON

Alfred Alexander Lefurgey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LEFURGEY.

But what about youi connecting link ? How are you going to make these Prince Edward Island roads feeders of the Intercolonial?

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LIB

Henry Robert Emmerson

Liberal

Mr. EMMERSON.

One thing at a time. If the hon. member will have a little patience he will find a tunnel built and a railway running under the straits. He wants everything in a moment. But he waited for generations-at least his political party did-without taking any step in that direction. The present administration are taking steps in that direction. And they are enlarging the railway system of Canada in every way. I invite the attention of the right hon. the First Minister to the subject I have mentioned, and would respectfully ask him, on behalf of the people of the ea3t particularly, whether the government have taken into consideration the acquirement of tlie branch lines connecting with the Intercolonial as feeders of the government railway system?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

If there be those in this House who honestly believe that the time has come when public assistance to railway construction can be done away with, I do not share that opinion. On the contrary, our experience proves that the time, I am afraid, is very far distant in the future when we can in this country do as the United States has done, dispense with assisting by money grants the extension of our railway system to all parts of the country in which settlement has already gone. I have heard to-day voices from the province of Ontario and voices from the province of Quebec, protesting against any new subsidies towards railway construction. I venture *to say that if these voices had come from those parts of Canada in the condition they were forty years ago, they would have been the first to ask for railway subsidies. But I can conceive that some people in the province of Ontario and some portions of Quebec, where you have the country grid-ironed with railways, may think there is no necessity for a further advance in that direction. I would like hon. gentlemen who represent those, parts of Canada to remember that in the new provinces, In some parts of Ontario, in some parts of Quebec, and some other parts of the country, the conditions to-day are just as they were

forty years ago In Ontario, and if it were left to private enterprise to provide those sections with the blessings of railway transportation,, its is .probable that they would have to suffer a deprivation for many years to come. This policy was inaugurated many years ago, and so far as I can judge, and I think it is admitted by everybody, it has been a wise policy. It has done wonders for the country, and if the country is to-day as prosperous as it undoubtedly is, the fact is due to two causes, increased transportation and added immigration. As long therefore as immigration continues to flow in at the rate it is doing now, as long as the country settles up as rapidly as it is now being settled, I am afraid that no encouragement can be given to those who think that we can dispense with public assistance to railway transportation. We have done a good deal for the west, we are doing a good deal for the west in these resolutions. I confess that the west lias been usually well taken care of. My hon. friend for Westmoreland (Mr. Em-rnerson) asks if we are not going to do anything for the east. He has told us, not only this session but in preceding sessions, that the east is not as well provided for as it should be ; that at the present time there is.an anomalous condition of things prevailing, that is to say, that in all parts of the country where there are feeders to trunk lines these feeders are generally taken care of and put under the management of the trunk lines ; whereas in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick the feeders are not connected with the trunk lines. I believe that in this matter, and I think every body will agree with me, if the Intercolonial were under private management, all these feeders which are now merely branch lines would have been acquired by the company and would be part of the system at this moment.- But we must recognize that government management of a railway has not the elasticity which would as readily suggest of the adoption of such a policy. As long as there lacks such a union between the trunk lines and the feeders there must be an unsatisfactory condition of things to the people of the maritime provinces. On the other hand, we must recognize the fact that while the Idea is a good one, it involves very serious complications and requires serious consideration. I may say to my hon. friend, since he has put the question directly to me, that we have given very serious consideration to the condition of things which he has laid before us. While this condition of things is not a novel one, and we have given to it a good deal of consideration, we have not yet been able to make up our minds that it is a policy which we should adopt. Whilst we are not prepared to say to my hon. friend that we shall adopt this policy, we realize that it is one which requires consideration, and makes it incumbent upon the government to make the fullest inquiry in order that we may be in a position to discuss the matter adequately at another session.

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Motion agreed to, and House went into committee on the resolutions.


CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

Before this was drafted was there any arrangement made With these companies mentioned in this

section'

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

Just two companies to ibe known as the Canadian Northern. When ithey amalgamate, this guarantee of the bonds of this company takes effect, but we get a second mortgage on the entire system of the Canadian Northern Railway, including this part, which is to be part of the Canadian Northern Railway, and upon which we have a first mortgage. It is so worded as to guard that point by providing that the guarantee only becomes effective when this company and the Canadian Northern Railway are amalgamated into one-'new company, to be known as the Canadian Northern, each company carrying its own bonding powers into the new company.

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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

If that new company is called the Canadian Northern, will there be any danger of mistakes being made? .

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

No, it will be the Canadian Northern Company.

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July 16, 1908