March 15, 1909

LIB

David Bradley Neely

Liberal

Mr. D. B. NEELY (Humboldt).

Mr. Speaker, when I first saw this resolution on the Order Paper, I was glad to feel that there was a certain ground on which I could stand shoulder to shoulder to some extent with a political opponent from the west. In the heat of elections we are apt to say of the other side. ' Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?' When I first saw the resolution on the Order Paper I was inclined the hon. member for Macdonald (Mr. Staples) a good deal of credit; but after listening to his remarks in support of it,

I have to retract a great deal of that credit.

I had supposed that the hon. member was moving the resolution in the interest of the western farmers; but the tenor of his remarks has been more in the interests of the political party to which he belongs.

I have the honour of having been elected by the votes of the farmers of a district in what I consider to be the banner province of western Canada, Saskatchewan, and I want to say that the farmers of the west appreciate the importance and value to the west of the Board of Railway Commissioners instituted by the present government. The farmers of the constituency I represent have no serious fault to find with the present government for the treatment they have received from that government since it has been in power. In the first place, the need of a board of Railway commissioners for Canada grew out of the transportation policy of this Liberal government. Until 1896 there were no transportation questions to solve in this country by a board of railway commissioners, because we had in the northwest only one railroad, what I conceive to be the greatest railroad monopoly on the continent of North America, the Canadian Pacific Railway. The few farmers who were in the west prior to 1896 were in the hands of that powerful corporation, because under the terms of the contract by which the railway was built, the government had practically no control over it or the way it did business. It could charge whatever rates for freight and passengers it pleased, and it had the farmers of the west completely in its power. The first remedy that came to the western Canada farmer was the vigorous action of this government in the construction of lines of railroad that would compete with the Canadian Pacific Railway. Having thus created the need for a board of railway commissioners, this government proceeded to establish that board, and it is something to the credit of this government that members of the opposition, when they speak on this question, are compelled to give the government that credit. Before this government came into power the farmers of the west needed relief in the very worst way; they came to this parliament again and again asking for relief; they came to this parliament asking for bread, and were given a stone. It was not until this government came into power that the farmers of the west received any of that consideration which his place in the industrial economy of this country entitles him to. The western Canadian farmer does appreciate this board of Railway Commissioners. It is a convenient court of appeal. It is a means of reaching the solution of the many transportation problems of the west that he never had before. With regard to that part of the resolution dealing with the appointment of a man to the vacancy brought about by the demise of the late Hon. Thos. Greenway, I believe that if a vote of the farmers of the west were taken on this question, they would not vote in favour of the resolution moved by the honourable member for Macdonald. The farmer of the west fs not a sentimentalist, but is above all things a practical man, who looks for results, and is not above taking advantage of every kind of inventive and mechanical skill and using it for the betterment of his

condition. What he wants is to obtain results from the efforts of this Railway Commission. If a farmer were appointed to it just because he is a farmer, and did not ably represent the farming interests and all the interests of all the' people of Western Canada as well as the farmers, the farmers of western Canada would be the first to condemn the government for appointing such a man. What the farmer of the west wants is that the government, in making the appointment, shall not consider any class distinction of any sort whatever, but shall appoint a man who has every qualification necessary for the proper carrying out of the duties of the office. I did not hear very distinctly all the remarks of the hon. member for Macdonald when he was introducing this resolution; but it did seem to me that he was endeavouring to bring it down to a very fine point. If I am not mistaken, he had reference to seme man in his own constituency who had been highly recommended by the farmers of the west and whom he himself would be pleased to have appointed. These remarks from the hon. member from Macdonald (Mr. Staples) could not but lead to the conclusion that there was a coloured gentleman somewhere in the fence, and when he came to that part of his speech I felt that we had at last discovered the location of that coloured gentleman. Then the hon. member for Souris, who undertook to second this resolution, tried to impress on the government the necessity of filling this vacancy with a western Canadian farmer. Is it not rather peculiar that the hon member for Souris does not see the position in which he places himself by supporting this motion? The hon. gentleman, like myself and some others in this House representing rural constituencies, is not a farmer but follows another profession. No doubt he thinks that in electing himself, a medical man, to represent them in this_ House, his constituents made the best choice possible. But he does not wish his own election to be taken as a precedent in the filling of the vacancy on the Board of Railway Commissioners, that vacancy must of necessity be filled by a farmer. But if the contention of the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Clark) be correct, the hon. member for Souris should not occupy a seat in this House because his is a rural constituency, and the hon. gentleman should have seen that a farmer was sent here and not himself. I wish to say this, that so far as I am concerned, I am in sympathy with the word ' western ' which is used in this resolution When this House established the Board of Railway Commissioners, they made the number six, and there are only five at present. If this House saw fit in its wisdom to establish a board of six, and one seat becomes vacant, that seat ought to be filled. And in my opinion the board re-Mr. NEELY. '

quires a man who thoroughly understands and appreciates the conditions in the west.

I am prepared to go that far in support of the resolution. I would like to see a western man appointed, and I think the government, when making a selection, ought to cast their eyes over the territory from Lake Superior to at least the Rocky mountains.

I suppose a British Columbian would say to the Pacific coast. I mention this because I think that a western man, probably in the majority of cases, understands the western conditions better than any other man probably can. But having said that much, I must deprecate the unseemly haste expressed by it. This resolution calls for the immediate filling of this vacancy. But I am not aware that the country is suffering very seriously at present. It may be true that five men are doing the work of six. It may be that the western interests will be better represented on this board when a new appointment is made and a western man is given the appointment; but so far as that is concerned, the main thing in these appointments is to get a man who will fill the position in the best possible manner. And I think the government should take sufficient time to look over the ground carefully and consider the possibilities of the situation thoroughly before they make a selection of such grave importance.

There is no amendment proposed and I do not, for my part, intend presenting one, but 1 do not think it would be a good thing for this House to pass the resolution in its present shape. It would restrict too much the choice. I think it urges undue haste in the making of this appointment, and therefore in conclusion I would say that I am prepared to support the view that the appointment should be filled, and I would be glad indeed if the government would see their way clear to appoint a western man. But the other part of the resolution, which limits the choice to that of a farmer and demands the immediatte filling of the office, I cannot conscientiously support.

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CON

Arthur Meighen

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. MEIGHEN (Portage la Prairie).

I had not intended addressing the House on this resolution because I did not anticipate that it would meet with the opposition that it has encountered. I have been rather amused at many of the reasons to which hon. members have had to resort in order to bring themselves into line with the party whip and lead themselves to what the hon. gentleman who has just spoken has described as a conscientious conclusion to oppose the motion. The hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Clark), took very high and mighty ground. The hon. member for Provencher (Mr. Molloy) got down to something much more practical and made rather a frank statement of his position. He was followed by the hon. member for Humboldt (Mr. Neely) in much the same fashion; and I want to discriminate just for a

moment or two and contrast the reasons advanced by the hon. member for Red Deer with those advanced by the hon. member for Provencher. My hon. friend from Red Deer says we know no class or community in this country, no distinction of times and place, and that the only consideration which ought to move this government should be that of qualification. That is to say from whatever part of Canada, race or creed a man may come, he ought to be selected if he be the ablest and best qualified to fill the vacancy. The hon. member for Humboldt (Mr. Neely) however, in deference to the wishes of his constituents-and no doubt also in deference to the hope he has of being elected again some four years from now-trusts that the appointment will be given to a western man.

The hon. member for Provencher would go a little further-he would step down another grade from the position of the hon. member for Humboldt, and hopes that the new commissioner will be a western man and a farmer. The hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Clark) has a considerable task before him in this House, as was pointed out by the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) some weeks ago. He has many conversions to effect in the ranks of his own party. The resolution declares that in the opinion of this House the position of commissioner made vacant by the death of Mr. Greenway should be filled. The hon. member for Humboldt, who knows that this vacancy has existed for six months, acknowledges that it ought to be filled, but in order to make himself absolutely conscientious in opposing it he says that for it to be filled within six months is unseemly haste. The resolution goes on to declare that the position should be filled by the appointment of an able and practical farmer. In the first two positions that the appointment should be made and it should be made shortly, the hon. member for Provencher agrees. And I agree with him. In the next point - that is the appointee should be an able and practical farmer he agrees, and I agree with him. In the next point, that this farmer should come from the west the hon. member for Provencher coincides, and I coincide with him. He also agrees that the reasons are that the interests of agriculture should be looked after; and I agree with him. Wherein does the hon. gentleman differ from me?

I propose to vote for this resolution and he proposes to vote against it. I agree with the resolution in all its details and every phrase it utters. The hon. member for Provencher does the same, but he comes to the conclusion that he will vote against the resolution, while I come to the conclusion that I will vote for it. The reason for the hon. member's conclusions, I am afraid, is that the government has decided that they cannot support this resolution, and the

hon. member for Provencher supports the government.

I desire to devote just a moment in answer to the remarks of the hon. member for Red Deer (M. Michael Clark). He told us that the hon. member for Macdonald (Mr. Staples) proved too much: he says that that hon. gentleman proved that the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Fisher) was not capably administering the department over which he presides; that the Minister of Agriculture is a farmer, and therefore this proof should act as a warning against the appiontment of farmers. And the hon. member for Provencher who evidently has been studying the appointments made by this government, warns the House, that if the government appoints a farmer that is no warrant that he will be a man able to fill the position. This resolution does not call for the appointment of a farmer because he is a farmer, but calls for the selection of a man in every respect fit to fill the position, and a farmer besides. It may be that the Minister of Agriculture is a farmer, but it is impossible to argue from that that a man could not be selected from among the farmers of Canada who would be a good Minister of Agriculture. The Board of Railway Commissioners, as has been stated by hon. members, is a most important body. No one appreciates more than I do the importance of that board. I should have thought it would be enough for the hon. member for Humboldt that the member who moved the resolution and gave credit to the government for the inauguration of that board to be able to state that as a reason for his determination to support this resolution, and not be drawn away from that position because the hon. member for Macdonald chose to criticise the Department of Agriculture. I should think it would be enough to prove to him that the hon. member was not animated by party feeling when he so freely gave credit to the government for the appointment of the railway board. I join in giving that credit, because the appointment of this board was a distinct step in advance for the people of this country. We must remember, however, that the establishment of the Railway Board was brought about much in the same way as the reforms we are now trying to bring about by this resolution-by petitions . from the farmers of this country, by the agitation of municipal bodies and the strong and earnest effort of members on this side of the House. When, under these circumstances, we are willing to accord to the government credit for the appointment of the board, surely that should be enough to allow these hon. members at least to follow their first and virgin determination and support the resolution.

Now, membership on this board, I admit, demands a high standard of qualification. I believe that the duties devolving upon the members of the Railway Board are of equal difficulty, in many respects, with those devolving upon the Supreme Court. A member of this board needs to be of Supreme Court calibre, perhaps not in legal attainments, but certainly in general mental qualification. But I am not one of those who believe or fear with the hon. member for members for Red Deed, Provencher, and Humboldt, that men of that calibre cannot be found in the ranks of our western farmers. There are men among these western farmers who are quite competent to fill the position if the government will make a choice among them. Believing that, knowing it as a matter of actual knowledge, I should be derelict in my duty did I not vote for this resolution. The hon. member for Humbolt strikes the key note when he says that a man familiar with western conditions will best be able to perform the duties. The hon. member for Red Deer states that we should know no class, no locality, in this matter. But he is a supporter of the government that has always followed the principle which has been recognized ever since confederation, that one member of the cabinet should come from this section and another from that. We only ask for the extension of that principle to the Railway Board. How can the hon. member for Red Deer logically support the one position if he is not prepared to support the other? What is the principle that is thus recognized? It is that a member from New Brunswick better understands New Brunswick conditions, that a member from British Columbia better understands the conditions of that province. Similarly, on the Board of Railway Commissioners a member who has had to do with railway conditions in a given province will better understand the needs of that province.

On that principle I support the resolution, which requires that one man at least should hold a seat on that board who understands the distinctive features of transportation in the western country. Now how can the hon. member for Humboldt (Mr. Neely) support that feature of the resolution and fail to go further and support the feature which calls for the appointment of a farmer? If a man from New Brunswick, or a man from the west, for that matter, is better qualified to speak for the west, to legislate for the west,, why then is not a man who comes from the farm, and who has devoted twenty or thirty years to practical farming, not better qualified to speak for the farmer in the deliberations of that board? There is no logic whatever in the position taken by the hon. member for Humboldt. What we ask is that, other things being equal, a qualified farmer be appointed to Mr. MEIGHEN.

the board, on the principle that the farmers, so numerous in this country, have a right to be represented there. Now what are the problems that come up for decision on that board? A large proportion of them concern the farmers more directly than any other class of people. More than one-half of the time of that board is taken up with questions involving the interests of the farmers, on the one hand, and sometimes altogether. That board,since the death of Mr. Greenway, six months ago, has been without any man who understands class interests, and this resolution demands that that state of affairs be_ remedied by the selection of a farmer. Now the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Clark) says also that the member for Souris proved too much, when he proved that a farmeT could better understand farming conditions than any other man, because he said, if that principle were .carried out, the farmers would not have elected the member for Souris, who is a doctor, to represent that constituency. Now surely a resolution like this demands more serious consideration than that at the hands of this House, it demands the exercise of some degree of reason. We all admit that conditions may not be equal in all cases, and that it would be possible for the constituency of Macdonald, or the constituency of Souris, to send a farmer to this House who would not make a desirable representative, but we are not prepared to admit that in sending the present members they are not sending the best men they can find. Now I desire to be understood, 1 would not for a moment advocate any appointment to the Board of Railway Commissioners which would lessen the efficiency of that board. I would not do anything to lessen the efficiency of that board, even at the demand of the Grain Growers' Association, or of any other hody of men, but I believe^ that a condition now exists in which the interests of the Grain Growers' Association, as well as of the municipalities and the farmers, can be consulted, and the efficiency of that board not be interfered with at all, and for that reason I shall support the resolution. And I further say that he who votes the other way at this time, acknowledging the immense interests as members have freely acknowledged, to be_ represented by the character of appointment aimed at, proclaims to his country and to his constituents by that vote, that in his opinion there is no practical western farmer qualified to measure for the office, and he must take the full responsibility for that position.

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LIB

William Melville Martin

Liberal

Mr. W. M. MARTIN (Regina).

Representing as I do a western constituency, and a constituency whose electors are for the most part farmers, I must necessarily take

an interest in this resolution. As a matter of fact, in nearly all western constituencies a majority of the electors are farmers; this being the case, the resolution before the House is one that we must necessarily consider from their standpoint. I must, however, express some surprise at seeing a resolution moved by the hon. member for Macdonald (Mr. Staples), a representative of the Conservative party, calling upon the government to appoint a farmer to the Railway Commission. I have only to point out the fact that three of the Ministers of Agriculture under the Conservative government, were a brewer, a lawyer and a doctor.

I have no fault to find with those appointments, doubtless they were good appointments, but it does appear to me a little inconsistent for a Conservative member of parliament to move a resolution to force the government to appoint a western farmer on the Railway Commission. I think we ought to take a broader view of the resolution which is before' the House. So far as I can gather, hon. gentlemen opposite support this resolution for no other purpose than to make it apepar that they have the farmer's interests specially at heart, and they desire to gain a little political capital on that ground. That is a very narrow view to take of so important a question. If that is not the object of the hon. member for Macdonald, then the only other object he can have in view, it seems to me, is to force the government to appoint a man from his own constituency, which is a still more narrow view.

Now let us see what this resolution calls for. In the first place, it calls for an immediate appointment. Now, is there an immediate necessity for this appointment being made to the Railway Commission? I do not know whether any hon. gentleman opposite has any evidence that there is an immediate necessity for the appointment of another member of the Railway Commission, and unless there is such evidence, I think this House would be ill-advised in forcing the government to make an immediate appointment of any person. Let us see who compose at present the Board of Railway Commissioners. We have first of all, Mr. Justice Mabee, a gentleman of undoubted ability, and who stands as high perhaps in his profession as any other man in this country, a man thoroughly well equipped to deal with any question coming before that commission. Then we have Mr. Bernier, who was Minister of Inland Revenue in this government for some yeaTS, who was a farmer in the province of Quebec, and at the same time a notary public. Now if I understand the business of a notary, he is a man who has to do conveyancing and deal with other matters which bring him in close touch with the farmers. Then we have Dr. Mills, formerly principal of the Agricultural College at Guelph. Then 84

we have Mr. D'Arcy Scott, and Mr. S. J. Maclean, who helped to organize the Railway Commission in this country. So the farmers have already two representatives on that commission at the present time, and they are well represented by these two gentlemen. It is to be remembered that had it not been for the Liberal party coming into power in 1896, there would havfTBeen no necessity of bringing forward a resolution in this House to consider the appointment of a railway commissioner, for there would have been no Railway Commission in Canada. Prior to that time railway companies were allowed to do as they pleased. We had nothing but railway monopolies. Since that time conditions have been considerably alleviated owing to the foresight of this government and the administrative ability shown by the Railway Commission in dealing with railway problems.

The other side of this resolution deals with the appointment of a western farmer to the Railway Commission. We must all admit that we are dependent upon the farmers. Several hon. gentlemen have said so during this debate and there is no use of disputing that fact. The farming community represents a very much larger amount of capital than any other industry in Canada and it is the most important class as far as the production of material wealth is concerned. But, let us see where these appointments came from considering the connection of the word ' western ' with the resolution. Of the five representatives upon the Railway Commission four are from the province of Ontario and one from the province of Quebec. Members from the maritime provinces have just as good a right to move a resolution advocating the appointment immediately of some man from the maritime provinces as we who come from the west have. I think that we are all too much inclined, not excepting the members from Saskatchewan, to adopt a policy of sectionalism and provincialism when we are advocating any principle in this House. If a resolution is introduced you will find certain members from one province speaking upon it, when another resolution is introduced it will be discussed by another set of members, whereas we ought to approach these questions in a broad, national spirit and keep in view the interests of Canada as a whole. If we would devote our time to the consideration of large Canadian questions and forget that we are citizens of Saskatchewan or of Manitoba remembering that we are dealing with the affairs of a great country and are interested in building up a united national spirit, not forgetting our connection with the mother country, we would be doing something to promote the welfare of Canada as a whole. As far as the appointment of a farmer is concerned I do not care whether it is a farmer or a doctor or a lawyer,

a mercantile man or what kind of a business man it is as long as he is a man properly equipped to fill the position of Railway Commissioner if it is necessary to fill that position at the present time. I will say this however that in view of the importance of the transportation problem to western Canada-and it is the most important question in western Canada at the present time-and in view of the fact that possibly this question concerns western Canada more than it does any other portion of the Dominion, western Canada should be represented on the Railway Commission. I would urge upon the government the necessity, of- endeavouring, in filling that position, if it is to be filled at the present time, to appoint a western man. Since these are the views I have on this question I beg to move, seconded by the hon. member for Provencher, that all the words after ' that ' in the resolution be struck out and that the following be substituted:

The duties of the Railway Commission are such as to demand the appointment of the most capable man available who is acquainted with western railway conditions.

I move this amendment to the resolution having the fullest confidence that the government will exercise a wise discretion in making the appointment to the Railway Commission, and that it will select the very best man available, a characteristic which it has so well exhibited in the past.

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CON

Richard Stuart Lake

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. S. LAKE (Qu'Appelle).

Mr. Speaker, at this very late hour I do not intend to occupy the attention of the House with any very lengthy argument.

I merely wish to put myself on record in connection with this matter and to express my regret that a representative of the great province of Saskatchewan should get up and argue against the terms of this resolution, which should commend themselves to every westerner and to every representative of the farming community. In regard to the amendment which has been proposed by my hon. friend from Regina (Mr. W. M. Martin) it is just as well that he did put that amendment before us in set terms, because I defy any member of this House to know what he was driving at in his speech. First, he argued that we ought not to ask that a westerner be appointed to the Railway Commission. He argues that we should do away with all sectionalism, and then he gets up a moment later and moves an amendment to the effect that the man who is to be appointed to the board should be acquainted with western railway conditions. Let me point out also that the hon. gentlemen who have spoken from that side of the House are very much divided in their opinions as to what are the necessities of the case in connection with this appointment. Two or three of them have argued that the appointment

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LIB

William Melville Martin

Liberal

Mr. W. M. MARTIN.

should be made immediately. The hon. member for Humboldt (Mr. Neely) said that the one thing that he wanted was that the appointment should be made at once, and others have asked that it should be made immediately. Now, we have the hon. gentleman who has moved the amendment taking the ground that there is no necessity for an immediate appointment to the board, and other hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House have also taken the same ground. I promised that I would not take up any length of time in debating this question at this late hour. I would like to put myself on record in this way: I believe, first of all, that the board should have a man thoroughly acquainted with western conditions. Western conditions are certainly very dissimilar in a great many respects from eastern conditions. Secondly, granted that the new member for that board should be a westerner, and my hon. friend opposite apparently now considers that he ought to be a westerner, then I consider that the man who would be most in sympathy with western conditions and needs would be a farmer of the west. Man for man I suppose that the farmers of the west come into more immediate contact with the railway companies than persons belonging to any other part of the Dominion. Farmers ship their own wheat, order their own cars and come into actual communication and business nego-* tiations with the railway companies. They understand the immense difficulties that they are up against in the shipment of their wheat. They know what delays to their cars mean, they know what the difficulties are in getting the right kind of cars, they know the difficulties in the way with regard to the weighing of their grain and they are familiar with all other questions in connection with the shipment of their wheat. Only the farmers, I contend, can look at these questions from the farmer's point of view. It has been said over and over again in this House this evening that the farmers are very important members of the community and should carry very great weight in it. They are entitled to more representation than they have at the present time. We have heard a very able speech this afternoon upon the question of proportional representation. I regret to say that in the nature of things the farmers are unable to get proportional representation in this House, but hon. gentlemen opposite could very well give them proportional representation in the administration of the affairs of this country and particularly I think the government could give them proportional representation by placing one representative farmer from the west on the Railway Board. I trust they will reconsider their decision and that they will vote in favour of the motion proposed by my hon. friend from Macdonald declaring that the

appointment to the Railway Commission should be made immediately, that the person to be appointed should be a western man and a practical farmer.

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LIB

Malcolm Smith Schell

Liberal

Mr. M. S. SCHELL (South Oxford).

I have listened with a great deal of interest to the debate on the resolution that is before the House. I had no intention of speaking when the discussion opened but because of some remarks made by the mover of the resolution and one or two of those who followed him in reference to the government's action and policy in regard to transportation matters I feel constrained to make a few remarks.

Dealing with the resolution first, I do not think there is a member who would not agree that the legislation which was enacted by this government in the constitution of a board of Railway Commissioners, has been the most important piece of legislation in the interest of the Dominion of Canada that has ever been put upon the statute-books. The commission have justified that statement by the work they have accomplished during the few short years they have been constituted as a board. The men who, have been appointed from time to time, have been in every way eminently fitted for the position. Words of appreciation have been given from time to time by our friends on the other side of the House as to the personnel of the commission, and I cannot recall any adverse criticism in connection with the appointments to that board. I find from to-day's papers that two members of the Board of Commissioners have been through western Canada to the Pacific coast dealing with disputed questions and out of 333 cases that have come before them they have settled at least 90 per cent promptly and satisfactorily. The few that have not been dealt with are held over for expert information in order that the board may arrive at a proper conclusion. As to the immediate appointment of a commissioner I think the government know best whether there is need for one being appointed at once or not, and I favour the amendment that has been moved, to leave the appointment in the hands of the government to deal with when they consider that the appointment is opportune or necessary. As to whether the appointee should be a farmer or not, I am glad to hear so many members anxious to qualify themselves as farmers; doctors and lawyers seem to vie with each other in giving the impression in the House that they are farmers, or if not they would like to he. It is a good omen, it is at least an appreciation of the good work that is being done by the agricultural industry of Canada. The work accomplished by the Minister of Agriculture during his twelve years of office has conduced very materially to the high position of the agriculturist in Canada to-day.

An attempt has been made to criticise the 84i

policy of the government in connection with cold storage. The member for South Lanark (Mr. J. Haggart) claimed that cold storage was established before 1896. It was spoken of then but I do not know of anything practical being; done by the government prior to 1896 towards the establishment of cold storage on cars or steamships.

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CON

Andrew Broder

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRODER.

The hon. gentleman is not correct; cold storage was installed on two railways and on a number of steamships before this government came into power.

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LIB

Malcolm Smith Schell

Liberal

Mr. SCHELL.

The Conservative government did what they could to induce the steamship companies to instal a cold storage system but in 1897 the present Minister of Agriculture entered into an arrangement with the Allan line to equip two or three of their steamers with cold storage plants, giving a subsidy, and the system proved so satisfactory and necessary that other steamship lines were compelled to introduce a similar system without any assistance from the government. The opposition claim some credit that prior to 1896 the government undertook to supervise or instal a system of cold storage on steamships plying to European ports.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Order.

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Charles Sheard

Mr. SHEARER.

The hon. member will not forget that the question before us is an appointment to the Railway Commission. Of course I have allowed considerable latitude because the subject has a bearing on agriculture but to go back to 1896 would be rather an infringement.

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LIB

Malcolm Smith Schell

Liberal

Mr. SCHELL.

I entirely appreciate your remarks, Mr. Speaker. I felt the discussion was irrelevant when it was introduced by the mover of the resolution and one or two who followed him. The member for Lamb-ton (Mr. Armstrong) made practically all his speech in criticism of the government system of cold storage.

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CON

Samuel Barker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARKER.

I rise to a point of order. You ruled, I think, that the gentleman is out of order. At this time of the night 1 do not think that should be persisted in.

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LIB

James Kirkpatrick Kerr (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

The time of night has nothing to do with it. A speech on any specific question having no relevancy to the motion would be out of order but an allusion to such a subject would not.

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LIB

Malcolm Smith Schell

Liberal

Mr. SCHELL.

With a due appreciation of the form the debate has taken I shall not detain you with more than one or two statements. If hon. gentlemen do not care to hear them I suppose it is an evidence that they feel the cause of the opposition is not very good, that their position is not sound. The results of the system of cold storage that has been introduced-

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CON
LIB

Malcolm Smith Schell

Liberal

Mr. SCHELL.

-are so apparent and important that the exports of this country have increased in a wonderful ratio.

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CON

Richard Stuart Lake

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAKE.

I rise to a point of order. The words of the amendment read:

That the duties of the Railway Commission are such as to demand the appointment of the most capable man available who is acquainted with western railway conditions.

I appeal to you, Sir, that the hon. gentleman is not in order.

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LIB

James Kirkpatrick Kerr (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

The hon. gentleman must confine himself to the amendment.

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LIB

Malcolm Smith Schell

Liberal

Mr. SCHELL.

I certainly will do so; I appreciate the point of order thoroughly. I believe that the same judgment, the same discernment, the same appreciation of the needs of this country, that the government had when they provided for a Board of Railway Commissioners, will continue to actuate them in dealing with this appointment. I believe that the government appreciates the needs of the great western part of this Dominion as well as the eastern part. The west is great; I do not know that it is any greater than the eastern part of the Dominion; but we appreciate it as fully as anybody can possibly do; and I believe that the government, in the appointment they will make, will consider not the agricultural interests alone, as the resolution specifies, but the interest of the people of this Dominion as a whole. If they can find a farmer in every way qualified, I believe the government would as readily appoint him as a lawyer or a doctor or a business man or a journalist, or any one else. I support heartily the amendment to the resolution moved by the hon. member for Regina.

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CON

Martin Burrell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MARTIN BURRELL (Yale-Cariboo).

I do not intend to weary the House at this time of the night with more than one or two observations. The two points that have come up in this debate are whether the new commissioner should be from the west, and whether he should be a man who has a practical acquaintance with that great business which is the basis of Canadian prosperity, namely, agriculture. As far as I have followed the discussion up to the present time, I do not think there is much dispute in the minds of hon. gentlemen of the proposition that it is extremely desirable that the new commissioner should be a man from the west, and one who is thoroughly acquainted with western conditions. That is true, from the fact that the late commissioner, whose demise we all deplore, the Hon. Thomas Greenway, was essentially a western man. When we consider the vast and growing progress of the west, we must realize the importance of having a western

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March 15, 1909