February 6, 1911

WESTERN FARMERS' DELEGATION.

LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I beg to move that the proceedings of the meeting between the farmers' delegation and the Prime Minister, and other members of the government in the House of Commons chamber on the 16th December last, be printed for the use of members and that rule 74 be suspended in relation thereto.

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Motion agreed to.


CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARMSTRONG.

How soon may we expect that report?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Right away.

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TRAFFIC AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES.

CON

William Sora Middlebro

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MIDDLEBRO.

Before the orders of the day are called I would like to draw the attention of the Prime Minister or the Minister of Railways (Mr. Graham) to ah article which appears in the February issue of the ' Review of Reviews,' with reference to an agreement said to have been reached between the Railway Commission of Canada and the Interstate Commerce Commission of the United States. The article is as follows:

It is expected that with the reciprocity treaty there will also be submitted to Congress the text of some sort of traffic agreement with Canada to regulate railroad business over the border. . . . The report of Chairman Knapp, concurred in by Chairman Mabee, and presented to the Secretary of State on the last day of December, contains recommendations of such importance to those of our citizens who are interested in trade and travel across

the border that we herewith summarize its most important points.

Then the article goes on:

The proposed treaty provides for a tribunal to enforce and administer its provisions to be known as the International Commerce Commission and which shall consist of four members, namely, the chairman of the Interstate Commerce Commission and the chief commissioner of the Board of Kailway Commissioners of Canada for the time being, a member of the Interstate Commerce Commission to be appointed by the President of the United States, and a member of the Railway Commissioners of Canada to be appointed by the Governor General of Canada in Council. The powers conferred upon and the authority given to this commission in respect of international carriers would correspond to those exercised by the Interstate Commerce Commission in respect of interstate carriers within the United States.

The provisions of such a treaty should apply to telegraph, telephone and express companies and such companies should be subject as respect to international business to the authority of the International Commerce Commission.

I would like to point to a paragraph taken from the message of President Taft with reference, to reciprocity, which he sent to Congress on the 26th January last. After reciting a few of the matters which had been settled, and which, he says, enabled them to make a reciprocity agreement, he proceeds thus:

An equitable arrangement has recently been reached between our Interstate Commerce Commission and the similar body in Canada m regard to through rates on the transportation lines between the two countries. The path having been thus opened for the improvement oi commercial relations, a reciprocal trade agreement is the logical sequence of all that lias been accomplished in disposing of matters of a diplomatic and controversial character.

I would like to know if that be true, and if such an agreement has been reached between our Board of Railway Commissioners, and the Interstate Commerce Commission of the United States. If so, by whom was the initiative taken; and if such an agreement has been made, will it be submitted to this House before the conclusion of the discussion on reciprocity, as is proposed to be done apparently on the other side oT the line. Have our Railway Commissioners the authority to make any such agreement without subjecting it to ratification by this House? The whole trend of such an agreement, I presume, is to facilitate traffic north and south instead of east and west.

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

As I have already stated on several occasions in this House, the question of control of rates on lines running from Canada into the United States, and from the United States into Canada

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CON

William Sora Middlebro

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MIDDLEBRO.

has been under consideration, I think, more than a year. I am not prepared to say just who originated the idea of solving the problem by the appointment of an international tribunal. It was first brought to my attention by Judge Mabee, the chairman of the Board of Railway Commissioners for Canada. The difficulties experienced by shippers on traffic between the two countries are quite apparent at times. For instance, the rate is a point, say from New York to Toronto. It is possible, I presume to get a through rate by the boards acting separately. But what results often is this, that the railway companies on each side charge a local tariff, particularly if there be no competition, and as a result the purchaser of the goods in Toronto is obliged to pay two local rates instead of one through rate. The object of the agreement, if one could be arrived at, was to form some tribunal that could quickly make a through rate that would apply from any point in Canada to any point in the United States and vice versa, so that, so far as control of rates was concerned, there would be a tribunal that as completely controlled the traffic originating in either country going to the other as if the traffic were all in one country. Judge Mabee and Mr. Knapp, head of the Interstate Commerce Commission, had several conferences and they did arrive at a basis that to them seemed satisfactory for the solution of the difficulty, and in a manner to protect both shippers and producers on either side of the line having business on the other side. The report of each of these gentlemen is now in the hands of his government. If approved it will take the form of a treaty. As to the details, so far as I am concerned, they have not been given to the public. But the information which my hon. friend (Mr. Middlebro) finds in the magazine referred to approximates the truth as to outlining the details. All I can say is, that so far as the Canadian government is concerned, this matter is still under consideration, and no action has yet been taken. But the report of Judge Mabee was made to this government as the report of Mr. Knapp was made to the United States government.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Did Mr. Mabee take the initiative in this matter without any consultation with or authorization from the government?

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

No, that is not what I said. I said I was not in a position to say who originally took the initiative; the first I heard of it, Judge Mabee discussed it with me, and he had full authority to discuss it with Mr. Knapp and make a report embodying their views. [DOT]

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CON

William Sora Middlebro

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MIDDLEBRO.

This report, apparently, states that an agreement will be sub-

mitted to the United States Congress when the treaty is discussed. Will it be discussed here when we discuss reciprocity?

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

It will be premature, 1 imagine, to say much about it, as it is entirely under negotiation at the present time. And, as it will be in the form of a treaty, the usual custom and practice as to treaties will be followed in both countries.

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RECIPROCITY-INQUIRY FOR PAPERS.


Mr. BRADBURYL I desire to call the attention of the Minister of Finance to the returns brought down of the petitions and representations for and against the proposed arrangement with the American government. I notice that the petition from Manitoba in favour of admitting vegetables free into Canada is among the papers brought down, but the petitions against admitting them free are not included. Last year I had the honour to present to this House a petition from the Kildonan Association protesting against the admission of vegetables into this country free of duty. I think there was a petition sent to the hon. minister in addition to that. And I understand that a similar petition was sent in the early part of the present session. Does the minister intend to bring these down? I may also mention a petition from the stonecutters along the same line.


LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

If any petitions have been received at my department which are not included in the return, they should certainly be brought down. It is quite accidental if they have not been.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

I would like to ask the minister if, since our conversation across the floor the other day, he has yet brought himself into a state of mind to obey the order of the House and bring down the correspondence of parties either with himself or the Minister of Customs, or any other member of the government, not any of which has yet been brought down?

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

I have not had the opportunity of looking over the returns, but I may say that I gave directions in a general way that anything covered by the order of the House should be brought down. I was informed that there were letters, which, it was thought by my officials, were not intended to be made public, and I stated that, in that case, they should not be brought down. I will give my personal attention to the matter. But I am not able to change the judgment'I gave as to the rule governing cases of this kind. If there is anything not brought down which falls within the rule-and not necessarily the written rule, but the ordinary rule and custom of the House-I will bring it down.

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LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

In that connection 1 have a telegram, received late Saturday night from Vernon, stating: 'Associated 97

Boards of Trade here are forwarding resolution that duty be not taken off fruit.' I have received similar intimations from others, but my impression is that copies of what I have received have gone to the Minister of Finance as well. If there is anything of that kind, copies of which have not been sent to the Minister of Finance, I will try .and look them up.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

We would like to have them complete. The order included all minutes.

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February 6, 1911