April 30, 1913

LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I would limit it entirely to branch lines of the Intercolonial, because it is in respect of those that Parliament is already committed by a resolution just as strong as this one would be if it

were put through in this emasculated form It would simply be a declaration that this House is in favour of leasing or purchasing or building any line of railway which the Government may hereafter be authorized by Parliament to lease or to purchase or to build. It is simply an academic resolution, which gives no authority whatever to take any action. My hon. friend must see that he cannot move hand or foot if the resolution is passed with this prohibitive clause in it, because he must still come to Parliament and get this special authority. What I would do would be this: I would authorize the Governor in Council to lease for a long term of years any of the branch lines of the Intercolonial on terms to be approved by the Governor in Council, with the provision that the lease shall be submitted to Parliament at the next session after it is entered into. I am willing, and I have no doubt this House is willing, to trust the Governor in Council in regard to the leasing of the branch lines. There could not be any mistake as to that because the Government have a record of its past earnings and they could get a report of the board of management and of the engineers of the Intercolonial. If any branch lines are to be purchased, I would leave that entirely as a matter of appropriation, or I would provide in the Bill that, if it was decided to purchase any of the branch lines, a board of arbitration should be appointed by agreement to determine as to what was a reasonable price. If there was any difficulty so far as a lease was concerned, the same provision might be made. We would then be taking a step forward instead of, if this resolution were passed, being in exactly the same position as we were before.

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CON

Francis Cochrane (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCHRANE:

What would you do

if we leased a line next summer? How would we operate that line unless we got an appropriation from Parliament?

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

That would be provided in a vote for the Intercolonial system. The minister would have to come down with his supplementary estimates, and ask Parliament to vote what additional amount he would require for that purpose.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN:

That would bring the matter hack to the condition which my hon. friend says is useless and unworkable, namely, an appropriation in the first place by Parliament.

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LIB
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN:

My hon. friend found

fault a moment ago with the proposal of the minister, because he said that it all rests with the approval of the appropriation by Parliament, and therefore the minister's hands are completely tied. My hon.

friend is now suggesting exactly the same thing-an appropriation by Parliament before the minister shall act.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

No. That is so far as the operation is concerned, but you must first get a lease of the road.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN:

What is the use of acquiring a road if you cannot operate it?

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

If Parliament authorized the lease, Parliament would vote the necessary appropriation to operate. The difficulty is that you cannot acquire a road; you cannot lease it; you cannot make any agreement at all under this resolution, as it is proposed to be amended. Then why pass the resolution at all? The point is that provision should be made of a definite character for the leasing or acquiring by purchase of the branch lines of the In-tetrcolonial, the leasing or purchase to be left to the Governor in Council, and provision could be made that, if the Government and the companies could not agree upon the price, it could be left to a board of arbitration, or the amount to be expended could be fixed by a referee or by the judge of the Exchequer Court, whatever might be the best way of doing it. On this resolution or on a Bill founded upon it, the minister cannot take any action. He cannot lease a road; he cannot buy one.

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CON

Francis Cochrane (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCHRANE:

I could put in the

supplementary estimates an extra sum for the Intercolonial with this in view. If any road were leased this session under this Bill, we could commence to operate it and bring down the lease at the next session of Parliament for approval. I think under the resolution we can do it.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

If the resolution is

passed, my hon. friend would decide what lines he would acquire; he would ask a supplementary vote for that and proceed after that to acquire the line, so that he could depend on the appropriation?

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CON

Francis Cochrane (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCHRANE:

Yes.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

If that ft the intention of my hon. friend, possibly it could be worked out in that way. I am anxious that we take some step forward in connection with this important matter. I would be very sorry to say a word which would hinder or delay the carrying through of the idea which my hon. friend from Westmorland (Mr. Emmerson), has contended for so long, and to which he succeeded in getting the unanimous approval of this House in a resolution passed some time ago. My hon. friend the Minister of Railways is desirous of carrying out the wish of the House. The only question is how best to do it. Although I do not agree with the mode in which he proposes to do Mr. BORDEN.

it, I would be very sorry to throw any obstacle in the way. In the province from which I come there is an exceedingly strong, and in fact intense desire that these branch lines should be taken over and operated as a part of the Intercolonial system. It is felt that the public would be very greatly benefited by that, and although for a few years these lines might not be profitable, in the final result most of them could be worked up into valuable feeders and would fee beneficial not only to the public but to the Intercolonial system as well.

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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

Even as amended, this resolution is very broad on one point, that is, as to the location of any lines that might be leased, any new work that might be constructed or any railways or terminals that might be purchased. On looking over the resolution, I am inclined to think that one could almost, for instance, build a railway1 in connection with the Hudson Bay railway.

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CON

Francis Cochrane (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCHRANE:

We are building the Hudson Bay railway.

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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

You are doing it under a special statute.

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CON

Francis Cochrane (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCHRANE:

Yes.

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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

But I think under this

resolution a railway could be constructed not in connection with the Intercolonial or the Prince Edward Island railway at all, but in some other part of Canada. Would it fee possible, on the second reading or in Committee of the Whole, to consider an amendment to effect what is desired? This is a resolution on which the Bill is to be founded, and I understand that you cannot go very far in making amendments at this stage.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN:

It seems to me the difficulty about this amended resolution is perhaps that it ties the hands of the minister a little too much. In its original form it was probably too wide, for example, in respect to the possibility of building a road in the West which the hon. member for South Renfrew (Mr. Graham) has mentioned. There is no idea of building a road in the West or in connection with the Hudson Bay railway under this -resolution. The minister has in mind the acquisition of certain lines in the maritime provinces, a subject which has been touched upon very often in this House, and possibly the construction of short branches of the Intercolonial railway, as I am informed by the minister, that the powers under the Railway Act for such purposes, are limited to five miles.

The hon. member for Westmorland (Mr. Emmerson) thought this resolution was too wide without the words now proposed to

be added, which were not included in the resolution, but which form part of the Bill, and which for some reason were omitted from the resolution by the officer of the House who prepared it. Without these words the resolution certainly was of a very ample character; with these words added to it as my hon. friend from St. John suggests, it is very much restricted. I think it would be possible to work it out in the way the hon. gentleman himself suggested a little while ago, that is, to have an appropriation from Parliament at the present session enabling the .minister to proceed. As to what the hon. member for Westmorland has said concerning the desirability of indicating at the present time certain lines of railways to be acquired, I think that members of the committee will see upon consideration that that would be impossible at the present moment, because the acquisition of any particular branch line roust depend upon a certain investigation which, I think, has not been complete or has not been-

Mr. COCHRANE; Is not complete.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN:

-or which has not been put into a satisfactory form up to the present time. One object, the principal object of the minister, as I understand, in introducing the resolution, was to get a certain power to negotiate, or a basis of negotiating, which would enable him to go on and do something. The resolution as at first introduced was quite unrestricted, there is no doubt about that.

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April 30, 1913