May 2, 1913

COMMISSION OF CONSERVATION.


On motion of Mr. Borden, it was ordered that the House go into committee on Monday next to consider the following proposed resolution: Resolved, that it is expedient to amend the Conservation Act, and to provide for the appointment of an officer as assistant to thet chairman and secretary to the commission, who shall have the rank and salary of a deputy head of a department.


CANADA GRAIN ACT AMENDMENT.


Mr. PERLEY moved that the House do on Monday next go into Committee to consider the following resolution: Resolved, that it is expedient to amend the Canada Grain Act, chapter 27, of the statutes of 1912, and to provide that whenever application is made to the Board of Grain Commissioners for the appointment of an inspecting officer or weighmaster, or both, at a place which is not a terminal point or a regular inspection point, the board, if satisfied that such an arrangement should he made and that the applicant is a responsible person, may order such arrangement as it deems proper, on condition that, besides the fees payable, the excess, if any, of the cost of carrying out such arrangement over the amount of such fees, shall be paid by the applicant in such manner and at such times as the board may determine; and that the provisions as to the inspection and weighing of grain, and as to the appointment of inspectors and weigh-masters, and of any rules and regulations made under the said provisions, shall apply at every place with respect to which such an arrangement has been made; and also that the annual license fee payable by the proprietor, lessee or manager of any terminal elevator, shall be twenty-five dollars; the annual license fee payable by the owner of an eleva-



tor engaged dn the manufacture of grain products in the western division, shall be five dollars; the annual license fee payable by the owner or lessee of a country elevator, shall be five dollars; the annual license fee payable by an applicant 'to carry on the business of grain commission merchant in the western division, shall be five dollars; and the annual license fee payable by any person to carry on, the business of a truck buyer, shall be five dollars.


LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

I am under

the impression that we passed that motion some days ago.

Topic:   CANADA GRAIN ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN:

Practically the same.

Topic:   CANADA GRAIN ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON

George Halsey Perley (Minister Without Portfolio)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PERLEY:

The resolution passed the other day contained references to the Bill that came from the Senate. I spoke to His Honour the Speaker on the subject and he thought that the simplest way out of a technical difficulty would be to reintroduce the resolution. That we are now doing.

Topic:   CANADA GRAIN ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink

Motion agreed to.


THE NAVAL AID BILL.


On the Orders of the Day being called:


CON

Richard Bedford Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT (Calgary):

I observe in

the newspapers opposed to the Government in western Canada a statement which is now reproduced in the Globe of Tuesday, the 29th, as follows:

It is now understood that the situation is made still worse for the Government by a direct intimation from the Admiralty suggesting that, for the present at least, it will not be well to force the Bill through Parliament. i

I should like to ask the Government whether there is any truth in any such statement as that because it is rather important, in view of representations that have been made in various newspapers, that the exact situation should he known.

Topic:   THE NAVAL AID BILL.
Permalink
LIB
CON
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN:

There is absolutely no

foundation for any such statement. No intimation of the kind has been received nor has there "been the slightest suggestion of any such character.

Topic:   THE NAVAL AID BILL.
Permalink

WESTERN FREIGHT RATES.


Mr. W. M. MARTIN (Regina) asked for leave to move the adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely, the urgent necessity that the investigation of western freight rates now pending before the Railway Commission should be proceeded with at once so that the unjust burden under which the people Mr. PERLEY. of western Canada are labouring should be removed without delay. And leave having been granted: He said: Mr. Speaker, I have no particular apology to offer for bringing this matter before the House at this time. It is a matter which should have been brought before the House and the Government at an earlier date; but owing to the fact that we have had a very prolonged session dealing for the greater part of the time with the Naval Bill, I have not had an opportunity of bringing it to the attention of the House before to-day. This question, as we all know, is of great importance to the people of western Canada. All the representatives in this House from the western provinces know that there is scarcely a question in regard to which more time is devoted in the West or of which more is said than this question of freight rates. It is not my intention to go into details to show that western freight rates are higher than eastern freight rates or to take up time by going into figures. As I said, my main excuse for bringing the matter to the attention of the House at this juncture is the vast importance of the question to the people of western Canada. I have other reasons, one being that statements have been published in certain newspapers to the effect that the Government of Saskatchewan or the Government of Alberta or both have asked their representative before the Railway Commission, Mr. M. K. Cowan, of Toronto, not to facilitate the investigation. I wish to place before the House a statement by Mr. Cowan contained in a newspaper very recently showing that this report is without foundation. I find in the Winnipeg Free Press, of April 18, in a despatch from Ottawa, this .statement: In order apparently to detract attention from the dallying of 'the Dominion counsel a rumour has been circulated by certain Government members of the House here to the effect that Saskatchewan and Alberta have witliddrawn their counsel from the case. Upon this rumour being brought to the attention of M. IC. Cowan, who was at the capital a few days ago, Mr. Cowan stated that he. had heard of no such rumour, and that there were no reasonable grounds upon .which to base such a rumour so far as Alberta and Saskatchewan were concerned. ' If there is nny such, rumour,^ h© started, it is hbso-lutely false and untrue. The only instructions I have is to pursue the same course in the future as I have done, and that is to do my best to get relief from the burden of unjust freight rates under which Alberta and Saskatchewan are unjustly suffering.' That I think should dispose of the statement that has been circulated in some newspapers to the effect that Saskatchewan and Alberta were not anxious to proceed with the investigation before the Railway Commission. Another reason which I have for bringing the matter to the attention of the Government at the present time is that after an examination of some of the records of evidence that has been given before the Railway Commission, I am satisfied that there has been undue delay in the conduct of this investigation. Since April 16, 1912, when the Railway Commission in accordance with the provision contained in section 77 of the Railway Act, and on the ground that Mr. Cowan, acting on behalf of Saskatchewan and Alberta, had made out a case of discrimination in favour of eastern Canada as against western Canada, ruled that it was necessary for the railway companies to justify their freight rates, over a year has elapsed, and nothing has been done by the counsel representing the Dominion Government or by the railway companies. Although two or three meetings have been held since that time, at which evidence was taken, so far as arriving at any result is concerned, practically nothing has been done since April 16, 1912. That is the main reason I have for bringing this matter to the attention of the House to-day. Without going into details, I believe that the removal of the unjust freight rates in western Canada would to a great extent alleviate the conditions under which the people of that country labour at the present time. We in western Canada know that the past year and the present year up to date, have not been very successful years in that part of the Dominion. I am not here to say that western Canada is not a good country; I believe it is one of the best countries in the world. At the same time the people of western Canada to-day are not enjoying such good conditions as perhaps some men in eastern Canada think, and that is due in part to the unjust freight rates which we have to pay in that country. They are also partially due to the shortage of the crop in 1912. That crop did not turn out to anything like the extent that was anticipated in the early part of the season of last year. The present conditions are also due partially to the shortage of farm labour. Every man who comes from western Canada knows that last year, in particular, it was almost impossible to get farm labour to harvest the crop. It was a very common thing in the district from which I come to pay $4, $4.50 and even $5 a day for an ordinary farm laborer. Another reason is the difficulty of getting grain shipped. I have seen it stated in some newspapers that the conditions which existed in western Canada last year, in regard to the shipment of grain, were better than those which had prevailed in 1911. Owing to the better weather conditions, I believe there was an improvement in the shipment of western grain during 1912-13, as compared with 1911-12, and 1910-11. At the same time I make this statement, and I can substantiate it by figures, that at every point in Western Canada, outside of the competitive railway points, there was a shortage of cars during the fall of 1912 and the spring of 1913. Another matter which has contributed to the conditions in western Canada to-day is the low price of grain. I speak from personal experience when I say that I have seen wheat that was selling in Ontario for ninety to ninety-five cents per bushel, selling for from fifty to fifty-five cents a bushel in Western Canada. It may be said that the Ontario grade was better than the western grade and I am not in__ a position to compare them, but taking the same grade there was a difference of between forty and forty-five cents in the markets of eastern Canada compared with the price in the markets of western Canada during the past year. Another thing which has contributed to the conditions in western Canada, and this is where the freight rates again come in, is the high prices we pay for every commodity in western Canada. Take the price of cement for instance. In Ontario it was selling for $1.20 per barrel, while in Regina it was $3.25 per barrel, and I am told that the difference of $1.80 was due to the freight rates on the shipments from the East to the West. However, these are not matters with which I intend to deal to-day. The question which was placed before the Railway Commission in the fall of 1911, was that of discriminating freight rates in the West as compared with the freight rates in eastern Canada, not on shipments coming in or going out, but in regard to the local freight rates in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, as compared with the local freight rates in Ontario and Quebec. In the fall of 1911 or in the early part of 1912 the Railway Commission conducted an investigation into the western freight rates. That investigation was undertaken as the result of many representations which had been made to the Railway Commission by boards of Trade in western Canada, and- also by members of Parliament from western Canada and, I believe, by the hon. member for South York (Mr. W. F. Maclean). As the result of these representations, and having had from one hundred to two hundred complaints presented to them from western Canada, the Railway Commission ordered an investigation into the western freight rates, and the Dominion Government appointed counsel to represent the people of Canada in the investigation. The onus of carrying on that investigation before the Railway Commission rests upon the Dominion Government counsel, and if the Dominion Government counsel are not forcing it in the way they should, in order to get a decision within a reasonable time, the responsibility rests upon this Government. All the Min-



ister of Railways and the Government have to do to-day is to instruct the counsel whom they have employed, and who are the servants of the people, to get the Railway Commission to fix a date when the investigation must go on, for, as affairs stand at the present time, as I shall show from the records of the proceedings before the Railway Commission, no date has been fixed for the resumption of the investigation since January of the present year. A period of four or five months have elapsed since anything was done, and I submit it is the duty of the Dominion Government counsel, who are in charge of this investigation, because the counsel for Saskatchewan and Alberta are not in charge, being there simply by the courtesy of the Railway Commission, to instruct the Dominion counsel to have the investigation completed, and to insist that the railway companies should justify the discriminating rates that exist in western Canada pursuant to the order of the late Mr. Justice Mabee made on April 16, 1912, when he stated that a sufficient case had been made out by the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta to shift the onus on to the railway companies. Up to the present time the railway companies have not justified those rates. I want to give the House a very short history of what has taken place before the Railway Commission. The first meeting of the commission to investigate those western freight rates was held in the city of Ottawa on February 13, 1912. The meeting was adjourned for a period of one week to enable Mr. H. W. Whitla, of Winnipeg, who had been retained as counsel for the Dominion of Canada, to make demands for information from the various railway companies. That was all that was done on that occasion. On February 20, 1912, the Railway Commission met again, and the session was enlarged again until March 8 to enable counsel for the railways to ascertain what material covered by the demand of Mr. Whitla they would be able to produce, to state to the board what material they could produce, and to formulate their objections to certain of the demands made by Mr. Whitla. I find by the records of the Railway Commission that at this meeting Mr. Whitla represented the Dominion Government, and he had associated with him Mr. Du-Vernet, of Toronto, and Mr. Morrison, of Vegreville. Mr. DuVernet withdrew, and in his place Mr. James Bicknell, of Toronto was appointed. At a meeting of March 18, Mr. James Bicknell and Mr. H. W. Whitla and Mr. F. A. Morrison appeared as counsel for the Dominion Government, and the records also indicate that Mr. M. K. Cowan, of Toronto, appeared as counsel for the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta, with the consent of the Rail-Mr. MARTIN (Retina). way Commission. The case was then adjourned until April 16, 1912, on which date it was intimated by counsel representing the Dominion Government they would be ready to go on. On March 8, 1912, counsel representing the Dominion Government said they would be able to go on within a period of four or five weeks. The meeting of April 16, 1912, was the most important one that has yet been held by the Railway Commission in connection with this matter. I wish to point out from the records what took place then because it was on that day and subsequent days that the evidence put in by Mr. Cowan, acting for Alberta and Saskatchewan, induced the Railway Commission to make an order that the railway companies must justify the discriminating rates in western Canada. For the purpose of making the record somewhat complete, I refer to whaJt took place on April 16. Mr. Whitla, counsel for the Dominion Government, said at page 4093: Mr. Whitla: As I say, Mr. Chairman, the productions were only made within the last few days and it may be quite possible that the figures which have been given us and will be given us may have to be checked by competent men before we can accept them as Hon. Mr. Mabee: Are you asking for a further enlargement? Mr. Whitla: X may be compelled to but I would not say that, Mr. Chairman. I have no intimation from the railway companies when I may expect the first production, it may be within the nexit two or three diays. If I can get the further productions I may be ready to go on in a week. On the 16th of April, the counsel for the Dominion Government were not ready to go on in spite of the fact that they had had three months in which to get the material ready. Mr. Whitla further said that it seemed that the only way in which to proceed was to fix a day so that the matter would not be left wide open. Then Mr. Mabee said: 'We have done that twice now.' Mr. Beatty, solicitor for the Canadian Pacific railway, stated that he had received on the third day of April a statement from Mr. Bicknell of what had been received from them. I quote: Mr. Beatty states that he received on the 3rd of April a statement from Bicknell of what had been received from them. Hon. Mr. Mabee: Then that has been in your hands two weeks? Mr. Whitla: No, a very small portion of them. I had copies for perhaps two days before I left Winnipeg but they are so disconnected and they are picked out from all the demands so that we cannot institute any comparison, otherwise I would have been very pleased to have started to-day. Now that is our misfortune but not our fault. From this statement of Mr. Whitla it is clearly shown that on the 16th of April, * 1912, Mr. Whitla asserted before the Board of Railway Commissioners, in the presence of all the counsel, that they would have been pleased to have started that day if they had the figures from which they could make the comparison. That state of affairs on the 16th of April, 1912, is interesting, when it appears again on January 7, 1913, that Mr. Whitla and Mr< Bicknell were still not ready to proceed with this investigation. I quote from the record, page 4096: Hon. Mr. Malbee: This i.s ithe third time we have tried to get this started. How many more times must we come hack? Mr. Whitla: That is exactly what I am anxious to find out. Mr. Cowan: I am anxious on behalf of Alberta and Saskatchewan to proceed. I have some witnesses subpoenaed here to-day and I am prepared to proceed on behalf of these two provinces. Hon. Mr. Mabee: Very well, call your witnesses. A very peculiar thing took place when Mr. Cowan asked to be allowed to call his witnesses. Objection was then taken by counsel for the railway companies to Mr. Cowan being permitted to put in evidence on behalf of the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, and the counsel for the railway companies was assisted in that position by Mr. Whitla, counsel for the Dominion Government, who said, amongst other things, at page 4099. This, mark you, Mr. Speaker, is the statement of Mr. Whitla, after the counsel for the railway companies had objected to Mr. Cowan being allowed to proceed: It is to be considered whether it is advisable to receive evidence at this stage which may possibly be ill digested and not properly prepared for the purpose of an exhaustive investigation of this kind and which may afterwards either be removed from the files or evidence contradictory introduced. I do not know what Mr. Cowan intends to adduce, he has not given us any intimation, but at the same time as I said before, if the commission desires to take evidence now which can only be ' piece meal ' evidence we would welcome any assistance at this stage which the commission sees fit to take. Hon. Mr. Mabee.- Now it was understood before as I thought that we were to have new evidence submitted to-day to get this inquiry under way and get it started. It was distinctly stated on a former occasion that the commencement of the inquiry need not be delayed until all the information, statistical and the like, had been compiled, but that the inquiry might proceed and we might get along as best we could with the information that came to hand and keep furnishing the members of the commission with additional statistics as they are compiled. It appears now that counsel representing the Government are not prepared to go on with the material that has been furnished, and they suggest that there should be some further delay. On the other hand, counsel represent- I ing Alberta and Saskatchewan says that he is here ready with witnesses. If seems to me the manifest duty of the commission is to hear these witnesses. . . Then at page 4101 I quote: Hon. Mir. Mabee: It does not make any difference whether some evidence is given to-day and some next week or whether the evidence that is given to-day is contradicted later on. I think there is no doubt at all that we should go on with the inquiry and get something done. As a result of the decision given by the commission, Mr. Cowan, lep resen ting the two provinces, was allowed to put in certain evidence, and he immediately proceeded on the 16th of April to call three witnesses, namely: W. R. Mclnnes, general freight traffic manager of the Canadian Pacific railway; J. D. Aiundel, general superintendent of the Ontario division of the Canadian Pacific railway, and George H. Shaw, general traffic manager of the Canadian Northern railway. Let me give briefly what counsel, representing the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta, was able to establish out of the mouths of these tiaffic experts of the railway companies before the Board of Railway Commissioners. I shall not go into details, but I shall put in succinct form what was actually proven by the evidence of the railway officials tnemselves: In the first place it was proven that freight rates charged by railway companies west of Port Arthur were from twenty-five per cent to one hundred percent higher than the rates charged in Ontario and Quebec; in the second place it was proven from the records of the Canadian Pacific railway that the actual cost of hauling one thousand tons of freight one mile was less in the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, than in Ontario and Quebec; in the third place it was proven that the cost of maintenance of lines in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta was $400 less per mile than in Ontario and Quebec; in the fourth place it was proven that the actual transportation expenses were $434 less per mile of road in Saskatchewan and Alberta than in the eastern division of the Canadian Pacific railway; in the fifth place it was proven that taking the total of all operating expenses it costs $863 less per mile to operate railways in Saskatchewan and Alberta than in Ontario and Quebec; and in the sixth place it was proven that the density of traffic was twenty-nine per cent greater in Manitoba and sixteen per cent greater in Saskatchewan and Alberta than in' Ontario and Quebec. In view of such facts being established, it is very difficult for a man who perhaps does not understand much about railroading to see what possible defence the railway companies could have to the fact that freight rates are so much higher in western



than in eastern Canada. I refer to section 77 of the Railway Act: Whenever it is shown that any company charges one person, company, or class of persons, or the persons in any district, lower tolls for the same or similar goods, or lower tolls for the same or similar services, than it charges to other persons, companies, or classes of persons, or to the persons in another district, or makes any difference in treatment in respect of such companies or persons, the burden of proving that such lower toll or difference in treatment, does not amount to an undue preference or an unjust discrimination shall lie on the company. On the 16th of April the Railway Commission took advantage of this provision and ordered that the onus of justifying these discriminatory freight rates was upon the railway company. In spite of that fact, three prominent lawyers of this country, acting on behalf of the Dominion Government have, according to the records of the Railway Commission, done practically nothing up to the present time to further this investigation. What is the reason ? I have seen rather ugly rumours in the newspapers as to the connection of some of these Dominion Government counsel with some other institutions in this country. I do not wish to refer to those matters to-day. Members of the Government have also seen the reports. If the people of Canada are to have any confidence in this Government and in our Railway Commission, something must be done to further the investigation which has now been pending before the commission for a year and a half with no result to the people of western Canada. The meeting of April 16, 1912, was the most important meeting held on this question. A further meeting was held in Toronto on May 1, 1912, at which the Dominion Government counsel did the only thing which they have done in connection with this investigation. They filed certain exhibits which they got printed in the city of Winnipeg. On May 1, Mr. James Bicknell and Mr. H. W. Whitla were able to do this. These exhibits did not give any new information to the commission; they were merely supplementary to the exhibits already filed by counsel for the governments of Saskatchewan and Alberta. Another meeting was held on May 21, 1912, and nothing was done. At that meeting Mr. Cowan, when asked as to whether or not he was ready to go on, said that he was ready to go on at any time. On June 18, another meeting of the commission was held at which this matter was mentioned. I wish it to be understood that I am not criticising the action of the Railway Commission, because the men who have charge of the investigation are the counsel for the Dominion Government. I believe the men on the Rail-Mr. MARTIN (Regina). way Commission are the best men that we have in Canada. At a meeting of June 18, 1912, after the order had been made by the Railway Commission shifting the onus of proof on to the railway companies of justifying these discriminatory freight rates, what do you suppose that Mr. Jaimes Bicknell did? He asked the Railway Commission to hold meetings throughout the western provinces in order to see what the people might have to say about the freight rates. The Railway Commission said they would do that, in spite of the fact that they had all the evidence before them and that it had been amply established by evidence of railway officials that freight rates were 25 to 175 per cent higher than in eastern Canada. The Railway Commission went into western Canada for a period of three weeks and held meetings at the following places) Fort William, Winnipeg, Moosejaw, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Victoria. I venture to say that the Railway Commission had filed with them between 150 and 200 complaints with respect to the these freight rates at that time. A further meeting was held on October 7, 1912, at which the railway companies commenced to put in evidence to justify their freight rates. Practically their whole defence was that freight rates at some points in the northern and western states were just as high as in western Canada. What kind of places do you suppose they cited? They took places like Thief River Falls in the state of Minnesota and Indian villages like Cheyenne in the state of Wyoming, places out of which there was practically no traffic at all, and they compared the freight rates at those points with the freight rates at great centres like the city of Winnipeg and distributing centres like Moose-jaw and Saskatoon and Regina. That is all the defence that they have put in up to the present time. The meeting of October 27, 1912 was finally adjourned and the commission met on January 7, 1913. I wish to refer to what took place at that meeting because it is the last meeting that has been , called in connection with that matter. At page 115 of volume 168 of the proceeding of the Railway Commission, Mr. Cowan made the following statement: If the Chairman will adjourn until the morning, I will take up Mr. Melnnes then. He is the freight traffic manager of the Canadian Pacific railway: I do not want any misunderstanding, I am not in charge of this case. I am here acting for the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta and I understand I must give way and I will very gladly to my learned friends the Dominion Government counsel. I suppose they are entitled to go on but the hoard very kindly let me step into it. So far as I am concerned I am prepared to take up at any time to-


MAA 2. 1913

May 2, 1913