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
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
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