February 9, 1914

IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN:

Yes, if they will sign it. I would be glad to endorse that if the Intercolonial could go over the Canadian Pacific on equal terms, I am not against all the roads in Canada having running rights over the Intercolonial if they will reciprocate. That would be -a good thing for the Intercolonial; it would get built up in that way. But I do not like a onesided bargain, and I do not like trading with a corporation that to-day is maintaining freight rates away above wh-at they ought to be, and away above the rates that would be imposed upon them if we had some jurisdiction over them. I believe the steamship companies come under our jurisdiction by the powers conferred in the Railway Act, and if that Act does not give us power over these companies we can revise it, so as to reach this ocean combine. But I am against dealing with these corporations at the present time or giving them any privileges over the national property or at the national ports. What good would the Minister of Public Works do this country if he spent $50,000,000 in great terminals at Halifax and St. John and if he allowed the Canadian Pacific to use them and that company charged what it liked on the ocean. We are always doing something new, giving some advantage to somebody, but we are not getting the advantage ourselves -and if we are to have the same experience with the railways as we have had in connection with ocean -freight rates the benefit of our national ports will go to these railways and all they will do is to take advantage of them -and put increased rates on the farmers and business men of the West. That is not good policy. It has got to stop and it must be stopped right away. And that contract, if it can be withdrawn-and I believe it can-ought to be withdrawn in the interests of this country unless the Canadian Pacific can show the Government that they -have a clean record in regard to the Atlantic combine in the matter of freight rates. Otherwise, they should not -have that contract for a day longer than is necessary to cancel it. I have said wh-at I 'have to say -and I think I -have presented this question in a new way. I do not present it in a partisan way at all. I do not want to place any criticism on either side of the House, for wh-at has taken place in the past, but I do want to show this House and all the people of Canada the connection between these railways and these ocean lines and the -high freight rates prevailing in this country. The time has come when there must be no dealing with a transportation company that seeks to control the freight of the railways, to control the cartage agencies even, the lake and river freight and ocean freight, and the farmer who grows the grain and the miller who grinds the flour; and it is_ the western miller who is complaining most bitterly about the Atlantic combine. I say that once for all we ought to stop having dealings with these corporations in the way of giving them running rights and special rates as long as they give the people of Canada most unfair, most unjust and burdensome freight rates in connection with the ocean, in connection with the inland lakes and the railways.

, Mr. O. TURGEON (Gloucester): I did

not expect to discuss this evening the question of ocean rates, but 1 must say that the argument of my hon. friend who

has just taken his seat has appealed to me very much, and I think if the Canadian Pacific railway were to come into contact with the many companies operating on the Atlantic that an arrangement more satisfactory to the people of Canada would be effected. I think I may say to my hon. friend from South York (Mr. W. F. Maclean) that in my estimation he can expect but little relief in that respect for the farmers of the West, and the importers on the other side of the Atlantic, at least so long as the Conservative Government and the Canadian Pacific railway are in existence in this country. I am not a resident of St. John, nor am I a citizen of Halifax, and therefore I cannot be accused of being actuated by jealousy. [DOT] I belong to the north shore of New Brunswick, about equidistant from Halifax and St. John, and I look on this question from the broad standpoint of a Canadian citizen, more particularly as a Canadian of the province by the sea, and we in those provinces know that the immense harbours we have at Halifax and other places have been placed there not so much for the benefit of the citizens of St. John and Halifax, out more particularly they have been put there by Providence to aid in the great development of the West and the ports of Canada generally.. Not only the people of St. John, but the people of New Brunswick as well, were simply astonished when those reports cajne last fall that the Canadian Pacific railway would terminate its business with St. John without any further declaration. This uneasiness of mind was not confined to the people of Halifax or St. John at that time, but permeated the brain of every citizen of New Brunswick and the Maritime provinces. We know that from the Canadian standpoint we) should encourage the shortest route possible for bringing passengers to our ports; more particularly does this apply to the transportation of mails. Every possible hour that can be saved the people of the West in getting their mails should be saved. The American people have always been on the lookout for anything tending to a quicker mail delivery. Years ago I advocated in this House and elsewhere a fast mail service between Ireland and St. John's, Newfoundland, and if ever the day comes when that service is put into effect, we ishall have the ideal fast mail service for this country. The Postmaster General has explained that it was left to the steamship companies to select between St. John and Halifax as a winter [Mr. Turgeon.J

port, and the Canadian Pacific railway and the Allan Line chose St. John while the Canadian Northern Steamship Line selected Halifax. We know that both harbours are equally well equipped and that improvements are going on daily; but I maintain it was to the advantage of the commercial interests of Canada that the steamers should continue to call at St. John. However, without explanation from the Government or from the steamship companies, the change was made, and the steamers were withdrawn from St. John, and everybody in the Maritime provinces began naturally to inquire into the cause. The Postmaster General told us that the Canadian Pacific Railway Steamship Company changed its mind as to the port of call, but it must be remembered that while probably the representatives of the Canadian Pacific railway were giving this information to the Postmaster General, at that very moment the Gutelius agreement was in existence. The Postmaster General has not yet told us that he was ignorant of the agreement, and the people of New Brunswick have been greatly impressed with the co-existence of this agreement and the appointment of Mr. Gutelius as General Manager of the Intercolonial railway. Neither the Postmaster General nor the Prime Minister has yet told us whether any legal agreement was made between the Government and the Canadian Pacific railway. We know that when the agreement was mooted, the Board of Trade of St. John, composed of citizens of all political parties and of probably more Conservatives than Liberals, appointed a delegation to interview the Prime Minister and the Minister of Railways, with regard to that matter, and they were told that so far as these ministers were aware no agreement was in existence. The delegation of the St. John Board of Trade returned to their city in the hope that no such agreement would be brought into force, but almost at the very moment that the delegates were in Ottawa, to protest against the agreement made between Mr. Gutelius for the Intercolonial railway and Mr. Bosworth for the Canadian Pacific railway, Mr. Gutelius was laying it down in the language of a Russian czar to the people of St. John that the agreement would be put in effect. When he was asked if the agreement would be cancelled, the answer he gave to the council of the board of trade was: ' I would not say that, but if you think an agreement signed by the vice-president of one company and by the

general manager of the other is not binding, then you had better go ahead. We know now that Mr. Gutelius put this agreement into operation without even the consent of the Board of Railway Commissioners for Canada. We are told to-day that this agreement is only for six months, but that is long enough for the Intercolonial railway to lose its traffic between St. John and Halifax, and if we did not object to it, there is no doubt that it would possibly be renewed for so long as this Government remains in power.

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An hon. MEMBER:

That will not be long.

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LIB

Onésiphore Turgeon

Liberal

Mr. TURGEON:

I know it will not be long, but in the meantime it is our duty to endeavour to remedy the conditions existing along the line of the Intercolonial railway. As representing a northern New Brunswick constituency, I may say that we have always feared that the construction of other railroads would take away some trade from the Intercolonial railway and reduce that part of it in my district to the position of a local road. That fear has been renewed in our minds by the conduct of this particular official of the Intercolonial railway who has been so severely criticised by the hon. member for Westmorland (Mr. Emmerson), who was able to speak as an expert. For the information of the Prime Minister and the Postmaster General, who have told us that the agreement was only for six months, I wish to point out that there is an immense discrepancy between the rates charged by the Intercolonial railway to the shippers of the Maritime provinces and the amount charged under this agreement to that wealthy corporation the Canadian Pacific railway, for this traffic between St. John and Halifax, the result of which agreement will be to divert from St. John that traffic which legitimately belongs to it in the winter months.

The freight rates charged by the Intercolonial to the ordinary shippers of freight are ten or fifteen times more than those charged to the Canadian Pacific railway under the Gutelius agreement. The people of the Maritime provinces along the north shore wish this matter rectified just as much as the people of St. John and Halifax do. Here is a comparison of the rates existing at the time of the Gutelius agreement given at the meeting of the St. John Board of Trade.

The freight charges to the general shipper on flour and grain between St. John and Halifax

in carload lots is fourteen cents per hundred' pounds or $2.80 per ton as compared with the Gutelius agreement with the Canadian Pacific railway of three cents per hundred pounds or sixty cents per ton.

The charges to the general shipper on general freight range from thirteen to thirty-five cents' per hundred pounds in carload lots as compared with three and three-fourths cents' per hundred pounds or seventy-five cents per ton under the Gutelius agreement with the Canadian Pacific railway.

General freight charges, so far as the general shipper is concerned, are divided into* ten classes ranging from 35 to 12 cents per hundred pounds. For example the rate for class 1, which includes groceries and glassware, is 35 cents per hundred pounds; the rate for class 5, which includes molasses, sugar etc., is 17 cents per hundred pounds; the rate for class 10, the lowest class, which includes lime, etc., is 13 cents per hundred pounds.

Thus the lowest charge for general freight to the general shipper is 13 cents per hundred pounds, as compared with the rate of 31 cents per hundred pounds under the Gutelius agreement.

The Gutelius agreement states that no train of twelve cars is to exceed in earnings to the Intercolonial railway more than $300. Under ordinary circumstances, a train of twelve cars, carrying 500 people, at $6.25 a piece,-the lowest priced ticket issued between St. John and Halifax, commercial travellers' rates- would exceed in earnings $3,000 for the people's* railway, or, if the train were a freight train of twelve cars, which would be 720 tons, the ordinary rate of $2.80 per ton would mean a revenue to the Intercolonial railway of $2,016, as compared with the $300 under the Gutelius agreement.

Should the cars used be Canadian Pacific railway cars, that would, of course, make some difference in the value of the service.

This shows the difference between the charges which the people of the Maritime provinces are called upon to pay to the Government and the charges to the Canadian Pacific railway under the Gutelius agreement. If it is necessary to impose these charges upon the people of the-Maritime provinces, it is nothing else but robbery to make the people pay for the advantage given to the Canadian Pacific railway. I hope my hon. friend from South York (Mr. Maclean) is interested in these figures. They will appear in ' Hansard ' tomorrow for the study of the people of Canada.

My hon. friend from Halifax (Mr. Maclean), my hon. friend from Carleton (Mr. Carvell) and my hon. friend from West morland (Mr. Emmerson) have given the true state of affairs, and therefore I need not spend more time on this question. I simply wish to emphasize what they have' said, and to state that members on the other side of the House must not think for a moment that the people of St. John and*

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

I beg to move the adjournment of the debate.

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. E. M. MACDONALD:

Before the motion is put, I should like to say a word or two, not with the idea of prolonging this [DOT]discussion at too great length, but certain remarks have been made in the course of

this debate with which I do not quite agree. I am somewhat surprised that the hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries has made no statement in regard to this matter, and that the hon. Minister of . Railways is. not in his place to discuss it. Although the Postmaster General nominally has to do with the mail contract, every one knows that the two ministers whom I have named have more to do with the working out of the matter than the Postmaster General has.

What are the facts? The Canadian Pacific railway made up their minds that they were going to bring their large steamers to Halifax this year and to sail them from that port. In order to do so, they had to get running rights over the Intercolonial from St. John to carry the passengers to and from their steamers. I am not one of those who regard it as unfortunate that the Canadian Pacific railway want to run their steamers from Halifax or that the Canadian Pacific railway want to run their trains into Nova Scotia. But when the hon. member for York comes here and wants to dictate what is to be done in regard to the Intercolonial railway, I must tell him that I come from a province where the onlyrailway of any kind which enables us to maintain communication with the rest of the transportation facilities of the country is the Intercolonial railway, and that railway to-day, run with excessive freight rates, without any competition whatever, is a great and onerous charge upon the business interest of that province. ,We want the Canadian Pacific railway, we want the Grand Trunk Pacific when it is completed, and like all the other provinces we have our right to desire every one of these transportation systems within our borders. These systems should not be precluded from going to that province; and, speaking for Nova Scotia, I claim for our people the benefits of competition. When the Canadian Pacific railway decided to come to Nova Scotia, having no railway communication, it was a fair business proposition to go to the Intercolonial railway and ask their permission to came in on fair terms. And when I recall the position taken by the St. John Board of Trade and other gentlemen in regard to this agreement., I recall that there was a lot of talk about what St. John was going to do about it. But why did they not go to the Railway Commission and ask that the agreement be reviewed? I would like to ask the people of St. John, who, as everybody knows, are complaining of the way they are dealt with,. why they did not have that agreement reviewed.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN:

Does the hon.

gentleman contend that it is within the jurisdiction of the Railway Commission?

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

I know it is not, as a matter of fact, but I saw it stated at the time on reliable authority that the Railway Department were willing to submit the terms of this agreement to the Railway Commission, waiving any legal or technical objections.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN:

Would it not be an unfair discrimination, and thereby come within the purview of the Railway Commission?

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

I am not discussing the technical question whether they could go there or not, because it was understood that they could go there. But what I say is, that the people of St. John should have acted upon their opportunity to go before the Railway Commission and have that agreement reviewed. I was not here when that phase of the subject was under discussion, and do not care now to discuss whether it was too much or too little. Every one in the Maritime provinces knows that the Government in that matter were playing politics. The Canadian Pacific railway wanted to come to Halifax with their big steamers. They decided to come there, no matter what happened. To placate St. John, the influence of the Government and of the Prime Minister, who represents Halifax, was exercised with his particular friends Mackenzie & Mann to take their steamers away from Halifax and send them to St. John. That is the cold English of the situation.

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LIB
LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

If he did not do it

himself, he got somebody else to do it. So far as the facts are concerned, one does not need to have state papers brought down to make clear what any man of ordinary common sense knows to be the fact; as I venture to say that whatever diplomatic denials may be made, it is regarded as a fact.

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

I am sure the hon. gentleman will accept the word of the Prime Minister.

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

I am bound to accept his word in this House. It may be that some other member of the Government went and did this thing behind his back. But in the city he represents he is held responsible for the fact that some [DOT]one in his Government arranged the deal 39

under which these two boats of Mackenzie & Mann were taken from the city of Halifax. The idea that they went of their own free will and accord is absurd. Sir William Mackenzie said so. Mr. Hannah kept wiring the people of Halifax day after day up to the eve of the withdrawal of the boats that he was not going to take them away and could not be induced to take them away. That is the situation-the Government is playing off one port against the other. But some day they will have to come out of the woods and settle what they are going to do. Up to that time, I suppose, they can fool the people of St. John and they can fool the people of Halifax.

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LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

No, they cannot fool

St. John any more.

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

They are making a brave effort to do so; and the same with Halifax. That is the whole thing with regard to. this discussion concerning the removal of these steamers. But my purpose in rising is to emphasize the fact that we want the Transcontinental lines in Nova Scotia, and we do not propose to be the only province in the country that is tied up to one railway system. Look at British Columbia. In a few years that province will have every one of our great transcontinental lines in it; and in that province the natural trade flowing to the Pacific through Vancouver does not begin to be as great as that which flows in winter to the Atlantic seaboard. But when we come to the Prime Minister and ask for even necessary railway accommodation, he declines to give it.

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LIB

Pius Michaud

Liberal

Mr. MICHAUD:

Will the hon. gentleman explain to the House how the freight rates have increased now that the Canadian Pacific railway has the right of running over the Intercolonial railway?

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

The freight rates,

under the Administration of this Government, have increased by leaps and bounds. Within the past year they have increased by almost fifty per cent on staple articles. Representations were made by the business interests of Nova Scotia, and as a result a reduction of this high increase was made, but the average freight increase paid by those interests last year is at least 25 per cent higher. And when we go to the Minister of Railways and ask him to give us merely reasonable railway improvements, we cannot get them. He gives the Prime Minister a road in his own constituency, but he will do nothing for

anybody else. So, I go on record for Nova Scotia as being anxious, for the purpose of competition and increasing of business, to have these transcontinental lines in our province. Under the Liberal Administration, we could send our coal, our iron, our steel, to Montreal in winter at rates that enabled the interests engaged in the production of these articles to make money. To-day, under this Government, through the increased freight rates imposed, it is impossible to send these products, which are staple products in our province, to the centres of industry of Canada. To the question as to what this Government should do in regard to the winter ports, it is time they stopped their shuffling. Every one in the Maritime provinces knows that they have been playing a game, and the sooner they stop it the better.

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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

It was understood with the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Hazen) that he would expedite the conclusion of this debate at the first opportunity.

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EOGEES:

I understood from the

Minister of Marine and Fisheries, who is unavoidably absent this evening, that he was anxious to take it up at the first opportunity. That is why I moved the adjournment of the debate.

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Motion agreed to, and debate 10 p.m. adjourned.


February 9, 1914