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 And that contract, if it can be withdrawn-and I believe it can-ought to be withdrawn in the interests of this country unless the Canadian Pacific can show the Government that they -have a clean record in regard to the Atlantic combine in the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.
Subtopic: TRANSATLANTIC MAIL SERVICE.