Mr. J. E. ARMSTRONG (East Lambton):
Mr. Speaker, I have listened with a great deal of attention to the numerous speeches delivered on this subject, and I am sure that we cannot help feeling that the Opposition have been doing their utmost to becloud the issue. They have not dealt with many of the important features of the report; in fact, they have dealt with very few of the statements contained in it. The one object of practically every man on the Opposition side of the House who rises to speak on this question is to becloud the issue, and to condemn the men who had charge of bringing forward this evidence. Hon. gentlemen opposite seem to think that the members of the Investigating Commission deserve the severest condemnation, when they know full well that practically every statement in this report is founded on facts gathered through a thorough investigation into the whole matter. They condemn Mr. Gutelius because he is an American citizen. One man will be doing that, and before he sits down, like the hon. member for South Renfrew (Mr. Graham), he will quote page after page of statements made by Mr. Berry, another American citizen. These gentlemen must realize that Mr. Gutelius has been a very great success in the business in which he has been engaged, not only in connection with the Canadian Pacific railway and other railways, but in connection with the business of this Government in respect to the Intercolonial. We find that Mr. Staunton is condemned for being a Conservative, and yet hon,. gentlemen opposite must know full well that practically all the prominent positions under the present Government are occupied by appointees of the men who left office a few years ago. The great industrial affairs of Canada under the present Government are largely conducted by men appointed by
the present Opposition when they were in office. I was surprised last night to hear the hon. member for Welland (Mr. German) making the statement he did with regard to Major Leonard, the man at the head of the Transcontinental Commission. These are the words he used:
Major Leonard is a very estimable gentleman whom I know exceeding well and I have not a word against him, but is it not unfair to him to say that he never built or operated a railroad in his life and knows no more [DOT]about operating and building railroads than I or any other man in this country. Why put him up as a paragon of perfection in the construction and operation of railroads?
That is certainly a reckless statement for a man to make who, I am satisfied, is thoroughly conversant with the fact that Major Leonard has had much to do with the building of different railways in Canada, and in addition has held important positions in charge of water-powers. Major Leonard is not in town, but I was able to gather the following information: He has
been chief engineer and manager of construction on a number of different railways. He was on the original construction of the Canadian Pacific railway north of lake Superior in 1884, as assistant engineer. About 1887 he was assistant engineer of construction on the Canadian Pacific railway between Montreal and Smith's Falls. About 1895 he was chief engineer of construction on the St. Lawrence and Adirondack railway, which joins the Canadian Pacific railway south of the St. Lawrence river, near Lachine. Subsequent to that he was chief engineer of the Rutland railway, and then chief engineer of construction on the Cape Breton railway. In 1896 he was manager of construction and in full charge of the building of the Canadian Pacific railway short line between Montreal and Ottawa. These are only a few of the facts that we might gather in connection with the successful life of Major Leonard. I am surprised that a man knowing Major Leonard as well as the hon. member for Welland must know him, should try to belittle that gentleman, occupying the important position which he does occupy. No matter what this Government may do, or what appointments they may make to positions of emolument under the Crown, hon. gentlemen opposite will take direct issue with their policy and manifest opposition to their appointments. They even go so far as to criticise the actions of their own men who continue to serve under the present Transcontinental Railway Commission. There are men employed upon the
construction of this railway, notably those in charge of the Quebec bridge, who were appointed when hon. gentlemen opposite were in office.
The hon. member for South Renfrew (Mr. Graham) who, I am sorry is not in his seat, appealed to the business men of this House to look upon this project as a business proposition and to 'consider it from a business standpoint. I appeal to the business men of this House to take a general view of this whole undertaking and in this connection I desire to call attention to the fact that the Minister of Finance in the former Government, in 1904, made the statement that the Transcontinental railway would only cost $61,000,000, while today it has actually been shown that it will cost at least $234,000,000. Hon. gentlemen opposite, because , of the reckless and extravagant manner in which they conducted affairs in connection with the building of this road, have been largely responsible for the difference between these two amounts. Had these hon. gentlemen considered some of the statements that were placed before them by their former Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Blair), they would have exercised greater care and more carefully considered their position before launching forth upon this extravagant project. Mr. Blair was for seven years Minister of Railways and Canals under the Government which recently went out of office, and he told the right hon. gentleman who now leads the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) that it was not only unsound policy for him to attempt to build this road without satisfactory information and without proper plans and specifications, but it was most unwise for him to attempt such an undertaking involving such an enormous expenditure without a more thorough investigation of the conditions surrounding the project.
The man responsible to the people of Canada to-day for the putting through of this measure in the first place is the right hon. leader of the Opposition. The right hon. gentleman drove the Hon. A. G. Blair out of public life when he brought this Bill down in 1904, forced it through Parliament, and compelled the building of this great railway without sufficient information or data. Do you wonder that the present Government are compelled to take into consideration the enormous expenditures that are necessary in connection with the building of this road? Is it not a proper and a wise thing for us, who are connected with this Government, to ask