Mr. H. BOULAY (Rimouski):
Mr. Speaker, it was my intention to address the House at some length in regard to the question brought forward by the hon. gentleman from Westmorland (Mr. Emmerson); but in view of the lateness of the hour, I shall be content with a few remarks suggested by c-ertain statements which hon. gentlemen opposite have ventured to make.
They endeavoured to show, among other things, that the Bill passed by the House last year, making provision for the taking over of the branch railways by the Intercolonial, had not been effectually sidetracked through the action of the Senate, where their party is in the majority. The truth of the matter is that in this House that Bill was unanimously carried; tooth parties having come to an agreement in regard to the matter, the taking over of these branch lines was decided without a dissentient voice. It was the general opinion that such taking over was of absolute necessity in the interest of the Intercolonial, as well as of the province of Quebec and of the Maritime provinces. The matter was so well understood, that not a dissentient voice was heard condemning the proposal.
To my mind, that would be an additional reason for the Senate to pass the Bill without changing a word, since no differences of opinion had been voiced in the House of Commons in connection with the proposal. It seems to me that in respect to such an important Bill, when there was unanimity of feeling, the Senate should not have taken the liberty of mutilating the Bill as forwarded from the House of Commons, in such a way as to render it useless. The Senate might have been justified in taking such a stand in respect to a measure which had been the occasion of much wrangling in this Chamber. But that was not the case as regards that Bill; and1 the Senate amended it to such an extent that the Government was no longer in a position to make use of it, and as a consequence the branch lines were not taken over.
It was even stated that the hon. Minister [DOT] of Railways was opposed to the policy of acquiring those branch lines, and that this was probably the reason why the Senate amendment was not accepted. Now the facts point in the opposite direction. I>t was the hon. Minister of Railways (Mr. Cochrane) himself who introduced the Bill, who put it through the House, and that hon. gentleman is too much of a business man not to have perceived at once that this was a vital issue and of the greatest -moment for the future of the Intercolonial. There is, for instance, the International railway whose earnings cover ten times over its expenditure; the Caraquet railway which shows a handsome margin of profits; also the Chaleurs Bay railway and the Canadian-Gulf railway, which runs from Ste. Flavie to Matane, and shows receipts double its expenditure. So it will be seen that the Minister of Railways had no reason whatever to object to the taking over of these branch lines.
Exception has also been taken to the doing away with the train service known as the Ocean Limited, between Halifax and Montreal. On that point I agree with those hon. gentlemen, and I say that the said train should have been left on. If it was necessary to cut off some of the trains, it would have been preferable to do away with train services 33 and 34, so-called. There is not the least doubt that during some winter months, such as February and March, two passenger trains are more than is required. Undoubtedly the Ocean Limited is by far the most convenient for those who travel between Halifax and Montreal, and the people of the province of Quebec, especially as it runs by night. If I had any
suggestion to offer to the hon. Minister of "Railways, it would be to out out those two trains 33 and 34, and leave on the Ocean Limited.
Exception was also taken to the management of the Intercolonial. As to the condition of the railway proper, I am bound to say that, as stated by the hon. Prime Minister this evening, it is in as good condition us it was two or three years ago, that is under the management of hon. gentlemen opposite. But the criticism I have to offer, and the grievance which is complained of in my district, at any rate, is that the engines used in the Matapedia valley are rather too heavy and bulky for the curves to be met with along that part of the road. Whoever is acquainted with the valley of the Matapedia between Camptbellton and Ste. Flavie, realizes that those engines are ' too heavy and that it would be advisable to use lighter engines, as on some occasions those heavy engines have caused the trains to run off the tracks and inflicted losses on the Intercolonial railway. But all that does not affect the condition of the road, and it is as good as it was under the Liberal rule.
I noticed that the hon. member for Pictou charged the Government with being too lax in its repression of the use of liquor. It was stated that 'both an engineer and a . conductor in Nova Scotia had been kept on the service after some rather damaging evidence had been adduced against them. Well, I do not know whether the Intercolonial has two weights and two measures, hut I doubt very much the correctness of the charge, as, in my county, I know of two men who were dismissed for taking a single glass of liquor. I should add that under the circumstances I found the measure rather drastic, and it surprises me that such laxness should have been shown in Nova Scotia, as contended by the hon. member for Piotou. I do not understand why so much harshness should have been shown in the province of Quebec in dealing with two men who acknowledged taking some liquor. The circumstances are well worth stating. At Campbellton, for some time past, the disappearances of large quantities of liquor had been noticed on the Intercolonial, and steps were being taken with a view to finding out those who were guilty of these pilf-erings. A Moncton detective approached these two men, who were working on some engines, with a view to obtaining some information from them, and, to attain his object, he promised them on behalf of the officials that, should they give out information in their possession concerning these
liquor thefts, no action would be taken against them. The promise was made to them that they would be exempt from all punishment, and under such circumstances, as is well known, in any court of justice, the King's evidence goes scot free. Besides, those people not being under oath, were not obliged to state the truth. They admitted, in answer to the detective's questions, that they had taken a glass of liquor, and immediately they were dismissed by the Intercolonial management, in spite of the promise of immunity which had been made to them.
All that leads me to think that the charge (preferred by the hon. member for Pictou is without foundation, unless the Intercolonial has two weights and two measures.