April 18, 1916

LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

I would point out that

the first reason given by the Grand Trunk Pacific is based on the brief placed in their hands by this Government in the form of the Lynch-Staunton report, which is what I told the Government would happen. They paid $100,000 for a report which provided the Grand Trunk Pacific with a brief and with an additional reason why they should not take over the line. They cite the report and the speeches of members of the Government, and of those supporting it, in favour of their contention that the line cost more than it should have cost, and, consequently, they would not take it over. That is one reason. The second is one to which we have referred several times, that is, that the road is not yet completed. There is no question that the road is not yet completed under the meaning of the statute or of the agreement. Sir William White said that the shops were part of the eastern division of the Transcontinental, but the shops at Quebec are not yet completed. There is a vote for the completion of the works of the eastern division of the Transcontinental this very session, so that there is no possible escape from that contention of the Grand Trunk Pacific.

The other contention, that the road has not been constructed under the joint supervision of the company and the Railway Commission, is not well founded. I submit that the records will show that if there was a sinner, in the matter of joint supervision, it was the Grand Trunk Pacific, and not the Railway Commission or the Government. One of the chief difficulties we had was-I think I have stated it before-

that in the time of the late Mr. Hays the Grand Trunk Pacific declined at first to make inspections and to approve or disapprove of certain portions of the road as the contractors completed their work. For example, a large contractor would have a certain portion of the line to build, and he would employ many sub-contradtors. When the sub-contractor completed his work, and the chief contractor submitted it for approval, it was altogether unreasonable to allow a matter of that kind to stand. It had to be decided, because the men had tc get their pay, the sub-contractors had to be paid, and the chief contractor had to get his pay from the Government. The company took a great deal of urging before Mr. Hays consented to have those differences of opinion decided every thirty days, and to have the approval or disapproval of the engineers. It is not true that the work was not carried on under joint supervision, and I make the statement that, outside of some things that were referred to arbitration under the Act, the Grand Trunk Pacific approved of every foot of work done and of every dollar expended up to the time that the late Government went out of power. Consequently, there is no foundation for that objection. I may explain to the committee what the method was. Under the agreement, the road was to oe constructed under the joint supervision of the chief engineer of the Grand Trunk Pacific to meet the chief engineer of the Board of Railway Commissioners. At one time I think it took me longer to get them together and then not the chief engineer, but the assistant chief engineer, Mr. Wood, was sent.

I do not know whether the company is hanging anything on the difference between the chief engineer and the assistant, but the company sent the assistant. Thete men met together and when they con'd net arrive at a decision it was referred to a board of arbitration composed of these twe and a third who was, as a matter of fact, Sir Collingwood Schreiber, who is in the Government service. The difficulties I pointed out a few moments ago were, first, the delay of the company in meeting the commission, and, next, of the Government in approving or disapproving of the work of construction. After a good deal of discussion, some of which was more or less heated, as will be remembered toy those who were then members of the Government, the Grand Trunk Pacific agreed that these difficulties, if difficulties there were, should toe settled every thirty days in order that the work of con-mi

struction could go on. Where the work was approved payment could be made and where there was a question it could either be referred to the arbitrators or put on one side for further consideration,. Their contention in that respect is not well founded, because in every case of importance, except those that were before the board of arbitration, and some of those had been decided, the chief engineer or the assistant chief engineer of the Grand Trunk Pacific, had approved of every bit of work done.

I submit again that the Grand Trunk Pacific were not in a position, under their agreement, to take over the road as it was offered to them, and I will tell the committee why. It was to lie taken over under an agreement which, as in the form of a statute, was ratified by the Parliament of Canada. It was also ratified toy the board of directors and by the shareholders of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company. If the road was not completed, as I think the Grand. Trunk Pacific had a right to say it was not under the statute, then they could not, through their president, enter into a lease without the consent of the directors and, I believe, the approval of the shareholders, because it then became a new agreement. The minister will see that Mr. Chamberlin says in his letter that he could not recommend the directors to enter into a lease because he had to report that the road was not completed. If that road had been completed under the statute, without any question, he would have reported that to the directors and they would have given him instructions to lease the road under these conditions. I think the Government have made a grave mistake1, first, in making changes in the line-the seriousness of which I will not discuss, as they have been discussed before-and in making any changes at all which gave the president of the company an excuse for not taking over the line. If my hon. friend looks ,at the correspondence he will discover that when the changes were being made in the curves and grades, the president of the company wrote to the Government stating that if the changes were made he would not take over the line. The Government made a mistake at that time in accepting the advice of the engineers, or those who were responsible for that advice, and in persisting in making these changes, because that was the first intimation that the Government had that the company would not take over the line.

Next, there was no semblance of a com-

pleted line at Quebec under the agreement. There was a certain agreement, and under that agreement is was expressly provided tl at the work must have the joint approval of both the company and the commissioners. The changes at Quebec have not yet been agreed to toy the Grand Trunk Pacific. I have had all the correspondence up to a certain time, perhaps preceding the correspondence read to-day. In that correspondence there were references made to certain talks, but it' always came back to the point where the Grand Trunk Pacific officials backed away from approval, and the correspondence is rather against approval than in favour of it. That being the case, of course it was clear that the Grand Trunk Pacific were preparing, in so far as they were concerned, not to take over the line. I think the Government made a serious mistake in not proceeding according to the agreement, completing the rokd and getting the approval of the Grand Trunk Pacific, because the company had intimated that if the plans were deviated irom they would Hot take over the line.

I do not know that I shall say anything more. I think it was a great mistake. The country has suffered by reason of there being no operation of the Grand Trunk Pacific east of Cochrane as' there should have been. West of ICochrane there is a fair tri-weekly passenger service from Toronto. Those two travel on the line say that the service is excellent. Commercial men who travel on the line to the West have told me that they get an excellent service over the Grand Trunk Pacific from Toronto all through the West. The roadbed is a marvel to railway men who travel over it, the trains are well run and the accommodation is excellent. But* east of Cochrane there is practically no service. The point I raise is that if the line had been completed according to the agreement, the Grand Trunk Pacific could not have evaded taking it over. Then you may say that they could not afford to run it. There was a clause in the agreement which provided against just -such a contingency as that.

It was provided that for seven 5 p.m. years after the completion of the line the Grand Trunk Pacific was not to pay the Government any interest, which contemplated a small business for a certain number of years. Having to pay no interest, the Grand Trunk Pacific would have been in such a position that they could have run trains merely at the cost of operation. Then the public

would have been in this situation all the way from Moncton to Cochrane, a section which is practically neglected now, that they could have compelled the Grand Trunk Pacific to give a fair service. The company are not so compelled, and they take refuge behind the plea that there is no traffic. That view would not have held with the Board of Bailway Commissioners, because in Canada, where roads have been publicly aided, even if the traffic is light, they must accommodate the public. A company cannot stop running trains, even on one of our old lines, if the reasonable accommodation of the public is interfered with. The Board of Eailway Commissioners have compelled companies, which did not want to run trains, to give a service because the public was suffering by the stoppage of these trains. I think again that the Government have made a great mistake in having left a loophole for the Grand Trunk Pacific by enabling them to say that they had not completed this line according to the agreement, because if they had they would have been in a position to have compelled the company to take over the road, and the people would have been having the benefit to a much greater extent, particularly east of Cochrane, of the vast investment of money that has gone into this great enterprise. The object of the construction of the line is being defeated. East of Cochrane there is only a local service. Quebec is on a side street and not on the main line at all. East of Cochrane it is merely a local service, and, instead of being a part of the great continental railway that it was intended to be, it is being used merely as a local road, with occasional trains, and no Service worthy of the name is being given. That refers also to the Maritime Provinces, and I might express the opinion that it is useless to spend the millions which are being spent in Halifax, St. John, and. at other points for this great ocean to ocean service if it is not going to 'be conducted as a through line.

Vihy develop Canadian ports at Halifax, St. John, Quebec and Montreal, if we are not going to do our best to bring the traffic of the West to them!' What happens and what must happen in winter? The Government is running the line from Toronto in connection with the Grand Trunk, and it runs over the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario. Any freight which comes down, and as to which the Grand Trunk has any say, will not be taken over the Transcontinental

from Cochrane east. It will be brought from Winnipeg to Fort William down to Cochrane, then to North Bay, and then, if it has to go east, the Grand Trunk will take care of it at North Bay, and turning east at Scotia Junction, send it on to Portland or Boston, and not to a Canadian port. That will not be serving the object for which this vast amount of money was expended. I had not the honour of being in the House when this measure was put through, but I have read the debates, and everybody knows that a great deal hinged on the development of the ocean ports. While the road was being constructed my hon. friend will remember that time and again we discussed methods of making the Grand Trunk Pacific, when it took over the line take the traffic to Halifax and St. John. But now, when the Government, and not the Grand Trunk Pacific, has got the road, it does the very thing we tried to prevent the Grand Trunk Pacific from doing. It is handing over a large portion of the traffic destined for east of Cochrane to Scotia, and it then finds its way to American ports, as the Grand Trunk has no interest in taking it to Halifax or St. John, or even to Quebec. Whatever the Government intends to do, ought to be announced to the public at once. There is great dissatisfaction in the eastern part of Canada over the way this line is being managed. Whenever I discuss this matter the minister says he thinks I am after the manager. The manager and I are as good friends as the minister and the manager, but he thinks I am all wrong, and I am just as absolutely sure that he is all wrong, and we leave it at that. I am not after the manager at all. We must never look at this road from the point of view that it was intended solely for present needs, or to accommodate merely a part of the people of Canada. This road was constructed by all the people of Canada, and we have no right, particularly when the Government is managing it, to direct the traffic at a point half way along the line, and give those on the eastern end of the road no benefit whatever. Quebec is greatly disappointed and so will Halifax and St. John be if the present method of carrying on the road is persisted in. ilt is said that along the road east of Cochrane there is nothing to induce operation, but we must remember this, and the members from Ontario will bear it in mind, that when the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario road was first spoken of, a great

many people laughed at the idea of building a road into a country of rocks, where there never would Ibe any traffic; but the construction of that line has resulted in the opening up and development of the richest deposit of silver ore in the world, as well as cobalt and other minerals. We do not know w'hat may be found along the line of the 'Transcontinental east of 'Cochrane, but we do know, on the authority of the Prime Minister of Ontario, that there is along the line of the Transcontinental , land of as good a quality as can be found any where in the world, and the only way to let the people know what we have in this hinterland of Ontario and Quebec is to take them along the Transcontinental. What is the good of building the road there and then practically shutting it up? Let the people travel along the line east of Cochrane and get acquainted with the newer parts of Ontario and Quebec, and then we shall see these new parts opened up and developed, and, it may be, the discovery of some hitherto unknown valuable mineral productions. It is the duty of the Government, even more than of the company, to see that this is done, and I again urge the Government, how that they have taken over the road, to see that the line east of Cochrane is not made merely a local line, but that a service is at once established so that a man can board the Intercolonial at Halifax for Moncton, and there be attached to a train that will land him in Prince Rupert, if he desires to go by the Grand Trunk Pacific. That is what the line was intended for, but so long as we keep the eastern portion of the road closed, everybody east of Cochrane is deprived of the benefit for which he pays his taxes, just the asme as people in any other part of the country.

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CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

As regards the non-completion of the line, and that being a reason why the Grand Trunk have not taken it over, the hon. gentleman understands that that objection might be raised at any time for all time to come..

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LIB
CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

They could always say that the road was not completed. I think myself that they did not want to take over the road last spring on any terms, and the best evidence of that is that the Grand Trunk Pacific came to us a year ago and asked for assistance for the western portion of the line. The hon. member says that if the road had been completed so that the com-

pany could have taken it over under the lease, the Railway Commission could have compelled them to operate the road. Now we know from experience, and they know, that to operate the road from Winnipeg to Moncton will mean a serious loss every year for a number of years to come. That being so, how could we force them to operate the eastern portion, supposing they had taken over the road, when they had just received a large amount of money to assist the western end of the line. At all events the Minister of Railways and Canals was satisfied, and the correspondence bears him out, that the company would not take over the road at that time. But, be that as it may, it is perhaps not worth while discussing just now. What I wanted more particularly to deal with was the hon. gentleman's remarks regarding the operation of the road. Everybody agrees that the road between Cochrane and Winnipeg has been operated satisfactorily, not only to the people along the line, but to the general public as well. With reference to that portion of the road between Cochrane and Moncton, I think I stated the other evening that conditions there were not the same as west of Cochrane. I admit that it is not a satisfactory service east of Cochrane, and the Government never intended the service to be left in that condition. When the road was taken over, without an engine, car, or equipment of any other kind, we had to take some 75 engines off the Intercolonial and many cars as well. It has been a very difficult matter to get the equipment that is necessary to operate the road from end to end in a way that would be satisfactory to the public. I think I also stated that the Department of Railways and Canals had been trying to arrange a through train service from Halifax and St. John-I am not forgetting St. John, as the hon. member states-to Winnipeg-

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LIB
LIB
CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

I also stated that the service between Halifax and St. John and Winnipeg would be arranged at the earliest possible date.

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LIB
CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

I am just coming to that if the hon. member will be patient. I discussed the matter with the general manager of the road and he told me we would have

a through train service between Halifax and Winnipeg, and, of course, that means through to Prince Rupert.

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LIB
CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

Halifax and St. John. I overlooked St. John again,

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LIB
CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

I must not do that. The people of St. John are very fine people; they treated me well when I was there, and I would not like them to think for a minute that I have forgotten them.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I think you told them on one occasion, if I remember aright, that if they thought Mr. Pugsley had not made large enough provision for harbour improvements to come to you as Minister of Customs and. you would give them millions and millions more.

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CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

The hon. member will remember that since that statement was made, we have been trying to economise.

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LIB
CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

We expect to be running a

through train service from Halifax and St. John to Winnipeg on or about the 1st day of June.

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LIB
CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

Yes, that is what I meant. We expect to run a through passenger service, with pullman cars attached.

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LIB

April 18, 1916