May 12, 1916

CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Supposing they did give you such authority, what would my hon. friend do with these stockholders?

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN:

Give me the responsibility and I will deal with them. That is my answer to my hon, friend. I am ready to assume that responsibility, or rather to associate myself with gentlemen in this House to appeal to the people of Canada on a programme of that kind. The Minister of Finance and the Government are preparing to assume that responsibility, but the minister wants .to take time to consider it. When he has considered it, the opportunity may be lost, and that is what I want .to point out to him. That good old Tory organ, that great exponent of private railways, the Montreal Gazette, yesterday, undertook to tell an awful story of the obligations and entanglements and-still more dreadful thing-the great financial difficulty that must be encountered in raising money to take over the railways. The Montreal Gazette says there will be an enormous undertaking in making a flotation. But you do not have to do anything of the kind. You simply have to assume certain of the liabilities and refuse to assume others. The Canadian Government is on record as having come to the relief of this road many years ago. You will find a very large item in the funded debt of Canada for money advanced for the benefit of the shareholders of the old Grand Trunk Railway. We have helped them in times past; some of that old stock is held to-day by families of the original investors, and, largely, by men who are engaged in stock broking in London, and by speculators who use it for their own advantage. Yet these people come here to-day and ask the people of Canada to make a deal with them, to let them out in regard to the dead horse, but to let them have the profitable end of it. I say, no. Make them come here and deal with us; make them give this railway to us, or let them go into liquidation.

What would you do with the Canadian Northern? They also are here as suppliants. The Canadian Northern is a great

railway in many ways; of the Transcontinental lines it is probably the best located, traversing the richest and best country. I believe it has potentialities. It is fine to hear capitalists arguing about potentialities. It is fine to hear an exminister talk on potentialities. It is a very fine argument.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN:

But if it comes

down to potentialities, they are in the Canadian Northern, and in that condition we. are particeps criminis; fwe are partners in the crime, so to speak. We own 40 per cent of the road, and we are asking ourselves to give enough money to relieve the railroad. We have to relieve both railroads.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
?

An hon. MEMBER:

We are responsible for four-tenths of the crime.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN:

Yes, four-tenths of the crime is at our door. But what should we do with: the Canadian Northern? It is so easy a proposition compared with the complexity of the Grand Trunk .case. I would say to the Canadian Northern: we own 40 per cent of your proposition; it is a good proposition; its potentialities are great; what will you take for your $60,000,000 of stock? If the responsibility were on my shoulders I would make a settlement with them. I would say: What is the lowest you will take? I believe that they would take, perhaps, $6,000,000 or $8,000,000. That is only my own guess, but I have studied the question, and I think they would surrender that $60,000,000 worth of stock for that amount. If I were a financier as is my hon. friend the Minister of Finance, whichi I am not, I would say: what annuity will you fake for twenty years?

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

I understood my hon. friend, to suggest that the Grand Trunk railroad could foe forced to do a certain thing 'because of its legal position?

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
IND
CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

Now my hon. friend says that $6,000,000 should be paid. What about the legal position of the Canadian Northern?

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN:

I would say that probably they are committed just as much. It is a long story. However, I admit that, perhaps, I am inconsistent.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN:

I never charged1 anybody with inconsistency. I remember quoting in this House before whajt Sir Henry Maine said in connection with politics; he referred to the doubtful virtue of consistency. It is a very doubtful virtue, and I may be inconsistent. But I would like to deal with the Canadian Northern in a short and sharp way, and if they could be brought to abandon their position we would have to give them help to tide them over as we propose to give to the Grand Trunk. But it would be on condition of turning the proposition over to this country, and I think you could get the Canadian Northern with all its potentialities, which are very great, though its commitments are also, for a comparatively small sum. I would say 10 per cent of the stock, or say $6,000,000.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

Does my hon. friend seriously mean to say that he thinks the controlling interest of the Canadian Northern would sell out to the Government for 10 per cent of their stock?

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN:

I would offer them that;

I would say; what will you do? I would say come into the captain's office when you are a suppliant. The trouble in this country is that nobody ever calls those people who come as suppliants. They come asking-money and we say: what can we do for you; what can we do jto hel|p you to put it over the Canadian people.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
LIB
LIB
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN:

I take the hon. gentleman's confession that he would foreclose, only, they say it is on record that, when the settlement of 1914 was made, there was an understanding that Mackenzie and Mann as railway builders had something coming to them for their services. I cannot place my finger on that statement, but I think it was made. With all their faults, I do believe that Mackenzie and Mann and the original promoters of the Grand Trunk Pacific were trying to give this country service and to help to build it up. But they are both here now as suppliants, and one of them has great potentialities. The old Grand Trunk is, to my mind, the greatest asset in this country. And now, when they are here in this position, is the time to secure them. This ie the psychological moment. It needs courage and faith, but. by taking these roads under Government control now, these potentialities can be developed.

Now, I want to come to the other railroad, the Canadian Pacific, the .best transcontinental, or any other railway system, in the world. It is to the credit of the Canadian people and of the members of this House as it was then constituted, both Liberals and Conservatives, that the construction of the Canadian Pacific railway was brought about. For this I give credit all round. This great railway to-day pays its shareholders 10 per cent, partly out of traffic earnings, partly out of revenue from land and from investments in other railways. The Canadian Pacific is not here as a suppliant, but it fears what will happen to the suppliants who are here and that i'f these Toads are taken over by the Government the Canadian Pacific will be greatly damaged and its potentialities jeopardized. What would you do with the Canadian Pacific in connection with this public ownership proposition? I want the members, of this House to realize that I am not pressing this matter for the first time. I have been here now for twenty-four years.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
CON
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN:

Not looking younger, but feeling younger and having greater faith in public ownership than ever I had; and I am .still talking, I suppose, as a dreamer; yet I have the example of all Europe ahead of me and I have the example of the things that we have found out in this country.

Mr. iSCHAFFNER: How do the conditions in Europe differ from those found in Canada?

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN:

There are many differences; but I want to tell the hon. member (from the plains that the system we have is the worst possible system fox the farmers of the West, and that the way to .relieve them is to give them the cheapest possible transportation, as the Australians have done, and as we also can do. But what would I do with the Canadian Pacific? I would say to the shareholders of that road: "You are earning 7 per cent on

your capital out of traffic and you are earning 3 per cent in profits on lands and other enterprises." They have additional assets-those they desired to have segregated-and they are very profitable. I would summon them here and say: " We will guarantee to you 7 per cent for twenty

or twenty-five years, and then we will refund the securities if you turn the railway over to us." I believe the shareholders would accept that. I have no authority from Lord Shaughnessy or the shareholders to say this; but they fear the situation which is developing in connection with the two other roads.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink

May 12, 1916