April 25, 1917

LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

They are a bad lot.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS-PROMOTION OF EMPLOYEES.
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LIB

Onésiphore Turgeon

Liberal

Mr. TURGEON:

So far as the Conservative politicians in my county are concerned, I adopt the expression of the hon. member for Carleton. They have been trying to use kaiserism in their administration of the political part of the Intercolonial Railway. If a man does not promise to vote for the Conservative party and to condemn everything done by the Liberal party, he will get no employment from these people either as workingman or section man. The case that I want to bring to the attention of the minister will astonish him, and will show that there exists a great deal of that partisanship which the hon. member for

Calgary condemned so forcibly a few moments ago. The man whose case I refer to has 'been in the employ of the Intercolonial Railway since 1900. I remember the day when he was appointed section man; he had been section foreman for seven years previous to that time on the Canadian Pacific railway and had come back to his native place, Petit Rocher, in the province of New Brunswick. The trouble arose not through a question of duty, but through a quarrel with Ihis foreman. I should say, rather, that it was a family quarrel. His foreman was his brother-in-law, and, as very often happens in such oases, they disagreed. There were some heated words at dinner hour, the matter was investigated and the result was that the politician of the locality had a reason for saying that he should not be further employed. Not very long ago the Conservative politicians told this man that if he would sever his connection with the Liberal party and proclaim himself ready to do the bidding of the Conservative politicians, he would get his position again. They told him that if he would write a letter to that effect to the Conservative candidate, he would be once more installed in his position. When I heard of this I thought that I could easily afford to lose two or three votes in Gloucester county for the sake of justice, so I advised the man to make such a declaration and to send such a letter. He refused to do so, and he has not yet been reinstated in his position. This is the condition in the county of Gloucester to which I wish to call the attention of the Minister of Railways and Canals; most probably the same condition prevails in many of the other counties on the north shore of the province of New Brunswick. Certainly this man's dismissal was not based on good grounds; he lost his position simply because he happened to be a Liberal, and he is kept out of it because he does not wish to make a declaration of faith against his conscience or against his political principles. I am sure that the Minister of Railways and Canals feels as I do, that this man has been ill-treated. I have no criticism to offer to the minister him-10 p.m. self, but if he will allow me, I shall make another suggestion. The minister has for some time past not enjoyed good health-to the sorrow of every member of this House and of the people of Canada. This year he seems to have more viltality and is willing, as usual, to give all the attention possible to the administration of the Government Railways. He has extended his system over the Transcontinental as far as Winnipeg. I will not stop to deny the accusations made by the member for Calgary concerning the construction of the Transcontinental. I shall do that upon some other occasion; it would require a special debate if we were to discuss that question. My hon. friend has giveh notice of a Bill concerning the construction of highways. I believe that he should withdraw that Bill and give his sole attention to the administration of the government railways. If he does this, he will be doing as much as his health will permit, and will have sufficient to occupy his time and attention.

I hope that this motion will receive from the Minister of Railways and Canals the attention that it deserves and that promotions will be made among officials of the railway, not indiscriminately, but by the selection of men who have proved themselves worthy of promotion. Reference has been made by the Minister of Customs to Mr. Ppttinger. The hon. gentleman said that the Liberals were condemning his political activity before they came into power. I do not know to what extent that may have been the case, but I do know that when the Liberal party came into power they retained the services of Mr. Pottinger and those services were appreciated m.ore and more each year. He was given a prominent place on the commission appointed by the ex-Minister of Railways and Canals with a view to putting an end to the deficits which the member for Calgary deplored so much this evening. If the present Minister of Railways and Canals, when he came into .office, did not wish to retain the whole commission, he should at least have retained the services of Mr. Pottinger as head of the department. Had he done this he would not have subjected himself to the censure which has come from all parts of the cpuntry since that time.

No man in Canada perhaps was better qualified than Mr. Pottinger to remain at the head of the administration of the Intercolonial and of the Government railways. His knowledge and experience were known and appreciated not only in Canada, but in the United States. When he met magnates and chief superintendents and managers of railroads, he had not always to listen to them, but they listened to him, and they had always a great deal to learn in their meetings with him.

As regards the case that I have cited, if the minister wishes me to give him the name of that section man, I shall be glad to do so to-morrow or the next day. I have spoken at greater length than I had anticipated, still my remarks have come from me spontaneously because I felt that the hon. member for Calgary (Mr. Bennett) was not giving justice either to the Liberal party or to the country.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS-PROMOTION OF EMPLOYEES.
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LIB

Pius Michaud

Liberal

Mr. PIUS MICHAUD (Victoria, N.B.):

Mr. Speaker, I desire to say just a few words with reference to the management of the Intercolonial railway, confining myself to the operation of the Transcontinental railway. I am aware of a great many facts, because I live by the side of this railway and I know what is going on. I can assure the Minister of Railways that during the last six months, not one week has passed without a wreck taking place on that line between Levis and Moncton. I know as a fact that one day there were three trains wrecked on the west side of Edmund-ston and two between Edmundston and Moncton. I am giving these facts because I am aware that the minister is not informed of what is going on so far as this particular branch of the Transcontinental is concerned, I am sorry that the hon. minister has not been properly informed in regard to the management of this railway during the last few months. The people in that section have refused to ship their goods along that line because they never reach their destination. Let me cite an example. Not very long ago a carload of wheat was shipped along that line. There was a big wreck between Moncton and Edmundston and eight cars went into the ditch; the car loaded with wheat opened up, and the wheat scattered all along the track. I have already drawn the attention of my hon. friend to the condition of the road-bed of this particular railroad, and I hope he will take my remarks into consideration, because in a few months from now this railroad will not be able to be operated. There are a great many people working as employees of that railroad between Moncton and Levis. We were accused this afternoon by the hon. member for Rimouski (Mr. Boulay) because people from New Brunswick were working in the province of Quebec. So far as the operation of the railroad is concerned, it is not only the people from one particular province who have the say in the matter; it is the people of Canada. I know a great many of our employees are from the prov-[Mr. Turseon.l

ince of Quebec and are now residing in the province of New Brunswick, but we find no fault except that we like to receive our proper share so far as the number of employees on the road is concerned. The Minister of Customs has said this afternoon that if we are short of good men we can go into the province of Ontario and get competent employees there. We have one good man from Ontario, that is the Minister of Railways. I am sorry he has not 'been well for the last year or two, but we are glad to see him back in good health. I trust he will see his way clear to appoint people from his own province if he cannot find men in the lower provinces, and that he will not go too often to the United States for employees, because I am sure Canada produces as good railway employees as any other country in the world.

I wish to draw the attention of the minister to the International railway connecting St. Leonard and Campbellton, in the province of New Brunswick. I happened to travel on that road last year and this year, and if I told my hon. friend what I saw in a day or two he would be very much surprised. There are water tanks all along that line of railway which have been frozen since last December, so that they cannot be used until the warmer weather comes, and in the meantime a pumping system has been installed. The men are digging holes along the brooks and rivers and connecting the engine by hose with the water in the brook or river and pumping it in. It takes about two hours to fill up an engine, and while the employees are not to blame because they are paid for their extra time, the travelling public have to suffer on account of the delay in filling up the engine with water. I would like the minister to take this matter into consideration. There are no dining cars and no sleepers on that train, and during last year it never arrived on time. It is due at St. Leonards at 4.20 p.m. to connect with the Canadian Pacific railway and the Transcontinental. The public are getting tired of the management because they have not the proper accommodation, and they are not getting their goods shipped to their points of destination. They have to travel by train because there are no highways between the two places I have mentioned, and they are punished by having to travel on that railroad. There is some talk about the Government taking over all the railways of Canada. From my experience during the last year or two, I think it would be the most unfortunate thing if the Dominion of Canada or the

Government were to take hold of any branch railway. I had a great admiration for the Minister of Railways some time ago, when he mentioned to me that it was his intention to buy out many branch lines of railway; he was sincere in his statement, but the people of New Brunswick are no longer anxious to see the Government operating any branch lines as feeders for the Intercolonial railway. We have had very bad management and we do not wish any more branch lines to be bought by the Government.

In conclusion, I hope my hon. friend will consider the operation of the International railway and of the Transcontinental between Levis and Moncton. The people along the line travel as little as they can because they never reach their destination at the proper time, the trains being slow in leaving and late in arriving at destination. I wish'my hon. friend would take up the idea of running an express between St. Leonard and Campbellton some time next month. He should give us an opportunity to prove that if we had an express between these two places we could make it pay very well.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS-PROMOTION OF EMPLOYEES.
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CON

Herménégilde Boulay

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. H. BOIJLAY (Rimouski):

I had no idea that this motion would provide so much discussion, as I brought it up purely for the purpose of criticizing the management of the Intercolonial in the matter of promotions, but before dealing with that I will turn for a moment to the remarks that have been made by my hon. friend from Victoria, N.B. (Mr. Michaud) about the International railway. I corroborate everything he has said about the way the engines were compelled to take water last winter, but it was impossible for the management to do any better, and my hon. friend was certainly wrong in saying that the Government had not done a good service to the population scattered along that line, because if the Government had not taken over the road the people would have had no railway service at all. The road was already going to pieces when the Government took it over two years ago, and they could not have done better than they did last winter; we were very lucky indeed to get the service at all.

If I understood my hon. friend correctly, he suggested that an express train should be put on that branch. I agree with him. As soon as the road bed is good enough, I think it would be in the interests of the Intercolonial to have an express train on this blanch. It would not only increase the passenger traffic, but would be an

accommodation to the settlers scattered along the road, and would help greatly in settling this promising section of New Brunswick.

Coming back to my resolution, I divide it into two parts, the first referring to an injustice done to the old employees in the matter of promotions. In my remarks this afternoon I proved that the employees of the road had been passed by when vacancies occurred, and my hon. friend from St. John (Mr. Pugsley) pointed out that according to an answer he received last year the number of officials who were appointed to high positions on the

Intercolonial from other roads was nearly thirty. In no case were these imported men any better than men who could have been chosen from the ranks of the Intercolonial. I have met a good many of these outside men, and so far from being as efficient as the old employees, they do not know the road at all at first, and have to serve a kind of apprenticeship before they can discharge their duties properly. I am not speaking of Mr. Gutelius, because I do not think the Minister of Railways could have selected a better man for the position, and I have never reflected on him in that respect in any of the speeches I have made on the Intercolonial. I repeat what I have said before, that he is a gentleman in e^ery respect, a man of great ability, very polite, and he gives every employee from the highest to the lowest a chance to air any grievance he may have, and I am not aware of any instance where an employee has not got justice. Under the administration of hon. gentlemen opposite, Mr. Brady occupied that position and things were quite different. Not only were the employees not given the opportunity of bringing their cases before him, but even the business men, the patrons of the Intercolonial, could not approach him to discuss business matters. Mr. Gutelius is quite different and can be seen by any of the employees or patrons of the road. The only thing I complain of is that he goes outside in filling the higher positions on the road, and I think that charge is justified by the cases that have been cited this afternoon. I have .mentioned the case of Mr. Devenish and the hon. member from Pictou also spoke of him. It was a great mystery to me why Mr. Devenish was brought to Canada to take the place of Mr. Price. I pleaded then with Mr. Gutelius and the Minister of Railways for justice for the province of Quebec. We had been run by the province

of New Brunswick for forty-five years, and that ninety-two mile section in the province of Quebec had never received its share of patronage in respect to high positions on the Intercolonial. Mr. Gutelius said that Mr. Devenish was there on a kind of an apprenticeship, and that when he was promoted to a higher position I should be able to appoint a superintendent, or at least an assistant-superintendent, from the province of Quebec. This did not satisfy our people in the province of Quebec, but I told them we would soon get justice. I waited, and what happened? Mr. Devenish proved a failure in his administration of the railway. It was clear that he had no capacity for operating that part of the road between Campbellton and Mont Joli, and Mr. Gutelius made him superintendent of a division somewhere near Moncton. Then, instead of giving us justice as he had promised, he appoinnted Mr. Fitzmaurice, against whom I have nothing personally, for he is a gentleman and knows something about the road; in fact, he was brought up on the Intercolonial, and I shall not say much about his promotion. We should have obtained what we were promised. The best way to give us that was to nominate an assistant superintendent. But this was not done. On this ground I criticise the administration of the road. Had I not suggested the name of the man to fill the position I should feel now that 1 had failed in my duty. But I was watching the game, and as soon as the. job was open I suggested the names of three men, all men who had been on the Intercolonial from ten to twenty years and of whose competency for the position there could be no question. There was not the slightest reason to refuse all these and give the position to a man who bad only had four or five [DOT] years' experience, a switchman who knew nothing about running a road, who knew nothing of the population amidst whom his work was to 'be carried on, and who did not understand even a single word of French, though his work was to be amongst a population made up almost exclusively of French-Canadians. And this is the bind of thing that has been going on for forty-five years, ever since the road was built. The people of Nova Scotia do not like to have the part of the road that runs through their province administered by men from British Columbia. I know that, because I travel over the road. Nor do the people along the Intercolonial in Quebec want men from other provinces to occupy high positions in the

service of the railway there. We want our own situations for our own men. If there were any difficulty about it, I would not grumble; if there were good reasons against it, I would not complain. But the Toad has everything to gain by giving us justice. In the first place, it will take away all the animosities that sometimes exist between the two races when they do not understand each other. If we had a superintendent to cover t'he whole system in the province of Quebec we should have nothing to do with the road in other provinces, and the employees would accomplish theiir duty much better and the relations of all the people would be a good deal more friendly.

. The appointment of these strangers to administer the affairs of the Intercolonial is objectionable from another standpoint. The old employees, seeing these men come to take the places to which they might reasonably have expected to be promoted, instead of fulfilling their duties with enthusiasm, naturally tend to do their work in such a way as merely to avoid trouble. That is the reason why last year, in such a place as the Matapedia valley, the road was blocked for days and days, and twenty-five to thirty-five hours was occupied with a run that ordinarily takes seven hours. But if they had had a superintendent known to them, like Mr. Fitzmaurice, they would have done as they did last winter, when trains (worked smoothly and not a single one was blocked.

I must add a few words in justice to Mr. Gutelius. During the last local election I happened to be in New Brunswick. My hon. friend from St. John (Mr. Pugsley) does not like to see me interfering in New Brunswick affairs. But I may tell him that I have property in New Brunswick, that my county borders on that province, and that among the settlers along the Intercolonial railway in the county of Resti-gouche ten per cent come from the county of Rimouski. It is only natural on my part to look after their interest when they want to be helped. The population of Resti-gouche is about seventy per cent French, and consequently a French-Ganadian feels pretty well at home when he gets into that county. I was there during the local election, and heard speeches made at a number of meetings. And one of the things 1 heard said with reference to Mr. Gutelius by a frined of hon. gentlemen opposite was this: If we ever get into power at Ottawa we know one thing for sure, and that is that the Intercolonial will not be run by a German. Now, that is not fair.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS-PROMOTION OF EMPLOYEES.
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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

Did the hon. gentleman notice in the newspaper published in St. John a statement attributed to the former Attorney General stating that immediately upon the return of Sir Robert Borden from England, as a result of the defeat of the Conservatives in New Brunswick, an effort would be made to dismiss Mr. Gutelius.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS-PROMOTION OF EMPLOYEES.
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CON

Herménégilde Boulay

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOULAY:

I am sorry, but I was not able to understand what the hon. gentleman said. I am quoting what I heard with my own ears. The wprds were plain, and they were as I have stated them. I say such a statement is not fair, not only to the country, but also to a gentleman, as Mr. Gutelius is. I know by conversation with him that he is not a German, and I know that he has never acted as a German but as a business man who knows his business and wishes to be fair. He has fulfilled his duty to the best of his ability, and it is most unfair to attempt to create feeling against him. Of course, those to whom this statement about Mr. Gutelius was made did not hear the other side, and believing what they heard they would naturally support (the side favoured by hon. gentlemen opposite.

I am sorry that my hon. friend from Temiscouata (Mr. Gauvreau) is not in his seat. He challenged me to give the names of men imported by the Liberal party to take the places of the old employees of the Intercolonial.

When I spoke this afternoon as to the example which was given by the Liberal party and when I said that they had exceeded anything which * had been done by our own Administration, I was right. I shall quote several names from memory. There was Mr. Russell, who was general manager, Mr. McGovern, who was a track master right in my .own district, Mr. Jough-ins, who is a general machinist, Mr. Brassard assistant superintendent at 'Riviere du Loup, Mr. Harris, Moncton, Mr. Tiffin who was brought from the Grand Trunk ho Moncton, notwithstanding what the hon. member for St. John said about his (being an Intercolonial man, Mr. Oulette, who was appointed superintendent from the outside and whom the Liberal party had to let go after three months trial, Mr. Dube, whom they also brought from the Grand Trunk and finally, land the best of them all, Mr. Brady, I hope my honourable friend from Temiscouata (Mr. Gauvreau) will take note of that and not interrupt me any more while I am telling the truth. Now, with regard to dismissals; this question has been discussed pretty fully during the last five or six years and it is not necessary for me to refer to it again at any very great length. But, I wish to point out that we have been a good deal more lenient than our friends opposite were. In my constituency from Camp-bellton to Levis we have made very few dismissals since we have been in power. We have only put out of office those that were too bad and this was not done without an investigation being given. Since I have .been the representative of my county, I have recommended many Liberals to small positions such as brakemen and firemen and I have done all I could to help the people there without discrimination as to party.

My hon. friend from Carleton (Mr. Car-veil) and my hon. friend from St. John say that the management has been unsatisfactory with regard to the running of trains during the last two years. Any man who has a knowledge of railroading will admit that under the conditions trains could not be run more regularly. The running of the trains has been affected by the conditions and the critical times we are going through. I have looked into the matter very carefully and no man could do better than Mr. Gutelius in running the Intercolonial since the outbreak of war. A

While I am talking about the Transcontinental, I would like to give the House a bit of my own experience in connnection with that undertaking. I travelled over a part of the railway which has been built west of Quebec. I happened to go 300 miles west of Quebec, and I found on this part of the line evidence of the greatest scandals in the construction of the road. I would invite my hon. friends opposite to visit the Transcontinental west of Quebec, at least as far as Parent, and if they do they will agree with me that a great robbery has been committed in the construction of that road. On the division, covering 100 miles, between Fitzpatrick and Parent the removal of the stones that had fallen on the road, because the work had not been properly done in the first instance, cost the Government last year $10,000.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS-PROMOTION OF EMPLOYEES.
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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

Clearing up the track for 100 miles cost $10,000?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS-PROMOTION OF EMPLOYEES.
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CON

Herménégilde Boulay

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOULAY:

It cost that to remove the stone that had fallen on the track over a distance of 100 miles, and one small stone of 10,000 pounds fell on a tender one day. That I know because I was told so by the employees.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS-PROMOTION OF EMPLOYEES.
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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

What was the effect on the tender of this .10,000 pound stone?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS-PROMOTION OF EMPLOYEES.
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CON

Herménégilde Boulay

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOULAY:

I suppose it wrecked the train. It is not a cutting at all; it is just a hole that has been cut through the stones instead of the cuttings* having been made as they should have been, and as they were certainly contracted for. The object seems to have been to construct the road in the quickest possible way, and now every year, until the work is made perfect, we will have to sustain a loss of thousands and thousands of dollars to remove the stone from the tracks that should have been removed at the time of construction.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS-PROMOTION OF EMPLOYEES.
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LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

Mr. Speaker, I rise to a point of order. I would like to know what phase of the resolution the hon. gentleman is discussing now? -

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS-PROMOTION OF EMPLOYEES.
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CON

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

I hesitate to call the hon. member for Rimouski to order because he is closing a debate that has taken a very wide range to-day, but the point of order taken by the hon. member for Cape Breton North and Victoria is sound. The hon. gentleman, I think, is very far from the subject, and at this hour of the night it would be well to get back to it.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS-PROMOTION OF EMPLOYEES.
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CON

Herménégilde Boulay

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOLTLAY:

I think I have said enough to give an illustration of the bad administration of hon. gentlemen opposite. To conclude, I hope my remarks will be taken in good part by the Minister of Railways. I think he knows what we want in that part of the province of Quebec which I have the honour to represent. We do not want Mr. Gutelius to be taken away. He is a man of great ability, and he gives satisfaction generally to the people in his administration. What we want for the old employees is more encouragement, more promotions. The system of promotion that has been applied, as I have heard ministers say, in their own departments, should be applied to the Intercolonial railway. I hope that in future the people of the part of the province of Quebec in which I live will get justice so that we shall have no reason for criticism.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS-PROMOTION OF EMPLOYEES.
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Motion agreed to. On motion of Sir Thomas White, the House adjourned at 10.50 p.m. Thursday^ April 26, 1917.


April 25, 1917