Mr. J. H. SINCLAIR (Guysborough):
I rise to a question of privilege. I do not often refer to anything that I find in the newspapers, but when the newspapers get astray to the extent of $350,000,000, I suppose we ought to pull them up and put them right. I have been represented in the Ottawa Journal as saying that if the Canadian Northern Railway Bill went through it would increase the public debt to the extent of $800,000,000. I never made any such statement. I was replying to the statement of my hon. friend from Red Deer (Mr. Michael Clark), that the soldiers were doing a great deal of thinking, inferring that when they came home they would insist on some necessary reforms. I ventured to say in reply that when the soldiers went away the public debt of this country was $350,000,000, roughly speaking; that ,if we put this Bill through, the public debt when the soldiers returned would be $800,000,000, meaning that there would be an addition of $450,000,000, and not an addition of $800,000,000 as stated by the Journal. The other question was whether that debt was a net debt or a gross
debt. That depends largely on how you look at it. At present the road is not paying interest and running expenses, and I inferred that under public ownership it would not do any better, so that if the people of this country have to .tax themselves for the interest on the 3450,000,000 we might as well at once add that amount to our net debt, as that is what it would mean. All I have to say about the writer in the Journal is that if he read what was said in Hansard he either intentionally misconstrued what I said or else was too wooden-headed to understand plain English.