April 12, 1918

UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

I do not see why my statement should occasion any merriment on the part of any hon. gentlemen opposite. If any hon. gentlemen knows what it means they might stand up and inform the House.

Topic:   REVENUES OF CANADIAN GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS.
Subtopic:   SUSPENSE ACCOUNT PROPOSED.
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L LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

We will let the Government do that.

Topic:   REVENUES OF CANADIAN GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS.
Subtopic:   SUSPENSE ACCOUNT PROPOSED.
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UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

The words " Canadian Government railways " might be limited by statute to what is known as the Intercolonial railway and the Prince Edward Island railway. If they are limited to those railways then I am perfectly right in my statement and hon. gentlemen are wrong in their laughter.

Topic:   REVENUES OF CANADIAN GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS.
Subtopic:   SUSPENSE ACCOUNT PROPOSED.
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L LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

Are they so limited?

Topic:   REVENUES OF CANADIAN GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS.
Subtopic:   SUSPENSE ACCOUNT PROPOSED.
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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

The question is whether all the railways owned by the Canadian Government are Canadian Government railways or whether the words are limited by the statute to the railways mentioned by my hon. friend.

Topic:   REVENUES OF CANADIAN GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS.
Subtopic:   SUSPENSE ACCOUNT PROPOSED.
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UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

Possibly my hon. friend is right, but there need not be any discussion about the words "and of any railway under the charge and management or direction of the Minister of Railways and Canals," because that can be amended later. Let me read the amendment:

That it is' expedient to provide that the working expenses of the Canadian Government Railways and of any railway under the charge and management or direction of the Minister .of Railways and Canals shall .he paid out of the receipts and revenues of the said railways, and in the event of a deficit occurring at any time during any fiscal year, the amount of such deficit shall be -payable out of any unappropriated moneys in the Consolidated Revenue Fund of Canada, the said deficit to be voted by Parliament at its first session following the close of such fiscal year.

Topic:   REVENUES OF CANADIAN GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS.
Subtopic:   SUSPENSE ACCOUNT PROPOSED.
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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

Touching the question of the interpretation of the expression "Canadian Government railways," the Acting Minister of Finance is perhaps unaware that his colleague, the "Minister of Railways and Canals, last night gave his own interpretation-and I am not objecting to it-that "Canadian Government railways" includes the Transcontinental and all other Government railways except the Canadian Northern. On the faith of that interpretation we allowed the hon. gentleman to increase his stores account from $1,500,000 to $6,000,000. I am merely asking whether the hon. gentleman has anything particularly in his mind. I appreciate the point made by the Acting Minister of Finance as to the distinction between revenue which represents taxation and revenue qf different kinds. But his argument will probably carry him a little farther than he appreciates when we come to apply it. If the principle of the resolution is sound, why not apply it to other departments as well? Suppose I were to suggest that we should apply it to the Department of Customs, my hon. friend would say at once: "That is taxation."

So it is. But, suppose we should go to the Post Office Department. That is not taxation. The postage stamp represents payment for service just as much as the railway ticket represents payment for service. If my hon. friend's argument is good that this is a proper thing to do with regard to Government railways, the same argument might be advanced with regard to the Post Office Department. You might extend that in different directions. What it really means is that the appropriation for each railway system which has hitherto always been made by parliament is no longer to be made by Parliament and whatever opportunities the making of the appropriation offered for enquiry and discussion and criticism will not longer be available. The annual appropriation of the moneys needed for the operation of the Intercolonial railway has always presented an opportunity for widespread inquiry, criticism and discussion. The withdrawing of that appropriation from Parliament, I grant you, as a mere matter of book-keeping, may not make any difference, but at the same time I think there is no good reason why Parliament should give up the privilege of making the annual vote for a mere matter of book-keeping. I do not see that it is going to make one cent's worth of difference to the treasury of Canada one way or the other, but as a pure matter of parlia-

mentary procedure we should keep as far as possible to .the principle of parliamentary control.

Topic:   REVENUES OF CANADIAN GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS.
Subtopic:   SUSPENSE ACCOUNT PROPOSED.
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UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

In reference to

the case suggested by the hon. member (Mr. Fielding) of the Post Office I would submit that it is hardly analogous. The Government Railway system is a well, defined and limited operation. It is administered from a single office at Moncton. I imagine that all the revenues of the road go there first and ultimately to Ottawa. All operating expenses are incurred at that point. In the case of the post office system, there must be twenty thousand or thirty thousand (branches throughout Canada extending from coast to coast.

Topic:   REVENUES OF CANADIAN GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS.
Subtopic:   SUSPENSE ACCOUNT PROPOSED.
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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

There are railway stations all over Canada.

Mr. A. K. MA'OLEAN: I fail to see how in any respect the cases are analogous. The money is received by the post office but there are scores and scores of offices receiving that revenue. You could hardly pay the operating expenses of the post office in Vancouver .out of the revenues received, at, say, St. John, N.B. In the case of the railway system the revenues all go into the head office of the system at Moncton and from there all expenditures are authorized, all operating expenses are paid and there is established the Government Railway audit system. The Government Railway accounts are audited at Moncton.

Topic:   REVENUES OF CANADIAN GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS.
Subtopic:   SUSPENSE ACCOUNT PROPOSED.
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L LIB

Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DEVLIN:

Reverting to the question asked by my hon. friend from Pontiac (Mr. Cahill), will any of the working expenses of the Canadian Northern railway come under this resolution?

Topic:   REVENUES OF CANADIAN GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS.
Subtopic:   SUSPENSE ACCOUNT PROPOSED.
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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Mr. J. D. REID:

Topic:   REVENUES OF CANADIAN GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS.
Subtopic:   SUSPENSE ACCOUNT PROPOSED.
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L LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

What is the

objection-to that?

Topic:   REVENUES OF CANADIAN GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS.
Subtopic:   SUSPENSE ACCOUNT PROPOSED.
Permalink
UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Mr. J. D. REID:

There is no objection at all, but it loads up the estimates with an amount that really should not be there. But there is no desire in any way, shape or form, so far as the Railway Department and the Finance Department are concerned, to change, the method of carrying on the expenditures in connection with the Canadian Government Railway system.

Topic:   REVENUES OF CANADIAN GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS.
Subtopic:   SUSPENSE ACCOUNT PROPOSED.
Permalink
L LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

It is simply a blind.

Topic:   REVENUES OF CANADIAN GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS.
Subtopic:   SUSPENSE ACCOUNT PROPOSED.
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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Mr. J. D. REID:

It is not a blind. I do not see how the right hon. gentleman can make such a statement. We may have to pay out probably a larger amount than we estimate at the present time, for this reason: You cannot tell at the present time how things are going to turn out, as regards the cost of labour, and so on, and it may probably involve adding a considerable amount more than was at first thought necessary in order to carry on the operations of the Government system.

Topic:   REVENUES OF CANADIAN GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS.
Subtopic:   SUSPENSE ACCOUNT PROPOSED.
Permalink
L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

Supposing we do. The leader of the Opposition was right; it is a blind.

Topic:   REVENUES OF CANADIAN GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS.
Subtopic:   SUSPENSE ACCOUNT PROPOSED.
Permalink
L LIB

Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DEVLIN:

Will this mean an increase of the staff?

Topic:   REVENUES OF CANADIAN GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS.
Subtopic:   SUSPENSE ACCOUNT PROPOSED.
Permalink
UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Mr. J. D. REID:

It does not involve increasing the staff in any respect. It is simply a matter of book-keeping and the money will be deposited and paid out in exactly the same manner as before.

Topic:   REVENUES OF CANADIAN GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS.
Subtopic:   SUSPENSE ACCOUNT PROPOSED.
Permalink
L LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

We do not

want to be accused of indulging in captious criticism, because, we desire to facilitate the despatch of business, but the Minister of Railways has told us that he does not want this money to appear in the esti-

mates.. If that is not a blind, what is it?

( By all means let us have the truth.

Topic:   REVENUES OF CANADIAN GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS.
Subtopic:   SUSPENSE ACCOUNT PROPOSED.
Permalink
UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Mr. J. D. REID:

As far as having the

truth is 'concerned, I am trying to explain to the right lion, gentleman, as clearly as I cam, what is .proposed. Now, what is the present system? The revenues are deposited to the credit of the Receiver General, and the cheques are issued by the railway and passed) toy the Auditor General at Ottawa. That system will still continue in exactly the same manner.

Topic:   REVENUES OF CANADIAN GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS.
Subtopic:   SUSPENSE ACCOUNT PROPOSED.
Permalink

April 12, 1918