May 3, 1918

UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

I cannot undertake to give the exact information which my hon. friend requires, but I promise to do so on the second reading of the Bill. The maturities in New York are:

July 10, 1918 $ 2,700,000

July 10, 1918 3,000,000

-September 1, 1918 10,000,000

January 10, 1919 1,250,000'

June 12, 1919 2,190,000

The New York maturities were sold by the brokerage firm of William A. Keed, New York. On August 12, there is maturing in London notes of the Canadian Northern railway to the amount of $9,733,333, secured by .collateral. In respect of the London maturities I think they can be renewed at full, providing a higher rate of interest is paid. I am hopeful that the maturities in New York may be renewed by a very small principal payment.

Topic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   RENEWAL OR POSTPONEMENT OF PAYMENT OF INDEBTEDNESS O'F THE COMPANY.
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UNION

Robert Lorne Richardson

Unionist

Mr. RICHARDSON:

To whom are the

liabilities due?

Topic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   RENEWAL OR POSTPONEMENT OF PAYMENT OF INDEBTEDNESS O'F THE COMPANY.
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UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

I am sorry that I cannot give that information now, but I shall have it for my hon. friend when I move the second reading of the Bill.

Topic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   RENEWAL OR POSTPONEMENT OF PAYMENT OF INDEBTEDNESS O'F THE COMPANY.
Permalink
L LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Sir WILFRID LACRIER:

I would have supposed that the Government had the power under the Act of last session to do the very thing that the Acting Minister of Finance wants to do under this resolution. If he thinks differently I will not press the point; it is just as well we should know exactly what the Government's powers are. I think, however, that the hon. gentleman should state not only the amount of the liabilities that he undertakes to redeem or renew, but should give us a full and accurate statement of the liabilities that we have assumed.

Topic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   RENEWAL OR POSTPONEMENT OF PAYMENT OF INDEBTEDNESS O'F THE COMPANY.
Permalink
UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

Under this Bill?

Topic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   RENEWAL OR POSTPONEMENT OF PAYMENT OF INDEBTEDNESS O'F THE COMPANY.
Permalink
L LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

Yes. Up to the present time we have not had a full statement of such liabilities. A statement was presented to Parliament last year, but it was understood then that it was not quite accurate, and that there were many subsidiary companies whose liabilities we are assuming. Up to date, therefore, we have not had that absolute and positive statement to which the House is entitled. We must therefore have an absolute and full statement of every liability that we have undertaken to provide for under the -Act of last session. We are entitled not only to have the information which my hon. friend has just given us, but he should tell us who contracted those obligations. He should state not only the parent company, but the long progeny of subsidiary companies whose liabilities we have undertaken to deal with. We have no intention to delay proceedings at this stage, but when the Bill comes before the House we shall expect to have a

full statement upon the points which I have mentioned. J

Topic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   RENEWAL OR POSTPONEMENT OF PAYMENT OF INDEBTEDNESS O'F THE COMPANY.
Permalink
UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

I understand my hon. friend wants the fullest information possible as to all matters that would properly fall within the scope of the proposed Bill?

Topic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   RENEWAL OR POSTPONEMENT OF PAYMENT OF INDEBTEDNESS O'F THE COMPANY.
Permalink
L LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Sir WULFRID LAURIER:

What we want is a list of all the liabilities which we have undertaken by the Act of last session. We had a statement last year with respect to that, but it was admitted to be only a partial statement; the Government were not able to give us a statement as to the full extent of the liabilities which we are assuming. That is what we want to have now.

Topic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   RENEWAL OR POSTPONEMENT OF PAYMENT OF INDEBTEDNESS O'F THE COMPANY.
Permalink
UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

My purpose in making the statement which I did a moment ago was this: My colleague, the Minister of Railways, proposes some day -shortly to make a very full statement upon this subject, and I did not 'think it was necessary that I should now present a statement covering the whole scope of our financial liability in Tespect of the Canadian Northern railway. I am perfectly willing to give all possible information relating to the subject matter of the resolution and the Bill to be founded upon it. I merely want an understanding about the matter. I am willing to do what my right hon. friend desires, but I think it would be better to leave the complete statement as to our-

Sir WILFRID LAURIER!- The Minister of Railways will doubtless submit a mass of detail when he makes his statement, but the information which we desire is absolutely germane to the Bill which we are now, asked to pass. That is to say, we should have a full statement of the liabilities which we have incurred by the Act of last session.

Topic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   RENEWAL OR POSTPONEMENT OF PAYMENT OF INDEBTEDNESS O'F THE COMPANY.
Permalink
L LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Laurier Liberal

Mr. CAHILL:

When this legislation went through last year, a statement was made by the Prime Minister that this whole question should properly be taken up by the first Parliament. We are in the position that we are passing legislation here day after day connected with the Canadian Northern railway. When the Minister of Railways and Canals takes up his estimates, he has only .a simple amount of $25,000,000 to be voted as a loan to the Canadian Northern system. We are passing $50,000,000 and $78,000,000, and various other amounts. By the time he comes to his estimates the remaining Canadian Northern legislation will be all through and we have not yet had any

statement as to who is managing this Tailway. We are told by the Minister of Railways and Canals and the Acting Minister of Finance that the people of Canada own the Canadian Northern Tailway. What I ask is: Who own the people of Canada? Mackenzie and Mann still seem to be running the Canadian Northern system. We are taking this road away from them by arbitration. They either have no interest in it or they have. If they have no interest in it, what is the object in allowing them to run it still? If we are taking over the liabilities, we should be in a position to manage the road. The legislation of last year authorized the naming of a commission to manage this road, not when we paid for it, but when we secured the stock. The Acting Minister of Finance says we have secured the stock. Then, why does he not put his own people in control of this system instead of leaving Mackenzie and Mann in charge of it. I have been trying to get that information from the Minister of Railways and Canals and the Acting Minister of Finance, but, so far, have been unable to get it. In his Budget speech, the Acting Minister of Finance did not mention anything about the liabilities of the Canadian Northern. We either own the stock or we do not. If we own the road, we should certainly have an interest in its management.

Topic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   RENEWAL OR POSTPONEMENT OF PAYMENT OF INDEBTEDNESS O'F THE COMPANY.
Permalink
UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

We are not proposing to make any fresh advance to this railway company. Parliament was given exact details last session of the obligations which the country was assuming in acquiring the Canadian Northern system. I assume my hon. friend can very easily get it now, but if he-

Topic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   RENEWAL OR POSTPONEMENT OF PAYMENT OF INDEBTEDNESS O'F THE COMPANY.
Permalink
L LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Laurier Liberal

Mr. CAHILL:

Has the hon. Acting Minister got it?

Topic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   RENEWAL OR POSTPONEMENT OF PAYMENT OF INDEBTEDNESS O'F THE COMPANY.
Permalink
UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

I should be pleased to have it sent to him before to-morrow. We are not incurring any further obligations by asking Parliament to pass this resolution, and the Bill to be founded upon it. We are simply asking power to assist in the renewal of certain obligations of the Canadian Northern railway for a few years, at least until the war is over.

Topic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   RENEWAL OR POSTPONEMENT OF PAYMENT OF INDEBTEDNESS O'F THE COMPANY.
Permalink
L LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Laurier Liberal

Mr. CAHILL:

At the last session of Parliament the Minister of Finance (Sir Thomas White) made the statement that in talcing over these short-time liabilities of about $98,000,000, he did not expect to have to provide further financial' aid in connection with the obligations of the road, that the Canadian Northern would renew, them.

During that debate the Prime Minister said more than once that it was not the intention that this Government should run the railway, that there would be a commission appointed, and he also said that the question would be taken up at this Parliament. It has not been taken up, and we are now told that we must rush this measure through Parliament, although the matter referred to by the Prime Minister has not yet come up. We do not know what the liabilities of the Canadian Northern system are. There are fresh liabilities coming in every day to the Arbitration Board sitting in Toronto. Is it not a fact that the province of British Columbia is making a demand on them, and are not others doing the same? We do not know what the liabilities of this road are, and nothing concerning them was mentioned in the Budget speech, or we were not told how it was proposed to meet these liabilities. I think we should know about these matters before passing any more legislation.

Topic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   RENEWAL OR POSTPONEMENT OF PAYMENT OF INDEBTEDNESS O'F THE COMPANY.
Permalink
UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

The hon. member is not accurate in his quotation of what I said last session. I did not say it would be managed by a commission, but I stated it would devolve upon Parliament, I hoped at this session, to decide the method by which public ownership could be carried out so as to prevent that political interference and influence which would be absolutely detrimental to public ownership and operation. The liabilities of the Canadian Northern railway, according to my recollection, were very fully set out in statements which were presented to this House at the last session of Parliament. There is not the slightest reason why they should not be presented again. But every hon. member must understand that all those liabilities have to be taken into account by the Board of Arbitration which is determining the question as to whether or not the people of this country have to pay anything for the stock. Whatever the" liabilities are they are to be taken into consideration by the arbitrators who are considering that question how. The purpose of this resolution is to enable the Government to have the right to carry on this business without interruption. By reason of financial difficulties the road has been unable to finance for long periods; and it was necessary to make these short term loans. During this year and next year many of them will become due. It is not desirable that the country at this time should be called upon to make provision for paying them

in cash. Therefore, the Acting .Minister of Finance comes to Parliament and asks for authority which will enalble the Government to extend them by guaranteeing them. It is perfectly true that they are secured by bonds or debentures guaranteed by the Dominion or by the provinces, at least in most instances. But it is equally true that the short term loans so secured are not themselves guaranteed by the Government. It is considered a desirable thing that the Government acquire the whole of the stock so as to vest the beneficial interest of the road in the people of Canada, and that it should be enabled to extend these loans by giving a proper guarantee, which would obviate the necessity of raising the money at the present time *for the purpose of paying them off. That is the sole purpose.

Topic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   RENEWAL OR POSTPONEMENT OF PAYMENT OF INDEBTEDNESS O'F THE COMPANY.
Permalink
L LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

The present

resolution is simply a corollary of the action taken by the Government last year. We all understand that. It is also true that there was presented to us a list of the liabilities of Mackenzie and Mann and their different enterprises. But it is also true, and this must not be forgotten, that the Government could not tell us what the total liabilities of Mackenzie and Mann were. The Government did not know whether. they were included, in the blue- [DOT] book presented to Parliament. What we desire to know at this stage is, whether or not all the liabilities are shown in that blue-book, or whether others are coming in as well. We should know exactly the amount of liabilities which we have undertaken under the Act passed last session.

Topic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   RENEWAL OR POSTPONEMENT OF PAYMENT OF INDEBTEDNESS O'F THE COMPANY.
Permalink
UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

The information can be given, but, of course, the Government could not then pledge itself that the liabilities stated to the House last session comprised everything the company might owe. As a matter of fact, we have taken precautions, if I am not mistaken, either in the legislation or the agreement, that if any additional liabilities should be discovered, provision shall be made in the award to see that they are paid by the persons responsible for paying them.; in other words, that they must be taken into account in the final payment made by the people of this ..country 'for the stock, whenever it may be acquired.

Topic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   RENEWAL OR POSTPONEMENT OF PAYMENT OF INDEBTEDNESS O'F THE COMPANY.
Permalink
L LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Laurier Liberal

Mr. CAHILL:

Before we give any further money to the Canadian Northern, I think it is a proper question to ask whether the Mackenzie and Mann interests are still

operating that road. Are they still in charge as they were a year ago.?

Topic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   RENEWAL OR POSTPONEMENT OF PAYMENT OF INDEBTEDNESS O'F THE COMPANY.
Permalink
UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

The Government is represented by a certain number of directors on the board. It was not thought desirable to interfere with the present arrangements until the award is made, and the stock has been actually acquired through payment. As soon as that is done, it will of .course, he necessary that the country shall have complete control of the operations thereafter.

Topic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   RENEWAL OR POSTPONEMENT OF PAYMENT OF INDEBTEDNESS O'F THE COMPANY.
Permalink
L LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Laurier Liberal

Mr. CAHILL:

Is the country not entitled to know who. the directors of the Canadian Northern system are?

Topic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   RENEWAL OR POSTPONEMENT OF PAYMENT OF INDEBTEDNESS O'F THE COMPANY.
Permalink

May 3, 1918