October 16, 1919

L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

Did my hon. friend expect him to say anything else when he was selling the road?

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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs and Inland Revenue; Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Mr. J. D. REID:

This statement is in writing over his own signature, and he will have to prove it before the arbitrators. In addition to that, I may say that our own Canadian National railway experts have been travelling over the Grand Trunk and they report in verbal conversations to me that the system is really in good condition and would compare with any of our own systems. It must be remembered that the Intercolonial ran down during the last four or five years for the reason that we could not get rails or ties. Neither could we get the men necessary to keep the road in the condition in which it was prior to the war.

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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

So much the worse for government ownership.

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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs and Inland Revenue; Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Mr. J. D. REID:

However, we kept the Intercolonial in as good a state as the other roads, which could not get rails either.

With reference to the information that the hon. gentleman has asked for, I can get it for him in a very short time in the morning, and I therefore wish to ask

11 p.m. if he entertains any objection to the committee reporting the resolution so that the Bill may be introduced forthwith. The measure has to go through its first and second readings and then be considered in committee when the matter, of course, can come up for discussion again, but by the acceptance of my suggestion the proceedings can-be advanced. That will not interfere with the getting of any information which has been requested; there is no desire at all to hurry the Bill; I merely make the suggestion with a view of advancing the proceedings.

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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

I may say to the minister that I usually have a great deal of

trouble in getting any information after I have allowed him to cross the bridge.

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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs and Inland Revenue; Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Mr. J. D. REID:

Not intentionally, I

hope.

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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

I allowed the Bill to go through the other day with the promise of the leader of the Government that I would get certain information from the Minister of Railways. I got some of that information, but only about five per cent of wnat I was looking for. Now I am afraid, if I put myself in the same position again and allow the resolution to pass there will not be very much rush in the minister's office to get the information sought.

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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs and Inland Revenue; Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Mr. J. D. REID:

The Bill will have to be considered in committee and we shall be exactly in the same position, as regards discussion, that we now are, because the measure contains the same clauses that are in the resolution. I think I can assure the hon. gentleman that I will send a messenger down by twelve o'clock to-morrow with the information he has asked for this evening. Moreover, I will not ask that the Bill be reported from committee until the hon. gentleman is perfectly satisfied that all the information he has asked for, or that he may want at that time, is given to him.

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L LIB
L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

I want to have a distinct understanding from the minister as to when we may expect the information for which I am asking, and I would like to add to what I have already stated that I think it would be well to put in concise form the real obligations of the road under consideration, apart from the stock altogether, that is, the obligations that appear on pages 38 and 39, and also on pages 51 and 52 of the blue-book which was put into the hands of hon. members yesterday. What is the real amount in dollars and cents of the obligations we are assuming in connection with the other liabilities against the road, should this transaction go through? The minister will remember and will find in Hansard the otheT question that I asked. The minister said that it was not a fair comparison; that those were not favourable years. I am sure that he is submitting his evidence, at all events as far as the hon. gentlemen sitting on your right are concerned, to a favourable and sympathetic jury, and I am sure they will take fully into consideration every element in the facts that can be construed favourably to the minister. Whether the facts are agreeable or disagreeable, whether we are making money or losing money, nothing should be concealed from the House or from the people in regard to the business of the people, particularly as concerns those roads. If the case is bad, we ought to know it; if a patient is sick unto death, it will be well for him to prepare for his eternal rest and know exactly his position. If this country is on the verge of a smash by reason of bad financing, we might as well know it and prepare for the worst. I think it is only fair Ao let us know just exactly how we stand in connection with the information for which I am asking. If the minister will undertake that at the opening of the House to-morrow we shall have that information, I have not the slightest inclination to interfere with the progress of this Bill. Knowing all the time that I am against

it and purpose voting against it at every stand, I do not wish to take up time beyond what is necessary.

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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs and Inland Revenue; Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Mr. J. D. REID:

The hon. member is very clear in what he has just suggested, and I can assure him that I will get all the information and hand it to him before the House meets to-morrow; otherwise I will not ask him to proceed with the matter any further. He is absolutely right that the House is entitled to all information in connection with the operation of the roads that he has mentioned, or any other roads.

The information has all been made public, and it is simply a question of getting it from the records. It would take only a few moments' time. I would ask the hon. member if he has any objection to this: He will remember that I gave notice to-day of an . amendment to this resolution, as follows:

That the following proposed amendment he referred to the Committee of the Whole on the proposed resolutions in respect to the acquisition by His Majesty of the Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada:-

''12. That the Government may make, out of any unappropriated moneys in the Consolidated Revenue Fund, any expenditure necessary in the preparation for, and conduct of, the arbitration proceeding herein provided for."

In the resolution as it stands we omitted to make monetary provision for the arbitration proceedings as we went along, and I therefore gave notice of the amendment I have just read. I am advised by the Deputy Speaker that in order to have this amendment embodied in the resolution now before us it will be necessary to move that the Committee rise, report progress, and ask leave to sit again this day, when I will move:

That the order of the House that the House do go into Committee of the Whole to-morrow to consider a certain proposed amendment to the resolutions in respect to the acquisition by His Majesty of the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada be rescinded.

If my hon. friend has no objection, I now move that the committee rise, report progress, and ask leave to sit again this day.

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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

One very serious objection I have to the proposed amendment is that it provides for moneys being utilized by the Government without having first been voted by Parliament. Now we have always fought against that. We. have said that every dollar expended by the Government should appear in the Estimates and receive the sanction of Parliament. The minister will remember that a

year or so ago he was obliged to withdraw a resolution of this kind and abandon the idea of getting money out of the consolidated revenue fund without it being specifically voted for the purpose for which it was to be expended. That, I think, is the right principle, that no moneys shall be expended except upon a vote of Parliament. The principle of the proposed amendment is that we should give a free hand to the minister to take money out of the consolidated revenue fund without any specific vote, and I am opposed to that.

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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs and Inland Revenue; Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Mr. J. D. REID:

Under the circumstances I shall not press the matter further, but will found the Bill on the resolution now before the committee.

Resolution to report progress withdrawn.

Resolution for acquisition of the Grand Trunk Railway system agreed to, on division, reported, read the first and second time on division, and concurred in.

Mr. J. D. REID thereupon move! lor leave to introduce Bill No. 33, respecting the acquisition by His Majesty of the Grand Trunk Railway system.

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Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time. On motion of Hon. Mr. Doherty the House adjourned at 11.35 p. m. Friday, October 17, 1919.


October 16, 1919