'Not only do these considerations which I have mentioned support the proposition of public ownership and justify the country in enlarging its railway holdings, but I share the view expressed by the ex-Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Crerar) with reference to the general principle of public ownership as applied to our railway system. Therefore I cordially support this proposition on that ground.
But coming back for a moment to the other aspect of the question, even if I did not believe in public ownership, even if I were opposed to public ownership, I would support this proposition on the plain business ground of national necessity. I support it on this ground, Mr. Speaker, for two reasons: First, as an operating proposition. The only way in which we can fairly carry out the obligations we have assumed is by adding this railway-to our present system, thus making, in a measure, a complete transportation system, and thus be in a position to enter into competition on fair terms with the other great railway transportation system, the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. My second reason is that even if my hon. friend's view be correct, that we cannot successfully operate a system of railways in the public interest by public ownership, if we wished ultimately to dispose of these railways we would have a vastly more valuable asset with the Grand Trunk added than if we endeavoured to dispose of them without such addition. Test it on any ground, Mr. Speaker, and the acquisition of the Grand Trunk is an advantage to the country. I know it is the view of some business men in the East who are opposed to this proposition that as an asset our national railway system is vastly more valuable with the Grand Trunk added than it is in its present severed condition. And that the additional value of the whole system will be vastly more than the amount we have to pay to acquire the Grand Trunk.
I wish to make that point clear, Mr. Speaker. The combined system is worth vastly more than the separate portions of the system added together, and we only get the real value by combining. It does not need any argument to establish that contention. The reason the Grand Trunk Pacific was built was to give an outlet to the West to the Grand Trunk system in the East. . And if you have the Grand Trunk Pacific, with all the burdens and obligations incidental to it, without the Grand Trunk system in the East, you have the burden without the compensation-you have the liability without the asset to make it good. I can quite
understand men opposed to public ownership, if they wish to see public ownership fail in Canada, would be bitterly hostile to the acquirement of this Grand Trunk road, because they know that without its acquirement public ownership is bound to result in a heavy financial loss to the country; but with this Grand Trunk railway acquired, with our national railway system in a measure complete, it may be possible to make public ownership of railways a success in this country. I know that many people do not want to see it a success; hon' estly and sincerely they are opposed to the principle. They believe that in the long run it would be a mistake. They say it leads to Socialism. We have heard that argument during this debate, that public ownership of railways is only leading on to other public ownership of all other kinds of business and to Socialism. Therefore they are opposed to the whole business and want to see it fail. I think I'see the hon. gentleman (Mr. Pelletier) who referred to the danger of socialism approving. I see my hon. friend confesses that he is responsible for that statement. Some hon. members think public ownership is going to lead to these dire consequences, and therefore they would like to see it fail. For that reason they are opposed to our taking proper measures to make public ownership a success. Well, that is not the view of the people of Canada. They have got this great undertaking on their hands, they want to see it made a success, and they want the Government to take the necessary means to that end.
Now I come' to another point. My hon. friend (Mr. McKenzie) said that this bargain was not a good bargain in itself. Well, I am not going to add much to what I said the other evening in Committee, neither am I going to add to what the Minister of Railways (Mr. Reid) and the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Meighen) have said, except to point out that we have as the basis of this proposal the Drayton-Acworth report to which my hon. friend referred. iBased on this report we proposed a cash payment of $2,500,000 for the first three or five years-[DOT] I have forgotten which it was-a higher sum for the next few years, and then $3,600,000 for the balance of the term. These figures have been before the House and the country for months, I have come back to it again, because no hon. member has up to this time ever challenged those figures, has ever said that our offer was too high, has ever suggested that our proposition was unfair to the people of Canada. And hon. members must bear in mind that
there is only one way of acquiring this road, and that is by negotiation. We cannot get it by expropriation for we cannot expropriate the lines in the United States, the Grand Trunk refused that offer but they are willing to arbitrate. Having regard to those facts, the question is have the Government negotiated a fair deal in this present agreement:
Subtopic: BILL, PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.