October 23, 1919

BILL, PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.


The House resumed the adjourned debate on the motion of Hon. Mr. Reid for the second reading of Bill No. 33, respecting the acquisition by His Majesty of the Grand Trunk railway system, and the amendment thereto of Mr. D. D. McKenzie. '


L LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Laurier Liberal

Mr. F. S. CAHILL (Pontiac):

Mr. Speaker, very little new light has been shed upon this question since it was first introduced into the House, but I presume it is the intention of the Government, when we get into Committee of the Whole on the Bill, to furnish us with certain information, provided they have it.

Last night when the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Meighen) was speaking in reference to the attitude of the Liberal party on the Canadian Northern purchase, he said that the Liberal Administration of 1916 had advocated and supported a policy of arbitrating the value of the stock of that railway and its assumption by the country on the basis of arbitration. He pointed out that my hon. friend the leader of the Opposition (Mr. McKenzie) had stated that when they made the proposal to take over the road it was on the basis that not more than $30,000,000 should be paid for the stock. The Minister of the Interior (Mr. Meighen) also informed the House that the Government of the day loaned the Canadian Northern people $35,000,000-I believe the correct figure is $40,000,000-and that therefore the assets of the company were worth more than they were before this money was advanced to them. In other words, he argues that the more money the Dominion Government loaned to the company the more the stock of that company would be

worth, and therefore his Government was justified in paying $10,090,000 for what was described by the Drayton-Acworth report as worthless stock.

Much has been said, Mr. Speaker, during this debate, and also during the debate in the previous session, with regard to the railway policy of the Liberal party, which many hon. members opposite claim to be responsible for the present involved railway situation in this country. I have been looking up the figures on this question, and I find that during the period from 1896 to 1911-15 years, the total aid granted by the Liberal Administration to all railways in Canada was $48,000,000. That information will be found on page 436 of the year book for 1917. During the period from 1911 to 1917-6 years, the Conservative Administration advanced $37,000,000 by way of cash aid to our railways. In other words, during six years they advanced an amount within $10,000,000 or $11,000,000 of the total aid granted by the Liberal Administration during the much longer period of 15 years. Those figures will be found at page 413 of the year book for 1918. But it may be argued, Mr. Speaker, that it was not the system of cash grants which stimulated so much railway construction, but the guaranteeing of bonds. I find that for the period from 1896 to 1911 bonds were guaranteed to the extent of $85,000,000 by the Liberal Administration; but between 1911 and 1918 $103,000,000 worth of bonds were guaranteed by the Conservative Administration. So that there is apparently no foundation for the statement made by some hon. members opposite that the present railway position is a legacy from the Liberal party.

During the period from 1896 to 1911, 10,000 miles of railway were constructed under the Liberal Administration, or an average of 670 miles per year. Between 1911 and 1917 under the Conservative Administration 13,000 miles of railway were built, or an average of 2,100 miles per year. During the period between 1896 and 1911 the colonization of the country kept pace with our railway construction. According to the Drayton-Acworth report there were 285 people to every mile of railway in this country in 1896. In 1911 the report gives the population at the same figure, but it goes on to say that in 1917 there were only 185 people to every mile of railway. So that the Conservative Government during the period between 1911 and 1917 apparently forgot about colonization and embarked on the policy of guaranteeing bonds and giving cash assistance to stimulate railroad construction all through the country.

Now, Mr. Speaker, much has been said about the folly of the construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific and the National Transcontinental. I was in Saskatoon in 1905, and I remember survey parties of the Grand Trunk Pacific going through to Edmonton, running their surveys from the South Saskatchewan to where the railway was to be constructed to the North Saskatchewan at Edmonton, a territory com-, prising 300 miles of the very finest land, with practically not a settler on it. The Grand Trunk Pacific opened up that territory. The Transcontinental in the East also opened up the magnificent territory running through the province of Quebec and the province of Ontario. But again the policy of this Government was to discourage settlement in that territory, and that discouragement, coupled with the bad railway service, has made it impossible to induce settlers to come in, although there are some 15,000 inhabitants in the territory in- the province of Quebec immediately east of the Ontario boundary living in a very fine country, and it would be an exceedingly prosperous country if the people had proper railway facilities to enable them to take out their products and develop the land.

We are also told, Mr. Speaker, that the Grand Trunk under their agreement with the Grand Trunk Pacific and the Transcontinental were unable to live up to its terms on account of the high cosit of the Transcontinental. I believe the Transcontinental was estimated to cost in the neighbourhood of $60,000,000 odd. The final returns show that the cost was in the neighbourhood of $160,000,000. Well, Mr. Speaker, if this road did cost $100,000,000 more than was originally estimated, could not an arrangement have been made with the Grand Trunk and the Grand Trunk Pacific to assume the liabilities of the road on the basis of the first estimated cost of $60,000,000 odd? If the Grand Trunk Pacific were made to live up to the original agreement with the Government, an adjustment might have been- made on the basis of what they considered in the original estimate was the fair cost of the road. The Grand Trunk then in turn could have been forced to live up to their agreement with the Grand Trunk Pacific in regard to the bonds of the latter which they guaranteed.

No reason has been given why the Grand Trunk was not made to live up to its agreement in respect of the Grand Trunk Pacific. Hon. gentlemen tell us that it would be impossible to live up to that agreement. Well, if it would be impossible to live up to that agreement why do the Government pay $60,-

000,000 to the Grand Trunk Railway Company before they undertake to make that company live up to its obligations in respect to the Grand Trunk Pacific? But they had no intention of asking the company to live up to that undertaking; the Minister of the Interior, who was in charge of the negotiations, states quite clearly that he has no such intention. In his letter of July 11, 1918-which, he tells us, is the basis of the negotiations which we are now asked to complete-he said:

The Government to take over the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and branch lines and the Grand Trunk Railway Company; to acquire all assets, and to assume all obligations of both "ompanles.

There is absolutely no question of asking the Grand Trunk Pacific to live u,p to their obligations or the Grand Trunk to live up to its obligation in regard to the Grand Trunk Pacific. He goes on to say that the Grand Trunk could not do so, but in the very next breath he says that although the company are unable to pay the $97,000,000 which we claim they owe us, we will pay them $60,000,000 before we attempt to arbitrate the amount of our claim against the Grand Trunk. There is no foundation whatever for the purchase on the basis of inability of the Grand 'Trunk to meet their obligations in respect of the Grand Trunk Pacific agreement; at least, no argument to that effect has been substantiated here.

A fairly good argument, however, has been put up by the ministers in charge of this Bill on behalf of the Grand Trunk. When we refer to the Drayton-Acworth report, which points out that some thirty millions should have been spent on maintenance, up-keep and betterments, and ask what condition the Grand Trunk Railway system is in, they tell us: "Well, the president of the company says that the road is in first-class shape and that the company are able to pay dividends." But the report of these experts, on the basis of which the Government are attempting to purchase this road-and that is the only advice which they have on the subject-states that the road is not in good condition and that it is not in a position to pay dividends. Yet members of the Government tell us, when they bring the Bill before the House, that they have the assurance of the President of the Grand Trunk Railway Company that the road is in first-class order. In -other words, the man who is selling them the gold brick says that it is pure gold,

Mr. Speaker, in Committee on the resolution, I and a number of members on this

side'attempted to get some information from the Government, and the reply that we received was very much like the speech of the Minister of the Interior last night in, which he gave absolutely no information, said very little, if anything, pertaining to the subject, and did little more than attempt to ridicule members on this side for asking for information. On page 41 of the blue-book I find that the total funded debt of the Grand Trunk undertaking amounts to $448,000,000. Add to that the $60,833,000 of 4 per cent guaranteed stock, which has practically become a funded debt, and we get $509,000,000; and if we add to that the current liabilities we get a total of $579,885,000 as the capital sum on which we are agreeing to ipay interest if we acquire this railway system. I am not giving these figures as correct, because no information is available that we can speak of as being correct; but I ask the Government to state what the exact figures are, if these are not correct.

In answer to a question, the Minister of Interior takes up the blue-book and says: "Can the members not read the statement which appears here? There are two sides to it; the totals on both sides are the same." But he does not tell us what the liabilities are, what the assets are or what the totals are. He states that there are notes payable, liabilities amounting to $35,000,000 and another item of current liabilities amounting to $22,000,000; and he says that there are current assets to offset that amounting to $51,000,000. I ask for the details of that item of current assets. Surely a matter of forty or fifty millions is of sufficient importance justify even this Government in satisfying itself whether or not these are real assets. If these assets are liabilities of the different companies that we are taking over

liabilities to the parent company-certainly they would not be a liquid asset in any sense of the word. That is one of the items that I would like to have cleared up.

The Minister of the Interior tells us that the Grand Trunk statement is the statement to accept with regard to the liabilities that we are assuming. But when we assume the liabilities under the Grand Trunk purchase we are assuming all the liabilities of that undertaking, including the liabilities of the Grand Trunk Pacific and the other subsidiary companies; and that is not shown in the Grand Trunk statement. We should have a statement of the assets and of the liabilities of the whole undertaking so that the people will know what this legislation means and what it amounts to.

The President of the Council (Hon. Mr. Rowell) made what I thought was a significant remark in his address the night before last when he said that we must get these railroads all together; that we have one end in the West and another end in the East and that for operating purposes it is absolutely necessary to get them all in with the Canadian National, and that if at any future time we hand it over or dispose of it, it will be a more valuable asset with the Grand Trunk included. Now, that is just what I fear; that when the Government make a huge loss in operation they will hand the system over to some persons, and those persons are likely to be the present operators of the Canadian National railways -the Mackenzie and Mann crowd. The minister said that the national railways should be efficiently managed, and wThen I asked him if they were efficiently managed, he said that they were. But it is common knowledge to any one who has anything to do with the Canadian National railways that they are not efficiently managed. I doubt whether one manufacturer out of ten in Canada would route his stuff over the Canadian National railways in preference to the Canadian Pacific if he had the choice. They are not efficiently managed; they are managed purely and simply for the people who are controlling them-the Canadian Northern crowd, Mackenzie and Mann and Lash and Hanna, who are selling supplies to this company, constructing lines for it and making profits out of it.

In answer to the member for Huntingdon (Mr. Robb) the Minister of Railways stated that in one year the deficit in operating the Canadian National railways has been $15,000,000 and interest charges $19,000,000, and that the Grand Trunk Pacific deficits and interest charges would be not less than $12,000,000, making altogether $46,000,000 that the Canadian people are out of pocket in respect of one year's operation of these systems.

I should like to know how much money is being made by the people who. are handling the undertaking, the people who have the privilege of buying the ties, rails and other supplies of all kinds for this undertaking and who are paying absolutely no attention to the management of the railway except so far as their own interest is concerned. . The condition of the railway has been allowed to run down throughout the country; it is getting in bad odour everywhere it is being operated, and even the operation of the Intercolonial is not as good as it was before it was taken over by the Canadian National railways.

Facing this condition, hon. members say that we must acquire the Grand Trunk.

There is only one purpose for taking that course. One of the ministers- said that it was the policy of the Government since 1911 to have public ownership and management of railways. I did not know that this Government had been in office since 1911; but apparently the President of the Council (Mr. Rowell) was quite satisfied with that -statement, and he said that it was the policy of this Government to own and operate the railways of Canada. But they all balk at the Canadian Pacific; they will not go so far as to acquire that railway. They are quite willing to go as far as building up a competing line to hand over to the Canadian Northern, but they will not go a step further. They are willing to pay any price for the Grand Trunk. If hon. members were honest in their advocacy of public ownership, the first thing they would want to do would be to get the railway at a reasonable and fair price. Prior to the purchase of the Canadian Northern by the Government $100,000,000 worth of unguaranteed securities was circulated. The Government would not furnish us with the information as to who held those securities, which were passed out to friends of Mackenzie and Mann before the purchase was made. The Drayton-Acworth report will tell you that there was against this road $100,000,000 worth of securities more than the road was worth; yet these hon. gentlemen tell us that it was in the name, and for the sake of public ownership that we must pay these exorbitant prices. When we come to the purchase of the Grand Trunk, the same thing occurs. The first thing they do is to advance $60,000,000 worth of stock to persons unknown, but it is intimated in the press that these people must have had knowledge from governmental sources, because the stocks were hound to advance as soon as they were guaranteed by the Government. They did advance, and there is no doubt that some people will, in less than a year make anywhere from thirty to forty million dollars out of this transaction. Why does the Government not reserve that for the people of Canada who are furnishing the money to acquire this railway? What reason is there for giving some people $60,000,000 before you attempt to set a price on the property by arbitration? As regards one item of $40,000,000 or $50,000,000, I do not know whether it is worth a cent or not, and that without taking into consideration anything of the value of the undertaking. We agree to pay the shareholders of the Grand Trunk $60,000,000,

and then we agree to arbitrate the value, if any, of the property. We release them from their Grand Trunk obligation and from their National Transcontinental obligations, and we give them $60,000,000 and then arbitrate as to the value, if any, of the property. Just because they write across the cheque "for public ownership" the Government think they can issue a cheque for any amount they may desire. The Government are not satisfied with paying these exhorbitant prices; but in order that their friends may be safe, they appoint an arbitration commission. Does the report of arbitration come back to Parliament for the money to be voted? Not at all. The Government by Order in Council take the right to issue a cheque for whatever amount the arbitrators may decide upon. They give power to that arbitration to enable them to pay out to their friends money that Parliament would not give to the Government; that the Government would not dare to come to Parliament and ask the privilege off issuing cheques'for and of spending money without submitting their estimates to Parliament; hut in this case they purpose issuing a cheque for an unlimited amount without the sanction of Parliament. It looks to me as though there was something very urgent about this deal so far as the (Government of Canada was concerned.

The minister stated that the deal was finally completed after prolonged negotiations. The negotiations were cut off after July 11, 1918. The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Grand Trunk Railway Company said that he did not understand the letter of the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Meighen), and he took it to the Prime Minister of Canada and asked for an explanation. The Prime Minister said that the letter meant the same offer as was made in February of that year, but in that letter there is this paragraph which might be construed differently:

Should the company desire, the guaranteed stock may he treated as an obligation in the same way as the company's bonds.

But the Prime Minister said that that did not mean anything and Sir Alfred Smithers, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Grand Trunk said that it did not mean anything. The Prime Minister said that the offer was practically the offer made in February of that year, so that the transaction which was brought in the last days of this session was an entirely brand new transaction; it was a transaction based upon an understanding arrived at between Sir Alfred Smithers and the Minister of the In-

terior, an understanding of which Parliament and the country had absolutely no knowledge. There never before was any suggestion that these bonds would be guaranteed first and the value, if any, of the balance of the stock arbitrated afterwards. The suggestion was never made in the Dray-ton-Acworth report, and we are now asked, in the last days of a session that was called for another purpose, to sanction this purchase. The Government come down with a proposal on which they have absolutely no information. They do not know what liabilities the country is assuming; they do not know what the assets amount to; they have no idea whether the road is worth the funded debt or not, nor whether the stock is of any value or not. But they first give $60,000,000 worth of stock so as to make their friends safe before they attempt to arbitrate, and they tell us that they must get this road in order to complete a system with connections at both ends that will b- useful to their friends, the Canadian Northern crowd. The Minister of the Interior said last night that it was impossible to make a working arrangement, as suggested by Mr. Kelly, President of the Grand Trunk, between the Canadian National railways and the Grand Trunk Railway system. In the United States, there is not one railroad running from the Eastern States or from New York clear to the Pacific coast. There are five railways through the Western States, all of them with working arrangements with Eastern railways. There is not in the United States one line owned from coast to coast. Therefore, they are all under working arrangements, and why could we not have a working arrangement if it were in the best interest of the country? The Government were apparently very anxious to bring forward this matter as a public ownership proposition. I for one do not know that I would be very much opposed to public ownership of railways provided that the undertaking were managed by an efficient Liberal administration; but public ownership of railways managed by the present Administration with the assistance and connivance of the Mackenzie and Mann interests is something to which I am absolutely opposed, and I think it will be found that the country will he opposed to it too.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY SYSTEM.
Subtopic:   BILL, PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Permalink
UNION

William Foster Cockshutt

Unionist

Mr. WILLIAM FOSTER COCKSHUTT (Brantford):

Mr. Speaker, before entering upon a discussion of the subject before the House, may I be permitted to extend my congratulations to the new arrival (Mr. Mackenzie King), who is in our midst today? He is a King from Prince, I am told, and we have now the satisfaction of seeing three gallant leaders on the Opposition side. It is a triumvirate of wisdom, because wise men come from the East, it is said, although they sometimes have the wisdom to stay in the West when they get there. We trust that under the guidance of these three hon. gentlemen the Opposition will see new daylight on the railway question.

I hope that the hands of the Opposition have not been tied by the amendment that has been moved. I understand that the hon. leader who has just taken his seat has full knowledge of the amendment, and if he has not I commend it to his early and serious consideration. He is a man who has long stood for the cause of labour and is recognized as a very high authority on many aspects of labour questions, and I could scarcely conceive him giving his full assent to a policy that excludes public ownership from the policies to be pursued in Canada in the interests of labour particularly. Coming, as I do, from a workingman's city, I know that public ownership has been one of the strongest planks in the labour platform for many years. Labour believes that public utilities of all kinds should be owned and operated in the interests of the people, and that appears to me to be a fairly sound plank in the platform of labour. It is several years since I gave my assent to the proposition of ownership by the people themselves of public utilities in the municipal, provincial and Dominion fields, and if there are profits accruing from the operation of these great utilities, which are really using the public resources, they should accrue to " the people who should own and operate these utilities. I think that principle is fairly well accepted now by the larger number of our public men, and of the people of Canada. *

The Bill before us, Bill No. 33, for the acquisition of the Grand Trunk railway, is one of the most difficult and intricate that it has been my lot to endeavour to make a few remarks upon during my parliamentary career, and I do not blame the Opposition in any sense if they have not fully mastered what is contained within the four corners of the measure now before the House. I have done my utmost on this occasion as on previous occasions to fathom this railway question, and the few remarks I have to offer this afternoon are from the standpoint of a business man who is looking, I trust, to the best interests of Canada as a whole, and trying to see daylight through the ohaos that prevails in the

railway world at the present time. Canada embarked, not to-day, nor yesterday, but several years ago upon a somewhat reckless policy of building railways, and while it may be said that we have not got value for our money I am hopeful that in the long run the optimism and the business acumen that may have been displayed in the construction of these roads will not prove to be altogether wasted, but that the roads will eventually redound to the advantage of the country, and not only serve the people efficiently, but at the same time afford a return to the pockets of the taxpayers of the country who have to support these great undertakings.

The figures that have been presented to the House are so conflicting and confusing that I have had very great difficulty in ascertaining just what this Bill involves. I shall endeavour to give just my own vieiw, holding no one responsible in any sense for any thing I shall say on this question. I have endeavoured to arrive at the sum of the obligations that we are undertaking by this legislation, the amount of the annual interest that will have to be paid, and the questions involved in the operation of this intricate system known as the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada. In the first place this system presents difficulties that do not face any other railway in the Dominion of Canada. I hold in my hand a map showing the ramifications of the Grand Trunk, of its branch lines, subsidiaries, leased lines, and so on, in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, and in the adjacent states to the east and west in the United States, The whole of it is a labyrinth of railway construction of trunk lines, cross-country lines, and so on, some of them under lease, some of them rented, and some of them merged into one heterogeneous and, I trust, a somewhat homogeneous whole. It is certainly an eye-opener te look at this map and see the various lines that are involved in this system. I have consulted what I consider to be one or two of the best railway authorities who have studied this question, and the views that I give are confirmed more or less by these authorities. Let me give an extract from the report of the Royal Commission, commonly known as the Drayton-Acworth report, showing what they recommend to the Parliament and people of Canada as the best course to take in dealing with this great railway question. (The recommendations are very brief, and I think it is wise for us to bear them in mind at the present -moment, because at the time

that commission was appointed we believed it was composed of the most able railway men to be found in Canada, and the United States for that matter, because one of one commissioners was a citizen of the United States. Their recommendations are found on page lii of the report and are as follows :

1. That a Board of Trustees be constituted by Act of Parliament and incorporated as " The Dominion Railway Company."

2. That the ownership of the Canadian Northern, Grand Trunk, and Grand Trunk Pacific Railways be vested in this company.

3. That the Government assume responsibility to the company for the interest on the existing- securities of these undertakings.

4. That the Intercolonial (including the Prince Edward Island) and National Transcontinental Railways be also handed over by the Government to the company.

5. That the whole of these railways, the Canadian Northern, the Grand Trunk, the Grand Trunk Pacific, the Intercolonial, and the National Transcontinental, be operated by the company as one united system.

This day, are these recommendations fulfilled in your ears,-to use a Scriptural phrase,-because every one of these roads has been acquired, or will have been acquired when this legislation becomes effective, and will be operated under one management. That will give public ownership a chance to show what it can do. With all deference to those who say that public ownership has been an entire failure up to date, in my judgment it is too early to make any such statement, because up to the present time public ownership has never had a fair show in the Dominion. I am surprised that these leaders on the other side of the House, two of them coming from down East, are prepared, so far as we have heard from them, to oppose public ownership, when they were willing to submit to public ownership so long 'as it served the- eastern provinces at a loss to the rest of the Dominion, as has been the case for the last thirty or forty years with the Intercolonial railway.' I do not recall in my twelve or fifteen years' experience in this House ever hearing these gentlemen denounce the public operation of the Intercolonial, because it was serving the Maritime Provinces in many instances at less than cost. I not only make that statement with confidence but I can recall, as can the hon. members recall, that on different occasions hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House have said that when the Transcontinental railway was built it was never the intention of the Dominion to make that railway pay. It was built as an obligation

undertaken at Confederation by the Government of Canada. I have heard that argument advanced with considerable skill by hon. members opposite, who have contended that passenger rates should not be increased to a paying basis, and freight rates should not be made paying rates because it was an undertaking with the Maritime Provinces that this railway should be run for their benefit, no matter whether it was operated at a loss or not. Therefore I say that the results of operation of the Intercolonial for the past thirty or forty years cannot be by any means an evidence that public ownership is an entire failure, even in the case of that railway itself. True, you may ask, Sir, what about the Canadian Northern railway? Well, the Canadian Northern has been in the possession of the Government for nearly two years, but I desire to point out that that railway has not so far had a fair chance to show what it can do, and I believe that we have received good value in its purchase. I have stood by it on every platform where anything to the contrary has been said, and I have yet to see in the debates on that question the opponents of the Canadian Northern get anything but the worst of a contest with any one who is at all acquainted with the terms on which that railway was obtained. It is the cheapest railway on the North American continent, costing about $44,000 or $45,000 per mile. It is well located and has put. on the map many of the towns and cities in the West. These prosperous communities have sprung up because the Canadian Northern went through and built up that part of the country. The Canadian Northern up to the present has been operated by the Government only under war conditions, because, though the war was terminated nearly a year ago, costs of operation are higher than ever they have been, and I think it is well for hon. members to bear this fact in mind, for it is applicable to the situation and is one cogent reason why the Canadian Northern is not paying. It is between the upper and nether millstones, so to apeak. Operating expenses consisting of fuel, labour, material, repairs, eltc., have gone up about 100 per cent within the last five years. During that time we have had two advances in freight and passenger rates, one of 15 per cent, and another of 25 per cent, making a total of 40 iper cent. During this period the operating expenses, as I say, have advanced about 100 per cent, and the railways-this statement embraces the Canadian Pacific railway as well-have not 81 i

been allowed to fix their freight and passenger rates at paying prices in consideration of the high cost of operation that now prevails in Canada. This, therefore, is but a fair consideration to have in our minds when we assert that the Canadian Northern is not paying and cannot pay. This is a factor that cannot be lost sight of; and in my judgment it explains to a very large extent why up to date we have a deficit on the operation of all Government railways. The rates have not been advanced to suit the times. We have been compelled-

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY SYSTEM.
Subtopic:   BILL, PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Permalink
UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. J. A. CURRIE (Simcoe):

The hon. member must bear in mind that there has been an advance of twenty-five or thirty-five per cent.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY SYSTEM.
Subtopic:   BILL, PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Permalink
UNION

William Foster Cockshutt

Unionist

Mr. COCKSHUTT:

I ha\ already said there has been an advance c 40 per cent, and if the hon. gentleman hac. ieen listening he would have heard my statement. But I say that 40 per cent is i. 1 enough under the circumstances and con. equently we have not got the railways on a paying basis up to the present. It is now pi posed by this Bill to go a step further a. d to supply what has been lacking in the re, -vm-mendations of the Drayton-Acworth repor - that is, the acquisition of the Grand Trui. t proper.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY SYSTEM.
Subtopic:   BILL, PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Permalink
L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

Will my hon. friend permit me a question?

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY SYSTEM.
Subtopic:   BILL, PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Permalink
UNION

William Foster Cockshutt

Unionist

Mr. COCKSHUTT:

Assuredly.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY SYSTEM.
Subtopic:   BILL, PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Permalink
L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

I know he is a good business man and I should like to know how long he would give the roads !to demonstrate whether or not they will be successful from a financial standpoint?

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY SYSTEM.
Subtopic:   BILL, PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Permalink
UNION

William Foster Cockshutt

Unionist

Mr. COCKSHUTT:

That is a question for the future, but I should judge that from three to five years would be a very moderate period in which to allow these railways to get into sucessful operation in such a way as to reward the business interests of Canada for the tremendous investment in the roads. I think that from three to five years is the shortest time within which the board can get these railways into thoroughly co-operative organization and operation.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I am sure that one of the main reasons why public ownership is not the success that we should like to see it-and this is rather a delicate point, although I think it is only fair to mention it -is that in the eastern portion of Canada ithere seems to be a group of forces that are antagonistic to the principle of public ownership. I should like to commend my good

friend from Cape Breton North, whom I may now call Leader of the Opposition No.

2, although until quite recently he has acted ably as Leader No. 1, on the fact Mr. McKENZIE: Pardon me; Cape Breton North "and Victoria.''

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY SYSTEM.
Subtopic:   BILL, PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Permalink
UNION

William Foster Cockshutt

Unionist

Mr. COCKSHUTT:

I accept the correction. Cape Breton North and Victoria then -not a leader?

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY SYSTEM.
Subtopic:   BILL, PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Permalink
L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

No. .

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY SYSTEM.
Subtopic:   BILL, PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Permalink
UNION

William Foster Cockshutt

Unionist

Mr. COCKSHUTT:

Well, I congratulate my hon, friend on the fact that he has done his best during his leadership, and he has handed over a legacy to his successor which it will be difficult to shoulder. However, the hon. gentleman has placed himself in opposition to public ownership. I regret that in the province of Quebec, and to a certain extent in the Maritime Provinces, there is a very considerable consolidation in opposition to public ownership. And I want to say to my hon. friend in all sincerity that if he were on this side to-morrow and leading the Government, he could not get away from the fact that public ownership is here, and here to stay. In the face of that indisputable fact, is it not folly to go on pounding public ownership and depreciating properties that we have bought and paid for and others that we are about to acquire? Surely it is not a nice bird that fouls its own nest, and it is not good patriotism to depreciate the

securities of one's own country. My

good friend from Cape Breton North and Victoria must recognize that this country owning as it does already some fourteen to sixteen thousand miles of railway is very [DOT] largely, interested in public ownership, and if he were administering the affairs of Canada to-morrow he could not upset that arrangement. It is here to stay and I beseech him as a true citizen of Canada to cease pounding this property and rather to begin to boost it. The greatest stumbling block in the progress of public ownership is the fact that in some sections of the country there is too much pounding of these railways. The attitude is this: " I told you so. You went into it and we succeeded in making it a loss just as we told you." Is that the kind of citizenship we want in Canada? I trow not. I am free to say to my hon,. friend that when the Grand Trunk Pacific and the Transcontinental proposition was brought before the House in 1903-04, I fought it for all I was worth, both in the House and in the country. I take no responsibility, so far as I am concerned, for the building of that road. I [Mr. Cockshuttj

fought it strenuously, believing that it was going to be a white elephant, as I termed it at that time, and I won out my first election in fighting that particular railway project. I thought it was a very wildcat scheme at the time.

But what is the use to-day in getting up and telling the House that that railway is net worth five cents on the dollar? It is absolutely useless to do so. We have the railway on our hands and it is our duty to make the best of it. Our money is in it and we are not go:ng tc be benefited by abusing and belittling the property. We are not guing to get any money out of it by saying that the enterprise cannot be made to pay. As true citizens, we ought all to take pride in the National railways of Canada. We ought all to set ourseb'es to boost our own property and to endeavour to make a success of public ownership. Success should be the guiding star in this respect of every truly loyal citizen of Canada.

Do not let us say: "We are prophets of evil and we told you so and now fry in your own fat and stew in your own juice, so to speak, and get out of it as best you can." No, that is not the spirit and I ask my good friends in Quebec, and in the city of Montreal particularly, to think this over-Because I have myself received many communications endeavouring to influence me more or less on this question. But my mind has been made up. I said some years ago on the floor of the House that I was in favour of public ownership and I have not yet seen any reason why 1 should change this view. It is true it has not worked- out altogether as I expected nor altogether as I had hoped; but with the rounding out of this great railway scheme, with the purchase of the Grand Trunk and the giving of that loyal support that should be given to a great national enterprise,. there is no reason why, in the no distant future, we should not have a favourable financial showing from the enterprise. I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, as I say, that these hostile influences, particularly in Quebec, should be prevalent to a very considerable extent. I trust that these citizens, who I think are misguided in continuing their opposition, however rightly they may have intended it in the first place, may change their views. I admit that once on a time 1 was opposed to public ownership. But the times change; progress is made; the world becomes more enlightened; and it would be shutting our eyes to all that is reasonable and right if we were to say: "Oh, well, private enterprise lias always been good enough in

Canada to conduct all the railways; it has been good policy even to the extent of the Government handing over lands and money subsidies, and all that, to railways all the time up to date, and what was in the beginning shall be now and continue hereafter." That surely is a shortrsighted policy. Therefore, I trust that our good friends, particularly in the province of Quebec-and now I have in mind the very highly-trained business men and the vast business interests to be found in that province-should change their tune on this question. And when I say that, Mr. Speaker, I want it to be distinctly understood that I am just as friendly as I possibly can be to the Canadian Pacific Railway. I have, both in Canada and abroad, time and again pointed to the magnificent Canadian Pacific as. a monument to Canadian enterprise. I look upon it as the shining masterpiece of organization and of business success in Canada, and probably nowhere in the world has a transportation company achieved as great a success as has the Canadian Pacific Railway. All honour to it.( I have always been its friend. I do not want to be considered anything but its friend now when I advocate the public ownership of railways in Canada. The very first public address I ever delivered, was on the building of the Canadian Pacific railway in the year 1882. I spoke strongly then in favour of the construction of the Canadian Pacific railway; and from that day down to this I have always viewed that tjrtarprise with just pride. I consider *[DOT]fat the management has been most effective, and we all know that railway is looked upon as one of the most wonderful transportation organizations the world has ever known. All honour to the Canadian Pacific Railway; it is not out of any spirit of antagonism that I now advocate that the other railways in Canada be amalgamated into one gigantic property, and operated and developed for the advantage of Canada as a whole.

I do not wish to dwell upon this question of public ownership further but I want to give a few figures as to what I apprehend we are undertaking to spend upon the Grand Trunk railway. It is true that the blue-book that has been placed in our hands, containing the correspondence relating to this arrangement, is a little difficult to understand. Referring, however, to the last page in the book, page 56, you will see there what has been paid in recent years by the Grand Trunk Company to its shareholders. I find that until the years

1917 and 1918 in the guaranteed stock four per cent was paid each year. That amounted to about $2,500,000 in round figures. There had never been a failure to. pay that until the two years mentioned, 1917 and 1918. I think a word of explanation with regard to the reasons why' it was not then paid would perhaps be in order. I understand it is owing to war conditions and very largely to the branch lines of the Grand Trunk in the United States that this result has happened. The McAdoo award fixed the price of labour at a very high figure in the United States, and the Grand Trunk is also subject to the Interstate Commerce regulations which fixed the price of freights to be charged, so that the railway has been, so to speak, between the upper and the nether millstones; it has been ordered to pay high wages and it has had to submit to the ruling of the United States Government as to the amount of freight and passenger rates to be charged which were fixed at less than the Government themselves must have known these railways could be operated at. One reason for that, as I understand it, was to keep down the already high cost of living, because if'the railways had been allowed to advance their freight rates, as they should have been considering the cost of operation about 100 per cent, the cost of living would have proportionately increased and therefore they decided that the Government would have to meet it anyway. As the Government are operating the railways over there they preferred to take this loss themselves and to allow the foodstuffs of the people, and the coal and other commodities that were required, to be carried at actually less than the railways could afford in order that the cost of living to the workingman should not be unduly increased.

Mr. McKE'NZIE: Is the hon. gentleman able to tell us how much the Government increased the railway freight rates over there during the year 1918?

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY SYSTEM.
Subtopic:   BILL, PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Permalink
UNION

William Foster Cockshutt

Unionist

Mr. COCKSHUTT:

I did not catch the hon. gentleman's question.

Mr. McKENZIE *. The Government of the United States operated the railways over there in 1918. To what extent did they increase their freight rates? Does the -hon. gentleman know to what extent the freight rates were increased? .

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY SYSTEM.
Subtopic:   BILL, PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Permalink
UNION

William Foster Cockshutt

Unionist

Mr. COCKSHUTT:

No, I .am afraid I

do not. My information is they increased the rates by very little. The total as handed to me by my hon. friend from Algoma (Mr. COMMONS

G. B. Nicholson) is 40 per cent. I give that on the authority of my hon. friend, who 'is a railway expert, and whose figures I have generally found very reliable. My hon. friend says that 40 per cent is the exact amount of the raise over there, while the rates were raised in Canada 15 and 25 per cent. Wages in the meantime had increased, I suppose, fully 100 per cent. Coal has increased well-nigh 100 per cent, if not more in some localities, and was very difficult to get. The cost of all kinds of repairs required by locomotives and by cars and rolling stock generally increased enormously during that time, so that it is not to be wondered at that public operation of the railroads of the United States has turned out a great financial loss. But those railways were endeavouring to serve the nation in order to enable them to win the war, in order to carry their troops, in order to carry munitions of war, and all the supplies for the troops. These supplies and troops, I understand, were carried at a comparatively nominal figure as compared with what they would have been if the Government had been beholden to private companies and the latter choose to charge a paying rate on all the traffic that those roads had by reason of the war. That seemed to me to be a reasonable statement and I cannot comprehend why my hon. friends opposite should wish to advance the argument they have because the United States has lost one to two hundred million per annum or as one of them said yesterday a million and a half a day. I am not quite sure whether it was a million or a million and a half a day, but that is neither here nor there when the question at issue was between the service to the people ,and the winning of the war, which was the all-important question and to which everything was made subservient during the two years to which I referred.

That seems to me to be a reasonable proposition. But before I was diverted I was setting out to show what I conceive to be the fixed charges that we are obliged to pay under this agreement. In the first place, those charges, as I make them up, are in round figures $11,000,000; that is, interest charges upon advances of one kind and another secured by guaranteed, preference, or debenture stock. Then the Grand Trunk Pacific obligation, from which, I suppose, under the agreement, we will relieve the Grand Trunk; I fix that at about $4,000,000. Then interest on the Grand Trunk guaranteed stock, $2,500,000. In addition, I suppose we are obliged to a certain extent to continue all the bargains the Grand

Trunk has made with various lines in the 'United States with which it is working in co-operation either by lease, traffic agreement, or otherwise. I admit the Grand Trunk has some very entangling alliances with the American roads, and those alliances constitute, to my mind, one of the stumbling blocks in this proposition. I regret that these entangling alliances are a factor in the agreement. I view them with more or less alarm in a way, and still I do not see any reason why the American Government should not treat the Grand Trunk under our control and ownership in as fair a way as it treated the parent company, for which we are now becoming responsible. My figures in the aggregate for interest charges of one kind and another, as near as I can get at them, Mr. Speaker, amount to $18,-500,000-per annum. The Grand Trunk has never failed to earn and pay the $11,000,000, which is more than half of the whole amount. Only for two years, as I showed a moment ago from the last page of the Grand Trunk statement, that is, in the years 1917 and 1918, did the Grand Trunk fail to pay interest on the guaranteed stock, and on the first preference stock it has only failed to pay dividends for four years out of the last fifteen or twenty years, and those four years were war years. So we have reason to believe, Mr. Speaker, that the Grand Trunk will continue to earn enough to take care of a very large proportion, if not all, of these fixed charges. One of our hon. friends opposite, the member for Bellechasse (Mr. Fournier), the other night gave some excellent figures, and I have very little fault to find with them, in which he estimates the .fixed charges at $20,000,000. The difference between us is only $1,500,000 per annum, and as I have endeavoured to arrive at my figures after careful consideration and study, I think they may be taken as a close estimate. With regard to the war years during which the Grand Trunk failed to pay certain of these stock dividends, if it had been allowed to raise its rates, as I pointed out, to the standard at which a business man would say the railway should be operated, we have no reason to believe that there would have been any failure to meet those fixed charges. -

Mr. Speaker, I for one believe that if public ownership in Canada is to be a success we must put it on a business basis and keep it there; a political basis will not do, it Will not pay. Our national railway system must be put on a business basis, and every one using our roads for freight or

passenger service must be willing to pay fair rates, otherwise we can never hope for successful operation. No merchant could afford to sell goods at less than cost and hope to prosper; and no public ownership undertaking can afford to carry freight and passengers at less than cost and have a nice balance at the end of the year. It cannot be done. We must be willing to pay fair freight and passenger rates, and then with sound business judgment and capable management I am very hopeful indeed, Mr. Speaker, of the results that will be obtained in the next three or five years.

My hon. friend opposite, who has up to date been the leader of the Opposition (Mr. McKenzie), made a very interesting speech the other night, and I have perused it with a good deal of sympathy, especially as I found he was more or less confused with figures, the same as I admit I am myself sometimes in viewing such an agreement 's this. We cannot blame the hon. gent-leu if his figures did not all tally with th oresentation made from this side of the T; ' ' "Me question, and

while 'dered good

business to add both out-go 'come together and call the total your in ime, we have the example of the Dominion c overn-ment doing that in trade matters, becat 'e it is well known that the total trade of he Dominion is made up every year in th. 1 way, both exports and imports are addeo together. No merchant, no manufacturer, no business man would be allowed to publish a balance sheet on that basis, but public officials are a law unto themselves. If a business concern floats a stock issue it is bound to show only what it sells, and must not include what it buys as part of its business. So my hon. friend when he made up his figure of $47,000,000 for annual interest was only adding the two sides together. But even then I do not know where he got the balance, because, according to the hon. member for Belle-chasse (Mr. Fournier) whom I have already quoted, our annual interest obligation will be $20,000,000 while my hon. friend (Mr. McKenzie) put it down at $47,000,000 or $48,000,000. I do not blame him. I admit myself that figures are very confusing. But the total was more than double what one of his own followers had estimated it to be, and I am sorry to say in this case the follower was nearer the truth than his leader. That is no reflection upon tKe leader, because followers sometimes are men of very bright minds.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY SYSTEM.
Subtopic:   BILL, PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Permalink
L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

Either the one or the other will show a very bad bargain for the country.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY SYSTEM.
Subtopic:   BILL, PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Permalink
UNION

William Foster Cockshutt

Unionist

Mr. COCKSHUTT:

Not necessarily. If we are able to get in $25,000,000 and only have to pay out $20,000,000, we would have a balance of $5,000,000 to the good; and I do not think it is too optimistic to say that within five years with proper management we will have a balance on the right side. I fully believe we will. But this result can only be secured by insisting upon proper management on strictly business lines and absolutely free of politics.

I want to refer for a moment to the amendment moved by .my hon. friend, because I think that as a great leader, and as this is perhaps his last public act as leader of the Opposition, it is a pity that he -hould spoil a good reputation by handing di wn to posterity a document such as he pre ared as an amendment to the Bill now unde discussion.

It is one thing, Mr. Speaker, to r\ Idle a policy with holes; it is another thin to put a better policy in its place. If all the statements made in the proposed amt id-ment are true, then it was up to the lea er of the Opposition to suggest a better w ty of dealing with the matter. He gives thi 'e reasons why this Bill should not pass; ar i I think it will not be amiss if we refres i our minds as to what those reasons were The amendment proposed is as follows:

That the Bill be not read a second time bul

at the House do come to the following resolu-ti>

n:

'. at the Bill proposes an uncertain but very large addition to the debt of the Dominion at a time when existing obligations, arising out of the War and from other causes, are so vastly in excess of all previous obligations as to give much cause for anxiety on the part of all who are concerned in the financial position of Canada and the maintenance of the public credit.

That a measure of such wide-reaching character and large importance requires a study by the House and the people that cannot possibly be given in the closing days of the session. '

That the present session of Parliament was called for a special purpose which has already been accomplished.

That on Wednesday, October 8 th, the Honourable the Minister of Trade and Commerce, acting as leader of the House in the absence of the Prime Minister, stated that the Government's expectation was that the session would close within the then current week.

That under such circumstances the introduction by the Government of a measure of such great importance as the acquisition of the railway and property of the Grand Trunk Company of Canada is improvident and inexpedient.

That for these reasons the further consideration of the Bill be deferred until a future session of this Parliament.

I jail to find in that amendment anything constructive. The hon. gentleman gives three reasons why he would not do it, but he does not tell us how we are going to get out of the woods. We are facing a condition which is not of the Government's seeking; it is a condition which has come down to the Government as a legacy largely from my friends opposite. Let them not forget that, because they can never get away from their responsibility for the Grand Trunk Pacific undertaking, which was the main cause of the crippling-yes, almost the annihilation-of the old Grand Trunk proper when it tried to put into execution a bargain into which it entered with hon. gentlemen many years ago. We tried our best to save them from it, but the Grand Trunk has failed to fulfil its obligations, and for years the Government has been operating the Transcontinental at a loss because the Grand Trunk, which had undertaken to pay three per cent on all the money invested in that road, failed to come forward and fulfil the contract when the road was finished. So that the operation of the road by the Government was not of the Government's own choice; it was because of the bargain which hon. gentlemen opposite, who were at that time in power, made with the Grand Trunk and because of the inability or the lack of desire on the part of the Grand Trunk to carry it out. Later the Grand Trunk commenced the operation of the Grand Trunk Pacific from Winnipeg' to the Coast; it has been operated for some years, and always at a loss.- I do not think that in any single year it paid operating expenses, and certainly it has not been able to meet any of its interest obligations. That condition, therefore, was not of this Government's seeking; it was a legacy left by hon. gentlemen opposite. This Grand Trunk matter is now up for settlement, and action upon it cannot be postponed. Knowing that, the hon. gentleman tells us where the proposal is all wrong, but he does not give Us the slightest constructive thought as to what we are to do under the circumstances. I think, therefore, that he- will be condemned throughout the country-at any rate by those who know that this situation has been forced upon the Government and was not of their own seeking. The chickens have been a long time coming home to roost, but they have come home, as we prophesied many years ago-as far back as 1903-04 when the Grand Trunk entered into this wild-cat scheme, along with the Government, of building the Transcontinental and the Grand Trunk Pacific. That scheme was a

!Mr. Cockshutt]

white elephant and everybody knew it; it was a political railway from the s-tart; it was not destined to pay. It was fifty years in advance of the times and of the requirements of the country in all that northern section. Whatever may be said with regard to its operation in the West, I believe that that part of it can be made to pay, provided there is proper management, where the line does not too closely parallel the Canadian Northern.

Of course, we are blamed for assisting the Canadian Northern. But who -began the main assistance which was given to the Canadian Northern? It was not hon. gentlemen who are now on this side. The grant given by the Laurier Government some ten or twelve years ago of $35,000,000 in respect to the northern section above lake -Superior was the beginning of our serious troubles in connection with the Canadian Northern. From that time on it was inevitable that the interests of the Government of Canada and the Canadian Northern Railway -system should be so linked up that they could never he separated. It was not within the bounds of possibility that the Canadian Northern could relieve itself of its immense obligations in respect of the aid given to it by the Government, so that two years ago it came into our hands. The Intercolonial was already there. The Grand Trunk Pacific is now in the hands of a receiver, and is about to come under Government control. The Transcontinental has been in the hands of the Government for some time, and now we are to have the Grand Trunk. The Grand Trunk is an old parent company for which I have a great deal of sympathy; but I do not want to see the country get soaked in the terms embodied in this measur-e. There are one or two features of the measure that I am not very clear about and that I do not like very much.

Section 6 is one which gives me cause for hesitation and uncertainty; it provides for the method of arbitration. It is proposed by that section that the B-oard of Arbitration- shall consist of three judges. Now, I have a great respect for the Bench and for our courts of justice, but on- a question such as this I would rather take the opinion of a great railway -man or an excellent business man than- that of a judge; and I say that without any disrespect, I do not think that we should .have three judges on the Board of Arbitration-. I look upon that provision -as a weak spot in the Bill.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY SYSTEM.
Subtopic:   BILL, PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Permalink
UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

My hon. friend is under a misapprehension. The Bill does not provide for three judges; it simply provides that in case the two arbitrators who are appointed, one for tihe Government and one for the railway, do not agree, a third is to be appointed by two judges.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY SYSTEM.
Subtopic:   BILL, PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Permalink
UNION

William Foster Cockshutt

Unionist

Mr. COCKSHUTT:

The section uses the word "judges". It says:

The value, if any, of the first, second and third preference stocks and the common or ordinary stock of the Grand Trunk now issued and outstanding to the face values above mentioned (hereinafter together called the "preference and common stock ") shall be determined by a board of three arbitrators, one to be appointed by the Government, one by the Grand Trunk, and the third by the two so appointed, or, failing agreement, by judges to be designated in the said agreement.

Now, the alternative is all judges, as I understand it. If that is not correct, then I am glad to know that a business man or a railway man may be selected.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY SYSTEM.
Subtopic:   BILL, PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Permalink
UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

My hon. friend is in error in assuming that the alternative is all judges; the provision is that the third is to be appointed by two judges.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY SYSTEM.
Subtopic:   BILL, PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Permalink

October 23, 1919