November 3, 1919

L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

Then why does it not

pay its way?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY SYSTEM.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Permalink
UNION

William Findlay Maclean

Unionist

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN:

Because it has

been managed in England by stock speculators. Many of us in this House implored that the management of the Grand Trunk should be transferred to Canada; had that been done it would have had the same success as attended the operation of the Canadian Pacific. But there is a class of people who have had the Grand Trunk in their hands for over fifty years. I am not speaking now of the widows and orphans; I am speaking of those London stock operators, who, during all this time, have had the Grand Trunk in their toils. They have lived on it; and

1G51

the only description I can give of them is this: They are not looking for big profits, but they come very much within the definition of those who sweated the King's coinage in the old days. I remember reading the other day an account of some gypsies and others who made a livelihood by sweating the King's coinage. The idea was to take a guinea, treat it with aqua fortis and sweat a shilling out of it. That is what has been done with the Grand Trunk during the last fifty years; the London stock market has been sweating the Grand Trunk like these people who sweated the King's coinage. They have kept that road poor; they have kept these widows and orphans poor. The hon. member who preceded me was weeping for the widows and orphans instead of condemning the men who took advantage of them. There will be no more widows and orphans in this sense under public ownership of railways.

Mr. 0OPP: Does the hon. gentleman refer to me? Does he say that I wept for the widows and orphans?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY SYSTEM.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Permalink
UNION

William Findlay Maclean

Unionist

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN:

Somebody was weeping for the widows and orphans. This is an age of weeping; they are all weeping for the widows and orphans. But the widows and orphans of this country who have paid for these railways do not own them to-day. What about the widows in my own county who have been paying taxes year after year for the support of the Grand* Trunk and the Canadian Northern? I am not going to -weep for them, but it is a fact that they have been sweated year after year to create railways that are not properly handled.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY SYSTEM.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Permalink
L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

Does not the hon, member think that the Government is being sweated right now?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY SYSTEM.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Permalink
UNION

William Findlay Maclean

Unionist

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN:

Perhaps it is. It has been sweated before, but it is not going to be sweated much longer; and if the hon. gentleman hopes to come in to be chief sweater of the people of this country he is making a'miscalculation.

The administration of the Grand Trunk shoujd have been in this country. The Grand Trunk is a splendid asset and when it is lined up with these other railways we shall get a better service and we shall get rid of all these unnecessary lines. But that will not come in a day. We shall have to spend more money, but we shall get something for it; we shall be building up an asset for the people. We have been building up assets for somebody else with our own money. We have given money; we have

104J

given lands; we have made harbour and river improvements. We have done many things with our money to build up these roads, but they have not given us service.

What is the proposal that has come from Montreal? So far as I can see, it is this: Give the Grand Trunk to a new company, or give it to the Canadian Pacific. We have given the Canadian Pacific enough. We can say to them: "God be with you; go

on, but leave us alone and let us see what we can do with the wrecks that we have on our hands." They may be wrecks; yet they are ours; they come into our hands because of the money that we have put into them. And now when we propose to take them over, these two celebrated papers of Montreal express their opposition. There is my Lord Atholstan, who owns the Montreal Star and who is making such pleadings that the Grand Trunk be not interfered with. What is his record? He knows that this is an age of democracy; but what was his ambition in life? Was it to be a democrat in Canada, to grow up with the democracy of Canada? No; the only object of his life was to get into the House of Lords -and now that he is in it he cannot go to it. He believes in what? He believes in a chamber of privileges. He is satisfied to get into that great chamber of privilege- the House of Lords-which, by the way, has been democratized in a surprising manner, and if he went there he would come to a sudden awakening. He even thinks that in a chamber of privilege is to be found the only way of saving the Grand Trunk; he is appealing every day to some chamber of privilege in this country to save that system. Let him appeal to the democracy of Canada; let him appeal to this House. And what answer does he get here? The people of Canada, as represented in this House, are for public ownership, and I hope that hon. gentlemen opposite will get in line with it. They are democrats; I hope that they have the real spirit of democracy in them, and that they will listen to democracy; they will listen to the judgment of the people who are in favour of democratizing the railways of Canada.

If the Government will give a fair opportunity to its own railway men to link these lines together and to save money, I will give up my seat in this House at the next session if they do not succeed. Perhaps I am taking quite a risk in saying that; but I am willing to go to the people and ask them to pass judgment upon my attitude in regard to this question. I have talked it out with the people whom I represent; I have talked

it out with the people of Ontario. They are for public ownership not only in regard to water-powers but in regard to railway transportation, and transportation also as applied to shipbuilding.

We are being extensively sweated in order to have ships built in this country; but we are building them, and in a short time we shall have national railways and national transportation by sea, and our farmers will be in better touch with the consumers of Europe. What is the economic question? As I pointed out the other day, it is in some way to put the man who raises things into closer touch with the man who has to buy them, and in that way to reduce the spread. The spread that private ownership of transportation has made between the man who raises the wheat and the man in Europe who has to buy it, is something enormous. If you take away that spread, you can give a portion of it to the farmer and a portion to the man who consumes the wheat, and public ownership of our transportation facilities is the only way in which that can be accomplished.

In connection with these railways we have acquired a number of telegraph lines. We have acquired the Great North Western, and the Grand Trunk to-day has its telegraph service in connection with the Great North Western, and we have these telegraph offices throughout the country. For many years now we have been endeavouring to have national telegraphs. In Europe the people have national telegraphs and national telephones which are a great success and service to the people, and the rates do not go up as they do in this country they rather go down. Where you have public ownership, the rates tend to go down, and I cite the Ontario Hydro-Electric Commission in proof of that statement. We have seen its rates go down in spite of the war. That is the example which we quote in regard to public ownership of transportation, and we are going even into a radial system in Ontario with the one object that, by having a publicly-owned service, we shall improve the service and reduce the cost.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY SYSTEM.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
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L LIB

James Alexander Robb (Chief Government Whip)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

How does the hon. member explain the fact that freight rates on the railways of Canada have advanced fifty per cent since the taking over of the Grand Trunk Pacific by the Government?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY SYSTEM.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
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UNION

William Findlay Maclean

Unionist

Mr. W. E. MACLEAN:

I will not undertake to explain that, and yet I will say this, that railway rates have increased because of maladministration of railways in

the past, because of the London control of the Grand Trunk and many other things, and because of the unnecessary lines that have to be maintained, the unnecessary operating heads, the unnecessary and idle cars and the handing out of contracts to friends of the management. Look at all the contracts that under private ownership go to friends of the management and out of which money is made at the expense of the freight rates. We must cut all that out.

I see on the Order Paper to-day a most enlightening question asked by an hon. member in regard to cables. Practically the worst mono-poly in the world is the cable monopoly, and the British Government, the Canadian Government and the Australian Government have tried to get ahead of it, but they have not been able to do so yet. The day, however, after we acquire the Grand Trunk we shall have in this country a splendid system of telegraph lines which will be national telegraphs-, and we shall endeavour to extend the lines and to give the public service at- the least possible'cost without making a great deal of money out of the operation. Not only are we going to have national control and ownership of transportation, but we are going to have national control and ownership of our water-powers in order to carry on our transportation, and of these telegraphs lines that have fallen into our hands. We are going to unify these telegraph lines, and perhaps we shall put them under* the Post Office Department. Throughout this country we have postmasters who are badly paid and who could be given' these telegraph offices to run. In that way we shall have in connection with our national railways a first-class national telegraph service. We stpeak about reactionary Europe, obscurantist Europe, and all that; but we and the United States are away behind Europe because the people of Europe realize that they must have national ownership of transportation, telegraphs, telephone and things of that'kind; they intend to have them, and they are being forced to go into that by force of circumstances just as we are. We must have public ownership of those things and we must run them. Hon. gentlemen may make all kinds of charges, but I can see how public opinion is going in this country. Many years ago I stood pp, one of a very few, in this House and declared myself in favour of public ownership, and I have seen many men come around to it as this Government has had to come around to it and as the exJVlinister of Finance (Sir Thomas White) and many others have had to come around to it.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY SYSTEM.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Permalink
L LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

Was it quite a conversion on his part?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY SYSTEM.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
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UNION

William Findlay Maclean

Unionist

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN:

I do not know whether it was a conversion or not. The hon. gentleman himself has experienced conversion, and I hope he is not going to bring into the issue the question whether he was properly converted or not. They have, however, been converted, and they have made the start. This development has come about gradually. As I said, when it first came up' in this House, it met with very little encouragement. I remember the night when a couple of friends of mine drafted a little resolution to put before the Ontario legislature declaring in favour of the nationalization of the water-powers of the Niagara river. It went through the House, and nothing was said of it, and for a year or two good old Sir James Whitney whom we all speak well of did not say much. But he came to see what it meant, and his everlasting monument amongst the people of Ontario to-day is his honesty, his devotion to the public welfare and his starting in public ownership in Ontario in connection with the Hydro Electric. That is his monument, and it will be a monument to the members in this House to-day who are putting through this proposition, to have public ownership of railways and of transportation by sea.

To come back to the cable question to which I referred; if there is to be worldwide reconstruction, we must get rid of this monopoly that controls the cables, and, as I said, I read with interest a question addressed to the Government to-day for some information in connection with this matter. The worst monopoly in the world outside of the coal monopoly has been this cal Tie monopoly; it has been entrenched in England, and many members of the various British Administrations have been directors of that cable company. One thing that has come home to our people is this, not only must we have the means of fighting it, even if we have to go to war again, but we must have control of transportation by way of railways and ships, and also telegraphs. That is the teaching of this -war; that is the lesson that this triumph of democracy has achieved in this great war. It is in the hearts of our people who see that there is a new world now; a revolution has partly taken place; another is impending, and if it is on the way, it is in the direction of democracy and democratic control of transportation and of some of the great resources-of the country. People may say: That is socialistic doctrine; but perhaps socialism

in some form or another is the way in which the regeneration of the world is to come about. In any event, there has not been a worse class in the community than those who think that we cannot run our railroads ourselves, and that they can run them for us if we will only give them enough money to do so. That is all finished now, and I can only say here in as plain words as I can, that the people of Canada are tired to-day of this continual and continuous voting of money to private railways, and they will not vote another dollar. They will not vote another dollar for the regeneration of the Grand Trunk to turn it over to the Canadian Pacific or any other private company. They say to the Canadian Pacific: Go on and do what you want to do and make your road a success. The Canadian Pacific have their opportunity; they are established, and they should not be afraid of this national railway. But it strikes me very much as if they were afraid of the competition of this national railway and of the new management of this national railway saying to the people of Canada: Support

your own railway; support your own telegraph lines, and when you do that, you are helping yourself.

They do not like to see that coming about, and they are opposing it. I do not say hon. gentlemen opposite are siding with them, but I do regret that hon. gentlemen in criticising this proposition have not taken the opportunity of putting forward an alternative scheme of their own. If they have a scheme for dealing with these bankrupt roads that will win out and will not entail the spending of more money I should be prepared to listen to them, but I have studied this question as well as I could and have read much on it, and I can see no way except to take over the roads. Perhaps the question comes down to this: how much are you going to pay for it? The Government have tried to make an arrangement. There may be some extravagance; there may be advantage for somebody we do not know of, but even if that is so, it may be the best way out. We have to take things as they are, and we are going to close the record so far as these railways are concerned. We are going to take over these roads and run them as Canadian propositions. If anybody has a different scheme that will cure the evil let him bring it forward.

I give the Government some credit for the way they have framed this proposition, because it was a hard one to frame. The company at first apparently did not want to be taken over, but now I think the Grand Trunk are chasing the Government to get

the deal closed. They know the failures of the past and where they were getting to; they know the failure of their Transcontinental and Grand Trunk Pacific schemes; they know they have never paid back the money the people of Canada gave them in former days; they know the administration of a great railway in Canada from England is not a success. Hereafter the administration of this railway is to be by Canadian railroad men. The road is to be taken out of politics and all extravagances removed, and when this is done you will find the people of Canada, -when they have to vote on this question, justify any government that has put a stop to the condition that prevailed in the past and which has tried for something new. I have studied with some care the revolution that has come in the province of Ontario within the last few days, and it is very significant. The people are very tired of a great many things.

Some lion. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY SYSTEM.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Permalink
UNION

William Findlay Maclean

Unionist

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN:

"Hear, hear"

goes a very long way. The people are in a state of unrest, and are tired of giving public money to private concerns to run railroads; they were running them into the ground, that is where they were getting to. The people are going to stop it, and stop it for good. They are going to trust their own people, even this Parliament, to administer the roads. I believe we have the men to run these roads, and that our public men, whichever party they belong to, will be equal to their responsibilities in bringing down legislation to make these roads public property. From the day the change is made I venture to predict there will be a great response and recognition in the province of Ontario, because of this stopping of unnecessary waste, and the getting rid of unnecessary duplicate lines, and driving these railways that the people own with public power, public owned and generated from the rivers of this country. The people will not let these water powers get out of public control hereafter, but will use them for driving our railways not only in Quebec and Ontario but clear across the continent. We have not got coal between here and Winnipeg, but we have a splendid lot of rivers running into Hudson Bay which can run every car between Ontario and Manitoba, and the Saskatchewan river and other great, rivers of the West will generate power for running the railroads there. There is a new era of transportation coming in this country, and we are recognizing the new opportunity and the new duty, and especially the new duty of the recon-

struction of our country. It is the greatest task that those of us who sit in this Parliament will ever see any parliament, confronted with for many and many a day. There is only one way you can start, reconstruction right, and that is by public ownership and control of the system of transportation of Canada. We are taking a step here to-day which, notwithstanding any defects the arrangement may have, is in the right direction and in the interests of the people, and that is why I am going to vote for the proposals of the Government.

Mr. FRANK S. CAHILL (Pontiac): With much of what the hon. member for South York (Mr. Maclean) has said I shall not quarrel, but I must take issue with him on the system of purchase of the Grand Trunk system. In the first place it would seem to me to be only good business to ascertain the amount of liabilities that we are taking over and what the assets are worth. That seems to be the common sense thing to do. The Minister of Railways (Mr. Reid) told us a few days ago (Hansard, page 1064) that the total obligations of the system amounted to $537,940,000, to which should be added Grand Trunk Pacific current liabilities of $12,100,000, because we are also taking that road over. That makes a total of $540,000,000. Then I find .from the figures furnished by the Government that the current liabilities of the Grand Trunk amount to $22,801,000, which with the current liabilities of the Grand Trunk Pacific amounting to $12,100,000, notes unsecured $3,916,000, and an annual deficit of $12,000,000 makes a total of $50,817,000. That sum would have to be found in cash this year to take care of this undertaking. The Minister of Finance is reported to have said in Montreal a few days ago that none of the Victory Loan, 1919, would go into the Grand Trunk purchase. If he does not take the money out of the loan, he will have to take it out of some other pocket.

According to the blue-book furnished by the Government I find that the total liabilities of the Grand Trunk itself, that is the parent company, amount to $396,631,464.47, made up as follows:

Capital Stock.

4% Guaranteed stock $ 60,833,332.51

1st Preferred 5% stock

16,643,999.782nd Preferred 5% stock

12,312,666.503rd Preferred 4% stock

34,884,534.95Total preferred stock $124,674,533.74'Common stock

116,583,124.44

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY SYSTEM.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Permalink

$241,257.65S.27


Funded Debt. G. T. R. 5% Debenture stock..? 20,782,491.38 G. T..R. 4% Debenture stock.. 119,839,012.69 Great Western 6% Debenture stock 13,252,322.48 Northern 4% Debenture stock.. 1,499,979.65 Total debenture stock $155,373,806.20 As per balance sheet December 31, 1918. Grand total $396,631,464.47 I find in the London Times-on October 9, 1919-the date on which the agreement was entered into with the Grand Trunk people-that these stocks were quoted as follows: Four per cent guaranteed stock, 46; first preference five per cent stock, 50; second preferred stock five per cent, 37i; third preferred four per cent, 20; common stock at 9; Grand Trunk Railway five per cent debenture stock at 78; Grand Trunk Railway four per cent debenture stock, 62. This would total, at the market value on October 9, $160,178,301 as against $396,631,464.47 par value. The total stocks and debentures guaranteed by the Dominion Government are as follows: Total Stocks and Debentures Guaranteed by Dominion Governement Debenture Stock 5% G.T.R... . 4% " .. . 5% G. Western 4% Northern.. Total, Stock Exchange Value as listed in Rate. $ 20,782,491.3S @ 7S119,839,012.69 @ 6213,252,322.4S @ 781,499,979.65 @ 62



London Times October 9th-10th, 1919.



Guaranteed. 4% Stock 60,833,332.51 @ 46 -



Total



Interest guaranteed by Dominion Government on $216,207,138.71 Total Stock Exchange Valuation $129,769,662.99 Amount that could be saved. Principal $ 86,437,475.72 Annual Interest on $216,207,138.71 @ 5% and 4% as above $8,988,633.66 " " " $129,769,662.99 @ Govt, rate 51%. .. $7,137,331.46 Annual interest could be saved $1,851,302.20 To come to the stocks, excluding the debenture stocks or what are commonly-known as bonds, the Government are guaranteeing the payment of interest on four Total 241,257,658.27 , Total Saving It might be argued that you could not force the holders of the debenture stocks to sell out at the market value, and some hon. members might also argue that you could not force the holders of the ordinary stocks, the first, second and third preference and guaranteed stocks, to sell out either. But we were told by the Minister of Railways, at page 1084 of unrevised Hansard, that the total indebtedness of the per cent guaranteed to the amount of $60,833,332.51. The total stocks, including this amount, together with Stock Exchange valuations, are: 4% Govt. Stock. $60,833,332.51 Value as Listed in London Times. Oct. 9-10,1919. 27,983,332.95 8,321,999,89 4,617,249.93 6,976,906.99 10,492,481.20 58,391,970.96 $ 2,441,361.55 Grand Trunk to the Dominion amounted to $97,000,000 odd, and that the interest due to the Dominion Government by the Grand Trunk amotmted to $34,879,253; and it seems to me that, with the Grand Trunk in that position, if the Government had demanded payment from them of the $34,000,000, with the undertaking that they should continue to pay the deficits amounting to seven million dollars a year, the Grand Trank people 4 per cent Government Guaranteed Stock. . . Stock Exchange Total Stock. Rate. 4% Guar $ 60,833,332.51 465% 1st P . . . . 16,643,999.78 505% 2nd P . . . . 12,312,666.50 3744% 3rd P .. .. 34,884,534.95 20Common . . . . 116,583,124.44 9 would very probably have said they were not in a position to comply with that requirement and were not able to take care of the deficits on the Grand Trunk Pacific, and the minister, if he wanted to be generous, could have said to them: "All right, we will not press for the payment, but we will take over your stocks at the exchange value." It would have been a fair and generous offer to the shareholders to exchange with them Dominion Government bonds at four per cent for all of their shares on the basis of the stock exchange valuations on the 9th of October, 1919, the day the agreement was made. If they did not wish to accept that, then the minister could have said: " Then pay us the $34,000,900 you owe us, and pay the deficits on the operation of the Grand Trunk Pacific." But there is no reason in in the world why the sixty million dollars should be guaranteed-it is over two million dollars in excess of the total valuation given to the stocks by the 'London Stock Exchange on October 9-and something further arbitrated. We have no idea what the arbitration award may amount to, but we do know that the stock exchange valuation was only $58,000,000, and that the Grand Trunk were not in a position to dictate to the Government. The Grand Trunk would have had to accept the offer of the Government, and surely the offer to buy their stocks on the basis of the stock exchange valuations, of that date would have been more than generous. At any rate, it would have been more generous an offer than I would agree to, and more generous, I think, than the Government would have been justified in making. But at all events it would have cleaned up the whole transaction, and you would have had all the stocks for less money than we are agreeing to pay now, and there would have been no arbitration. I therefore support the amendment in view of the fact that we have had very little information of any value, the information that has been furnished us having been taken from statements of two years ago, and the whole situation having been very much confused by different ministers giving to the House different statements at different times. At six o'clock the House took recess. After Recess. The, House resumed at eight o'clock.


L LIB

Onésiphore Turgeon

Laurier Liberal

Mr. O. TURGEON (Gloucester):

in that wilderness. It has been almost a point of religion with the Conservative party to preserve a narrow Ontario extending from the Quebec border along the lakes as far as Sault Ste. Marie, afraid1 to go further north; a course whose effect has been to increase the urban population at the expense of the rural, so that, notwithstanding all the immigration the province has received, the rural population has not been maintained at the level of that of the other provinces thus losing representation in this House, and neglecting the expansion of trade to those vast uncultivated regions of the north which they could develop by sending their population there, but depending upon increasing protective duties to maintain their industries. Such has been the policy of the Conservative party. The late Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier wanted to construct from Winnipeg to Quebec a line 300 miles shorter than any other, in order to make it possible to bring the products of the West from the very centre of the producing prairies to the maritime ports at a cheaper rate. If the Conservative Government when it came into power had immediately put its heart and soul into the completion of that road and had completed it in accordance with the contracts given to the Grand Trunk railroad, we would not to-day be in the position in which we are.

Under the circumstances, I say that, this Grand Trunk proposition is not a bargain which the people of Canada are to-day willing to accept. The expressions of opinion which I have cited show that the feeling against this proposition is not confined to Montreal as speakers on the other side have told us. I have much pleasure in supporting the amendment moved by the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's (Mr. Fielding), and I hope at this last hour some hon. members opposite m.ay do a little more thinking and may possibly divest themselves of the yoke of party and realize the necessity of rejecting this project for the time being.

We are, of course, taxed with being unjust towards the shareholders in Great Britain, and on the second reading I said a few words on that topic. Hon. members on both sides of the House, as well as the people generally, have all possible sympathy for the shareholders who may be losing money; but as has been stated in the Drayton-Acworth report, the shareholders of the Grand Trunk Railway Company have, for the last ten years up to 1916, received some $36,000,000 in dividends which have

not been earned. Had that amount been expended in improvements on the road, the Grand Trunk railway would in 1916 have been in good condition, and, therefore, the company would have been able to get further credit to operate the road and would not have been under the necessity to-day of making this bargain or of going into the hands of the receiver. We have been told that we should be generous to the shareholders of Great Britain. I yield to no one in the desire loyally to respect British institutions of all kinds and to respect British investors as well. We have received th'eir investments in the past, and we shall need their investments in the future; but I have a higher regard for British capitalists and investors than the regard which, has been shown by some hon. gentlemen opposite who claim that we must put Canada into the position of facing a possible deficit of $100,000,000 or $120,000,000 if necessary in order- to say that we have' done justice to investors in the old country. The capitalists of Great Britain would not regard that as evidence of great financial ability. When they put their capital into enterprises in Canada or Australia they do not expect that the people of those countries were going to ruin themselves in order to let those capitalists have a profit on their undertakings. They put their capital into enterprises in Canada, Australia, Newfoundland and other countries with a view of controlling their undertakings; they depend upon their own energy and intelligence to make those enterprises go; and if sometimes they are unfortunate, as they have been in the case of the Grand Trunk, they have only themselves to blame for that. As long as the shareholders of the Grand Trunk are in the position that they have a railroad which has been paying dividends to them for some time, let them, appeal to their brothers alongside of them in London and Liverpool, and let them tell their friends: across the sea of the splendid prospects of the future development of the immense resources of Canada and point out to them that investments placed in a railroad already built and in operation are bound in time to be successful and remunerative. We are not today in a position to place Canada under the necessity of contributing hundreds of millions of dollars to support a few investors in Great Britain, and they do not expect that of us. They know that we have in Canada a country in which the Grand Trunk under proper administration is in time bound to be a success. We shall not for some years be in a position to assume

such an obligation as. that of taking over the Grand Trunk railway in order to put it on a proper footing. Let them endeavour to make a success of it by their own energy and let them assist in developing the resources of that part of this continent through which their line runs, and they will in time be able to make a success of the road; but it does not belong to Canada to-day to assume such a responsibility. I, therefore, declare that I will vote with pleasure for the amendment of the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's, which especially asks the Government to defer action until further notice has been given to the people of Canada and not to impose this added burden upon the Canadian people at this moment. .

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   $241,257.65S.27
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UNION

Samuel Francis Glass

Unionist

Mr. SAMUEL FRANCIS GLASS (East Middlesex):

I shall not at this stage detain the House at any length, and it is not with the idea that I can add anything to the arguments that have been adduced pro and con in reference to this subject that I rise. I listened with a good deal of interest this afternoon to the address of the hon. member for Westmorland (Mr. Copp). I had rather expected that he would reply, perhaps fully, to the arguments, very important in my opinion, made by the hon. member for London (Mr. Cronyn) on Friday night last, but he made only a passing reference to the speech of that hon. member. Like other hon. members he seems much concerned over the $60,000,000 of guaranteed stock, which, they argue, has been greatly enhanced in price by the proposals that have been made to the Grand Trunk Company. It strikes me that the hon. member for London on Friday night emphasised very properly that the market quotations of any of these stocks do not represent their intrinsic value. For instance, there are a number of stocks with which we are all familiar quoted on the Montreal exchange to-day in respect of which there has been a large increment in value since the Government's proposals were before the House. Some of these stocks have almost doubled. I do not know the reason for that advance, but surely hon. gentlemen would not attempt to argue that the physical value of the properties represented by these stocks has increased in like proportion. Canadian Pacific stock, for example, previous to the war had risen to about 285. At that time it was argued with some force that in their lands unsold and other enormous resources the company had physical assets representing that stock value. On account of the war and the

change in the rate of interest and for other reasons Canadian Pacific stock has depreciated to a point below 150 to-day and during the war it dropped to about 135. Would hon. gentlemen argue that because Canadian Pacific stock dropped to 135 during the war the physical assets of the company had depreciated to a like extent? I submit, on the contrary, that a valuation pf the physical assets of the Canadian Pacific railway to-day would show them to be of very much higher value than previous to the war. The rate of interest naturally has had its effect on the value of the Grand Trunk stock, and it is quite possible that the very fact that the agreement under this legislation is going to fix practically a perpetual income of 4 per cent on this stock may have added something to its value. It is also quite probable that common sense would dictate to the people who hold this stock that interest rates are going to drop, and that in consequence this particular stock will appreciate in value. I should like to draw attention to a statement by the exMinister of Finance (Sir Thomas White) in which he points out that:

The American civil war, between 1861 and 1865, caused a loss of five billion dollars in property and it was financed practically without help from abroad. Before the close of the war in 1865 the treasury was paying five per cent on long time loans and seven per cent on temporary loans. Yet within three years money was to ha secured on long time at 2.10 per cent.

History may repeat itself, perhaps not to the very same extent, but the tendency at the present time is towards lower levels for money. It is for that reason that the Government in their war loans have issued a certain number of short term bonds which may be redeemed and longer term bonds issued when a lower rate of interest prevails.

The hon. member for Westmorland this afternoon seemed to take the ground that the Government should present this question to the country, that the people of the country were opposed to the principle of public ownership, and that the Government had no mandate from the country to proceed with this legislation. Sir, outside of the province of Quebec and possibly the provinces by the sea, the whole country almost from the Pacific to the most easternly part of Ontario, as hon. gentlemen must know if they read the newspapers, is strongly in favour of the principle of nationalization of these railways. I must confess I have had my doubts as to the efficient management of railways under government

control, probably from the fact, as is the case with other hon. members, that during the many years the Intercolonial has been under government operation and management it has not met with that success that some of the other roads have had. On the other hand, there are reasons why it has not had that success. As the hon. member said this afternoon the road was not built to make money, and I submit that the first consideration with our railways should be, not what they can make, hut how efficient a service they can give to the business of the country; that is much more important than dividends. The hon. member said it was not desirable nor was it intended that the Intercolonial should earn dividends. It was built to carry out one of the terms of Confederation and connect the Lower Provinces with Ontario and Quebec and the West. If it was good policy to build the Intercolonial to develop the trade and commerce of these provinces, why may not the same principle be applied to other parts of the country? I do not think my hon. friend really thought it would be good policy from his point of view to go to the country. He knows there was an election in Ontario only a week ago; we all know about it. The strong vote that got behind the United Farmers of Ontario shows most clearly that the farmers and the great bulk of the people of that province stand solidly behind the principle of public ownership and the nationalization of railways.

That is what it meant more strikingly than anything else. The farmers of Western Canada are just as strongly of this opinion, and I venture to think that if this question were submitted to all the farmers of Canada west of Quebec there would be as ready a response in support of the principle of public ownership as has been demonstrated in the vote taken in Ontario a week or so ago. The hon. gentleman asks, why the effort to force this legislation through the House at the present time? I -think that the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Meighen) the other evening gave very ample reason why it is desir-able that the matter should be dealt with without delay, and I do not feel that it is at all necessary that I should follow the arguments advanced from time to time on the opposite side in order to establish the fact that monthly, weekly, daily, the operation of the road under present conditions represents an enormous loss to the country. I say therefore that if it be possible, by a consolidation of the different railways and the addition to them of the Grand Trunk,

to effect an appreciable economy, such as we believe will be the result of this undertaking, it is desirable that we should put this legislation through without undue delay. The hon. member this afternoon advanced this argument: If the Grand Trunk could not operate its system successfully, how can it be done under public ownership? Well, the hon. gentleman does not present the full facts as they really exist. We know very well that in Western Canada the Canadian Northern is linked up with a system of railways that furnish valuable transportation facilities through-a very large area of the most productive part of the country. In Eastern Canada the Canadian Northern has not connections but the Grand Trunk has and it is a most .reasonable argument and one which cannot be refuted that, taking the advantages which the Canadian Northern has in the West with the advantages possessed by the Grand Trunk in the East, and linking them up with the Transcontinental .system, there will be a consolidation of railways that will mean increased efficiency and an improved earning capacity, result^ -ing to some extent in profit as against the conditions under which the railways have been heretofore operating. The hon. gentleman's contention that if the Grand Trunk could not operate successfully neither can the Government make a success of the same system is entirely erroneous and does not stand against the arguments which the-Government have presented on the question.

My hon. friend this afternoon, in support of his opposition to the measure, referred, with great gusto and glee, to the attitude of the Montreal Star. I suppose that the Montreal Star is very much like all other papers; it can1 jump the fence as fast as the average-politician- when the necessity arises. I have before me an extract from that paper under date Friday, May 25, 1917, in the early days of the negotiations. Let us see what the Montreal Star had to say on that occasion in reference to the railway situation:

Moreover, we have always pursued the poliey of building our railways ahead of the apparent need. We have not waited for population to settle in a district and clamour for a railway. We have sent the railway first, trusting to population to follow it in and make it pay. Today the Canadian Pacific is a prosperous institution. It looks as if it could not fail. But this was not always so. It began as a tremendous experiment, thrust through a wilderness and flung over a mountain range. It came near to ruining its projectors and wrecking the nation.

Thus it is no wonder that, in our growing time, we went a little mad on railway-building We had always gambled, nationally, in rail3.

This time we lost. We have a railway framework, especially in the West, for ten times as many people as we have got there. We have in the West, a mile of railway for every 123 inhabitants; even the well-railed United States has 400 inhabitants for ever mile. The United Kingdom has 2,000 per mile. But, having got this framework, having paid for it ourselves very largely, having mortgaged the country, Federally and Provincially, to the hilt on its behalf, what are we to do with it?

Let us see what the Star thought we should do with it at that time:

There are two reasons against throwing the non-paying portions of it away. (1) It would be like tieing an anchor round one's own neck on shipboard and then throwing the anchor into the sea. It would drag the unhappy victim after it. We are too tightly tied up to the credit of our embarrassed railways to lightheartedly toss them overboard. (2) If we threw them away now, we should only be compelled to rebuild them again in the near future. The Canada of the next decade or so is going fco need that steel framework.

But if we do not throw them away, we must keep them going. That is a self-evident proposition. There are only two ways to keep them going. One is to continue to give the companies the money, let them spend it, and let them keep the railways and their earnings. In this way, we do all the paying, and the railway magnates do all the profiting. If there are losses, we shoulder them; if there are profits, the railway magnates pocket them. The only people who may get a look in occasionally on this system are the politicians. For further particulars see various scandal revelations.

The other way of keeping these non-paying railways going, is for the nation to take them over and run them as national railways.

That is what the Montreal Star said on Friday, May 25, 1917:

In this way, we may do all the paying; but we will at least have something to show for our money. We will have the railway itself-we w>ll have the subsidiary enterprises which its Private owners have thought it profitable to start-and we will have all its prospects for making money as the country Ails up.

This the Star thinks ought to be done.

^ We believe that the Government should make no bones about taking over the Grand Trunk Pacific. It was the last, worst gamble of them all; and we have pap-fed it long enough. Its promoters cannot make it pay. They will not even operate the National Transcontinental which was to be its trunk line to the East. Their entire ambitious programme has utterly collapsed. The proud performance they promised us is not to go on-but, unfortunately, we do not, like a disappointed audience, get our money back. That being the case, we should not hesitate to take over the " show."

What is the use of hon. gentlemen talking about what the Star says now? I have just read what it said when in its sober senses, uninfluenced by trusts and interests who possibly have since got behind it. I do not believe myself to-day that the editorial comments of the Star represent the real inward

feeling of the editor of that paper. There may be some reason why he has been impelled to take the course he has followed during recent months.

Now, my hon. friend says it is safe to trust' the people. I thoroughly agree with him, and whether it is safe to trust them or not we are bound to do so in a democratic country, because they will direct and dictate the way in which public affairs shall be conducted. The largest province of the Dominion has spoken with great force within the last few days concerning its attitude on this question of the nationalization of railways, and I think it is only reasonable to presume that if the question were submitted to the whole country the verdict would be one not much at variance with that expressed in the province of Ontario. My hon. friend this afternoon was much perturbed as to what might be the policy of the-Government under national ownership in reference to the great ports of Halifax and St. John. Why, Sir, what an absurd position that is. Is the Government of this country going to spend millions of dollars developing the ports at Halifax and St. John and elsewhere-is it going to spend colossal sums of money in the development of our transportation facilities-and starve these ports-in connection with the operation of railways? Surely the taking over of the Grand Trunk Railway and operating it under the National system, by the people and for the people, will not be subversive of the interests of our national ports, also under the same Government. I submit that if there were any chance of directing a great amount of traffic to the ocean ports of St. John and Halifax, this desideratum would be far more likely to be achieved under a national system of railway control than under private ownership. There is therefore no ground whatever for the argument put forward by the hon. member in this respect.

The hon. gentleman also gave as a reason why we should not acquire this road the fact that the Drayton-Acworth report said that-$51,000,000 would be necessary for equipment and improvements. Well, Sir, I say,-God be praised that our country has reached such a state of development that the facilities of our railways call for expansion to that extent. Now, with the opening up and1 expansion of industry and the need of the country to expand her exports in every respect, would it not be a calamity if any part of our system of railroads were forced to continue in a condition of unpreparedness -in which they could not carry the trade and; commerce of the nation?

One of the best arguments why the Government should take over and operate this railway is that the company cannot under present conditions provide the equipment necessary to properly take care of the commerce of the country. The hon. gentleman says that the value of this property must he determined and that we must take stock of the physical assets. I am thoroughly in accord with him; I think that is good logic and common sense. We must take stock of the physical assets, we must determine what they are worth and the value which .is determined to be in the different stocks will be represented by whatever equity there may be between the value of the physical assets and the existing liabilities. Is that not all provided for in this agreement? Yet hon. gentlemen will lead the country to believe that we are recklessly jumping into this thing and that we are going to pay the Grand Trunk whatever they claim their assets are worth. Nothing of the kind can be deduced from the agreement which has been presented to the House. The Government, under the agreement, have made very wise, very ample, provisions for getting at the actual value.

The hon. gentleman says: " Let the country dictate the terms." The country, through this Government, is dictating the terms in connection with this project. We have been following some of the various suggestions that hon. gentlemen have been giving to us and yet they may not have realized it.

The public operation of railways is not a new thing in the world. Some companies have operated them with a satisfactory degree of success; some have not. Our friends, as a strong reason why we should keep away from government operation, point to the results that have been obtained in the operation of the Intercolonial. I submit that is no argument at all. I submit that it is no argument to say that because railways have not been operated efficiently under government management the. fault is with the principle. The principle may be and is, sound. The fault is in the direction of the management. If the Government cannot get efficient management to operate these roads satisfactorily the people of the country will tell the Government that it will have to make way for some other men who will do it. I do not think it is reasonable to condemn the principle because in certain cases railways have not been operated successfully. I have here an article that was written by Mr. E. B. Biggar in Saturday Night in con-

nection with a series that he wrote. He makes this observation and I think it is very significant:

How does it come about that the same tendency as in the postal service, etc., has shown itself in every quarter of the world in railway matters, and how are the advocates of private ownership to account for the fact that of all countries in the world which have become masters of their own railways, no nation-

This is the point I wish to draw the attention of the House to:

-has re-consigned them to their former owners and none has completely abandoned the principle of state ownership? Surely the test of actual experience has some value on this point, where the people have tried both systems, and still have the power to make their own choice.

It may be that these railways under government operation will not earn as big dividends as they might under operation by individuals, but the operation of a government road is not so much for the dividends it earns as for the efficiency- of the sendee it gives to the people of the country. The main, fundamental object of government operation is to give the best service possible. Under the new conditions in which we find ourselves after this war in connection with the extension and development of our commerce, it will be necessary that great care be taken to see that we do not handicap the movement of commerce by inadequate railway facilities.

The hon. gentleman this afternoon, in an argument in which he sought to justify the construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific and Transcontinental railways,, drew attention to the fact that a large number of troops had been transported over this road. My hon. friend knows very well that they were transported over the road because the Government were paying for the transportation and that if they had not been transported oWer that road they would have been trans^ ported over the Canadian Pacific, or the Canadian Northern. It was fortunate under the circumstances, as the Government had the road, that they were able to make this use of it, to enable it to render service to the empire and to save money for the country in connection with its operation.

1 have said more than I intended to. I rose to answer some of the observations df the hon. member for Westmorland. He rose a few minutes after three to make a few minutes' speech, as he termed it, and he engaged the interest of the House for an hour and three-quarters. I listened with great interest to wdiat he had to say but I could not find that I had derived any degree of enlightenment from his remarks; nor

was I convinced that the proposition of the Government was not in the best interests of the country.

It is a peculiar thing, yet it does seem so, that the province of Quebec almost alone stands out as being opposed to the principle of public ownership. The people of Quebec are isolated in this respect as they have been before in other issues before the country, but after all the sentiments and wishes of the whole people must dictate and carry weight as against the opinions of a small minority. I have no fear what the verdict will be when the Government has to ask the endorsement of the country on the question of the public ownership of railways. The question, I repeat, is not new. It has been discussed, pro and con, throughout all the provinces of Western Canada as well as in the province of Ontario and in other parts of the country, and there is a growing, an increasing, sentiment strongly behind the principle of public ownership.

When we have determined what our policy shall )be by the vote of this Parliament let all these prejudices which we hold at the present time and all this captious criticism which has been indulged in to show the need for an opposition rather than because there is any force of public opinion behind it, be forgotten,; let us get together and -when we have accepted the principle of this proposition let us not continue to knock the project either by ourselves or through the press of the country. Let us get behind the National railway and build it up. I would be sorry to see anything done that will be detrimental to the interests of the great Canadian Pacific railway. The Canadian Pacific has had its troubles in the years that have elapsed since its organization, but it has crossed the quicksands and is now on the way towards continued prosperity. We rejoice in the success which the Canadian Pacific has experienced. Its progress and its enterprise symbolize, in the Old Country, the enterprise and the energy of the people of this young and vigourous country through whbse support that road came into being. The Grand Trunk has operated in Canada for a period of sixty-five years. It was the pioneer road and in those early days sought to spread its rails over a country containing sparse settlements of but a few thousand people. It was operated at first at great loss to itself, and for many years went without dividends; indeed I understand some of its stock has never carried a dividend. But if some of the stock of the Grand Trunk has not carried a divi-105

dend will any hon. gentleman tell me that a dividend has ever been paid on our investment in the Intercolonial railway? Can we not be fair to these men who spent their money in Canada because they had faith in us and faith in our country? I submit that if the road did not pay dividends during wartime it was because the cost of labour and other operating expenses has been greater than the increase in the rates which the Government allowed them to collect from the people. But, Sir, the physical assets are there to-day and the road is not in any worse condition than it was before. As a matter of fact many betterments have been made and in regard to rolling stock, and other equipment, the road^ is in a better condition to-day than previously.^ Possibly, it may be said that it is not in a better position relatively speaking when the needs of the commerce of the country at the present time are born in mind. That possibly may be true, for the reason that in the unfortunate position in which the company has found itself it has not obtained capital sufficient to keep pace with the increasing needs of Canadian commerce. I do not think that regard for the widows and the orphans and others in Great Britain in whose behalf an appeal has been made constitutes the ground on which the Canadian Government is acting. We want to be fair and square, we want to do as we would wish to be done by; and I submit that the agreement which the Government has presented to the House affords the best possible evidence that a fair deal will be given to the shareholders without in any way prejudicing the interests of the Canadian people. I purpose supporting the Bill, and in taking that course I shall be doing that which my constituents would ask me to do. There have come from the county council and the city council in my riding, and from boards of trade and chambers of commerce throughout western Ontario, communications endorsing the Government's proposal and the principles of public ownership of public utilities and of our railways. Therefore, I am justified in supporting, and I intend to lend my support to, the proposal the Government has placed before the House.

Mr. E. d'ANJOU (Rimouski) translation) : Mr. Speaker, allow me to preface my remarks by saying that before the crime which is being hatched in the dark is perpetrated, I should be considered derelict in my duty, did I not, on behalf of my constituents whom I have the honour of repre-

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An hon. MEMBER:

Hear! Hear!

Mr. d'ANJOU (translation): Let us pride ourselves on our nationality, and with Sir Douglas Haig, I shall say: "Let us pride ourselves on our French origin", just as that great Scotchman was proud oif his own stock.

, Mr. Speaker, why are we here in session to-day? This session was called by the Union Government for the ratification of a peace treaty. Whether Parliament summoned us under a false pretense or not*, such at any rate was the ultimate result .aimed at. The Peace Treaty, has been ratified; the Empire is now safe and we had better go back to our respective constituencies.

Further, let me say, (Sir, that the speech

from the Throne did not foreshadow any possibility of such an important measure being about to be submitted to this House, and still less was the taking over of the Grand Trunk contemplated or referred to. As a matter of fact, as stated by several hon. members, the proposal which is now being debated is the outcome of negotiations carried on during several months between the Government and the Grand Trunk Company, in connection with the purchase of their system. Why is the Government jamming this measure through the House? Wherefore such an undue haste? The reason is not far to seek; there is something in the wind, there is a nigger in the woodpile, and as suggested by the hon. president of the council (Mr. -Rowell), suppose the people were given the fullest information about this deal, a campaign would be 'started and soon be in full swing throughout. the country; the electorate would be enlightened on the merits of this Bill, and undoubtedly public opinion would be stirred up to its very depths. The Government composed as it is of men whose courage is not screwed up to the sticking point and not possessing very strong and abiding convictions, they would back down and beat a hasty retreat.

It is a well known fact that wherever government ownership was given a trial, it has involved nations in financial min. I need not go very far afield to find instances of this. Our very neighbours the United States have tried this policy during the war period; it proved a complete failure and the Government had to face a deficit amounting to millions of dollars. The result was the same in England. Considering those unfortunate results, the Canadian Government should not expect the present venture to carry any better advantage. Does our present financial condition justify the Government in adding this new line to their system? We do not know whether the liabilities assumed will run up to $500,000,000, or $600,000,000 or $700,000,000, but we do know that, whatever they may amount to, they will be added to our national debt, which has already gone up to $2,000,000,000. Let us be mindful of the fact that our soldiers are knocking at our door, in .search of money for their wives and children. The Government answers that it cannot come to their rescue; in fact, the Government itself is now trying to get from the people, in the shape of a loan, the requisite money to face its war liabilities. It seems to me that before this policy is carried any further, the conse-

quences which it might have with respect to the country should be weighed with great care.

If the Government wishes to spend money in spite of anything, why should they not encourage agriculture? Why should they not establish experimental farms where they are needed? The Government asks the farmers to strive patriotically to increase food pi'oduction, and yet they will not supply them with the means for so doing. If this system of reckless expenditure keeps on, the Government will be left with no other way out than levying a land tax. Should this happen, I should like to see whether the hon. members who support the Union Government would put a good face on the matter.

The hon. member (Mr. Glass) who preceded me says that an editorial was published in 1917, by the Montreal Star, in favour of government ownership of railways. That may be true; but it is no less true that the Star holds a different view to-day. So, once more does the proverb apply that: "Fools only never change their opinion." Like many others, the Star, after a careful study of the question, has thought it proper to modify its views. That paper must have disowned its past, since it blames the policy of our good friends on the other side of the House, though it has helped placing them in* power in 1917, and it did not shrink from insulting the French Canadians, in order to compass that end. Would the mandate held by the Government allow them to make the acquisition of that system? In 1917 the so-called Union Government went to the people with a war programme; their talk was all about the winning of the war and saving the Empire: They have succeeded, but this is no reason why they should bring ruin to Canada. If they had told the people, at the time, that not only did they wish to carry on the war but that they intended also to buy the Grand Trunk, what would have happened? More than one half of the hon. members on the other side of the House would not be here to-day.

Such being the facts, I do not hesitate to say that the Government should let this proposition stand till next session; and should consult the people by way of a referendum in the meantime, and if this policy is approved, they will be free, then, to enforce it, because, after all, it is the people who pay.

My opinion on the question is this: Public interest is not considered and the Grand Trunk is bought to no other purpose

105*

than to enrich certain friends of the Administration, certain political bandits who-helped place it in power. So far as the elections that recently took place in* Ontario are concerned, I may .say that' history will repeat itself at the expense of our good friends. The hon. member for Middlesex (Mr. Glass) said, a few moments ago, that the outcome of the Ontario election meant, in a way, that the present policy of this Government had been approved. I wonder on what authority the hon. member may rely to make such a statement, when Sir Adam Beck, the greatest champion of the principle of state ownership of all public utilities has been defeated in London by an overwhelming majority. This would seem to be an evidence of the fact that the people are not ready to assume any responsibility of that kind. If the hon. gentleman was right in making that statement, it must be inferred that the Hearst government should have' been returned by a large majority; but I think it would be more in keeping with the dictates of common sense to say that the verdict rather meant the reverse.

And another important .point must be considered also and it is this: The operation of our railways by this Government would be fraught with danger to the best interests of the country. Unscrupulous as they are known to be, the hon. gentleman would then have at their disposal a patronage machine of a most dangerous character with respect to elections, and it .seems to me that if the electors had the opportunity so to do, they would show ther present Government that such a policy is unreasonable, foolish and contrary to the best interests of the country.

I have not the slightest doubt that the abettors of this transaction are the same as were seen behind the Canadian Northern scheme, that is, the ring around Mackenzie and Mann. The other day, an hon. member on the other side of this House, charged* us with being subservient to the interests of the Canadian Pacific. Well, so far as I am concerned, I am not here to protect the interests of the Canadian Pacific any more than to protect the interests of the Grand Trunk, and the Canadian Pacific is no more able to influence my vote here, to-night, than the Grand Trunk Company would be. I stand here as a representative of the people, to protest against .any wrongdoing on the part of the Government, against any disastrous policy; this is what I understand my duty to be.

The members of the loyal Opposition oi His Majesty are not for sale, but as much cannot be said of the members on the other side of the House.

The hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Clark) sheds tears over the sad fate of the poor English widows who are shareholders of the Grand Trunk Company. Well, Mr. Speaker, England is not the only country where widows are to be found, there are widows in Canada also. The .only difference is that our widows are starving because the Government forced their husbands, by means of conscription, to go overseas and fight to help save the Empire. I must say that my sympathies go out to the Canadian widows rather than to the English widows, and if the hon. member for Red Deer were a true Canadian he would feel just as I do about this.

It .seems to me that if the Government can find their way clear to dispose of millions in order to enrich the political jugglers to whom they owe the victory which they won in 1917, they could also find some money to provide for the widows of our *soldiers and to meet the needs of their families, for, it must not be lost sight of, Mr. Speaker, that when the Administration called to the colours the husbands and the fathers, urging them to go and fight for the sacred rights of liberty and of the smaller nations, they were most lavish in then-promises.

Mr. Speaker, the Government's boat is cracking, it is leaking; the rats are climbing up from the hold, and before it sinks under the wave of the people's anger, the hon. gentlemen want to fill up their pockets and the pockets of their friends. I protest with all my might against this new outrage, this iniquity, this waste of public money.

The Government having made such great sacrifices for the last four years from a financial standpoint, they .should have a better sense of their obligations and not throw the money out at the window by handfuls; they should administer with economy, they should encourage agricultural-industry, establish experimental farms at points like Rimouski, for instance, as was said by the hon. member for Brome (Mr. McMaster),. or wherever it might be of advantage to the farmers to have one.

It has been stated by hon. members on the other side of the House that, if we are, to-day, in such a difficult position with respect to railways, the blame is to be imputed to the Liberal policy, and the fault is Sir Wilfrid Laurier's-the old .story of everything being Papineau's fault-and if Laurier had not built the Grand Trunk [Mr. D'Anjou, 1

Pacific, the acquisition of the Grand Trunk would not now be necessary. While putting forward this argument, the hon. member for Springfield proved very zealous in behalf of his new friends. He must have forgotten that he was once a Liberal candidate in the county of Macdonald and that he accepted the Liberal platform, at the time, with no reservation as to the Grand Trunk Pacific. He must have forgotten, also that a number of members from Quebec had gone there to lend him assistance and that some of his friends were imprisoned, even, so as to prevent them from addressing the electors in his behalf. I should rather think that he remembers all that. However, I think it ill becomes him to make a display of independence every time he happens to speak, in this House, on important questions. He is not such an independent man as he assumes to be; he is the slave of the Government. It is not the first time that he indulges in such feats for anything may be expected on the part of an hon. gentleman who, after moving an amendment, is seen registering his own vote against it, two minutes later, in order to support a government measure.

I have noticed that, whenever the hon. Minister of the Interior rises from his seat to speak, ,a good half of the members around him cheer him to the echo ,as soon as he opens his mouth, although seventy-five per cent of them- do not understand the importance of what he says. They fancy that he must be saying something very clever or very deep.

Therefore, all the hon. gentlemen to your right, Mr.* Speaker, are going to vote in favour of the taking over of the Grand Trunk, because the Minister of the Interior has convinced them that it is was good business for the coujitry. [DOT]

On a question of such importance, every hon. member is in duty bound to be mindful of the fact that he owes a duty to his country first, and not to his party; that he sits here as a representative of the people, and not as a slavish follower of a leader, and that he ought to act and vote with discrimination, and do honour to the mandate received from the people.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that before going any further, the Government respond to public sentiment and .submit this measure to the electorate, for I do not entertain the least doubt that the people would pass condemnation on such an extravagant policy, and I am confident that the people, getting hold of an avenging scourge, wall cast out for ever the sellers and changers from the temple.

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L LIB

Joseph-Éloi Fontaine

Laurier Liberal

Mr. FONTAINE (Hull) (translation):

Mr. Speaker, in rising to participate in this debate, I deem it my duty to register my protest, on behalf of the electors whom I have the honour of representing in this House, against this disastrous transaction upon which the attention of the House has been focussed for about a month, I mean the nationalization of the Grand Trunk, or :n other words, the taking over of the Grand Trunk Company and the Grand Trunk Pacific by the Canadian Government.

Do not believe. Sir, when I say that I rise to register my protest, that I fancy that the Premier or the Government will give heed to my words; far be it from me to harbour such a thought; for I know that their minds are not open to conviction, but I shall have at least the satisfaction of having discharged my duty. As a matter of fact, the best informed and the most experienced members, on this side of the House, have raised the most serious objections and clearly shown that this transaction was going to bring ruin to Canada. But it is all of no avail. It would seem as though the Government were swayed by a diabolical power, which renders their minds impervious to conviction by evidence and impels them to push this matter through. May I venture to say at all events that this deal is the outcome of pre-election promises and pledges given previously to the elections of 1917? Or have they struck a bargain to that effect with the ring of London stock-jobbers? For, after all, Sir, they cannot, except on most serious grounds, ignore and brush aside all the protests which are being voiced all over the country, by the Boards of Trade, and public bodies and thus set at naught the almost unanimous consensus of opinion expressed by our fellow citizens against this scandalous transaction. When I heard, the other day, the hon. Minister of the Interior stating before this House that public opinion was satisfied, I could not help thinking that he was labouring under a delusion or rather that he was trying to lead the members of this House into supposing that public opinion was in accord with him; for, he must surely realize, as we all do, that there exists a strong sense of dissatisfaction and disapproval throughout the country against this audacious deal so skilfully engineered which will enable London capitalists to pile up millions, to .the prejudice of the Canadian people.

So, Mr. Speaker, you see how warily they have proceeded in framing their measure

and how they have made arrangements of long standing the better to smother public opinion. To 'begin with, a session was called in September, ostensibly under pretence of ratifying the Peace Treaty, which was quite unnecessary as the hon. members know very well that, as soon as the Treaty was ratified by Great Britain, we had nothing more to do with it, Canada being merely a British colony; but they merely wanted to draw a red herring across the track, and while we were discussing the platitudes submitted to us for consideration, the Government was giving the* finishing touch, in the dark, to their great scheme, the taking over of the Grand Trunk. A few days before that bomb-shell exploded, the hon. the acting Prime Minister told us that the session was practically over, and that the Government had no other important measures to bring down. Then it was that the hon. member for Maisonneuve (Mr. Lemieux) who is now being blamed for his absence, made up his mind to sail for Europe, to go and kneel on the tomb of his son, who so gloriously yielded up his life in the .service of his country on the front of war. To the same cause may be attributed the absence of the hon. member from Beauce.

Mr. Speaker, as the Government has money galore to spend, and rather than sink frtro hundred million dollars in this foolhardy transaction, I would suggest that they lower the duties on agricultural implements, so that our farmers may get cheaper farm machinery for the prosecution of their arduous toil. Two hundred million dollars, Sir! that means an enormous taxation which they are wringing out the pockets of the people, and instead of pouring those millions into the maw of the Grand Trunk Company, I would suggest that the Government take duties off articles of household necessity and the necessaries of life, so as to reduce the cost of living and allow workingmen to enjoy the comforts of home.

Why not reduce the income tax? Let me ask the Government, once more, if they have so much money, why do they not provide for the returned soldiers, who have made every sacrifice, who have run every risk to go and defend our liberties?

If there were some reason, at least, to believe that the Government could see its way clear to operate this line of railway with no increase in our deficit! But experience shows that the operation of a railway by the Government cannot he successful, and I want no other instance of this than the

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operation of the Intercolonial, which is settled, every year, by a deficit. We are told that it will not be so any longer, that the operation of the Government railways will be entrusted to a commission of experts absolutely independent of political parties. Well, Sir, the Intercolonial and the Canadian Northern are operated by a commission of that kind, and yet, for the year just elapsed, it was settled with a large deficit, and so it is everywhere. Is it not a fact that government ownership in the United States has been a failure? I cannot believe the Government to be sincere in its pretensions. I vould say to the hon. ministers: Beware, gentlemen, the limit is reached, the people have been forbearing, they have put up with you for many* years, but reaction is now setting in, your friends have been swept away from power in Ontario. I fancy I sefe written in red letters above your heads, this prophetic sentence: [DOT] "Mene. Thekel, Peres." Perhaps you shall not retain power for all the time provided by the law, perhaps you shall be forced, in the very near future, to undergo the ordeal of an election which is to you such an object of terror.

Mr. Speaker, I shall vote with pleasure for the amendment moved by the hon. member for Queens and Shelburne (Mr. Fielding), who is conversant with finance, who, for fifteen years, with his leader sir Wilfrid Laurier, has made the country happy and prosperous, and who has always safeguarded the real interests of the people.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   $241,257.65S.27
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November 3, 1919