Mr. J. H. SINCLAIR (Antigonish and Guyslborough):
Mr. Speaker, I would not intervene in this debate at this late hour, but I am paired with the hon. member for Lanark (Mr. Stewart) and I will not be permitted to vote. I want to place myself on record as being in favour of this amendment. This stock which has been discussed for the last hour is nothing more nor less than common stock. It may be treated internally by the Grand Trunk as a sort of preferred stock but it has no lien on the physical assets of the road, it has no mortgage behind it and it has no rights in respect to the payment of dividends unless the dividends are earned. We know that
in the last few years dividends were not earned and they were not paid on this stock. What does the Minister of the Interior do? He is to meet the directors of the Grand Trunk to deal with the question and his very first step is to raise the price of the thing that he is proposing to buy. At the time that he was negotiating for this stock it was worth 45, or less than 45. He puts the imprint of the Dominion of Canada on it and he agrees to exchange for it a four per cent bond of the Dominion of Canada thus raising the price of the thing that he is going to buy by at least $20,000,000. That is an improper step for the hon. gentleman to take. It was his duty, representing the Government and people of Canada, to get that stock at the very best price that he could get it for. He has not given the House any fair reason why he should raise the price of the stock that he is proposing to buy for the ratepayers of this country by at least $20,000,000. ,
The right hon. the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Borden) in 1918 took a very reasonable view of this matter. At that time he sent a message to the High Commissioner in London in which he said:
The Government is disposed to assist in every reasonable way the maintenance of Company's credit as is evidenced by the advance of one hundred and twenty-two thousand pounds on July first and by our offer of 12th July last to advance three hundred and eighty thousand pounds to meet fixed charges upon terms which were regarded as reasonable but which the company declined. We shall be glad to have any further suggestions from Smithers as to methods of assistance. There is strong objection in council to any increase of our offer for the following reasons: it is most unwise and undesirable for a government without the report of a commission or board of arbitration or a vote of Parliament to undertake a large annual payment which would represent the capitalization of eighty or a hundrei million dollars. The offer already made is based on the Drayton-Aeworth report which affords a sufficient foundation for Government's proposal. If we go beyond the bounds of that report we have ho certain guide as to what we should propose, Council will not accept either of the offers which Smithers put forward and unless they receive further offer before end of month they still consider negotiations at an end.
The (Prime Minister says there is strong objection in Council to increasing the offer. If we had this strong objection in 1918 to any increase in the offer has anything happened in London or anywhere else to remove that objection? The. Prime Minister says that the foundation is the Drayton-Aeworth report. Have the Government any other foundation upon, which to offer anything in regard to this transaction? No one will con-[Mr. Sinclair.!
tend that the Drayton-Aeworth report gives them authority to guarantee this $60,000,000 of stock. On the contrary, the Drayton-Ac-worth report says that the stock is absolutely worthless or of very small value. That is what the Prime Minister said about the stock. But with these facts before him, in face of the opinion given by the Prime Minister in 1918, and notwithstanding the statement contained in the Drayton-Aeworth report, my hon. friend puts the stamp of the Dominion of Canada on that $60,000,000, unnecessarily, impudently, and it becomes worth almost par, or, as the Finance Minister says, 85.