November 4, 1919

UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. J. D. REID:

That is a judicial position.

. Mr. ARCHAMBAULT: Well, call it

judicial if you like; it is a government railway position, nevertheless.

I have said that the acquisition of this railway creates a huge political machine dangerous to the State. Imagine a strike for higher wages of one hundred thousand employees of a railway. If the strike is in a private concern the Government can interfere as conciliator-even in certain cases with a strong arm. But if they are government employees, what Government will take the risk of antagonizing one hundred thousand employees from all over Canada, probably- enough in each riding of the country to elect a representative one way or

the other? No Government wall take any such chances. The demands although perhaps unreasonable, will be met; the deficits will be greater and the poor taxpayer will again be the worse off.

What are the prospects of the elimination of patronage under the present Government? The railways do not com% under the control of the Civil Service Commission; there is no question about that. On every occasion when the Civil Service Commission or anything pertaining to it has come up for discussion in the House, scores of members on your right, Sir, have protested vigorously against the bone being taken out of their mouths and have demanded eagerly a quick return to patronage. These are not very encouraging signs of the death of patronage. But, Sir, recently I had occasion to bring before the House a most glaring case-a sad case-of political patronage, not a case where a job was in question, but a case where the whole system of the Canadian National railways in one district was tampered with in order to aid political propaganda. I was not allowed to disclose all the facts at the time, but I am now in possession of further information and it may be interesting to my hon. friends to know what kind of political patronage is permitted to thrive under the present Government. On the 17th of September, 1919, 1 received the following letter from one of my constituents:

Dear Sir:-I enclose herewith clipping dated September 6 with regard to alleged misuse jf Canadian National railway train between Hybla and Toronto for the benefit of a political Picnic.

This charge is very serious, too serious to pass unchallenged, and I would thank you to inquire into same, on the floor of the House if necessary, to see if things of this nature are

allowed to happen.

Yours respectfully,

Here is the clipping:

Slain by Politics.

The Romans used to have a proverb " Butchered to make a Roman holiday " In Canada we do better. We kill children in order to make a political picnic.

The other day R. H. Thompson of Hybla Ontario, boarded a Canadian National railway train at his local station, with his little girl, who was critically ill, jn order that she might be taken to the hospital for sick children, Toronto. The time table called for the arrival of that train in Toronto at nine o'clock that evening and the father depended upon reaching the city at that time, as it was a case of desperate hurry. When the train got to Bancroft the child became much -worse, and to his dismay the father found from the railway conductor that the train would not proceed any farther that day, because all the cars were needed to take good followers of the Union and Hearst Govern-

ments to a picnic at Marmora given by E. Gus Porter, a Unionist M.P. for West Hastings.

Mr. Thompson consulted a local doctor and was told that the only thing to be done was to take the child to an hotel for twenty-four hours until the Canadian Government would be ready to fulfil its contract to carry the father and child to Toronto. This was done. The next morning the train was taken to Toronto. On arrival in the city,, 24 hours after the time she should have arrived, the child was hurried to the hospital and was operated upon. But ;t was too late, and she died in a few hours, leaving behind a broken-hearted father, who was compelled to go home and tell his wife that their child had died, because the Government allowed a political picnic to suspend the schedule of their National railway.

I immediately sought to bring the matter up on the Orders of the Day, but I was stopped the moment I mentioned the name of the paper, namely, Jack Canuck.

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

Charles Sheard

Unionist

Mr. SHEARD:

Oh, oh.

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

Joseph Archambault

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ARCHAMBAULT:

My hon. friend may laugh, but it was'the same paper which flooded the trenches during the elections in 1917 with money of the Unionist organization. I put the question on the Order

Paper and I finally got the following answer:

1. No trains were cancelled for the purpose mentioned, hut on account of shortage of equipment and motive power due to troop movement and harvest excursions and to accommodate extra traffic on the branch the time of train No. 60 was changed, due notice of which was given to the public affected thereby.

To question No. 2 asking if the Government were aware of what had happened to Mr. Thompson's child, the answer was "no"; and to question No. 3, asking if the Government intended to hold an immediate inquiry into the matter, the answer was "no My next move was to write a letter to Mr. Thompson. I thought that the matter was so grave and sad that it should he investigated, and with your permission, Sir, I will read Mr. Thompson's reply:

Monteagle Valley, October 3, 1919.

Dear Sir:-Received your letter of 30th n regard to the hold up of the Canadian Northern railway regular train for Porter's picnic at Marmora. On August 20th I boarded the train on said date with my littie daughter of six years who was suffering from appendicitis. When I got to Hyhla the trainmen helped me in the baggage with the cot. Just when the train was ready to pull out, the conductor asked me where I was going. When I told him, to Toronto, he said I had better wait until the next day as the train was going to be held over until six o'clock at Marmora, so I could not get a train out from Trenton to Toronto before three o'clock in the morning of the 21st. But there was no use of taking my sick child back home as something had to be done at once. When I got to Bancroft, Dr. A. T. Embury met me at the station and advised me to

wait over as so long on the road would he more than my child could stand, so I waited until the 21st, and as there is a fast train one day and a slow train the next that handles freight, I had to take the slow train. This hold-up was not advertised at all. This can he proven by Mr. N. D. McElroy of 49 Grosvenor Street, Ottawa, who was taking his wife home from Baptiste lake on a stretcher and had to wait over at Bancroft. Had the hold-up been advertised, I could have got to Bancroft by auto and gone to Toronto by way of Lindsay. I reached Toronto about nine o'clock in the evening of the 21st and my child was operated on without delay. She spent a fair night, hut took bad in the morning and died about eight o'clock on the 22nd in the evening. The doctor said if I had got there before the twenty-four hours I was held up she would have every chance.

But listen to this:

My wife was sick with bronchial and nerve trouble at the time. The shock of losing my little daughter was more than she could stand, and she passed away on the 13th September leaving me with three small children. I am now obliged to sell out my stock at a sacrifice price as I cannot look after my children here. Will close as I think I have told you everything as is the facts.

You will notice that in this letter Mr. Thompson mentioned that another witness, a Mr. McElroy, was with him. I accordingly wrote a letter to Mr. McElroy, and this is the reply which I received from him:

Dear Sir:-Replying to favour of the 10th instant, re Mr. R. H. Thompson of Monteagle Valley, Ontario. On August 20th, I went to the Canadian Northern railway station at Bancroft to make arrangement to bring my wife to Trenton on a stretcher, she. having met with an accident while camping at Lake Baptiste. Was informed by the agent, Mr. Smith, that the trains were running on a spur line that day to Marmora to carry passengers to and from Mr. Gus Porter's picnic. Mr. Smith advised me to wait until next day as it would mean a delay of five hours at least and would cut off all connections at Trenton. On Thursday, August 21, got accommodation in the baggage car where I met Mr. Thompson who had his little girl on a cot rushing to Toronto with her to have her operated on under the advice of his family doctor. Mr. Thompson boarded the train the day before at Hybla, two stations north of Bancroft. Fortunately for me the delay did-not signify, but learned recently that on Mr. Thompson's arrival at the hospital, he was told by the doctors that he was too late with his child as other complications had set in and nothing could be done for his child so death occurred. Outside of inconvenience to the travelling public and causing the sick prolonged suffering and in the end to lose those that are near and dear to you, it was the most inconsistent piece of railroading that has come under my notice in the eighteen years of my road life.

I do not question the answer of the minister. Probably the answer was given to him by one of his officials.

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

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

Unionist

Mr. J. D. REID:

The question that appeared on the Order Paper I sent to the

management at Toronto and the answer that I gave to the hon. member was the one which I received from the management.

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

Joseph Archambault

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ARCHAMBAULT:

May I be permitted to read a public letter addressed to the Minister of Railways:

Hon. J. D. Reid, M.P.,

Minister of Railways,

Ottawa.

Sir:-As a Minister of the Crown, we take it for granted that in your answer to questions put to you in the House of Commons, you are expected to tell the truth. Having this belief, we venture to call your attention to several-

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

Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

I am entirely in the opinion of the House in this matter, and I think that the hon. ime/mber for Chambly and Vercheres was perfectly justified in bringing to the attention of the House a certain incident which he considers to be a reason or an example why public ownership should not he encouraged. That having been done, I think that he should return to the question under discussion and that he should not take up the time of the House upon the third reading of the Bill concerning the acquisition of the Grand Trunk railway in discussing the correctness of an answer given to a question in connection with another matter before the House of Commons.

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

Joseph Archambault

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ARCHAMBAULT:

I just wish to read this letter if I may be permitted.

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

Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

If the letter related in any way to the acquisition of the Grand Trunk system it could certainly be read, but as I understand it, it relates entirely to another matter, to a question answered by an hon. minister in the House of Commons. Even if the letter were relevant, if it contains a reflection upon the conduct of a minister or a member in the House, or upon any proceeding in the House it could not be read.

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

Joseph Archambault

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ARCHAMBAULT:

I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that it does not reflect on the conduct of a minister in the House, but simply puts a question to the minister. I submit that we are discussing the public ownership of railways and that as this letter relates to the administration of the railways under public ownership, it is in order for me to read it.

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

Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

There is a well-known rule of Parliament which says:

Nor is it in order to read articles in newspapers, letters or other communications, whether printed or written, emanating from persons outside the House, and referring to, or commenting on, or denying anything said

by a member, or expressing any opinion reflecting on proceedings within the House.

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

Joseph Archambault

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ARCHAMBAULT:

I bow to your decision, Mr. Speaker. I do n'ot say that the Minister of Railways sanctioned the excursion, but the lesson I can logically draw from this unfortunate incident is that the operation of the Government railways is bedevilled by politicians. What must the people of the country think? The hon. member for West Hastings (Mr. Porter), ex-tPremier Hearst, and T. W. McGarry must feel proud that the price of the success' of their political picnic was practically the murder of a suffering child.

Returning to the general question of the Government ownership of railways, let me read a resolution on this subject recently passed by the most important association of business men in America, the Merchants' Association of New York:

Whereas, By reason of conditions inseparable from our form of government, governmental operation of economic undertakings, whether Federal, State or Municipal, is characterized by:

Extreme delays and inertia, vacillation, hesitancy and inconsistency in matters of policy ;

Wasteful outlays in response to sectional demands;

Insufficient provision of funds when needed for necessary purposes;

Absence of close and harmonious co-operation between the legislative directorate and the executive officials ;

Insecurity of tenure in the higher places and lack of self-interest as an incentive;

Frequent change of higher officials and the injection into office of new and untried men ;

Unsuitable methods of selecting executive officials whereby such officials are not often properly qualified by expert knowledge, previous training, experience or proved capacity;

Hampering conditions imposed by law upon executives whereby they are deprived of necessary control of operation and of their subordinates ; and

Whereas, From these conditions naturally result imperfect co-ordination, lack of qualified management, bad operating methods and general waste and inefficiency; both the methods and the results being diametrically opposite to ' those which prevail in properly managed business undertakings, which latter are governed solely by economic considerations, and require for their success close and friendly relations between the directorate and the officials; the prompt provisions of funds as required by the economic needs of the business; high capacity, long experience and special training on the part of the executive officials, assured tenure during efficiency, self-interest, and the possession by such officials of a very large degree of discretion as to outlays and operating details ; Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, By The Merchants' Association of New Torlc that governmental methods in the conduct of business affairs are inherently defective by reason of the fundamental restrictions imposed by our form of government; and that such methods are often inefficient and

to increasing the burden of taxes! The returned men were promised everything in the world during the election, but the returned men and the widows and orphans of the returned men did not weigh in the balance of the hon. member so long as his old and not forgotten friends of twenty years ago across the seas get their $120,000,000.

Let us see now what there is in the supreme argument that there is no alter-' native but liquidation and that feeders in the -East will change a non-paying proposition into a most successful system. Are we sure of that proposition? Is it even a probability? In England and in the United States the feeders were there because the United States and English Governments controlled all the railways in their own countries. But let us assume that the proposition is sound and see if there is no way out of it but the acquisition of a controlling interest in the Grand Trunk. The Minister of Railways on the 15tli stated:

(a) That if the Grand Trunk is not acquired the Dominion Government must spend $100,900,0'00 to $200,000,000 for branch lines and terminals in the east.

(b) That Canadian National railways are without branch lines or terminals in the East and therefore could not gather freight in the East for shipment W^st.

(e) That therefore the outlay for .terminals and duplication would be avoided.

(d) That the only way to keep the Grand Trunk out of Canadian Pacific railway hands is to buy it-is to prevent it going into the hands of a receiver and unless this is done there would be no future for the Canadian National.

The statements of the Minister of the Interior and the President of the Privy Council were about the same. I submit, Mr. Speaker, that the facts do not bear out these statements, that there are at least two alternatives, and one especially which is very simple, and to which I wish to draw the attention of the Cabinet in order that they should give it- their consideration be; for it is too late.

First-It has been admitted that the Grand Trunk, having defaulted in its obligations could readily be forced into the hands of a receiver; therefore, the Dominion Government has the power to compel a reasonable attitude on the part of the Grand Trunk in order to make a traffic contract or alliance or on any other matter.

Second-It is a common practice of privately owned and operated railways to make traffic contracts or alliances with other railways by which all reasonable means are provided for interchange of traffic without the ruinous expense of building into every

section of country from which traffic is sought.

Third-The natural Canadian outlet for Grand Trunk traffic, from Eastern to Western Canada is via North Bay, but as the Grand Trunk long haul is from Toronto to Chicago and its short haul from Toronto to North Bay, a long term traffic contract requiring all its traffic to be delivered to the' Canadian National at North Bay, could readily provide the means for liquidating a considerable portion of the Grand Trunk's financial obligations to Canada.

Fourth-It is an error to assert that the Canadian National is to-day without any eastern branches or terminals. It is very completely entrenched in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick; has Government access to the great ocean terminals at Halifax and St. John, and also a considerable system of railway lines in Ontario and Quebec. -

Fifth-It has been asserted also that in order to make a success of the Canadian National railways the terminals of the Grand Trunk are needed. By the traffic contract I would suggest the Grand Trunk could give access to the Canadian National to all the terminals and give running rights required, and the Government would not disburse one cent, but would credit the Grand Trunk with such sums as might he determined for rentals, running rights and surrender of its long haul at North Bay, and apply these credits to the extinction of the obligations of the Grand Trunk towards the Government of Canada. This, in my humble opinion, is one way out of it., and it should be carefully considered by the Government.

There is also another proposition, and it comes from a prominent and respectable business man, Mr. John Baillie, president of the Montreal Board of Trade.

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

Andrew Ross McMaster

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

A good Tory.

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

Joseph Archambault

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ARCHAMBAULT:

Yes and a good Tory, too. Here is the suggestion which Mr. Baillie made at the meeting of the Montreal Board of Trade:

Personally I think there are men in Canada now, as there were in the old days, who can help the country by forming- a syndicate like the C.P.R. and taking over the Grand Trunk.

I think there is room in this country to form another such organization and take the road over and run it. They could run it in a business way far better than any government in Canada or any other country, irrespective of political faith. If we have to put the money up to run it, it had better not be under government control.

The Grand Trunk and the Canadian Northern should be run together. I am in favour of that,

but not under government ownership. It the Grand Trunk should run it, then possibly the government roads should be leased part or in whole to the. Grand Trunk or C.P.R. 1 think two great systems are advisable in this country.

At one o'clock the House took recess.

After Recess.

The House resumed at three o'clock.

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

Joseph Archambault

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ARCHAMBAULT (resuming):

Mr. Speaker, before recess, I had suggested two alternatives, either of which, in my opinion, the Government might adopt with better advantage to the interest of the people of Canada than the acquiring of the control of the Grand Trunk as is proposed in this Bill. The first was a traffic arrangement, or contract, or alliance between the Grand Trunk Railway Company and the Canadian Government under which the Grand Trunk would surrender their long haul from Toronto to Chicago and deliver all through traffic coming from tne East to the Canadian National Railways at North Bay. This contract would also give to the Canadian National railways the use of the terminals they need; it would give them certain running rights, and it would enable the Grand Trunk to liquidate its obligations to Canada.

The second suggestion-it was the suggestion of a promintent business man, Mr. John Baillie, president of the Montreal Board of Trade-was the formation of a syndicate to take over the Grand Trunk. I believe that this suggestion also is a good one. If my hon. friends are afraid of the Canadian Pacific getting control, they could easily direct the Railway Commission to prevent any amalgamation of this syndicate with or its control by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. Now, Sir, we have not yet heard any discussion of these two alternatives. They have not been discussed in the House, but I believe that they deserve serious consideration. The Government would be derelict to its duty in rejecting the amendment now under discussion, because that amendment would give them an-opportunity to weigh carefully these alternatives with a view to serving the best interests of the country.

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

Arthur Meighen (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The hon. member

should not say that they have not been discussed; they have been discussed over and over again.

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

Joseph Archambault

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ARCHAMBAULT:

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

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

Unionist

Mr. J. D. REID:

I did not make a trip to Washington last week.

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

Joseph Archambault

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ARCBAMBAULT:

Then, I have

'been wrongly informed. But is the minister in a position to state that he had no interviews with the authorities at Washington in relation to the running of the Grand Trunk lines in the United States after the Canadian Government acquires them?

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

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

Unionist

Mr. J. D. REID:

Yes. I had no interviews nor discussions in any way, shape or form with any one at Washington or any one in the United States. The only person that I had any communication with in connection with the Grand Trunk was Sir Alfred Smithers.

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

Joseph Archambault

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ARCHAMBAULT:

If the minister

had no information from and no discussion with the authorities at Washington, my point ie much stronger because we should have had this information. Only lately, I read in one of the newspapers that the authorities at Washington were watching eagerly what this Parliament was going to do in regard to this matter. Another piece of information which might perhaps prove of no value, but which might lead to an interesting discussion is the list of shareholders of the Grand Trunk Railway Company. If we had that list, it might reassure the mind of the hon. member for Bed Deer (Mr. M. Clark), and it might convince him that the deal that is now going through will not be of any assistance to his poor widows and orphans on the other side, but will be of some assistance to other parties.

I come now to public opinion which some hon. members seem to treat so lightly. Has public opinion demanded the present deal? I listened very carefully to the whole discussion in the hope that some hon. member

or the minister would place on Hansard or give to the House communications containing requests or petitions from provinces, cities or towns, showing that they were anxious that the Government should acquire the controlling stock of the Grand Trunk. But I have heard nothing of the kind. The only reference made to public opinion was made by the President of the Council (Mr. Rowell), who stated that he was anxious to have the Bill go through this session because if we delayed it, public opinion might rise in Canada against the Bill. In my opinion, this was the most bare-faced, anti-democratic statement I ever had occasion to listen to. But on the other hand, protests have been pouring in from every place in Canada, from Boards of Trade.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY SYSTEM.
Subtopic:   BILL PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.
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November 4, 1919