April 26, 1920

UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Does the hon. gentleman not recognize the difference between a service conducted by a department which is not a purely -business enterprise and not competing with other business enterprises, and such a system as the Canadian National railways, which must so compete?

Topic:   OPIUM AND DRUG ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

If the system of public ownership of the Canadian National railways can only be conducted by concealing all the detailed facts from the people, then that is the best evidence that the system is wrong.

Topic:   OPIUM AND DRUG ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Nobody suggests that.

Topic:   OPIUM AND DRUG ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

Vast sums of money

are spent in connection (with the administration of postal services. Go across -the street and you will find an army of men engaged in preparing details of expenditures to go before the Public Accounts Committee. What are you wasting time on that for? If hon. gentlemen's arguments are logical; if it is necessary to conceal from the public all the details of the vast expenditure in connection with railways, then it is well to conceal the details of the small transactions, comparatively speaking, carried out in connection with other departments. From time immemorial the foundation of the carrying on of Canadian public business has been the principle that for every dollar of public money that is spent an account shall be given, and it is provided in the law

that an account shall be rendered to the Auditor General, and submitted if called for to the Public Accounts Committee. If the Government cannot conduct the business of the Government railway in that way; if that business must be conducted with secrecy; if the facts have to be kept from the public, that is the best possible evidence that the system is wrong and should not be continued.

Topic:   OPIUM AND DRUG ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNION

Matthew Robert Blake

Unionist

Mr. M. R. BLAKE (Winnipeg North):

I should like to say a few words on a matter of national importance to the country and also a matter of international notice. A message has been received to-night that the Winnipeg " Falcons " have won the world's championship at the Olympic Hockey Match by a score of thirteen to one.

Topic:   OPIUM AND DRUG ACT AMENDMENT.
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L LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Laurier Liberal

Mr. F. S. CAHILL (Pontiac):

Mr. Speaker, I do not intend to enter into a discussion on the railway question to-night, and it is not my intention now to make any extended remarks. I simply want to put the Minister of Marine (Mr. Ballantyne) and the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Meighen) right. They spoke of what an awful mess the political management of the Intercolonial railway was; how bad it was. In the report of the Minister of Finance (Sir Henry Drayton)' the Drayton-Acworth report, he states:

Whatever question there may be as to the propriety of endeavouring to earn interest on capital, it will hardly be questioned that the line ought to be so managed as at least to earn operating expenses, including therein a proper allowance for taxes. And even ignoring the early history of the undertaking, and considering merely the years from 1888-1916, during which the greatest advance has taken place In Canada, and the traffic of Canadian railways has shown the greatest increase, the Intercolonial has paid no taxes and still not earned operating expenses. During this period the total operating deficits reported amounted to $11,188,885.50. The total operating surpluses amounted to $1,651,239.73. In addition, however, there was, in the years 1912-16, an amount of $3,046,406.86 charged to working expenses and devoted to renewals, which, under the accounting methods in force before that date, would have been credited to surplus. Adding together these two latter figures, and deducting them from the deficit, we find that in the twenty-eight years from 1889-1916 there was an accumulated deficit on operation of $6,491,232.91.

Topic:   OPIUM AND DRUG ACT AMENDMENT.
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L LIB
L LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Laurier Liberal

Mr. CAHILL:

Twenty-eight years. The

Minister of Railways told the House that for this year the deficit on the Intercolonial was something over $4,000,000, or an amount equal to the deficits on the Intercolonial

for a period of eighteen years previously. The result under political management, which the Minister of the Interior holds up as something to be got away from, is as I have stated; but the minister prefers the system of my hon. friend (Mr. Reid) who appoints his friends to run this railway by a secret method, in the dark, where the light cannot get in. I am glad to hear the Minister of Railways say that he is going to give us a real statement.

Topic:   OPIUM AND DRUG ACT AMENDMENT.
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L LIB
L LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Laurier Liberal

Mr. CAHILL:

Before his Estimates pass. -I am taking that for granted. The Minister of the Interior (Mr. Meighen) tells us that that statement will contain all things that it is proper for us to know. I will tell the Minister of the Interior that we shall be the judges of what we believe it is proper for us to know, and when we are on the Estimates, we shall take care of that phase of the matter.

Topic:   OPIUM AND DRUG ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Mr. Speaker, I do not wish to take up the time of the House, but I think it is important that the country should clearly understand the amazing doctrine that the Government has put forward this evening as regards public ownership, especially as the Government prides itself somewhat on having gone in for public ownership on a scale that no other government in the history of this country has attempted or even thought of. Unless I am completely mistaken, the significance of all that has been said by the Minister of Railways, the Minister of Marine and the Minister of the Interior, has been to the effect that with the extension of government ownership, there is to be, not an increase of publicity, but a diminution of publicity in regard to matters pertaining to operations.

Topic:   OPIUM AND DRUG ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNION
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I would ask

any of the hon. gentlemen to whom I have referred if that is not what was said.

Topic:   OPIUM AND DRUG ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

No, the very opposite.

Topic:   OPIUM AND DRUG ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Then, I shall have to leave the country to read the debate for itself: I have stated what I understood all the ministers to say. Take the remarks of the Minister of the Interior. He said that when we were dealing with enterprises of limited scope, it was all very well to have a minister answerable to Parliament who would give detailed information in

regard to the business that was being carried on-

Topic:   OPIUM AND DRUG ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

My hon. friend is

making a very poor inference from my remarks, if that is the way he took down what I said.

Topic:   OPIUM AND DRUG ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Again, I must say to the House that if any hon. member will take the trouble to look at Hansard to-morrow, I think he 'will find that the expression the Minister of the Interior used was "enterprises of limited scope," and in that connection he referred particularly to the Intercolonial railway; he said that it was all right as regards enterprises of limited scope for a minister to come down and give to Parliament a detailed account, but when we got beyond these "enterprises of limited scope," in other words when we got into these vast undertakings in which this Government has landed the country, then we were to have something different; we were to have corporate management as private business enterprises were conducted.

Topic:   OPIUM AND DRUG ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I said that it was all right to be answerable in those cases which are of limited scope in respect to purchases or matters of operation from day to day, but I never suggested-in fact I said the very contrary-that there was any detail that should not ultimately come down or be ascertainable by members of this House.

Topic:   OPIUM AND DRUG ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

The minister has an unfortunate manner of stating his views in a way that conveys one impression, and then of taking exception to the impression that his remarks convey.

Topic:   OPIUM AND DRUG ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

That is precisely what I said.

Topic:   OPIUM AND DRUG ACT AMENDMENT.
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April 26, 1920