May 4, 1922

LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Liberal

Mr. CAHILL:

It was moved in committee.

Topic:   CROWSNEST PASS AGREEMENT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED INQUIRY INTO EFFECT UPON RAILWAY RATES
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Exactly, in Committee of the Whole, moved by the Government, moved by the Hon. Dr. Redd, who at that time was Minister of Railways, and the hon. member knows it.

Crowsnest Agreement

Topic:   CROWSNEST PASS AGREEMENT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED INQUIRY INTO EFFECT UPON RAILWAY RATES
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LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Liberal

Mr. CAHILL:

A special committee.

Topic:   CROWSNEST PASS AGREEMENT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED INQUIRY INTO EFFECT UPON RAILWAY RATES
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

No, this was moved by the Government in the House. Does that get into his head?

Topic:   CROWSNEST PASS AGREEMENT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED INQUIRY INTO EFFECT UPON RAILWAY RATES
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   CROWSNEST PASS AGREEMENT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED INQUIRY INTO EFFECT UPON RAILWAY RATES
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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order.

Topic:   CROWSNEST PASS AGREEMENT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED INQUIRY INTO EFFECT UPON RAILWAY RATES
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I do not think I have been discourteous to the hon. member.

Topic:   CROWSNEST PASS AGREEMENT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED INQUIRY INTO EFFECT UPON RAILWAY RATES
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LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

Not very polite.

Topic:   CROWSNEST PASS AGREEMENT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED INQUIRY INTO EFFECT UPON RAILWAY RATES
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I am not reflecting at all on the hon. member's head. I am reflecting on his obstinacy. Very well. The Government took its position.

Topic:   CROWSNEST PASS AGREEMENT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED INQUIRY INTO EFFECT UPON RAILWAY RATES
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LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Liberal

Mr. CAHILL:

Why did not the Government take its position on the floor of the House instead of through a committee?

Topic:   CROWSNEST PASS AGREEMENT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED INQUIRY INTO EFFECT UPON RAILWAY RATES
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The Government did.

Topic:   CROWSNEST PASS AGREEMENT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED INQUIRY INTO EFFECT UPON RAILWAY RATES
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LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Liberal

Mr. CAHILL:

What is the difference between one special committee and another?

Topic:   CROWSNEST PASS AGREEMENT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED INQUIRY INTO EFFECT UPON RAILWAY RATES
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The Government submitted the whole revision of the Railway Act to the committee. The Government did not submit this point at all. It was not up at that time. Immediately it came up the Government-

Topic:   CROWSNEST PASS AGREEMENT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED INQUIRY INTO EFFECT UPON RAILWAY RATES
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LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Liberal

Mr. CAHILL:

It was by Order in Council.

Topic:   CROWSNEST PASS AGREEMENT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED INQUIRY INTO EFFECT UPON RAILWAY RATES
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Let me finish my sentence. The Government got its information from the Railway Commission, got a memorandum, and on the basis of that submitted to the committee of the whole its opinion upon the question-

Topic:   CROWSNEST PASS AGREEMENT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED INQUIRY INTO EFFECT UPON RAILWAY RATES
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LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Liberal

Mr. CAHILL:

It did not come direct.

Topic:   CROWSNEST PASS AGREEMENT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED INQUIRY INTO EFFECT UPON RAILWAY RATES
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

-and that will suit me if this Government will do that. Let the Government announce its course, announce it anywhere. VeTy well. The point my hon. friend sought to divert me from was this, that the question of the extension or non-extension of the suspension is not the question we are discussing, though it is quite true if hon. members have finally and conclusively and irrevocably made up their minds on that in the negative-in the negative, I repeat -then they are consistent on that ground in opposing the resolution. But I oppose the resolution on the grounds I stated before, and once more I submit to the House through you, Mr. Speaker, that it is in the interests of this House and in the interests of the proper conduct of affairs in this country that we take up

our position on the grounds I submitted to this House before.

What is the resolution before us? The resolution before us is this, that a special committee of this House go into the whole question of transportation costs and hear especially witnesses on the subject of the wisdom of the extension of the Crowsnest pass suspension. That is a statement of it that I know will suit the hon. Minister of Railways (Mr. Kennedy). That is what we are asked to do. Now why are we asked to do it? What will be gained by doing it? The Prime Minister dilates at great length and in very loud voice on the wisdom of having all possible information. He is a preacher of the doctrine of information, and he says that those are not of his faith who would deny any information to this House.

The Government, he intimates, would be autocratic if it dared to come down to Parliament with its policy until all inform ation had been adduced before a special committee, or some committee, of this House. Why, the government of this country day in and day out for years, all governments, this Government since it came into power has come into Parliament with its policy,-such as it was-invariably the policy it said it would not follow, but nevertheless its policy-without having anything submitted to a committee of this House. There are cases, of course, when the contrary course may be taken, cases such as I sought to explain when I was on my feet before. But to say that anybody who declines to vote for this resolution is against information is to talk what I submit, in all respect, is nonsense. Is the information not available now? If it is, why have the evidence all heard again? May I submit that to hon. members once more? If the evidence has been heard and is on record, if all that cost has been gone to, all the trouble and the time taken, why do it all over again? Let hon. members think of that question. Is it not true that the evidence has been taken, yea, all the evidence, that ten times the evidence has been taken, twenty times the evidence that can by any possibility be submitted to this committee? Is that not true? Is it not true that the Railway Commission has sat almost successively for a year and a half, that it has heard the evidence pro and con, from every angle and from every class and every industry of this Dominion, that it has weighed that evidence, that it has had the exhibits' filed and studied, that it has had every-

Crowsnest Agreement

thing studied from the standpoint this committee has been charged to study it from? Has not that all been done, and is not the evidence so taken at the disposal of every member of this House? Is it not at the disposal of the Government? Why, it has been at their disposal for days, for weeks; and the men who heard it, who had the advantage of seeing the witnesses in front of them and weighing their testimony, those men who have heard similar evidence for seventeen years-at least for the years they have been in office-and their experts for seventeen years, those men stand in front of the Government ready to submit the evidence, ready to give their judgment on that evidence, and submit that judgment to the Government.

Now is not that true? Let me ask again what more do we want in the way of information? Is it solemnly suggested, seriously suggested, that this committee to be appointed by the House is to hear all the classes of evidence of various interests that have already been heard before the Railway Commission? If it is not who are to be eliminated? Who are those who have the right to be heard before the Railway Commission that will not have the right to be heard before this committee? Can any hon. member answer me that? Let me repeat: Is it seriously suggested that a committee of this House to whose membership not one member-or at least not more than one-can possibly be appointed that has ever studied, or given more than a day's consideration to this question- one of the most intricate that ever the mind of man addressed itself to-that such a committee of this House is to settle what the Railway Commission has sat for a year and a half almost continuously to consider, and considered for seventeen years before. Is it suggested that we go again to the expense that the commission has gone to; put the provinces and Canada to the same expense, put the various classes of industry in this country to a like expense; consume a like time, and that the decision of this issue is to wait until the committee brings in its report? If that is not the suggestion, what really is the suggestion? What is the purpose of this committee? What can it do that it can do well? I know of nothing whatsoever.

Now furthermore: When the Railway Commission considered the question that is to be submitted to this committee-without which consideration this committee can never make a report-when the Rail-

92*

way Commision considered the same question in the summer of 1920, the complaint arose from all corners of the Dominion because they had not pursued the usual course of making it easy for people to give testimony and present its case before it-that is to say, the course of going where the evidence was and could be conveniently brought before the commission. That was the main complaint, and bitter the complaints were. The commission cured that complaint. After the re-submission of the issue to them by the governments in the fall of 1920 they went to seven provinces of this Dominion; they went to British Columbia, to Alberta, to Saskatchewan, to Manitoba-they sat in every one of these provinces. They sat also in Ontario, in New Brunswick and in Nova Scotia They sat in every province except two of this Dominion; they heard the evidence or the ground, and they viewed the problem from the viewpoint of these localities. Can this committee duplicate that performance? Is it suggested that it should duplicate it? If not, how can it come to a conclusion anything like as intelligent as the Railway Commision is in a position to present right to-day?

Consequently I say those that argue that we need to appoint this committee because we require more information are presenting an argument that upon serious, honest reflection I do not think any hon. member of this House can entertain. The information is all down; the information is all sifted; the evidence has been all given; the evidence is all printed. The information has been gathered and sifted before a body competent to gather it and competent to sift it. That information is there, that body is there. That body is there ready with its advice and its conclusion. This Government should go to that body, read the evidence, get the conclusion of that commission, reflect on it, and come to this Parliament and present its policy. Now is not that a good practice? Oh, but the Prime Minister says that we have appointed a committee already to consider the Wheat Board suggestion.

Topic:   CROWSNEST PASS AGREEMENT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED INQUIRY INTO EFFECT UPON RAILWAY RATES
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I never spoke of the Wheat Board.

Topic:   CROWSNEST PASS AGREEMENT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED INQUIRY INTO EFFECT UPON RAILWAY RATES
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I think my hon. friend referred to it.

Topic:   CROWSNEST PASS AGREEMENT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED INQUIRY INTO EFFECT UPON RAILWAY RATES
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

No, I never spoke of it.

Crowsnest Agreement

Topic:   CROWSNEST PASS AGREEMENT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED INQUIRY INTO EFFECT UPON RAILWAY RATES
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May 4, 1922