April 1, 1924


Section agreed to. Bill reported. Mr. CARDIN moved the third reading of the bill.


CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I do not think the practice should become a habit, of putting bills through the second reading and the third reading on the same day. I do not think this is an important bill at all, but there is no need of rushing it.

Topic:   PACIFIC HALIBUT FISHERY
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LIB

JUDGES' ACT AMENDMENT-YUKON


Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister) (for the Minister of Justice) moved the second reading of Bill No. 25 to amend the Judges' Act. Motion agreed to, bill read the second time, and the House went into committee thereon, Mr. Gordon in the chair. On section 1-salary of judge of Territorial Court of Yukon Territory increased.


CON

Richard Burpee Hanson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HANSON:

What is the present salary of the judge of the Yukon Territorial Court? Who is the present incumbent and how long has he occupied the position?

Topic:   JUDGES' ACT AMENDMENT-YUKON
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

I presume my hon. friend was absent from the House when all the explanations were given on the resolution. The present salary is $7,000. It is proposed to increase it to $9,000, which is the salary received by all the other high court judges in Canada. As was explained the other day, the judge of the Yukon Territorial Court is receiving a living allowance of $5,000. This will be reduced by $2,000 so that really this will not mean any increase in expenditure.

Topic:   JUDGES' ACT AMENDMENT-YUKON
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CON

Richard Burpee Hanson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HANSON:

It means an increase in retiring allowance.

Topic:   JUDGES' ACT AMENDMENT-YUKON
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

By $1,000.

Topic:   JUDGES' ACT AMENDMENT-YUKON
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Section agreed to. Bill reported. Mr. LAPOINTE moved the third reading of the bill.


LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I might explain to my right hon. friend (Mr. Meighen) that the government's only object in seeking the third readings of these bills is to get legislation across to the Senate which is now sitting. If the third reading is deferred there will be another day's delay in sending the bill to the Senate.

Motion agreed to and bill read the third time and passed.

Topic:   JUDGES' ACT AMENDMENT-YUKON
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CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS

BILLS PROPOSED TO AUTHORIZE THE CONSTRUCTION OF BRANCH LINES


Hon. GEORGE P. GRAHAM (Minister of Railways and Canals) moved that the House go into committee to consider the following proposed resolution: That it is expedient to bring in a measure to provide for the construction of a Canadian National Railway line from Kingsclear, a point on the Saint John and Quebec Railway in the province of New Brunswick, in a generally southwesterly direction, to a point on the St. Croix river, opposite Vanceboro, in the state of Maine; estimated mileage including existing grading, 41 miles; estimated cost, $2,123,000. He said: Mr. Speaker, I do not know whether I am at liberty to discuss the details of the bill that will be based upon this resolution, but I think some at least, of the objections raised last session to the form in which this legislation was introduced, will be explained in the bill. I would prefer to defer that explanation until we have the resolutions in the form of various bills. I might point out that this resolution is for the purpose of the Canadian National Railways having a connection with an American line for traffic between the Maritime provinces and the United C. N. R.-Branch Lines



States, particularly the New England states. At the present time that connection is somewhat faulty. This resolution asks for a line, forty-one miles in length. As a matter of fact, possibly that may be obviated by an arrangement with the Canadian Pacific Railway, by which arrangement the construction will be but fourteen miles in length. The resolution asks for power to construct the forty-one miles, if necessary. The estimated cost is $2,123,000. If it is found necessary to construct the whole forty-one miles, it is proposed to grade the distance in 1924 and to lay the track in 1925.


LIB

Herbert Meredith Marler

Liberal

Mr. HERBERT MARLER (St. Law-rence-St. George):

Mr. Speaker, before you leave the chair, there are certain observations that I would like to bring to your attention and to the attention of the House, relevant to the various resolutions now standing in the name of the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Graham). These resolutions to be brought down by the minister in question contemplate the construction of twenty-six lines of railway aggregating in the neighbourhood of 1,000 miles, and costing approximately or slightly over $28,000,000. It, therefore, seems to me to go without saying that the matter is one of great moment to the country, one that should not be allowed to pass this House without the most careful scrutiny and without our taking into consideration all the facts relating to these proposals which are to be brought before this legislative body.

It is not my intention, in the course of these remarks, to direct any particular motive towards any particular branch line. I desire to discuss the question of branch lines to be brought down in these resolutions in a more or less general manner; but I wish to point out to the House the large amount involved in these undertakings, and also to say that any undertaking which is not absolutely essential for the welfare of the country generally, or actually and vitally necessary for any particular part of our population, should certainly in every respect be eliminated. The government should have in mind in proposing these various resolutions one consideration only, namely, the vital necessity to the country of any expenditures involved, before a single dollar is expended' on these undertakings. As I have stated, these proposals entail an expenditure of $28,000,000, and for any of us in this House to say that we can spend twenty-eight million dollars, or even twenty-eight million cents, with a free hand in view of the condition of our finances

at the present time is the height of absurdity. As a matter of fact, unless we get down to the lowest possible expenditure in Canada it will be utterly impossible for us to reduce the taxation which is so heavily weighing upon the people to-day; and unless that taxation is reduced to a very considerable extent it will also be impossible for any business, whether it be agricultural or otherwise, to succeed in the future. I think, Sir, that we ought to realize what an exceedingly difficult position we are in to-day in Canada. We are living beside the richest, one of the most populous, and one of the most progressive people in the wide world. In some respect in this country we are not free agents. As regards the question of wages and salaries, and in relation to other matters of that kind, we are controlled, not by our own desires but by the rates of wages and salaries that obtain in the United States; we are governed very largely by what the nation to the south of us may do in these directions. In other words, what the richest nation in the world may do we in Canada are bound also to do, so far as wages and other questions of that kind are concerned.

We have also to take into consideration this fact., that if direct taxation in the United States is lower than direct taxation in this country, then it simply means that our population will drift to the south. Some weeks ago, speaking in the House on other subjects, I directed the attention of the government to the exodus which was then taking place and which had been going on for a number of years. I do not think that we can say at this moment that that exodus has entirely ceased; in fact, I believe it is still in progress. And I do not think that the government or ourselves should be lulled into any false sense of security, or into any ungrounded satisfaction, in the suggestion that those people who leave Canada to go to the United States will surely return; because there is not the slightest shadow of doubt that many of our people, and some of the very best of them, who go to the United States never return but stay there. I say therefore that any expenditure, which the government considers necessary, should be made only from the standpoint of urgent and vital necessity; and such expenditure must be brought down to the very lowest possible figure, either if we expect to have our taxation on a par with the taxation that is levied in the United States- and I am speaking just now of direct taxation -or if we desire to retain our population. It

C. N. R.-Branch Lines

goes without saying, of course, that if taxation in the United States is lower than taxation here, most inevitably the drift of the population must continue to the southern country. Now, I do not wish it to be understood that I am saying in this House that we should not undertake any capital expenditures at all;

I believe that in a new country which is progressing as we are, and in a more or less constructive period, it would be exceedingly stupid for any man to say that we should refrain from capital expenditures. On the other hand, if we do decide upon capital expenditure of any description, as for instance in connection with these branch lines, we should look forward very carefully to make sure that that capital expenditure will be productive of a commensurate advantage. We must not act merely upon conjecture; we must be quite certain that it will be worth while and that it will serve some vital need of the people before we vote any such expenditure. So that, with all due respect to my hon. friends on this side of the House, and without the slightest desire to court unpopularity, I say, in the most decided and distinct terms, that I will support these various resolutions only in so far as I am convinced by the most ample explanations and the most adequate information on the part of the minister that the lines are necessary and that the money expended on them is essential in every particular in order to serve a vital need without which we cannot do. I wish to make myself abundantly clear in that respect, so that in the course of the various resolutions and the subsequent bills which may come up, if any information is asked for, the government and the minister in particular will know precisely the stand I take in this House and before the country in reference to this matter.

I do not think that we in this House and in the country as a whole can shut our eyes to the actual railway situation as it now exists. I offer no comment at all on the question as to how that railway situation was brought about, for I do not think that we are particular!}' concerned at the moment as to how it all happened. We are however vitally con-erned with what is actually happening and what may happen in the future. This we must take into consideration at every step; but I doubt very much whether the nation at large or, if I may say so, every hon. member in this House, quite realizes the vast amount of money which we have expended on these undertakings. Possibly many people think that when the estimates are brought down, or when an operating deficit or a profit, as the case may be, is indicated, there is no need any

longer to worry about the railways. They do not realize that in the ordinary debt of the country there is a huge burden, an indebtedness on which we are paying interest all the time, and in relation to the railways themselves; because the indebtedness in that respect is part of our national debt. In other words, we cannot build or buy railways and think that the money will simply be segregated in a certain account and that we shall not have to pay any interest on it. Money has to come from somewhere, and if it does the cost of it has actually to be paid in one account or another. We have expended vast sums in these railways; there are vast sums locked up in the public accounts and in various other accounts; and there are a number of accounts which I think it will interest hon. members and the country as well to know. I think the people would like to know just what is the liability of the Dominion of Canada in connection with our railways. I do not like wearying the House, and it is with great reluctance that I venture to read statements of figures and accounts. But there is no other method open to me of getting these figures on Hansard, and as I think they are of sufficient importance to hon. members and to the country at large I shall ask the indulgence of the House while I submit them. First of all, there is the actual cash which has been invested in these various lines. That cash invested in these lines, as at December 31, 1923, amounted to the vast sum of $1,138,600,430.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   BILLS PROPOSED TO AUTHORIZE THE CONSTRUCTION OF BRANCH LINES
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LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

These are the lines now incorporated in the Canadian National Railways system?

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   BILLS PROPOSED TO AUTHORIZE THE CONSTRUCTION OF BRANCH LINES
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LIB

Herbert Meredith Marler

Liberal

Mr. MARLER:

Yes, they are now operated as the Canadian National Railways system. I will give my hon. friend the division of that particular amount in a moment. It may interest him to have this information. First I will give the main headings. We have expended on these railways, by way of so-called advances, large sums of money on which the interest has not entirely been paid. Then come certain securities which the Dominion guaranteed, the interest on which has to be paid, and eventually the principal also. Then there is a class of securities, so-called guaranteed as to interest only. I think that is a misnomer, for as a matter of fact if interest be guaranteed the capital also is guaranteed, because the obligation to pay interest cannot be of any value unless the capital is eventually paid off. So it virtually means that both capital and interest on those securities are guaranteed by the Dominion After those again we have a mass of so-

C.N.R.-Branch Lines

called unguaranteed securities. In those are included many millions of underlying liens, some guaranteed by various provinces, others not guaranteed at all, but all secured on the various roads of the system forming part of the National lines at the present time, and although not actually assumed-using the word in its very strictest sense-nevertheless they are virtually assumed by the Dominion, as owners of the property for the reason that if any particular block of securities became due and the interest was not paid, it would simply mean that a certain section of the line would be taken by the bond holders. Therefore as a matter of fact we have assumed those securities also, though they are not directly guaranteed.

Here is the statement to which I have reference, and if hon. members will bear with me for a moment I will read certain figures. I spoke a moment ago of the actual total amounting to $1,138,600,430.

This amount is divisible as follows:

What is now Canadian National since it was operated as such from about February,

1923 $ 16,172,847

Canadian Northern 354,212,554 Grand Trunk Pacific 138,743,070 Grand Trunk.. .. 134,583,607 Canadian Govt.. . 494,888,352

In addition to this there is:

. Interest accrued on loans to December 31, 1923, but not paid:

Canadian National

present system______ 428,217

Canadian Northern. 69,589,575 Grand Trunk Pacific 27,562,616

Grand Trunk 13,858,120

111,438,538

Then there are net balances of unmatured securities outstanding guaranteed by the Dominion:

Canadian National present system.. .. 22,500,000 Canadian Northern. 144,702,913 Grand Trunk Pacific 43,432,848

Grand Trunk 49,743,000

260,378,761

And after that securities guaranteed as to interest which really means guaranteed as to principal also-Capital value of Grand Trunk stocks 216,207,141

There are also the outstanding obligations in the hands of the public secured on the whole or on parts of the system as the case may be-not actually guaranteed by the Dominion but assumed by it as virtual owner and on which interest has to be paid:

Canadian Northern-

Equipment Notes.. 32,519,000 Securities guaranteed by various

provinces 79,767,554

Unguaranteed securities 92,816,805

205,103,359

Grand Trunk Railway-

Securities and those of affiliated

companies 44,622,128

Equipment notes .. 13,482,700

58,104,828

Grand Trunk Pacific-

Securities with provincial guarantees.. 13,457,826 Guaranteed by Grand Trunk.. .. 62,581,253

76,039,079

Total cash expenditure, interest accrued on advances, securities guaranteed by Dominion either as to principal or interest or both and. obligations secured on the various roads.. $2,065,872,128

Now, this is a very pretty bill, Mr. Speaker, on which we have to pay interest. We can do it. No one need be afraid of the credit of the country or its ample ability to meet all its obligations and more in full. These figures are not given for the purpose of creating a panic. There is no reason to lose courage, because I am confident we can carry the load. This statement is given however as an ample warning that we have an enormous sum in these roads and as the most apparent evidence that we must not spend more except what is absolutely essential.

Now it is true that for the year 1924 the government is asking for $56,000,000 by way of loans to the National Railways.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   BILLS PROPOSED TO AUTHORIZE THE CONSTRUCTION OF BRANCH LINES
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

In order that there may be no misapprehension, I am presuming that the hon. member has included in the grand total the cost of the Transcontinental, the Intercolonial, the Prince Edward Island and

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other railways that have been built, with accumulated interest upon the cost, and that he ' has also included many obligations, aggregating quite a total in respect of which no interest is being paid, and for which interest we are' not liable?

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   BILLS PROPOSED TO AUTHORIZE THE CONSTRUCTION OF BRANCH LINES
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LIB

Herbert Meredith Marler

Liberal

Mr. MARLER:

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   BILLS PROPOSED TO AUTHORIZE THE CONSTRUCTION OF BRANCH LINES
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April 1, 1924