Mr. W. D. EULER (North Waterloo) presented the fifth and final report of the select standing committee on National Railways and Shipping, as follows:
Your committee to which was referred for consideration and for report to the House, the estimates of the Canadian National Railways and the Canadian Merchant Marine, held fifteen meetings in the course of which it examined sundry witnesses including: Sir Henry Thornton, K.B.E., President and Chairman of the Board; Major Graham A. Bell, C.M.G., Deputy Minister of Railways and Canals; Gerard Ruel, K.C., Vice-President and General Counsel; W. D. Robb, Vice-President in charge of insurance, lands, express, telegraphs, colonization, development, and so forth; C. B. Brown, Chief Engineer, operation department; R. L. Fairbaim, Manager, passenger service bureau; T. H. Cooper, General Auditor, and R.A C. Henry, Director, bureau of economics.
In connection with its consideration of the estimates, your committee made careful examination of the annual report, both of the Canadian Government Merchant Marine and Canadian National Railways. Our conclusions and recommendations with respect to the Merchant Marine have already been reported to the House.
Considerable evidence was adduced in regard to the purchase by the management of the Canadian National Railways ot a property in Paris, from which it appears that the sum expended to April 30, 1924, amounts to about $2,600,000 in Canadian currency. If the property is retained, the remodelling of the building for office purposes is estimated to cost from $400,000 to $700,000 in addition, this amount depending upon the requirements of prospective tenants.
The evidence indicates that the management is of the opinion that adequate quarters in Paris are desirable and that its action in acquiring the property was legal. From the evidence given before the committee, it appears that the price paid was not in excess of its value and that rental values in this section of Paris are increasing.
The evidence further indicates that the management of the Canadian National Railways did not originally propose to make a large capital investment in Paris real estate; therefore, if it can be done advantageously and adequate quarters for the purposes of the Canadian National Railways retained, your committee is of the opinion that this property might be sold, so as to reduce capital investment.
Your committee is of the opinion that the acquisition or sale of property for railway purposes, involving large sums of money, ought not to be possible except by authority of order in council previously obtained.Your committee reviewed, so far as time permitted, the operating statements of the company and, onthe evidence adduced, is of the opinion that thecustomary and necessary maintenance of the permanent way, structures and equipment has not been slighted, but that the general standard of the company's
physical property has been improved.
In regard to the transport of His Majesty's mails, the evidence submitted indicates that there is at
present an unequal distribution of mail services between the different railways-in some instances resulting in inferior service to the public. Your committee feels that adequate mail service is of paramount importance in the public interest and should take preference over the interests of any railway. Your committee suggests that the government take steps to review the whole question as to the transport of mails throughout Canada in order that an equitable distribution may be effected.
Item No. 137 of the estimates before the House provides for an amount of $56 000,000 to meet expenditures by the company for the coming year on the following accounts:-
(a) Interest on securities notes and other obligations ; also, rentals for
lease of lines $18,745,639 58 $22,609,260 34
(b) Equipment principal
payments, sinking fund-miscellaneous maturing or matured notes and other obligations secured or unsecured.. ..
(c) Operating income deficit whenever incurred or ascertained
(d) Construction and betterments, including coordination, acquisition of property and purchase of equipment..
$56,000,000 00 $74,550,000 00
5,867,633 33 1,467,138 48
8,507,699 33 10,400,000 00
From the evidence given your committee feels that the amounts asked for are necessary for the purposes of the company during the coming year and should be granted.
Your committee suggests that in regard to all matters relating to immigration and colonization the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National Railways be invited to co-operate as closely as possible with each other and with the departments of the government concerned with such matters.
Your committee desires to direct the attention of the government to the apparent unnecessary competition and duplication of services between important centres by the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railways and to suggest that the railways be invited to consider the whole question with a view to the elimination whenever possible of unnecessary duplication and