recognize that besides all the successive aids and grants to it from the country, it has from the very first secured for its chief promoters and owners of its shares, peerages, baronetcies, knighthoods and other honours, fortunes for themselves and friends; and that the country was equally generous to the promoters and bankers of rival railway lines that ultimately became bankrupt; and that these later promoters and bankers also shared in the baronetcies and other honours and profits and appointments of various kinds and had all their company debts taken over and paid by an overtasked and overtaxed public.
Notwithstanding all which the public and the people found and are finding most of the money-outside of the Canadian Pacific's shares and bond issues-and all the traffic for these railways, at high rates; and therefore, in a word, that company must listen to a public demand for consolidation and unified operating costs when it comes up as it does come up to-day in this House and in the country; and the public likewise must be fair in the matter of compensation to the hitherto successful Canadian Pacific.
The Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul and many other railways now under fire on the New York Stock Exchange are a warning even to the successful Canadian Pacific. Great moneymaking propositions and successful services are ever threatened by scrapping. All transportation is being scrapped to-day. The automobile, the autobus, the motor truck are taking the local passenger, freight, cartage and express business from the big railways; and the aeroplane will soon reach for the long distance travel, mail and express business; the sleeping and dining car business is in danger, even a lot of the hotel patronage is threatened when business men and others come to know that interview's over wire or wireless are as efficient as personal visits involving long jumps by rail or road and the accompanying inconveniences. The new world may take a lot of the present rush out of business, and sanity take its place-overstraining may be at its peak.
There may be a wise time to sell a successful private-owned railway property, especially if in the near future the traffic were limited to long hauls of freight by land and sea; and if the Canadian Pacific should determine to sell, a commission of three men made up of the presidents of the Canadian Pacific and the Canadian National and one other arbitrator ought to be able to fix a fair amount for the consideration of parliament as compensation to the Canadian Pacific shareholders for the transfer of all their services and assets to the
National Railways. And such a consolidation of these roads and services might suggest to parliament the creation of a new corporation to be called National Canadian Carriers, an organization that would include these railway, ocean, express and telegraph services and other services on highways and waterways, said carriers being further empowered to take up, as need may call for, any coming developments in such service and communications of all kinds by radio, beam, wireless or cable, as inventors or promoters may be prepared to submit or the policy of the new consolidated directorate might determine or parliament order. All such common carriers in the widest sense to be national or under national control and in no way dictators to parliament or the nation. This is where the tragedy that is now at our doors will end and national prosperity begin afresh.
This programme of mine is, I hope, plain to all, and I ask hon. members to read it and I ask the country to read it. The outstanding deduction from it all is that Canada under her present financial strain cannot afford to maintain these two competing railways and other services, when one joint management and ownership would) give a much better and more economical service. Is it not absurd, for instance, that there should be two enormous headquarter buildings and headquarter staffs in the city of Montreal, one for the Canadian Pacific and another for the Canadian National, when one building would house both, when one set of officials could administer both systems and do it much better and for less money. Of all the pieces of extravagance before the world to-day, this is one that ought first to be put an end to and reason and economy govern in its place. It is not only an extravagance, it is a crime and there is not a member in this House that does not admit I am right, that does not think it should end now and forever.
Now as to how this consolidation could be effected, I have already hinted at it in my previous speech that it could be achieved in a very short time and that the economies effected would permit not only reduced freights by land and water but would bring about other economies in the telegraph, express and postal branches and that the whole of the financial commitments of the two systems could be met by these consequent savings and by re-arrangement of the securities involved. Members may laugh at the extent of the proposal and the commitments of it; but because it is large and because it is sweeping, it may justify itself. The real enormity is in the existence of two unneces-
Ocean Shipping Rates
sary systems at great cost when one would do much better and give immediate relief to all interested in transportation and communications.
I do not propose a single thing that is not what might be called an investment proposition; and I challenge the best financial authorities in this country or out of it to deny the conclusion which I have reached in favour of the consolidation. All our railway proposals were for the expenditure of further money of the taxpayers of Canada. For the first time I am proposing something that would at once lessen the burden of the Canadian taxpayers; and I want to say, that the First Minister has himself declared in this House that he has already approached the Canadian Pacific-to what extent I cannot at present say-but what he said is most significant, and what the Globe says for itself and its party is also significant, and what the others that I have quoted have said is also significant. Canada is at a crisis to-day. What it wants is courage in the government and in this parliament to deal with that crisis and by a new departure start our country and our people again on the up grade. Desperate conditions call for radical use of the knife and the stern orders of the dictator of retrenchment in times of the wildest extravagance. If the cure doesn't come a new Cromwell will; and even now you can almost hear his horses champing in their stalls, and later on in the lower corridors of this House.
And, finally, let me say to the House and to this parliament in the. matter of duplex services: Coming in at our centre door, under the tower, what do I see? Duplex post offices double-manned with two postmasters and two deputy postmasters-one set for the Commons and one set for the Senate-and double sorters in the two offices; also a duplex system of accountancy and a battery of clerks as timekeepers on members and senators, and a double staff of writers of indemnity checks for the two houses; also duplicate barber shops; duplicate Hansard staffs; duplicate messenger staffs-