March 31, 1925


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-


LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. The hon. member's remarks with respect to two railway systems and ocean rates were in order, but when he begins to discuss the internal organization of the House of Commons and the Senate he is absolutely out of order.

Topic:   EDITION
Permalink
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN (York):

I bow to your ruling, Mr. Speaker. I was amply trying to show that this extravagance which is common to transportation also prevails in other quarters, and if we start to cure it in our 109i

own House we will the sooner cure the duplication in connection with our railways and our ocean services. That completes my argument anyway, Mr. Speaker. My .point is that you cannot deal effectively with ocean rates by establishing such a one-horse system as the government now propose. But if we have the enterprise to take over the Canadian Pacific Railway and its steamship service-and it is one of the best in the world-and merge them with the National Railways and our merchant marine, we shall at once secure absolute control of land and ocean rates. This consolidation would effect very great economy of operation-upwards of $70,000,000 a year- and would give us an ocean service under our absolute control. If the government want to arrive at a real settlement of the problem they must do something along these lines. Then Canada will publicly own all her transportation facilities, and so give 'the people service at cost. We dh not want to have anything to do with the north Atlantic conference or combine. I admit that it is one of the worst combines in the world, that it is trying to fleece the people of Canada-everyone admits that now-and that it should be disciplined. My argument, Mr. Speaker, is that the only way to discipline this combine is by consolidating our two railway systems and their steamship services into one transportation system under one national management, absolutely owned1 by the people of the Dominion. Once you have done that you will be able to say for the first time to those whom you invite to settle our vacant lands: "We invite you to a country of hope, to a country where you will have the cheapest transportation by land or sea for the products of your farms and of your factories." I hope the government will accept my suggestion. I also hope that they will widen the scope of the committee and allow anybody to appear before it, I am going to appear before that committee and express my views in a much more pronounced form than I have to-day. I hope my friend down the line, the leader of the Progressives (Mr. Forke) will also go there with his representations.

I believe that the people of Canada to-day are determined to finish for all time extravagant expenditure wherever it appears, especially in connection with transportation. While I was quite properly called to order by you, Mr. Speaker, when I pointed out the duplication of workers right in these houses of parliament, I only pointed out that what has taken place in connection with transportation in this country, has also occurred

Ocean Shipping Rates

Topic:   EDITION
Permalink
PRO

Robert Gardiner

Progressive

Mr. ROBERT GARDINER (Medicine Hat):

Mr. Speaker, before we proceed further with this motion I would call the attention of the House to the composition of the proposed committee. It is to be composed of eight Liberals^ four Progressives and three Conservatives. Why is it that the Progressive party with practically the same membership as the Conservative party is allowed one more member on the committee? I would remind the House that there are thirteen members in this part of the chamber who do not pay allegiance to the Progressive party, and they have no representation on the committee. Under the circumstances I presume that the Progressive party is to be represented by four members because of the fact that the thirteen members to whom I have referred are included in the party.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I would suggest to the Prime Minister that in order to give all the elements in this House proper representation on the committee he should1 increase its membership by two or three at least, because it is not fair that our thirteen members should have no representation on a committee of such importance. Some few days ago there appeared in the press an announcement that there had been born in this House a new political party. I contradict that statement emphatically. We thirteen members who do not belong to any of the three major parties in this House met together for the purpose of seeing to it that we got proper representation on any special committees that might be appointed from time to time. That is all we met for; consequently I wish to deny the suggestion that a new party has been born in this House. I would request the Prime Minister to take into consideration the representations that I have made in this regard

and try to provide representation on this committee for these thirteen members.

Topic:   EDITION
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

With respect to the constitution of the committee the government has followed the usual procedure. As to increasing the number on the committee, the unanimous consent of the House is required; but if that is the ivish of the House the government does not mind if the committee is made larger. But as to the personnel, I simply wish to point out that the government is following the practice that was adopted when this parliament came into being and that was followed at the beginning of this session in striking the general committees of the House. Unless some substantial reason to the contrary can be offered, I question very much whether at this stage in the life of the present parliament it would be wise to depart from that practice.

Topic:   EDITION
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I cannot see how the contention advanced by the hon. member for Medicine Hat (Mr. Gardiner) can be logically disputed. Nor does it seem necessary that the committee be enlarged in order to meet it. The committee has fifteen members now. Eight are from the government side, four from the fifty hon. members to my left and three from the fifty-one hon. members here. Obviously the committee is out of balance: the elements are not fairly chosen. That can be remedied by dropping one of the four selected from the fifty to my left and choosing one from the thirteen. I do not favour large, cumbersome committees. I have always felt that because of the new composition of this House an injustice has been done the Conservative party in the small representation it has on committees, and still more so, indeed, in the very small opportunity it has to participate in debate. Members of the Conservative party have only one opportunity in four to take part in debate, although the party represents, as hon. gentle-ment will admit, even from the figures of the last contest, a close approximation to half the people of the country. However, I know the difficulties that in this respect come to the surface and I have never made any complaint as to representation on committees. I do think, though, that the representation in debate is distinctly unjust and should be remedied. But as respects this case the obvious remedy is to have one dropped from the fifty who are over-represented and have one come from the thirteen who are not represented at all.

Ocean Shipping Rates

Topic:   EDITION
Permalink
LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. J. S. WOODSWORTH (Centre Winnipeg) :

Mr. Speaker, I should like to endorse the position taken by the hon. member for Medicine Hat (Mr. Gardiner). We who represent Labour here have no complaint whatever to offer as to the treatment we have received from the House; I believe we have been represented fairly on the committees. But sometimes we are placed in a rather awkward position by the practices which have prevailed. For example, when it comes to debate we have no whip through whom we can speak when arrangements are being made as to the programme which I believe it is the custom to place in the hands of the Speaker. On account of their being only two in the Labour group we have had difficulty in finding a place on some very important committees. We are intensely interested, for example, in railway matters, since a very large number of railway men rather look to us in that connection; but I felt that our numbers-two-hardly entitled us to any representation on that committee. In respect to the committee that was formed the other day to consider the revision of the rules we felt that we had hardly fair treatment, although nothing was said at the time. My colleague (Mr. Irvine) suggested that revision and asked that a committee should be appointed to carry it out. The member for West Calgary (Mr. Shaw) also had a resolution with regard to private members' day. The member for Macleod (Mr. Coote) had a resolution with regard

4 p.m. to the consideration of the estimates. The member for Brant (Mr. Good) had still another resolution with regard to the size of standing committees. All these four resolutions were referred to the committee on the revision of the rules, but strangely enough not one single member of the four who proposed these matters was placed on the committee. It seemed to us at the time that this did not show any very great courtesy to those members; indeed, it was not altogether in accordance with the general practice of this House, namely, that of placing on committees those who are particularly interested in the subject concerned.

Now, with regard to this committee on the control of ocean freight rates, the Prime Minister says that he has been following the recognized practice of the House. But the House should know that within the last few weeks, or few months at most, the conditions in the House have entirely changed. We two members of the Labour group now feel that we can unite with these other groups in seeking representation. There is one Independent member and some ten members who formerly were united with the recognized Progressive party, so that including the representatives of Labour we number thirteen. I think I hear someone say, "unlucky number." Well, we are willing at any time to enlarge our group by including others who care to come in. But numbering, as we do, thirteen, and having regard to the proportion that number bears to the number of the remaining members of the House, we ought to be entitled to representation on a committee of this character.

May I say this, before I take my seat, just to put ourselves straight with the House and with the country at large: We who are elected as Labour representatives remain Labour representatives, entirely responsible to our Labour groups. I believe the member for Medicine Hat (Mr. Gardiner) is quite right when he says the farmer representatives remain entirely responsible to farmers and the independent member remains responsible to the people who nominated and elected him. But for the purposes of the conduct of the business of the House we have found ourselves forced into co-operative effort of this kind, and we think it is only fair that the government should recognize the changed conditions and grant us representation on the special committee. %

Topic:   EDITION
Permalink
UFO

Robert Henry Halbert

United Farmers of Ontario

Mr. R. H. HALBERT (North Ontario):

As one of the committee who at the commencement of the session struck the standing committees of the House, I wish to say just a word lest a wrong impression may have gone forth from what has already been said. It will be noted that those who include themselves in the group numbering thirteen have always been on the standing committees since the commencement of this parliament. No objection was taken when ten out of the thirteen were placed on the Banking and Commerce committee, representing the Progress sives. If they have formed a separate group I would like to know who the leader is, and I would like to know what their name or designation is. Moreover, they are occupying Progressive seats in the House. I simply rose to explain, as one who was on the striking committee, that the group of thirteen is overrepresented because of its members being counted as still within the Progressive group for the purposes of the standing committees of the House.

Topic:   EDITION
Permalink
IND

William Charles Good

Independent Progressive

Mr. GOOD:

Does over-representation on

one committee justify no representation at all on another?

Ocean Shipping Rates

Topic:   EDITION
Permalink
UFO

Robert Henry Halbert

United Farmers of Ontario

Mr. HALBERT:

This is a special committee, I am not speaking of the standing committees. 'The group in question is overrepresented on the standing committees of the House. As the right hon. leader of the opposition has said, if these thirteen members have left this party they are not entitled to a representation of more than three. However I, as one of the four Progressive members named would be perfectly satisfied to be left off this committee, but we want the actual facts to be thoroughly understood.

Mr. JOS. T. SHAW (West Calgary): I have listened with some interest to the politically-minded member for North Ontario (Mr. Halbert). He thinks that if people get together for the purpose of endeavouring to secure what they deem to be their proper representation for committee purposes that consequently there must be a political group, that the group must have a leader, and that they must have all the attributes of a new party such as the one that he belongs to.

Topic:   EDITION
Permalink
UFO

Robert Henry Halbert

United Farmers of Ontario

Mr. HALBERT:

I rise to a point of order. I did not mention any political group at all.

Topic:   EDITION
Permalink
LAB
UFO
LAB

Joseph Tweed Shaw

Labour

Mr. SHAW:

I was calling the Progressive

party a political group. They may not call themselves a political group, but they are. I have no desire to take part in the organization of any political group, and I do not propose to do so. I think we have already got too many political groups in this House. More than that, Mr. Speaker, I am perfectly satisfied that when the electors get a chance at this political group they will see to it that there will be one group in this House of which there will be but a sad remnant left after election day. That group is the group to my immediate right. I have no complaint whatsoever to make personally. The situation does appear to me as perfectly clear. The regular Progressives, or the reactionary Progressives, or the Regressives whatever you call them, are over-represented on this committee. If they did not know that fact before they certainly must be fully aware of it now, and the proper thing, the just thing, the reasonable thing, to do is to withdraw their excessive membership on that committee and see to it that the committee represents fairly the opinion of this House. [DOT]

Topic:   EDITION
Permalink
PRO

Robert Forke

Progressive

Mr. ROBERT FORKE (Brandon):

I have listened with some interest to the discussion [Mr. Good. 3

that has taken place. The hon. member who has just taken his seat (Mr. Shaw) has referred to the members who sit to his right as likely to be taken to task by their electors at some time. I do not know exactly to whom he is alluding, because looking at the composition of the members to his right I do not know whether they are all included in the Progressive party or otherwise.

Topic:   EDITION
Permalink
LAB
PRO

Robert Forke

Progressive

Mr. FORKE:

When the hon. gentleman

first spoke I did not know to whom he was alluding exactly but now he has made it plain. I hope the hon. member is not as good a prophet as he imagines himself to be. Sometimes, perhaps, we are mistaken when we enter into the field of prophecy. I should like to say-and I think I can speak for the Progressive group, or political party, or whatever you like to call them; I am not one of those who quibble over names-that we are a group associated together for certain purposes, and I understand that one of them is the good government of this Dominion of Canada; that is the main principle for which we stand. I for one never imagined for a moment that everyone was not getting a fair deal in the matter of representation on committees. Parliament has been in session for nearly two months now, and this is the first intimation I have had that anything was wrong, that there was any trouble. I for one imagined that everything was going along smoothly as far as committees were concerned. The hon. member for North Ontario has just pointed out that this group of members or whatever you might call them, are over-represented on all the standing committees. It has usually 'been the custom for representations to be made to the Progressive group to suggest the members who should appear on these standing committees. There has been no complaint as to that, and we followed the same custom in regard to this select committee. I did not know there was going to be any complaint or that hon. members would assume the position they now take. If they want separate representations it is quite reasonable on their part and they are entitled to get it; and I am quite willing to bow to any arrangement the House may come to in that respect. There is no intention in the world, I am sure, for anyone to take any undue advantage in this matter. These hon. members should certainly get the privileges to which they are entitled in this House, and they will be given the rights they are entitled to on all the committees. I do not want to

Ocean Shipping Rates

quibble over trifles and I will not say that these hon. gentlemen in question are overrepresented on the regular standing committees. I do not want to stir up trouble at this stage of the session and I am quite willing to leave them where they are as far as I am concerned. I think, however, it is rather ungrateful to use language such as has been resorted to this afternoon. I think these members must realize that they have been accorded every courtesy by hon. gentlemen in this part of the chamber. With special reference to the Labour members here I am astonished that the hon. member for Centre Winnipeg (Mr. Woodsworth) should say that he has not got all the privileges that other hon. members in this House have received. If ever-

Topic:   EDITION
Permalink
LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I made no such statement. I said I had no complaint to make with regard to the privileges enjoyed, that we have been treated with the utmost courtesy by this House. I did say, however, with regard to a certain committee that on account of the smallness of our number we had found ourselves somewhat at a disadvantage and that when the opportunity offered to co-operate with other members we would gladly avail ourselves of it in order to have on the committee representatives who would be perfectly satisfactory to us. I want that to be quite understood; I am not complaining at all of the treatment that the House has accorded to the two Labour members.

Topic:   EDITION
Permalink
PRO

Robert Forke

Progressive

Mr. FORKE:

There is just another matter I should like to call attention to. I want those hon. members who have been complaining that they have mot been accorded all the privileges to which they are entitled to take up the order paper and find out who have had the privilege of indulging in discussions that have taken up the time of this House. If they will do that they will find that the time of the House has been largely occupied by members who are now complaining that they have not enjoyed enough privileges.

Topic:   EDITION
Permalink
PRO

March 31, 1925