May 6, 1925

LIB

William Daum Euler

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

Is the minister endeavouring to convey the idea that a publicly owned monopoly is on all-fours with a privately owned monopoly as regards service?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   $ 51,139,160 67 $ 48,978,595 08 COMMONS
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

It is on all-twos; it may not be on fours. A monopoly is a monopoly. I am free to admit that if that is the solution and we cannot get around the problem in any other way, I would prefer a publicly owned monopoly to a privately owned one.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   $ 51,139,160 67 $ 48,978,595 08 COMMONS
Permalink
LIB

William Daum Euler

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

That is enough, that will do.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   $ 51,139,160 67 $ 48,978,595 08 COMMONS
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

For this reason, that a publicly owned monopoly can be controlled annually by this parliament in detail to a large extent and the people's views can be represented, while a privately owned monopoly, no matter how safeguarded, would not be safeguarded with the same close criticism.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   $ 51,139,160 67 $ 48,978,595 08 COMMONS
Permalink
LIB
LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

Will hon. gentlemen bear with me for just a few minutes longer? The question of co-operation has been discussed between the heads of the railway companies and myself and other members of the government many times. It is not so easy of accomplishment, as it may appear. Co-operation in the eliminating of certain passenger trains would not be difficult, although the president of the Canadian Pacific put this question to me just few days ago: "You say we are running a lot of trains between here and Montreal. So we are, but I tell you these trains pay. Why should I be asked by you or by the government or by parliament to take off a train that is helping to pay dividends to my shareholders? Is that fair to the shareholders?" That is a matter that has to be considered, because, to my mind, we must not do anything, in either amalgamation or forced co-operation, that is going to frighten capital invested in the Dominion of Canada. At the present time-and I might diverge for a moment-we are being unjustly criticized in England on account of conditions existing respecting the acquisition of the Grand Trunk by the government for the Canadian National system. There are two chief complaints. I say that they are both ill-founded. The first complaint is that the preference and common shareholders of the old Grand Trunk were frozen out in the arbitration or in the settlement with the government of Canada, and that the settlement made gives to other holders of securities, not senior to the holdings they have, remuneration year by year, while under the arbitration they get nothing. Our answer to that was that the Grand Trunk was going into bankruptcy and was practically

bankrupt. The government of the day had either to let the Grand Trunk go into bankruptcy or to make some arrangement for taking it over. If it had been allowed to go into bankruptcy, that would have been better financially, perhaps, for the people of Canada at the present time, but the amount that would have been received by security holders in the Old Land would have been very much curtailed, if not in a large measure wiped out. The complaint is that in the arrangement made with the late president of the Grand Trunk they were deprived of any recompense for their investment, but it went to other gentlemen who held securities. I say that there is no foundation for complaint as to the arrangement made with the government of Canada at that time. Why? The common stockholders of the Grand Trunk never had any equity in the Grand Trunk. That stock is not any good now and never -was any good so far as return is concerned. What were the conditions? I suppose I should not take up time defending my right hon. friend, but I am defending Canada. The government of Canada found the Grand Trunk practically in bankruptcy. They had to decide whether they would let it go into bankruptcy with all that that meant, or try to make some arrangement to rescue it and get it on its feet. I will not argue whether the latter was the right thing to do or not, but that is what was done. The officials of the Grand Trunk agreed to the proposition. Their action was confirmed by the directors of the Grand Trunk and the action of the directors of the Grand Trunk was confirmed by the shareholders of the Grand Trunk who had the" votes. Therefore, it is the shareholders, the directors and the then officials of the Grand Trunk who are to blame if any of the rights of any of the investors were given away to the Dominion of Canada.

Another complaint is made, and I think it is wise to refer to it on account of very misleading despatches that are coming over here from certain sources in the Old Land and on account of the attitude of the press of the Old Land that is either ill-informed or has very ill-digested its information. The other complaint that is made is this. The Grand Trunk Pacific 4 per cent perpetual debenture stock was guaranteed conditionally, by the Grand Trunk. That is not all the investment in the Grand Trunk Pacific, because certain bonds were issued that were guaranteed by the Dominion government, and I want to say now to those critics in the Old Land that those bonds are being taken care

C.NJI.-Minister's Statement

of year by year and that the Dominion of Canada has never declined nor even hesitated to honour any of its liabilities. Interest on bonds, whether guaranteed by the Dominion or the provinces is being paid by the Dominion. This Grand Trunk Pacific 4 per cent perpetual debenture stock was not guaranteed by the government but was conditionally guaranteed by the Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada, the condition being that the Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada should have net surplus earnings available for the purpose of the interest. The holders of those 4 per cent debentures are endeavouring to make the people believe that in some way when the Canadian government took over the Grand Trunk, they should have merged into a different position, and that the government of Canada is responsible for this Grand Trunk contingent liability. I say to those security holders, not that you are in the same position that you were in before, but that you are in an infinitely better position than you were in before, because the guarantee of the Grand Trunk will mean something in a few years, whereas under the old condition it would not have meant anything, but the guarantee of the Grand Trunk would have passed out so far as any worth was concerned, if that company had been allowed to go into bankruptcy. In discussions with these gentlemen, they based their contention largely on two things, first a speech made by my right hon. friend.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   $ 51,139,160 67 $ 48,978,595 08 COMMONS
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Will my hon. friend permit me a question first? It is the Grand Trunk's liability to the Grand Trunk Pacific which is contingent on the Grand Trunk earnings?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   $ 51,139,160 67 $ 48,978,595 08 COMMONS
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

Yes.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   $ 51,139,160 67 $ 48,978,595 08 COMMONS
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Do I understand-I think and I hope I do-that the government acknowledges that, whatever undertaking the Grand Trunk gave itself, that must be lived up to?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   $ 51,139,160 67 $ 48,978,595 08 COMMONS
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

Surely.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   $ 51,139,160 67 $ 48,978,595 08 COMMONS
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

It is because the undertaking of the Grand Trunk does not mature for the reason that there are no earnings, that the government does not acknowledge any liability?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   $ 51,139,160 67 $ 48,978,595 08 COMMONS
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

That is it. In 1923, the earnings of the Grand Trunk did permit the payment of interest on those securities. The government merely took the place of the Grand Trunk, and it is carrying out the obligations of the Grand Trunk Company and will continue to do so.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   $ 51,139,160 67 $ 48,978,595 08 COMMONS
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

This point comes in.

The government acknowledges that whatever liabilities the Grand Trunk is under must be paid. I quite agree that it has paid them, and properly so. The Grand Trunk Pacific is directly liable for the interest but the government does not acknowledge that the liability of the Grand Trunk Pacific must be paid, as it is in liquidation. That is the difference.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   $ 51,139,160 67 $ 48,978,595 08 COMMONS
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

Yes; Hansard will have

it all clear. But I should like to clarify the matter in a sentence: The Canadian government, no matter what party was in power, has never repudiated its undertaking and never will. I want to point out further that although the government has merely assumed the liability of the Grand Trunk railway under conditions existing, the holders of the securities are in an infinitely better position than they would have been had the Grand Trunk been allowed to go into liquidation.

Now as to co-operation. As I pointed out a moment ago, co-operation in the removal of a passenger train here and there will not get us very far in the reduction of expenses although it will help to some extent. It is not gentlemen who live in the cities at the end of a run who will suffer. Let us take Montreal, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Ottawa or Toronto: it is easy enough for gentlemen from these places to say that we could eliminate many of the passenger trains, because these gentlemen can always get the service they want. If you cannot get the Canadian National you can get the Canadian Pacific. If you are in Ottawa and you are unable to get the Canadian National on the main line you can get the Canadian Pacific, and if not the Canadian Pacific you can take the tunnel line or, if you like, you can go on the Canadian Pacific by the North Shore line if you want to go to Montreal. I repeat, therefore, it is not the man in the large city who would stand to suffer; he has not a particle of an idea as to what the removal of trains would mean, for it does Hot affect him. You could cut the train service in two between these cities and the people travelling between them would still be able to get their trains. But to people living at Vankleek Hill and Alexandria, and other places between these points, any reduction in the train service would be of considerable significance. Those who live at the extremes would be under no sacrifice if the service were reduced to a considerable extent, but the people in the intermediate sections are affected by any curtailment of train service. Notwithstanding this, however, I think there can be a curtailment of service without injuring anyone.

C.NJt.-Minister's Statement

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   $ 51,139,160 67 $ 48,978,595 08 COMMONS
Permalink
PRO

Robert Alexander Hoey

Progressive

Mr. HOEY:

That would apply to through trains that do not stop at local points.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   $ 51,139,160 67 $ 48,978,595 08 COMMONS
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

Speaking of through

trains, hon. gentlemen perhaps forget that in the transcontinental business the Canadian lines are competing not only with each other but with the American lines as well, and it is not so easy a task as it would seem at first sight to take off any trains. I was an agent for an American line many years ago, and it was surprising how many people crossed the river a few miles from here and took the American railway from Ogdensburg to Chicago, if they could get a little better rate, instead of going on the Grand Trunk or on the Canadian Pacific. And this competition is kept up all the time. I think, however, that savings can be effected and I have asked the two presidents on several occasions to discuss the possibility, although I am free to confess at the present moment that wh have not got anywhere so far; we have made no advancement. I am going to request them to come together again to consider the whole question whether it is not possible to come to some arrangement of co-operation that would include not only passenger traffic 'but an exchange of freight on an equality basis that would prevent duplication.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   $ 51,139,160 67 $ 48,978,595 08 COMMONS
Permalink
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN (York) :

The minister

might ask them to give their opinion as to what savings could be effected by an extensive system of re-routing.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   $ 51,139,160 67 $ 48,978,595 08 COMMONS
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

That is included in what I have said. During the war a saving was made as a result of co-operation between the companies, working in harmony with the railway board. But we must remember that during the war the people were willing to make any sacrifice that was necessary; they are not so obedient now. However, I am going to ask the railways to see if they cannot devise some plan by which savings can be effected in this respect, because I frankly confess that at the present time I am not in favour of a monopoly on the part of either private or public ownership. If that cannot be done- and this is not a threat at all-I shall, consider advisedly the question of asking the railway commission or its chairman to sit in on the job to see if some satisfactory arrangement cannot be arrived at. One hon. gentleman said the other day, quite rightly, that in his opinion if the problem is to' be settled it must be by means of a friendly agreement. But if a friendly agreement cannot be reached then I am going to suggest that by some method the Board of Railway Commissioners be allowed to have 186

some say in outlining a plan that would bring about the desired result without injury to either of the railway companies. As I said before, the capital invested in either of the lines must not be impaired in any arrangement that may be made.

Now, I think I have occupied the time of the House at sufficient length, although I should like to speak longer on the question of co-operation. However, let me say a word in regard to immigration-and I am not going to scold] at all, because I believe that everyone has a right to his opinion. This is my opinion, that if the Dominion of Canada, with its far-flung territory, can support only 9,000,000 people then the Creator made a mistake when he made Canada. This great country was not thrown into the universe with the expectation that it should support only 9,000,000, while a country no larger in area maintains 120,000,000. Arguments have been advanced against immigration, but I submit in all modesty that if you sift those arguments they are rather parochial; they are confined to the trouble that may arise for me and my wife or for John and his wife, and they d'o not extend beyond that. If Canada, is to be the country we all want it to be, we must increase the population by bringing in outsiders as well as by following the example of the province of Quebec in home production. We cannot go on with tight or nine million people, scattered over this extensive territory, and expect to be prosperous. We have a transportation system that can support many more people. Had not the war arrived with the calamity that overcame the entire world I am confident that we should have had! many more millions of people in Canada to-day and the present transportation problem would not be a problem at all so far as financing is concerned. This country is capable of maintaining at least 50,000.000 people. If every man did not want to have a couple of hundred acres more of land than he can farm, and if he had neighbours on that land who would farm it more intensively, there being'less land to every man, rt would be better for the Dominion! If we had perhaps just a little less industrialism where there is not a demand for the products of the industry, if we devoted our attention to the development of those things that, go to make wealth, always keeping up our industrial progress with our agricultural progress, because they should go hand in hand, then this country need have no fear of the future. And again I appeal to hon. gentlemen who express themselves opposed to immigration, and I assure them that, though they may not, I believe their children will

C.NJt.-Minister's Statement

live to realize that their policy was really a broad-minded policy that made for the fullest development of the Dominion. We have an immigration department in the Canadian National Railways, the Canadian Pacific Railway also has an immigration department, and the Dominion government, of course, has an Immigration department. I am not going to discuss now how these ought to work together. Some day when I have time I intend to go into the railway immigration departments and see what it all means. But I submit again that the real solution of the problems of the Dominion, industrially, agriculturally, and so far as transportation is concerned, is the bringing to our shores of citizens who will become dwellers in this country to their profit and to the profit of the Dominion. That, I believe, is the foundation on which the solution of these problems rests.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   $ 51,139,160 67 $ 48,978,595 08 COMMONS
Permalink
IND

William Charles Good

Independent Progressive

Mr. GOOD:

Mr. Speaker, may I ask the hon. minister what is the use of getting men in here if we cannot keep them?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   $ 51,139,160 67 $ 48,978,595 08 COMMONS
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

Mr. Speaker, that is just the kind of question to which I was referring. Will my hon. friend allow me to say something to him straight from the shoulder? If my hon. friend would be a leader and not a follower of his people, and if other men like him would be the same, we would not have so much talk about not being able to look after our immigrants. I represent a rural constituency right beside the city of Detroit, and people are going and coming all the time. But I want to say this to my hon. friend and to others that in the development of public opinion a member of parliament has very great responsibilities, and his doctrine becomes the doctrine of 75 per cent of the people. There is no question about that. If men in the House of Commons and in the Senate, if men on the bench and other outstanding leaders, will take it into their heads to say, "We believe in Canada; we are here to stay; the problems of Canada are our problems; the problem.% of the railways of Canada are our problems; we are able to solve them and are going to solve them,"-if we would all do that and go ahead and put our shoulders to the wheel1 only to a. measurable extent that our forefathers did, there would be no question of the solution of our problems, there would be no question about the future of this Dominion.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   $ 51,139,160 67 $ 48,978,595 08 COMMONS
Permalink

May 6, 1925