March 19, 1928

PRIVATE BILLS

FIRST READINGS


Bill No. 70, to incorporate 1,000 Islands International Bridge Corporation.-Mr. Hay. Bill No. 71, to incorporate The St. Lawrence River Bridge Company.-Mr. Smith (Stormont).


DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

REPORT OF MR. ALEXANDER SMITH, K.C., TABLED


Hon. CHARLES A. STEWART (Minister of the Interior): I beg to lay on the table the report of Alexander Smith, K.C., on the charges of R. A. McClymont.


LIVE STOCK SHIPMENTS ON RAILWAYS


On the orders of the day:


LAB

Herbert Bealey Adshead

Labour

Mr. H. B. ADSHEAD (East Calgary):

I

would ask the Minister of Railways (Mr. Dunning) or the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell) if it is the intention of the government to take any action concerning the application made by the railways before the Board of Railway Commissioners to deprive shippers of the right to have attendants on the train to look after the stock in transit.

Hon. CHARLES A. DUNNING (Minister of Railways and Canals): The whole matter

has been before the Board of Railway Commissioners for some months now, and I believe that it now stands for hearing and determination. The government has no knowledge of the matter outside of the ordinary routine of an application before the board.

Topic:   LIVE STOCK SHIPMENTS ON RAILWAYS
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CABLE MERGER


On the orders of the day:


LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

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

According to cable despatches from London, dated March 15, there has been a virtual merger of the Eastern and Associated Cable companies with the Marconi Company. The holding company for the merger is described in the announcement as subject to the consent of the British, Dominion and Indian governments. The merger, it says, is apparently connected with the deliberations of an Imperial conference set up by Premier Baldwin after the new beam wireless service to Australia had taken forty-five per cent of the Pacific cable business in six months. Can the government give us any information with regard to this matter or inform us how the Dominion government is connected with it?

Topic:   CABLE MERGER
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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):

The matter is a very

large one. My impression is that it has not arisen as is intimated in the despatch to which my hon. friend has referred, out of any discussion at the Imperial conference, but rather out of financial difficulties in connection with the Pacific cable. Perhaps my hon. friend would be willing to wait until we take up the estimates of the Post Office

St. Lawrence Waterway

department in order to get a full explanation of the matter. It comes under the direction of the Postmaster General. Negotiations have been proceeding, and the government has been kept informed. We have been represented on the board in England that has had to do with the matter, and at the appropriate moment all the papers will be laid on the table of the house. Without refreshing my memory, I could not answer a specific question at the moment.

Topic:   CABLE MERGER
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ST. LAWRENCE WATERWAY REPORT OF ADVISORY BOARD COMMITTEE AND CORRESPONDENCE WITH UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT


On the orders of the day:


CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition):

I would like to ask the right

hon. the Prime Minister whether, in view of what was said in his closing observations on the address in reply to the speech from the throne regarding the desirability of giving as little publicity as possible to the report of the advisory board in connection with the St. Lawrence waterway until certain matters had been dealt with, the time has not arrived when we might reasonably hope to have those papers laid before parliament, especially in view of the fact that a fairly well authenticated report prevails in Washington and also in Ottawa that a communication was sent by this government to Washington, to which a reply had been received. In view of that I suggest that perhaps the representatives of the people in parliament should have the opportunity to see these papers, and if the Prime Minister thinks the public interest would not be prejudiced, he might make some arrangement by which the members of this house would have some idea as to just what the situation is.

Topic:   ST. LAWRENCE WATERWAY REPORT OF ADVISORY BOARD COMMITTEE AND CORRESPONDENCE WITH UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT
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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):

As my hon. friend will recall, I mentioned in my remarks on the address that a communication had been sent by the government to Washington with reference to the St. Lawrence waterway project. That communication was not replied to until the end of last week. The reply, as a matter of fact, came into my hands only on Friday or Saturday last, and has not yet been communicated to my colleagues in the government. I would say, however, having read the reply, that I am very much of the view that it would scarcely be advisable to make public immediately either the communication which was sent to Washington or the reply which has been received.

It may seem that the government is seeking in some way not to inform the house fully. As to whether we are exercising wise judgment in that matter must be left, I think, until later when the communications themselves are brought down. A transaction of the character in contemplation, if it is ever to come to anything, cannot be surrounded with too many safeguards. While the government has exchanged communications wholly of a preliminary character, which in no particular bind the country' in any way, but which have been exchanged for the purpose of clearing the ground, so to speak, and in order that parliament may be fully informed of any possible basis of negotiations of a final character, should such ever be reached, it is inadvisable I think, and might possibly prejudice the outcome, too soon to present to parliament any of the documents in the matter. The government must take responsibility for withholding for the time being correspondence which it deems inadvisable to' have given to the public. We must be judged later on as to whether or not we have acted wisely. I have no doubt that when hon. members see the correspondence they will feel that the government was justified in not at present making public the two communications that have been exchanged.

Topic:   ST. LAWRENCE WATERWAY REPORT OF ADVISORY BOARD COMMITTEE AND CORRESPONDENCE WITH UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I wholly appreciate the position taken by the Prime Minister, and he will observe that I asked whether or not in his opinion the time had arrived when we might receive the correspondence, because I realize that in the conduct of government those who direct it must exercise their best judgment and discretion as to whether the interests of the country would be best served by publicity or the retention of the documents in the hands of the government until the time is opportune. I only desired to ask if in the opinion of the Prime Minister that time had not yet arrived.

Topic:   ST. LAWRENCE WATERWAY REPORT OF ADVISORY BOARD COMMITTEE AND CORRESPONDENCE WITH UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT
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TRANSPORTATION OF COAL

ORDER IN COUNCIL FIXING RATE FROM ALBERTA

March 19, 1928