I cannot say positively as to details, but I do know that the accounts are kept in such a manner as to enable one to give the answer which I gave the other day in that regard. My hon. friend from Toronto Northwest also complained because the Canadian National did not think it well, in answer to his question relating to newspaper transportation, to give the details for which he asked. Now that raises what has always been a delicate matter with respect to an enterprise of this character, as to whether, through the medium of parliament, information should be forced into publication which no competitor of the institution, in the ordinary course of its business, does make public. My hon. friend asked for details in great variety, and the answer given-supplied by the management
The question calls for information of a kind that the management of the Canadian National Railways holds not to be in the public interest to divulge in detail, as publication, while serving no useful purpose, may place the Canadian National Railways in an invidious position with respect to competitors whose advertising appropriations are not subject to publication. Even if it were advisable to bring down the information asked for in detail, it could not be given in the form of an answer to a question, as it covers advertising of all kinds
newspapers, magazines, printing of booklets, et cetera, and also not only the entire Canadian field but such portions of the United States as are served by Canadian National lines in that country.
Then follows the information in aggregate figures which I read a few moments ago. There was no objection on the part of the management to giving aggregate figures, but there was an objection to giving details in relation to different newspapers and different classes of service, and that for the reason which I have just indicated.
I would respectfully urge upon the membership of the house, with respect to the matter of free transportation, that it is not in the interests of the system nor of the country that there should be an idea abroad that free transportation is given by either of our great railway companies in contravention of the law. My object in referring to the matter is to ask hon. members' to bring to my attention, if they will be good enough to do so, or to the. attention of the Board of Railway Commissioners any case which in their opinion constitutes an infraction of the law. As I said at the outset, the law as amended in 1919 is now quite clear and specific. The Board of Railway Commissioners' conduct an audit with respect to free transportation, and I merely ask the co-
Railways and Ship-ping-Mr. Harris
operation of hon. members with a view to dispelling this rumour that the law is being broken in th-is particular.
In regard to Canadian National affairs generally, I agree with the leader of the opposition. We can more properly go into details when the house is in committee of supply than in a general discussion of this' sort, merely upon the adoption of a report.
Subtopic: MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN REPORT