March 10, 1933

LIB-PRO

John Livingstone Brown

Liberal Progressive

Mr. BROWN:

I cannot agree that this is the duty of an opposition. I believe an opposition should criticize, scrutinize and offer constructive suggestions if possible, and of course there comes the time when it may be and is our duty to oppose the position taken by the government. At any rate, while that was my desire when this debate commenced I must confess that the speech made by the Prime Minister yesterday somewhat shook my determination. I think the speech of the right hon. gentleman, confirmed by the remark of the Minister of Railways just now in which he substituted consideration for acceptance in regard to amendments, made it abundantly clear that no amendments will be accepted unless perhaps they have to do with the length of the cross of the "t" or the size of the dot to be put above the "i". I think it is quite clear that any amendments we may deem advisable will not be accepted by the government.

I am not very much impressed with the willingness of the government to reinsert the section having to do with amalgamation. That does not mean very much to me, because even if that section is placed in the bill it will not prevent the board, which is entrusted with the complete management and control of the system, from pursuing a course that would inevitably force us into amalgamation. With the powers entrusted to them under the terms of this bill they may adopt a course that would make it impossible for us to avoid being driven into amalgamation. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, to me part I is the importaijt part of the bill. AVith a board of trustees doing their duty in the interests of the country parts I and II would be entirely unnecessary, but if part I does not work effectively there is no power under heaven that could make parts II and III work well. I think that should be perfectly clear.

C.N.R ,~C.P.R. Bill-Mr. Brown

Something has been said as to the qualifications of the trustees. Naturally this must be a subject that gives us a great deal of concern. If this were a matter between two private roads we should naturally expect, and we should be justified in expecting, that the respective representatives would stand absolutely by their own interests. But how can we be. perfectly sure that a board of trustees representing the publicly owned railways, representing no immediate interests of their own, would be so completely devoted to the interests of that road as to allow no other considerations to enter their minds? It is all very well to say that we must have men of integrity. Certainly we must; we must have men with high ideals of public service, men who are sympathetic to the idea of public ownership. But how are we going to apply these tests in choosing men to fill these positions?

Perhaps I might offer another suggestion that might be worth considering, although it may possibly be thought narrow on my part. Nevertheless, it is worth, considering, whether men who within the last five years have had a large interest in the Canadian Pacific Railway could give to the operation of the national road that wholehearted, sympathetic management which alone can make it a success.

Referring again to the speech of the Prime Minister, although I said that at the time I did not grasp the full significance of his remarks, yet there was one thing that came to me with a distinct shock and that was his statement that we did not own a railway. The people of Canada had been congratulating themselves upon their ownership of a magnificent railway system comprising some 23,000 miles of steel rails. We were congratulating ourselves on the fact that we were the owners of one of the greatest properties in the world, and now the Prime Minister comes along and tells us it is all a delusion.

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CON

Peter McGibbon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McGIBBON:

How much equity have you in it?

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LIB-PRO

John Livingstone Brown

Liberal Progressive

Mr. BROWN:

We have it all in one sense.

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CON

Peter McGibbon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McGIBBON:

Mortgaged for twice

what it is *worth.

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LIB-PRO

John Livingstone Brown

Liberal Progressive

Mr. BROWN:

The fact of the matter is that we do own the railway, in spite of what the Prime Minister has said, and I believe the people of Canada will suffer the same shock as those of us on this side received yesterday when we were told that we did not own a railway which we thought all the time belonged to us. In common with the great majority of the Canadian people, I had been

cherishing the belief that we were owners of this great railway system, and now we are told that all the interest we have in it is the privilege of paying the deficits. It is true the Prime Minister did mention later on that we had the equity of redemption, and that is an admission; but, as the hon. member for North Bruce told us this afternoon, the true value of the railway consisted in its earning power, and the very fact that we have guaranteed the bonds and so far have not defaulted indicates that we have at least some ownership in the line.

Briefly, let me state my attitude towards the bill. It probably is desirable that a board of trustees should be substituted for the large board of directors. If a board having the proper qualifications is appointed, a board with an eye single to the welfare of the national road, then perhaps all will be well. But, Mr. Speaker, I am heartily in sympathy with w-hat has been said with regard to the method of appointment. I think it has been well said that if subsequent boards of trustees can be appointed by selection from panel, then the principle is equally good with respect to the first appointees. Considering the tremendous power with which this board is entrusted, we must ensure if possible that the board be appointed in such a way as will secure to us men of the very highest character and calibre, for the country will be satisfied with no less.

With respect to the question of government control, it has been stated quite frequently that the failure of the system, if it can be called a failure, has been the result of a lack of such control. We can all acknowledge that it is perhaps a somewhat difficult matter to maintain a proper balance, keeping that government control which is necessary in order that the government of the country may keep its hands on its own property and yet at the same time preventing that pressure from which perhaps we may say that the Intercolonial system undoubtedly suffered in the past. But it is abundantly clear that this parliament cannot resign into the hands of a self-perpetuating body of men, no matter how good they may be at the outset, that control which parliament must of necessity exercise over a system which is the property of the people of Canada.

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LIB

Edgar-Rodolphe-Eugène Chevrier

Liberal

Mr. E. R. E. CHEVRIER (Ottawa):

The bill which is at present before the bouse, now that it is bereft of the amendment, is, I take it from the words of the Minister of Railways the other day, as well as from the words of the Prime Minister, the crystallization of the findings of the Duff commission. Both the

2928 COMMONS

CM.R.-C.P.R. Bill-Mr. Chevrier

Minister of Railways (Mr. Manion) and the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) took some time to extol the qualifications of the members of that commission. So far as I am concerned, and, I believe, so far as every hon. member of this house is concerned, that eulogy was love's labour lost, for no one would doubt the qualifications of the gentlemen that comprised the commission. I would be the last one to doubt the outstanding qualifications of the very distinguished and able gentlemen who sat on the commission, and particularly the one who so admirably presided over its deliberations. But the fact that the commission was composed of such eminent men is no reason why we should conclude that the matter placed before them was a most complex and difficult one. Very often quite eminent judges are called upon to listen to and to decide some of the most unimportant and futile cases. It frequently happens that the eminent jurists who sit on the supreme court bench, and their lordships of the privy council, have to decide cases that have just barely stepped over the mark of jurisdiction of the respective courts. Very often these appeals are dismissed on the bench. Because this matter was submitted to this commission is no reason why we should say that it was very complex and complicated. Why bring that up?

As was to be expected from the high calibre of its members, the commission did its work thoroughly. It was something like Caesar's wife, above suspicion. The commission laboured long, laboured hard and laboured well. This afternoon in the parliamentary library I had under my hand the five huge volumes which compose the evidence given before the commission and the two huge volumes containing the report and the appendices. Those volumes constituted almost a monument and they looked like a mountain. Out of that mountain came this bill, out of the mountain we got this mouse. In matters of this kind the Minister of Railways is a wonderful magician, and I trust that in the performance of his duties hereafter he does not have to produce similar results. At page 6 of the proceedings of the commission I find the following words of the Minister of Railways in his opening address:

We have a difficult situation so far as the railways are concerned,-decreasing revenues and competition from motors and from the air.

In explaining the difficult situation to the commission the minister stated that so far as the railways were concerned the difficulty consisted in decreasing revenues and competi-

tion from motors and from the air. I might say to the minister: Cura te ipsum-why do you not start by curing yourself rather than by curing others? If our trouble is decreased revenue, who is responsible for the decreased revenue? Like other financial institutions, the railways began to feel the depression around 1930. This depression was worldwide and it spread into Canada and was beyond the power of man to stop. When the present administration saw the storm in the offing it took no measures to meet it. Instead of taking precautions when it was seen that trade might languish and decrease, the present administration took measures to stop the flow of trade. Instead of attempting to blast their way into other markets, as the Prime Minister had promised in June and July of 1930, the present administration proceeded to limit markets. By limiting markets they limited trade, and by limiting trade they limited the tonnage available to our railroads. Immediately that was done it was only natural that the revenues would fall off. I shonld not labour this point because the hon. member for North Bruce (Mr. Malcolm) explained it fully this afternoon. I think it would be a loss of time to attempt to cover the same ground. I would say to the genial Minister of Railways: Et vodE pourquoi, docteur,

vobre fille est muette! We all realize the difficulties facing the present administration but if they would take steps to extend the circle of our commercial operations there would be an immediate improvement in the railway situation.

The minister stated that our railway troubles were due to the decrease in revenue and the competition from motors and from the air. There is some reference made to these matters in the Duff report but no recommendations are made in connection therewith. But there is another type of competition which was not taken up by the Duff commission. I wonder why, but on second thought I realize that it might be because the members of the commission were limited by the terms of the order in council under which they were appointed. I have no doubt that they considered the matter but they probably found it was not within their jurisdiction. I refer to transportation by water, one of the greatest drains upon the revenue of our railways. Our canals do not charge tolls of any kind. Some years ago a very famous bill was introduced in this house and it took the attention of the house for a considerable length of time. At that time I advocated that tolls should be charged on

C.N.R.-C.P.R. Bill-Mr. Chevrier

our Canadian canals. The bill did not go through, the principal objection being that other nations did not charge tolls on their canals. I am still of the opinion that tolls should be exacted by our canals, and that opinion is strengthened by certain evidence, to which I shall refer in a few moments, that the ships plying through the Canadian canals are subsidized to the extent of two dollars per ton of freight because of the non-payment of tolls. One can realize immediately the disadvantage under which our railroads are operating when ships, Canadian and foreign, are granted an advantage of two dollars per ton in the transportation of freight. At once one can visualize how enormous the problem becomes when one thinks of that huge fleet of freighters plying through the waters from the gulf of St. Lawrence right through to the head of the lakes. But as I said, the worst feature of this unfair competition is that it is not limited only to Canadian ships but extends also to foreign shipping. Ther| is no Canadian control at all over the rates on these foreign ships. They may transport freight at the most ridiculously low rates in our waters, and pass through our canals and deliver their cargo in American ports at rates that are simply ludicrous, thereby constituting a tremendous drainage upon the revenues of our own railways. I have been told that recently Danish ships were unloading barbed wire, steel and iron in Chicago, which of course had been brought up through the St. Lawrence, and that the rates charged were so low that nobody could even think of competing with them. On their return these tramp vessels do not go without cargo. They cannot compete with our own Canadian ships in the transportation of wheat, and so they return laden with other Canadian commodities at rates ridiculously low, which constitutes a further drain upon the revenues of our railroads.

In going through the evidence that was submitted before the Duff commission I find at page 1088 the submission of Mr. R. K. Smith, K.C., who expressed himself in these words:

I would like now to deal with the question of water competition. Railway lines on the North American continent are exposed to water competition from all angles, with very few exceptions. The major developments which have brought about the situation are, first, the Panama canal, which materially affected the transcontinental rail rate levels; the St. Lawrence river and Great Lakes system and the Mississippi river development. These facilities have permitted the easy flow of waterborne traffic, and have been largely the result

of governmental activity. After spending millions in the development of the great lakes and St. Lawrence waterway system, the Dominion government cancelled the tolls against shipping and cargo tonnage, and to-day this great waterway system is open to shipping free of charge, and the Canadian taxpayer is carrying the capital cost of the construction.

From an estimate prepared recently it is calculated, taking into consideration interest, maintenance and operating expenses, that cargo tonnage moving on vessels on the St. Lawrence river and great lakes is indirectly subsidized to the extent of at least $2 a ton. This is in direct competition with the railway lines which have to meet this condition, not only being forced to make tolls to the public which reflect water competition, but are contributing large sums in the form of civic, provincial and federal taxes. This is a problem which requires very serious consideration, and particularly as pressure is constantly being exerted towards the enlargement of artificial waterways systems, which inevitably would increase this competition.

I do submit, Mr. Speaker, that those are words of wisdom, and they come from a gentleman who knows the water transportation situation. I trust that the suggestions he has made will be taken into consideration by the government at its very next opportunity. If the water rates were carefully looked into and foreign ships particularly had to pay tolls passing through our canals, if their rates were controlled by the Canadian parliament in some way, I believe that it would to a large extent relieve the drainage from this source on the earnings of our Canadian railroads. When I say that the railroads do feel the effect upon their revenues of this water competition, as to which no remedy is suggested in the Duff report, probably because that subject was not within their purview, I should like to submit this. I find at page 1598 of the evidence taken before the commission that Mr. H. C. Patton of the Toronto Transportation Company said:

The increasing use of waterways, of pipe lines and diversions of traffic through the Panama canal has decreased the freight tonnage available for railways.

The long term trend of freight tonnage carried by vessels on the great lakes has been steadily upwards.

I have not got the figures of the corresponding decrease in the transportation by rail, but if transportation by water has increased to this extent then there must be a repercussion downward in the same ratio upon the earnings of the railways.

I shall not place before the house all the figures I have here, but I shall just give a synopsis of them covering the years 1900, 1905, 1910, 1915, 1920, 1925 and 1930, giving in three

2930 COMMONS

C.N.R.-C.P.R. Bill-Mr. Chevrier

columns the traffic passing through the St. Lawrence canals, the Welland canal, and the Sault Ste. Marie canal:

St. Lawrence Canals

Year-

1900

1905

1910

1915

1920

1925

1930

Tonnage

1.309.000

1.752.000

2.760.000

3.409.000

3.067.000

6.206.000 6,179,000

Those figures show that there has been a rapid and continuous increase of tonnage through the St. Lawrence canals from 1900 to 1930. Here are the figures for the Welland

canal:

Year- 1900. 1905. 1910. 1915. 1920. 1925. 1930.

Welland Canal

Tonnage

719,000

1,092,000

2,326,000

3,061,000

2,276,000

5,640,000

6,087,000

Our railways must certainly have felt the repercussion of the increase in traffic through the Welland canal. But what do we find in the case of the Sault Ste. Marie canal?

Year- 1900. 1905. 1910. 1915. 1920. 1925. 1930.

Sault Ste. Marie Canal

Tonnage

25,640.000

44,270,000

62,303,000

71,290,000

79,279.000

81,871,000

72,897,000

One can readily conclude from those figures that the railroads must of necessity have felt a tremendous drainage on their revenues due to water competition.

Coming to the bill itself, at this late stage of the debate, Mr. Speaker, there is very little to say that has not already been said. I shall not detain the house at very great length with a consideration of the various aspects of the bill. This is the second reading, and I take it that on the second reading only the principle of the bill is under consideration. One of the first matters with which I was concerned was to learn the principle of the bill. I could not find it from the preamble, except that in that part of the bill cooperation was mentioned. The part of the bill respecting the title is short, and does not enlighten me to any great extent. There is a part of clause 2, however, which I should like to see implemented when the bill reaches committee stage. I refer to paragraph (a), in which the rights of railroad employees are supposedly safeguarded. I do

not know to what extent that safeguard may be effective, but if there are to be any changes in or departures from the protection now afforded in the Railway Act to railway employees, we may as well know it right now. That Railway Act is the result of many years of experience and has been amended time and again. In so far as their protection is concerned, apparently the men are satisfied with its provisions, and I most earnestly urge that whatever may be done under the bill, any measure of protection which the railway men now enjoy under the Railway Act should in no way be molested or prejudiced.

I am rather doubtful about section 4 of the bill, which deals with the appointment of the three trustees. In my view a larger number of trustees, not exceeding five, would be much better. I am not unmindful, how'ever, of the very strong reasons given to the contrary by the right hon. the Prime Minister, and I am content to admit there is considerable weight in what he said. Nevertheless I believe that iSore adequate representation would be given to the various organizations, divisions of trade and activity in Canada if there were at least five appointed. If under section 6, in order to remove any political colour or shade it is possible to appoint subsequent trustees from a certain panel, why would it not be possible to do the same thing and to use the same means in the appointment of the first three or five, as the case may be? I believe the government, if it is really sincere-and I have no reason to doubt its sincerity-and desires to remove this matter from the sphere of party politics, could arrange for the appointment of the first three or five in the same way that subsequent trustees are appointed.

Now we come to part II, which is supposed to contain the principle of the bill. In that connection I do not know whether the principle is contained in section 12, section 16 or section 17. But with the purpose of the bill as enunciated in section 16 I have no great quarrel, if it can be demonstrated that the real principle is to effect economies. I believe the Canadian people to-day desire that economies should be made. I doubt, however, the wisdom of making them in the way proposed in the measure now before us. If by this bill parliament is given power to do what it seeks to do, I wonder whether it will not proceed right down the line and investigate other private corporations. It is quite true that after all the Canadian National system is the railroad of the Canadian people. We will not quibble as to who has the equity of redemption, as to who is the bondholder or the holder of securities; the fact is that the

C.N.R.-CR.R. Bill-Mr. Chevrier

Canadian National is the railroad of the Canadian people. It is very easy for us to investigate matters over which we have special jurisdiction, but I doubt the wisdom of investigating privately owned corporations to the extent contemplated in this measure. Why do we not investigate hydro commissions, the Bell Telephone Company, telegraph companies, grain growers' associations, banks and other financial institutions in order to force them to effect economies? The line must be drawn somewhere; but with the principle of effecting economies I am fully in accord. I doubt very much, however, whether this is a wise step in that direction.

The other day in a very able address the Minister of Railways stressed economies which had been effected in the Canadian National railways during the last year. Those economies reflected considerable improvement. But if that is true of the Canadian National I wonder if it is not true also of the Canadian Pacific. I have no means of finding out what economies, if any, have been effected by the Canadian Pacific during the past year. But surely if the Canadian National was able to economize to the extent shown by the minister, the Canadian Pacific must have done the same.

It is quite true that the Prime Minister, in order to remove any doubt in the minds of hon. members, said that there was no intention of any amalgamation, and if I understood him rightly he said the government was prepared to introduce an amendment to the bill to make it clear that there was no thought of amalgamation. Concerning amalgamation the Minister of Railways is reported at page 2770 of Hansard as follows:

There is nothing in it-

Referring to the bill.

-to cause anyone to fear that it may lead to the amalgamation of the two great railway systems of Canada because the whole trend and spirit of the bill as well as every clause and letter of it points to cooperation, and cooperation means, and can only mean, the working together of the two parties to an understanding.

Here we have the minister saying that the whole trend and spirit of the bill, every clause and letter of it, points to cooperation. Well, in clause 3, outside of the definition of the term " dispute," there is no mention of cooperation at all. I have gone through the whole bill and have found that there is not a tittle of evidence of cooperation in sections 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15. Section 16 is the one dealing with economies. Certainly section 17 does not show any spirit of cooperation, because that is the section 53719-186

which sets up the tribunal which must operate in the absence of cooperation. Section 18 deals with the creation of the chairman of the arbitral tribunal, which functions when there is no cooperation. Sections 20 to 26 deal with practice in matters of routine. So that out of the whole twenty-six sections of the bill there is only one that deals with cooperation, and that is the worst one. This cooperation provided' for in section 17 is compulsory cooperation. To me it seems that such a phrase as " compulsory cooperation " or " directed cooperation " or " instructed " or " forced " cooperation is bad English, because of its redundancy. I cannot imagine cooperation that is not voluntary. It is something like saying wet water or black jet or cold ice. The very spirit of forcible cooperation is contained in that section as the fruit is contained in the seed. I shall not labour the point, because the hon. member for West Lambton (Mr. Gray) expressly dealt with it. But even if there were a special amendment to this bill declaring that at no time should there be [DOT]amalgamation, then a most radical amendment must follow in the tenor of section 17, because it means insidious, compulsory cooperation. I think it is quite obvious that step by step, inch by inch, a little here and a little there, the tribunal may make certain orders, certain rulings, certain leases, probably not at the time openly with the view of ultimate amalgamation, but in fact producing in the final result complete amalgamation of these lines. The hon. Minister of Railways has said that there is to be no amalgamation. I will take his word that in the bill there is no explicit mention of amalgamation, and no desire to have amalgamation. The hon. gentleman is much cleverer as a physician than I am as a lawyer, but still-and I say it without offence-I am entitled to my own opinion. I do believe that in this section 17 amalgamation is just as insidiously contained as typhoid fever is in the bacilli coli. That is my impression.

This section is to impose compulsory or directed cooperation. I admit that my knowledge of the English language is most limited; my training is French, but I cannot conceive in French of anything like compulsory cooperation. In my own language that would be nonsense, and I do not think there is any difference between French common sense and English common sense or between English nonsense and French nonsense. I think any brain will react to truth in the same way, whether it be in an English or in a French cranium. To my mind I cannot

C.N.R.-C.P.R. Bill-Mr. Chevrier

see how one can dissociate the effect of amalgamation from section 17 as it now stands in the bill.

The hon. Minister of Railways said further that cooperation means and can only mean the working together of the two parties to an understanding. What does that mean? Working together means with a mind in common, therefore in harmony. There can be no compulsion, no direction, no order. I will be asked: What about the judicial

decision when two parties come before a court and the judge decides so and so? The judgment must be obeyed; but is that compulsory cooperation? Not in the slightest; there is an absolute difference between the two. In the first place, suppose one company desires to close its terminal or shop and says to the other: We will use yours; then there is an arbitration and the tribunal orders that that shall be done. In case of litigation it is a question of the settlement of legal rights; one party may think he is being prejudiced by the other in the enjoyment of his right. Then the one who thinks he is-suffering an injustice goes to court, the other appears, the case is heard, the decision of the tribunal is a declaration of legal rights, and both parties must accept the decision and forever after hold their peace.

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LIB

Frederick William Gershaw

Liberal

Mr. F. W. GERSHAW (Medicine Hat):

Mr. Speaker, the bill which is now before the house for second reading has been long awaited by the people of this country. We have in Canada a country of far flung borders, a country stretching over three thousand miles from sea to sea, and from river unto the land's end, and naturally the means of communication between one part and another are of the greatest importance. If one looks over the pages of Hansard from confederation until the present time one sees that railway matters have occupied much space. Many of the great and notable scenes in this house were inspired by railway affairs, and many important decisions on matters of railway policy have been made in days gone by. It seems to me that at this time we are about to make another important decision; we are changing the policy that has been followed regarding railways. This bill, as I see it, is intended to give guidance to railway activities during the period of depression, to give direction, as it were, during the transition period through which we are now passing. The ultimate aim and object, of course, is to lighten the intolerable burden of taxation which the railway obligations impose upon this country. The legislation has not been hastily brought before this house; the Duff commission made a pretty

thorough investigation, travelled over the country, tried to see everything with their own eyes, examined many important witnesses, and we have here the net result of their deliberations. This bill, together with the report of the commission, was carefully dealt with in the Senate. In reading the discussion which took place there we are at once convinced that much thought has been given to the framing of the different clauses of the bill. But though the Duff commission considered the matter and though it has been discussed in the Senate, we in the House of Commons may view some of the sections in rather a different light. We may approach this problem from a different angle, and we cannot altogether divest ourselves of the responsibility of inquiring carefully into the objects and aims of this legislation.

Speaking yesterday the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) remarked that he expected that great changes would be made under this legislation; he pointed out that he thought economies could be effected and said that some sacrifices would have to be made by people in different parts of the country if we were to have that retrenchment which we all hope will be brought about. But no matter how those changes are made and no matter what tribunal may be set up, I feel sure that the people of Canada will hold the government of the day responsible for carrying out this work and will feel free to appeal to the government against any decisions with which they do not agree that may be made by that tribunal. The Prime Minister also intimated that in case the changes did not result in the hoped for economies, in the near future a plebiscite might be taken to determine whether or not the people of this country would be willing to amalgamate the railways either under private or public ownership. I would humbly suggest that a plebiscite on this one question alone would hardly give this government and this parliament the necessary information.

It is my submission, Mr. Speaker, that the prosperity of the railways is bound up with the prosperity of the country generally, and that we cannot expect favourable balance sheets from our railways while business in other lines is in a depressed state. Along with our railway problem we must consider the general economic situation of the country. We must consider the questions of banking, of currency, of finance and so on, because these things either make or break the ability of the people to purchase the goods which are to be transported from one part of the country to the other. I think the trade policy in particular has much to do with our railways.

C.N.R.-C.P.R. Bill-Mr. Gershaw

They are equipped to handle great tonnage, and if we have a trade policy that restricts external trade and consequently causes poverty so that our internal trade is restricted also, we cannot have prosperous transportation systems. The Prime Minister intimated that other courses were open. If he and the Minister of Railways (Mr. Manion) could decide upon some course of action that would give us reduced freight rates, no matter how much courage it might take, I believe more goods would be transported. If the prices of manufactured commodities such as machinery and clothing were reduced to harmonize with the prices of natural products much more buying power would be in evidence and more business would be done.

To-night I should like to mention briefly two or three factors which have to do with the railway situation. The first will be the obvious statement that the railways of this country were constructed to transport freight and passengers over long and short distances. However, since the advent of the truck and automobile the railways have been compelled more and more to retire from the short haul field and concentrate on the long hauls. They find that their most profitable sphere, in which there is the least competition, is the long haul of bulk commodities, and to a great extent this restricts their field of activities. If the railways are to succeed they must compete with trucks, automobiles, aeroplanes and other types of transportation, and if they are to do this there must be some control over their greatest competitor, the trucks. I realize that this is largely a provincial matter, but it seems to me that since the railways have built and must maintain rights of way the heavy trucks should contribute more generously towards the cost of the highways which they use and abuse to such a great extent. These trucks should submit to a tariff of rates; they should have drivers with well defined qualifications, and they should prove their ability to provide compensation for personal or property damage which may result from accidents in which they are concerned.

The second factor to which I wish to direct attention might be called the human factor in connection with the railroad. I have had the opportunity of coming in close contact with railwaymen for a number of years; I think I have learned something of their psychology and I should like to remind the Minister of Railways of something of which he no doubt is well aware. I refer to the loyalty and devotion of the officers and men of the two railway systems; I think that is something of which we might well be proud.

53719-186 i

They give wholehearted cooperation in their common interests. They are willing to sacrifice their comforts and their own desires for the benefit of the company. The senior officers, particularly of the Canadian Pacific Railway, with which I am best acquainted, make a point of speaking to and encouraging the junior officers and men. I venture to say that Mr. Grant Hall can call almost any of the older railway men by their first names. These veterans of the road, who work so faithfully for the company, regard the interests of the company as a personal matter; they delight in its successes and are cast down and discouraged by its failures. Even the younger men very soon catch this spirit. They are anxious to protect the property of the company, to get as much business as they can and to provide efficient service for their customers. Railwaymen are especially qualified for the work they undertake. Before they can obtain employment on the railways they must submit to a severe medical examination, and unless they are almost perfect physically they cannot obtain employment. Then, after they are employed, each year they must submit to eye tests and intelligence tests to satisfy the examiner that they are to the standard. Moreover, if any accident occurs or if there is any difficulty in connection with the work, any railway man can be asked to submit to a thorough examination, and if some slight difficulty is found that man's services are not very long retained.

The hon. member for East Algoma (Mr. Nicholson) the other day pointed out some of the knowledge that railway men must have, and as well as having that knowledge they are required to assume great responsibilities-The despatcher sits through long hours of the night before his key; the machinist in the shop must see that the work he turns out is perfect; the running men, conductors and engineers, are charged with heavy responsibilities; all these men have important work to perform and they must be competent, sure and trustworthy. They must think quickly and often act very promptly because they have in their hands responsibility for and control over the valuable property of the company and the much more valuable lives of passengers and crew.

These men when retired owing to the age limit are given a retiring allowance. That being so, should they not also be given a retiring allowance when they are laid off as a result of economies which may be brought about under this bill? If a railway company * buys a lot of material for the purpose of perfecting its construction, it issues bonds and

C.N.R.-C.P.R. Bill-Mr. Gershaw

pays interest on that money. Why should not the human material also receive something, when it has been specially prepared for the wort it has undertaken? These men are in *danger so far as their own lives and limbs are concerned, and the risks they take in carrying on their work from day to day are much greater than the risks in any ordinary sphere of activity.

The final factor to which I wish to call attention is the present financial position of the road's. No industry in Canada has been so heavily subsidized throughout the years as the railway industry, and at present we find that the taxpayer's money has to be used to the extent of fifty-eight or sixty million dollars a year in order to make up the deficits of the state-owned system, the Canadian National Railways. We find that in years gone by governments gave money to the railways which now make up the national system, to the extent of a billion dollars; and, as has been said, in addition to that the governments have advanced practically another $1,300,000,000, some of which they have directly guaranteed while some of it has been secured by a first mortgage on the whole property. So that that vast sum must be paid as well as the interest on it. The deficit in the last few years has been about $58,000,000, which is a tremendous sum of money. Think of what could be accomplished socially with that sum. Much joy could be brought to the homes of the people, for with that money we could feed, clothe and shelter twice as many people as are now receiving assistance under the relief funds. We could pay pensions to every man and woman over the age of seventy throughout the dominion, and the difficulty in raising this much money and directing it to that end, to make up the deficits, is a severe strain on the very solvency of the country. It takes practically all that can- be raised by personal income tax, and as the revenues are shrinking it is becoming more and more difficult to procure this money.

In conclusion, may I state that in the changes which will be made in the railway policy of Canada the human element must not be overlooked; and next to that provision must be made so that the railways can act in that sphere where they are most competent, namely, in the long hauls. After that has been accomplished, economies must be made. Perhaps the number of officials might be reduced and possibly certain savings could be effected by the joint use of terminals and trades. Perhaps services less costly might be given certain districts. The people of Canada, the business people, the taxpayers of the ' country, are I believe determined that this

deficit shall be cut off because they are discouraged by the heavy taxation which is involved. I quite realize that difficulties may beset the path of anyone who works in this direction. The route may be steep and rugged and courage may be required; but I believe that if this bill results in the attainment of this objective a service will have been done the people of the country and the age in which we live.

On motion of Mr. Sanderson the debate was adjourned.

On motion of Mr. Guthrie the house adjourned at 10.50 p.m.

Monday, March 13, 1933

Topic:   $256,702,703 $182,011,690 245,237 142,609 $215,887,868 57,811 $100,000,000 36.043J
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March 10, 1933