You could not subscribe to all that has been said on that side because it was too contradictory.
Mr. 'STEWART (Edmonton): Possibly,
but I am not going to enter into that. As I said, I am opposed to this board being designated a board of trustees, which is an indication that the property is in bankruptcy, and I maintain, rightly or wrongly, that that state of affairs cannot possibly exist. Secondly, while I would give the board the freest hand with respect to the operation of the road, I do think that they should be restrained from making any disposal of the property, or closing any lines, or doing anything else except with the consent of the governor in council.
There are one or two other objections which I have to register against the bill. I have said that I do not object to the term proposed, which is seven years, although personally I think five years would be better, but the process that is provided in the bill by which a director or trustee, as he is designated, can be removed only upon address by the House of Commons and the Senate seems to me a most cumbersome process. I do not think it is right. If parliament has control over the expenditures of money, and if the Senate
C.N.R.-C.P.R. Bill-Mr. Stewart (Edmonton)
has no right to interfere, why interject the Senate into the measure now before us? I am for direct responsibility, and I put that responsibility upon the Minister of Railways and upon the government. They are responsible to the people of Canada, and any evasion of their responsibility will but serve to lead us into future trouble. Under section 12 we have control over capital expenditures, and whether we like it or not we are forced willy-nilly annually to vote deficits. The minister has no control whatever.
Right here let me interject that I believe the elimination of the Minister of Railways from control under this bill is a great mistake. I believe the national railways are big enough and important enough to the people and government of Canada to merit the supervision of the Minister of Railways, a man who will have at least some control and be responsible to parliament for matters in connection with administration. If there is to be a semblance at all of public ownership in operation, the minister must have some say. And the provision for the removal of the trustees in the manner indicated in the bill I entirely disapprove and it is my intention to oppose it. Moreover, I believe we would have a much greater control over the trustees or directors if they were appointed and paid by order in council.