It has been the policy of this government during the last number of years to declare for government ownership and control of the national railways. The Liberal government, not only by what was said in the house but by what was said on the hustings made clear its position in connection with the government railways. In appealing to the country during the last federal campaign, the Conservative party went in strong for government ownership and government control. During that campaign the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) was quoted as having sa.id at Winnipeg: Amalgamation never, competition ever. In the bill now before us many of us on this side of the house are inclined to believe that the Prime Minister is hedging just a little on that former position which he took. During the course of the debate the other day the Prime Minister said "hear, hear" to a remark of the leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) which suggested that probably the government would not view with alarm the private ownership of this railway.
step in that direction. The bill seeks to place the management of the Canadian National Railways in the hands of three trustees who are to take the place of the old board of seventeen directors. I cannot understand why the bill does not name only one trustee because it states quite plainly that the majority of the three trustees shall prevail only if the chairman is voting with the majority. The entire management of the railways is to be placed in the hands of one man and, as has been stated in the house on a number of occasions, this man is to be given the absolute say in the control. No action taken by this board of trustees can be questioned by order in council, by the government or, indeed, by the crown. The chairman of this board will be an all-powerful czar in connection with the Canadian National Railways. Not only is this so, but the board is to be elected and have the power of perpetuating itself in office for all time. It looks to me as though the government was relaxing entirely from the control of the Canadian National Railways; they are putting the control into the hands of this board of trustees which can take any action it likes in connection with the national railway. This board can abandon lines, it can lease lines and, as far as one can see, it can enter into amalgamation with the other road. It is to this portion of the bill that we on this side of the house are diametrically opposed.
I have no desire to make a lengthy speech on this matter but as I represent a riding in which are many railroads, I believe the people expect a statement of some kind from me. I have accordingly risen at this late time to state that I am entirely against this bill at the second reading, the third reading or at any time. I believe it opens the way for amalgamation, a thing which should be avoided and the suggestion of which should be deplored. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I am entirely against this bill.
On motion of Mr. Mackenzie (Vancouver) the debate was adjourned.
Topic: CANADIAN NATIONAL-CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY BILL
for amalgamation, in the view of many of us At six o'clock the house adjourned, with-on this side of the house it looks like a out question put, pursuant to standing order. (Mr. Howden.]
Thursday, March 16, 1933