March 16, 1933

LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

How

about my hon. friend using some intelligence and keeping quiet?

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CON

Ira Delbert Cotnam

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COTNAM:

The hon. gentleman does not use any when he is speaking.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

If my hon. friend wishes to discuss the Vancouver hotel I shall give him an opportunity later.

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CON

Ira Delbert Cotnam

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COTNAM:

I was speaking about the Vancouver Sun?

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

There was moved to this resolution an amendment which was disposed of on a point of order. That amendment contained two essential and fundamental principles. The first dealt with the larger principle of amalgamation and the second with the fundamental principle of the control of parliament. The Prime Minister, in speaking to that amendment, announced that the government would insert in this legislation, before it was finally disposed of, a provision that there should not be any amalgamation between the two railways. In my opinion that provision will be absolutely useless, for this reason; the government are absolutely destroying public control and ownership; they are setting up a self-perpetuating board of trustees with a supreme Caesar in charge of the triumvirate appointed by this administration. When the government goes to the people in six months or a year from now, faces the acid test of public opinion, and is rejected and cast out, and this party comes into power

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

-what will be the situation then? We shall have an appointee of the present government, a self-perpetuating trustee, and the government of the day will not have the slightest say in regard to regulation or management of that official, the chairman of the board, or any of

the trustees. My hon. friends might very well take a leaf from the recommendations of the Drayton-Acworth commission, because they said that the five trustees mentioned in their report should be appointed in the first instance by parliament. Will the Minister of Railways consent to having the House of Commons insert in this bill, before it goes through this house, the names of the three trustees? That is the recommendation of the Drayton-Acworth commission appointed by his friends in 1917. That would retain at least a semblance of popular control. Why not leave this iniquitous legislation alone? Why not cut down the present directorate from seven to five, and appoint to the board a representative from the west, one from the east, one representing labour, and if possible one representing the Minister of Railways, so that there will foe a link and liaison between the board and the government of the day, so that we can have at least a semblance of popular and democratic control in this dominion? But as it is, here is this board of three trustees, and what control have we got over them? The Prime Minister says that they must submit their budget to parliament. Is that control? Of course it is not. Section 12 is specific and inexorable. It says that the budget is submitted to the board of trustees, and except as regards income deficits and certain advances in regard to meeting maturing obligations and with regard to capital expenditure this house has no authority, not the slightest tittle or semblance of authority, over the financial expenditures of this great triumvirate which we are going to establish to manage the railway system of Canada. Just imagine the situation if a Liberal government were returned to power in this dominion next year, believing as we do in our platform, in maintaining the integrity of the Canadian National Railways, and yet finding ourselves without the slightest power to control or dismiss these trustees! Will the Minister of Railways do this? Will he have the power given to this House of Commons to have the trustees dismissed upon a resolution of this assembly alone? We are the elected representatives of the people of Canada: the other house is not. The other house is . altered in complexion by whatever party happens to be in power at the time. If the Minister of Railways wishes to maintain and preserve a semblance of democratic control in this dominion, will he eliminate that provision of the bill, that the trustees can be dismissed only upon a joint address of both houses of parliament? I know that the Drayton-Acworth report recommended that the board should be

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

appointed like judges, which is probably where the Prime Minister got the idea. But will he admit that he believes in the public ownership and public control of railways? If he does, he should be willing to meet us half way, and in the first place have the first trustees to be appointed named in the bill by this House of Commons; and secondly, he should have their dismissal, subject to the will of those who represent the people in this House of Commons.

On the twenty-seventh of February my right hon. leader placed on record the viewpoint of those of us to your left, Mr. Speaker, in regard to the Canadian National Railways. The Liberal party believes in and stands for the maintenance of the integrity of the Canadian National Railways as a publicly owned and publicly controlled service. But have we got a publicly controlled service in this bill? No, every vestige of control is gone. Every single tittle of democratic control has absolutely vanished-banished by this administration.

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CON
LIB
CON
LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

There

is not a section in this bill which leaves the slightest vestige of control to this House of Commons.

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CON

George Brecken Nicholson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. NICHOLSON:

Certainly there is.

Read the bill.

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LIB
CON

Ira Delbert Cotnam

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COTNAM:

What control was there

over the old board?

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

We had a committee of parliament in the old days which considered the budget of the national railways. Immediately after the budget of the national railways was presented to this house by the Minister of Railways, it was referred to a committee composed of all parties of this house, and in my experience that committee every year presented a unanimous report to this House of Commons. And could you have a finer exemplification of democratic control than a unanimous report of a committee of parliament representing every single party in the House of Commons of Canada? Will you have that under this bill? Not a single shadow of it. The power is entirely gone from this House of Commons and is placed in the hands of this board of trustees, who are appointed not by this House of Commons, but by the government of the day, and who can be dis-

missed, not by this House of Commons, who can in fact be dismissed by nobody except upon a joint address of this House of Commons with possibly an accommodating majority in the other house. That is the situation, Mr. Speaker.

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CON
LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

I am

very glad to have my hon. friend's interpretation of parliament. I suggest to my hon. friends that public ownership means ownership and control by the people, and that means ownership and control by those who represent the people in this House of Commons. The members of the other house, and I speak of them with all respect, do not represent the people, because they are not elected representatives but are appointed by the party that happens to be in power at the time. But you can go back to your constituency and I to mine as representatives responsible to the people, the final tribunal of Canadian public opinion. The other house has no such responsibility.

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CON

Ira Delbert Cotnam

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COTNAM:

Why didn't you reform

the Senate?

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

You are reforming it now, only in a different way from what I would.

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LIB

March 16, 1933