March 16, 1933

LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

I wish

to emphasize my submission that under this bill every vestige of democratic and popular control of our national railways is gone. You can put in a section providing against amalgamation, but what does that amount to? Nothing, because you have one private company, and another company controlled by three trustees responsible to whom? Responsible, not to this parliament, not to this house; and they cannot be dismissed by the minister. I think the Minister of Railways himself, for the sake of maintaining the dignity of the office of Minister of Railways, should resent this power being taken away from him.

I wish the Prime Minister were here. He used to quote in this house from a favourite book of his. This is the scripture according to Bennett. Hon. gentlemen who were here in this house before the last election will remember the Prime Minister quoting from The New Despotism,- by Lord Hewart of Bury who, at page 158, says:

Where is the arch-defender of bureaucracy who would have the courage to say in the House of Commons: "I am placing these

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

proposals for legislation before the house, but candour compels me to tell the house that the only terms upon which matters so intricate can be disposed of are that my department should be placed above parliament and beyond the iurisdiotion of the courts"?

Again:

It is right that the public should be made thoroughly well aware of the price which they are invited, or compelled, to pay. If they were really aware of it, they might well think that the price was too high, and that they would prefer to forego the particular commodities which are so expensively to be obtained.

Those words, Mr. Speaker, used to be quoted in this house by the present Prime Minister when he was in the ranks of the opposition, and his objection did not go so much against the establishment of bureaucracy such as you have it under this bill, as against vesting too much authority in the executive of government. But this is a hundred times worse than vested authority in the governor in council. We protested against the powers taken by the governor in council in regard to peace, order and good government, and anyone who voted against giving to the governor in council those tremendous powers in regard to peace, order and good government and who now votes to give these powers to this board of trustees, is voting for something that is tenfold more disastrous because this board of trustees has no responsibility whatever to the people. Furthermore, the Minister of Railways is reduced to the shadow of a shade if this clause goes through. He will have no responsibility, nothing whatever to do with the Canadian National Railways.

We came down to this house, Mr. Speaker, in 1930, summoned by this government of conferences and commissions, this government of Fabian tactics, this C.C.F. government on the other side of the house, to deal with unemployment, and overnight we found the tariff raised, and we were told to hurry home because the great man, the superman, was going to cross the seas to take part in the Imperial conference of 1930.

Again, in 1932, in this house we endeavoured to deal with the problem of unemployment and the other great national problems of this dominion, and what were we told? Hush, hush, we were told by the Minister of Labour (Mr. Gordon). Hurry back to your homes, he said, and be ye good; do not stir up strife, but bless this government for the wonderful work it has done in regard to unemployment. And why were we told to hurry home on that occasion? Because July was going to see the Imperial conference of 1932 in Ottawa. Well, we had that conference, and its great results have been presented to this house.

What happened at that conference? We found that the fundamental rights of parliament were violated in the legislation that followed because we lost control over our fiscal policy and over questions of tariff taxation in this dominion for a period of five years.

Then, again, this session we have looming over us the shadow of the international economic conference, and when we come to discuss the budget and other things we shall be told that we cannot discuss budgetary or tariff matters or the Bank Act or monetary questions because an international economic conference is going to be called and the Prime Minister is going to attend.

What about commissions? Commissions- non-political commissions, to deal with radio! What have we got? Oh, a splendid Tory triumvirate all over again, just the same as we will have in this bill. And we had a tariff commission, another Tory triumvirate adorned by an ornament from my hon. friends of the C.C.F., the left wing. What are we going to have here? Fabian tactics, Tory tactics, CjC.F. government-that is what we have. A conference government, commission government, Fabian tactics government-that is what we have.

Mr. Speaker, I feel it my duty to explain to my constituents why I am opposed to this legislation. If every one of my colleagues would support this legislation I could not support part I of it, nor part II nor part III. Why? The Prime Minister told us, in that address containing more inconsistencies than any address which has been delivered in this House of Commons-he told us that part II meant cooperation by agreement, and that part III meant cooperation by direction. I say part II of this bill means cooperation by direction, and part III means cooperation by compulsion. So far as I am concerned, I am opposed to part II and part III. So far as part I is concerned, I say it is taking away privileges from the Canadian people; it is destroying public ownership and public control of your railway system in the Dominion of Canada. For those reasons I am opposed' to this legislation. I believe it destroys the fundamental rights and the constitutional authority of Canada. It destroys the essential privileges of the House of Commons which we find outlined so well in the first fifteen or twenty pages of Durrell's great work on parliamentary grants. A great struggle was waged in Britain in 1910; two great elections were held in the one year on the question of the final responsibility of the House of Commons and the ordinary control of the House of Commons over national expenditures. This

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

House of Commons is asked to throw away its rights, to take a leap in the dark, to throw away its own voluntary and free will, to throw away the rights of our forefathers who fought for hundreds of years for the constitutional development of our country.

I suggest to the house that this legislation should not pass. Amend your railway act; give extended power to the railway commissioners. If you are going to force this legislation down our throats make it that it shall become operative by proclamation of the governor general in council, because I believe this legislation will be regretted by the present administration. If I should happen to be in any subsequent parliament-

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

You won't.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

I will

take my chances with any of you over there. I took my chances once before with one of your best.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

If I

should happen to be in the next parliament I will use all the strength I can towards the repeal of this legislation, and towards the restoration to the Canadian people of full and undoubted control over the Canadian National railway system, because I believe this bill is an abnegation of the fundamental constitutional rights of parliament and, inferentially, of the Canadian, people. As Locke said long ago: Parliament is the people. This parliament seemingly is not the people. This government and its supporters are floundering in a Serbonian bog. By this measure we would be establishing a bureaucracy, a Tory triumvirate who would function in glorious Tory togas for the next seven years. You took one from the C.C.P.; you will take them from other sources. I resent and repudiate the policy of this administration in pursuing such tactics as these.

What did the Prime Minister say? He said: This national railway is not the property of the Canadian people. I am going to fight my next election on that declaration by the Prime Minister of Canada. This railway, said he, belongs to the bondholders and the security holders. I ask hon. gentlemen opposite: Do they endorse such a statement by the Prime Minister? Do they endorse it?

Mr. MoINTOSH: No answer.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

No, they are not exactly sure where they are. They are floundering in the dark, every single supporter; they don't know where they are.

And if the whips were called off I am sure that my smiling friend across the way, and other friends who sit across there, would gladly vote against the second reading of the bill.

In conclusion may I say this: Remember the splendid showing made by the national railways between 1923 and 1930. To-day continents are paying tribute to that record. And here I wish to pay tribute to that great Canadian who a few days ago passed from our ken and who, in the future days of Canada, will be looked upon as one of the greatest, public servants this dominion ever had. May I say this: Let us not lightly or wantonly destroy the property of the Canadian people. Let us not forsake all to support a party to make possible the second reading of this bill, a bill which violates the cherished principles I have mentioned. Remember the words of Kipling about freedom that was won for us by the men of long ago,-"

AH we have of freedom,

All we use or know,

This our fathers bought for us

Long and long ago.

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UFA

William Irvine

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. WILLIAM IRVINE (Wetaskiwin):

Mr. Speaker, with some of the remarks of the previous speaker in regard to the railway bill, I am in agreement. But with some of the asides he made I am not so much in harmony. For instance, he made reference to the C.C.F. It is not very long ago since he was proclaiming in the western provinces that the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation were preaching the gospel that the Liberal party had preached for so long. Now the hon. member charges the government with being CjCF. I do not know whether he is intending to insult the government or the C.C.F.

Previous speakers in this debate have laid great stress and emphasis upon the importance of railway service in Canada. In that regard I need not repeat what they have said. Nearly all speakers have offered felicitations to the minister for the high ground he took in presenting the bill, and particularly for his eschewing anything in the nature of a party debate. I am sorry that I have to oppose a measure so presented. I agree with the broad generalizations of the previous speaker in respect to economic conditions throughout the world which certainly indicate, as I understood him, that the railway problem cannot be solved by itself, that it is merely part of a great economic problem with which Canada and the world is faced, and that the railway problem would more or less automatically solve itself, were the major economic problems of the country solved.

CJV.R ,-C .P.R. Bill-Mr. Irvine

I oppose the bill not because of some of its details, with which I also disagree, but because of the principles involved. I am not influenced by any undue enthusiasm for national ownership, for as a matter of fact we have not got a national railway in Canada. Everyone should know, if they do not, that the people of Canada through their government became responsible for the bonds, worthless in some instances, of defunct concerns-

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PRO
UFA

William Irvine

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. IRVINE:

-that it guaranteed those

bonds and the interest on them, and the Canadian people have since that time run the railway in the interest of those who own the bonds. That is not national ownership. So I have little enthusiasm for the railway system thus begotten and controlled. I oppose the bill chiefly because it ignores the difficulty for which it purports to be a remedy. What are the conditions? I shall not waste the time of the house by going into the figures as presented by the Duff report, upon which this legislation is largely based; I confine myself rather to what those figures indicate. In the main, the figures show that the fixed charges on the Canadian National are greater than the earning power of the system oan support. And the traffic is becoming less, naturally, through the present depression. Higher freight rates cannot be charged to make up the deficits, therefore not only the Canadian National so-called, but the Canadian Pacific as well, are both coming to the point where they cannot take care of their fixed charges. These fixed charges jeopardize both railway systems. The fixed charges of course are charges on bonds, and arise out of a faulty financial system. Bonds represent money invested, and money is supposed to represent wealth. Wealth is perishable, but bonds are eternal. Besides being granted eternal life these bonds have been fructified through being made interestbearing and become prolific in their creation of debt. If bonds were no more eternal than any form of wealth which money might represent there would be no such debts as we have to-day. But on this phase of the matter I shall not dwell.

In order to meet the shortage in earning power of the railways to take oare of fixed charges the bill proposes retrenchment. The retrenchments proposed are at the expense of the railway workers, the wage earners on the system. They are also at the expense of the railway services which should be given to the people of Canada, in view of all the expenditures and guarantees which the people of Canada have made and given on both

systems. Why should there be retrenchment of railway services at the present time? Certainly not because of lack of equipment, for we are assured by the minister, on the authority of the present head of the national system, that the equipment was never in better order. So it is not due to lack of railway lines or cars or engines or men that we have to curtail services. But we propose to curtail railway services in order that we may protect the interests of the bondholders. There can be no question about that. I am opposed to this bill because its purpose is retrenchment in the interest of bondholders in a vain attempt to meet the situation I have described. That attempt ultimately will be absolutely vain.

Let me come then to the real point as I regard the duty and responsibility of an individual member of this house. Members of this parliament really represent the directors of the 'Canadian National Railways, since, as I have described, a certain government of this country made the Canadian people responsible for paying the interest on bonds and paying the principal. In connection with this situation therefore, this parliament is in the position of directors of the company representing the investment of the Canadian people. As such I ask, will the people of Canada be able more adequately to meet the payment of the bonds that they have guaranteed and the interest on those bonds, as well as the expenses of the national railway, by passing this bill? As far as I have been able to understand from the bill itself, or from the speakers on the government side, or others who have supported the measure, I cannot see how the position of the Canadian people can be improved in the slightest degree by the passing of this bill. Therefore, unless such assurance can be given me as a representative of the people in this enterprise, I feel it my duty to oppose the bill. I contend that this bill will jeopardize the investments for which the people have become responsible. The people of Canada cannot carry both systems while the fixed charges remain as they are. Up to this time the two railway systems have been running in competition. According to the statement of the minister and many others, as far as this bill is concerned, this competition is not to be interfered with. But the inevitable logic of competition is that one or other of the systems will not survive. Faced with the fact that competition is not to be interfered with, according to the minister, and recognizing that the logic of competition means that either the Canadian National or the Canadian Pacific will ultimately go down, there are only

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

two courses which this government could take. The first course is competition to the death, giving no quarter to the Canadian Pacific, writing off the dead stock of the Canadian National, economizing in every legitimate way, getting the best possible management, meeting the Canadian Pacific at every turn with irresistible competition. The other course is the nationalization of the Canadian Pacific along with the other. There is no middle course. Of course we cannot nationalize the Canadian Pacific on the same basis as we did the Canadian National, for to-day that would bankrupt the nation. But the bill does not propose that we nationalize the Canadian Pacific, it proposes rather something which would require Professor Einstein and the use of his fourth dimension to explain, for it is to be competition with cooperation, and outside of the fourth dimension I am unable to explain what that would mean. In spite of the fact that the management was highly praised by the minister for having saved the nation a great deal of money last year this management is to be changed, and the interests of the Canadian Pacific Railway are to be given at least equal attention.

Perhaps it may be regarded by some as being part of the duty of this government and of parliament to give equal attention to concerns other than national concerns, but since the bonds guaranteed by the Canadian people would be jeopardized if the Canadian National were to be run inefficiently or to yield in competition to the other line I maintain that our first duty is to the Canadian National, in order that these bonds may not be endangered by any hesitation on the part of the administration to face the competition of the opposing system. Since competition is to be adhered to, according to the decision of the government, I submit that the national system must fight the Canadian Pacific to the death. Every ton of goods hauled over the Canadian Pacific which might be hauled by the Canadian National will jeopardize that enterprise and endanger the investment that has been guaranteed by the Canadian people. I say this bill brings about fraternity with the enemy, and since the government under the proposed measure loses control of management of the national system it may be even worse than that. Hon. members may argue that if the government should put the resources of the state behind the Canadian National and enter into keen, cutthroat competition with the Canadian Pacific it would mean the ultimate bankruptcy of the Canadian Pacific, but bad though that might be

I say it would be better than the bankruptcy of the nation, and in my opinion this course will bankrupt the nation.

Let us look for a moment at this proposed compulsory arbitration. I conceive that this would be resorted to most frequently when one line or the other made extravagant claims in one particular; this body then would decide just how the matter should be settled. Let us suppose that this board should make what might be regarded as a fair decision under the circumstances; no one would quarrel with that. But let us suppose this arrangement had not been made and that through competition the Canadian National gained the advantage otherwise yielded by a decision of the board. Then to the extent that such an advantage might be nullified by the actions of the arbitral tribunal the Canadian people would suffer and their bonds would be jeopardized. If on the other hand, however, as a result of competition the Canadian Pacific would have obtained an advantage but for the decision of the board, then there will come a time when this railway problem no longer can be put off as it is put off by this bill and when the effect on the financial structure of the company inevitably will be felt. Then the Canadian Pacific Railway will have at least a moral, and for all I know a legal, claim upon this government for having interfered with open competition and having thus brought the railway to the point where it cannot longer carry on. That will be the argument, and in that case we will find the people of Canada left holding the bag in both instances, burdened writh the responsibility of meeting the bonds of both railway systems.

In my opinion, Mr. Speaker, the objective of this parliament should be one national railway system, and that system may be evolved in one of two ways. The first method of bringing about one national system of railways would be by having the Canadian National successfully compete with the Canadian Pacific until that road became bankrupt, when it might be taken over at bankrupt prices. So far as I know there is only one other way of accomplishing that purpose; that is to face the facts as they are and conscript or expropriate the Canadian Pacific as it now stands. There is no other course open except the yielding of the Canadian National to the Canadian Pacific, thus losing to the Canadian people the investment they have guaranteed by the assets of the nation. Of course I appreciate the fact that this house would not think of conscripting the Canadian Pacific; the house only thinks of conscripting men in

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

time of war. It is all right to conscript men, give them $1.10 a day and kill them; there is nothing wrong about that. But when this nation is faced with a tremendous problem which neither the government nor the opposition can solve, if one should propose that in order to meet this problem we should create one national system by conscripting the Canadian Pacific, and pay $1.10 a day to those holding Canadian Pacific bonds while they lived, that would be considered a great tragedy; it would be breaking faith with the bondholders. It is much simpler for us to break faith with humanity; that really does not matter, but the bondholders must be saved without regard to expense.

In view of the fact, therefore, that this bill rather evades the situation which it purports to meet; in view of the fact that it proposes to put competition on a cooperative basis, which is impossible and which in the last analysis probably will mean that the government will stop competing but that the Canadian Pacific will continue; in view also of the fact that if this bill is carried into practical effect it will mean jeopardizing the investment guaranteed to the bondholders of the Canadian National by the people of Canada, as a representative of those people I have no choice but to vote against the bill.

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LIB

Charles-Édouard Ferland

Liberal

Mr. C. E. FERLAND (Joliette):

Mr. Speaker, I realize that the house desires to hear the remarks with which the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Manion) will close this debate, but I should like to place on record my personal view's with regard to this very important question. Since I am more familiar with the French language I should like to speak in French, but for doing so I do not offer any apology. I want everyone to know that I am simply exercising a right which for many years in the past was denied but which now is acknowledged by both parties in this house.

(Translation): Mr. Speaker, the bill under discussion is the most important one which has come before parliament since I have had the honour of representing the constituency of Joliette, in the house. This railway problem is probably the most serious one we have had to solve and is of the utmost interest to my constituents. Canada must settle the question of our railways. To my mind, this measure is important because it concerns the whole of Canada and more particularly the town of Joliette where we have a terminal station. The hon. Minister of Railway and Canals (Mr. Manion), in a splendid speech, when introducing this bill, expressed his personal views as well as those of the government of which he is a member.

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S3719-194


I heartily agree with him on one point, namely, when he acknowledges the efficiency, ability, experience and competence of the higher officials of the Canadian National in managing this colossal enterprise. I entirely agree with him. and I am glad, indeed, to associate myself with him in congratulating the higher officials not only of the Canadian National Railway but also those of the Canadian Pacific Railway. However, there is one phase to which I wish to take special exception. In these days of economy, I think that the higher officials of our railway companies are too highly paid in contrast with the salaries received by the Prime Minister and other members of the government. I was glad to hear, not long ago, that both senators and members, would again be given the opportunity to subscribe $400 to the public treasury, by a cut made in our parliamentary indemnity. It is a duty for members to accept with the best grace and satisfaction this cut of $400, because this sacrifice asked from senators and members is of a nature to encourage the poor, if not in a pecuniary manner, at least morally. It behooves members as well as all public administration, to set an example in such matters of economy and self-sacrifice that is incumbent on everybody, in order to relieve the crisis and help the poor who are more numerous than ever. The higher railway officials, as I have just stated, are too highly paid. First, their own private interests are not at stake. They manage a public enterprise, their positions are permanent and assured, as secure as those of our hon. senators; therefore, in my opinion, their salaries should not be as large. However, I do not insist on that point as I shall refer again to it. At present, there is a railway question, in Joliette, which needs to be settled, I have already drawn the attention of the house to it, in my first speech in this Chamber. When I had the honour of seconding the address in reply to the speech from the throne, I requested the government of that date as well as the railway management to recognize the rights of the town of Joliette, in connection with the car repair shops. The following day, I read in a newspaper, opposed to our views, that for a member who moves or seconds the address it was certainly overstepping the mark to rebuke the government. I have confidence in the fairness, rectitude, experience and competency of the present president of the Canadian National Railways. Mr. Hungerford rendered me a service at one time. About two years ago, I headed a delegation of the municipal councillors of Joliette



C.N.R.-C.P.R. Bill-Mr. Ferland who were to interview Sir Henry Thornton, in Montreal; we submitted our case, namely, what we considered our rights in connection with the Joliette terminal station. As Sir Henry Thornton generally made no decision without consulting his high officials, he called in his engineers, some experts and Mr. Hunger-ford. After perusing part of the memorandum which I had prepared in English so that it might be understood by all, Mr. Hunger-ford, in the presence of Sir Henry Thornton, stated that by virtue of the well known contract between the city of Joliette and the Canadian National Railways, we were requesting a terminal station and shops for the repair of cars in Joliette. He added the following which is important: A terminus comprises a superintendent and his staff. We are entitled to a terminal station in Joliette, according to the contract to which I have just referred; however, at present, we have neither superintendent nor any staff. All business transactions are carried on in Montreal; our repair shops have been abandoned and the Canadian National railway has completely disregarded a valid contract which still exists, and all cars are repaired in Montreal. About 1900, the mayor of Joliette was the Hon, Justice Mathias Tellier, who, to-day, presides over the Quebec Court of Appeals, one of the most learned judges of our province; I take great pridie in this fact since, beside being a relative, he resides in my town. Mr. Tellier himself prepared and had the contract to which I refer, accepted; it was endorsed by the Quebec Legislative Assembly and may be found in the Quebec Statutes of 1900, 63 Victoria, chapter 59. There is no need to enter into details about this contract since it is embodied in a statute. I already told Sir Henry Thornton that he could not read, when we disagreed on the interpretation of this contract. As Sir Henry Thornton has passed away, I do not intend to quarrel with him in his grave; quite the contrary, I pray God to forgive him the errors of his ways inasmuch as the city of Joliette is concerned, but especially because he was responsible for a loss amounting to about $100,000 per year, to that city. By virtue of the contract upon which my request is based, the Great Northern Company obtained subsidies and exemptions of taxes which amounted to a considerable sum; it undertook to establish and maintain permanently, in Joliette, car repair shops; to establish and maintain a terminus or a divisional point where it was to repair the cars of the division comprised between Joliette and Quebec, in the province of Quebec, and between Hawkesbury and Joliette, in the province of Ontario. The shops which the company had built were destroyed by fire in 1925 and were never rebuilt by the Canadian National Railways which practically stopped all work in Joliette. I have here a list of cars which, during the years 1931 and 1932, were sent from Longue Pointe to Joliette, thence from Joliette to Montreal, for repairs. According to the terms of our contract, these cars should have been repaired in Joliette. Instead of adhering to the terms of this contract, these cars are sent a distance of 70 miles to Montreal, to be repaired. Thus the ratepayers' money was wasted by sending these cars to Montreal or vicinity, when they should have been repaired in Joliette. I have no need of stating, sir, that I am not satisfied with the mangement of the National Railways, inasmuch as it affects Joliette. Perhaps, it may be said, to-morrow: The member for Joliette is not satisfied with the policy of the higher officials of the National Railways, and in retaliation he requests that their salaries be reduced. No, sir, I am more serious and honourable than that, if I request that their salaries be reduced, it is because I deem it only fair and equitable. I do not think it right for any citizen of Canada, whether he is president of a large insurance company or member of a board of directors of a railway, to draw from their own treasury a salary of S40,000 or $50,000 per year. At present, when we have hundreds of thousands of unemployed, who are in distress and receive but three or four dollars per week to feed and keep up a home with a family of five, ten or twelve children, I state, no one in this country is entitled to draw from the treasury of large insurance companies or railways an annual salary of thirty, forty or fifty thousand dollars. It is absurd and inexcusable for the representatives of thei people to tolerate such abuses. I am opposed to this bill for various reasons. I do not intend to repeat all the arguments set forth by my liberal colleagues, however, briefly, I may state that the bill is a great menace to the security and welfare of the workers or railway employees; it is the most threatening bill that has ever come before Parliament or Legislature of any province. It is inconceivable that,-owing to the problem being so important and requiring to be studied by experts, technical and experienced men- this bill does not provide at least, for the appointment of a representative of the labour classes on the board of management. C.N.R.-C.P.R. Bill-Mr. Ferland Railwaymen constitute a body of worthy citizen® who are entitled to our gratitude for their services. The employees of the Canadian Pacific Railway or Canadian National Railway, are highly thought of, they are the fathers of fine families in the various provinces; they have travelled, are well read and received their education in our schools. In 1923, 210,000 were employed, since that date, 90,000 were thanked for their services and have joined the ranks of the great army of unemployed. This bill having closed every avenue to the railwaymen, there will be fifty or seventy-five thousand less, within two or three years. Shall the answer be: we must do something. A liberal senator stated, the other day, at a caucus: "The people of Canada expect that something will be done; it is shameful to allow deficits to accumulate and thus waste the people's money. It is said that our two railway systems show a deficit of $1,000,000 per week-


CON
LIB
CON

Joseph Arthur Barrette

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARRETTE (Translation):

Have you any knowledge whether this report was forwarded to the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) and to the Minister of Railways (Mr.. Manioni) ?

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT (Translation):

If the Prime Minister were in the House, he could inform us.

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LIB
LIB
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT (Translation):

If the Prime

Minister is not in the House, it is because he is endeavouring to master that repoi-t.

Mr.FERLAND (Translation): In expressing my congratulations to the railway men, in connection with their memorandum, I do so

Whereas the railway companies have decided to reduce, for the second time, the wages of their employees, we the undersigned, all in the employ of said railways, in your district, heg of you to espouse our cause and this to the best, of your ability, for the reasons undermentioned:

Whereas last year we had to undergo a reduction of ten per cent in our wages.

Whereas the railway companies realized, during the year 1932, substantial savings and were able to show a reasonable balance sheet, considering the depression prevailing in all spheres of activity, which is a direct proof of the sacrifices, already too numerous, imposed on their employees.

Whereas said employees retained in the service of our two large railways have to their credit a length of service of at least ten years, all heads of family and receiving wages already too little remunerative and equitable.

Whereas if the proposed cut is carried out the salaries of the undersigned wTould be of a minimum of $900 and maximum of $1,800.

Whereas, if o-ther economies are necessary, it is important that those who receive higher salaries be first affected, this to conform with the decision taken in connection with the civil service.

As our representative we heg of you to nobly champion our cause and to rest assured that we shall greatly appreciate this cooperation.

This document carries weight and comes at a time when economies are practised at the expense of railwaymen who are unfairly treated. Because the government and a number of companies, here and there, throughout the country, enforce a ten per cent cut in salaries, the railwaymen are reduced 20 per cent. I would request the hon. Minister of Railways to use his good influence to prevent railway companies perpetrating this injustice.

Before closing my remarks, sir, I wish to state that I am opposed to the present policy of the government for reasons known to all;

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

however, I wish to add that I disapprove also of the abuses perpetrated in the past by capitalists in this country. I strongly protest against such abuses. I do not request a change in the fundamental principles of our constitution and administration, but I request the government to be more vigilant and guarded against the large corporations which, in the past, have, in many instances, robbed the people. Keeping this in mind, no new measure will even be necessary, since the companies act embodies a clause which provides for such acts and stipulates that the government may hold1 an inquiry over the operations of any company doing business in this country.

I therefore close my remarks by requesting my railway friends to forget my reproaches with reference to the French language, and I wish to openly state: Above all, I am a French Canadian, honi soit qui mal y pense.

Mr. C-N. DORION (Quebec Montmorency) (Translation): Mr. Speaker, I do not intend

to follow the hon.. member for Joliette (Mr. Ferland), in the narrow path he has pursued.

Topic:   S3719-194
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March 16, 1933