Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):
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"?
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-