April 18, 1933

LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I do, but the argument of the minister was that we are appointing these men for seven years, making them dictators so that they will get away from political interference. What I am endeavouring to make clear is that the political interference which may have bedevilled this road in the minds of some hon. gentlemen opposite and of a section of the public is political interference which put branch lines over on the Canadian National; not that which might interefere with detailed operation, such as the appointment of a watchman. These trustees are not getting us away from political interference in the harmful sense; that is the point I am trying to make. If they are not going to do

any good to the road other than keep some member of parliament from a back concession from having one of his friends appointed brakeman or having someone appointed to sweep out the Union station here, if that is all we are going to appoint dictators for, I submit that one year is enough, or perhaps six months. That is the position I take.

Topic:   C.N.R.-C.P.R. BUI
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Mr. Chairman,

I do not know whether the committee are aware that this provision, namely that the trustees shall not be removed except by an address by both houses of parliament, is something which was not in-any way recommended by the Duff commission. It is a provision put in by the present ministry, or at their instigation. The Duff commission does not make any suggestion of the kind. The self-perpetuating feature of the trusteeship comes from the Drayton-Acworth commission report, and in that connection the remarks of one of those commissioners are very significant. Mr. Smith, one of the commissioners, used these words as part of his report to parliament-*

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CON
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Yes, but it is interesting to see what he said:

I am unable to join my colleagues in their recommendations. They propose that practically all of the railways in Canada, except the Canadian Pacific and the American lines, shall be turned over to a corporation to be managed by a board of trustees appointed by government. They insist that this board is to be permanent and self-perpetuating. I do not know by what means one parliament can bind its successors to a given policy, especially in so simple a matter as changing the organization of a government board. My friends seek to avoid government ownership and operation, in fact condemn it as inadvisable, but propose a plan which contains so many elements of danger in the direction which is sought to be avoided that I am unable to join them.

I direct the attention of the committee to what is there said about the desire to avoid government ownership and operation. Mr. Smith's friends on the commission, the majority, according to the other commissioner, wished to avoid government ownership and operation, and to make it impossible, and according to Mr. Smith one of the means taken to make it impossible was to make the trustee board self-perpetuating. I submit that as long as we have government control or purport to have it and are going to endeavour to carry it out, we should not enact legislation which is definitely designed to make government control impossible.

Progress reported.

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At eleven o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order. Questions



Wednesday, April 19, 1933


April 18, 1933