April 5, 1948

CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. F. S. ZAPLITNY (Dauphin):

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the members of this house and those who read the debates will feel disappointed in the kind of reply we have received from the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier). Surely, in a matter admittedly as important as this, in fact so important that a fairly substantial number of the members who normally support the government have risen in their places and taken an opposite stand, the minister should have given the house more than he did in his brief and cursory statement. The chief point he raised was his contention that the question of discrimination was not part and parcel of the whole question of a general increase. He made out that because the application itself did not mention that, or did not make direct reference to the differentials or the discrimination, therefore the

board could not take that into consideration. I do not know on what legal grounds he makes that sort of plea.

Topic:   FREIGHT RATES
Subtopic:   INCREASES ORDERED BY TRANSPORT BOARD-MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
Permalink
LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. CHEVRIER:

No. My hon. friend is misquoting me. I did not make that statement. What I did say was that counsel for the various provinces made the statement, and I quoted their words.

Topic:   FREIGHT RATES
Subtopic:   INCREASES ORDERED BY TRANSPORT BOARD-MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
Permalink
CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. ZAPLITNY:

I would assume that the reason the minister quoted the words of counsel which suited him-and incidentally he did not quote the words of all the counsel who were there-rvas that he wished to make that sort of argument. I do not know of any other reason he would have.

Topic:   FREIGHT RATES
Subtopic:   INCREASES ORDERED BY TRANSPORT BOARD-MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
Permalink
LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. CHEVRIER:

I am sure the hon. gentleman does not want to be unfair to me.

Topic:   FREIGHT RATES
Subtopic:   INCREASES ORDERED BY TRANSPORT BOARD-MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
Permalink
CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. ZAPLITNY:

No.

Topic:   FREIGHT RATES
Subtopic:   INCREASES ORDERED BY TRANSPORT BOARD-MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
Permalink
LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. CHEVRIER:

I was replying to a question that had been asked me.

Topic:   FREIGHT RATES
Subtopic:   INCREASES ORDERED BY TRANSPORT BOARD-MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
Permalink
CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. ZAPLITNY:

I believe the question *was put directly to the minister while he was speaking, as to whether he did not think there was a connection between the two matters. If I understood him correctly, his opinion was that the question of discrimination or differentials would have to go by itself in a separate application before the board, before it could be properly considered. That, of course, is only an incidental. I am sure the minister must have a copy of the submissions of the Manitoba government in this matter. If he will turn to page 59 he will find that there is a summary of the previous decisions of the board. It goes back as far as 1914, and goes on to 1916, 1918, 1920, 1922 and 1927. In practically every case the decision by the board involved the question of differentials as to different parts of the country. For example, in 1917 there was an increase in the passenger and freight tolls, in what was called the 15 per cent case.

. . . there was a further recognition of the disparity between the east and the west-

I am quoting now from the submission.

-and in that case the western rates were raised 10 per cent only, whereas the general bulk of eastern rates were raised 15 per cent.

That in itself is an admission that the board was quite competent to take into consideration all the factors that go into the making of freight rates. Surely in the evidence that was given before the board of transport commissioners there were plenty of arguments to show that there was discrimination and that there was need for an overhaul of the system of freight rates in itself. I believe the board

Freight Rates

was quite competent to make that recommendation or that change. But the question that is still left hanging in the air is this: What is the government going to do in this matter on its own responsibility?

Many of us were anxious all during the session last year, and in the session so far this year, to say something in the house about this question, but we were prevented from doing so by the rules of the house inasmuch as the matter was then before the board, and it was ruled that it was of the same nature as being before the courts. We felt that at the first opportunity which presented itself we would get from the Minister of Transport, who, after all, is most closely connected with this matter, a full explanation of all the factors which went into the making of this decision. I believe the house is entitled to that sort of statement, and the country is certainly anxious to have it. All one has to do is to look through the headlines of the newspapers across Canada, since the -decision was rendered, and he will see that the people of Canada are anxious to know the basis on which that decision was arrived at; if the government-which, after all, has the final responsibility-is in favour of the decision made; and if not, what is it going to do about the matter? Yet all we get from the minister today is a brief and sketchy statement saying that in his opinion there are two matters involved, and that we must not confuse them.

Topic:   FREIGHT RATES
Subtopic:   INCREASES ORDERED BY TRANSPORT BOARD-MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
Permalink
LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. CHEVRIER:

I gave the hon. gentleman the reasons why I could not at this stage make any comment other than that which I made.

Topic:   FREIGHT RATES
Subtopic:   INCREASES ORDERED BY TRANSPORT BOARD-MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
Permalink
CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. ZAPLITNY:

If the minister gave any valid reason as to why no comment could be made, it certainly missed me; because this debate has been going on all afternoon and statements of various kinds have been made from all parts of the house. If it is within the rules and within the rights of the members on this side of the house and of all private

members on the other side of the house to make arguments and submissions either to justify .the increase or to take the opposite stand-as we in this group have taken-then surely it is also within the competence of the minister. Surely he has just as many privileges in this house as has any other member and he should not feel backward or bashful. He is generally not bashful in this house, but on this .occasion he appears to shy away from the question and try to leave it hanging in the air.

Time will not permit me, Mr. Speaker, to say all the things I wanted to say in the first place, because it is now almost eleven o'clock. I only wish to say that I concur most heartily with what the leader of this group said; and I believe he has performed a public service to this country in raising the question today. I am disappointed, and I am sure the house generally is too, that the minister did not rise to the occasion to justify the action taken by the board.

Topic:   FREIGHT RATES
Subtopic:   INCREASES ORDERED BY TRANSPORT BOARD-MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
Permalink

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE


Mr. ST. LAURENT: Tomorrow we shall deal with the matters we intended to deal with today, the first being the second reading of Bill No. 7, to provide for assistance to the gold mines; then, after that, the resolution for the introduction of a bill to amend the Industrial Relations Act, in order to try to get that bill to the industrial relations committee for consideration. After that we shall take the resolution for the introduction of a bill to modify the War Veterans Allowance Act be^ cause that also is required to go to a committee for consideration, namely the committee on veterans affairs. When those two matters have been disposed of, we shall take up the resolution standing in the name of the Prime Minister, to appoint a joint committee of both houses of parliament on human rights. At eleven o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order.



Tuesday, April 6, 1948


April 5, 1948