Hon. George C. Marler (Minister of Transport):
Mr. Speaker, on Friday last the hon.
member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) asked a question regarding an item in the Winnipeg Free Press attributing to Mr. F. H. Keefe, general manager of the Canadian National western region, certain remarks about reductions in the railway budget. Later on that same day the hon. member took the opportunity afforded by the debate on the address to comment on the statements attributed to Mr. Keefe.
I shall not reply to the comments of the hon. member but in fairness to Mr. Keefe and the management I think I should draw the attention of hon. members to the dispatch appearing in Saturday's papers in which Mr. Keefe flatly denies that at any time in his remarks did he mention Mr. Gordon or the management at Montreal. In his statement to the press, as reported by the Montreal Gazette of February 5, Mr. Keefe said he had intended to indicate that recent layoffs had been the result of falling traffic and that if business continued to decline other economies might be necessary. The Gazette report goes on to say that Mr. Keefe stated he had added in a jocular way, the occasion being a social banquet, some reference to his own job being at stake unless expenses were kept down. No statement was made by the president of the railway such as attributed to him in the Winnipeg Free Press report.
It will be of interest, I think, if I remind the house that in the dispatch containing Mr. Keefe's denial there was also a statement by Mr. J. R. McMillan, vice president of the railway in Winnipeg, that while avenues of economy are constantly being studied the present outlook is for traffic to continue at its present volume, and I particularly mention his opinion as reported in the same dispatch that no further staff layoffs are anticipated.
Subtopic: REPORTED REPLACEMENT OP MANAGEMENT PERSONNEL