May 17, 1904 (9th Parliament, 4th Session)


William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)


I am not alluding to the hon. gentleman, who is unknown outside of his own bailiwick. When the member for Halifax is referred to in this country, more particularly in the province of Ontario, it goes without saying that the hon. gentleman is never thought of. It is the hon. leader of the opposition who is meant. Now, what is this amendment ? East year we had the suggestion made by the Grand Trunk Pacific Company that the mountain section would cost about $30,006 a mile ; but to-day the government is placed in this fine dilemma, of having on the one hand the opinion that $30,000 a mile would pay for that section, which is the opinion of the hon. member for Annapolis, and yet humiliating itself by accepting the assurance of Sir Charles Rivers-Wilson instead of the opinion of the hon. member for Annapolis. Now, I think the hon. member for Annapolis is entitled to an apology from the government for having had the temerity to increase this guarantee from $30,000 to $56,000 a mile. It is quite true, as quoted by the hon. member for Annapolis, that the ex-Minister of Railways and Canals said that the mountain section would only cost $35,000 per mile. That was only his opinion, however, and the opinion of the ex-Minister of Railways and Canals does not go with this government except for one thing. When he comes

to this government, bludgeon in hand, and tells them that it is his opinion that the province of New Brunswick will be against them in the next elections unless he receives the best position in the gift of these hon. gentlemen, then they take his opinion, and give him the best position they have : but they will not take his opinion in the matter of railway building. The whole matter presents itself in this light. The government turn a deaf ear to every suggestion except what is for the benefit of the Grand Trunk Railway Company ; but all that company require to do with this government is to ask what they w'ant; and they get it. Talk about David Crockett and the coon. It does not come down for him with half the celerity that this government does when the Grand Trunk Company calls. Talk about the widow at Windsor-all the Grand Trunk Company has to do at any stage of the game is to say what it wants, and this most pliable government immediately accedes to its demand. Now, I do not suppose that the Minister of Justice will make any defence of this increase of $1,260,000. He will say that it is only a little thing, and that the tail might as well go with the hide.

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