April 29, 1901 (9th Parliament, 1st Session)


David Tisdale

Conservative (1867-1942)


That is dragging a herring across the trail. I hold, Sir, that we should keep good faith with these corporations. no matter what occurs. I am not so much interested in what people think of me, but I do say that I look upon a contract as a solemn thing that is not to be slightly tampered with. If the majority decide against my views, I must accept their opinion, because legislation not only binds the people in favour of a thing, but the people against it as well. I am tired of hearing these contracts spoken of in a joking manner in this parliament. When we make contracts of the greatest importance, it is no joking matter that we should be asked to change them before these contracts are cold. That is a very serious matter. When you talk about railways failing to carry out their contracts, I am with you every time, but I am never with you in trying to break a contract entered into in good faith. Do not give a charter unless you think it is right, and then stick to it. It is a bad way to maintain the credit of Canada for this parliament to break contracts solemnly entered into. In this case you do not say the Canadian Pacific Railway is in default, and yet you seek to add a burden upon a new project of theirs without any argument against the project itself, but because of something that happened in another place. If a railway or other corporation does not carry out its pledges to the country, I would be the first to compel it to do so, but, when it does carry out its agreement, I will always be against you when you seek to deal unfairly with that corporation.

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