March 17, 1905 (10th Parliament, 1st Session)


William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN (South York).

Mr. Speaker, I think I can congratulate the hon. gentleman who has introduced this motion (Sir William Mulock). I can congratulate him on his own view. I think he has long held that view but I think I can congratulate him also that he has converted the right hon. gentleman (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) who sits alongside of him. The right hon. gentleman, not very long ago was very much afraid of state ownership in any form, but now that he has consented to this motion being presented to parliament, I suppose X am to assume that he has changed his mind. The test of the value of this committee will b<* the work accomplished by it. The extent of the investigation and of the information elicited, and the report which the committee may make will be a matter of deep public concern. I have no doubt what the result of a full investigation will be; I have no doubt the committee will recommend some kind of public ownership; some kind of public control of the telephone system in this country. Public ownership and public control of the telephone has succeeded in Europe, in Australia, in New Zealand, and I do not see why it should not succeed here. Only the other day the Postmaster General of England, a young man whom we knew in this country, succeeded in presenting a Bill there to nationalize the whole telephone system, and that Bill is said to have the merit of doing justice to the public and justice to the existing companies. I trust we will be able to adopt some such scheme in Canada. The statement of the Postmaster General that he regards the telephone system as a natural portion of the Post Office Department of this country, is good sound doctrine. Let roe suggest that when he applies that doctrine to telephones he should follow the example of the mother country and take in the telegraph lines also. I trust that during his tenure of office we shall see him adopt a national telephone system and a national telegraph system as they have it in England. All these things are in the line of progress, and I trust that the hon. gentleman will organize the committee at once so that this very session a Bill may be presented to parliament.

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