April 3, 1902 (9th Parliament, 2nd Session)


David Tisdale

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. DAVID TISDALE (South Norfolk).

I think that possibly a matter which was referred to a committee and voted upon will bear a little further explanation to give those hon. members of the House who were not present in the committee an opportunity of understanding the exact position. I maj say for myself that I knew nothing of the merits of this Bill. It was an ordinary Bill for a renewal of time. This happens to be a bridge. I think there have been three or four bridge charters renewed already during this session under the same circumstances but the bridges were not across the same river. Further than that there has been a number of railway charters extended, and it was rather a surpi'ise to myself when it came up in the committee that an ordinary application for a renewal of a charter of this sort should meet with such strong opposition. The only opposition to this Bill mentioned in the committee, was that there was another application for a charter lower down on the list, covering precisely the same project. Then it was mentioned that a gentleman named Armstrong was connected with this scheme. The members from Montreal and the neighbourhood seem to know Mr. Armstrong better than I do, and I take it for granted from what they said, that there might be objections to him. However, that may be, I moved, as I thought it was only fair to do, that this Bill be deferred and be considered with the second Bill of a similar kind so that the committee could have the advantage of hearing the particulars regarding both of the projects. For the first time in my memory which extends over a long connection with the Railway Committee, that proposition was opposed, and to my surprise it was rejected by a vote of forty against seventeen. I submit that that was not fair consideration of the Bill. Most of us were entirely ignorant of the merits of either of the Bills, but never the less, without one tittle of explanation the Bill was thrown out. Surely the Railway Committee will not subscribe to the proposition that they should kill a charter simply on the statement that there is another charter to be considered later covering the same project. My hon. friend (Mr. Monk) has mentioned three very good names who are backing this Bill, and I regret that the gentlemen behind the other charter would not allow us to hear any explanation about this one. It should be remembered that the committee declined to allow a gentleman by the name of Buchan, who was a complete stranger to me, to answer statements made in the committee. It is true that he explained the scheme, but he ex-

plained it very moderately and very briefly, and wben I moved that he should be heard in reply to statements made by the other side, the committee absolutely refused to allow Mr. Buchan to speak. Much as I dislike to oppose any finding of the Railway Committee, yet after an experience of fifteen years, I can say that this is a very peculiar case and that the entire circumstances surrounding it warrant us in asking that the Bill be referred back to the committee, because there undoubtedly was not a full consideration of it.

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