April 30, 1913 (12th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Henry Robert Emmerson



There are some lines in connection with the Intercolonial railway that he wishes to acquire and he is seeking power by this resolution, and the Bill which is to follow it, to carry out his wishes in that regard. Perhaps this is no# the occasion when this should be fully discussed, but certainly I do not wish this resolution to have even my silent approval unless I have some further information with regard to it. The course being pursued by my hon. friend is one that was condemned every year that this subject was under discussion in a concrete way. I am entirely in favour of acquiring these railways. If my hon. friend will not go as far as I would and acquire them all, then, on the principle that half a loaf is better than no bread, I would support him with respect to the acquisition of some of them at least, but I think it would be fair to this House and to the country that he should take us into his confidence as to just what he wants to do by means of this resolution, what he purposes to do and what the policy of the Government is in respect to the subject.
He has harnessed up the two propositions, although they are distinct-one, that of acquiring railways already in existence and the other, that of constructing new railways. I do not think that they should be combined in one resolution, and I think that they should be considered separately and each upon its own merits. In the matter of the acquisition of lines already in existence, I certainly think the resolution should mention those railways that the minister has * in mind, the railways which the Government have had under consideration with a view to their acquisition. I remember very distinctly the exceptions that were taken to resolutions of a similar character in previous years and the principle was propounded in this House that, before the Government should seek powers, such as are sought by this resolution, they should give the fullest possible and even detailed information. That was the principle that was supported by my hon. friends when they were sitting on this side of the House, and I think they should live up to it to-day, although they have got into the habit of not living up to any cf the principles/which they supported when in Opposition. This is a resolution which, in my judgment, should Mr. EMMERSON.
not have our approval until we have the information. I want to support any policy that will mean the acquisition of these railways and even the construction of certain others, but surely my hon. friend is not serious in coming to the House and asking for_ such general powers to construct railways. If we pass this Bill, the minister could build a railway anywhere in Canada without reference to the present Government system of railways. Surely he has no such idea in contemplation; surely he knows what railway he wishes to construct, and if so why should the information not he set forth in this resolution as it was in the resolution submitted in May, 1911? I took exception to that resolution because I thought there should be certain coal railways in Nova Scotia that should be included in it and because the terms of the resolution did not give sufficient detailed information. I am almost tempted to doubt that the Minister of Railways is in earnest with respect to the acquisition of branch lines connected with the Intercolonial railway, judging from the character of this resolution.

Full View