May 12, 1916 (12th Parliament, 6th Session)

IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

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

I followed somewhat closely the speech delivered the other day by the former Minister of Railways (Mr. Graham) in regard to the proposed aid to the Canadian Northern Railway Company and the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company. What he said was that the present railway situation in this country was not permanent, and that if it had not 'been for the war and the consequent general dislocation of business all would still be well. His conclusion was that the sun would shine again; that things would come back to their normal; that the railway situation in this country would come all right once more. In other words, he endeavoured to justify the proposition that no fundamental error had occurred in regard to the railway situation. My contention is that the war which is now waging has disclosed the dislocation of the railway situation in this country. Not only may the war have helped to bring on this dislocation, but it has disclosed a railway situation that is unspeakably bad and against the general interest of the country. The situation must be remedied. I disagree with my hon. friend when he says that everything will come back to normal. I say that the people of Canada will have to come to the conclusion that the railway situation in this country is fundamentally bad and must be cured. I am going to prove my contention by pointing out these things to him. The Globe newspaper says: The railway situation is unutterably bad; the people of this country think the same thing, and I will read

the confession, of Mr. Smithers, Chairman of the Grand Trunk Railway Company. On the first page of his letter addressed to the Prime Minister are these words:
Sir,-I have brought before the board the result of my conversations with you and some of your colleagues during my recent visit to Canada, as to the financial position of the Grand Trunk and Grand Trunk Pacific Companies from the 1st of January next.
I told my colleagues that at the interview 1 had with you on November 25 I disclosed to you very frankly the situation with which the Grand Trunk and Grand Trunk Pacific Companies would be confronted in the immediate future. I also told them that after full consideration, and with the deepest regret I had proposed to you, as the only safe solution of our difficulties that the Government should take over the Grand Trunk Pacific railway as from the first January next, with all its branch lines, together with its development company, and other subsidiary companies, with all the as. sets, the Grand Trunk Railway Company to surrender to the Government the whole of the common stock of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company on condition of the Government relieving the Grand Trunk Railway Company of all liabilities in respect of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company, its branch lines, its development company, and other subsidiary companies, and repaying to the Grand Trunk Railway Company any money advanced by the Grand Trunk Railway Company to the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company, or its branch lines,, and Development Company and other subsidiary companies.

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