October 16, 1919 (13th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Arthur Meighen (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)



Mr. Chairman, there is this to be said as to the speech of the hon. member (Mr. Fielding), who has just sat down, that it leaves no doubt as to the attitude of His Majesty's loyal Opposition, or of what is called the Liberal party of Canada to-day, on the proposition now before this House for the acquirement of the Grand Trunk Eailway Company's lines. They are opposed to it, because, first of all, they do not believe in the purpose of this legislation; they do not believe in the acquirement of the Grand Trunk lines and the adding of those lines to the Canadian National railway system. They are opposed to it on every ground that the ingenuity of the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's can devise. According to them, there is nothing right about it; the object is wrong, the method is wrong, the plan is wrong, the principle is wrong, the time is wrong; everything about it is wrong.
And what grounds do they give for their professed belief? First of all, is it in the interest of Canada that the Grand Trunk system should be added to the Canadian National lines? Is that wrong in itself? Is that* not an object to be desired under present conditions? Is that not an object to be desired! aside from the proclivities of

any hon. member as to the principle of government ownership ?
The hon. member (Mr. Fielding) is opposed to any addition to the present Canadian National railway system. He knows, and every member knows, that the Canadian National system as it stands to-day is an incomplete, inchoate system, a system cut in the middle, a system which cannot itself succeed, and which, if left to itself as it stands, must make a failure of government ownership in this country. Consequently any hon. member who does not seek to add to the system, round it out and complete it, seeks the failure of government ownership. That indeed is the primary, the real object of the hon. gentleman.
He says we are going about it the wrong way; he says that, first of all, we try to stampedle it through Parliament. That was about the first verb he used. What is the meaning of "stampede"? What are the ear-marks of a stampede? What is the evidence of a stampede in the introduction of this legislation? Will the hon. gentleman be good enough to answer me or to suggest what he has* in *his mind? Has* any. hon. member seen any evidence of stampeding or railroading the project through? We heard talk of stampeding and railroading things through years ago. I know of no railroading through or stampeding in this case. He said we had anticipated the close of the session. That does not close the session. The session is still on. He says that we are not enough of us here, yet only yesterday when a catch vote was brought on at a time when there could be ,no discussion, when it was never anticipated* and no notice given, 38 on one side and! 58 on the other were here and voted upon the question. This week many hon. members are absent taking part in the provincial elections in Ontario, and yesterday many hon. members were attending the j ploughing matches'. But, we are not going to end this thing this week. We will be here next week and we will be here the next week after, if hon. * members want it. Hon. gentlemen are not absolved from the discharge of their duty to remain here, take part in this discussion, and come to an intelligent conclusion upon the question. Can the hon. gentleman suggest any condition more auspicious, fairer, better fitted for deliberation? Can he suggest any other occasion when we tyill have more time than now; can he suggest any other occasion when it will burden the convenience of hon. gentlemen less than it does

now; can he suggest any single constituent part of a situation that would be more favourable for the consideration of this measure than that which is now presented.
Well if he cannot, what excuse does he give this Parliament and this country for endeavouring to throw out the impression that there is a railroading process on, that there is a stampeding going on in the House of Commons of Canada? He knows there is no stampeding, he knows there is no railroading, and no hon. member knows it better than he.
Now he tells us there has been stockjobbing somewhere across the Atlantic ocean with regard, to the stocks of the .Grand Trunk Railway Company. I did not hear him read any evidence of stock-jobbing; I presume he got the report from the hon. member behind him who talked-

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