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


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



Nothing whatever was known in London because it was not known here. It was not even expected here ten days ago, otherwise the leader of the Gov-

We would have preferred to have had everything made the subject of arbitration, but we could not secure that result. We told the Grand Trunk representatives to accept one offer or the other. We allowed them to wait. We told Parliament that we had-made an alternative off er, and every hon. member understood that that was a ^continuing offer, for no other inference could possibly be drawn from the speech of the hon. member for Leeds (Sir Thomas White) who was then Minister of Finance. Further, Parliament understood from the date that that letter of the 11th of July, 1918, was read, and long before that date, that negotiations were going on; and ever since the writing of that letter that negotiations were continuing, with intermissions a't times it is true, but that the negotiations had never been closed with the Grand Trunk Company. Why, in the early part of this session the Prime Minister told this House that negotiations with the company were going on. Last session, more than once, members of the Government told the House that negotiations were continuing. Hon. members opposite knew quite well that those negotiations were continuing and that a basic foundation offer had -been made the company on the part of this Government, whiqh offer was the basis of the negotiations. If they objected to that offer, if they thought it was unjust to Canada, what was their duty? The letter was read in this House and they knew every line of i't. Their duty was to move [DOT]a resolutionj asking the Government to withdraw the proposals- made to the Grand Trunk Company. Does any hon. member suggest that that course was not open to the Opposition? Well, I heard one hon. member say last night that such a course was out of order. I know a little about the rules of procedure, and I am certain that no hon. member knoks so very little as [DOT]to think for even a minute that such a motion would be out of order. He could have moved such a resolution any day of the week ever since that letter was read. It-was open to any hon. gentleman opposite to have moved in this House that the duty of the Government was to withdraw those proposals, or either of them, as being unfair to Canada and over-generous to the Grand Trunk Company. But that was not done. They say: "We wonldl have been told 'by the Government that the negotiations were closed when our offer was not accepted." How do they know they would have told [DOT]any such thing? We never told the House or the Country any such thing; on the .
contrary, we had been constantly telling them the negotiations were on. Even if they hadi secured a .statement from the Government that the negotiations were [DOT]closed, would not the resolution have been worth while then? There was no reason in the world for hon. gentlemen opposite,-if they objected to any phase of the offer made to the Grand Trunk,-not having moved this House and asked Parliament whether the Government were taking the right and the just course in making the offer they did 'to the Grand Trunk Railway Company. Having sat here through two sessions and come to this hour with that offer unobjected to on the part of hon, gentlemen opposite, and unobjected to by the press of this country, with no evidence whatever of objection on the part of the people, what position are hon. gentlemen opposite in to come now to Parliament and say: "Your proposals having been accepted, it is your duty now to back down."

Subtopic:   V072 COMMONS
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