Mr. D. D. McKENZIE:
I have very
grave doubts whether the House should concur in this amendment, which fixes or invites a fixation of the award at a certain amount. I think it goes far too high. During the course of the debate it was held out to us and repeated over and over again that the arbitrators might find no value at all.
The Minister of the Interior (Mr. Meighen) and the Minister of Railways (Mr. J. D. Reid) said that they did not know what the amount of the award might be; in fact, it was suggested to members of the House that the arbitrators might find that there was no value at all, and that what we were undertaking, directly and indirectly, besides the result of the arbitration, might be ample and sufficient to pay for anything that we are getting. By concurring in this amendment we are inviting the arbitrators to decide that there shall be an award of $62,500,000, and it seems to me that whatever the arbitrators may do, we are not justified in saying that they are doing right if they bring in an award of that kind. Personally, I cannot be a party to concurring in the suggestion that the arbitrators would be justified and that we say that they would be justified in bringing an award involving such an immense amount of money. I do not know that recrimination is any good or that comparisons should be made; but I say to the Government and to hon. gentlemen opposite that if we reached the conclusion that we did yesterday by such a huge majority in this House, namely, that we had not a dollar to spend to gladden the hearts and comfort the homes of our returned soldiers, and refused simply on that account to do anything beyond what we are doing along those lines, it is an extraordinary thing that the next morning we should come to this House and say that as far as we are concerned we should give away for this railroad, which is certainly not a paying proposition, $62,500,000 in addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars which we are obliging ourselves to pay.
Subtopic: CONSIDERATION OP AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE TO BILL FOR THE ACQUISITION OP THE SYSTEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.