March 17, 1922 (14th Parliament, 1st Session)


Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON (resuming):

When the House took recess at six o'clock, I was discussing the advertisement published in the city of Toronto, in the interests, among others, of my hon. friend the Minister of Labour, and dealing with the unemployment situation. I still hope that that is not to be included in the list of discarded pledges by my hon. friend the Prime Minister. I would be very loath to think that the underlying motive of that advertisement was to signalize the direct return to what is vulgarly known as porkbarrel politics in Canada. That the only idea was that it should be a bait and a bribe to Toronto to elect the Minister of Labour, and that, as a penalty for his
non-election-that the admitted measure of justice should not be extended to that municipality. It was either one thing or the other. I sincerely hope it was not the latter proposition, but I am afraid we may expect disappointment. Mr. Speaker, I
do not see the hon. senior member for Halifax (Mr. Maclean) in his seat, but it is within the memory of all of us how insistently he fought for Civil Service reform, how he piloted through this House the Civil Service Act, how
the very name of patronage was
something most distasteful to him, but I notice little kites up in the air already, and some newspapers, very close to the administration are drawing attention to and making attacks on the Civil Service Commission, and most startling of all, I see one of these kites now being flown by the senior member for Halifax. I read from a Halifax paper, I think the Chronicle, this note, which appeared in the issue of February 9:
Name Patronage Board
At a meeting of the Liberals in Halifax yesterday, the following were named on what is said to he a patronage committee; Alderman Findlay, Harry Murphy, B. W. Russell, Ralph Hendry, Mayor J. S. Parker, and C. H. Bennett. These men were selected by the Hon. A. K. Maclean and Dr. Edward Blackadder.
I could not commence to in any way vie with the hon. gentleman in the tremendous claims that he made for the total abolition of patronage. It was his long suit. We find that that long suit was played when he was in the Union Government, to make sure that no patronage could be indulged in by the Union administration, the Liberal-Conservative administration, but patronage of the oldest and worst type can be indulged in just as soon as the Liberal administration takes office. We all know what the idea of the kite is, how these things are thrown out for the purpose of seeing just how they are going to be received. The hon. gentleman still has time to say that he does not intend to stultify himself, that he meant what he said, that he believed, and still continues to believe, in reform-and I may tell him that there was more reform granted to the people of this country in the last five years than in the preceding twenty-five years-ax'd that now, simply because his political friends occupy the treasury benches, he is not going to throw into the
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discard the principles which he affected to hold most dearly. I do not know what advice the hon. gentleman is getting as the result of the publicity given to this proposed change. I hope that he will take advantage of the present situation to deny that he has any intention of proceeding further and by disbanding that committee.
We have had lota of misrepresentation, and I think many of the misrepresentations -and I want to be fair about it-were made in the heat of conflict, as they are . often made, without proper information as to the facts. But I would like to impress upon the gentlemen who now form part of the administration that misrepresentations cap no longer be indulged in, that we are entitled to facts and that the business of the country should be conducted on a basis of facts. Let me illustrate what I mean by this, and I am going to address myself again to the Minister of Labour. I do not know whether many of the gentlemen in the House have had the privilege of hearing the Minister of Labour talk. He is a most eloquent and convincing talker. I think sometimes he gets carried away by his own eloquence, and says a great many things which he never intended to say. I may be wrong, but at any rate I would' like to approach the discussion of one or two matters to which I am going to call the attention of the House, in that spirit.
Oh, Mr. Speaker, you should have heard the eloquence of my friend in the last campaign. You should have heard his denunciation of trusts and combines. He left nothing to be desired. These denunciations were delivered with the greatest force and eloquence and there were some peculiarly bad combines which he directed special attention to. He did me the honour of coming to my constituency and delivering a tremendous address denouncing anything and everything in his endeavour to make a hit. I have notes of his address taken at the time. He picked out for a very special part of his attack these iniquitous trusts and combines. He fastened all this upon the back of the late government. They were the protectors of the trusts; they created them; they fathered them; they aided them; the trusts were their children. He quoted Biblical phrases in connection with them; he found new decalogues in connection with them, and he was going to do tremendous things with them. Why, you should have heard him speak of Sir Charles Gordon

of that iniquitous concern, the Dominion Textile Company, the concern that he had been waiting for two long years for an opportunity to hale before a proper investigating committee and to exhibit in all its nakedness and frightfulness to the Canadian people!
There was another concern that he said a great deal about, the Canada Cement Company. He disposed of the Dominion Textile Company and the Canada Cement Company to his complete satisfaction, but he never told the people that both those companies were incorporated under the Liberal regime. His charge was that they were Conservative creations. The fact is that the merger of the Canada Cement Company took place in 1909, and the merger of the Dominion Textile Company took place on January 4, 1905. I am making no charges against those companies. The charges were made by the Minister of Labour. He has been in power for some time; he has had an opportunity of considering the case of that awful man, Sir Charles Gordon. He has passed upon his case; he has sentenced him for his crimes and iniquities by sending him over to Genoa for the purpose of representing this country at that great conference. The minister (Mr. Murdock) laughs. Oh, the election is over! He charged us with having the support of these companies; and if he did not know, he ought to have known that, at the very time those charges were made the name of Sir Charles Gordon was to be found upon the nomination papers of the Minister of Justice (Sir Lomer Gouin). That was the sort of thing that we took uncomplainingly.
The hon. member had a bigger complaint than that. Sir, the most monstrous, the most dreadful octopus, the worst of all the companies in the world, the one that surpassed all others in frightfulness, according to his way of putting it, was that dreadful organization known as the British Empire Steel Company. Why, my hon. friend waxed eloquent even for him; he rose to a height of superlative eloquence when he was denouncing that concern, and he went on to tell the people how he had investigated it and had found that, in the capitalization of the company there was no less than $230,000,000 represented by water or by good will. He went on to draw such a harrowing picture that it would bring tears to the eyes of the most hardened, as to the tremendous, awful burden that was cast upon the unfortunate people of Canada who would have to pay for all time

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dividends on watered stock, dividends on values that did not exist, simply because the wicked government that was, countenanced such things. And he stopped there, for if he had told the truth his purpose would not have been served. If he had told the truth, it would have been known that the minister and his friends were responsible for that incorporation. If he had told the truth to the people of Ontario, he would have said: "This is the investigation that I made. I found this tremendous amount of water. These incorporators came to Ottawa with their petition for incorporation. They went away without it and they took practically the first train to my political friends, the Liberal government of Nova Scotia and they got their incorporation." If he had gone further, he could have said; "Why, Mr. Macdonald, K.C."-he was not then member for Pictou; he has since been elected-"Mr. Macdonald, one of my political friends is general counsel for, or at least very high up in the councils of that company, representing them, working for them. Ah, yes, here I am also, walking the goose-step with Ned Macdonald in our nondescript army." But he did not tell us anything of that kind. Oh, no, there was nothing that was said about the facts. After all, it is all ancient history now; I hope it has gone not to return; I hope that, with office, my hon. friend will stick to facts. I wish him every success in his department. The country needs success in the administration of the Department of Labour; and as regards those who sit around me, my hon. friend can take no proper step to help labour, no proper step to help unemployment, but his hands will be upheld by those sitting on this side of the House.
Are we very much better off to-day? I am hoping we are, but are we? Look at the discrepancy that we have between the Prime Minister and the hon. member for Marquette. It is not a discrepancy as to a mere matter of form; it is a discrepancy that is vital. It goes to the question of establishing fairness and loyalty to his friends on the part of the member for Marquette (Mr. Crerar) or else a willingness to desert them and to scrap his party. He has taken his position and the leader of the House has taken his. They are diametrically opposed, the one to the other, and I am afraid we cannot do anything to help solve this question except to point out that, in view of all the circumstances, in view of the fact that a meeting was held of the members of this
House supporting the leader of the Progressives, and that these matters were favourably considered, the great probability is that the leader of that party was correct in what he said. But, as I say, we cannot do much one way or the other to solve the question. It is a pity that we have so early in the session, such a sharp divergence on a matter of fact involving a question of veracity as we have between these two hon. gentlemen.
Well, we are attacked rather severely in connection with our railway policy. All the troubles of the railways, according to the hon. member for Pictou (Mr. Macdonald) are attributable to the one man of whom, for some particular reason, he seems to try to make a Machiavelli. The Prime Minister dealt with the same question and did me the honour of referring to a report which I made to this House some years ago. I wonder whether he will put the rest of the report into effect, or whether he is going to confine his en-dorsation to just a few lines of it, because those lines serve, for the moment, a useful purpose. I wonder whether he believes what that report shows as to the woeful waste, the reckless extravagance, and the manifest impropriety of the whole Grand Trunk Pacific and Transcontinental venture; or is his endorsation applicable merely to these few lines? Well, it is quite true that the figures quoted by my hon. friend are correct. It is equally true that at that time the mileage of railways in operation was nothing like what it is today. It is perfectly true, for example, that in 1911, although the lines had been very largely completed, neither the Grand Trunk Pacific nor the Transcontinental was reported as an operating railway in Canada. But to adopt the argument based on the figures of the mileage of railways in operation would lead to the result of charging the Liberal-Conservative party with the responsibility of it all, the party that did its very best and fought its hardest to stop that iniquitous scheme. Why, hon. gentlemen know that railways are not operated immediately on their completion. Those gentlemen who come from the West know that long after construction has been completed much time elapses before any application is made to the Railway Board to open the lines for operation, and there have been brought to the board, time and again, cases which could not be dealt with simply because the lines concerned, although completed, had not been declared by the company to be ready for operation and the
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operation was carried on by the contractor. Furthermore, I think the House knows very well that, in connection with the right to charge operating expenses to capital account, there was a very special reason for a great delay on the part of the officials of the Grand Trunk Pacific in making the necessary application to the Railway Board, although the lines had been completed. To such an extent was this the case that the question was considered as to whether or not Parliament should take to itself power to declare the lines open and ready for operation although the companies themselves had not done so.
Now, I desire, in the plainest possible terms, to take issue both with the Prime Minister and with the member for Pictou as to who is responsible for the overbuilding of railways in this country, and who is responsible for this mess. Did any gentleman in this House, Mr. Speaker, ever hear the suggestion, until made by the Prime Minister in this debate, that it was open to this country to cancel all the charters that had been given and to set aside all the bond issues that had been made? Not only were these bond issues made, but the moneys had been provided and were in the hands of the trustees of the issues; and these moneys could be applied only to the one purpose. The fact is, as is very well known, that the great part of these undertaking's had been completed at that time, that the right of way had been bought throughout, that a large proportion of the steel had been laid, and that the companies and the Government that had endorsed their bonds were absolutely committed to the undertakings and had to go on with them. I say that every charter, which is responsible for the overbuilding of lines in Canada, where that overbuilding to-day is burdensome upon the public, was authorized by the Liberal Government. Why, during the whole long term of the Liberal administration, during fifteen years, there were only two years in which there was not some Canadian Northern legislation giving charters or guarantee charters, guarantees, and the like. My hon. friends will find a great number of them, and they will further find only two years when none was granted. I do not want to weary the House by giving a list of all these, but I should like to specify some of the main charters,-charters which have resulted in unnecessary mileage, and consequent financial embarrassment.
Hon. gentlemen know that the invasion of Ontario by the Canadian Northern has

proved very, very expensive, and is now demonstrated to have been for the most part entirely unnecessary. The charter for the line from Montreal to French River was granted on July 20th, 1905, but if you count the railway as in operation you will find that in 1911, according to the Prime Minister, we became liable for it. For the line from the township of Chisholm to Capreol, their divisional point in Ontario, the charter was granted on the 19th May, 1909. For the line from North Bay to Port Arthur, linking up the system with the West, and committing the country absolutely to the project, the charter was granted on the 15th May, 1902. When you get out farther west you will find that the charters for the lines from Dauphin to Battleford and thence to Edmonton were granted on the 29th June, 1897, and the 15th May, 1902, respectively. There is no doubt of one thing, Sir, and that is that, generally speaking the prairie lines of the Canadian Northern are good lines. If the Canadian Northern had been left where the Laurier administration found it, on the prairies, and allowed to expand there, and had devoted the hundreds of millions of dollars which were sunk in the building of unnecessary lines in the East towards giving absolutely necessary lines to the western farmers, its prairie system would indeed have been a great asset to this country. I repeat, those lines were good and necessary lines.
But the Canadian Northern system was not to stop there; that bold administration was determined to continue extension to the Coast, and it granted a charter for the line from Edmonton to Vancouver on the 11th August, 1899.

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