May 4, 1922 (14th Parliament, 1st Session)


Thomas Alexander Crerar


Hon. T. A. CRERAR (Marquette):

take the opportunity for a few moments only of speaking on the amendment. I am not going to do as my right hon. friend the leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen) has done, and as my hon. friend the leader of the Government (Mr. Mackenzie King) has also done, namely, make two speeches of precisely the same character and on the same material. I am going to oppose the amendment proposed by my hon. friend from West York (Sir Henry Drayton), and I am going to oppose it for this reason: My hon. friend from West York argues, and the leader of the Opposition supports the argument, that the Government should consult the Railway Commission and those who possess information in respect of this matter and bripg down a policy to Parliament in connection therewith. In respect to the amendment, I take the position I took this afternoon as regards the motion, and that is, that we have sufficient information before us now to enable this House to come to a judgment

Crowsnest Agreement
as to whether or not the suspension of the Crowsnest pass agreement should he further continued. We have had discussions before the Railway Commission for months. The public, I think, are pretty well informed as to the evidence that was submitted to that commission. The newspapers have contained very full reports of it, and we have had an opportunity of studying the subject, while members of the House have listened to the arguments upon the matter. I therefore cannot see why it is necessary to give the further consideration to the matter which my hon. friend the Prime Minister suggests; and for the reason which I have just stated I am going to oppose the amendment that has been submitted.
Now, the Prime Minister argues with a great deal of force that he desires to take the public and the House into his full confidence in this matter. I have no objection whatever to that principle. I do not support the view of the leader of the Opposition as enunciated this afternoon, that it is not the part of the Government, when it sees fit, to seek the views of Parliament by means of a special committee on questions of this kind. I do not take that view, although the Prime Minister, I am sure quite inadvertently, ascribed it to me in his earlier speech this evening. But we have the facts before us pretty well on this question. I take the ground that the reference of the matter to a committee will be inconclusive. It will get us nowhere, and consequently, recognizing the need of a reduction in freight rates in this country, and in view of the fact that we have a definite, set agreement in the matter of rates under the Crowsnest pass agreement, I can see no reason why the House should not now be able to make up its mind on the question. There is no doubt whatever, if I interpret rightly the speeches made by members of the Government, that the whole purpose in submitting the question to the committee is to ascertain whether or not this agreement should be further set aside. That is the essential part of the motion we are considering. I do not think it is necessary to consult a committee to determine that question; and holding that view I cannot consistently support the motion to refer the matter to a committee, nor can I support the amendment of my hon. friend from West York, that the Government seek further information that might result in bringing down a proposal to set the agreement further aside.

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