April 17, 1923 (14th Parliament, 2nd Session)

CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

No, I said in Manitoba we did not put them lower than the commission would have done. I said they put the rates in Saskatchewan and Alberta presumably lower than the commission would have done. How much I did not say It is the principle that is wrong-the principle

of tying the hands of the commission before which all parts of the country are asked to come, and by whose decision all parts of the country are asked to abide. The government having taken the responsibility of doing that must answer to representatives of other portions of the country when those representatives come to this House and ask the government to do the same in respect to their provinces.
Next they have argued-though the minister did not do so this afternoon-that valuable consideration was given for this sacred agreement of 1897. Well, consideration was given by this Dominion but similar consideration was given by one hundred other acts, and there would be just the same reason for statutorily fixing rates in lieu of that consideration. But if in the Crownsnest case there was any given, it was given by the whole of the Dominion of Canada and was not given by any one single portion.
Now I would come to the subject referred to by the hon. member for Pontiac (Mr. Cahill) the agreement with the province of Manitoba made by the Canadian Northern Railway Company, an agreement for which consideration was given in lieu of control of rates being exercised by the province which gave the consideration. The province of Manitoba in 1901 made an agreement with the Northern Pacific to take over the Northern Pacific lines at a certain fixed rental for 999 years-a certain rental for ten years, a certain rental for another ten years, another rental for a third ten years, and then a rental of $300,000 for the balance of 999 years. The province immediately re-leased the lines to the Canadian Northern, and in that agreement re-leasing the lines they provided that Manitoba should guarantee the bonds of the Canadian Northern Railway Company on its line from Port Arthur to Rainy River, 290 miles, at $20,000 a mile, a liability of $5,800,000, and in consideration of such liability the Canadian Northern Railway Cdmpany gave to the province of Manitoba full control of rates on all its lines in Manitoba and on all its lines from Manitoba to Port Arthur, and from Port Arthur to Manitoba.There was valuable consideration and the^e was a sacred agreement, and the consideration came wholly out of the credit and out of the pocket of the people of Manitoba themselves. Now then, if agreements are sacred,surely they are sacred chiefly to thosewho give the consideration for them.
Manitoba stands to-day with all its rights under that agreement intact. I call on the government of this country to restore the validity of that agreement to undo what was done by this House in 1903 and allow the

Railway Rates
people of Manitoba, through its government to exercise full control of rates as they have a right to do under the terms of the agreement. If this government comes in and says the Crowsnest pass agreement must be respected, then why not the Canadian Northern agreement? If the Crowsnest pass agreement must be respected, or a part of it, a piece of it, torn and extracted out of the rest, for the benefit of a portion of the country which contributed no more to the construction of the road than all the rest of the Dominion, how much more should the Canadian Northern agreement enure to the benefit of, and be restored fully to the taxpayers of the province who paid the whole of the consideration themselves?

Topic:   EQUALIZATION OF RAILWAY RATES
Full View