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


William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN (South York):

to Canada in freight rates, or economy in railroad administration, is to be derived by using the Panama canal let that route be used, and let parliament give its assistance. The Railway Commission will never give it. It must come from parliament and by parliamentary action, by parliament taking the two roads, and wherever there is waste as between them, and where through or interprovincial freight is involved, and there is a better grade on one road than on the other, there must be common usage of the improved grade on terms. If we start in on that basis, instead of making it a fight between lawyers, or a question to be submitted to the Railway Commission or to the Privy Council, we may get somewhere, but if it is to be fought out between lawyers, as I suggest, we will have these discussions for a year or two. I do not think a discussion of this kind can accomplish anything; we must have direct action. The country demands it. We get that direct action in parliament.
I agree with the ruling of the Speaker that this question is a parliamentary one. It is not a question for lawyers, or the commission, or the Privy Council, but one for this House. A hundred railroad questions are pressing on the people of Canada to-day, and the solution is in parliament.
The responsible Minister of Railways should find a way to wipe out this differential based on the alleged greatly increased cost of the Canadian Pacific Railway over the Canadian National Railway. As a matter of fact, the Canadian National is prepared to have this Crowsnest pass discrimination wiped out. They know they can do the work for a great deal less and they are anxious to do it. I believe Sir Henry Thornton has said that he is anxious to do it, and if that is the case why leave it to lawyers? Why not let the department introduce an immediate and quick cure, not only for this question, but for a lot of others that may arise? Hon. members may say they do not want to bring up cases of individual rates. Neither do I, nor do I wish to see the time of this House taken up by somebody trying to get a little political advantage for his province or his business. This question should be settled in parliament and the responsibility is on the government, especially if there are two competing lines where the management of these lines will not come to an understanding. In such case let parliament wipe out the unfair condition of affairs and make them come to terms.

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