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

PRO

Levi William Humphrey

Progressive

Mr. L. W. HUMPHREY (Kootenay West):

Mr.' Speaker, as a very modest member of this House I would like the privilege of addressing my few remarks from this seat. I have not been in the habit of contributing very much to the debates, and situated as I am in the far corner of the Chamber I fear that if I spoke from my own seat some of my remarks might not be heard.
I rise as a member from British Columbia to enter a most emphatic protest against this resolution. The member for Red Deer (Mr. Speakman) has said that as a member from Alberta he considered it was his duty to offer a contribution on behalf of that province. I as a member from British Columbia feel that it is my duty to offer a small contribution on behalf of British Columbia. Although my remarks may not meet with the approval of all on this side of the House, I feel that I have the welfare of my province is much at heart as any other hon. member of this House, and that I represent a class of people who are deeply interested in the

welfare not only of their district and province, but of the Dominion as a whole.
Let us review for a moment the question that is the subject of the present debate. The resolution reads:
That in the opinion of this House, all unfair and unjust discrimination against British Columbia as exemplified in the "mountain scale" of freight rates should be rescinded and the special reduction made by the restoration of the Crowsnest pass rates on the basic production of the prairie provinces be extended to the basic productions of all other provinces of confederation.
If the hon. member for Burrard had been sincere in his professions of regard for the welfare of British Columbia-and I do not doubt his sincerity as an hon. member of this House-he would, in my opinion have been more consistent in the resolution which he had on the order paper under date of February 15. That resolution reads:
That in the opinion of this House, railway rates westward from the prairie provinces should be reduced to an equality with railway rates eastward from said provinces for similar goods and distances.
I cannot see the consistency of the two resolutions, and I do not see how the hon. member is consistent so far as his alleged interest in the welfare of British Columbia is concerned. In the last several months all the organized bodies of British Columbia, in fact I may safely say 95 per cent of the population of the province, have given their loyal support to those who have been instrumental in setting forth the claims of British Columbia on. this railway rate question. A large number of the boards of trade of the province have given their unanimous support to the Premier on the question. The claims of British Columbia have been carried from one stage to another until they are now before the Privy Council, and it is my opinion that this is not an opportune time for the House to take the matter out of the hands of the Privy Council and declare upon the merits of the discrimination so far as it affects British Columbia. If, on the other hand, we have a railway commission that is not doing its duty to the people, I and many other hon. members will be only too glad to see that that particular defect is remedied. But I say that this is not an opportune time to take the matter out of the channels in which it has proceeded. The hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Ladner) has said that the government last year played politics in respect to this railway question. Well, with all due respect to the hon. member and with no prejudice to other hon. members of the House, I would say that in my opinion this question as it is being

Railway Rates
handled is nothing else but politics, first and last.

Topic:   EQUALIZATION OF RAILWAY RATES
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