July 21, 1931 (17th Parliament, 2nd Session)

CON

John Thomas Hackett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HACKETT:

Yes? Any hon. gentleman who thinks our railway problem has been solved may select for himself a place in either category, that of the innocent or the ignorant. Any man who has seen our debt increased by $1,600,000,000 in the last twelve or thirteen years; any man who has seen the dead weight imposed upon the people increased to $60,000,000 a year in the payment of interest on funded debt alone and who thinks a solution has been found does not commend himself, I submit, to the good judgment of the people of the country.
I admit that the service provided by these railways is good; I admit that the personnel, the equipment and the road bed have all been carried to a high point of efficiency. But I consider that the capital expenditures and some of the administrative charges have been injudicious, lavish and incurred without any regard to our needs or our capacity to pay. Show me a single venture in the Canadian National enterprise that has succeeded according to the rule of profit and loss. There has not been a single venture, be it the hotels, the triangular or the coastal service on the Pacific, the Canadian Government merchant marine, or the Canadian National West Indies service, that has yielded one cent of profit.
I know that my hon. friend who sits opposite, the hon. member for North Waterloo (Mr. Euler), has said forsooth that public ownership of public utilities has a greater and higher purpose than that of profit: it is service, and service at cost. I ask, at what cost? The hon. gentleman possesses a serenity which I admire; but he is also capable of talking with his tongue in his cheek; when he asserted the other day that he wanted service at cost, and then proceeded to throw the cost out of the window-

Railways and Shipping Report

Topic:   RAILWAYS AND SHIPPING
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN THIRD REPORT OF SELECT STANDING COMMITTEE
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