April 12, 1901 (9th Parliament, 1st Session)


David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)


In general terms I am prepared to assent to what the Prime Minister says, that we ought to be guided by the action of the Railway Committee. But, I think that it will be within the recollection of this House that only a few weeks ago the principle laid down by the First Minister was not recognized. Strong reasons being shown why the action of the Railway Committee should not be sustained, the House felt quite justified in dealing with the subject in a manner different from the manner recommended by the Railway Committee. I have in my recollection one case where private interests and public interests were affected, yet the First Minister himself assisted in pushing that Bill through to a third reading without allowing the parties to be heard. I was present in the Railway Committee when the Bill which is now under discussion was defeated. It was, practically, not defeated ou its merits-I think that might quite fairly be said. It was simply defeated on the ground that the promoter of the Bill had had a former charter over a portion of the same route, and had disposed of it to another man, and now he is seeking for a charter, not over the same ground, but probably 150 or 200 miles away from his former line. Now, I have thought over that matter very carefully since, and I am not sure but that we made a serious mistake, and I for one am always prepared to remedy a mistake when I think I have made one. I think I made a mistake on that occasion, and I am prepared to support the motion of the hon. member for Alberta (Mr. Oliver) to refer this Bill back to the Railway Committee for further consideration. After having told Mr. Harvey, the promoter of the Bill, that we did not believe in charter selling, and warned him in that way, and punished him. I think we should be prepared to deal with this question on its merits.

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