March 15, 1933 (17th Parliament, 4th Session)


Charles A. Stewart


Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

My hon.
friend from Charlevoix-Saguenay (Mr. Cas-grain) says, under a Liberal government. I will qualify my statement to this extent, that if this government remains in office it will have to change its policies to bring the country through its present difficulties.
Again I reiterate that I am entirely in favour of a board of three directors for the reasons that I have given, and to that extent I will support the bill. But when we are conferring such exceedingly wide powers upon the board of trustees it does seem to me, despite the promise of the Prime Minister to reinsert in the bill the provision against amalgamation, that we are not sufficiently safeguarded against the disposal of the assets of the property, and when the proper time comes, in committee of the whole on the bill, I propose to move an amendment providing that the board shall not in any way dispose of the properties comprising the system without the consent of the governor in council. Despite a provision against amalgamation, which the Prime Minister promises will be reinserted in the bill, it does seem to me that under the provisions of the bill as it stands, the board can proceed to divest itself of the property. Then, in another part of the act, further powers which are very wide indeed are conferred upon the board with respect to the arbitral tribunals. In a sentence, Mr. Speaker, what I object to in this legislation is that it places in the hands of this board powers that they should not have. I repeat that I am prepared to give them every power to deal with the administration of the line and the operation of the road without let or hindrance, and they can spend the revenues that are derived from the operation of the road, as was the privilege of the old board; but to say that the board can lease or otherwise dispose of the properties of the company without the consent of the governor in council seems to me to be going much too far in the way of handing over authority to the board.
Then as regards their appointment, what in the world is the necessity for all the provisions embodied in the bill in that respect? It seems to me that the system now in vogue under which the responsibility is placed upon the government itself and the governor in council, for the appointment of members of the board, should remain. I do not know what on earth is the necessity for the enactment that reduces the responsibility of the governor in council for these appointments. I am not going to quibble over the term of office, whether it should be five or seven years, but I do say that with respect to the appointment of this board of trustees, and with respect also to the disposal of the property in any way, both these matters should be in the hands of and under the control of the governor in council.
Mr. MANIOiN: Some of the strongest
protests against it being in the hands of the government came from my hon. friend's friends in their speeches in this house. Quite a number of them took the attitude that the appointments should not be in the hands of the government.

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