Mr. Smart and Mr. E. F. Stephenson. The Canadian Pacific Railway is directly responsible to the government for the administration of that trust. These trustees were accepted by the government, but the Canadian Pacific Railway was the original trustee, and assumed all liability for the share of the government's money that would accrue. Application was made to the government for this evidence, so that a more complete answer might be given, but that evidence has not yet been furnished. The Canadian Pacific Railway then asked that the government refer the accounts to a commission or to a court, and the government simply wrote saying : We do not propose to take further action in this matter ; place this money to our credit.
The trustees, one and all, for a long time have desired to resign. They wish to have this trust divided and be no longer partners with the government. They applied to the government to have this done, and the government at one time accepted the suggestion, but since then the government have changed their minds, and only on the 27th February last they wrote to Mr. Hamilton, the land commissioner :
Dear Mr. Hamilton,-I have yours of the 23rd inst., with reference to a division of the remaining lots of the towns of Virden and Qu'Appellc-, Regina and Moosejaw. In reply, would say that it is not thought advisable to make a division at the present time.
This is a report of the commissioners on the four trustees, who each assumed equal responsibility-Lord Strathcona, R. B. Angus, W. B. Scarth, E. B. Osier-and it casts a slur upon the administration of those gentlemen. Yet, in the report, from end to end, there is not a single item, which is not a credit to the administration of that trust from the beginning to the end. There is not a single item or transaction which has not been approved by the government. There is not a single item or transaction, in the whole administration of that trust for nearly twenty years, which does not reflect credit on the ability, honesty, and forethought of the trustees. Those trustees have administered that trust for themselves, for the North Western Land Co., and for the government, the government receiving half of the net proceeds. They have sold in that time within a few dollars of $1,000,000 of town lots at prices running from $10 up to several thousand. Of course a good many of those sales had eventually to be cancelled after the boom burst and the purchasers could not meet their payments. The trustees have paid the government some $200,000 for its half-interest, when the real interest of the government in the land sold was only $132,000.
There is one other complaint made by the commissioners which I have overlooked. They say that the Canadian Pacific Railway took to itself some acres of land at $3 an acre, but the only objection that could be raised to that is that the Canadian Pacific Railway should have paid anything, because the agreement provides that both the government and the Canadian Pacific Railway shall have all the land required for railway or government purposes free.
I do not propose to comment upon this report. If I were to express myself as I feel, I am afraid I should be called to order very suddenly and sharply by the Speaker. But I cannot understand how such a report came to be issued. I cannot understand how the government could have asked to have such a report made, or to have that report issued exclusively in two or three partisan journals, with the headings outlined and whom to attack marked out, and then have refused to give at once a copy of the evidence. I cannot understand how the government should refuse to dissolve a partnership, after bringing in a report which is interpreted by the newspapers to mean that these trustees have administered wrongfully that trust. Why the government should have refused absolutely to dissolve the trust and allow the trustees to withdraw from the administration is something I cannot understand. Who instigated this report, I do not know. I only know that it was issued apparently for the purpose of doing harm and injury, and issued in such a way as to try and mislead the public and cast a slur upon the trustees, who, I venture to say, have administered the property in such a way as no other public trust has ever been administered in this country.
Subtopic: VIRDEN, QTT'APPEDLE, REGINA AND MOOSEJAW TOWN SITES.