Mr. DENIS (Joliette):
This company which has a federal charter is a private company the bonds of which were guaranteed quite a number of years ago by the Alberta government. The shares are owned by the Alberta government. The deputy minister of railways in the Alberta government should therefore be entitled to have something to say in connection with this bill and I am informed, rightly or wrongly-and if I am wrong I want to be corrected-that he urged upon the mover of the bill to bring it before parliament. First of all, if the Alberta government are behind this bill, they should say so and be represented by their own government. There are many ways in which that can be done by them. If we take it for granted that the Alberta government are indirectly sponsoring the bill, my information is that they have pledged themselves to construct only twenty-five miles of the total mileage covered by the bill. If that
Edmonton, Dunvegan Railway
be so, it would tend to prove that the Alberta government do not approve the bill as it now stands.
But I am not here to plead the ease of the Alberta government; I am here to plead the case of the Dominion government and the interest of Canada in this bill. The hon. member for Peace River will correct me in a moment if I am wrong. It has been said that the road is about to be sold to the Canadian National or the Canadian Pacific. That the road should be sold to the Canadian Pacific does not interest me so much, but that it should be sold to the Canadian National does interest me because the Canadian National is the property of the Dominion of Canada. In the past we have had bitter experiences in connection with railways which have been constructed by private companies or even by provincial governments, if there be any such cases, and which have later turned out to be a liability on the hands of those who constructed them. In those cases they have felt that the best thing they could do was to turn the railways over to the federal government. A few years ago a gentleman from Manitoba who sat in this house used to speak quite frequently in regard to railway matters and to say that the government of the day had loaded themselves up with a lot of lame ducks. That is true. Our railway policies in the past have been anything but what they should have been.
If this road is (to belong to the Canadian National Railways or to the federal government, they should have something to do with the bill, and if extensions to the present line are to be made in one direction or another those extensions should not be made unless the Canadian National approve them. I
know I shall be told immediately that the Canadian National are not the owners of the road and therefore have nothing to do with it. That is the old argument. The Canadian National did not own a number of railways that were built outside of their control and with the consent and approval of parliament over a period of twenty-five years, but the Canadian National and the people of Canada became owners of those roads. When a venture proved to be a bad one, it was put upon the shoulders of the Canadian people. I shall have something more to say later on, but for the time being I should like to hear the hon. member for Peace River answer the point which I have raised.
Topic: EDMONTON, DTJNVEGAN AND BRITISH COLUMBIA RAILWAY COMPANY