David TISDALE

TISDALE, The Hon. David, P.C., K.C.

Personal Data

Party
Conservative (1867-1942)
Constituency
Norfolk (Ontario)
Birth Date
September 8, 1835
Deceased Date
March 31, 1911
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Tisdale
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=767d2ad4-15bd-4cc2-9ce2-29707e4c6128&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
lawyer

Parliamentary Career

February 22, 1887 - February 3, 1891
CON
  Norfolk South (Ontario)
March 5, 1891 - April 24, 1896
CON
  Norfolk South (Ontario)
June 23, 1896 - October 9, 1900
CON
  Norfolk South (Ontario)
  • Minister of Militia and Defence (May 1, 1896 - July 8, 1896)
November 7, 1900 - September 29, 1904
CON
  Norfolk South (Ontario)
November 3, 1904 - September 17, 1908
CON
  Norfolk (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 131 of 134)


March 7, 1901

Hon. Mr. TISDALE.

If you do agree with it, I do not think it is wise or fair in discussion to bring these other matters into contention for the reason that those hon. gentlemen who stick closely to the question, and -who argue it upon that line are placed in an unfair position, because in arguing a lot of other matters it would look as if those of us who are strong on this question are not standing up for the rights of the people. I am one of those that willingly will never consent to one tittle of that sort of legislation, because it is the bulwark of the poor man. The poor man is the man who most often requires the law to protect him within his rights. I grant there is no socialism about me as I understand socialism. There is no socialism about Conservatism, as I understand it;

otherwise, I would be beginning to think of becoming a Liberal, because I am glad to say that as far as I hare observed the legislation of this country, there is no record of the Liberal party being socialistic in their actions in parliament. We all, I think, agree upon that ; at all events, excepting the new members in the House, we all agree because we voted upon it last year. I was going to read a few words from the speech of Sir Charles Tupper, our then leader on this side of the House, but I do not think it is necessary. He endorsed entirely, I think, the words of the right lion. Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier), as he expressed himself last year, and I think all of the members of this side of the House endorsed him also. To-night, I believe that nearly all of us, I think probably every one would do the same, if the question came to a vote. As the hon. member for Lisgar (Mr. Richardson) quoted from some of the speeches and transactions which occurred at the time of the passing of this contract, there are one or two quotations that I will detain the House by referring to, for a minute or two, because I do not see the pertinency of the hon. gentleman's quotations any more than the pertinency of some of the things the hon. gentleman 'said. He quoted what Liberal members said in opposition to this contract at that time. He did not quote, as the Prime Minister has remarked, from these discussions one thing pertinent to the question, or that would help us in the consideration of it. As great a lawyer as Edward Blake would seem to have been satisfied with it. He left us in this dilemma as to what the contract does mean, because, I agree with the hon. Solicitor General and with the right hon. Prime Minister that it is doubtful what the construction is. But, the hon. member for Lisgar went on to speak as if the Liberals were all against the proposition. He forgets that the Hon. Alex. Mackenzie, while endeavouring to grapple with this question, made a much larger offer, an offer of 50,000,000 acres of land, $25,000,000 cash, and 4 per cent on whatever it might require beyond that, and asked for tenders upon that basis. So that the House will know that all the difficulties and all the extravagances, if there were extravagances in regard to the terms given by the Canadian Pacific Railway, were not upon our side of the House. The hon. gentleman read from the speech of the present Prime Minister of Ontario, but he forgot to read the recantation of that hon. gentleman. I will read it for his edification, because he ought to read what he said then, and what he says now. He was then dealing with a matter which was surrounded with difficulties, and which awaited the test of the future. He was in opposition to the proposition, because he then took the Liberal view of it. Mr. Ross, speaking in one of the constituencies in Ontario within a year past, said : Mr. TISDALE.

I remember when the Canadian Pacific Railway was constructed, we thought Sir John 'Macdonald was undertaking a herculean enterprise, one which would crush the country. I think, perhaps, he was right, and we were wrong. I think, perhaps, he budded more wisely than he knew. No one will say to-day that the building of the railway was a mistake. Canada today would be a very small country, would be weaker in the councils of the empire, would scarcely be a confederated Dominion, as it is, were it not for the Pacific Railway.

In discussing a matter such as this I would prefer that we should briug no party politics into it. I merely make reference to these two statements because the bon. gentleman saw fit to bring before the House, and to the attention of the Prime Minister, portions of the discussion which took place then, that seemed to be, from his standpoint, evidence that the action of the Conservative party in reference to this great enterprise, this herculean task, which was undertaken by the great man who is here no more to give us his counsel, has not verified the anticipations of those who projected it. I wanted to give the views of one of the strongest men who existed at that time, and who still gives his counsel, wisdom and best efforts to the province of Ontario. I would prefer, and I always endeavour to carry out that view in discussing matters like this, where there are no party politics, that we should deal with them simply on their merits as the right hon. gentleman has done to-night. In his speech a year ago he went into some other subjects. This is not a matter of party politics. It is one of those things where both parties should feel some of the difficulties and responsibilities, and unless it is a matter in which party politics are concerned. I think the wiser and better plan is to deal with the subject just as we have with this, and pitch into each other on party questions.

Topic:   CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY LAND GRANTS.
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March 5, 1901

Hon. Mr. TISDALE.

Can the hon. Minister of Finance (Hon. Mr. Fielding) give us any information as to when we may expect his budget speech ?

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE.
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March 4, 1901

Hon. DAVID TISDALE (South Norfolk).

Mr. Speaker, I had no intention of offering any remarks upon this question until I heard of the deplorable state of Canada in a railway sense from the two hon. gentlemen who have been discussing it. I have got up to say that I feel quite differently about it. I cannot see any reason why such a pessimistic view should be taken of our present

transportation facilities and of the position of Canada in regard to its railways and to the transportation question. I did not suppose that on this motion we would be going into the whole railway and transportation question, because the question involved in the motion is only one of the very important propositions in connection with our | railway transportation system. I am at a loss to understand the cause of the grievous state of affairs that these hon. gentlemen seem to have discovered in regard to our railways, not that I am interested any more than they are in railways. Since I have been in this House I have had no interest in railways ; I have none to-day any more than they have. I have had some experience of the difficulties of getting railways built in this country, because the only railways that I have been interested in were roads of a local character where we wanted to build them through to different parts of the province of Ontario, some years ago and some very recently. We had very great difficulty in accomplishing this. How did we manage to get them ? Something like the manner in which the Canadian Pacific Railway was got. The most of them were of a much smaller pattern. We wanted to get railways through the old-settled parts of the country where the pioneers had gone in years ago with their axes and yoke of oxen and hewed out their homes. These pioneers had for fifty or seventy-five years been taxed for carrying on all the public affairs of the country. We found it impossible to get these roads constructed except upon the principle of the people helping themselves. The people offered bonuses. There is scarcely a township between Lake Erie and Georgian Bay that has not contributed by bonus to obtain railways. Why ? Hid they do it to give away their money ? Did they do it on any other principle than a mere business proposition ?

It was a business proposition. You can be sure that the hardy pioneers who built up the country, and who were a long time without transportation facilities, having discovered that railways would be a great boon to them, would not have given away their hard-earned dollars unless they thought I there would be some return. Why did they give away anything ? Because it was found impossible to get money to build railways [DOT]otherwise. So they offered what are known as bonuses and the government of Ontario, before the Dominion government entertained the proposition at all, established a system of giving bonuses to railways, municipalities following that up. But, money in addition to the bonuses was required, and I have had considerable experience in helping to secure the construction of railways in that part of the country, not, however, in the way of making money out of them.

I happened to be one of those gentlemen who did not have much money to put into such enterprises, but who tried to find Mr. TISDALE.

means of raising, with the assistance of the municipalities and the government, the balance of the money required. The government and the municipalities knew that they were giving this money to enable the balance of the money to be obtained which was always a hard proposition. These hon. gentlemen who have spoken say that it was very unwise and that great difficulties have resulted. I totally disagree with them when they say that it makes a great deal of difference how much stock or bonds are issued. It did not make scarcely any difference for the reason that the propositions in those days were left largely to the promoters. We did not care so much whether the promoters got permission to issue a lot of bonds or a few bonds, a large amount of stock or a small amount. We were satisfied whichever way they could work the scheme as long as we got the road after having subscribed our money as taxpayers. Go through the country to-day, even through Manitoba and the North-west Territories, where there is so much talk about the Canadian Pacific Railway, and ask the people there if they would have these railways taken away from them and get their money back. They would laugh at you and very properly. I want to go roughly and quickly over this question. Apart altogether from what has been given by the country or for what railways have been bonded, the money that has been put into railways in Canada in addition has never returned \\ per cent to the people who put it up. That is a proposition which, if hon. gentlemen will look into it, will be borne out. Take the Grand Trunk Railway, for instance, the road most heavily loaded with bonds, stock and preferences. Why was it so ? Why did we from time to time help it ? Because, if the government of Canada, in times past, had not come forward and given assistance it would have entirely disappeared. Millions of money had been sent across the sea for investment in the road, and widows and orphans had put their money into it in the belief that they were going to get a big return. I remember once in the history of the road that .$10,000,000 of common stock was sold at 10 per cent or ten cents on the dollar and the company induced people to believe that they would get big returns that they bought it. If it had not been for that financial transaction, away back in the history of the road, the Grand Trunk Railway would have been forced to shut up. That was the pioneer road in Ontario and Quebec.

I remember how glad I was to see it. 1 had never seen a railway train and I had never seen any cars, except a few on the old Northern Railway which ran out of Toronto. That stock is worth less to-day, about five or six cents on the dollar, than half a century ago when these people bought it. The government had to help the company out of a hole with several millions of dollars.

Take the actual money which has been put into the road and there are many millions upon which not one cent of return in interest has been obtained. The bonded debt and stock were so large, looking at it in this day, that it would be absurd to try and float a scheme of that kind now. But it cost the government of Canada a good deal. That was the pioneer road and there are thousands of people across the sea, or their descendants, who will never receive a cent of return on their investment. It is well that we should look upon the other side of the picture. I am one of those who believe that the first business is to get the railway, secondly, to get it on the best terms possible and don't bother your head too much about those who undertake to raise the balance whether they have bonded it for much or little. I will tell you why. Under our law, except in the case of the Canadian Pacific Railway, the amount of the bonded stock has nothing to-do with the fixing of the rates. If a case is brought before the Railway Committee of the Privy Council, the question to be decided there is what is the proper rate, and not what is the rate charged.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MASSACHUSETTS.
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March 4, 1901

Hon. Mr. TISDALE.

Certainly, but if the hon. gentleman had a political part to take in this House in those early days as he has to-day, would he have dared to say that Canada should have assumed that burden ? He dare not. The best men of both political parties, men who knew as much in those days as the best of us know to-day, agreed that things should have been done as they were done and the people of the country were satisfied. Had Canada not made that bargain her credit would not have been such in the interim as to enable her to carry out the other immense public works of the country. By giving the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway to men who could raise the money abroad, the Canadian Pacific Railway was constructed and the chances are that it might not have been constructed otherwise. You have to draw a distinction between things as they existed then and things as they exist at the present time. I will not

be any meaner as a public man than I am as a private citizen, and I say that even if we had made, which I deny, a bad bargain with tlie Canadian Pacific Railway, yet it was made in broad day light by the representatives of the people of Canada, and the bargain should be maintained to the letter. If we act in good faith we will maintain our self-respect and have a higher standing as a nation than if we act in bad faith, even though we made money by doing so. Whether it was a wise bargain' or not we should stick to it, and although we did cancel part of the contract, yet I believe that the Canadian Pacific Railway agreed to it at the time. I am no defender of the Canadian Pacific Railway people, and I have no reason to be particularly friendly with them. My interest has been in the railways in my own province, and if I have been more friendly to one railway than the other it has been to the old Grand Trunk which was the pioneer road in the older provinces, and which enabled us to build these local roads and to turn them over to a company that could handle them as we could not. It is to the credit of the Canadian Pacific Railway that they have gone outside of the mere operating of their main line, because had they done nothing more they would never have paid a cent on the money invested. But they have their telegraph lines, and their sleeping-cars, and their steamship lines, all auxiliaries to the main line and the earnings of which go into the same treasury and enable them to pay dividends. If there was nothing but the bare Canadian Pacific Railway, then notwithstanding all the money we gave them, I doubt if they would today be able to pay 2 per cent on the actual money they raised. Well, Sir, there are men who fought me in 3871 on the political question as to whether it was a wise thing to make the contract with the Canadian Pacific Railway Company and have the road built, and I am glad I have lived to see them recant the views they then held. The prime minister of the province of Ontario ; one of the brightest men in that province-and I say it though he is politically opposed to me-he has acknowledged the mistake he made in opposing the Canadian Pacific Railway in the early days. I am not afraid to stand up here and bear testimony to a great corporation that has carried ou an immense work under the greatest difficulties, and has made a brillant record for this country. Let me tell the hon. gentleman (Mr. Richardson) that in my opinion this railway commission might not be the unmixed blessing he thinks. We have evidences on every side that there is going to be discussion on this railway commission question in this parliament.

I have lately consulted a report of the commission that was appointed some years ago to consider this question. That commission was composed of able men, with Sir Alexander Galt as chairman. They took Mr. TISDALE.

the best expert evidence they could obtain as to the most efficient tribunal that would be available to control rates, railway disputes and similar matters; and they recommended the Railway Committee of the Privy Council. I think that body has administered its duties fairly well. I supported it when the Conservative party were in power, and I have supported it just as strongly since hon. gentlemen who are opposed to me politically have had charge of it. Why did the commission prefer that tribunal ? It would have several good features. It would be sure to be composed of able men, from whichever party they came ; and not only able men, but men responsible directly to the people for their places and for the way they administered their trust. They were given plenary powers. They had the absolute power to enforce their decisions, and even if necessary to order out a force for that purpose. It is impossible to have any other tribunal equal to it in these respects. You could not vest such powers in a railway commission, because it would be a reversal of our constitution to do so. Therefore, I sympathize with the members of the Railway Committee of the Privy Council in wishing to compel them to retain their present powers. I am quite sure they would be willing to resign the duties imposed upon them, and to place them upon other shoulders, but I do not think those duties would be as promptly or satisfactorily attended to. Further, there would be great difficulty in getting three men qualified to act on a railway commission. In the United States they have sometimes had these railway commissions, they have sometimes abolished them, and they have sometimes brought them back. So far as I am concerned, I am quite content with a Railway Committee of the Privy Council, composed of my political opponents, rather than relegate to a railway commission such as we could choose such powers as we could confer upon it.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MASSACHUSETTS.
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March 4, 1901

Hon. Mr. TISDALE.

I did not apply to any individual, nor to this proposition. The hon. gentleman misunderstood me.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MASSACHUSETTS.
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