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.