Mr. LLOYD HARRIS (Brantford).
I do not think this discussion should close without the House hearing from one of the private members from the province of On-ario. We have heard from the Minister of Railways to-night, a statement on the Intercolonial and I must admit that after listening carefully to the statements he madet I came to the conclusion that perhaps after all the opinion I have had in the past was wrong. He made out such a case for the good management of that property that once or twice I began to think that perhaps the Intercolonial was managed better than any other road. I have consulted the report of the Minister of Railways, and studied the figures which are given as regard capital expenditure, and revenue, operating and working expenses. According to my calculations I find that during the 41 years the road has been in opera-tian, the Intercolonial has produced a surplus in 18 years, and in 23 years it has produced a deficit. Then I analysed it a little bit closer. I wondered whether the bad management was all since the present government came into power. I took the number of years in which there were surpluses from 1878 to 1895, and I found that they numbered six and that the number of years in which there were deficits was twelve. The percentage of surplus years was not as great as we would like them to
have been. From 1896 to 1908 I found that the good or bad management, as shown by surpluses and deficits, was a little to the advantage of the present government, as the number of years in which they had surpluses was seven and the number of years in which they had deficits was six.
However, I have got back to the point 1 started from. I have had my own opinion as to the management of the Intercolonial Railway, I have discussed that question with members of this House, I have discussed it with business men outside of the House, in the maritime provinces, in the province of Quebec and in the province of Ontario and in these private discussions every man with whom I have talked has been of the opinion that the Intercolonial can snever be properly and successfully* managed under a government department as it is at the present time. If we feel that, if we believe it, I cannot see why we should not have the courage to stand up and say so. My hon. friend from Westmoreland (Mr. Emmerson) stated that he had cold comfort in the speeches which he had listened to, and I am very much afraid that he will find less comfort perhaps in my few remarks than he had from the others. We are discussing at the present time the theory of government ownership. We have had an opportunity of experimenting with government ownership in this country for forty-two years and over. If we were running a business and we found that one department of it was being carried on at a loss, what would happen? We would change our methods of management or get rid of that particular department of the business. Are we running a business when we are representing the people in this House? Is not this simply a great big business undertaking and should it not be run on strictly business lines? I was very much struck with the statement which was made by my hon. friend the Minister of Railways and Canals and also with another statement which was made by my hon. friend the hon. leader of the opposition. The hon. Minister of Railways and Canals made the statement in his remarks that the views of the political parties on the Intercolonial Railway depend on whether they are in or out. The hon. leader of the opposition made the statement that the Intercolonial has been too much hooked up to political influences. You have these two statements made by prominent members on both sides of this House, and I think that ninety-nine, perhaps one-hundred per cent, of the members of this House believe that these statements disclose the cause of the whole trouble, and account for our failure to properly manage the Intercolonial. If that is the case I think we should face the situation and endeavour to seek a solu-Mr. HARRIS.
tion which will be in the interest of the country at large, because any solution which can be arrived at with regard to the management of this property will necessarily and decidedly be to the interest of the country at large. The first principle of government ownership is to give the people the special utility to be owned and managed by the government at cost. When I say cost I do not figure as my hon. friend from Northumberland, New Brunswick, (Mr. Loggie) does. He says that the revenue and expenditure of the Intercolonial Railway are on an equilibrium. That is very good. If we ran our own private business with the revenue and expenditure on the same kind of equilibrium we would all be in the poorhouse in short order. I am of the opinion that the Intercolonial should be managed in such a manner that it will not only pay its operating or running expenses, but that it will earn a fair and and decent amount of interest on the capital employed in the construction of the property. That is a principle that every hon. gentleman^ I am sure, will agree with. The ouly management I will be satisfied with and I believe the only management that other members of this House will be satisfied with is the one that will produce results of that kind. I was very much surprised to hear the hon. member for Westmoreland make the statement on the floor of this House that local rates in the maritime provinces are lower than they are in any other part of the country. Is that not right?
Topic: SUPPLY-THE INTEBCOLONIAL EAIL-WAY.