MACLEAN (East York), moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 2) regarding telephones and telephone companies.
TELEPHONES AND TELEPHONE COMPANIES BILL.
Mr. Speaker, this Bill deals with telephones and telephone companies. It is based largely on the present general Acts respecting telegraphs, the clauses being very similar to the clauses of those Acts. For a moment, I desire to direct the attention of the House to the object which I have in view. The first clause of importance in this Bill is that the company has power to fix Its tolls. The next clause provides that the company must give equal treatment; and the clause following that calls for government control, supervision and revision of those tolls. And, by tolls, I mean not only the charges made for messages, but the rentals of telephones. Under the Bill, all these tolls must he approved by the Governor iu Council in the same way as are the rates of telegraph companies and railway companies. Another clause, in the same direction, provides that these tolls may be revised from time to time by the Governor in Council. It is also here provided that the telephone companies shall post up their tolls in their various offices. Another important clause, in the line of the general provisions I have referred to is one providing against unfair discrimination, while another clause provides that there shall be no rebates. A provision is made also for. agreements between companies, just as, under the Railway Act, provision Is made for agreement between railway companies, and as in those cases, the agreements must be approved by the Governor in Council. But the most important clause, and the one to which I desire to direct special attention, provides that every telephone company must give the right of way for the use of its system by every other telephone company, just as every railway company must give the use of its lines to other railway companies. At the present time we have one great telephone company in Canada- the Bell Telephone Company-which is in a position, at this moment, to refuse the use of its trunk line to every other company. This Act will compel the Bell Telephone Company and every other similar company to give what we might call running rights to other companies. There is also provision for the order of transmitting
messages, as in the law governing telegraph companies; and another provision giving the Minister of Justice the first right of use of the telephone system. Another very important clause, and one in the line of something to which I have directed the attention of this House more than once, empowers the government to take over the telephone system at any time in the same way as they are authorized to take over the telegraph system of the country. Still another very important point well worthy of the attention of the House, well worthy of adoption, is a clause which will have the effect of preventing any telephone company hereafter from discriminating unfairly against a rival line. For instance, the municipalities of this country are going in for a municipal system. But when the Bell Telephone Company or any other that at the present controls the business-as has been the case in the United States-hears that a new telephone system is being started they starve it out by competitive rates. In some places where a rival telephone system has been started and has been giving subscribers telephone service at from $25 to $35 a year, the big monopoly has come in and said to the local users of the new system : We will give you telephone service at $2 or $3 a year for three years if you will sign an agreement witli us. They will not be able to do that by this Bill. They will have to treat every city and every village under like circumstances in a like way. There is also a provision that if the government desires to take over the lines the price to be paid therefor shall be subject to arbitration if the two parties cannot agree. The final clause is a repeal of a very obnoxious general Act that was passed in this country some years ago. I referred to it last session. It was done in the interests of the Bell Telephone Company, as I now find. This little Act that was put through this parliament some ten or fifteen years ago, was to the effect that the words ' telephone' and 'telephonic' were not to be construed ns ' telegraph ' and ' telegraphic,' notwithstanding the Act that the English courts had years preceding held they were one and the same thing. It is because of that little Act that the telephone companies to-day do not come under the Telegraph Companies Act. I propose in this Bill to repeal that clause. I regard this Bill as a very important one. I have had it drafted by a rather eminent counsel, it has been thought over very carefully. It is on the line of the petitions that are being sent into this House every day. I hope that when it comes before the House we will have the co-operation of the House and especially the cooperation of the government in giving the public some kind of control, some kind of regulation, of what is becoming one of the great monopolies of this country, and a monopoly that up to the present time does
not treat the public fairly. The Bell Telephone Company have asked this parliament to increase their powers of capitalization and for other great privileges. But in asking for these privileges they have not been [DOT] willing to make any concessions to the public. Now, I am not Introducing this Bill with any antagonistic spirit to the Bell Telephone Company, but I am applying to the telephone companies the same general principles which this parliament has seen fit to apply to telegraph companies and to railway corporations.
Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.
Geo. Riley, Esq., member for the electoral division of the city of Victoria, B.C., introduced by the Prime Minister (Right Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier) and the Minister of Agriculture (Hon. Mr. Fisher).
CATTLE GUARDS ON RAILWAYS.
Mr. E. A.
LANCASTER (Lincoln and Niagara) moved for leave to introduce a Bill (No. 3) to amend the Railway Act. He said : This Bill which relates to cattle guards is the same Bill as was introduced here by me last session, and which I am sorry to say did not get further than the committee stage, having been referred to a special committee. The law at present does not require railway companies to keep up cattle guards at crossings except as against animals under the control of a human being, and the Bill seeks to protect cattle when passing along a highway where there are railway crossings. It has been said that there is an ancient but unwritten rule that no member shall be allowed to carry a Bill through parliament during his first session; perhaps that accounts for the disaster that befell this Bill last session. But that time has now passed, and I hope this Bill may be more lucky during the present session.
Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.
ADDRESS IN ANSWER TO HIS EXCELLENCY'S SPEECH.
House resumed adjourned debate on the proposed motion of Mr. Campbell for an Address to His Excellency the Governor General in reply to his speech at the opening of the session.
Mr. HENRI BOURASSA (Labelle).
Before dealing with the particular point to which I wish to direct the attention of the House to-day, I desire to refer for a moment to a few paragraphs of the address.
In the paragraph relating to the assassination of President McKinley, I suppose the government really voices the feelings
not only of this country but of the civilized world, in saying that the time has come when legislation should be adopted to prevent, if possible, the repetition of such horrible crimes as the one which was perpetrated last year. However, as the paragraph states that we should join our efforts to the efforts of the United States, I merely wish to make a reservation. The tone of the press of the United States at the time of the assassination of President McKinley, and since, does not warrant us, I think, in promising to follow them in whatever legislation they may choose to adopt. We should not forget that anarchy and its doctrines, and its apostles, were not bred by the exercise of free speech and action, but were bred by the exercise of tyranny; and we should take proper care in seeking to extirpate this evil that we do not create another evil. Sir, if anarchism has found its way to America and threatens to increase here, it is not so much by reason of the existence of free institutions as of the debasement of moral ideas in modern life. Unfortunately for the neighbouring country, while it has shown during the last century the greatest development of material resources and the most wonderful material progress, the American people have been constantly taught that the possession of wealth, the accumulation of wealth, the combination of wealth, is the one great ideal to which humanity should look forward, and under this teaching the way has been prepared for the development of these anarchistic theories. The evil cannot be cured by law alone. I think the existence of the evil is due chiefly to the education which has been given to the people. But as long as the nation insists that in the common schools of the country nothing but technical education should be afforded to the young, as long as the old principle is forgotten that at the same time a child is taught the elements of science he should also be taught the elements of the moral law and be guided throughout life by the fear of God and by strict adherence to moral and religious principles, X fear that very little improvement can be expected from the operation of any laws that may be adopted. I say no more on this subject; but, while talking about the United States I may say that I was very much astonished with one word that fell from the lips of the right hon. the leader of the government relating to the Alaskan boundary. The right hon. gentleman said:-
Neither have we mentioned in the speech of His Excellency, the Alaskan boundary matter, and the reason why we have omitted a reference to it Is simply because it is to-day in the very same position it was in last year. It has made no progress since then.
And later on :
I have to say to my hon. friend-
Referring to the hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Borden, Halifax).
That we have pressed as much as we could ; nay more, I may say that we have pressed in season and out of season, on the Imperial authorities to bring that matter to a close.
Mr. Speaker, I think this is an exact picture of the situation, but I think also that it is to be regretted that between last session, and this session, the British government have been brought to consent to the repeal of the Glayton-Bulwer treaty. And, to all appearances, this has been done with the tacit consent of the government, whilst the rights of Canada and the rights of Great Britain in the Alaskan boundary have not made one step of progress. I am not referring to what passed in the Anglo-American Commission as X am precluded from it, but I am speaking of what was the general impression in England, in the United States and in Canada. No later than the months of November and December last, the then Minister of Justice in this government, the Hon. David Mills, whose authority on constitutional and international matters cannot be disputed, published two most remarkable articles in the ' Empire Review ' of Great Britain, stating that Great Britain could not and would not abandon her rights in Nicaraguan affairs unless compensation should be given Canada in regard to the Alaskan boundary. Where stands the question to-day ? In the Clay-ton-Bulwer treaty Great Britain had rights with the United States affecting only the continent of America. And she has now abandoned those rights without any regard to the interests of her Canadian subjects, and has not exacted anything for them. The only other treaty where she had purely continental rights, there was a proper cause for the application of the Munroe doctrine, it was this one having reference to Nicaraguan affairs and to the Alaskan boundary in which American interests were at stake. There was no question of bringing America under European influences. There were two questions in which Great Britain and the United States had rights. It was always said-and so much so that last year it was a current issue in the public press of the United States-that the stumbling block in the way of repealing the Clayton-Bulwer treaty was the obstinacy of the Canadian government in refusing, and refusing very rightly and very properly, to consent to the repeal of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty without compensation being obtained from the United States in the matter of the Alaskan boundary. However, a motion is on the Order paper for the correspondence relating to the abrogation of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, and I hope that sound doctrine which was so well exposed in the British press by the late Minister of Justice will be made clear so that we will know the reason why the situ-
ation has changed so quickly and so thoroughly in a few days.
Now, as far as the paragraph relating to exhibitions is concerned, X entirely concur with the opinion put into the mouth of His Excellency. I had the advantage this last summer of visiting the Glasgow exhibition ; and it is a pleasure for me to say here in compliment to the hon. Minister of Agriculture and to his officials that the display of Canadian products at the exhibition was made not only in the most artistic way, but in the most practical way. The effect was heightened by the visit of the hon. minister who took every occasion to address the English and Scotch public. Our exhibition at Glasgow coupled with the visit of the hon. Minister of Agriculture has done Canada a great deal of good.
So far as exhibitions at large are concerned, I simply wish to make one suggestion In all friendship to the government. In every exhibition where we take a hand It should be made an absolute condition, either with the directors of these exhibitions, or with representatives of the British government when the British empire at large takes part in it, that Canadian products should not only be exhibited separately but the lists of competitors and the prizes should be given separately. We have been told very often that we have grown to be a nation. Twenty-five years ago I suppose we were not a nation ; but nevertheless, at the Centennial exhibition at Philadelphia, our representatives imposed upon the British officials the obligation of having special lists prepared of the Canadian exhibits and of having special lists of the prizes given. So that when the prizes were awarded, foreign purchasers could know, when looking at the list of winners, that one who had been awarded a bronze silver or gold medal, was a Canadian producer. At the Paris Exposition, twenty-four years later on, the names of Canadian prize winners on the lists were mixed up with the British, Australian and New Zealand competitors ; so that when they came to be looked over, the foreign purchaser looking through a list of fifty names, for instance, would not probably see the name of a Canadian producer, but would be more likely to call upon the merchant or manufacturer of the big cities of England than upon the merchant or manufacturer of Canadian cities.
If foreign exhibits are going to be made by Canada, it is upon one very straight condition that we should exhibit, and this condition is that we should exhibit as Canadians, that the prizes should be awarded to us as Canadians, it should be known that a certain number of Canadians have won prizes and their names should not be mixed up with those of other exhibitors coming from all parts of the empire.
Now, coming to the question of trade Mr. BOTJRASSA.
agents, I may say that I concur entirely in the projected policy of the government. I think it is a very good move and a move that should be extended ; but I may be allowed to add that this move will bring its full and proper fruit only when Canada secures the right of herself making her foreign commercial relations. Should we have agents at Paris, Bordeaux, Berlin, Hamburg or any other foreign city, foreigners will come to them to inquire about the laws of the country and the conditions upon which trade can be done with Canada. If we are bound to say that we cannot negotiate any arrangement whatever with a foreign country with which improved trade relations are sought we hamper our trade relations. I hope this will be one of the questions which the right hon. leader of the government and his colleagues will put before the Imperial conference this summer. It is perfectly useless for us to boast of being a nation, it is perfectly useless for us to seek to develop our trade if by becoming a nation we cannot exercise one of the most essential prerogatives of a nation, which is the full and complete control of its foreign relations and of trade matters especially.
This brings me to the two paragraphs relating to the coronation of His Majesty the King and to the Imperial conference which is going to take place next summer. I am not going to speak at length on this because I have also put on the Order paper a motion asking for the production of the correspondence and papers which have passed between the Canadian and the Imperial governments on that matter. I simply wish to draw attention to the fact that in these two paragraphs the question of trade only is mentioned. Of course, I have not seen that which I hope the government will give us the advantage of seeing before the session is over : the terms of the invitation sent by Mr. Chamberlain to the colonial governments and the terms of the acceptance of that invitation. But there are past facts which should be made the lesson of the future.
In 1897, without this country knowing it, although parliament was in session, an invitation was sent to Canada as well as to ail the other colonies asking that representatives be sent to England, not merely to establish trade relations between the various parts of the British Empire, but also to take steps that would have the effect of blending the various parts of the empire together, both socially and politically, and further to consider the organization of the military defence of the empire. My intention is not to bring forward any controversial subject to-day, and therefore I shall not dwell upon that 'matter at any length. I do say, however, that unless Mr. Chamberlain's mind has changed much during the last four years-and I do not think that his reputation would lead to the conclusion that it has-
there are other changes than changes in trade matters contemplated. I hold that we should not now be placed in the same position as we were placed in 1897, of seeing our representatives go to London without our knowing exactly what are the subjects to be treated of at that imperial conference. What were the terms of the invitation of 1897 ? In his official despatch, dated January 28th, 1897, Mr. Chamberlain wrote :
Should this invitation be accepted by the premiers of, the self-governing colonies there presence in London would afford a most valuable opportunity for the discussion of many subjects of the greatest interest to the empire ; such as commercial union, colonial defence, representation of the colony, legislation with regard to immigrants from Asia and elsewhere, and other similar subjects.
That was a very broad programme, but it was never made known to the Canadian people. An order in council was adopted on the 15th of April by the Canadian government, and this order in council I have found in the British blue-books. Well, I don't think a Canadian should be compelled to search the British blue-books for information about what the Canadian government is doing. This was the report from the sub-committee of the Privy Council of Canada :
The sub-committee further join in the hope expressed by the Right Hon. Secretary of State that it may be found possible to take advantage of the assemblage of the premiers of the selfgoverning colonies for the discussion of the many and important questions of interest to the empire, to which he has referred. The subcommittee unite most .sincerely in the hope that the result of the approaching celebration may be such as will tend powerfully .to cement the union between the mother country and her colonies, both socially and politically.
The House was then in session and continued in session for some months after. We had the announcement that the Prime Minister was going to represent ns, and while I do not quarrel with any man who is in favour of changing the relations that may exist between Great Britain and Canada, I do say that when the Canadian government sent representatives to England with the object of discussing a change in these relations, the least that the Canadian parliament and Canadian people should expect is that they would be informed of it by the government, and not be obliged to search in British blue-books for an expression of opinion by the Canadian government on such an important matter.
Coming to the paragraph in the Speech from the Throne which relates to the census, I may remark that the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) criticised the government quite violently in this regard. I do not think that the facts justify the hon. gentleman in that criticism. What is the use of bringing forward in this House the argument : that because the Liberal party of some years ago accused the government of the day of pursuing a policy which caused
the slow growth of the population, the opposition of to-day should say: ' This paragraph in the Speech from the Throne is not founded on fact because the increase in the population during tlje Liberal regime is no greater than it was under Conservative rule V For my part I believe that the government has painted the situation in its true light. There is no doubt that the result of the census lias been disappointing, but there is no doubt either that this paragraph in the Speecli from the Throne is perfectly true :
There is good reason also to believe that the increase of population during the latter half of the decade has been very greatly, in excess of the average of former years and that in the near future we may look for a much more rapid growth than occurred during the period covered by the last two censuses.
The constituency which I represent is in the midst of a colonization district, and I am myself a witness to the fact that during the first five years of the last census, not only was settlement at a standstill, but the people of our farming districts were leaving daily for the large Canadian cities and the United States. I believe-and this without auy idea of flattering the government-that from 1891 to 1896 the increase in our population was at a standstill, not because the Conservatives were in power, but because of circumstances into which 1 am not going now to enter, our people emigrated more at that time than at any previous period. Within the last five years, twenty new parishes have been constituted in the region of the Gatineau, and in the La Lievre Valley and the Rouge Valley. Between 189G and 1900, in my own constituency alone, not speaking of the neighbouring constituencies, six new parishes have been organized for religious and municipal purposes. In the district of Labelle the increase during the last ten years was 6,000, but I firmly believe that the whole of that increase took place during the last five years.
There is no doubt that something should be done to encourage and increase our population. The hon. the leader of the opposition has suggested a stronger help to industries, but for my part I would suggest a stronger help to farming and to colonization. The hon. gentleman has pointed out that industries in Cape Breton have attracted a large influx of population, hut he has also admitted that there has been an enormous decrease in the rest of the province of Nova Scotia. The hon. gentleman may believe that were it not for the coal and steel industries of Cape Breton, these people would perhaps have remained in the rest of the province of Nova Scotia, but while it is better to have these people working in the mines and steel works of Cape Breton than to have them go to the United States, it would be still better to keep them on the farms. After nil the bone and sinew of our country is its farming population. This is a farming community.
That is not so.
Yes. The true basis of a country is its farming population.
That is not so.
You are differing from your leader.
Manufacturing industries do immense good in the country, but I say that the solid basis of a country is the prosperity of the farming community.
And the industries.