Bill (No. 169) to confer on the Commissioner of Patents certain powers for the relief of James Sinclair Macdougall.-Mr. Malouin for Mr. Gallery.
Bill (No. 170) to incorporate the Nipigon Iron Range Railway Company.-Mr. Dy-ment.
Bill (No. 171) to incorporate the Chatham, Wallaceburg and Lake Erie Railway Company.-Mr. Stephens.
Bill (No. 172) to incorporate the City and County Bank of Canada.-Mr. Rosamond.
DISALLOWANCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA STATUTES.
Robert Laird Borden
(Leader of the Official Opposition)
Before the Orders of the Day are called, I would like to ask my hon. friend the Prime Minister whether he is able to give any information to the House as to the probable liability which we will incur by the reason of the recent developments in the Commonwealth of Australia with respect to the Pacific cable. It is not necessary for me to recall the circumstances to the House. I refer to those which have been given publicity in the public press. The colony of Victoria, it appears, made certain concessions to the Eastern Telegraph Company and the government of the Commonwealth proposes apparently, in lieu of those concessions, to grant a concession extending all over that commonwealth for a limited period of years. That is, briefly speaking, the position of the 1
matter, as I Understand it, but of course my right hon. friend would be much more familiar than I with the particulars. I understand that negotiations have taken place between this government and the government of Australia with regard to the policy of the latter in this connection, and it would be desirable for us to know what has taken place. If my right hon. friend is not in a position to inform the House now, he can take this as a notice, and give the information at a later day. But we would like to know what communications have taken place and what effect this change of attitude of the Commonwealth of Australia is likely to have on the Pacific cable scheme.
The PRIME MINISTER (Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier).
Briefly stated, the position is this : Shortly before the Commonwealth of Australia was formed the government, not of Victoria, but of New South Wales, had made a contract with the Eastern Telegraph Company, which is not, we think, in accord with the undertaking assumed by the different governments which participated in the establishment of the Pacific cable. IVe protested at the time, but when confederation of the Australian colonies came into effect it was too late to overcome the difficulty. The arrangement was made for an indefinite time, but the government of Australia have since contemplated making an arrangement whereby the Eastern Telegraph Company would shorten the monopoly granted them to ten years, but it would be extended, not only over New South Wales, but over the whole continent of Australia. We think that this last arrangement would be more detrimental than the first. It must be evident that if, during ten years, the Eastern Telegraph Company have power to establish telegraph stations all over Australia, at the end of the time they will have a practical monopoly and retain control of the whole business, and thus come in conflict with the Pacific cable. We have protested to the Australian government, and the best information we could give to the House would be to bring down the correspondence, which I will be happy to do at an early day.
The MINISTER OF FINANCE (Hon. W.
S. Fielding) moved that the House again go into Committee of Supply.
I would like to ask the government whether they have any information to give regarding the strike at Montreal ? It may be that negotiations are in such a condition that it may be not advisable for the government to say anything, but if there is any information which they can give, the House is entitled to it. I would like to call attention to the fact that the Mayor of Montreal has said
that, from first to last, he has not had a single communication with the Minister of Labour. The language attributed to the Mayor of Montreal, referring to the hon. Minister of Labour, is as follows :-
Not a word have I heard from him, but J expect however, some news from that quarter to-night. Sir William Mulock's place is right here in Montreal at the present time. He is Minister of Labour as well as Postmaster General, and in a juncture like this should be right on the spot to do what he can to help along the trade of Canada.
I gathered from the debate in the House the other day, that some communication had been made to the government by both parties in Montreal, but it appears that the principal officer of that city has not been communicated with in any way by the members of the government, from whom we might have expected some communications with regard to the very serious condition of things existing there. However, I do not rise for the purpose of making any comments on that, but merely to ask whether the right hon. gentleman has any information which it would be proper to give to the House at the present time with regard to the condition of the strike ?
The PRIME MINISTER (Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier).
I think it would not be advisable until some kind of settlement has been reached, to give fully the particulars as to the action of the government with regard to the strike. At the present moment, I have only to say-and I hope it will be satisfactory to my hon. friend (Mr. Borden, Halifax)-that the Minister of Labour (Hon. Sir William Mulock) and the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Hon. Mr. Prfifontaine) are now in Montreal, having left yesterday, for the purpose of doing what they can to obtain a settlement.
Motion agreed to, and House went into Committee of Supply.
Public works-chargeable to income-harbours and rivers-slides and booms-St. Maurice district-improvements of boom works to facilitate the floating and storage of logs, &c. $50,000.
The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS. (Hon. James Sutherland).
This vote is to meet the requirements for improvements and additions to the works on the St. Maurice, to afford increased facilities for the descent of timber on that river. These improvements are found indispensible to meet the requirements of pulp mills and other large manufacturing establishments now engaged in developing the great resources in that district.