Some hon. MEMBERS
Hon. Mr. TARTE.
If there is any track to that fast line at all I want to know where that track is.
Hon. Mr. ROSS (Victoria, N.S.) To Halifax.
Hon. Mr. TARTE.
In the winter months Halifax is the right track, but I would like to know what track the government intends to take in the summer months. One member of the government said that it was premature to expect that the contract should be awarded now. I have some experience in awarding contracts and, when tenders are asked it is an evidence that the plans are matured and that the tenders are to be decided upon. When those tenders were asked the government had a policy and the country has a right to know when the government will adjudicate upon the tenders.
Parliament is sitting and in my liumlile judgment I think it is the proper time to decide upon this very important matter. We have been years and years trying to arrange for the fast line. I am not prepared to say that the government have not done the best they could, but that best has not been much. I am very sorry to say so, but perhaps it is just as well that we have not decided sooner. However, it seems to me that now that the government have asked for tenders, and having told the country that they were ready for the question, they should take the House into their confidence and decide one way or the other. Rut. again. I am very much afraid my hon. friend the Postmaster General is swimming in deep water.
Well, Mr. Chairman, I must pay my hon. friend the courtesy of recognizing his remarks ; I quite understand the tenor in which they are expressed. He is quite aware of the efforts made by the government to secure the fast line ; it is all a question of terms. It' the people of New York desired a line, they could have one, as that city affords such attractions on very satisfactory terms. Our own Canadian ports are coming to the front, and becoming more and more attractive to shipping, and as the days go by, we shall be able to make better terms. The government, ever since it was formed, has been prepared to enter into a contract if satisfactory terms could be secured; and I think, with the progress the country has made, is making, and is sure to make, that a satisfactory contract may be looked for in the near future. It is, however, a question dependent on the amount the country is prepared to pay, and the cost in turn depends on the attractiveness of the route itself. If Canada were a sufficiently populous and wealthy country, we would not have to pay a subsidy; we would have fast lines coming here because it paid them to come. But all things go by comparison. My hon. friend is quite aware that we are as anxious as the opposition to have a fast line when it can be obtained on terms which will be deemed to be satisfactory.
Hon. Mr. ROSS (Victoria, N.S.).
I think it is a fortunate thing that no contract has been entered into, and I am surprised to hear hon. gentlemen on both sides of the House speaking of this as a fast line. It is no such thing ; it is a slow line. With the progress which Canada is making, and with the intelligence of the people, I think we must one of these days have a fast line that will be worthy of the name. Of course, the selection of the route is a question for the future to decide ; but when we find ourselves so many knots below what is the case elsewhere, we are very far behind the times if we speak of this as a fast line. I am well pleased that no contract
Hon. Mr. TARTE.
has been entered into, because we would be only the laughing stock of other nations if we dared to call what Canada has a fast line.
Amount required to meet the expenses of the royal commission appointed to make inquiry into recent industrial disputes in the province of British Columbia (Including payments not exceeding $5 each per day to members of the civil service for services in connection with this commission, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the Civil Service Act), $10,000.
Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).
What is the position of the work of that commission at the present time ?
This commission was appointed this spring to make an inquiry into the clauses of the industrial disturbances in the province of British Columbia, which have been more or less frequent for some time. This spring there were strikes in the city of Vancouver, and at the Union and Extension coal mines. The inquiry was conducted by two gentlemen, Chief Justice Hunter and Mr. Elliott Rowe.
Mr. HUGHES (Victoria).
What is Mr. Rowe's occupation or profession
Hon. Mr. TARTE.
Are all the strikes over in British Columbia now ?
I think that is the ease. The strikes at the coal mines and on the railway are settled now. Calgary is not in British Columbia, but there was a carpenters' strike there which paralyzed many other industries. That strike, which had been in existence for many months, has now been declared off. These men have resumed work and requested the deputy to arrange for a standing agreement between the men and their masters for the settlement of the future disputes so as to avoid strikes. My deputy informs me that the employers have agreed to that arrangement and have even gone further. They have entered into its spirit and since the men have consented that there shall be no strike without an appeal being made first to arbitration, they, in a like manner, bind themselves not to lock out without first referring the dispute equally to the standing board of arbitrators for Calgary. The coal mine strikes at Union and Extension mines had been in existence for several months and was due to causes which will be made quite clear when the report is presented to parliament.
How many days was this commission sitting altogether ?
The commission issued towards the end of April and lasted continuously. I fixed a date within which the work was to be completed so that there might be no delay. The deputy told me that the report of the commission alone covers about 150 pages of type written foolscap and that the evidence is most voluminous. It was taken in public meeting, the court-house being thronged, and the questions fought out well on both sides by counsel.
Who were the counsel ?
There may have been different counsel at different places, but, I recollect the names of some that my deputy gave me. One of the counsels was Mr. Wilson, a member of the British Columbia government, another was Mr. E. P. Davis, a leading counsel in the city of Vancouver. There may have been others whose names I have not heard. I think flint Messrs. Wilson and Davis were representing the employees. Mr. Bodwell may have been engaged in the case as well, but that I do not know.
I notice that this item is for $10,000. Were there any other charges?
None whatever. This is the total amount.
What pay do the commissioners receive ?
There were two members of the civil service on that commission. One was Mr. King the Deputy Minister of Labour, and the other a short hand writer in the Labour Department. The item of $5 per day each is for those two.