June 1, 1904

LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I can give no information to my hon. friend upon this subject. I will have to confer with the Minister of Labour, and probably to-morrow, I will let my hon. friend know.

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

While Judge Winchester is running around the country on a fool's errand, I would suggest to the Prime Minister that if he goes to work and gets Mr. Hays and the auditor of the Grand Trunk to have a statement prepared by one of their clerks, of the names of all the employees on this engineering staff, then in five minutes the House and the country will know who these gentlemen are and where

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CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARKE.

they come from. That will not cost five Cents, whereas this commission of Judge Winchester, judging from other commissions, will cost the country probably several thousands of dollars, and will be a whitewashing, delaying institution when it is through.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Does my hon. friend object to this commission ?

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

I certainly do object to any such person being sent around this country, and I am satisfied that the taxpayers of this country will object to it. We don't want these judges taken from their jobs. We want them to attend to the business we pay them for doing, and it would suit the country better if they did that.

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PERSONAL EXPLANATION-MR. WILLIAM ROCHE.

LIB

William Roche

Liberal

Mr. WILLIAM ROCHE (Halifax).

I rise for the purpose of making a personal explanation. Yesterday, in the course of the debate, I stated that the hon. member for Lennox had controverted some remarks which I had made. He said that he coukl'nt have done so, because he had spoken before me. I then said that that gentleman like some others in the House, after he had made his main speech, added a number of little speeches or speechlets. 1 afterwards said that I was merely speaking from memory, and if my statement was not correct, I would make any explanation necessary to the hon. gentleman. I was not certain at the time, but the hon. gentleman (Mr. Wilson) was followed by my hon. friend from East Elgin (Mr. Ingram), who made the following remarks :-

I would remind the junior member for Halifax (Mr. William Roche) that he is mistaken when he thinks that the hon. member for Lennox followed him last year with his speech or even with a speechlet. There is no record of either such speech or speechlet. But I can tell him that the hon. gentleman who did follow him and who criticised his language very severely was the hon. member for Alberta (Mr. Oliver).

That was a direct contradiction of what I had said, and I take the liberty now of referring the hon. gentleman to page 610 of the Debates on which he will see that the hon. member for Lennox made three little speechlets in the course of the debate, and that on page 615 he made five additional little speechlets. Now, my reputation being assailed and I have been directly contradicted without warrant, an explanation is due from the hon. member (Mr. Ingram), and if that is the method in which he pursues investigation, then if he contradicts me on some future occasion, he had better have his facts more under control of his volition.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

I still adhere to the statement I made yesterday, and the record will prove my statement to be correct. The hon. gentleman from Lennox was afterwards 1264

speaking on an item in the estimates, and which affected the question of immigration.

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LIB

William Roche

Liberal

Mr. WM. ROCHE.

It was the same debate on his motion, and he afterwards reaffirmed his previous statement.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

The record will prove that the statement I made yesterday was correct, and if the record does not prove that I am willing to apologize. I defy the hon. gentleman from Halifax (Mr. Roche) to read from the record exactly the statements made by the hon. gentleman from Lennox.

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LIB

William Roche

Liberal

Mr. WM. ROCHE.

My hon. friend said that the hon. gentleman (Mr. Wilson) made neither speech nor speechlet, but the record shows that he made eight speechlets.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Read.

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LIB

William Roche

Liberal

Mr. WM. ROCHE.

I have not the book here ; the gentlemen on the other side of the House have it.

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MONTREAL TURNPIKE TRUST-TOWN OF WESTMOUNT.

?

Mr. L. A. A.@

RIVET (Hochelaga) moved for :

Copies of all correspondence exchanged between the Department of Finance and the town of Westmount, concerning the purchase of debentures of the Montreal Turnpike Trust.

He said in making this motion, I want to draw the attention of the government to the position which the town of Westmount occupies with regard to the Montreal Turnpike Trust. Some time ago the question of the Montreal Turnpike Trust was raised in this House by the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk), I do not intend to reopen that question; I want simply to state the fact that a few years ago the town of Westmount made a commutation with the Montreal Turnpike Trust, whereby the tolls which existed in that municipality were commuted in an annual sum that was calculated according to tbe amount of interest on the capital of the debentures covering the portion of the road situated within the limits of the municipality of Westmount. The capital of such debentures was about $6,800 on which the interest at six per cent was $408 per year, which sum has since been annually paid by Westmount to the Montreal Turnpike Trust, under that commutation, &c., &c. Under that commutation the town of Westmount secured the control, to a certain extent of that portion of the road within its limits, and the toll-gates were removed. By that commutation the town of Westmount undoubtedly bettered its position, because the toll-gates were an encumbrance, not only to the citizens of West-mount, but to the public at large. It is admitted on all sides that in the neighbourhood of Montreal and on the island of Montreal generally, the toll-gate system is antiquated, and the public at large are looking 1 for its removal.

However, 1 do not say that this system could he got rid of unless we are satisfied that the roads which are under the control of the Montreal Turnpike Trust would be kept in as good order as they are at the present time. I am not prepared to say that the Montreal Turnpike Trust has not kept these roads in good order. Far from that, it is a well known fact that the system of toll-gates of the Montreal Turnpike Trust has done a good deal in the way of improving the roads on the island of Montreal, and that fact has had much to do with the prosperity of the farmers around Montreal. I am not going to enter into that question. 1 wish simply to say that the town of Westmount wants to secure the full control of its roads, and in order to obtain that end, it asks to purchase a certain amount of the debentures held by the government. The object of such a purchase is to enable the town to set up in compensation a claim which would be equal to the trust's claim resulting from the above commutation. The town of Westmount has asked the trust to pay to it the capital of the commutation. The trust has refused to accept that offer, alleging want of authority to alienate the whole or part of the roads under its control. A statute was passed by the legislature of Quebec authorizing the town of Westmount to pay the capital to the trust. In spite of that statute, the Turnpike Trust refuses still to accept the capital of thei commutation. The town of Westmount now desires to buy an amount of the debentures equal to the amount of the commutation which has been made with the Turnpike Trust. Some correspondence has been exchanged between the town of Westmount and the Finance Minister, I understand, and I ask that a copy of that correspondence be laid on the table of the House. I think the town of Westmount is fairly entitled to better its situation, and to have a chance of securing control of the road that belongs to the Turnpike Trust.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. W. S. FIELDING (Minister of Finance).

Of course, there can be no objection to the motion of my hon. friend from Hoche-laga (Mr. Rivet). The correspondence will be brought down. My recollection is that the town of Westmount asked us to fix a price on a portion of the securities of the Montreal Turnpike Trust. In our judgment, it was not good policy to fix a price for a portion of the securities ; but we were quite open to receive any proposal for dealing with the whole question from the provincial authorities, the municipalities, or any one else concerned in the administration of the roads. Therefore it was not deemed expedient to name a price to this municipality for a portion of the debentures. However, the correspondence will be brought down promptly.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. F. D. MONK (Jacques Cartier).

This motion affords another instance of the ne-

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LIB

Louis Alfred Adhémar Rivet

Liberal

Mr. RIVET.

cessity of the government interfering with regard to the road system on the island of Montreal. The situation of Westmount is a very peculiar one. It has commuted a considerable portion of what was formerly a road and is now an important street in that municipality for a certain sum paid to the Montreal Turnpike trustees. It pays every year a certain sum which is supposed to represent a proportion of the amount of the bonds which are now in the hands of the Dominion government. That is supposed to be the interest due every year to the Dominion government as the proprietor of those bonds. That interest, however, is not paid over to the Dominion government. It is kept and used for the administration of the road actually controlled by the trustees of the Montreal Turnpike Trust. The town is obliged, moreover, under its legal agreement to keep that piece of road in perfect order under the direction of the trustees, and it has no absolute control over it. It has to execute works upon that street -lay water pipes, gas pipes, sidewalks and pavements ; and it can do nothing at all because the street is not its property, not having been transferred to it under a title which would admit of its dealing with it as it deals with other streets in the municipality. As I have stated again and again in this House, these debentures or bonds are worth absolutely nothing, because they cannot be realized upon. The only recourse the holder of them, the Dominion government, would have, would be to take possession of the road and have a receiver appointed to collect the tolls. These tolls might pay a portion of the interest, but, on the other hand, the roadi would be absolutely neglected, and that state of affairs would not continue for more than a month or two. So that on the market these bonds are worth practically nothing. The town of Westmount has asked the Minister of Finance to fix a value upon the portion of bonds upon the piece of road which it holds under a commutation deed from the trustees, and it is ready to pay the amount of that valuation in order to obtain possession of the road at once, and deal with it as it does with the rest of the streets of the town. The Minister of Finance has refused to accede to that request. At first the Minister of Finance asked the town of Westmount to place a value on the bonds. The town did so, and since then, so far as I am aware, nothing has been done. The town offered more than the actual value of the bonds, but the offer has been refused by the department. I do not think that is fair. I think that the offer of the town to pay the market value of the bonds is a fair offer, and should be accepted by the department. I would like to add that the situation of the town of Westmount is very much the same as that of several other municipalities. There is a similar arrangement with the town of Verdun in my constituency. In

fact, in every suburb of Montreal, in order to get rid of the intolerable nuisance of toll-gates in a very much frequented locality, an arrangement of a similar kind has "been made ; and I think it would be the duty of the government, by an audit of the accounts of the trustees or by the appointment of a commissioner or in some other way to get at an absolute knowledge of the real value of these bonds, and accede to the request of these different municipalities.

I repeat, what I have frequently said on other occasions, that I think the Dominion government, which controls entirely the corporation of the trustees-because, although the corporation is incorporated by provincial authority, the government appoints the majority of the trustees-should inquire into the administration of the road system and use the power it possesses by the fact that it is the holder of all the bonds and thus controls the operation of the board, to have legislation adopted by the provincial parliament which would abolish once and for all the system of toll-gates, and give us the same system on the Island of Montreal as has been established around every important city of the continent of America.

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Motion agreed to.


QUEBEC CENTRAL RAILWAY.

June 1, 1904