If the treaty is to be signed before it is submitted to the House for consideration then I wish to give notice that I intend to move a resolution to the effect that treaties of commerce, before they are signed or ratified, should be laid before this parliament for consideration for a certain length of time.
I would like to call the attention of the right hon. the First Minister to some orders for returns which I would like to have as soon as possible. One ordered on December 5, is for the dates of the opening and closing of parliament from 1896 to 1910. That should not take very much time to compile. Another has reference to the cost of the Senate ; it was ordered on December 14. That is somewhat important, in view of the discussion which is to be brought forward on Monday next by my hon. friend from Lincoln, -and I would like to have the information before that time. Then, with reference to the dispatch of Sir John Thompson, might I ask the Prime Minister if he has made any inquiries about that?
Then, as co the return the order for which was passed in 1909 with regard to the war vessels of the United States on the Great Lakes. The Prime Minister promised to look into that and see why it had not been brought down.
I would like to ask the Minister of Labour if the government will be responsible for the whole or any part of the remuneration to be paid to Judge Barron who is investigating the claims of the recent strikers on the Grand Trunk.
I would like to inquire of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries when I may expect a return, the order for which passed the House last year, with reference to the fines imposed and the names of the persons fined for breach of the fishery regulations in the counties of Cumberland and Pictou. Three or four weeks ago the hon. minister informed me that the returns had been prepared and had been handed to the Secretary of -State. Within the past two days I have inquired of the Secretary of State, and he has informed me that he has seen no such return. I also inquired of the Under Secretary of State, and he says the same thing. I hope the minister will see that the return is brought down immediately.
Mr. Speaker, I intend, in connection- with this motion, to bring before the House and the country the claim of the Canadian people who use the Canadian Pacific railway for a reduction in the tariff of that railway, and I propose to approach it in this way :
That before the said motion do pass, this House hereby declares that steps should be at once taken to ascertain the rights of the public using the Canadian Pacific railway to a reduced tariff because of provision in that regard contained in the Act of parliament ratifying the agreement with that company, or any other Act.
I have added the words, ' or any other Act,' as I wanted to make it clear that I was cognizant of what is said to be the fact, t-hat the railway company now admits that it is under the operation of the General Railway Act, and I intend to approach this question in an absolutely impartial and non-partisan way. I hope to approach it as speaking for all the people of Canada who use that great railway, a railway that has now over 10,000 miles of track in operation, which serves every province in Canada with the single exception of the little island of Prince Edward. I hope I shall speak for the people of the east, the manufacturers of Ontario and the people of Ontario, for those who live on and, cultivate the plains, and for the people of the Pacific coast, who also use the railroad. I admit that it is a great railway ; it is a magnificent railway ; it is the greatest triumph, the greatest memorial, Sir John Macdonald left after him. The Canadian
Pacific railway is an immense success. Of all the things in Canadian history that had hirth in this House, it is the one that has vindicated itself. Perhaps it is greater than the National Policy. As it set out in tlie preamble, it was the Canadian Pacific railway that bound this country together. It was built for a great national reason, and it is to the credit of those men who sat in this House in the early days and propounded that policy, carried it out, vindicated it, and at last saw it triumph, and also saw those who opposed it at its inception come to justify it, to be proud of it, and to be active in its defence. But if I admit the greatness of that railroad and the service it renders, I am not blind to the duties that its charter imposed. With all great public franchises great duties go- .
There is a duty involved. There are public rights as well as the rights of the company to be considered, and to-day I am raising my voice on behalf of those public rights which the people have in the original charter and subsequent laws to a reduction in the charges imposed by that railway-whether those charges be for fares, for sleepers, or parlour cars, or for meals in dining or refreshment rooms, or freights, for express, telegraph or telephone charges, for electricity, if it be sold, and for even water charges in connection with steamers that may form a part of its railway system; so that while I admire the greatness of the Canadian Pacific railway and its success and what it has done to build up the credit of Canada, I also raise my voice in the matter of the duties which that road owes to this country-duties in the way of service and most of all its duty to have its rates revised in the interests of the people who pay them. I hope to be able to show that the time has come when parliament or some body must interfere so as to secure a reduction in these rates.
Just for a moment I want to read the clause in the original Act which deals with the rates of the company and which, I am told, if not obsolete or repealed, is to-day ineffective. Whether that be so or not, it certainly throws a lot of light on the matter. I propose to read, in the first place, clause 20 of the Statutes of Canada, 1881, chapter 1. That clause reads as follows:-
The limit to the reduction of tolls by the parliament of Canada provided for by the eleventh subsection of the 17th section of The Consolidated Railway Act of 1879, respecting tolls, is hereby extended so that such reduction may be to such an extent that such tolls when reduced shall not produce less than 10 per cent per annum profit on the capital actually expended in the construction of the railway, instead of not less than 15 per cent per annum profit as provided by the said subsection; and so also that such reduction shall not be made unless the net income of the company, ascertained as described in said Mr. MACLEAN.
subsection, shall have exceeded 10 per cent per annum instead of 15 per cent per annum as provided by the said subsection, and the exercise by the Governor in Council of the power of reducing the tolls of the company as provided by the 10th subsection of said section 17 is hereby limited to the same extent with relation to the profit of the company and to its net revenue, as that to which the power of parliament to reduce tolls is limited by said subsection 11 as hereby amended.
That is rather complicated and tough, reading, but you get a little elucidation if you read the Railway Act, which is quoted in that section. That Railway Act was passed in 1879, two years before the Canadian Pacific railway charter was granted, and its clauses are 10, 11 and 12:-
10. Every by-law fixing and regulating tolls shall be subject to revision by the Governor in Council from time to time after approval thereof, and after an order in council, reducing the tolls fixed and regulated by any by-law, has been twice published in the 'Canada Gazette/ the tolls mentioned in such an order in council shall be substituted for those mentioned in said by-law so long as the order in council remains unrevoked.
11. The parliament of Canada may from time to time reduce the tolls upon the railway, but not without consent of the company, or so as to produce less than 15 per cent per annum profit on the capital actually expended in its construction, nor unless on an examination made by the Minister of Public Works of the amount received and expended by the company, the net income from all sources for the year then last passed is found to have exceeded 15 per cent upon the capital so actually expended.
12. No by-law of any railway company by which any tolls are to be imposed or altered, or by which any party other than the members, officers and servants of the company are intended to be bound, shall have any force or effect until the same has been approved and sanctioned by the Governor in Council.
In substance, those two laws amount to-this: Under the general law, a railway could have its tolls reduced if the net profit from its operation exceeded 15 per cent of the amount actually expended in its construction, but in the case of the Canadian Pacific railway the government or parliament, or some one, was to have power to reduce the tolls whenever the net income of the road exceeded 10 per cent of the amount of money actually invested in it. In other words, the people were to be treated under the Canadian Pacific Railway Act 5 per cent better than under the general Act. That was in substance the arrangement; apparently some means should have been taken by the Canadian Pacific railway or the government of the day to have an account kept of the money actually expended on construction. Evidently, however, nothing of that kind was done, and1
the thins dragged along and no question was raised and no one knew exactly how matters stood.
One reason why the Canadian Pacific railway was asked to treat the public so much better was because it was given exceptional advantages. It was given $25,-O00,000 in cash, 25,000,000 acres of land, customs exemptions, exemptions from the municipal law, rival lines were prohibited, and in many other ways had special privileges and powers conferred on it.
But in connection with all these advantages, there was a clause to this effect, that inasmuch as the railway was getting all these things it should do something for the public in return, and consequently there was a provision guaranteeing to the government control of the rates. The essence of the agreement was whenever a certain thing happened the public were entitled to a reduction in the tolls. That matter was brought up and discussed in this House many times by myself and by members from the west' and other portions of the country, but always some special pleading was raised to prevent this clause from taking effect. One by one, however, the special privileges pleaded on behalf of the Canadian Pacific railway have been removed-some by the payment of money and others by other means. When the Crows-nest Pass charter was granted, it was granted on the condition that the Canadian Pacific railway should reduce its rates in the west. Then the prohibition against rival roads was removed at the instance of the people of Manitoba. So in various ways special privileges disappeared, and only one remains, the exemption from taxes, which is now, I believe, before the Privv Council.
Whenever these questions were brought up, we never could get a satisfactory answer We were always treated to evasions and were told that they have to be settled by the courts. The last statement ever made in this connection was that 'made by the then Minister of Justice, now Sir Charles Fitzpatrick, who acknowledged, to me that the company had abandoned its claim to the protection of the 10 per cent clause in the original charter and admitted that it came under the jurisdiction of the Railway Act and the Board of Railway Commissioners. And, to show that that is the situation today, I propose to quote a statement by Mr. Creelman, the counsel of the Canadian Pacific which appeared in a Toronto newspaper the other day. This is a despatch, dated Montreal, January 10, and I wish to Tead it because it is the first written or printed document that I have seen which states the abandonment by the Canadian Pacific railway of any protection in this Tespect that it enjoyed under the original charter. We have had the statement of the
former Minister of Justice, and I have seen statements in the newspapers, that the company would submit itself to the Railway Commission, but this statement by Mr. Creelman is the first I have seen from that source, and I propose to read it in order to get it on the records:-
In an interview to-night Mr. A. R. Creelman, K.C., general counsel for the Canadian Pacific railway, and also one of the directors of the company, discussed the recent increase in dividend of the company.
' Will the increase in the dividend to ten per cent mean that the company must submit its rates to the Railway Commission? ' Mr. Creelman was asked.
' Not at all/ was his answer. ' The declaration of an extra dividend was made in view of the position of the land account, and of the other extraneous assets of the company. The distribution from these sources, commencing with the payment of the next quarterly dividend, will be at the rate of three per cent per annum, instead of one per cent as heretofore/ , .
' Does not your charter call for a revision of rates by the government as soon as your company pays ten per cent ? '
' No, such is not the case/ was his reply.
' Our charter says that neither parliament nor the Governor General in Council shall reduce our rates until the railway is making ten per cent net on the actual capital expended in the construction of the road/
' And what is the amount expended in actual construction?'
' We do not know/ said Mr. Creelman.
' Some time ago we took up this matter with the Supreme Court in order to have them determine what the actual expenditure was. We wanted to know whether it meant only the main line, or whether it included branches, terminals, &c. That case is still pending, but, as a matter of fact, the Canadian Pacific railway agreed some years ago not to claim) the protection of the ten per cent clause, and, further, we have repeatedly expressed our willingness to submit our rates to the Railway Commission to have them deal with them on their merits. In other words, in so far as our rates aup concerned, we have been in the same position as any other railway in Canada. We have voluntarily submitted our rates to the Railway Commission whenever these rates have been attacked.
' And, after all/ he added, ' rates are determined by the business of the country and by competition. We could not arbitrarily fix rates which would he excessive.' ' There has been/ said Mr. Creelman, ' a good deal of misunderstanding regarding this ten per cent clause. But it only refers to a time when the road is making ten per cent net on the actual capital expended on construction. And, further, we have never taken refuge behind our rates agreement, but have freely submitted our rates to the Railway Commission. So far as our rates are concerned, we have been in the same position as other roads in Canada.
Now, as I read it, that practically means that the Canadian Pacific railway came before the Board of Railway Commissioners,
and admitted that they were under that jurisdiction and would so remain. If that is so, it is very important that we should know it; it is very important that a matter of such great concern to the people of Canada should be definitely stated.