April 4, 1927

LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

Not at all; I think my hon. friend is entirely wrong.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   FREIGHT RATES TO BE CHARGED ON EASTERN LINES
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CON

Thomas Cantley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CANTLEY:

I can show my hon. friend a little later.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   FREIGHT RATES TO BE CHARGED ON EASTERN LINES
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

Consider the Conservative

party in Canada at present; we find one group from the maritime provinces which probably would be in favour of a higher duty on coal; we find a group from Ontario which would certainly be against a higher duty on c:oa!l, while the third group from the province of British Columbia would also be against it, because in that province they depend very greatly upon their export trade. As my hon. friend knows, a market ior 50 per cent of the output of the

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Crowsnest pass mines is found in the United States, and about 10 per cent of the output of the Vancouver Island mines is marketed in that country. The United States has a countervailing duty; that is, the duty there is equal to the Canadian duty on coal. As the hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Neill) said the other night in the course of another debate, a duty of SI on Canadian coal would automatically raise the American duty to $1, which would put out of business a great many of the coal mines of British Columbia. I suppose ry>

man in the House better knows the sentiment of the country with regard to the question of coal than does the hon. member for Cape Breton South (Mr. MacDonald), who represents a coal mining constituency. In the Halifax Chronicle of February 5 he is reported as follows:

On the general trade policy recommendation of the report, and its lack of tariff recommendations, Mr. MacDonald said candidly, "With regard to duties on coal I am not hopeful."

He said his experiences on the coal committee of the House last year had convinced him that central and western Canada are immovable in their opposition to such relief for the east.

That question was raised in the House, and his answer corroborated rather than contradicted that statement, because he said it was probable that central and western Canada would be against it. It is well known, so why do my hon. friends opposite tell the people in the coal mining constituencies that if returned to power they would raise the duty on coal? That is absolutely impractical as a political proposal, and I venture to say that hon. members on the other side of the House know it.

To come back to the argument from which I was distracted, I was about to say that I agree to a large extent with the hon. member for Acadia (Mr. Gardiner) and the hon. member for Roeetown (Mr. Evans) as to the fundamental causes of the decline of the maritime provinces. I think the Canadian tariff is probably the greatest cause, and that next in importance comes the American tariff. That is particularly true with relation to the fishing industry; twice in the history of Nova Scotia our fish have had free access to the American market, once between 1854 and 1866 under the old reciprocity treaty and again between 1873 and 1885 under the Treaty of Washington. ^During both of these periods the fishing industry was prosperous, reflecting a great deal of prosperity upon the province as a whole. We rejected a third opportunity in 1911, for which the great majority have been sorry ever since.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   FREIGHT RATES TO BE CHARGED ON EASTERN LINES
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CON

Harry Bernard Short

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SHORT:

Might I ask a question?

Did we not have practically free access into the United States in 1912 or 1913, after we rejected the reciprocity treaty in 1911?

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   FREIGHT RATES TO BE CHARGED ON EASTERN LINES
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

No; there was a lowering

of the tariff.

Mr, SHORT: .And many articles were

placed on the free list.

M.r. SPEAKER: I must ask hon. gentlement to come back to the question of freight rates.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   FREIGHT RATES TO BE CHARGED ON EASTERN LINES
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

With regard to the question of my hon. friend I will say that under the democratic tariff the duty on fish was lowered for some years, and perhaps some kinds of fish were allowed to enter the United States free. At any rate, that does not in any way detract from the argument I have been making. _

1 have referred to the Canadian and American tariffs, and next in importance to those have been the high freight rates, the gradual rise of freight rates on the Intercolonial railway. The historical course of events was set out very well this afternoon, and I do not need to repeat very much of it. The Intercolonial railway was built not as a commercial enterprise but as a public work, a national undertaking; its route was chosen not from commercial considerations but because of strategic considerations, and the understanding was that it was to be a great highway of traffic between the maritime provinces and the central parts of Canada. From its completion in 1876 until 1912 the understandings entered into at the time of confederation were faithfully carried out, but in 1912 when Hon. Frank Cochrane became Minister of Railways in the Borden government the rates on that railway were raised. As the rates were raised, and to the extent that they were raised, traffic was frozen along the Intercolonial railway; industries were forced out of business, and the raising of those rates contributed in a very large degree to the lamentable decline of industry in the maritime provinces which is so apparent at present. From 1918 to 1923 the Intercolonial railway was the only line in Canada which was not under the control of the Board of Railway Commissioners; various local rates were raised here and there and the shippers had no means of redress and no court to which they could appeal.

I am thoroughly in accord with the spirit and the provisions of this bill, and I wish to express the gratitude of a very great number of people in the maritime provinces for the step taken by the government in this matter. I deplore such remarks as that it is only a

C.N.R.-Eastern Freight Rates

half a loaf, and about keeping up the agitation, as stated by the hon. member for York-Sunbury (Mr. Hanson) this afternoon. On this side of the House, and I think on the other side as well, I believe we have a fair degree of unanimity of opinion; we have heard members from Quebec and from the western 'provinces express their sympathy with the maritimes and say they are prepared to back up the government in the steps which have been taken in introducing this and other measures. Nothing could be more fatal to the cause of the maritimes and nothing is more certain to forfeit the respect of the rest of Canada than to have a group of agitators continue to talk about this being only half a loaf and about keeping up the agitation until all sorts of things are Obtained, things which are reported against by the Duncan commission and which, as a matter of fact, would not be of any real merit or benefit to the maritimes.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   FREIGHT RATES TO BE CHARGED ON EASTERN LINES
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LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. A. A. HEAPS (North Winnipeg):

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   FREIGHT RATES TO BE CHARGED ON EASTERN LINES
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Mr. Speaker, I rise to a point of order. What has the school population of Winnipeg to do with maritime freight rates?

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   FREIGHT RATES TO BE CHARGED ON EASTERN LINES
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LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

If I might explain, Mr. Speaker, we have before us the Duncan report, which deals with the decline in population, and therefore the question of the decline in population in other parts of Canada may have some bearing upon the particular question before us.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   FREIGHT RATES TO BE CHARGED ON EASTERN LINES
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

This is the second reading of a bill dealing with freight rates.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   FREIGHT RATES TO BE CHARGED ON EASTERN LINES
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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Yes, but the hon. gentleman is answering some statement made this afternoon by the Postmaster General (Mr. Veniot). I hope, however, that the hon. member will come more closely to the question at issue and discuss freight rates.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   FREIGHT RATES TO BE CHARGED ON EASTERN LINES
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LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

It may be pretty difficult,

Mr. Speaker, to keep exactly within the confines of the bill itself. I notice that the Minister of Railways did not get up and check his own colleague the Postmaster General when he was wandering from the subject this afternoon.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   FREIGHT RATES TO BE CHARGED ON EASTERN LINES
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I did not hear him

wandering into Winnipeg.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   FREIGHT RATES TO BE CHARGED ON EASTERN LINES
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LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

No, but the freight rate

question wandered into Winnipeg as exemplified by the fact that the Duncan commission sat for some little time in the city of Winnipeg. They wandered there anyhow.

I do not think it is fair, Mr. Speaker, to blame confederation for the conditions that exist at the present time in the maritimes. I think there may be other conditions that have brought about the depression in the maritimes apart altogether from the pact of confederation. Supposing that confederation had not come into effect; would the position of the maritime provinces be any better than it is to-day? I think there has been nothing given to show that it would be any better. Perhaps t'he nearest parallel that we have is the colony of Newfoundland. Newfoundland has been a self-governing colony all through.

C.N.R.-Eastern Freight Rates

She refused to come into confederation, and Newfoundland to-day is in no better position than the maritime provinces, if as good. I think the increase in population in New-foundland-perhaps the Minister of Railways will not like me going into this question of population again-has been about the same as in the maritime provinces.

The maritime provinces have been complaining a good deal about the position in which they find themselves. I have in my hand some figures pertaining to the capital expenditure and receipts of the maritime provinces, and I find that in the year 1924 the per capita taxation of Prince Edward Island was $3.76; Nova Scotia, $3.72; New Brunswick, $3.60. I compare those figures with the figures of some of the western provinces.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   FREIGHT RATES TO BE CHARGED ON EASTERN LINES
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Again, Mr. Speaker, I

rise to point out that this is a freight rates bill, which has nothing to do with provincial taxation. I rise only in the interests of order and to keep the discussion more closely to this very important matter which is before the House.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   FREIGHT RATES TO BE CHARGED ON EASTERN LINES
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LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

Does not this bill arise out

of the Duncan report, Mr. Speaker?

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   FREIGHT RATES TO BE CHARGED ON EASTERN LINES
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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

This bill certainly is the

outcome of the Duncan report, but it touches only one phase of that report, railway rates, and this legislation is brought in to correct what has been considered as a grievance of the maritime provinces. I quite understand, however, the trend of the remarks made by the hon. gentleman, and if we were now discussing the whole Duncan report I would say that he was perfectly in order, but we are discussing in connection with this bill only one phase of that report, and I would ask him kindly to confine his remarks to that phase of the report.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   FREIGHT RATES TO BE CHARGED ON EASTERN LINES
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LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

It is perhaps a little hard,

Mr. Speaker, after all the other members have had the opportunity of discussing tariffs and every other question in connection with this report, that I should find myself in the unfortunate position where I have to confine myself strictly to the bill before the House. But I gladly accept your ruling, and I will try as far as possible in my remarks to keep within the rules of the House.

The question then arises as to whether these reduced freight rates are going to solve the problem of the maritimes. Supposing this palliative which is now suggested by the government does not palliate; supposing it does not bring prosperity; what is going to be the consequence? Will the representatives of

the maritimes then come here, as has been suggested, and agitate for something more that they want, agitate to have the rate extended as far as Montreal, and if that does not help them sufficiently, to have it extended as far east as Toronto? Will there be any finality to it? The fact is, in my humble opinion, that reduced freight rates are not going to solve the problems of the maritime provinces, and I object to this legislation on the ground that it is going to give to the maritime provinces a preferential treatment which I do not think they ought to have any more than any other part of Canada. We are in this particular bill giving to a geographical area within the confines of confederation a preferential treatment, and in my opinion you cannot have confederation on a sound basis when you give preferential treatment to certain provinces within the confederation, because where you show favouritism on the one hand, you are bound to create an injustice on the other, and where you have an injustice you are going to have an agitation to have that injustice remedied. The consequence is we are now setting up a precedent for someone to come forward at a later date and ask for similar privileges for other parts of Canada. I am in favour of giving privileges to none, and of treating all people in all parts of Canada in exactly the same way.

It has been stated that the Crowsnest pass rates are in themselves something akin to what is proposed under this bill. Personally I cannot see the similarity at all. In the Crowsnest rates as existing at the present time a preference is given to a certain commodity which passes through three or four different provinces over a long haul. In this bill we are confining its provisions to the geographical area of three provinces, and we are giving a twenty per cent rebate on all local traffic in those provinces, in an area which commences and finishes in the three maritime provinces. It is altogether different from anything in the Crowsnest pass agreement as it exists at the present time, and those who try to show us that this is equal to or similar to the Crowsnest pass agreement are not, in my opinion, conversant with the situation.

I now come to the question as to how much this is going to help the great masses of people in Nova iScotia. Will it give the workers of Nova Scotia any better working conditions? Will it give them higher wages? I do not think so. I think that ultimately all the subsidies given under this bill will find their way to a very small percentage of the people of those provinces; the great masses of the people there will receive very

C.N.R.-Eastern Freight Rates

little indeed of the money which it is proposed to expend in the maritimes. The minister has claimed that these subsidies will amount to about two million dollars, as far as one of the railways is concerned. It will amount to twice that sum before we get through-four million dollars. And who is going to receive it? The railways will receive part of it and the large industrial and financial institutions will receive a great part of it. But the masses of the people of Nova Scotia will receive very little indeed. I hope I am in order in reading a reproduction from an article which appeared in MacLean's Magazine of October 15, 19^5. It is written by a gentleman who is a good Conservative I believe. This is what he says about the maritime question-and I think it has something to do with freight rates:

There are fishing communities where half the population drink in promises of wharves and breakwaters for six weeks. For the next four years they wonder when the material is to arrive, and then they start all over again. During the recent provincial campaign in Nova Scotia clever publicity men on both sides ignored the real issues, invented ridiculous slogans and appealed to the emotions and lowest instincts of the people rather than to their brains. In Queens county opposing candidates threw pulp mills at one anothers' heads, but it is a safe guess that the river Mersey will wind its way to the sea for many a long day before its waters lap the tanks of ''the largest pulp and paper mill in eastern Canada."

Is Canada playing fair with the maritime provinces? Who leased for ninety-nine years six hundred thousand acres of Nova Scotia's pulp and timber lands to be culled for export, at an annual rental of one cent per acre ? Who developed hydro-electric power at a cost of millions of dollars, permitted it to fall into the hands of a corporation for one cent per kilo-wott hour, to be retailed to the citizens of Nova Scotia at approximately ten cents per kilowatt hour ?

Ah hon. MEMBER: A Liberal government.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   FREIGHT RATES TO BE CHARGED ON EASTERN LINES
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LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

That may be all right, but it was not the Dominion government. If it was the Liberal government of Nova Scotia who committed the blunder, it is the people of Nova Scotia who should right these wrongs.

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Subtopic:   FREIGHT RATES TO BE CHARGED ON EASTERN LINES
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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Hon. members must confine their remarks to the matter before the House, and I think the present discussion is not relevant.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   FREIGHT RATES TO BE CHARGED ON EASTERN LINES
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April 4, 1927