March 1, 1929

CON

James Charles Brady

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADY:

Mr. Chairman, I wish to ask the hon. minister if the proposed agreement between the two railway companies entered into in connection with the Edmonton, Dun-vegan and British Columbia Railway will interfere with the work already done by way of survey and reconnaissances in seeking an outlet from the Peace River to the Pacific coast. Will that work be continued? The answer is a vital one; for the question of a Peace River outlet has been a live question in the house since 1925.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I am of opinion-and of course my hon. friend will understand that it can only be an opinion-that this arrangement will distinctly facilitate rather than hinder that development. While listening to the questions raised by hon. members I have been trying to look through the agreement. As I said before, I did not anticipate having to discuss the agreement at this stage; indeed, it is very doubtful if we are in order in doing so. I would call attention to this last clause in the agreement:

Disputes arising out of this agreement in respect of any matter within the jurisdiction of the Board of Railway Commissioners for Canada shall be referred to the board. Disputes under clauses 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 of this agreement. not within the board's jurisdiction, shall be submitted to two arbitrators.

The parties agree to co-operate with fairness and candor towards each other and give effect to this agreement in the most liberal and reasonable manner, to the intent that each of them shall receive a fair and equal share of the benefits of the joint undertaking, subject to the provisions of clause 4 hereof.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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UFA

Henry Elvins Spencer

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. SPENCER:

Will the minister give us clause 4?

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

This is clause 4:

The operations of the new company shall always be conducted with due regard to economy, consistent with good railway practice, and having regard to the future requirements of the property and the necessities of the territory to be served.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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UFA

Donald MacBeth Kennedy

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. KENNEDY:

I do not think we can get very far discussing the agreement piecemeal at this stage. This bill proposes to do something that I understand is a new departure in the Dominion, taking into consideration the problem of the development of the Peace River country. It seems to me a better course to pursue would be to get the bill with the agreement before the committee and then we shall have a chance to discuss every phase of the matter.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Absolutely.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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UFA

Donald MacBeth Kennedy

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. KENNEDY:

The outlet and everything else. I think we ought to let this bill go through and get it in such shape that we can obtain full information with the agreement before us.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I am sure my hon. friend would be the last to charge me with attempting to stifle full discussion in the committee. I think he will agree that usually I try to afford as full facilities as possible. But as to whether a discussion of this bill can bring about any determination of the outlet question-if my hon. friend desires to have the house on this bill determine the routes and so forth with respect to outlets-then I cannot guarantee it. But I am sure I cannot prevent him from discussing the subject.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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UFA

Donald MacBeth Kennedy

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. KENNEDY:

But as the agreement might bear on the working out of the problem.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Quite.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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CON

John Arthur Clark

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARK:

Mr. Chairman, before the

resolution passes I should like to urge the minister to request these railway companies to come before the committee with a concrete suggestion to make it possible to determine finally matters of policy, even though the respective members of the two companies be equally divided, one on one side, one on the other. There must be some way, by agreement or otherwise, of placing on the board a sufficient number of directors to insure a majority on matters of policy. I cannot urge too strongly this fact. Here are practically the two greatest institutions in this country; they are rivals; there are bound to be differences of opinion between them, and the bigger the matter involved probably the more

C.N.R.-Alberta Railways

decided will be the differences of opinion. We have had enough experience to realize that a small difference of opinion between two great institutions such as these may delay a legitimate project for years and years. So far as the pressure of public opinion is concerned, may I point out that the initiation of any project rests with the boards of directors of these two companies. Where do we find the public opinion which will force these organizations to proceed with a new development? Any public opinion in the Peace River district, or in British Columbia for that matter, is negligible. Public opinion in Canada is largely in the central portions and the middle west where the population exists; that is where there is pressure of public opinion. The pressure of such public opinion as exists in the Peace River country would never be heard here, and the people there could send down all the delegations they liked if there was a difference between the two railway companies without producing any effect. I ask the minister to put it clearly before the two railway companies and to ask them to come before the railway committee with some solution of this difficulty, for I see it is a real difficulty. It should be possible to have a board of directors which can decide a matter of policy one way or the other, and not leave it up in the air simply because there is an equal division of opinion between the directors of the two institutions.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I shall be glad, Mr. Chairman, to bring this discussion to the attention of the presidents of both railway companies. Of course, we have proceeded somewhat in the dark through not having the terms of the agreement before the members of the committee. I might point out in fairness to my hon. friend from Vancouver-Burrard (Mr. Clark), that in connection with most matters of policy which might be the cause of such a division as he indicates the agreement itself decides. The one matter which of course cannot be decided finally by an agreement relates to extensions-

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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CON

John Arthur Clark

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARK:

That is the big thing.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Wait a moment. This

is definitely set out in the bill itself. As to certain branch lines and the building within five years of a further sixty miles, those points are covered in the agreement. So far as the operation of the property is concerned, I believe the agreement is devised in such a manner as to overcome any possibility of difficulty through differences of opinion on matters of policy. With respect to exten-

sion, may I point out again that when I spoke of public opinion a little while ago I had in mind public opinion in cooperation with one of the parties to the agreement. I admit freely, in connection with any proposal to extend the Northern Alberta Railway Company's undertaking, that if both the owners do not wish to initiate it, it cannot very well be initiated.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

Suppose one of them does.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Suppose one of them

does, and assuming it is the major undertaking which my hon. friends all have in their minds -although they have in their minds very different major undertakings and probably would not agree among themselves as to which particular major undertaking would be the best-

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

Surely they would; you

are wrong there.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I am glad to hear it. If there is absolute unanimity-and is my hon. friend stating that there is absolute unanimity as to where a western outlet from the Peace river should go, and1 by what route it should go through-will he say-

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

Pretty well.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Well, he is a courageous man. I am sure the hon. member for Peace River-

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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March 1, 1929