James Shaver Woodsworth
It is absolutely
impossible to hear a word in this corner.
Subtopic: USE OF CANADIAN PACIFIC TRACKS AND PREMISES AT QUEBEC-POOL TRAINS
It is absolutely
impossible to hear a word in this corner.
May I ask if the minister
has made inquiry from the officers of the railway regarding the matters that I brought to his attention last week when this bill was introduced?
Yes, Mr. Chairman, I
inquired, and I find that there is nothing in the agreement that in any way conflicts with the statements I made previously. My hon. friend pointed out, I remember, that the trains now being, as he expressed it, Canadian Pacific trains, the Canadian National trains being taken off, there might be need for some modification in the provisions of the agreement. I overlooked pointing out at that time, as I should have done, that the pool trains
of course are not Canadian Pacific trains but pool trains, in other words as much Canadian National as Canadian Pacific, the equipment of both roads being used in them, and of course whatever profits or losses accrue on those trains are divided between the two railways.
My hon. friend also made some suggestion that for the same reason there might now need to be some modification in the terms; but I am informed, though I did not know at that time, that the original agreement was made on a wheelage basis, in other words they pay as they use, so to speak. In addition to that, the Canadian National will operate many trains out of that station; trains to Lake St. John, for example, and along the national transcontinental to Cochrane, besides the one to Charny. There are two or three sets of trains, I think there is another that I have not mentioned, but my hon. friend knows the railway geography of that section better than I do and can doubtless fill in the blank if there is one. At any rate they still utilize the station as they did in the past, and the pool trains are divided between the two railways.
I wonder if the minister could give us some further information regarding the trains it is proposed to run from the Canadian Pacific terminals over the Canadian National tracks to Charny in order, as I understood his statement some time ago, that there might be a connection between the passenger trains running down the south shore, the maritime express and the ocean limited, and the city of Quebec. The minister will recall that some time ago, in answer to a question asked by the hon. member for Quebec East (Mr. Lapointe), he stated that arrangements were being made or had been made to provide for a connection between the Canadian Pacific station in Quebec and the trains running along the south shore to the maritime provinces. Has the minister any further information to give?
No, I do not think I have anything further than I gave the house at that time. A connection is being arranged with the maritime express and the ocean limited, which run down the south shore. There is a connection being arranged from Charny station into the Palais station in Quebec so that those who wish to use those trains may make connection either in that way or by the Levis ferry. Other than this I do not think I can add anything to what I said the other day.
C .N .R-C .P .R.-Agreements
I can give the information to my colleague from Quebec South; I have seen the connection. These three trains which ran between Quebec and Montreal on the Canadian National have been taken off, and the only two trains on the Canadian National which serve Quebec to some extent but do not go to Quebec are the ocean limited and the maritime express, on the south shore of the St. Lawrence river. Of course in winter time no one in the city of Quebec would cross the river to take these trains in preference to the Canadian Pacific trains on the north shore. The minister said a connection was being arranged at the Quebec bridge, at Charny station, with one of those trains, the maritime express. That connection is made by a motor car with a Diesel engine; part of the car is occupied by the engine and the other part contains passenger seats. If my hon. friend thinks the travelling public of Quebec city are going to use that motor car to connect with the maritime express on Levis instead of using the Canadian Pacific trains he does not know the population of that city. In addition to that, the maritime express is a slow train which stops at every station and which does not give the service that was given by the trains which have been eliminated, and which is being given by the Canadian Pacific trains.
There is a further consideration. The fast Canadian National train in the afternoon took four hours and a half to go to Montreal, and I have been told by Canadian National railway officials that it could easily cover the distance in four hours. This train has been cut off, and the fastest Canadian Pacific train takes ten minutes more; its time is four hours and forty minutes, so the time is prolonged in comparison with the Canadian National trains.
I should like to direct my hon. friend's attention to one or two other features of this arrangement. How about people from Toronto or Ottawa who want to go to Quebec city? The trains between Quebec and Montreal may be pooled as far as the revenues are concerned, but do you think the people from Toronto will travel by Canadian National from Toronto to Montreal and then change to Canadian Pacific?
They cannot do that; they have to travel by pool trains.
All the trains are not pooled.
All the good trains are pooled.
They might be coming from other centres; I said Toronto, but we might take Windsor or any other place. They will not travel by Canadian National to Montreal and then change from Bonaventure station to Place Viger station when they can travel Canadian Pacific and spare themselves the necessity of changing at all. Then there is another feature, to which my attention has been directed by a railway official who knows something about railway matters. When people travel by one railway they also send their freight by that railway. When they become accustomed to travelling on one road you will not find them travelling on that road and sending their freight or express by the other road. I think the Canadian National are getting the worst of it and have made a very bad bargain with regard to Quebec city and the surrounding district. The situation is the same with regard to intermediate stations; the people on the south shore cannot travel by the Canadian Pacific on the north shore, and there are all sorts of objections to this arrangement. I must say that I frequently receive letters from the employees of these lines; they are not marked private and confidential, and the writers are quite outspoken, but I would hesitate to make those letters public. On behalf of the people in Quebec city whom I represent I protest against this arrangement.
In the first place my hon. friend uses the expression "Canadian Pacific trains" from Montreal to Quebec, but they are not Canadian Pacific trains at all; they are pool trains, and whatever profits or losses may be made on those trains are made by both companies mutually. The arrangement was made by the managements of the two companies without consulting me in any way, and I do not know that I could have been of any assistance if they had done so, because it is a railway matter. The figures I gave the other day in reply to a question dealing with this very matter showed that the Canadian National, far from losing by the deal, claimed that their condition had been improved, and I gave the figures of their earnings for the last two months. These figures showed that the traffic gain by the Canadian National in the past two months has been greater than the traffic gain by the Canadian Pacific. Unfortunately I do not happen to have it with me, but this morning I received from the railways a later report than the one I gave a few days ago showing that the increase in traffic up to a more recent date also showed
Agreements that the percentage of gain by the Canadian National was greater than the percentage of gain by the Canadian Pacific. I hope my hon. friend will not think I am attempting to lecture him or anyone else, but I should like to point out to the members of the committee that one of the great problems in our country to-day, as we all know, is the railway problem, which includes the Canadian Pacific as well as the Canadian National. Last year this house, in its wisdom, passed the Canadian National-Canadian Pacific bill, which instructed-and I think rightly so-the two railways to cooperate with the object of effecting economies. If every time something is done by the two railways in an attempt to carry out that instruction the section of the country affected protests, it seems to me it is going to make it very difficult for the railways to economize. My hon. friend is no exception; from every section of the country where an economy is effected by the pooling of trains protests pour in upon me, though I have nothing to do with the arrangements. As a matter of fact two-thirds of the very poolings to which reference has been made took place from six to eight months or a year ago. The only one that was new was the one that affects my hon. friend and his section of the country. The pooling between Ottawa and Toronto and Montreal and Toronto took place some months ago, in fact some months before the present trustees were appointed. That is, the poolings as a matter of fact took place before the legislation of last year. But in view of that legislation and in view of the general opinion expressed everywhere in Canada that there should be cooperation of one kind or another between the two railway companies, in order to avoid duplication, extra expense and losses which are obtaining, I repeat that it is not advisable for all of us, even although our sections may be somewhat affected, to protest against the changes in the trains. I believe everyone in Canada who has taken any interest in the railway situation has, for years, been pointing out these duplications. Ever since I came into this house there has been a succession of protests from hon. members who take an interest in the railway question about the number of trains running between Montreal and Ottawa, Ottawa and Toronto and Montreal and Toronto. To-day the railways are attempting to correct that duplication, and so far as I am concerned, though their action may occasionally affect some of us unpleasantly, it seems to me that in view of the seriousness of the railway situation we should give some support to the railways in their efforts. My hon. friend points out that under the changed system he cannot travel as rapidly. I understood him to say that by using the C.N.R. trains between Montreal and Quebec a faster trip could be made. I do not know whether he meant that the trip icould be made more quickly than it can now be made through the use of a pool train.
Yes it can.
My hon. friend has stated that that is so. Perhaps it is, although if what the hon. member has stated is the fact I am a little surprised that the arrangement should have been so made. It was pointed out to me, as I explained in the house only a few days ago that the reason the C.P.R. was chosen was that 80 per cent of the passenger traffic between Montreal and Quebec had travelled by C.P.R. I believe that would be natural, because it would not be convenient for people to cross over from Levis on the ferry.
But, to get back to the question of speed. Are we not in this day and generation a little too anxious for speed? My impression is that had there been less speeding on the railways, in automobiles and in other ways the world might be as happy as it was a few years ago, or certainly not less than it is to-day. I believe the matter of getting between two stations in fifteen or twenty minutes less time is not of great importance to my hon. friend or to myself. I say that without any reflection upon him in anyway.
Does not my hon. friend think that, if three trains are eliminated at least one should run on the C.N.R. and the two others on the C.P.R., instead of leaving the three trains on the C.P.R. and taking them away from the C.N.R.? Between
Ottawa and Montreal and Toronto and Montreal there has been a sharing in the pooling, but between Montreal and Quebec the service is all given to the C.P.R. The minister has said that the revenue would be divided, but does he not believe that it would be fair to leave at least one of the trains running on the C.N.R. and to take one away from the C.P.R.?
Quite possibly it would
be, but I was not consulted in this arrangement. The arrangement was made by the present trustees and management of the Canadian National railways and the present management of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Until the matter was brought to my attention by my hon. friend I did not know that it was to be put into effect on March 11. I am not a railway man; neither are any of
the government members, and we are not consulted any more than was the late government consulted in connection with the running of trains. No government has been consulted in those matters. While my hon. friend may have some justification for the remarks he has just made, at the same time the arrangement was made by the managements of the two railways with the conviction that they were making the wisest arrangement for the two railway companies. They gave proof of their contention the other day in the statement which I gave to the house; they showed that they were going to make considerable economies, if the pooling between Montreal and Quebec were combined with the pooling between Ottawa and Toronto and Montreal and Toronto. They claim that on those three poolings, including the service to Quebec, which is the only recent one, they will make a saving of $500,000 a year, each. I would say that certainly those savings are badly needed. I am sorry if the railway managements have put into effect poolings which inconvenience some hon. members and other people affected, but such cannot help but be the result at least to a certain extent. I do not believe either management would agree to put into effect any pooling arrangement which would seriously affect anybody. That is my feeling about it, and I think the best this House of Commons can do is to accede to those schemes which the two managements consider to be wisest, and which will effect economies for both roads.
May I suggest to the minister that he request the management of the Canadian National Railways at least to reconsider this matter. As has been pointed out by the hon. member for Quebec East all the so-called C.N.R. trains have been cancelled. I quite understand what the minister has said, and I know he is speaking in good faith when he states that when these trains are pooled the expenses, profits, losses and everything else go into one pot. Nevertheless in the minds of most Quebecers-and Quebec is a small town away down at the end of the line-these trains being operated are C.P.R. trains. They are running at the hours formerly used by C.P.R. trains, and those trains running on the former CN.R. schedule have been cancelled. The public impression is that there are no more C.N.R. trains, and my submission is that such a condition will prove detrimental to the freight traffic of the Canadian National railways. I suggest that perhaps the two managements did not take that factor into consideration. I understand, of course, that savings will be effected by the
pooling of trains, and that probably the managements were perfectly justified. I do not know whether they were or not, but in all seriousness I do submit that in as far as the city of Quebec and the surrounding district is concerned, namely the north shore district, if this pooling system continues, within a period of only two or three years there will be little or no freight traffic going over the Canadian National railways.
Of course, this bill has
nothing to do with the pooling of trains, but has to do with the terminal in Quebec. However, we are in committee and I have no objection to this discussion. I shall be very happy to accept the suggestion of my hon. friend and draw to the attention of the managements of both "roads for their consideration the statements made here this afternoon. That is the best I can do.
This bill serves to illustrate the difficulties which both railway companies will always encounter so long as they desire to remain in competition and at the same time exert some kind of cooperation. Last year for an obvious reason I did not take part in the debate on the railway bill, but if I had I would have pointed out that it was -next to impossible for two large companies at the same time to be in competition and in cooperation. Only a few days ago I pointed out to the Minister of Railways and Canals the situation existing between Ottawa and Montreal. Although this matter is not covered by the legislation now under consideration, I think it might properly be stated. May I add that the railway companies have been very considerate. Both companies sent to my office in Montreal high standing representatives to discuss the matter with me, and the committee may be interested to know that as regards the service between Ottawa and Montreal both companies took exactly opposite views to those they had taken in connection with the service between Montreal and Quebec. They represented to me that both the C.P.R. and the C.N.R. had to maintain trains not only to reach Montreal but to serve intermediate stations in the different districts. They pointed out also that it would not be fair to either company if it were asked to withdraw its trains from that service, and leave it altogether to the remaining company. Apparently they did otherwise in regard to Quebec. They took away all the C.N.R. trains, disregarding the intermediate stations, and they maintained two or three C.P.R. trains. I desire to accept the views expressed by the hon. member for Quebec East to the effect