The hon. member says he was looking for light. I can understand why any social crediter would be looking for light. If there is any group which sees darkness more completely around it than the social crediters, I do not know who they are. But if the hon. member-
The hon. member says he believes he can get an answer. I place his answer on Hansard, because I think it should be there. The people of Alberta have been looking for that answer now, at $25 a month, for a long time.
During the rest of the session I am going to try to show the mess that the leader of the present government has made of things. Surely the hon. member did ;not expect me to stop my discussion of the railways to explain what money means? iEvery other hon. member in the house but the hon. gentleman in question knew what I meant when I said that Sir Henry Thornton did not know the value of money.
I am not saying anything against anybody. But I do not need any instructions from the hon. gentleman who has just spoken, about ethics or anything else. I just make that suggestion to him, and I do not think I need any instructions from him at all as to how I should treat either the dead or the living. I am not saying anything offensive about Sir Henry at all. I am pointing out the opinion of everybody else in Canada, from the right hon. gentleman before me right down to the ordinary employee in the Canadian National railways.
Now, I had better finish, because we want to vote to-night.
Before the hon. member finishes, I should like to ask a question. An article from the Gazette which I have in my hand has refreshed my memory. I wonder if he is the same Doctor Manion who is quoted in the Montreal Gazette of November, 1927, as having said in Toronto:
I believe the Conservative party has been too honest in the past. Our party in the past has been too honest in strictly defining its position and policy on controversial and sectional questions.
said that, and I believe it yet. I shall explain that statement, since the hon. member has raised it, although it has nothing to do with the railways. I should like, however, to give an answer to my good friend over there. I said a few moments ago I wished the Liberal
party would establish a summer school for Conservatives at Port Hope and let us go there to learn politics, because they play them so well. In that remark I wras referring to the stupid habit, to my mind, of some Conservatives of occasionally grabbing controversial questions and jumping into them without any reason at all for discussing them at that particular time. I do not see the reason for my hon. friends opposite-they are a little wiser than we are in that respect- or for ourselves jumping into all kinds of controversial questions and insisting on fighting them to a finish when there is no occasion for a fight at all. It is just shadow-boxing. That is what I was referring to, and I am not ashamed of it at all.
I hope I shall not be interrupted any more, Mr. Speaker, because I wish to get through.
I could not get Sir Henry Thornton to agree to any compromise. I pleaded with him, but he refused. The directors appealed to me. They said they could not bring about economies because he opposed them. Finally, after the discussions-I want to be careful of my words-before the committee which brought out many extravagances, Sir Henry Thornton came into my office and told me he wanted to offer his resignation to me; after talking it over, he asked me if I would agree to his getting a bonus of some kind- I forget the exact word-when he resigned, and I said I would. We gave him altogether over $100,000; I think it was S125,000. He had Britton Osier, a lawyer from Toronto, working for him, and it took about a month. Finally we gave him, I think, about $125,000; at any rate it was over $100,000. At no time did Sir Henry Thornton and I have words about it.
I simply say, Mr. Speaker, that the $19,000,000 that I have shown of economies between 1931 and 1937 were justification to us for the pressure we put on the Canadian National Railways for economies. It was justification for my pressing Sir Henry Thornton to agree to economies. If Sir Henry Thornton had agreed to economies at headquarters -which had nothing to do with the men-I admit frankly, he would never have reached the stage of putting in his resignation or had any difficulty whatsoever. He and I were good friends, and before I sit down I take the liberty of quoting him. Here is his statement taken from the Canadian National Magazine. Sir Henry Thornton, as president of the road, was speaking of the Minister of Railways of that time-myself. Sir Henry said:
I should like to take this opportunity of saying that I have served under a number of
The Address-Mr. Dunning
ministers of the crown, but I have never served under one for whom I had more real affection than for the present incumbent of that post.
We have in him one who ardently desires the welfare of the Canadian National Railways system, one whose heart beats with ours and one who, in addition to the performance of his ministerial duties, is likewise a really fine friend.
Perhaps it is not modest of me to quote it, but I think it is only fair to do so because of the charges that have been made against me.
Those are the facts, Mr. Speaker, and I have presented them as honestly as I know how. If, after this, statements are made to contradict them, all I have to say is that if they are made by members of this house, at any rate they will be stating what they know to be not true.
In regard to the subamendment submitted by the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, which will be voted on shortly, I have only a word or two to say. Let me first read it:
That the amendment be amended by adding the following thereto: "We are of the opinion that these conditions can be remedied only by the effective control of financial institutions^ and monopolistic enterprises which are exploiting the Canadian people."
Whether accidentally or intentionally, and I imagine accidentally, the language of the amendment is confusing. It says:
We are of the opinion that these conditions can be remedied only by the effective control of financial institutions-
That is part of it. Then it goes on, in the same sentence, it is true:
-and monopolistic enterprises which are exploiting the Canadian people.
If they had said that conditions could be remedied by the effective control of monopolistic enterprises, I think the whole house could agree with the sentiment behind that; but when they say "effective control of financial institutions," I do not think the language expresses their thought. Anyway it does not express mine, and so far as I am concerned I am not going to support it.
Whether the comma is in or out, and I do not think it makes any particular difference, I think the subamendment is badly worded. I do not think it is the thought of the hon. gentleman who moved it. If it is, at all events it is not my thought. ' I cannot support it anyway. I am naturally going to support my own amendment.
Hon. CHARLES A. DUNNING (Minister of Finance): Mr. Speaker, I am moved to address you very briefly because of the fact, as stated by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Manion) this evening, that it was my good or ill fortune to be Minister of Railways for Canada during the period of greatest expansion of the Canadian National railway system.
My hon. friend has pointed out that during that period the investments of the Canadian people in the Canadian National Railways grew very rapidly. That is correct. What he did not point out was that during that period the revenues of the Canadian National Railways grew very much more rapidly.
When my hon. friend spoke of the addition of interest charges during the period from 1925 to 1930, he omitted to state that the ability of the railway company to carry interest charges grew during that period to such a point that for the only two years in the history of the system we had a net return over and above the amount required to pay the interest. This does not mean that I think my judgment, or the judgment of the management of the Canadian National Railways, or the judgment of the management of the Canadian Pacific Railway, or the judgment of nearly all the industrialists and financiers of Canada, was quite accurate during that period as to what was coming four or five years later. Is it any disgrace to admit it? Hon. gentlemen who were members of this house during that period will remember my experience of coming here as Minister of Railways to propose the building of branch lines, and what was the response of the house, and particularly the response of hon. gentlemen opposite? Always demanding more and more, year after year.