May 22, 1901 (9th Parliament, 1st Session)

CON

Samuel Barker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARKER.

and how could he get a surplus if he charged all this to revenue V
I might refer to other charges to capital, as, for instance, where the minister replaces buildings which have been burned, and charges them to capital ; so that, you have two charges against capital, and only one asset. I do not know how the minister is to balance his books by and by. It would puzzle an ordinary auditor of a railway company, but the minister may be capable of it.
Now, I have another charge to make, and, to my mind, it is a much more serious one. The figures are not quite so large as those I have been dealing with, but, they present a feature of the management of government railways which is a very serious one, indeed. Especially is it serious if the hon. member for East York (Mr. Maclean) is ever to be able to induce the government or the country to take up his idea of the ownership of government railways. If government railways are to be worked as I am about to show that the hon. gentleman has been working the Intercolonial Railway in 1899, the election year, I think the longer we put off the government ownership of railways the better. I would ask the hon. gentleman's attention to these figures, which demonstrate beyond question, that in the year 1899, the year upon the accounts of which the Minister of Railways and his colleagues were going to the country, the hon. gentleman deliberately and intentionally cut down his ordinary repairs of rolling stock by $154,000 ; and that if he had not done that, instead of a surplus of $62,000. he would, on that item alone, have been $90,000 to the bad. Now, I propose to show that : and I shall leave lion, gentlemen on both sides of the House to judge whether, on the figures 1 give, there can be any doubt at all about what I infer from them. To begin with. I may call the hon. gentleman's attention to the fact that during the four years 1897. 1898. 1899 and 1900, his revenue has been steadily increasing. The figures are as
follows :
1897 $2,866,000
1898 3,117,000
1899 3,738,000
1900 4,552.000
I will not detail the gross working expenses in each of these years. I will only say that, in 1807, the hon. gentleman had a deficit of $59,000. in 1S9S a deficit of $209,000, in 1899 a surplus of $62,645. and in 1900 a surplus of $120,667. The reason I mention these figures is this, that with steadily increasing traffic, it was reasonable to expect that the hon. gentleman would have shown some increase in his working expenses-not necessarily in proportion, but. a natural and steady Increase corresponding in some degree to the increase in the gross revenue. Now. working expenses are divided into two classes-those which are controllable by the hon. gentleman, and those

which are uncontrollable by him. There are three items which are not within the control of the hon. gentleman : the wages of drivers and firemen, fuel, and the wages of conductors ; and in these three items there were, as might have been expected, steady increases. The wages of drivers and firemen were as follows :
1897 $267,000
1898 276,000
1899 317,000
1900 359,000
A steady increase, which was quite natural, and what everybody would expect, considering the increasing tonnage that was hauled. The expenditures for fuel were :
1897 $376,000
1898 388,000
1899 467,000
1900 601,000
This is a remarkable increase in cost of coal for 1900, to which I think the hon. gentleman's attention should be directed, though it forms no part of my present argument. I do not criticise that, as I have not gone into the question of the consumption of fuel. The wages of conductors amounted to :
1897 $255,000
1898..., 265,000
1899 317,000
1900 360,000
So. it will be seen that in every one of these items there is a steady regular natural increase. Now, I will come to the four items of expenditure that are peculiarly under the control of the management, and I propose to show an extraordinary discrepancy in what I call the election year of 1899. Take the repairs to engines, for which the hon. gentleman spent :
1897 $261,880
1898 276,068
1899 221,150
1900 316,999
The average of the four years is .$209,0(10 : yet, in the year 1S99. the hon. gentleman cut down the expenditure $18,000 below the average, and in the next year he went up to his average, and made up the $18,000 too. The hon. gentleman, by that method of cutting down repairs to his engines, made up a surplus in 1890 of $18,000. Here are the expenditures for repairs to his passenger cars :
1897 $ 84,793
1898 86,371
1899 74,687
1900 106,608
The average is $90,000 in the last two years, and so we have $10,000 in the election year below his average, and the next year $16,000 above his average. I think that the inference is very plain.
Take postal and baggage cars, which is a small item, but to which I refer to show that the thing has been done systematically
and not by accident. The expenditure on postal and baggage cars was as follows :
1897 $20,976
1898 22,276
1899 (the election year) 12,964
1900 27,565
The same comparison of figures shows that he cut down his repairs $7,500 in 1899.
Then take the freight cars. Well, he spent on freight cars as follows :-
1897 $231,203
1898 232,118
1899 (the election year) 172,634
1900 33S.202
The average for the later two
years was thus 255,418
So that the hon. gentleman cut down his expenditure below the average in 1899, and thus obtained $83,000 towards his surplus. The result of these four items is as follows:
Engine repairs $48,000
Passenger cars 16,000
Postal cars 7,500
Freight cars 83,000
Or $151,500 saved on ordinary repairs in that year,
I wonder were there any workmen in the shops along the Intercolonial Railway to whom that expenditure of $151,000 would have been a blessing that year if it had been spent among them. No doubt in the hard winter, these workmen would have been much more comfortable in their homes and families if that money had been spent as it ought to have been. There is nothing in the world to which the adage, 'a stitch in time saves nine ' applies more forcibly than a railway. The saving of $151,000 in 1899 probably cost this country half a million dollars in consequent waste and wreckage. So that the hon. gentleman, by the process called among railway men ' skimping repairs ' saved $154,000 and was thus able with the bookkeeping and other matters to which I have referred to show an apparant profit of $02,000 for the year 1899. No wonder the hon. gentleman had to carry 528 condemned cars over to the next year.

Topic:   SUPPLY-BOND-BLAINE TREATY.
Subtopic:   REVIEW OF THE FINANCIAL SITUATION.
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