May 12, 1916 (12th Parliament, 6th Session)


William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative


That is the confession. They say: " If you force us to carry out our agreement, we are bankrupt. The lawyers will tell you that when you go to court, and when the bonds come due

the bondholders will to the Grand Trunk treasury and demand payment. Here is an opportunity which presents itself for the first time, by reason of the war and as the outcome of our policy in the past. For the results of that policy I am putting no more responsibility on one side than on the other. The Grand Trunk Pacific is at our door in the position of a suppliant-and that word " suppliant " to me is the key to every important question of this kind which has arisen in Canada. It always happens that the persons or the companies that aTe the cause of grievances in this country are here this day and the next day as suppliants, and we miss the whole teaching of our English language and of the progress of liberty if we do not seize the opportunity which is afforded us by the presence of these suppliants seeking a cure of the grievances which they themselves have brought about. The old Grand Trunk is here as a suppliant asking for relief. I do not believe in taking over the Grand Trunk Pacific and relieving the old Grand Trunk of their engagement, letting them go scot free. I say: summon Mr. Smithers to Canada; tell him to bring over his board of directors and to go into session in the city of Montreal, where the head office is. We should say: we will talk with you here and now as to how we are to acquire and take over the Grand Trunk with the Grand Trunk Pacific. They will be glad enough to give it to us in order to be saved from liquidation. I would give them some little compensation in connection even with the old original stock; it would not be much, but it would be a little. But they will lose everything if this Government demands what it has a right to demand of them: that they pay their commitments ; that they run the Grand Trunk Pacific; that they take over the Transcontinental, as they are bound to do. It may be argued that the time has not yet arrived for taking over the road, but I say that this is the opportunity to remedy the situation by faking over the old Grand Trunk and the Grand Trunk Pacific. It is all very fine for these opponents of public ownership when they are in trouble to say to the people of Canada, as they have said in the past: "Take over the dead
horses and the lame ducks, and leave us the profitable ends." They have public ownership of telegraphs in almost every country in the world except our own, but whenever there is a weak line in this country for which there is no business and no profit-let the Government build it.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
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