Thomas William Bird
No, I would not read all that into the resolution. I think the resolution is merely a Knoxian method of saying it is a very desirable thing to go forward with the completion of the Hudson Bay railway at once.
Now, coming back again to the question of economy, I noticed in the debate on the Speech from the Throne and also in the debate on the budget, that members of the opposition proved, and I think almost conclusively, that we had reached rock bottom, that it is difficult to economize in such a way as to make any appreciable difference in our national debt at the present time. The hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Marler) in his speech on the Address went to a lot of trouble to show that we had reached rock bottom, and I think the Prime Minister also enunciated the same view in his speech on the budget. If that is the case where do we stand in regard to the Hudson Bay railway? The plea of economy seems to be no longer relevant, because if we have reached rock bottom the average membe; must see that for the next twenty years there is going to be no appreciable change in our financial condition, nor for the next forty years; and does the government propose to postpone the Hudson Bay railway indefinitely? It seems to me that if we have reached rock bottom the only sane thing to do is to build the Hudson Bay railway immediately, because if our financial condition cannot improve for the next twenty years it would be folly to wait; with every year that passes the Hudson Bay railroad depreciates at least a million dollars-at least it has done so for the last few years. So I think the plea of economy is entirely irrelevant to the argument. Knowing that, we all realize-I think even the Conservative opposition, believes-that we have pretty nearly reached hardpan in connection with our national expenditures.
Now, Mr. Speaker, I have endeavoured in as moderate a manner as I could, and without
Hudson Bay Ry.-Mr. Graham
retracing the old ground, to bring this matter before the government once more. As to the tendency to asperity which has been pointed out to me I hope it will be abundantly pardoned because it is not in my nature to descend in these arguments to such low methods as that would seem to indicate. I have great admiration for the hon. gentleman's personality but I hope that he will not let us go home to-night without making clear beyond peradventure what the government intends to do in the next two or three years or so with regard to the Hudson Bay railway, if the government are to be so fortunate as to remain in power during that time.
Hon. GEORGE P. GRAHAM (Minister of Railways and Canals): This is a subject which has not only been debated for the last four years, but for the last forty years, and I will just make a running comment on a few of the things that have been said.
In the first place, I desire to say that the debate on the whole has been very fair indeed, and the mover of this resolution set a good example to all his brethren. He talked to his resolution, and he did not insinuate that any of us were controlled by infernal powers. It is late in the night now, and I know I will be pardoned for telling a story. I seldom tell one in the House, but when I heard some hon. gentleman, not following the lead of the mover of the resolution, attributing motives to us villains whom providence has placed in the eastern part of the country, and to others, I could not help but think of this story. It was about a horse-trader and he had a deal on. Professional horse traders usually have one on, but he was asked to come in and kind of oversee a trade without being apparently interested. So that he was standing in the stall of the barn, and the chap that came in. wishing to trade his horse, commenced to feel round the spavin joints of the horse in the barn, and he felt down to where there might possibly be a ringbone on the horse. Not satisfied with investigating the hind legs, he went to the front legs and looked for splints. The adviser called up the man that owned the horse and said, "Do not trade horses with that fellow", and added, "Any man that looks at another fellow's horse for ringbones, spavins and splints,- sure his horse has got some of them." It always struck me that the man who is imputing motives to others-well, he could spend some moments in what we call introspection. There is a weakness somewhere in a man who thinks all his fellowmen must be wrong because they do not think as he does.
Now I did speak rather sharply to my young friend from Nelson (Mr. Bird). Hon. gentlemen will realize that if it had been some other hon. gentleman who was not accustomed to the effect of words and had not such a perfect understanding of what a word meant in a sentence, I would not have come out so boldly, but when I was accused of playing with the Hudson bay matter after the election of 1908, between that and 1911,
I resented it very much, because the opposition of that day told me I went too fast in letting this contract. In fact I went so fast in letting the contract that when they got in power they held it up. They thought there must be some campaign fund or something of that kind in it. I thought I went very rapidly. Then in addition to that I had some trouble in letting the contract for the bridge in his constituency, that he walks over quite likely now, and I was told that I rushed that too rapidly. I would suggest to my hon. friend, as an old man to a young man, in a case of that kind, always be sure; it is better than being sorry afterwards. Then some hon. member. I think my hon. friend from Lisgar (Mr. Brown) referred to some talk about secession, and stated that some other gentlemen were talking about freight rates and secession. Where were they going to secede?
Subtopic: HUDSON BAY RAILWAY