August 17, 1903 (9th Parliament, 3rd Session)

CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

In the same caucus my hon. friend suggests. Another hon. gentleman suggests by the same man. But that is not the gist of the matter with wlich I have to deal. The hon. gentleman said- and I agree with him in his conclusions :
' But I go further and I say the baigain is advantageous.' Advantageous to whom ? To the country ? Oh, no, that is not what he said. ' But I -go further and I say the bargain is advantageous to the Grand Trunk Pacific.' Does anybody deny that ? The Grand Trunk Pacific people, call them what you will, are at all events shrewd business men, and you may bet your last dollar that

the bargain will be advantageous to the Grand Trunk Pacific and to all who are allied, with them. The hon. gentleman says : ' It must be so, because the company would not have engaged itself '-then comes the subdivision : ' (a) to build the western
section ; (b) to operate the whole line.' Let me transpose these for the purpose of directing the sense of the House to the great cogency of this argument : ' It must have been advantageous, otherwise the Grand Trunk would not have agreed-to operate the whole line.' What marvellous self-denial ! A company willing to operate the whole line and willing to build the western section. If they had been willing to build, and if the government had been astute enough, and had been enough alive to the interests of the people of this country, to require them to build, the eastern section, then the hon. gentleman would have had some foundation for talking. But they are to build the prairie section, in the country which is to be inhabited in the almost immedate future by teeming millions of people, the country which the hon. Minister of the Interior describes as unequalled, not in Canada, but in the world. Go in and possess that land. And they have agreed to operate the eastern section, which is to be built for them without the expenditure of a single dollar, and placed undettheir control. I have always thought that if you were making an absolute gift to a person, it was not good manners for him to ask the price or to pry into the question where you got it, or tol say, I will go and select the article myself. But here we have a government making an absolute gift, in reference to this eastern section, of nearly $70,000,000 to this company, and this company, according to the hon. member for GaspS (Mr. Lemieux), has engaged to operate it but only upon condition that they supervise the construction. What magnanimity ! And they have agreed ' (c) to pay 3 per cent per annum on the cost of the leased property '-from fifteen years from now, barring strikes, barring delays, barring quibbles at the end of the construction period ; for, when the work is completed there will bei a delay of another year and the company will say, it is not yet completed. About sixteen years from now the people of this country will be in a position to demand a balance sheet, and a final settlement of the account, and then God knows what an amount this country will have been committed to. They have also agreed, the hon. member says : ' (d) to submit to government control of rates.' My hon. friend is a lawyer and a most astute politician-an old member of this House. Does he not know! that all railways in this country, except the government railway, have to submit to have their rates controlled by the railway commission ? And yet he advances this statement as an argument. They also agree, he says : ' (e) to concede running rights ; (f)
to quote as low rates to Canadian ports as
to American ones.' I hope my hon. friend does not show any particular astuteness as a lawyer, because lawyers are all honourable men, and are particularly candid. But he shows the astuteness of a politician when he says that this company has agreed-not to carry produce at the same rates to Canadian as to American ports, but to quote rates as low to Canadian ports as to American ports. One day when I asked an old Irishman who was collecting an account, what he had to say about a fraudulent entry made by his opponent, he said ' Why, paper won't refuse ink.' And this paper of the railway company will not refuse the quotations which the master hand of the railway enterprise shall see fit to put there. But quoting rates and giving fair terms are two different things ; in other words, the control of discrimination and the stoppage of discrimination are entirely different propositions from the mere matter of quoting rates. But I come again to the part with which I agree, completing the connection. The hon. gentleman says : ' But
I go further, and I say, the bargain is advantageous to the Grand Trunk Pacific. It must be so, because-to have accepted those conditions is the evidence on the part of the company that it is convinced that there is a vast business to be done, and done at a profit.' I agree with that. I agree that it is a profitable bargain for the Grand Trunk. I agree that it is a bargain likely to result in the further enrichment of the millionaire who is engineering this thing through at the present time, and his camp followers who are supporting him in the measure. But what I call the attention of the House and the country to is that it is going to be too profitable to the promoters of the scheme and vastly too unprofitable and unfair to the people of the Dominion of Canada.
Now, what is the price ? I have a1 little book here. It is not a Bible, but it is a good book ; and from it I get the price. I am glad I have this book. Hon. gentlemen upon the government benches, the hon. members of the government, the right hon. leader himself, have failed to give the House that enlightenment or the country that information, which it reasonably demands on this important question : What is to be
the price ? But I am within the fact when I say that the hon. members of the government had in their possession this little book, which was presented to them as the initial move in this vast transcontinental, all-Canadian line ; and if they had consulted this book, or if they had seen fit to see what is in it, we would have known better at this stage what the price is to be. This is a book issued by the Grand Trunk Railway or the Grand Trunk Pacific, I do not know which. Where any hon. member can draw the line between these two companies I do not know. It is also issued! by ' the interests,' whatever they are,

*which are promoting the scheme. Whether that means Senator Cox or not I do not know. Hon. gentlemen are as able to form their conclusion as I am. Hon. members of this House will remember the assiduity with which members of the Railway Committee endeavoured to elicit from those who were promoting the scheme in the committee whether or not a subsidy was required. They were dumb as a porcupine, somebody says.
You would think that they had not formed a conclusion, that in their innocence they bad come to the railway commission without having thought of the matter, but back of that, when this matter was first discussed in the newspapers, in November last, this pamphlet was issued. It may have been ready before that, but I have no reason to suppose that it came to the notice of the government before that day. It is headed :
' government aid or subsidy required.' The lion. Minister of the Interior tells us that throughout the Dominion there is a demand for another railway, that there is an outcry in the west and in the centre and repeated right down to the sea for an additional railway. There is a demand, no doubt, a demand which is at the back of this whole matter, and to which it owes all its impulsion, and that is the demand of Cox & Company on the government for a subsidy, as set forth in this pamphlet. Before setting forth in the pamphlet this demands these gentlemen tell us of ' the Dominion's needs.' Evidently they thought the government did not know. These railway promoters have evidently not a very high opinion of the government, and they perhaps know and understand the members of the cabinet better than we do. Under the heading I have mentioned, this little pamphlet goes on to say :
The unanimous report of all explorers who have travelled over the territory north of the Georgian bay and Lake Superior, is to the effect that it will not in the immediate future furnish business sufficient to support a railway, and it would not, therefore, he a business proposition to build one there.
That is what we find in this pamphlet. But it is a business proposition I am after. If the proposition be not a good business one, I do not care whether it emanates from the Grand Trunk Railway or anybody else.
I shall not support it. If this be not a business proposition, it will not work out with the business men of the west. These men are sharp to look after their own interest, they are bound to progress, and if my hon. friend thinks he is going to gain favour with the people' of the west by an unbusinesslike proposition, if he thinks he is going to secure their support by appealing solely to sentiment. I am inclined to the opinion that he is reckoning without his host. This pamphlet gives a black picture of the country through which this projected railway is to pass-a picture altogether out of harmony with the glowing one given by Mr. LENNOX.
my hon. friend from Gaspe (Mr. Eemieux). It proceeds to say :
It would not therefore be an unbusinesslike proposition to build one there unless it was used as a link to reach the more fertile lands of Manitoba and the North-west ; the mileage through this unproductive section is estimated as 1,000 miles.
The line from Winnipeg to the Rocky mountains for a distance about oue thousand miles, will pass through a fertile territory but without population, or business, which must be created, but which is undoubtedly capable eventually of sustaining a very large community. It is, therefore, considered, by the interests presenting this proposition, as not unreasonable for the government to assist in tho undertaking, which will guarantee the road being built in a first-class manner, and up to modern standards in all respects, as to roadbed, bridges, stations, equipment, &c.; and assure the development of as virgin and as more extensive section of country north of the Canadian Pacific Railway than was opened for settlement by the construction of that railway, and extending north of the boundary line.
Here is tlie point as to the subsidy :
It is. therefore, quite as much in need of, and entitled to aid from the government, on its merits, at this time, as the Canadian Pacific Railway was at the time it was constructed, about eighteen years ago.
Here we have a definite proposition from this company at a time when they did not intend to run that unprofitable branch from Levis to Moncton, and they demand from the government, as a condition of their constructing the line, a subsidy equal to that granted the Canadian Pacific Railway. This will be, I submit, a measure of the cost which we may expect to incur in the constructiou of this road, now that practically the whole burden of construction is assumed by the government. What did tlie Canadian Pacific Railway cost the country ? $65,000,000 in cash and $75,000,000
in land, is about the lowest estimate of hon. gentlemen opposite. I am not disposed at present to controvert their figures. I might, if I wished, show that they are valuing the land at more than it was worth at the time the c mpany obtained it. But let that go. $140,000,000. we will say, is the amount paid to the Canadian Pacific Railway, and definitely and specifically this new company was formed on the proposition that they should receive equal aid. What do the facts go to show ? Do they go to show that this undertaking will cost the government as much as $140,000,000 ? I shall again appeal to the authority of the Grand Trunk Railway. taken from this pamphlet, in support of the proposition that the road will cost every dollar of $150,000,000 before it is completed. I attach no importance to the fact that, as to the western section, there is only a guaranty, whereas the eastern section is to be paid for directly by the country. The government assume the total liability, and it is! not to be supposed that it will ever be wiped out. The government build the eastern section, and three quarters

of the prairie and mountain section, and the total outlay, the total guarantee of the government, is the proper measure to be used in estimating the liability of the government expense to the country. But the First Minister and the Minister of the Interior answer us that the government have absolute security and absolute immunity from the possibility of having to pay. They point to the fact that the Grand Trunk Railway assets amount to ?150,000,000. Well, admit the $150,000,000, and I am still doubtful. I do not like the way this thing has been launched. I do not think it is npen and above board. With whom are we dealing ? We have been told time and again that we should not deal with a company which is not in existence. But we know that we are dealing with such a company. Worse than that, we are dealing with two companies, the Grand Trunk Railway and the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, and il l man on earth can discover the line of demarcation between them. It is like the case of : heads I win, tails you rose. This is a cover which is always used when men want to reap the profit, if profit be made, and slink out if loss be incurred. It is the sleeping partner business. It is not profitable to the country. It may be profitable to the company ; but should there be disaster. that disaster will be loaded on the country. What is the security of the Grand Trunx Railway ? If a man comes to me and wants to borrowi $1,300 and I ask him for security, and he says he will give Mr. Brown, and if Mr. Brown borrowed from me $1,500 in 1865 years ago, upon which he has paid neither a cent of capital or interest, would I not be justifiable in refusing to take him as security 7 Could you blame me 7 It is said that a man will pay his own debt when he will not pay a suretyship debt, it is a common tendency in such cases for the man to say : I am not called upon to pay;
let the creditor lose who took the profit. Then, what is the position in which the country stands in relation to this proposition ? We- are offered the security of the Grand Trunk Railway Company of Can-ala. In 1865, they borrowed $15,000,000 from the people of this country. They have not paid it back. Worse' than that, like the debtor I have spoken of, they have never paid a single cent of interest, and, on the 30th June last the amount due stood at $58,308,179. I have no word to say against the Grand Trunk Railway^ Company. I recognize that, side by side with the great Canadian Pacific Railway, they have done much to develop the interests of this country, and, of course, they have done it to their own great advantage. But when it is put forward as a business proposition by any hou. member of this House, when it is put forward by the right hon. leader of the House and the chief members of his cabinet that we are secure in a contract of
this kind because we have the security of the Grand Trunk Railway Company, I ask what reason is there in believing, what common sense is there in believing, that the position and action of that company will be better in the future than it has been in' the past 7 What guarantee have we that we shall be better treated in the future and in this new deal than we have been in the past 7 And if the treatment accorded us should be the same, at what untold millions will the amount of their indebtedness to the people stand ? Now, I have a further word to quote from this little book of facts ; -bear in mind, ' facts '-not theory, but cold facts as set forth in this book issued by the Grand Trunk Railway Company itself, the company that has the certificate and endorsement and guarantee of the government. You cannot dispute the honesty of your own witness; you cannot cavil at the respectability of the man you put in the witness box. And I know the government will dispute the testimony of this veracious chronicle.

Topic:   NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.
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