Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, 8th Parl, 4th Sess (4 September 1865)


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Date: 1865-09-04
By: Province of Canada (Parliament), Morning Chronicle
Citation: “Provincial Parliament. Legislative Assembly. Monday, Sept. 4th” [Quebec] Morning Chronicle (5 September 1865).
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PROVINCIAL PARLIAMENT

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

Monday, September 4

The SPEAKER took the Chair at three o’clock.

LEAVE OF ABSENCE.

Mr. GIBBS moved that leave of absence be given to Mr. D. A. Macdonald, member for Giengarry—Carried.

PUBLIC BUSINESS.

Hon. J. A. MACDONALD moved that during the remainder of the Session, there be two distance sittings Tuesday, Thursdays and Friday; the first to begin at 3 p.m., and end at 5 p.m.; the second to begin at 7:30 p.m., and continue until the adjournment; and that on all such sittings Government measures shall have precedence. The hon. gentleman, in making his motion, said Government thought it right top announce that the state of public business was sufficiently advanced as gave Government the hope of being able to advise the prorogation of the House during next week.

Hon. J. S. MACDONALD said that matters in the hands of members might be taken up, if the Government were not opposed.

Hon. J. A. MACDONALD said yes; the motion was so worded as to give Government matters precedence on those days. The Government would on those days get through as much business as possible, and give every facility to expedite other business afterwards.

Hon. J. S. MACDONALD asked did Government intend to bring down its measure relating to the North-west Territory? It might take some time to discuss it, and no time should ablest in bringing it down.

Hon. Mr. BROWN said he supposed the measure would be brought down on Friday next or Tuesday following. He could not do so sooner. We did not think hat the measure would be of a nature to provoke a long debate, and had not considered it necessary to submit it very early. But as the hon. gentleman appeared to desire to discuss the matter, the Government would use all diligence in submitting its measure, which would be done on either of the days mentioned.

Hon. J. S. MACDONALD said the matter was of importance, and should be considered as early as possible.

Hon. J. A. MACDONALD repeated that Government would bring in the measure on either Friday next or the following Tuesday.

RETURNS.

Hon. Mr. McDOUGALL laid on the table the following returns;
Documents relative to Custom House officers in the District of Montmagny, Rimouski, &c.

Return relative to the Matawin Road.

ENGLISH AND CANADIAN MINING COMPANY.

On motion of Mr. IRVINE, the bill to incorporate the English and Canadian Mining Company was read a third time passed.

RELIEF OF BOYD SYLVESTER.

On motion of Mr. MUNRO, the House went into Committee on the Bill intituled “An Act for the relief of Boyd Sylvester”—Mr. J. S. SMITH (East Durham) in the chair.

The Committee reported the Bill without amendment.

G.T. Railway and B & L.H. Railway Agreement Bill

John Rose [Montreal Centre] moved

That the House go into the Committee on the Bill to legalize and confirm an agreement made between the Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada, and the Buffalo and Lake Huron Company.

Some Hon. MembersCries of “Lost, Lost,” and “Carried”—cheers and counter-cheers.

Archibald McKellar [Kent] opposed the Bill, and hoped the House would reflect seriously upon the nature and object of the measure. He was not actuated by any hostility to the Grand Trunk, but he believed the object of the Bill was not good. It was strange that nearly every member representing a constituency between Goderich and Buffalo was opposed to the proposed amalgamation. Surely the representatives as well as the people of the district in question, ought to understand their own interests better than others. It was urged that the Grand Trunk had, of late, reduced its tariff for passengers, but he was not aware there was any reduction in the rate of freight between Toronto and Montreal. He was aware, too, that a large number of the merchants of Montreal were averse to the amalgamation. It was in fact an attempt on the part of the larger Corporation to force the Great Western into amalgamation. He desired sincerely to see the Grand Trunk doing well, but he could not favor the swallowing-up of all the smaller companies by that corporation. He did not see how by the bringing together of two insolvent companies, their pollution could be in any way bettered. After some further remarks in opposition to the bill, he concluded by moving that the House do not now go into Committee, but that it go into Committee this day six months.

Francis Jones [Leeds & Grenville North] said if ever there were a motion made int hick he could concur it was the present. He was elected by a constituency which considered that the Grand Trunk had acquired strength, power and influence in the country, having already received $15,000,000 of the people’s money. He had stated to his constituents, when first elected, that it was a wrong principle to have the then President of the Grand Trunk Company, Hon. Mr. Rose, President of the Executive Council at the same time. He thought that the Grand Trunk exercised influence enough in the country without giving it power to extort more. If the President of the Council (Hon. Mr. Brown), who had promised to guard and maintain the interests of the people of Canada, would only do so, he (Mr. Jones) would be one of the first and the last who would ever desert him.

Some Hon. MembersLoud laughter.

An Hon. Member—What about Confederation?

Francis Jones [Leeds & Grenville North] hoped that other measures of great public necessity would not be deferred till after Confederation. He thought the scheme was dead and buried; but, at any rate, the people should have the opportunity of pronouncing upon it at the polls.

John Bown [Brant East] said that in the absence of the member for West Brant [Edmund Wood], who had charge of the bill, he thought it his duty to say a few words on behalf of the town of Brantford. He believed that important private interests would be improperly interfered with by the bill, and therefore was bound to oppose it. But, there were public grounds on which it should be opposed. There were important interests and principles involved in this matter, the disregard of which would be injurious to the country. In this amalgam bill they would be consolidating the whole of the railway companies into one, without any competing or opposing force. He therefore objected to this bill on principle. The bill proposed to dispose of a certain bonded debt the Municipality owed the Municipal Loan Fund. The attempt to carry the bill would be one in reality to obtain the difference between $80,000 and $9,000 in behalf of the companies which it was proposed to amalgamate. The object was to take $30,000, which Brantford now received yearly, and give it instead $9,000 a year, handing over upwards of $20,000 to the companies. The proposal being, then, to put the railway in the position of the Municipality of Brantford, and then compel it to pay the old debt, for which it is responsible to the Government. The result would be that Brantford would demand to be relieved of its claim owed the Government, which would be the first step towards the repudiation by all the municipalities of their indebtedness. For those reasons, he would vote against the bill.

James Dickson [Huron & Bruce] approved the bill, and argued that all the people of the great west—all who thoroughly understood and appreciated the question—were opposed to this amalgamation bill, and that it was only the railway interest supported it. The hon. gentleman went on to complain, in detail, of the inconvenience arising to producers last winter in his own neighborhood for the want of cars.

Robert Macfarlane [Perth] said that after the many petitions against this bill from the interested municipalities, Boards of Trade in the district through which the road runs; after the petitions from the farmers and other living in the region, he would be neglecting his duty if he did not oppose it. Mr. Brydges, in his statements on this subject, had been very economical of the truth. Now, while the grain owned by the farmers in the district had accumulated in immense quantities last winter, awaiting removal to the coast for shipment, the Grand Trunk had removed the cars from the Buffalo and Lake Huron to send through traffic from Detroit to Boston. This had kept grain waiting 30 days for removal. The cars had not been returned till the Grand Trunk could profitably use them no longer, the water communication having re-opened. His county had contributed $50,000 for this road; and was greatly interested in it, and it would be unfair and unjust for members in Lower Canada constituencies to force this bill down their throats, against their wishes and interests.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Fitzwilliam Chambers [Brockville] said there was no Grand Trunk influence affecting himself for his locality, and he has therefore prepared to treat the question impartially, as he had done since it came before the House. He was in favor of the bill now before the House, and indeed if anything were wanted to convince him that the bill ought to pass, it was the arguments used by hon. gentleman on the other side against it. Was there any legal or logical reason why this agreement should not be made and sanctioned? He did not see that there was any such reason, nor that the rights of the stock or shareholders would, in any way, suffer. The hon. gentleman in great length in favor of the bill, on the ground that no right would be injuriously affected, and that he was unable to see how amalgamation would damage the public interests.

Thomas Street [Welland] opposed the bill. He did not see—if all the railways were to be amalgamated into one great system—what guarantee had we that reasonable fares and just rates only would be maintained. He did not speak on behalf of any interest whatever, but as a member of the House, and as such he felt it to be his duty to denounce a measure tending to build up a ruling railway power in the country.

John Rose [Montreal Centre] said the hon. member for Welland [Thomas Street] had opposed the bill in a hold, straight-forward, manly way. He objected to it because he considered that this amalgamation involved the question of one channel of communication absorbing all the others in the country; and he had condemned such a policy.

He (Mr. Rose) would depreciate as strongly as any man in the Province such a result as the hon. gentleman had apprehended—he would oppose this amalgamation if thereby all, rot even the greater number of the channels of communication in the land were to be subjected to one control. Two things the hon. member depreciated, which he (Mr. Rose) would also disapprove—namely, the great political influence which would be created, and the ranger to the commercial interests of the country resulting from the establishment of one great channel of communication by earns of the swelling up of all the others.

He (Mr. R.) had faith in the manliness and honesty of the people presenting the first contingency, and he believed that, so long as the country returned such members for Perth [Robert Macfarlane] and Welland [Thomas Street] there was no reason to fear that either one railway would monopolize the whole carrying business of the country or exert a controlling political influence in its affairs.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, and laughter.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—To suppose the occurrence of the state of things pictured by the opponents of the measure was an aspirin on the manliness and integrity of our people. He had no great fear of this result, and this great bug-bear conjured up by the member for Welland [Thomas Street] had no foundation; but if it had, he (Mr. Rose) would oppose it as strenuously as anything tending to bring such a state of things about. The question of one company controlling or monopolizing all the means of communication in the country was a fit one for the consideration of the House. He thought that we had already, a greater safeguard than all the legislation of this House could furnish against such a result—the St. Lawrence River, passing from one end of the country to the other.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

Robert Macfarlane [Perth]—In winter?

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—No; but in summer, when most of the business was done. He contended that the great bulk of our commerce must be water-borne, and a hundred railways could not compete with our magnificent water communication.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—He remembered the objections to the amalgamation of the Quebec and Richmond with the Grand Trunk Railway, and how it was that the business of the steam boats plying on the St. Lawrence would be ruined. Well, what was the result? Why, the railway cannot pay the interest on its bonds, while the Richelieu Company’s steamers were earning large profits for the stockholders. So long as Providence had given us the St. Lawrence—so long as its lordly tide rolled in unrivalled majesty to the ocean, we need not apprehend the monopolizing of all the channels of conjunction by any one company. Was it not notorious that no railway could compete with the river, either as to the quantity our cheapness? Was it not well known that no railway could carry at one fourth, or even one hand, the cost, as steamboats, the produce coming from the interior to the seaboard?

An Hon. Member— They can charge what they like in the winter.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—This was the answer to that remark—Had not the Legislature given to the Governor in Council the power to limit thew charges which the railway put upon the freight? They were subject to the control of the Government and the House.

Robert Macfarlane [Perth]—Give us an instance.

Some Hon. MembersLaughter.

John Rose [Montreal Centre] hoped the hon. gentleman would restrain his impetuous feeling and allow him (Mr. Rose) to continue his remarks.

Some Hon. MembersLaughter.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—He contended that the interest of the Railway Company would prevent them from charging higher rates than could be borne by the trade. It was useless, before men of intelligence and practical experience, to do more than point out those two considerations, namely—that, as long as we hold the St. Lawrence, and as long as the Government had control over the rates charged but the Railway Company, there was no fear that the road could be managed in a manner injurious to the interests or the liberties of the country. He would be sorry to see all the channels of combination in the possession of any one corporation. Where did the opposition to the measure spring from, but mainly from the Great Western Railway, which sought itself to absorb the Buffalo and Lake Huron road?

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Robert Macfarlane [Perth]—Not a bit of it.

Some Hon. MembersCries of “no,” “yes,” and confusion.

John Rose [Montreal Centre] said the when this Company was foiled in their effort to do so, and to obtain control of all the channels of communications across the peninsula, they raised the cry of Grand Trunk amalgamation, declared that our civil and religious rights were in danger, and that these and the public interest demanded that the proposed amalgamation with the Grand Trunk should not take place. “For Heaven’s sake,” exclaimed the Great Western people, “don’t pass this amalgamation bill, because it is intended to provoke completion with the Great Western Line.”

Some Hon. MembersLaughter and dissent.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—It was said that the Grand Trunk wanted to control all the channels of communication in the Western Peninsula. But how did the Great Western control them? Not for the benefit of the St. Lawrence route; because it was their interest to send all the trade across the Suspension Bridge to the United States. He (Mr. R.) would much prefer to see the produce of Canada and the West coming down in ships and barges to the St. Lawrence than going to the States.

Thomas Street [Welland]—The produce crosses the bridge at Fort Erie also.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—Then, it gave the Western produce the roads to the market, one being the Buffalo and Lake Huron Road.

Some Hon. MembersCheers, counter-cheers, noise and confusion lasting some seconds.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—The member for Welland [Thomas Street] was afraid that the produce might reach the States without going over his beautiful Suspension Bridge and paying toll to him—the great trouble was the danger of reducing the receipts of the Great Western. But, by the amalgamation, the Western producer would enjoy two avenues to the United States instead of one.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—He could have the choice of either the Buffalo and Lake Huron or the Great Western to carry his property to New York, and the further choice of sending it down the St. Lawrence; because it was the interest of the Grand Trunk to bring the Western produce down the St. Lawrence instead of sending it on to the States.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear, and “no, no.”

Robert Macfarlane [Perth]—We have them now.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—Yes; but it was necessary to break bulk. But if the proposed bridge was not completed, it would be necessary to break bulk at Fort Erie, and this was a serious matter. Do, this bug-bear, raised by the member for Welland [Thomas Street] and others might be set aside. The meter for Huron and Bruce was a good deal excited at his (Mr. Rose’s) taking charge of the bill. Well, he was always in favor of the bill and had voted for it in Committee. It was well known that purely local reasons had induced the original mover, the member for the West Brant (Mr. Wood), to abandon the bill.

He (Mr. Rose) thought it would have been pusillanimous and unmanly, and direct violation of his duty, if, being in favor of the bill, he had been mean enough—one of his constituents interested in it, having asked him to take it in charge—not to advocate its assuage in this House; and he only hoped that the circumstances of a member for Montreal having taken charge of this bill would not mitigate against its success. He had been asked to take charge of it, if the hon. member for West Brant (Mr. Wood) abandoned it, and he had consented.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—There was a curious combination of interests opposed to this bill. There was the local and the Great Western interests.

Robert Macfarlane [Perth]—No, no.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—Yes, the local to some extent. If he had found that the bill, in any way, attacked the interests of the Province as regards the Municipal Loan Fund Act, or that it were injurious to the western section of the country, he would not have become its advocate. He could show, however, that the interests of Brantford were in no way prejudiced by this bill. That municipality had advanced five hundred thousand dollars for the Buffalo and Lake Huron Railway, in the Consolidated Municipal Loan Fund bonds of the Province. They gave them to the railway, which sold them, and gave in exchange to the Municipality, mortgage bonds. Brantford was liable to the Province for this five hundred thousand dollars. It received from the railway, in exchange, railway bonds to the amount of nearly one hundred thousand pounds. It then disposed of a portion of those bonds, and realized upon them one hundred thousand dollars; and was now liable to the Consolidated Municipal Loan Fund for that amount. It held now $85,000 sterling of the bonds of the Company for its original advance. Now, what was the position this Bill took with reference to Brantford? It was liable to pay nine thousand dollars per year interest on its debt top the Province under the Municipal Loan Fund Act—which was five cents in the dollar of its debt. By this Bill, however, the amalgamated Company were bound to step in and indemnify the Province, as to its claim against Brantford, and secure the latter from being called upon to pay a shilling; and if that Municipality should be called upon to pay a shilling of the interest to the Government, it might exercise its privileges in the same way and to the same extent as if the Bill had not been passed. The road was bound to indemnify the Municipality to the utmost farthing of its liability to the Government.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton]—Would it not be better to confine the discussion to the principle of the measure?

John Rose [Montreal Centre] would have done so, but the objections raised to the bill had led to his remarks on this occasion, in reply. As to Brantford, its interests had not been, and could not be in any way affected by the passage of this bill, as the amendment, printed and distributed, showed. Now the inevitable fact had been that Branford has never been one shilling out of pocket for this Buffalo and Lake Huron Railway. It had received $100,000 for bonds, foe which the Government has been paid nothing, and the railway afterwards stepped in and guaranteed the municipality against any further liability, to pay to the Province any more than five cents in the dollar; were this arrangement to be violated, the whole agreement would be at an end, and it might exercise its remedy against the railway just as if the bill had never passed.

In answer to a question,

John Rose [Montreal Centre] said the rights of the Government would not be affected injuriously by the arrangement.

Robert Macfarlane [Perth]—Will the Government relieve us from our liabilities?

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—That’s the whole trouble.

Some Hon. MembersLaughter.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—That was what the friends if the municipality asked—namely, that the Government take those bonds and relieve them from the payment. The citizens, however, had no objection to the hill.

John Bown [Brant East]—Yes; that have. I have the politicians against it.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—I have telegrams stating the citizens are satisfied.

Some Hon. MembersCries of “read.”

The hon. gentleman was about to read the telegrams when, six o’clock was announced, and the House adjourned till half-past seven.

 

The Legislative Assembly stopped for dinner recess.

 

After the recess—

John Rose [Montreal Centre] said the question had been very fairly raised by the hon. member for Kent [Archibald McKellar]—and it was probably his intention to raise by his motion the question fairly and squarely—whether amalgamation should be permitted or not.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear, and sounds of assent.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—Now, the hon. members for Kent [Archibald McKellar] and Welland [Thomas Welland], who had discussed this question ably and fairly, when they were opposed to the principle of amalgamation, could not, surely, approve of the Buffalo and Lake Huron’s amalgamation with the Great Western.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, and laughter.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—What did Mr. Irvine, the Solicitor of the Great Western Co., say before the Railway Committee—and which gave a very good insight into what their policy was. He stated—“If you give any further control over the Buffalo and Lake Huron, to the Grand Trunk Railway, you destroy the Great Western; because they carry produce over their roads for $25 in greenbacks, for which service—for the same distance win the road—we charge $30 in gold.” That was a very good illustration of the effect of the amalgamation, and what might be expected as to Western interests, should the B. & L. H. Fall under the Great Western influence. The learned solicitor rather let the cat out of the bag in saying that.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, and laughter.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—If it be the interest of the Grand Trunk to attract Western trade down the St. Lawrence, as opposed to sending it to New York and Boston, it was plain it was our object, and should be our policy to foster the carrying trade through our own channels of communication, as opposed to foreign ones.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—He did not think the individual independence, either of the representatives of the people, or of the electors of this country, need be considered as at all in danger from any railway oligarchy influence. There was a spirit of independence and self-reliance in the people which should dissipate such fears. Even if we had not, however, the St. Lawrence route, and if the Government had no power to check the railway freights, he believed that, should the railway attempt to exercise any control or undue influence over the Government, that the people would rise unanimously and destroy such a Corporation. He would like to know of any people if English stocks having ever been subdued or ruled by a railway influence. To show how railways were regraded, he would ask—could any man go to the country with a more popular cry than that he was going to resist the influence of any set of railway men?

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton]—Was it popular in Montreal?

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—It was popular. There was a spirit there that would not submit for a quarter of an hour to the influence of the Grand Trunk or any other railway. There was nothing that would sooner raise the spirit of independence than that. There was not, he reported, any difficulty in showing that the interest of Brantford was not in any degree whatever injured by this bill. He did not think it was fair for members from Upper Canada to urge against the bill the fact that it happened to fall into the hands of a Lower Canada member. He and his Lower Canada colleagues were not insensible to the general interests of this Province, as affected by our railroads, and were no more indifferent, either, to the importance and necessity of attracting western trade down the St. Lawrence than western members. He believed they were as desirous of finding the shortest route to the seaboard and England as we were. It was impossible, considering the various interests involved in this trade, that there could be any railway, to impose very high rates on the carriage of produce, as such would repel trade and send it to other roads. He would vote for the bill, believing it would redound to the interest, alone, but to the whole country.

Some Hon. MembersLoud cheers.

Thomas Parker [Wellington North] hoped the hon. member for the Montreal Centre (Mr. Rose) would not be successful in his advocacy of a measure which he (Mr. Parker) believed was contrary to public policy. He was not here to advocate the interests of Great Western Railway, but he believed as we had given the latter certain corporate rights and powers we were bound to preserve to it those rights. We should not legislate away corporate rights, nor the rights of the people either. We would be only acting right in maintaining for the benefit of the public the convenience of a competing line. We were told the road (B. &. L. H. Co.) was bankrupt, and that it was absolutely necessary it should be amalgamated with the larger concern. Well, on taking up the Bill, he found that one of its very first clauses was that the former company should raise three hundred thousand dollars for the purpose of building a bridge that was not in their original undertaking.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas Parker [Wellington North]—The hon. gentleman went on to argue that there was no ground whatever for the plea that we should destroy, by one single act, the separate and independent management of the Buffalo and Lake Huron Road, and it transfer it to the Grand Trunk. He believed if this bill were passed this session, it might happen that the Great Western would come next year, and the Northern the session after, and declare that their rights were so affected that amalgamation would be absolutely necessary to them. And if they asked for amalgamation under such circumstances, he did not see that we could refuse them. What would be the result? The Government of the country would be accompanied everywhere by the Grand Trunk—absolutely overlaid by the Grand Trunk.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas Parker [Wellington North]—It was not right we should thus build up for a mammoth and gigantic company—the past experience of which showed us that it was dangerous. He hoped the bill would not pass.

Christopher Dunkin [Brome] would not consider the question in respect to its relations with any local or municipal interest, or any railway interest, but solely on its principle. We were told the bill was merely for the purpose of confirming an agreement, but what were the facts? The measure in its very outset told us that all the clauses, provisions, &c., in the agreement between the two companies should have the effect of an act Parliament, and should be as valid as if enacted by the legislature of this country. Now all the bill contained was the loose jottings, the “heads” as they were termed, of the agreement which in itself was a mere consent that a certain agreement should be made in the future.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Christopher Dunkin [Brome]—But the bill was much more than legalizing an agreement—it was amalgamation in the honest sense of the word.—The hon. gentleman then went on to criticize the clauses of the schedule attached, in detail, and at great length.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton] said it was passing strange that the representatives of the district affected should be, one and all, opposed to the bill; and that its promoters should be compelled to come to the hon. member for Montreal Centre [John Rose] to take up the bill and press it upon the attention of the House. Hon. members from every part of the country had, of course, a perfect right to give their cote upon the question now before the House, and he (Mr. Mackenzie) intended to exercise his right in this respect. At the same time, he considered it bit right that some respect should be paid to the opinions of members belonging to the locality affected—just as the other day, when a bill which had for its object to destroy the corporate rights of the city of Quebec was before the House, western members deferred to the opinion of the members for the city and constituencies in its immediate vicinity, and voted against the bill. He would vote against this bill. He did not believe there was any necessity for amalgamation. He believed that some special legislation might be required, and would be in favor of placing the two companies on an equal footing, but he was decidedly opposed to the amalgamation which would have the effect of building up a mammoth company. We were told that there was no fear—that the Grand Trunk did not possess so much power in this House or the country as to create any alarm for extent to its influence. This he argued was not the case even the hon. member for Montreal West [Thomas D’Arcy McGee]—the Hon. Minister of Agriculture—had admitted that he had received the Grand Trunk vote.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics]—Upon whose authority do you make that statement?

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton]—Upon the very best authority—that of the Hon. Minister of Agriculture [Thomas D’Arcy McGee] himself.

Some Hon. MembersLaughter.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics] begged to deny ever having said that he owed his election to the Grand Trunk.

Some Hon. MembersCries of “order.”

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton] said that the hon. gentleman had used the language which I deny having used. He must verify it or retract. I raise the question of order.

Some Hon. MembersCries of order and chair.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton] (amid some confusion on both sides of the House) was understood to say that he could appeal to every hon. member of this House whether the Hon. Minister of Agriculture [Thomas D’Arcy McGee] had not used such language.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics]—This is a personal question. I insist that the hon. member for Lambton [Alexander Mackenzie] shall prove his assertion or retract.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton]—Order, order.

Some Hon. MembersCheers and counter-cheers.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics]—I arise to a question of order, and ask for the ruling of the chair.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton]—I call upon the Speaker to maintain order. I will not give up the floor.

Some Hon. MembersCheers and “order.”

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics]—The hon. gentleman has charged me with using certain language in this House to the effect that I owed my election to Grand Trunk influence. I deny most emphatically having used such language—or language that will bear such a construction—and I again call upon the hon. member to retract or prove it.

Frederick Haultain [Peterborough] stated his recollection of the circumstance referred to by the hon. member for Lambton (Mr. A. Mackenzie). It was thrown across the House, in the course of debate, that the hon. Member for Montreal West (Mr. McGee) had been supported by the Grand Trunk—having received about seven hundred votes from Railway employee, whereas the hon. gentleman in question arose and stated that he had only received three hundred such votes.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton]—I shall not yield the floor.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics]—I ask for a decision on the point of order.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton] said that the point raised by the hon. Minister of Agriculture was not a point of order.—He then went on to discuss the merits of the bill before the House. He believed the people of the Province at large were opposed to amalgamation; and he was convinced that if the bill now before the House became law every one who voted for it to-day would deeply regret it. He would oppose the bill, inasmuch as he believed it to be fraught with danger to the country.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics] wished to correct most emphatically the statement just made. If the other cries against the Grand Trunk were as baseless, untrue and imaginary as that, they were perfectly fruitless and unworthy of discussion. The statement of the hon. member as to his (Mr. McGee’s) owing his election to the Grand Trunk, was wholly incorrect. He called on him for his authority, and the hon. member gave himself (Mr. McGee) as the authority. He gave the hon. member all the benefit of the voucher of the member for Peterboro’ (Col. Haultain.) He (Mr. McGee) might have received more or less than 300 Grand Trunk votes—he dare say he had got 300. But, though he had never canvassed a Grand Trunk man—nor been in a G.T. workshop, expect once, for municipal election purposes. If a man had a strong hold on the sympathies or confidence of the people—if he afforded grounds for the public confidence in him, he could set the whole of those Grand Trunk men at defiance, should they opposed to him. If a man had no hold on the public confidence, a bank, out wholesale store keeping 50 or 60 employés could put him out. Why, for electioneering purposes, he would rather have a cry against the Grand Trunk, and its opposition than the reverse. He repeated the statement was incorrect, and would just say, in reply to complaints of Grand Trunk interference, that members on both sides were to blame for dragging the Grand Trunk into politics. If members would only ignore the Grand Trunk people at elections, would not consult them for twelve months, they would quickly be separated from our politics, and we would hear no more of them.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics]—He (Mr. McGee) had been elected several times without the Grand Trunk aid, though there was no place in the Province where the Company were so strong, or possessed as much influence; and other members, did they possess the public confidence to any considerable extent, could afford to disregard the 50 or 60 G.T. votes in their constituencies. He could do without G.T. votes, as he had before, and were he never to be elected without their aid he would never seek election again.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton] said he had made no charge whether against the hon. gentleman—he had particularly avoided doing so—he had merely said that he received Grand Trunk support. Well, the hon. gentleman said so now.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics]—I have not said so.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton]—Well, then, if the hon. gentleman did not understand English. It was, of course, impossible to turn at once to an accurate quotation. We had no “Hansard,” no reported debates.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics]—Yes, we had.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton] denied that we had. He himself had spoken several times within the last three weeks, but had not received a single paragraph in the reports in the papers.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton]—It was so more particularly when he spoke against the Grand Trunk.

Some Hon. MembersLaughter.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton]—The gentleman of the press of course golfed their own discretion, and he [Mr. Mackenzie] did not pretend to complain, but it was, nevertheless, the case.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton]—Reverting to the question more immediately at issue, he maintained that the hon. member Montreal West, [Mr. McGee] had received the support of the Grand Trunk Railway employees.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics]Amid loud cries of “order”) was understood to deny the accuracy of the statement.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton]—If the hon. gentleman wishes for a Committee of Enquiry he can have it.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear, and oh, oh.

William Powell [Carleton] did not arise to interrupt the hon. member for Lambton [Alexander Mackenzie], but merely to ask a question which he was sure would put an end to the misunderstanding with appeared to prevail. Did the hon. gentleman mean to say that but for Grand Trunk support or influence the hon. member for Montreal West (Mr. McGee) would not have been elected? He (Mr. Powell) did not think the hon. gentleman intended to convey such an impression.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton] did not mean to sat that the hon. member for Montreal West (Mr. McGee) would not have been elected but for the Grand Trunk support.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, Hear.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics] said he had taken down the hon. gentleman’s words, and he certainly understood him to charge him (Mr. McGee) with owing his elation to the Grand Trunk.

Some Hon. MembersCries of “no, no.”

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton] said he had not intended to convey such an impression. But he did say that the hon. gentleman had received an amount of support from the Grand Trunk. The hon. gentleman went on to advert to the political influence of the railway, and concluded by again strongly denouncing amalgamation.

Frederick Haultain [Peterborough] quoted from the newspaper report of the debates an extract from a speech of the Hon. Minister of Agriculture (Mr. McGee), in which that hon. gentleman, in reply to some observation made across the floor of the House, denied that he had ever sought the support of Grand Trunk employés in any way, but added that he had received the votes of two-thirds of the persons of that class who were in his constituency, and that Mr. Young had not received more than one-third. Coming to the merits of the question immediately before the House, the hon. gentleman said he would unhesitatingly vote against the bill.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Frederick Haultain [Peterborough]—He looked upon the Grand Trunk as a political corporation of the most unblushing kind. He went to advert to the extent and influence of the Grand Trunk, which was undeniably used for political purposes. It was not a question of Grand Trunk or Great Western, however, which we had to consider—the real question before us was whether we should allow the power of the former vast corporation to be increased.

Arthur Rankin [Essex] said that the great political power of the Grand Trunk could not be gainsaid, and he did not believe that any person familiar with affairs in Canada would deny the existence of that influence to a very great degree. Now nobody could, after mature deliberation, come to any other conclusion than that as soon as this arrangement or agreement received the sanction of the House—and of course he could not blame the Grand Trunk, from a business point of view for doing anything calculated to promote their own interest we should have no certainty of the continuance of the moderate rates. Nobody could believe, if they had the control of all the lines in the country that they would do aught else than to consult their own profit.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Arthur Rankin [Essex]—Of course they would do so, and by their increased power they would obtain the control of the House and the country to a most dangerous extent. He (Mr. Rankin) in the course he was about to take was not actuated by any feeling of hostility to the Grand Trunk—it was rather at the hands of the Great Western than from the other corporation that he had grievances to complain of. He believed we had done our duty towards the Great Trunk, but did not think we should go any further. He would therefore vote against the bill, and hoped it would not be carried at least for the present.

William Powell [Carleton] said that the question had been so thoroughly ventilated that he would have but little to say on the matter, save to explain the vote he intended to give. He confessed that when he came into the House this afternoon, he had not made up his mind. As for grand Trunk influence or support, he desired at once, in the most empathic manner, to say that he had never received any advantage, direct or indirect, from the Company—not even to the extent of the “free pass” which some hon. gentleman enjoyed.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear, and laughter.

William Powell [Carleton]—His constituency was entirely beyond Grand Trunk influence. He could, therefore, act upon this subject without any difficulty whatever. At the same time, he confessed it was a much more popular course to assail Grand Trunk policy to defend it. Hon. gentleman talked of Grand Trunk influence! But were we to be told that, because the Grand Trunk had some five thousand employees it could override all public opinion? He (Mr. Powell) did not believe that such was the case. He would not retort any charge upon hon. members who opposed this measure, inasmuch as he believed in so doing they acted conscientiously, and with a sincere desire to do right.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

William Powell [Carleton]—He believed in the honesty and sincerity of his hon. friend from Welland (Mr. Street) and acknowledged that hon. gentleman’s material interest with hon. gentleman,

Some Hon. MembersLaughter and cheers.

William Powell [Carleton]—but he would take the liberty of reminding him that, last session, he had advocated the Grand Trunk and Champlain Amalgamation Bill, both in the Railway Committee and the House. Of course that was the last session, and the hon. gentleman was now a Great Western Railway Director

Some Hon. MembersLaughter.

William Powell [Carleton]—He did not affect to draw any inference whatever from these circumstances, but merely stated facts.

Some Hon. MembersRenewed merriment.

William Powell [Carleton]—The hon. member for Welland [Thomas Street] was not within the reach of undue influences on either side—be soared to a higher pinnacle. Like himself (Mr. Powell) the hon. member possessed the admirable quality of Caesar’s wife—his purity was above suspicion.

Some Hon. MembersLaughter and cheers.

William Powell [Carleton]—Reference had been made, as he already observed, to political capital in connexion with railway influence. Now the fact was the for more capital could be made by attacking the Grand Trunk than by supporting it.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

William Powell [Carleton]—He did not believe, candidly speaking, that the Grand Trunk could influence the popular elections or the opinions of the House—in this respect, differing from the opinion of his hon. friend from Essex (Mr. Rankin.)

(The hon. Gentleman, amid some confusion caused by a general hum of conversation going on, both sides of the House, which rendered his voice somewhat indistinct in the gallery, was here understood to say that, under other circumstances, the measure might have been more generally endorsed)—

An Hon. Member—No, seven of us would have opposed it.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

William Powell [Carleton]—Well, of course seven righteous men saved Sodom and Gomorrah.

Some Hon. Members—Oh, oh, and laughter.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton]—You had better not quote scripture.

William Powell [Carleton]—At any rate seven righteous men would have saved the condemned cities. He (Mr. Powell) could not of course pretend to be so accurate as that other distinguished personage, who, like the hon. member (Mr. Mackenzie) was said to be particularly well qualified to quote scripture.

Some Hon. MembersCheers, and roars of laughter.

William Powell [Carleton]—The hon. gentleman went on to say that he did not believe that railway corruption was exercised to any such extent as had been alleged. The fact was, we were too much in the habit of bandying about charges of that kind. He believed the confirmation of the agreement between the Grand Trunk and the Buffalo and Lake Huron Railway Companies was only sought for as a matter of convenience from a business point of view, and believing such to be the case he would vote for the bill now before the House.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East] adverted to the appeals made by the hon. members who opposed the measure in behalf of the Great Western Railway to Lower Canada members, begging them not to interfere in any way in the measure now before the House. Now, he really thought the appeal was of the most unreasonable kind. A glance at the history of the whole matter would be quite sufficient to prove the truth of his assertion in this respect. The Great Western was actually indebted for its existence to the votes of Lower Canadian members in 1851 and 1852, when the late Sir A. McNab had the charge of a bill for revising the acts of incorporation of that Company Lower Canada members on that occasion supported the measure, while it was opposed by the Upper Canadian vote, and it was the support of the former which decided the question. The hon. gentleman went on to quote the statutes to show that other companies could, under the law, enter into arrangements with the Grand Trunk whenever they judged it necessary to do so, also adverting to the number of precedents for similar arrangements which had taken place. It was to the interest of Canada that the Grand Trunk Railway system should be so extended as to touch the United States at every point, and afford the greatest possible convenience to the trade and travel of the country. The object of the Grand Trunk was to do, in the way of railway extension, what the Buffalo and Lake Huron Railway Co. had not the means of doing. The latter was quite willing to enter into an agreement, and had, in fact, made one with the Grand Trunk, which was in a position to relieve the other Company from its difficulties. He contended that the public business would thus be promoted by the additional facilities afforded, and argued that it was, above all, the interest of Lower Canada members to support the measure before the House. The countries through which the line in question passed had no cause of complaint, if the public traffic were properly attended to. He thought that, by a thoroughly solvent and efficient Company, they would be in a position to meet the growing requirements of the trade. The hon. gentleman commented upon the advantages likely to be derived from the measure, as far as the country was concerned, and strongly advocated its adoption.

James O’Halloran [Mississquoi], who was indistinctly heard, was understood to refer to the good effects of the amalgamation in his own section of the country. He failed to see any objection whatever on public grounds to any agreement between the railway companies, having for its object, their mutual interest and the accommodation of the traffic of the country. He thought the question of political influence stood entirely apart from that of the agreement or amalgamation. The influence of the Grand Trunk Company was, undoubtably, very great, and, in this connection, he had considered it a public scandal that a leader off the Government should be in the service of the powerful railway corporation in question. He (Mr. O’Halloran) saw no connection between this matter of undue influence, and the merit of amalgamation as a matter of public necessity or expediency.

Jean-Baptiste-Éric Dorion [Drummond & Arthabaska], at considerable length, controverted the arguments of the Attorney-General East [George-Étienne Cartier], and opposed the amalgamation on commercial grounds, arguing it would not have the beneficial effects which some hon. gentleman attributed to it.

Joseph-Octave Beaubien [Montmagny] said he desired the prosperity of the Grand Trunk when it could be effected without injuriously affecting the public weal. Now, the Company before us did not come asking for pecuniary aid, but merely for confirmation of an agreement which would have the efficiency of the railway service, and greatly accommodating the trade of the country. He would, therefore, vote for the measure.

Robert Macfarlane [Perth] urged the propriety of adjourning the debate, and remarked there were several leading members on both sides who had not yet spoken on it. He would, therefore, move an adjournment of the debate.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay] said that if there were any one desirous of speaking, he would support the motion for the adjournment; but, if all had spoken, he would oppose it.

Thomas Gibbs [Ontario South] thought the debate should not be closed till the Ministers had an opportunity of speaking. He thought that, in the interest of the public, which was so largely interested in this bill, it was desirous the debate should be adjourned, if members who had not spoken wished it. There were, for instance, the Hon. Attorney-General West [John A. Macdonald], Hon. President of the Council [George Brown], and the Hon. Postmaster-General [Oliver Mowat] yet to speak, and perhaps, the Hon. Provincial Secretary [William McDougall] might like to say a few words on it.

Some Hon. MembersLaughter.

Thomas Gibbs [Ontario South]—He (Mr. Gibbs) would vote on the question, though he did not think that any vote given would at all affect our civil or religious liberties.

Some Hon. MembersRenewed laughter.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council] said that if any other member desired to speak, he would approve of the adjournment and take the opportunity of saying something on this subject when the discussion was resumed. But, if nobody else wanted to speak, he would not prolong the debate for the sole object of expressing his views on the matter.

After some further discussion of a conversational nature, the members were called in, and the motion for the adjournment of the debate was carried on a division—yeas 49, nays 48.

The House then—on motion of George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East]—adjourned at a quarter to one a.m.

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