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Banner: First Among EqualsSir John Alexander MacDonald Banner

Speech before the House of Commons, January 17, 1881


Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I had intended, on Friday night, to have made some remarks on the amendment that was then in your hands; but, unfortunately for myself and, perhaps, fortunately for the House, I was too much indisposed to be able to do so, and I was obliged to leave the Chamber. That motion is, however, disposed of; considerable discussion was carried on, but it is still supposed to be en règle, and with your permission and the permission of the House, I shall offer a few remarks, and they will not be long, on the subject so brought up and involved in that resolution and the amendment, and on the discussion which arose upon it. Sir, in the first place, I would like to speak of the position of the Government with respect to this whole question. It is true it has been treated ad nauseam in this House and in the country; but, holding the position that I do, I think it will not be improper, or idle, or a waste of time, if I recall the attention of the House to some of the facts connected with the present condition of this great enterprise, and in doing so, I must offer my most humble and respectful apology to my colleague who sits next me, the hon. the Minister of Railways, because he has again and again gone over the whole ground in a manner which I may envy, but which I cannot hope to emulute. It is known that from the time that British Columbia came into Confederation, and I need not read the Journals of the House to prove the fact, that the declared preference of both sides of the House, of the then Parliament, was in favor of the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway by an incorporated company. We commence from that starting point, and if we look through the whole line of the discussion and the whole line of the policy of the two Governments which have had to deal with that question, we will find this thread running through the whole subject, and connecting it in such a manner that it could not, without complete severance of the thread, be altered. It was felt in the country, in the House, and by every thinking man, that if we should be fortunate enough, if Canada should have sufficient credit in the market where capitalists do most congregate, to induce capitalists to come forward and undertake this great work, we would have obtained for the Dominion a great advantage. Our legislation was based upon that idea in 1872. The legislation of the Government that succeeded us was based upon the same principle, that it was advisable, if possible, to avoid all the trouble, responsibility and uncertainty, and all the danger to be apprehended of making a great work like this a political engine; it was thought by all parties that it was of the greatest consequence that all those obstructions to the successful prosecution of the work, to the carrying out of this great object, and connecting this country from sea to sea and making it one in fact as well as in law, should be removed; that it was of the greatest consequence that the work should be expedited; that it should not be carried on as a political work; that it should not be made a matter over which rival parties could or would fight; that it should be undertaken on commercial principles and be built by a body of capitalists like any other railway, with the hope and expectation that the capitalists would get a fair and full return for all their risk, for all their expenditure, and for all their responsibility. The whole country was in favor of that proposition, if it was possible to have it carried out. We tried and we failed, although we made an effort, a strong and almost a successful effort in 1872, to thus build the railway. I will not drag into this discussion, as far as I am concerned, and as far as my remarks are connected with the subject, any references to the political past. Allusions were made to it by those opposed to the Government, especially by those who desired to asperse myself; but, Sir, there is the record, there is the fruit of the appeal to the country, and I am Prime Minister of Canada. But whatever may have been the cause of the failure of Sir Hugh Allan and the first company that was organized for the purpose of building this road, I can see, without reference to any political reason, why that company was defeated. I can only say it was not from any want of the strongest opposition offered to the Government of which I was the head, but it was in consequence of the two things occurring together: the personal object in attacking the Government and the desire to overthrow the scheme. It has been urged in this House, and I say it has been proved, that the present scheme laid before the House for its approval, is a more favorable scheme than that proposed in 1872. Whatever may be the merits of the offers or tenders, whatever may be the merits of the last offer that has just been laid on the Table, I believe no man of candor and common sense and who understands figures, but will see that the proposition which this Government, on its responsibility, entered into with the Syndicate in 1880, is more favorable to the country than the arrangement made with Sir Hugh Allan in 1872. And I would ask this House and this country if Canada would not have been a great gainer if we had accepted and carried out that proposition of Sir Hugh Allan in 1872. Nine precious years have been lost since that time which can never be recovered, during the whole of which that road would have been in successful progress of construction; the men engaged in that scheme, if they could have got the ear of European capitalists, were strong enough to push that road across the country, and at the end of those nine years, instead of there being scarcely the footprint of the white man outside the Province of Manitoba, would have been hundreds of thousands of people who have gone from mere despair to the United States, crowding into our own North-West Territories. That country, instead of having but a small settlement in the eastern end of it, would have been the happy home of hundreds of thousands -- to use the smallest figure -- of civilized men, of earnest, active, laboring men, working for themselves and their families, and making that country much sooner than it will be now, a populous and prosperous country. But there is little use in regrets like these. We on this side of the House are not responsible for the delay, we are not responsible for the loss of time, and we appeal confidently to the country, and confidently to posterity. We appeal confidently to every candid man to say if this Dominion of ours of which we are so proud, about the future of which we are so anxious and yet so certain, would not have been infinitely greater in our time, in the time of the oldest of us, if the future of that country would not have been opened out as a great branch of the Dominion if the contract of 1872 had been carried out. Still, Sir, it was not to be; our efforts failed and we feel in those efforts, we were succeeded by a Government strong in numbers, strong in ability, and at the head of it a practical man. The fact of his being a practical man was a matter of boast, and of just boast, among those who rallied around him. He had directed his best energies to the subject. He had at his back a body so strong that no Opposition could effectively thwart him, oppose him, or even to obstruct him. And that hon. gentleman states himself that he was not obstructed, that he was not opposed, that he was not in any way impeded by the Opposition ot the day. And he, Sir, took up the same line of policy in essence that we initiated in 1872; and he endeavored honestly and faithfully, I believe, to relieve his Government and relieve himself and his party from the responsibilities of his position, and of the pledges which were made and which he and those who served under him made, and which were obligations which could not without dishonor be broken, which could not be delayed, which could not without disgrace and discredit be postponed. It was admitted that it was a sacred obligation; it was admitted that there was a treaty made with British Columbia, with the people and the Government of British Columbia, and not only was it an agreement and a solemn bargain made between Canada and British Columbia, but it was formally sanctioned by Her Majesty's Government. It was a matter of Colonial policy and Imperial policy in England that the road should be constructed, and the late Government, headed by my hon. friend from Lambton -- who is absent from his place to-day, and who I fear is absent from the same cause which compelled my absence on Friday night, and I regret his absence very sincerely -- I say my hon. friend felt himself bound to that policy. Both the Government of which I was the head and the Government of which he was the head were bound by the original resolutions that were passed at the time that British Columbia came in, were bound to the policy that this road should be built with the aid of money and land, by an incorporated company, if possible, and, some went so far as to say -- built in no other way. He was hampered by that obligation, but although it hampered both Governments, yet inasmuch as it was the declared wish of Parliament, and must stand until it was removed by Parliament, that resolution was not an infringement of the original arrangement. The delegates from British Columbia sat here when the motion was carried; they were here assenting to it at the time it became in fact the law of the land, and when they went home there was not a word of objection or reproach from the Legislature and the people of British Columbia. All they wanted was that the spirit of the resolution should be carried out so far as men could carry out honestly and fairly, and straightforwardly, the solemn compact, the obligatory pledge. The treaty not to be broken without dishonor into which we had entered. Both Governments felt themselves bound to make every exertion to build the railway by means of the intervention of a body of capitalists incorporated for that purpose. As we had tried to do so did the succeeding Government, and they advertised in the manner which has been stated and explained, and I need not go through the details again. Advertisements were issued by the hon. member for Lambton, then the head of the Government, calling on the capitalists all over the world to come forward and tender for this work. But the tenders did not come in. Whether it was that Canada had not the credit it now has; whether it was that the Government of the day had not the credit that the present Government of Canada has; whether it was that the circumstances of the money market were unpropitious at the time; whether it was that the country in the North-West was not so well known then as now, I cannot say. Perhaps all these causes, or some of them, conjoined to prevent success; but at all events the call upon the capitalists of the world by the late Government did not succeed. Sir, as I understand it, that was not a mere offer giving capitalists a certain day to respond, as if you were going to build a house, calling upon them to put in tenders by a particular day at twelve o'clock, and informing them that no offer could be received afterwards. There was, in the first place, an invitation from our Government calling upon capitalists to compete. There was an invitation from the succeeding Government calling upon the capitalists of the world to compete. That was an announcement to the whole world, and when we received, gladly and hopefully received, an offer from parties who, we believe, were in every way able to carry out the enterprise if they undertook it, we felt that we were carrying out the repeatedly expressed wish of Parliament, the desire of every man really on both sides of the House, that the Government should be rid at once and for all from this responsibility. And, Sir, I might allude to a speech I made before going to England, in the spring of 1880, and I do so, because it was a notice to the country. The hon. gentleman, with his legal mind sticking upon legal technicalities, may argue that a speech of mine was not a legal notice; but upon a previous occasion when the hon. member for Lambton was forcing a measure upon the country without notice, he said, indignantly, to this House: "Every man has read my speech at Sarnia. When I went home to be elected as Premier, I gave notice to the whole country of the policy of the Government, and we have not taken the country by surprise." I will ask the hon. member, if that did not occur, that if what is sauce for one animal of a particular kind is not sauce for another animal of the same kind?

Mr. BLAKE: We do not say he is a goose.

Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD: That is a ready answer from an anser. I think my hon. friend will pardon me for the allusion, because he brought it on himself, although he be a biped no one will class him among that branch of bipeds. Let me read what I said in the Spring of 1880. "When I tell you that at this moment that there are a number of capitalists offering to build the road, desirous of taking it off the hands of the Government, and also making their own fortunes by running it and by the settlement of the land set apart for its construction, etc." I also said that "the Government at this moment have the offer under consideration." That, Sir, went to the country. It was copied and commented upon. It was commented upon by the organ of the hon. gentleman opposite. It was published and commented upon by every political paper in the Dominion of Canada. Notice was freely given what our intention was, and so there was no remonstrance made then as to our want of power in doing so. Nobody spoke against our having the right to do so. We were congratulated upon having this offer made. The whole tone of the Opposition press was pooh-poohing the thing. "You cannot get capitalists to build it. You will not be successful, but we wish you God speed." That was the tone of the Opposition press before we went to England. We might have concluded that contract under the spirit and terms of the Act passed by the previous Administration. I would much like to discuss that matter of law with the hon. gentleman opposite, but it is too large a matter for us to deal with in that way. We felt that this scheme was one that must pledge the fortunes of Canada and the revenues of Canada for a great many years, and that it was due to the people of Canada, to the Parliament of Canada, and to the Government, that their sense should be obtained before we put it into execution. We did not in that respect follow the example of the Government that preceded us. Some of the branch lines involved the expenditure of very large grants of money and the present leader of the Opposition took strong grounds against the late leader of the Opposition when the hon. member for Lambton declared that a contract had been given and that certain work was to proceed. The hon. member for West Durham asked him -- I forget the exact question put, but the answer was that he (Mr. Mackenzie) had nothing more to give and that he acted upon his own authority.

Mr. BLAKE: I think the hon. gentleman is mistaken. He refers to the question I put asking for the authority on which the hon. member for Lambton proposed to build the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Branch.

Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD: Yes; that was it. The answer will speak for itself. The hon. gentleman questioned him in regard to the authority to build the portion from Esquimalt to Nanaimo. Mr. Mackenzie answered that he had nothing to ask from Parliament. I ask if that was not the answer he gave.

Mr. BLAKE: No; the answer given to that part of the question was that he had already given notice of the introduction of a Bill to authorize the construction of the railway, which was a different answer to my question. In the same speech I asked the hon. member whether he was going to submit the Carnarvon terms for the approval of House, and the hon. gentleman said that in that particular he had nothing to ask Parliament.

Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD: Well, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Mackenzie told the hon. gentleman that he had nothing to ask Parliament for, and it was after that, after he found he was going to get the sullen opposition of the hon. gentlemen, and that Cave of Adullam, which the hon. gentleman had found behind his back, that he whipped Mr. Mackenzie into that statement. I cannot be mistaken. The circumstance is deeply impressed upon my mind. The Government I say had every right to use all their exertions in order to relieve themselves and the country of the obligation of building this road, and the still greater obligation of running it. Let any one consider for a moment what these obligations are, and how they press upon the Government. We see this in the Intercolonial and in every public work. Why, Sir, it is actually impossible, although my hon. friend has overcome many obstacles with regard to the Intercolonial Railway, for the Government to run that railroad satisfactorily. It is made a political cause of complaint in every way. The men that we put on the railroad from the porter upwards became civil servants. If one of these men is put on from any cause whatever, he is said to be a political hack. If he is removed it is said his removal was on account of his political opinions. If a cow is killed on the road a motion is made in respect to it by the member of the House, who has the owner's vote as support. The responsibility, the expense, the worry and the annoyance of a Government having charge of such a work, are such that for these causes alone it was considered advisable to get rid of the responsibility. We have had enough evidence of that in this House. With respect to the question raised by my hon. friend from South Bruce, I have the answer here. It is:

"We have never asked Parliament for the authority but merely communicate to Parliament this decision, and rely upon the House to support us in accepting the terms made through the intervention or mediation of Lord Carnarvon; and that support I do not doubt will be cheerfully accorded."

Well, Sir, we went to England, and though in England we occasionally saw what was going on in the Opposition. Oh, how frightened they were lest we should succeed, and cablegram after cablegram came to Canada informing the country, with an expression of regret, that we had miserably and wretchedly failed. They said it was an evidence of want of confidence of the people of England in the present Administration. How could any body of capitalists put any confidence or trust in a Government stained with the Pacific Railway scandal? It was said that if another Government having greater purity of character, and greater ability, and possessing in a great degree the confidence of European capitalists who had undertaken the enterprise, the result would have been different. There were tears, crocodile tears, perhaps, dropped upon the unhappy fate of Canada in having such an incompetent and criminal Government that could, within nine years from the original transaction, carry out a beneficial arrangement by which it was proposed to endeavor to get English capitalists to take their place and build the road. However, Sir, we did. And in the speech at Hochelaga that I hear so much about, a speech that can hardly be dignified by the name of speech, I announced the fact that we had made the contract firm. I say so now. We made the contract firm. The occasion of my making that speech was upon my arrival at Hochelaga. I was presented with an address by Club Cartier, a Conservative institution, and I made that answer. I do not retract a word. I said: "As for the present I hope it will be equally true, and for the future that I may be able to look down by-and-by on the Pacific Railway as completed," and I hoped it would be done with the assistance of hon. gentlemen opposite as long as we were in the Government, but the project that has been laid on the Table to-day, shows that they have abandoned all idea of ever building the Canadian Pacific Railway. By a political plot they are trying to put off the blame upon others; but notwithstanding that plot we are going to build that road, and the original treaty will be carried out. The pledge made to British Columbia, the pledges made in reference to the future of this Dominion will be carried out under the auspices of a Conservative Government, and with the support of a Conservative party. That road will be constructed, and, notwithstanding all the wiles of the Opposition and the flimsy arrangement which has been concocted, the road is going to be built and proceeded with vigorously, continuously, systematically and successfully to a completion, and the fate of Canada will then, as a Dominion, be sealed. Then will the fate of Canada, as one great body, be fixed beyond the possibility of hon. gentlemen to unsettle. The emigrant from Europe will find here a a happy and comfortable home in the great West, by the exertion of the Conservative party. But then, Sir, comes the interjection. After the arrangements have been made and the Government had made a contract that hon. gentlemen opposite three or four years ago would have laughed at and bragged and boasted of as a wonderful proof of their superior administrative ability -- we now have the assertion that the contract was made without due authority. As long as Mordecai sits at the King's gate he will protest. We have had to take part in this discussion with gentlemen who are accomplished actors -- my hon. friends opposite. These hon. gentlemen are perfectly trained histrionics. But, Sir, the best actor is not always successful. We have had tragedy, comedy and farce from the other side. Sir, it commenced with tragedy. The contract was declared oppressive, and the amount of money to be given was enormous. We were giving away the whole lands of the North-West. Not an acre was to be left for the free and independent foot of the free and independent settler. There was to be a monopoly handed over to this Company. We had painted the tyranny of this Company that was to over-ride the people by raising a high tariff, and the tyranny of a great monopoly which was to keep in their control a large area of lands -- out of which they expect to build this railway -- for some hundreds of years, in order that through the exertions of others the value of their acreage might be increased, and this was the tragedy; and hon. gentlemen opposite played it so well, that if they did not affect the whole audience, we could see tears of pity and sorrow trickling down the cheeks of gentlemen sitting on that side of the House. Then, Sir, we had the comedy. The comedy was that when every one of the speeches of these hon. gentlemen were read to them, it was proved that last year or the year before, and in previous years, they had thought one way, and that now they spoke in another way. Then it was the most amusing and comic thing in the world. Every hon. gentlemen got up and said, "I am not bound by that. It is true that I said so a year ago, or it is true that I said so two years ago, but circumstances alter cases, circumstances are changed in two years, or one year, or in eight months in one case, but what I said eight months ago I am not bound now." This was very comic. It amused us all. It amused the House, and the whole country chuckled on a broad grin. These hon. gentlemen said it is true, we were fools eight months ago, and two years ago; but, because we were fools in the past you have no right, being Ministers, to be fools too; you have no right to advocate the follies we advocated then, when now we assert acts of wisdom on our part. This was the comedy. Now, Sir, the last thing that came was the farce. We had the farce laid on the table to-day. The tragedy and comedy were pretty successful; but the farce I am afraid, with an impartial audience, in theatrical phrase, will be damned. It is a farce, but still whether it will be farcical in its consequence, I do not know. I do not think, for my part, that it will be farcical in its consequences, because the greatest punishment that a farce writer or a farce actor can get when he has played his farce, is that his farce is unsuccessful, and the audience hisses the act, and this will be the consequence of this charming farce. It has been played to change the metaphor, Mr. Speaker, I may say it is too thin. It won't catch the blindest. It won't catch the most credulous. It won't catch the most unsuspicious. No one of common sense, no man who can say two and two make four will be caught for one moment by this flimsy scheme, Mr. Speaker. It was concocted here. It was concocted in Ottawa. It was concocted as a political engine, the reason of it was this: Well, the present Government have committed themselves under their hand and seal, and here is the seal of the Minister of Railways, and here is the Order in Council, and here is the contract signed, sealed and delivered. The Government are pledged to it. They cannot get out of it, and we are quite safe. We can make any offer. We can make an offer to build the road for $1,000 a mile. We are quite safe. We can get all these gentlemen to sign, and I think, although I was not here at the time, that my hon. friend from Niagara showed that the incorporators and petitioners themselves, who make the offer, under this precious document, seven or six -

Mr. PLUMB: The number is seven.

Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD: Seven of them were disappointed and defeated candidates at former elections. I need not go over their names. I read the speech of my hon. friend, and I find that it is a political plot. I would ask my hon. friend, the member for the West Riding of Durham, if John Walker is not a rather remarkable politician. I would ask my hon. friend if H. H. Cook is not also a remarkable politician, and so on, Mr. Speaker. It is a political plot got up here. It was quite easy, oh, so easy to make an offer knowing that the Government cannot, or ought not, or will not accept it. We made a bargain with a company in good faith, and we promised that it shall be a compact between the Dominion of Canada and them, provided that the Parliament ratifies it. We were bound to submit the agreement to Parliament for ratification, and there it was argued. The Opposition say to themselves: "The Government cannot in honor, cannot in decency, if their policy is defeated, remain in office, and, therefore, we will get in, and we will take care of our friends, of these seven or eight political gentlemen and their confreres. We will make things easy for them, and so arrange it that, even if their offer was accepted by us when we go into office, we can let them out of it." I say that that document shows on its face that it was drawn up here, and for the purpose of removing from these gentlemen apprehension that by any possibility they could get into any scrape, because, on the face of the papers, there is a series of clauses providing that the Government can let them out of it. These hon. gentlemen have made up their minds that we must go, they have made up their minds that we could not respectably remain in office. They said: "Well, our sentiments are known; everybody knows what we think about the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and what we will do, and what our policy is, and what, when we get in, we will carry out and that is, to let you out of building all the difficult parts of the road." It is a game all on one side, Sir, but it is too thin. It is in vain for the fowler to spread the net in the eyes of a bird. We must be blind as bats, and the country must be blind as owls in the day, if they do not see that there is a net, and they will avoid the net. They will not be caught by it. No web in the net is going to catch the intelligent community with these papers before them. Sir, these hon. gentlemen had better have dealt with this matter in general; they could have said other people are ready to make a contract. If they had said in their places, they knew of their own knowledge that certain people were to come forward and build the railway for a small sum; then, Sir, some persons, who would not see that it was merely a flank movement to obstruct the formation of the Company, and to obstruct the organization of the Company, and to delay and postpone the construction of the road, might have had their faith shaken, but no man, be he ever so simple, who is fit to be elected to this House, can read else on these papers than that it is a political trick, and a discreditable trick, as I said before, that will redound permanently to the discredit and dishonor of all those who have concocted it, and of all those who have joined it. I do not believe that the hon. member for the West Riding of Durham will get up in his place and advise this Government or this House to accept the proposition of this second Syndicate. I say I defy him to get up and do so. I know he will not give such advice, I will not believe all he said, and believe all that those who have spoken from that side of the House have urged respecting the first Syndicate, by advising this House to accept the responsibility of voting for the proposition which has been made by the second Syndicate. These hon. gentlemen cannot do it. What have they told us, Sir? That this proposition was illegal. The hon. member for Gloucester told us it was illegal and unconstitutional for the Government to have made this arrangement with the first Syndicate, and how can he vote to give the contract to this second Syndicate? The hon. member for North Norfolk has told us that some portions of this arrangement are a swindle. Yet those very clauses which he said were a swindle are incorporated in the proposals of the new Syndicate. Those very clauses which the hon. gentleman so eloquently, but rather unparliamentarily, denounced as a swindle and a fraud, he will find here, with the two exceptions. Let me first look over some of these clauses. In the first place our terms were said to be excessive. In comparison with the terms of the present bogus tender there might be a pretence for assuming that. In the next place it was said that we had no right to contract except upon tenders given in reply to an advertisement. But this is the point to which I will call the attention of the hon. member for North Norfolk. The manner of selecting the lands under our proposal was said by him to be a swindle, a fraud and a robbery. Yet these gentlemen, Sir W. P. Howland and Company, say that they must be allowed to perpetrate that swindle and carry out that fraud or they will not undertake the contract. Surely, this being the case, the hon. gentleman will not vote for the second Syndicate.

An hon. MEMBER: He will do anything.

Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD: Then it was said: "Oh, the Government is going to build the road from Thunder Bay to Red River; from Kamloops to Yale, and from Yale to Port Moody. Why the Government will become a partner with the Syndicate, that will never do." Gentlemen who used that argument cannot vote for the new Syndicate. Then there was an argument used that the scheme for issuing bonds was wrong, that the contractors would issue the bonds and leave the bondholders to whistle for their money, and the people of Canada to whistle for their road. Yet the general principle for the issue of bonds is adopted in the proposal of Sir W. P. Howland and Company. Then, Mr. Speaker, there was a great grumble at the smallness of the deposit. The offer is a million of dollars. That is the offer made by the gentlemen of the new Syndicate. I have learned from my hon. friend since I came into the House that the new Syndicate gentlemen thought they could go one more -- to use the language of my good friend Mr. H. H. Cook -- and they have sent down certificates to the extent of twelve or thirteen hundred dollars.

Some hon. MEMBERS: Oh, oh.

Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD: Hon. gentlemen opposite must not be unparliamentary. I am speaking at some disadvantage, because I am not well, but I will make myself heard. The proposition just laid on the Table of the House is that the members of the new Syndicate shall make a deposit of a million of dollars. I understand that they have sent a communication by telegraph stating that they have deposited $1,200,000 as security; that when the contract is signed they will deposit the million dollars permanently. Well, Sir, this is a small trick to put up $200,000 over the million, and yet if you look at the contract lying on your Table you will see that the Syndicate have to put up the whole of $5,000,000 by the 1st May, 1882.

Mr. ANGLIN: No, no.

Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD: I beg not to be interrupted again. I think that an old speaker ought to know something about decencies of debate.

An hon. MEMBER: The 1st of December, 1882.

Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD. They are to put $1,000,000 to remain permanently in the hands of the Government. They are to put up the other $4,000,000 by the 1st December, 1882-and that is a sufficient security to the country and to this House that the Syndicate will not find it to its advantage to sell the bonds and then abandon the work. The proposition that they would do so is so absurd, so discreditable to those who make it, that it is almost unworthy of notice. But, Sir, before I call the attention of the House to the new Syndicate, and show what a complete farce it is -- and I do not use a word too strong when I describe it as farcical -- I would say that when I intended to speak on Friday it was simply to state that the Government, as a Government, feels itself bound to carry out the contract it has entered into, in good faith, and that it has a right to challenge, and does challenge the vote of this House. They believe it is the best offer that has been made up to that time. They believe it is one which will be satisfactory to the country. We believe it is one that will not involve ultimately the expenditure of sixpence by the people of Canada. We believe it will carry out that for which it was intended; that we should carry out the early construction of the railway; and, we are bound to ask, on its own merits and without reference to any attempted obstruction at the eleventh hour, by the bringing out of bogus tenders -- and and I use the word bogus, notwithstanding the respectability of some of the gentlemen who have signed it -- that the contract be adopted and the road built according to the wishes of the people and Parliament of Canada. It is not constitutional, and I would not say for a moment or hold any threatening language to the House, indicative of what course the Government ought to take, or would take in the matter, if, when they have submitted their best judgment, which becomes a portion of their policy, it were not adopted. But all I can say is, to use an expression which has been rather celebrated in Canada, that I think we should find and be told by hon. gentlemen opposite -- and this document is probably prepared for the purpose of giving them the opportunity -- that our usefulness was gone. The hon. gentlemen opposite have not hidden their lights under a bushel; their words have not been spoken in a corner. We knew the governing policy of the Opposition, enunciated on several occasions and repeated in this House, during the present Session, by the leader of the Opposition. We know he is opposed to the building of the road through British Columbia; that he has, from the time the subject was brought before Parliament, protested against it, using such language to that Province as -- erring sister depart in peace. We know he has ridiculed the idea of forcing a railroad through an inhospitable region, a sea of mountains, that would get no traffic, but be built at an enormous expense and be of no real value. The hon. gentleman has adhered to that policy. Last Session he moved that the further construction of the road through British Columbia, in allusion to the contract given out by the present Government under advertisements published by the late Government, and for the purpose of carrying out its policy, be postponed, as also all action with that object; and I express my regret at the unavoidable absence of my hon. friend from Lambton on this occasion. But great as I regret that, I still more greatly regretted his humiliation at the time last Session when the hon. gentleman's motion was in your hands. If I were his worst enemy, and wished to triumph over him, I would not desire a greater humiliation, a sorrier fate, or a more wretched ending of a statesman than that, at the whip of the man who had deposed him -- of the man who had removed and supplanted him -- he should be obliged to eat his own words and vote in favor of postponing the construction of the road through British Columbia -- that he should have to belie -- I use not the word in an offensive sense -- his own advertisement and all the action of his Government in asking for tenders for the building of that road. What did that advertisement mean and the calling for tenders? Was it a sham, a fraud -- assuming, like those who did not know, that the hon. gentleman went down to the depths of degradation, to use that argument himself, and say that he did not mean anything by that advertisement, but merely wished to ascertain the probable cost of the work? Because it was stated in this House that that was the object of issuing the advertisement so that contractors were called upon to come from not only all parts of the Dominion, but San Francisco, the United States, England and the world to consider this matter, and they were to go over the whole ground with their surveyors and engineers, make their surveys and estimates at the greatest trouble and expanse in order to ascertain the character of the work, and that the Canadian Government might be able to say to them afterwards, "Gentlemen we are very much obliged to you for the information you have given us, gathered at your expense and not at that of the public." Not one of the gentlemen of the late Government could have done that, I am sure, or have said that the advertisement was not bona fide, was not for the purpose of giving out the work, otherwise it was a mockery, a delusion and a snare, an injury to every man put to expense in connection with it and to all the professional men and capitalists of the world. I must say the policy of the leader of the Opposition was avowed and expressed. In the first place his policy as a Minister would be to stop all the work in British Columbia -- not a mile would be built -- not a train would ever run through British Columbia if he could help it. Not an article of trade or commerce would pass over a line through that Province to the East if he had his will, and that Province would be compelled to appeal to the paramount power, to the justice of the British Government and Parliament, where justice is always rendered, to relieve her from connection with a people so devoid of honor, so devoid of character, so unworthy of a place among the nations, and let her renew her immediate connection with Her Majesty's Government, which would see that justice was done to that long suffering people. That was the policy of the leader of the Opposition with regard to the West. Now, his policy with regard to the East, was hostile to the construction of the road north of Lake Superior. He avows his predilection for the Sault Ste. Marie line, to run off the trade into the United States, to strengthen, to renew, to extend and develop our commerce with the United States, to the utter destruction of the great plan, basis and policy of the Dominion, which is to connect the great counties composing the Dominion from sea to sea by one vast iron chain, which cannot and will never be broken. With our common feelings of loyalty and allegiance to our common sovereign, influenced by all the principles which actuate British subjects to desire to live and die under the British crown, we should have in favor of this means of connection the pecuniary interests of British Columbia, inclining them to unite more firmly to the rest of the Dominion, all of the Provinces thus becoming one country in principle, loyalty and interest. That was the policy of hon. gentlemen, and it was supported, and would be supported, by the whole party. It was supported by their organ also. I do not often read it, for I do not think it very wholesome reading, but I am told it now goes in strongly for the Sault Ste. Marie road. Yet we all remember, for I have heard it read many a time, the manner in which that organ in days of old denounced the building of the Sault road as traitorous to the best interests of Canada, and destructive to the future of the Dominion -- as calculated to unite as willy-nilly with the States, by a commercial connection, which must be followed by a political connection a little later. Times changed, and I am told that organ strongly supports the hon. leader of the Opposition just as strong as some years ago it vigorously, and in a loyal British sense, opposed him. Other men govern that paper now, and if the chief man who conducted that paper were now living, I do not believe he would so belie his whole life and all his interests as to surround a great connecting principle which, whatever might be the subjects of contention across the floor, kept him always united with the party of which I am a humble member, always united in defending British interest, in defending monarchical institutions, and in trying as far as possible to keep us a free and independent people of all external relations with any country in the world except our grand old Mother Country of England. Now it is quite clear that this document was prepared here for a political use. I would only call the attention of the House to a very few variations which are made in this contract from the contract that we laid on the Table, and you will see that it is prepared for the express object of enabling the most timid man -- including Sir William P. Howland, who would not risk $5,000 unless he were certain of getting it again -- it is drawn for the purpose of enabling the most timid man to sign this document, knowing that he was safe. It was: heads, I win; tails, you lose. Those who connected themselves with this expected that the present Government must and would adhere to the first contract, and, therefore, a new Government would take its place, and my hon. friend would take the place which I now unworthily occupy -- a place which his individual ability and individual zeal and exertions for his party would enable him to adorn. They knew what his policy would be. He has declared it so recently that I do not think he can change it. To be sure he can change between 1880 and 1881, but then, in this case, the change would be so rapid that even my hon. friend's versatility of talent would not allow him to change so speedily as that. Well, I come to the new offer, and what is the first proposition?

"The Company also hereby offers, in the event of the Government desiring to withdraw from the proposed construction of the eastern section, that the Company shall reduce the said subsidy in money and land by the amount apportioned by the said eastern section of the railway under the 9th paragraph of this proposal."

Now, the gentlemen who made that tender did not intend to build the Lake Superior section, because they believed that the present Government would insist upon the Lake Superior section being built. They hoped we would be defeated by the proffer of the second Syndicate, and that the hon. gentlemen opposite would come in, and in that event of the Government desiring to withdraw from the proposed construction, they would do it for so much less. They had the previously pledged policy of the hon. gentleman that he would withdraw it. Therefore they were preparing in advance, and these other three clauses, convince me, and will convince every man, that this was politically drawn, that this was a political plot, and that these men -- some of more means, some of less, and some of none at all -- could not by any possibility run a chance of forfeiting a single sixpence, either by building the Lake Superior section or running it for ten years afterwards. The next section is as follows:

"In the event of the Government desiring to withdraw the said eastern section from construction hereafter, the Company hereby offers to construct within three years, and equip, own and operate as a part of the Canada Pacific Railway, a branch line from South East Bay, Lake Nipissing, to Sault Ste. Marie."

The other section likewise, they were put in the tender which the hon. gentleman opposite would accept, for the purpose of building under this contract, if they get it, the Sault Ste. Marie road and throw over the Lake Superior section. It is so clear that he who runs may read. Now, Sir, the 21st clause, this relates to my constituency and the Province which I represent, and I call the attention to it of my hon. colleague in the representation of Victoria:

"In the event of the Government desiring to postpone or withdraw from the construction of the western section of the said railway, extending from Kamloops to Port Moody, they shall be at liberty to do so at and for a sum of $3,500,000."

There it is again, no chance for a road running towards the sea to Yale. The hon. gentleman is against a mile of railway being built in British Columbia, and how gladly he would receive those gentlemen whenever they came to say: "Well, you don't want to press us to build this, to go on with that now;" and the hon. gentleman would say: "No, we are too glad to get rid of it." The last clause reads thus:

"In the event of the Government desiring to postpone or withdraw from construction, by the Company hereunder, of the westerly portion of the central section of said railway"

That is to say, the first contract is to build from Kamloops down to Emory's Bar, that is under contract now; but the remaining 450 miles, from Kamloops through the Rocky Mountains to Jasper House, is the roughest of any portion of the country:

"Being the westerly 450 miles thereof, as mentioned in the 9th clause of this proposal, the Company offers to reduce the subsidy in money and land by the amount apportioned to the said 450 miles."

That is, the first clause does away with Lake Superior section, the second clause provides for the building of the Sault Ste. Marie road, the third clause provides that the Government may give up the building of the line from Emory's Bar to Port Moody, and the fourth section gives up the building of anything West of Jasper House. Now, Mr. Speaker, it is the policy of the Government to build all these sections; it is the pledged policy of the Opposition to wipe them out. It is the pledged policy of the Opposition. They cannot go back on their pledged policy. It is in fact a tender for the prairie section of the road, the paying section, the easiest section, the cheapest section, the most profitable section, the section that will be built not only inexpensively, but that will pay whenever population comes in, and population will follow the building of the road. And this whole scheme which was ostensibly to assume the responsibility of building and running the whole line from Lake Nipissing to the Pacific Ocean, is simply an impudent offer to build the prairie section, and to do it by means of political friends, who, when they got in power, will grant them all they want, and allow them to confine their exertions, their responsibilities, and all the liabilities for the future; to building an easy road across the prairies, and so connecting with the American system of railways, and carrying away the trade of the North-West by one or more American channels, to the utter ruin of the great policy under which the Dominion of Canada has been created, to the utter ruin of our hopes of being a great nation, and to the ruin of our prospect of getting possession of the Pacific trade, and connecting Asia with England by a railway passing through the dominions of England. It is as easy as rolling off a log to run a railway across the prairies and work it; but this is an endeavor to deprive this country, to deprive Ontario, to deprive Quebec, to deprive the Maritime Provinces of all connection by railway with the North-West.

Mr. ANGLIN: Hear, hear.

Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD: The hon. gentleman says "hear, hear." Yes; I am proud to say that if our scheme is carried out, the steamer landing at Halifax will discharge its freight and emigrants upon a British railway, which will go through Quebec, and through Ontario to the Far West, on British territory, under the British flag, under Canadian laws, and without any chance of either the immigrant being deluded or seduced from his allegiance or his proposed residence in Canada, or the traffic coming from England or from Asia being subjected to the possible prohibitory or offensive restrictive taxation or customs regulations of a foreign power. So that it is quite clear that these gentlemen are safe -- safe as a cherry. They would be under no obligations to build the very expensive portions of the road. They would be relieved from running any portion of the road that would not pay. Canada might whistle for those connections in her own territory, but the people would gradually see that the colonies would gradually be severed from each other; that we should become a bundle of sticks, as we were before, without a binding cord, and that we should fall, helpless, powerless, and aimless, into the hands of the neighboring Republic. Let us consider what this offer is. These gentlemen are going to build the prairie road for $7,333 a mile, against our $10,000, and they make a corresponding reduction in the quantity of land. But you must remember that if there is a reduction in the quantity of land, that land will lie right alongside the railway on the prairie. They will get all the land where it is most valuable. It has been variously calculated as worth $5, $4, $3, $2, and $1, but it is quite clear that if the prairie section only is to be built, all the land will be taken from the immediate vicinity of the railway, while if the whole is built, much of the land will be taken far away from the railway at diminished value. George Stephen & Co. must take the land where they can get it. They can only get some 11,000,000 acres from Winnipeg to Jasper House, and the remainder of the 25,000,000 acres they must find elsewhere. In order to make it worth a dollar -- worth anything at all, they must build branch railways to those points, and this House and country would be only too glad to give them this permission, in order that they might open up other sections of country far away from the main line of the railway. But we have the testimony of hon. gentlemen opposite as to what, according to them, the lands in the vicinity of the railway are worth. The railway will run through the most fertile portion of the land, and still further increase their value, so that the profit to be gained in building the prairie section of the railway out of the lands in the immediate vicinity of the railway which are to be handed over to the new Syndicate, is a much larger profit than all the 25,000,000 will give to a company bound to build this whole line from Lake Nipissing to the Pacific. So it was a very, very safe bargain to make. There is a little point of difference between these two tenders, to which I cannot refrain from calling the attention of the House. I have already stated that, in going over this second offer, I find they have just cut out of the printed paper most of the clauses of the contract and the schedule, but reducing the price. But there are some changes, and there is a change of one little word, to which I think, I ought to call the attention of the House. We all remember the discussion between my hon. friend from Lincoln (Mr. Rykert) and the hon. leader of the Opposition upon the question whether there was any power which could force the railway company to construct the railway, and my hon. friend (Mr. Rykert) quoted the Court of Chancery. I stated that if it was merely a permissive contract, it could not, of course, be enforced. The only consequence of a permissive contract not being carried out, would be that either the charter might be cancelled by Parliament, if that was the law, or there might be an action for damages, by way of compensation. But if there was a statutory obligation, if it was not merely permissive but obligatory, not merely a contract between parties but an obligatory statutory obligation, it became a statutory duty imposed by Parliament with a paramount power upon the individual, and if that duty was imposed, it could be enforced by a mandamus. That is my statement. Well, the second clause of the contract made by us is followed, word for word, I may say, except striking out the words "hereby contracted for" -- hereby tendered for, they mean of course. It provides that "the contractors immediately after the organization of the Company, will deposit with the Government $1,000,000 in cash or approved securities." There was an obligation we were told, that they "shall" do it, that they must do it. When I came to the clause about building the road, the word "shall" in the contract that we made, is struck out and the word "will" put in. The parliamentary statutory obligation to pay the money was left, but when we come to the clause saying they shall build the road, the word "shall" is struck out and the word "will" substituted. The word "will" is merely an expression of intention, and the only consequence, if this is carried out, is that the subsequent part of the contract will be inoperative, because it says that on condition of the promise, the Government agrees to make certain payments. So if the promise be not carried out, the payments will not be made. If the word shall is good "shall deposit" it is good for "shall build," yet it is left in for the deposit and struck out for the road. There must be an object in that; that is a statutory obligation which imposes that duty which the Government of the day can force as it can force all duties thrown on Parliament on the subject. I had forgotten a paper that is placed in my hands to which I shall call your attention. I spoke about the value of the land along the prairie section which, of course, must be of more value than the land which the whole Syndicate would have to take for their additional burden and their additional responsibility along the whole line of railway. We will take the Canadian section. Now, this is the statement based on the new proposal. We will value the land grant for the prairie section at $1.00 an acre, and that everybody must admit is absurdly low

Mr. MILLS: Hear, hear.

Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD: Yes, it is absurdly low for the land laying twenty-four miles on each side of the prairie section; it must be worth more, when the railway is built, than a dollar an acre. The cash subsidy, 900 miles at $733.33 per mile will be $6,000,000, and the land grant, 10,000 per mile for 900 miles at $1 per acre, will be $9,000,000, making in all, for building the prairie section, at $1 an acre, $15,600,000. If you take the land at $2 an acre, and that is far too low by the estimates of the hon. gentleman opposite, the cash subsidy of the land grant at $2 an acre will make in all $24,600,000. Value the land at $3.18 an acre and it will be worth $28,620,000, making in all, cash and land, $35,220,000, so that for building the prairie section, the cheap section, the easy section, the section which can be run at a profit -- at $1 an acre, they will get $17,333.33 per mile; at $2 an acre, they will get $27,333.33 a mile, and $3.18 an acre they will get $39,133 a mile. And this price would be given by hon. gentlemen opposite who say that that section can be built at $8,110 per mile.

Sir ALBERT J. SMITH: How much would they get on your proposition?

Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD: Now, when the House was discussing the sub-division and subsidy, it was alleged that there was a disproportionate sum given to Messrs. Stephen & Co., and this offer was meant to make the public believe that the sum was excessive. I have shown you, that believing as everybody must who looks at this offer, that it is only intended to build the prairie section, the whole thing will vary from $17,000 to $39,000 per mile, according to the various estimates per mile. That is for the prairie section alone. The reason why the sum was put large and full in the original contract for the prairie section, was because that section must be built, first and speedily. That is the portion that can only be built first, and until that is built the population which we believe will readily and eagerly seek shelter and homes in our North-West, cannot get there. It was of the very greatest consequence to the Government that this road should be built at once. This large subsidy was, therefore, given for the prairie section as an inducement for the contractors to push that road there within three years, which they stated they were quite ready to do that, if they got the contract ratified by the 1st of January, and they will build that as shortly after that time as possible. It makes no difference if the security is good; if the capital is in the hands of gentlemen of honor and means, it is of no consequence where the money is expended. The division is made for the purpose of hurrying up the 1,000 miles across the fertile prairies of the North-West, so as to enable the population to go in at once. And, Sir, you must remember they can get no lands near Lake Superior nor in British Columbia, which had been described by hon. gentlemen opposite as valueless, that Province being a "sea of mountains." Therefore all the land to be given is concentrated in the prairie country, and we endeavor to induce them to build the road and as many branches as possible by grants in that region. The great object was not only to have the line running from east to west, but to assign the Company lands to be selected by the joint action of the Government and themselves. To encourage them to build branches, we give them a large and valuable allowance, so that that whole country may not only be opened up east and west, but be penetrated by herringbone lines running northward and southward far into the interior. I hear a voice behind me saying that they are to build the Lake Superior section at the same time. We took good care of that. I believe that the men who signed the first contract are men of honor and great wealth, who cannot afford too lose their character, prestige and credit in the markets of the world by breaking a contract. But we felt we had no right to take their word for it, and therefore stipulated in the contract that the Government commence from the beginning of the Canadian Pacific line, possibly at Callandar Station, and proceed vigorously and continuously, and in such a manner that the annual progress shall not secure completion at the end of ten years but shall be such as to show the Government that the Lake Superior road could be finished in ten years. You must remember that this is one contract, and not a separable contract, to build the eastern or the western section. It is a contract to build both, and if the Company failed in performing their contract in carrying out their obligations as to the Lake Superior road, or the prairie road, they have no right to claim a subsidy in land or money because of having done so much work on the prairie section. If they fail on one section, although they may have built twice the number of miles that they promised across the prairie, and may have finished them to our thorough satisfaction, when they come to demand the land and the money, if they have not worked vigorously and continuously on the Lake Superior section, achieving a rate of annual progress, assuring us that it will be finished within the proper time, then we shall say: "No you don't -- you shall not have this money; true, you have built the prairie section, but you have failed at other parts of the road which must go on pari passu, and we will not give you a dollar or an acre, because, though you have done the full amount on the prairies, you have made a failure to a great extent elsewhere." In order to make a great flourish on the new sections or proposals, the opponents of the old scheme have struck out the 15th clause as follows:

"For 20 years from the date hereof, no line of railway shall be authorized by the Dominion Parliament to be constructed South of the Canadian Pacific Railway, from any point at or near the Canadian Pacific Railway except such line as shall run South West or to the Westward of South West; nor to within fifteen miles of Latitude 49. And in the establishment of any new Province in the North-West Territories, provisions shall be made for coutinuing such prohibition after such establishment until the expiration of the said period."

That was a clause put in deliberately for the same reason that we asked Parliament to build the Canadian Pacific at all. We desire, the country desires, that the road, when built, should be a Canadian road; the main channel for Canadian traffic for the carriage of the treasures and traffic of the west to the seaboard through Canada. So far as we can, we shall not allow it to be built for the benefit of the United States lines. Why a train starting from the foot of the Rocky Mountains -- and I am glad to know perhaps one of the most fertile, if not the most fertile section, lies directly at the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains -- with freight from British Columbia for the east, we desire to keep on our own railroad as long as we legitimately can. We believe it will carry freight as cheaply and satisfy the wants of the country as fairly as any American railway. But, Sir, we desire to have the trade kept on our own side -- that not one of the trains that passes over the Canadian Pacific Railway will run into the United States if we can help it, but may, instead, pass through our own country, that we may build up Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, Halifax and St. John by means of one great Canadian line, carrying as much traffic as possible by the course of trade through our own country. I do not mean to say we can prevent cheaper channels being opened. There is nothing to prevent other railroads running across the continent through our own country. Our Dominion is as big as all Europe, and we might as well say that the railways running from Paris to Moscow might supply the wants of all Europe as that this railway might supply the wants of the whole North-West. There will be room for as many railways in that country by-and-bye as there are in Europe; and if there be any attempt -- the attempt would be futile -- on the part of the Canadian Pacific Railway to impose excessive prices and rates, it is folly that would soon be exposed by the construction of rival lines east and west, which would open up our country in all directions and prove amply sufficient to prevent the possibility of a monopoly which has been made such a bugbear of by hon. gentlemen opposite. I was going to say that a train starting from the foot of the Rocky Mountains might obtain connections by a line running through in a south-easterly direction with roads in the United States. The hon. gentleman says it is only for 20 years; but I was going to say, that a train starting from the foot of the Rocky Mountains, might be bled by a line from any southerly direction connected with the United States, and so much traffic will be carried off to the United States; and a few miles further another line might connect with another American line, and so on, Sir, until long before we got to Winnipeg or Red River the main portion of the trade would be carried off from our line into American channels. That magnificent river, the Rhine, starting with pride from its source, runs through the finest portions of Europe, and yet has a miserable, wretched end, being lost in the sands as it approaches the sea; and such would be the fate of the Canadian Pacific Railway if we allowed it to be bled by subsidiary lines, feeding foreign railways, adding to foreign wealth and increasing foreign revenue by carrying off our trade until, before we arrived at the terminal points Ontario, and at Montreal, it would be so depleted that it would almost die of inanition. No men in their senses would undertake to build the 450 miles through that stern country to the north of Lake Superior and run it for ten long years, when they knew that unless there was some check placed upon those lines, not a pound of freight would go to the North-West, but it would almost all go to the United States. Some of it would come to us, but the great portion of the trade would go through the United States by the favored line of hon. gentlemen opposite, without any hope of getting it back to Canada at Sault Ste. Marie. Sir, we know what a great amount, what an enormous amount of capital American capitalists possess who are connected with the railways of the United States. We have seen evidences of the mad rivalry which has existed occasionally between some great railway lines of that country. We have seen them run railways at ruinous rates, in the hope of breaking each other down. Sir, with our road, backed by a country of scarcely 4,000,000, with our country and with our infant capitalists, what chances would they have against the whole of the United States capitalists? What chance would they have? The Americans would offer to carry freight for nothing and aye to pay shippers for sending freight that way. It would not all come by Sault Ste. Marie. It would come to Duluth. It would come to Chicago. It would come through a hundred different channels. It would percolate through the United States, to New York and Boston, and to the other ports, and, Sir, after our railway was proved to be useless, they might, perhaps, come into the market and buy up our line as they have bought up other lines. Railway and telegraph lines are under no protection from foreign capitalists coming in and buying them up, getting control of our markets, and cutting us off from the trade which should come from the great West and by Canadian railways to the River St. Lawrence. They could afford for a series of years with their enormous wealth, with their enormous capital, exceeding the revenue of many, many first-class Governments in Europe, to put their rates for freight down to such a figure as would ruin our road, as would ruin the contractors, as would ruin the Company, and render them utterly impossible to continue in competition, and, Sir, what can be more wretched, or more miserable, in any country, than an insolvent railway. What could be more wretched and miserable and destructive to the future of a country than the offering on the market of the stock of insolvent railways? They cannot supply, they cannot renew the rails, they cannot maintain the road-bed in repair, they cannot keep the line supplied with railway stock. Sir, the road would become shrunken, shrunken, shrunken until it fell an easy prey to this ring. We cannot afford to run such a risk. We saw what a wheat ring did in Chicago. They raised the price of the necessaries of life, -- the ring in Chicago raised the price of the poor man's loaf for a whole year in order to make a profit at the expense of the laboring of Europe, and of all the rest of the world, and a similar combination, but infinitely richer, with infinitely more capital, and infinitely more unscrupulous -- and no men are so unscrupulous and so reckless, and are proven to be so unscrupulous and reckless, as the railway speculators and proprietors in the United States -- would be found in this case. Sir, it was essentially as a matter of precaution, a matter of necessity, and a matter of self-defence, that we provided that this road should not be depleted of its traffic in the manner which I have mentioned. That road shall be allowed fair play for twenty years from now, and only ten years after construction; and that it should be protected from the chance of being robbed of all the profits, robbed of all the gain, the legitimate gain, which the Company expects to get from this enterprise, and the employment of their capital. This was done only to protect them for the first ten years of their infant traffic. We know perfectly well, it will take many years before that country is filled up with a large population, and the first ten years will be most unprofitable; we know perfectly well that it will require all the exertion, and all the skill, and all the management of the Company to make the eastern and western sections of this road fully compensate them, and fairly compensate them for their responsibility, and for their expenditure during these ten years. In order to give them a chance, we have provided that the Dominion Parliament -- mind you the Dominion Parliament: we cannot check any other Parliament; we cannot check Ontario, we cannot check Manitoba -- shall for the first ten years after the construction of the road, give their own road into which they are putting so much money and so much land, a fair chance of existence. The very fact, Sir, that these gentlemen are willing to strike that bargain, and the very fact that they are willing to have their road built so, shows that they do not mean to run the line east of Red River. They can well afford, Mr. Speaker, to allow railways to run into the prairie line. Any railway as a local colonization line, as a line to supply the wants of the country lying along the line from east to west, the local traffic, and the trade which the road will obtain from Jasper House to Red River, will be amply sufficient to keep it up, and therefore, these gentlemen can well afford to say: "We do not want any such exemptions." But, Mr. Speaker, if they are going to build the road to the north of Lake Superior -- if they meant to do it -- and run it for ten years they should not allow that road to lie useless, actually useless in their hands, because its traffic would be all robbed and depleted long before their trade or a pound of trade could cross the Red River to run through Canadian territory. Sir, this is one of the many evidences of the innumerable evidences, patent on the face of the second contract, showing that it is not a bona fide contract, and it is not a bona fide and honest offer to build the road through Canadian territory; but that it is an offer to build a road which is to carry out the declared policy of hon. gentlemen sitting on the opposite side of the House. It is intended for that purpose, and that purpose only. The next clause, Mr. Speaker, is the sixteenth.

An hon. MEMBER: Six o'clock.

Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD: I do not think it will do to divide my remarks, and commence again to-morrow. I shall have an opportunity of speaking again I have no doubt. I may say, however, Sir, that my hon. friend opposite simulated indignation very well, -- as he always does -- when I moved that the Orders of the Day give way to the discussion of this subject. He appealed to the House and to the country to witness the wickedness of our course. It was well done, Sir, but is was rather significant, because the hon. gentleman had given us fair notice when we were in Committee, that he intended to speak at full length on the subject when you were in the chair. We did not desire to do anything, but to give every latitude for discussion. God knows we have given every latitude for discussion. But we wanted to get on. I knew perfectly well that when you were in the chair the discussion would be renewed, and all we wanted was not to be losing time. We were never such fools as to suppose that the second offer would not come before the House. Any hon. member could bring it up. The parties themselves could present petitions setting forth that they had made the offer. We wanted to go on with the discussion. I appeal to the members of this House as men who are patriots, as men who have the destinies of their country in their hands, not to be hoodwinked, not to be fooled, not to be led away by a disingenuous and discreditable trick. I know we can appeal to our countrymen; I know we can appeal to the patriotism of the people of Canada. We can tell them that we want a line that will connect Halifax with the Pacific Ocean. We can tell them, even from the mouth of our enemies, that out of our lands we can pay off every single farthing, every cent taken out of the pockets of the people, twenty-fold, and we will have a great Pacific Railway. This is what we will have. Let me draw a contrast! You are asked to have a railway running from the United States and to the United States. You are asked to have a line by which the trade from the east will run into the States, and by which the legitimate profits of the Lake Superior road will be destroyed. You are asked to have a line by which the trade from the West will run into the States. Mr. Speaker, the whole thing is an attempt to destroy the Pacific Railway. I can trust to the intelligence of this House, and the patriotism of this country, I can trust not only to the patriotism but to the common sense of this country to carry out an arrangement which will give us all we want, which will satisfy all the loyal legitimate aspirations which will give us a great, an united, a rich, an improving, a developing Canada, instead of making us tributary to American laws, to American railways, to American bondage, to American tolls, to American freights, to all the little tricks and big tricks that American railways are addicted to for the purpose of destroying our road. Look on this picture and then on that and I know which choice will be made by the people of Canada. And, Sir, I believe before the general elections in 1883, hon. gentlemen opposite will try to make the people forget, will try to make the people disremember, to use a western phrase, this publican plot, and will eat their own words before the people as they are trying to do now with regard to the National Policy -- and in doing so they will lose the respect of the people of Canada.

Mr. BLAKE moved the adjournment of the debate.

House adjourned at Six o'clock.


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Source: Canada. Parliament. House of Commons. Debates of the House of Commons of the Dominion of Canada. 4th Parliament, 3rd Session (Dec. 9, 1880: February 1, 1881). Ottawa: Maclean, Roger & Co., 1881. Pages 485-498.


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