HC Deb 27 May 1907 vol 174 cc1313-4

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether there are at present five steamship lines which convey passengers to Canada; and whether it is proposed, in the event of a subsidised fast mail service to Canada being initiated, to grant any compensation to the lines now competing for this trade.


My hon. friend's Question is premature. His Majesty's Government have promised to examine very carefully the proposals which have been submitted by Sir Wilfrid Laurier to the Imperial Conference, and which have been in general principle, apart from all questions of cost and detail, approved by that body. Such an examination must necessarily take some time, and until it is completed I do not perceive the advantage of the official promulgation of detached and partial facts elicited by Question and Answer, and designed by the questioner to point a particular moral in this direction or in that. If my hon. friend will wait until the proceedings of the Conference are published—I hope at the end of this week—he will be able to see exactly where and how we stand in this matter. But meanwhile His Majesty's Government cannot admit the principle that if one line of steamers is subsidised by the Government the other lines running on the same route should be compensated.