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A joint meeting of The Empire Club of Canada and The Canadian Club of Toronto.
Some facts and background to the Canadian National Railway. The Canadian National as much more than a railway network. The Canadian National as a System, organized into a managerial unit, which also exercises ownership or control over three major steamship operations, a nation-wide telecommunications network, a chain of ten hotels and three summer resorts, and other varied facilities including grain elevators and an airline. The employees of the Canadian National. Revenues and activities. Equipment and supplies needed. Feeling the effects of rising prices, with example. What price inflation has done to CN's operating expenses, with figures. Effects of inflation on many parts of Canadian society. The average level of railway freight rates in Canada still one of the lowest of any country in the world. The financial record of CN. Some history of the Canadian National Railway System since its beginning in 1923. The takeover by CNR of the Grand Trunk Railway, the Canadian Northern Railway, the Grand Trunk Pacific and the Canadian Government Railways. Financial arrangements and objections to them; taking on debts from bankrupt companies. The speaker's position as Chairman and President. Presenting the annual report and capital budgets to Parliament. A discussion of the paradox to be found in the competitive relationship between the railways and commercial road transport. Two lines of approach to deal with this issue. The duty of the management of CN, as viewed by the speaker, and how to go about it. Sensitivity to public opinion. Changes in the regard of CNR by the public. An end to the bitter quarrels and controversies of the thirties. A strong appreciation, following World War II, of the fact that railways in Canada constitute the fourth arm of defence. Canadians adjusting to the immense changes in the economy since the depression of the thirties. The CNR in the vanguard of some of the major economic developments in prospect in Canada. The importance of immigration to the early growth of Canada, and the part played by railways as the major agencies of colonization. A continuing role in this regard. Difficulties that the CNR has to deal with, especially in terms of aging operating equipment and facilities. Getting the maximum use out of existing equipment and facilities. The relationship between management and employees; the factor of size and the difficulty of making frequent personal contacts. The need for a sense of vision, and resolute, realistic faith in the future that the speaker's job requires. The role of the railways in Canada.