MONK (Jacques Cartier) moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 8) to amend the Interpretation Act.
Bill (No. 7) respecting the Canada Southern Railway Company.-Mr. Ingram.
INTERPRETATION ACT AMENDMENT.
Will the hon. gentleman kindly explain.
The object of this Bill is to declare more clearly in the Interpretation Act that company's incorporated by the Federal parliament or acting under charter from Federal authority are, nevertheless, subject, in each province, as regards damages or torts, to the civil law of that pro-
vince. The necessity for that law has become apparent from the recent decision of the Privy Council in the cases of the Can-andian Pacific Railway Company vs. Roy. In this case our courts decided that, though a railway company incorporated by and subject to the Federal law was authorized to prosecute its business, it nevertheless was subject to the law of our province as regards damages. The effect of the decision was that if an engine of the company, though worked with all the necessary appliances to secure immunity from fire, should cause a fire in the course of its use in the business of the company, the company was liable for the damages occasioned by that fire. That was the unanimous decision of our courts. It was held, however, in England, conformably, as I understand, to the English law, that when a railway company is incorporated and authorized to prosecute its business, and when it prosecutes that business with all the necessary precautions, it is not liable in damages. Consequently it has been thought necessary that an Act should be passed to declare that in our province although railway companies are incorporated by Dominion charter, they are nevertheless subject, under the constitutional Act, to the Civil Code of Lower Canada as regards damages.
Might I ask the hon. gentleman if it refers to the province of Quebec alone ?
It does not refer to the province of Quebec alone, but the main disposition declares that laws of that nature will apply to the whole of Canada.
But no law, power of privilege granted by a Federal law, or a charter emanating under some Federal law will have for effect to remove any person or company from the responsibility which it would incur under the civil law or the common law of each province in the exercise of such right, power or privilege.
It merely declares that in cases such as the one I have just described, the civil law of each province will apply, conformably to the dispositions of the Constitutional Act of 1SG7.
Mr. W. F. MACLEAN (East York).
The question raised by the hon. gentleman (Mr. Monk) is a very timely one, and it is coming up in this House in another respect in regard to the Bell Telephone Company. That company is incorporated under Dominion law, and yet it claims to override the municipal law of Ontario in so far as taking possession of streets is concerned. I imagine that question will come before the House this session. The contention of the Bell Telephone Company all along has been, as against the municipalities, that because it is incorporated under a Dominion Act it does not come under the municipal law. Now, I
believe it was laid down in this parliament some years ago that a company so incorporated, no matter what rights they alleged had been given to it in its charter, was still subject to the municipal law, and that it did not require an exact definition of what its rights were, of a clause protecting the municipality. But the question is coming up, and it may come up in a very wide way.
I am glad the hon. gentleman has introduced this Bill for the purpose of making the whole question clear.
I may add to the remarks made by the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) that this Bill is a very timely one, because, according to a recent decision rendered by the Privy Council in the case just cited, that of Roy and the Canadian Pacific Railway, the jurisprudence of our courts in the province of Quebec has been completely reversed. In that case, it was decided by our courts, that the railway company was responsible for damages caused to a settler in the northern district of Montreal, and the judgment so rendered by the Superior Court was unanimously confirmed by the Court of King's Bench. The same jurisprudence has been upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada in cases arising in the province of Quebec. But when we go before the Privy Council the whole jurisprudence, all the precedents, are reversed, and a new jurisprudence is created. The above judgment, I may say, has caused an uneasy feeling in the province of Quebec. Our judges have been slighted and our law has been completely ignored. We have been told by their Lordships of the Privy Council, that in matters of damages and torts we are to be governed by the English common law. With all due respect to that law, I may say that we, in the province of Quebec intend to maintain the system of laws and the customs which have been granted and secured to us by the constitution of this country. I think the Bill presented by my hon. friend from Jacques Cartier is a timely one, and ought to receive the full support of this House. *
My sympathies are altogether along the lines enunciated by the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) and by the hon. member for Gaspe (Mr. Lemieux). But my hon. friend from Jacques Cartier, I am sure, who is an eminent counsel, cannot fail to realize that it is questionable whether the legislation which he has in view will remedy the evil which he seeks to remedy. The question is whether we can at the present time evade the powers which have been granted to us under a Federal Act. I doubt if we can do so. But the question which my hon. friend has raised is not a new one. That question is as to what extent a charter granted by the parliament of Canada can invade a disposition
of the Federal Act which provides that civil rights are under the control of local legislatures. There is a line of demarkation between the two, but it is sometimes difficult of application. Whenever we give a charter to a railway company we necessarily invade private property. For instance, we give to the chartered railway company the power of expropriating a property for the benefit of the company. That is clearly an invasion of civil rights. Still there is no doubt whatever that parliament has power to invade civil rights to that extent, in other words, there is no doubt that we have the right to invade civil rights so far as it may be necessary to carry out the object of the franchise which is given by the Federal parliament. But here is a question : How far can these aivil rights be invaded ? That they may be invaded to the extent of accomplishing everything which is the consequence of the charter given, there can be no doubt whatever. But there is a great doubt whether the consequences which are not the immediate consequences of the charter, can be invaded. In the case which has been cited, as stated by the hon. member for Jacques Cartier, the circumstances were these : The Canadian Pacific Railway Company had committed a tort against an individual, unwillingly and unwittingly, that is to say, a spark which blew from an engine set fire to a barn and destroyed it. Under the civil law of the province of Quebec, which is certainly, in my estimation, most just and most equitable, the company would have been responsible, even if it had taken all the precautions which it could take before the accident. Under the common law, as X understand it, which prevails in England, the moment a company had done everything that could reasonably be done, when they had taken all the precautions they could take under such circumstances, they would not be liable for the consequences. Well, the Court of Appeal of the province of Quebec determined that under such circum-stances'the law of the province would apply, and the company would be liable for the tort. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council decided to the contrary. I do not know that the evil which it is sought to remedy will be covered by the Bill introduced by my bon. friend; I doubt it very much, because we cannot infringe upon a Federal Act. But in my opinion the judgment of the Court of Appeals of Quebec was the better judgment of the two. I think that is the law, and not the interpretation laid down by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
Air. T. CHASE CASGRAIN (Montmorency).
I have no doubt the Bill which my hon. friend from Jacques Cartier has introduced should pass in some way, if not in the terms in which it is drafted, at all events
Sir WILFRID LAURIER.
in such terms as will relieve those who suffer under circumstances similar to those suffered by this man Roy.
I do not quite agree with what my hon. friend from Gaspe (Mr. Lemieux) said when he stated to the House that the Privy Council had held that this question should be decided according to the law of England and not according to the law of the province of Quebec. As I read the judgment, their lordships came to the conclusion that the common law of the province of Quebec was similar to the common law of England and they decided it according to the principles of the English law, which they stated were also the principles of the law of the province of Quebec. The whole question turned upon the interpretation of article 1053 of our Civil Code, which says that if damage is caused by any fault, whether by an unskilful act or neglect, the person is responsible in damages. But their lordships asked : How can it be possible that there will be fault upon the party if the act complained of is authorized by statute ? The present charter of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company gives the railway company not only permission to run its railway but directs that it shall be run in such a way and on the line which is set out and this becomes part of its charter by following the provisions of the general Railway Act. Therefore, their lordships said this Act being authorized by statute-the particular Act being authorized by a particular statute-there could be no fault upon the company and therefore the case would not fall within the purview of article 1053 of the Civil Code. On the other hand there is a principle of our legislation, which exists in all legislation, and it is that nobody can be expropriated without an indemnity being paid to him. If a railway line is run across the country those whose lands are taken have a compensation fixed either by arbitration or otherwise. Their lands cannot be taken without an indemnity being paid to them, and also those whose lands are injuriously affected, whose lands in part are taken and whose lauds are injuriously affected by the passing of a railway have a remedy. They are to be indemnified, but the difficulty, as far is I know the jurisprudence of the country, has been that every one cannot be indemnified for the passing of a railway unless a part of the land is taken in such a way that when a part of the land is taken not only should the party receive compensation for the land "taken, but also compensation for the other part of the land which has been injuriously affected by the passing of the railway. If no part of the land is taken then a party has no right and cannot be compensated for the reason of being injuriously affected by the passing of a railway. For instance, here is land which has a barn on the line of railway. The railway company by operating its line sets
fire to this barn. The owner of this property is expropriated just as much as if the company took his barn. But, the law does not give him any remedy. I think that this man should be compensated just as much as if his land, or barn, had been taken for the purpose of the railway and probably when the question comes to be studied in committee, a Bill can be drafted so that not only those whose lands are taken and injuriously affected by the passing of a railway may be compensated, but also those upon whose lands a railway does not pass, or whose lands are not taken, but whose lands are injuriously affected may also be compensated. It seems to me that there lies the remedy to meet the case, and that it would be only fair and equitable that such a person should be indemnified. On these lines compensation could be given and a proper remedy provided in such a case, as the circumstances should warrant.
Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.
House in Committee of Supply. Archives, $8,000.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to suggest to the hon. Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Fisher) that I think time would be gained by not going on with these estimates to-day. The hon. gentleman weii kqows the House has only been a very few days in session and that lion, members on neither side of the House have had any time whatever to consult the reports that I confess have been promptly brought down. I think we would gain time by giving a reasonable opportunity for hon. members on both sides of the House to consult the reports. These are important estimates and while I have no desire whatever to delay them I think we should have time to look somewhat into the reports.
I may say, in the first place, that notice was given to the leader of the ojiposition (Mr. Borden, Halifax) last night that these estimates would be taken up to-day, and in the second place, I may say that the report of the department was laid on the Table of the House on Friday last, so that it has been in the hands of hon. members for three or four days. Of course, I have no desire at all to press hon. members opposite, or to debar them from every opportunity of discussing these estimates, or of getting all the information possible, but, I think, perhaps, that the business of the House would be unduly interfered with and delayed if the estimates are not taken up. If these estimates are not gone on with it practically means that none can be, because the estimates of the other 11