I was about to refer to what the hon. member for Haldimand (Mr. Thompson) said. He called upon the members from the lower provinces, because this was an Ontario matter, to join him. Does he want us to do violence to the principles of common law because there are people in Ontario who wish it ? If the hon. gentleman wants that, he should provide that this Act shall apply only to Ontario; and, then, if Ontario is unanimously for it, I will not say a word against it. Now, we in the lower provinces have a fair number of miles of railway. Yet I have not received a single letter in support of this Bill, nor have I seen a single word about it from my own portion of the country. I have no doubt the difficulty arises In Ontario, and perhaps elsewhere. But we should never forget, as the hon. member for Annapolis (Mr. Wade) has so well said, that it would be idiotic for us to remedy one difficulty merely by creating another. Legislation" should be designed to remove difficulties, not to create new ones, that, perhaps, would be worse than the others. Wise men will seek to lessen a difficulty, or do away with it if possible, but will not pass legislation that will merely irritate the other side and create a difficulty greater than the cure. So, as one member from the lower provinces, I cannot accept the flattering invitation of the hon. member for Haldimand that, because he and others want it we should support this amendment to the law. We must consider what the effects of the change would be, not in Ontario only, but elsewhere. It seems to me that this would put the farmer in a position of unfair advantage, and as the hon. member for East Middlesex said, there is no farmer in Canada who wants that. It is not necessary for us to talk about the farmers being honest; the farmers of Canada need no defenders here or elsewhere. Under the wording of this Act, it would be possible for any man to recover whose cattle were killed. Even the present law is mixed up with this phrase of ' suitable and sufficient,' but if you will read the words as they appear in this Bill :
And no animal not allowed by law to run at large shall be held for the purpose cf such liability to bo improperly on a place adjoining the railway if such animals get upon the railway from the highway by reason of such omission or neglect to maintain such cattle-guards or fences at the highway crossing.
In connection with this, you must read ' by reason of neglect to maintain such suitable cattle-guards or fences.' That, it appears to me. would make it almost impossible to defend any action, and I do not
think any hon. gentleman would want that.
I think we should accept what the Minister of Railways has said. But, if that is not accepted, i will vote for the amendment of the hon. member for Halton, for that is the next best thing in my opinion. I would not have taken up time but that I wished the committee to understand that we who come from the lower provinces can look at this question not only from the point of view of our own provinces, but from the point of view of the general effect of this statute.