March 20, 1903

?

The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

So far as the Intercolonial Railway is concerned, my hon. friend would not,

I am sure, anticipate that any conflict is likely to arise with the decisions of the commission in respect of rates, because I have never heard any one allege that the rates charged on the Intercolonial Railway are of such a character that they would have to be reduced in order to conform to the rates prevailing on other lines.

Topic:   25S
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Well, we are making this Bill for the future, are we not, as well as the past ?

Topic:   25S
Permalink
?

The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

Yes, and I think the experience of the past affords very good ground for inferring what will be our experience in the future. I would say, in regard to the condition pointed to in the first instance by my hon. friend from Selkirk (Mr. McCreary), I understand that the nature of. the agreement between the Canadian Northern and the Manitoba government is this : The Canadian Northen binds itself not to impose a higher rate than the specific rate mentioned in that agreement in respect of its traffic which, of course, so far as the jurisdiction of the Manitoba legislature is concerned, would be limited to the province of Manitoba. The exercise of the powers of this commission are not therefore likely to bring it into conflict with any contract made between the provincial government and that railway. While the hon. gentleman was speaking, the thought presented itself to my mind that the only question that would arise would be as to whether or not the Canadian Northern was imposing too high a rate. Well, there could be nothing in this

contract which would entitle that company to claim that a reduction in rates was heyond the jurisdiction of the railway commission or this parliament and that they could therefore not properly be asked to submit to the jurisdiction of the railway commission. The railway commission might cut down its rates and the Manitoba government could not complain in that case, though it might complain if the rates were put up. I do not think therefore that the case is one of practical difficulty.

Topic:   25S
Permalink
CON
?

The MINISTER OP RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

No.

Topic:   25S
Permalink
CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. HAGGART.

What then did the hon. gentleman mean when he said that costs would apply ?

Topic:   25S
Permalink
?

The MINISTER OP RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

We propose that the same system shall continue that now obtains in the

Railway Committee, namely that the costs be left to the discretion of the commission. The fact that we are constituting this commission a court of record, is not tantamount to setting up a judicial tribunal in the ordinary sense. We are simply giving authority to the decrees which they may pass.

Topic:   25S
Permalink
CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. HAGGART.

I understand that the power to allow costs will be the same as that now held by the Railway Committee of the Privy Council.

Topic:   25S
Permalink
?

The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

Yes.

Topic:   25S
Permalink
CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. HAGGART.

I understood that the object was, in view of the ease with which questions might be brought before that tribunal, to allow this power of mulcting a party in costs to prevent bringing what are called litigious actions.

Topic:   25S
Permalink
?

The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

I think we have only given costs in two cases in the last six or seven years.

Topic:   25S
Permalink
CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. HAGGART.

I presided over that committee for a number of years, and never allowed costs in any case.

THE MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS. We have allowed only fifty dollars or so in one or two cases.

Topic:   25S
Permalink
CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. HAGGART.

No matter who these commissioners under this new law may be, I do not think the commission will be any more responsible or intelligent or better able to deal with the questions coming before it than is the Railway Committee of the Privy Council. There is one change made in this Bill with which I quite agree. Commissioners were to hold office the same tenure as judges and to be removable only on an address to both Houses of parliament. The hon. gentleman now intends to give the Governor in Council power to remove these gentlemen.

Topic:   25S
Permalink
?

The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

For cause.

Topic:   25S
Permalink
CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. HAGGART.

Of course. But no officer has ever been removed by the present government, except ' for cause,' according to the Minister of Railways and Canals and others. But the ' cause ' may be very slight in some cases. But I believe in the power of removal, and I think this is an improvement in the Bill. As I have said, there are a good many things in which the commissioners might exercise power. One is as to the issue of stock and bonds. Of course, they cannot prevent that issue, because the company is given the power in its charters. But they can exercise a supervisory and educational power, as is done by the commissioners in the United States. Of course, if an issue were illegal, it would be bad and void. But they can inform the public of any excessive exercise of the power of issuing stock or bonds. As I have said, it is not my intention to discuss the Bill in Hon. Mr. BLAIR.

full. We shall have an opportunity on the second reading and when the Bill is in committee.

Topic:   25S
Permalink
CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I would like to ask the hon. member for South Lanark (Mr. Hag-gart) whether, if a charter were granted with a provision that the use of the bonding powers shall be subject to the approval of the commission, the commission would not be able to control such powers ?

Topic:   25S
Permalink
CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. HAGGART.

Certainly they would. They can do that now-they can alter any charter or cancel any contract. Their power is supreme in these things, the only condition being that it shall be done specifically, otherwise the interpretation would go against them in the courts. Of course, if, as my hon. friend (Mr. Sproule) says, it were embodied in an Act of parliament, that would be sufficient. But how could you embody it ?

Topic:   25S
Permalink
?

The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

To whom do I understand my hon. friend (Mr. Haggart) to refer when he says ' they ' have the power to do these things now ? [DOT]

Topic:   25S
Permalink
CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. HAGGART.

I mean the parliament of Canada. It has absolute power to control. We have the power of eminent domain, and can even take a man's property without giving him any consideration in return. Of course, that is never done, but still the power is vested in us.

Topic:   25S
Permalink
?

The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

In whom ?

Topic:   25S
Permalink

March 20, 1903