April 1, 1903

FIRST READINGS.


Bill (No. 67) to incorporate the Brockville and Western Railway Company.-Mr. Taylor. Bill (No. 68) to incorporate the Lumbermen's Fire Insurance Company-Mr. Charlton. Bill (No. 69) to incorporate the Northwest Coal and Coke Railway Company.- -Mr. Scott. Bill (No. 70) to incorporate the Macleod, Cardston and Montana Railway Company.- Mr. Scott. Bill (No. 71) to incorporate the Imperial Company.-Mr. Bickerdike. Bill (No. 72) respecting the Bank of Montreal.-Mr. Bickerdike. Bill (No. 73) to incorporate the Ontario and Quebec Power Company.-Mr. Talbot.


OFFICIAL REPORT OF DEBATES.

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Mr. L. N.@

Champagne (Wright) moved :

That this House doth concur in the first report of the Select Committee appointed to supervise the Official Report of the Debates of this House.

Topic:   OFFICIAL REPORT OF DEBATES.
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Motion agreed to.


RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.


Mr. HUGH GUTHRIE (South Wellington) moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 74) to amend the Railway Act.


CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Will the hon. gentleman kindly explain the nature of the Bill ?

Topic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

Hugh Guthrie

Liberal

Mr. GUTHRIE.

This is a Bill the main provisions of which were incorporated in a Bill which I introduced last session, but which, owing to the lateness of the date when it was introduced, was not read a second time. It is a measure for the purpose of safe guarding the interests of workmen and employees of railway companies which under existing legislation are somewhat jeopardized. During the recess I have received considerable information on the subject and have incorporated some new provisions in the Bill which I introduced last session. The grievances which the Bill seeks to remedy may be classed under three heads. Railway employees object that they are now, in many instances, compelled to become members of insurance and benefit societies merely as a condition or an incident of their engagement. They complain also that having regard to the amount charged against them by these societies, the amount of insurance which they receive in case of accident or death is entirely inadequate. I believe, however, that the main cause of their complaint is that on becoming members of such societies, they forfeit their common law rights in the case of injury resulting to them through the negligence of the company or their fellow-servants. I am free to admit that the law is not very clear upon the question of the liability arising out of the relations of a railway company to its employees in cases where particular contracts have been entered into between them. In the case of the Grand Trunk Railway, which employs something like 25,000 members. the company has formed, under the authority of special Acts of parliament, a benefit society to which their employees are

bound to subscribe. On entering the employment of the Grand Trunk Railway, they are bound to join that society. One of its by-laws or rules, to which objection is taken,, is by-law No. 15, which provides that in the event of accident from whatever cause the railway company shall be exonerated from all liability. Last year I understood that the Grand Trunk Railway was the only company which imposed such a condition on its employees. A good deal of litigation has arisen over that provision, both in Ontario and in Quebec, and probably also in other provinces. In the case of Holton versus the Grand Trunk Railway, tried in Hamilton, it was decided by the court of first instance that by-law No. 15 was an absolute bar to recovery by the employees. That case went to the Court of Appeal, but no decision was reached upon that particular point, as the decision of the first court was maintained upon the question of contributory negligence. In the province of Quebec the question was also brought into court in a case against the Intercolonial, which has a similar in- surance or provident society and a similar by-law. Tlie Exchequer Court held that the widow of a deceased employee could recover, but on appeal to the Supreme Court this finding was reversed. The Supreme Court of Canada held that a similar condition to that imposed by the Grand Trunk [DOT]Railway was effective and protected the government of Canada from liability in case of accident. I admit that such findings, while they may be strictly in accord with the statute law of the country, are entirely opposed to the' trend of all modern legislation, which is to give greater protection to the employees, and in the case of accident give him or his representatives proper redress where the accident occurred through the negligence, either of the company itself or his fellow-servants. The Bill that I have now introduced provides, not that there shall be any bar to the contracting out of liability, but that if any attempt be made by an employee to contract out of his common law liability, that contract shall be subject to the supervision of the court and shall not stand unless it can be shown that it was made upon proper consideration and is, in the mind of the judge, a reasonable contract. The Bill secondly provides that it shall be optional with an employee whether he become a member of such benevolent or insurance society or not. The Bill further provides that those workmen or employees, who are at present members of such societies, may upon reasonable notice withdraw from them. Fourthly, it provides that the provisions of this Bill shall apply to government railways. I make this provision because in the new Railway Bill introduced this session, there is a provision that it shall not apply to government railways.

Topic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


QUESTIONS.

LIGHTING OF CHAMBER.

CON

Mr. CLARKE asked :

Conservative (1867-1942)

1. For what reason was the artificial lighting of this chamber changed or altered since last session ?

2. Were any complaints received last session against the artificial lighting of this chamber ? And if so, by whom ?

3. What was t.he cost of making the change in the lighting of this chamber, and who did the work ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   LIGHTING OF CHAMBER.
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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS (Hon. Jas. Sutherland) :

1. To give the Canada General Electric Company, an opportunity to demonstrate, as they claimed, that their arc lamps! were superior to the incandescent.

2. No complaints were made.

3. No expense attached, the same wiring

was used and the company installed the lamps on trial. [DOT]

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   LIGHTING OF CHAMBER.
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DOMINION LANDS.

CON

Mr. ROCHE (Marquette) asked :

Conservative (1867-1942)

1. On what principle are Dominion lands sold in Manitoba and North-west Territories ?

2. On what principle are prices fixed ?

3. Who has authority to fix prices and terms?

4. What is the average price received for lands sold since July 1, 1902 ?

5. Have any blocks of 10,000 acres or over been sold ? If so, in what district, to whom, and at what price, since July 1, 1902 ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION LANDS.
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The POSTMASTER GENERAL (Hon. Sir Wm. Mulock) :

1. Generally speaking no agricultural lands are being sold, such lands at the disposal of the department being now held for homestead entry by actual settlers. In exceptional cases, however, where a settler is not entitled to homestead, or where he has missed the right of second entry by a technicality or a few days shortage in residence, or where first homestead is of such poor quality that he cannot make a living on it, land is sold to him subject to homestead conditions.

2. The regulations fix the price of coal at $7 (bituminous) per acre ; and $17 (anthracite); minerals (other than coal) $1 per acre; and surface rights on coal and farming lands $3 per acre. The regulations governing the disposal of Dominion lands give the Minister of the Interior authority under certain conditions to dispose of lands at not less than the minimum price of $1 per acre.

3. The Minister of the Interior.

4. $3.60 per acre.

5. Since 1st July, 1902, no blocks of 10,000 acres or over have been sold. An

agreement, however, has been entered into with the Canadian North-west Irrigation Company by which, upon their fulfilling certain irrigation conditions, they will have permission to purchase a block of 500,000 acres. Price $3 per acre subject to a rebate for expenditure in irrigation not exceeding $2 per acre. The land is situated south-east of Lethbridge in the semi-arid district.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION LANDS.
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FREE LIST OR LOWERED DUTY.

CON

George Adam Clare

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARE asked :

Have there been any changes made in the tariff, by Order in Council, since January 1st, 1902 ? If so:

1. What articles have been put on the free list ?

' 2. What articles have been reduced in duty ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   FREE LIST OR LOWERED DUTY.
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April 1, 1903