May 27, 1903

LIB

Andrew George Blair (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Hon. Mr. BLAIR.

amply competent to deal with ; and they will, I think, assure the public against offence in the future. The hon. member for East York (Mr. Maclean) almost suggests to my mind the case of an individual who has been crying out for a long time for a railway commission ; then he gets it, and, after he gets it, he enters upon a close scrutiny of the Bill to see if there is some little point that might be put into it which is not there; and, after having made patient search, he finds at last that, broad and comprehensive as this Bill is, there is one thing that it does not comprehend-it does not give the commission power over all express companies ; and the moment my hon. friend discovers that, he begins to preach that this Bill is no good. That is the one thing he is particularly anxious to have in it; there is nothing else that measures in value to that feature ; and because that is not in the Bill, he is going to give it no particular show. The hon. gentleman is running away with the idea that express companies will be allowed to run riot under cover of the railways, in handling express business. That is not permissible under the Bill. If the hon. memi-ber had listened to what I said a while ago, he would have heard from me that this Bill assumes control of the railways, and the railways could not put freight in the hands of express companies, and allow them under the cover of the railway to make all sorts of extravagant demands. In regard to the tolls that are to be paid to a railway company by an express company out of its earnings, they will be subject to the control of the commission.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

We do not control the rates of express companies ?

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

No ; and you cannot do it with this Bill without encumbering the Bill needlessly, without introducing into it, almost from the first to the last, exceptions and amendments to such an extent that I tell this committee frankly I am not prepared to undertake it at this time. I am not able to do so. It requires more thought and time and care than I can give to it. When I tell the hon. gentleman that, he has only another year to wait. We have lived through the past without much control, according to the hon. gentleman ; we have lived down to the year of grace 1903 ; . and one might suppose that we could continue to live in the same way for another year. Any one who feels keenly on this matter might introduce a Bill himself, and I am sure it would receive the consideration of parliament. Such a measure should not control simply those express companies which are operated on railways, and let every other express company run free of control. That would be unjust. It will not do to deal partially with the question ; it will have to be dealt with carefully ; and I am not prepared to take that question up at

this session of parliament. If my hon. friend will apply that bright, penetrating, astute intellect of his to the serious questions which we may deal with in this Bill, I am sure that his assistance will he most valuable, and I shall be glad to have it, because I know that he has a great deal of interest in these general questions which are of public importance. But let me give my hon. friend one little word of advice. Do not assume, because these questions are not being dealt with, that there must be some motive or influence or power operating upon one's mind to prevent him dealing with them. My hon. friend is not one whit clearer from influences of that character than the people whom he criticises, and it would be much better and fairer on his part to deal with questions on their merits.

Topic:   THE RAILWAY ACT, 1903.
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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

On almost every occasion when I bring up questions in this House, the hon. gentleman undertakes to lecture me. I have a right to express my views here without being lectured by him, and I have a right to criticise his conduct whenever it seems well for me to do so.

r

Topic:   THE RAILWAY ACT, 1903.
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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

And I have a right to lecture you.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

When I look at the hon. gentleman's administration of the Railway Department of this country, what do I find? I find that this illegal classification has existed for years without his protesting against it. What is he there for ? What do we pay him for ? Why does he not bring these companies to time ? As a matter of fact, not one dollar of tolls can be collected by these companies without being approved by the Governor in Council. Yet there sit fifteen men who confess here to-day that this thing has taken place, and nothing has been done for the protection of the public. The hon. gentleman has lectured me in regard to this question of express companies. He says an opportunity shall be given to me to amend. I propose an amendment now. Mr. Chairman, 1 beg to move to amend the clause by inserting the words ' express companies ' after the words ' to all ' in the first line. The hon. gentleman says that the opportunity will be open to me to do something next session. I am sent here to do something this session. It is all very fine for the hon. gentleman to talk about imputing motives. Probably he is inviting this kind of thing today so that the Bill will not pass. He has promised it for this year, and when we propose to make it a good and complete Bill, he gets up and assumes a fatherly air and lectures everybody who ventures to criticise it. That lecture may be worth little or much. It has very little influence on me. In the interest of the public, of the commercial community, of the farmers, of the fruit growers, I propose that this Bill shall take jurisdiction forthwith, from the time of its 112*

passage, over express companies as well as railway companies. Express companies are another name for railway companies, to enable them to evade the control of the law. Why not bring them under the law now ? It only means that another schedule of rates shall come under the jurisdiction of the commission. I wish to see this commission created. I wish to see the measure pass this session. I will give every assistance I can to have it become law this session, and I hope that the minister will listen to suggestions made by gentlemen on this side of the House for the purpose of making the Bill as good and complete as we can, without delivering lectures to them.

Topic:   THE RAILWAY ACT, 1903.
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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I do not see why the hon. minister should complain of too minute an analysis by an hon. member as he has done in the case of my hon. friend from York (Mr. Maclean). It is our duty to scrutinize most carefully every section of the Bill in order to make it as perfect as possible. But what I rose more particularly to refer to is the fact that a good many railways will be outside the jurisdiction of this commission. We first exclude the government railways. I do not see why we should. If a railway commission is a good thing, it ought to be equally as good for the farmer in the maritime provinces as for the farmer in Ontario. It is quite conceivable that the government, in its management of the Intercolonial Railway, may discriminate unjustly against one shipper in favour of another. It would do no injustice to government or to the people to make this Bill apply to government railways. Then we exclude a large portion of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and also railways with provincial charters. Leaving these out, the Bill will apply to only a few railways at the best, and shippers will be confronted with the same difficulty as they were met with a few years ago before certain railways were declared for the general advantage of Canada when they had one-half of a railway a provincial road and the other half a Dominion road. Suppose a shipper in Ontario sends something to the seaboard. He first sends his freight over a provincial railway and then there is a dispute. He complains of being charged higher rates than somebody else. The company reply that the rate was a through rate and governed partly by local and partly by federal authorities. Under what law will the citizen prosecute to get his rights ? Will the commission deal with that question ?

Topic:   THE RAILWAY ACT, 1903.
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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

Section 5 specially provides that this Bill shall apply.

Topic:   THE RAILWAY ACT, 1903.
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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

It applies to companies which are within the legislative authority of Canada, but these provincial railways are not.

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

With respect to their traffic they are.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

But not local traffic. What I was going to point out is that if this commission is to be as useful as we hope it will, it can only be made so by working in conjunction with provincial commissioners on the plan of the interstate law in the United States. We have an equal right to include electric railways just as well as steam. The interpretation clause says :

The expression ' railway ' means a.ny railway which the company has power to construct or operate.

Topic:   THE RAILWAY ACT, 1903.
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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

If my hon. friend will turn to page 29. section 118, subsection F, he will find that the Act applies to electric railways.

Topic:   THE RAILWAY ACT, 1903.
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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I looked to the interpretation clause, assuming that the electric railways would be found there.

Topic:   THE RAILWAY ACT, 1903.
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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

Can the hon. gentleman name any railways in the province of Ontario which are not subject to the control of this parliament ?

Topic:   THE RAILWAY ACT, 1903.
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CON
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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

That has a Dominion charter.

Topic:   THE RAILWAY ACT, 1903.
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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

Would the railway being built by the provincial government towards Temiscaming come under this ?

Topic:   THE RAILWAY ACT, 1903.
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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

The number of railways which will not come under this commission is so small and their mileage so limited, that they are not worth considering. The Grand Trunk Railway and the Canadian Pacific Railway are the two great systems doing business in the older provinces and they apparently are going to do the business in tiie west.

Topic:   THE RAILWAY ACT, 1903.
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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

Take Manitoba and Ontario, and the hon. gentleman will find there are quite a few.

Topic:   THE RAILWAY ACT, 1903.
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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

The number is rapidly diminishing.

Topic:   THE RAILWAY ACT, 1903.
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May 27, 1903