July 8, 1903

CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

It depends entirely upon the good will of the board.

The MINISTER OB" RAILWAYS AND CANALS. You could not gain anything by simply passing a section providing that street crossings on the level shall he better protected than they are now. On the other hand, you cannot make the clause more definite or complete than that which has been passed by the committee. There are differences in the requirements of different localities and in the protection needed. . Some need less, and some need more.

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CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

I would suggest that he insert the words ' or watchman.'

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

I am opposed to this amendment, not because it is not necessary, but because the provisions are already covered by existing enactments.

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CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

Tbe minister means that because the board has power to order these things they are all there ?

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

Yes.

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CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

That is not the same thing as to the proposed amendment. The amendment makes these provisions obligatory. In the one case this parliament is delegating to the board power to do what they may think fit; in the other case we are laying down a rule to guide the board.

Amendment negatived.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

At the request of the hon. member for Vancouver (Mr. Smith), and Mr. Hall, representative of the railway employees of Canada, I have been asked to move an amendment to section 211 with respect to the equipment of cars. I understand the hon. member for Vancouver is ill, and that is the reason he has asked me to move this amendment:

That section 211 is hereby amended by adding thereto the following :-

All box freight cars built in Canada for use on the Canadian railways after the passing of this Act shall be provided with the following Attachments for the security of railway employees ;

Outside ladders, on the opposite ends and sides of each car, projecting below the frame of the car, with one step or rung of the ladders below t*he frame, the ladders being placed close to the ends and sides to which they are attached ;

Hand grips placed anglewise over the ladders of each box car and so arranged as to assist persons in climbing on the roof by means of the ladder ;

All cars built prior to the passing of this Act shall be fitted to comply with subsection five of this section on or before the 31st day of July, 1905.

I have carefully read the evidence that was given before the hon. gentleman at the time the representatives of the several railway companies and the representatives of the employees gave evidence. I find that certain gentlemen belonging to the companies have stated that the railway employees of Canada are opposed to the amendment I have just read. I can contradict that statement by some sixty resolutions that I hold in my hand, passed by the railway employees of this country at all the railway centres in British Columbia, the North-west Territories, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and the eastern provinces. In these resolutions the railway employees declare themselves most decidedly in favour of this amendment. I have read the evidence carefully, and I am able to make that statement. It is not the officers of a railway company or the men employed in shops who are in a position to judge as to whether this amendment is a proper thing. The only men who are competent to judge of that are the men who have to use these ladders when they climb on and off the cars. I know of my own personal knowledge that the side ladders are absolutely necessary on all box cars. I find in the city of Winnipeg that nearly all the foreign cars which come in to that city are supplied with side ladders. I am in a position to say that the Canada Southern division of the Michigan Central Railway have these side ladders on their cars. The great objects that are sought by railway companies in this country are to lessen the curves, to increase the capacity of their rolling stock, to draw as large trains as possible and to get them over the road as quickly as they can. Now the object of these side ladders is to enable the conductor on these long freight trains, when they are approach-Mr. LANCASTER.

ing a station, instead of waiting for the train to haul up at the station and stop, he gets out of the caboose at the rear of the train, climbs up on top, and passes over the entire train in order that he may be at the station as soon as the train stops and get off and get his orders. When he gets his orders he starts out his train. The conductor cannot possibly stop for the caboose to come along when the train is running at quite a speed. The object of the side ladders is to enable him to get on top of that train without running the danger of climbing up from the end where he might possibly fall off and be run over. He gets up on the side ladder because it is safer and handier, and by the same means he gets on top of the cars and passes back to his caboose. By adopting that method he is saving time and gets the train faster over the road, instead of having the train slacken up for him to get on as was stated in the evidence here. Therefore, notwithstanding the statements made in this evidence to the contrary, it is abundantly shown that these side ladders are required.

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

The subject of these side ladders has been much considered by me. I had the benefit of hearing people representing the railways and some representing the operatives, and I felt much embarrassed in trying to come to a conclusion as to whether the disadvantages or the advantages of the side ladders preponderated. The more I heard on the question the more I felt that this parliament was not capable of determining a question of that kind, but that the board, which is to be charged with these duties could much better be trusted to settle this question. Now, we have under our general railway law given full power to the board, which Is authorized to see that all proper appliances are provided for the safety of the employees; they must see that the trains are safely equipped, and that the appliances are altered from time to time when in their judgment they may deem it necessary. When we here require that a particular sort of appliance should be adopted we are making it imperative upon the companies that they should continue to adopt these appliances and a continual change in the railway law of this parliament will be required In order that the improvements should be in general use. That is not a desirable state of things. I think the object would be much better served by leaving this contentious question to be determined by the board, which could take the best means of ascertaining what are the real facts of the matter. Therefore, I would urge the hon. gentleman not to press the motion he has mentioned here, because I think it is one we would not be justified in adopting.

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CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

If the hon. minister will say that the law should not be as the hon. member for East Elgin (Mr. Ingram)

has stated, that these ladders should not be on the ears, I would agree that we should not put this amendment in, but X cannot agree with bis reason that we should refrain from adopting such a provision because we might have to repeal this provision if some better contrivance were found in future. It would not be any more trouble to do so than to pass some of the private Bills that go through this House pretty hurriedly sometimes and some of which involve in some ways much larger questions than this.

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

I have heard both sides, and I have not been able to make up my mind one way or the other. I was far from concluding that it would be a safe thing to do because, we know where engines are shunting trains in the yards and where the cars are approaching one another, taking all the precautions1 that you can, persons who are hanging on the side of the car, perhaps on a dark night, might be struck and if they are struck they would likely be fatally struck under such circumstances. There are various reasons that could be urged against it.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

All of which do not amount to anything.

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

After listening to the discussion as closely as I could, I was unable to reach a satisfactory conclusion in my own mind. Therefore, I could not recommend the committee to adopt the amendment.

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CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

I think the 200 and odd members of this House could come to a conclusion upon this question with the information that the hon. minister has in his possession. I think we are delegating a great deal too much to this board. I think we will require 300 men and not three to carry out all that we are delegating to the board. It was never contemplated in the beginning that we were going to delegate everything to this board.

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

I do not think this parliament is well equipped to determine such a question.

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CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

There may be somethings, of course, such as the question of preventing discrimination in rates, that we want the board to deal with, but questions in regard to mechanical appliances should not be referred to the board. If the board is to be bothered with matters of that kind and is expected to give attention to them in the same way that another commission would I do not think it will have much time to deal with some of the important questions referred to it. If the hon. minister proposed to refer this question to two or three men to report to this House I could see some sense in a reference of that kind for the purpose of gathering the facts. It

was even suggested seriously by an hon. gentleman on the opposite side that we should leave it to the commission to say what shall be a suitable and sufficient cattle-guard. If this board is not able to do its work well it will be our fault because we have imposed so many duties upon it. If we do agree that these ladders should be put upon the cars it would be well to say so in the Bill as proposed by the hon. member for East Elgin.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

It seems to me that the parties above all others who will either be benefited or injured by this appliance are the train men, and if they desire it they should have it because they are the people who are running the danger all the time. They are the parties who would be injured in the event of the appliance being an improper one, but practical experience convinces them that it would be a benefit to them.

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

They do not agree.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

The very fact that the number of resolutions mentioned by the hon. member for East Elgin has been passed is pretty conclusive evidence that the great bulk of the employees of the companies do agree as to the advisability of adopting that appliance and I think we ought to accept that as sufficient. It is not something that is very expensive to the companies, and therefore it could not be objectionable upon that ground.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

the railway employees residing in their particular constituencies are very strong upon this line of legislation. The hon. minister speaks of referring this question to the board. If the hon. gentleman will look at section 211 he will see that he has specifically defined matters of equipment that must be provided. What greater injustice would it be to specify this particular class of equipment in the same way as the others are specified ? If the request of the employees, who are certainly the ones interested as it is a matter of life and death to them, is granted, it will impose, it is true, some expense upon the railway companies. These side ladders are for trains not for yards, and when the gentlemen in the committee mentioned about the difficulty of getting up on the side ladders they did not know what they were talking about. They professed to be railway officials but they had prejudiced minds. The yardmen are very little on top of the cars in the yards, but every one knows that the trainmen of this country have risk enough to undergo without imposing risks on them that can be avoided. I have simply done my duty in carrying out the request of the gentleman from Nanaimo (Mr. Smith) and backing, it up with my personal opinion on this legis-' lation. Having done that the responsibility must rest with the minister and the government for refusing these men the legislation that they have passed some sixty resolutions in favour of.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

I agree with what the hon. gentleman from Elgin (Mr. Ingram) has said. I happen to represent a large railway centre and the men asked that a Bill of this kind should be passed, and some years ago I took up the question. We were told then that it should be delayed until we saw the result of the experiment in the United States, but we are no further ahead to-day than we were seven or eight years ago. In the United States they gave the railway companies a certain number of years to provide safety equipment and the brakemen in the United States are in consequence in a better position than they are in Canada.

It is useless to leave this to a board to haggle over; the only proper thing to do . is to put it in a law in the statute-book. The Brotherhood of Trainmen have passed resolutions all through the Dominion in favour of this, and it is time we should pay some heed to the request of men who risk ' their lives in the operations of railways in i this country. i

opinion from the employees opposed to this Bill, and I may say that expressions of opinion coming from companies professing to give the opinion of the employees on a measure of this kind, should always be taken with a great deal of caution. On this particular section there had been an attempt made to have the employees give expressions of opinion against this Bill, and out of 211 men, 210 were in favour of it, and one did not care, because, as he said, it did not affect him. It is my experience that the men are unanimously in favour of this Bill. My opinion is that included among safety appliances there should be a full length rail on the top edge of box cars. This rail would give a chance to the man grasping at something, should he fall, and in the matter of life and death like this, we should give the railway employee every possible chance. As a matter of fact, wherever expense is to be incurred, the railway companies are very apt not to carry out the suggestions of the men. I do not think the railway companies would have any cause of complaint if we ordered this, and I do not think that the expense would amount to much. Neither do I think that . the opposition of the railway companies ought to be given too much weight in a matter of this kind, and 1 trust that the Minister of Railways will see his way to introduce this provision for the safety of the men.

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July 8, 1903