Under the Ontario Act, if the engineer does not make his report within the thirty days the award is illegal. Furthermore, the moment the report of the engineer is adopted by the council, under our Drainage Act, he cannot change it, so that the Ontario statutes must be amended, which can be easily done.
Suppose the Railway Commission has approved plans submitted by the engineer, and which have been adopted by the council, the engineer cannot change his report or plan after their adoption. That has been definitely decided by the decisions of the courts.
Might I ask the hon. minister in what position would a municipality be which had made a drain that was afterwards crossed by a railway and which required to dredge out that drain ? Could the railway company be required to deepen that drain ?
I have in my mind several cases of large drains which were constructed by the use of dredges and which must be kept In order and repaired by the same means. In many instances the railway companies have, since the construction of a drain, driven piles into them. If there be any such thing as right of way, the drains had that right in thq first instance. When the municipalitiles want toi repaifr those drains by dredges, they come up against the railway piles, and are prevented from doing so. What provision is there in the Bill to protect the rights of the municipalities ?
You have to leave these matters to the Railway Board, as we have hitherto left them to the Railway Committee of the Privy Council, and I do not think that any fault has been found with the decisions of the Railway Committee. That committee has always found justification for making the railway company pay its proportion of the cost, if not the whole.
Would it not be reasonable to lay down some general rules or principle which would govern that tribunal ? Is it possible for the hon. gentleman to make such a provision that where the enlargement of the drain is made necessary by the railway company, the railway should bear the whole cost ? That is a fair proposition.
If a farmer finds his land flooded, will he be able to start proceedings under this section to secure drainage ? If so, how will he do it ? What the farmers require is a simple method of draining their lands beneath the railways.