Monday, March 14, 1904.
the House to be necessary on account of a decision of the Supreme Court rendered since the prorogation of parliament last fall. The object is to amend the section of the Act of 1903 in regard to trains crossing the highway at rail-level within the incorporated limits of cities, towns and villages. Until last session the law was that trains were not allowed to run at a higher rate of speed than six miles an hour in the thickly peopled portions of cities, towns and villages unless protection were provided by watchmen and gates. When we were revising the law last session it had been decided by the Court of Appeal in Ontario that it was for the judge -or jury, in a case tried by jury-to decide whether protection was required at any crossing where an accident happened if the rate of speed exceeded the statutory, limit. Last session Hon. Mr. Blair, then leading the government in regard to railway measures, induced this House to increase the limit of speed at these crossings to ten miles an hour. I believe that, had this House known or suspected that the Supreme Court would reverse the decision of the Court of Appeal of Ontario, this Act would have been amended by the unanimous decision of both sides in this House in the way I here propose. It works out in this way : The Supreme Court having decided in the way it has, the section as it stands is of no practical value and should either be removed from the statute-book, or this amendment should be made to it, in order to give it the effect originally intended. The effect of my amendment would he that, if the speed of ten miles an hour is exceeded at a crosing at rail-level within the incorporated limits of a city, town or village, the railway company must maintain a watchman at that point. Too many people are being killed by reason of the speed at which trains run within the incorporated limits of cities, town and villages. There is an outcry because of trains running over these crossings at forty or fifty miles an hour, with no protection for the public provided. I am not advocating the limiting of speed, but only seeking to provide that if they exceed ten miles an hour at crossings within incorporated limits, the railway company shall provide watchmen. They can run without watchmen if they run at no more than ten miles an hour ; but if they wish to increase the speed within incorporated limits, they must have watchmen at all points where they cross the highway at rail-level.
Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.