They give this amount in the case of the railway service but not in others. I am not saying that is sufficient reason for the distinction that is made, but it is well that it should be kept in mind in considering the question.
The government promised last year to look into the matter and consider the question of insurance for these men. What the government pays for the Intercolonial system is a small thing for the thousands of men that are employed in that service. We passed a Bill this session providing that if a man was killed at a rifle range through no fault of his own, his family should get a gratuity. Here is a man who through no fault of his own, is killed while in the service of the country and in "performance of his duty, and yet his family get no gratuity.
Not only do the government give no gratuity in these railway cases but, by reason of the insurance fund, they plead that the representatives of ail Intercolonial employee who is killed are deprived of the ordinary right to damages to which they would be entitled. The widow lias to accept some $250 from the insurance fund when perhaps but for that fund she would get $3,000 through the courts. I brought in a Bill relating to the Grand Trunk in this same matter and had the satisfaction of getting it through. The gov-iernment refused to have it apply to the Intercolonial on the ground, as the minister will know, that they were proposing to introduce another system. I hope that will be carried out at an early day. I think it was understood that something was to be done this session. I believe that nothing is being done, but something should be done to place these employees of the Intercolonial on at least an equal basis with those of other railways.
With respect to the Intercolonial, when a man is injured on that road so badly that he cannot finish the rest of the day, he is docked his time for the rest of that day, because he is unable to finish out the run, although the accident occurred absolutely through no fault of his. In the case of the Belmont disaster where a brakeman was so severely injured, that he was laid up for nine or ten months, he received the magnificent sum of $3 a week from this insurance company of which the Finance Minister speaks. Because lie did not return to Moncton in order to finish his run for. that day, he was docked half a day ; because the train was wrecked at Belmont and the engineer and four or five passengers were killed, and this man narrowly escaped 283
with his life, he was docked his pay for the half of that day because he was unable to run down to Moncton. I do not think any such disgraceful usage was ever administered to any employee by any other department of the government or by any private corporation. I do not see why the Intercolonial should treat their employees differently from other departments of the civil service. The reason put forth by the Finance Minister, I do not consider is sufficient, when he says that the government contributes a small amount to this insurance society. Why do they make that contribution? It is in order that the men may not have an action against the government for damages, supposing thejr are injured, just as the Grand Trunk makes its contribution of a paltry amount in order to prevent its employees having action which otherwise they would have against the railway if, through no fault of theirs, they were killed, or met with some accident. So this is not done by the government out of kindness towards the employees, but it is done as a protection to the government against action for damages. Therefore, I do not think the Finance Minister should put that forward as a reason why officials on the Intercolonial should be placed on a different footing from those in any other department.
The gratuities paid in the civil service under the vote now asked would hardly be regarded as meeting the case to which my hon. friend alluded. The widow of this poor man in the Marine Department receives the magnificent sum of $156, so we cannot be accused of dealing too generously." I do not understand that the hon. gentleman is opposing this. But if we are going to consider the payment to the man the hon. gentleman referred to as a gratuity, it would still seem to be insignificant in view of the conditions he mentioned. But I do not understand the hon. gentleman is opposing this.
Docking a man's pay is one of these little things that might occur as a result of the system. The man is obliged to render a day's service, and if something happens by which he fails to render it, there is no great injustice in the accountant recognizing the fact that lie has not rendered it. If the rules make it necessary for men to return to Moncton to report and if a man fails to return, it is natural and proper for the official accountant to take account of that day. But there may be other circumstances connected with the transaction which the department should consider.
So far as liis wages are concerned, lie would be entitled to pay for services rendered. But if there were circumstances in connection with his death which called for recognition, that would he another question ; but so far as his wages were concerned, thei'e would be nothing wrong in paying wages for services actually rendered.
I think it probably arises from the system which prevails, and which here and there may be capable of working some injustice.
Ocean and river service-further amount required for removal of obstructions including sunken elevator at Montreal and obstruction in Ostall river, B.C., $9,000.
Mr. PRE-FONTAINE. The shipping authorities of Montreal have been asking us to take this matter in hand, because there is a misunderstanding between the Harbour Commissioners of Montreal and the proprietor of the sunken elevator as to who is responsible for raising it. The matter cannot remain in that position any longer.
The harbour of Montreal is under the control of the Harbour Commissioners, and it is a question whether the man who owns the elevator should remove it or the Harbour Commissioners. The government have nothing whatever to do with it.