February 14, 1905

FIRST READINGS.


Bill (No. 56) respecting the Canadian Pacific Railway.-Mr. Bole. Bill (No. 57) to incorporate La Compagnie Electrique. de Trois Rivieres, St. Maurice, Maskinonge et Champlain.-Mr. Bureau-* by Mr. Talbot. Bill (No. 58) respecting the Canadian Northern Railway.-Mr. Lamont-by Mr. Parmalee.


EXCHEQUER COURT-RAILWAY DEBTS.


Mr. VICTOR GEOFFRION moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 59) respecting the jurisdiction of the Exchequer Court as to railway debts. He said : This Bill is for the purpose of correcting an apparent oversight in the Act which it proposes to amend. In the province of Quebec all sales made by judicial authority, under the Winding Up Act, in insolvency proceedings, have the effect of clearing the movable property sold of all incumbrances, privileges, hypotheques and mortgages, so as to give to the purchaser a clear title to the property. It is obvious that a sale under this Act ordered by the Exchequer Court should have the same effect as when ordered by the judge of a superior court, it should have the same effect as in a sale made by a sheriff. Of course, we should give the same authority to the Exchequer Court, because otherwise the law would be unworkable. A difficulty of this kind arose in the case of the South Shore Railway, which was offered for sale under this Act by the Exchequer Court, but nobody would buy it because the Exchequer Court could not give a clear title. It is clear that a hypothecary creditor would not suffer any more prejudice in a sale made by order of the Exchequer Court than in an ordinary sale by a sheriff, because we can rely upon the judge to see that the sale is properly advertised ; and, of course, the creditor could protect himself in bidding at the sale to see that the property was sold at its full value. If it is sold at its full value, no one can suffer any prejudice. This, briefly, is the purpose of the Bill.


CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

I would ask my hon. friend if the Bill provides for notices to be given, as in the case of a judicial sale ?

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LIB

Victor Geoffrion

Liberal

Mr. GEOFFRION.

Yes ; it is left to the judge of the Exchequer Court to' give a proper notice of the sale. I have no objection to introducing a clause providing that a certain delay should be given, but it was thought that a judge of the Exchequer Court would see that the proper notice was given by advertisement of the sale.

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CON

Angus Claude Macdonell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MACDONELL.

I would ask the hon. gentleman if provision is made in his Bill for pending litigation ? There is now pending before the Privy Council litigation regarding this very matter, from the province of Ontario, in the case of the Central Ontario Railway Company. Is there provision made for pending litigation ?

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LIB

Victor Geoffrion

Liberal

Mr. GEOFFRION.

No such provision is made in this Bill. It is simply an amending Bill, and will have the effect, in the province of Quebec, when a sale is ordered by the Exchequer Court, of giving a clear title to the purchaser of the property, the same as in the case of a sale made by a sheriff. Otherwise, under the Act as it stands, a sale ordered by the Exchequer Court could not be attended with a clear title to the property. It is almost certain that under the sale ordered by the Exchequer Court a clear title could not be given. That is the opinion of the court, as I understand it; and, as the Act is unworkable, we want to remedy it as far as the province of Quebec is concerned, so that the sale ordered by the court may have the same effect as if it were a sheriff's sale.

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CON

Angus Claude Macdonell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MAODONELL.

Did I understand that the operation of this Bill is confined to the province of Quebec ?

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LIB

Victor Geoffrion

Liberal

Mr. GEOFFRION.

The Act to be amended applies to the whole Dominion, but we want to have, in the province of Quebec, as far as this sale is concerned, a clear title. I have no objection to extending it to other provinces if it is the will of the House.

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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

May I ask the lion. Minister of Justice if he knows anything about the provisions of this measure which has been brought down by the hon. member for Verch&res (Mr. Geoffrion)-and whether it is an encroachment upon provincial rights. This is a single case which might be remedied by reverting to a sheriff's sale in the province of Quebec. The railway for which my hon. friend seems to be asking for the passage of this measure can be sold under the authority of the sheriff without this measure at all.

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LIB

Charles Fitzpatrick (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. FITZPATRICK.

All I know of this Bill is what I have learned from what has fallen from the lips of the hon. gentleman who has introduced it.

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YUKON-DELAY IN OPENING BALLOT BOXES.

CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN (Carleton).

Mr. Speaker, before the Orders of the Day are called I would like to ask the government whether they have any information as to the cause of the somewhat extraordinary conduct of the returning officer in the Yukon. If I understand it he delayed the date at which he should open the ballot boxes and sum up the result of the elections until the 7th February with the result that the member for that constituency will not be gazetted until, I suppose, near the end of March. I do not know what period of time at this season of the year is required for the transmission of the mails. I have been led to look into the condition of the law a little, and while it seems to me perfectly evident that a clear and satisfactory explanation is required from the returning officer of his Mr. MACDONELL

conduct in this regard, it also seems desirable that the condition of the law should be looked into. I think that the returning officer under the law has the right to fix the date. I have examined the provisions of the Yukon Representation Act and of the Dominion Elections Act, and they seem to be identical in that regard. Unless I have overlooked some provision of the law the result seems to be that any returning officer can postpone as long as he sees fit the date at which he shall open the ballot boxes and sum up the results. The iesult in regard to the Yukon seems to indicate that this condition of the law should be amended in some way. Some period should be fixed within which the returning officer shall open the ballot boxes and sum up the results, and some provision should be made giving him the power to adjourn whenever an adjournment might be necessary by reason of his not having received all the ballot boxes. I may have overlooked some provision of the statute which can be brought to my attention by the right hon. Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) or the hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. Fitzpatrick), but from a very hasty perusal of the statutes I have arrived at the conclusion which I have just mentioned. However, I rose for the purpose of asking whether any explanation has been obtained from the returning officer because I think the hon. Minister of Justice, somewhat earlier in the session, stated that an inquiry had been made of him by telegram asking him to give the reason. The results are somewhat serious. The gentleman who was elected in that constituency on the 16th December last will not be able to take his seat in this House until the middle or the end of March. As a result of this the "Yukon is disfranchised during a period of about two months when matters will come before the House in which the interests of the Yukon are very much concerned. I would therefore be glad to know from the right hon. Prime Minister whether or not any answer whatever has been made by the returning officer in regard to this subject.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

If there has been any correspondence on this subject it has been carried on no doubt by the Secretary of State. I cannot give any information at this moment to my hon. friend (Mr. R. L. Borden), but if he will renew his question to-morrow probably I will be in a position to give him the information.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I would like to know whether the hon. Minister of Justice agrees with my view of the law in regard to the powers of returning officers, and if so whether or not he thinks it desirable that there should be some amendment to the law.

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LIB

Charles Fitzpatrick (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. CHARLES FITZPATRICK (Minister of Justice).

Mr. Speaker, when this question first came under the consideration of the De-

partment of Justice we looked into the law and the conclusion we came to was abso-' lutely the same as that to which my hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. Borden) has come. This is the first time that a difficulty of this sort has occurred since the law has been in force, and it has now been in force for over twenty-five years, but this one case will probably show the necessity of an amendment in the direction my hon. friend has indicated. I have spoken to my hon. colleague the Secretary of State on the subject and we are endeavouring to determine what the policy of the government should be in regard to it. When this question was brought to my notice by the hon. member from Toronto earlier in the session I communicated with the Secretary of State. He has been in communication with the returning officer and perhaps it would be proper to bring down the telegrams exchanged. I would suggest to my right hon. friend the Prime Minister to ask the Secretary of State for these telegrams.

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PAYMENT FOR BALLOT BOXES.

CON

Jean-Baptiste Morin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. B. MORIN (Dorchester).

Mr. Speaker, before the Orders of the Day are called I would like to draw the attention cf the government to the complaint of a gentleman about some ballot boxes that he has in the county of Dorchester. He writes as follows :

(Translation.)

Sainte-Claire, February 9, 1905.

J. B. Morin, M.P.,

Ottawa.

Dear Sir,-Will you kindly interest yourself for me in the proper quarters to obtain an allowance for me for 21 ballot boxes which have been placed in the post office since 1891 by the late Dr. C. A. Lesage, who was the returning officer for Dorchester ? These boxes were new when I received them, and I have taken good care of them. I have never used them, and I would be glad to have them taken away and to be compensated. Will you please look into that matter for me, and tell me what I ought' to do ?

Yours devotedly,

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J. E. CAYOUETTE,

February 14, 1905