March 27, 1905

PRIVATE BILLS.

THE OTTAWA ELECTRIC COMPANY.


House in committee on Bill (No. 12) respecting the Ottawa Electric Company.-Mr.. Galliher. On section 2-shares in other companies.


IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN (South York).

Mr. Chairman, I wish to read a resolution in regard to this Ottawa Electric Bill which was passed by the municipal council of the city of Toronto. I have received the following: letter :

City Clerk's Office, Toronto, Feb. 14, 1905.

Dear Sir,-I have the honour by direction of his worship the mayor to forward herewith a copy of a resolution which was adopted by the city council at its meeting held on the 13th instant, as follows :

Whereas, the city of Ottawa entered into certain agreements with the Metropolitan Railway Company of Ottawa, Limited, and with the Consumers Electric Company, Limited, respectively, in which it was provided that the said companies should not at any time during a period provided in the said agreement, amalgamate or combine with any other company or companies carrying on or which might thereafter carry on in the said city of Ottawa a business for supplying electricity for the purpose of supplying power, light or heat, nor should the said company or companies enter into any contract, agreement or arrangement with any other such company for such purpose, or that should have such effect, nor should the said companies enter into any contract, agreement or arrangement with any such other company for the purpose, or that might have the effect of creating a monopoly for the business, of supplying electricity for the purposes aforesaid without the permission of the council of the corporation of the city of Ottawa to be expressed by by-law ;

And whereas, the Ottawa Electric Company are by Bill No. 12 seeking legislation at the present session of the Dominion parliament at Ottawa which will enable them to purchase the stock of the said Metropolitan and the said Consumers Companies and thus become the owners thereof, and, by so doing, avoid the. said agreements ;

And whereas, it is desirable that the agreements, intererts and vested rights of municipalities should be respected and preserved, and, the passing of the proposed legislation will, ia the opinion of this council, vitally affect the vested rights and interests of the city of Ottawa and destroy the purposes of the said agreements ;

Be it resolved, that this council does most respectfully petition the parliament of Canada to resist and prevent the passage of the said legislation, and does most respectfully request the members of the city of Toronto to oppose it.

Your obedient servant,

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   THE OTTAWA ELECTRIC COMPANY.
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W. A. LITTLEJOHN,


City Clerk. W. F. Maclean, Esq., M.P., Ottawa, Ont. Now, Mr. Chairman, there is the resolution of the city of Toronto, which has a vital interest in maintaining what it calls



the vested interests of muncipalities, because the municipality of Ottawa has a vested interest in a contract with companies incorporated in this city, "who, on getting franchises, have given a solemn pledge that they shall not amalgamate. The city of Toronto asks you to-day to protect the vested interests of the city of Ottawa, in that respect ; they ask that not only on behalf of Ottawa, but on behalf of every other municipality in this country. The municipalities} of Canada are being raided to-day right and left by these franchise holding corporations, who are not content with what they have got, but the moment they get a franchise they are constantly seeking additional legislation which will enable them to avoid their obligations. The experience of all the cities of Canada with these lighting companies is on the line that the company does not carry out its agreement. In the city of Toronto we have two of these companies. These companies gave us a solemn pledge-it is on record in the documents-that they would not amalgamate ; and they did what the chief executive of one of these companies called the cleverest thing that could be done -they got the ablest lawyer in Canada to prepare a plan under which they could practically amalgamate and avoid their agreements, so that one person can purchase stock in the two companies, and while they cannot amalgamate in the letter, they do so in fact. It is the same president, the same board of directors, that meet five minutes after the other is through ; they do whatever they like with the citizens. Now the same thing is proposed to be done in the city of Ottawa. They propose to allow an amalgamation, and when that is consummated they intend to advance the rates charged to the people of Ottawa. We have heard a groat, deal in this House about the vested rights of companies and of corporations, but we never hear anything about the vested rights of municipalities, as a matter of fact those rights are not supposed to be protected. I am glad to know that the Postmaster General to-day is championing the cause of the vested rights of municipalities.


CON
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN.

He ought to be here, that is all I can say. But I am sorry to know that in connection with this legislation-of course I will be charged with introducing partisan ideas-but we were told the other day that this was a free question, parties could divide on it, and that the government was divided. But the government whips are active in having this Bill carried through ; the whips of the Liberal party to-day have canvassed their members up and down this House, they have lined them up, and they are bringing the Liberal I Mr. W. P. MACLEAN.

party as an organization into support of this Bill.

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LIB

Hance James Logan

Liberal

Mr. LOGAN.

As the chief whip of the government party does not happen to be in his seat, I desire, as assistant chief whip, to give that statement the most unqualified denial.

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LIB

Robert George Macpherson

Liberal

Mr. MACPHERSON.

I have the honour to be one of the whips of the Liberal party, and I desire to say that I have never asked a member to vote for this Bill, and have never discussed the Bill with any of the members. .

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?

Mr. R. L.@

LAVE'RGNE. As one of the Liberal whips I desire also to deny the statement of the hon. member for York (Mr. W. F. Maclean).

Topic:   W. A. LITTLEJOHN,
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LIB
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN.

I knew I would get that statement, and I accept it. Yet I say this is a government proposition, and it is going through the House just as if it was on the order paper as on the government orders.

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LIB

Thomas Boyd Caldwell

Liberal

Mr. CALDWELL.

I beg to deny that statement. I have not been canvassed by one side or the other.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN.

I also accept the hon. gentleman's statement, but 'I still say that this is a government measure, and when the division takes place you will see whether it is or not. I could give a great deal more evidence, but there is no doubt about this fact, that it is being supported by the Liberal party, and that will be seen when the vote comes on.

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LIB

Hance James Logan

Liberal

Mr. LOGAN.

Would the hon. gentleman explain to us, if it is a government measure, how it is that the leader of the opposition votes in the same way as the leader of the government ?

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IND
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I voted for the preamble of the Bill because there are several clauses in it, to three of which I understood there is no objection. To strike out the preamble would not only destroy the clause about which the controversy has arisen, but it would strike out the three clauses to which there is no objection so far as 'I understand. I trust I have made myself clear to the hon. gentleman.

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LIB

Hance James Logan

Liberal

Mr. LOGAN.

I regret that the hon. gentleman did not make himself clear before, so that nobody would have misunderstood him.

Topic:   W. A. LITTLEJOHN,
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March 27, 1905