LEWIS (West Huron) moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. Ill) to amend the Railway Act. He said: The
Bill I now feel it my duty to lay before the House has reference to a pernicious state of affairs which affects the people who travel in Canada, and the remedy which I propose will, I believe, be welcomed by the heads of the railways themselves, as well as by the Board of Railway Commissioners and by the general public. I have here an editorial article from a leading Ottawa paper dwelling upon the fact that the health as well as the comfort of the people who travel in Canada is affected by the sanitary state of the trains and the stations, especially the small stations throughout Canada. We have Acts of parliament which provide for the appointment of inspectors to look after the cattle, the fruit and other commodities carried on our trains, but we have no inspectors to look after the welfare of the people who travel. And now that the people of Canada are rising to the state of prosperity in which as I am glad to know the plain people like myself are getting the travelling habit, legislation of this kind is needed. The Railway Act provides that the Board of Railway Commissioners shall have power to look after the matter to which this Bill Tefers, but there is no machinery provided for that purpose. The Minister of Railways (Mr. Graham), whom I am glad to see in his place, may contend that the power of the Railway Commissioners in this matter is sufficient, but I do not so read the Railway Act. There are a number of clauses providing that certain officials may be appointed by the board with the approval of the Governor-in-Council, but there is no provision for the appointment of the officers referred to in this Bill. I am sure that no person within the sound of my voice, no person who travels in Canada, but will say that this Bill is needed. It is proposed by this Bill to add a subsection to section 284 of the Railway Act providing for five inspectors, to be appointed by the Board of Railway Commissioners subject to the approval of the Governor-in-Council. The duty oif these inspectors shall be to see that trains, railway stations, and buildings in connection therewith, are in a sanitary state. One of these inspectors shall be for the province of Ontario, one for the province of Quebec, one for the maritime provinces, one for Manitoba and Saskatchewan and one for Alberta and British Columbia.
The second clause is in reference to complaints under the Railway Act of which the Railway Board has cognizance. It has always occurred to me that while a large corporation, a mercantile company, a city or municipality, have power to put in force the Railway Act and ask the Commissioners to remedy the evils which may be extant, the poor man, the man of moderate means, has no such power. Therefore I ask this House to empower the board to appoint a public official, subject to the approval of the Governor-in-Council, who shall act as a public prosecutor, to whom private persons may make their complaints, and who shall examine the same, and, if necessary, lay them before the board and prosecute them.