May 11, 1909

WATER CARRIAGE OF GOODS.

CON

George Halsey Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. G. H. PERLEY (Argenteuil).

Before the orders of the day are called, I desire to ask a question with regard to Bill (No. 105), from the Senate, relating to the water carriage of goods. This appears in the list of public Bills and Orders, and it cannot be reached this session unless the government decides to take it up. This is a very important Bill. As I understand, it was drafted after a great deal of discussion in the Senate committee, and practically by arrangement between shippers and steamboat owners. It refers to the shipment of goods by ocean steamers. It is a measure which has been required by the trade for a good many years, and I think if the government could see their way to take this Bill up it would be in the public interest. I bring it to the attention of the government, and ask if they will give it consideration.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

This subject has been brought to our attention, and I shall be able to give an answer to my hon. friend (Mr. Perley) within a day or two.

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RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.

?

Hon. GEO P.@

GRAHAM (Minister of Railways and Canals) moved the second reading of Bill (No. 106) to amend the Railway Act. He said: I wish only to

make explanations of three amendments to the Bill as printed, which I intend to propose in Committee of the Whole, in addition to some minor amendments. There are three additional sections. Section 11 is to provide that the Railway Act shall apply to railway companies incorporated outside of Canada and owning or controlling or running their trains upon any through lines in Canada, owned or controlled or operated by such company, also railway companies running railway trains from any point in the United States to any point in Canada-that is, the Canadian paTt. Section 12 refers to the time of making the report by the Board of Railway Commissioners. The present Act provides that the report shall be made within three months of the end of the year and placed on the table within fifteen days of the opening of the session of parliament. I propose to amend it so that they shall have two months in which to make a report, and, if the House is then in session, the report should be placed on the table at once and not wait for the following

year. In that way, we shall have the information fresh. Section 13 is practically the Bill sent back to us by the Senate, the foundation of which was the Bill of my hon. friend from Lincoln and Niagara (Mr. Lancaster). Besides adding this Bill as a section, I shall propose two additional stringent provisions. One of these is to the effect that at any crossing where an accident has occurred through which life has been lost or serious injury inflicted, no train shall run over such crossing at a greater speed than ten miles an hour until protection has been afforded according to the direction of the board. In addition, I shall propose another

clause providing that when the board has given an order for the protection of a crossing, trains shall not run over that crossing at a greater speed than ten miles an hour until such an order has been complied with. These are the only important amendments I am proposing to the Bill as printed.

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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAUGHTON LENNOX (South Sim-coe).

As I discussed the most important question involved in this Bill, the protection of railway crossings, on the 17th of February last, it will not be necessary for me to go very fully into the matter on this occasion. At the same time, having for many years taken a very great interest in this subject, and having placed before the House an outline of certain propositions which I think will be in the interest of the public, I hope I shall have the indulgence of the House while I refer to a few of the salient features of this Bill. In reference to the provision of a certain fund by the country to assist the railways in affording better protection for the public at crossings now in existence, I have already said that I quite approve of the country doing something in that direction. We have to look back to the time when this country was new, when the necessity for immediate development by means of railways was very urgent and when we were obliged therefore to have our railways built under conditions that we could not be expected to tolerate now. Therefore, I think it is reasonable that the government should do something towards assisting the railway companies in getting rid of the dangers that exist at these grade crossings. What amount the country should contribute is a more difficult question. Let me point out to the minister that I think the provision made now is exceedingly moderate, and probably too moderate, having regard to the system adopted in the adjoining republic. In the state of Massachusetts the amount set apart for the elimination of grade crossings not for protection by gates, or bells or any other device is $5,000,000, to be expended within a period of ten years. A Mr. GRAHAM.

great deal of that has already been expended. Now we propose to set apart $1,000,000 to be expended within a period of five years. I do not think it is contemplated that that will be the end of our contribution, and it is not necessary for me to discuss at present whether that is a sufficient amount or not. But as regards the manner in which it is proposed to be expended, I think the wisest provision has not been made. I do not know why we should have a lingering death in this matter, and, for instance, I cannot realize why, by the provisions just read by the minister, he should wait until we have evidence of a death at a crossing before we make provision for protecting that crossing.

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

It won't bear that construction.

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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

It does in one respect, it makes provision that if a death has occurred at any crossing then the company shall slow down until the Board makes an order. In regard to this million dollars we are voting, I do not know why we should spread it over five years. I think we should set to work and expend this $1,000,000 just as rapidly as we can, and as soon as the conditions can be ascertained, and so prevent the sacrifice of life that has been going on with such alarming rapidity. As regards the feature of the Bill that the Railway Board shall not only have power to make an assessment upon the municipalities but that they should have an unlimited power, that is a provision of the Bill that I am altogether opposed to. As regards the assessment on rural municipalities for anything in the way of protecting highways by gates or bells, I submit it is not just that they should pay one dollar as long as the grade of the railway and the grade of the highway are maintained upon the same level; in other words, as long as the railway company take up a portion of the King's highway for their convenience, nothing should be asked from the rural municipality. Then as regards the elimination, I am just as rigidly opposed to the rural municipality contributing anything for the separation of grades unless there is a definite provision that the Railway Board shall not be at liberty to exceed a certain amount. I have said before that I have a reasonable measure of respect for the Railway Board, they are a competent set of men; but I have not that confidence in the Railway Board, nor in any other two or three, or half a dozen men, selected from any portion of our community, that I am willing to give them an absolutely free hand as to what they shall charge municipalities for the elimination of grade crossings, and all the more when we adopt the policy that as regards this $1,000,000 the minister is asking for, he will not allow the same liberty to

that board. Even it the minister were prepared to go to the length of saying that he would give them an absolutely free hand as regards the money of the Dominion. I would not be prepared to give the Kailway Board an absolutely free hand as regards the municipalities. I would not, in fact, be in favour of giving them an unlimited right to assess the people either through the Dominion government or through the municipalities.

In reference to that we are not without example in the United States, furnished by the action of several states. In the state of Massachusetts they have passed a law leaving it to the Railway Board, as we propose, to regulate this matter; but they have distinctly provided that the assessment to be made by the Railway Board shall be within certain limits and controlled by the action of the state legislature. They say that in the case of the separation of grades the railway is to pay sixty-five per cent of the expense, and the municipality can be assessed to an amount not exceeding ten per cent, and it may be less, and the state can be assessed to an amount to make up the difference of the thirty-five per cent, which will be twenty-five per cent or more. In the state of New York the companies are bound to pay fifty per cent, the state cannot be assessed beyond thirty-five per cent, and the municipality cannot be assessed beyond twenty-five per cent. In Ohio there is a definite provision that the railway shall be assessed sixty-five per cent. In Connecticut the company is to be assessed seventy-five per cent and the state is to be assessed twenty-five per cent. There are other important provisions. For instance, the railway company is bound to eliminate one grade crossing every year for every sixty miles of railway, and that has had a very significant effect upon the protection of level crossings in that state already. In Maine there is a definite provision that the utmost the municipality can be assessed is ten per cent. There the state pays twenty-five per cent and the railway company sixty-five per cent. In Michigan it matters not whether it is a new road or an old road, the board can make whatever order it thinks fit, and the expense must be borne by the railway company. There is no range given to the Board as regards expense but absolute control is given as regards what order they shall make for the separation of grades, the building of bridges, or protection in any other way. Under these circumstances, and under the circumstances existing in Canada to-day, I submit to the minister that his Bill fails in the main essential of anything approaching to a valuable measure unless he makes a definite provision that if a municipality is bound to pay at all, the extent

of their contribution shall be limited by the Act.

I repeat that as regards the crossings which are left at grade in rural municipalities they should not be called upon to pay one cent. The railway companies are occupying highways, and they are occupying them" on terms of increased danger as the speed of trains and the amount of traffic increases. But, as regards the separation of grades there should be a distinct _ limitation. A gentleman who is of considerable prominence as an engineer, Mr. G. L. Somerville, recently issued a pamphlet which, I think, was published in the ' Canadian Engineer' first. He was a consulting engineer in connection with the viaduct scheme in Toronto, and I want to read a line or two of what he published in reference to the question of cost. He said:

There are strong arguments in favour of the public in cities and towns bearing a portion of the cost. However, there are many crossings in the rural districts which were comparatively safe when the railways had but one track with infrequent train service which have been rendered dangerous by the increased quantity and speed of the railway traffic and the multiplication of tracks. On many such crossings the highway traffic has remained nearly stationary, and on some, by reason of the construction of the railways, it has decreased. In such cases, it appears to the writer that, as the increased danger has been caused wholly by the radway, it would be unfair to make the users of the highway bear any portion of the cost of the increased protection.

I have not overlooked the difficulty of fixing a limit, keeping in mind the different conditions that exist as between rural municipalities and city municipalities. But it does not appear to have been regarded as a difficulty in the states of the union that I have referred to, with the exception of the state of Massachusetts, and in that state a special Act was passed with reference to certain cities. I can give the minister a reference to that if he desires it. I will not take time to repeat the figures which I quoted when last I spoke, but definite figures are laid down which are to cover the liability of each of the parties to the undertaking, a small amount being put upon the municipality, a much larger amount upon the railways and an intermediate amount upon the state. I am not prepared to dis-. cuss the question as to the amount to be contributed by rural and city municipalities. 1 am inclined to think, however, that it is not a difficulty that the minister need be prepared to shirk. This is one of those matters of detail that, after proper investigation, he can work out satisfactorily. As regards the disposal of - the money that the country is to contribute towards the removal *f grade

crossings, I expressed the opinion when this matter was up for discussion before, that is when the Railway Act amendment was introduced, that the contribution of the country should be confined to cases where there is a separation of grades, and should not be applied to cases where there is merely protection by gates or the like and the crossing is maintained- at rail level. In that opinion I am more confirmed upon further thought and a little further investigation. There is much reason for the argument that if the railway sees fit to maintain its crossings upon a level with streets or highways it should not have this fund available to assist it. Aside from all other considerations you will demonstrate to the railway companies the desirability of separating the grades if you adopt a law providing that there shall be no contribution in reference to grade crossings. As a matter of fact, I made' a rough calculation as to how the matter would work out, and, taking the figures the minister has furnished as to the cost of erecting and maintaining gates and employing watchmen, I find, taking into account the 'Contribution which will be made by the country towards the elimination of grade crossings, that it would pay the company, if we provide in the law that they shall get no contribution in the case of a crossing on the level or for the erection and maintenance of gates or bells, to separate the grades at an expenditure of $20,000 or $25,000 rather than to put up a set of gates and have men employed from year to year to watch them. This is an important feature of the matter and I would urge upon the minister-and I have reason to believe that he is inclined to ac-eede to that proposition now-to confine the payment by the country to cases of separation of the railway from the highway. It is amazing in a great many cases how a little judicious management and a reasonable expenditure of money throughout the country would bring about a separation of the highway from the railway either by the highway being carried above the railway or by the railway being carried over the highway. Speakirig of that, there is a little phamplet issued by Mr. Robert Larmour, a gentleman who my hon. friend from Lincoln (Mr. Lancaster) says is an employee of the Grand Trunk Railway.

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CON
CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

I noticed by a careful perusal of this document that he says that he has been closely identified with railway matters; and that he is holding a brief for the; railway companies as against the people s interests, hon. gentlemen who read this pamphlet will realize. We talk about the Mr. LENNOX.

scare lines in newspapers, but there is a scare picture on the front page of this little document and he points, in the language of Mr. Hays, to the number of crossings on the Grand Trunk Railway system and makes a sympathetic plea for the farmer saying that if you build a bridge over the railway according to this picture the farmers will not be able to make the grade, that it will cause such an embankment that they will not be able to haul their loads up over it. I want to say to that gentleman, but particularly to the minister, that no sane man ever proposed that in Canada, we would have separation in the rural districts where all is upon the level, where there is an open country and the train may be seen approaching and the people managing the train may see the people approaching on the highway. All we want provided for is that in every case where there is something in the nature of a trap, where the railway is screened off by an embankment or buildings or the like, from the highway, so that the person driving through the country on the highway has no reasonable means of seeing the danger that he is entering upon, protection shall be provided. We do not pretend that you would ever put highways on a high embankment where all is open and where all is upon a plane. But where the topographical features of the country lend themselves to easy carriage of the railway above the highway or the highway above the railway, this shall be taken advantage of, and in every other case of danger that there shall be gates or 'such reasonable protection as will prevent the frequently occurring disasters we have witnessed of late years. I shall not at this late stage of the session delay the committee by speaking at greater length, but I wish to quote further from Somerville:

Other states have followed the example of Massachusetts by placing part of the cost of the elimination of grade crossings on the public, but some have forced the railways to bear the whole cost without any public contribution whatever.

The Pennsylvania railroad, while invariably avoiding grade crossings on new work, has in the last six years been eliminating many old grade crossings. On January the 1st, 1902, on the lines of heaviest traffic between New York and Washington and between Philadelphia and Pittsburg, there were 994 grade crossings, while up to January 1, 1908, 568, or more than 50 per cent were abolished.

The completion of the new Washington terminals marks the consummation of the plans of the late President Cossatt, viz., to eliminate all grade crossings in the important cities between New York and Washington. This has involved the elevation or depression of tracks in Jersey city, Newark, Elizabeth, New Brunswick, Trenton, Philadelphia, Chester, Wilmington, Baltimore and Washington.

Of the 101 grade crossings between Altoona

and Harrisburg on January the 1st, 1902, only

51 remained on January the 1st, 1908, another 50 per cent reduction.

What the United States find it necessary to do it is in our interest to set seriously to work to do, and I am glad the Minister of Railways realizes that there is a necessity for doing something. There are features of the Bill I would like to see changed, and one which I pointed out before the minister introduced his Bill is, that I would like to see the onus thrown upon some one who represents the government of looking into these matters. There is provision in the amendment given notice of this morning by the minister that the board of Railway Commissioners shall from year to year obtain certain information. I believe that the railway companies should be compelled to submit to the railway board a statement as to the necessity or the absence of necessity for protection in every case. I do not think we should wait for the municipalities or individuals to take action, but that the country should charge itself with the duty of finding out what should be remedied, and on a report from its inspector the railway board should assume the duty of initiating proceedings. If you leave it to the initiation of municipalities deterred by the liability of being taxed to an unlimited amount as this Bill leaves it, the municipal representatives will be handicapped by the fear that on election day they will be met with the cry that they have increased the taxes. I think this is a matter of national importance, and it is the duty of the government to see to it that the initiative in every case shall be taken by the state. It is not that I am wedded to the form of resolution I introduced on the 17th of February. It is not that I fail to realize that in many features it could be greatly improved, but inasmuch as it expresses in somewhat concise language many of the views I entertain, 1 shall take the liberty of reading the resolution and I shall urge that the government take into serious consideration whether or not the suggestions therein contained, in addition to those already adopted, should not be incorporated in this Bill. The resolution says:

That in the opinion of this House, the appalling number of accidents at level crossings demand that the matter of railway crossings throughout the whole of Canada should at once engage the earnest consideration of the people's municipal and parliamentary representatives.

2. This imminent, and increasing peril incident to the present method of railway construction and operation may, by slow degrees, and in isolated instances, be mitigated by the exercise *f powers vested in the Railway Board, hut they can never reach the thousands and thousands of cases crying out for

safeguards, and cannot reach even a tithe of them within any reasonable time.

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

What does that mean; you say that the peril cannot reach the thousands of cases.

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CON
LIB
CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

I do not analyze it a_s the minister does. I say the peril may be mitigated by powers vested in the railway board. I will not quibble with the minister because he is more astute than I am. My meaning can be appreciated by every member of the House and what is more important to me it will be appreciated by the people of the Dominion who realize that there is a duty cast upon the government, and it is not a question of quibbling in the face of an effort to remove grave dangers which the people are now exposed to. I point out that I desire that the government should ascertain the actual position of the crossings by having inspectors to make reports to the railway board and that the railway board should take action of its own initiative:

3. The question of railway crossings from ocean to ocean is a matter of supreme importance and urgent to the last degree. The toll of sacrifice increases with the multiplications of lines and the increase of speed and traffic, and no sensible improvement can be hoped for so long as the initiative for redress is left to casual and individual action.

4. The rule, and the presumption from the acceptance of a charter, should be separated, or protected crossings elsewhere, with the onus upon the company of establishing a justi-'fication for exceptional treatment in exceptional cases.

5. It is the duty of the government early this session to deal with the whole question of railway crossings in a thorough and comprehensive way and with a view of eliminating, as far as reasonably possible, the level crossings from our system of railways, and where this cannot be done, the adoption of such other methods and devices as will secure, in as great a degree as is possible, the safety of the people using the highways.

I introduced this resolution with no party feeling. When the minister afterwards introduced his Bill I gave it my earnest support. I shall support as far as I possibly can the measure introduced by the minister, believing it is a step in the direction we want to travel. I urge upon/ the minister the serious consideration of such additional safeguards as will be suggested by some of the members of the House, and I am prepared to believe that the minister is anxious to bring about a remedy as speedily and as effectually as possible.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Is any portion of this one million dollars applicable to any other use than the permanent elimination of the danger; is it provided that it may not be de-

=6195

voted to employing watchmen or erecting gates or things of that kind?

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

I purpose adding a clause to section 3 which makes it clear that none of this money shall be used for the purposes of operation or anything of that kind.

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CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

In view of the fact that with regard to what might be fairly considered the main questions of this Bill, I have for six years past been advocating in this parliament protection for the people, perhaps a few words from me may be appreciated. I am bound to say that in my opinion the Bill brought in by the minister is retrograde as far as the rights of the people are concerned. To a certain 'extent it nas the effect of causing dangers to be more or less guarded against, but under the Bill that will be done more at the expense of the people than the railways, and I do not think that is fair. Six years ago I began to try to remedy this evil, and after three years discussion in this House and in its committees we passed legislation, which every year since we have passed unanimously, providing that in cities, towns and vilages where the railway is running on the level of the highway where the most danger exists, the principle shall be recognized that whatever protection is necessary should be provided at the expense of the railway company. We sent that Bill to the Senate four times; thrice they rejected it, and this session they have sent it back with an amendment which does not in any way meet the needs of the country, and which, without any disrespect I say is not sensible legislation. The minister has sent me a copy of the amendment which he proposes to substitute for the Bill which we have sent to the Senate 'on these four occasions. I do not object to the matter being dealt with in that way; I care not how it is dealt with as long as the resultant legislation is proper; although I should have thought that the better way would be to have this House concur or reject the Senate amendment to my Bill as the House might deem fit. In my opinion, the legislation which provided that the railways should at their own expense, as might be decided by the Railway Board in each case, protect level crossings in the thickly populated areas through which they run, was fair legislation. I do not see how the railways can possibly object to protecting the King's highway which they use without toll and which they are increasing the use of and danger on every day by the increased number and speed of their trains. I impress upon the House that the congested parts of the country where the buildings obscure the view and the noises deaden the sound is where there is the greatest danger and where, as the records show, nine out of ten accidents occur. For four years, as I have said, Mr. FOSTER.

this House unanimously has declared for the principle that the Railway Commission should decide where that protection was necessary, what it should be, and that the expense should be borne by the railway for such protection as the Board in its judgment might direct. The amendment proposed by the Minister of Railways eliminates the principle of protection and requires that an order must be specially made in each of these cases for the protection of the public. Well, that is the present law and it is because it is the present law that we amended it four years ago. Without this section all that protection can be obtained under the general jurisdiction of the Board. A special order is made where the danger is special, and if protection is put in, the municipalities must contribute * portion of the cost; if they do not, protection is not put in. The proposed subsection 3 of section 275 does not change the present law at all. It simply provides that the railways must protect those portions of crossings in cities, towns and villages which are on the rail level, as specially ordered by the Board. That is the law to-day, and has been ever since the Railway Act was passed in 1903, and long before that. If the Board makes a special ordeT, we say, apparently wisely, but I think very carelessly, that the railway company must do what the Board orders them to do; but we do this much worse; we say that if they do not, they may still run their trains if they reduce their speed to ten miles an hour. That I call retrograde legislation. We enact the present law, which the whole country says is not sufficient. We say the present law is good enough for the people, but we will allow the railways to evade even the present law. Then the minister proposes this morning to add a rider, which is a new thing, that protection of a crossing is to be ordered by the Board after some one has been injured or killed at that crossing. With all due deference, that is not a good principle to enact. A most dangerous crossing might be used by people without an accident if they were extremely alert and careful; but are they to be in that trouble all the time, and is no protection to be afforded until seme accident happens or life is lost?

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LIB
CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

As it reads the board will not have the conditions precedent until an accident or death has happened.

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

What the Bill proposes to do is to take the fact that an accident has occurred at a particular crossing, not at some time to come, but in years gone by, as prima facie evidence that the crossing is dangerous.

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May 11, 1909