March 7, 1910

CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. JOHN HAGGART.

Does it give it any right to expropriate?

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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LIB

Hugh Guthrie

Liberal

Mr. GUTHRIE.

No. The right to expropriate is expressly stricken out. I think that we have pretty -well safeguarded the public interest. In the first place there is no right to expropriate; in the second place, if they desire umter-power they must apply to the Governor in Council to secure it, as any individual has; in the third place, we have placed the tolls which the company may charge under the control of the Board of Railway Commissioners and, in the fourth place, the company cannot use their surplus power in any municipality without the consent of the municipality. I do not know what further safeguards we could impose in the interest of the community. This is hardly the

place or hardly the occasion to discuss what the policy of this government or this House should be in regard to the matter. That could be better settled when the company apply to the Governor in Council for waiter-power and then such conditions as are thought proper may be laid down far better than they could be settled in committee while discussing a private Bill.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. JOHN HAGGART.

All these regulations ought to be statutory.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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LIB

Hugh Guthrie

Liberal

Mr. GUTHRIE.

I think that suggestion is a good one.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

I do not agree with the policy laid down by the hon. member for South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie). Surely the time to lay down the policy of the government is not when a private corporation makes application to the Governor in Council to be regulated in respect to their Bill. It seems to me that the House and the Railway Committee should be in possession of the policy of the government upon matters of this kind; and that those that are allying themselves together to make applications for such charters shall understand what the policy of the government is.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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LIB

David Bradley Neely

Liberal

Mr. NEELY.

As this Bill and Bill (No. 69, which follows it on the order paper, were held over on Friday for the'same purpose, I want to say a word, as my name is attached to the other Bill. As the members of the Railway Committee are aware, the point raised by the hon. member for South Simcoe (Mr. Lennox) was thoroughly discussed in the Railway Committee, and after that discussion this Bill, together with Bill (No. 69) were reported to the House. I must congratulate the hon. member (Mr. Lennox) on constituting himself the watchdog of the natural resources of Canada, and I must also congratulate Canada on having such a faithful watchdog.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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CON
LIB

David Bradley Neely

Liberal

Mr. NEELY.

But there are other members of the Railway Committee and of this House who are just as much interested in conserving the natural resources of Canada for the people of Canada as is this selfconstituted watchdog. Now, I may tell the member for South Simcoe that I have absolutely not one cent's worth of interest, directly or indirectly, in the Bill to which my name is attached, and I can tell him also that if there was anything in that Bill which I thought interfered with the rights of the people in the -water-powers of Canada, I would not have my name attached to it nor would I seek to promote it in this House. The hon. member (Mr. Lennox) is therefore not necessarily the only hon. gentleman in this House, or in the Railway Committee, who is interested in conserving 153t

the people's rights in the water-powers of this Dominion. It has been pointed out by the Minister of Railways that our natural resources can be of value only to the extent to which they are developed, and the clause in this Bill, as in the Bill following it to which some of these gentlemen take exception, is a clause which simply gives these railway companies the power to acquire water rights. It is not a new clause; it is a very ordinary clause to be inserted in such Bills. Every railway company requires the privilege of acquiring water rights for the development of power for the purposes of its railway undertaking, and if a railway company develops more power than it requires for its own undertaking, can the. hon. member for South Simcoe or any other hon. member point out wherein the people of Canada are going to be injured if the balance of the power not used by the railway is sold to the municipalities in the immediate vicinity of the railway works. Why, it seems to me, that any reasonable man would consider that such would be for the benefit of the people, provided, of course, that the rates at which the surplus power -would be disposed of are properly regulated. Now, in every instance, so far as these two Bills are concerned, these rates and tolls are subject to the approval of the Board of Railway Commissioners for Canada. I am perfectly satisfied, and I think the people of Canada are perfectly satisfied, to have such rates placed under the control of that board, because the Railway Board to my knowledge has never shown any undue discrimination or any discrimination of any kind in favour- of railway companies or any other monopolies or corporations, as against the interests of the people of Canada. I cannot see where these hon. gentlemen can find any serious objection to these particular clauses of the Bill. Now, I am not prepared to say whether the hon. member for South Simcoe was in the Railway Committee when the Burrard Inlet Bill went through, but if he was not it was his own fault, and it would be at least one instance , in which the watchdog failed to be on the job. I think, however, that the member for Winnipeg (Mr. Haggart) was present in the Railway Committee when the Burrard Inlet Bill went through, and strange to say, there is in that Bill, which has passed the Railway Committee and passed the House, a clause identical with the clause contained in this Bill to which these hon. gentlemen now take such strong objection.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY.

Was not that clause inserted in the Burrard Inlet Bill after a compromise between those who were interested?

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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LIB

David Bradley Neely

Liberal

Mr. NEELY.

Not at all, so far as I know. Of course, the incident which I

have just mentioned may not have any particular significance taken in connection with the fact that it was the hon. member for Vancouver (Mr. Cowan) who has the task of piloting the Burrard Inlet Bill through the Railway Committee and through the House. That may be merely a coincidence, but it is a very strange thing to me that there are such serious objections raised in the Railway Committee and in the House to some of these Bills, even though the rights of the people are absolutely safeguarded from every standpoint, so far as I am able to judge. Now, when the Canadian Pacific railway or the Canadian Northern railway, or some of the other great companies, have exactly the same kind of legislation before the House, we do not find the same objection taken by these hon. gentlemen. But the moment some others than these larger companies ask for a charter and in that charter ask for these very ordinary powers, the question of the rights of the ueople is at once raised. Now, Sir, the Bill succeeding this on the order paper has a clause similar to that in this Bill which is objected to. That Bill passed last year, and this year all that is asked for is an extension of time. The Bill at present before us was held over in the Railway Committee, and held over on Friday night last in the Committee of the Whole House, and now the hon. member for South Simcoe asks that it be again held over for a few days until the government expound a policy that will be satisfactory to him. Well, even though the Minister of Railways should, after weeks of consideration, announce a policy to this House, I am very much afraid that that policy would not receive the approval of the hon. member (Mr. Lennox). I do not know why the passing of these Bills ought to be made the occasion for the announcement of a policy, because whatever policy the government announces is absolutely foreign to and has nothing whatever to do with the passing of these Bills. If the government wish to make a statement as to what safeguards there should be placed around the acquisition of the water-powers of this country, well and good, and I shall be as glad to hear it as will the hon. member for South Simcoe, but that has absolutely nothing to do with the passing pf this Bill, which simply asks that the company shall have the power to acquire water-powers for the purpose of its railway.

The Minister of Railways intimated that he would be satisfied to have this Bill stand over. I am not the promoter of the Bill, but it seems to me that this matter has been sufficiently discussed, and I would ask the hon. member for South Simcoe to withdraw the objection. In any case, whether he does or not, I think this committee ought to consider this Bill and the Bill following to-day.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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LIB
LIB

Henry Robert Emmerson

Liberal

Mr. EMMERSON.

This subject has been very fully ventilated in the Railway Committee. In the consideration of two or three of the Bills now on the order paper some three or more days of the committee were occupied. I am quite in agreement with my hon. friend who has just taken his seat in his statement that it is not of material moment in connection with this Bill whether the government announces a policy now or whether it never announces one on the point raised by my hon. friend, because that policy goes beyond these Bilk. It is fair to bear in mind that this particular Bill has no powers of expropriation.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ALEX. HAGGART.

Section 14 gives the company the right to build tramway and to expropriate land.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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LIB

Henry Robert Emmerson

Liberal

Mr. EMMERSON.

That was struck out in the committee, and there was an express reservation that there should be no powers of expropriation. I think it unfortunate that we should take up the time of this House with this question at this moment. I have very strong views with respect to the granting of these powers. I had heard that pretty rigid rules were laid down in some of the state legislatures on the other side of the line with respect to the granting of water powers. In this Bill we simply give the company the right to acquire water-powers for the purposes of its undertaking.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

Is there any reservation of anything to come to the country, or are these companies to have all the profits?

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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LIB

Henry Robert Emmerson

Liberal

Mr. EMMERSON.

My hon. friend has raised quite another point, which I was about to raise myself when I was interrupted by my hon. friend. In some respects our legislation has differed entirely from that on the other side of the line. In the legislation adopted during this session we have been very insistent in limiting the powers of these companies to the purpose of their undertakings; but we have granted them the privilege of selling their surplus power, which I conceive to be in the public interest; but there is this distinction between legislation here and legislation on the other side of the line. There, wherever franchises of this character are granted, there is imposed upon the companies a certain tax. I had heard of this in a general way, and since the committee met and had these Bills under consideration, I have received, on an application which I made some weeks ago, a copy of a Bill passed by the legislature of the State of New York, being 'an Act to incorporate the Long Sault Development Company, and to authorize said company to construct and maintain dams, canals, power-houses and locks at or near Long Sault Island, for the purpose of improving the navigation of the St. Lawrence river and developing power from the

waters thereof, and to construct and maintain a bridge and carry on the manufacture of commodities.' Having a copy of that Bill in my hand, I will call the attention of the committee to this fact, that in the very inception the company is required ' to pay into the treasury of the State the fixed sum of $10,000, and in addition to the payment just mentioned, the company shall pay into the treasury of the State for the year 1910 the fixed sum of $15,000, and for the year 1911 the fixed sum of $20,000. For each year after 1911 the said corporation shall pay at the following rates upon the average amount of electrical horse-power generated during such year under the authority of this Act, that is to say: upon all amounts up to 25,000 electrical horse-power, at the rate of 75 cents per horse-power; upon all amounts in excess of 25,000 electrical horse-power and up to 100,000 horsepower, at the rate of 50 cents per horsepower; upon all amounts in excess of 100,000 electrical horse-power, at the rate of 25 cents per horse-power. In case said corporation shall generate or develop waterpower as mechanical power without transmuting the same into (electrical power, then for so much of said water-power as may be developed payments shall be made at the above mentioned rates per mechanical horse-power.' There are provisions with respect to determining the amount, which I need not read. Now, it occurs to me very forcibly that this is legislation which we might very properly and in the interest of the country imitate in Canada; but in doing so, let us bear in mind that there should not be any discrimination in this regard. I simply, invite the attention of the Minister of Public Works to this particular Act, because we all realize that if there is not already, there will be in the near future, an application to the parliament of Canada from this same company for Canadian rights, and in the consideration of that application it will be well to bear in mind just what the gentlemen who come here were obliged to meet when they went to the legislature of the State of New York and to the Congress of the government of the United States to secure powers for the purposes of the company. It is not necessary, of course, that we should incorporate this provision in these several Bills that are now under consideration or those which may have been under consideration by the Committee of the Whole of this House.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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CON
LIB

Henry Robert Emmerson

Liberal

Mr. EMMERSON.

Because there can be general legislation. The only effective way in which that can now be done is for the government to pass legislation. Where would the Burrard Inlet, and other Bills be? We have passed these Bills, and they are now before the Senate, and then we hold

up these new Bills, and impose upon their promoters burdens which we have not imposed upon the Burrard Inlet and other companies. That would be manifestly unfair and unjust, and I would say if action is to be taken it should be taken by the Department of Public Works, that there should be legislation in that regard. I see no reason why these particular Bills should be held up or should go back to the committee to have those conditions imposed now. If we take that course it would be necessary in order to be fair that we should ask that these amendments should be made by the Senate to the other Bills or else that they should not receive the assent of the Governor General.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
Permalink
CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. HAGGART.

The passage of the Bill may give the power of expropriation, and the power to acquire property. Would it be fair for the government afterwards to pass legislation imposing penalties?

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
Permalink
LIB

Henry Robert Emmerson

Liberal

Mr. EMMERSON.

It would be fair to do this. If they get the power to use and operate the water highway for purposes of a canal or for electrical power they must go to the Department of Public Works with their plans, and these plans must have the approval of that department through its minister. It would be fair for the government of Canada to-morrow to enact legislation whereby before any such privileges are granted or approvals given there may be imposed on these companies a certain percentage on the amount of the power.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
Permalink

March 7, 1910