January 16, 1911

CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

In making

that suggestion I thought that all public buildings were erected by the Public Works Department.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   HOURS OF LABOUR ON PUBLIC WORKS.
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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

No, I would move as an amendment that the section apply to all work on public buildings undertaken by the government by day labour.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   HOURS OF LABOUR ON PUBLIC WORKS.
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Amendment agreed to. On section 3,


CON

Angus Claude Macdonell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MACDONELL (Toronto).

In reference to the payment for overtime I move that the word ' quarter' m subsection 1 be stricken out and that the word ' one-half ' be inserted so as to provide that men who work overtime shall be paid time and a half instead of time and a quarter as the Bill now reads.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   HOURS OF LABOUR ON PUBLIC WORKS.
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Amendment agreed to.


LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

I would like to ask my hon. friend (Mr. Verville) how section 2 stands?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   HOURS OF LABOUR ON PUBLIC WORKS.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

It stands for very little.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   HOURS OF LABOUR ON PUBLIC WORKS.
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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

It seems to me that

paragraph (d), (e) and (f) should be stricken out of the amended section 2 because there is no provision in the Bill for that class of work and therefore it is not necessary to say that the Bill shall not apply to something which by the widest stretch of the imagination it could not apply to.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   HOURS OF LABOUR ON PUBLIC WORKS.
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LAB

Alphonse Verville

Labour

Mr. VERVILLE.

I acknowledge that these paragraphs do not apply to the Bill as it has passed.

On the motion of Mr. Pugsley paragraphs (d), (e) and (f) of clause 2 were stricken from the Bill.

Bill reported as amended.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   HOURS OF LABOUR ON PUBLIC WORKS.
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RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.


The House resumed the adjourned debate on the motion of Mr. Lancaster for the second reading of Bill (No. 2) to amend the Railway Act.


CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

We discussed this matter several weeks ago and as Mr. Speaker was putting the question to the 57 i

House for the second reading, the Prime Minister asked that it should stand. 1 spoke twice on the measure; everybody spoke who wanted to, and then the Minister of Railways said that if I allowed the Bill to stand, he might have a suggestion to make in a day or two. Two Bills which we have been considering to-day got precedence over it, although this had precedence in the beginning. The matter having been thoroughly discussed, I think the Bill ought to go to committee, and I would move to that effect.

Mr.^ GRAHAM. This Bill is one that in short provides that every coroner should-hold an inquest when any death occurs that is caused by a railway. The position I took the other day was that the coroners are not our employees, but employees of the provincial governments and paid by them. I do not deny that this House can use the officers of the provincial government if it wants to, but we cannot compel them to do something that their oath of office as employees of the provincial government prohibits them from doing. Now, take the statutes of the different provinces. Under the Nova Scotia Act a coroner cannot hold an inquest until it appears:

(a) That there is reasonable cause to suspect that such person died from violence, undue means or culpable negligence, or

(b) That such person died in any- jail or in any prison, or

(c) That such person died in such place and under such circumstances as require an inquest.

It is further provided that every person appointed a coroner shall hold office during pleasure, and shall before entering upon the duties of his office take an oath. This would not interfere to any extent with this Bill. But in New Brunswick it is provided that the coroner shall not be entitled to his fees unless prior to issuing his warrant for summoning a jury he makes a declaration under oath that he is of opinion that there is reason for believing or suspecting that the deceased did not come to his death by mere natural causes or from mere accident or mischance, but came to his death by violence, criminal or unfair means, culpable or negligent conduct of others under circumstances requiring investigation by a coroner's inquest, and the grounds on which he bases such belief or suspicion must be set out. Our law might conflict with this. In Quebec coroners are governed by section 3477 of the Revised Statutes of 1906, which says:

No inquest shall be held on any deceased person unless a coroner before issuing his warrant for summoning a jury makes an affidavit administered by a justice of the peace, notary public or a commissioner for taking affidavits to be used in the Superior Court, and filed with the inquisition, stating that

from the information received by the coroner, a summary whereof shall Toe sent out in the declaration, he has reason for believing that the deceased came to his death not from natural causes or mere accident or mischance, but from violence or unfair means, culpable or negligent conduct of others under circumstances requiring investigation by a coroner's inquest.

It might be apparent, that no person was culpable, and yet we would require him to do what under the provincial statutes he is not required to do and what he swears he will not do. Chap. 97 of the Revised Statutes of Ontario, 1897, provides that: No inquest shall be held on the body of any deceased person by a coroner unless it be upon the death of a prisoner or upon the written request of the Attorney General in certain cases, unless it has been made to appear to the coroner that there is reason to believe that the deceased died from violence or unfair means by culpable or negligent conduct of others and under such circumstances as require investigation by inquest and not through mere accident or mischance. Then, section 4 provides that no fee shall be payable to the coroner unless prior to issuing his warrant for the summoning of the jury he makes a declaration under oath stating that from information received by him he is of opinion that there is reason to believe that the deceased did not come to his death from natural causes or from mere accident or mischance, but came to his death From violence or unfair means or culpable or negligent conduct of others under circumstances requiring investigation by coroner's inquest. By the Manitoba Act it is provided that no fees shall be claimed by a coroner unless prior to issuing his warrant for summoning a jury he shall have made a declaration in writing under oath stating that from information received he is of opinion that there is reason to believe that the deceased did not come to his death from natural causes or from mere accident or mischance, but came to his death from violence or unfair means or culpable or negligent conduct of others requiring investigation by a coroner's inquest. The British Columbia Act, I think, would not possibly interfere with the proposition of my hon. friend, because under that Act where a coroner is informed that a dead body of a person is lying within his jurisdiction, and there is reasonable cause to suspect that such person died either a violent or unnatural death or has died a sudden death the cause of which is unknown under such circumstances as to require an inquest, he shall issue his warrant for summoning a jury. My contention is that as coroners are employees of the provincial government, which defines their duties, though we can use these officials, we cannot require them to do something which may conflict with their Mr. GRAHAM.

instructions or with the oath they have to take. I would have no hesitation in saying that we might compel every railway company, where a fatal accident has occurred, to at once report to the nearest coroner or the Crown Attorney, or the Attorney General, as the case might be, and leave him to decide whether or not to hold an investigation, but I think we shall be going beyond what is warranted by the statutes of all the provinces if we require an inquest to be held where under the circumstances it might not be necessary. I would be quite willing to send the Bill to the Railway Committee to be there threshed out, but I think it would be a mistake for us as a parliament to compel the officers of the provincial government to do something which would be manifestly contrary to the oath they have to take from their employers.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

Jacques Bureau (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. BUREAU.

I would like to point out that in the province of Quebec the coroners are paid by the provincial government, and it is in the discretion of the government, if they do not comply with the provisions of the law, to refuse payment. .If we required these men to perform certain work for which the provincial government refused to pay them, it is probable that they would refuse to act.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

It is very easy to find excuses for not passing legislation. On the second reading of this Bill every one who spoke was in favour of it on its merits. The reasons given by the Minister of Railways and Canals with regard to these provincial statutes are the very reasons why this parliament should take some action. Our railways to-day are almost entirely Dominion railways, with regard to which this parliament alone can legislate, and we are never troubled in so legislating by the fact that some provincial act affecting these railways may be in existence. There are provincial Acts governing our coroners, yet the Criminal Code of this parliament provides that they shall perform certain duties. If a man is supposed to be guilty in a case of death, he is taken into custody by the coroner holding an inquest. In our criminal code there are dozens of instances in which magistrates and justices of the peace, who are appointed by the local governments, must act. One might as well say that a county court judge, because he is appointed by this government, must not enforce any provincial law. County court judges are appointed and paid for by the Dominion government, but in nine cases out of ten they deal with matters of provincial legislation only. Of course I anticipated these objections. Counsels for different railways have told me that there objections would, be raised, and in all probability the objec-

tions raised by the hon. minister came from the railway companies.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

Nonsense.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

Counsel for these companies told me what was going to be urged on the second reading of this Bill. They said that the position would be taken which we have seen taken in this House to-day. The coroner would be loaded up behind the backs of the relatives and the public so that, under the law governing Dominion railways he could say that he had made an inquiry and that in his opinion no inquest was necessary, and no provincial law could provide for anything being done on the property of a Dominion railway.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

Nonsense.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

That is no answer.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

It is an answer as strong as your argument.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

That may be the opinion of the hon. gentleman, and he is welcome to it; but in the Railway Commission over and over again it has been decided that this parliament alone can deal with these matters.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink

January 16, 1911