April 11, 1916

LIB

Joseph Arthur Calixte Éthier

Liberal

Mr. ETHIER:

It is a letter published in the Evening Journal, which I understand is the organ of the Conservative party.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE MESSENGERS.
Permalink
CON

Auguste-Charles-Philippe-Robert Landry (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. It is out of order at this stage of the proceedings to read such a letter, especially if it is not signed. I think it would be more proper for the hon. gentleman to bring the question up when the motion is made for the House to go into Committee of Supply:

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE MESSENGERS.
Permalink
LIB
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Order.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE MESSENGERS.
Permalink
LIB
CON

Auguste-Charles-Philippe-Robert Landry (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

If the letter were signed, I would permit the hon. gentleman to read it; but, as it is not signed, I think it is out of order to read it.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE MESSENGERS.
Permalink

POWERS OF THE RAILWAY COMMISSION.

RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENTS.


On motion of Hon. J. D. Reid (Acting Minister of Railways and Canals), Bill No. 87, to amend the Railway Act, was read the second time, and the House went into Committee thereon, Mr. Rhodes in the Chair.


LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

As I understand from a reading of this Bill, it is an amendment of the Railway Act to provide a method different from that which has heretofore existed for the approval of general routes of proposed railway lines. Under the statute the method heretofore followed hias been this: Upon a 'Company's making application to Parliament for a charter for the construction of a line, the Bill in respect to the matter is referred to the Committee on Railways, Canals and Telegraph Lines. The promoters of the scheme are asked to place before the Railway Committee a map giving a general outline of the proposed project. As a matter of fact, it quite often happens that these maps are not very illuminating, and give very little information as to where the road is, going; and the Railway Committee and the House itself have power to make definite landmarks along ine railway and generally to say at what points it shall touch. It has been the practice in the Railway Committee, however, to be not very exact in this respect, and to leave the location of the route generally to the minister. Under the statute as it now stands-and I think it has not been amended-there is submitted to the minister a map of the route, and it is his duty to locate it in a general direction. After he has done this the matter goes before the Board of Railway Comissioners, whose duty is more definitely to locate the line, their powers being limited to a change of the route that has been approved by the minister to the extent of one mile either way. That has caused a good deal of work on the part of the minister, and has been very troublesome at times. But there is this to be said in favour of the minister's having the right to locate the line in a general way: that it reserves to the Government the matter of policy as to the locating of lines within certain distances of each other. For example, if a new portion of the country is to be opened up, there is left to the Government a full discretion through the Minister of Railways as to the policy that shall be adopted in the matter of railway construction in connection with opening up that new piece of territory. However, I am rather inclined to the view that it would not be unwise to give this amendment a trial. Our main lines of railway have been constructed across the continent; a great many of our branch lines have been constructed, and, as the Board of Railway Commissioners

have power to change the route to the extent of one mile either way, I am not prepared to oppose this Bill, which gives them the further power of determining the whole location of the line. It may prove that the power is a little too extensive to grant to the Board of Railway Commissioners, but I am inclined to think that a board composed as that board always has been composed will be in as good a position, with our railway construction as far advanced as it is now, to do this work as was the minister, and perhaps better. I have read the Bill hurriedly, but it would seem that nothing is said with reference to the old powers heretofore vested in the board. In other words, new powers are conferred upon them by this Bill. If I am not mistaken, the Bill gives the board power to locate the line generally, or transfers to the board the power which was formerly vested in the minister. Subsection 2 of section 157, as amended, says:

Such map shall be prepared upon a scale not smaller than six miles to the inch, or upon such other appropriate scale as the board may determine, and shall be accompanied by an application in duplicate, stating: the Special Act authorizing the construction of such railway, and requesting the board's approval of the general location as shown on the said map.

Is not that about the authority that the minister had before? And, in addition to that, has not the bo-ard, under this or some other section of the Bill, power definitely to state where the line shall run? You are wishing not to take away from the board the power that they did have, but to add such power as the minister had before?

Topic:   POWERS OF THE RAILWAY COMMISSION.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENTS.
Permalink
CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

That is it.

Topic:   POWERS OF THE RAILWAY COMMISSION.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENTS.
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

It seems to me that you need not have all this machinery to do that. All you have to do is to repeal the provision giving power to the minister, and say that the board shall have power to locate the line-not generally, but actually to locate it. Under the new Act if will be necessary, I think, as a matter of policy and in order to guard against any errors that might occur, that the Railway Cbm-mittee shall hereafter feel it their duty to pay more attention than hitherto to the location of lines. Not unfrequently the Railway Committee passes upon an application for a charter in a manner which leaves little or no information as to where the line is to go. It is true that greater care has been taken in recent years on account of the multiplicity of railway lines, but it will be necessary for the committee

hereafter to be even more definite than they have been, 'because they will have to remember that as to matter of policy there is no minister to intervene between them and the Board of Railway Commissioners. The Bill will go direct from the Senate after it becomes law to the Board of Railway Commissioners, and from their location to the line there will be no appeal. It is one less safeguard in regard to where the road is to go. I am not saying that the safeguard is necessary under modern conditions; but I think it would be necessary for the committee, and for the House hereafter, if the minister is to be deprived of the intervening power which he has had hitherto, to give more attention to details as to' where these lines are going. Their power heretofore extended only for two miles, and the minister had all the other power in his hands. Under the Act, as the minister intends to have it worked out, the Board of Railway Commissioners will have full power to say where these lines shall go. I suggest that he look into the wording of these clauses very carefully; because I am inclined to think that this amendment will duplicate the Railway Act in some respects and give powers that are unnecessary.

(Mr. REID: The hon. member has stated the position correctly insofar as the present law is concerned, that is, that in regard to Bills passed by the House, the plans must be approved by the minister and the Board of Railway Commissioners. The powers heretofore held by the Board of Railway Commissioners are not in any way changed. They have these powers, but, as suggested iby the hon. member, this simply adds to their powers, and leaves entirely within their juris diction the decision as to the location of the railway. As stated the, other evening, these clauses were in the Bill which was presented to the Senate about two years ago, but which was not proceeded with on account of the war. I have had Sir Henry Drayton, the Chairman of the Railway Commission, and Mr. Gisborne, the law clerk of the House of Commons, go over this Bill thoroughly, and they said that there would be no conflict between the Railway Act and this Bill if it became law.

Topic:   POWERS OF THE RAILWAY COMMISSION.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENTS.
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

But is all this neoessary:

Topic:   POWERS OF THE RAILWAY COMMISSION.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENTS.
Permalink
CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

I was going to say that both Sir Henry Drayton and Mr. Gisborne considered that it was necessary to have these clauses in this Bill in order to make it

workable in connection with the present Railway Act. Therefore I do not think that we should alter them. I agree with the hon. member for South Renfrew, from the little experience I have had, in the absence of the Minister of Railways and Canals, that it would be well to give this proposed act a trial. I think all the members of the House will agree that, since the Board of Railway Commissioners was appointed, they have done excellent work. There has been very little, if any, criticism of their work from the beginning, and their whole desire will be to do what is in the interest of the people in the localities through which the railways may pass, and have the lines properly located. On the whole, I regard this as a move in the right direction, and one that should have a trial.

Topic:   POWERS OF THE RAILWAY COMMISSION.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENTS.
Permalink
LIB

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Liberal

Mr. NESBITT:

I am in accord with the proposed amendment so far as I have read it; but I would draw the attention of the minister to clause 3, commencing at the word " but" in the third line:

But if the hoard deems that the construction of a railway upon the proposed location or upon any portion thereof is not in the public interest it shall refuse approval of the whole of such portion.

The word " shall " there seems to me to be a little hard. Besides, that part overrules the Board of Railway Commissioners or Parliament itself; it says that they " shall." When Parliament has approved of a railway charter, the Board is given authority by that word to overrule Parliament.

Topic:   POWERS OF THE RAILWAY COMMISSION.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENTS.
Permalink
CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

The hon. gentleman knows

that when Parliament passes a railway Bill, the plans must first be approved by the minister and by the Board of Railway Commissioners.

Topic:   POWERS OF THE RAILWAY COMMISSION.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENTS.
Permalink
LIB

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Liberal

Mr. NESBITT:

The minister is supposed to sit in the Railway Committee, of which he is generally a member, and I have never known of a case where the minister disapproved of a Bill going through the Railway Committee. I have been for years opposed to the duplication of lines, and this amendment is largely with reference to that. I would like, also, to draw the attention of the minister to these words in clause 7: " company, municipality, or person." What is meant by " company"?

Topic:   POWERS OF THE RAILWAY COMMISSION.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENTS.
Permalink
CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

The Railway Act defines

" company."

Topic:   POWERS OF THE RAILWAY COMMISSION.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENTS.
Permalink
LIB

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Liberal

Mr. NESBITT:

That would refer to a railway company, but apparently this does not refer to a railway company.

Topic:   POWERS OF THE RAILWAY COMMISSION.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENTS.
Permalink
CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

The Railway Act says:

Railway company includes every such company and any person having authority to construct or operate a railway.

This is an amendment to the Railway Act.

Topic:   POWERS OF THE RAILWAY COMMISSION.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENTS.
Permalink

April 11, 1916