Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this Bill is to amend section 20 of the Exchequer Court Act, which gives jurisdiction to the Exchequer Court to entertain certain claims against the Crown. Subsection (c) of section 20 reads:
Every claim against the Crown arising out of any death or injury to the person or to property on any public work, resulting from the negligence of any officer or servant of the Crown, while acting within the scope of his duties or employment.
As you are aware, Sir, the Crown is not liable for any wrong committed by its servants except when its liability is so provided by statute; and it has been decided by the Supreme Court of Canada, in two or three instances, especially last year in the case of Piggotts vs. the .Crown, that no claim can be entertained for an accident arising on a public work if the property or the person injured were not on the public work itself. For instance, in the case which I have just mentioned, the owner of a dock which had been destroyed through an explosion of dynamite on a Government wharf was denied all claim to compensation because his dock was on an adjoining property instead of being on the Government property itself. Judges of the Supreme Court have stated especially that the section as it stands constitutes a stupid enactment, and that justice has often been denied thereby. The amendment I propose is to insert the words "on any public work" after the words "while acting," so that the subsection will read:
Every claim against the Crown arising out of any death or injury to the person or to property on any public work, resulting from the negligence of any officer or servant of the Crown, while acting on any public work within the scope of his duties or employment.
That on Wednesday, the 16th day of May, and subsequent Wednesdays until the end of the session, Government Notices of Motions and Government Orders shall have precedence after Questions and Notices of Motions for production of papers.
When this motion was moved yesterday by the Minister of Trade and Commerce, the leader of the Opposition asked that it be allowed to stand until to-day so that he might make spine inquiries.
Mr. Speaker, the House is aware that many notices of motion from private members have been allowed to stand until the return of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister has now, I am happy to say, returned safely from his trip, and we may now take up these motions. If my hon. friend will agree to have the date changed to Wednesday, the 23rd of May, I shall have no objection to the motion.
The original motion was to take Wednesday, the 9th day of May, and now it has stood over until the 15th and we desire to make it apply from to-morrow; but if my right hon. friend is not ready to indicate the motions which have been allowed to stand, I think we shall comply with his request.
I would like to make a correction in Hansard. In a remark that I made yesterday upon the discussion of the resolution moved by the hon. member for East Lambton (Mr. Armstrong), I am reported to have used these words, having reference to the oil shale deposits in New Brunswick.
Experts of the Mines Branch say that these deposits would yield from $40 to $50 per ton of shale.
That conveys the impression that the results would be such as to astonish.the world. What I said was:
Experts of the Mines Branch say that these deposits would yield from forty to fifty gallons of oil per ton of shale.