August 11, 1917

CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT.

NUMBER OF JURORS IN PANEL..


Hon. C. J. DOHERTY (Minister of Justice) moved the third reading of Bill No. 97, to amend the Criminal Code respecting jurors.


LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. E. M. MACDONALD (Pictou):

Mr. Speaker, this matter was so thoroughly threshed out upon the second reading of the Bill and in the committee stage that I do not feel like going into it at length. I consider that the Government have decided to have this Bill passed and to take the responsibility for it. Having regard to the circumstances which were disclosed during the discussion, and which have not been denied, I wish to put myself upon record as being absolutely opposed to such a radical change in the criminal law at this time, a change made for no reason whatever. No case has been made to warrant the action of the Government in the matter, and the circumstances which have led to the introduction of this Bill indicate to the House that it is legislation that should not be proceeded with.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   NUMBER OF JURORS IN PANEL..
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Motion agreed to, and Bill read the third time.


GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.

CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.


House in Committee on bill No. 181, to amend the Government Railway Act-Hon. Mr. Cochrane.-Mr. Rainville in the Chair. On section 6-Repeal of inconsistent provisions in Government Railways Act:


LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

Since last evening I

have had an opportunity of carefully going over the proposed amendments of the Minister of Railways with an officer of his department, and so far as I am concerned- and I am speaking only for myself-the minister has met all the objections which I thought were properly raised, excepting probably the question as to whether the government railways would be liable to the imposition of a fine in case they refuse to obey the orders of the Board of Railway Commissioners. I realize that there are

difficulties in the way of imposing a fine upon His Majesty, and .also that pTobaJbly in ninety-nine oases out of a hundred, if the Board of Railway Commissioners passed an order that the government railways should do or refrain from doing a certain thing, they would carry out the order of the board. That matter is left open, . -and I have no opinion to offer upon it now other than what 1 have already offered. With that one exception, as I understand the *matter, the amendments moved by the Minister of Railways cover everything that was in dispute yesterday and bring the government railways practically under the control of the Dominion Railway Act.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
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LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. MARGIL:

What about expropriation of land?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
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LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

It was understood, in

all the discussion yesterday, that expropriation of land by the Government still remained under the Expropriation Act, and did not come under the purview of this Bill. I raised the discussion in regard to the right of a subject to sue the government railways in the ordinary courts of the land. When we come to examine the Railway Act, we find that no right is given by that Act to sue a railway company, and therefore if there is to be any change in the law as it stands to-day, it must be obtained by amending the Small Claims Act and not the Railway Act. A man sues a railway company by virtue of the common law of the land, but he receives, by virtue of the Railway Act of Canada, no authority nor assistance in bringing his action.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

He does not

need it.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
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LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

No. The only thing

the Railway Act of Canada does, so far as bringing an action is concerned, is to limit it within certain conditions, that is to limit the time within two years-up. to the present time, the limit has been one year. A man can bring an action against the government railways by suing the manager -I think that is the way it stands now by virtue of the Small Claims Act of 1910 as afterwards amended. Therefore, if we wish to bring all1 these actions into1 the ordinary courts of the land, there would have to be an amendment of the Small Claims Act. Only this morning I received another evidence of the necessity of a change of that kind. I received a letter from a prominent solicitor in New Brunswick asking me

to act as counsel for him to collect from the Government whatever the amount might be by reason of the death of two men killed on the Transcontinental railway through what he claims to be the negligence of the railway corporation. Those were poor men, and they have left families. If they had a right to bring their action in the ordinary courts of New Brunswick, there is no doubt they would go on and have speedy justice meted out. If they are driven to the Exchequer Court, they will, in all probability, never bring action. 'The 'Government might settle their claims, but we know from past experience that if they do -settle, they will not pay what the real damages are. I merely mention that as an illustration of the necessity of permitting those actions to be brought in the ordinary courts of the land. I am satisfied with the amendments proposed by the Minister of Railways; the only question that might be left open to discussion is whether there should be a change so that the railway itself would be *subject to penalties in case it refused to carry out the orders of the Railway Board.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

The tendency of the age is certainly towards government ownership of railways and other public utilities. That is a principle in regard to which I, for my part, have very serious doubt, but there is no doubt that public opinion is verging in that direction, and there is much to commend the principle. I am satisfied that if the government management of railways or other public utilities could he kept free from political partisanship, that evil of our system of government, government ownership might be very desirable.

At all events, it might be very desirable in an old country, -but I have my doubts whether a young country like ours can be better served by government railways than, by railways that are run by companies. I think in a young country like this, a company railway has more elasticity of management and can better serve the public, than a railway under government ownership. But undoubtedly the younger element of the country-western Canada, for instance-is in favour of government ownership. If we adopt government ownership we must also be prepared to take the consequences of it; as in everything else, we must take the bad with the good. The public should have the same recourse against the management of the government railways as against the management of company railways. The

company railways, under our Railway Act, are subject to the control of the Railway Board, which enacts the penalties and can enforce its decisions. It was not my privilege to be here yesterday evening, but I read this morning the discussion which took place, and I was struck by the objection which was made to subjecting the King to penalties. Of course, there is some anomaly in that, but it is an anomaly more in name than in anything else. If the King becomes a common carrier, he is entitled to all the advantages of that position-he can collect my fare-and he should also accept the responsibilities. We have provided already that he shall accept those responsibilities to a certain extent, but there is still the old doctrine that the King cannot be sued at law-you cannot bring the King against the King. Under our Small Claims Act, however, we have provided that the manager of the government railways can he sued for damages up to $500. There is no reason why he should not be sued, no matter what the amount of damages a subject may have suffered. What objection can there be to allowing a man to sue for $600? The public should have the same rights against the government railways as against the company railways, and there is no reason why all the penalties, and all the methods of enforcing the law, in the case of company railways, should not apply in the case of the government railways. I am quite satisfied that the minister is in earnest about this, and if his aim is, as I believe it always has been, to remove the railway from politics, I would commend that suggestion to him.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
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CON

Francis Cochrane (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCHRANE:

I think they already have that under clause 439 of the Railway Act.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
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LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

That is a pretty strong clause.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

It is a pretty

strong clause so far as the companies are concerned, but this Bill does- not deal with the companies; it deals with the Government.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
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CON

Francis Cochrane (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCHRANE:

It is proposed to introduce such a clause in regard to the government railways.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

The clause goes pretty far, I admit.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
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LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

It is a pretty good start.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
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August 11, 1917