April 29, 1918

UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Mr. J. D. REID:

It has been the custom for the Minister of Railways every year to make a statement as to the general railway situation at the time he takes up his Estimates, and it is my intention to do so when the Estimates of the Railway Department are taken up.

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L LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Laurier Liberal

Mr. CAHILL:

If the Estimates are not

taken up very soon, we shall have a lot of new railway legislation passed. As I understood the regulations passed last year, they did not provide that the Government should wait until the arbitration was settled before taking over the management. Is the position now that the country own the stock of the Canadian Northern railway, but that until the arbitration is decided, we have nothing to say as to the management?

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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Mr. J. D. REID:

When the stock was

taken over, it was understood and arranged with the present Board of Directors that they were not to undertake any new work or enter into any negotiation other than to continue the operation of the road until the new Board of Directors had been appointed. It was expected the arbitration would have been completed long before this. In the meantime, until their finding is made nothing is being done by the Canadian Northern directors except to operate the road.

,Mr. RICHARDSON: Is the Government debarred by any understanding it has with the Canadian Northern from proceeding to take over the road and appointing a board of management such as Sir Henry Drayton and his associates suggested?

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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Mr. J. D. REID:

The Government are not debarred in any way. It was expected that the arbitration would only take about five or six weeks. As soon as the award is made the Government will take charge of the road and it will be under our absolute control.

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UNION

Robert Lorne Richardson

Unionist

Mr. RICHARDSON:

The minister must see that even when the award has been made it may not be accepted either by the Government or by the company, and the present status might continue for weeks and months, and, perhaps, for a year. I think, under the circumstances, it would be very dangerous to have it go out to the country that the Government is going to wait before taking any action regarding the

operation of the road until the award has been finally settled.

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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Mr. J. D. REID:

I said that as soon as the arbitrators have made -their award, that is final so (far as the Government is concerned. We will then take over the road.

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L LIB

William Daum Euler

Laurier Liberal

Mr. EULER:

Does this legislation contemplate the granting of additional powers, or merely the extension of powers formerly possessed by the company, but which have now lapsed?

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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Mr. J. D. REID:

It does not add to the powers at all. The original charter of this company has not been changed at all.

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L LIB

William Daum Euler

Laurier Liberal

Mr. EULER:

This is not a r-oad against which protests were entered by the hydroradial people of Ontario? .

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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Mr. J. D. REID:

The Hydro-Electric Commission objected to the extension of this charter itwo years ago for the reason that the road, when built, would parallel a line the commission proposed to build from Toronto to Niagara Falls, but in the committee the other day the Hydro Commission did not object to the extension of this charter because this railway now belongs to the people of Canada and is -subject to the control of this Parliament.

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L LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

Administered by the people of Canada?

iMr. J. D. REID: It will be administered by the people of Canada from now -on. Anything that is done in connection with this railway will he done by the Government, and we shall first have to ask Parliament to vote the -money.

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L LIB

William Daum Euler

Laurier Liberal

Mr. EULER:

They have withdrawn their objection?

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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Mr. J. D. REID:

Yes, because the Government has taken over -the Toad. The same objection was taken two years ago by the city of Toronto; they felt their rights would not be as well protected by the Canadian Northern railway, Which then had control over this road, us they would be when the road was under the control of Ibis Parliament.

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UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

Will the minister be in a position to make a statement on the third reading of thik Bill to-morrow as to whether the right-of-way is so fully occupied by the Electrical Development -Company, that there is -actually no room left on the right-of-way where a railway could be built? He *might also inform us whether the company has purchased -additional land -along the

right-of-way on which this proposed railway could be built.

iMir. J. D. REID: I shall certainly be glad to give the hon. member any information be desires in regard to this matter. We are simply taking over the rights of this company. A lot of money has been invested by the Canadian Northern in the purchase of a right-of-way through the city Oi Hamilton, for instance, and through all the territory from Toronto. As the Canadian Northern has been taken over by the Government this right-of-way will now belong to the people, and if this road is never [DOT]built there will be a certain amount of [DOT]money coming to the people of this country in return for that right-of-way.

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L LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

The request that was .made by the hon. member for [DOT]Simcoe seems to me to be very reasonable. He wants to know if the right-of-way has been fully occupied by the Electrical Development 'Company, and the only answer he gets is that the right-of-way belongs to the 'Canadian Northern. That is all the more reason why we should have this information. The minister has not answered my hon. friend's question at all.

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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Mr. J. D. REID:

I have not the information with me but I said I should be very gla'd to give him .all the information he desired on the (third reading.

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L LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

Let the Bill [DOT]stand until you get the information.

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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Mr. J. D. REID:

The hon. member did not ask that the Bill stand, but that I bring down the information on the third reading.

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L LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

It seems to me that this is the proper time to have the information.

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UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

Apparently the minister has not the information available at present. As I understand it, on the right-of-way of this railway company whose charter we are proposing to extend, the Electrical Development Company originally built one pole line, with the intention of building a railway line along the right-of-way, but within the last two years, owing to the extension of electric power, another power line has been built along this right-of-way some distance from the first one, and the whole right-of-way is now occupied. I am informed, however, that the railway company had purchased additional right-of-way so that they could build a railway if necessary, and I wanted to know whether it was [DOT]a fact that they would have a right-of-way

not cluttered up with the poles of the Electrical Development Company. Otherwise, the Government would have to bring down a Bill later on to take over the Electrical Development Company, who would undoubtedly make a kick if the railway was built along their right-of-way. I think we should know the exact situation before this Bill passes the House as to the rights that have been granted to the Electrical Development Company, what was paid for them, and all that sort of thing. It might turn out that we were taking over a worthless charter here which would be capitalized, if at all possible, by the company when it appears before the arbitration board in Toronto, and without giving full information in respect to the right-of-way. I think this is a very important matter, but I have no objection to the Bill being proceeded with, if the minister will bring down the information on the third reading. If that is satisfactory to me, I think it will be satisfactory to the House.

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April 29, 1918