Mr. D. M. KENNEDY (Peace River):
Mr. Speaker, it may be that I shall be called upon to vote on this bill, and before doing so I should like to say a few words. I have always been in sympathy with the removal of the
Railway Act-Rate Structure
differential on grain or other products moving westward. However this bill goes much farther than I think we ought to go in conferring power and responsibilities upon the Board of Railway Commissioners. Take section 2:
The board may consider the question of what should be reasonable compensation under the circumstances, and may establish a rate structure in the interests of trade development and public policy, though such experimental rates may not at the time or of themselves give reasonable compensation to the railway companies.
Surely this parliament cannot hand over to a board of five members, which is really ^ a subdepartment of the Department of Railways, the right to establish a rate structure in the interests of trade development and public policy. The words are very indefinite, and capable of wide interpretation. Such matters can only be dealt with by parliament itself. For instance we might have the Board of Railway Commissioners deciding to establish a rate to develop a certain industry in a certain locality. But we might have a tariff policy, or a financial policy, of an entirely opposite effect. Only that body which has the power of coordinating and weighing these various questions can properly determine and lay down policies in the interests of trade development.
Another reason why I am opposed to this bill is that if we were imposing on the railways of Canada, the privately owned as well as the publicly controlled railway, rates that of themselves admittedly were not paying rates, how long would it be before the Canadian Pacific Railway Company would be coming here and saying: Pay us our deficit? I do not think we could avoid that. While I do not agree that there is real justice as between domestic and export rates going westward from the prairie provinces to Vancouver, and while I have spoken in this house against that disparity, though I was not here to vote on the other bill-I think I was ill when it came up,-I cannot vote to confer upon the Board of Railway Commissioners such powers as are proposed to be given them by this bill.