May 20, 1936

LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

Otherwise you would have in this legislation the application of a principle affecting one department of the crown in the Dominion of Canada and not affecting any other. Is not that correct?

Topic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

No other department operates like public utilities.

Topic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

Or in any

other British country?

Topic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

No, it is not.

Topic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

My hon. friend seeks to apply a principle with respect to this piece of legislation that does not apply to any other department of the crown in Canada. They are not liable in tort for the operation of government railways.

Topic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

But for the operation of their system they are liable in suit every day. I have sued them myself.

Topic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

It was not so stated, but in previous discussions of this bill, as I have contended, to make it particularly clear that this property which is administered by the proposed board shall be free from taxation in the several provinces, we have declared by specific legislation that the property is vested in His Majesty in the right of the dominion, and consequently that the board should be deemed to be an agent of His Majesty in the administration of the act. But in fact this property is no more the property of the crown than Canadian National Steamships is the property of the crown. Every dollar invested in Canadian National Steamships was taken from the consolidated revenues of this country. Those ships are owned by the government as much as are these wharves and docks, yet because Canadian National Steamships is incorporated as a company it is liable to actions in tort, it is liable for damages which are due to the inefficiency and negligence of its officers and employees. Furthermore I suggest that the subsidiaries of the Canadian National Railways as at present constituted are liable to be sued in tort. I notice that the adviser of the minister is suggesting something to the contrary.

Topic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

You must have very good ears.

Topic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

Oh well, I could read by the movement of his lips what was being said. But I still differ. In large measure the Canadian National Railways in their operation are liable for the wrongs committed by servants, and so far as my memory goes, in every

National Harbours Board

case in which action was brought against its individual employee or servant because of a wrongful act committed by him in the service of the railway, and judgment was recovered, the government, recognizing this principle, assumed the liability and paid the judgment. That is so far as my experience goes, although it is not so very extensive. Now we have begun in a large way to operate through a department of government these public utilities. The minister who will assume, under the measure now proposed to the house, the office of Minister of Transport, will conduct the Canadian National Railways, a public utility, Canadian National Steamships, a public utility, the harbour board, a public utility, and certain other minor boards which may be regarded as public utilities. I say that when the government is entering upon the ownership and administration of these utilities iD competition with many private services, it should assume, as other public corporations have to assume, and as all private corporations have to assume, the liability for wrongs done in the administration of a similar service. No other department of government conducts services of this extent and this kind.

Topic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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LIB

Donald MacLennan

Liberal

Mr. MacLENNAN:

Will the employees

of the national harbours board have the benefits of the compensation laws?

Topic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Marine; Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Yes. The government has

a compensation act of its own which makes applicable to its employees the various provincial compensation acts. Every precaution which is taken by a private firm to protect its employees is taken by the government, not as a matter of compulsion but as a matter of grace.

Topic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

But this amendment which

I propose does not refer so particularly to employees. It simply means that if, driving down on a public wharf to go on board a steamship as a passenger, through the negligence of the operatives of the Montreal harbour railway my family and I are destroyed, there can be no action for damages, although I might have lost my life and the lives of my family by the negligence of the driver of the locomotive. It means that in the operation of large elevators such as we have, if through the negligence of the operators a steamship company lying alongside the wharf suffers damage to the extent of hundreds or even thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, it has no remedy whatsoever, although if it were lying alongside a private wharf, similar negligence on behalf of the owner of the private wharf would found a good claim for damages in the courts. I

have nothing more to say. I have put this amendment before the committee, and I suppose it will be voted down, but I insist that it is a matter which should have received more careful consideration.

Topic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Marine; Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

The hon. member for St.

Lawrence-St. George has strong sympathizers on this side of the house. It is solely because the officers see great difficulties ahead that his amendment has not been accepted, but if he will allow us to pass the other sections and hold this over for further consideration we shall be very glad to do so.

Topic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

I am anxious to assist the

minister in every way. Suppose that he proceeds: we will hold section 37 as at present amended.

Topic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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?

Mr HOWE:

Yes.

Topic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

Subject to further consideration of the motion outstanding. Now the minister has a slight amendment to section 38-

Topic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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LIB

Frederick George Sanderson (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

An amendment to section 37 has been already carried.

Topic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

Quite so, but before the

section as a whole was carried I moved another amendment and I wish that amendment to stand, as the minister suggests.

Section 37 stands.

On section 38-Proceedings relative to construction of works in navigable waters under jurisdiction of the board.

Topic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I move that section 38 be amended by striking out the words "oftransport" in the seventh line on page 14 of

the bill.

Topic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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Amendment agreed to. Section as amended agreed to. On section 39-Acts repealed.


May 20, 1936