March 23, 1938

LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I cannot answer that.

Topic:   BATTLEFIELDS COMMISSION
Subtopic:   AUTHORIZATION OF PAYMENT TO COMMISSION OF $75,000 A YEAR FOR PERIOD NOT EXCEEDING TEN YEARS
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SC

John Charles Landeryou

Social Credit

Mr. LANDERYOU:

What is the cost of the personnel of this commission?

Topic:   BATTLEFIELDS COMMISSION
Subtopic:   AUTHORIZATION OF PAYMENT TO COMMISSION OF $75,000 A YEAR FOR PERIOD NOT EXCEEDING TEN YEARS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

The commissioners receive no salary.

Topic:   BATTLEFIELDS COMMISSION
Subtopic:   AUTHORIZATION OF PAYMENT TO COMMISSION OF $75,000 A YEAR FOR PERIOD NOT EXCEEDING TEN YEARS
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SC

John Charles Landeryou

Social Credit

Mr. LANDERYOU:

Is a salary paid to any one who may assist the commissioners?

Topic:   BATTLEFIELDS COMMISSION
Subtopic:   AUTHORIZATION OF PAYMENT TO COMMISSION OF $75,000 A YEAR FOR PERIOD NOT EXCEEDING TEN YEARS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

The secretary, Mr. Pacaud, receives a salary.

Topic:   BATTLEFIELDS COMMISSION
Subtopic:   AUTHORIZATION OF PAYMENT TO COMMISSION OF $75,000 A YEAR FOR PERIOD NOT EXCEEDING TEN YEARS
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?

Leslie Gordon Bell

Mr. COLD WELL:

Is this appropriation to provide for additional work, or is it a regular maintenance appropriation?

Topic:   BATTLEFIELDS COMMISSION
Subtopic:   AUTHORIZATION OF PAYMENT TO COMMISSION OF $75,000 A YEAR FOR PERIOD NOT EXCEEDING TEN YEARS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

As I explained previously, it is a continuation of an arrangement which has been in force for the last ten years and which is covered by a statute. The sum of $75,000 is paid each year for maintenance.

Topic:   BATTLEFIELDS COMMISSION
Subtopic:   AUTHORIZATION OF PAYMENT TO COMMISSION OF $75,000 A YEAR FOR PERIOD NOT EXCEEDING TEN YEARS
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?

Leslie Gordon Bell

Mr. COLD WELL:

Is it proposed to erect any further monuments or memorials on this battlefield?

Topic:   BATTLEFIELDS COMMISSION
Subtopic:   AUTHORIZATION OF PAYMENT TO COMMISSION OF $75,000 A YEAR FOR PERIOD NOT EXCEEDING TEN YEARS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I know of no such proposal.

Topic:   BATTLEFIELDS COMMISSION
Subtopic:   AUTHORIZATION OF PAYMENT TO COMMISSION OF $75,000 A YEAR FOR PERIOD NOT EXCEEDING TEN YEARS
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LIB

Gordon Benjamin Isnor

Liberal

Mr. ISNOR:

I desire to join with my colleague, the other hon. member for Halifax, in his representations in connection with the citadel at Halifax. I have brought this matter

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to the attention of both the Department of National Defence and the Department of Mines and Resources on more than one occasion, and only last week I again presented it. I trust that the representations advanced to-day by my colleague will receive the favourable consideration of the various departments.

Resolution reported, read the second time and concurred in. Mr. Dunning thereupon moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 53, respecting the national battlefields at Quebec.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time. TRANSPORT COMMISSION

Topic:   BATTLEFIELDS COMMISSION
Subtopic:   AUTHORIZATION OF PAYMENT TO COMMISSION OF $75,000 A YEAR FOR PERIOD NOT EXCEEDING TEN YEARS
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AUTHORITY TO CONTROL TRANSPORT OF PASSENGERS AND GOODS BY RAILWAYS, SHIPS AND AIRCRAFT


The house resumed from Monday, March 21, consideration of the motion of Mr. Howe for the second reading of Bill No. 31, to establish a board of transport commissioners for Canada, with authority in respect of transport by railways, ships and aircraft.


LIB

Robert Emmett Finn

Liberal

Mr. R. E. FINN (Halifax):

Mr. Speaker, I moved the adjournment of this debate the other evening at ten minutes to eleven o'clock at the suggestion of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), and I now propose to continue with my remarks. I do not intend these to be in the nature of criticism; they are more in an effort to ascertain whether the provisions of this bill and the provisions of the Railway Act of 1919 will be in conflict. As I said the other night, the underlying principle of the Railway Act in connection with tariffs, tolls and rates is that no discrimination or preference shall be shown.

This bill provides that before a transportation company can operate-I assume this would apply to water transportation- a licence must be obtained. The bill provides also that the carrier and shipper may enter into a contract for a year or more for a specific rate for the transportation of goods. It is stipulated that the bill shall be subject to the provisions of the Railway Act and amendments thereto. Let us take the hypothetical case of a manufacturer in Ontario whose business is of such a kind and of such dimensions that he considers it profitable to enter into a contract with a transportation company for a year or more for the transportation of goods at a specific figure. However, there may be a smaller manufacturer whose business is not of sufficient magnitude to warrant his entering into such a contract. This manufacturer must pay the regular freight rate, which would be higher than the contract rate

in the other instance. The result is discrimination as between the two manufacturers. Therefore, if this bill should pass, there would be conflict between its provisions and those of the Railway Act. I should like to quote one section of the Railway Act as follows:

All tolls shall always under substantially similar circumstances and conditions, in respect of all traffic of the same description, and carried in or upon the like kind of cars or conveyances, passing over the same line or route, be charged equally to all persons and at the same rate, whether by weight, mileage or otherwise.

2. No reduction or advance in any such tolls shall be made, either directly or indirectly, in favour of or against any particular person or company travelling upon or using the railway.

3. The tolls for carload quantities or longer distances, may be proportionately less than the tolls for less than carload quantities, or shorter distances, if such tolls are, under substantially similar circumstances, charged equally to all persons.

i. No tolls shall be charged which unjustly discriminates between different localities.

As I said the other evening, the duties of the Minister of Transport (Mr. Howe) are varied. He has many branches to look after, and it is humanly impossible for any minister to deal directly with and pass final judgment upon all legislation having to do with the various branches. He must depend upon the advice of the technical officers in the branches. I suggested the other night that when this bill was up again the technical officers responsible for its drafting should be present to give any explanations required to clarify the situations, and to show conclusively to members of the house whether such a conflict will come into being when this measure is placed upon the statute book. The statute of 1919 is perfectly clear, and I would not have presumed to deal with this matter in the manner I have except for the fact that from 1916 to 1925 I appeared before the railway commission in reference to various questions of rates and differentials affecting the maritime provinces, and argued before the Supreme Court of Canada questions of law involved in the Crowsnest Pass Act of 1897 and reserved by the railway commission, and also because of the opinions expressed by the late chairman of the commission, Hon. Mr. Carvell, by the present vice-chairman, Doctor McLean, perhaps one of the ablest men who ever sat on the board of railway commissioners, and by various chairmen and members of the board, including the hon. gentleman who sits to my left, who has an honoured seat in this house and an honoured place in the hearts of everyone, the member for Outremont (Mr. Vien). So it is in no critical spirit that I am bringing this question up, nor was it the other evening,

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and I would like the Minister of Transport to feel that it is in no contentious way that I bring the matter to his attention and that of the house, bnt rather for the purposes of clarification and placing upon the statute books a law which will be effective, and which will not have to be referred to the supreme court, and then the privy council, to find out whether the jurisdiction of the commission is extended. There cannot be undue preferences given; there cannot be discrimination. Therefore there must be equality of rates; every manufacturer and corporation as well as the transportation companies must ;be treated alike, and it will be noted that the jurisdiction of the commission has been extended to cover water transportation.

It is for these reasons, Mr. Speaker, that I bring this matter to the attention of the house, in order that the legislation which we pass in this chamber may not be dealt with in the other chamber in such a manner as to suggest that we did not know what we were doing down here. I do not want this legislation to meet the same fate as Bill B, of last year, when it was in the other house for consideration. These are the reasons that have impelled me to make the remarks I have this afternoon and the other evening, when I asked the minister to give the matter his consideration and suggested that we might have the advice of his technical officers. I trust that in closing the debate he will be able to inform the house whether further amendments will be necessary in order to provide for contingencies which may arise through a conflict between the Railway Act of Canada of 1919 and the legislation now before us, as introduced by the minister, namely Bill No. 31, to establish a Board of Transport Commissioners for Canada, with authority in respect of transport by railways, dhips and aircraft.

Topic:   AUTHORITY TO CONTROL TRANSPORT OF PASSENGERS AND GOODS BY RAILWAYS, SHIPS AND AIRCRAFT
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CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. L. CHURCH (Broadview):

Mr. Speaker, the motion before the house is for the second reading of this bill, and on the second reading the house considers the principle of the measure. The principle is considered to be the most important part of the bill, and on the second reading it is the principle only that can be discussed; the various sections of the bill cannot be considered until the bill gets into committee.

The first principle of this bill is that it extends the jurisdiction of the present board of railway commissioners and substitutes for the present board a new board to be known as the Board of Transport Commissioners for Canada, with authority in respect of transport by railways, ships and aircraft. Why coastal

transport on the gulf and the ocean and the general traffic on the Pacific coast and in Nova Scotia on the Atlantic are excluded is beyond me.

In England they have solved their railway problem. In this country we have a railway bungle-forty thousand miles of single track in a country of ten millions of people, a mileage almost equal to that of France, with forty-seven million people, and to that of the United Kingdom, with forty-six million, and almost equal to that of Germany, with sixty-seven million people. We have useless duplication, log-rolling politics everywhere in connection with the railways, and a waste of the people's money. The hon. gentleman who has just sat down (Mr. Finn) referred the other day to political appointments to the Canadian National board. No wonder that many people in this country want some dictator to arise to solve some of our domestic problems. The people are sick and tired of this parliament, which is a parliament of talk

that is all it is. That is all parliament has done so far-talk; nothing has been accomplished, and last week we were prevented even from talking and discussing a most important problem, that of our defence and foreign policy.

Last year a bill similar to this was considered by the other house and was sent to a committee which went over it clause by clause and made pages of amendments, but the bill now before us is entirely different from the one which was introduced in that other place. From this bill there has been deleted the regulation of motor buses and motor trucks on the highways, which was one of the most important clauses of all, because motor transport is taking the cream of the business away from the railways.

When this matter came up in the house in 1923, and afterwards when the late head of the Canadian National Railways was here, I complained to him and the committee on railways and shipping that the railways were too slow; that they ought to have grappled with this problem of motor buses and motor trucks years ago, and then they would have had the business to themselves. In 1922 and 1923 they could have had all the truck and motor bus business in Canada, then in its infancy as a transportation factor, before any regular bus and truck lines were running over the good roads of this country, and the railways have only themselves to blame if they were asleep and did not seize that business. That business is here to stay. There may be legal questions of jurisdiction. This parliament may have jurisdiction over interprovincial and international traffic, acting

Transport Commission

under the clause for the general advantage of Canada. But then there is the Chevrier transportation commission in Ontario.

At all events, we must make up our minds that motor buses and motor trucks are here to stay. A person nowadays can take his own car or go by motor bus almost from door to door to his destination; he can go through many cities and towns and back again home. Some of the buses from Toronto go right through the United States to Mexico. They operate throughout the United States a system of motor buses which carry some freight as well. That form of transportation is here to stay; and the railways should do something to get control of some of the business, either by purchase or amalgamation or otherwise; they should make some arrangement in some of the provinces where possible. It is going to cost a lot of money to do this, and it would have been much better had the railways done something of the kind years ago instead of building some of these branch lines all over the country and making the system and country pretty nearly bankrupt.

The present bill is not one which will regulate buses and trucks operating on the highways. I regret this because, after all is said and done, it seems that the government of Canada is being conducted from the provincial capitals. The federal government appears to be surrendering this motor bus and motor truck competition control without a contest and without even a recourse to the law courts, except to a lesser court for a decision on the question of jurisdiction. They have had no eases before the privy council to decide this problem of jurisdiction over bus and motor truck traffic by the parliament of Canada under section 91 regarding railway adjustments. It seems that no regulation and no bill can be passed by this honourable house without getting the opinion of a second parliament known as the attorneys-general, as the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) calls it. The Minister of Transport (Mr. Howe) has raised the same question in connection with the regulation of railways by setting up a similar claim of the provinces. The Chevrier royal commission in Ontario is now dealing with the matter, the result of which is very much in doubt. I fail to see anything of a constructive nature in the present bill, because it fails to provide for the proper control of transportation by this parliament. Parliament, not some outside commission, is the body which should have

control. We in this country are "commissioned" to death. Almost every week another commission is appointed; that is all we have been doing.

In my opinion Canada is suffering not from overregulation of the railways but from underregulation of them. If we had had proper regulation we should never have had the state of affairs which motor buses and trucks have created to-day. If the present bill is passed, the railways and rate structures will be in politics more than they have ever been before. I shall not discuss the bill clause by clause, but take for example part Y, agreed charges. Charges can now be made by agreement between the parties. All you have to do is to file the agreement with the new body, the transport board. That in my opinion is a retrograde step. The Board of Railway Commissioners for Canada may be criticized, but on the whole they have done very good work. As the minister is going to abolish them and substitute this new transport board, I should like to read two or three sentences from the 1936 issue of the Canada Year Book, indicating what good work that commission has done by way of regulation. It was established in 1903, its jurisdiction then being over freight and passenger rates only. A few years later, in 1909, the jurisdiction of the board was extended over express and telephone companies, and they did very good work in protecting the consumer and the public from excessive charges by those particular types of companies. At page 651 of the Canada Year Book, 1936, there are these two short paragraphs regarding regulation by the board of railway commissioners:

The Board of Railway Commissioners for Canada, as provided for by the amended Railway Act of 1903, was organized on February 1, 1904. In the beginning, its membership consisted of a chief commissioner, a deputy chief and one commissioner. In 1908 the membership was increased by the inclusion of an assistant chief commissioner and two other commissioners. According to the act, the board may be divided into two sections of three members.

The powers of the commission, in brief, are in matters relating to the location, construction and operation of railways.

In reading this, hon. members must now substitute the transport board.

Passenger rates are divided into standard and special freight rates into standard, special and competitive. Standard rates are maximum rates and the only ones which must be approved by the board before they are applied. Special and competitive rates, being less than maximum rates, may be applied by railways without the board's approval, provided that a change of rates has been advertised. But important rate adjustments usually come to the notice of the

Transport Commission

commission, for the changed rate alters the extent of the territory in which a shipper can compete and on this account he is apt to appeal the case to the commission. It is a knotty problem to mark the boundaries of competitive areas-to decide whether Nova Scotian manufacturers should be given rates which would allow them to compete west of Montreal, or again, whether high construction and operation costs in British Columbia should enforce a rate which prevents her goods from moving far into the prairies. By an amendment to the Railway Act, the regulation of telephone, telegraph and express rates was given to the commission, but with narrower powers than were given to it in dealing with railways.

The procedure of the board is informal, as suits the nature of its work, for experience has shown that hearings in strict legal form give the parties to the argument uncompromising attitudes. If possible, matters are settled by recommendations to the railway company or the shipper.

The railway committee of the privy council, the board's predecessor, was responsible to parliament.

On the whole, the board of railway commissioners have given very good service. As recently as last October I was present when they were holding a week's sessions in the city hall of Toronto. Farmers, truck people and representatives of municipalities from all over the Toronto district were before them in connection with grade crossings, and the present able and courteous chairman gave a careful hearing to the applications.

What are the government going to do by means of the present bill? They are going to substitute for that railway board a body to be known as the Board of Transport Commissioners for Canada. They are going to restrict the powers possessed by the present railway commission to deal with these problems in the manner I have indicated. Last year the hon. member for Parkdale (Mr. Spence) spoke, as a representative on behalf of the smaller business man, of what chance he had with the railway companies. The clause of the bill which deals with this matter is one of those which in my view are not in the public interest. We shall be going back to where we were years ago and having a political rate structure in this country instead of a fair and equitable rate after a proper hearing before a properly constituted rate control body. Under the present bill public control, in my opinion, will be non-existent. The bill further reduces the limited powers which shippers now have in respect of contracts and such matters between themselves and the railways.

In this connection it should be remembered that there are a great many small shippers in this country. I received a letter to-day

from one of them, who is a fairly large shipper, in the constituency I represent, and who is complaining about this particular matter. He believes that the small man will not have much chance to bargain with the railways under the provisions of part IV of this bill, where the licensee can make a bargain regarding rates over the heads of the railway commission and of parliament, along any lines he likes. I will hand a copy of the letter to the minister. I do not wish to make public the name of the writer. He is a shipper to a considerable extent, located on Matilda street, Toronto, in ward one, which is in my constituency. He says that he has just got notice from the newspapers of this bill, and he wants to know why it has been brought up. He says:

Under present conditions, when we figure our costs we know what freight we have to figure in to lay the goods down.

Under the present bill, he states, this will not be possible.

The proposed bill would seem to offer an advantage to big business.

The writer wants to find out from me what firm or group of firms, large or small, are asking for the legislation. He continues:

If any firm, or firms were permitted to arrange with a carrier for special rates on their goods, their competitors, or at least some of them, would be put to a disadvantage, either temporarily, or over a period of time.

Our freight tonnage is considerable. We do business from coast to coast, and while we might be able to arrange ourselves for some special freight rates, we feel we would have to be continuously checking up to see that some of our competitors were not getting a freight rate that we were not receiving.

We don't feel that we should be put in the position of having to do this, or having to be continuously protesting to the traffic board.

The late Sir Henry Thornton did not approve a policy like this. When my national coal policy was before the house and the committee on shipping, and it was proposed to give bonuses, subventions and subsidies to bring coal from Nova Scotia to the head of the lakes, Sir Henry Thornton told me that under my bill I was proposing a lunch-counter system of freight rates. Well that lunch-counter system I proposed was much better than sending some $56,000,000 to Pennsylvania coal barons a year. As a result of that policy a withering industry in the maritimes, the coal and steel industry, has been converted into one of the most prosperous industries in Canada, and to-day under that policy Nova Scotia is sending to the head of the lakes by water and rail and all water 3,000,000

Transport Commission

tons of coal a year economically, thanks to our leader's policy. If that is a sample of the results of the lunch-counter system of freight rates, let us have more of it.

' I am sorry to see the regulation of traffic on the highways omitted from the bill. I have here a letter from the former Minister of Transport in Great Britain, the Right Hon. Leslie Hore-Belisha, now Minister of War. He was Minister of Transport in England for three or four years and gave fine service in that office. In this letter he gives me an account of what has been done in England regarding the regulation of railways and improving the efficiency of transport, benefiting the consumer and bringing harmony into the railway situation. No one lost his job as a result of that unification, except a small number who were too old and who were given liberal pensions. The rest have been transferred to other duties. The same thing, I believe, could have been done here.

The Canadian National Railways started wrong. The head office of the railway should never have been taken to Montreal; it should have remained in Toronto, in Ontario, a public ownership province. The Canadian Pacific railway have transferred their eastern lines division office, which used to be in Montreal, to Toronto, under Mr. H. J. Humphrey, a vice-president. The direction and control of the lines in the whole territory between Winnipeg and the maritimes is under him. Why? Because they realize that Toronto as a rail centre outclasses Montreal in freight, passenger and hotel business, and a live corporation like the Canadian Pacific Railway Company goes where the cream of the business is, resulting from the great mining development in new Ontario. But what is the Canadian National doing? Political control and operation still exist, with headquarters in Montreal, although it is in Ontario they make most of their money. Who are its directors? Presidents of Liberal associations, the very thing condemned in the Drayton-Acworth report. The head office should be returned to Toronto where it was when Mr. Hanna was head of the first part of the system. I am not going to give my vote as a public ownership man to throw the Canadian National to the wolves to please some bankers and big business men who are responsible for the present railway bungle, and were to blame for launching a second and third transcontinental railway in the days of the "big I's". As a result of the railway deficits we have no money for social services; the municipalities are being raided of their revenues and taxes on real estate have reached an intolerable height.

It is the duty of the government to let us have a proper railway balance sheet. One thing about the finance minister's annual budget is that it is understandable to the ordinary layman. Barring the Bank of Canada item I think the budget can be fairly well understood. But it would take a Philadelphia lawyer to understand the present Canadian National Railways budget and debt and deficit statement. It is referred by the house to a "me too" committee known as the committee on railways and shipping, and after being there a few weeks it comes back and is passed by parliament without knowing anything about it. I doubt if many hon. members know much about railways. My observation in the committee was that they would call Sir Henry Thornton and other officers, ask about a few items, and then pass the thing pretty nearly as presented. There should be some more intelligible statement, but we shall not get it under this bill. A statement was made the other day by the Minister of Mines and Resources (Mr. Crerar) that there would be no saving. I need not read the speech; but the minister is well informed about railways, and he was challenging some statement made about the Canadian National Railways.

Colonel Drew also at Chatham the other night said the deficit was over $100,000,000. Something should be done to give a proper statement, one that the public who pay the bills can understand, and stop the damage done which is taking business from the Canadian National Railways. They are even using the radio to broadcast ridiculous statements. Why should a member of parliament, representing a political party, be selected by some outside body to make a speech over the radio at the expense of the Canadian people, even if he is defending the public road? According to Colonel Drew no one knows what the deficit is under the present fancy system of book-keeping.

Topic:   AUTHORITY TO CONTROL TRANSPORT OF PASSENGERS AND GOODS BY RAILWAYS, SHIPS AND AIRCRAFT
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LIB

Walter Edward Foster (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I think the hon. member is wandering rather far away from the discussion of this bill, which deals with the institution of a board of transport.

Topic:   AUTHORITY TO CONTROL TRANSPORT OF PASSENGERS AND GOODS BY RAILWAYS, SHIPS AND AIRCRAFT
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CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHURCH:

My point is that this bill proposes to set up a board of transport commissioners with power to go over the head of parliament and regulate the Canadian National Railways, and it will not work. I am complaining that the people have no intelligible report, nor will they be able to get any more intelligible report or to stop damage being done to our railway. Under section 5 of this bill the board may regulate transportation by water, which will include the merchant marine. I contend that under

Transport Commission

the new board we shall not have any clearer statement of the position of the railway than in the past; that the issue will be more beclouded because shippers can make with the railways private arrangements outside the Railway Act, which they could not do before. I ask the minister whether under this new bill he will be able to give to the taxpayers and the shippers any clearer statement regarding this railway.

Then we come to a part of the bill which has been discussed on many occasions in and out of the house. Bill No. 31 ignores completely the report of the Drayton-Acworth commission recommending that the authority of the railway commission be extended in many ways, as set out on page 46 of that report. The bill further ignores the main recommendations of the Duff report, which referred to the contributing causes of the railway problem, criticizing the pass system and many other features.

As regards part III of the bill which deals with transport by air, the present board is a political board; that is all it is, and so will the new board be. The directors of the railway are all selected according to politics, and one of the great tasks facing the country is to solve this problem, but it will not be solved in the manner indicated.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I object to the principle of this bill. I believe it is going to lead to more politics and political rate structures than ever in connection with the railway system. In Montreal it has been promised in a by-election that the new terminal will be completed, and other statements along that line have been made. Part III of the bill deals with the Canadian merchant marine and the control of shipping by water, which does not include the coastal trade, but includes the great lakes. Under this bill there is going to be a lack of coastal control which should be in the bill. As a parliament, what control have we over the merchant marine? We have none. Not long ago we sold for a few thousand dollars ships that cost a million and a half, just at a time when those ships could have been put to good use, since Great Britain needs ships in order to carry the food that is required. This bill conflicts with the report of the special committee regarding coastal shipping by water. Then there was the Petersen inquiry about fifteen years ago, as to what should be done to regulate rates, but that report has been ignored also. There are now 2,000 fewer merchant ships to cany food to England than there were before the war. We should not have parted with our merchant marine.

The railway problem is one of Canada's great difficulties. In England they are providing a proper solution for their problem. In the United States they are doing the same thing, but we as a people sit down from day to day and do nothing. I am for a real public ownership system, not for what is proposed under this bill, which is not public ownership at all. It is merely private ownership in the guise of public ownership. We have never had public ownership since this thing has been started. This railway is a collection of the mistakes made by private ownership; the Intercolonial, the old Canadian Northern, the Grand Trunk and the Grand Trunk Pacific. They were all bankrupt lines; they were placed together and it was called public ownership. Certainly it is not public ownership as they have it in Ontario, and under the present bill it will be much further removed from public ownership.

Before this bill is given second reading, I should like the Minister of Transport to tell the country what is going to be done with regard to the railway problem. During the last election campaign the government promised that if returned to power they would bring down a solution. This morning I attended a committee meeting in regard to a bridge in connection with Niagara Falls. This parliament has jurisdiction over bridges that are international or interprovincial or that affect navigation. Those bridges come under the Railway Act; but if this measure passes, they will come under the transport bill. But what do you see when you attend such a committee meeting? Talk about lobbying down at Washington; it is nothing to what we have in Ottawa such as was seen this morning.

In my opinion, Mr. Speaker, this bill should not be read a second time until the government are prepared to say what they are going to do in response to this clamour on the part of people all over Canada to reduce these deficits and give the Canadian National Railways a chance to carry on properly, unfettered and unhindered by politics.

Topic:   AUTHORITY TO CONTROL TRANSPORT OF PASSENGERS AND GOODS BY RAILWAYS, SHIPS AND AIRCRAFT
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LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. THOMAS REID (New Westminster):

Mr. Speaker, in no country in the world is transportation of such vital importance as it is in Canada. Hence this bill, which I term an experiment on the North American continent if not in the world itself, is of particular importance to the people of Canada and especially to the people of British Columbia. I realize that under the rules one is not allowed to discuss the various clauses of a bill on second reading, but since the bill is divided into five parts it is difficult indeed not to

Transport Commission

touch lightly on some of its provisions. I shall endeavour to keep to the principle of the bill, but in discussing it I must touch on one or two very important points.

If one looks at the bill it will be noticed that under Part I an appeal can be made from the rulings of the board which is to be set up, which will consist of the present board of railway commissioners and perhaps some others. That is similar to the provision already in the Railway Act. I should like to direct the attention of the minister to the fact that although the Railway Act has such a provision and such an appeal can be made, that provision has been of little value since its incorporation in the act. There are two methods of appeal. If one goes before the railway commission and questions arise regarding judicial authority or matters of law, an appeal can be taken to the supreme court. But if it is a question of fact the appeal must be taken to the privy council, which in effect is the cabinet. This is what has been done for many long years. The privy council or the cabinet have been loath to reverse any decision given by the board of railway commissioners. It is not a fact-finding body, and in deciding against the railway board, or giving any judgment, a precedent would, they maintain, become established. Hence those of us who have had occasion to go before the privy council after having received an adverse decision from the board have found that no matter how just our cause may be the privy council has refused to reverse the opinion or judgment of that board. I would suggest to the minister that if in the present bill appeals against rulings made by the new board are restricted to questions of fact, there never will be any redress given because, as I have pointed out, the privy council have always taken the stand that they would establish a precedent if they gave any opinion or judgment contrary to the findings of the board.

Further on in the bill the board is directed to determine whether such future conveyances are necessary. In the province of British Columbia there has been a law on the statute books for some time concerning motor trucks for hire, and in operation this has gradually been getting down to a virtual monopoly on the part of certain companies. Those endeavouring to put a motor truck into operation in that province now find themselves up against a board, who say, "In our opinion there are far too many trucks operating on the roads now, and we are not going to give you a licence to go into that business." It is

[Mr. Reid.j

practically bringing about a monopoly, as I have said, on the part of certain transportation companies to the exclusion of others.

Further in the bill the public interest is mentioned, and I take it that here the bill is following the lines of the Railway Act. I submit that this language is not wide enough. I should like to refer the minister to the report of the Duncan commission of some years ago, in regard to these words " public interest." At page 25 of the report they say:

Section 320 of the Railway Act seems to give the wider powers that we have in mind to the railway commission, so far as the question of undue preference or unjust discrimination may be involved.

Then they quote section. 320, which reads:

320. In deciding whether a lower toll, or difference in treatment, does or does not amount to an undue preference or an unjust discrimination, the board may consider whether such lower toll, or difference in treatment is necessary for the purpose of securing, in the interests of the public, the traffic in respect of which it is made, and whether such object cannot be attained without unduly reducing the higher toll.

They have this to say regarding that section of the railway act which, I take it, is part of the new bill:

Even there we feel that, if the intention was to have larger national interests in mind, the section should be made clearer, and instead of the words "in the interests of the public" (which might be interpreted as in the interests of the "consuming" public), the words should clearly state that it is national interests (both "producing" and "consuming") that are in mind. If this was not the original intention of the section, we suggest it is the intention which should now be imported into it. We feel further that a similar extension of authority should be imparted to the railway board in regard to the question of reasonable compensation. It would then be competent for the railway board to make a survey of just the very character that the President of the Canadian National Railways testified as being part of his function (as the business head of a railway); and if from public policy they felt that an experimental rate should be conceded, they should be free to constitute the rate, even although it might not, at the time, or of itself, give reasonable compensation to the railway company.

Topic:   AUTHORITY TO CONTROL TRANSPORT OF PASSENGERS AND GOODS BY RAILWAYS, SHIPS AND AIRCRAFT
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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

Where do you see " national interest "?

Topic:   AUTHORITY TO CONTROL TRANSPORT OF PASSENGERS AND GOODS BY RAILWAYS, SHIPS AND AIRCRAFT
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LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

On page 3, at the foot of the page, and particularly in paragraph (c), section 5. Then, farther along in the bill we find that one must prove permanence of the service being offered by an applicant, and also must prove financial responsibility. Again one must be in business for one year. The section reads:

(a) That during the period of twelve months next preceding the coming into force of the relevant part of this act-

Transport Commission

New companies will have great difficulty entering the transport business if they have to prove that they were in the business for one year prior to the act coming into force, and must also prove their permanence.

How will the board of railway commissioners be able to decide what is advisable? Suppose the word "truck" were incorporated in the measure-which of course it is not, differing thereby from the bill of last year- how would the board be able to compare costs of hauling by truck, by boat or by air with railway haul costs, when no one can tell the cost of carrying goods by rail?

In evidence before the board of railway commissioners Mr. Flintoft said there was no expert in this or any other country who could tell what it actually costs to haul goods by rail. I ask the house to take note of that statement. How will it be possible for the board of transport commissioners to decide correctly when hauling costs by rail have not been gone into? They were instructed in 1925 to go into the matter, but have not yet carried out that instruction.

Ships between ports in Canada carrying goods to other ports in other provinces are to be licensed. I want to point out just how to my mind this will affect British Columbia. Shipping rates vary; they are lower or higher according to the demand for shipping. One shipping line has been taking lumber from New Westminster and Vancouver to Montreal at $5 per thousand feet under what the same lumber would have cost if carried by rail. What will that shipping company be up against when they make application for a licence? They will be' asked: "How long have you been in business? Is this transport going to be permanent? Are you going to haul lumber twelve months of the year, or are you going to jump out and jump in?" and so forth. Bear this in mind: British Columbia, unlike the interior and eastern provinces, has practically only two means of transport, either by water through the Panama canal, and thence to eastern ports, or by rail.

Topic:   AUTHORITY TO CONTROL TRANSPORT OF PASSENGERS AND GOODS BY RAILWAYS, SHIPS AND AIRCRAFT
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

And by air.

Topic:   AUTHORITY TO CONTROL TRANSPORT OF PASSENGERS AND GOODS BY RAILWAYS, SHIPS AND AIRCRAFT
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March 23, 1938