June 7, 1938

LIB

Thomas Vien

Liberal

Mr. VIEN:

I think I can summarize my hon. friend's argument under three headings. In the first place he urges that " similar circumstances and conditions" means that in some cases certain competitive shippers might find themselves embarrassed because goods might be different and the lines or directions of traffic might be different. Competitive shipping, competition between shippers, does not exist with respect to different types of goods. Under the Railway Act, the rate structure is predicated upon similarity of circumstances and conditions. There is no departure from that principle in this bill. The words used prohibit unfair or unjust discrimination when traffic is moving under similar circumstances and conditions. This is the very principle of the Railway Act. To be able to allege unjust or unfair discrimination you must show that traffic of a similar nature, moving in a similar direction, under similar circumstances and conditions, is being charged at an unfair rate. In this act, if different goods are moving in different directions, under different circumstances and conditions, namely by highway, how could unjust or unfair discrimination be alleged?

My hon. friend further alleges that " agreed charges," referred to in section 35, are a departure from the underlying principles of the Railway Act. I submit that that is not so. Under the Railway Act there are three different types of rates:

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1. Standard mileage rates, which must be approved by the board. These rates are maximum rates. They cannot be exceeded; they must be submitted, approved and published. The board, after hearing, determines the maximum mileage rates permissible.

2. Special tariffs, applicable to lumber, grain or other commodities moving in large volume, in trainload lots, carload lots, with respect to which there are special loading or unloading conditions or ceritain market conditions which permit, the particular commodity to be treated in a class by itself.

3. Competitive rates, which in their managerial discretion carriers may publish to retain traffic which would otherwise go to rail or water competitors. Competitive rates need not be approved by the board. They are under the level prescribed by the standard mileage rates, and they can be published, and put into effect unless complained of.

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CON
LIB

Thomas Vien

Liberal

Mr. VIEN:

Exactly. Any shipper who contends that he is injuriously affected' by competitive rates may make application to the board to object to their becoming effective, or for a revision or repeal of objectionable competitive rates.

In the exercise of its regulative power, the board never prevented a competitive rate from becoming effective without good reason. Competitive rates are permissible to enable rail carriers to retain traffic. In this act agreed rates are permitted to enable railway carriers to retain traffic which otherwise would go to their highway or water competitors.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

They are under provincial regulation.

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LIB
?

An hon. MEMBER:

Not in Quebec.

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LIB
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

They are regulated with respect to everything but rates, and may be regulated with respect to rates.

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LIB

Thomas Vien

Liberal

Mr. VIEN:

In England they are regulated. Highway carriers must take out a licence to carry on their trade. In Canada they are not regulated in that respect. In England they are regulated with respect to vehicles; the vehicle must come up to special standards and is subject to periodical inspection. Furthermore, drivers must submit to periodical physical examinations. These are important regulations: licences to cany on, standard

Transport Commission

modes of conveyances, drivers physically and periodically examined and licensed. We have nothing of this kind in Canada.

Highway raltes in England are governed by a rates tribunal; they come under the provisions of the transport act. We have no similar constitutional power in Canada.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

They regulate the weight of the machine that may cross certain bridges.

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LIB

Thomas Vien

Liberal

Mr. VIEN:

That is with respect to road regulations. Departments controlling highways publish regulations to that effect. I do not believe they can be called as effective regulations between competitive carriers, as those proposed in this bill. Under the Railway Act, when competitive conditions exist between two points, between rail and water carriers, the rail carrier can publish competitive rates to retain traffic to his rails.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

That is under the Railway Act.

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LIB

Thomas Vien

Liberal

Mr. VIEN:

Under the Railway Act. This bill does not contain anything else. We allow rail carriers to publish rates likely to retain the traffic to their own rails.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

That is scarcely right. They do not publish a rate. We allow them to make a private agreement with an individual shipper, and that is vastly different from publishing a rate.

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LIB

Thomas Vien

Liberal

Mr. VIEN:

I hope to foe able to prove to my hon. friend that there is no difference at all. The agreed rate is a competitive rate.

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CON
LIB
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The latter words of subsection 1 of section 35 disprove what the hon. member says.

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LIB

Thomas Vien

Liberal

Mr. VIEN:

No, I do not think so. Suppose a rate between points A and B, a rate of SI per hundred pounds. If the rail carrier published a rate of 90 cents per hundred pounds, with a view to retaining traffic to its rails, the highway carrier would immediately publish a rate of 85 cents per hundred pounds. The rail carrier would then have to publish a rate of 80 cents to outbid him.

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CON

June 7, 1938