April 30, 1974

PC

Donald Frank Mazankowski (Progressive Conservative Party Caucus Chair)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Mazankowski:

Mr. Chairman, while we are dealing with this particular clause I must say I am very pleased the minister has accepted the amendment proposed by the hon. member for Scarborough West. As I study the provisions in this bill, I must say I find it very difficult to pass judgment on this piece of legislation before knowing what the overall transportation policy of the government is going to be.

I share the concern expressed by other hon. members about the very wide powers the CTC is being granted, powers which in my opinion go well beyond the matter of regulation. This was alluded to by the minister in previous discussion.

It is very difficult to know whether to take seriously some of the statements by government spokesmen which suggest that inter-city transport, particularly in high density areas, will revert to a large degree to rail transportation. That strikes at the very heart of this bill.

What concerns me even more is the procedure with regard to appeal provisions. I wonder if the minister can explain whether section 64 of the National Transportation Act, which gives the governor in council the power, at any time at his discretion, or upon petition of any party, person or company, to alter, vary or rescind any order or decision that has been proposed by the CTC, would apply to the provisions of this particular bill. I think that section is very important, particularly when we consider the vacuum in the entire transportation policy throughout the

various modes of transportation in this country, especially in the field of urban transportation.

I do not think any area of transportation is more important at this time, as far as the future of transportation is concerned, than urban transportation. It is quite clear to many members that we probably stand on the threshold of many new, innovative and technological concepts in the field of inter-city and urban rapid transportation. We hear talk of 300 miles per hour trains in high density areas such as Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, magnetic levitation trains.

We hear of the importance of surface transportation by rail as being something of very major importance in respect to fuel economy, having regard to the energy situation. It seems that at this time we are granting a tremendous amount of authority to a body, which is largely a regulatory body, to pass judgment on the future development of our transportation network in this very critical area. I believe there is a great future in surface transportation, particularly inter-city rail transportation.

At the moment we find the government spending huge sums to develop STOL aircraft for inter-city travel. We shall have to make up our minds soon whether to develop an efficient surface transportation network, or whether to rely on the STOL transportation system. The minister has often suggested that the CTC is an all-powerful body over which he has no control, save in exceptional circumstances, and we still do not know what those circumstances are. I am wondering whether section 64 of the National Transportation Act which set up the CTC would apply in this case, whether there is a right of appeal and, if so, what is the proper appeal procedure to be followed.

We know that the CTC has moved very slowly in implementing some of the sections of that act. I need only mention the famous rapeseed case which was brought to the attention of the commission in 1970 and with respect to which a decision is still awaited. It was demonstrated to the commission that the freight rate being charged was inequitable and prejudicial to the public interest. Yet after four years this case has still to be resolved.

Surely when we embark on legislation which is so important to the development of effective urban transportation, these questions should be settled before the legislation is allowed to pass. The bill is basically a good one and the government is to be commended for presenting it, but there are areas which need to be clarified and there is no better time to do so than the present. Having served on the transport committee for some time and having heard both the President of the CTC and the Minister of Transport give evidence before that committee, it is my impression we still cannot form any clear picture of the relationship.

The minister suggests the CTC is holding him up and preventing him from doing things he wants to do. The CTC, on the other hand, says there are matters of policy involved and that it has no control over policy considerations. In any case, I feel that adequate appeal procedures should be established, and if the minister can tell us what mechanism can be used for this purpose he would be doing the committee a service by clarifying an important part of the bill.

April 30, 1974

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
LIB

Stanley Ronald Basford (Minister of State for Urban Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Basford:

Mr. Chairman, I am advised that section 64, which relates to the general operations of the CTC, would apply to orders made under this bill. That is one method of control. I agree with the hon. member when he emphasizes the importance of developing our urban areas to the best of our ability and the part rail relocation can play in such development. Then again, if the hon. member would look at the financial formulae for which provision is made in the legislation he will see that, as far as other federal programs are concerned, the Minister of State for Urban Affairs must advise that they are co-ordinated and that moneys are available. The Minister of Transport responsible for the relocation aspect must indicate that a relocation grant is available and will in fact be paid. These funds are provided annually by parliament and in this way parliament can exercise control over the operation of this statute. The estimates of the Minister of Transport will provide an opportunity for members to examine this particular vote and ascertain the progress of the various applications before the CTC.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
SC

André-Gilles Fortin

Social Credit

Mr. Fortin:

Mr. Chairman, I shall comment only briefly on the remarks of my Progressive Conservative colleagues who fear that the Canadian Transport Commission will have too much power.

I do not agree with them and once again I congratulate the minister for having introcuced this bill, because I think it is important that the Canadian Transport Commission should have the necessary powers to implement the regulations it passes.

Mr. Chairman, my colleague from Bellechasse (Mr. Lambert) earlier pointed out a problem that occurred in Quebec City. The problem was a very serious one, but the Commission, slow in its administration and encumbered by its bureaucracy, worked in such a way as to be detrimental to the Quebec City ratepayers.

Unless I am mistaken the Canadian Transport Commission is a Crown Corporation. I would like the minister to say what legal ties exist between the CTC and himself. And I ask those questions to enlighten our Progressive Conservative colleagues so they will understand the importance of the objectives to be achieved through this bill as well as the importance for the people of this country to be able to really benefit from this legislation by giving the CTC tools to work with.

Consequently, as a member of the opposition, while I agree that the CTC should be given the power to act effectively to solve the problem as they occur I would like to have the assurance from the minister that the Commission could be regularly accountable through its spokesmen in this House, the Minister of State for Urban Affairs (Mr. Basford). I would like the minister to give us his assurance on that, to say what legal ties exist between the Commission and the Department with respect to the implementation of this legislation so two absolutely basic objectives can be reached.

First, that Bill C-27 really meets the needs involved. A step forward was made this afternoon when it was recognized that municipalities are responsible governments. Tonight it would appropriate Mr. Chairman, for the minister to assure this House and particularly our colleagues in

Relocation of Railway Lines

the Official Opposition that that Commission will also be accountable to Parliament through the minister.

I have examined the status of Crown Corporations, considered agents in some cases and not in others and in any case, in all classes, these Commissions are supposed to be accountable to the House for the public monies they spend and the decisions they make.

Some difficulties are encountered with CBC but seldom with the Canadian Transport Commission, apart from the fact that it is much too slow to act.

Mr. Chairman, I think the minister is right in maintaining clause 6 as introduced as long as he gives us the assurance that the legal tie binding the Commission and the Department will ensure that Parliament's foremost requirement is met. Compliance with the law is essential provided that our fellow citizens be assured of the right or the privilege to really take advantage of this legislation. If our friends from the Progressive Conservative party understood Quebec, they would easily understand this section. We should see to it that from now on any law and regulations of the Canadian Transportation Commission can really be used and can deal with the problems facing Quebec in particular.

I understand that for our friends from the Progressive Conservative party Moncton, Vancouver, and the West are important, but it is about time that they should have a national view of the transportation problem and therefore they should recognize the importance of giving powers to a Commission by showing confidence in the Minister; it will always be time for a change of either the Commission or the Minister if this does not work.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
PC

Elmer MacIntosh MacKay

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacKay:

Mr. Chairman, I want to be very brief. I have already had the opportunity of speaking on this bill during second reading, but I do want to ask the minister a brief supplementary question or a question further to the point brought out by my colleague, the hon. member for Vegreville.

I do not have section 64 of the National Transportation Act before me, but having regard to the answer he gave my colleague I am wondering about section 64(2), which is to the effect that an appeal lies from a decision of the commission to the Supreme Court of Canada on a question of law or jurisdiction, upon leave being obtained from a judge of the supreme court. I believe there is a period of 30 days within which this process can be instituted. I am wondering whether the minister would not agree that if section 64 does apply-and I am happy that in his opinion and the opinion of his advisers it does-it would be better to have a specific section expressly setting this out in the act. Perhaps we should spell out some of the provisions so that we are not caught up with this question of jurisdiction and so it does not turn out that, in theory, this section might apply but in practice is difficult to implement.

What I am really suggesting is that, if this particular section is to apply, then there ought to be some effort made through this legislation to tailor it so it can apply as quickly as possible, without any problems arising as a result of the transposition of the provisions of this legisla-

April 30, 1974

Relocation of Railway Lines

tion to that area of the National Transportation Act where section 64 was originally intended to apply.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
LIB

Stanley Ronald Basford (Minister of State for Urban Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Basford:

Mr. Chairman, the commission referred to in this section is the Canadian Transport Commission, which would be subject to all the rules of its founding statute, namely the Canadian Transport Commission Act. So the answer to the hon. member's question is in the affirmative, namely that the rules and regulations set out in the National Transportation Act relative to the composition and rights of the Canadian Transport Commission would apply to the commission as spelled out in this legislation.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
PC

Elmer MacIntosh MacKay

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacKay:

Mr. Chairman, I do, of course, accept what the minister says, and it may well be that he is perfectly correct. But I think section 64 does refer to a question of law or of jurisdiction. What is the situation if there is an appeal under this legislation by one of the parties which does not specifically fall within those two categories? Perhaps there are other considerations that the commission might decide to follow. Is the minister satisfied that the definition in section 64(2) is sweeping enough to take into account the purview or, if you will, the spirit of this bill, subject to this particular clause?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
LIB

Stanley Ronald Basford (Minister of State for Urban Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Basford:

Yes, Mr. Chairman, I am satisfied on that point.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
PC

Donald Frank Mazankowski (Progressive Conservative Party Caucus Chair)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Mazankowski:

Mr. Chairman, as I pointed out in my remarks, paraphrasing the words of the Minister of Transport, he has suggested that only in very exceptional or rare circumstances does he exercise this right of appeal under section 64. I see the Minister of Transport in the House at this time and I am wondering whether he or the Minister of State for Urban Affairs could outline precisely what may have been meant by the phrase "exceptional circumstances". Because it appears that only under certain conditions does the governor in council deem it proper or advisable to exercise this right under that particular section. If this should become a loophole in respect of which this right of appeal can be exercised, perhaps it would be worthwhile to have that statement of the Minister of Transport clarified at this time.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
LIB

Stanley Ronald Basford (Minister of State for Urban Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Basford:

Mr. Chairman, I am advised that the governor in council under the law would intervene at all times. But obviously that would not be a very satisfactory situation; otherwise we might as well not have the Canadian Transport Commission. The commission is appointed to perform certain functions under this legislation and it would seem proper that it should do so except in exceptional circumstances, in which case the governor in council would have to make the determination.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
PC

Elmer MacIntosh MacKay

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacKay:

Mr. Chau man, I do not want to prolong this discussion unnecessarily, but I think the hon. member for Vegreville has raised an important point regarding what are exceptional circumstances. Since the Minister of Transport is here in the House perhaps he might indicate to his colleague why there seems to be such consternation on his part as to the powers of the commission concerning matters of transportation. And perhaps the minister for urban affairs could put our minds at ease by assuring us that these appeal provisions will in fact be less onerous

than the Minister of Transport indicated when giving testimony before the committee.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
LIB

Stanley Ronald Basford (Minister of State for Urban Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Basford:

Without going into the whole operation of the Canadian Transport Commission or the relations between it and the governor in council, I think it would be wrong to try in any precise form to spell out what are exceptional circumstances because then you would be foreclosing on the ability of the governor in council to intervene and hear an appeal in an appropriate case. Obviously the intent of the legislation is that the governor in council should feel free to intervene in exceptional circumstances. As I say, there would be no point in having a regulatory agency if the governor in council intervenes in every case. To spell out the precise set of rules which would govern this intervention would foreclose on any intervention in exceptional circumstances.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
PC

Donald Frank Mazankowski (Progressive Conservative Party Caucus Chair)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Mazankowski:

I really hesitate to belabour the point, but we are dwelling on this particular section simply because the Minister of Transport has indicated on several occasions in the House and in the committee that he really lacks the authority in this respect, and that the CTC has more power than does he. It is only in rare and exceptional circumstances that he can exercise his authority over the CTC. It is all well and good for us to be brainwashed with this phrase "exceptional circumstances", but perhaps we should find out how many times these exceptional circumstances have occurred during the time the National Transportation Act has been in effect.

The Minister of Transport has indicated on several occasions that the National Transportation Act is an ineffective piece of legislation, that it does not work because the principle of competition is wrong. In view of that I think it behooves us to take a second look at this particular provision. I am sure the Minister of Transport has been frustrated in his attempts to do certain things in the field of transportation because his efforts are hampered by certain legislative measures. I see the Minister of Transport in his seat and I would really appreciate his comments on this matter. Perhaps it would ease our minds if he commented on this, because it seems we could be involved in a set of circumstances in which the minister's hands are tied so that he cannot discharge the provisions of this act in accordance with its principle and spirit. If the minister is hampered because these exceptional circumstances do not apply, we could find ourselves being strangled because of the absence of policy and the very broad and far-reaching powers being delegated to the CTC by this piece of legislation.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
LIB

Jean Marchand (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Marchand (Langelier):

Mr. Chairman, I do not have any specific comments to make. The only thing I might say is that there is no doubt that the CTC has great powers in this field and that I am not sure it can be overruled.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
PC

Elmer MacIntosh MacKay

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacKay:

Mr. Chairman, I think it is fair to say to the minister who is piloting the bill through the House, in view of the comments we have had, that the CTC, which is already immensely powerful and is the subject of a lot of consternation, I think, from members on all sides of the House in terms of this very ambitious and worthwhile bill,

April 30, 1974

in many respects is being given still more power. At the same time we are still not sure, particularly in light of what the minister just said, that we have an efficient and practical way to appeal from the decisions of the commission. I think this is a very serious situation.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
PC

Donald Frank Mazankowski (Progressive Conservative Party Caucus Chair)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Mazankowski:

Mr. Chairman, I am wondering whether the Minister of Transport can tell the House the number of cases in which the governor in council has established its right of appeal under the provisions of section 64 since the enactment of the National Transportation Act. Has it been frequent?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
LIB

Jean Marchand (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Marchand (Langelier):

Offhand-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
PC

Robert Jardine McCleave (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

The Chairman:

Order, please. I think that this is more the type of a question which should be placed on the order paper when the House is sitting rather than in the committee. However, perhaps the minister wishes to reply.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
LIB

Stanley Ronald Basford (Minister of State for Urban Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Basford:

Mr. Chairman, the most recent case I can recall is the Bell Telephone Company case where there was an appeal by the governor in council. The rights of the governor in council are clearly set out in section 64 of the National Transportation Act to which the hon. member referred. Orders of the commission under this measure, Bill C-27, are subject to section 64, as I have pointed out.

In addition to that, the funds payable under Part I of this legislation are voted annually by parliament through estimates both of the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of State for Urban Affairs. So the control, it seems to me, is additionally there in that the Canadian Transport Commission, the Minister of Transport and the Minister of State for Urban Affairs will annually appear before the standing committees of this House under estimates for examination of the various proposals put forward under clause 1 of this legislation.

I think hon. members in the essence of their questions are concerned about the authority of the Canadian Transport Commission and how in fact they as members can ensure the effectiveness of the CTC. I think that is provided for under the National Transportation Act and under the budgetary provisions of this legislation, which provides for an immediate review by parliament of the funds spent and the allocation of funds.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
PC

Donald Frank Mazankowski (Progressive Conservative Party Caucus Chair)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Mazankowski:

Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the minister's comments. It is quite obvious that in only one instance has the governor in council exercised its authority under section 64. I was waiting for him to provide other examples, but it seems that the case of the Bell Telephone Company is the only case in which the governor in council has established its right under section 64.

There have been many shortcomings in respect of the CTC and many criticisms about its operations by members in this House and indeed by members of the cabinet. Therefore I would simply say that if in the course of the life of the National Transportation Act we have had only one appeal under the provisions of section 64, this does not really offer much hope for an effective appeal procedure under the aegis of this particular bill.

I would urge that the minister seriously consider a more effective appeal procedure than that contained in this particular section 64, which the Minister of Transport has

Relocation of Railway Lines

pointed out is very difficult to exercise. It would seem that only under exceptional circumstances is the governor in council able to exercise its authority. If this piece of legislation is to be workable and meaningful to the municipalities for whom it is basically intended, I would feel much more comfortable if a more effective appeal procedure were provided within the bill. I urge the minister seriously to consider the suggestions put forward by myself and the hon. member for Central Nova.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink
PC

Robert Jardine McCleave (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

The Chairman:

The discussion is on clause 5, as amended.

Shall clause 5 as amended carry?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   RAILWAY RELOCATION AND CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PLANNING, ACQUISITION OF LAND, GRANTS, GRADE CROSSING ASSISTANCE
Permalink

April 30, 1974