February 25, 1902 (9th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)



in such terms as will relieve those who suffer under circumstances similar to those suffered by this man Roy.
I do not quite agree with what my hon. friend from Gaspe (Mr. Lemieux) said when he stated to the House that the Privy Council had held that this question should be decided according to the law of England and not according to the law of the province of Quebec. As I read the judgment, their lordships came to the conclusion that the common law of the province of Quebec was similar to the common law of England and they decided it according to the principles of the English law, which they stated were also the principles of the law of the province of Quebec. The whole question turned upon the interpretation of article 1053 of our Civil Code, which says that if damage is caused by any fault, whether by an unskilful act or neglect, the person is responsible in damages. But their lordships asked : How can it be possible that there will be fault upon the party if the act complained of is authorized by statute ? The present charter of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company gives the railway company not only permission to run its railway but directs that it shall be run in such a way and on the line which is set out and this becomes part of its charter by following the provisions of the general Railway Act. Therefore, their lordships said this Act being authorized by statute-the particular Act being authorized by a particular statute-there could be no fault upon the company and therefore the case would not fall within the purview of article 1053 of the Civil Code. On the other hand there is a principle of our legislation, which exists in all legislation, and it is that nobody can be expropriated without an indemnity being paid to him. If a railway line is run across the country those whose lands are taken have a compensation fixed either by arbitration or otherwise. Their lands cannot be taken without an indemnity being paid to them, and also those whose lands are injuriously affected, whose lands in part are taken and whose lauds are injuriously affected by the passing of a railway have a remedy. They are to be indemnified, but the difficulty, as far is I know the jurisprudence of the country, has been that every one cannot be indemnified for the passing of a railway unless a part of the land is taken in such a way that when a part of the land is taken not only should the party receive compensation for the land "taken, but also compensation for the other part of the land which has been injuriously affected by the passing of the railway. If no part of the land is taken then a party has no right and cannot be compensated for the reason of being injuriously affected by the passing of a railway. For instance, here is land which has a barn on the line of railway. The railway company by operating its line sets

fire to this barn. The owner of this property is expropriated just as much as if the company took his barn. But, the law does not give him any remedy. I think that this man should be compensated just as much as if his land, or barn, had been taken for the purpose of the railway and probably when the question comes to be studied in committee, a Bill can be drafted so that not only those whose lands are taken and injuriously affected by the passing of a railway may be compensated, but also those upon whose lands a railway does not pass, or whose lands are not taken, but whose lands are injuriously affected may also be compensated. It seems to me that there lies the remedy to meet the case, and that it would be only fair and equitable that such a person should be indemnified. On these lines compensation could be given and a proper remedy provided in such a case, as the circumstances should warrant.

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