March 14, 1910 (11th Parliament, 2nd Session)

CON

Angus Claude Macdonell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MACDONELL.

That is one reason why I object to this Bill. It is declared to be a work for the general advantage of Canada and the company are given very extensive powers under the Railway Act. We are indebted to the minister for this very frank statement of the policy of the government. It has never before been contended in this House that the Crown, as represented by the Dominion parliament, has the right to authorize the expropriation of the territory or domain of the Crown as
represented by any one province, because a province is just as much entitled to its Crown rights and the entirety of its Crown privileges. as is the Dominion. The provinces have just as much right to the preservation of their exclusive ownership to whatever property they possess. But the statement is now made for the first time that one Crown has the right to authorize a corporation to expropriate the right of another Crown. No court has held that doctrine in this country at any time. There was a case in British Columbia in which a company was given the right to expropriate the Crown domain for the purpose of carrying out an undertaking authorized by this parliament, but that had reference to Dominion lands in that province. The Minister of Agriculture went further and practically supported every clause in this Bill. What would be the use, therefore, of our acceding to the apparently moderate request of certain hon. gentlemen opposite that the first clause of this Bill should be passed? At the end of the final clause, the hon. gentleman was somewhat doubtful as to whether he would not add a line to it, but apart from that he is perfectly satisfied with the Bill. Apparently the government is going to force the Bill through, no matter what objections there may be to it. The hon. minister attempted to quiet the well founded apprehensions of hon. members representing the constituency of Montreal and he read the Railway Act to prove that this company has no power to enter upon the highways and byways of that city without its consent. Surely that is elementary. Every one knows section 247 of the Railway Act, and that section simply protects the municipalities to the extent that no one shall enter upon their highways without their consent. The Railway Act does not say that this company shall be bound by section 247 and. that it shall not enter the city of Montreal without the consent of the city.

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