April 11, 1916 (12th Parliament, 6th Session)


George Perry Graham



It seems to me that you need not have all this machinery to do that. All you have to do is to repeal the provision giving power to the minister, and say that the board shall have power to locate the line-not generally, but actually to locate it. Under the new Act if will be necessary, I think, as a matter of policy and in order to guard against any errors that might occur, that the Railway Cbm-mittee shall hereafter feel it their duty to pay more attention than hitherto to the location of lines. Not unfrequently the Railway Committee passes upon an application for a charter in a manner which leaves little or no information as to where the line is to go. It is true that greater care has been taken in recent years on account of the multiplicity of railway lines, but it will be necessary for the committee

hereafter to be even more definite than they have been, 'because they will have to remember that as to matter of policy there is no minister to intervene between them and the Board of Railway Commissioners. The Bill will go direct from the Senate after it becomes law to the Board of Railway Commissioners, and from their location to the line there will be no appeal. It is one less safeguard in regard to where the road is to go. I am not saying that the safeguard is necessary under modern conditions; but I think it would be necessary for the committee, and for the House hereafter, if the minister is to be deprived of the intervening power which he has had hitherto, to give more attention to details as to' where these lines are going. Their power heretofore extended only for two miles, and the minister had all the other power in his hands. Under the Act, as the minister intends to have it worked out, the Board of Railway Commissioners will have full power to say where these lines shall go. I suggest that he look into the wording of these clauses very carefully; because I am inclined to think that this amendment will duplicate the Railway Act in some respects and give powers that are unnecessary.
(Mr. REID: The hon. member has stated the position correctly insofar as the present law is concerned, that is, that in regard to Bills passed by the House, the plans must be approved by the minister and the Board of Railway Commissioners. The powers heretofore held by the Board of Railway Commissioners are not in any way changed. They have these powers, but, as suggested iby the hon. member, this simply adds to their powers, and leaves entirely within their juris diction the decision as to the location of the railway. As stated the, other evening, these clauses were in the Bill which was presented to the Senate about two years ago, but which was not proceeded with on account of the war. I have had Sir Henry Drayton, the Chairman of the Railway Commission, and Mr. Gisborne, the law clerk of the House of Commons, go over this Bill thoroughly, and they said that there would be no conflict between the Railway Act and this Bill if it became law.

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