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


William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative


Without making any comment on the particular question raised by the introduction of this new legislation, I wish to say that in my judgment the legislation is of the right kind. It is aimed at the unnecessary duplication of railways in this country, which is more or less the cause of the present condition of some of the railways in -Canada. It is high time that the control and* regulation of these railways should be in the hands of some responsible body, thoroughly cognizant of the -situation, who will hereafter -prevent the unnecessary duplication of lines, by reason of which there has been not only a great waste of capital for the loss of which the country has now to stand^ more or less, but there is ahead of us an unnecessary duplication of service. There are railroad trains being run alongside one another and in competition that trill, if maintained, entail a great waste of public money, and prevent any improvement in the railroads of this country. The paramount question before the people of Canada in connection with railways is how to give a Better service so as to bring about 'better rates. The only way to d'o that is to consolidate the railway system, and if we cannot get rid of the unnecessary duplication of roads, we can at least get rid of the unnecessary duplication of service which is now being carried out. This legislation is in the right direction. I am quite willing to trust the administration of it to the Railway Commission.
I only Tegret that the Bill which the Government had in hand for the revision of the Railway Act has not been presented even if we are at war, I would like to have seen that Bill taken up a year ago by this House. Last session I appealed to the House to take some of the main clauses of the Bill and put them through. In my own riding, and in other parte of Ontario, there is great need for another clause in the Railway Act which will provide that in the event of the construction of bridges hereafter, if the railway bridge is at a place where the public have use for a bridge, the Board may have power to order a joint structure and distribute the cost between the municipality and the railway. The city of Toronto to-

day has two or three problems of that kind with regard to the construction of expensive bridges required both by the public and by railway companiese. I hope that the Government will see its way clear, even if we have a war on, to deal with this new Bill. Let me give another instance in which there is provision made in this Bill for the public advantage, but which is still in suspension. I refer to the provision compelling railway companies to give a suburban service in the large cities. To-day they give a suburban service out o.f Montreal but we cannot get it in Toronto. We have tried to get it, but for some reason- I do not know what-we have not succeeded. We have appealed to the Railway Commission year after year and asked them to compel the railway companies to give such a service but so far we have not been able to secure the issue of such an order. There is a provision in this new Bill which would deal with that matter but unfortunately the Bill is not brought forward. The war is given as a reason but I do not think it is a sufficient reason and I hope the Acting Minister of Railways and Canals *will see his way to take up this matter without loss of time. I would like to see him do so this year, but certainly if not this year, I hope this revision of the Railway Act will be taken up at the forthcoming session and that many new clauses will be put on the statute book. In the meantime, I am perfectly certain that this Bill will do something in the way of curing or preventing unnecessary duplication of service. Unnecessary duplication has caused a great deal of trouble, it has not improved the railways, it has caused a great deal of irritation and the necessity of dealing with the problem, and of getting rid of it, will be before us sooner or later.

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