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


John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)


We should have to consider the suggestion of my hon. friend very carefully indeed before making such a drastic change in our present procedure, which has

been in existence for so many years. As the hon. member knows, a Railway Bill not only has to pass the House of Commons and the Senate, but its plans and charter must be approved by the Minister of Railways and by the Board of Railway Commissioners before construction can commence. The proposed amendment makes very little change. The Board of Railway Commissioners have to go into the matter very thoroughly, and decide whether the location and the construction would be in the public interest. We all have great confidence in the Board of Railway Commissioners, and I would ask the House to give this amendment a trial. The Railway Act will have to be revised in a session or two, and we could then consider the suggestion of my hon. friend from St. John, that it might be better to take away from Parliament altogether the granting of railway charters, and have the companies, after getting their plans approved by the Board of Railway Commissioners, apply to the Secretary of State for a charter under the Companies Act. The revision of the Railway Act has been delayed owing to circumstances over which we have had no control, and until it comes up, as it must do within the next sessio.n or two, I would ask that this amendment ibe given a trial. We shall then be in a better position to decide between it and the suggestion of my hon. friend from St. John.

Topic:   II, 1916
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