While approving generally of the plan to have the Board of Railway Commissioners' approval of the lines, I hesitate to go as far as subsection 3 of section 157, which reads:
The hoard may approve such map and location, or any portion thereof, or may make or require such changes and alterations therein as it deems expedient; but if the hoard deems that the construction of a railway upon the proposed location or upon any portion thereof is not in the public interest it shall refuse approval of the whole or of such portion; and in any case where the board deems it in the public interest it may, as to any portion of the proposed railway, make any order, or require the taking of any proceedings, provided for by subsection seven and eight of this section.
It is taking a long step to make the Board of Railway Commissioners supreme over Parliament; it is>
tantamount to sayipg that the Railway Committee and this House will put through a Bill of which they have no knowledge. The legislation is dangerous to that extent, and affords an argument to the hon. member for St. John when he says that the final word as to the granting of a
charter ought to be said by Parliament. Under the present procedure, before a charter is granted, a railway Bill comes before the Railway Committee, and we must assume that the Minister of Railways in that committee, and the chairman and members of it, have some knowledge of what they are discussing. The Bill then goes through the Committee of the Whole House, clause by clause, is given its third reading, and then goes through the same stages in 4 p.m. the Senate. We are now proposing that the Board of Railway Commissioners shall have power to nullify every bit of that legislation. A charter given to a railway company is not a permit, but an Act of Parliament, which is placed on the statute book; and this amendment is simply saying to the Board of Railway Commissioners: " We are vesting
power in you to override the statute we have passed."