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


Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)


There is a great deal in what my hon. friend says. I am one of those who believe that the people's representatives in Parliament should have a thorough knowledge of what railways are being constructed in Canada, and have considerable say as to how and where they should be con. structed.
I think the powers that have been delegated to the Board of Railway Commissioners are powers that, prior to the delegating of them to the board, caused a great deal of contention both in this House and in the Railway Committee. While it may be said that a good deal of time is lost in the Railway Committee, I think, on the whole, it has done good service to the people of Canada. Take, for instance, this Bi1! that has been introduced. Had it not been for the difference of opinion in the Railway Committee during this session, this Bill would not have been forthcoming at all. Certain members of the committee held one view and certain other members differed from them; the matter was threshed out in the committee for some time, and the result was the introduction of this Bill. I think we should use this House for the introduction of railway charters, the Railway Committee for determining certain points, and the Board of Railway Commissioners for threshing out certain other points, and thus, by working in close co-operation, we would get the best possible legislation in regard to railway matters. I feel sure that this is a better method of working than to act separately and to give any of the governing bodies too much power. This is
legislation that should be passed. It was pretty thoroughly threshed out two years ago in the joint committee of the Senate and of this House, and had the war not broken out the general revision of the Railway Act would likely have been passed at the last session of Parliament.
As regards the revision of the Railway Act of Canada, we can afford to be a little careful and to wait. I have no doubt that, when the war is over many clauses that were thought to be the best possible clauses to be introduced in the revision of the Railway Act will be reconsidered by the committee and by this House, because of the results of the war. Therefore, as the Railway Act is a very wide one, and -Seeing that we have waited so long, I think we can afford to wait a little longer, keeping in view the condition of things when the war is over.
I am in favour of this legislation, and I wish to offer my congratulations to the Acting Minister of Railways on the introduction of this Bill, which I think Will be in the public interest.

Topic:   II, 1916
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