March 20, 1903 (9th Parliament, 3rd Session)

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

In the discretion of the board, just as it is in the discretion of the Railway Committee of the Privy Council to-day ; we have made no change in that respect.
Following the clauses I have just referred to you will find a variety of sections, very much in the order in which they appear in the existing Railway Act, dealing, first, with the construction of railways. These clauses will be found between 116 and 205 ; and, except where, we think, they have been improved somewhat, are very much the same as the existing legislation. We have made the usual provision in this Bill for the inspection of railways, and have made similar provision, with immaterial amendments, as respects the operations of railways. We now come to the question of tolls, in respect of which there has been a material change. The provisions that we incorporate in this Bill with regard to the control, supervision and regulation of tolls are, in large measure, adapted from similar provisions in the English and American enactments on the subject, so far, of course as the provisions would be applicable to this country. We carefully provide against undue discrimination, undue preference and advantages of any kind. We have incorporated here provisions regarding the long and the short haul. We think we have adequately and completely protected shippers, and all those who use the railways, in the enjoyment of equal facilities. We have directed attention in the Bill to the question of through traffic, both within Canada and from Canada to and from other countries. We provide for a uniform freight classification. The powers we give to the board include power to alter the freight classifications, so that they may be not only uniform, but that they may be more equitable and just to the shipper. In framing the clauses with regard to tolls, we have exercised all possible care. The provisions have been drawn up after consultation with men who have had long practical experience with respect to railway tolls. And, while we have endeavoured in a proper way to protect the rights of the transportation companies, we have assumed absolute and complete control with regard to what their rates shall be.

Topic:   MAKCH 20. 1903
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