Mr. J. E. ARMSTRONG:
I had the privilege of listening to the representatives of the Toronto and Niagara Company and ^presentatives of the Hydro Electric Commission. These representatives were before <s on two or three occasions, and they gave 4 great deal of exhaustive evidence in sup-oort of both sides, but let me call attention ,o the fact that while this legislation is somewhat retroactive, it is also legislation ,n the public interest. Let me read from a .etter the hon. gentleman from Guysborough quoted a few moments ago, and look at *he powers the Toronto-Niagara Company nad granted to them by the Parliament of Canada in 1902, and then- consider whether-you would agree to extend similar powers to any other company in the Dominion of Canada. The powers granted to that company were as follows:
(a) The right to supply hydraulic, electric or other power by means of cables, machinery or other appliances;
(b) The right to acquire, construct, maintain and operate works for the production, sale and distribution of electricity and power for any purpose for which such electricity or power can be used;
(c) The right to construct, maintain and operate lines of wire, poles, tunnels, conduits and other works in the manner and to the extent required for the corporate purposes or the company, and to conduct, store, sell and supply electricity and other power and with such lines of wire, poles, conduits, motors or other conductors or devices to conduct, convey, furnish or receive such electricity to or from any persons at any place, through, over, along or across any public highway, bridges, viaducts, railways, water courses, or over or under any waters, etc., and
(d) To erect poles, construct trenches or conduits or do other things necessary for the transmission of heat or light as fully as the circumstances of the case may require, provided the same are so constructed as not to incommode the public use of streets, highways or public places, or to impede the access to any house or other building erected in the
vicinity thereof, or to interrupt the navigation of any waters the company, however, being responsible for all damages which it causes in carrying out or maintaining any of its works.
I should like the committee to pay particular attention to the following paragraph:
The powers of the Toronto and Niagara Power Company including those above mentioned, may be exercised without the consent of any municipal corporation, the right of the Company to so exercise them having been, as we are advised, affirmed by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in the case of the Toronto and Niagara Power Company v. Corporation of the Town of North Toronto, 1912, A.C. page 834.
If this legislation was not brought forward at this time and placed on the statute book, this same company could go into any town, city or village in Canada, erect poles and carry on their operations in direct opposition to the wishes of any of the municipalities in Canada. They can carry on all these operations, in spite of any of the men who represent these municipalities, or the people who are living in them. We believe that that is not in the public interest. Therefore, the committee decided that they should insert this, section, which will compel them to do as subsection 4 of this section of the Bill compels them to do. That section reads:
(4) Nothing contained in this section shall be deemed to authorize the company, nor shall the company have any right, to acquire, construct, maintain or operate any distribution system or to distribute light, heat, power or electricity in any city, town, village or township ; or to erect, put or place in, over, along or under any highway or public place in any city, town, village or township any works, machinery, plant, pole, tunnel, conduits, or other device for the purpose of such distribution without the' company first obtaining consent therefor by a by-law of the municipality.
We are asking them to come under the same law which all other companies are compelled to come under to-day, which requires them to obtain the consent of the municipality, before they are allowed to erect their poles and continue their operations.