(Translation.) Mr. Chairman, I am at a loss to understand why this section should be struck out. The mere fact of this Bill being before the House, after having been sent to the Railway Gommittee, and of its asking that civil and legal rights be conferred upon a railway, is a prima facie evidence that this parliament is entitled to legislate upon this matter. It is incumbent upon those who oppose this section, to show that the whole Bill or some part of it does not come within the province of parliament. However, I believe that it is in the public interest and conducive to the proper management of the affairs of the Dominion that such a clause be inserted in all the bills.
The hon. member for Terrebonne, is apparently of the belief that this is a new clause inserted in charters incorporating companies. On the contrary, it is the usual clause, and whoever is familiar with judicial matters is perfectly aware of it. There is no need for its justification. The Brit- [DOT] Mr. E. M. MACDONALD.
ish North America Act, distinctly states that whatever is outside the exclusive jurisdiction of the provincial legislature, falls within the scope of the powers of the Dominion parliament. It is incumbent on the opponents of this clause to show that the Bill deals with a matter exclusively within the scope of the powers of the legislature. If that is not shown, jurisdiction is implied. It has been stated that no proof had been given, that such an enterprise was for the advantage of Canada as a whole. Such evidence has not been asked for by any one. The law does not require it. The clauses inserted in the Bill are in themselves sufficient evidence that it falls within the scope of the federal author-ityf Were similar clauses inserted in a Bill submitted to the Quebec legislature, there would be sufficient ground for warranting its cancellation.
Let us take, for instance, clause 13, which reads as follows :
13. Subject to the provisions of sections 361, 362 and 363 of The Railway Act, the Company may, for any of the purposes specified in the said section 361, enter into agreements with the Transcontinental Railway Company, The Grand Trunk Kailway Company, the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, the Canadian Northern Quebec Railway Company, or any of them.
To my mind, that power of entering into agreements with railway companies which are under the control of the Dominion government, implies that of establishing connections between those various railroads and gives parliament jurisdiction.
It is alleged that this company asked authority to build and run a railway wholly within the limits of the province of Quebec. My answer is that it is not solely the territory covered by the railway which should be considered, when the question of jurisdiction is to be decided. It is necessary, besides, that the powers applied for by the company should be such as the legislature has authority to grant. Whenever the powers, rights or privileges dealt with are not exclusively under the control of a legislature, the Bill falls within the scope of federal authority.
There is no need for my quoting any further from the Bill, since all its clauses are known to hon. members, who have made a study of it, as for instance, that relative to navigation and commerce. How could the Quebec legislature be called upon to legislate on such questions ?
After carefully studying this Bill, I am bound to say that it does not concern some vital interests of the province of Quebec only, but that, considering the territory it runs through and the powers which the company requests this parliament to grant, the work may be stated to be for the general advantage of the Dominion. Nor shall I stop at that : I say that this
parliament has not only the right, but has for its duty to grant to the company the act of incorporation which they have applied for, and that it is in the interest of Canada that we should not be debarred from passing such legislation.
It would be a very dangerous precedent for us, as representatives of the people of this Dominion to assume an attitude of indifference towards such legislation, to refuse dealing with it and refer it back to the legislature of Quebec, it would amount to stating that all the clauses in this Bill are within the exclusive scope of provincial legislature. The discussion which has been carried on just now, has an interest far exceeding that of the mere incorporation of a railway company. It is a principle which we are about to lay down. I wonder whether our parliament is going cheerfully and deliberately to proclaim its lack of powers, without even having gone into the clauses of the Bill submitted to us, for it is a fact that we have reached the second clause only, out of a total of thirteen. Should some of the following sections deal exclusively with provincial matters, nothing prevents us from cancelling them or inserting a proviso safeguarding the rights of the legislature. In following a different course, we would, to my mind, be evading our duty and aiming a slur, as it were, at this parliament. As I said a moment ago, it would be creating a dangerous precedent, and I hope the House will not take such a responsibility.
Topic: SUPPLY-ESCAPE OF CONVICT BILL MINER.
Subtopic: CANADIAN LIVERPOOL AND WESTERN RAILWAY COMPANY.