Mr. A. C. MACDONELL:
This is simply a matter of fair dealing. We are not taking away from the company any of its business or curtailing its power, and the concluding part of subsection 4, which is aimed at preventing this company from acting as a distributing company without .the consent of the municipality, reads as follows:-
Provided that this subsection shall not prevent the company from delivering or supply, ing such power by any means now existing or under the provisions of any contract now in force for use in the operation of any railway or for use by any other company lawfully engaged in the distribution of such power within any such city, town, village or township.
So that nothing is being taken from them, and their status is preserved to them. They cannot extend, and the reason why the retroactive clause is asked for is this: It
does not hurt anybody to begin with. It is a precaution. I am a member of the committee and I am not advocating anything special except that I want to see what the committee has done, by a vote of nine to three, goes through the House. This clause was explained at length and questions were asked, and it was proved, to the satisfaction of the committee that the Toronto Electric Light Company, and the Toronto-Niagara Power Company, and a number of other kindred companies, are practically an association of companies under one aegis or management, or whatever you like to call it. I do not ask hon. members to take my word for this; it is contained in the memoranda submitted to this House by the Government of Ontario, which was sent to the chairman of the committee and read by him. There was only one arrangement. The Toronto Electric Light Company had a contract with the city of Toronto, which expires in two or three years, and what is apprehended, and it was alleged before the committee, and the statement was actually made, that the Toronto Electric Company, which has an expiring and perishable franchise, expiring in two or three years or thereabouts, will, it is expected, turn over to the Toronto-Niagara Power Company all its business, poles, plant, machinery and equipment, and then the Toronto-Niagara Power Company can continue ad- infinitum to operate the Toronto Electric Light Company the same as if there had been no contract between the Toronto Electric Light Company and the city of Toronto, and this retroactive clause is inserted to prevent that improper act. It hurts nobody. It is an insurance, a precaution, and a public safe-
guard. The same thing might happen in other communities. The Toronto-Niagara Power Company may go elsewhere and purchase electric light or power companies that have perishable and expiring franchises and then the business will pass over to the company with a permanent franchise forever. I have tried to make myself understood; I do not know whether I have done so or not, and I appeal to the fairness of the committee to pass this legislation to protect municipal rights, to protect municipalities and the public. The people came here from all over Ontario and from some parts of Quebec to ask that this be done, and there is nothing wrong in it. It is a safeguard. We are not saddling this company with any more safeguards than any other company is saddled with, but we ask that this clause be retained, for the purpose of carrying out the wishes of the people to whom I have referred, who came here with their counsel, and argued the matter at very great length, and answered every question put to them by the members of the committee. No matter was more fully or fairly dealt with by that select committee, and I appeal to this committee to carry out what was done by that committee, and to pass the section as framed.
Topic: P520 COMMONS