April 26, 1905


Motion agreed to, and Bill read the third time. Mr. CAMPBELL moved that the Bill be now passed, and that the title be 1 An Act to incorporate the Title and Trust Company.' Motion agreed to. OTT -\ \Y \ AND NEW YORK RAILWAY COMPANY. House in committee on Bill (No. 92) respecting the Ottawa and New York Railway Company.-Mr. Belcourt. On the preamble,


CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I would like to understand what the object of the Bill is.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   TITLE AND TRUST COMPANY.
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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. W. S. FIELDING.

I think this Bill involves a pro-posed departure from the general rule that has been laid down, and I prefer that it be not proceeded with in the absence of the Minister of Railways (Mr. Emmerson). I suggest to the promoter that he allow me to move that the committee rise, report progress and ask leave to sit again.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   TITLE AND TRUST COMPANY.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

The object of the Bill seems to be to except this company from the provision of a statute passed in 1904, by which all, or a majority-I am not sure which-of the directors of a company receiving aid from the government shall be British subjects. This statute arose out of a debate in connection with the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway measure. We on this side of the House at that time offered an amendment requiring that a provision should be inserted in the Act incorporating the proposed company similar to that contained in the Act incorporating the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. That amendment was voted down for the reason, as I recollect it, that it was inadvisable to make special exception of any company, and that it would be better in the public interest to provide for the matter by a general statute. In view of the attitude of the government at that time, I would suggest that it is extremely important at this juncture, when this Bill is up for consideration, to have the views upon it of the Minister of Railways and Canals, and the government generally, as to why a principle so strongly insisted upon at that time is to be departed from.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   TITLE AND TRUST COMPANY.
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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

I agree that, if the principle is to be departed from, a reason should be given. And that is why I prefer that the Bill should not be proceeded with now.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   TITLE AND TRUST COMPANY.
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CON
LIB

Napoléon Antoine Belcourt

Liberal

Mr. BELCOURT.

I have charge of this Bill, and I may perhaps say a few words to the committee in explanation of the reasons which were deemed sufficient in the Railway Committee to allow the Bill to go through. It is true, as stated by tne leader of the opposition, that the object of the Bill is to create an exception to section 32 of the statute of 1904, which provided that the majority of the directors of a railway company should be British subjects, it was provided by the same section that the effect of the amendment should not come into force until the 31st of January, 1905. This railway was built in 1897. There was paid to the railway $375,000 in subsidies, the company expending $750,000 of their own money. All the stockholders of the company and the bondholders as well, at the time of construe-tion, were Americans, they are still Americans without any exception. The money that built the railway was all American money, and there is at present no shareholder or bondholder who is a Canadian in the company. The railway, I understand, has been acquired by the New York Central, it is being operated to-day under the management of the New York Central, altogether under American management. At the time this company was incorporated and at the time the railway was built, the law in force made it permissible that all the directors might be Americans. Section 87 of the Railway Act of 1888 says:

All shareholders in the company, whether British subjects or aliens, or resident in Canada or elsewhere, shall have equal rights to hold stock in the company and to vote on the

same, and shall be eligible to office in the company.

If this company has to comply with the amendment of 1904. they have no shareholder in Canada and are not in a position to have a board composed of Canadians. The New York Central proposes in the near future to expend at least $400,000 in the betterment of this railway, all of that money will be American money. Under the circumstances it seemed natural to the company, and it seems natural to me, and I think it ought to seem natural to the House, that the expenditure of the money should be under the control of the people who find it. Those reasons seemed convincing to the committee who passed the Bill unanimously.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   TITLE AND TRUST COMPANY.
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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

When this Bill was before the Railway Committee I am inclined to think the hon. gentleman was not present. But before the amendment was put to the committee the Minister of Railways was asked what the policy of the government was on this question, and he declined to state what the government's position was on this important Bill. , It was pointed out that the Canada Southern Railway, which is also an American road, was situated similarly to this one, but they were compelled to comply with the law as it is at present. This Bill being amended on the line stated by the hon. gentleman will be a precedent to go by in future, and if the Canada Southern Railway Company come here asking for this legislation-

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   TITLE AND TRUST COMPANY.
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LIB

Napoléon Antoine Belcourt

Liberal

Mr. BELCOURT.

I should have stated that this is not a Canadian railway, it is not a Canadian corporation, it is an'American railway and an American corporation.

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Subtopic:   TITLE AND TRUST COMPANY.
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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

Just the same as the Canada Southern, which is a connecting link between the Michigan Central and the New York Central, a railway in Canada owned and controlled by American capital. It has never received a dollar of money from this government. Therefore, it is in the same position as the road we are now discussing in the matter of directors. I simply wish to point out that if the government have no policy on this question, and if a railway built by American capital is to be relieved from this condition, then it will be a precedent for treating other railways in the same way.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   TITLE AND TRUST COMPANY.
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CON

Samuel Barker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARKER.

The excuse made by the member for Ottawa (Mr. Belcourt) for the change from the general law which he asks for, is that this particular railway is owned by foreigners. But if it were not owned by foreigners it would come under the ordinary law, and there would be no trouble, the directors would be all Canadians. The very object of the change in the general law was to provide that where a Canadian railway was owned by foreigners there should be a certain Canadian representation upon it. The hon. gentleman says that here is an exception, here is a railway which is owned

entirely by foreigners. It seems to me that rather aggravates the difficulty; that shows that it there is any sense whatever in the change in the law, it should apply particularly to the railway we are now dealing with.

J*r- HENDERSON. I merely rise to say that I think perhaps the leader of the opposition did a slight injustice to the Minister of Finance, because I think myself that the Minister of Finance attends to his duties in this House more assiduously than any other member of the government. I want to give him credit for being in his seat on all occasions. or nearly so. As for the Minister of Justice I cannot agree that he is here so frequently. I think the government should have a policy on every question, and that in the case of every Bill that comes before this House, a private Bill as well as others, some officer of the government should have investigated it thoroughly, so that a member of the government may be able to stand up and say that the government assumes entire responsibility for what it contains and commends it to the House.

Now, we have not had that to-night. I heard this Bill discussed in the Railway Committee. It is quite true that it did not come here from the Private Bills Committee. It came from the Railway Committee. It was briefly discussed there and I think the discussion that has taken place to-night perhaps has done no harm. There is one very important feature in connection with this Bill, and if we adopt this measure tonight we lay down a precedent that hon. gentlemen will ask us to follow for many years to come. A minister occupying the prominent position in the government that the hon. Minister of Justice does, I think, ought to be in his place and say, especially in the absence of the hon. Minister of Railways, whether or not he commends that particular feature of this Bill to this House. I am glad the hon. Minister of Finance has taken what I consider to be a very sensible view of the matter and that in the absence of the hon. Minister of Justice from his place and the Minister of Railways and Canals from his duties here he has advised the promoter to allow the Bill to go over until some other occasion when these hon. gentlemen will be in their places. I trust that when they do appear here they will be able to announce the policy of the government on this particular ' question. I have no desire to stop the Bill in its progress through the committee. It may be all right but this is a new feature and I have to confess that I have some objections to it. Explanations may be given sufficient to warrant us in overlooking these. But, whatever we do, I think that in an important matter like this we should not, without very good consideration, establish a precedent that may work very great injury to some other corporations in the country.

Progress reported.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   TITLE AND TRUST COMPANY.
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DOMINION ATLANTIC RAILWAY COMPANY.


House in committee on Bill (No. 10G) respecting tlie Dominion Atlantic Railway Company.-Mr. Black. .On section 1,


CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I liave not the slightest objection to this Bill ; I think it is a very desirable thing that the railway should be made part of the Dominion Atlantic Railway, but what I rose to inquire about was as to the effect of this legislation. The Dominion Atlantic Railway Company is a company subject to and its railway is subject to the jurisdiction of this parliament, because it has been declared to be a work for the general advantage of Canada. I do not think the Midland Railway occupies that position. It struck me just a moment ago, looking at the Bill, that there must be some question as to what would be the status of the Midland division of the Dominion Atlantic Railway after the passing of that statute, and I would suggest to the hon. gentleman (Mr. Black) in charge of this Bill that perhaps it would be well for him to consider that question. Perhaps there has been an amendment made: if so, I am not aware of it. My hon. friend from Hamilton (Mr. Barker) suggests that an amendment was made to the second clause covering that very question. I am not a member of the Railway Committee, so that I do not know. Perhaps that may cover the point.

Topic:   DOMINION ATLANTIC RAILWAY COMPANY.
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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

We will go on until we reach that.

Topic:   DOMINION ATLANTIC RAILWAY COMPANY.
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CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

The very Bill that is before us certainly shows to us the absolute necessity of having the hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. Fitzpatrick) in his place while these private Bills are being passed through. We had a considerable discussion on this question in the Railway Committee, and I think the question arose as to whether we could pass a Bill authorizing the amalgamation or purchase of a local railway, or a railway chartered by the legislature of Nova Scotia, by enacting a Bill in this House. To my mind there is a nice legal question and the hon. Minister of Justice should be here in his place to solve that question, to tell us that his officers had looked into the whole matter and that he is satisfied that the Bill is all right in that particular. I would go farther than my hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. It. L. Borden) in this matter. I would suggest to the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding), who is leading the House tonight, to ask the promoter of the Bill to allow it to stand over until the hon. Minister of Justice is in his place to give us that assurance. I think it is hardly fair to ask the committee to pass legislation of this kind on a mere assumption, on a mere venture. It may turn out that it is all wrong, Mr. HENDERSON.

it may turn out that the charter that we are giving this company is of no value, and I think the promoter of the Bill would act wisely if he would wait until the hon. Minister of Justice finds it convenient to be in his place and say that he has investigated the matter, that his officers have gone into it thoroughly and that he is satisfied that the Bill itself will work out all right. I merely throw out that suggestion. The promoter of the Bill may or may not accept it, but I think that is the proper course to pursue. There are more of us interested in this Bill than the promoter. We want to know that legislation, once it goes through this House, is complete, that it is without flaw, that it is something that may be relied upon, not something that would simply end in litigation, and I trust that the promoter of the Bill will wait the convenience of the hon. Minister of Justice until he can find an opportunity of being in his place and giving us his assurance that he regards the Bill as being perfectly correct.

Topic:   DOMINION ATLANTIC RAILWAY COMPANY.
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LIB

Frederick Andrew Laurence

Liberal

Mr. LAURENCE.

It would not necessarily follow that every hon. member would accept the assurance of the hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. Fitzpatrick) even if he gave it. Of course, I admit it ought to command a great deal of respect but it might happen that there would be very serious objections to the Bill even then. However, that is outside of the question. This Bill was sufficiently discussed, it seems to me, in the Railway 'Committee, and I think the decision was arrived at and was correctly arrived at that this legislature could deal with a proposition of this kind. The Dominion Atlantic has a charter from this legislature. The Midland has a charter from the province of Nova Scotia. There are concurrently going through the two legislatures Bills to effect not the amalgamation so much as the actual purchase of the franchise, property and rights of the smaller corporation by the greater, and it seems to me that between the two legislatures there ought to be no loophole or lapse. It seems to me that the purpose of the legislation ought to be accomplished, that is to turn over the property, assets and franchise of the provincial company to the Dominion chartered company. I do not quite appreciate myself the objection that is made, to tell you the truth, Mr. Speaker. I have not quite become seized of the point that my hon. friend (Mr. Henderson) makes against this legislation.

Topic:   DOMINION ATLANTIC RAILWAY COMPANY.
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?

Mr. R L. BORDEN@

Is the hon. gentleman referring to the point I made ?

Topic:   DOMINION ATLANTIC RAILWAY COMPANY.
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LIB

Frederick Andrew Laurence

Liberal

Mr. LAURENCE.

No, the point made by the hon. member for Halton (Mr. Henderson). I quite appreciate the point of the hon. leader of the opposition, and I think it is provided for in a subsequent section.

Topic:   DOMINION ATLANTIC RAILWAY COMPANY.
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CON

Samuel Barker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Air. BARKER.

With regard to the point made by the hon. member for Halton, I

agree with the hon. gentleman who has just spoken. This Bill is simply an enabling Bill so far as the Dominion company is concerned ; it enables the Dominion company to purchase. It does not profess to enable the provincial company to sell. Therefore, so far as the Bill goes, it is quite within our powers. The point raised by the hon. leader of the opposition, which he raised before he saw the amendment, which is not printed, has reference to the operation of the local railway after it is acquired. I recollect suggesting that point in the Railway Committee, and I think the hon. gentleman in charge of the Bill agreed to it and inserted some words in the second clause providing that the local railway should be operated under the Dominion laws. The rest of the powers must be obtained from the local legislature. We have no power over the local company, and this Bill does not profess to exercise any power over it.

Topic:   DOMINION ATLANTIC RAILWAY COMPANY.
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April 26, 1905