Mr. W. B.@
NORTHRUP (E. Hastings) moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 39) to amend the Railway Act. He said: Last session the government introduced a Bill to amend the Railway Act so as to confer certain additional powers on the Board of Railway Commissioners, giving the Board jurisdiction in complaints made by the Crown or by a corporation with regard to certain specified matters. The list included a number of matters on the face of it, but mainly matters with regard to which negotiations are not usually conducted as contracts made between a corporation or the Crown and the railways. I propose to add to, along the same line, that the commissioners should have power in contracts made with regard to the operation of the road. It is well known that contracts are made between municipalities and the government or a railway company, and that in the overwhelming majority of cases, they refer to the operation of the road. In consideration of the operation of the road, a bonus is given by the municipality or a subsidy granted by parliament. Exactly in the line with the government measure of last year, I propose to give the commissioners authority with regard to such contracts.
In one other respect this Bill goes further than the amendment of last session. Under that law, appeals of the kind to which I have referred can only be made in cases between the Crown or corporation and the railway with which the contract was made. It is well known that, in this country, there are practically only two or three railways. In the great majority of cases contracts are made between the Crown or a corporation and some minor railway which has been subsidized for a part of the country through
which it runs; and, usually, after the contract is made and the railway constructed, this minor railway is absorbed by one of the larger railway corporations. The result is that the larger railway has the benefit of the money which the municipality or Crown has expended, while the municipality or the Crown loses the benefit of the contract on account of which alone the money was advanced. The Bill which I have now the honour to propose would aiiow the board t, >
act in such a case, and would provide that the railway which has_ possession of the property in consideration of which the bonus is given should be held responsible for carrying out the contract made by the road which has been absorbed and which, having gone out of operation, cannot be held to its contract. This, it will be seen, is on the same line as the government Bill of last session, but it extends the principle a little further in the two directions I have indicated.