November 25, 1909

CON

John Waterhouse Daniel

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DANIEL:

Hon' many land grants have been taken up by veterans, and how many assignments approved?

Topic:   VETERAN LAND GRANTS.
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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

433 land grants have been taken up by veterans up to the latest returns from the various Land Agencies of the department.

2,588 assignments have been approved.

Topic:   VETERAN LAND GRANTS.
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POSTAL SERVICE.

CON

Mr. S. SHARPE:

Conservative (1867-1942)

1. In what constituencies were the following post offices established, viz: Cedar Croft, Kawartha Park, Midlothian Wharf, Ojibway Island and Rigaud sur le Lac?

2. What is the number of persons that the department estimate is being served by each of these post offices?

Topic:   POSTAL SERVICE.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

(for the Postmaster General):

Cedar Croft, in Parry Sound, Ont. Population served-15 families with cottages and 75 boarders. [DOT]

Kawartha Park, in Peterborough, W.R., Ont. Population served-A boarding house accommodating 25 guests, 15 cottages with from 75 to 100 occupants; also several new cottages, together with the Y.M.C.A. camp of Peterborough, and other camps in the vicinity.

Midlothian Wharf, in Parry Sound, Ont. Population served-A number of summer cottages, 8 families and about 50 single people.

Ojibway Island, in Parry Sound, Ont. Population served-25 families and 100 single people.

Rigaud sur le Lac, in Vaudreuil, Que. Population served-30 to 40 families.

Topic:   POSTAL SERVICE.
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NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.

LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Hon. GEORGE P. GRAHAM.

Mr. Speaker, I wish to make an addition to the answers given yesterday to question No. 19, asked by my lion. friend from South Simcoe (Mr. Lennox). By some error, a portion of the answer to paragraph 4 was detached, and it is as follows:-

4. Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company, about fifteen months beyond fixed date. Contract covers from city of Moncton westerly for about 50 miles.

Topic:   NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.
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?

The John W.

McManus Company, Limited, about sixteen months beyond fixed date. Contract covers from Chipman easterly a distance of about 8 miles.

Lyons & White, about fifteen months beyond fixed date. Contract covers from near Grand Falls -westerly, a distance of about 62 miles.

Topic:   NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.
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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

M. P. & J. T. Davis, about three months beyond fixed date. Contract covers from Quebec bridge easterly for about 150 miles.

Topic:   NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.
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THE APPROACH TO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.

CON

George Taylor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEO. TAYLOR.

Before the orders of the day are called, might I draw the attention of the Minister of Public Works to the fact that during the last two sessions on the approach of winter, cocoa matting was laid on the steps leading to the parliament buildings. The painted boards now on the steps are slipperv and dangerous, and I would recommend the minister to have the matting laid down at once.

Topic:   THE APPROACH TO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.
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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

I shall be glad to give the matter attention.

NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY!-RESIGNATION OF MR. LUMSDEN.

Topic:   THE APPROACH TO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I would like to ask the Prime Minister whether there is any document to be a'dded to those brought down in connection with the resignation of Mr. Lumsden.

Topic:   THE APPROACH TO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

My hon. friend suggested that there was some correspondence from Mr. Lumsden to me and a letter from me to him. I asked my secretary to look for this letter, and he has not found it yet.

Topic:   THE APPROACH TO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.
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RAILWAY ACT-AMENDMENTS.

?

Mr. E. A.@

LANCASTER (Lincoln) moved second reading of Bill (No. 2) to amend the Railway Act. He said: this Bill, as I explained briefly in introducing it, is I think require'd by virtue of an unanimous decision of the Ontario Court of Appeals, given in a well-considered judgment, placing a construction on section 340 of the Railway Act as it at present stands. That is a section dealing, not with the question whether a railway company is liable or not, but with the question of the amount that a company should pay in the event of its admitted or proved liability for ' negligence in the carrying of goods. It might not be amiss to stcte that previous to 1903 the law, as settled by the decisions of the courts, was in an unsatisfactory state. We thought in this House in 1903 that we had m-^de it clear and distinct, and before this debate is over, I think the House will agree with me that the construction put on this section by the Ontario Court of Appeals is not the construction we intended that should be placed up on it when we passed it in 1903. The section permits a railway company, under certain conditions, to limit and restrict its liability to less than it would be at common law or ordinarily, when it injures or

destroys goods through its negligence in carrying. It is not a question whether the company shall be liable or not, hut whether its liability shall be reduced or impaired by any contract which it makes with the shipper or owner of the goods as a condition of carrying them. The courts held previous to 1903 that a company could not contract itself out of the total liability; but they afterwards held that it could contract itself out of a part of the liability by virtue of giving the shipper a special rate under a contract by which the shipper agreed that he would take only a part of the damages, if entitled to damages at all, for the loss of his goods. That was the state of the law in 1903. In 1903, we left to the Railway Commission, the question as to what should be a fair contract to be made. We provided in the statute that these, contracts, before they should be held to be good, should have the sanction of the Railway Commission. I had better, perhaps, read the exact words of section 340, which I am seeking to amend, as it now stands in the revised statutes of 1906. It reads as follows:

No contract, condition, by-law, regulation, declaration or notice made or given by the company, impairing, restricting or limiting its liability in respect of the carriage of any traffic, shall, except: as hereinafter provided, relieve, the company from such liability, unless such class of contract, condition, by-law, regulation, declaration or notice shall have been first authorized or approved by order or regulation of the board.

Now, the trouble turns upon these words, 'class of' in that section. I think parliament meant in these words a form of contract, and not that any court should say that a contract which was not the one authorized by the commission should be held to be good and binding on the shipper. That is what the court says could be done, an'd it is that which I object to, and which the House should amend. The case decided by the Ontario Court of Appeals last year, Sutherland vs. the Grand Trunk Railway Company, is to be found in volume xviii of the Ontario Law Reports, beginning at page 139. It was decided by Chief Justice Sir Glenholme Falconbridge in April of last year, and his decision was upheld by the whole Court of Appeals in November of last year. Mr. Sutherland shipped from Broc-ton, Massachusetts, to Grimsby, Ontario, $16,000 worth of valuable horses, which the chief justice held were fully prove'd to be worth that much money.

That was his loss when the Grand Trunk railway were negligent at Trenton and in consequence of the collision his horses were destroyed. He, however, was Unable to ship those horses from Brockton, Massachusetts, unless he signed a contract, not authorized by the Railway Commission, but something like it, under which he bound himself to accept $1,200 for a carload of horses worth 15

some $16,000 in case any loss occurred through the company's negligence. He had no option, no other rate was offered him, he could not ship those horses unless he signed that contract. They were taken by the Grand Trunk railway from a point near the Vermont line and were destroyed at Trenton, Ontario. Mr. Sutherland, having obtained on opinion that this contract had never been authorized by the board, thought he was entitled to his full amount of damages. He was given no option when he made the shipment, he had no chance to ship at any other rate, he had signed no contract which the Railway Board had sanctioned, and consequently thought he was entitled to recover his full amount of damages, but the judges held that the words ' unless such class of contract ' entitled them to rule that although the contract was not authorized by the Railway Board it was in that class, and therefore was just as binding as if it had been authorized by the Railway Commission. That ruling is contrary to the spirit of our legislation. We appointed the Railway Board to deal with questions of this kind. We did not want the ordinary judge of the land to decide what should he considered a fair contract. We appointed a board, specially selected for their knowledge, ability and acumen in railway matters to decide what shall be a fair contract, and the moment we agree that any judge, no matter how able, can in any sense usurp the functions of the board, we do a highly dangerous thing and a thing against the principle of the Railway Act. The Railway Board has declared that a certain contract, and no other, shall be the one the Grand Trunk railway must use in cases of the kind, but here we have a different contract, one which would be binding over the route in a foreign country, but which the Grand Trunk railway made apply to Canadian territory, and the company succeeded in convincing the court that because the words ' such class of contract ' are in the Act, they let in any other contract besides the one the Railway Commission adopts.

That is the chief point I make, but I go further and I say that as those contracts are based on the understanding that a man has to give up his common law rights, that he has to give up a part of what he is entitled to, he should at least have the option of paying a higher rate in order to be fully indemnified in case of loss or pay a lower rate should he agree to lesser indemnification. It is evidently manifestly unfair that if a man is willing to pay a higher rate and get his full common law indemnity, he should not have the right to do so before being compelled to ship at a lesser rate with a reduced liability on the part of the company. I might point out that we have already dealt with this matter in another

connection in the same Railway- Act. When we brought in the express companies under the control of the Railway Commission and gave the commission power to fix the rates and the form of contract, we left out the words ' such class of contract.' That will be found in section 353. In section 340, the one I am moving to amend, the words, ' such class of contract ' are contained, and these have been judged in the way I have pointed out. In section 353, however, the contract itself is not valid unless approved by order or regulation of the Board of Railway Commissioners. We are therefore in this position that, if we do not amend the law, we shall have two lines of decisions -the one with regard to express company's contracts and the other with regard to the railway company's contracts for carrying ordinary freight. That surely must be the actual effect, but I think the intention no doubt was that the same principle should govern both.

Topic:   RAILWAY ACT-AMENDMENTS.
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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Hon. G. P. GRAHAM (Minister of Railways).

The reasons adduced by my hon. friend in support of his Bill certainly have some merit. I have had representations made to me in the last few hours to the contrary effect but I think on the whole the House would be wise to give the Bill a second reading and let it go before the Railway Committee.

Topic:   RAILWAY ACT-AMENDMENTS.
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Motion agreed to, and Bill read the second time.


LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

I move that this Bill be referred to the Railway Committee.

Topic:   RAILWAY ACT-AMENDMENTS.
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CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

As I have said many times before, I do not believe on principle in public Bills going to the Select Committees of this House; I think this is the proper place to debate them, where the whole House deals with them. They are public Bills, and the rule of the House indicates that they should be dealt with here. However, I do not wish to be factious about the matter, and if the minister thinks he can give better consideration to this Bill by sending it to the Railway Committee, I would suggest that it be done by appointing a small sub-committee of the Railway Committee. I would agree to that if he will assure us that even if the government shall have taken all days when the Bill returns from the Railway Committee an opportunity will be given for discussing this Bill in Committee of the Whole House. I have not found the Railway Committee to be much more than a cul de sac in regard to public Bills. Unless we can have some specific assurance I think this Bill should go to the Committee of the Whole House.

Topic:   RAILWAY ACT-AMENDMENTS.
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November 25, 1909