I think that after the word * may ' were to be inserted the words ' for the purposes of its undertaking, and,' .making it read: ' The company may, for the purposes of its undertaking, and subject to the provisions of the Railway Act, construct and operate telegraph and telephone lines,' and so on. I move that these words be inserted. I do not think it is usual to give a railway company the right to do a telephone and telegraph business. I do not think my hon. friend (Mr. Conmee) desires more than that they should have power to carry on a telephone business in connection with and for the purposes of their railway.
I think that the railway companies, when they have the express business entirely under their own control sometimes act in a not very generous way with the public. They often compel shippers to send goods by express and pay a much higher figure if they want them taken proper care of and sent through rapidly. There are many advantages in combining the ownership of railway and express services, but there are some disadvantages to the public which are very considerable. Take the case of a line passing through our section of the country; when it was in its original ownership, there was an express company different from the railway company. The railway company was obliged to haul the express cars, but the express company could make its own contract. The public had much better service then than they have had since the express company was bought up by the railway company. The railway and express are now controlled by the Canadian Pacific railway. The people' have to pay much higher figures for their express, and they have less advantages than they had under the old system. For instance, the company will not deliver express in the villages. The express matter is dumped at the station, and the individuals for whom it is intended may not receive notice before several days. And then they have to go down to the station for it. The charge is made much higher. For instance, where they carried express, it was 60 cents a hundred to Toronto, now it is 75 cents. These are all exactions from the nublic, and I thought it was due to the fact that when the railway company took over the express business and were carrying freight and express, they could charge whatever they pleased.
I think this clause is somewhat new, in that it introduces the words ' not by expropriation.' We did not have that in the old clause. We have for some years gone on the understanding that the provisions of the Railway Act, as the particular clauses were drawn, did not apply to these Bills with regard to expropriation. But to make sure we put in these words ' not by expropriation.'
My understanding of that clause in the Railway Committee was this: There is in another subsection a further amendment to that clause, which stipulates that they -shall not buiid such works on the Rainy river, which is the only navigable river in the vicinity. I did not understand that the words ' not by expropriation ' were going to be inserted in that subsection 2. I think that is going a little too far. I think that subsection ought to be satisfactory, and such powers of expropriation as the Railway Act confers ought to be allowed.
They are given authority to use a water-power and sell the surplus, but they can only do it subject to the Railway Act. What good purpose could be served? It is only depriving the public of the use of that power. It is not injuring the companies to anv great extent, but it is depriving the public of the opportunity of utilizing the power. Every one knows that a railway does not use all its power every day. In the winter season when ii has to contend with snow and ice, it has to use nearly double the force it would at other times. Now why leave that force idle? The public interest is absolutely protected. The company cannot deal with it except under the control of the board, and they 'are excluded by Act from dealing with the important stream in the district where navigation might be affected. Surely the public interest is amply protected without putting in that restriction.
The hon. gentleman asks what good purpose was to be served. In the Railway Committee we thought that there might be other water-powers than the one specifically mentioned, and that the same rule should apply to all. There must be a principle, there must not be any picking, and choosing between different powers. We thought that both these amendments were necessary. The committee thought that this company was to be subject to the Railway Act, and that they should not go into the water-power business, but only into the business of developing electricity for the railway and that they should not have the right to expropriate any water-power. Then because the Rainy river is a navigable stream, and the
Dominion government might have some control over it, to be consistent, the committee said that ' not by expropriation,' would not necessarily cover the Rainy river, because the Rainy river is navigable. And so, to carry out the principle entirely, and protect the public both as regards the Dominion authority and provincial authority, the committee almost unanimously came to the conclusion that both these amendments should be adopted as they now stand.
My own opinion is that none of these Railway Bills should be given any right to expropriate the water-powers of anybody. If I owned a water-power, if I got on the ground first, I don't think any other person ought to have a right to come in and expropriate it, and use it for the same purpose I was going to use it for. They ought to make some arrangement with me. I do not think they ought to have the right to expropriate water-powers on the right of way for the railway. If they expropriate sufficient for the right of way, I do not think it should include the water-power. It is not needed for the right of way of the railway. It is supposed to be outside of it altogether. I think that is a pretty safe ground to take.
I was very glad to hear my hon. friend the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Graham) make the state-
MARCH 21, ll)b>
ment that he did. I believe the time has come when we should curtail the powers that we give under these different railway charters, and I hope that next session when these different railway companies come before this House for incorporation the Minister of Railways and Canals will lay down the principle that we will grant them railway charters but we will not grant them water-power rights in connection with the railway in any particular whatever, and that if they want water-powers let the same people, if they choose, form a water-power company and let us deal with them as a water-power company simply. There is no doubt in my mind that there has been a large number of charters put through this House with these water-power privileges attached in which we have been incorporating water-power companies and giving them privileges because they came before us as railway companies, that we would not have given if we had known clearly what their intents were. By these charters they may be enabled to secure water-powers and build only a minimum amount of the railway. The feeling generally throughout the country and on both sides of this House, I believe, is that the time has come when no more of these natural resources of the country should be given to railway corporations. I have supported some of them in the House this session simply because I did not feel that it was advisable or good policy at the end of the session to refuse one company what we have already granted to other companies during the present session, hut as far as I am concerned, at the coming session I will oppose the granting of these privileges to any of the railway companies that come to us seeking incorporation.