I do not think any of these porters or conductors claim to have that right. I took the question up with one of them on one occasion and he said: We have no right to do it, but if we take your certificate we will not have to call you up. I do not see any reason for taking up the certificate merely because some other conductor is coming on; the fact that you produce your certificate to one conductor should be sufficient. Sometimes the pullman car conductor claims that he is obliged to satisfy the conductor of the train that my certificate is all right and that therefore it is necessary for him to take it. Of course they admit that it is my property, not his, and he has no right to hold it. I see no reason why they should hold that certificate, because any official who is placed in the train should be such a thoroughly reliable man that the conductor could depend on him; otherwise the company have no business having him there. When he satisfies himself that you have a certificate, that should satisfy the company. He is the servant and agent of the company, and if it is necessary we should have a further measure to make this obligatory on the railways. The officials have no right to disturb you after you have once produced your certificate.
I want to refer again to the point as to whether members of Parlia- 1 ment have the right to travel on freight trains. I was absolutely refused the right to travel on a freight train and the conductor informed me he had special instructions from the company to permit no member of Parliament to ride on his train. I discussed the matter with the late member for Lincoln, Mr. Lancaster, who was considered a railway authority. He said that in his judgment I would never succeed in any action I might take against the railway company for damages. He thpught that the interpretation that would be put upon the clause by any court would be that the right of a member of Parliament to travel would apply only to passenger trains.
I did not think it was at that time. If that is the law I am satisfied, but I think it ought to be made perfectly clear what our rights are in that regard. I happened to be passing backward and forward to and from my home, and arriving at a junction I had to stay there, within 16 miles of my home, for eight or nine hours. A freight train passes at such an hour that I could make close connections, which would save me all of that time every time I go to my home. I should like to know my rights in that regard.
He has the rights under this pass that any man has who buys a ticket, except that perhaps he could not claim damages. No other citizen can be carried on a freight train, and consequently I say that my hon. friend has no right, on his pass, on the freight train. The presence of a passenger in a caboose on one of the modern heavy freight trains might divert the attention of the erew from their duties, and it must be remembered that if the right were granted to members of Parliament to travel on freight trains, citizens who purchase tickets might demand the same right, and what answer could we make to them?
I do not entirely agree with my hon. friend from South Renfrew (Mr. Graham), because this section of the law applies to all trains. It is sometimes very convenient and in the interests both of the member of Parliament and of the public that he should be able to reach some small place in his constituency that can only be reached at a convenient time by travelling on a freight train. I see no objection to a member of Parliament riding in a caboose, if he wishes to take the risk of boarding and alighting from it, and so on. I should like to know what rights the railways have in the matter of charging for excess baggage. We have all a considl erable weight of baggage sometimes.
I understand from the reading of the Act that we are allowed to
carry all our baggage, but should it exceed the amount allowed to the general public the railways charge excess on it. Then, too, if we leave our baggage in a station for more than twenty-four hours, we are charged storage.
I cannot see why there should be any charm about the baggage of a member of Parliament any more than about that of the ordinary man paying a fare. Why should I ask a railway to carry for me a piece of extra baggage when my neighbour, who has paid for his ticket, has to pay for his extra baggage? If we get for nothing the same privileges that the ordinary man pays for I think we are going as far as we ought to ask. As to the contention that the law contemplates that railways shall carry members of Parliament on freight trains, I think that my hon. friend in any court would find that the meaning of " any train " in this clause is any train that carries passengers.
I share entirely the views expressed by the hon. member for Guys-borough (Mr. Sinclair) about this privilege enjoyed by the members. It is a very liberal law, indeed, which allows members of Parliament to travel free on all railways in Canada. I have some sympathy with the case brought up by the hon. member for Daupbin (Mr. Cruise). I understand from the Minister of Railways that this is a matter for regulation, and that the companies are not entitled to the privilege of lifting the certificate of a member. As to baggage, the allowance in Canada, in fact on this continent, is very much more liberal than it is in Europe, where you have to pay for any baggage in excess of a handbag.
I did not intend to precipitate a discussion of this kind to-day. It is all very well for members in the millionaire class, like the hon. member for Rouville (Mr. Lemieux) and the hon. member for Guysborough (Mr. Sinclair) to talk about these matters as they do; they do not care whether they have a right to travel on railways free or not. But consider the ordinary poor solicitor-farmer member, the common people-it means something to us.