July 18, 1917

CON

Robert Francis Green

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GREEN:

The other sections give the board the right to make the connection; the only question, therefore, is as to the terms upon which the connection is made.

I do not look upon this section as interfering with competition or as being intended to prevent competition.

I think my hon. friend will agree with me, if he has ever tried to do business in a city where they have a competitive telephone system, that it is a nuisance to the subscriber and to the man who tries to do business over it; the people do not get nearly the same satisfaction they would get from a single telephone system. I have no intention whatever of preventing competition, but, generally speaking, I think the day for competition in telephone lines within a circumscribed area in a city is over. The public have tried it on more than one occasion, and it has nearly always failed.

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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

Is not this a fair way of putting it? If there were two trunk telephone lines they would both pay a bonus to these independent companies for their business. As there is only one, the penalty of an extra charge is imposed.

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CON

Donald Sutherland

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

This is evidently a club that is being used by the Bell Telephone Company to keep the local telephone lines out of the district now being served by the Bell. The hon. member for North Oxford has stated that they exact a charge of 10 cents for the use of a long distance phone, and that the charge is equally

divided. I think the local company gets 3 cents, and the Bell Company 7 cents.

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LIB
CON

Donald Sutherland

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

These two words in the section enable them to exact from the Ingersoll Telephone Company $300 a year. The Bell Company wish to keep the local companies out in the country. The Bell Company and every other telephone company is a public utility. They have received a franchise from the people on the understanding that they are going to serve the public. .

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LIB
CON

Donald Sutherland

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

And on the streets of our cities and towns, and a nice mess they do make of our streets with their telephone poles and wires strewed all over. The municipalities are absolutely helpless; they cannot control the companies to whom they have given a franchise. I think this was a very wise provision on the part of the committee, and 1 think it would be folly on our part to reinsert the two words which have been eliminated.

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CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

Evidently the Bell Telephone Company was primed and getting ready for this amendment, because in various places all over the country where there are independent lines they have been extending branches of their own from the cities and towns into independent territory. So that if this law is passed they can say that nearly all the country is under their jurisdiction. I have in mind a numbeT of places into which the Bell Cimpany have extended their lines from the city and towns and where they give the same service as they give in the town without any extra charge. Independent telephone companies are also operating in those sections, and they are entitled to some consideration, and should not be crushed by this amendment. The only argument that can be made for this amendment is that there is possibly some mythical connection between the man with a local telephone and the long distance lines. It is well known that any man can go into any of the pay telephone stations in the cities and towns and get a long distance call for exactly the same price as the man who subscribes $40 or $50 a year for a local phone service. So far as the cost of lines is concerned, it is alsp well known that the best machines you can get only cost about $15, and $2 or $3 worth of wire will string a whole lot of telephone

poles. So there is nothing in the story that the Bell Telephone have made a big investment in plant which entitles them to receive, as my hon. friend here says, the privileges of a beneficent monopoly. They get their money back the first year. The day has not yet come when we in this Parliament are prepared to stand up and vote for any concern establishing a monopoly. We axe not going to vote, I hope, that any one who enters into competition must pay a monopoly charge. If we are to do that, we shall be legislating next that nobody can run against us as candidates for this House unless they pay a certain amount by way of compensation.

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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

I believe we could put that through. ,

'Mr. CURRIE: Perhaps. I believe that the time is coming in the province of Ontario when all the local phones will be owned and controlled by the municipalities. and the municipalities will give as good a service as the Bell Telephone Company for less money. Then why should the Bell Telephone 'Company be allowed to extend their operations from the villages, as I have described, and then say that the farmers lines must be shut off as they are competing in the Bell area? That is not the intent of this Bill, and I think it would be very dangerous legislation for this House to acknowledge that the Bell Telephone Company has any rights above any other company.

I think this Parliament went a little tco fax in the first place in granting the right to the Bell Telephone Company to extend their lines all over the- country without compensation of some sort. The Bell Telephone Company at the beginning paid a fee for a franchise in every town in which they operated, but to-day they are paying no fee because they have established a monopoly; they are not even paying taxes. They now have the hardihood to ask Parliament for compensation if somebody starts a system in competition with their own. There is no argument in favour of the insertion of these words, and I trust that Parliament will not support the amendment which, if carried, would practically kill off all the local telephone systems in the country.

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CON

Thomas Joseph Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mir. T. J. STEWART:

I am surprised at the sympathetic attitude of my hon. friend from Kootenay towards the Bell Telephone Company. I do not think he knows as much about them as I do. There has never been a bigger monopoly in this Dominion than

the Bell Telephone Company. They will get all there is coming to them; no matter wihiat we do, they will not get the worst of the deal. They use our streets in Hamilton and do what they like. If we accept what compensation they offer us for the use of our streets, they give it to us; but if we do not, we go without anything. They charge us $45 a year for an office phone, $30 for a house phone, and $2 a year for the use of a desk phone that costs them about 75 cents.

If we move to a summer home in the coun- [DOT] try, we have to pay $16 for a telephone, no matter how short a time we use it. This is the company that the hon. member for Kootenay is sympathizing with. I can assure him that I have no sympathy with that company. They are the biggest robbers that ever existed in this Dominion, and if this Parliament did what it should the Bell Telephone Company would have no trunk lines in this country. We would own them ourselves. We have paid for them over fifty times already, I believe. I say that the Bell Telephone Company are not deserving of the least bit of sympathy from this Government.

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CON

Robert Francis Green

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GREEN:

I was not expressing any

particular sympathy with the Bell Telephone Company. I do not know anything about the Bell Telephone Company, good, bad or indifferent, except that I use their phone in the city of Ottawa. This legislation is Dominion-wide. It will apply to the telephone companies in every province, and not in Ontario alone. I cannot see why we should legislate for the whole of Canada to keep some particular law you have here or think you have.

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LIB

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Liberal

Mr. NESBITT:

Before the question is pat I would like the committee to understand that this compensation is for the right to be connected, not an additional charge for messages. I have the statement of the Tn-gersoll Company. The messages "in" were 9,371, the messages "out" were 5,019. The total revenue was $1,436.05, out of which the Bell Company got $1,007.30 and the Ingersoll Company $431.70. The Ingersoll Company had to pay $300 for the right to get that, and that is what they object to.

Amendment negatived.

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Section agreed to. On section 387-Cattle getting on railway.


CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. E. ARMSTRONG:

There have been very frequent changes in this part of the Act iir years past, and while there does not seem to be very great objection to the companies' liability for damage under the present law, serious objection has been urged where it is the custom to have cattle and horses running at large. Therefore, several changes have been made in regard to "exceptions," "gates not kept closed," "gates wilfully left open," and "fence taken down."

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CON

John Albert Sexsmith

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SEXSMITH:

Would it not be wise to let this clause stand? I think there are many members who would like to discuss it.

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CON

Francis Cochrane (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCHRANE:

The Bill has stood for a long time now.

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LIB

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Liberal

Mr. NESBITT:

I think section 387 is pretty well corrected to cover our country interests.

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CON

John Albert Sexsmith

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SEXSMITH:

There has been a great deal of loss in the past because the crossings are not very well protected.

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CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. E. ARMSTRONG:

That was very well threshed out in the committee.

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LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARYELL:

I will explain to my hon. friend the change which has been made, and I think he will be perfectly satisfied. Section 294 of the old law provided that:

No horses, sheep, swine, or other cattle shall be permitted to be at large upon any highway, within half a mile of the intersecton of such highway, with any railway at rail level, unless they are in charge of some competent person or persons, to prevent their loitering or stopping on such highway at such intersection, or straying upon the railway.

Subsection 3 says:

If the horses, sheep, swine, or other cattle, of any person which are at large contrary to the provisions of this section are killed by any train at such point of intersection, he shall not have any right of action against any company in respect of the same being so killed or injured.

Subsection 4 provided:

When any horse's, sheep, swine, or other cattle at large, whether upon the highway or not, get upon the property of the company and are killed or injured by a train, the owner of any such animal so killed or injured, shall, except in the eases otherwise provided for by the next following section, be entitled to recover the amount of such loss or injury against the company in any action in any court of competent jurisdiction, unless the company establishes that such animal got at large through the negligence or wilful act or omission of the owner or his agent, or of the custodian of such animal or his agent.

Section 295 provides that no person whose horses, cattle, or other animals are killed or injured by any train shall have any right of action against any company in respect of such horses, cattle, or other animals being so killed or injured, if the same were so killed or injured because of any person leaving the gates open.

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July 18, 1917