July 19, 1917

CON

John Albert Sexsmith

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SEXSMITH:

I know, but we should not fix the amount at $5,000.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

William Smith

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SMITH:

I agree that such a large amount might not always be involved, but there might be cases where $5,000 would not be sufficient to cover the loss. It seems to me that the .amount could reasonably be changed from $5,000 to a considerably larger amount.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON

Frederick Robert Cromwell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROMWELL:

I move in amendment that in this section the words "five thousand dollars" be struck out and the words "ten thousand dollars" be substituted therefor.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON

William Folger Nickle

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. NICKLE:

I think, from the language used by the two last speakers, that they are under a misapprehension as to the character and meaning of this section. If the machinery of the company-that is the locomotive-is modern and efficient, they become insurers to the extent of $5,000. That is, if a fire is caused by a locomotive and it was what we call purely accidental, the locomotive being properly equipped and everything being in proper working order, the company are insurers to the amount of $5,000. If there is a defect in the locomotive or any neglect in the operation of the railway, [DOT] then the company is responsible, in unlimited amount, for the damage done. It struck me that the hon. gentlemen, in speaking to the subject, rather laid down the proposal that there was a general limitation to the amount of $5,000. The limitation is only to the extent of insurance; that is, if the locomotive is modern and: well equipped and a fire occurs, the company can only be asked to .pay $5,000. If the locomotive is negligently operated or improperly equipped, the liability is unlimited.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON

William Smith

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SMITH:

I understood that if the locomotive was properly managed and everything was in order, the railway company would not be liable at all.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

If you prove that the fire is caused by the locomotive, you oan recover up to $5,000, even if they had the most perfect appliances in the world.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

William Smith

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SMITH:

I think a good deal more

of the section than I did, in view of that explanation.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

But to recover more than $5,000, you must prove negligence, either in appliances or in operation.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON

William Folger Nickle

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. NICKLE:

Under the old law, the

plantiff had to show that the spark-arrester was defective or that there was some defect in the mechanism. Having shown that, he could recover damages, but plaintiffs were

JULY i9, 1917

under this embarrassment; as a

12 m. rule, they had no opportunity of inspecting the locomotive and they had great difficulty in showing that there was any defect either in the equipment or in the operation of the locomotive. The law was then amended in this manner; if there w>a.s reasonable ground for assuming that a spark had gone from the stack of a passing locomotive and had fallen on a man's field or hoarse, causing damage, then the jury were warranted in granting damages not exceeding $5,000. If the plantiff could show in addition that the spark-at-tesfer was defective or that the locomotive was incorrectly operated

for instance by blowing up the stack improperly when going up a grade-then the limitation of $5,000 was done away with and the plaintiff could recover to the full amount of the damages suffered by him through the negligent construction or operation of the locomotive.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

That is a correct interpretation of the law.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON

Francis Cochrane (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCHRANE:

Five thousand dollars is .a sufficiently heavy liability.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON

Frederick Robert Cromwell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROMWELL:

Supposing that I have a set of buildings in close proximity to a railway, and with all the modem appliances that the railways have now tc prevent fire, fire takes place caused by an engine. My property is insured for $3,000, but perhaps is worth $5,000, and I have in my bam stock and feed for that stock to the amount of $12,000. If my property is burned down through that fire, I am the loser. I get my $3,000 insurance, hut the railway company will pay me only the $2,000, the difference between the $5,000 and the $3,000 I have received from the insurance company. Who is to pay the balance? The railway company should have to pay up to the extent of at least $10,000, lpecause many people are in the same position as that which I have described. If fire should take place in a wood lot, the case would be similar. The owners might lose $25,000, and it would be quite a help to them if they could get $10,000 from the railway company responsible for the fire that took place. We should not give a charter to a company that has not a reasonable amount of responsibility to the people from whom it gets a charter.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON

Francis Cochrane (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCHRANE:

The railway companies have to insure up to $5,000 even when their appliances are in proper order. That is heavy insurance.

229}

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON

John Albert Sexsmith

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SEXSMITH:

I cannot see where

they insure at all. They are liable when they cause a fire, but what right has a railroad, with a smoke-stack in accordance with the law of the land, to set fire to my property or your property and then not be liable? If you allow them to he a little slack, they will cause many more fires. A railway engine may be in the best of condition and still cause- fires in very dry seasons. Two or three years ago fire was caused from the railway at a certain place, and the grass was dry. The man happened to be away from home. If it had not been for a couple of people coming along all his buildings would have been burned down, and he would have lost $10,000 or more.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON

Francis Cochrane (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCHRANE:

The railway companies are blamed for setting many fires for which they are not responsible.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON

John Albert Sexsmith

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SEXSMITH:

It is up to the Tailway companies to prove that they are not liable.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

The Supreme Court some years ago decided-there were a series of cases-that if a railway company allowed dead grass or weeds to exist upon the right of way and a spark fell upon that and ignited it, thereby causing fire, they were negligent, and such a case does not come under this limit of $5,000. I hold no brief for the railway companies, as my business is to take actions against them. In the revision of this Act, however, a special committee was appointed, and all parties were invited to come and present their cases. The railway companies were represented, and this section went through the committee without any objection. This, of course, is the Parliament of Canada, and we are not bound to send for anybody or to Consider the views of any one, but it might be regarded as a little breach of faith with the railway companies if, under present conditions, we interfered with an important section like this. I am not intimating for a moment that we have not the power to change it.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON

John Albert Sexsmith

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SEXSMITH:

I cannot agree with the hon. member for Carleton (Mr. Carvell). The railway companies had their legal advisers before the committee. The people did not come to present their case to the committee, and we are their only safeguard.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON

Francis Cochrane (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCHRANE:

People did come.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON

John Albert Sexsmith

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SEXSMITH:

Even if the railway companies were willing to accept liability up *o $5,0f>c. I do not see that that is-any

justification for saying that we should not increase the amount.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink

July 19, 1917