August 11, 1917

LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

One of the difficulties the minister pointed out last night was that if any order from the board involved the expenditure of an amount of money there was no way in which the money could, he legally got. My attention has been called to the fact that under the Exchequer Court Act, if a judgment of the Exchequer Court involves the expenditure of an amount of money, it is paid out of the consolidated fund of the Dominion of Canada. Automatically, such a judgment of the Exchequer Court has that result without any action on the part of my hon. friend.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
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CON

Francis Cochrane (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCHRANE:

I have gone into this matter with the law clerk, and he says that a judgment of the Railway Board would operate in the same way.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

I was going to suggest that as a solution. That provision in the Exchequer Court Act, if applied here, would bring about the desired result.

Section as amended agreed to.

On section 6-Repeal of inconsistent provisions in Government Railways Act R.S. 1906, c. 36:

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
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LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

The sections mentioned here, which refer to the present Government Railways Act, have been amended very considerably. I can assure the committee that I have compared the proposed amendments with the Railway Act itself, with the assistance of one of the officers of the department, and I am satisfied that what is left in the Government Railway Act, together with those portions of the general Railway Act, practically put the railway under the control of the board with the exception of the penalties.

Section as amended agreed to.

On section 7-Commencement of Act:

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
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LIB

James Joseph Hughes

Liberal

Mr. J. J. HUGHES:

In accordance with the notice I gave yesterday, I beg to move that this section be amended by adding thereto the following:

but shall not apply to that part of the government system known as the Prince Edward Island Railway until the gauge of the same has been standardized.

The minister, speaking on this matter yesterday, appeared to be under the impression that the difficulties and disadvantages under which the people of Prince Edward Island laboured were chiefly due to the delays connected with the extra handling of freight at the terminal points, and the extra cost involved.

While there is some disadvantage in that regard, it is not the most serious one under which we labour. Our great disadvantage is in not being able to ship perishable products to the markets of the other provinces and of the United States, because we cannot ship in refrigerator cars. It is impossible to get refrigerator cars until the gauge of the Prince Edward Island railway is standardized. We grow very large quantities of potatoes, and the time for digging those potatoes is the month of October. The people are then so busy that they can pay little attention to shipping. In the month of November there is. such danger from frost that we are prevented from shipping unless we have" cars that will protect the potatoes. Thus the season for shipping is so short that it is practically impossible to reach the market. I think until we become a real part of the Intercolonial, and until we get the privileges and the advantages enjoyed by those living on the maim land, we should not be asked to accept the responsibilities or burdens of additional freight rates. When we entered Confederation the great inducement held out to us was that we would be put in continuous communication with the Intercolonial railway and the railway system of the Dominion. That has never been carried out. There were, of course, great difficulties in the way. At the same time, it was one of the terms of Confederation. The present Government undertook to establish what will, perhaps, be a solution of our transportation difficulties, when it is completed, but until it is completed things are in a worse condition than they were before. When the present Government came into power, we had a very good summer service. Our winter service was fairly satisfactory, inasmuch as we had two excellent ice-breaking steamers, which maintained fairly regular winter communication. The Government undertook to improve matters by establishing what is known as the car-ferry system. Once this system is put into operation, the great advantage will be that it will 'be possible for us to ship right through from the point of production to the point ot destination, and we can have cold storage cars to carry perishable products, particularly potatoes and fresh fish. I may say that in proportion to the size of the province of Prince Edward Island we have the best fishing grounds in the world. But we cannot reach the market until we get refrigerator cars. The Government of Canada being a party to this agreement, I

would not like it to. shift its responsibility to any board or any other party, until the agreement is carried out. We are very sensitive on this subject and we look forward to becoming a real part of the Intercolonial system some day. I therefore ask the Minister of Railways, and the committee, not to put the Prince Bdrward Island railway under the direction of this board until the terms of Confederation are carried out; that is, until the Government completes the system it has commenced. I do not think this is an unreasonable request, and I hope the minister will agree to it, and that the Government will retain the control and operation of the Prince Edward Island railway in its own hands until we are put in continuous communication with the Intercolonial railway and the railway system of the Dominion. Until that is done I hope that at no time will we be obliged to look to any other body for redress.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
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CON

Francis Cochrane (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCHRANE:

My hon. friend from Kings, Prince Edward Island (Mr. J. J. Hughes) and several other hon. gentlemen from the lower provinces seem to think that putting the railway under the Railway Board is being done purely for the purpose of raising the rates. This is not the case at all. Before this Bill was introduced the raising of the rates lay with the Government, and the people had no recourse. The Government could raise the rates as it saw fit. Under the Railway Board this cannot be done, unless it is permitted by the board. With reference to the car ferry, and the possibility of shipping produce in refrigerator cars, we certainly have made progress, and as soon as we can get the car ferry repaired we hope to put it into immediate operation. It is very hard to get a vessel repaired now, but we hope to have it running by the first of the month. Then we can take our refrigerator cars over to Prince Edward Island and load them with perishable freight 'there, which is much better than having to tranship. I do not think the argument put forward by my hon. friend is fair, or one I can accept. I would therefore ask that it be voted down.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

There is a good deal of reason in the position taken by my hon. friend from Kings, Prince Edward Island, and I second his amendment. We must remember that Prince Edward Island is situated differently from almost any other part of the country. In the first place, it is a purely iagricultural province.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
CON

Francis Cochrane (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCHRANE:

But, what harm are we going to do? I object to what my hon. friend from Kings says in regard to the raising of the rates. As a matter of fact, we have the right to raise the rates to any extent we wish.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

And you did raise them recently. For instance, you raised the rate on coal coming to Montreal.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
CON

Francis Cochrane (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCHRANE:

When this Bill goes into effect you will have a chance to appeal against the raise.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

Prince Edward Island has a population of about 90,000 persons, practically all of whom are engaged in agriculture. They have a narrow-gauge railway, which they built themselves before Confederation, entirely as a local work. They are not connected with the rest of the Dominion except by steamer. Whatever advantages there are in the application of this Act to the other parts of the Intercolonial, they do not apply to Prince Edward Island, because of its entirely different position. My hon. friend from Kings points out that some years ago this Government gave a definite and positive assurance that the Prince Edward Island railway should be widened to standard gauge and that continuous communication between the mainland and the island should be maintained, and he asks that pending the carrying out of these undertakings no other body should be introduced having any control over the operation of their purely local road. I think that proposition is a reasonable one, and I therefore second it.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
LIB

James Joseph Hughes

Liberal

Mr. J. J. HUGHES:

I wish to point out to the minister, what the business men of Prince Edward Island well know, that even although there may be some improvement over present conditions when the car ferry steamer begins to run between Prince Edward Island and the mainland, yet, until the road is standarized, and until standard cars can be usied, there will be so much congestion at some points that it will be very difficult to handle all the traffic that offers. Then again the minister says that refrigerator cars can go over the Prince Edward Island railway just .across the Straits. They can, but unless you have refrigeration from the shipping point to the consuming point, it will be no good. You would have to ship in these small cars

without refrigeration for some distance, then unload the freight into ,a shed, and if there was any congestion, it would have to remain in the shed for some time. Under these circumstances perishable products would be injured. If fresh fish, for instance, is taken out of cold storage, within a very short time it suffers depreciation, in fact it sustains more injury and is of less value when it reaches the point of consumption than if it had never been in cold storage at all. The congestion at the shipping points in Prince Edward Island will certainly be very great.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
CON

Francis Cochrane (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCHRANE:

Putting the railway

under the Railway Board will not hurt conditions?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
LIB

James Joseph Hughes

Liberal

Mr. J. J. HUGHES:

The Government will be able to shift the responsibility to another body.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
CON

Francis Cochrane (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCHRANE:

The people will be

able to shift responsibility to other people too.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
LIB

James Joseph Hughes

Liberal

Mr. HUGHES:

What advantage will it be?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
CON

Francis Cochrane (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCHRANE:

It is no disadvantage and it is certainly a great advantage.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
LIB

James Joseph Hughes

Liberal

Mr. HUGHES:

I am very much afraid there will be considerable disadvantage. The minister really wishes to shift part of the responsibility upon the shoulders of this board. Then he will have what is known as a " wicked partner." At any time he does not wish to make any change or to take any steps in the interest of the people, he can say that the board will not allow him, that he is circumscribed by the new conditions. There is no reason in the world why the amendment should not be accepted. I wish to impress upon the minister, the Government, and the members of Parliament, the very great disadvantage under which the province of Prince Edward Island labours in marketing its products. I mentioned a day or two ago that two prominent members of this Government, the right hon. the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster) and the hon. the Minister of Finance (Sir Thomas White), last spring had advised the people, those of Prince Edward Island as well as others, to produce more. We acted upon that suggestion and we have an abundant crop this year in Prince Edward Island; but we shall not be able to market it. It is a sad thing to think that while food products are scarce perhaps in other parts of the world, and perhaps in some parts of

Canada, crops will go to waste in Prince Edward Island simply because they cannot reach the market. I do not imagine that the present Government can do everything. They adopted this car ferry system but they have been very tardy in pushing it. Five years have passed and it was to have been finished in two years. Now the minister does not mention any date for the beginning of the work of standardizing the Prince Edward Island railway.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
CON

Francis Cochrane (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCHRANE:

Tell me when the war will be over.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
LIB

James Joseph Hughes

Liberal

Mr. HUGHES:

The minister made a promise since the war began.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink

August 11, 1917