April 26, 1905 (10th Parliament, 1st Session)

LIB

Napoléon Antoine Belcourt

Liberal

Mr. BELCOURT.

I have charge of this Bill, and I may perhaps say a few words to the committee in explanation of the reasons which were deemed sufficient in the Railway Committee to allow the Bill to go through. It is true, as stated by tne leader of the opposition, that the object of the Bill is to create an exception to section 32 of the statute of 1904, which provided that the majority of the directors of a railway company should be British subjects, it was provided by the same section that the effect of the amendment should not come into force until the 31st of January, 1905. This railway was built in 1897. There was paid to the railway $375,000 in subsidies, the company expending $750,000 of their own money. All the stockholders of the company and the bondholders as well, at the time of construe-tion, were Americans, they are still Americans without any exception. The money that built the railway was all American money, and there is at present no shareholder or bondholder who is a Canadian in the company. The railway, I understand, has been acquired by the New York Central, it is being operated to-day under the management of the New York Central, altogether under American management. At the time this company was incorporated and at the time the railway was built, the law in force made it permissible that all the directors might be Americans. Section 87 of the Railway Act of 1888 says:
All shareholders in the company, whether British subjects or aliens, or resident in Canada or elsewhere, shall have equal rights to hold stock in the company and to vote on the

same, and shall be eligible to office in the company.
If this company has to comply with the amendment of 1904. they have no shareholder in Canada and are not in a position to have a board composed of Canadians. The New York Central proposes in the near future to expend at least $400,000 in the betterment of this railway, all of that money will be American money. Under the circumstances it seemed natural to the company, and it seems natural to me, and I think it ought to seem natural to the House, that the expenditure of the money should be under the control of the people who find it. Those reasons seemed convincing to the committee who passed the Bill unanimously.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   TITLE AND TRUST COMPANY.
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