August 11, 1917 (12th Parliament, 7th Session)


Frank Broadstreet Carvell



No. The only thing
the Railway Act of Canada does, so far as bringing an action is concerned, is to limit it within certain conditions, that is to limit the time within two years-up. to the present time, the limit has been one year. A man can bring an action against the government railways by suing the manager -I think that is the way it stands now by virtue of the Small Claims Act of 1910 as afterwards amended. Therefore, if we wish to bring all1 these actions into1 the ordinary courts of the land, there would have to be an amendment of the Small Claims Act. Only this morning I received another evidence of the necessity of a change of that kind. I received a letter from a prominent solicitor in New Brunswick asking me

to act as counsel for him to collect from the Government whatever the amount might be by reason of the death of two men killed on the Transcontinental railway through what he claims to be the negligence of the railway corporation. Those were poor men, and they have left families. If they had a right to bring their action in the ordinary courts of New Brunswick, there is no doubt they would go on and have speedy justice meted out. If they are driven to the Exchequer Court, they will, in all probability, never bring action. 'The 'Government might settle their claims, but we know from past experience that if they do -settle, they will not pay what the real damages are. I merely mention that as an illustration of the necessity of permitting those actions to be brought in the ordinary courts of the land. I am satisfied with the amendments proposed by the Minister of Railways; the only question that might be left open to discussion is whether there should be a change so that the railway itself would be *subject to penalties in case it refused to carry out the orders of the Railway Board.

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