June 30, 1903 (9th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Samuel Barker

Conservative (1867-1942)


The difficulty I see about the principle which the hon. minister is trying to establish is this, that it virtually makes the board traffic manager of all the railways. They have to know everything that goes on from week to week, settle the rates, variable as those must be according to the exigencies of business. The hon. gentleman says that an emergency caii be met by the company acting upon it and afterwards giving reasonable explanation, but apart from emergency altogether, the traffic manager of a railway has from time to time to consider all the surroundings, and while lie cannot raise the tariff rates he may be forced, by circumstances beyond his control to carry for less than those rates. If the board must be consulted on all these occasions, they will be virtually traffic managers of the road and be given all the discretion that ought to be given the officials of a road carrying on a commercial business. The hon. gentleman has not shown ns the necessity for this. He has told us what he intends doing and why he thinks there is no difficulty, but how this will benefit the public he has not said, and I should think that there ought to be some very good reason indeed why a railway should not be allowed to charge as little as it likes, provided it charges everybody on the same scale.

Topic:   RAILWAY ACT, 1903.
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