July 6, 1903 (9th Parliament, 3rd Session)


William Forsythe McCreary



It is a little unusual to give such wide powers as these to a private company, that is to say, the powers of expropriation that are contained in the Railway Act. Along the Red river, as most gentlemen understand, and along the Assin-Iboine also, the lands fronting on the river are in small narrow lines three or four chains wide, and extending back two or four miles. They are the lands of the original settlers who came there years ago. The part on the river is the most valuable. Their homes are there, their houses are there, and their cultivation is generally there. But unless this clause is properly worded it might happen that witnesses would go into court and swear that the land was only worth $10 or $15 an acre, whereas a small portion on the river, four or five acres, would be worth $100 an acre. The house may have only an actual value of $50, whereas the land upon which it is situated and in the immediate vicinity, may be worth $500. I think this section is a little too wide, and I don't believe they should have this power under the Dominion Railway Act. As I have already pointed out, this matter is one of gigantic importance, if the company were to construct this canal, as any gentleman will see who looks at the map from an engineering point of view and understands the quantity of water that is likely to flow down into the Assiniboine river through this canal. The clause should be restricted very much, and when we get to the other clauses, I shall raise certain objections to them. I would ask the Minister of Public Works to give us his views on this entire Bill, more especially on this particular clause.

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