House of Commons, 14 July 1905, Canadian Confederation with Alberta and Saskatchewan

9525 JULY 14, 1905


Hon. FRANK OLIVER (Minister of the Interior) moved the second reading of Bill (No. 195) respecting roads and road allowances in the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta. He said: This Bill is needed to carry forward in the new provinces the conditions that exist in the Territories at the present time in regard to the setting apart and control of roads and road allowances. The object is to place under control of the provincial government the roads now existing and the roads in use, not now legalized which may hereafter be legalized.
Mr. R. L. BORDEN. If the minister will permit me, I would ask him to explain the law as it stands at present. Are these roads and road allowances still vested in the Crown, or is the title to them vested in some corporation? In other words, what is the condition of the title to the roads and road allowance and under whose supervision are they now?
Mr. OLIVER. As I understand it, by similar provisions to those contained in this Act, the Dominion government a number of years ago divested itself of the control of the roads, and placed that control in the hands of the Territorial government. The Territorial government exercises all jurisdiction over the roads and road allowances of 9526 the provinces, that authority having been delegated by the Dominion.
Mr. R. L. BORDEN. Is that statute repealed by this enactment ? Is this enactment in substitution, so far as the new provinces are concerned, of the statute to which the hon. gentleman (Mr. Oliver) has just referred ? Does it follow the provisions of that enactment, substantially or literally ?
Mr. OLIVER. Substantially it does.
Motion agreed to. Bill read the second time and House went into Committee thereon.
On section 2,
All road allowances in townships now or hereafter surveyed and subdivided, and all road allowances set out on block lines now or hereafter surveyed, in the Northwest Territories within the limits of the province of Saskatchewan or the province of Alberta, as those provinces are defined in the Saskatchewan Act and the Alberta Act respectively, the plans of survey of which have been duly approved, and the Dominion lands comprised in such road allowances, shall be vested in the Crown in the right of the province within which such road allowances are situate.
Mr. SPROULE. According to the principle of provincial rights, do not the municipal authorities control these roads in any event? Property and civil rights are given to the provinces, and they control all the highways under municipal laws. In our province, all roads are under the control of the provincial authorities, and under control of the municipal authorities through the power given to municipal corporations. Now would it not be the same in the Northwest as in Ontario ?
Mr. OLIVER. I am not versed in the strictly legal aspect of the question, and I am not familiar with the conditions in Ontario ; but I presume this legislation is based on the fact that the title to the land is in the Dominion, unless there was some specific transfer of that right, or title, or interest, or control. This is a matter of transfer of control rather than of title.
Mr. SPROULE. What would be the situation providing you were pushing a municipal road through belonging to the Dominion, what power would you have to tax those lands for the upkeep of that road ? You vest all public highways in the province, but you do not vest lands in the province. Would the province absolutely control highways going through Dominion lands which were still vested in the federal parliament, and what power would the municipalities have to tax those lands for keeping up the roads ?
Mr. OLIVER. There is a further provision in this Bill for the purpose of doing 9527 COMMONS what the hon. gentleman has suggested, that is, placing the control of a road which has bene forced through the Dominion lands in the hands of the province. But of course there is no power given here, nor does any exist elsewhere, for the taxation of lands still remaining in the hands of the Dominion.
Mr. SPROULE. What authority will the province have now to lay out new highways? If the municipal corporations wish to lay out highways through Dominion lands, what power of expropriation would they have ? Because it is constantly occurring in our province that municipalities have to make the road deviate, it cannot follow a straight line. What would happen in case the municipality was obliged to encroach upon land that did not belong to the province?
Mr. OLIVER. I understand there is a provision in section 5 of the Bill to cover that point.
On section 3,
Mr. SPROULE. What right will you have with regard to the width of the road ? Some require to be wider than others.
Mr. OLIVER. I think there is a generally recognized width of one chain. Many years ago the old trails were surveyed two chains in width, but I think that wide survey has been dropped, and the trails are now surveyed of the same width as the ordinary road allowance.
Mr. SPROULE. Could they not go over that width in case of additions or unevenness of the trail, or where snow blockades might be heavy ? Otherwise they would be hampered.
Mr. OLIVER. I think that section 5 covers that point while a special survey is required in the development of the country.
On section 5,
Mr. SPROULE. It seems to me there ought to be some provision recognizing the necessity for a deviation of the line of roads, in case for instance, where they have to cross streams.
Mr. OLIVER. This section is to provide for deviations of roads. The lieutenant governor shall say where a new road requires to deviate, and in that case a road shall be so surveyed, and the road thereby becomes vested in the provincial government. I would like to draw the attention of the Minister of Justice to these words : ' In accordance with the system of Dominion lands survey obtaining in the locality.' It seems to me those words might conflict with the idea of a special survey in any direction or in any place which the nature of the country would make necessary to secure a passage.
Mr. FITZPATRICK. I would not like to say anything about a clause of this sort, which must have been carefully drafted. Every word is supposed to have an effect, and I would not like to suggest any change in it.
On section 6,—filing of returns of survey to vest lands in the province.
Mr. SPROULE. Will you always have to wait until you get the survey approved by the surveyor general before you can act ?
Mr. OLIVER. Yes, before the control finally passes.
Mr. SPROULE. Could you take possession of the land before the consent is given ?
Mr. OLIVER. I think that it is a matter of adjustment as to how soon possession can be taken. This provides for the absolute transfer of control, which cannot be done satisfactorily until the approval of the plans and survey by the Surveyor General has been obtained.
Mr. SPROULE. It would be a very inconvenient thing if you had to wait until you applied to Ottawa, with all the delays which usually result, before you can take possession of a piece of land to make or to deviate a road. If you had power to take the land and make the road it would not be so bad, but if you had to wait until you get the consent of the government here it would be very inconvenient.
Mr. OLIVER. I think that it could be overcome by arrangement between the local government and the department. That, I do not think, comes in necessarily in the consideration of this section. We cannot positively, finally and actually transfer the control until we are satisfied what the limits of the land that we transfer are so that we would have to have the approval of the Surveyor General of the territory. I think the difficulty which the hon. gentleman suggests will not arise, because that will be a matter of amicable arrangement between the Dominion government owning the land and the provincial government which wants to use it for a road.
Mr. SPROULE. I would think that would be a difficulty for this reason : Suppose you want to take a piece of land and suppose this government has some other object in view with reference to that land, then, suppose you got the Dominion Land Surveyor to survey the road, that you took possession of it, you are afraid to spend money because you do not know whether you are going to get it or not. There should be some provision in the Act, whereby under the control of the Lieutenant Governor in Council a surveyor could be sent out and survey what is needed, because the local conditions would be better known there than elsewhere, and whereby they could 9529      JULY 14, 1905                   take what is needed for the road and then get the consent from the federal government down here. If they must always wait before doing any work until consent is obtained I am inclined to think there would be some difficulty at times. I do not think you could do anything unless it were put in the law. You cannot leave anything to be adjusted between two governments outside of law.
Bill reported, read the third time and passed.


House in committee on Bill (No. 199) to amend an Act respecting an arbitration between His Majesty and the Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada—Mr. Fitzpatrick.
Mr. R. L. BORDEN. Would the hon. Minister of Justice be good enough to tell us what this Bill accomplishes ?
Mr. FITZPATRICK. I think I cannot do better than read the memorandum which has been handed to me by the third arbitrator.
Mr. R. L. BORDEN. Who are the arbitrators ?
Mr. FITZPATRICK. Mr. Shepley is the arbitrator for the government; Mr. Ladeur of Montreal is the arbitrator for the Grand Trunk Railway Company and Mr. Justice Killam is the third arbitrator. The memorandum is as follows :—
The Bill now proposes to amend the Act of 1904 by giving the arbitrators power to make several awards on the different points and disputes that have arisen. In this way much expense will probably be avoided, for if an adverse award is given upon any particular dispute it will not be necessary to go into the amount that may be claimed under it, so that the expense upon the inquiry into the amount of damages would be avoided. It also provides that disputes arising since the beginning of the proceedings up to 1st January, 1905, may be referred for adjudication.
After the reference was made certain claims were discovered on both sides which had been put forward in addition to those which had been put forward at the time the arbitration was initiated.
It also provides that clause 13 of the Railway Act, which enacts that the railway commissioners shall devote the whole of their time to the Railway Commission, shall not apply to any of the arbitrators.
This provision is inserted to avoid disqualifying Mr. Justice Killam, who has already heard a very considerable portion of the case.
Mr. R. L. BORDEN. Is this the board of arbitrators to whom was referred disputes in reference to the traffic agremeent between the government and the Grand Trunk Railway in 1899 or 1898 ?
Mr. FITZPATRICK. These are the arbitrators who have been appointed to decide on the claims that have arisen under two agreements; first the agreement of 1879 which provided for the acquisition by the government of that portion of the Grand Trunk Railway from Riviere Du Loup to Levis, and second under the agreement of 1899 which provides for the acquisition by Canada of what is called the Drummond County Railway. In both of these agreements provision is made for the submission to arbitration of difficulties which may arise.
Bill reported, read a third time and passed.


Hon. W. S. FIELDING (Minister of Finance) moved that the House go into Committee of Supply.
Mr. A. C. MACDONELL (South Toronto). Mr. Speaker, before the House goes into Committee of Supply, I desire very briefly at this late stage of the session, to call the attention of' the government to a matter of considerable importance to certain Canadian citizens who have been deprived of their rights in connection with large mining interests in South Africa. The facts as represented to me are shortly these: prior to the year 1897, a gentleman named R. E. Brown. an American citizen, secured for himself and certain other persons associated with him (some of them being Canadians) about 1,200 valuable mining claims on what is known as the farm Witfontein in the district of Potchefstroom in the South African Republic. These claims were pegged out and rightfully owned by Mr. Brown, but the president of' that republic, Mr. Kruger, denied the right of Mr. Brown and his associates to these claims and refused to issue licenses or leases. Mr. Brown, representing himself and his associates, applied to the courts of the South African Republic and on their behalf brought an action against Dr. Leyds, the secretary of the executive of Mr. Kruger; and also against the clerk of the district in which these mining lands were situated—asking that licenses should issue to him in accordance with the law. In that action Mr. Brown recovered a judgment as prayed for by him. The full court determined that he was entitled to have issued to him licenses for these lands, and in default he was awarded damages commensurate with the estimated value of the claims. These damages were assessed at £720,400, so that it will be seen that the amount involved is very large. That judgment was rendered by the High Court of the Reipublic of South Africa on the 22nd of January. 1897. Immediately after this judgment. Mr. Kruger sought to thwart its execution in order to deprive Mr. Brown and his associates (some of whom were Canadians) of the benefits thereof. Mr. [...]


Canada. House of Commons Debates, 1875-1949. Provided by the Library of Parliament.



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