|Wednesday, January 10, 1900||The Globe (Toronto)||Page 5|
The city's appeal.
Metropolitan railway case before the cabinet.
Argument of the city's representatives and Mr. Barwick's reply—The county's attitude.
G.N.W. Press Despatch.
Ottawa, Jan. 9.—For the first time in the history of Canada the Cabinet this morning heard a formal appeal from the finding of the Railway Committee of the Privy Council. The case was that of the Metropolitan Railway 's connection with the C.P.R., sanctioned by the Railway Committee two months ago, and objected to by the City of Toronto. The Ministers present were Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Hon. Clifford Sifton, Sir Richard Cartwright, Sir Louis Davies, Hon. Mr. Mulock, Hon. D. Mills, Hon. James Sutherland and Hon. F. W. Borden, Messrs. B. B. Osler, Q.C., and H. L. Drayton appearing for the city; Mr. Walter Barwick for the Metropolitan Railway Company, and Judge Clarke for the C.P.R.
Mr. Drayton explained the situation, stating that by reason of agreements between the city, county and railway company the latter was empowered to use the section of Yonge street affected. The franchise of the county line provided for the construction of the line under limitations, and the city now stood in the same relation to the company as the county formerly stood. An act was also passed by the Ontario Legislature changing the name of the company to the Metropolitan Railway Company. The company certainly had the right to extend their line north, but under the restrictions mentioned. The first section of the act in question provided that the company should be a street railway purely.
Mr. B. B. Osler, Q.C., offered to shorten the argument by putting in a factum if the other side would do the same. The suggestion was accepted.
Mr. Osler's Argument.
Proceeding with his argument, Mr. Osler asked whether the Railway Committee intended to interfere with Provincial legislation. Even if the Railway Committee had jurisdiction, should they exercise it? The Metropolitan Railway now asked for fifty feet more of the highway. The order in Council recited the consent of the City Council, although the Council had formally repudiated the consent before the order in Council was taken out. The order had been made under the new section, 173 of 56 Vic., providing against the crossing or joining of railways without the consent of the Railway Committee of the Privy Council. The difference that was made out was that between Provincial and municipal railways. The intention seemed to be to take up Yonge street for 30 miles by a branch of the C.P.R. Those owning frontages there had protested, and would doubtless continue to so protest. He contended that the Railway Committee had not the power to unite a municipal and a Dominion railway. Mr. Osler also expressed belief that the consent of the city was necessary to the carrying out of any junction.
Mr. Walter Barwick, Q.C.
Mr. Walter Barwick, Q.C., for the Metropolitan Railway, explained the route of the roads, and stated that the municipalities along the road had all sent representatives asking permission that the C.P.R. and Metropolitan be allowed to carry out the junction. The plan of the road when first built in 1884 had been accepted by the County Council. The city had certainly given its consent, which it now sought to rescind. All the freight business was now done on the street, whereas if the connection were made the C.P.R. property would be used.
The Metropolitan was ready to make any fair arrangement, and the Railway Committee's order was eminently fair. It was unfair to say that the Metropolitan sought to become a Dominion railway. The company sought to get to the Toronto market, and desired to connect with the C.P.R. solely on that account. The Hamilton, Grimsby & Beamsville and the radial railways connected with steam lines. The Toronto Railway successfully fought the Metropolitan's project to have a connection made. The Market Committee of Toronto had consented to have trolley trains brought around the city by steam locomotives. The City Council committee, however, had laid down terms which the Metropolitan had not accepted. The city demands included a single fare to the cemetery. The Aldermen had also asked that all freight carried by the Metropolitan should be unloaded in the city. The City Council had sent a deputation to lay the city's case before the Railway Committee with general instructions. Mr. Fullerton, for the city, certainly signed the consent to the order. Afterwards the city passed a by-law repudiating the action of their own consent. The whole trouble was over the 1,200 feet of Yonge street in the cty, over which the Metropolitan trolleys run. The rights which the Metropolitan formerly had they still possessed. In 1896 the company was permitted to extend the line to Lake Simcoe, on condition that they should carry freight. The understanding between the Ontario Government and the company was satisfactory to both parties. The city thought to throttle the York farmers and the compel them to pay large market fees. It was nonsense to talk of making Yonge street a branch of the C.P.R., as the steam locomotives could not pull loads of freight up the heavy grades. The city and company certainly made an agreement in 1891, whereby on 24 hours' notice the company promised to give up electricity and return to horse motive power. This covenant could not be enforced, as Mr. Barwick had pointed out in November last.
County Men's Views.
Warden Woodcock of York assured the Cabinet that the county was with the Metropolitan in its desired to go into the city. No injury could be done the city by the Government giving the permission.
County Counciller Lundy of East Gwillumbury endorsed Warden Woodcock's views, and pointed out that the dairying industry could be greatly benefited by the connection.
Counciller Evans thought the whole question had resolved itself into a fight between the city and the Metropolitan. There was no fear of destroying Yonge street.
Mr. Yule of Aurora said that the people of that village had benefited very largely by the Metropolitan.
Judge Clarke, as counsel for the C.P.R., did not think with Mr. Osler that the Railway Committee had not the power to rule as had been done. The Government had every power so to rule. There was no doubt as to the prerogatives of the Parliament of Canada.
Judgement was reserved.
Railways: C.P.Ry., Met.Ry.