|Tuesday, April 19, 1887
|The Toronto Daily Mail
|Page 5, col. 2
The railway commission.
Opening of the session in Hamilton—Complaints of discrimination and want of competition.
Hamilton, April 18.—The Royal Commissioner on Railways went into session to-day at the Board of Trade rooms. There were present, Commissioners E. R. Burpee and George Moberly and Secretary Lonergan. After the usual notice of the meeting had been read.
Mr. W. H. Gillard, President of the Board of Trade, said there was great dissatisfaction in regard to the Northern and North-Western railway. The people of Hamilton felt they were not receiving the benefit of competition from the Canadian Pacific railway. Ontario had a right to a pro rata mileage system, but they found that the rates from Toronto and Hamilton where as high as those from Montréal, while Toronto and Hamilton should have an advantage of 5 or 10 per cent. Mr Gillard also spoke of freight delays, and though there should be some redress for those injured in this way.
Mr. T. H. Macpherson, wholesale grocer, found that freight rates discriminated against Hamilton in favour of Toronto on shipment to such places as Woodstock and Ingersoll. The rate from Hamilton to Montréal was about twice that of from Monreal to Hamilton, and this injured Hamilton's trade with Montréal. He knew of no discrimination by railways in favour of firms. He did not think special rates should be given to large shippers over small shippers. He favoured a permanent Railway Commission to adjust rates.
Capt. J. B. Fairgrieve, a large dealer in coal, said he had nothing to complain of in freight rates on the railways, the difference between the rate he secured and the local rate was about 10c a ton, which he got by importing very largely, 2,000 tons being the smallest amount on which that special could be got. He thought there was too much discrimination. He found the C.P.R. was quoting the same rates from Montréal, Hamilton, Toronto and Port Arthur to Winnipeg. If he shipped by boat to Port Arthur the C.P.R. would charge as much to haul the freight to Winnipeg from Port Arthur as they would from Montréal to Winnipeg. The C.P.R. carried freight by their own boats, however, on a through rate from Montréal. Some way of preventing such discriminations should be reached, and possibly the appointment of the commission was the only method of securing the desired result.
Mr. T. W. Lennox, farmer and grain dealer at Thornton, Simcoe County, had great trouble in getting cars from the Northern and Hamilton and North-Western when he wanted them. He lost money on account of insufficiency of rolling stock. He complained that there was, since the amalgamation, no competition between the Northern and the Hamilton and North-Western. The rate of freight was too high, as where there was competition with the C.P.R., in the places contiguous to Thornton, the rate on grain to Toronto was two cents a hundred less than at Thornton. He wanted better protection at railway crossings, and thought the appointment of a Railway Commission would be better than to enlarge the powers of the Privy Council.
Mr. W. Gillespie, grain dealer, and Mr. C. G. Doolittle, of Ontario Rolling Mills, also gave evidence. The latter found freight rates a little high, and thought special rates should be given to large shippers. He thought the appointment of a Railway Commission unnecessary, and if a change was necessary favoured the enlargement of the powers of the Privy Council.
At the afternoon sitting of the Commission the following gentlemen also were heard:—Messrs. Robert Evans, seedsman; A. Gartshore, Canada pipe foundry; J. W. Murton, coal dealer; R. R. Morgan, miller. The sittings of the Commission will likely last two days more.
Railways: C.P.Ry., N. & N.W.Ry.