May 12, 1903

CON

Thomas Chase Casgrain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CASGRAIN.

Yes. This is the very section which is quoted, and I do not see how the minister can take any relief from it. He is doing exactly what the law forbids. The law says that he can only lease or grant lands under the general regulations which govern all the subjects of Her Majesty, so that any man who complies with these regulations and conditions is entitled to the benefit of them. But until he does comply with them, the Governor General in Council is powerless to grant, concede or sell any part of these mineral lands. Let me however refer to the second statute quoted in the preamble of the Order in Council and see whether the hon. gentleman can take any relief from it. This statute is section eight of the Yukon Territory Act, as amended by 62-63 Victoria. I call attention to this section because I cannot see how the Minister of the Interior could have gone before his colleagues and quoted to them this law as authorizing him to make this concession. I cannot come to any other conclusion than that this grant was put through council hastily and carelessly, and that none of the hon. gentleman's colleagues could have looked at the statutes or realized the enormity of the concessions which they were asked to give. Section eight of the Yukon Territory Act, as amended, says :- *

Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Governor in Council can make ordinances for the peace, order and good government of the territory, and of Her Majesty's subjects and others therein ; but no ordinances made by the Governor in Council or the commissioner in council, shall-

(c) Appropriate any public land or other property of Canada without authority of parliament, or impose any duty of customs or any excise.

So that the very statute which the hon. gentleman quotes in the Order in Council says that the Governor in Council shall have no right to appropriate any public land or other property of Canada without the authority of parliament. The very authority which the hon. gentleman quotes is against him. It is an authority which says that he cannot do what he proposes to carry out. I await the explanation of the government on this point with a great deal of interest. Of course I know that we can sometimes drive a coach and four through any law, but it will certainly require great skill to overcome these two statutes cited in the Order in Council. It seems to me that these concessions should be immediately repealed. They are certainly against the interests of the miners and other citizens of the Yukon. They will certainly prove prejudicial to the interests of Canada as a whole, and I beg therefore to move :-

That all the words after ' that ' in the proposed motion be struck out and the following substituted therefor :-

This House regrets that by an Order in Council of date the 21st day of April, 1902, the government for the ostensible purpose of establishing hydraulic works to supply water for the efficient working of auriferous deposits have granted to one A. N. C. Treadgold, of London, England, and his associates, vast powers, franchises, and concessions in and upon the beds, banks, valleys, slopes and hills of the Klondike river, Bonanza, Bear and Hunker creeks, and in and upon the waters of Rock creek, in the Yukon Territory, with the right to establish for the benefit and advantage of the concessionaires in and through the region and district through which these rivers and creeks run, hydraulic, electrical and other systems, and to enter and to take up and operate mining and other lands :

This House is of opinion that the said powers, franchises and concessions constitute in favour of the said Treadgold and his associates a gigantic monopoly, which, while depriving the treasury of enormous revenues, is most detrimental to the mining industry of the Yukon : And that in so making the said grants and concessions by Order in Council, the government have exceeded their authority and have committed a gross breach of the duty entrusted to them under the constitution.

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The POSTMASTER GENERAL (Hon. JSir William Mulock).

The subject, Mr. Speaker, which the hon. gentleman has brought to the attention of the House is one of considerable importance, largely involving legal questions, but at the same time not free from questions of public policy. The hon. gentleman quoted some interesting extracts from newspaper reports and other anonymous communications and utterances of various kinds.

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CON

Thomas Chase Casgrain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CASGRAIN.

Not one anonymous.

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The POSTMASTER GENERAL.

Would the hon. gentleman give the names of the gentlemen who wrote the various documents, editorials and so on, which he quoted ?

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CON

Thomas Chase Casgrain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CASGRAIN.

I said that it was the editor of the Dawson ' Sun ' who wrote the articles, and that these were sent to the government by the late Senator Wood.

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The POSTMASTER GENERAL.

My hon. friend has taken the proceeding-unusual in courts of justice though not always in popular tribunals-of quoting newspaper reports and articles, and other uncorroborated utterances and building thereon an elaborate argument, which may appeal with some force to people who are not familiar with the facts. It appears to me that the address and the argument of the hon. gentleman on this occasion would have been much more fittingly made in the Yukon district itself, at the time, shortly before this session opened, when the people there were given the opportunity of pronouncing a verdict on the administration of this government. This is not the first time that hon.

gentlemen opposite have taken advantage of their position as members of this House, to rise in their seats and attempt to vilify the administration of the Yukon, and spread broadcast throughout the country the most unfounded aspersions on the policy and the conduct of the government. While I am not taking any exception to the ventilating of this matter again in this House, I think that I have the right to point out that there was a most appropriate occasion, not long ago, when the hon. gentleman could have addressed to a tribunal composed of the people directly interested, the arguments he has just made here. I refer to the electors of the Yukon. Why the present session should have been selected rather than that occasion, it is for the hon. gentleman to explain. During many sessions another hon. gentleman in this House took the interests of the Yukon district under his special care. He was the self-constituted guardian in this House of everything dear to those people. I refer to the hon. and senior member for Pictou (Sir Charles Hibbert Tupper). But neither did that hon. gentleman venture beyond these precincts. Neither did he go to the Yukon and there make his charges before the people who are most familiar with the facts and best able to pass judgment on them. But he preferred making them at this convenient distance. Now, there was abundant opportunity given at the late election for hon. gentlemen opposite to have denounced before the electors of the Yukon the administration of that district in their most vigorous fashion. They were given ample notice. They had six months notice. We passed an Act a year ago giving representation to the people of the Yukon; and we challenged these hon. gentlemen on the floor of this House to meet us during the recess before the people of the Yukon and tight out these charges, so properly determinable by the people, before the electors themselves. Sir, they did not appear on that occasion; they abandoned the issue. They had not the courage to make the charges before the electors of the Yukon. We put a candidate in the field and the electors of the Yukon returned him as a supporter of this government by an overwhelming majority. Unfortunately that hon. gentleman (Mr. Boss, Yukon) for reasons which we all regret, is absent from the House to-day. He is absent from Ottawa. Otherwise, perhaps, he would be heard upon this matter. It is also to be regretted-and by none more than by myself-that the Minister of the Interior (Hon. Mr. Sifton) who is so familiar with the details of these transactions, is also absent from the House, attending to public business of a high character in London, England. I can only speak from such information as comes readily to my hand through reviewing the papers in the department. To that extent, therefore, I will address myself to the particular subject in question.

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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir. WILLIAM MULOCK.

The hon. gentleman took many exceptions to the/ Order in Council. Let me first, so far as I know it, describe the situation and the outlook for the government. When the Yukon was discovered and it was learned to be rich, in placer mines, everything was prosperous. But the time came when the placer mining began to give out. Still, every one felt that there must be a future for that district, and it was the duty of the government to endeavour in all possible ways to aid in furthering mining operations. There are many kinds of gold mining. There is placer mining, hydraulic mining, quartz mining, as well as the recovery of gold from water. These are various methods for utilizing the 'rich gifts of Providence to the Yukon. When the lower claims near the water level became exhausted, it was necessary to consider by what means the government could succeed in delivering water on the elevations, that it might be available there for washing out the gravel upon the benches and hills. Manifestly, that is a task not to be carried on by each individual for himself. Business suggests at once that a large scheme for the development of power and the pumping of water is the proper way of supplying the individual with the necessary water. It is just as it is in cities to-day. Municipalities deem it wiser to establish water-works and operate public service, rather than leave it to each individual as in primitive times, to supply his own conveniences. And so, for the purpose of working these claims above the creek and a little distance away from the water, it, manifestly, is the mo lie businesslike and economical and profitable method to carry on that business by having a company or some wholesale system, whereby each person can purchase just such water as he requires without each having to duplicate the capital expenditure necessary for the establishment of works to supply himself with water. And so, the Department of the Interior endeavoured to obtain offers in order to provide water for the upper mining district. Manyi schemes had been suggested. But the Department of the Interior was extremely desirous of placing this franchise, if possible, in the hands of men of reputation, men of financial strength. My hon. friend has read from the newspapers charging fraud all round, he has charged concealment, misrepresentation and fraud. I do not know! whether he alludes to the gentlemen to whom these grants were made. But, if he does, I think they have good ground to complain. One of these gentlemen is well known to every hon. gentleman in this House. He is well known iu this country; and highly as I respect the reputation of my colleagues on both sides in this House, I think I am not going beyond the facts when I say, that there is no man who enjoys more the respect of the people of Canada as an upright man than one of the grantees whom my hon. friend charges with having been guilty of fraud of

many kinds towards this country. I refer to Mr. Walter Barwick. I would also say to my hon. friend who tells us that he is so desirous of investigation that I am sure he must well know that ft has been long the fixed intention of thy government to hold such an investigation. The hon. gentleman must remember that, when the election was held, promises were given to the people of the Yukon that there would be a commission to inquire into the whole administration of that territory. There has been no opportunity since that date until the present to send in commissioners. I doubt if navigation is more than open, even if it is yet open. When the hon. member for the Yukon (Mr. Boss) returns to Ottawa, -lie is at present in British Columbia, I understand-and we can have the benefit of his advice, it is our intention to fully carry out the representations made to the citizens of the Yukon to have a full investigation into all charges or suspicions that lion, gentlemen may be good enough to mention or entertain in regard to any matters connected with the Yukon administration. X give that public notice to my hon. friend, so that, in addition to the advantage he has had of ventilating his views on the floor of this House, he will have an opportunity to make good, if he can, any of his charges or suspicions /before a; tribunajl where newspaper extracts and letters will not be the only evidence, but where gentlemen will have the privilege of pledging their oaths to the truth of all they say. I would point, out that, in his zeal to magnify, he has entirely misapprehended the scope of the Order in Council. He reads from newspapers to show that we abandoned 850 square miles of territory comprising all these rich creeks and gulches and rivers. The hon. gentleman is a lawyer, and he proposed to make a legal speech and to give the legal effect of documents; yet there is not even a layman in this House but, I am sure, will see that he has entirely misrepresented-I speak without meaning anything offensive-he lias given to the House an entirely erroneous impression of the scope of the concessions spoken of. Though there is a grant of power to erect a dam upon the river, to take water and generate power, and because that gives these concessionaires the right to sell that power throughout that district, by what process of reasoning does he say that the whole district with all its wealth is handed over as a grant to these concessionaires ? Why, Sir, when you grant a privilege to erect dams and generate electricity on a river and give the grantees the right to sell that power to the public, unless you restrict the deed, the grantees have the right to sell power throughout the whole of Canada. And if it should happen that such a grant were given, my hon. friend, according to his present reasoning, would argue that such a grant carried the exclusive possession and ownership of Canada. That is the necessary result of his reasoning-because they are given the privilege of selling electricity over a certain area, that carries with it all other possible rights. Now, what does the Order in Council grant? The Order in Council of June, 1901, differs materially from the Order in Council of 1902. My hon. friend says there is no material difference. Let us see. lie is a lawyer, and has carefully studied these questions, he has had these papers in his hands since last session and knows all about them. I have the two copies here, my hon. friend has the two copies also. I,et us see if he will adhere to his statement that there is no material difference between the one and the other Order in Council. Under the first Order in Council a considerable term of years was granted. Under the first Order in Council it was necessary for certain works to be done within a certain time. There has been a modification, my hon. friend will say for the worse, by having substituted six years for a shorter period. I merely remark that in one sense the work required under the second Order has not to be completed as quickly as under the first. But I pass to the new section, and I commend it to the hon. gentleman's attention :

Provided, that if any power is developed and rendered available by the grantees under this section which they do not make use of, then the' same should be offered for sale to the public, and the rates to be charged therefor shall be subject to the control of the Governor General in Council.

Now, 1 would say that is an entirely new clause. When the first Order in Council was a subject of criticism in the Yukon, a meeting of the miners was held, and they appointed two delegates to come to Ottawa and ask for modifications, not for a repeal of this Order in Council. The majority of the miners of the Yukon, so far as we know, do not desire the repeal of all the Orders in Council, they do not ask for a repeal of the old Orders in Council, but they ask for modifications, and the modifications they asked for were of the following character : They objected, for example,

to the exclusive right given by the first Order in Council to erect bedrock flumes. That was regarded as a very objectionable feature of the first order. That objectionable feature is removed, and does not appear in the second Order in Council. Not only does it not appear, but privileges are given to every person, reserved to every person to erect bedrock flumes. One of the great questions in the Yukon in regard to the first Order in Council was the exclusive right granted to construct, maintain and use bedrock flumes. People were excited upon that point, and they sent two delegates, Mr. Williams and Mr. Sugrue, to consult with the government and ask that all objectionable features might be removed from the first Order in Council. That was the first point that the people proposed, and that point was arranged. That former objection disappeared, and yet my hon. friend

says there is no material difference in the two Orders in Council.

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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

The hon. gentleman says that the majority of the miners did not want that concession repealed. I would like to ask how the majority of the miners voiced their opinion ?

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The POSTMASTER GENERAL.

The two representatives of the miners who came to Ottawa, purporting to represent the opinions and wishes of the miners, did not ask for repeal, but for modifications, and those modifications were granted. I think it is reasonable to assume, when they came down on a mission of that kind and presented their arguments, that they were voicing the sentiments of those they were representing here. Again, my hon. friend says there is no difference between these two Orders in Council. The first Order in Council allowed the grantees to develop power and use it all for themselves. There was no duty cast upon them under the first order to sell power to anybody. How Is it under the new Order in Council ? Will my hon. friend tell me this is not a material change ?

Provided that if any power is developed and rendered available by the grantees under this section which they do not make use of, then this same shall he offered for sale to the public.

Is that not a material change ? My hon. friend does not see that under the new order the public are the beneficiaries to the extent that they have a right to purchase the power that may be generated under this concession.

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CON

Rufus Henry Pope

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. POPE.

At what price ?

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The POSTMASTER GENERAL.

I will proceed to read. Hon. gentlemen should restrain themselves, they will get all this information in due time. They would have been much wiser if they had known the Orders in Council before malting these inflammatory speeches.

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CON

Thomas Chase Casgrain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CASGRAIN.

We know them.

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The POSTMASTER GENERAL.

My hon. friend from Compton (Mr. Pope) asks at what price.

The rates to be charged therefor shall be subject to the control of the Governor General in Council.

That is the way the rates are fixed in this country in many other cases. The Governor in Council fixes the railway rates and many other kinds of rates ; and here the Governor in Council, responsible to parliament and to the public, are the parties who stand as an independent tribunal between the buyers and sellers of power, so that under the amended Order in Council the general public have vested rights entitling them to power and entitling them to protection against unfair prices.

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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. HAGGART.

Does the power mean water ?

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William George Bock

Sir WILLIAM MUI OCK.

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The POSTMASTER GENERAL.

No. There the hon. gentlemen show a limited knowledge of this scheme. Power means the electrical power that is going to be developed by the use of water. There is going to be a dam, or a backing up of water. Hon. gentlemen smile ; let me read the olanse :

The sole right to divert and take water from the Klondike river at any point or points between its entry into the Yukon river and the Flat creek for the purpose o.f generating power with which to pump water to work the auriferous deposits in the district.

This is an entirely different proposition from the right to take water from the bed of the river and to raise it up, whether it may or may not return to the river.

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CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARKE.

Have these concessionaires no right to sell power under the first Order in Council ? Had the public no right to compel them to sell power ?

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The POSTMASTER GENERAL.

We will see about that.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Where is there anything in the Order in Council about it ?

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The POSTMASTER GENERAL.

When they have the power generated then they have to sell it, if there is any one to buy it, and if there is any to spare. I turn to section 2. Under the first Order in Council it has been correctly stated that the grantees had the right to divert and take water from the Klondike for distribution in the district generally, for the use of benches and other claims. Under the new order, the amount that they may take exclusively is 5.000 miners' inches.

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May 12, 1903