There is also a condition obliging the company during three years to spend the sum of $100,000 on exploration and during ten years they will have to spend $50,000 in explorations and improvements of the property under lease.
I sent out an officer of my department, Mr. Cunningham, who has just returned to-day and has not
had time to report. He says that there is no possibility of settlement out there or of taking other fish but the sturgeon, because there is no communication possible, and the sturgeon can be fished only at three or four places on the Nelson river. The other part of the river is composed of rapids and rocks with scarcely any trees, so that the company, if they want to take advantage of this lease, would have to spend certainly $50,000 before they can start fishing.
Of course, because some difficulty arose about it and I want to know exactly the facts. I discovered, for instance, that licenses had been granted some people out there and they cannot be dispossessed.
The giving of a lease like this is an outrage on the rights of the people. If the minister has the right by Order in Council to grant practically an exclusive right to one man to fish in such a large section of James bay for twenty-one years, he has the right to do it for fifty years or a hundred and practically alienate what belongs to the people. And it is alienated in return for the insignificant sum of $10 per year. The minister says it is not exclusive. The lease says :
Provided that this lease is granted and accepted without prejudice to the rights of the Hudson Bay Company, and furthermore, on the distinct understanding that the right to fish for their own use, but not for commercial purposes, is hereby reserved for all settlers, Esquimaux, tourists and the employees of the Hudson Bay Company.
These are the only parties who have the right to fish, and they may take fish only for their own use. And this company are given the right to use fishing nets-that1, I take it, includes every fishing device in the shape of a net, without restriction. Then, as the hon. member for Lanark says, there can be no doubt that a part of this territory is in the province of Ontario, and part o.f it belongs to Quebec. I repeat, these rights belong to the whole people of Canada and not to the government. The government do not own them and they have no right to sell them-or to give them away, for this is practically what they are doing.