June 20, 1923

CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I think the minister

might give us a statement of the present position of this matter, having regard to the attitude of Ontario on the one hand and of Manitoba on the other, as well as that of the Dominion government.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS ONTARIO ELECTIONS AND PETAWAWA CAMP
Subtopic:   LAKE OF THE WOODS REGULATION
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LIB

Lomer Gouin (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Sir LOMER GOUIN:

This bill is the same as the one that was introduced last year and accepted by the House of Commons, but rejected by the Senate. The purpose of the bill is to repeal chapter 38. 11 and 12 George V, passed in 1921 and assented to on the 4th of June of that year. In 1920, there was an understanding between the Ontario government and the Dominion government to the effect that a commission composed of four members, two to be appointed by the Ontario government and two by the Dominion government, would t control the waters of the Lake of the Woods, Lac Seul, English river and Winnipeg river. It was agreed that legislation should be submitted to the legislature

Lake of the Woods Regulation

of Ontario and the parliament of Canada for the purpose of organizing that com-

10 p.m. mission. The Dominion government accordingly introduced a bill which passed as chapter 10, of 11 and 12 George V, which was assented to on the 3rd of May, 1921. The government of Ontario, proceeding also in accordance with the agreement to which I have referred, introduced similar legislation; but the premier of the province, facing an opposition to the measure, withdrew it. Under these circumstances the government of the day, considering it important that some commission should have authority to control these waters, passed another bill, which became chapter 38 of 11 and 12 George V, to which I referred at the outset. The second clause of that act provided that-

All dams, structures and other works of whatsoever description which have heretofore been or may hereafter be constructed in, upin, over, about or across,- (a) any outlet of the Lake of the Woods, (b) the Winnipeg river at or about its junction with English river, or (c) English river at the outlet of and below Lac Seul, which do or may or can in any wise control, regulate or affect the outflow of water from the said lakes, or either of them, or the natural levels of the water in the said lakes, or either of them, at any time, or the natural flow of the water in the Winnipeg river or in English river, at any time, are and each of them is declared to be for the general advantage of Canada.

The last clause reads as follows:

If the necessary legislation of Ontario referred to in the preamble of The Lake of the Woods Control Board Act, 1921-

That is, chapter 10.

-be enacted by the legislature, the Governor in Council may, by proclamation published in the Canada Gazette, repeal or suspend this act and the regulations made thereunder at any time when or after The Lake of the Woods Control Board Act, 1921, shall come into force: Provided that notwithstanding any repeal or suspension of this act in the manner provided by this section the works and each of them hereby declared to be for the general advantage of Canada shall remain and continue to be works for the general advantage of Canada.

Acting under the provisions of that statute the government of the day appointed a commission, also composed of four members, as agreed upon. I understand that the government of Ontario was asked to appoint two of the members of the commission but they refused to do so, contending that this statute should never have been passed and that the works of the Lake of the Woods, the English River and the Winnipeg river should not have been declared works for the general advantage of Canada. Last year the then Solicitor General introduced a bill similar to the one now under consideration. I may say that in the session following the Act of 1921 the legislature of Ontario did pass the legis-

lation which had been agreed upon, and last session the then Solicitor General thought we should simply repeal chapter 38 of the statutes of 1921. After some debate the bill was adopted by the House but was subsequently rejected by the Senate. After prorogation, at the instance of the premiers of Ontario and Manitoba, a conference took place in Ottawa in which the premiers of those provinces and the Prime Minister of Canada took part. After discussion and deliberation the representatives of the three governments arrived at an understanding which was put in writing and signed by them. The first clause of that agreement reads as follows:

This agreement, as a working basis for the regulation of the English and Winnipeg rivers, is entered into on the understanding that all parties are agreeable to the repeal of the Lake of the Woods Regulation Act, 1921, but Ontario does not bind itself to the terms of this agreement in the event of that act not being repealed.

Then follow the different clauses which were accepted by the three parties. Consequent upon these circumstances we introduced the present bill. After it was read the first time representations were made to us first by the government of Manitoba and afterwards by the government of Ontario. The government of Manitoba urged that chapter 38 of the Statutes of 1921 should not be repealed until the provisions of the arrangement of November last had been fulfilled. We had a conference and listened to the arguments of the representatives of Manitoba. We told them that this bill would come into force only by proclamation, and that that proclamation should be made only when the essential conditions of the arrangement entered into had been fulfilled. Subsequently the representatives of the Manitoba government wrote a letter to the Prime Minister stating that they could not accept the suggestion that we should proceed with this bill at the present session. In reply the right hon. Prime Minister wrote the following letter to Mr. Farmer, the mayor of Winnipeg:

Dear Mr. Farmer:

I have duly received the letter dated the 29th instant signed by yourself and Messrs. Preudhomme, Sanger, Guy and Johnson, with respect to the above.

You are quite correct in your understanding that the repeal act should not become effective until the conditions of the agreement of November last have been complied with. You suggest that the repeal bill should be amended in such a way as to provide that it shall go into effect on proclamation only after Ontario and Manitoba respectively have so requested by order in council. With reference to this suggestion I would like to point out that the bill has been drafted in a matter which would permit of ho exception being taken by the Ontario government to it.

Lake of the Woods Regulation

provisions. Were the conditions you propose incorporated, it might only serve to raise a fresh obstacle to the final settlement of this whole matter, which is now so near the point of satisfactory adjustment. Our government has in view but the one object of effecting a settlement of the question in a manner which will be wholly satisfactory to all parties concerned. We are as favourably disposed toward the province of Manitoba as toward the province of Ontario, and, inasmuch as the federal government, not less than the governments of Ontario and Manitoba, is a party to the agreement of November last, I think you may take it for granted that we would not take any action or permit any action to be taken which would prejudice the right of either Manitoba or Ontario under any of the conditions of the agreement.

With this assurance I hope you will feel that Manitoba will be justified in withdrawing any opposition it may have to the Repeal Bill in the form in which it has been presented to parliament.

With this assurance, Mr. Speaker, given by the right hon. the Prime Minister of this Dominion speaking for himself and for his colleagues, I do not see that the government of Manitoba can persist in any opposition to the measure.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS ONTARIO ELECTIONS AND PETAWAWA CAMP
Subtopic:   LAKE OF THE WOODS REGULATION
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Is the government of

Manitoba persisting in opposition, may I ask?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS ONTARIO ELECTIONS AND PETAWAWA CAMP
Subtopic:   LAKE OF THE WOODS REGULATION
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LIB

Lomer Gouin (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Sir LOMER GOUIN:

I have here a letter which was written by the Hon. Mr. Johnson, counsel for Manitoba and the power interests, dated June 18th, which reads as follows:

On the 31st ultimo you wrote a letter to Mayor S. J. Farmer of Winnipeg on this subject, and you very kindly sent me a copy thereof. Immediately on the return to Winnipeg of the delegation which waited upon you in Ottawa the Manitoba power interests conferred and discussed your letter with the greatest care.

We note that you desire to take no step which would permit of any exception being taken by the Ontario government to the repealing of the above act. We would, however, point out that the order in council passed by the province of Ontario in connection with the agreement entered into last November makes the absolute repeal of "The Lake of the Woods Regulation Act, 1921," a condition precedent to the coming into force of the agreement, and also to the empowering of the minister mentioned therein to finally negotiate and settle upon the conditions to be carried out; this attitude of Ontario will make impossible the carrying out of the conditions of the agreement prior to the proclamation of the repealing act.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS ONTARIO ELECTIONS AND PETAWAWA CAMP
Subtopic:   LAKE OF THE WOODS REGULATION
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

That letter was written on behalf of the Manitoba government as well as the power interests?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS ONTARIO ELECTIONS AND PETAWAWA CAMP
Subtopic:   LAKE OF THE WOODS REGULATION
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LIB

Lomer Gouin (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Sir LOMER GOUIN:

For Manitoba and the power interests.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS ONTARIO ELECTIONS AND PETAWAWA CAMP
Subtopic:   LAKE OF THE WOODS REGULATION
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Mr. Speaker, I am opposed to this bill. I have listened to the recital of the history of the legislation lead ing up to this bill from the lips of the Minister of Justice with much interest, and speaking in the main I take no exception so

far as it was a statement of facts, but a review of the question will surely, I believe, bring home to hon. members of this House the unwisdom of passing this legislation at this time.

Everyone understands that in the Lake of the Woods and in the waters flowing therein and thereout the Dominion has a very substantial and indeed a varied interest. We have an interest, first of all, because it is in international body of water. We liave an interest, secondly, because it is a navigable water and is navigated, and we have an interest thirdly, because the whole body of water is interprovincial, and in respect of the flow of the water the interests of two provinces are very great. We have an additional interest as yet, and perhaps permanently. We are the owners of the resources of Manitoba and responsible for their administration, and among the resources, and among the most valuable, are the water-powers constituted by the waters that flow out of the Lake of the Woods into lake Winnipeg. So from those four standpoints all of them important, the first and the last being the greatest, and the last being really in practical results the greatest of all-from those standpoints we have a very vital interest in the proper administration of all works affecting those waters. This was recognized years ago, and as a consequence there was referred, with the assent I believe of all concerned, to the International Joint Commission the question as to the best method of control. The International Joint Commission had the case presented by the United States and by Canada, because being an international stream the United States had an interest in it. They had an interest as well because of certain powers that are developed on the inflowing waters. The International Joint Commission after the fullest evidence, and after I believe a remarkably successful presentation of Canada's case made a report, and for some five or six years we have been endeavouring to cany out that report, endeavouring against great obstacles.

In the body of that report it was recommended that in respect of the exercise of certain powers a joint board be established half by Ontario and half by the Dominion, .he Dominion representing Manitoba as well is all Dominion rights, which board was to have ;ontrol of the levels of the lakes so long as .hose levels were maintained between two definite fixed heights. If thf levels got above or below, the jurisdiction of the board ceased and another board was recommended to be established to exercise jurisdiction-an inter-

Lake of the Woods Regulation

national board. Pursuant to the report, conferences were held between the governments of Manitoba, of the Dominion and of the province of Ontario, and the difficulties that intervened were smoothed away to the extent that the government of Ontario agreed with the government of Canada that concurrent bills would be introduced as government measures, and pressed as government measures, looking to the establishment of the joint board. The Dominion government carried out its part of the undertaking to the full. The measure was introduced, and against considerable opposition passed this House. It passed the Senate and became law. It was later introduced in the legislature of Ontario, and on a show of opposition was deliberately withdrawn by the Premier of Ontario.

I am quite within the fact when I say that the withdrawal of the bill without any attempt to put it through right at the close of the session was in no way a fulfilment of the undertaking that the Premier of Ontario made not only with ourselves but in the presence of representatives of Manitoba. We were then left in the position of having our own statute that was passed totally ineffective, and consequently having so far as statutory power was concerned no real authority, no leal statutory basis upon which to rest our control of those waters. It is true that up to that time or up to a time shortly before, a board had operated to control the waters in a measure without statutory powers. The board found itself helpless to achieve its ends and appealed to the government for statutory powers. In such a position of helplessness we found ourselves upon the collapse of the legislation in the legislature of Ontario. I thereupon introduced as Prime Minister a bill called "The Lake of the Woods Regulation Act," wherein it was provided that a board should be established and be given certain powers, namely, the powers recommended to be given the joint board by the International Joint Commission, this board to be established by the federal authorities.

The bill went further and provided that the works named in the recital read by the Minister of Justice, works built in the outlets of the Lake of the Woods at the junction of English river and Winnipeg river, and in the English river below the outlet of Lac Seul, should be declared works for the general advantage of Canada. Hon. members, of course, know that in the provisions of the British North America Act the parliament of Canada has power to declare any works to be

{Mr. Meighen.l

for the general advantage of the Dominion, works which presumably theretofore were works over which the provinces had legislative jurisdiction. That power on the part of the parliament of Canada is unrestrained, but in practice is exercised wherever the works are such as affect the people of more than one province, where the works are such that, in the judgment of parliament, federal legislative control is preferable to provincial control. Now, I desire to point out that in the understanding that was arrived at with the Prime Minister of Ontario and after hearing by the government on the part of the government of Manitoba, there was no provision for the declaring of these works to be for the general advantage of Canada, nor was there anything done or agreed to which in the least degree restrained the power or the right of the government or of parliament to so declare if it saw fit; the matter was entirely left without reference at all. In a word, nothing that was done was at all inconsistent with this being done, but the government did not recommend its being done until the time came when the government of Ontario failed to go through with its undertaking with the government of Canada.

In the legislation that was introduced, as the Minister of Justice has clearly pointed out, it was provided that this board be established by the federal government to do the work the joint board was to have done under the previous concurrent legislation. It was also provided that as soon as the province of Ontario should pass that concurrent legislation, then the provisions of this bill establishing the board should be repealable by order in council of this government. For the purpose of the repeal of all the provisions establishing the board and giving it its powers the government needs no legislation here; they may repeal it all by order in council. The portion that declared the works to be works for the general advantage of Canada was not repealable by order in council. This bill is to repeal that portion too. I want to say, supplementary to what the Minister of Justice said, that in the legislation now sought to be repealed, the Lake of the Woods Regulation Act, though a new board was to be appointed to do the work that it was originally intended and agreed should be done by a joint board under the concurrent legislation, it was stated at the time by myself that it was intended to appoint by the federal government the very same men who had acted before, half of them being appointed by the provincial government. This we actually set out to perform but the Ontario government failed to permit-such is my recollection-failed to

Lake of the Woods Regulation

permit its employees, to take part as members of that board, refused to allow them to do so. Last session, that is the year before this one, the legislation was put through in the province of Ontario. Why it was not done the session before I do not know to this day. It was done last session, a year ago. Then this government instead of repealing the bill establishing the board by order in council, as it might have done, came to parliament and said "We want to repeal the whole bill, and we want to restore the provincial jurisdiction," that is the provincial legislative jurisdiction over the works in this body of water. To that I made opposition at the time.

I urged then, as I urge now, that, these are works that ought to be declared to be works for the general advantage of Canada, because they really are works for the general advantage of Canada. We have declared over and over again a few miles of railway wholly within a province to be a work for the general advantage of Canada. Here are works as respects which the province of Manitoba, though the works are in Ontario, is perhaps even more interested than the latter province. The power assets that the flow of the water constitutes are, to the extent I think of about 80 per cent, in the province of Manitoba, and the future commercial development of Manitoba is dependent upon the just and equitable legislative administration of those works. I repeat what I said a year ago: If there ever were works that

ought to be declared works for the general advantage of Canada, that are appropriate for such declaration, these are the very works. Nov/, if you declare works to be for the general advantage of Canada you may if you wish, and I am quite prepared we shall, agree to a joint board for their administration. Quite right and proper. So long as the joint board continues it may be all right, and it may not, I do not know; but the legislation establishing that board may be repealed at any time by the government of Ontario, and also there may be things done under it that will be unfair and unjust to one of the provinces concerned; and, consequently, the reservation of the legislative jurisdiction in this parliament should not be lightly thrown away.

It will be recalled-and this is most interesting at this time; it is most interesting, and indeed it is illuminating-that when this legislation was before the House last session the Prime Minister of this country, in an endeavour to put it through, referred to the conduct of the late government-my own conduct in particular-in introducing the Lake

of the Woods Regulation Bill, because of the failure to pass concurrent legislation in Ontario, as a piece of sharp practice. How interesting it is now to find that this government has agreed in writing to maintain that sharp practice on the statute books of Canada up to a certain time and after this bill passes, agreed that it is right and just to do it in the interest of the province of Manitoba. What an illuminating fact! The letter read by the Minister of Justice, signed by the Prime Minister of Canada, agrees with the province of Manitoba that this legislation that rests on sharp practice must be continued on our statute books even after the bill empowering its repeal passes, and until certain events transpire, to safeguard the interests of Manitoba. I do not refer to the language with any particular resentment; I leave hon. members to judge of it themselves and to say what they think of it. But would anyone want a more ample vindication of the need of the legislation when it passed, than the fact that this government- so anxious to denounce it in order to strike a blow at the late government-nevertheless finds itself compelled to agree in writing to its continuance as part of the law of Canada, a continuance for an indefinite time to come, until Ontario does certain things that Manitoba has enjoined in that agreement, and that this government has enjoined in this agreement with Ontario.

Now such is exactly the situation. What is the present precise position? The minister says we want to repeal the act, but we are putting in a clause that this repeal will not take effect until, later on, we declare by order in council that it shall, and our Prime Minister has given a letter to the government of Manitoba in which he says, we will not, by order in council, declare that this repeal shall take effect until Ontario does the various things recited in an agreement as binding upon Ontario to do. Manitoba states that the things Ontario is to do are concurrent with the repeal, and she will not agree to the repeal until Ontario does them, or until she by order of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, requests this repealing bill to be called into effect.

Manitoba stands to-day opposed to this legislation, and I am glad that Manitoba does oppose it. I only say this as respects the attitude of the Manitoba government: if the Manitoba government at this time looks far enough ahead, if it sees all round the question and the dangers involved in it, it will make its resistance to this legislation absolute and conditional on nothing at all. The only safeguard for the permanent preservation of the

Lake of the Woods Regulation

varying interests of the various parties in these great powers is the reservation of this section. With the section there there need be no difficulty and there need be no danger at all, because the parliament of Canada, which has concern for one as much as the other, has its legislative control intact; so that, as far as my advice will go-and it will go very far. I fear-I will say to the government of Manitoba: Maintain your resistance; do not make it conditional, as you do to-day; do not say that it will lapse when two or three things are done by the province of Ontario that may be done any time, but make it continuous and absolute; reserve this section as it is the safeguard of the whole situation. With this section reserved, it is quite right and proper that there should be joint administration of it, because by that joint administration, under a board, appointed half by one and half by the other, the various details, from the point of view of each, are sure to secure adequate presentation and discussion.

But I protest against a repeal of the legislation. This House is in no way bound to repeal this legislation, by no compunc-to of honour, certainly by no compunction of interest. Both honour and interest demand that we keep it just where it is, and I appeal to the Minister of Justice, who has not the same tortuous record in respect of this that his Prime Minister has, to look upon the matter from a long Canadian point of view. Does it not seem to him that it is going to be best in the long years to come that these works, some of them the most important, that could well be conceived from the general standpoint, continue to be works for the general advantage; and, therefore, continue to be works under the ultimate legislative control of parliament? Let the Minister of Justice ask himself the question, why should they not continue? Why should there be anything in Canada declared to be works for the general advantage of the country, if these works now declared to be so, are to be undeclared by this act? I cannot conceive of anything that more appropriately or usefully comes within the category to which the section of the British North America Act was intended to apply than the very works contemplated by this legislation. I hope, in the interests of Ontario and of Manitoba, that the Minister of Justice will come to my point of view, or that parliament will come to my point of view, and defeat the legislation.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS ONTARIO ELECTIONS AND PETAWAWA CAMP
Subtopic:   LAKE OF THE WOODS REGULATION
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LIB

Edward James McMurray

Liberal

Mr. E. J. McMURRAY (North Winnipeg) :

I find that I cannot support the Minister of

Justice in the bill he has introduced to-night. In fact, I find that I must strenuously and forcefully, and to the best of my ability, oppose the measure which he proposes to pass. I find myself, Sir, substantially in accord with the well-reasoned argument of the right hon. leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen). The history of the relationship of the Dominion government, of the province of Ontario, of Manitoba and of the United States, in connection with this inter-provincial and international body of water, really one body of water, the Lake of the Woods, the Winnipeg river and its tributary the English river, I shall not review at any length, but only incidentally, as that has been covered in previous debates in this House and well reviewed to-night by the right hon. leader of the Opposition. Suffice it to say that there are very large and important interests involved in this question, the interests of the province of Manitoba, and the interests of this Dominion; because this Dominion holds the resources that are involved in the Winnipeg river as trustees for the people of the province of Manitoba, and has all the duties and responsibilities that attach to a trustee.

What is the legislation that the hon. the Minister of Justice proposes to repeal? What is that bill? Does that bill contain anything more than the protection of the interests of this Dominion and of the interests of the people of the province of Manitoba? Now these interests are very large, particularly so far as this Dominion and the province of Manitoba are concerned. There is a waterpower valued altogether at some $60,000,000, as horse-power is generally sold. It is necessary to preserve those interests by regulating the flow of the water from that river, and this legislation centres around the regulation of the .flow of water. There are facts brought out in connection with the investigation which show that, by proper regulation, the amount of water flow, 220,000 horse-power aow so far as Manitoba is concerned, would ay better regulation be almost doubled, and would amount to 416,000 horse-power, having an added value to the province of Manitoba of some $20,000,000. The proper regulation of that flow would also make a gain to the province of Ontario of some $9,000,000. The bill that it is proposed to pass will withdraw an act that has protected the interests of this Dominion, and that is a matter to be considered very carefully in the interests of the Dominion itself.

Now, it appears that there was a possibility of some arrangement being effected between the province of Manitoba and the province of

Lake of the Woods Regulation

Ontario through the medium of, and by negotiation with, the Dominion government. The proposal made by the province of Manitoba was a reasonable and fair one. It simply said that they entered into an agreement, and that agreement made certain provisions. The representatives of Manitoba contend that this was a tentative agreement, that certain antecedent things should be done, and when they were done the province of Manitoba would agree. Those things have not been done. I may recite a portion of the agreement, and show what it is that the province of Manitoba demands to be completed before this bill becomes law. The provisions read:

1. That the Lake of the Woods Control Board should immediately investigate and report to the three governments concerned the possibility of an alternative structure above Norman dam, or failing such being found under what procedure and auspices should the Norman dam be expropriated.

2. The same board was to canvass the situation and make proper representations to Canada and Ontario as to the regulations necessary to make practically effective the unproclaimed concurrent legislation.

3. Provision for storage rights on Lac Seul upon application by Manitoba interests.

Those were antecedent conditions. Those have not been fulfilled. This Dominion government says through its ministers: "These must now be subsequent." This seems really too bad when we were approaching what might be a settlement. I think, as the 'leader of the Opposition has urged, Manitoba is conceding a good deal. He urges Manitoba to maintain the last clause passed in the bill that it i3 now proposed to repeal. To me this seems a reasonable and proper thing. Surely these works are works for the general advantage of Canada. It is proposed in this bill that the Dominion government shall not proclaim the bill; that it shall not become law until the Dominion government is satisfied that the agreement entered into by the three governments or representatives of the three governments shall have been fully complied with. The interests of Ontario in this are more or less incidental. To Manitoba, her people and particularly the city of Winnipeg, this is absolutely vital. The city of Winnipeg has its industrial life in the wonderful water-powers of the Winnipeg river. Vast development can be made there in the future. There is or will be before this House a measure in connection with a hemp proposition. If that works through, it will use vast quantities of water-power, giving employment to large numbers of people, and producing great wealth to western Canada, in fact to Canada as a whole. Already vast quantities of horse-power for various projects are being taken from this

266i

same river. The industrial life of the city of Winnipeg, a large and populous city, depends upon this river. The ancient Romans worshipped the Tiber, but the Tiber was not as important to the great city of Rome as the Winnipeg river is to the city of Winnipeg and its inhabitants.

Why should Manitoba make the Dominion of Canada its trustee, or its guardian, or its mouthpiece, or its appraiser, to say that Ontario has complied with the agreement? Why should Manitoba appoint a substitute to act for it? Let Ontario comply fully with the conditions of the agreement, and complete the undertakings it has agreed to carry out to the satisfaction of Manitoba, which is greatly and vitally interested. When Manitoba says that it is satisfied and Ontario says that it is satisfied, it will be time for this bill to pass this House; then it will be time for this House to take the proper and necessary action to carry out the agreement between the three parties. There are always dangers of misunderstandings. There may be verbal misunderstandings, and always the interpretation of written documents brings about misunderstandings. What this Dominion government and its ministers may understand, Manitoba and the various interests that entered into the negotiation may have a different view of altogether. It is because this is so absolutely vital to Manitoba, because it is its very industrial life, and because it is only incidental to Ontario, that Manitoba can afford to take absolutely no chances upon this matter. I believe Manitoba has conceded altogether too much in consenting to the withdrawal of that legislation which says that these works are for the public interest of the Dominion. Manitoba has reason to view with suspicion the situation that exists in connection with the Winnipeg river, not to view with suspicion the action of this government, which I believe to be sincere and earnest and to have an absolute desire to carry out the contract. I maintain, however, that the government is mistaken in its attitude and view, and it is proceeding wrongly. Conditions that were antecedent should not be made subsequent.

But into this there enters another element to which neither of the previous speakers this evening has alluded. A private person has secured large interests upon those waters that feed down the Winnipeg river into Manitoba. This man has reaped a fortune out of the timber limits of Ontario bordering upon Manitoba. He has secured unusual and large rights from Ontario. His attitude in dealing with those, from the first time he appeared before

Lake of the Woods Regulation

public bodies in negotiations between this Dominion and the United States, was unsatisfactory. He secured a dam known as the Norman dam, and I understand, being secure in that position, he proposed to sell that to Manitoba at an exorbitant, unwarranted and extraordinarily high price. When this negotiation was going on and we had more or less secured control over the Norman dam, we find a remarkable thing; we find this man securing power rights at the White Dog rapids lower down on the Winnipeg river, and this again placed completely in his hands a control which we had more or less taken away from him. Later on we find him advancing from this position to secure large timber limits upon the English river, which is a large and majestic stream, much larger than the river which flows by this House. He is now in control of that water-power there. The people of Winnipeg fear this adventurer; they fear that he will not hesitate at all to reap to the full any advantage that he may have there. They have observed the relationship existing between him and Ontario; they have noticed the remarkable manner in which he secured these valuable timber limits, and I assure you, Mr. Speaker, they are very valuable. It is this man Backus that we particularly fear in Manitoba. He is not possessed, in our opinion, of the fine, jovial and genial qualities of the god Bacchus of old, but more of the horns and cloven hoofs, at least, as he is seen by the people of Manitoba situated at the head of the waters of the river that gives them their industrial life. It is because of -this uncertainty; because of the peculiar situation in connection with the refusal of the government of Ontario to pass that bill a year ago; because of the relationship of Backus to that government and the large interests he has -acquired on that river; because of the suspected disposition of Backus -it is because of all this that we -are opposed to this measure. I do not know the man at all, but I am speaking of his repute so far as his relationship to these water-powers on -the Winnipeg river is concerned.

Man naturally is selfish. As he increases in wealth the tendency is that he will become more selfish; and taking human nature as it is, not alleging that Backus is any better or worse than any of the rest of us, but simply taking human nature as we find it, it is a dangerous thing for the province of Manitoba and its people to have this man at its head waters to control the very life of the city of Winnipeg and its industrial interests. I find myself, therefore, strongly opposed to this bill. By the passing

of it the Dominion is releasing control over rights to which it is entitled. By passing this bill it deprives the province of Manitoba of the protecton that it now enjoys and leaves it in -an unprotected position. The attitude taken by the province of Manitoba is reasonable in the extreme. They have only demanded that the bill should not become law until the agreement referred to by the Minister of Justice and myself, should be completed, not to the satisfaction of the Dominion alone, but to the satisfaction of Jie Dominion and of the people of Manitoba, to the satisfaction of those who signed the contract. I strongly oppose the bill.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS ONTARIO ELECTIONS AND PETAWAWA CAMP
Subtopic:   LAKE OF THE WOODS REGULATION
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LIB

Albert Blellock Hudson

Liberal

Mr. A. B. HUDSON (South Winnipeg):

The subject matter of the -bill has been discussed in the House on a number of occa sions, and while I do not propose to go into the facts at any great length -there are some circumstances which I think might fairly be brought, to the attention of hon. members. At an early stage it was agreed by everybody, that is to say, by those representing the Dominion, the province of Ontario and the province of Manitoba, that the waters in question should be controlled and regulated. The question then arose as to how this should be accomplished and by whom, and as a result of negotiations which the Minister of Justice has referred to concurrent legislation was introduced in this parliament and in the legislature of Ontario. That concurrent legislation was to my mind defective in one very vital point: it created a board of four, two to be appointed by Ontario and two by the Dominion, nobody having a casting vote. That legislation was agreed to, not because it was satisfactory, but because it

11 p.m. was the best kind of agreement that could be got under the circumstances. But everyone will see that it opened the door to trouble in the future when it provided for no casting vote; for the moment the interests of Ontario conflicted with those of Manitoba there would be a deadlock and control would cease. However, it was agreed to, and, as has been stated, it was introduced into this parliament and the bi:l finally became law. So far as Ontario is concerned it failed, and upon its failure the Premier of Manitoba addressed to the then Prime Minister of Canada a letter which I shall read to the House. It is dated May 1", 1921, and was produced with a return in the session of 1921 when this Regulation Bill was first introduced. It is as follows:

Dear Mr. Meichen,

re Lake of the Woods Control Board I have a letter from Mr. Drury advising me that he was obliged to withdraw his bill in the Ontario

Lake of the Woods Regulation

legislature, and that he has since asked you to continue the present board which was established by concurrent orders in council.

As you are aware, the present board lacks the authority necessary to make its orders effective. Anyone interested in opposing its directions can do so with impunity.

For this reason, the Manitoba government asks your government to take the steps necessary to secure a proper and adequate control of the flow of the waters in question.

The steps which I wish to suggest are:-

First, that the Dominion government should at once acquire the Norman dam. The propriety of and the necessity for this action requires the support of no argument. It was suggested at the conference in your office on the 30th of January last and no objection was raised by anyone. The structure affects navigation and is necessary to carry out your international obligations. Every one must admit that it should not remain in private hands.

The second suggestion is, that parliament should be asked to declare at its present session, that works erected or to be erected in any of the waters in question are and shall be works for the general advantage of Canada under the authority of the British North America Act. Sec. 92 s.s. 10 paragraph (c).

As Mr. Drury wishes to have the present board continued, parliament might, at the same time, empower it to make regulations.

Once it is conceded that control is necessary and that this control should be exercised by a board, it follows as of course, that this board must be given adequate pwer to perform its duties.

It may be suggested that this second proposal involves an improper invasion of provincial rights. It does not appear so to me. The waters in question are navigable waters and the Dominion thereby has already very extensive powers in respect of same. The proposal is for the purpose of ensuring justice as between residents of different provinces in respect of an interprovincial stream. The waters of this stream are not the property of any one riparian owner, but are the common property of all on the banks of the river. The proposal is that there should be control. This does not affect the ownership of the water powers. The effort made to establish effective control by joint action having failed, the proposal now made is the only available method of achieving what was agreed upon. If any set of circumstances could justify action under the above section of the British North America Act, it must be justified here.

The interests of the Dominion as a whole, in the matter are considerable. As you know, it owns all of the water-powers within Manitoba. Some of these powers have been developed by lessees who have established their works in accordance with plans approved of by your government officers and on the assumption that there was to be a regulated flow of the waters in question. Many millions of dollars have been spent in these developments and on this basis. The value of the undeveloped power on the river within Manitoba is also very great. Your government has also spent large sums of money in making most complete and accurate surveys of the river and its potentialities. Under these circumstances, I submit the Dominion cannot stand by and see jeopardized, not only its own subtantial interests but the interests of those whose duty it is to protect.

Any delay will only create new difficulties. For example, only to-day I was informed that Mr. Backus, who owns the Norman dam and who also has an arrangement with Kenora as to the municipal power plant there, has published a notice in the Kenora paper of an intended application to the Department of Public Works for leave to make substantial alterations

in the Kenora plant. These alterations may seriously affect the water power interests as well as those interested in navigation. This same Mr. Backus has also acquired from the Ontario government some Tight to erect works at White Dog Falls, He may be proceeding at once with these works and this might also affect the flow of the water.

For the reasons above mentioned, I would urge you most strongly that immediate action should be taken along the lines above indicated.

In closing, I might explain that the interest of the Manitoba government in this matter arises, first because of its duty to care for the interests of its citizens, more than one-half of whom are dependent on the development on the Winnipeg river for electrical power, and in the second place, because the Manitoba government is a user of a large quantity of power developed by the city of Winnipeg on the Winnipeg river and turned over to the government at Winnipeg for transmission to Portage la Prairie and other points in the province.

Following that letter the legislation was introduced which is called the Regulation Act, a section of which it is now proposed to repeal-a section which has been the chief cause of trouble and disappointment since that time. I think a great deal of trouble arises from a misconception of the nature of this general advantage clause. The general advantage clause does not transfer the property in the powers; it simply gives the Dominion the right to pass regulative legislation. Legislation of this kind is not new. As the right hon. leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen) has said, we have had legislation of this kind in respect to railways. But it is not confined to railways; it is a very common provision included in power charters. When the Niagara powers were being developed, this parliament passed acts incorporating the Toronto and Niagara Power Company, the Ontario Power Company and the Hamilton and Erie Power Company. In the charters of these three companies this general advantage clause was inserted. In other words, the powers owned and operated by companies at Niagara are operated under Dominion legislation declaring them to be for the general advantage of Canada. Now, one of these bills, the Toronto, and Niagara Power bill, was fully discussed in this House; the House divided on the question, and many of the gentlemen now sitting on this side voted for that bill. As I have said, the general advantage clause does not take away any property rights; it simply gives the power to regulate. Let me illustrate the distinction in this way: under the British North America Act the Dominion is given authority to deal with fisheries and fishing, but the provinces still own the fish. The Dominion may make regulations concerning the times when and the manner in which the fish may be caught, but the province may lease the fishing rights,

Lake oj the Woods Regulation

and that illustrates the difference between the taking away of property rights and the exercising of the power of regulation.

There is a much more opposite case in the situation in Switzerland. There they have a number of streams that are of very great value for power purposes. A few years ago, when hydro-electric development began to become important, there was a great demand throughout that country that the federal government should take over all these power sites and develop them as federal enterprises. But as against this view there were a large number of people who were very much concerned about the maintenance of state rights-the states there have much larger jurisdictions than our provinces have. So they fought the proposal, and eventually a compromise was arrived at by which the federal government was given the power to regulate much as we have the power to regulate under the present act. If we repeal this act now, it seems to me it will not be long before parliament will be called upon to take similar action in other cases. It is unfortunate that no satisfactory arrangement has been concluded in the matter. I think that in the end there must be some final voice, and that voice should be that of the Dominion. For the reasons expressed by the hon. member for North Winnipeg (Mr. McMurray) and the right hon. leader of the Opposition, I think parliament would make a great mistake, having regard to the interests of Canada as a whole, to repeal this legislation.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS ONTARIO ELECTIONS AND PETAWAWA CAMP
Subtopic:   LAKE OF THE WOODS REGULATION
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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. CHARLES STEWART (Minister of the Interior):

Mr. Speaker, it would be needless for me to enter into a rehearsal of what has been so well said by many of the previous speakers. It is sufficient to say that all these things would work out very acceptably if you could get the various parties to agree, but so far that condition has not been attained. I want to point out some of the difficulties that are in the way of a settlement of this dispute. In the first place, when this government took office we found, as has been pointed out by the right hon. leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen) and the other two hon. gentlemen who have just spoken, that there hail been an attempt to bring about joint legislation, and that an agreement in the matter had been entered into by the governments of Ontario and Manitoba and the federal government. Now, if the federal government have an interest in one province more than in another, it must of necessity be in the province of Manitoba. The Dominion are trustees for the water-powers of that province, powers

which are of immense advantage to the people there, who will eventually be its ownei'3. But what is the situation? We find that the governments of Manitoba and Ontario and the federal government agreed to the adoption of joint legislation for the control of the waters of the Lake of the Woods. We find also that a private individual has secured important rights from Manitoba and that he is a very potent factor in any attempt to make an adjustment of this matter. The federal parliament passed the legislation. Premier Drury on his part undertook to put through the legislation on the part of the province, and we must take his word when he says he was unable at first to do so. Subsequently, however, he did so. Both those acts are in existence to-day. The bill passed by the legislature of Ontario is contingent upon certain things being put into effect by proclamation of the Governor in Council; until that is done these enactments do not come into effect. The hon. member for North Winnipeg (Mr. McMurray) has pointed out a weakness in the arrangement, namely, that the board consists of four members and that there is likely to be a deadlock. That i* true, but that is what was agreed upon. Subsequent to the passing of the act by this parliament representations were made to this government that the Ontario government had failed to pass the legislation agreed upon, and therefore some other action became necessary. The parliament of Canada undertook to pass and did pass the act that is now objected to so strenuously by the government of Ontario, what is known as the general advantage clause legislation. I would point out that no one has mentioned the fact that the Ontario government strenuously opposed that legislation. As was well pointed out by my hon. friend the Minister of Justice, the first paragraph of the agreement, and of that I shall speak later, provides that this legislation must be repealed, and this has been the rock upon which attempts on the part of this government to settle this question have broken on every occasion.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS ONTARIO ELECTIONS AND PETAWAWA CAMP
Subtopic:   LAKE OF THE WOODS REGULATION
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LIB

Edward James McMurray

Liberal

Mr. McMURRAY:

Who thought it was

necessary that that should be done?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS ONTARIO ELECTIONS AND PETAWAWA CAMP
Subtopic:   LAKE OF THE WOODS REGULATION
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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Argenteuil):

Premier

Drury.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS ONTARIO ELECTIONS AND PETAWAWA CAMP
Subtopic:   LAKE OF THE WOODS REGULATION
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LIB

Edward James McMurray

Liberal

Mr. McMURRAY:

The province of Ontario?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS ONTARIO ELECTIONS AND PETAWAWA CAMP
Subtopic:   LAKE OF THE WOODS REGULATION
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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Argenteuil):

Yes, absolutely. I thought I had made that dear. At the last session of this parliament we did attempt to repeal that particular clause, as

Lake of the Woods Regulation

that appeared to be the way leading to a final settlement of this question. I would just like to state in connection with the argument of my hon. friend that he does not question Ontario's right to the ownership of the powers in question, but that the regulation of the power would be better in the hands of the federal government. I have not had a legal training and I do not intend to enter into an argument on that question. Suffice it for me to say to the committee that Premier Drury claims to have been advised, whether rightly or wrongly, that this is an infringement on provincial rights, and he intends to fight it to the limit and carry the case to the Privy Council. He may not succeed, but he will certainly succeed in doing one thing-he will prevent action being taken for a settlement of this question.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS ONTARIO ELECTIONS AND PETAWAWA CAMP
Subtopic:   LAKE OF THE WOODS REGULATION
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CON

John Babington Macaulay Baxter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BAXTER:

He will not have much to say about it.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS ONTARIO ELECTIONS AND PETAWAWA CAMP
Subtopic:   LAKE OF THE WOODS REGULATION
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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Argenteuil):

I do not pretend to have a legal training and I cannot say whether he will succeed or not, but I do say that in the meantime it will prevent action by this government for an adjustment of this question even if we have the right.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS ONTARIO ELECTIONS AND PETAWAWA CAMP
Subtopic:   LAKE OF THE WOODS REGULATION
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

So long as the general advantage clause remains, how can he prevent action in a matter that is declared to be for the general advantage of Canada?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS ONTARIO ELECTIONS AND PETAWAWA CAMP
Subtopic:   LAKE OF THE WOODS REGULATION
Permalink
LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Argenteuil):

By taking

action against the government or against any attempt at a settlement of this question.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS ONTARIO ELECTIONS AND PETAWAWA CAMP
Subtopic:   LAKE OF THE WOODS REGULATION
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

How will he take such

action?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS ONTARIO ELECTIONS AND PETAWAWA CAMP
Subtopic:   LAKE OF THE WOODS REGULATION
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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Argenteuil):

He is at

liberty to submit it to the courts for decision and carry the case to the Privy Council.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS ONTARIO ELECTIONS AND PETAWAWA CAMP
Subtopic:   LAKE OF THE WOODS REGULATION
Permalink

June 20, 1923