March 24, 1926

LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

In all probability if we are to have cycles of this character we will have lowering of the lake levels. I have discussed the matter with eminent engineers, and they say that perhaps some steps will have to be taken to preserve the levels

Chicago Drainage Canal

of the Great Lakes altogether irrespective of the Chicago diversion; that is, assuming this diversion was stopped and the water turned into the Great Lakes, there would still be necessity to take those steps. I think that is apparent from the very low levels at the present moment. If such remedial works were undertaken there would be an equal allocation of the cost between the two countries, and a study of the subject could very well be made. But it is evident to my mind that the municipality of Chicago is seizing upon every possible excuse to delay remedial works of their own to take care of their sewage in order that the diversion may continue, and I am exceedingly anxious first of all to get this out of *the way; then we can discuss whatever remedial works may be necessary to preserve the lake levels. ,

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CHICAGO DRAINAGE CANAL
Sub-subtopic:   ENFORCEMENT OF TREATY AND COLLECTION OF DAMAGES
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

How often do these cycles occur?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CHICAGO DRAINAGE CANAL
Sub-subtopic:   ENFORCEMENT OF TREATY AND COLLECTION OF DAMAGES
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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 (Edmonton):

I have before me a report dating one hundred years back, but looking up the records I find that in 1895 the lake levels were as low then as they were last year. If we are not mistaken about the prospects for this year, the levels will go still lower. Consequently we will have to meet the difficulty.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CHICAGO DRAINAGE CANAL
Sub-subtopic:   ENFORCEMENT OF TREATY AND COLLECTION OF DAMAGES
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CON

Arthur Edward Ross

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROSS (Kingston):

How many years

did that continue after 1895?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CHICAGO DRAINAGE CANAL
Sub-subtopic:   ENFORCEMENT OF TREATY AND COLLECTION OF DAMAGES
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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 (Edmonton):

The low

point was in 1895: It was undoubtedly one of the dry cycles. I will get that information for my hon. friend. In the opinion of some engineers, possibly the lakes will never go back to their old level, but in 1895 they were down very low. The levels were restored during periods of excessive rainfall. But transportation is becoming so important and we have so much money invested in it, that undoubtedly some measures will have to be taken to tide us over the dry cycles when the lake levels run low and interfere so seriously with navigation.

May I say in conclusion, Mr. Speaker, that we intend to press for the restoration of the water to the Great Lakes levels? In my opinion that is the paramount duty of the government. Not only are the municipalities along the lake shores of Canada suffering, but the lakefront municipalities in the United States are also suffering, and they also are pressing their claims upon the government of the United Slates and insisting that it deal summarily with this very serious matter and name a definite date for the full restoration of this water to the Great Lakes system.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CHICAGO DRAINAGE CANAL
Sub-subtopic:   ENFORCEMENT OF TREATY AND COLLECTION OF DAMAGES
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CON

George Reginald Geary

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. G. R. GEARY (South Toronto):

Mr. Speaker, at the outset of my remarks may I refer the hon. minister to Hansard of February 24? At page 1284, in answering a question respecting the Chicago drainage canal, he intimated that Chicago would be allowed until 1935 to complete such modern sewage disposal works as would enable it to dispense with the reversed flow from lake Michigan down the Chicago drainage canal. In other words, instead of treating its sewage as every modern and progressive city is doing, Chicago is relying still on the old-fashioned flushing system which sweeps the sewage back through the Illinois river down to the Mississippi. These disposal works are made the condition, as I understand it, of the permit to use lake water, and I judge from what the hon. minister said on February 24, that he and the government acquiesce in the proposal that Chicago shall have until 1935 to dispense with the necessity of taking water from lake Michigan.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CHICAGO DRAINAGE CANAL
Sub-subtopic:   ENFORCEMENT OF TREATY AND COLLECTION OF DAMAGES
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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 (Edmonton):

If my hon.

friend will look up the statement preceding the definition, he will find that we secured from the Secretary of State of the Unitea States a statement as to what that permit meant, and at what date they would undertake to have the works under way; but there is no acquiescence by Canada.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CHICAGO DRAINAGE CANAL
Sub-subtopic:   ENFORCEMENT OF TREATY AND COLLECTION OF DAMAGES
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CON

George Reginald Geary

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEARY:

All right, so far that is satisfactory. I wanted to know what the position of the government is. If the government have not already acquiesced in that, they surely see the danger and should take some definite step towards preventing the diversion of any water at all. May I point out that if this situation is acquiesced in we are faced with a new proposal, that the states bordering the Mississippi river have joined together in a very strong organization which is likely to overpower the government in Washington, so that even if the Chicago sewage disposal system is completed in 1935, this government may rest assured that that is not the end of the diversion of water from lake Michigan by Chicago. The power question is inconsiderable; they only develop 1,000 horse-power at the end of the Chicago drainage canal, but the question of continuing that drainage canal to make it connect with the deeper water of the Mississippi river is a live subject in these Mississippi states, and if the project is not scotched now it will reach the point where neither the United States nor anyone else can stop it. I call my hon. friend's attention to that position because I want to know what he has done

Chicago Drainage Canal

and what he is going to do. We have heard of close contact and of watchful waiting, in different comunications, but it seems to me that so far as the minister is able to give it to the House this afternoon, masterly inactivity is a proper description of the government's position. I think we should take such steps, either through the joint waterways commission or through the British ambassador at Washington or in some definite way, as will put this whole matter up for discussion and settlement immediately. One does not worry only about the present situation; it is bad enough, but the continuance of withdrawal of water from the Great Lakes at Chicago to make a channel down the Mississippi river is fraught with the greatest danger to navigation on the Great Lakes. I hope the minister will be able to tell us what he has done through the British ambassador or otherwise, and what representations have been made with a view to the immediate settlement of this whole question.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CHICAGO DRAINAGE CANAL
Sub-subtopic:   ENFORCEMENT OF TREATY AND COLLECTION OF DAMAGES
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LIB

Frederick George Sanderson

Liberal

Mr. F. G. SANDERSON (South Perth):

I do not desire to prolong this debate in any way, Mr. Speaker, but I want to put myself on record this afternoon in a very few words. I want to say that I am not quite in accord with the resolution as worded. I imagine also that there is a little bit more politics in it than there should be, but apart altogether from that I agree with a great deal that has been said by hon. members opposite. I will go this far, and say that I think the hon. member for Toronto Northwest (Mr. Church) deserves a great deal of credit for bringing this matter up again. It is a question that concerns not only the people of Ontario but the people of the whole Dominion as well. In Ontario we hear it discussed more and more all the time; it is getting more vital, and people are becoming more insistent in demanding that some solution of this difficulty be found.

Mr, CHAPLIN (Lincoln): Is that why politics come into it?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CHICAGO DRAINAGE CANAL
Sub-subtopic:   ENFORCEMENT OF TREATY AND COLLECTION OF DAMAGES
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LIB

Frederick George Sanderson

Liberal

Mr. SANDERSON:

I simply said that the wording of the resolution was a little more political than was necessary. I cannot conceive of the hon. member who asked me that question considering any matter in this House without political bias. As a new member I am prepared to discuss any matters in this House fairly at all times, and I hope in an unbiased way. As I said before, some way must be found to stop this steal of water. We have had) various opinions expressed as to the amount of water Chicago is taking, and a difference of

opinion also as to the amount the level of the lakes has been lowered. Until this after^ noon I had not heard that the Chicago diversion was lowering the lake level only to the extent of six inches. I have heard the figure given as being all the way from one to three feet. I do not know which figure is correct, but altogether apart from that question, and the amount of water being taken, it is conceded by the United States government that Chicago is practically stealing that water. If that be so, why can there not be some solution found which will stop this steal? Why cannot the government of the day in some way at least restore the water? I am not going into the question of compensation; I am only a layman and my mind does not run in that direction, but I want to view this matter in a common sense way, and I must say that I am very glad the minister expressed himself as he did thus afternoon. I would have preferred if he had gone further and been more explicit as ito what the government intended to do to solve this question, and I hope that as the session goes on the minister will take this House into his confidence further. This is an international question now; it vitally affects the Dominion of Canada, and I hope that some solution will be found whereby the water taken from the Great Lakes may be restored. If it is possible to make the city of Chicago pay, damages should be collected. They have done wrong; their courts have practically said that they are in the wrong. I will! not take up the time of the House longer, other than to say that as a new member from Ontario, I am vitally interested in the settlement of this question by this government as speedily as possible.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CHICAGO DRAINAGE CANAL
Sub-subtopic:   ENFORCEMENT OF TREATY AND COLLECTION OF DAMAGES
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, this question has been before parliament during each of the last four sessions, and possibly previously, but as far as I can observe we are not one whit farther towards obtaining-or indeed towards the assertion of-our rights than we were when the question was first mooted. Though I have heard every discussion to date I have never yet discovered in any of them an attempt to make this great issue a subject of party controversy in Canada. If the hon. member for South Perth (Mr. Sanderson) can so define the present discussion, I congratulate him upon the fact that his perspicacity is at least that much greater than mine. We want in this House, in a question concerning our relations with foreign nations, to strengthen so far as

187G

Chicago Drainage Canal

possible the hand of the government of the day, whatever the government may be. I know that if I were a member of the government, the stronger Canada's case was put, the more frequently it was presented, the more determinedly it was emphasized and insisted upon in the House of Commons of this country, the better I would be pleased. By that means the government is in a position to represent the feelings of this country to the authorities of the United States. I do not know that the people of the United States or the government of the United States are interested very much in the rights of Canada; we are supposed to look after those rights ourselves, but I do know that they are interested in the goodwill of Canada and in the goodwill of the Canadian people, The goodwill of the Canadian people is an asset to the United States of America, and an asset which they as a shrewd nation will not very readily impair or lose. Consequently, it is of importance that the people of Canada get to know just what is and has been going on, that the whole people get to understand it, and, getting to understand it, that they express themselves freely and strongly in order that the United States may apprehend just what they have to lose by persistence in their present conduct. We have to do only with the government of the United States; we have not to do with the city of Chicago. It is well to begin with, therefore, to understand what is the position.

We have nothing that can be called a legal right in the sense that we have a right enforceable in a court. The only reason we cannot call it a legal right is that two nations are concerned instead of one. Over a score of years we have lost an asset of the Canadian people, an asset of comparatively little value twenty or thirty or forty years ago, but of a value increasing in geometrical proportion every year since, an asset which now is one of the most prized of our possessions. That has been taken from us year by year by the city of Chicago, a city of the United States of America. That asset is the water of the Great Lakes system, taken from us, first in substantial but relatively small quantity, and now taken from us to the extent of 9.700 cubic feet per second; I use that figure because it is the figure authorized by the United States Supreme Court in a judgment addressed to the city of Chicago. I cannot help but bow in admiration before the consummate assertion of self-right by a court of the United States calmly to grant to one of the cities of the United States,

without in any way speaking to its neighbour, Canada, the right to take our property.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CHICAGO DRAINAGE CANAL
Sub-subtopic:   ENFORCEMENT OF TREATY AND COLLECTION OF DAMAGES
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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN (York):

On the authority of a department of the government of the United States.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CHICAGO DRAINAGE CANAL
Sub-subtopic:   ENFORCEMENT OF TREATY AND COLLECTION OF DAMAGES
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

But they have done so

to the extent of 9,700 cubic feet per second. Nor have we any very firm ground for asserting that the Chicago drainage district is confining its depredations to the limitations fixed by the Supreme Court of the United States. I do not know myself whether it is or not, but if my life depended upon a guess, I would put the extent of the diversion away above the 9,700 cubic feet. That that quantity is taken goes, of course, without saying, but the extent of it is very hard to fix definitely. The United States agree that it reduces the level of our lakes by six inches. Even if that is to be accepted, it undoubtedly means the loss of millions per year to this country. We know, however, that our lakes have fallen to the extent of 32, if not 36, inches, and very few of the Canadan people can ever be brought to believe that that fall of 32 to 36 inches is attributable only to the extent of one-sixth to a diversion of approximately 10,000 cubic feet per second.

Now were this a matter of merely legal right between one party and another in the same country, it could very quickly be settled.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CHICAGO DRAINAGE CANAL
Sub-subtopic:   ENFORCEMENT OF TREATY AND COLLECTION OF DAMAGES
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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 (Edmonton):

May I just interject, lest my hon. friend be under a misapprehension, that I was quoting the figures of our own engineers as to the six-inch reduction in depth?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CHICAGO DRAINAGE CANAL
Sub-subtopic:   ENFORCEMENT OF TREATY AND COLLECTION OF DAMAGES
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The minister stated that the United States admitted that amount.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CHICAGO DRAINAGE CANAL
Sub-subtopic:   ENFORCEMENT OF TREATY AND COLLECTION OF DAMAGES
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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 (Edmonton):

Yes, but I

juet wanted now to point out that it was not the figure of the American engineers, but of our own Canadian engineers, that the diversion of 10,000 cubic feet per second would lower the Great Lakes level by six inches.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CHICAGO DRAINAGE CANAL
Sub-subtopic:   ENFORCEMENT OF TREATY AND COLLECTION OF DAMAGES
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Would lower it six inches in how long a time? Certainly if it is continued year after year it will lower it more than if continued for only a month. I do not know just what the minister means. What I stated was his own words.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CHICAGO DRAINAGE CANAL
Sub-subtopic:   ENFORCEMENT OF TREATY AND COLLECTION OF DAMAGES
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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 (Edmonton):

May I make myself clear to my right hon. friend? If you returned the diversion of 9,700 cubic feet per second-say 10,000 in round figures-into the Great Lakes system it would raise the depth of the water from lake Huron eastward all through the system by six inches.

Chicago Drainage Canal

1S77

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CHICAGO DRAINAGE CANAL
Sub-subtopic:   ENFORCEMENT OF TREATY AND COLLECTION OF DAMAGES
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

In what length of time?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CHICAGO DRAINAGE CANAL
Sub-subtopic:   ENFORCEMENT OF TREATY AND COLLECTION OF DAMAGES
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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 (Edmonton):

The moment you turn it in and the water goes down through the system.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CHICAGO DRAINAGE CANAL
Sub-subtopic:   ENFORCEMENT OF TREATY AND COLLECTION OF DAMAGES
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March 24, 1926