February 19, 1929

NAVIGABLE WATERS PROTECTION ACT AMENDMENT


Mr. T. L. CHURCH (Toronto Northwest) moved the second reading of Bill No. 14, to amend the Navigable Waters Protection Act. He said: This bill seeks to amend chapter 140 of the revised statutes of Canada, known as the Navigable Waters Protection Act; which was placed on our statute books before cheap hydro light and power came into being in the province of Ontario or practically anywhere else in Canada. The object of chapter 140 and the act ahead of it was to provide that no works should be constructed which would interfere with navigation, but since that day over 800,000 horse-power of electricity has been developed in Ontario. Some years ago the late Sir Adam Beck proposed to erect a dam at Morrisburg for the generation of electrical power; that application preceded the application of the Beauharnois company by four or five years, but the government of Ontario and the hydro-electric commission could get no satisfaction from this government. The application was held up for approval and was finally refused. Now it is proposed to allow this Quebec company to divert 40,000 second feet of water from that international stream, and if this is done it will sound the death knell of the St. Lawrence waterway. A leading paper in this city went to bed one night opposing this proposition and woke up in the morning in favour of it, for some reason which I do not understand. In the old days when the Grand Trunk Pacific was launched by Hon. George A. Cox and others the promoters told the people what great benefits it would bring to Canada, anil the Liberals watchword was, "Cox can't wait." Now the battle cry of the Liberal party is 'Jones can't wait; Gundy can't wait, but the parliament of Canada can wait. This magnificent Evening Journal of Ottawa, which has been a mill-stone around the neck of the Conservative party for years-in Ottawa so much so that we cannot elect our candidates here-says that parliament has no more to do with this proposition than it has to do with the pyramids of Egypt. That is wonderful logic. On the one hand we have the papers complaining about the Chicago diversion of 10,000 second feet from lake Michigan, yet we are told that parliament has nothing to do with this proposition. If 40,000 cubic second feet are taken from the St. Lawrence there will not be enough water left for navigation or the har-hour of Montreal. Officials of the Canada Steamship Lines who appeared before the Minister of Public Works on this application said there would1 not be enough water in the rapids to permit navigation, and we know that there is some danger now in that respect. I think we should postpone this application until May and then have the members of parliament and the senate go to Cornwall and take a steamer over the river and look over the situation. They could do that in five or six hours and it would show the folly of handing over this waterway to private individuals to make millionaires overnight of Mr. Gundy of Toronto, Mr. Jones, Sir Herbert Holt and others. Let me tell the government that they are doomed if they grant that permit; there are still a number of papers throughout Canada upholding public rights, and they will not be quiet if this permit is granted. The farmers now are asking for cheap light and power for their farms. The great issue in the United States during the last election between Mr. Hoover and Mr. Smith was farm relief; what is this government going to do in the way of farm relief? One of the greatest boons given the farmer in the United States is cheap light and power, which greatly lessens his labour. In. the monthly publication issued by the National City Bank of New York City there appears a table showing how farm labour has been reduced and efficiency increased through the utilization on the farm of hydro-electric power and its use in machinery of all kinds on the farm. According to the table one hydro-electric machine can do Nmnohble Waters Protection Act_ the work of eighteen or twenty hired men. ister Was nr/t strong enough to hear the merits nf eoco qs Vip lpfiTipfl towards Dublic rights I have not time to go into that at present, but I must say that the farmers of Ontario want this power and are opposed to handing it over to private ownership. There was a debate in this house on the Great Lakes and Beauhamois application on the 9th and Uth of May last year, when the bill was up for a second reading and I moved the six months' hoist. It stood in the name of the then hon. member for Joliette Mr. Denis, who is now on the bench of the Supreme Court of Quebec, and when he was asked to explain this Beauhamois canal proposition he was unable to do so. He did not know whether he was in favour of the principle of the bill or not. When a vote was taken it stood fifty-six for the six months hoist and about fifty-name against it, but as it was after nine o'clock before the vote was recorded the bill was 'laid over. In that particular debate it was stated by some members on this side of the house, and the members of the Progressive party, that the issues involved were sub judice, having been referred to the supreme court of Canada on the St. Lawrence waterway reference. The whole question of the ownership of this St. Lawrence waterway, and the division of authority between the federal and the provincial governments was in dispute. The provinces contended that they owned the bed of the river, and the banks and rapids subject to the rights of navigation, and also the surplus waters of these boundary international waterways subject to navigation rights. Another fact enters into this proposition, and that is the rights of the United States and the state of New York in this international stream. What are the rights of the provinces of Ontario and Quebec in the flow of this international river? Our government to-day is not a government by the people, of the people, and for the people. As I said the other day, democracy has been a failure in this country. I notice the decay and decline of parliament and of parliamentary institutions, as is evidenced by the application made a few days ago and which was heard by the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Elliott). The Minister of Public Works is the only minister named in this particular act, chapter 140 of the revised statutes of Canada, known as the Navigable Waters Protection Act. While the minister always hears these applications himself, on this particular occasion he had to have two gentlemen known as Alphonse and Gaston beside him. It looked as though the government thought the minand their protection. I will admit that some of the members for the province of Ontario, on both sides of the house, have not had the backbone to stand up for this empire province of Ontario in this house. This great empire province of Ontario has more economic problems to solve than all the other provinces put together, you might say. We hear something about maritime rights, prairie rights and Pacific coast rights, but you very seldom see a representative from the province of Ontario standing up to protect, the vested rights of our province and the solution of its economic ills. When this application came on for a hearing before the minister, he was quite aware that there had been a debate in this house. He was aware that the very questions involved there, as to the division of authority and the sovereign rights of the provinces and the Dominion, had been referred bo the courts by an order in council. The other day the supreme court gave a decision on these veiy questions, but I must say they gave it in a very futile manner. The very same questions are involved in this Beauhamois permit and the passing of this application for 40.000 second feet of water for power purposes, which will ruin navigation and kill forever the St. Lawrence waterway. When this application was heard the minister had to be flanked on the right and left by two other ministers, and you would think that the Minister of Public Works was incompetent to hear this question. The government decided that he should have two official guardians, one sitting on his right and the other on the left. The official guardian on the right was the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Stewart) who the other day at Windsor said it was good-bye to the St. Lawrence waterway. This is the same gentleman who, when he was asked last session to produce the papers referring to the giving away of the Seven Sisters falls to a monopoly in the city of Winnipeg known as the Winnipeg Electric Company, gave us to understand that there would be no grant or lease made in the recess of parliament. But a few days after parliament prorogued, notwithstanding the opposition of the Liberal members from the city of Winnipeg, and the Progressive members, he handed over to this company a grant of the water power of the Seven Sisters falls. _ But they are going to have a general election in Manitoba on that particular question in a few days, and it will be found that the farmers of 264 COMMONS Navigable Waters Protection Act that province will stand up for the boon of cheap light and power and oppose the Seven Sisters raid. On the other side of the Minister of Public AVorks was the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Cardin). He also was one of the official guardians present to help along the permit. Was anyone there to stand up for the rights of the public, or to point out on this application of these water-power private company grabbers that the public had some rights in this river? Was there no one there to tell the minister that these very questions were involved in the reference to the supreme court and that navigation would be ruined on the river? That reference to the supreme court is sub judice still at the present time for some people, but not for others. When the Alberta resources question was said to be sub judice, a debate on it was ruled out of order, but so far as this Beauharnois proposition is concerned it did not matter whether the question was 'before the court or whether it was sub judioe, as Jones and all the others could not wait. When the Prime Minister was asked the other day if the government would issue a permit for the canalization and water-power development of the St. Lawrence, he replied to the hon. member from Winnipeg (Mr. Heaps) that the application would have to follow the procedure under the Navigable Waters Protection Act, and that it would have to go through the ordinary procedure. That procedure would be all right if it was to apply to a small harbour at Oakville, Ottawa, Three Rivers, Chicoutimi or some other place, but when they propose to take 40,000 second feet of water out of the St. Lawrence river, an international stream, and divert that for private purposes then it is another matter especially as there are joint relations with the United States and Ontario in this river to consider. The object of my Bill No. 14 is to amend chapter 140 of the revised statutes of Canada. It provides that the jurisdiction now vested in the Minister of Public Works shall be repealed in so far as it affects any international boundary waters. Section 1 of the bill provides that the following shall be inserted immediately after section 9 of the act: 9a. (1) No work except harbour improvements shall be commenced or constructed in, upon, over, under, through or across any international navigable boundary waters between the Dominion of Canada and the United States of America, or any part of the river St. Lawrence, without the approval of parliament or on any terms or conditions other than those approved by parliament. (2) Plans of any such work, in duplicate, and a description of the proposed site, shall be deposited with the Clerk of the House of Commons. (3) No order in council, regulation or permit purporting to grant the right to commence or construct such work shall have any force or effect unless authorized by parliament. In the Navigable Waters Protection Act " work " is defined as follows: "Work" includes any bridge, boom, dam, aboiteau, wharf, dock, prer or other structure, tunnel or pipe, or telegraph or power cable or wire and the approaches or other works necessary or appurtenant thereto, or any work, structure or device, whether similar in character to the foregoing or not, which may inter-iere with navigation. This particular bill does not interfere with any legitimate harbour development, but it places on parliament the responsibility of deciding whether it will give away, under the guise of power, this magnificent heritage known as the St. Lawrence waterway to a few private millionaire citizens of this country who are only too eager to get hold of the title deeds. As I said the other day, what the present government needs is a chief bouncer to clear out of the parliament buildings these gentlemen who spend most of the year in the city of Ottawa trying to grab the public domain and the natural resources of the mines, the timber, the forest and water powers of Canada; this magnificent heritage, and divert it to private gieed and gain over the head of parliament. What is parliament for? We might just as well all go home, because to-day in this country democracy is a failure. The cabinet rule; if they had their way they would have given the Beauharnois people what they asked for. Of course they would, because we have in office to-day a government that is just a combination of big interests and appetites in regard to the preservation of these water-powers for the people. That was shown in connection with the Gatineau river when Sir Clifford Sifton and his friends came here a year or two ago and almost got away with the Calumet and Gatineau power proposition in the Ottawa valley. It was shown last session when the then hon. member for Joliette brought in a bill known as the Great Lakes bill to give this Beauharnois company this magnificent heritage away down in the St. Lawrence. By that particular bill the company asked not only for power rights but for power to build that section of the St. Lawrence waterway as a navigation canal. As is shown in the discussion which took place on my motion for the six months' hoist of this bill on May 9 and 11 of last year, this company was going to be a canal company as well, in order to take toll from ships passing Navigable Waters Protection Act through the St. Lawrence. They had in the bill of 1928 an application to build the navigation canal as well as a power canal and it was one of the most barefaced applications ever made in this legislature. In asking for permission to build this navigation canal they were asking for power to upset the whole settled canal policy of Canada from 1854 when the government of Canada took over the canals of this country. There was never any trouble in this regard from 1854 until last year when this company came along and asked parliament to upset the settled canal policy of the country in order that they might collect tolls for navigation canal purposes by their bill in this part of the St. Lawrence waterway. Did anyone ever hear of such a thing? Where is it going to end? I can tell you where it is going to end. The government to-day has simply made a football of the St. Lawrence waterways; the government of the day can solve no great economic question in this country. They do not govern at all; they are just a government of standpatters. They believe in the doctrine of laissez f<aire-let well enough alone. The government do not believe in the St. Lawrence waterways. If this permit is ever issued to these gentlemen, many of whom have been made millionaires by acts of parliament and power privileges under the guise of the Navigable Waters Protection and other acts, it is good-day and goodbye forever to the St. Lawrence waterways. What do the members from Ontario and the members of the Progressive party think of the way in which this matter has been handled by the government and the Department of Public Works? I can only say in conclusion that the bill before the chair to-night places the responsibility on parliament instead of on the government. Are you or are you not in favour of allowing these people to divert 40,000 second feet of water for power purposes and so destroy the river for navigation purposes? It may be wholly in Quebec but the waters are international waters. Are you going to have this grab principle adopted all the way from lake Superior to the port of Montreal on both sides of the boundary line? Chicago is taking water out of lake Michigan. They propose to build another canal at Sault Ste. Marie; they propose to divert water at or near Cleveland by another canal down the Ohio valley as far as New Orleans. They propose to take water from the watershed of Canada right down from Cleveland or near there to the Mississippi valley and river to New Orleans for a waterway. Further down at the port of Ogdensburg they propose to take more water out of the river and divert it to Albany in the state of New York for power and navigation purposes. Last but not least we have this application. The St. Lawrence waterway proposition is the greatest economic problem there is on this North American continent to-day and the two political parties in the house seem to be running away from it. The party that settles the problem aright will rule Canada for many a day. If this permit to the Beauharnois power people is passed-and it is wrapped up in this particular bill before the house to-night -if this application is passed under the guise of Navigable Waters Protection Act allowing 40,000 second feet of water to be handed over to these people, it is good-bye forever to the St. Lawrence waterway. I move the second reading of the bill and the responsibility is now on the house and on the government to decide whether we are going to preserve for the people for all time this magnificent waterway.


CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Mr. Speaker, I rise to

point out-

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order.

And the result of the vote having been announced :

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Mr. Speaker, I was about to direct your attention, when I was ruled out of order, to the fact that there are hon. members in the chamber who did not vote on the motion, and the matter before the house being a private bill, unless there are specific reasons the rules require hon. members to vote. I was proceeding to direct the attention of Your Honour to that fact before the vote was announced, in order that Your Honour might take the necessary steps to see that the hon. members present and not voting should have the opportunity to have their votes recorded.

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CON

Eccles James Gott

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOTT:

I was paired with the hon.

member for Kent (Mr. Rutherford). Had I voted, I would have voted for the second reading of the bill.

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

In connection with the remarks of my hon. friend the leader of the opposition, I am paired in a species of gentleman's agreement with the hon. member for East Hamilton (Mr. Rennie). I consider that the agreement I made with the hon. member for East Hamilton concerns myself and him alone, and nobody else. I consider that I was paired with him on this vote, and therefore I did not vote.

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CON

William Earl Rowe

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROWE:

I was paired with the hon.

member for Beauce (Mr. Lacroix). Had I voted, I would have voted for the motion.

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CON

William Ernest Tummon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TUMMON:

I was paired with the

hon. member for Chambly-Vercheres (Mr. Langlois). Had I voted, I would have voted for the motion.

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LIB

Paul Mercier

Liberal

Mr. MERCIER (St. Henri):

I was paired

with the hon. member for West Hamilton (Mr. Bell). Had I voted, I would have voted against the motion.

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LIB

Joseph-Alexandre Mercier

Liberal

Mr. MERCIER (Laurier-Outremont):

I

was paired with the hon. member for Toronto South (Mr, Geary). Had I voted, I would have voted against the motion.

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CON

Finlay MacDonald

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacDONALD (Cape Breton South):

I was paired with the hon. member for Springfield (Mr. Bissett). Had I voted I would have voted for the motion.

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CON

Lewis Wilkieson Johnstone

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. JOHNSTONE (Cape Breton):

I was paired with the hon. member for Stanstead (Mr. Baldwin). Had I voted, I would have voted for the motion.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Before Your Honour rules on the point I raised, may I direct your attention to rule 68, which says:

If a member who has heard the question put does not vote, and the attention of the Speaker is directed to the fact, the latter will call upon him to declare on which side he votes; and his name will be recorded accordingly.

I rose before Your Honour declared the result of the vote to direct attention to the rule, with which I was familiar in order that Your Honour might ask the gentlemen who had not voted upon which side they desired to vote, so that, in the language of the rule, their names should " be recorded accordingly." The hon. members who did not vote are the hon. member for Dauphin (Mr. Ward), the hon. member for one of the Winnipeg constituencies, and the hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Glen).

Navigable Waters Protection Act

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

If my hon. friend will

read a little further down, he will see in paragraph 77 the following:

There can be no parliamentary recognition of this practice (pairing), although it has never been expressly condemned; and it is therefore conducted privately by individual members, or arranged by the gentlemen known as the "whips" who are entrusted by their political parties with the office of collecting their respective forces on a division.

I can quite understand that if an hon. member was not paired and did not vote, he might be forced to declare his vote but this rule or parliamentary custom is rarely enforced. It is left to the conscience of the hon. member to do his duty.

As regards pairs, pairs are not recognized by the Speaker. As the hon. member for Quebec South (Mr. Power) has just said, pairing is a gentleman's agreement between hon. members themselves, but out of this custom of pairing has grown another custom, that of recording the pairs in Hansard.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I trust that Your Honour realizes that I was not in any sense dealing with the question of pairs. I directed attention to the fact that three members of this house who do not claim to be paired did not vote, and the rule requires that Your Honour shall ask them how they desired to have their names recorded on the question. That is the only point I raised.

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I took it that the hon.

gentlemen who did not vote were paired.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

No, no.

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

If they were not paired,

they should have declared how they would have voted.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

That is why I am asking Your Honour to call them.

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February 19, 1929