May 28, 1929

CON
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

That I cannot say.

[Mr. Cahan.J

Topic:   MOTOR AND PLEASURE BOATS
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NATURAL RESOURCES OF WESTERN PROVINCES

ADMINISTRATION OP WATERPOWERS IN ALBERTA, SASKATCHEWAN AND MANITOBA


Hon. CHARLES STEWART (Minister of Interior) moved the second reading of Bill No. 311, respecting water-power in the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.


CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Explain. The minister

said he proposed making a more lengthy statement.

Topic:   NATURAL RESOURCES OF WESTERN PROVINCES
Subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION OP WATERPOWERS IN ALBERTA, SASKATCHEWAN AND MANITOBA
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. STEWART:

This bill is to meet the request of the house formulated in a motion that the administration of water-powers alone should be transferred to the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, and that these water-powers dhould be administered in the same manner as is provided for in the Railway Belt Waters Act, and under an agreement similar to that existing between the province of British Columbia and the Dominion government. In the case of British Columbia the Dominion government is the owner of the lands-the railway belt and the Peace River block. In the three provinces mentioned the ownership of the waters remains within the jurisdiction of the Dominion government. At first glance it would appear to be an easy matter to outline the provisions by statute and to declare in what manner this was to be done. The law officers of our department, as well as the law officers of the Justice department, found it most difficult to do that. I have had them prepare what I am offering to-day, that is, legislative authority to make agreements, and in all particulars where they will apply the provisions will be similar to those of the Railway Belt Waters Act. That is briefly all I am asking to be dene to-day.

I understand that in one case in Alberta, while they have not in any sense passed a water-powers administration act, they have as a government secured authority from their legislature to take advantage of this legislation when passed by the Dominion parliament. So that the matter will be simply one of agreement between the two governments, this government binding itself to turn over the complete administration of the water-powers of the province.

I may observe in passing, however, that some difficulties are bound to arise in connection with the administration of these powers. In every instance in which a waterpower will be created the streams are interprovincial. This has caused us a good deal of difficulty 'in the province of Manitoba; and

Natural Resources-Western Provinces

without in any way reflecting on any authority I think it is fortunate that the federal government had some control in relation to the administration of water-powers as between Ontario and Manitoba. Some very serious difficulties arose there, and I think I am safe in saying that it was by the good offices of the federal government that these difficulties were ironed out, with the result that they enjoy a complete utilization of the Winnipeg river and of the waters that flow out of Ontario into and through Manitoba. No doubt the same situation will present itself in connection with the administration of the water-powers of the three western provinces, but it is highly probable that the transfer of all these resources will take place in the near future, and the water-powers will, of course, go with all other resources. But from this date on, whenever the provinces are ready to avail themselves of it, they will have complete control of the administration of the water-powers, subject, of course, only to the same provision as is contained in the Railway Belt Water Act, namely, the right of veto on the part of the Minister of the Interior of the federal government.

Topic:   NATURAL RESOURCES OF WESTERN PROVINCES
Subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION OP WATERPOWERS IN ALBERTA, SASKATCHEWAN AND MANITOBA
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UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

The minister stated, I think, that Alberta had passed legislation which would enable the province to take advantage of this act. Was this act referred to the government of Alberta and has it been approved by them?

Topic:   NATURAL RESOURCES OF WESTERN PROVINCES
Subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION OP WATERPOWERS IN ALBERTA, SASKATCHEWAN AND MANITOBA
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

N'o; that was unnecessary. The act merely gives us authority to transfer the administration-not the waternpowers but the administration of the water-powers-to the provincial government.

Topic:   NATURAL RESOURCES OF WESTERN PROVINCES
Subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION OP WATERPOWERS IN ALBERTA, SASKATCHEWAN AND MANITOBA
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UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

I hope that when we are in committee on the bill the minister will indicate in what respect this legislation is of particular advantage to Alberta. I should like to know the extent of the water-powers in Alberta affected by this legislation.

Topic:   NATURAL RESOURCES OF WESTERN PROVINCES
Subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION OP WATERPOWERS IN ALBERTA, SASKATCHEWAN AND MANITOBA
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

All the

water-powers of every sort not already allocated.

Topic:   NATURAL RESOURCES OF WESTERN PROVINCES
Subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION OP WATERPOWERS IN ALBERTA, SASKATCHEWAN AND MANITOBA
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UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

Except that within the park areas.

Topic:   NATURAL RESOURCES OF WESTERN PROVINCES
Subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION OP WATERPOWERS IN ALBERTA, SASKATCHEWAN AND MANITOBA
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

Yes, and in reserves.

Topic:   NATURAL RESOURCES OF WESTERN PROVINCES
Subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION OP WATERPOWERS IN ALBERTA, SASKATCHEWAN AND MANITOBA
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UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

What is left?

Topic:   NATURAL RESOURCES OF WESTERN PROVINCES
Subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION OP WATERPOWERS IN ALBERTA, SASKATCHEWAN AND MANITOBA
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

They are reserved in the British Columbia act in that respect.

Topic:   NATURAL RESOURCES OF WESTERN PROVINCES
Subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION OP WATERPOWERS IN ALBERTA, SASKATCHEWAN AND MANITOBA
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LAB

Herbert Bealey Adshead

Labour

Mr. ADSHEAD:

But what is there left in Alberta outside the park areas?

Topic:   NATURAL RESOURCES OF WESTERN PROVINCES
Subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION OP WATERPOWERS IN ALBERTA, SASKATCHEWAN AND MANITOBA
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

I am not prepared to say offhand, but there are indications of a good many chances to establish water-ipowers on the Athabaska river. All these rivers fall very rapidly from the mountains. On the Red Deer river there are possibilities.

Topic:   NATURAL RESOURCES OF WESTERN PROVINCES
Subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION OP WATERPOWERS IN ALBERTA, SASKATCHEWAN AND MANITOBA
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition):

This bill means really nothing; it is merely a pretence and that is all, for the simple and obvious reason that it is predicated on the assumption that the property ownership remains in the Dominion, and that the administration may, subject to the power of veto of the Minister Of the Interior, be granted the province. In other words, if the province prepares a lease which is in any sense dissimilar from the ones now in use, the minister's veto power may be exercised- I do not say will, but may be. But there is a greater difficulty which we must face sooner or later, and that is that there are no water-powers in Alberta outside the parks. Such water-ipowers as are in the province of Alberta must necessarily be water-powers that have their source in the Rocky mountains, and with the wide extent of the boundaries of the Rocky Mountains park and other parks in the north, it is now painfully apparent that there can be no utilization of these water-powers for industrial and commercial purposes so long as they remain in the park, for the park authorities have made it perfectly clear that they will allow no one to undertake hydro-electric constructions within the park. That has been made perfectly clear, and they have gone so far that I ventured the other day to direct the minister's attention to the rather ridiculous position taken in relation to a dam away up in the mountains in connection with the Spray lakes. The minister himself felt that the situation was little short of ridiculous. My hon. friend from Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens) is very much given to the maintenance of the beauties and scenic attractions of western Canada. I submit, however, that we must face actualities, and the fact is that there are in Alberta no water-powers which are at present not within the park areas. For that reason, so far as we_. are concerned, the bill is nugatory

2884 COMMONS

Natural Resources-Western Provinces

Topic:   NATURAL RESOURCES OF WESTERN PROVINCES
Subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION OP WATERPOWERS IN ALBERTA, SASKATCHEWAN AND MANITOBA
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

There is

only one within the park area which it is possible to develop and that is lake Minne-wanka.

Topic:   NATURAL RESOURCES OF WESTERN PROVINCES
Subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION OP WATERPOWERS IN ALBERTA, SASKATCHEWAN AND MANITOBA
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I understand that further north there may fee, by utilization of storage-

Topic:   NATURAL RESOURCES OF WESTERN PROVINCES
Subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION OP WATERPOWERS IN ALBERTA, SASKATCHEWAN AND MANITOBA
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May 28, 1929