May 31, 1940

LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

Immediately.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   BEAUHARNOIS POWER COMPANY
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED APPROVAL FOR DIVERSION OF ADDITIONAL 30,000 CUBIC SECOND FEET
Permalink
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply; Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

It is merely for the purpose of allowing questions to be answered.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   BEAUHARNOIS POWER COMPANY
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED APPROVAL FOR DIVERSION OF ADDITIONAL 30,000 CUBIC SECOND FEET
Permalink

Motion agreed to, bill read the second time, and the house went into committee thereon, Mr. Fournier (Hull) in the chair. On section 1-Authority to divert.


NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

I am not rising to oppose the bill, but I have some questions which I wish to ask, so if the minister is replying later on to any other hon. member, he can at that time also answer my questions. At the same time I wish to say something about the whole matter which is involved in the bill.

As I understand it, the authority of this parliament is strictly confined to navigation. That being the case, all we can do is either approve or disapprove the bill, because the production of power is wholly a matter for the province of Quebec. Since the government sponsored the bill, and in view of the fact that the diversion of 83,072 cubic feet of water per second will destroy the river, so far as navigation is concerned, from lake St Francis down the rapids section of the river to lake St. Louis, I should like the minister to inform the committee if the government

Beauhamois Power-Mr. MacNicol

has ascertained and satisfied itself that so far as navigation is concerned from lake St. Francis to lake St. Louis, the St. Lawrence is "through"; for, as I said a moment ago, the diversion of 83,072 cubic feet per second will destroy navigation; in fact at present, during the summer time, navigation is destroyed through the diversion of the present

53.072 cubic feet of water.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   BEAUHARNOIS POWER COMPANY
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED APPROVAL FOR DIVERSION OF ADDITIONAL 30,000 CUBIC SECOND FEET
Permalink
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply; Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

It is not very good in the winter time either.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   BEAUHARNOIS POWER COMPANY
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED APPROVAL FOR DIVERSION OF ADDITIONAL 30,000 CUBIC SECOND FEET
Permalink
NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

Occasionally, when high water is available, the Canada Steamship boat, the Rapids Queen, can go down that section, but navigation is precarious excepting during high water.

I might, perhaps, give a little background regarding the flow of the water at the point where it is affected by the Beauhamois canal and where it flows down the river to lake St. Louis. This is one of the greatest sites of potential power wealth in the world. Behind lake St. Francis the area of the St. Lawrence watershed, outside of the Ottawa river watershed, is 250,000 square miles, more largely in Ontario than in the United States, but shared almost equally between them. The total flow of the river at the outlet on lake St. Francis in high water is about 230,000 cubic feet per second; it varies from that amount down to

180,000 cubic feet per second in low water. As I have said, in low water the diversion of 83,072 cubic feet from 180,000 cubic feet of water would destroy the value of the river for navigation purposes. I want to have it clear in my mind whether the government has decided that so far as navigation is concerned between lake St. Francis and lake St. Louis, the St. Lawrence river is "through."

The river from the gulf of St. Lawrence to the head waters-and I have followed it from one end to the other-is about 1,870 miles. It has immense potential power value. Right at the outlet of lake St. Francis at present what is the situation? Beauhamois diverts

53.072 cubic feet of water per second, from which it develops, or can develop, on an 85 per cent basis, 400,000 horse power. As any engineer in the house knows, the horse power is based on the height that the water drops, which is 83 feet. The level of lake St. Francis above the sea being 152 feet, and the level of lake St. Louis being 69 feet, this makes the difference of 83 feet. The flow of the river, which is taken normally at 230,000 feet per second, multiplied by the height of the fall, which is 83, and divided by 11, will enable anyone to figure out the normal power, which would be approximately 1,750,000 horse power on that basis. I believe that to-day the Beauhamois company are developing all

but one-half of the power of one generator. As my leader said, they are developing practically all they can. A little down the river from the outlet of lake St. Francis there are two other power sites in operation: The Cedars on the north side of the river developing about 225,000 horse power, and the St. Timothy on the south side of the river developing

30,000 horse power. In other words, at the moment there is being developed from the flow of the river east of lake St. Francis in the rapids section between lake St. Francis and lake St. Louis, approximately 655,000 horse power.

Now my leader referred to the possible diversion of the full flow of the river, and asked the minister what the horse power would be if the full flow of the river were diverted through the Beauhamois canal. The full flow is 230,000 cubic feet per second. I suppose it could be regulated back west through the reservoirs of the five great lakes, commencing with lake Superior, the largest, having an area of 31,800 square miles, and lake Ontario, the smallest, having an area of 7,760 square miles. Therefore I have no doubt that remedial works west of Kingston, Ontario, to the sources of the river could provide enough water that the flow of 230,000 cubic feet per second could be maintained. That being the case, the total power which could be developed by the full flow of the river at Beauhamois is 230,000 multiplied by 83 and divided by 11, or approximately 1,750,000 horse power. There we have an everlasting and perfect potential power development, which so far as I know is not surpassed anywhere in one unit.

There is one feature that I do not like- not about this development itself; I think the development is a splendid one-but I do not like one phrase that is in the bill because it recalls another very sad event that happened to Canada. In the preamble are these words:

. . . urgently required to meet the increased demand incident to manufacture of materials for war purposes.

I have in mind that in 1918 there took place in the St. Lawrence river another diversion in regard to which somewhat the same words appeared in the submission presented to the International Joint Commission when the Aluminum company at Massena applied to that commission in August I believe, at any rate during the summer of 1918, for permission to erect a weir in the south channel of the St. Lawrence river between Long Sault island and the New York shore. The same argument was put up for permission to divert waters, namely "for war purposes." The International Joint Commission granted the Aluminum company the right to erect a weir in the river, the first result being that the river was raised

Beauharnois Power-Mr. MacNicol

five feet, and the second result was that navigation was totally destroyed in the south branch of the St. Lawrence river. The commission gave the Aluminum company the right to erect that weir on condition that it should be removed at the end of the war, or in any event within five years. That has not been done; that weir is still across the river between Long Sault island and the south bank of the river. I have made a careful examination of it, photographed it, and what I am stating I know to be a fact. There is no navigation down the south branch of the St. Lawrence river, and for years-for generations, from the commencement of navigation in the St. Lawrence-the south branch was a navigation channel. That weir has not been removed in spite of the express order of the International Joint Commission.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   BEAUHARNOIS POWER COMPANY
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED APPROVAL FOR DIVERSION OF ADDITIONAL 30,000 CUBIC SECOND FEET
Permalink
LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Chief Government Whip's assistant; Deputy Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. CHEVRIER:

May I tell the hon.

member that there was no navigation in the south branch of the river before the weir of which he speaks was built.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   BEAUHARNOIS POWER COMPANY
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED APPROVAL FOR DIVERSION OF ADDITIONAL 30,000 CUBIC SECOND FEET
Permalink
NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

My hon. friend evidently is not familiar with navigation in the south branch of the St. Lawrence river. I may tell my hon. friend that this matter has had long study by me, and from the commencement until 1896 the south branch of the St. Lawrence river could be navigated.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   BEAUHARNOIS POWER COMPANY
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED APPROVAL FOR DIVERSION OF ADDITIONAL 30,000 CUBIC SECOND FEET
Permalink
LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Chief Government Whip's assistant; Deputy Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. CHEVRIER:

That is correct. May I interrupt the hon. gentleman? What I was telling the hon. member is that prior to the construction of the weir there was no navigation south.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   BEAUHARNOIS POWER COMPANY
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED APPROVAL FOR DIVERSION OF ADDITIONAL 30,000 CUBIC SECOND FEET
Permalink
NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

And I am telling my hon. friend again that he is wrong. I repeat what I said; up until 1896, about the time the Massena canal was first commenced, the south branch of the St. Lawrence could be navigated. I was up and down it myself from the town of Prescott when I was a boy. I am not in the habit of making statements here that are not correct. In spite of the order of the International Joint Commission the weir is still in the river, and the Massena company is diverting 25,000 cubic feet per second with which they are generating 90,000 horse power at Massena.

However, I am not opposing these words in the bill; I am merely stating that they recall to my mind another diversion from the St. Lawrence river that has been wholly unsatisfactory so far as Canadians are concerned, for we receive no revenue from that diversion.

Something was said about the export of power. I also am generally opposed to the export of power. Years ago when the development of the St. Lawrence river for power purposes was proposed, the late Sir Adam Beck,

who was then chairman of the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario, stated, in a protest against the exportation of hydroelectric power, with special reference to a power development that at that time was proposed to be erected on the Ottawa river at Carillon, as reported at page nine of the report:

I am not alone.

That is in the opposition to the export of power.

Premier Ferguson of Ontario and Premier Tasehereau of Quebec on different occasions have expressed themselves most forcibly against the exportation of electricity upon any terms such as those outlined for the proposed Carillon lease.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   BEAUHARNOIS POWER COMPANY
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED APPROVAL FOR DIVERSION OF ADDITIONAL 30,000 CUBIC SECOND FEET
Permalink
NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

What is the date of that?

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   BEAUHARNOIS POWER COMPANY
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED APPROVAL FOR DIVERSION OF ADDITIONAL 30,000 CUBIC SECOND FEET
Permalink
NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

The report of 1925,

page 9.

My leader asked: Is there any power being exported by the Beauharnois company? My information may not be correct, but as given to me it is that in consideration of the United States interests at Niagara releasing the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario from the agreed export at Niagara falls of some 40,000 horse power, that amount is now exported from Beauharnois to compensate for said release. Of course that is not an additional exportation; it is only taking the place of the said exportation that would have been carried on from Niagara falls according to agreement.

One reason why I am not against the diversion of the water, provided the government have decided that navigation is " through " east of lake St. Francis, is that the HydroElectric Power Commission of Ontario does require power. And it has a right to expect to be able to purchase power from the Beauharnois company because, in a pamphlet issued in 1928, entitled " St. Lawrence waterway project" are these words:

We believe the situation justifies consideration of the present problem from the broad national standpoint by both the provinces concerned-

That is, Ontario and Quebec.

-and that in the national interests such arrangements should be made as will enable Ontario to secure her power requirements for eastern territory from the purely Canadian section of the river pending the development of the international reaches. We are of opinion that, in the light of the good understanding presently obtaining between the two provinces, this would not be difficult of arrangement, and that power could be thus secured at rates which will compare most favourably with present cost of Ontario power.

Beauharnois Power-Mr. MacNicol

That merely goes to show that Ontario should expect to obtain power from Beau-hamois and have it delivered to the Ontario hydro commission. As I said a moment ago, the hydro commission does require more power. Prior to the depression I believe the demand for power increased at the rate of about ten per cent a year, but during the depression the demand decreased. In one of the last years of depression, 1937, the power generated by the Ontario Hydro-Electric Power Commission direct was 1,094,504 horse power. In 1938 it was about the same- 1,086,729 horse power. In 1939, however, I suppose owing to the demand made by industry in preparing to produce munitions, the government having gone into that work to some extent, the power produced rose to 1,228,552 horse power, an increase of thirteen per cent in one year. From other hydro interests and companies producing power for the hydro commission, the commission obtained 1,484,650 horse power in 1938 and 1,669,335 horse power in 1939, or an increase of twelve per cent in that period. So to-day there is a substantial demand, and I am told that at the present time the hydro electric power commission has a reserve of not more than 300,000 horse power.

There are other places where electricity can be developed. One such place is the Nipigon river. They are now developing a large block of power there, but just south of the point where the Nipigon river leaves lake Nipigon there is a most magnificent falls called Virgin falls, and just down the river there are two other rapids. From those three rapids I am told some 75,000 horse power could be developed. And if we can obtain an agreement with Quebec we can develop about 225,000 horse power at the Carillon, and by agreement between the two provinces another 600,000 horse power can be developed between Chats falls, where they are developing, and lake Temiskaming. None of that power, however, could be brought into operation quickly, so there is some merit in the request of the Beauharnois company to develop more power.

As someone said not long ago, the Beauharnois development is a wonderful project. In my surveys up and down a great number of rivers I have always been struck with the way God, in laying out the courses of the rivers, provided many wonderful places for the development of vast power resources. The river may take a turn one way round a bend and go down a series of rapids, but God has left, between where the river starts to bend and where power can be developed, a narrow flat table-land, so that all man has to do is dam

the river, dig a short canal and develop power. The Beauharnois canal is fourteen or fifteen miles long and something like 3,000 feet wide. It is a wonderful sight, running across a tableland, the edge of which is the shore of lake St. Louis, where there is a fall of 83 feet. In that distance of fourteen or fifteen miles the river drops down its natural bed over a series of rapids of which the Coteau, Cedars and Cascades are the principal three. So at Beauharnois there is an opportunity to develop power rapidly. I believe they would have to erect another power house, since I understand that now they are developing to capacity with the exception of half of one turbine. However, they could construct a new power house more rapidly than the Ottawa river could be dammed and a power house erected at that point.

I want to take this opportunity to warn the government in the strongest way possible that if they -make any attempt whatever to permit the diversion of water from the Albany river watershed, I will fight it as long as I can, I care not who introduces it or who supports it. I a-m wholly opposed to the diversion of water from one great watershed to another. I am told that the hydro power commission have stated that they will do this if they are permitted, and I believe there is some talk of writing such a provision into the St. Lawrence treaty, but I will fight any provision in that treaty in regard to the diversion of Albany river water into the great lakes. They have erected dams on a branch of the Albany river, namely the Kenogami river, as the minister knows, at a cost of one and a half or two million dollars, and they cannot use a drop of that water without the consent of this parliament and the congress of the United States. I do not think we should do anything like that; I believe we can get all the power we want in Canada without that, but of course that is another matter.

A few moments ago my leader said something about what took place in 1931. I am not going to enlarge on what he said. I was in this house at the time and I well remember the speech made by the Prime Minister. I felt very sorry for him at that time. I am convinced of this, that if there is one thing we can say about the Prime Minister it is that he is absolutely honest personally. I do not believe anyone could point a finger at the integrity of the right hon. gentleman, but at that time there was a rather sorry mess associated with the development of Beauharnois. I always regret that such a great, God-given treasure to Canada should have been mixed up with such a dirty -mess at that time.

Perhaps I might answer a question which was asked by the leader of the opposition

Beauhamois Power-Mr. MacNicol

with regard to the Chicago drainage canal. I keep in constant touch with the diversion at Chicago and know it perhaps as well as it is known by most people. At the moment the Chicago diversion is down to the amount set out in the judgment of the supreme court; that is, the diversion for dilution purposes, which is 1,500 cubic feet per second. On the other hand, Chicago has increased its takeage of water for domestic purposes until to-day it exceeds the per capita takeage for domestic purposes of any great city in the world. It is said it is now taking for the 4,000,000 or 5,000,000 citizens in the Chicago sanitary district, over 300 gallons per day per citizen. That means it is taking somewhere between 1,250,000,000 and 1,500,000,000 gallons of water per day, or the equivalent of about 2,000 cubic feet per second. That amount is much more than Chicago took for domestic purposes before the judgment was issued by the United States Supreme Court. So that when the government is considering the diversion at Chicago, in connection with the St. Lawrence river development, it should keep in mind the fact that Chicago is taking far too much water for domestic purposes, and is thereby in a position to dilute its water more than it would otherwise do. It is still a Chicago steal in that regard.

My leader said something about the Soulanges canal. I believe that canal starts about Coteau Landing, or just east of that point. The Beauhamois diversion is constructed in such a way that a long weir runs out into the lake. The lake being level, I should not imagine that a further diversion of

30,000 cubic feet per second would interfere with the present operation of the Soulanges canal. However, it might do so. Certainly it might well interfere with power production farther down the river, and would eliminate possibilities of navigation down the river.

When the minister speaks, I should like him to answer these questions:

(a) Does the government propose to abandon navigation down the river between lake St. Francis and lake St. Louis? If it does, then I presume there will be no further objection to any further diversion.

(b) What effect will the additional diversion of 30,000 cubic feet per second have on the production of power at the Cedars power plant and at the St. Timothy power plant? If the power development at either of these plants is affected by the increased diversion, who is going to compensate the present producers of the power?

(c) Is the government going to permit the export of power generated by the further diversion of 30,000 cubic feet per second at Beauhamois?

(d) As the diversion will destroy navigation, and as it will destroy navigation for small pleasure craft and ships operated by the Canada Steamship Lines, will the minister tell the committee if the Canada Steamship Lines have any vested rights in the river in connection with the passage of its ships, and if so, who would compensate that company for the loss of the privilege of sailing boats down the river? We must realize that the boat trip down the St. Lawrence is one of the greatest scenic trips in the world.

(e) Provided the Beauhamois company is given the right to divert this water, and when or if the St. Lawrence canal or whatever navigation canal the government is going to construct through the Beauhamois canal is constructed, will Canada be in any way obligated to pay for navigation purposes part of the cost already expended by the Beauhamois company?

I ask that question because I am told that there will be a clause in the new St. Lawrence agreement to the effect that the cost of the development of the St. Lawrence waterways will be divided as follows: Purely power purposes, so far as Ontario is concerned, to be paid by the province of Ontario; purely navigation purposes to be paid by the Dominion of Canada; purposes common to both power and navigation to be paid equally by both. I have in mind that when the Beauhamois bill went through the house nine or ten years ago I was fully convinced, and I believe all hon. members were convinced, that if and when the Beauhamois canal became a navigation canal it would not cost the Dominion of Canada anything, apart from the building of the locks.

That is all I have to say on the matter. I am not going to vote against the bill, if the government gives satisfactory answers to what I have asked. I am sorry that the greatness of this power project was in its early stages somewhat marred by the dirty mess which surrounded its inception.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   BEAUHARNOIS POWER COMPANY
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED APPROVAL FOR DIVERSION OF ADDITIONAL 30,000 CUBIC SECOND FEET
Permalink
?

Leslie Gordon Bell

Mr. COLD WELL:

This is probably one of the most important bills we have had before us for a considerable length of time, and one which, in the opinion of hon. members of this group, should be referred to the committee on railways, canals and telegraph lines, in order that a thorough investigation may be made into what the proposed bill involves.

In discussing the bill this afternoon the minister said it was necessary to obtain this right to divert a further 30,000 cubic feet per second as a requirement of war production. May I point out to the committee that the bill provides for the diversion of this water after the war is over. On the grounds of a war necessity we are extending the concession

Beauhamois Power-Mr. Coldwell

of one of the most valuable resources of our country to a private corporation. As has been shown already by hon. members who have spoken, the amount of the diversion will be so great that in reality we are giving a virtual water-power monopoly to the Beauhamois company.

It is proposed to increase the amount already granted by 30,000 cubic feet per second, and thereby bringing the total amount up to about 83,000 cubic feet per second. As shown by the hon. member who has just taken his seat, that involves more than one-third of the possible flow of water in the river St. Lawrence. In view of the circumstances it is perfectly obvious that parliament has a duty to all the people of Canada, and that such a right should not be granted to the Beauhamois company until the whole matter has been thoroughly investigated by the proper committee and a report made to the house.

The present application carries the Beau-harnois company's control of the water of the St. Lawrence river one step farther towards complete control. That, it seems to me, involves something else; it involves the whole of the St. Lawrence waterway scheme. Before we vote upon this bill, the minister should tell us if the proposed additional diversion has been submitted for the approval of the International Joint Commission. If this has not been done, should the government not consider the obtaining of their approval in view of the boundary waters treaty? I have before me an opinion given on December 21, 1928, by the deputy minister of justice, Mr. Edwards. The boundary waters treaty between Canada and the United States was made on January 11, 1909. That treaty contained certain terms, and article IV states:

The high contracting parties agree that, except in eases provided for by special agreement between them, they will not permit the construction or maintenance on their respective sides of the boundary of any remedial or protective works or any dams or other obstructions in waters flowing from boundary waters or in waters at a lower level than the boundary in rivers flowing across the boundary the effect of which is to raise the natural level of waters on the other side of the boundary, unless the construction or maintenance thereof is approved by the aforesaid International Joint Commission.

Article VIII states:

In cases involving the elevation of the natural level of waters on either side of the line as the result of the construction and maintenance on the other side of remedial or protective works or dams or other obstructions in boundary waters or in waters flowing therefrom or in waters below the boundary in rivers flowing across the boundary, the commission shall require, as a condition of its approval, that

suitable and adequate provision, approved by it, be made for the protection and indemnity of all interests on the other side of the line which may be injured thereby.

Then Mr. Edwards goes on to say:

I am of opinion that the plain intent of these articles of the treaty, as regards the present case-

That was the former application.

is to require that the construction of the proposed works shall be approved by the International Joint Commission, if the said works, when constructed, would have effect to raise the natural level of waters on the United States side of the boundary; but if the construction of the proposed works would not be attended by that effect, then I am of opinion that the construction of the works may be authorized without reference to the International Joint Commission.

I am not in a position to say just what the effect of this would be; but in view of the fact that if such projects are proceeded with, the Beauhamois company will control the whole canal system in that part of the river, I am of opinion that, before this bill is passed, a thorough inquiry should be made into this application.

There is another question which I think the minister might answer. Is it the policy of the present government to allow this section of the St. Lawrence river to pass completely to private control? This is a navigable water. If this is not their policy, is this not a good time to stop any further progress in the direction of private exploitation? I know nothing about the technical problems involved, but along with many other people in this country I am alarmed at the growth of monopolies in various forms. These monopolies have increased largely because of the granting of the right to exploit the natural resources of Canada. Probably the greatest natural resource that we have left to-day is water power, and private corporations are endeavouring to obtain control of this public asset. In our opinion our water power ought to be developed for the public benefit rather than for the benefit of private corporations. In view of the scandal which surrounded the granting of the original application some years ago, I think it would be in the interests of the government itself to refer this bill to the proper committee. Then the application can be thoroughly investigated.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   BEAUHARNOIS POWER COMPANY
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED APPROVAL FOR DIVERSION OF ADDITIONAL 30,000 CUBIC SECOND FEET
Permalink
LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

What would be the proper committee?

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   BEAUHARNOIS POWER COMPANY
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED APPROVAL FOR DIVERSION OF ADDITIONAL 30,000 CUBIC SECOND FEET
Permalink
CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

The committee on railways, canals and telegraph lines. We could then have available the technical advice that we require in order to arrive at some opinion regarding the application. I am not an engineer and I do not know very much about engineering practice. There are probably many

Beauhamois Power Bill

other members like me in that respect, and before we are asked to vote upon this bill we should be better informed as to its implications. In any event, before the bill is passed, there should be a thorough investigation and the whole matter referred to the International Joint Commission for its approval. This is a good time for the government to prevent the extension of private monopoly in connection with our power resources.

This afternoon we were told by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson) that the Beauhamois corporation is now a subsidiary of the Montreal Light, Heat and Power consolidated, which has subsidiaries all across Canada and is rapidly becoming a giant corporation controlling the very life of this nation as far as the power situation is concerned. That is not healthy. That is not good. In our opinion this bill should not be passed to enable this corporation to further fasten its grip upon the Canadian people. We should not give to this company the right to divert from our waterway system an additional amount of water which would permit them to control more than one-third of the flow of the whole river. We urge, therefore, that the government give these suggestions their consideration and that the matter be referred to the committee to be thoroughly investigated. If that suggestion is not adopted, then we urge that the matter be referred to the International Joint Commission before this concession is granted.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   BEAUHARNOIS POWER COMPANY
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED APPROVAL FOR DIVERSION OF ADDITIONAL 30,000 CUBIC SECOND FEET
Permalink
CCF

George Hugh Castleden

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. CASTLEDEN:

Mr. Chairman, recently there was in a Toronto paper an editorial entitled "Is Beauhamois too hot to handle?" I do not know if that is the reason why there are at this time so many empty seats on the government side. I notice that there are fewer than thirty members in their seats. I rise to protest against the principle of handing over the natural resources of Canada to private corporations which are rapidly becoming monopolistic in character. We maintain that our duty here is to protect the natural wealth of Canada, which we contend belongs to the common people of Canada., and it should not be handed over to these corporations.

I find from the Annual Financial Review of July, 1939, that Montreal Light, Heat and Power Consolidated has several subsidiary companies: The Cedar Rapids Manufacturing and Power company; the Provincial Light, Heat and Power company; the Quebec-New England Hydro-Electric corporation; the Beauhamois Power corporation, and under that the Beauhamois Light, Heat and Power company; the Montreal Island Power company. I believe we should be remiss in our

duty if we did not voice a protest against the giving away of these natural resources. I cannot understand why the wealth of Canada, which we maintain is the heritage of the people of this country, should be given away without remuneration. In that connection I should like to know what profits the Beauhamois company derives from these great natural resources. I should like to see the Canadian people a fifty per cent shareholder, let us say, in some of these large corporations which are deriving their wealth from our natural resources and from which the people receive mighty little in return.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   BEAUHARNOIS POWER COMPANY
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED APPROVAL FOR DIVERSION OF ADDITIONAL 30,000 CUBIC SECOND FEET
Permalink
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply; Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

There have been so many questions, Mr. Chairman, that perhaps it would save time if I attempted to answer them briefly before we proceed with the bill section by section.

First, as to the profits of Beauhamois, I would point out that the disposal of electric energy, or of the water in the river and the energy generated from it, is a matter entirely for the province. The province owns the flow of the water and can dispose of it as it likes except when it interferes with navigation, and there the federal government has sole and paramount jurisdiction. But so long as navigation is not interfered with, the use of the water in the river is the concern of the province.

The Beauhamois Light, Heat and Power company, as has been stated, is now wholly owned by Montreal Light, Heat and Power, and the rates that it can charge for the sale of power are controlled absolutely by the electricity board of the province of Quebec. The leasehold arrangements for the water dealt with in this bill are a matter entirely for that province.

As for the use of the power, the province of Quebec has taxing power on the corporation, and if the province has not sufficient taxing power I think my colleague the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ralston) can help them out with his war profits tax. It would hardly be good business for the company to attempt to pile up undue profits for itself out of any . lowering of capital cost per horse power resulting from this diversion.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   BEAUHARNOIS POWER COMPANY
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED APPROVAL FOR DIVERSION OF ADDITIONAL 30,000 CUBIC SECOND FEET
Permalink
NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

The company has been giving back its profits in reduction of rates to its customers, and it ought to get credit for that.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   BEAUHARNOIS POWER COMPANY
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED APPROVAL FOR DIVERSION OF ADDITIONAL 30,000 CUBIC SECOND FEET
Permalink
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply; Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Quite so, and good business would justify that practice in this particular case because otherwise they would simply be piling up profits to be taxed by the province and the dominion. The price at which power is sold in the province of Quebec is a matter

Beauhamois Power Bill

for the province, and not for the federal government.

As to the export of power to the United States, it has been the policy of this government since I have been a member of it, and I think consistently for a good many years prior to that, not to sanction the export of new power to the United States.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   BEAUHARNOIS POWER COMPANY
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED APPROVAL FOR DIVERSION OF ADDITIONAL 30,000 CUBIC SECOND FEET
Permalink
NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Without the consent of the province.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   BEAUHARNOIS POWER COMPANY
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED APPROVAL FOR DIVERSION OF ADDITIONAL 30,000 CUBIC SECOND FEET
Permalink

May 31, 1940