February 24, 1941

LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

At the present time Mr. Dupuy is acting as charge d'affaires of Canadian representation to the Netherlands and Belgian governments.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

I suppose that the decrease in these estimates is accounted for by the fact that the legations themselves are not functioning as such.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

There has had to be a considerable readjustment. In some instances as much in the way of representation is not required.

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NAT

Arza Clair Casselman (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Progressive Conservative Party; Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

National Government

Mr. CASSELMAN (Grenville-Dundas):

I wonder whether the Prime Minister would mind making a statement respecting what progress, if any, has been made on the St. Lawrence treaty? This matter is of great interest to my constituency. In common with other representatives I have been endeavouring to get some information over a period of many weeks. As a matter of fact, within the last two months I was with a delegation before the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Cardin) here, when it was suggested to us that possibly we should go to Toronto for our information; I think the minister's words were that it was "a baby of the Ontario government". From what I see in the press I have come to the conclusion that possibly it is a baby of the United States government.

I am particularly interested because apparently the scheme which is now being discussed is one which has never been under consideration before. It is impossible to get any definite information or to obtain maps showing the water levels. This means a great deal to my constituency; I believe that some 26,000 acres of the earliest settled land in Ontario will be covered by water if a single stage scheme is carried out. I understand that such plans are in existence, and, at the time the delegation were before the Minister of Public Works, we received a promise from him that at some time those plans would be available, so that the people in that district would see what they were likely to suffer as the result of a development under a single stage plan. Although my information is indefinite, I have been told that these plans are in existence. When the Prime Minister is making a statement on this point, would he say where such plans can be seen?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I do not know that I can say more at the moment with respect to the St. Lawrence waterway project than to mention that, as I think my hon. friend is already aware, the subject is a matter of negotiation at the present time between the United States government and the Canadian government. Until those negotiations are

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completed, when and if they are, I am hardly in a position to indicate to the committee what the nature of the agreement is to be. When my hon. friend says it differs from anything which has been considered before, he probably refers to only one phase of the agreement. The committee will recall that an agreement in the nature of a treaty was made between the government of Mr. Bennett and the government of the United States, but the United States Senate failed to sanction it. Further negotiations have taken a somewhat different form.

The view has been held that all the waterway problems, as far as it is possible to connect them, should be brought together into one agreement and dealt with there; that is to say, matters affecting power, navigation, the levels of the waters on the lakes, scenic aspects at Niagara, and the like. An agreement covering all of these interrelated problems has been under consideration by both governments more or less continuously for some time past. Any agreement which is reached will of necessity involve an agreement between the provincial government and the dominion government as to matters affecting Ontario. There will have to be an agreement or understanding with the province of Quebec with respect to matters affecting that province. I have always taken the position that, with respect to an international agreement, we would desire first to settle matters between our own provinces and the dominion government before we finally reached an agreement with another country. We have not yet completed the negotiations with either the province of Ontario or the province of Quebec. I hope that they will not take long to complete. If they are completed, the next stage would be to continue negotiations with the United States.

My hon. friend's question at the close related, I believe, more particularly to the one stage plan and the two stage plan development at Morrisburg. I cannot say offhand to him at the moment where these particular plans may be seen, but I shall make inquiries and, if they are available for inspection, give him a further answer later on.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

If we

understand the Prime Minister aright, the whole position is still in the negotiation stage, and therefore he is not in a position to make any statement as to what may be done. And, anterior to arriving at the agreement there must be, as he said, an agreement with the two provinces, because some of their rights, I assume, are to be affected. As I understand the legal position, the only jurisdiction this government has is with regard to navigation. If it were solely a question of power, which

I believe it to be, the major part of the jurisdiction would, of course, rest in the provinces, because I think it is an accepted fact that in law power that may be generated out of the Canadian development belongs to the provinces.

There is another aspect of the matter I might touch upon. When the previous arrangement was negotiated it was in the form of a treaty. Under their constitution that treaty had to go for confirmation and sanction to the senate of the United States. Is it proposed to follow the same practice in this, or is it proposed, as I have seen suggested, that by some stretch of the powers contained in the boundary waters treaty, it may be entered into as a mere agreement which would not require the assent of a two-thirds majority of the senate, as a treaty would in the United States, but merely a majority in both houses of congress?

I have taken the trouble to read the boundary waters treaty of 1909-10, and I venture the opinion that it was never the intention of *the high contracting parties to the treaty that an agreement involving the international section of the St. Lawrence waterway should be entered into as a mere agreement. There is no power there, and I would ask the Prime Minister whether the opinion of the Department of Justice has been taken on that particular phase of the question. If so, will he table it?

My own view is, and it is agreed to by others whose legal opinion I value, that the provisions of the treaty of 1909-10 do not contain powers to make an agreement of this kind respecting the development of a huge project such as would be developed at Morrisburg. It must be followed by a treaty. If the Prime Minister has an opinion on that point, as to the jurisdiction to proceed, not by way of treaty but by mere agreement, I should like to have that legal opinion tabled so that we might study it. The matter is of importance especially so far as the other high contracting party is concerned. As regards Canada, we have not the same constitutional provision. The treaty or agreement or whatever it may be, would, I assume, be submitted to parliament for adoption. If it is a treaty, it has to go to the United States senate to be confirmed by a two-thirds vote of that body. If it is a mere agreement, then it has only to carry the affirmative vote of a majority of both houses of congress. The Prime Minister will be seized of what I am suggesting. Has he taken an opinion on that point and, if so, is it available?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I understand

that the United States government itself has been considering whether in the public inter-

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ests it would be preferable to have the understanding between Canada and the United States with respect to navigation and power on the St. Lawrence made in the form of an agreement between the two countries, which would be approved by a resolution of both houses, alike in the United States and Canada, or whether it should take the form of a treaty. There are arguments pro and con. The argument with respect to agreement is that if work is to be done it is likely to be pressing, and the more rapidly money can be procured for the purposes of development, the more expeditiously the work will be proceeded with. Whether or not the United States intends to press that aspect of the question I cannot say at the moment, but so far as we are concerned the Department of Justice has been looking into the very question which the hon. gentleman has raised, and I shall be in a position when a decision has been reached, to give him an opinion from the department regarding the legal point he has raised.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

As soon

as convenient, if the opinion is available, I should like to have it.

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NAT

Arza Clair Casselman (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Progressive Conservative Party; Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

National Government

Mr. CASSELMAN (Grenville-Dundas):

For

the purpose of keeping the record clear may I point out that both the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition have referred to the Morrisburg scheme. As a matter of fact, the Morrisburg scheme is the one referred to as scheme B in the report of the Hydro Electric Power commission engineers of 1921. Scheme B has never been considered from that time. There is no dam at Morrisburg under the scheme which I understand is being considered at the present time. Complete power development under the scheme which is now being considered is at Barnhart island. The new idea in the scheme is to have a control dam at the village of Iroquois, which village incidentally is to be wiped out. The control dam in itself is not a new scheme, because prior to 1921-as a matter of fact as far back as the days of the late Sir Adam Beck -a control dam was considered. Its location was not defined, but at least it was not at the village of Iroquois.

The scheme being considered at the present time develops power estimated at 2,200,000 horse power at Barnhart island. The control dam is at the village of Iroquois, and it is a dam which is not used for the purpose of developing power.

May I say again that my constituency is particularly interested because, under the previous treaty, which it was attempted to negotiate in 1932, only 9,000 acres of land was flooded. Under this scheme 26,000 acres will

be flooded, the greater part of which is on the Canadian side of the river. This is due to the fact that the banks on this side are much lower than on the United States side. I suggested in my first remarks on the subject that this was some of the first occupied land in Ontario. As a matter of fact, the occupancy of the land, the grants of title to the land go back to 1784. Many sites along the front in a distance of a few miles are most historical. The first church, the celebration of the 150th anniversary of which was held in 1934, is in this district. There is a memorial church and there are numerous cemeteries. Although the people in that district are told that their compensation will be such that they will have no worries after the project is completed, I assure hon. members and the people of the district that, afteT the project is completed, if it is completed' on the basis of a single-stage development, there will be more heart-burnings in the district than there have been in the previous one hundred and fifty-five years of its existence.

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NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

Will the Prime Minister make a statement regarding the personnel of the permanent joint board of defence, the authority they have, and what has been accomplished to date?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I have not the names of the members of the permanent board, but I shall have them to-morrow. As to the powers of the board, they have powers of investigation of matters of joint defence on both Atlantic and Pacific coasts and the making of recommendations to the respective governments. The recommendations come in the form of reports from the board to the government of the United States and the Canadian government. The recommendations considered by the Canadian government are those relating to matters of defence for which, if the work is to be performed, Canada must undertake the responsibility. When the reports are received by the Canadian government, they are referred to the departments of the government to which the work itself relates. For example, if the work relates to naval defence, the report on that subject goes to the Minister of National Defence for Naval Services. If the work relates to air activities, it goes to the air minister. The matter is considered by the military experts in the department and the war committee of the cabinet on the recommendation of the minister decides whether or not the work is to be carried out.

My hon. friend the leader of the opposition spoke about commitments, and said he found difficulty in understanding how there could be no commitments. I hope I have made it clear that while the board has power to make

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recommendations to the government, the government itself decides whether or not those recommendations should be carried out and the work undertaken.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

That is quite clear.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

But that is not in the nature of any commitment which Canada is under to the United States or which the United States is under to Canada. There is nothing in the nature of an obligation on the part of either government to carry out what the joint committee recommends except in so far as the government itself is prepared to take that step. That was what I meant in saying there were no commitments.

As to what has been done, I think perhaps the committee will agree that there is nothing in the nature of military secrets which should be kept more a secret than practically everything contained in the reports which have been made on the joint defence of Canada and the United States. We could not bring down those reports in this parliament without disclosing matters affecting the defence of the United States as well as our own coast defence. It would not do to publish that information; it is the information above all else that the enemy would wish to have. That is the sole reason for not publishing the reports.

I have here the names of the Canadian members of the permanent joint board. They are: Colonel O. M. Biggar, chairman; Brigadier Stewart, Air-Commodore Cuffe, Captain H. E. Reid, Colonel G. P. Vanier, H. L. Keenleyside, secretary.

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CON

Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HARRIS (Danforth):

I should like to ask the Prime Minister if in this connection he is getting the full cooperation of the province of Ontario. Within the last five hours I had dinner at Brockville, where I saw a corps of engineers of the Ontario hydro electric, with blueprints and what not, who are working on this project. The question I am asking is whether we are getting the full cooperation of the Ontario government with regard to this St. Lawrence development.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I am afraid I cannot answer that question until an actual agreement between Ontario and the dominion has been reached. I have every reason to believe that for some time past there has been a disposition on the part of the government of Ontario to cooperate with this government in matters pertaining to the St. Lawrence. Whether or not all the questions that have to be considered have thus far been taken up, I am not in a position to say.

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CON

Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HARRIS (Danforth):

I was just

anxious to get from the Prime Minister a

statement that as far as the general plan is concerned, as it is being developed by the dominion authority, it is in unison with the general plan of the province of Ontario with regard to the development of power.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I think that is correct.

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NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

I do not know whether or not I should ask the Prime Minister, but one question that arose a year or two ago was that of the export of power. I realize that the Prime Minister may not be able to answer that question now, but if he can, would he tell the committee whether or not any agreement with Ontario is predicated on the question of the export of power?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

My colleague the Minister of Munitions and Supply has been conducting negotiations with the Ontario government, on behalf of the federal government. This evening he told me there were some matters still to be considered. The question my hon. friend has mentioned may be among that number, but I am not in a position to say definitely.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

I have no desire to hold up the Prime Minister's estimates, which are not ordinarily of a contentious nature, but my colleague the hon. member for Broadview would like to speak on this subject to-morrow, so I would ask the Prime Minister to call it eleven o'clock.

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February 24, 1941