This possibility arises from the fact that lake Ontario never freezes. The suggestion is that if the free water could be channelled from lake Ontario into the river it might be possible to keep the waterway open all winter. For example, this author has this to say:
Such a supply of heat energy as is stored in. the waters of lake Ontario during the winter months is almost unique. It is a great national asset that the engineers of Canada should not fail to use to the greater advantage of Canada.
Such a plan may or may not be sound, but it does seem to me that the objective is of such great value that the department would be wise not to ignore any suggestion of that type, and not to construct the waterway in such a way that it would be impossible to adopt some of these schemes. A year or two ago when we were interested in atomic energy, I understood that eventually that power might be used for dispensing with ice. I suppose it is many years in the future, but could the minister tell us whether his department has in mind the possibility of some such scheme that would eliminate ice in -this waterway during the winter months?
The answer to that question is no. We in the department have no means or scheme whereby we can do away with ice. I am aware of the article to which my hon. friend refers, and so are the engineers in the department, but we know of no method whereby navigation can be kept open for twelve months in the year. We
St. Lawrence Waterway in the department know of no method whereby navigation can be kept open for a greater length of time than it is kept open. On the contrary, we are proceeding on the basis that it can be kept open for seven *or eight months only, because we are continuing our program of icebreakers. I am not an engineer, and I am not in a position to depreciate or appreciate the article to which my hon. friend has referred. All I can say is that we in the Department of Transport know of no method whereby the St. Lawrence can be kept open for twelve months in the year.
Why does the authority extend only to lake Erie? In all the discussions that have taken place there has been constant reference to the fact that this is one great waterway from salt water to the head of the lakes. I am anxious to know why this authority simply goes as far as lake Erie and does not include the St. Clair or Sault development.
Because there is already fairly deep navigation in the upper channels. There is a 25-foot depth for outbound navigation, and a 21-foot depth for upbound navigation. Over the years it has been the practice and custom for the United States to provide for the expenditure in that area. That is the reason it is not included here; and it is certainly not included in the expenditure that we propose under the authority.
This bill, of course, does not deal only with expenditure and construction; it deals with administration and supervision. It would have seemed to me appropriate that the administrative authority and the power of supervision should extend through the whole length of the waterway.
There is provision for adding to the authority additional canals and operations in the upper lakes, if that were required. It is not envisaged at the moment. That is all I meant to say. While the 1941 agreement envisaged, as my hon. friend probably had in mind, the whole channel from the head of the lakes to the port of Montreal, this bill does not do that. Obviously that would mean a greater expenditure.
That is what I had in mind. It is what I also had in mind when on an earlier occasion I referred to the fact that this is one integrated waterway and has been for some time, and that what is really being done is to bring the St. Lawrence part of it up to the standards that have already been created across the Niagara peninsula and in the upper waters. It does not seem to me the mere fact that the authority would include the whole of the waterways right through to the lakehead would add to the expense in any way; because after all, the supervision and administrative direction that would have to be exercised would be only such supervision and direction as the government felt desirable at any time over those upper areas.