June 25, 1951 (21st Parliament, 4th Session)


James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)


Mr. Gardiner:

An order for return was passed asking for all the correspondence between the provincial governments and the federal government, which I hope to bring down this week, if not tomorrow then the following day. When it is brought down the correspondence will give full information about the present position as to the possible construction of the dam.
It is true, as the hon. member for Lake Centre states, that the director has spoken-highly of the possibilities of the South Saskatchewan dam. It is also true that I have spoken in optimistic terms at different times as to its possibilities. But there are certain things which will require to be done in order to proceed with the building of the dam, even if the government were to decide that it should be proceeded with. One of them has to do with the division of water as among the provinces. I have found, in preparing the file, that it is not nearly as complete as I thought it was. The order in council which set up the water board made it necessary for this government to appoint two members, with the three prairie provinces appointing one each, making a board of five. When we were setting out the duties of the board, the provinces insisted that after any question had. been determined by the board it should be sent to the provincial governments for approval. That is, the board might make a decision that a certain amount of water should be permitted to go across the Alberta-Saskatchewan boundary, or that a certain amount of water should be permitted to cross into Manitoba, but that would not decide the question. The separate provincial governments would have to pass orders in council agreeing with the decision reached. All of them would have to pass orders in council before it would become effective. So far no provincial government has passed that order in council. There has been some correspondence, and there has been information asked for during the last few weeks since the matter has been under discussion, but until those orders in council are passed

it will not be possible to proceed any faster than we are proceeding in deciding whether we should go ahead.
It has been announced to the house that a committee will be appointed and that all information available will be referred to that committee. The question asked this morning was, in effect, whether the government is prepared to name the committee, and the Prime Minister indicated that we are proceeding as rapidly as we can in that direction. Inquiry has been made where it was necessary to make it in order to get the consent of certain people to act. As soon as that consent has been obtained, my understanding is that the government will name the committee and have all information available referred to it.
I do not think I can say anything more about the committee at the moment, as that brings the position up to date. One reason why it is impossible to mention names is that we have no definite assurance that individuals who have been recommended will accept the appointment. I do not think the committee would expect me to be using names at a time when we may have to turn to some others in order to fill out the committee.

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