July 15, 1908

DEEP WATERWAYS COMMISSION.

CON

Andrew Broder

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ANDREW BRODER (Dundas).

Before you leave the chair, Mr. Speaker. I wish to bring up for a few moments the matter of the damming of the St. Lawrence down at the Long Sault. I have in my hand a petition to the International Waterways Commission from parties representing the St. Lawrence Power Company, and it has reference to matters that ought to be brought before this House and country. The American company, called the Long Sault Development Company, and the St. Lawrence Company are iaentical in their interests. The one gets its powers from the Canadian and the other from the American authorities, but there can toe no

doubt that they have a community of interests. The American Power House and Lock Company, known as the Long Sault Development Company, proposeto construct a power house and lock between the foot of the Long Sault island and the main shore, as shown on plan No. 1. Permission has already been granted them by the New York State legislature, authorizing this construction so far as it lies in American territory. What particularly affects the Dominion of Canada is that they propose to dam the St. Lawrence main channel, as well as the south channel, so that virtually the whole river will be dammed at that point. In looking up the correspondence, I find that if they are allowed to do what they want, all the risk will be run by the Canadians and none at all by the Americans. .

I wish to refer to another matter which ought to be brought to the attention of the House, and that is that the Waterways Commission, in their recommendations, seem to take a line which would permit or justify the Chicago canal. We know that is going to affect Lake Erie, because they are proposing, as a remedy for the damage that that work is likely to do to the navigation of Lake Erie, to dam the lake near the Niagara river. The several reports and data furnished by the commission point to tlie conclusion that for sanitary purposes the Chicago canal will necessarily be allowed. The Chicago people have put up the argument that it is altogether for drainage and sanitary purposes for the city of Chicago, but none the less it will affect navigation. If any of the reports can be relied on, it will lower the water, and I want to draw the attention of the government to this. In every instance in which this matter has been referred to any expert authority under the control of the government, the opinion is given that they have not sufficient data on which to base a judgment. Take all the reports and correspondence, and you will find that no one ventures to express an opinion as to what effect this1 will have on the navigation of the St. Lawrence. That is sufficient reason for our government to say at once that no such thing will be allowed.

Kefei ring again to the proposed damming of the St. Lawrence, when you look up the record you will see that this question was dealt with away back in 1842 by the Ashburton treaty. The seventh clause of that treaty distinctly states :

It is further agreed that the channel, in the river St. Lawrence on both sides of the Long Sault isla ids and- of Barnhart island

It refers to other rivers which I do not need to specify here.

-should be equally free and open to the ships, vessels and boats of both parties.

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CON

Andrew Broder

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRODER.

Now, away back as far as 1842-I suppose in part, for the reason that this place is very near the point where the river ceases to be the dividing line between the two countries-this matter was particularly referred to. We should stand on the principle of that treaty, we should maintain the spirit of that treaty, and keep both these channels open to both countries for all time. In the treaty of 1871. while not the same language is used, virtually the same conclusion is reached. And, while I am dealing with the matter. I think it well to state very clearly that the people along the river are very much concerned as to what may be done by the government. We have the assurance, given, I think, last February, by the right hon. Prime Minister that nothing would be done bv the government without all parties affected by such operations being consulted or notified. That is not the exact language, but that is the spirit of the promise given. This is a matter affecting the navigation of one of our greatest rivers, and it ought not to be dealt with in any serious way without the people's representatives in parliament being apprised of the conclusion that is come to. We know that if the people once get the privilege of dammiug that river, laying out millions of money as they propose to do according to their own statement, navigation will be but a secondary consideration with those who hold these great interests. I do not think the government should allow local commercial considerations to affect the navigation of a great river which has been made by solemn treaty, common to the two countries.

At six o'clock, House took recess.

After Recess.

House resumed at eight o'clock.

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CON

Andrew Broder

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRODER.

When the House rose at six o'clock I was arguing that local commercial interests should not interfere with the navigation of a river that was of general importance. Now in order to give the House some idea as to what the St. Lawrence Power Company, in connection with the Long Sault Development Company, are asking the government of this country to do, I wish to read the request that they make upon our government :

(a) To construct a solid masonry dam from a point near the Canadian main shore, about opposite lock 20, extending to the international boundary line, there to join a darn to be constructed in connection with the works above described in American territory.

(b) To construct a power house between the northeasterly end of this dam and the Canadian shore, together with a new lock about 2,600 feet west of present lock 20, and an earthen dike, having a top width of about 100 feet, between this power house and lock, also a similar earthen dike extending from this lock northwesterly and parallel to the present

canal, and connecting with the main shore at Milles Roches.

(c) To enlarge the present channel of Little river as above set forth, to a minimum width of about 800 feet, and to raise the level of the pond above the dams to an elevation five feet higher than the present level of the Cornwall canal above lock 20.

(d) After the stability of all of the above described works has been satisfactorily proved, to remove the two earthen dams at the easterly and westerly ends of Sheik Island and to enlarge the present channel on the north side of Sheik Island.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray.

Now that is the proposition. That means to dam the St. Lawrence river at that point from the main shore over to meet similar works on the American side. I want to say this, that you cannot tell, in a work of that kind, what eventuality might arise. Something might occur that might change the whole aspect of that river so far as navigation is concerned, and if anything should occur to transfer the control of the navigation of that river now in our hands, to American control, in which the citizens of the United States were interested, then Canadian interests might suffer very materially. Now it may be quite a surprise to many in this country to learn that the people Sf Canada have not had the use of the New York state canals for thirty-seven years ; for thirty-seven years Canadian marine interests and Canadian vessels have not been allowed to use the New York State canals. Now what does that mean in case anything should be done to transfer the control of the navigation of the St. Lawrence at that point from the Canadian government to the American government ? As I say, you cannot tell what might happen. It is a peculiar circumstance, that while in the treaty of 1871 the United States government stipulated and agreed to urge upon the state of New York the wisdom of giving Canada the use of her canals, whether they carried out that obligation or not, the state of New York has not allowed Canadians to use their canals for the last thirty-seven years. If you go down into the Richelieu river you find that our pulp wood, our lumber and coal go down that river to Lake Champlain in American bottoms. These are things that ought to be considered, and I would like to consider them more at length if time allowed. I certainly think that this is a question deserving of careful consideration by the Canadian government; it is a question that should not be left to one or two men, but should be considered from the national standpoint of keeping that river for the use of Canadian navigation interests. That river is the channel through which imports from Europe are carried into the interior of this country, and it is the great navigable outlet to the sea in the summer time from the interior portion of Canada. It seems to

me the government cannot be too careful in dealing with those interests, because no engineer seems to be able to say what effect the damming of the river at that point, as proposed by these companies, might have on the navigation of the river. We know that the slowing of the current by ice jams some miles below Morrisburg has raised the river ten or twelve feet at Morrisburg. When the ice jams occur some eight miles below, the ice gradually fills in until you can drive across it at Morrisburg. This is the first time that it has been known to have reached as far up as Morrisburg. But it has occurred several times some miles below Morrisburg, and raised the water in the river several feet. If the proposed dams were built, the slowing of the current might bring on this ice jam and cause very serious injury to the people along the shores of the St. Lawrence on either side. There is this point to consider, that if you leave the river in its natural condition, any damage that may occur from ice jams, or from any natural cause, the government of this country could not be held responsible. But if we allow dams to be built across that river then this government would be responsible for damages that might result. I have felt it my duty, as voicing the feelings of my constituents along the river in that section of the country, to draw the attention of the House and the government to this important matter, and I regret that the time at our disposition will not allow me to pursue the subject further.

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CON

Robert Abercrombie Pringle

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. A. PRINGLE (Stormont).

I did not think that this matter would come up for discussion at the present time. I may say that I have long taken a very keen interest in the development of power on the St. Lawrence river at or near the town of Cornwall. The hon. member for Dun-das (Mr. Broder) has expressed my sentiments when he says that the question of navigation is one of paramount importance, and if I considered for a moment that the accomplishment of this scheme would in any way injuriously affect the navigation of the St. Lawrence river, I would oppose it strenuously. But, Mr. Speaker, the matter is in that stage that I do not think this House is in a position intelligently to discuss it. The Canadian sections of the Deep Waterways Commission have given this matter a great deal of consideration, and in their report they express themselves as not yet having come to a conclusion, and they desire to get the very best expert engineering evidence before they finally report on the matter. I may say that the constituency which I have the honour to represent is vitally interested in this question.

We have had meetings of our town council and our board of trade and delegations have been sent to appear before the Deep Waterways Commission to urge upon them

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that they give to this matter their most serious consideration. The Deep Waterways Commission have not acted hastily in this matter. They have held meetings at different times. They held a meeting in the city of Toronto and after they had had some representations against the scheme they, for the convenience of the people who might urge opposition to this scheme, adjourned their meeting to Montreal so as to give every one interested an opportunity of being heard. Not one engineer in this or any other country has put himself on record as saying that this scheme will injuriously affect navigation. On the other hand we have the reports of the most eminent American, Canadian and English engineers to the effect that this scheme would not only not injure navigation on the St. Lawrence, but would be of incalculable assistance to it. We saw what occurred here a few days ago. We have a canal, over 9 miles in length, some G or 7 miles of that canal are separated from the river by an earth embankment and a greater strain is being put upon the banks of this canal year by year by the increased size of the vessels. They are not increased in length because the locks will permit of a vessel of only a certain length passing through, but they have been increased in width and in carrying capacity. To-day we have vessels going through that canal carrying 80,000 and 90,000 bus.'hels of grain and with the increased displacement of water there is greater pressure put upon these banks. In 1903 I put myself on record in this House in favour of a lock at the foot of Sheik's Island dam, into the St Lawrence river. If that lock had been built, and engineers of that day. said it was quite feasible, we would have had no delay to vessels passing through the Cornwall canal. There would have been no request for a vote of $150,000 to repair break as it is very probable there would have been no break as vessels could have come down Sheik's Island dam, passed through that lock into the St. Lawrence and gone on- their way saving the time that it now takes to pass through five locks which is considerable, and saviag danger to banks of canal from large vessels passing through canal. My remarks at that time are to be found in ' Hansard ' of 1903, page 14137. I said : I

I understand from those who are engaged in navigation that a saving of an hour or two could be made by having a lock immediately east of the Sheik's island dam, which would let vessels into the St. Lawrence river without going down through three locks to the eastern end of the canal; and it would also permit all vessels to come up and enter the canal just at the foot of the dam and go through the Cornwall canal in a very short space of time. Vessel owners have told me that it would be an immense saving if that lock were put in, not only a saving of expense, but a great saving of time in passing through the canal.

Mr. PRINGLE

It would not have been a very expensive lock. It would have paid for itself between 1904 and the present time. That is practically the scheme now. The scheme to-day is to have a lock, or two locks, where this dam will be built so that vessels coming through Sheik's Island dam may pass on into the St. Lawrence, saving time and expense. This is a matter of the utmost importance to the whole surrounding country but it should not in any way influence myself or any man in this House in favour of this scheme if it is not practicable and if it is likely in any way to interfere with navigation. What are the objections we find ? My hon. friend has said that no engineer has been able to say what effect it would have on navigation. I ask my hon. friend to read the reports of the engineers who have investigated this matter most thoroughly and who say that the scheme would not be objectionable from the point of view of navigation but that on the other hand it would assist navigation.

There are one or two objections made with regard to this scheme. One is that it will prevent certain tourist steamers passing through the Long Sault rapids. I say at once that it will. For four months there are certain tourist steamers which pass down the Long Sault rapids. They say it will' destroy the scenic hffect. What does one eminent engineer say in regard to that ? He says : ' Take the great dam

on the Nile-I think it is called the Assouan dam ; that dam is bringing yearly increasing numbers of visitors to see its beauties. It is possibly the largest dam in the world.' When this dam is constructed on the St. Lawrence it will be the largest dam in the world and the beauty of the dam will be just as great as the beauty of the Long Sault rapids. But this is not the only rapid we have. There is a chain of rapids all down the St. Lawrence and many boats pass down through them to the city of Montreal. Now, it is said that it will back up the water on the property west of the Cornwall canal. What do the engineers say ? The engineers say that it will back up the water as far as Farran's Point canal and they say that in so far as Morrisburg is concerned the effect will be practically nothing, that it will be nil.

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

How many miles will that be ?

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CON

Robert Abercrombie Pringle

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PRINGLE.

It will be 15 or 16 miles. There is a drop in the river from Morrisburg to where this dam would be erected of between 13 and 16 feet. We have between Morrisburg and the Long Sault a small rapid opposite Farran's Point and engineers say that it would practically do away with this rapid. It is a great inconvenience now to navigation and why ? Because steamers going west have to take to the Farran's Point canal instead of keeping to the river as they could not possibly

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IS, 1908


take their heavy loads up that raipd current. | This would do away with that inconvenience. The moment they came within the influence of this dam they would have practically smooth water until they got to Mor-risburg where they would take to the Mor-risburg canal. I ask the House to pardon me ; I know we are pressed very much for time, but this is a matter that could not be discussed intelligently in fifteen or twenty minutes. I have not taken up the time of this House for some time and it is a very important matter. For myself I do not see the necessity of it being brought ud at the present time because I am quite satisfied that the government would not consider entering into any arrangement for the construction of this dam until such time as they not only had a report from the Canadian section of the Waterways Commission, but until such time as they had brought the matter before this House where it could be very thoroughly discussed. My bon. friend has spoken of the channels. To-day all south of Barnhardt's island is the American channel which is practically the only navigable channel; 95 per cent of the water flows through that channel and only 5 per cent through what is an international channel, being the channel between Barnhardt's island and .the Canadian shore. The effect of the construction of this dain will be to send 50 per cent of the water to the Canadian side and 50 per cent to the American side. It is well to talk of the beauties of the St. Lawrence : nn one nnpi'e-ciates more than I do the grandeur of the Long Sault rapids, but I believe there will still be great beauty there after the construction of the dam and we will have hundreds of thousands of horse-power to be used by our people in manufacturing on the Canadian side. There will no doubt be a large development of power on the American side; they have it to-day. The Long Sault Power Company have their power at Messina. What has been the. result ? The construction of one of the greatest works in the United States. The Pittsburg Reduction Company have put up an enormous establishment there. They, came to us ; I went with them personally as I was anxious to see the work located on our side. They went over the St. Lawrence Power Company's scheme but found there was no possible way of getting more power than there is at the present without an enormous expense and they turned it down. They established their Canadian institution at Shaw-inigan Falls and built one of their American institutions right across from us. We wanted that industry and would have had it if we had the powers which we will have under this project. A great deal has been said by the lion, member for Grenville (Mr. J. D. Reid) against the St. Lawrence Power Company. It has been one of the best developments in eastern Ontario.


CON

John Dowsley Reid

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. D. REID.

It has the largest rake-off of any company in Canada.

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CON

Robert Abercrombie Pringle

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PRINGLE.

I do not know aything about the rake-offs, and I am not discussing the contract that has been threshed out before. It has been an enormous benefit. Only a few years ago one of our woollen mills closed down and had to go out of business. We were able to have it reopened because of the electrical power and to-day it is employing three or four hundred men in a different class of industry and owing to the power we have had other factories located there.

We suffer in Cornwall from floods in winter, caused by the frazil that comes down, forms in the rapids and passes under the ice which has become solid, causing a shove. The result has been that portions of the town have been flooded, and mills have been closed for weeks.' One of the largest of the cotton mills was flooded. These people are naturally interested in seeing this scheme go through, so long as it does not impair in any way the navigation of the Sit. Lawrence. They know from the engineers' reports that the result will be no floods in the winter. This water will be hemmed back, it will form almost level to the dam, will freeze solid there and there will be just a natural flow over the dam with no possibility of the injurious floods we have had in years past. On one occasion the government had to come to the rescue of people who had suffered from one of those heavy floods. It has been said that the American section of the International Waterways Commission nave reported favourably on this. If they have it has been after giving the matter the greatest possible consideration. When the Canadian section of the International Waterways Commission said to Mr. Calvin, to the Richelieu and Ontario Navigation Company and others who were opposing this scheme r Nominate an engineer and we will appoint him and get him to look into the matter and see what his report will be, they did not take the responsibility of nominating an engineer because no engineer would stand for the statements made by some of those people that the erection of this dam would decrease the flow of water east of Cornwall. Some went so far as to say it would affect the flow of water ait Montreal, but that statement was so ridiculous that they could not get any engineer to endorse it. The effect of this scheme would be that instead of only 5 per cent of the waters of the St. Lawrence going down on the Canadian side we would have 50 per cent. The effect, would be to give us all the power that could be developed, practically unlimited power, whereas we are now absolutely limited. It is no wonder that some of the power companies are instrumental in putting up opposition to this scheme. This development would be one

of tremendous advantage to the whole eastern portion of Ontario and I am satisfied it would be of great advantage to the county of Dundas, which my hon. friend (Mr. Broder) represents. While the Minister of Railways lias been expressing his opinion against this scheme it would tie a tremendous advantage to his own constituency for this power would be taken to Broeliville where it is needed, more than in any other town in Ontario. I have refrained from speaking on this before because I felt that we had not all the information before the House required for a full and intelligent discussion of the question, but when the hon. member for Dundas (Mr. Broder) opposes it in the dying days of the session, I feel that in the interests of the eastern portions of Ontario, especially in the interest of the county of Stormont, if this scheme does not injuriously affect navigation, but on the contrary, aids and assists it, the government should give it careful consideration and should procure all possible information on the subject before any agreement is entered into or any permission given for the erection of this dam. Of course 1 foresee that the permission would have to be a joint permission of the United States and Canada, but nothing T think should be done until the whole matter comes before parliament.

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CON

John Dowsley Reid

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. D. REID (Grenville).

I protest absolutely' against the dam being built. It certainly would be unfair to have it built and destroy the navigation on the St. Lawrence. The hon. member for Cornwall (Mr. Pringle) complains that I have been finding-fault with the St. Lawrence Power Company. I have not been finding fault with them as a corporation, I have been criticising the agreement made by this government with the St. Lawrence Power Company for eighty-nine years, which . I think is' outrageous, while the price the government are paying this company is simply absurd. A scheme of this kind is such a great scheme, affecting the w-hole marine interests in this country, that I think no action should be taken by the government in regard to it until the whole matter is submitted to parliament. I only rose to ask if the Prime Minister can see his way to give us a promise that no action will be taken in the direction of granting a charter or the right to dam the River St. Lawrence until the matter is submitted to parliament and thoroughly discussed here. The right hon. gentleman did state a few months ago that nothing would be done until everv one had an opportunity of being heard; but I think we should have that opportunity in parliament, and if the Prime Minister would give us that promise, I do not think there will be any reason for detaining the House any longer at this time, as the matter could come up next session.

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

Being conversant with the territory covered by this discussion, Mr. PRINGLE.

there is a great temptation for me almost to attempt to make a speech; but I will resist the temptation. This is a matter that was brought before the department some months ago, and it was placed before members of the government-the premier, I think the Minister of Public Works, and myself. It is a matter of such great importance that it could not be dealt with quickly or without the gravest consideration. The government feeling that it affected particularly three departments-the Marine Department, the Public Works Department and the Railways and Canals Department-appointed a chief engineer of each of those departments, and these three form a committee, as it were, to-look into the matter from the departmental standpoint. They have not yet submitted to their respective departments the result of their investigation; they have not yet had time to do so. But, to be very brief, the matter is of such great importance-and there are two sides to it-that before anything could be done it would require the best consideration of the best talent that could be brought to bear upon it. The government has no idea of taking any steps to commit the country to anything in connection with this scheme until parliament has a full opportunity to discuss it and approve or disapprove of it.

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Motion agreed to, and House went into Committee of Supply. Steam service between Canada and Australia, $180,509.


LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

This Is not a new service, but it was not included in the main estimates owing to negotiations which were taking place in connection with the contract. [DOT]

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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

Does my hon. friend know the company that is doing the service?

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

It is the same company as before. I think it is called the Union Steamship Company. Sir James Mills is the manager of it.

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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

Is it an English company?

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

Yes, with Sieadquarters in London.

Additional amount required for the Canada, Japan and China service, $18,666.66.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

This arises from a readjustment of the service with the imperial government under which we are obliged to pay somewhat more than we formerly did.

To provide for the appointment of a post office inspector, an assistant inspector and three clerks at North Bay, Ontario, $5,000.

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July 15, 1908