April 19, 1909

LIB

Gilbert Howard McIntyre (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER.

If I thought the article really reflected injuriously upon the hon. gentleman, I would not allow it, but I do not think it does.

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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

This matter is really becoming a roaring farce-

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LIB
LIB

Gilbert Howard McIntyre (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER.

It is not allowable to characterize any proceeding of this House as 'a roaring farce.'

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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

I withdraw 'roaring farce,' Mr. Chairman. It would be a roaring farce if it were outside. But I may be permitted to say that we can carry to an absurd length the practice of constantly objecting to statements made in the House. The matter I have referred to concerning my hon. friend (Mr. Conmee) is such that a man has to be very sensitive and thin-skinned indeed-my hon. friend is a very sensitive gentleman, I presume-to feel hurt or injured by it. I do not know anybody who could be more perturbed than I would be if I intentionally caused any worry to the hon. gentleman. I recognize that he has the greatest consideration for every hon. member on this side of the House, and it would be very bad taste on my part to say anything that would cause him annoyance. I hope he will not object to my paying him a little special attention, if he would so designate it, in reference to his Bill-without any covert meaning on the word 'special' either. But I regard his Bill as of sufficient importance to call for very careful attention, not to say special attention, on the part of hon members of this House.

Now, I said I would not discuss the question of jurisdiction. But I want to say as distinctly as I can that it is our duty to consider his measure very carefully from the point of view of policy. If you admit that we have jurisdiction to pass this Bill, still, as the Minister of Justice said this afternoon, there remains the great question whether it is judicious, expedient, wise, to enact this legislation, and it is from that point of view, Mr. Chairman, that I wish to speak for a few minutes. Like all legislative bodies, we do unwise things at times. I venture to say that we will do nothing more unwise this session than we will do if we pass this legislation, speaking from the standpoint of expediency alone. What are we doing? We are giving a company which is incorporated, not for patriotic purposes, not for the development of any portion of our territory, but for purely speculative and profitable purposes; and we are giving them without one dollar, a right to exploit our rivers, and to collect the latent energy that lies in those rivers, the enormous wealth those water-powers afford to the people of the province of Ontario, and this in face of the fact that the Whitney government have adopted a policy for developing this power throughout Ontario for the benefit of the people, which -we are handing over to a corporation to use for their own advantage; and worse than that, to export at least one-half of that power, at their will, into the territory of a foreign power, and by means of that exported energy to enable those people to build up rival institutions in the United States to the detriment of the Dominion of Canada- Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER

that is what we are doing. From that standpoint I for one will oppose to the utmost this legislation and this class of legislation. I have no quarrel with my hon. friend. He and I have had some little passages, and with pleasure I have read the graphic accounts of it in the organ of the Minister of Agriculture, my hon. friend the ' Farmer;' I have read the manner in which I was raked fore and aft by my hon. friend, and how I was completely wiped out the other day. But all the same, I have no hard feelings towards my hon. friend, I am only trying to guard the interests of the people of Ontario and of the people of Canada. We are going to send abroad that which would be our capital at home, which would build up industries in our own country, which would afford occupation for our people, which would develop markets for every person in the country, markets for the farmer, markets for the butcher, markets for the baker, markets for the artisan, and employment for the doctor, and for that most deserving class of all, the lawyers, and work for all; and whilst we are robbing ourselves, we are doing the double injury to this country of building up rival institutions on the other side of the line. We can do nothing more insane than that. An hon. gentleman said to me to-night in conversation ' why, we have done it before.' Yes, we have done lots of unwise things before. I am ashamed to recollect that whilst I listened to that Bill going through, yet because I did not feel I could effectually oppose it, I let it go through virtually without protesting against it. But I venture to say we will be doing less than our duty if we allow any more of these Bills to go through. We should say in every case-and I appeal to the Prime Minister on this matter-that we will not allow any private corporation to develop power from the energy of our rivers, from that great wealth Providence has given us, and export that into foreign territory, with the result that our young men will have to go out and work in that foreign territory, and we shall be compelled to buy back the goods which should be manufactured within our own borders.

Now let me refer to what was said about this matter a year or two ago when this Bill was before parliament on a previous occasion. I think I mav say that whilst we are to form our own opinion about these matters, yet surely if we are to live iu harmony and work in harmony for the development of Canada, it ought to be the object of this parliament at Ottawa, as far as possible, to work in unison with the interests and the aims of the legislatures of the various provinces. Now, the Ontario government has developed and has set in

operation a great scheme for serving the people by means of the energy and the power latent in its water-powers. When the Bill was before the Canadian parliament to incorporate the Ontario and Michigan Power Company a year ago, Mr. Whitney introduced the following resolution in the Ontario legislature. After reciting the Bills, the resofution affirms:

That the effect of the proposed legislation will be to enable the company, without the consent of the province, to possess itself of valuable water privileges and powers owned by the province, and to export from Ontario the power generated by means of them.

That the proposed legislation will have the effect of preventing the province from utilizing, in accordance with its declared policy, the valuable water privileges and powers of the Pigeon, Nipigon and Sturgeon rivers for the benefit of the public, and will enable the proposed company to exploit them for private gain.

That this House views with alarm the repeated encroachments of the parliament of Canada on the rights of the province, and its efforts to withdraw from provincial jurisdiction and control works of a purely provincial character, and earnestly protests against such action, which this House believes to be contrary, if not to the letter, to the spirit of the British North America Act and to the intention of the framers.

That in the opinion of this House the proposed legislation would be an unwarranted and illegal interference with the territorial sovereignty of the province, and with its exclusive legislative authority under the British North America Act, and this House earnestly and firmly protests against the proposed Bill being given the form of law.

And this House hereby declares its readiness and determination

Remember that this resolution passed unanimously, Liberals as well as Conservatives supporting it.

And this House hereby declares its readiness and determination to support with all the means, constitutional and material, which it can command, the government of Ontario in taking such measures and proceedings as may be deemed requisite to assert, maintain and defend the legislative and territorial sovereignty of the province against all aggression and encroachment by the federal government and parliament, and if necessary in appealing to the imperial parliament for such amendments to the British North America Act as will safeguard the sovereignty of the provinces therefrom. [DOT]

It has been ruled this afternoon that we are not at liberty to quote here, for the benefit of hon. gentlemen, and in order to remind them of what they are forgetting, from editorials of the 'Globe.' But we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that the press of the country, the 'Globe' amongst other leading papers, are being aroused to the circumstance that members of this parliament, 143*

led by the right hon. gentleman, is receding far from their former declarations as to provincial rights, and that no people are more alarmed than the Liberals themselves at the attitude that the government has assumed in this regard. I am sincerely glad that, although there is not that evidence of complete amendment which we could desire, yet there is some evidence of improvement, of contrition, on the part of the government in the announcement made this afternoon by the Minister of Justice. We have been fighting strenuously against that iniquitous proposition which has been incorporated in so many Bills declaring, absolutely without evidence, that the enactment is for the general advantage of Canada. I am glad that the Minister of Justice, to-day, has to some extent come over to the views of the opposition by declaring that he cannot support that declaration in this charter. As regards the second clause he says that it is impossible to say that this is an enactment for the general advantage of Canada and that the clause should be struck out. In 1905 I find that Sir Wm. Mulock, in this House, enunciated sentiments somewhat along the same line, but I am sorry to say that the government has had a sad relapse since then. Sir Wm. Mulock said:

I think there is much in the observation of my hon. friend. The parliament of Canada has, in the past, been too careless in seizing, and usurping jurisdiction by declaring works to be for the general advantage of Canada without having some inquiry to justify that declaration.

We have been doing that and there is nothing fraught with greater danger to the maintenance of the proper relations between the provinces and the Dominion. There is nothing fraught with greater danger to the Dominion as a whole than in the parliament of Canada, with a strong hand, in defiance of fact and evidence and without justification, seizing to itself certain rights which it does not, in justice or in fact, possess, by merely making the bald declaration that the work is for the general advantage of Canada. We will have that provision eliminated from this Act. On the other hand, I ask the government at this stage to pause and consider whether some other policy, aside altogether from all technicality and keeping in view the best interests of Canada, with the object of conserving our great waterfalls for the development of the industrial interests of Canada, for the building up of enterprises within our own limits, and increasing our population and wealth should not be adopted. I would ask the government whether it is wise or expedient to permit a private corporation to have control of a great source of wealth such as this, to exploit it and to export it to a foreign land in rivalry with the industries of the people of Canada?

_ Mr. BARE. Mr. Chairman, it is not my intention to detain the committee with any extended remarks on this occasion, but I would not like to see this Bill, that I consider so important to this country, pass without entering my solemn protest against the interference with the rights of the province of Ontario which is involved in the measure. I do not think that any speaker on the other side of the House contended that this Bill does not enroach upon provincial rights. I was somewhat surprised at the speech of the Hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. Aylesworth). Brilliant and strong as it was thought to be and as it was, and no doubt intended as it was to make an impression on this committee, I could not help noticing that he balanced and turned one way and the other to as great an extent as it was possible for him to do. I do not believe that he liked the task imposed upon him of defending so iniquitous a Bill as this one is. The only argument that he put forward in support of this Bill was that it had passed the committee, and he said that, in having passed the committee, this House should adopt it. I think that is the most dangerous doctrine that can be put forward. It would be a severe blow to the independence of this House if we were to consider that any Bill that had passed the railway or any other committee should go through this House in the form in which it had come from the committee. That committee is only intended to investigate and inquire, but it was never intended that the consideration of a Bill by the committee should ensure its passage through this House. What are the facts in connection with this Bill? If there was ever a Bill which had passed the Railway Committee which should receive careful consideration at the hands of this House it is the Bill which we have now before us. There are a number of the members of the committee who take a deep interest in the different Bills that come before it, but I am sorry to say-and I am not speaking of one side or the other-that there is a large quantiy of voting material available when it is required. Whenever a Bill is presented which is difficult to get through the committee and this House there is a certain amount of drumming up in order to fill the back seats of the committee-the smoking department of it-and the result is that when voting time comes these members are on hand to give their votes although many of them do not know anything of the merits or demerits of the Bill. This is a Bill in which the drumming up process was in evidence to a greater extent than in regard to any Bill which we have had before the committee this session. When this - Bill was before the Railway Committee, while we pointed to the iniquitous part of it, we had only to look around and see be-Mr. LENNOX.

hind the force that could vote down our objections, no matter what arguments we employed, no matter what position we took upon this great question that we consider of the utmost importance. It was under these circumstances that a vote was not insisted upon in the committee. We said: Let the Bill go through and throw the responsibility upon them. We could scarcely get in a remark because we could not occupy five minutes without such a noise being made behind us that we could not be heard. That was the Teason why we let this Bill go through, and it was not because we did not believe it was a most iniquitous measure. We believed that when the Bill came to this House there would be such a weakening of the support of those who were promoting it that it would not be possible for the measure to pass. It is not now so iniquitous as it was when it was before the committee. At that time we were convinced that it was so flagrant an attempt to violate the principle of provincial rights that it could not pass the House, but we are free to admit that the amendment which has been proposed makes a little improvement in it. Still the Bill is one which should not pass. Our water-powers are amongst the greatest assets we have. 'We can only look forward to the time when our water-powers must supply a want which no other resource in this country can supply. It is a well-known fact that year after year fires are sweeping away our forests and that our supply of coal in the lower provinces is becoming less. Under these circumstances I think it is a most unfortunate thing that we should alienate our natural resources. In looking over the history of the parliament of Canada and that of the province of Ontario, I think my hon. friend the member for Thunder Bay and Rainy River (Mr. Conmee) will agree with me when I say that as far as these natural resources are concerned my hon. friend has figured largely not only in this House but in the provincial House. I well remember in the dying days of the session of 1904 a fight over the Kakabeka falls when my hon. friend and his friends secured the Tight to that water-power from another company. We thought that was unjust and unfair, and there is no doubt that my hon. friend's action then alienated a large number of voters. The responsibility of that dying government seemed to be thrown upon my hon.* friend and he was deserted by his former friends as well as the Conservatives. The result was that the action of two year3 before was reversed, and that company is now going ahead under the control of other men. Now we find my hon. friend going along a different line.

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LIB

James Conmee

Liberal

Mr. CONMEE.

I rise to a point of order. The hon. member states or insinuates that

I was one of the parties interested in the Kaministiquia Power Bill. The hon. member should withdraw that. I never had any interest direct or indirect in that Power Company.

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LIB

Gilbert Howard McIntyre (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER.

That can scarcely be called a point of order, it is rather one of personal explanation. But I may say to my hon. friend who has the floor that it is desirable to keep as closely as possible to clause 1, the incorporation of the company.

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CON

John Barr

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARR.

I think my hon. friend had charge of the Kakabeka Falls Bill; he certainly had charge of one that passed some time before that.

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LIB
CON

John Barr

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARR.

The question of water-powers has engaged attention in the past, and it is a subject that we should carefully guard. It is important to consider whether it is in the interest of the country that the province should have control of water-powers. It would appear from the success of the Ontario goverrfment in developing water-powers during the last few years that as far as possible we should leave them under provincial control. The result of the last provincial election in Ontario demonstrated that the people of that province strongly approve of the policy of the provincial government in developing water-powers and in guarding provincial rights. In the early days of the government of Sir Oliver Mowat, the Liberal party proclaimed themselves the champions of the rights of the provinces. We have to-day in Ontario a government that consistently follows the same policy and guards the rights of the province against every attempt at encroachment. I believe that it will be no longer possible to dissipate our natural resources and to give away this great asset which we are tonight endeavouring to guard. It seems unfair for the Dominion government to endeavour to encroach on the rights of provincial governments. My own view is that a large number of these questions which may give rise to friction at any time should be referred to the Privy Council in order that the rights of the Dominion and of the provinces may be more exactly defined. In the meantime before the committee an able lawyer representing the government of Ontario voiced that government's objection to this Bill, and it was evident that that government considered it of the greatest importance. Under these circumstances I submit that in passing this Bill we would not be acting in the best interests of the country. I hope the government will carefully consider this question, and that the House will vote down the Bill.

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CON

John Dowsley Reid

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. D. REID.

I wish to enter my protest against the passing of this Bill. It is of course advisable that many of these private Bills should pass, and I am glad to say that in the committees they are nearly always considered entirely independent of party. Members of each party differ among themselves and as a rule the Bills are fairly discussed, but when this Bill was before the committee it seemed that the very minute opposition was raised by members on this side it became a party measure and the whip of the Liberal party immediately rounded up all the Liberal members to vote and make this simply a party question. I feel that this is unfair, and I think that the Bill should have been treated on its merits. There are two rivers mentioned in this Bill, the Pigeon and the Nipigon. There may be some justice in stating that the Pigeon river is an international river, but the Nipigon river is entirely in the province of Ontario. When this Bill was before the committee, there was no deputation from Port Arthur or Fort William or any other place to urge the passage of the Bill as being necessary for the development of that part of the country. This Bill, if passed, will give this company power to dam the Nipigon and Pigeon rivers, which will practically give them the control of those two rivers for all time to come, because any other person who attempts to dam either of these rivers would be liable for damages. It therefore seems to me unreasonable that this parliament, even if it has the right, should legislate away such a valuable asset, when there is no call for doing so at this particular time. The Bill proposes to give these parties the right to transfer to the other side of the line one-half the power they develop. This means that they can export more than half the power, because it is also provided that they can refuse to supply less than 500 horse-power to any one person. A great many manufacturing establishments employing a great many hands would probably require not more than 200 or 300 horse-power. That provision is inserted, I believe, simply for the purpose of enabling this company to export more than half the power to the other side of the line. Had the Bill provided that all the power must be used in Canada if it could be used, a certain part of the objection I have to it would have been removed. With regard to the rates, some of the provinces have absolute control of rates, prescribing the maximum rates to be charged for power developed from any of the water-powers they grant. The water-power question is now so important to Canada that we should be careful not to give away these valuable privileges too freely. For these Teasons I

think the government should hesitate about allowing this Hill to go through during the present session. It has been up before, and no harm would be done by allowing it to stand over for another year; and as the country develops, if it is found necessary for that part of the country that this company or any other should have the right to develop water-powers on conditions that are fair and just and in the interest of the people of this country, I believe the members of this House would be unanimous in granting that right so long as the interests of the people were protected and the powers were distributed for the building up of that part of Canada, which I believe .we are all anxious to see done at the earliest possible moment.

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CON

William Ross Smyth

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. R. SMYTH (East Algoma).

As *one of the members from that part of Ontario known as New Ontario, I desire to enter my protest against this Bill. If all the members of this House were as familiar with that great country as some of us who aTe sitting on this side, they would think twice before they would allow our great water-powers, which should be conserved in the interest both of the province and of the Dominion, to pass into the hands of private corporations. The government of Ontario have seen fit, after a great deal of argument and persuasion by the members from northern Ontario, to conserve those water-powers for the people; and I might just remark that they have a solid vote from that part of the province, due' no doubt to the action of the members from northern Ontario in urging the conservation of our natural resources. As this House is no doubt aware, the northern part of Ontario is considered to-day to be the greatest asset the province has-the national treasure house, as my hon. friend from West Algoma (Mr. Boyce) has called it-especially in timber and minerals; and recognizing that the only means of developing these great resources is by our water-powers, the Ontario government has been very careful during the last few years in conserving them for the people. Time and again private individuals have made application for water-poweTS, and some water-powers which have been held for years by companies incorporated under the old Ontario Act, have been cancelled by the government in the interest of the people, and they are not allowing any water-powers to pass into the hands of private corporations. I am not in a position to discuss the question of what are provincial rights and what are Dominion rights as well as some of my hon. friends who have preceded me.

My hon. friend from West Algoma, who knows the subject quite well, has gone very fully into that question, as have other hon. gentlemen who have discussed it. What I wish particularly to do is to enter Mr. J. D. REID.

my protest against the water-powers of this country being allowed to pass from under our control. I appeal to the right hon. the Prime Minister to see that our water-powers are conserved in the interests of the people, along the lines adopted by t(he Ontario government. That government did not act hastily but only after due deliberation and after many a fight in the local legislature and the committees, and after a fight to the finish, as it were, by the hon. member for Thunder Bay and Rainy River (Mr. Conmee). This is not the first contentious Bill which that hon. gentleman has brought before parliament. In the old days, in the local legislature, every time the hon. gentleman's name was at the foot of a Bill, we knew there was a fight on because we always found something behind the measure which we could not very well see through, and we took the precaution of knocking it on the head as a matter of prevention. I think there is something behind this Bill which we have not seen, and in my opinion, in the interests of the people of Ontario and of Canada generally, it should not be allowed to become law; and I appeal to the right hon. the Prime Minister to see that the interests of Ontario in particular and of Canada at large are served by his refusing to allow this measure to pass.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I notice there are quite a number of Bills on the Order Paper, which, in my judgment, are not of a contentious character, and could be disposed of in a reasonably short space of time; and as the present measure is likely to occupy considerable time yet in discussion, I would suggest the desirability of the committee rising, reporting progress and asking leave to sit again, and thus allow us to get on with the other Bills.

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LIB

James Conmee

Liberal

Mr. CONMEE.

The hon. gentleman is not speaking to the question before the House.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

Yes, I am asking that the committee rise and report progress in order that we may expedite business by going on with other Bills, which are of a non-contentious character and can be easily disposed of, and then resume the consideration of this measure. I suggest this proceeding to the right hon. leader of the House and would like to have his answer.

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LIB
CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE:

Might I ask the right hon. gentleman for a reply?

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

This is a new member, and we ought to hear him.

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LIB

Frederick Luther Fowke

Liberal

Mr. FOWKE.

It is with, much pleasure indeed that I heard the tribute paid by the hon. gentleman who last addressed the House on this Bill (Mr. Reid), to the spirit in which the deliberations of the various committees of this House are conducted; and I might add that I am glad to see that he, as a leading member of the opposition, has set a splendid example in that respect. In the various committees he has shown complete freedom from partisan spirit in approaching the questions that there come before us. But I was sorry to hear him conclude his remarks by saying that the committeee which dealt with the Bill under discussion was rounded up by the whip on the government side, and that the Bill was treated by it altogether from a partisan point of view. Now, Mr. Chairman, I happen to be a member of that committee, and also a supporter of the government, and I was not one of those who was rounded up by the party whip. I was there to hear the pros and cons and to act on my judgment; I supported the measure in the committee with the view of having it brought down to the House and there discussed, and 1 told its promoter there and then that I reserved to myself the right to act as I might see fit when it reached the House. I listened very attentively in the committee to the argument advanced by Mr. Blackstock on behalf of the Ontario government; and as nearly as I can remember he did not differ materially in his expressed opinion from that given this afternoon by the hon. member the Minister of Jus-ice. That hon. gentleman told us that the question of jurisdiction would probably have to reach the Privy Council before it can be definitely and clearly settled. However, I am not troubling myself very much with the question of jurisdiction when I say that I do not feel inclined to support the Bill. It proposes to give very large powers of expropriation of provincial utilities and interest which in my judgment ought not to be granted, but there is another feature in connection with the measure to which I am decidedly opposed and shall ever be opposed and it is that of giving franchises in perpetuity of the natural resources of our country. For that reason, if for no other, I should deem it my duty to vote against the Bill. I shall not detain the House by any lengthy remarks, but I did not wish to give a silent vote. I intend to oppose the measure in its present shape for two reasons. First because it is bartering away one of the natural resources of our country in perpetuity ; and second, because it is granting expropriation powers and privileges over Ontario interests which I do not think ought to be granted. No doubt at present large volumes of water aTe going to waste, and perhaps for the present this Bill would

serve a good purpose in distributing those powers to be used in various communities in this country and the United States. I do not object to the power in the meantime being sent out of the country if need be and if the country gets paid for it; but I can readily understand that the day will come when, in all probability, we shall require all the power within the limits of our own Dominion, and I believe we would then experience great difficulty indeed, after an investment of half a million dollars had been made in a power plant, should we conclude to take hold of and administer that power ourselves. That might lead to international difficulties. At any rate when large investments are made, vested rights and interests are thereby created which it becomes very difficult to deal with, and I would rather deal with them now, before the privileges asked for are granted.

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CON

John Dowsley Reid

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. D. REID.

My authority for the statement I made was the editorial of the Toronto 'Globe.5

Mr. ARTHURS and Mr. Sproule both rose to speak.

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April 19, 1909