May 3, 1909

CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

I do not wish to carry it) further; my point is that it would be fair for this committee to return the corrected. Bill to the Private Bills Committee for their consideration, so that the Ontario government might have an opportunity to have their representative present and give their views upon this Bill. This is undoubtedly an interference with the policy of the provincial government of Ontario. The very changes that have been made in the Bill since its first introduction show that. I

am quite sure the Prime Minister wishes to be fair with this House and with the province of Ontario, and that he would not be a party to pressing through the House a Bill, of this kind without first giving the province an opportunity to appear before, the Private Bills Committee, for the amended Bill has not been before that committee. This House should not adopt a Bill of this kind which is taking away the rights of the people of Ontario and conferring them on a speculative concern.

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CON

William Sora Middlebro

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MIDDLEBRO.

From the arguments of hon. gentlemen opposite it appears that the claim of jurisdiction of this parliament to enact this legislation is based very largely on the theory that the power we are giving to this company to export their product to the United States, gives exclusive jurisdiction to this parliament. The hon. member for Carleton (Mr. Carvell), the Minister of Justice, and the Prime Minister have taken that view. As a matter of reason I do not think it was intended by the British North America Act that jurisdiction should be given to this parliament by the mere fact that we put into a Bill the right to do something which we ouselves cannot enforce, and which the persons to whom we give that right cannot do. Our saying that this company may export their power to the United States does not give them the right to go into the United States and carry on that exportation and we ourselves cannot compel them to do what they say they have the right to do. In other words we cannot give any more legal authority to this company to export into the United States than can the province of Ontario. The right hon. gentleman says that because this company may incidentally require to erect some poles and lines beyond the limits of Ontario and in a foreign country that fact in itself gives power to this parliament. The right hon. gentleman will agree that if a railroad company authorized by a provincial legislature to build a railway which is intended to go into the State of Maine can give that company authority to build that railway, that is a much stronger case than the case of simply allowing transportation lines to be built into the United States to export power. I quote a case on that point. In the province of New Brunswick 6ome years ago power was given by the provincial legislature to a railway company to commence and build a railroad in the province of New Brunswick, the intention being that it would be extended on into the -state of Maine. It was extended on into the state of Maine and the company obtained corporate authority from the legislative assembly of Maine to build and did build a section of that railway in that state. A shareholder, in an action, set up

the plea that the provincial legislature had no right to grant that authority to that railway because it was a railway extending to a foreign country and the question came up on that direct issue: had the provincial legislature power to incorporate that company, knowing it was going to extend its railway into Maine. The Court answered the question in this way:

The fact of the legislature of a foreign country authorizing the construction of a line of railway in that country for the purpose of connecting with a provincial railway does not in any way affect the authority of the legislature of the province to legislate with respect to the railway within the bounds of the province.

We cannot legislate for a foreign country, and the fact that authority to extend transmission lines in the United States of America, is mentioned in this Bill, would not prevent the parliament of Ontario from granting to this company all the rights, powers, and privileges which they could enjoy within the province of Ontario. If you are asking for the power to transmit your electricity from one province to another, the jurisdiction would be in this parliament, but we have not jurisdiction in the case of transmission from a province to a foreign countrv. If my hon. friend from Carleton (Mr. Carvell) will look at the wording of the subsection he quotes, namely, 'Local works of the provinces other than such, are of the following class,'-that is to say all local works are within the exclusive jurisdiction of Ontario except the following classes-

Lines of steam or other ships, railways, canals, telegraphs, and other works and undertakings connecting the province with any other portions of the province or extending beyond the limits of the province.

The words 'extending beyond the limits of the province,' I take it, mean extending into some unorganized district, because this Act was passed in 1867 and there were other territories then within the Dominion, outside the provinces, so that the exception was intended to apply to cases where you would extend your railway into some unorganized district, but not into some foreign country. Take the next exception:

Lines of steamships between the provinces and any British or foreign country.

That would apply to a line running into the United States, which the province would have no right to authorize.

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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

There was a proposition made by hon. friend from Peel (Mr. Blain) a few moments ago which has not received the attention it deserved, and that is that this is practically a new Bill.

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LIB
CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

I know there are some people who do not realize what that means. If it were a new Bill, shorn of all its objectionable features, we could understand that it would not probably be necessary to give the Ontario government an opportunity of presenting their views upon it before a committee of this House. But this new Bill not only eliminates certain features, but is introducing others. According to the notice of the amendments which we had, it is provided that we shall incorporate the whole of this Electrical Expropriation Bill 'which was passed in 1897, and it is therefore just as important, as before, that the government of Ontario should have the opportunity of being heard with regard to it. It embodies provisions just as

dangerous, even more so than those we had in the old Bill. The Ontario government are the best judges of what seriously affects that province. Whether

our hon. friends opposite like it or not, people of Ontario have, by an overwhelming majority, committed their affairs to the keeping of Sir James Whitney and his cabinet; and these representatives have the right to be heard. When the first Bill was introduced the hon. gentleman who is promoting it, said it was all right in every particular, just as emphatically as he is now doing in the case of the present Bill. That first Bill having been bowled out on the 19th of last month, he now comes with an entirely new proposition, thereby admitting that he was wrong then. Well, I am strongly of the opinion that he is equally wrong now. We have the statement of the Prime Minister, not two weeks old, that he will respect the rights of the provinces, but he has abandoned that position to-day. Surely it is only right when the progressive policy of the Ontario government with respect to water-powers is being invaded, as it is by this measure, that the government should have the Tight to appear before this parliament or in committee and state its case. Ontario, besides being one of the old and large provinces, is the province which stood the brunt of the fight for provincial rights; and after having established its rights as a province through a long series of litigation; it comes now and asks that this parliament shall not, now pass a measure, such as this, which infringes on those rights. My hon. friend says he is a champion of provincial rights.

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LIB
CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

I do not wish to rob him of any of his laurels and I should be sorry to see him cast any shadow upon his reputation in that regard, but whoever may have fought most gallantly for provincial rights, it was the province of Ontario that waged the battle.

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LIB
LIB
CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

It was the province of Ontario that won the fight, and it is the province of Ontario, of which my hon.

friend of Thunder Bay is a distinguished representative in this House, whose rights are threatened now. To-day it is Ontario, to-morrow it may be British Columbia or Quebec. Let the right hon. gentleman who leads this House recollect that this is a question in which both provincial and federal rights are concerned. Again I say that if we are going to develop Canada we can only do it by seeing that the rights of every portion of the Dominion are respected, not only their rights but their prejudices, and so far as possible, the will of every part of the Dominion. We are to-day at a critical point in our history. I am convinced that no more dangerous question comes before this House than the question of provincial rights. Look at the geographical position of this country, see how diverse are the interests of Canada, and do not shut your eyes to the fact that there is dissatisfaction in many of the provinces to-day at the action of the government. Day after day the friction increases, and some day it will reach such a point that the strain can no longer be endured, and we shall see some of the provinces wishing to get out of the confederation in which they cannot have due recognition of their rights. I do not think it will be Ontario. I do not think it will be Quebec; I think the greater danger is in regard to the western provinces. I urge again on the Prime Minister not to ignore the appeal of my hon. friend from Peel (Mr. Blain). Do not throw this objection aside with a wave of the hand, saying, I have great respect for committees which send these Bills before us. In this case that argument does not apply. The Bill now before us is, practicaly, a new Bill, it is practically new legislation, adopting a new principle, and is it fair that the government and the people of Ontario should be excluded from an opportunity of appearing before this parliament and presenting their views?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

It is quite true that it was the province of Ontario which fought the battle of provincial rights, and it is quite true that my hon. friend did not help very much in that battle. It is also true that he and his friends were against us in that battle, and the glory of the victory belongs to the Liberals of the province of Ontario. But my hon. friend is welcome to his tardy conversion, and after delivering to us an eloquent speech he has ended with the old refrain, Ontario, Ontario. My hon. friend says that I should give some heed to the request made by the hon. member for Peel (Mr. Blain). If I did not heed the request of the hon.

member for Peel, it was not through discourtesy for that hon. member. My hon. friend says we have a new Bill to-day. It is true we have a new Bill, but the old Bill has been amended to meet the requests of the representatives of the Ontario government who were before the committee.

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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

The Ontario government still objects to the Bill, notwithstanding the amendments and changes.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Does the Ontario government object, for instance, to this second section of the Bill:

The works authorized by this Act are declared to he works for the general advantage of Canada.

I understand that Mr. Blackstock took strong objection to that. Does my hon. friend say that the government of Ontario want those clauses restored now?

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CON
LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Then the government of Ontario objected to the powers of expropriation being taken away in regard to the Nipigon river. Does my hon. friend want those to be restored also? In fact, the Bill has been amended in the line desired by the province in everything, and I am not sure that we shall not also agree to the request of the province when we come to consider the power of expropriation as regards the Pigeon river. This is the only question before us, and when we come to the power of expropriation on the Pigeon river, we shall see whether or not the rights of the province are being infringed upon. If the Tights of the province in the Pigeon river are being infringed upon, we will consider that matter when we come to it, and I will see whether I am able to support my hon. friend.

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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

The right hon. gentleman has asked whether I object to clause number two declaring that the work authorized bv this Act are works for the general advantage of Canada. My right hon. friend states correctly that this was in the original Bill that was passed by the committee. But according to the amendment of my hon. friend who has introduced this Bill, that clause has been taken out of it. I will say on that point that it is certainly in accordance with the policy of the Ontario government, and for myself I am in accord with it. But my right hon. friend forgets the all important point-these others are all minor points-the all important point for the provincial government, the all important point in the discussion this afternoon as contended on this side of the House, is that this federal government is attempting to legislate on a matter that the Ontario government alone should legislate upon. That is the whole point.

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LIB

James Conmee

Liberal

Mr. CONMEE.

I may remind the hon. member that the hon. member for Algoma (Mr. Boyce) gave notice of an amendment, and I think it is fair to assume that that hon. member discussed this amendment with representatives of the Ontario government, and they were satisfied with it.

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CON

John Barr

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARR.

I submit that this is one of the most important measures that have been brought before the House this session, and I venture to say that the end is not for the general advantage of Canada that as soon as the iniquity was pointed out, the government consented to Temedy it. We pointed out that this work was not for the general advantage of Canada from the fact that it was only a waterpower on one part of the river. The Minister of Justice declared that it might be for the general advantage of Canada, and it might not. The result was that that part was taken out. Why was it taken out?-because this side of the House fought it not onlv in committee but in the House. It was found to be a very glaring objection and the result was that the promoter of the Bill was willing to cut it out. The hon. member for Rainy River is satisfied to cut it down in any direction. All he wants is to get the Bill through and then he imagines that he can come forward next year and get just what he requires. If he can only get in the thin edge of the wedge and succeed in dividing the jurisdiction between this House and the province he will have accomplished his object. I am somewhat surprised to find the Prime Minister claiming that he has always been the champion of provincial rights. When I was in the provincial House and when we were fighting the question of provincial rights we always stood shoulder to shoulder with the government.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Oh, oh.

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CON

John Barr

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARR.

There was never a time when the Mowat government were in the right that we were at variance with them. On every occasion we gave them all the assistance we could and we said to them: We want you to fight the question out in the highest tribunal not only in the Dominion but in the British empire. If the First Minister was then zealous of provincial rights he has certainly fallen from grace. Now, a fair offer has been made by my hon. friend from Peel (Mr. Blain). He asks that this Bill go back to the committee in order that the government of Ontario may have the right to present their case. They have no right to be heard upon this Bill at the present time, and it is not one iota less objectionable than the old Bill which was rejected after a hard fight by hon. gentlemen on this side of the House. By this new Bill we are usurping a power which we have no right to usurp.

We are endeavouring to pass one of the most important Bills that has ever been before this House without placing it before a committee in order that all parties outside of the House interested in it may have an opportunity of expressing their views, and, if necessary of opposing the Bill. Outside of the members of the House no person has any right to be heard on this question. It is a principle of our British institutions that all Bills before the House should be sent to a committee so that those whose rights are affected shall have an opportunity of going before that committee and of stating their objections. This right has been denied in this case. The proposition has been made but hon. gentlemen opposite say that they cannot accede to it. Why? Are they afraid of the people? Are they afraid of the Ontario government? Why should we depart from the usual custom? What is the urgency in connection with this Bill? If this Bill is allowed to pass, and if we accept the' statement of the Prime Minister, any Bill affecting the water-powers or assets of the province of Ontario can be passed by the Dominion parliament so long as the incorporators join with some other company in the United States or other foreign land. If that is the case every water-power in Ontario can be taken over by the Dominion. We are anxious to preserve these water-powers. The Ontario government have accomplished more in the last two years in connection with the preservation of water-powers, by forming a commission for the purpose of developing these powers than any government has done since the days of confederation. If any person can bring in a Bill of this kind affecting any water-power in the province of Ontario the result will be that the hands of the Ontario government will be tied. The work of the last few years will be set aside and this' House will be usurping a power which was never intended to be exercised by it. Under these circumstances we are quite justified in exerting our strength and power in the effort to enforce our rights. The promoter of this Bill tells us that there are no rights affected, that the government have exhausted their one fifth in connection with the road because they have made two roads, one going north and the other south. But, has he given us the evidence that they have exhausted their one-fifth? Have we not reason to believe that the government have yet in reserve much of that one-fifth? Have the government even put a road along the water's edge or any part of it? The result of the passage of this Bill will be an immediate conflict between the province and the Dominion. We do not know who is the owner of this property that we are handing over by this Bill. We are on clause 2.

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May 3, 1909