May 3, 1909

CON
CON
CON

John Barr

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARR.

Well, we come next to clause 2. What do we find? There is only one of the incorporators who resides in Ontario. All the rest of them, or at least three of them, are from the United States and one from Manitoba. I submit that we would proceed much faster if the government would- act in the way they do in connection with many other Bills. I submit that we would make much better progress if this Bill were to go back in accordance with the suggestion of my hon. friend from Peel so that we could discuss it in committee.

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?

An hon. MEMBER.

Carried.

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CON

John Barr

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARR.

Calling out 'carried' will not put this Bill through the House. There are two or three hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House who seem to think that the object their constituents had in sending them here was to call out 'carried' If we were to inquire what they had accomplished in this House we would find that they had not done much more than call out 'carried'. This Bill is too important to be rushed through the house as hon. gentlemen are endeavouring to do. We have settled the question that the provincial government have all the power that is required to enable this company to unite with interests in the United States to operate a power plant. It is the provincial government which knows best whether or not it is in the interest of the country that such a Bill as this should pass. I appeal to hon. gentlemen from the other provinces to hesitate before supporting this Bill. The time may come when the rights of other provinces will be infringed upon and then they will require the assistance of the Ontario members who have always shown themselves ready to stand up for provincial rights. It must not be forgotten that Ontario is the banner province of this Dominion, that it is growing faster than any other province, and that it will demand its rights. When the Liberals were in power in the province of Ontario their boast was that they stood up for provincial rights and demanded justice for their province, but their friends in this House seem to have gone back on these principles.

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CON

Edmund James Bristol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRISTOL.

I understand that, rightly or wrongly, the province of Ontario object on principle to the passage of this Bill, and the Prime Minister tells us that very important changes have been made in the Bill since the authorities of that province had an opportunity to consider the measure. Now, I do not know anybody who is more anxious to have good feeling exist between himself and the various provinces than the Tight hon. the Prime Minister, and I really am at a loss to un-

derstand how it is that he, on a matter of such very considerable importance to the province of Ontario, should not at once have acceded to the suggestion to allow the Bill to stand for some days, when, by doing so, we might have been saved all this discussion. I would also remind the right hon. gentleman that no member of the House has a copy of the printed Bill as it appears before us to-day. Under these circumstances and in view of his own record and the dignity which attaches to his position as Prime Minister, I think the right hon. gentleman could very well afford to be even more than courteous to the province of Ontario. I do not argue on the question of jurisdiction; I am quite prepared to believe that there may be and there probably is concurrent jurisdiction, but I have felt very strongly on Bills of this kind which have from time to time been presented to this House and I have come to the conclusion that there should be some basic principle upon which this parliament should act. I have ventured the suggestion that that principle should be practically what is laid down in the British North America Act, namely, that undertakings which are local in their nature should be left to the local jurisdiction, except, if it should become necessary to render effective such local works, then they could come to this House for legislation to the extent that might be necessary to render them so effective. I would point out, however, to the Prime Minister that the" legislation we are asked to pass here is a case of the tail wagging the dog, because the smallest part of this undertaking are the wires that would connect with the United States. The only possible suggestion in the Bill which would give this parliament authority to legislate under the British North America Act is subsection (b) of clause (a), which enables them to connect their cables, &c., with similar lines in other provinces and in the United States.

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LIB
CON

Edmund James Bristol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRISTOL.

The real part of this undertaking are the buildings, works, dynamos, and machinery that will be constructed, and which will cost millions of dollars. They will all be located in Ontario. The most trifling part of the_ undertaking, and the onl'T thing which brings it under the authority of this parliament, is the wire which carries power across to the United States, and that I now believe can be dealt with under the general Act passed in connection with the Niagara Power regarding the exportation of electricity. I would remind the Prime Minister that we are a young country, that we hope to have the best part of the British empire here in 100 years, and that this Dominion parlia-171 i 1

ment should not want to be bothered with local undertakings. There are big enough questions before this parliament and before this country to last during the lifetime of the right hon. gentleman and the rest of us without bothering with local undertakings, beyond what we can avoid. I do not want to obstruct the progress of this country, and this is not a personal question with me; but it is a question of principle and a question as to what are the best interests of the Dominion. If you adopt the principle that the province o)f Ontario, the province of Quebec, the province of Nova Scotia and the other provinces shall deal with their electrical undertakings and water-powers, and that we should deal with the question of the export of power when it is to be exported, then I think you will be on safe ground. If the principle of provincial authority had been adopted with respect to many of the electrical railways which we have incorporated in this parliament, we would have been rid of a great deal of legislation that we do not want. That is the true principle of provincial rights as fought for by the right hon. gentleman and his political friends; and I compliment them on the fight and I am glad they won. If we proceed on that principle we will have harmony. If we adopt the principle of putting these local works and undertakings in the provinces and then giving them such legislation in this parliament as is necessary for the purpose of what I might call foreign relations we will be confining our legislation to what properly comes within the purview of this parliament, and we will be -dealing with these questions in a broad and statesmanlike manner.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

My hon. friend (Mr. Bristol) was not here when this matter first came up, and when the province of Ontario was heard upon these questions. I sympathize with the object of the authorities of the province of Ontario in so far as they want to keep control over the water-powers of the province, but I must qualify that, if qualification is necessary, by saying that in the case of works of this kind which are to be constructed on international streams the jurisdiction belongs to the Dominion parliament, and I think my hon. friend (Mr. Bristol) will agree with me in that. T understood him to say that when it became a question of the export of power across the boundary, the jurisdiction must be in this parliament.

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CON

Edmund James Bristol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRISTOL.

What I said was that the company could obtain from the legislature of Ontario all the necessary legislation they required for the development of water-power unless they wished to export it. That was as far as I went.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

But I do not

see how any power .could be developed on

the Pigeon river except by the joint authority of the United States and Canada, and that is why this Bill has come to us. The government of Ontario has been heard before the Committee on Private Bills, and I hope they agree with us on the question of jurisdiction; if not, I would have to take issue with them.

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CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. I ANCASTER.

How does the Prime Minister account for the fact, carefully not answered by the gentlemen supporting the Bill, that the Canadian Electric Company has been doing all that these people want to do on an international stream, and doing it for years, under a provincial charter? The right hon. gentleman says they could not do it, which is like the lawyer who told a man that they could not put him in jail for what he had done, and the man replied, 'But I am in jail.' So the Canadian Electric Company has been generating power on the Niagara river and exporting it under a provincial charter, for many years.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

If the man was in jail, the lawyer should have tried to get him out. I do not want to be put in jail in this instance.

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LIB

James Conmee

Liberal

Mr. CONMEE.

The hon. -member for Lincoln (Mr. Lancaster) knows that there is no comparison between the two cases. Assuming that the Canadian Electric Company is acting under a provincial charter, though my information is that it is not

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CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

I know that it is. It applied for a Dominion charter, and withdrew its application.

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LIB

James Conmee

Liberal

Mr. CONMEE.

Assuming that the hon. gentleman is correct, there is no dam required in that case. There is no other stream in America on which power can be developed on the one side or the other by perpendicular shaft sinking such as there is at Niagara Falls. In its practical working out, this scheme is entirely different.

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CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARMSTRONG.

The right hon. the First Minister is aware that the premier of the province of Ontario has seriously objected to this Bill being passed in its present form. The Bill has been changed very materially, and I would like to ask what objection the First Minister has to allow it to remain over for a few days until we hear from the government of Ontario.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I have heard that the Prime Minister of Ontario objected to the Bill as it was introduced. I have not heard that he objects to the Bill as it is now modified. I do not see how he can do so, because the modifications are all along the line he himself has advocated. If he objected to the jurisdiction of this parliament to pass the Bill, I would have to take issue with him.

Sir WILFRID LAURIER,

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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

I may say that I produced a letter this morning from the Prime Minister of the provinoe of Ontario in which he objected to the Bill. I sent him the original Bill, a corrected copy and the proposed amendments, and he wrote in reply that he was altogether opposed to the Bill even with those changes.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

The Prime Minister says that this parliament is the sole authority to authorize the company to export power from the country. Therefore we give them the right to take what belongs to the province, and assist them to carry it out of the country. Is that not very much like a man stealing something belonging to you, and not being able to get out of the country with it, you help him to do so?

At six o'clock committee took recess.

After Recess.

Committee resumed at eight o'clock.

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May 3, 1909