March 7, 1910

CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. HAGGART.

Before they have acquired the right, but not after the right is acquired.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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LIB

Henry Robert Emmerson

Liberal

Mr. EMMERSON.

The granting of the authority to a company to go to the Public Works Department is one thing, and it is another thing for that company to appear before the Public Works Department in order to get the execution of that right or the right to exercise the privileges which they are authorized to exercise by the particular Act of parliament incorporating them.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. HAGGART.

But if they can get it without any imposition?

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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LIB

Henry Robert Emmerson

Liberal

Mr. EMMERSON.

They can go there, but it would be a matter of regulation for the government of Canada to impose a charge, and that would be the only way that we could reach these numberless companies that have acquired these privileges, and this authority. You say this policy should have been adopted long ago. Perhaps it should, but it has not been. I am not dealing with this from any political standpoint. I am dealing as a member of this committee with conditions which present themselves; and we realize that other states, and other countries require the pay-

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. HAGGART.

Can the Bill not be made to read: Subject to such terms and conditions as the government may from time to time stipulate?

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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LIB

Henry Robert Emmerson

Liberal

Mr. EMMERSON.

That might very well be done, but we want to deal with other Bills, and we want general legislation which will affect the Bills that have already passed the gamut of this committee.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY.

Let it be retroactive.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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LIB

Henry Robert Emmerson

Liberal

Mr. EMMERSON.

It would hardly be retroactive, because after all these gentlemen could not complain without realizing that when they get the authority to do certain things they do not get the right to do them until the Public Works Department gives them that right, and if in the intervening period the Department of Public Works under the authority of this parliament imposes regulations and charges, they could not complain of any enforcement, and it would be retroactive in so far as the action of the Department of Public Works is concerned.

Mr. BRADBURY'. I agree with the hon. gentleman's views, the question is, will the government enact this legislation?

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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LIB

Henry Robert Emmerson

Liberal

Mr. EMMERSON.

My hon. friend and I cannot throttle the government, we cannot take the government by the throat, and say what they shall do, and what they shall not do, but I say it would be unfair on our part to hold up these Bills in view of the action which we have taken within the last week. It would be unfair to deal with these gentlemen in any other way than we have dealt with previous applications, and then we should place the responsibility on the government of dealing with the whole question, having regard to the companies which have already been incorporated, and dealing with the companies which may be in-Mr. EMMERSON.

corporated during the remainder of this session.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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CON

Arthur Samuel Goodeve

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOODEVE.

As a member from British Columbia, and a member of the Railway Committee I take exception to the statement made by the hon. member for Hum-bolt (Mr. Neely), and the hon. member for Prince Albert (Mr. Rutan), that the members from British Columbia gather together and act as a body when they have a Bill in which they were interested to pass through the Railway Committee of this House, and then took exception to Bills brought forward on similar lines by members from different parts of Canada. On my own behalf, and on behalf of the members from British Columbia, I say we have never made any attempt of that kind, and neither has such a principle as that guided our action in this House.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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LIB

William Windfield Rutan

Liberal

Mr. RUTAN.

I did not say the members from British Columbia; I said that in relation to a Bill from British Columbia the members of the opposition

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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?

Mr GOODEVE.

I am pleased to accept the explanation of the hon. member, but the hon. member from Humbolt went much further and made the statement to which I took exception. But I wish to say further that the position taken by the minister in allowing this Bill to stand over meets with my approval. He has stated, very fairly I think, the point that we are constantly dealing with varying conditions in matters coming before this House and before the Railway Committee, and that, therefore, careful attention to all matters is necessary. But it segns to me, he does not deal with the crux of this question when he states that if the government, as a government, are not prepared to go ahead and develop these natural resources, we should not prevent their being developed by private individuals. I agree that we want our natural resources developed, and we ought to encourage capital to develop these resources. But this does not touch the point raised by the hon. member for South Sim-coe (Mr. Lennox). At this particular time, a large number of Bills are before the House dealing with these matters-and it is for that reason, no doubt, that the question now arises. These Bills deal with water-powers upon many streams, some of them running in more than one province, and thus practically interprovincial streams. Many of these rivers run through little known or comparatively unknown territory. We cannot tell what is the value of the water-powers that may be involved in these Bills. In view of this fact, we see the importance of the point raised by the member for South Simcoe that the government should lay down some policy to regulate the granting of these powers in connection with railway enterprises and other-

wise. In that connection, the point raised by the hon. member for Winnipeg (Mr. A Haggart) seems important. In my own province, we have our Water Act, with clauses similar to those of the laws referred to by the hon. member for Westmorland (Mr. Emmerson) as being in force in the United States. One of these sections provides as follows:

The Lieutenant Governor in Council may from time to time, by order in council, reserve and fix such rents, royalties, tolls and charges in respect of the water used or taken and used, and of the lands of the Crown used, and of the rights, powers and privileges which may be required by any licensee unler this Act.

The point I wish to make and to call particularly to the attention of the Minister of Railways is that a similar control is being exercised in the province of Ontario, and it is altogether likely that the other provinces, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, feeling that they have a valuable asset in these great water-powers, would like to derive some revenue from their development. This was my strongest objection to the present Bill. This Bill covers no certain, definite territory:

-from a point on Lake Winnipeg, at or near its outlet into the Nelson river, or at or near the discharge of the Saskatchewan river into Lake Winnipeg, or from a place between the said points, to a point of junction with any railway to Hudson bay which may be located by tile government of Canada.

This involves several waterways, and deals with water-powers in two provinces, Manitoba and Alberta. I do not think that the members from either of these provinces are prepared to tell the committee-I certainly did not receive the information in the 'Railway Committee-what particnlar water-powers there may he on these great waterways. Possibly, in future, both of these provinces will feel that they have a vested right in these powers, that these powers belong to the people, and that this parliament ought not to give a company power to expropriate these natural resources and use them for its own interests. This is not a question as to whether the municipality to which they sell power is charged proper rates or not; the question is whether the people of Canada as a whole are not entitled to some revenue from these water-powers and the privilege of their exclusive use. That is the question at issue as I understand it to he stated by the -hon. member for South Simcoe; that is the question that we discussed in the committee. Now, I would like to call the attention of the minister to the point raised by the hon. member for Winnipeg (Mr. A. Haggart). That hon. gentleman speaks as a lawyer, and, though I am a layman, and my opinion on such a matter will not carry

great weight, it seems to me that there is something in the point-that, possibly, if we give this power, that fact will make it impossible for the province of Manitoba hereafter to claim this right. Suppose that hereafter, the province of Manitoba were to grant a strictly water-power Bill to develop power in the province of Manitoba within territory covered by this Bill, it is a question whether or not the mere passing of this Bill by this federal parliament would not nullify the rights and prerogatives of the province of Manitoba in the matter. The company could develop, use and sell power for their own profit without regard to the people of the province or the people of the Dominion as a whole. That is the point we are considering at this time, and I am glad the minister has seen fit, in a broad-minded way, to say that he will allow this Bill to stand over, that this great and important question may be considered.

The position taken by the hon. member for Prince Albert (Mr. Rutan), I understand to be that we can do that possibly at the end of the session. The difficulty is that we have not only this Bill but other Bills dealing with the great water-powers throughout the west. Bills involving many important rivers upon which are immense powers of incalculable value to the people of Canada. I understand the suggestion of the hon. member for Westmorland (Mr. Emmerson) to be that we might let it go through and afterwards pass retroactive legislation imposing conditions. But that might be difficult, and possibly even unfair. For, if the company has invested $1,000,000 or $2,000,000 in good faith in developing a water-power under a charter granted by this parliament, it is a question whether we should place restrictions upon that company afterwards. The right time to deal with this matter is now,' before we grant the power, so that each company will know exactly the conditions with which they have to comply before getting their charter. For these reasons, I am glad of the attitude of the Minister of Railways in allowing this Bill to stand over, so that we may consider this Bill in connection with others involving a similar principle and see if we -cannot formulate a policy that will be in the interest of all.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF.

I am glad this question has been brought up. It is a question that has taken up a good deal of time in -the Railway Committee, more especially this session. We had some talk of it last session also. I believe that the time has come when the government should lay down a policy in connection with the granting of -special privileges to railway companies applying to this parliament for charters. Possibly, the time may have

come when a railway company should be given a charter for the building of a railway only. But I think it would be manifestly unfair if we, at this stage of the game, should say to the member (Mr. Rutan) who has charge of this present Bill simply that it should not go through. It is manifestly unfair because hon. members opposite who are now so keenly opposing this Bill either sat still or supported other Bills even during the present session containing, I believe, the same clauses exactly. There is far less objection to this Bill and to the Bill that follows it on the order paper than to other Bills that hon. gentlemen opposite supported last week. For this reason: The custody of the water-powers affected by this Bill is in the hands of the Dominion government. The same is true of the next Bill on the order paper, respecting the Prince Albert and Hudson Bay Railway Company in the hands of my hon. friend from Humboldt (Mr. Neely). But in the case of the Bills supported by hon. gentlemen opposite, the water-powers were owned by the various provinces. Why did not these hon. gentlemen, who are now so anxious not to have these water-powers granted to railway companies, object to the Bills introduced by some of their friends? It seems rather unfair that, having got their Bill through they should get up now and say that the same powers that have already been granted to another company should not be granted in this case, and the one to which I have referred. Further, nothing in these Bills gives the company any rights in water-powers. This Bill does not give the company a single iota of right that any member of this House does not possess at this moment. All it gives them is the right to go to the minister who has charge of the water-powers in the western provinces and make arrangements with him. It is open to him to impose conditions under the Dominion Lands Act.: All the regulations are there providing the terms on which these water-powers may be acquired.

The minister has it in his power now to impose any stipulations or regulations that he likes on those railway companies when they come to apply for water-power. To my mind the most serious aspect of this granting of railway charters is where the railways run through provinces which own their own lands, and I think the time has come when this government should fairly consider whether it is advisable to grant water-power privileges to companies wh.en the water-powers are under the jurisdiction of the different provincial legislatures. I am sure it is no advantage to this government or the Liberal party in any way to have the different provinces sending their lawyers here Mr. TURRIFF.

to oppose in the Railway Committee every one of these Bills, on the ground that we are infringing on provincial rights. If the provinces have certain rights, they should be respected. I think it would be far better to lay down the principle, in connection with railway charters, that power shall be given only to build the railway, and that if the company should want to get hold of rvater-powers to run the railway, let it go to the province that owns^ these powers. I quite agree that the time has come when something should be done along these lines, but I cannot agree to my hon. friends opposite getting Bills of their own through and then denying the same rights to others who happen to be opposed to them in politics. I am not saying that we are very much better on this side, but there has been a good deal of wrangling in the Railway Committee pro and con, and I think it would be better for the government to lay down a policy so that we would know exactly what to expect. As regards the particular railway under discussion, and the one following, under 'the name of my hon. friend from Humbolt (Mr. Neely), there is less objection to these than to any other, because the water-powers belong to this Dominion government, and the Minister of the Interior has the right to place any restriction on their development he likes. We are not giving any power itself, but only the right to go to the Minister of the Interior and acquire a water-power for the purpose of operating the railway and the right to dispose of any surplus. No one can object to that. We all want to see the w'est develop, and to object now to these two Bills would be eminently unfair. I think that they should be passed and then some definite policy laid down which would govern us during coming sessions.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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LIB

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Liberal

Mr. NESBITT.

As has been pointed out by my hon. friend from South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie) all we are doing is to put this company in the same position as a private individual, and it will have to go to other powers for its rights. The Bill which my hon. friend read from an American legislature was probably inspired by the views of President Taft this year, concerning the conservation of natural resources and recommending that a certain charge or revenue should accrue to the state. That is all very fair and right, and probably it would be a good thing for us to adopt, but you must bear in mind that these companies will have to submit their prices to the Railway Commission, and that commission, no doubt, in fixing the rates, would take into consideration any charge or fee which the government might impose. Therefore the consumers *would probably have to pay more

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on that account, The Railway Commission would no doubt make the rates higher than they would if the company had not to pay any federal charge. It is only wise therefore, that we should consider that aspect of the case, and I draw attention to it because, if we do not impose any Dominion charge, the communities served would no doubt get the benefit.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY.

There seems to be a general consensus of opinion on the other side that something should be done to conserve the interests of the people in these great water rights. The argument advanced by the hon. member for Assini-boia (Mr. Turriff) why this Bill should not be made an exception, is a very weak one. The reason he gives is that in the early part of the session we did grant similar rights. But if we have made mistakes in the past, is not that all the more reason why we should stop now? If we have failed to safeguard the interests of the people in one or two other Bills- and. I am not prepared at this moment to say that we have-surely it is now time to cease making any further such mistakes. The water-powers covered by this Bill are situated almost on the northern boundary of the province of Manitoba and will come within the limits of that province as soon as the right hon. gentlemen sees fit to extend its boundaries, so that perhaps in the next few months they will be under the control of the Manitoba government, and therefore, we ought to hesitate legislating with regard to them. They are the two greatest water-powers in, Canada. My hon. friend from Assiniboia knows something about the water-power at the mouth of the Saskatchewan, that great river which drains the whole western country from the Rocky mountains and empties into Lake Winnipeg, with about 125 feet of a fall into Lake Winnipeg. On the Nelson river there is the Sea falls, which this Bill covers. All the waters from the two Saskatchewans, Red river, Winnipeg river-all the waters that enter into the Hudson bay, run over these falls, thus creating one of the greatest water-powers on the country. These are two great water-powers which by this Bill this company will get control of.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

Where is there any thing in this Bill which would enable the company to utilize any one of these water-powers without making terms either with the Minister of the Interior or, should they be vested in Manitoba, with the government of Manitoba?

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY.

That may be all right, but that is not enough to meet the argument which has been put up by the hon. member for Westmorland (Mr. Emmer-son), the hon. member for Assiniboia (Mr. Turriff), and by hon. members on this

side of the House that the people of this country should have some rights with regard to the conserving of these great water-powers. I think that before this or any other Bill affecting these water-powers is dealt with, the government should be given time to bring down a policy. It should be framed in such a manner that every one of these powers granted should come under it. I do not wish to oppose this Bill because it is coming from our friends h'ere, but with the information that is now before this committee, and realizing that in granting these powers we are not conserving the best interests of the people,

I cannot very well see how hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House can ask the committee to pass this Bill.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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LIB

William Windfield Rutan

Liberal

Mr. RUTAN.

I am rather surprised at the inconsistency of the hon. member for Selkirk (Mr. Bradbury). He well remembers that at the beginning of the session, or shortly after, Bill (No. 52) was brought up before the Railway Committee and he remembers the stand that was taken by himself and other hon. gentlemen at that time. He also remembers the stand that was taken on other Bills by these hon. members, that passed the committee and also passed this House. It seems to me that his argument is very inconsistent, If these hon. gentlemen are so critical about the right to acquire extra powers which! this company may dispose of, it was just as much harm to confer similar rights on other companies incorporated in other Bills that have passed since then, and in regard to which the hon. member for Selkirk has not opened Ms mouth. He has either remained neutral or has taken a position the direct opposite of that which he is taking to-day. It seems to me that he cannot have forgotten what has happened in the Railway Committee or on the floor of this House. More than that, I cannot see why it is necessary to attack this particular Bill and the Bill which immediately lollows it for the reason that they affect a new and undeveloped territory and which, without enterprise of this kind, has no chance of development. If this were an old country like the state of New York, or like the well settled portions of Ontario, and a. large amount of power had been disposed of, a question might perhaps arise as to the wisdom of the measure, but I cannot see why a new country like this where we are looking for development should be the one place to be sought out by hon. gentlemen opposite in order to keep development from going forward. The hon. gentleman is inconsistent in his argument, for he certainly knows that this Bill was held up in the fore part of this session, and that it was kept on the order paper until last Friday when it passed the com-

48)6

mittee. The hon. gentleman knows very well that during that time several other Bills with exactly the same powers passed the committee and also passed this House.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

The demand has been made that this government should come forward with a policy with regard to water-powers. In so far as the waters of Canada are under the jurisdiction of this government, the government has a very definite policy in regard to water-powers, which has been in force for some time. With regard to the water which exists in the three prairie provinces, by me terms of the Irrigation Act, this water was vested absolutely in the control of the Dominion government. Under the terms of the Dominion Lands Act, passed in 1908, provision was made for the development of power upon these waters. Under the terms of the Act regulations have been passed and have been in force now for something like a year, providing the method by which rights in water-powers are acquired, making provision that a rental may be charged for the use of the water by the power company, which rental may be determined from time to time-that is at periods of 21 years-and making provision for the regulation of the charges which should be made to the consumers of the power generated from the water, such charges to be under the control of the Railway Commission, and to he subject to adjustment at periods of seven years.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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CON

Glenlyon Campbell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAMPBELL.

I would point out to the Minister of the Interior that this Bill does not affect any of the three prairie provinces; can he tell us what is the law in the Northwest Territories which are affected by this Bill.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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March 7, 1910