March 7, 1910

LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

I should have mentioned that I think the Irrigation Act applies to the Northwest Territories as well as to the three prairie provinces, but at any rate the Dominion Lands Act does and under the authority of that Act regulations have been made which would certainly apply to the water-powers that would be affected by either of these Bills. There is no question as to the policy of the government, or as to the administration of the government in regard to water-powers 'which are unquestionably under the jurisdiction of the Dominion government. The present Bill applies to the Northwest Territories outside the limits of any province and therefore no question of provincial rights is involved.

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

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY.

How long will these territories be outside the limits of the province?

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.

I cannot say that, but I can say that as the Irrigation Act declares the control of water in all the provinces to be in the Dominion government, it will not Mr. PvUTAN.

make any difference, because either the Irrigation Act or the Dominion Lands Act, and the regulations under it will apply whether the territory is inside or outside of the province. As a matter of fact, within the province, to-day we are administering the water-powers under the regulations authorized by the Dominion Lands Act.

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

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

Suppose that this territory is given over to the province or Manitoba, does the minister mean that the Dominion government would still continue to exercise full control over these water-powers, and that the province will have no jurisdiction over them?

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

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

He has just said that.

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

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

Let him speak for himself.

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.

I think what I said in the last few sentences made that quite clear. In the province of Manitoba to-day we are administering the water-powers under the regulation framed by authority of the Dominion Lands Act, and if this territory were added to the province I presume the conditions would be the same.

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

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

The Minister of the Interior has pointed out quite clearly that what hon. gentlemen have been asking for is the law, and has been the law since 1908. Let us understand exactly the position. There are a large number of gentlemen in this House to-day, and so far as getting water-power is concerned any one of us can obtain all the rights that this Bill gives to the company, by making application to the Interior Department. The terms on which the power should be given would come under the contract or lease so granted, and since the Dominion Lands Act of 1908, the Interior Department has made regulations under which this power is leased for a certain period on terms stipulated, and these rates can be altered at the expiration of the first period mentioned in the lease and an advance rental charged if an increase in value should take place. Therefore everything which hon. gentlemen have asked is already provided for. There is the other point to be considered: That every extra dollar you charge for the lease of a waterpower will come out of the consumer of the power at some point, because the companies are not in this business for their health.

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

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I do not quite follow that. If that be the case then it would be entirely in the interest of the public to give all these water-powers away so that those acquiring them might supply power at a very cheap rate.

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

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

Not exactly. These rates come under the control of the Board of Railway Commissioners, and they will be

based on the cost to the company of the production of the power, and every dollar you add to the cost of production will come out of those who use the power.

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

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

Quite so.

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

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

And if we charge a very large rental the people of the locality who

use the power will have to pay the interest on that charge. That is another side to the question.

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

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

There is another side also.

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

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

There is another side, and it is, that all the people of Canada ought to have some benefit from the power that may be developed in a certain locality, although if we apply that to the transmission of power in the province of Ontario perhaps we may not think that the principle which the hon. gentleman has announced, is applied. However, on the Trent canal system we have fixed a rate of, I think, $2 per horse-power, but the rates to be charged by the company to the public are under the Board of Railway Commissioners, and I have taken the ground, whether rightly or wrongly, that if we charge a reasonable rate for power it will enable the commissioners to compel the company to give the people in the locality a reasonable price, so that the greatest good may come to the greatest number by making that power as cheap as possible. I am not at all objecting to the proposal that the Dominion should get some revenue, but do not let us run away with the idea that if we impose a big tax to get revenue tor the Dominion, we are not taking it out of the pockets of the people who have to buy that power.

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

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

If the argument of the minister were carried to it3 legitimate conclusion, then, the city of Montreal, or the city of Toronto, which get a very large revenue from the street railway companies would do much better in the interest of the general public to exact no revenue at all.

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

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

If the rates were under control perhaps it would be just as well.

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

Mr. R.@

L- BORDEN. I do not agree with the minister there. The interests of the people of Canada who own these water-powers have to be considered on the one hand, and on the other hand the government is bound to consider the interests of those who may be purchasers of that power in the several districts. The minister puts it in a very plausible way when he says that if you give the companies these water-powers for nothing, then the people will get the power very cheaply. I take issue with that. I say "it is not the history of corporate action, I say that the advantage gained in that respect is mufch more apt

to go into the pockets of the shareholders in dividends than into the pockets of the consumers. The principle of controlling rates is a proper principle and the government is taking the right course when it_ invests the Railway Commission with that jurisdiction, but if you exact a reasonable rental for the benefit of the entire people of Canada on the one hand, and if on the other hand you control the rates, the result will be that the Railway Commission in fixing these rates will always look at the rental which must be paid to the people of this country, and the commission will govern its control of rates accordingly. But to say that it is absolutely desirable to give away a public franchise to whomsoever comes and asks for it, and to base that idea upon the proposition that the consumer in every case will get the advantage is an argument which does not commend itself to my mind.

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

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

I suppose the hon. leader of the opposition will agree that I did not say anything of the kind. I distinctly said that I was agreeable to a reasonable rental.

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

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Mr. R. E. BORDEN.

So am I.

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

Mr GRAHAM.

But that is not what I rose to say. I think, perhaps, it would straighten out this matter if we said in these Bills, what is an absolute fact any-wav that these companies are subject to the regulations made by the Minister of the Interior with regard to the leasing of water-powers.

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

March 7, 1910