March 14, 1910

LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

No recent appointments have been made. My recollection is that we have no representative in Germany. The matter will no doubt engage the attention of the Minister of Trade and

Commerce, under whose department that branch of the service falls.

Topic:   TRADE REPRESENTATIVES TO GERMANY.
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MILITARY REVIEW AT PETAWAWA.

CON

Gerald Verner White

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GERALD V. WHITE.

On the 24th February last I brought to the attention of the House an article which appeared in the Ottava 'Journal' of February 23, regarding the military review at Petawawa under Sir John French. I am glad tp see the Minister of Militia in his seat to-day, and I would like to ask him if that report is correct. I would also like to draw attention to an article in the ' Journal ' of March 8, as follows:

London, March 8.

In the House of Commons to-day it was announced that Sir John French would go to Canada this summer to advise on organization of militia forces.

Topic:   MILITARY REVIEW AT PETAWAWA.
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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

I am not aware that there is to be any such assemblage of troops at Petawawa during the summer, but there will probably be a larger number there than last year. So far as the visit of Sir John French is concerned, I understand that it is expected he will visit Canada unofficially, or semi-officially, during the present year with the view of seeing as much as he can of the Canadian militia. And I may add that every facility will be afforded him to meet as many officers, and see as much of the militia in camp, and otherwise, as possible, as we are extremely glad to have such a distinguished officer visit this country: and I think it will be in the interests of the militia that we should give him every possible opportunity to see our Can-dian militia.

Topic:   MILITARY REVIEW AT PETAWAWA.
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PRIVATE BILLS.

NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.


House in Committee of the Whole on Bill (No. 52) to incorporate the Nelson River Railway Company.-Mr. Rutan.


CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY.

This Bill was under discussion on Friday night, and there seemed to be an understanding that it will be allowed to stand over until other Bills of a similar nature would come before the House. This Bill affects two of the great water-powers at the head of Lake Winnipeg, and is very similar to the International Waterways Bill, and the Rainy River Railway Bill, and I requested that it should stand until the government formulated some policy regarding the disposition of these great water-powers.

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

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

My hon. colleague the Minister of Railways is obliged to be absent to-day, but he desired me to say to the committee that he saw no reason whatever why this Bill should stand over. He sailed my attention to the fact that it Mr. FIELDING.

gives no authority whtever to expropriate any water-powers, and gives no control whatever over any water-powers, but simply provides that the moneys of the company may be invested in the acquisition of water-powers, and the development of electricity for the purpose of operating their railways. Section 13, which deals with that subject provides:

In connection with the business and purposes of the undertaking, and subject to provisions of section 247 of the Railway Act, the company may acquire water-powers but not by expropriation.

This is just the same as if the Governor in Council were to incorporate a company by letters patent giving power to develop but no authority whatever to expropriate. There are no compulsory rights, and the only effect of the provision is that it authorizes the company to invest its funds in the development of electric power. The committee will also remember that the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Oliver) has already stated the policy of the government regarding water-powers, so that if that be at all material to the consideration of this Bill we have such a declaration. So, if the question were at all material to the consideration of this Bill, we have that declaration of policy on the part of the Minister of the Interior. I think my hon. friend (Mr. Bradbury) is entirely mistaken aa to there being any understanding that the Bill is to stand over. Had there been such an understanding, I am sure the Minister of Railways (Mr. Graham) would have informed me of it, and asked me tQ inform the committee. On the contrary, he said that he saw no reason why the Bill, as amended and reported by the committee, and now recommended by the committee, should not pass.

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

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY.

During the discussion of this Bill a few evenings ago-and, I think, of another Bill-the minister of the Interior (Mr. Oliver) announced that the government had a wrell-defined policy with regard to these water-powers. As I understood the Minister of the Interior, he said that the regulations of the government applied to these two water-powers at the head of Lake Winnipeg. But, on looking over the regulations, I find that they apply to water-powers within any of the provinces. But the water-powers affected under these Bills are outside of any province. I take it, therefore, there is no regulation covering them. That is one reason the government should hold this Bill until the regulations are extended so as to cover these water-powers also. I think that on Friday evening last, the Minister of Railways (Mr. Graham) said very clearly that this Bill was to stand over. I may have misunderstood his attitude. I do not wish to block the Bill or block any Bill; but, this railway

MARCH 14, 19iu

charter, as it is called, seeks powers to start from some point at the mouth of the Saskatchewan or at the mouth of the Nelson rivers-points fully 100 miles apart-making it evident that the scheme is immature. The committee never was in possession of proper information to warrant them in passing the Bill, according to my opinion. I took very strong ground in committee on that point. I think it would be a mistake, in advance of the formulation of some policy by the government, to regulate these water-powers outside of the province, to proceed with this Bill. If the regulations gave the Minister of the Interior authority to deal with water-powers outside of the provinces as they do with water-powers inside the provinces, that might remove some of the objections. But I submit that the regulations as they exist do not give that power, and therefore the Bill ought to stand over.

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

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

I have spoken two or three times on this question, and I propose now to let this matter rest with the government. They can take the responsibility of their action. This Bill was up on Tuesday evening, and the Minister of Railways (Mr. Graham) decided to let it stand over until we had a discussion of another Bill which is coming up in the Railway Committee. It stood until last Friday evening. On that occasion, I called the attention of the Minister of Railways to the fact that the other Bill had not been reached in the meantime, and suggested that it would be advisable not to spend the hour for private Bills in a useless discussion of this Bill. The minister acquiesced in that, and was prepared to let it stand over. Unfortunately, the promoter of the Bill thought it necessary to discuss the Bill and other gentlemen joined in tire discussion, and so the hour was wasted. It was distinctly understood that we should delay this Bill until the other Bill to which I have referred had been taken up in the Railway Committee; and I think it was pretty clearly understood that the Minister of Railways or the government would announce some definite general policy as regards dealing with these waterways. It comes up now as a comparatively new question. Until recently, we have had no problems of this kind. But, so anxious are parties who wish to enrich themselves by securing these rights, that, even after Bills were advertised and introduced, attempts were made to amend them so as to give the promoters water-power rights. What I am endeavouring to impress upon the Minister of Railways is that the country should have some return from these franchises belonging to the country, that we should not give them to private parties and allow those parties to have the whole proceeds-preferably, that the province

should have the profits, but that either the province or the Dominion should have some revenue from these great water-powers. I have no desire whatever to delay this Bill. I believe it will go through. But I have every desire that the progress of the Bill should be stayed until other^ Bills of the same nature are brought into the House, and that then we shall have a clear, definite policy from those who are responsible for the management of our national resources. It is a peculiar thing: first I succeed in staying the Rainy River Bill during the absence of the Minister of Railways from the committee. Until this moment, we have had no intimation that the Minister of Railways was disposed to let the present Bill go through until the other Bill to which I have referred was reached. Until this moment, on the contrary, we had as clear an intimation as possible that the minister would acquiesce in the suggestion of delay until the other Bill came before the House, so that we could have one policy applying to all such Bills. That seems a reasonable proposition. Thus, we have this extraordinary position-I think an undesirable position- that the first day the Minister of Railways is absent this matter is to be shoved through. However, it is for the government to say whether they want to have this gone on with or not. If they have decided to push it through, let them do so, so far as I am concerned. I have done what I could to serve the public interest in this matter by having the government come down and declare some policy on which they proposed to protect the public interest in this very important matter. For these waterways are more valuable than coal. This is the propelling power of the future; it is the manufacturing power of the future; and, if the government are prepared to give to these franchises without investigating them and allow railway companies-so-called railway companies-under the guise of building a railway to develop these water-powers, and dispose of the surplus energy, well and good; for the present let it be so. But I venture to think that thoughtful people will not regard it as wise in the public interest. There is no use in us on this side trying to compel the government to do anything. Speaking for myself, I have done all that I could to urge the government to adopt a wise, general policy in regard to this matter.

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

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL.

I am glad to hear the hon. gentleman (Mr. Lennox) take this high stand, because in the absence of an express declaration to this effect, some hon. members on this side might have had the impression that there was some attempt to delay the progress of this Bill. I take it for granted that hon. members who have discussed this matter on three-different occasions have been sincere in

their expressions concerning it. They have been discussing it as though the proposition in this Bill was to give this company the right to go on and expropriate water-powers and use them at their own sweet will. My hon. friend from South Simcoe (Mr. Lennox) knows better than that. He has been following this measure through the Railway Committee. So does myi hon. friend from Selkirk (Mr. Bradbury) who has taken an active part in this discussion in the committee. He must know that as this Bill is amended, and as it is now before this committee, all that this company has is the right to legally hold the water-powers if they can get them. They have not the right of expropriation; they have not the right to acquire these water-powers otherwise than as I might acquire them if I went up there to do business. We are simply creating an entity having the legal right to own those properties, or those rights, if they can get them. It seems to me that is as far removed from the position which my hon. friend has been arguing as the North Pole is from the South Pole. All we are doing, if we allow this Bill to pass, is to create an entity which has a right to hold these water-powers if they can succeed in getting them from the proper authority, whether it be from the federal government or from the province of Manitoba after this land comes into the possession of the province of Manitoba. I do not know whether the time is far distant or near at hand when that will take place. We do know, however, that there will have to be a wonderful change in policy on the part of both governments ever since confederation if, when this territory becomes the property of Manitoba, the Manitoba government will have the right to deal with it. But even if they should get that right, and if there should be that change in policy, then all this company will have a right to do is to go to the province of Manitoba and make a satisfactory trade if they can do so; if they cannot, they get nothing. If these rights do not go to the province of Manitoba, then if they have a right to come to this government and make a satisfactory trade if they can. They are simply placed in the position I would be in, or the hon. member for Simcoe would be in, or anybody else who went out there and bought these properties, if they could do so. Now, it is passing strange that my hon. friends so strongly oppose the passage of this Bill and want a declaration of policy on the part of the government as to what they are going to do in the future when applications are made to them to lease or purchase water-powers, when only two weeks ago these hon. gentlemen had no compunctions of conscience in voting for Bill (No. 118) in which section 12 gave Mr CARVELL.

the company the right to operate these water-powers in the province of British Columbia. And perhaps they will say why such a change of sentiment has come over them, evidently, during the last week.

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

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

It is a growing time.

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

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL.

Yes, it is a growing time on the part of the hon. member for Simcoe, I think, and of some other hon. gentlemen who have grown so rapidly in their ideas of the preservation of natural resources since Bill (No. 118) passed the House. However, that is a matter for them to answer. But, it seems to me this Bill has been discussed pretty thoroughly, and my hon. friends opposite have kept as far away from the real principle of the Bill as they could. I hope that possibly this reminder may awaken them to the true import of the Bill, and that they will devote their attention for a few moments to the Bill itself, and not to some fanciful grievance which they have conjured up in their own mind. I am satisfied if they take that advice they will not 'see anything wrong in allowing this Bill to pass, and let us proceed to other Bills of as much importance as this.

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

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. HAGGART.

We understand the nature of the Bill before the House just as well as the hon. gentleman. He says that the power of expropriation is taken away. What good would the power of expropriation in a Bill be against the Crown? What right would you have to expropriate against the Crown even if the power of expropriation was in it?

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

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL.

I am assuming now that if it goes into the province of Manitoba, then we would have the right to expropriate.

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

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. HAGGART.

That would have to be granted in the province just the same. Any way,' it is in the possession of the Crown, apd of the Dominion at the present moment, and no power of expropriation would be worth one cent to the parties that would have it. That is not the contention of my hon. friend. We have no objections to the Bill, we know it only gives to a corporate power the same power as an individual has at present. All we ask is that there should be some declaration of policy by the government in reference to these waterways, the same as there is in every civilized country in the world. In the United States they have regulations by which companies and individuals can obtain possession of them, and, as he says, the same power of expropriation is included in the British Columbia Bill. In British Columbia the sale of water-powers is regulated by statute. All we ask from the Minister of Railways is a simple statement that any individual ot corporation may ap-

proach the government on equal terms for the purpose of possessing the water-powers, and that, above all things, something which is the heritage of the people of this country shall be retained for them, or shall not be parted with without an equivalent. Now there is no use talking about opposition to the Bill on this side of the House. We are not opposing the Bill. We simply say, if you want your Bill, let the government make a pronouncement in reference to it. It seeks, to obtain property which is valuable to the public, in regard to which property there are no regulations nor statutory obligations at all. All we ask from the government is that they will at. least make regulations in reference to these waterways so that a moiety of them shall be retained for the people who own them.

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

Henry Horton Miller

Liberal

Mr. MILLER.

The hon. gentleman says that members of the opposition are not opposing the Bill. I would like to know what different course they would find it possible to take if they were opposing the Bill. They have delayed its progress now for at least three times. They say they are not opposing the Bill, but apparently I think they are using it as a cudgel to force the government to lay down a policy as to what they shall do in the way of giving water-powers to persons who may apply therefor. But I would like to know what consistency there is in taking the stand they do in refusing to let this Bill go through until the government declares its policy as to the granting of water-powers, when no member _ of the House, who has spoken in opposition to this Bill has pointed out a single section or a single word in the Bill that alienates to any extent one single drop of water or the rignt to use water. Until they can do that, I do not see any consistency in their argument.

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

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I do not think the hon. member's argument is very strong, especially in view of Canadian history. We know how individuals have become possessed of many of these waterways, even from the Crown, without the Crown realizing anything in return. Now if we had a declaration from the government as to what their policy was, if we had regulations by which the public would own what was got out of these water-powers, and upon what terms they wouid be alienated, then we would understand it, and we could provide against any dangers happening in future, similar to those that have happened in the past.

Now, the hon. gentleman who spoke previously (Mr. Carvell) said they cannot get control of this by expropriation. In what other way could they get control? There are many other ways, but one way is that they may get control of it secretly from the government at a low rental, not to the advantage, but to the disadvantage, of the country. The hon. gentleman made reference to the incorporation of the Burrard Inlet Tunnel and Bridge Company. He says that the members of the opposition are not consistent because., they were willing to allow that Bill to pass. The hon. member for North Lanark (Mr. Haggart) gave, to my mind, a very satisfactory answer to that, and that was that the right to get control of water-powers must be according to the law of the province and, therefore, it is plain and open to the world, but to say that there is any comparison between that Bill of the Burrard Inlet Tunnel and Bridge Company and this Bill, is to say what is not justified by the facts. What is the situation there? There are three corporations, they want to have a highway between these corporations, which highway must pass over the water or under it by, tunnel, and they have joined, not for the purpose of private speculation by any means, but for the purpose of accommodating these three great cities. It is true that it was put in the name of private individuals, hut these individuals were satisfactory to these corporations and were acting for them, and they do not desire to go into this undertaking for the purpose of making personal gain for themselves but for the purpose of accommodating these cities. Therefore, the committee went farther than they would have done had they been dealing with private individuals in giving the rights which they did under this Bill, There is no reasonable comparison between the two Bills. But in reference to this other Bill, I have it before me here, and it says that they are to acquire these rights under section 247 of the Railway Act, but they are not to have the right to expropriate. Of course, my hon. friend from Lanark says what is strictly correct, that they cannot expropriate what belongs to the Crown, but they can get it sometimes privately from the Crown for very much less than it is worth. If the government in future would lease all these water-powers at a reasonable rental, it would be a very good policy in the interest of the country. We should lease them and get a return for the country. If it is the federal government that own them, the return would come to the federal treasury; if it is the provincial government, the provincial government would get the rent. That would be a wise policy, and I have wondered for years and years why the government never gave the House any inkling of its desire to conserve what belongs to the people so that they could get the benefit of such water-powers rather than that they should be handed over to enrich private corporations. We want to know what the government intend to do with these water-powers, because almost every week during

the session we have some Bill that seeks to acquire some rights of this kind. We have to view these Bills in such a way as we deem to be proper, because the government have not yet laid down any wise policy or rule to guide us in dealing with these questions. It would save the time of the committee and of this House if they did so, it would as well preserve to the country a beneficial interest in what belongs to the country, and it would put a stop to the practice of giving these water-powers to private individuals without a fair and reasonable return to the country.

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

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL.

My hon. friend (Mr. Sproule), I think, entirely misunderstands the true purport of this Bill. He undertakes to say that there is no inconsistency between the stand which hon. gentlemen opposite took upon the British Columbia Bill and that which they now take upon the present Bill. Why, Sir, possibly he has not read it, but section 12 of the British Columbia Bill takes the power out of the hands of British Columbia and gives to this company the right to expropriate powers anywhere, whether they belong to private individuals, corporations or to the province.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.
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March 14, 1910