As I understand it, clause 1 is before the committee. There was a motion that the committee rise and report progress but that was defeated and it cannot be repeated until some further business is done.
We want to get at the public business. I am as keen as any other hon. member to maintain provincial rights, but I hardly see how that question comes in here. We are dealing with the St. Lawrence river, which is a navigable river, and is therefore under the exclusive jurisdiction of this parliament. But we are now considering simply clause 1 of this Bill, and the question before us is, shall a number of gentlemen of the (province of Ontario be allowed to form themselves into a company for some purpose to be here after considered? I ask the leader of the opposition whether he considers that we are wrong.
Let me enlighten the hon. gentleman with regard to clause 1, which he evidently does not understand. The St. Lawrence River Power Company, which was incorporated in 1901, and this company, are practically one and the same company, incorporated to do the same thing. [DOT]
My hon. friend from Wright (Mr. Devlin) asks for some expression from this side of the House as to wrhy this Bill should not pass. May I direct his attention to his neighbour sitting besides him, the hon. member for St. Mary's division, Montreal (Mr. Martin). That hon. gentleman will say that in his opinion, in the interests of the largest city in Canada, this Bill should not become law because it gives this company the right to enter on the streets of Montreal without the consent of the municipality.
That statement is not correct, as the Bill stands before the committee. This company will have no power to enter on the streets of Montreal or those of any municipality without the consent of that municipality. If permitted, I would like to make clear one or two points which are evidently not known to some hon. gentlemen opposite. I had not an opportunity to be here early in the discussion, as I arrived in Ottawa only at midnight. According to my interpretation of the Bill as it has been reported on by the Private Bills Committee, the rights of the city of Montreal are absolutely safeguarded.
That was before the Bill was changed. I was in the committee at the sitting when this Bill was finally passed upon and reported to the House. It was only in that sitting that the provision I have referred to was inserted. Consequently any disputes in regard to that point must have been at previous sittings.