March 23, 1910

FIRST READING.


Bill (No. 183) to incorporate the Ottawa, Rideau Valley and Brockville Railway Company.-Mr. Rivet, for Mr. Devlin.


IRRIGATION ACT AMENDMENT.


Mr. OLIVER moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 186) to amend the Irrigation Act. He said: There are two distinct provisions in this Act. One is an amendment to the amendments that were made the session before last. Drainage is deemed to foe a function of the provincial government, and while the Irrigation Act places the control in the three provinces in the hands of the Dominion, the amendments of the session of 1908 permit drainage works to be carried on under provincial jurisdiction, subject to certain requirements.


CON
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

No, only to the three prairie provinces. The governments of the two western provinces find that, in dealing with drainage, there are two classes-the least important and the most important; and the amendment is simply to enable us to dispense wdth the filing of elaborate plans in the case of minor drainage schemes authorized by the provincial government. The other provision is to authorize expro-piration where necessary for Teservoir sites for the purpose of conserving water for irrigation. There is a provision already for preservation of such sites where the land is the property of the Crown, but- in some cases some part of it may have passed into private hands, and that small part might render useless the reservation of the rest.

Topic:   IRRIGATION ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. HAGGART.

The nice question arises here as to the jurisdiction of this parliament to legislate at all with reference to irrigation. When the Bill comes up for its second reading, we ought to have the opinion of the Minister of Justice.

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Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


WATER-POWER IN THE BRITISH COLUMBIA RAILWAY BELT.


Mr. OLIVER moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 187) to confirm and declare the rights of the Crown with respect to water and water-power and relating to the diversion, acquisition ana use of water in the railway belt in British Columbia. He said: As the House is aware, the proprietary rights in a belt 20 miles in width on each side of the main line on the Canadian Pacific railway, where it passes through the province of British Columbia, has, under an arrangement between the Dominion and the province, become the - property of the Crown in the right of the Dominion. Up to a time, it was assumed that the province administered all water rights within that area as well as throughout the rest of the province. However, a couple of years ago, a case was entered in the Exchequer Court for the purpose of deciding definitely whether the jurisdiction in regard to water within the railway belt resided in the Crown in the right of the province or in the Crown in the right of the Dominion. The Exchequer Court gave a decision that the right rested with the Dominion. Since then, I am given to understand, the Supreme Court, on appeal, has confirmed the decision of the Exchequer Court. Of course, in order to reach a final conclusion tne matter will have to be carried to the Privy Council, and that decision will be the one that will rule. In the meantime, the rights to water which have been granted by the provincial government are in a state of uncertainty. The provincial government having been declared to have no right in this matter, grants issued by that government have not-to put it mildly-a satisfactory legal status. The purpose of this Bill, then, is, first to declare, in accordance with the decision of the court, that the right to the water rests in the Dominion, and, second, to make provision for carrying forward the rights which have been granted by the provincial government until they can be readjusted or until a final decision is reached. It is for the purpose of preventing or avoiding a practically chaotic condition in regard to water rights in the railway belt so as to put them on a definite basis during the interval which necessarily occurs between the first decision of the Exchequer Court and the final decision of the Privy Council. At the same time, there is a demand for development in the railway belt, and it is proposed in the same Act to make provision for authorizing development as the circumstances may require, so, that in the first place, the rights granted shall not be in a state of chaos, and, in the next place, development need not be tied up awaiting the decision of the Privy Council.


CON
CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. HAGGART.

It is an interesting question that the hon. Minister of the Interior (Mr. Oliver) has raised. On the second reading of the Bill, of course, we can discuss it fully. He states that by a decision of the Exchequer Court, confirmed by the Supreme Court, the right to legislate in reference to lands which have been conveyed to the Dominion is given to the Dominion parliament.

Topic:   WATER-POWER IN THE BRITISH COLUMBIA RAILWAY BELT.
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

In water rights.

Topic:   WATER-POWER IN THE BRITISH COLUMBIA RAILWAY BELT.
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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. HAGGART.

In reference to water rights, or any other. That is a power vested in the provincial authority, and I doubt very much if any court in the land has decided that, by the conveying of the land to the Dominion government, the right to legislate for that area is thereby conveyed to the Dominion. The Dominion can, either by regulation or by Act of parliament, decide on what terms the right conveyed to it-which is no greater right than that which is conveyed to an individual-shall be exercised. But the right of regulation, the right of legislation in reference to these lands, is in the provincial government, and by no conveyance of land can that right be transferred to the Dominion.

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Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


NATIONAL BATTLEFIELDS.

?

Industrial Disputes Investigation Act Amt. B.@

AYLESWORTH (Minister of Justice) moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 188) to amend the Act respecting the National Battlefields at Quebec. He said: The purpose of this Bill is to

remove some of the practical difificulties which the commission having charge of the National Battlefields at Quebec have experienced under the statute, by which they were created two years ago. Provision is made in that statute that, in case it is desired to acquire property which has to be expropriated, the provisions of the Railway Act are to be followed. But a literal compliance with the provisions of the Railway Act, with regard to the expropriation of property, would necessitate the filing of plans and the taking of other formal steps which are scarcely applicable to the circumstances of the acquisition of property for the purposes of the National Battlefields Commission. To get rid of that difficulty, and to provide a more ready, and as we think, a more efficient means for carrying out the purposes for which the commission was constituted, this Bill proposes to repeal that section of the original statute and to substitute for it the section contained in the Bill, under which the provisions of the Expropriation Act will be followed. The original statute con-

stituting the commission requires that all propositions for the acquisition of real estate, before being acted upon by the commission, shall be sanctioned by parliament. The effect of the change in procedure which this Bill, if adopted, will in troduce, will merely be that, after parliament has given its approval to the proposition to acquire any particular piece of property for the purposes of the commission, the proceedings, in case expropriation is necessary, shall be in accordance with the general provisions of the expropriation Act, and the price of the property to be paid by the commission shall be settled by proceedings taken in the Exchequer Court.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

This Bill relates to the expropriation of property. Does it contemplate dealing with the Ross rifle factory, and is it the intention of the commission to take over that property?

Topic:   NATIONAL BATTLEFIELDS.
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LIB

Allen Bristol Aylesworth (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. AYLESWORTH.

That is a matter which it is not necessary to consider, so far as the provisions of this amending Bill are concerned. It would be a matter for the commission first to consider, and then for parliament to act upon, if the question came up for practical consideration.

Topic:   NATIONAL BATTLEFIELDS.
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QUESTIONS.

March 23, 1910