April 4, 1910

CON

Andrew Broder

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRODER.

The transmission line would cost somewhere about $15,000. So, this great cry about Brockville wanting a transmission line to get power does not seem so important. I understand there is not a horse-power available at Cornwall without further development, but that it is possible, at Mille Roches, to put in more units and develop more power at once. 1 believe they have that right, subject to federal authority. They aTe not allowed to increase the current in the canal to affect navigation, but I understand that at the present time they have not another horsepower to spare. Within the last year and a half the president wrote to the people applying for power that he had not a horsepower to spare. I am giving here what I understand to be facts, but I do not know them of my own personal knowledge. I would suggest, as this question has resolved itself into a legal question-for it is a question as to the effect of this Bill coupled with the other Bill-the Prime Minister should allow time for further consideration. I do not have the privilege of suggesting to him many things, but I would suggest to him now that this matter should be referred to a special committee of legal gentlemen who wrould settle on the effect of this Bill coupled with the other. There are things in this Bill which I would be obliged to object to. For instance, they propose to get the right of way by securing easements. That is, they will go to a farmer and get a few square feet to erect a tower. But this means ingress and egress.

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LIB
LIB
CON
LIB

Frederick Forsyth Pardee (Chief Government Whip; Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. PARDEE.

They have to get the fee simple. .

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CON

Andrew Broder

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRODER.

That does not necessarily follow. It may be said that, if any damage is done, the owner can collect damages. But is an ordinary farmer to sue a twenty million dollar company? No, it would be better for him to suffer injury. We know that lawsuits have been carried on in the city of Montreal to define the rights of thet company in this very question. This is a point that should be properly guarded. I do not think that a company supposed to represent millions of money should get these rights to deal with private interests, to ride over the people rough-shod, and leave the ordinary man to fight for his rights against such odds. Another thing: take these towns along the front, Iroquois, Morrisburg, Cornwall and others, and they all get water out of the rapids of that river. Perhaps the best water in this country is found in these towns. But the moment you dam that river you destroy the right that these people

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LIB
CON

Andrew Broder

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRODER.

My hon. friend had a good deal of experience in damming the water or proposing to dam the, water. The point is that they have that power under another Bill and the two Bills coupled together give them all they want unless we are very careful as to the provisions in this Bill. It may not be generally known that the water shed between'the St. Lawrence and Ottawa rivers which are about 60i miles apart is only three miles from the St. Lawrence in my locality. Within three miles of Morrisburg, you will find the watershed and from that point northward the waters come down to the Ottawa river. It is not a high water shed and if the water should be raised by an ice jam for instance over that water shed it would have to sweep clear through to the Ottawa in order to find an outlet. These are questions that the ordinary man should not be called upon to settle. People competent to know what they mean should look into these things before' powers are given to any company that would in the least have, the effect of damming the St. Lawrence. II would suggst that this Bill be referred to a committee of that sort to settle on thej legal effect of these two Bills taken to4 gether. There is an apprehension in the: minds of many members and of the people! that some risk is involved in permitting' this legislation.

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CON

Andrew Broder

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRODER.

The hon. member objects to that with them, yet he approves it in this case.

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CON

Samuel Simpson Sharpe

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. S. SHARPE.

I think every objection that has been raised here was Taised, in the Private Bills Committee. True as

the Bill was first framed it asked comprehensive expropriation powers. But the promoters said all they wanted was a transmission line and the Bill came to the House in its present form, having: nothing' to do with the damming of the St. Lawrence river, but it was contended that it! was adding to the powers granted by the, Bill of 1901, it was supplementary to that Bill. There were many objections to the>

Bill of 1901, and it has been truly said, that that Bill would not pass the committee as it ' stands to-day.' Many grave objections to it were raised and consequently the position of members on this side was that no power should be added to the powers granted by the Bill of 1901. Then the position of the government should be to negotiate with the company if they come here asking additional powers and privileges; the government should ask them to forego some of the rights contained in the Bill of 1901 which undoubtedly gives the company the right to dam the St. Lawrence to the centre of the international stream. If that is an improper power to confer on the company, would it not be reasonable for the government to say: If you want a transmission line with comprehensive powers of expropriation forego that right in the Bill of 1901. It is an improper power to confer on any company. It would be reasonable for the government to say to the company if they want additional powers and Drivileges, under the Transmission Bill that they should submit their rates under the Act of 1901 to the control of the railway board, there being now no control over the rates of the St. Lawrence- Power Company under their Act of 1901. No one contends that the Bill as brought to the House conferred any power of damming the St. Lawrence. It was in effect a transmission line, but; added to that and gave additional powers to the Act of 1901, and I cannot see how the government can refuse to assume responsibility for this Transmission Bill. The Minister of Railways came to the Private Bills Committee. It is true he tried to divest himself of his official character as a minister and to say he spoke as a private member, he urged the committee to pass the Transmission Bill as it was presented. The Minister of Agriculture at the next sitting lent the support of his influence and presence to the Bill without any serious objection to it in its original form. Any objections to the Bill in the Private Bills Committee emanated from this side. When the Bill came in, in an amended form before the House and was discussed during the all-night session we had the spectacle of four or five ministers sitting all night and giving countenance and support to the Bill. There are ten ministers of the Crown here now, and it is 11 o'clock in the evening. They are sitting here attempting to Mr. S. SHARPE.

carry, or I might say force a private Bill through although several members on this side have asked that it stand for a week tor further consideration. Very innocent amendments suggested during the all-night session were rejected in a haughty spirit, but we find a different spirit in gentlemen opposite; from the promoter to the premier, and the Finance Minister they all seem in a submissive spirit. I submit that the change of attitude is atogether remarkable when you consider how they refused absolutely any amendment that might be suggested during the all-night session. I think they have had their ears to the ground and have found public sentiment to be altogether opposed to this Bill. As the saying is the coon came down, they have had to surrender to the demands of public opinion and make the Bill as innocent as they can. The Bill cannot possibly be discussed intelligently without a thorough discussion of the amendment offered by the leader of the opposition, the amendment of the sponsor of the Bill and three additional amendments. True the sting has been taken out of the Bill because the plans must be submitted not to the Governor in Council, but to this parliament, giving an assurance of publicity, That takes a good deal of the sting out of it, because when the plans are submitted to this House the public will know what is going on, and we will understand what the government purposes doing under the Act of 1901, But there are many objectionable features to the Bill besides the objection which has been raised by my hon. friend the leader ot the opposition. There are wide powers of expropriation. They are permitted to expropriate the property of the province without the consent of the province, and they are permitted to enter into a municipality without the consent, of the municipality. We had a Bill discussed last session known as the Ontario-Michigan Power Bill. One clause that was suggested, and the suggestion was adopted by the hon. member for Rainy River (Mr. Conmee), was that no transmission line should be run through any municipality without the consent of the municipality expressed by by-law. That was a reasonable amendment. Had it not been a reasonable amendment it would not have been put into the Ontario-Michigan Power Bill last session. The opposition desires that such an amendment should be incorporated in this Bill. This Bill is to exploit certain natural resources of the country. Why should that company be allowed, without the consent of the municipality, to enter into that municipality, and why should they have the powers of expropriation granted under the Railway Act? Why should such expropriation powers be given to this private company, operating for private gain and

for the purpose of paying dividends? Why should this company*have the power to go into the city of Montreal, expropriate private property, and go upon the streets of the city without the consent of the municipality? True, there have been other objections raised. The fact that it is duplicating the system which is proposed to be inaugurated by the Hydro-Electric Commission is a great objection. Everybody knows that this is only duplicating the work of the Hydro-Electric Commission. I do not desire to argue that phase of the question particularly, but every person knows that the users of electricity will have to pay for two lines. If this private company erect a transmission line the people will have to pay dividends upon the cost of construction, and the water that may be injected into the stock. Under this system the Hydro-Electric Commission, as soon as these municipalities are prepared to co-operate, will erect transmission lines, and develop power for the benefit of the municipalities at cost. Why should the government encourage a transmission line that will duplicate the system of the Hydro-Electric Commission, doubling the expense of the work of the commission, and adding to the burden of the people in the municipalities through which these lines will pass? Why should they hamper and interfere with the policy which has been adopted by the unanimous consent of the people of Ontario, and playing into the hands of a private company as they are doing here? What the members on this side of the House object to particularly is the fact that by adopting this Bill we are giving additional powers to the St. Lawrence Power Company that already possess powers that they should not have. Before you grant additional powers to a transmission line company it would be well to negotiate with the St. Lawrence Power Company, and induce them to forego some of the powers which they obtained clandestinely in 1901. It seems to me an extraordinary thing that the Bill of 1901 should have passed this House without discussion. Some extraordinary influence must have been at work. It must have passed this House when most of the members were absent. I submit that when that company got such extraordinary powers, as those which are set- out in the Act of 1901, now is the time, when they come here as suppliants for further favours, for the government to negotiate with them, and get them to forego some of their privileges and powers. There are other phases of this proposition that I desire to discuss, but I presume that the government are not going to have another all-night session in connection with this Bill. I would like to ask the Minister of Public Works wdiat interests outside of the St. Lawrence Power

Company have requested the granting of these pow'ers, and the ratification of the plans of that company? Have any public bodies sought to have the St. Lawrence dammed, or asked that further powers. and privileges be conferred upon the St. Lawrence Power Company? I understand that the Toronto and Montreal boards of trade, the Marine Association, the navigation interests, the riparian owners, the municipalities, and in fact every public interest have publicly declared against this plan of the St. Lawrence Power Company, and that the only persons seeking these powers are those financially interested in the undertaking. I understand that the civil engineers of Montreal were asked by the International Waterways Commission to suggest the name of an independent engineer to report upon this project, that they met, pronounced against the project, and refused to suggest the name of an engineer to report upon it. It was so much against the public interest that they refused to suggest the name of an engineer to give an independent report upon the project. If all of these interests are so strenuously opposed to the whole proposition why are we being obliged to sit through all night sessions trying to force this Bill through? If there is not some ulterior purpose behind it what is the object of delaying other private legislation? Other private Bills are important. We are holding other private legislation back for the benefit of this company. In addition I desire to point out that there are private members who have Bills on the Order Paper. Every day has been taken by the government. These private Bills are given precedence over public legislation that is introduced by indiv-ual members in the public interest. The public interest is being sacrificed in the interest of private legislation, and the government are attempting to exploit the assets of the provinces for the benefit of a few promoters who come over from the United States. In a return brought down to the House two or three years ago there were contained several engineers' reports which united in condemnation of this whole project. I say that the project is one which should not be countenanced, which should not receive the assent of this Housq, and that we should not add to the powers, and privileges granted this company under the Act of 1901.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I stated earlier in the evening that I could not understand what was the object of the opposition to this Bill. I think that I now understand it. I think that the hon. member for North Ontario (Mr. Sharpe) has let the cat'out of the bag. I see now plainly that the opposition to this Bill is because it is supposed that this project is

going to duplicate the lines of the HydroElectric- Commission.

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CON

Samuel Simpson Sharpe

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. S. SHARPE.

That is one of the objections.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Is that an unworthy object? What has been the object of the Hydro-Electric Commission? Has it not been the duplication of other lines? Was it not to give cheap power to the people of the province? Was that not one of the reasons advanced when this HydroElectric Commission was organized? Was it not to provide competing lines, to give the people of Ontario the possibility of having cheaper power, to duplicate lines, and to give the people the .choice of not only buying their electrical energy from one company, but from several? If the people of Brockville and of eastern Ontario have that same privilege brought to their doors, if they can procure their power not only from the Hydro-Electric Commission, but also from this new company, where is the harm? This very proposition should receive the commendation and support of my hon. friends opposite. But, I understand their objection. There they are all arrayed against it because they do not want the people of Brockville, or the people along the St. Lawrence to have the privilege of getting their electrical energy from two sources.

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HUGHES.

Will the right hon. the First Minister be good enough to tell the House where he got that data?

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAUREIR.

I got that data from the speech of the hon. member for North Ontario. That is what he said a moment ago. He said that he objected to this company because it was going to duplicate the line of the Hydro-Electric Commission. These were the words of the member for North Ontario. I understand now the reason of the opposition to this Bill. I have asked myself what was the object, now I know it: it is to get a monopoly for the Hydro-Electric Commission. I understand it all now. Well, we shall not have to sit all night to-night, and I am delighted, indeed, that the people of the province of Ontario will now know what was the object of sitting all night the other night, and what is the object of the opposition we have had offered to the Bill to-day. I now move that the committee rise, report progress and ask leave to sit again.

Progress reported.

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L-C
LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Tuesday, April 5, 1910.

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April 4, 1910