February 8, 1911


January 30, 1911. Mr. Oliver introduced the following Bill, which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce:-



To provide for the improvement of navigation in the St. Lawrence river and for the construction of dams, locks, canals, and other appurtenant structures therein at and near Long Sault, Barnhart, and Sheek islands. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that the Long Sault Development Company, a corporation organized under a law of the state of New Mr. SPROULE. York, entitled ' An Act to incorporate the Long Sault Development Company, and to authorize said company to construct and maintain dams, canals, power-houses, and locks at or near Long Sault island, for the purpose of improving the navigation of the Saint Lawrence river and developing power from the waters thereof, and to construct and maintain a bridge, and carry on the manufacture of commodities/ which became effective May twenty-third, nineteen hundred and seven, its successors and assigns, be, and they hereby are, authorized to construct, maintain, and operate for navigation, water-power, and other purposes for a period of ninety-nine years a dam or dams in so much of the Saint Lawrence river as lies south of the international boundary line between the United States of America and the Dominion of Canada, near Long Sault, Barnhart, and Sheek islands, either independently or in connection with like works now erected or to be erected in so much of said river as lies north of said international boundary line, with a bridge or bridges and approaches thereto, and a lock or locks, a canal or canals, and other structures appurtenant thereto; provided, that such dam or dams, lock or locks, canal or canals, and other structures appurtenant thereto, except as herein otherwise provided, shall be constructed, maintained, operated, modified, or removed in all respects subject to and in accordance with the provisions of the Act entitled ' An Act to amend an Act entitled " An Act to regulate the construction of dams across navigable waters/ " approved June twenty-third, nineteen hundred and ten: provided further, that such bridge or bridges and approaches thereto, except as herein otherwise provided, shall be constructed, maintained, operated, modified, or removed in all respects subject to and in accordance with the provisions of the Act entitled ' An Act to regulate the construction of bridges over navigable waters/ approved March twenty-third, nineteen hundred and six: and provided further, that the Secretary of War shall cause a survey of that portion of the Saint Lawrence river to be affected by said improvements to be made with a view to securing a navigable channel, suitable for commerce up and down said river, from a point opposite the western end of Croil island to a point opposite the eastern end of Barnhart island, together with plans and specifications therefor, and all rights herein granted to the Long Sault Development Company shall be conditional on its improvement of said channel at its own expense, in accordance with said plans and specifications, said channel to be completed simultaneously with the other works herein authorized, all expenses connected with such survey and the preparation of such plans and specifications to be paid by the said company, its successors, or assigns. Section 2. That said Long Sault Development Company, its successors and assigns, shall be subject to the provisions of the treaty between the United States and Great Britain relative to the boundary waters between the United States and Canada, proclaimed by the President' of the United States on the thirteenth day of May, nineteen hundred and ten. Section 3. That the actual construction of the works hereby authorized shall be com- 323" rnenced within two years and shall be completed within fifteen years from the date of the passage of this Act; otherwise this Act shall be void, and the rights hereby conferred shall cease and be determined. Section 4. That if said Long Sault Development Company, or any other company or companies acting with it in such development, shall develop power by the construction of works, a part of which shall be located north of the international boundary line, at least one-half of the power generated shall be delivered in the United States. Provided, that when in the opinion of the Secretary of War and the chief of engineers use cannot be found in the United States for the full share thus assigned to this country the surplus may be temporarily diverted to Canada, but shall be returned to the United States when in the opinion of said officers it is needed. Provided further, that nothing herein contained shall be construed to prevent the importation from (Canada of the whole or any part of the power generated from any of the said works in the St. Lawrence river. Section 5. That should the works hereby authorized be or become at any time, in the opinion of the Secretary of War and the chief of engineers, inadequate to accommodate, or an interference with, the navigation of that portion of the St. Lawrence river affected thereby, said company, its successors or assigns, shall, under the supervision of the Secretary of War and the chief of engineers, make adequate provision for the accommodation of navigation; and should said company, its successors or assigns, fail so to do, the United States government shall, under the supervision of the Secretary of War and the chief of engineers, do anything required to make such provision for navigation, and the expense thereof shall constitute a debt of said company, its successors or assigns, and a lien upon all its property. Section 6. That the Long Sault Development Company shall execute a bond obligatory on itself, its successors and assigns, with good and solvent sureties in the sum of five hundred thousand dollars, payable to the United States, for the use and benefit of the riparian and other landowners in and along the St. Lawrence river conditioned to pay all damages that may accrue to them, or any of them, by reason of overflow, ice jams and other causes produced by the erection or maintenance of said dam or dams, and the work of construction shall not commence until said bond is executed and approved by the Secretary of War and deposited in the War Department. Section 7. That the right to alter, amend or repeal this Act is hereby expressly reserv-, ed, and the United States shall incur no liability because of the alteration, amendment or repeal thereof. That is the Bill which is now before the Senate in Washington, and I understand the one that Congress has thrown out. There are one or two points in connection with it to which I would draw the attention of the Prime Minister. It refers to the treaty proclaimed by the President, May 13th, 1910. They make no reference whatever to the Ashburton Treaty. As I remember the International Waterways Commission Treaty was dated January 11th, 1910.


LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

It was put in

force by the President on May 11.

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CON

John Dowsley Reid

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID (Grenville).

The Prime Minister will notice that this Bill gives them power to improve the navigation of the St. Lawrence river and to develop power from the waters thereof. It also says they are authorized to construct, maintain and operate for navigation, water-power and other purposes, &c. I mentioned to the Prime Minister last year that the intention of this same company was not only to develop power, that of course is the main thing they have in view, but as I had heard privately from those behind this Bill, to build a canal from the point where they are erecting this dam down to Lake Champlain. This place, Massena, is the last American point on the river, from there down, Canada has both sides of the river, and if they were allowed to let so much water run down and build a canal from Lake Champlain they would make that the foot of navigation for the Americans, bringing grain from Chicago and the west. The minister will remember that discussion, and I do not think any one in the House gave us the impression that there was any truth in that report. The other evening, I happened to be on the train, and, meeting the secretary of the International Waterways Commission, I asked him if any such thing had ever been brought out before their commission. He tola me that it had been, that plans_ and1 all were submitted to this International Waterways Commission, and that our side of the commission had reported against it, and that that report was in the Public Works Department. Should that be the case it is a very serious thing, I think, for our great St. Lawrence route; for, if they get that dam and _ get the canal through such as I mentioned last year, then grain coming from Chicago, Duluth, Port Arthur or any of the upper lake ports can be taken right down to Massena. I asked the secretary how long the canal was. I have forgotten the figures he gave me, but it is not by any means a long canal.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

From Oswego?

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CON

John Dowsley Reid

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID (Grenville).

No.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I have not heard of any thing but Oswego.

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CON

John Dowsley Reid

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID (Grenville).

I did not hear oi it until the other evening. The secretary gave me the name. The words * Lake Champlain ' form a part of it.

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

Who is the secretary from whom the hon. gentleman got his information ?

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CON

John Dowsley Reid

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID (Grenville).

I think his name is CotA

Mr. PUGSLEYi. No such report has come to my notice.

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CON

John Dowsley Reid

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID (Grenville).

It may be that he is wrong.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

He is mistaken.

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CON

John Dowsley Reid

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID (Grenville).

It may be so.

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LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of the Naval Service; Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. BRODEUR.

Can my hon. friend be referring to the canal which has been chartered between Montreal and St. Johns, which has the words ' Lake Champlain ' m its name P But it has no reference to the subject of this motion.

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CON

John Dowsley Reid

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID (Grenville).

No. But this same company applied for a charter last year, and I believe, at the time, it was pioposed to give them power to dam the St. Lawrence river; but I heard at the time that their whole scheme vr&s to run a canal from where this dam would be, down to Lake Champlain, thus diverting the traffic that now goes to Montreal. If this were true, it would be a very serious thing, and if it were brought to the Prime Minister's attention, the obvious result of such a scheme would surely weigh with Sim to prevent it being carried out. I mention this to-day so that when the matter comes up again, these points may be considered, for these men are sure to come here again and want ;a charter, and, as the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster), has said, they are not going to stop with this year's results at Washington. I draw' to the attention of the Prime Minister the statements that have been made to me. I did not ask Mr. Cote to give me any private information; it was a public matter so far as I knew; I was simply discussing this question and asking what the commission had done. I certainly do not wish to reflect upon Mr. Cote.

As to this whole question, we on the St. Lawrence front, feel very strongly. It does not make any difference to me personally, because I am quite a distance from it; but we feel that the great St. Lawrence route should be kept as it is. The steamers stop at Prescott, which is the terminal point from Toronto. Passengers all change there, and it is the very fact of these rapids being there, that brings thousands and thousands of people down that river every year. To give the whole channel into the control of a private corporation, is something about which the people there feel very keenly. In fact, they feel that the Prime Minister will not agree to any such proposition. The damming of the South Sault, which the Prime Minister mentioned the other evening, is also very important. I have talked with engineers of repute on the subject, and they claim that if you raise the river the fifty feet or whatever mav be neces-Mr. REID (Grenville).

sary, it is going to throw the water round into the North Sault, and you cannot tell w'hat the effect may be. Has the Prime Minister ever seen the plan showing the exact location of the islands ? A glance at the map would show that if you dam the South Sault, the water must go by some other way. And we are not going to get any benefit from it. We cannot get the power, for the power is on the American side. The whole St. Lawrence at that particular point is on the American side. Even the North Sault, the rapids down which the Richelieu boats go, is on the American side. If we allow the river to be dammed at that point, we are simply under their control. At the time of the Ashburton Treaty, the parties who framed that treaty certainly went into the matter very carefully and protected our interests at that time. The only reason I can see that has been advanced either to this House or to the country why that charter should be granted is, that power is wanted at Cornwall, Morrisburg, Iroquois, Prescott, Brockville and Kingston. If you go east of the easternmost of these places, you have the Beauharnois canal, and all the powers developed about Lachine. So, I think they have plenty of power there for many years. So far as Cornwall is concerned, I understand that there is no great cry there for more power. I understand that in Cornwall there are some -who would like to see the dam go on for the local benefit that might arise in the way of more manufactures or something of that kind. But I do not think the town is suffering for want of power. As to Morris-burg, they are absolutely against this proposition. Even if there were a power line run in there, they could not use more than a few horse-power. The Hydro-Electric Commission is trying to arrange power for these places. In Prescott, in -which town I live, we are anxious to get power, there is no doubt about that. But to-day you could not sell 500 horse-power in Pres-cctt. While they are very anxious for power, yet they are down on this proposition to dam the St. Lawrence. Speaking from what I have heard, Brockville, -while anxious for power, is not willing to contract for more than 1,500 horse-power with the Hydro-Electric Commission. Kingston, I understand, wants several thousand horse-power. If we have a little patience, I believe that within the next year or two we shall have all the power we want in these places, and much sooner than we could get it by the project of damming the St. Lawrence. They tell me, and I think it is true, that they are developing some power here at Ottawa. The distance from Ottawa to Prescott is 52 miles. From Prescott to where this dam on the St. Lawrence would be built, is at least as far as

that. They are not any nearer to Prescott than we would be from Ottawa. This power will go all over the country. Then there is another power that is being developed; they are getting things in shape, and expect within twelve months, to have from 8,000 to 10,000 horse-power developed north of Kingston. They are trying to make arrangements with the Hydro-Electric Com-missiori to run a line to Kingston, and down to Brockville and Prescott. These powers we have in our own country, they have not been taken up before, and I am quite satisfied that if this matter is held back for two or three years, the towns from Prescott to Kingston will not have any trouble. Kingston is the largest place that wants power, I suppose Kingston might take from 6,000 to 8,000 horse-power. I believe that Kingston is to-day in a position to get that power delivered-the hon. member for Kingston (Mr. Harty), will correct me if I am wrong.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Where from?

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CON

John Dowsley Reid

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID (Grenville).

There is a company that runs a line from Trenton, they have 100,000 horse-power. Now, I will tell the Prime Minister why I make that statement. A short time ago representatives from Kingston, Gananoque, Brockville and Prescott, and I think the reeves, met a representative of the Hydro-Electric Commission, and the object, I understood, was to find out how much power each municipality would take so he could give them a rate. I saw these gentlemen when they were returning from Toronto; I met one of them with whom I am well acquainted the solicitor for this company, who was there in behalf of this company to oppose the Hydro-Electric scheme; and he told me that his company were prepared to furnish Kingston with all the power they wanted, provided Kingston would give them the absolute franchise, for $25 per horse-power. He gave me the impression that the Kingston people did not want to go into that scheme because they thought the power from the Hydro-Electric would be cheaper. If that is the position of things, it will work out all right in the end for Kingston. Now since these powers are close enough to be developed, and to be brought into these places, and will be brought in within the next year or two, I think we in this House need not pass 'any legislation of this kind. It may be that in twenty years from now the position of this country will be changed. But unless there is some strong reason why that Bill should be passed in this House other than those I have mentioned, I think this government and every member of this House should strongly oppose it, and leave our rights to that river just as they are at the present time. Therefore, I hope the Prime Minister will do everything he can to leave us exactly

in the same position we are. Perhaps he has already done it, I do not want to ask him to reveal any state secret, but I hope he has wired Ambassador Bryce to ask the President not to allow that Bill to go through at all, but that the rights we have under the Ashburton Treaty may be preserved to us intact. I am satisfied if the Premier does that, the Bill will never go through the American Congress, and I do not think these people would trouble this House again at any future time. The men who are promoting this scheme are very persistent. They were in my county, and they didn't hesitate to say that they had a million dollars, or two million dollars if necessary, with which to put this Bill through. They were up along the whole country, talking to the people, trying to raise an agitation, and to force the members from that region to put this Bill through. I think the means they took were as unfair as were ever resorted to by the promoters of any Bill.

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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAGGART (Lanark).

I am glad of the opportunity of saying a few words for the purpose of affirming the position I took when this question was discussed the other night in the House. I was then opposed both by the Minister of Public Works and by the head of the government. I was proceeding with an argument when I was interrupted, and was told that this power on the Long Sault had already been conveyed to a corporation. I began to argue that under the Ashburton Treaty the Crown had not the power of conveying that property without the consent of the legislature, and I was told by the Minister of Public Works and by the Prime Minister that the legislature had already consented to a conveyance. I was astounded at the time.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I did not say that.

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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAGGART (Lanark).

The Minister of Public Works said it, and I thought the right hon. gentleman assented. I took the opportunity of looking up the case, and I found that no such power had been given to any company in the world for the use of the Long Sault canal. My position then was perfectly right. Under the Ashburton Treaty, navigation and what is essential to navigation, is reserved to the people of this country, and the Crown cannot convey it. What the Crown did convey in reference to that work near Sheik island, is the right of user to the surplus water, the discharge of the by-wash that is used for the purpose of keeping tihe level of Sheik island. There is a certain by-wash passing down there, a surplus of water. That water, so far as it did not interfere with navigation, was leased to an individual or to a corporation. The Act of parliament was simply an en-powering one, giving to the corporation the

right of doing what the individual, or the party to whom that property was conveyed, had the right of doing.

There is that further right because the parties who leased that particular property from the Crown had in mind the contingency that perhaps they might not have water enough. The original idea of building the canal there was to utilize what is called Hoople's creek. The idea was to deepen and dredge Hoople's creek so as to utilize it for the purposes of navigation instead of building an outside embankment. Under the contract with this corporation the government have given them the right to deepen that creek to any extent they like and the use of whatever water may be diverted from the St. Lawrence. That power is given to this corporation but it does not interfere at all with any of the rights which we have under the Ashburton Treaty. Every one knows that the particular part of the St. Lawrence between Sheik island and the north shore was utilized for the operation of a little mill owned by Mr. Snetsinger. That mill was expropriated when the canal was being built and taken over by the government. It was to a certain extent utilizing that power, or the power which has been developed by the erection of a dam. The ownership of that power rests with the people of Canada and the people of the United States, and it cannot be taken either by Crown - gift, or in any other way, unless with the consent of the legislature of this country. It is true that under the treaty we have given to the In ternational Commission the right of deciding what shall be done with these particular waterways, how they shall be utilized, and to what extent we have a right in them. My hon. friend who spoke before me referred to those powers as being situated in the United States, and he said that if the water was dammed the power would be of great benefit to the United States for the simple reason that the body was situated on the United States side. That question arose in connection with the power question at Niagara Falls. It came before the Waterways Commission, and I think they arrived at a perfectly proper -and right conclusion when they determined that no matter whether international waterways diverged in their course to the south or the north, or whether the large body of water was situated on one side or the -other a moiety of the power should belong to each country, and that each would have a common interest in it. So that, if any dam be erected on the south side for the purpose of utilizing that power, a moiety, or half, would belong to each country, and they would not be allowed to utilize it by the Waterways Commission in the first instance unless they had received the assent of this parliament and of the Congress of Mr. HAGGART (Lanark).

th(e United States. So, I think it is perfectly secure. The possibilities of the future are very vague and uncertain as to its ever being utilized as a power. The United States Senate has thrown out the Bill but it is quite true that it may -be introduced again. No power can be given to that company unless with the consent of this legislature and especially unless with the consent of the government and the consent of the Waterways Commission. I think the day is far distant when such a consent could be shown to be advisable. If we want power in this country, as my hon. friend says, there are hundreds of other places which can be utilized, the development of which will not interfere with the scenic grandeur such as that which characterizes the St. Lawrence. There are other places where power can be as cheaply developed and -at the same time without spoiling the natural beauty of the place. This is an heirloom that ought to be kept for the people of this country. With reference to navigation, this is one of the wonders of the trip down the St. Lawrence that annually attracts more passengers than anything else, and unless the gravest and most serious reasons are shown from an economic point of view that it is in the interests of the country that this dam should be erected, I think the unanimous opinion of the country from one end to the other will be that we should leave this place in its present state of nature.

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February 8, 1911