May 16, 1911

LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

Certainly, because they have allowed that to be done for forty years without taking any effective measures to prevent them from continuing it.

Topic:   INTERNATIONAL WATERWAYS TREATY.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Have the British government ever made any protest?

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

As far as I am aware, no. The diversion still continues just as it was created forty or fifty years ago. In that case it might be urged- too, that it has interfered with the driving of logs which, of course, is a species of navigation, so that it would be a stronger case than the diversion of water merely for the purpose of irrigation or domestic use. I might also say, I think fairly, that not only have the British government acquiesced, but the Canadian government, during all these years have acquiesced. We felt in the province of New Brunswick that the Dominion government, during all the time that the 'hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) was a member of that government, acquiesced, because we could get no re-I dress. Our representations, in so far as we

could understand, were simply pigeonholed. I cannot remember any Teply being received except a mere acknowledgment of our protests, and no effective steps were taken to prevent this diversion from being continued.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

The Dominion government did not acquiesce if it sent the protests forward to the British government, and asked that the protests be given effect to, as my hon. friend said was done.

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

I cannot imagine any more effective acquiescence than to send a protest forward, and then let the matter slumber for years and years until another protest comes from New Brunswick, then to send that protest forward and allow t'he question to slumber for years and years again.

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CON
LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

The present administration has been no more successful than its predecessor.

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CON
LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

Yes, we have tried, representations have been sent forward, but that is the end of it. My own view is that the British government acquiesce in the view of the American government that the United States were simply exercising their sovereign rights in their own country when they allowed this diversion to take place.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

At what date did the present Dominion government forward the protest with reference to the Allevash river?

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

When I was Attorney General of New Brunswick I forwarded my protest to this government, and I believe there was no result.

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CON
CON

John Dowsley Reid

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID (Grenville).

Did you insist on it going forward again since you became a. minister here?

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

I am inclined to think, judging from the action of the British government, that it is not much use to do so.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

And you are now arguing that that is the correct thing?

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

I am stating that the argument of the United States is that in the exercise of their sovereign rights they can do this, and they have already done it with the acquiescence of the British government, and I am inclined to think that the British government takes the same view that they do. In the course of the. duty I had to perform in connection with this treaty, I would necessarily be brought somewhat in contact with the British ambassa-Mr PUGSLEY.

dor, and I know that his view was that the British government would not be likely to dispute the allegation on the part of the United States that if they diverted water for irrigation purposes they would be .acting in the exercise of their right of sovereignty. Let me ask my hon. friends what would have been the result in all human probability if we refused to enter into this arrangement for the diversion of these waters? In the case of the waters which arise wholly in the neighbouring country and which would be required for irrigation, an agreement under which these waters should be equally divided between the people of the two countries, would seem to the ordinary mind to be a very equitable arrangement, and that is the way it was viewed by the government of the United States. Suppose we had refused to enter into negatiations on that basis, do you think that the United States government, requiring a portion of those waters in eastern Montana for irrigation, would have hesitated very long to have built a canal to draw the waters of the St. Mary's lake wholly through their own country down to the Marias river and thence on by the Missouri river system to where the water was required for irrigation. The hon. member (Mr. Magrath) says it would not be commercially a profitable undertaking.

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CON

Charles Alexander Magrath

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MAGRATH.

Does the minister know the height of the dam they would have to build to get to the Marias river?

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

I do not suppose it would be higher than the dam they have to build now.

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CON

Charles Alexander Magrath

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MAGRATH.

It would be 180 feet high according to the reports of their own engineers.

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

My hon. frien'd may be right in that, but the estimated cq$t is three or four rqillion dollars, and if a government so powerful and so wealthy as that of the United States felt that they were not being treated as a friendly nation ought to treat them I do not think they would hesitate to spend that sum of money to build an irrigation ditch to carry these waters down the Marias river to where they were needed for irrigation. And had they done that, what could we do? My hon. friend (Mr. Magrath) says they would be taking away our legal rights, but how would he propose to enforce these alleged legal rights? It would be by representations to the British government, and in view of their attitude in respect to the Allegash river, they would be very apt to say: We think the United States have a perfect right to do what they have done. They would certainly say, I should think: The United States made you a veijy fair offer under which you can have half the waters of these rivers, to be divided under the direction of a commission and we are

not disposed to interfere and make trouble with the United States. That would have been the answer of the British government, and I would like to know what comfort it would have been to the Alberta Railway and Irrigation Company and to the people whose very existence depends on a regular supply of water during the dry season, to be told that we would be able to protest year after year to the British government, and that we would have a grievance against the government of the United States. That would be but poor satisfaction to the company whose shareholders would have been Turned and to the people who were living in what was formerly a fertile country, but which had been rendered barren by reason of the source of its fertility . We took these matters into consideration, and we came to the conclusion that it would be better to make this arrangement in order to avoid these difficulties which had been rising between the two governments in that western country, and which were likely to be a source of very great irritation in the future. The hon. member for Medicine Hat (Mr. Magratli) says we did not take the advice of Mr. Anderson. Well, we did not act wholly upon Mr. Anderson's advice; I am not sure that we acted upon it at all, but I can say to my hon. friend that we gave it the most careful consideration; we submitted it to our own experts. We submitted it to Dr. King, who, although he is not specially engaged in irrigation work, is a gentleman of great ability and large experience and one who has made a special study of that western country in connection with the settlement of that question. We conferred with Mr. Campbell of the Interior Department, who is in charge of the Forestry Branch, and I think the Irrigation Branch also. I was called upon on two occasions to go to Washington in connection with the question, and Mr. Campbell and Mr. King were present, and we gave the question the closest study possible. I think my hon. friend from Medicine Hat will agree that Mr. Anderson was speaking upon the theory that the waters of the river were to be divided, and that no prior right was being secured to the people of Canada. I regard that as of great importance, and I fear the importance of it was overlooked by my hon. friend (Mr. Ma-grath).

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May 16, 1911