February 12, 1915

PRIVATE BILLS INTRODUCED.


Bill No. 31, respecting The British Columbia Southern Railway Company.- Mr. Taylor. Bill No. 32, to incorporate The Brule Grand Prairie and Peace River Railway Company.-Mr. R. B. Bennett. Bill No. 33, to confirm certain agreements made between The Canadian Northern Ontario Railway Company, The Georgian Bay and Seaboard Railway Company and The Campbellford, Lake Ontario and Western Railway Company.-Mr. Blain. Bill No. 34, respecting The Manitoba and North Western Railway Company of Canada.-Mr. Cash. Bill No. 35, respecting The Niagara-Welland Power Company.-Mr. Blain. Bill No. 36, to incorporate Northern Pacific and British Columbia Railway Company. -Mr. Taylor. Bill No. 37, respecting Pacific, Peace River and Athabasca Railway Company.- Mr. R. B. Bennett. Bill No. 38, respecting The Vancouver, Victoria'" and Eastern Railway and Navigation Company.-Mr. Taylor.


POLLUTION OF NAVIGABLE WATERS.


Mr. GEORGE H. BRADBURY (Selkirk) moved the second reading of Bill No. 2 respecting the pollution of Navigable Waters. He said: This Bill is very similar to the one which I have had before the House during the last two sessions. We have taken a great deal of expert evidence, and the consensus of opinion of the experts of Canada is that a Bill of this kind is necessary to protect the streams and rivers of this country from pollution. That the House may understand thoroughly what I am asking for, I ask leave to read the Bill, which is a short one: An Act respecting the Pollution of Navigable Waters. His Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows: 1. No person shall put or cause or permit to be put, or to flow or to be carried, any sewage, offal or refuse or other matter that is poisonous, noxious, decomposing, or any injurious refuse or waste, into any navigable water or into any other water that flows into any navigable water unless such matter is disposed of or treated in accordance with regulations made under the authority of this Act. 1 Mr. Hazen.j 2. Every municipal corporation convicted of an offence against this Act shall, upon summary conviction, be liable to a fine of not less than five hundred dollars and an additional sum of fifty dollars for each day during which the offence continues. 3. Every corporation, other than a municipal corporation, convicted of an offence against this Act shall, upon summary conviction, be liable to a fine of not less than two hundred dollars and an additional sum of twenty dollars for each day during which the offence continues. 4. Every person, other than a corporation, who is convicted of an offence against this Act shall, upon summary conviction, be liable to a fine of not less than fifty dollars and an additional sum of ten dollars for each day during which the offence continues, or to imprisonment not exceeding two months, or to 'both fine and imprisonment. 5. The Governor in Council shall have power to exempt any water or waters from the operation of this Act for such length of time as may be prescribed, and may from time to time extend, withdraw, or vary such exemption. 6. The Governor in Council may make such regulations and appoint such officers and employees as are necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act. All regulations_ and orders made under this Act shall be published in the Canada Gazette. One of the great objections urged against this Bill by different interests and by some of the lower province members in this House last year was that the legislation would work a hardship by its control of sewage placed in tidal waters. They contended that there was no necessity of interfering with cities along the sea-coast. For the purpose of expediting the Bill and of trying to make some headway with it, I have changed the wording of the fifth clause in such a way as to give the Government absolute control of the matter, power being given to it to exempt any waters or water from the operation of the Act and to extend such exemptions or withdrawal from time to time. During the time this Bill was before the committee we took a great deal of evidence and examined, I think, every expert in Canada. During the first session of 1913 we examined Mr. James White of the Commission of Conservation and Dr. Hod-getts. Both these gentlemen, whose evidence was very full and complete, took the position that legislation of this kind is absolutely necessary if we are to prevent our rivers and lakes from being polluted as they have been during the last fifty years. We examined also Mr. Joseph Race, F.I.C., municipal bacteriologist of the city of Ottawa; Dr. W. T. Connel, Professor of Bacteriology and Hygiene at Queen's University, Kingston; Mr. R. S. Lea and Mr. John Kennedy, civil engineers, both of the city of Montreal; Professor C. H. McLeod, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science in McGill University; Dr. Bryce, Medical Inspector of the Immigration Branch, Department of the Interior. These gentlemen were examined at some length, and were all agreed as to the necessity of legislation of this kind. Although this Bill was, very thoroughly discussed on a former occasion, I think it is due the House that I should refer for a few moments to some of the findings of the committee appointed to look into that matter. To that end I wish to read some of the evidence given by Mr. White of the Conservation Commission. The following is part of Mr. White's evidence: Q. Have you any data or information as to how wide an expanse of water would be necessary to prevent 'pollution on this side, or can you rely at all upon the distance?-A. The Great Lakes undoubtedly act as great sedimentation basins. The public health authorities of Ontario have gone half way across Lake Ontario from Toronto collecting samples of water all the way. They found bacteria right out to the middle of the lake. Of course, we can concede that the chances of the sewage of a city like Rochester infecting the supply of a town like Port Hope or Cobourg are somewhat remote; but you cShnot say that it will not. The most important point of all is that the population on the shores of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence is increasing, and, as the population increases, the danger of infection also increases. Q. What is the distance between Rochester and Cobourg? A. The distance across the lake is approximately 40 miles, I should say. Q. Is that sufficient to purify the water?- A. We have traced the pollution half way across the lake. Of course we assume that the pollution they get in the middle of the lake is Toronto's pollution, because, of course, Toronto is the largest city on the shores of Lake Ontario, and the pollution was found practically opposite that city. They were trying to discover whether by extending their intake pipe out a reasonable distance they would get beyond the polluted area; and they came to the conclusion that they could not. Q. Is the water from the Great Lakes used for domestic purposes by the city? A. Yes, that is what the city of Toronto depends upon. They have installed a very large filtration plant, but other cities along the lakes are using the unflltered water. Mr. Joseph Race of the city of Ottawa was also examined. He gave the following evidence : The effects of the pollution of navigable waters have ohiefly been reflected in the abnormal death rates from enteric diseases, and it is these rates that have attracted public attention to this serious problem. At the outset it should be remembered that it is the use of such water for drinking purposes without purification that is the cause of so many deaths, and that the sewage problem has become acute on account of the failure of communities to realize their responsibilities in that direction. We come now to the other aspect of this problem. If the sewage pollution of navigable waters is allowed to continue and the population continues to increase, a stage must ultimately be reached when they become impossible as a source of domestic water supply. Q. What is your opinion regarding the whole question of the prevention of the pollution of streams?-A I think that all sewage pollution and trade wastes ought to be prevented from running into the rivers unless thoroughly purified. Q. Do you agree with other scientists that typhoid is a water borne disease almost entirely?-A. Not almost entirely, but a large proportion of it is. Q. You believe that it is a disease that is preventable?-A. Yes, certainly. Q. What percestage is preventable by legislation?-A. I should say at least 75 per cent. Q. Then according to your statement your Opinion is that if we had proper sewage protection in the city of Ottawa we would have [DOT] had at least 75 per cent fewer typhoid cases and deaths during these epidemics?-A. Undoubtedly. The evidence of Mr. Race is, I think, particularly important, inasmuch as he gives it as his opinion-and this opinion is corroborated by the opinions of a great many other scientists-that typhoid fever is largely preventable, and that it is a waterborne disease. When we think of the awful ravages that typhoid fever has caused throughout Canada, we must realize the importance of passing some legislation that will protect our great fresh-water supplies in this country. Dr. W. T. Connel, one of the scientists connected with Queen's University, Kingston, was the next witness examined by the committee, and in connection with the pollution at Kingston he gave the following evidence : Q. If there were typhoid fever at Kingston, would that not increase the danger of infection at the towns below?-A. I think that we can say that either typhoid fever cases or typhoid carriers are constantly present in every town and city, hence that a certain number of typhoid bacilli are being daily discharged with untreated sewage into the rivers and lakes by practically every town and city in this country. Q. If there were anything of an epidemic, of course that danger would be increased?-A. Provided the excreta were not disinfected, as they are supposed to be by law. Q. Speaking generally would there be any suggestion you could make which would be applicable?-A. Every city should treat its own sewage in such a manner as to render it harm-



less to any other cities or towns which may take their supply from helow. Q. And harmless to itself also?-A. Of course, to itself, the selfish reason would apply first. As I have said, I think our own experience has been that the danger is very largely to one's own town first, and secondly to those below, and so for purely selfish reasons we should treat our sewage and thus not injure ourselves, and secondly, not to injure others. There is a great deal more evidence which I need not inflict upon the House, hut I may say that at one of the sittings of this Committee it was suggested owing to the great importance of this question and the fact that it had been widely discussed all over the Dominion, that a conference should be called of representatives of all the provinces to meet in Ottawa to discuss the question, and I received instruction from the com-mitte to request the Government to invite such a conference. The conference was convened in the Tower room here on October 3, 1913, by the Minister of Marine and Fisheries. Among those present were the Hon. .1. D. Hazen, Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Hon. Martin Burrell, Minister of Agriculture; myself, as Chairman of the House of Commons Committee on the subject; Mr. Warnock, M.P., and Mr. Baker, M.P. The province of Manitoba was represented by Hon. Mr. Howden, the Attorney General ol the province; Prince Edward Island by Hon. Mr. Matlheson, Premier of Prince Edward Island; British Columbia by Hon. William R. Ross, Minister of Lands; the province of Quebec by Dr. E. P. Lachapelle, president of the Provincial Board of Health; Mr. R. S. Lea, member of the Provincial Board of Health; and Dr. E. Elzear Pelletier, secretary of the Provincial Board of Health. The province of Saskatchewan was represented by Mr. P. Aird Murray, C.E., and Dr. Maurice M. Seymour, Commissioner of Public Health for the province of Saskatchewan; New Brunswick by Hon. Mr. Flemming, Premier of New Brunswick; the International Joint Commission by Mr. C. A. Magrath and Mr. H. A. Powell, K.C.; the Conservation Commission by James White, Secretary and deputy minister and Dr. C. A. Hodgetts. The subject was thoroughly discussed at the conference, and the consensus of opinion was that some federal legislation should be passed to control the disposal of the sewage of the Dominion of Canada. Mr. White in his evidence made this statement: _ I have all that information and I could have it here at a later date. I would like to say CMr. Bradbury.] that the Conservation Commission is entirely in accord with Mr. Bradbury in his effort to prevent the pollution of streams. That is apparently the opinion of all who are interested in this great question. I do not wish to take up too much time of the House, but I should just like to say a word as to the death rate from typhoid fever in this country. When one remembers the great bodies of water we have in Canada, our great lakes and our great rivers, and then compares our condition with European countries, with their densely populated districts, and discovers that the death rate from typhoid is much higher in Canada than irx those European countries, the condition is alarming and one that ought to command and demand the attention of this Parliament. According to a table submitted to the committee by Dr. Hodgetts the death rate from typhoid-fever in Scotland was 6-2 per 1,000 population; in Germany 7-6; England and Wales 11-2; Belgium 16-8; Austria 19-9; Hungary 28-3; Italy 35-2; Canada 35-5; and the United States 46. These figures indicate the awful condition that prevails in Canada at the present time. It is positively alarming when we think of such great rivers as the one that flows by the base of this building. The Ottawa river is in an awful condition and has been so for many years. The condition of the Ottawa river ought to appeal to every man in this House; and it is but one of many of such rivers in Canada. In this city we have a great population of nearly 100,000, who are taxed for water, and the city of Ottawa supplies them with water that is utterly unfit for domestic purposes. It is unfit to drink, either for man or beast. It has been condemned, not only by the medical profession, but by the veterinary surgeons, who claim that the water of Ottawa is not fit for a horse or even a dog to drink. There have been a number of serious cases among the horses and dogs of this city on account of the dope that has been put in the water. Some scientists would have it that hypo-chloride is harmless, that it does not cause any serious trouble when put into water. But the medical profession of Ottawa will tell you that the continual doping of the Ottawa water supply has caused a great deal of sickness in the city, apart altogether from typhoid fever. No one doubts that hypochloride prevents typhoid epidemics for it kills the baccili; but while it kills the baccili, it ruins the constitutions of the people who drink the doped water. The con- sequence is that the people of this city are forced to pay a high water rate, and an additional charge to get pure water. People all over the city are glad to go long distances to get pure water, just as they did five and thirty years ago before we had a water system. All this could have been prevented if Parliament had taken action years ago, as it should have done. In view of the conditions that prevail I hope the House will not hesitate to adopt the Bill before it. I trust that the Government will not feel inclined to send this Bill to a committee again. It has been in committee for two years. We have obtained all the information that can be obtained on it. The Bill is framed in such a manner as to leave it entirely in the hands of the Government to determine when it shall be called into operation; that is the Government can withdraw any of the waters from its operation whenever it sees fit. It empowers the Government to make regulations under which the Bill will be enforced so that the enforcement of the legislation will rest entirely in the hands of the Government. The point that it is an interprovincial question has been raised, but I-do not think it is a serious difficulty in the way of the adoption of this proposed legislation. I am not a lawyer but I have discussed the question with able lawyers and I have been assured that there is no reason why the federal power should not pass legislation that would control the disposal of sewage throughout this Dominion. There is no question to my mind that the federal Government have absolute control of navigable streams. That question was settled by the case we had up here some years ago, when the millmen undertook to deposit their sawdust and slabs in the Ottawa river. It was demonstrated then that the Government could control our navigable waters and prevent the miumen from polluting these waters in any way. The same thing prevailed in connection with our fisheries. We can prevent the millmen or anybody from polluting lakes by depositing sawdust or any material that would militate against the fisheries. I claim that we can enact legislation in this House to control not only navigable waters but every stream that runs into a navigable water and say whether sewage may or may not be deposited in the streams. The Bill has been discussed from every standpoint by the best informed men in Canada. There has been no source of information left uncanvassed by the committee. Every man in Canada that the committee thought could throw any light upon this important question was summoned to attend that committee and to give his evidence and the summing up of the evidence -and we have two volumes of it-proves beyond a doubt that some legislation ought to be enacted by the federal authorities. I noticed a few days ago that the International Waterways Commission, which has been doing some splendid work, has at last induced the nation to the south of us to join with that commission to prevent the pollution of the great rivers running between these two countries. This will also apply to the lakes. This is a move in the right direction. When this Bill was first introduced one objection raised against it was that it would be perfectly useless for this House to take any action until we could induce thq American people to take similar action. I did not agree with that contention. My position was that this condition that prevailed in Canada demanded redress, it was the duty of Canada first to take care of the situation in this country; in other words, to clean up the condition which existed in our country and then we could reasonably appeal to the nation to the south of us to join with us and do its share. But the International Commission, has, I see, accomplished a good work in securing the consent of the United States Government to join with Canada in preventing the pollution of the St. Lawrence and, I presume, the great lakes contiguous to their own country. In view of this fact I submit the time has come for this House to act and I venture to say that the Bill, while not perfect by any means, will be a step in the right direction and it can be amended if necessary from year to year. Therefore, I beg to move the second reading of Bill No. 5 entitled an Act respecting the Pollution of Navigable Waters.


CON

John Douglas Hazen (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. J. D. HAZEN (Minister of Marine and Fisheries):

My hon. friend from Selkirk (Mr. Bradbury), who has introduced this Bill, and who, during the past two years, has introduced Bills very similar in character, has suggested that the matter should now be dealt with by the House. In the session of 1913 a Bill of this character was introduced which was referred to a committee of the House and a similar course was taken in the session of 1914. The committee, as pointed out by my hon. friend, met on a good many occasions and gave a great deal of consideration to the matter. They heard the opinions and the

evidence of members of the Conservation Commission who had made a special study in regard to this question, and of sanitary experts, bacteriologists and other men of scientific training who had made scientific researches regarding it. They also, in the summer of 1913, had a conference with representatives of the different provincial authorities, and the health authorities of the different provinces, and they gave a great deal of thought and consideration to the matter. At the last session of the House they made a report to Parliament which report is found in the Votes and Proceedings of the 11th of June, and in which they made the statement that it was evident that sufficient time was not available to the committee for the completion of the task which had been committed to them, and therefore they reported back without amendment the Billg to the House. They took this course because there had been certain practical objections raised to the Bills yrhich they thought required serious consideration and further because they believed that it was well to ascertain, if they could do so, what action the International Joint Commission proposed to take in regard to the pollution of boundary waters. There is no doubt at all, I think, that this Parliament has the right to pass legislation preventing the pollution of waters that constitute the boundary line between Canada and the United States. But that was not the difficulty which they had to face. What the committee felt was that if Canada should pass legislation to prevent raw sewage from Canadian cities and towns being placed in the waters of boundary rivers, such as the St. Lawrence and the St. John, very little good would be accomplished thereby unless the United States passed similar legislation preventing sewage from the Republic going into these boundary waters, thus preventing the pollution not only of their own waters but of the waters that were on the Canadian side of the boundary as well.

As pointed out by the hon. member for Selkirk, the International Joint Commission representing the United States and Canada, regarding the pollution of boundary waters, have made an investigation of that subject. I hold in my hand the progress report which they have made thereon. Since then they have devoted a good deal of research and study to the question, and they considered it, I believe, at a meeting which was held by the members of the Joint Commission in the city of Torontoa week or ten days ago. I am told

they have practically come to a conclusion as to the recommendation they will make. While legislation in this direction should not be too long delayed, I think we should know before proceeding, the findings of the International Joint Commission, which I am led to believe will be of a very drastic character, in order that we may not pass any legislation that will conflict with or be inconsistent with the conclusions arrived at by that commission which represents the Governments of both countries.

While the Committee of this House was unanimous in favour of legislation to prevent the pollution of navigable streams, yet it was felt that to pass a sweeping law saying that no sewage should be put into any river or stream in Canada would work hardship in many cases. In the past, cities, towns, and villages, with full authority of law, have established sewage systems depositing their sewage in these streams, and were they to be at once ordered to cease this practice it would entail great financial responsibilities upon them. I am told that the city of Montreal alone would be put to an expenditure of seven or eight million dollars to change its sewage system, and of course the city of Toronto and other cities and towns would have to bear proportionately large expense.

My hon. friend has introduced quite an important provision in this Bill which was not to be found in his Bill of last year, a provision giving the Governor in Council power to exempt any water or waters from the operation of this Act, for such length of time as may be prescribed, and may from time to time extend, withdraw, or vary such exemption. That places very wide powers as to the administration of the Act in the Governor in Council, and practically makes them the judges as to the waters in which sewage can be put, and as to what time may reasonably elapse before cities, towns and villages shall be compelled to introduce some system of purification of sewage approved of by sanitary engineers. This makes a very considerable change in the Bill, as compared with that which was introduced by my hon. friend last year.

I believe this measure to be in the public interest, and that the public desire legislation which will prevent the rivers and streams from being polluted. Yet, in view of this change, and as the committee which dealt with the measure last year reported that they had not time to complete their findings, it occurs to me that the Bill

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should go back to the same committee. With the information which that committee has already obtained, with knowledge of the change made in the Bill, and with the information they would have as to the action of the International Joint Commission, I think the committee should, at an early date this session, report the Bill back to the House with their recommendations.

I would suggest to my hon. friend, who has shown so much zeal in promoting this Bill before the House, that he should consider this suggestion. I think the Bill may properly be read a second time now, and in the meantime I will consult with my hon. friend as to the propriety of referring the Bill back to the same committee, with the understanding

that the recommendation and report of the committee sat., be made, so that the House can possibly deal with the Bill at the present session.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

The suggestion of my hon. friend the Minister of Marine (Mr. Hazen) cannot be received with very much favoui by my hon. friend from Selkirk (Mr. Bradbury). That hon. gentleman has shown much zeal in promoting this legislation, which, in my humble judgment, is very much needed. I am sorry he has not received from his friends that encouragement which I think is due to the laudable object he has in view. 1 would have been disposed to support the contention of my hon. friend (Mr. Bradbury) that the Bill should be disposed of in the House and not referred to the committee, were it not that it is so framed as to present some objections. I am highly in favour of such legislation as this, which I believe to be most important, and which I think should have been placed on the statute books of this country before now.

My hon. friend in his Bill makes it a criminal offence to put refuse of any kind into any of the waters of Canada, and he gives the Government power to restrict the operations of the Bill in certain areas. .As the Bill is now framed, a man in any remote district in the country, where there is no population or a very sparse population, could not eredt a small sawmill on a stream and put the refuse into that stream. That eamnot be the aim of my hon. friend. He is anxious that his Bill should apply to certain densely-peopled areas, such as the city of Ottawa, the city .of Toronto, and others cities, towns and

villages. Thus, while my hon. friend is anxious to apply this legislation to a city such as Ottawa, he at the same time would subject to penalty any person who puts refuse in waters where no ill effect could possibly arise from that act. The drastic provisions of this Bill would apply to new and remote parts of the country where there could be no possible danger to the public health from putting refuse in the water, whereas in my opinion, they should apply only to the large centres of population where the evils which my hon. friend wishes to prevent are prevalent. Were I a member of the committee I would move to amend the Bill so that the Governor in Council would have the power to proclaim the area to which the provisions of this Bill would apply and to exempt all the rest of the country. I am of the opinion that that would be a more workable provision than the one now contained in the Bill.

I cannot see any force in the objection raised by my hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries, that we should not proceed with this measure until we get the report of the International Commission. If we had this legislation on this side of the line, it would assist the American Commission in obtaining similar legislation on the other side. It is very important that we should have joint legislation in this matter, but I would not be deterred from going on with the Bill by the objection that we should wait for the report of the International Commission.

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LIB

Charles Murphy

Liberal

Hon. CHARLES MURPHY:

As one of

the members of the committee which, during the last two sessions, considered the Bills to which my hon. friend the member for Selkirk (Mr. Bradbury) has referred, I would like to ask my hon. friend a question. Before doing so, let me say to my hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries that the objection which he voiced from the point of view of certain cities, some of which he enumerated, was, I think, speaking from memory, met by the other Bill which has been referred to as having been before the committee, namely, the Bill introduced by Senator Belcourt in another chamber. Therefore I would like to ask my hon. friend from Selkirk whether the Bill he has now introduced combines the features of his former Bill with those of the Bill introduced by Senator Belcourt.

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CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY:

There is no change in the Bill now before the House from the Bill

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which I introduced last year, except the last clause, which gives the Government power to exempt certain waters.

Hon. GEO. P. GRAHAM: When these matters come closely home to us, perhaps we take a deeper interest in them than we do when we are discussing them generally. This question of disease originating from our water supply is perhaps as important a one as can be discussed by hon. members, and one in which all are interested; if not just now, they do not know'when they will be. Possibly when in Ottawa they are all interested. The difficulty1 which confronts a good many towns on the banks of the St. Lawrence and towns on other rivers is that they have expended a lot of money in sewage plants and systems and sewage goes into the streams. Every town above on the same stream has done the same thing, so that some of these towns are liable not only to the troubles arising from their own sewage system, but to others originating from sewage systems farther up the stream.

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CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. J. D. REID:

On the American side also.

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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

On both sides. In the

town of Brockville at present there are more than one hundred cases of typhoid due simply to the water of the St. Lawrence.

We have considered that water the

4 p.m. purest in the world and have used it very freely.

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?

Robert Bickerdike

Mr. BICKERDIKE:

At times.

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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

How long are we to wait for this matter to be remedied? While we are waiting people are dying of disease. At the present time examination is being made of the intake pipe of the town of Brockville, in which it is contended there is a break. The Board of Health tells us to adopt a filtration plant. Another expert says: No, you must treat

the sewage as it goes into the river. We proceed to do one or both of these things under the Provincial Health Act, and a little later on we shall have a Dominion Act under which to take action. It is time that this House indicated in some way what it proposes to do. The measure need not be drastic; we may not insist on towns being bankrupted or put to great expense; but every day that this matter is postponed, a greater mileage of sewage systems is being constructed in these towns; greater quantities of sewage are being poured into the streams, and greater will be the expense of re-

adjusting whole systems a few years later. Therefore I think we have waited long enough. _

I do not intend to discuss the details of this Bill; but if the Government are anxious to handle this question in a practical manner, some measure can be passed which will be an indication to the people in the various towns that action is going to be taken, but that they will be given time to readjust themselves to the new condition of affairs. I am not in favour of sending this Bill to another committee if it is to be held over until another session. If it is to go to a committee, the committee ought to understand the gravity of the situation in many of our towns and investigate as far as possible all the conditions; there is plenty of material to afford them all the information necessary; and they can report a Bill which can be passed this session, letting the people throughout the Dominion know that we are going to stop the menace of pollution of our streams; because so long as something is not done to stop it, it will be continued, and no amount of talk will make the people change their systems. I have had considerable experience of injurious results from such pollution during the past few months. I hope the Bill will come before this House as a practical measure to be voted upon before this session closes.

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LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. F. B. CARVELL (Carleton, N.B.) :

I wish very briefly to endorse the sentiments of my hon. friend from South Renfrew (Mr. Graham). I have also, like him, had a practical experience in my family of what putrid water means; and when we go through such experiences, we have perhaps a different view of the conditions than we would otherwise lhave. However, one does not require personal experience to have an understanding of what impure water means to a community, to a town, or to the country at large. The hon. member from Selkirk (Mr. Bradbury) deserves a great deal of credit for the persistence with which he has brought this measure before the House and for the large amount of information which he has been the means of disseminating amongst the people of Canada. Hon. gentlemen so far have been talking very largely about conditions in the city of Ottawa and other portions of the province of Ontario; but there is hardly a place in Canada at all fairly well settled but has to contend with the same problem. In my portion of the province of New Brunswick

exactly the same condition exists as in Ottawa. The problem is just as acute and just as urgent there as it is in the city of Ottawa. The whole thing resolves itself into two questions: one as to the cost, and the other as to the method to be adopted. The question of cost, of course, in a small community, is always important; but the difficulty it presents is not insurmountable. The great difficulty seems to be that there is no power to prevent the recurrence of the cause of the difficulty. Take our own case. We are taking water out of the St. John river. Now, this river runs through a number of small towns and villages above us, all of which are pouring their sewage into the river. It is not of much use for us to take means to improve conditions unless others are compelled, so to say, to behave themselves. But it may be done. There is a great deal in what my right hon. leader (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) says, that the Bill might be changed so that the power to bring it into effect in any given district shall rest with the Government-not make it the general law with certain districts exempted. Otherwise certain districts might not be exempted that ought to be so treated, and some crank coming along could commence prosecution of an innocent user of the water. If the Government had the power to bring the Act into force by Order in Council, stating the portions of the country in which it should be effective, it would be much better. But that is a matter of detail; so far as the general principle is concerned, I think the Bill is entirely right. I am very much of opinion that some action ought to be taken to bring this matter to a head during the present session. Let us be men enough to stand up and vote upon it; let us take our responsibility. So far as I am concerned, I am ready to vote on the principle of the Bill; and I have confidence in the judgment and ability of this House to work out the details in such a way as to insure justice being done to all and injustice to none. It is pretty hard, from my standpoint, to conceive of injustice being done to any man by compelling him to keep pollution out of the river which is the water supply for all his neighbours as well as for people, it may be, hundreds of miles away from him. Personally I am ready to take responsibility in the matter. Therefore, I do not like the motion of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Hazen). For, while I do not say it offensively, yet I do say, that this is a dilatory motion. We who have had some experience in parliamentary matters know that, in a session such as this which will

necessarily be short, if a matter like this is handed over to a committee to take some further action, that means that it goes over until next session. The hon. minister knows that there have been hundreds of Bills sent to the political bone-yard since he entered Parliament, and thousands since Confederation. And for a public Bill like this, which can only be discussed in the early stages, except with the leave of the Government, once it is sent to the committee, it might as well be put out of existence and its promoters told to come back next year. I do not say this in any controversial spirit. I do hope that some arrangement can be arrived at between the hon. member for Selkirk and the hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries by which this Bill will not be sent to the political bone-yard but a vote taken upon it,-and I hope that vote will be to-day. I believe this Bill involves one of the most economic questions ever brought before this House or that could possibly be brought before it. So far as I am concerned, I should like an opportunity to vote for this Bill to-day.

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CON

Thomas Chase Casgrain (Postmaster General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. T. CHASE CASGRAIN (Postmaster General):

My excuse for taking part, even in a very brief way, in this discussion, is that until lately, I- was a member of the International Joint Commission, and one of the most important questions submitted to that Commission was a reference, under the Waterways Treaty, of the question of pollution of boundary waters. Two questions were submitted: First, whether pollution existed in boundary waters, and, if so, second, what means should be taken to remedy that pollution. The International Joint Commission has had this question under consideration for almost a year, I believe, and has expended vast sums of money, in conjunction with the United States, in an effort to find out whether pollution existed. The second question is now before the commission: What are the best means to

remedy the pollution which, beyond doubt, exists in the boundary waters between the United States and Canada?

I believe my hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Hazen) has brought down to the House this preliminary jot progress report of the experts who were charged by the commission to examine the boundary waters between the Lake of the Woods and the Atlantic. The Commission held a great many meetings in boundary towns from the Lake of the Woods almost as far as the Atlantic ocean, hearing witnesses', including

many experts. The conclusion to which we came was that this was one of the most momentous questions that could come before a commission of this kind. One -most important point'which struck us was the enormous expense which would be involved in the change of -systems in the different cities consequent upon any decisions given by the International Joint commission. For instance, take such cities on the American side as Buffalo, Detroit, Niagara Falls and Port Huron; and, on the Canadian side, Port Sarnia, Windsor and Toronto, all of which contribute to the pollution of boundary waters. But when you seek a remedy, you are forced to the conclusion that it would cost millions and millions of dollars. In some instances it would almost bankrupt those cities if you imposed upon them -stringent measures by which this pollution should be stopped. The commission examined some of the most renowned sanitary experts in the world to find the means by which this pollution icould toe remedied or altogether eradicated. I believe the -commission is just finishing a very important meeting in Toronto, and if my information is correct its report will be brought down in a very short time.

This question was referred to the International Joint Commission by the common consent of the Canadian Government and the United States Government. So far as navigable waters are -concerned, the question I put to my hon. friend from Selkirk (Mr. Bradbury) and these hon. gentlemen on the other side who are in a hurry to see legislation passed on the subject is this: Having referred this question to the commission by general consent under the treaty, how can this House proceed to pass in advance of the report, legislation which would affect that question ? It seems to me it would toe almost a breach of faith. The two governments having referred to the commission this question, which is a most intricate and complicated one, until that report is brought down, so far at any rate as boundary waters are concerned, I do not think this House could pass .legislation in face of that report. Therefore, I think the best way would toe to refer it to a committee. Nor is this reason I have given the only reason. If hon. gentlemen will study the report of the International Joint Commission they will see that it would be impossible-as it seems to me- for this House to pass legislation which

would be of value in the premises. You have to hear all the interested parties and see what can be done in the different cities, to learn what would be the cost. Otherwise we should run the risk of passing legislation which, by reason of the great cost it would entail, could not be enforced and would be inoperative.

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CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY:

In moving the second reading of this Bill, I was impressed with the importance of the question with which it deals. I have given a great deal of attention to the matter, and believe that it is one of the most important questions that this House can deal with. The fact that so many valuable lives have been sacrified because of the pollution of our streams, and that so many of our citizens are going through life with impaired health and weakened constitutions on account of the use at some time of polluted water should be sufficient reason for Parliament's taking some action in the matter. However, after listening to the remarks of the right hon. gentleman who leads the Opposition, I realize that there is good reason why this Bill should go back to committee. I had no intention of making the Bill so far-reaching as the right hon. gentleman pointed out it would be; nor had I any intention of making it a hardship on outlying districts. I felt that I had provided for that, however, when I inserted a clause under which the Government had power to withdraw certain districts from the operation of the Act. I am anxious that something should be done; consequently I am willing that the Bill should go back to the committee, with the understanding, I hope, that the Bill will be considered, and that the committee will make its report as soon as possible, and that the House will deal with the matter during the present session.

I realize that the hon. Postmaster General, as a member of the International Joint Commission ought to be well informed, but I am not prepared to agree with him that this House should not take any action until we know what the United States or the International Joint Commission are going to do. I think we ought to take care of our own country; we ought to make it impossible for our people to cause the pollution of our rivers and of the lakes which they are obliged to use for domestic purposes. I think we could appeal to our friends on the other sicle of the line with more force after taking action on our own part. However, as the hon. gentleman has

pointed out, a reference has been made to this commission with regard to the effect of the disposal of sewage in boundary waters, and I presume that to that extent the hands of this House are tied until we know exactly what the views of the commission are, as expressed in its report. I understand from the hon. gentleman that that commission has reported.

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LIB

Joseph Philippe Baby Casgrain

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

Two questions were

referred to the commission: first, as to the existence of pollution; second, as to the remedy. There is a report on the first question; in a very short time there will be a report on the second question, namely, the means by which the pollution may be either eradicated or remedied.

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CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY:

Even if the members of this commission should not be able to agree among themselves as to what should be done, I submit that for the protection of our own people we ought to take action. If we cannot protect the boundary waters, we can at least protect the other waters of Canada. However, as I have said, I trust that when the Bill goes back to the committee it will be with the understanding that the committee report this session and that the matter be finally dealt with.

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LIB

Charles Murphy

Liberal

Mr. MURPHY:

May I ask the hon. Postmaster General how soon the report of the International Joint Commission is expected?

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LIB

Joseph Philippe Baby Casgrain

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

So far as my relations with the International Joint Commission are concerned, of course I cannot say, but I believe-and I think my information is correct-that the report will be soon submitted to both Governments.

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February 12, 1915