May 31, 1921

UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

That is no answer to

the question; that is something else altogether. I do not know that this Parliament ever in its history asked any province what works it should declare to be for the general advantage of Canada. Does the hon. gentleman ever recall when he was a member of the Government consulting with the Premier of any province before a railway, for example, was declared to be a work for the general advantage of Canada?

Topic:   LAKE OF THE WOODS AND OTHER WATERS
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I cannot remember a case where it was not done when an issue was likely to be raised.

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The province is not

hurt. To declare these works are for the general advantage of Canada does not affect Mr. Drury at all'. The question of control does, but we are ready to share that control with him at any time. But will the hon. gentleman undertake to say that any other province would be justified in denying the right of the Dominion in declaring works in which two provinces are vitally interested as works for the general advantage of Canada? I do not think Mr. Drury's telegrams specifically referred to that, but even if they did, what ground is he on? His ground really has no permanent strength at all, because if ever there were works which under the British North America Act could be so declared, they are just such works as these, and the Dominion must always be ready-because the responsibility lies with the Dominion-if Ontario stands aside and refuses to walk with us, to control works, being works for the general advantage of Canada, in whose advantages the provinces are concerned and interested. It is because this Government is ready and does not shirk this responsibility that the Bill is before the committee now.

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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

Mr. Chairman, I want

to register my protest and say that I am opposed to this Bill. My right hon. friend takes the ground that there was to have been concurrent legislation by the province of Ontario and the Dominion of Canada for the control of these waters. That concurrent legislation was not passed by the Ontario Legislature, and immediately my right hon. friend thought that whatever control the province might have over these waters he would vest in the Dominion by declaration which is contained in the Bill.

If this question were to be decided on sympathy, I think my sympathy would go to Manitoba, for the reason that I lived in that province in the days of my youth, and I have always retained pleasant memories of my sojourn there, especially in the city of Winnipeg. But I am speaking as a citizen of Canada, and I do not think that sympathy ought to count in these matters.

Supposing the question that we have to decide to-night were one in which the province of Manitoba, instead of being represented by the Dominion, were acting in its own right as owner and controller of its natural resources, and that Mr. Norris and Mr. Drury had got together and agreed to pass simultaneous legislation, but Mr. Drury failed to carry out the arrangement. In the meantime there would be existing by mutual agreement a board of control which had given satisfaction, and the only cloud on the horizon would be the spectre of Mr. Backus, which would frighten Mr. Norris, but of which Mr. Drury would not be so much afraid. I ask honestly and squarely:. Do the members of this committee really believe that, under those circumstances the Dominion Government would jump right in and say: "Here now, we are going to take control of this matter. You two premiers do not know enough to agree and protect the interests of' your respective provinces, although you have been elected to do so. We are going to take hold of this matter, and we are going to relieve you of all your legislative powers in relation to it and vest them in the Dominion." I do not believe any such action would be taken.

Under present circumstances it happens that the Dominion Government are the owners of the natural resources of the province of Manitoba, but that ownership is qualified, because, if I am to believe what I hear from various quarters, same day or other those natural resources will be turned over to the Western provinces,, and the Dominion Government will have to

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REVISED EDITION. COMMONS


account for its trusteeship. Therefore, before I would divest any province of its right of control over its property I would go slowly. As has been said by some of my friends on this side, it is a somewhat ticklish matter. These waters are not to be compared to a railway which is declared to be for the general advantage of Canada. The Prime Minister was in error in trying to make that comparison. These are part of the natural resources of the province, and if the province loses control of those resources what benefit can it derive from them?


UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

But we do not declare these resources to be for the general advantage of Canada; we merely declare the works to be so.

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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

I submit it is no use having a river if you cannot erect works to utilize it. It is. no use having a waterpower if you cannot harness that power. That is what these works are constructed for, and it is the harnessing of the power that brings revenue, which constitutes wealth. So it is no use playing on words. Of course, the Federal Government have control to a certain extent as far as navigation is. concerned.

Now, I do not know Mr. Backus, I have never seen him, but from what I have heard this afternoon it apparently takes all the brains of the provincial governments of Ontario and Manitoba to cope with Mr. Backus; in fact, they appear to be too weak to meet him, and one of those governments anyway comes to the Prime Minister of Canada and says: " Save us from the scourge. There is Backus coming. Ontario cannot do anything, and we cannot protect ourselves. This man Backus is going to run away with the Lake of the Woods in one pocket, with Lac Seul in another, with the Winnipeg river in his vest pocket and with the English river somewhere else."

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

That is no joke, that is true.

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L LIB
UNION
L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

These gentlemen from

the great province of Ontario-and I am saying that sincerely-cannot face Mr. Backus. They think he is going to run away with all the water-powers.

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UNION
L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

I think my right hon. friend said just now that there had been no protest from Ontario except from Mr. Drury.

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

And the town of

Kenora, I said.

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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

Supposing the Prime

Minister sent a protest to England about some legislation, and some statesman got up in the British House and said, "We have had no protest from Canada. We have merely had a protest from the Right Hon. Arthur Meighen." That is the kind of fine point my hon. friend can make when he argues. The hon. member for West Toronto (Mr. Hocken) took it upon himself to tell us to-night that Mr. Drury did not represent the people of Ontario. Well, I am at a loss to understand why the people of Ontario should send to the provincial Parliament men who do not represent them.

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UNION

Horatio Clarence Hocken

Unionist

Mr. HOCKEN:

I said that he did not represent the province of Ontario on this question.

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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

How does my hon. friend know? Has he been touring the province lately? Does he know the sentiment of the people of Ontario?

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UNION

May 31, 1921