May 31, 1921

UNI L
UNION

Francis Henry Keefer

Unionist

Mr. KEEFER:

All the powers in Manitoba have not yet been taken up-only two-thirds, or something like that.

Topic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The only one the hon. gentleman knows is the Winnipeg Street Railway.

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UNION

Francis Henry Keefer

Unionist

Mr. KEEFER:

No; I do not know the names, but I know there are others. If you could give me the names I would be obliged.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The principal power

development is that of the city of Winnipeg.

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UNION

Francis Henry Keefer

Unionist

Mr. KEEFER:

And what others? Winnipeg is a very big city, but I do not think it should have the right, by way of legislation or otherwise, to take away the rights of the little town of Kenora without either consultation, negotiation or compensation.

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UNI L

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CRERAR:

May I ask another question? In wihat way are the Backus interests at International falls involved in the matter of this Norman dam?

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UNION

Francis Henry Keefer

Unionist

Mr. KEEFER:

They are three or four hundred miles up the lake and river at International Falls and they are not in any way affected by the dispute at the outlet of the lake of the Woods. So far as I know, they are not involved in this Norman dam matter. I do not know whether the same company owns it, but Mr. Backus is connected in some way With the International Falls plant and with this new proposal to build at Kenora. He has no plant at Kenora; I think he bought an old sawmill there, but he is not operating there. He has no power plant operating, and he is now starting to develop his power plant under his agreement with the Ontario Government, and he is held up, properly, by the Dominion, because he has not complied with chapter 115. There is where the Federal Government can, if it wants to, put whatever conditions it desires to impose upon his application.

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UNION

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Unionist

Mr. ARMSTRONG (Lambton) :

Would

the hon. member tell the committee how many power plants the Backus interests have on the river?

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UNION

Francis Henry Keefer

Unionist

Mr. KEEFER:

The only operating

plant which they have on the river is the original one which they have at International Falls, a paper mill. About four years ago they bought the rights to the Norman dam from the Keewatin Power Company, but they have not done anything there yet. Recently they made an agreement with the town of Kenora and

the Government of Ontario to erect a pulp mill at Kenora.

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UNI L

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CRERAR:

I suppose the interests of the Lake of the Woods Milling Company at Keewatin are identical with those of the city of Winnipeg and of the Winnipeg street railway?

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UNION

Francis Henry Keefer

Unionist

Mr. KEEFER:

The Lake of the Woods Milling Company do not want control by Ontario; they would prefer to have control by the Federal Government. I do not to that, desire joint control or not; but when the former Bill was introduced, they telegraphed me saying that they were in favour of that Bill, which was a Bill for joint control. Since this new Bill has been introduced, I have received no word from them one way or the other.

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UNI L

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CRERAR:

My hon. friend a moment ago stated that the root of this difficulty was in the differences of opinion that existed between rival power companies. I cannot follow him precisely in seeing where that arises.

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UNION

Francis Henry Keefer

Unionist

Mr. KEEFER:

The root of the difficulty is in the disputes between the power interests down the river and, perhaps, including that at the lake of the Woods milling plant and the Backus interests, which have, by private capital, as this report says, raised the waters of Rainy lake from three feet up to 4.97 feet and thereby given greater storage and dependable flow down the Winnipeg river. The Backus interests want them to join not only in paying proportionally for that benefit, but in acquiring the additional flowage that the report recommended. The other interests say: "No; we do not want to go in."

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UNI L

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CRERAR:

I understood from my

hon. friend a moment ago that the Backus interests acquired an interest in the Norman dam a few years ago-

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UNION
UNI L

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CRERAR:

-and that the level of the lake of the Woods, since this Norman dam was built in 1897, has been controlled by this Control Board. Am I right in that?

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UNION

Francis Henry Keefer

Unionist

Mr. KEEFER:

The Norman dam was built in 1893 to 1895. In 1898 it was brought under control by putting in stop logs, with a bonus for so doing of $4,000 from the Ontario Government, with the right of the Ontario Government to control that dam. Whatever control has existed up to the last few years has been

under the agreement by the Ontario Government, not by the Dominion Government. Then came this purchase by Mr. Backus and interests of the company who owned the dam, the Keewatin Power Company, about four years ago. That went on for a couple of years, and about two years ago a joint board was formed. The province of Ontario was very charry about entering into that joint board. They did not want to give up their sovereign 5 p.m. right of control of the Norman dam. Rightly or wrongly, they took the position: "That dam is in

Ontario; it is under our jurisdiction, not under federal jurisdiction." But they were induced to join in a joint control, by each government passing an Order in Council for that purpose, and that is the state of affairs to-day. For two years that board has functioned; that board is functioning to-day; so far as I can see. that board will continue to function, and if the statement of the hon. member for West Lambton (Mr. Pardee) is true that, according to the letter that was addressed to the Prime Minister, the owners of that dam have undertaken with them that joint control shall continue, I do not see exactly what there is to fear for the next year particularly when there is power vested in the Dominion Government under the Navigable Waters Act to refuse to allow any structure to be built or to impose any conditions in regard to the building, and until the plant is built, nothing can be done.

There are other things that are necessary in order to get dependable flow and which the town of Kenora has been desirous of having done. One of the ways to get dependable flow would be to enlarge the outlet, as recommended by the commission. That has not yet been done, and it would involve quite an expenditure. It is being asked for by the Kenora people. The storage of the upper lakes is also a contributory to dependable flow. I quote again from the report:

The dependable outflow from the lake of the Woods, however, can also be increased by additional storage on the upper ftainy watershed. This additional storage will not only benefit the water-powers on the Winnipeg river, but it will also aid in maintaining the recommended level on the Lake of the Woods and increase the available water-power at International Palls and Port Frances.

The Commission has recommended that in order to secure the most advantageous use of the waters of the Lake of the Woods and of the waters flowing into and from the lake it is practicable and desirable to secure at least 415 billion cubic feet of additional storage

capacity on the upper Rainy watershed. By drawing Rainy river lake down another half foot in time of extreme low water, a full 150 billion cubic feet storage would become available. If this entire 150' billion- cubic feet storage capacity is used primarily in the interest of the International Falls and Fort Frances plants it will, nevertheless, directly increase the dependable outflow from the Lake of the Woods in the interest of the Winnipeg river water-powers by 360 c.f.s. This is equivalent to the increase in flow that could be secured by half a foot additional draft on the Lake of the Woods. Moreover, every increase in dependable outflow which is secured by equalizing the inflow into the Lake of the Woods instead of by increasing the draft on that lake assists in maintaining the recommended level with less ordinary fluctuation.

The people of the upper lakes have been increasing that flow by getting that additional storage. They desire now to take on the additional storage there, which will be a (benefit to the people at International Falls and also to the Winnipeg river people. This is what the report says:

The -net result, therefore, of 150 billion cubic feet of storage on the upper Rainy watershed is to increase the dependable outflow from the Lake of the Woods by at least 650 c.f.s. corresponding to an increase of at least 17,000 horse-power in the potential water-power on the Winnipeg river.

That, in my judgment, according to what I have observed, is the cause of this difficulty to-day. This is a water-power dispute between the powers in Manitoba versus the powers in Ontario. As the Bill is brought in at this late hour, I think it is unwise. I do not want to refer again to this question of control; everybody is in favour of control, but it should be joint control if the province of Ontario has any rights.

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UNION

Henry Herbert Stevens

Unionist

Mr. STEVENS:

If this Bill is not

passed, will the control rest with what are known as the Backus interests?

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UNION

Francis Henry Keefer

Unionist

Mr. KEEFER:

In my judgment, absolutely no, and nothing can be built on that river or on the outlet from the lake of the Woods without the approval of this Government under chapter 115. That approval is being asked for now.

, Mr. STEVENS: Under the Navigable Waters Act?

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May 31, 1921