May 31, 1921

UNION

Francis Henry Keefer

Unionist

Mr. KEEFER:

Yes. But no decision has yet been reached about it. No power plant can be built there, and it is a power plant that is sought to be built to-day and which the people are very anxious to go on with, but it cannot go on without this Government's consent. In addition to that you have the control over the Norman dam, under these joint Orders in Council, under

the agreements, under the undertaking that was quoted and under the courts of the land.

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UNION

Henry Herbert Stevens

Unionist

Mr. STEVENS:

A moment or so ago my hon. friend mentioned that the Kenora Board of Trade had asked for enlarged openings. Of whom did they request that?

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UNION
UNION

Henry Herbert Stevens

Unionist

Mr. STEVENS:

Was the Norman dam built under the terms of the Navigable Waters Act?

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UNION

Francis Henry Keefer

Unionist

Mr. KEEFER:

No, I do not think the Navigable Waters Act was thought much about 26 years ago. It was not brought in until 1885.

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UNION

Henry Herbert Stevens

Unionist

Mr. STEVENS:

How does the hon.

gentleman propose to control the dam now under the Navigable Waters Act when it was not built under that authority?

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UNION

Francis Henry Keefer

Unionist

Mr. KEEFER:

In the Navigable Waters Act there is a clause which gives jurisdiction to the Federal Government to take control of any existing dam heretofore built without that authority, and to do anything they like with it-to blow it up, if they like.

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UNION
UNION

Francis Henry Keefer

Unionist

Mr. KEEFER:

They can take that dam out of there now, but the Government does not want to touch it, because the owners would want compensation. It cost $300,000 or $400,000 to build. One thing I do not like about this Bill is that there is no provision for compensation. If you are going to take this dam, which has been for the benefit of the public, there should be compensation.

I do not wish to detain the House any longer. I think this Bill is unwise. It is very contentious legislation, and is probably going to lead to much litigation and dispute between the Ontario Government and the Federal Government, and probably with private interests. It is going to arm Mr. Backus with a grievance. He will say: This is the way I am treated by the Federal Government; they have introduced this Bill and they are legislating me out of my natural rights to keep up a dependable flow; I am willing to discuss the question of dependable flow with them, but they will not discuss it with me; they want the United States to Carry out the recommendations of the International Joint Commission, but as they are not dealing fairly with me, I ask you not to agree to the adoption of the report. The Bill will also arm the people, at the northwest angle which is in the United States, with a grievance; they are opposed to the raising of the level and the flooding of their farms.

Lastly, I think this legislation is unnecessary because authority already exists under a federal -statute. I think we would be wise not to raise any question of conflict between the Government of the province of Ontario and this Government.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Whatever merit there may be in what I may say now, it will not be necessary for me to consume the time of the committee at any length comparable to the speeches of the hon. gentlemen who have preceded me. I am sorry, indeed, that the hon. member for one of the districts affected does not see his way to support the legislation. I have never before been able to follow his reasoning as regards this subject, and I must say

that the confusion which its expression produced on my mind previously was only enhanced by his speech this afternoon. The same, indeed, applies to the utterance of the hon. member for West Lambton (Mr. Pardee). I think I can take what they said, however, and make clear the actual point and substance of the matter that this committee must decide.

The hon. member for West Lambton says: We have had under two Orders in Council a Board of Control installed. That board is there, and what they have done has been wholly satisfactory; everything is all right; just let that board go on. That is his plea. Upon examination, he admits that there is no statutory footing for the Orders in Council appointing the board; that is to say, that anything in the world that they try to do may be challenged, and challenged successfully. But that, he says, is quite satisfactory to him. The board, he argues, is satisfactory, though it can enforce no ruling, though it cannot do what be claims it must do to have any effective control, namely, improve the Norman dam at considerable cost; therefore, let the board go on because Mr. Drury has the assurance of Mr. Backus that everything he will do will be all right. Consequently, that being specifically so, he says, on the authority of the Premier of Ontario, the Government of Canada should retire to its chamber and leave the whole situation to be worked out by agreement between Mr. Drury and Mr. Backus. That we have declined to do, and in declining we ask the support of this House and of this committee. While Mr. Backus was giving that assurance, I may add, he was down at Ottawa seeking to get certain concessions with regard to the outlet at the east end entirely inconsistent with that assurance, and inconsistent with the findings of the International Joint Commission as to the level of that lake.

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UNION
UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Because his express

intention here was to raise the level of the lake beyond the level fixed by the tribunal, after he got the concession enabling him to divert more water from the eastern channel.

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UNION

Francis Henry Keefer

Unionist

Mr. KEEFER:

No. My understanding is that he is applying to increase the outflow of the eastern outlet, which can be compensated by passing less water at Norman dam, and which can be provided

for under the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The Navigable Waters Protection Act-I did not intend to take that point up now, it is entirely out of its natural order-enables the Government of Canada where navigation is interfered with, or where it Can say that navigation is injured by the obstruction, to remove that obstruction or have it altered. That is all it empowers. There can be no continuous control under the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

Does the Prime Minister claim that, under the Navigable Waters Protection Act, no work erected can be destroyed without the previous consent of the Governor in Council?

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Yes, I have just said

it can be done, but only when, in the judgment of the Governor in Council, navigation is injured.

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L LIB
UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Does the hon. member

say that we can do it merely by caprice?

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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

You have powers to do it at any time, not necessarily by caprice.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

That is the distinct

object, and it is only in securing that object that we should be justified in exercising powers under the Act. It is the duty of the Government to see that no step is taken by private interests or any others, in the meantime, that embarrasses us or puts it out of our power to see that the findings of the commission are respected.

* Now, the hon. member says that we should let the present board go on, on the basis of Orders in Council. Well, it is rather an amusing reflection to hear hon. gentlemen opposite appeal to the security of Orders in Council instead of Statutes. It is not quite consistent with the speeches we heard on the Address in reply to the speech from the Throne. But let that pass. He says that the board should work on the security of these Orders in Council, which hon. gentlemen admit have no statutory foundation, and consequently will be ineffective, though they were all that we could do at the time. He says: "That will suit me." Does the hon. gentleman know that these Orders in Council require that the board shall insist on the principle of dependable flow? That is what they are to enforce. The Orders in Council say: You control the outlet of the lake of the Woods, but you control it

in consonance with the principle of the highest dependable flow. My hon. friend (Mr. Keefer) says that that is a wrong principle; and there is the kernel of the whole thing.

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May 31, 1921