May 31, 1921

?

An hon. MEMBER:

Why not?

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L LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

Certainly; it is far

better to smile than to look cross. A spirit of accommodation is something that we should all earnestly strive for. We have the best authority for that doctrine, and the Government would enormously improve its position in dealing with this situation if, at this stage, it refused to follow the line of force and tried the sunny ways of conciliation and an attempt to reach an agreement. The Government will say: What if we fail? Shall we not have lost time? Some time, I grant, might be lost; but the sacrifice is W'ell worth the benefit whicn will accrue if the attempt at conciliation and agreement is successful. I say that if they are unsuccessful in arriving at an agreement with the province of Ontario, then a Bill might be brought in, not similar to the second Bill but to the first, which was the basis of the original agreement. Do not bring it in at the tail end of the session, but let us have it early. Refer it to a committee so that evidence might be heard, and we might get all the facts. We really cannot judge of the real facts of this case from hearing, first of all, the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Keefer), the member for Provencher (Mr. Molloy), and other members who take different sides on this important question. Let us exhaust the subject and get at the facts, and let legislation not precede but follow information as to the real facts of the case. What means it if the Government refuse to accept this advice offered in all sincerity? The Government runs the risk of infringing provincial rights. I grant that there must be joint control over these great potential water powers, partly within one province, and partly within the other. There must be joint control, but let it be decided by agreement, not by one party imposing its will on the other. To infringe provincial rights is to break the bargain of Confedera-

tion, because, after all, th' rights of the provinces were acquired through our British North America Act, which was the legislative sanction of the bargain made at Confederation. And if there is one thing necessary to preserve harmony and promote peace, progress, and prosperity in this country, it is that the Confederation pact should be honoured, not merely in the letter, but in the spirit as well. I urge that fact upon members of the committee. After all, sanctity of contract is the basis, not only of our own Confederation, but, to a large extent, of our modern civilization. I therefore press this point upon the Government and ask them at this late date to reconsider the matter, and see whether they cannot arrive at an agreement with the province of Ontario.

"O, it is excellent to have a giant's strength, but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant."

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UNION

John Archibald Campbell

Unionist

Mr. CAMPBELL:

The importance of

the matter under consideration warrants me, I think, in saying a few words. I have listened with a great deal of attention to the speeches which have been delivered today, especially that of the hon. member for West Lambton (Mr. Pardee), who waxed eloquent on the question of provincial rights. In my opinion, the question is not so much the protection of provincial rights, as prevention of provincial wrongs. The rights of Ontario seem to be fully protected; no one is trying to infringe them. If Ontario's rights were being infringed in any way, then objection might well be raised. If Ontario thinks that it is within her rights to interfere with the privileges and rights of another province, then I think it is time that such legislation as this is introduced. However, I do not know that Ontario is taking that attitude. It 'is generally conceded that, in the case of navigable streams, the rights of the Dominion are paramount. In this case it is a question not so much between Manitoba and Ontario as between the Dominion and Ontario. Hon. members will recall that it is not so long ago since a debate took place on the question of the transfer to the Prairie Provinces of their natural resources, and I might remind the committee that this transfer has not yet taken place. At the present time Manitoba has not the control of its water powers, or any of its other natural resources. I think, therefore, that when it appears that the rights of the province of Manitoba may be affected adversely the Dominion should look after those rights. The province of On-

tario not only claims an interest in the resources of Manitoba, but also apparently takes the stand that the Dominion should not in any way protect the interests of that province when development of the resources within its boundaries is in question. I wish to point out that the very fact of there being a question as to who has control of the water in question seriously affects the situation in Manitoba. It may be that Mr. Backus, of whom mention has been made, is a perfectly square-dealing gentleman. It may be that he does not propose to act in any way which will injuriously affect the interests of the people of any province. Notwithstanding that, if the situation is not changed as provided for under this Bill, the very fact that Mr. Backus has this power is going to prove a serious menace to the development of the water powers in which Manitoba is interested. If Mr. Backus, or anybody acting for him, has the power at any moment to regulate or interfere with the supply of water in a Winnipeg river-and under the existing circumstances he appears to have such a power-~it can be readily understood that those interested in the development of the water-powers referred to are going to be materially affected even if no drastic measures are taken by those in control.

Several speakers have referred to the fact that this legislation has been brought up rather late in the session. Well, some matters have to be introduced late in the session. But we do not know how late in the session this is. A week or so ago we were under the impression that Parliament was going to prorogue in the course of a few days. Now it looks as if the end were still some time hence. As a matter of fact the first Bill dealing with this matter was brought down and passed a considerable while ago, but apparently was rendered ineffective by reason of the province of Ontario failing to take action. Therefore it is necessary to take definite action now no matter how late in the session it mav be.

My understanding of the correspondence which has passed between the Prime Minister of the Dominion and the Premier of Ontario is, that the latter was quite in accord with the legislation passed by this House some time ago. He intimated that the interests of Ontario were not adversely affected by that legislation and was quite willing that it should be enacted; but owing to circumstances over which he appears to have had no control, the concurrent legis-

lation agreed upon was not put through the Provincial Legislature. Now as far as I can see the situation at the present time is not materially different from what it w'as then. It is not a question of the Dominion Government usurping powers and rights of any province. It has been pointed out that there was a pact at the time of Confederation between the Dominion and the provinces as to the respective powers which each authority should exercise, and consequently the Dominion must be very careful not to infringe on provincial rights in any way. I wish to point out that there were two parties to that pact-the Dominion and the provinces-and if it is important that .the Dominion should not infringe in any way upon the powers of the provinces, it is equally important that the provinces should1 not arrogate to themselves powers or privileges to which they have no right or title. In the present case, if the Ontario Government proposes to enforce these rights which various hon. gentlemen ha.ve contended they possess, they would be adversely interfering with the rights of another province as well as of those of the Dominion. There is a section in the British North America Act which intimates that the Dominion has power in the case even of works which may be wholly situate within a province to declare such works to be for the general advantage of Canada. If that clause means anything at all it means that the present occasion is one where the Dominion Government can properly act in accordance with that provision. The question is not one of Manitoba endeavouring in any way to gain an advantage over the province of Ontario. It is not a question of enriching Manitoba at the expense of Ontario-it is a question of preventing something from being done which will detrimentally affect the interests of Manitoba.

A similar question may arise at any time in connection with other provinces. In fact this afternoon I was conversing with a gentleman from one of the western provinces and during the discussion the question was propounded: What if the province of Alberta should claim the same rights in respect to the Saskatchewan river that the province of Ontario claims in the present instance? If the province of Alberta should divert the waters of the Saskatchewan river for irrigation and other purposes, it might carry out that diversion in such a way as to materially affect the prosperity of the province of Saskatchewan. I can quite readily understand that in such a case strong objection would be raised by the province of Saskatchewan, although according to the contention of certain hon. gentlemen from Ontario the province of Alberta would have just as good a right to carry out such a policy as the province of Ontario possesses in the present instance.

I do not know that any good purpose will be served by prolonging the discussion of this matter. The fact is that a situation has arisen whereby an individual named Backus has gained control of various powers and franchises that hitherto have been in the hands of different parties. That fact is now recognized as creating a situation which is full of menace to Manitoba. While I deplore that there Should be any occasion for an apparent conflict between the rights of the two provinces, still the situation is one which must be faced, and to put the matter clearly, the province of Manitoba is not going to bow the knee to Backus.

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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

I shall not detain the committee very long. The question, it seems to me, is too complex to justify any long argument at this stage of the session, but I believe the Government should have waited until next session before introducing such an important piece of legislation. I am, Mr. Chairman, as you are well aware, from a province which clings jealously to the doctrine of provincial rights. That question has always created political turmoil in this country. Especially was that the case during the eighties, but I had thought that after the many judgments which had been rendered by the Privy Council the question of the proprietary rights of the provinces as regards rivers and lakes had been very well established.

I listened this afternoon to the arguments which were addressed to the committee by hon. gentlemen representing both sides, and I must say that I was struck with the ring of sincerity which I detected in the able speeches delivered by my hon. friend from Lambton (Mr. Pardee) and my hon. friend from Port Arthur (Mr. Keefer). I do not say that there is not much in the argument of the right hon. Prime Minister, but from the division of opinion which apparently exists between both litigants, it seems to me that the proper course for the committee to take at the end of this long, protracted 'session is bo leave this Bill over for further consideration, when Ontario shall have had an opportunity to be heard.

What are the facts, Mr. Chairman? This body of water is of interest to both Manitoba and Ontario, but chiefly to Ontario. The Dominion Government has an interest also from the international point of view; but so far there has been no difficulty with the United States, matters which might have given rise to international difficulty having been laid before the tribunal which we created concurrently with the United States Congress to deal with boundary waters. So that the question is limited to the alleged rights of the province of Manitoba and the certain rights of the great province of Ontario. Between the two provinces I am perfectly free to express an honest and unbiased opinion. What strikes me is that the Dominion Government was from the very beginning absolutely certain that no legislation dealing with this subject could be passed without being implemented by concurrent legislation on the part of the legislature of Ontario, and so a month or two after the opening of this session the right hon. gentleman introduced the bill which I now have before me. This Bill unfortunately was not implemented by the legislation which was sought from the legislature of Ontario. It is not for me to pass judgment on the decision arrived at in the first instance by the Premier of Ontario, but it appears that for the time being owing to difficulties in the legislature this concurrent legislation had to be dropped.

But the Premier of Ontario, speaking on behalf of his province and on behalf of the legislature, served notice on the Dominion Government that he could not countenance the legislation which is now introduced, and which differs materially from the first piece of legislation submitted to this House. The difference is obvious, and that is one of the reasons which impel me to strenuously oppose this Bill. In the first Bill nothing could be done without concurrent legislation being passed by the legislature of Ontario. In this Bill the principle is proclaimed that the works are for the general advantage of Canada. Here you have the beginning of what I suppose will be a long constitutional struggle between the Dominion and the province of Ontario-a struggle which will end probably before the Privy Council.

I have much sympathy for the province of Manitoba, and I bear no ill-will towards the citizens of Winnipeg and the people of rural Manitoba. I want them to be given fair play and to get all the power they need for the industrial development of their pro-

vince, I am at one with them as to the sacred rights of their province; but I see a material difference between the opinion voiced by the Premier of Ontario and the views expressed by the gentlemen who represent the province of Manitoba in this House. It is not a question of sympathy, it is a question of constitutional law, and on that question I feel that I am on safe ground in standing with the province of Ontario. I take no sides. I simply say: Let this House prorogue, and during recess let the Government investigate and negotiate with the province of Ontario, and next session introduce such legislation as will have the good-will of that great province and be implemented by its legislature.

In such vexed matters, Mr. Chairman, let us move slowly. Already we have too many quarrels between the Dominion Government and the various provinces, and certainly we should not raise any controversial issue at this juncture when a little time will bring about an amicable understanding which will result in joint action. My right hon. friend should exercise conciliatory methods. Let him not ride rough-shod over the rights claimed by the province of Ontario. I do not blame him for the attitude he took at the beginning of the session, I do not blame him even for the surprise which he must have felt at the Premier of Ontario not being decided at first in regard to the action that he should take in the matter. But a man has a right to err, and at any rate he may mend his ways. Again, I say the question is too complex to be dealt with at this moment when we are on the eve of prorogation.

The legislation now introduced is rather a high-handed proceeding. True, there has been some little difficulty in the legislature of Ontario, but my right hon. friend surely is too human not to understand that even in the best governments there are divisions of opinion, and that there is nothing like time to mellow men and modify their opinions. My right hon. friend not having succeeded with his first Bill, which *was acceptable to Parliament and to the majority of the people of the province of Ontario, comes now with another measure absolutely different from the first. For example, he will not find in his first Bill the declaration that these works are for the general advantage of Canada. In the last clause of the Bill the right hon. gentleman gives with one hand and takes away with the other. Section 10 says:

If the necessary legislation of Ontario referred to in the preamble of The Lake of the Woods Control Board Act, 1921, be enacted by

the legislature, the Governor in Counc'l may, by proclamation published in The Canada Gazette, repeal or suspend this Act and the regulations made thereunder at any time when or after The Lake of the Woods Control Board Act, 1921 shall come into force: Provided that notwithstanding any repeal or suspension of this Act in the manner provided by this section the works and each of them hereby declared to be for the general advantage of Canada shall remain and continue to be works for the general advantage of Canada.

My right hon. friend and the Government are creating by this clause vested rights for the Dominion as against rights justly claimed by the province of Ontario. I shall not discuss the point further Mr. Chairman. The question is too complex, too serious from the point of view of its bearing upon the interests of Ontario, which has superior rights in the matter, to be dealt with as the Government proposes to deal with it. I shall vote against the Bill, standing for what I believe to be provincial rights.

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UNION

Horatio Clarence Hocken

Unionist

Mr. HOCKEN:

If all that can be said against the Bill has been stated by the hon. member for Gaspe (Mr. Lemieux) and the hon. member for Brome (Mr. Mc-Master), it impresses me that no case whatever has been made against it. Opponents of the Bill have practically conceded that its conditions are right, but they ask for delay and conciliation-that is the whole claim. I can tell my hon. friend from Gaspe that we people of Ontario are as jealous of our provincial rights as the people of any other province. The strongest fights that have been made in favour of provincial rights have been made by the province of Ontario.

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L LIB
UNION

Horatio Clarence Hocken

Unionist

Mr. HOCKEN:

I say that the strongest fights that have been made, those which stand out ip our history, have been made by Ontario. In 1896 we fought for the provincial rights of Manitoba; we have always been strong for provincial rights, and my views in that regard are as pronounced as those of any other man in the province. I am unable, however, to see in what way the rights of Ontario are infringed by this Bill. As a matter of fact, the Bill follows exactly the lines of the agreement entered into by the Premier of Ontario with the Dominion authorities as regards concurrent legislation. Now, while I am naturally strong for the rights of my own province, I am not disposed to be unfair to other provihces so far as their rights are concerned. Instead of this being a very complex question, as the hon. member for Gaspe says, to my mind is a very simple one. Here is a large body of water, the use of which means a great deal-more than we can estimate-to the province of Manitoba. What the Bill proposes to do is to preserve to that province its rights in those great water-powers, and that is especially important, Mr. Chairman, because the province of Manitoba has not as many water-powers as either Quebec or Ontario. They are limited in the number and extent of their water-powers and the great city of Winnipeg is vitally interested in this matter. It has been stated by the hon. member for Provencher (Mr. Molloy) that it is possible to develop 500,000 horse-power on the Winnipeg river. It will be a very few years before the city of Winnipeg and, perhaps, adjacent smaller municipalities will require the whole amount of 500,000 horse-power. Why should we let private interests come in here and within one year put up works and do things which will^ have the effect of preventing Manitoba from enjoying its rights? The idea is perfectly absurd. You must remember that Parliament is the custodian of the provincial rights of Manitoba in this matter, and if the Government refused to do what it could to protect those rights it would come in for serious condemnation. Now, I would just like to put a question to my hon friend

a very simple question, and he can just see how it fits. Suppose the province of Quebec had to look to this Parliament for protection of its rights in the great water-powers as Manitoba has to do, would my hon friend not desire to see such a measure as this go through at once? Would he talk about delay and conciliation and the sunny smile and all that kind of thing?

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L LIB
UNION

Horatio Clarence Hocken

Unionist

Mr. HOCKEN:

I quite understand that. But let us put Quebec in the position of Manitoba. Would not every member from Quebec say: We want our rights protected, and if they can he protected only by Dominion legislation, then let us have it?

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L LIB
UNION

Horatio Clarence Hocken

Unionist

Mr. HOCKEN:

Not at the expense of Ontario indeed. I say that Ontario is not suffering by this legislation.

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L LIB
UNION
L LIB
UNION

Horatio Clarence Hocken

Unionist

Mr. HOCKEN:

I am perfectly satisfied, as a member from Ontario.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

It is Backus that protests.

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UNION

Horatio Clarence Hocken

Unionist

Mr. HOCKEN:

Yes, the principal protester in this matter is Mr. Backus, who now practically owns the lake of the Woods and Rainy lake and wants to own the Winnipeg river as well as what Mr. Drury can give him. If my hon. friend would go to the city of Toronto, where there are half a million people studying this question, reading what has been done in Parliament and what has been done by the Ontario Government, he will realize that there is the very strongest sentiment against enfranchising Mr. Backus as he has been enfranchised by the gift of tremendous areas of pulp lands on the English river, and by the gift practically, of additional water-powers in that neighbourhood. Let Mr. Backus have another year or two and he will have the Winnipeg river as well as the lake of the Woods, Rainy lake and Rainy river. The whole district will come under the hands of one man. I can tell my hon. friend that throughout Ontario there is the strongest feeling that Mr. Drury made a capital mistake, a very serious blunder, in allowing Mr. Backus to talk him into giving the concession that he has given. I think I can speak for the province of Ontario when I say that this Bill will not excite the slightest antagonism in any part of the country except in the Parliament Buildings at Queen's Park-and that is simply because, having granted to Mr. Backus these enormous privileges, the Government is apparently anxious to give him the additional water-power to add to what has already been given.

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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

Do I understand from my hon. friend that the Government of Ontario does not represent the people of Ontario in this matter?

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UNION

Horatio Clarence Hocken

Unionist

Mr. HOCKEN:

I have no hesitation, Mr. Chairman, in saying that the Government of Ontario does not represent the people of Ontario, on this question particularly. But it is my opinion-and it is the opinion held by the great mass of the people of Ontario-that whatever good things or whatever bad things Mr. Drury has done, this is certainly the worst m's-take he has made. He has given almost an empire of pulp lands to this man who

has already had many large concessions, who has enough without these water-powers, and who has too much for any one interest to have in any province of the Dominion. If this Bill does not pass, this man is given a year in which to go on with his manipulations and to put the city of Winnipeg and the province of Manitoba in a very undesirable position. This legislation is simply protective of the province of Manitoba, as it is the duty of this Parliament to protect that province. Manitoba is not in a position to protect itself as regards its natural resources. Therefore, I say that, as regards the province of Ontario, there need be no fear that there will be any uprising of the people against a Bill of this kind. On the contrary, it will be a very serious disappointment to the people of Ontario if Mr. Backus is allowed to have another year to carry on his manipulations.

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L LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

I have followed this

discussion with great interest. The name of a certain gentleman has been thrown into the debate, and I regret that it has ever been suggested that those who oppose this Bill are protecting a certain Mr. Backus. I was not informed in regard to this Bill until I heard the discussion this afternoon and evening, and I do not know Mr. Backus. I have no interest in the Bill except the duty which is mine, in common with the other members of the committee, to do what is right. The name of Mr. Backus should not be considered at all. What I consider is the fights of the province of Manitoba in the matter. Every one admits that these waters are largely, almost exclusively- my hon. friend (Mr. Pardee) says wholly-* Ontario waters. Of course this Government, to use the language of my hon. friend from West Toronto (Mr. Hocken), as the custodian of the natural resources of Manitoba, has also an interest in part of these waters. The concurrent rights of the province of Ontario have never been denounced; they have been recognized by this Government and this Parliament during this very session. We have passed a Bill, No. 23, in which nothing is said as regards those waters or dams or other works connected with the waters being for the general advantage of Canada. The rights of the province of Ontario appear in every clause of that Bill which was adopted by this House at this session. The board that was to be appointed was appointed by both the Government of Ontario and the Federal Government. The rules which were to be made were

to -be so made by the Governor General in Council and the Lieutenant Governor in Council of Ontario. The expenses of the board were to be paid by the province of Ontario and this Government. The regulations were to be made jointly by the Exchequer Court of Canada and the Supreme Court of Ontario. This Parliament clearly admitted and recognized the rights of the province of Ontario, and this cannot be denied. An agreement had been made that a similar Bill to the one that we passed was to be adopted by the legislature of Ontario; but this agreement failed to be carried out, and such a Bill was not adopted,-I do not care for what reason. Does that justify the Government or Parliament of Canada, being one of the coowners, in confiscating or taking over the whole thing and exercising full control? Has the failure of the legislature of Ontario to adopt that Bill given the control or ownership of the Ontario waters to this Government or this Parliament? This question has only to be put to receive its answer. This legislation is high-handed as the hon. member for Maisonneuve (Mr. Lemieux) said; it is arbitrary; it is quite in line with the legislative record of this Government. I am glad that my right hon. friend (Mr. Meighen) admits that I am right in my contention. Ontario has rights in those waters. This is not denied; this has been recognized by this Parliament and this Government, and I for one do not feel justified in voting for a measure which constitutes a confiscation of the rights of Ontario, without our bearing the other party, as the hon. member for Three Rivers (Mr. Bureau) said. As I said, I have no interest whatever in this Bill; I am not a citizen of either province concerned in it; I speak on this legislation merely and simply as on a question of principle, and I suggest that before we pass this Bill, it would be elementary justice to try to come to an agreement to continue negotiations. This is not an admission that the measure is good, as the hon. member for West Toronto says; it would simply be fair to the other co-owner, to the principle owner of the property, to try to come to an agreement with him before taking control and exercising a right which is not ours.

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May 31, 1921