Mr. PIUS MICHAUD (Restigouche and Madawaska):
I endorse every word that has
been said on this important question. A few years ago I had occasion in this House to bring up a similar subject and I had great hopes at the time that the grievances which I voiced would be relieved. But I never saw any practical result from that discussion. In 1842 a treaty was signed between the United States and Canada in connection with the boundary between the state of Maine and the province of New Brunswick. With regard to this treaty, I may quote from the statutes of the United States Congress, volume 1, under the caption "Constitution of the United States:"
The laws of the United States made in pursuance hereto, on all treaties made and to be made with other countries, including those with respect to boundaries between Canada and the United States, are to be regarded as the supreme law of the United States, and every state in the union is bound thereby, notwithstanding any legislation it may pass.
I may say that by the Ashburton treaty it was provided that, in order to promote the industries of the inhabitants of the state of Maine and of the province of New Brunswick, the waters of the river St. John and its tributaries were to be free for the transportation of the products of agriculture and of the forests. Now, the treaty was signed in 1842, when the river St. John was accepted as the international boundary between the state of Maine and the province of New Brunswick. In 1841 an application had been made in the state of Maine by a private company for a charter authorizing the diversion of waters tributary to the St. John, but that application was refused. In 1846, however, another application was made and it was granted, authorizing a company to dig a canal to divert the waters from one of the tributaries of the
Great Lakes Levels
St. John into a river in the state of Maine. Later on, still another application was made by interested parties in the state of Maine to build dams at the heads of certain lakes in order to provide more water for the Penobscot river, which prevented the waters of these lakes from flowing into the St. John river. As I indicated a moment ago, the St. John river comes within the scope of the treaty, and it is very important that there should be a sufficient quantity of water in the river to facilitate the floating of lumber. Our American friends as a rule claim everything that is coming to them under a treaty, and very often a little more. When the people of New Brunswick found that the Americans in the state of Maine were building a dam at the head of lake Chamberlin they sent a lawyer to Augusta, the capital of the state, to register their protest, and he did so, very forcibly. Unfortunately, howc-er, that protest was of no avail and situft ffiat time we have been suffering from the a.tion of our friends on the American side. Every year, in the months of June and July, a large number of logs have to be floated down the St. John river in New Brunswick, and at that particular time the water is so low in the river that it is almost impossible to drive the logs below the Allegash river in the county of Madawaska. We are therefore obliged to go to the government of the state of Maine and importune them to raise the dam in order that we may have enough water to float our timber. This is an undesirable and an unfortunate condition of affairs. By treaty we have equal rights to the waters of the St. John with our American friends, but they have taken upon themselves to deprive us of our privileges and to-day we are suffering iD consequence of the failure on their part to live up to the treaty that was signed between the United States and Canada. But there are other instances, besides this, in which our American friends have done the same thing. Some sessions ago I heard that the same thing had happened somewhere, I believe, along the boundary of the province of Saskatchewan or Alberta; and a similar situation arose on one occasion in connection with some river flowing into lake Superior,-I think it was a tributary of the Rainy River. My point is that if we leave our big neighbours to the south of us free to trespass on our rights, sooner or later we shall have much more serious difficulties to solve. I would suggest that the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Stewart, Argenteuil) get down to work; the sooner he does so the better, so that we may find out where we stand with our American friends on these important questions, more particularly on one of such international significance as this.
Subtopic: GREAT LAKES LEVELS
Sub-subtopic: EFFECT OF DIVERSION OF WATER BY CHICAGO DRAINAGE CANAL