Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:
It is necessary to give notice before moving this amendment. The hon. member for Bow River (Mr. Garland) has moved an amendment which will, I think, satisfy the hon. member for AVinnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth), that the bill be not now read the third time but that it be referred back to committee.
Mr. MACLEAN (York):
I am surprised that the Minister of Finance has not protected the rights of Canada in this matter. Here is a proposal for a big exploitation of something and they are to sell power to the government. The export of power is a great question in this country and we are hearing more of it every day. I challenge the government on this question, to take action. They will have an opportunity of bringing down their policy by the remission of the 'bill to committee for further consideration. If the government will not say anything, possibly it may be taken for granted that they approve of the principle involved in the bill.
Hon. CHARLES STEWART (Minister of Interior):
While the question which has been raised as to the ownership or control of water-powers within the provinces has not been definitely settled, nevertheless it has been within the realm of discussion for some considerable time. The same question would arise in regard to the water powers on the St. Lawrence river. The question raised now is as to who should control the water powers. We have raised no question with the provinces in regard to such control. There are times when this matter is called in question, but it would raise a difficult issue to bring up here the question of ownership of whatever Canadian waterpower rights there are adjacent to the province of New Brunswick.
This amendment was never proposed before the committee. I see no objection to the bill being referred back to the committee and in the meantime we can study the amendment and aseertain exactly what it means. I would not be prepared to express an opinion on the effect of the amendment until I had had time to study it.
Right Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Leader of the Opposition):
If I caught the amendment aright, I do not think it is worth the time of the House to make a reference back tc committee to have the matter considered. There was quite a lot of discussion and I may not have got the purport of it, but if I heard it rightly the purpose of the amendment was to enable the crown in the right of Canada to expropriate at any future time it might be so advised. In the first place, in so far as Canadian property is concerned, that right is inherent. It can be exercised at any time, and the case is not strengthened in any appreciable degree by such a clause in the enabling charter of the company. The right to expropriate is one which is inherent in this parliament in relation to any company coming under federal jurisdiction. I have just read over the bill for the first time, but it is not hard to understand, and I think I have a grasp of it. It enables the company to do certain things, notably to develop waterpower, and I believe the locus of the development is to be somewhere in an inlet of the bay of Fundy, the idea being to utilize the tides for the purpose of developing waterpowers. Now certain work will be Canadian and certain work will be American, and included in the later category is the power site itself. It is next to inconceivable that Canada as a Dominion would want to expropriate half of the work, and especially the half that does
Dexter P. Cooper Company
not work. It is the other half that does the work. Consequently if there ever was a bill in which it would not be necessary to insert this safeguarding clause it would be this one, -but I never saw much value in inserting that clause anywhere. In fact where I saw it put in I thought it was simply an endeavour to sugar-coat it for parliament, because that right of expropriation can always be exercised at the will of parliament. All that is necessary is to pay adequate compensation under the law of the land. I do not see any value in having it referred back to the committee to consider an amendment of that character. I can think of one or two amendments I would like to insert in the bill myself, but they are not of such a character as to justify delaying the passing of the measure. They will probably be brought up in the Senate. It seems to me there should be something holding the company to some certain area. It is rather a company at large, under the terms of the bill, but this does not go to the heart and substance of the matter, and I have no doubt will very quickly be taken care of by the upper chamber when the bill gets there. I see no object at all in delaying the measure by referring "it back to committee with instructions to insert a clause to provide against something which in any event would scarcely be dreamt of in a case of this kind. Even if it were inserted, it would be mere surplusage, because that right is inherent in all cases.
Why is it that in the Dominion Waterpowers Act we find inserted clause 4 which reads:
The property in and the right .to the use of all Dominion water-powers are hereby declared to be vested in and shall remain in the crown, saving, however, any rights of property in or to the use of such powers which have heretofore been granted by the crown; and every undertaking hereunder is hereby declared to be a work for the general advantage of Canada.
I gave a hint of the
reason which I think often prompts the insertion of a clause of that kind. It makes it look a little more palatable, but I will remind the hon. member that under our Soldier Settlement Act we take power, which we can do in relation to any property, to expropriate the individual farm of a farmer, if we want it for soldier settlement. When we give the farmer his patent we do not make a reservation that we may some day expropriate it. If we had done so we would not have enlarged our right of expropriation one iota. There was no need of it in the act to which my hon. friend refers, and no need of it here.
Having regard to the state of the law as it now exists, I would ask the hon. member not to press the amendment or to further impede the passing of the bill. I think the House can take it for granted, on the word of the Solicitor General, that every provision for safeguarding the public interest, so far as it occurred to the hon. members attending the committee, was put in this bill, and this company is tied hand and foot to the approval of the three departments concerned, the approval of the Governor in Council and of the International Joint Commission. If anybody else can suggest any further safeguards -in the public interest, I would be glad to have them inserted in the bill, if they are reasonable at all, but not the amendment which the hon. member suggests, because I do not think it is necessary.
Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:
(Bow River) moves that bill No. 93 be not now read a third time, but that it be referred back to committee of the Whole with instructions to amend said bill.
Mr. MEIGHEN.: I do not know that I feel very secure in rising but I do not think -that amendment is in order either. It says " instructions to amend " with no indication of the line of amendment; and as the hon. member made his motion, " with instructions to amend in the manner referred to " it is certainly not in order. We cannot conduct our business in such a slip-shod manner as that.
Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):
I may be able to save the House considerable time by saying a word. I was not sufficiently able to grasp the amendment as put to the House by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre. My intention was quite clear. After, however, the explanation which has been given by the leader of the opposition and other hon. members I have no wish to proceed with the amendment and with the consent of the House I would withdraw it.
Mr. A. A. HEAPS (North Winnipeg):
Clause 12 has reference to the case of a possible dispute as to the price to be paid for the use of power and it States that such dispute shall be settled by the Board of Railway Commissioners for Canada. If any dispute should arise in connection with the purchase of power produced by this company, should the matter not be referred to some more local authority than the Board of Railway Commissioners?
If I am in order I would like to answer that. The same point was debated in the Private Bills committee and the suggestion, I think, was advanced by myself that perhaps it ought to be under the board of public utilities for the province concerned; but inasmuch as this is a federal organization I understand it has been the 4 p.m. general practice to refer matters of this kind to the Board of Railway Commissioners for Canada which is a body analogous to the public utilities commission of a province for just such purposes as this. It seems to have been passed unanimously by the committee with that statement and I would ask that the clause pass as it is because I still have confidence in the Board of Railway Commissioners for Canada.
Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:
The hon. gentleman can speak only once on the third reading of the bill.
]YTr HEAlPSi I wes going to ssk s Question.
Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:
I will allow
Even if we assume that the
Board of Railway Commissioners is a good authority to determine prices and profits, does the question of provincial jurisdiction not enter into the matter?
Motion agreed to and bill read the third time and passed.
(Questions answered orally are indicated by an asterisk.)