May 9, 1928

CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

That is right.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE SISTERS OF CHARITY OF THE NORTH WEST TERRITORIES
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?

Mr PARENT:

Compared with what has

been done in the past it appeared to the members of the committee that the request was very reasonable. The representative of the sisters stated to the committee that they were the owners of four or five large hospitals, and that the capital value of those buildings would represent at least half of the six million dollars. Under the circumstances the committee recommended that six million dollars be considered fair.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE SISTERS OF CHARITY OF THE NORTH WEST TERRITORIES
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Section agreed to. Section 2 agreed to. Bill reported, read the third time and passed. Great Lakes and Power Company


GREAT LAKES AND ATLANTIC CANAL AND POWER COMPANY, LIMITED


Mr. J. J. DENIS (Joliette) moved the second reading.of Bill No. 152, respecting the Great Lakes and Atlantic Canal and Power Company, Limited.


CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. H. H. STEVENS (Vancouver Centre):

Mr. Speaker, personally I have no desire to object to the second reading, but in consenting to it I should like to say that I am not agreeing with the principle of the bill. May I ask one question: Is this bill to be referred to the committee on railways and canals?

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Subtopic:   GREAT LAKES AND ATLANTIC CANAL AND POWER COMPANY, LIMITED
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Minister of Justice):

I take the same stand as my hon.

friend.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   GREAT LAKES AND ATLANTIC CANAL AND POWER COMPANY, LIMITED
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LIB

Lucien Cannon (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. LUCIEN CANNON (Solicitor General) :

That is the rule with private bills.

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Subtopic:   GREAT LAKES AND ATLANTIC CANAL AND POWER COMPANY, LIMITED
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?

Jean-Joseph Denis

Mr. DENIS (Joliette):

I do not want to take up the time of the house, but it is perfectly understood and agreed that no member is committed to this bill by the mere fact that it gets its second reading. We simply want to send it to the committee to have it examined.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   GREAT LAKES AND ATLANTIC CANAL AND POWER COMPANY, LIMITED
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CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. L. CHURCH (Northwest Toronto):

I do not think that this bill should be read the second time. The leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) is not here, and it is questionable whether the bill comes within the four corners of the jurisdiction of this parliament. It covers territory starting at Cornwall and going all the way into Quebec. The points presented in the bill have been sent by the cabinet to the supreme court for consideration and the question is to be heard within a few days. The bill involves a division of authority between the federal parliament and the provinces regarding international streams. This question was discussed a few years ago in reflation to the Morrisburg dam, and the matter of provincial rights then came under review. We have a series of documents and papers exchanged between the governments of the United States and of the Dominion of Canada touching the very points involved in this bill, and the moment we give the bill the second reading we automatically approve the principle of it. This, I submit, we have no right to do under the circumstances, especially in view of the statement made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) some time ago that an opportunity would be afforded later on to discuss the whole question.

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Subtopic:   GREAT LAKES AND ATLANTIC CANAL AND POWER COMPANY, LIMITED
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Jean-Joseph Denis

Mr. DENIS ( Joliette):

Let me assure my hon. friend, as I said in answer to the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens), that no hon. member is by any means committed to the principle of the bill in voting for the second reading of it. The sole purpose is to have the bill sent to the railway committee. I would not ask my hon. friend to commit himself to the principle of the bill. Indeed I am not committed to it myself, if it can be .proved that it is unsound.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   GREAT LAKES AND ATLANTIC CANAL AND POWER COMPANY, LIMITED
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UFA

Robert Gardiner

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARDINER:

Why do you not explain it?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   GREAT LAKES AND ATLANTIC CANAL AND POWER COMPANY, LIMITED
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CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHURCH:

So far as I am concerned, I am opposed to sending the bill to any committee because it is altogether out of order in view of the fact that provincial Tights in the matter of water power are involved, and that this question has been referred to the supreme court. There is too much of this sort of thing in this house. Under the rules, the second reading of a bill approves the principle of it. This is in accordance with all the authorities-Bourinot, Beauchesne, May and others. This is a contentious stage of the bill, and especially a bill of this description.

I understand that a measure similar to this has passed the provincial legislature and this bill is now before parliament; we are asked to adopt concurrent legislation. And now the point is raised: What are the rights of the provinces and of the Dominion respectively in regard to the diversion from the river of water needed for navigation purposes? This question is among those referred to the supreme court, and it should not be discussed now, nor should the bill be sent to a committee of the house. This house has already dealt with questions similar to those involved in the bill. Such questions appear on the order paper, and it is not competent for us to forestall the action of parliament in the matter. The announcement has also been made that irrespective of the decision that will be rendered by the supreme court there is to be an appeal to the Privy Council on these various questions involved in the St. Lawrence waterway. This matter was under discussion the other day and the question came up in that connection as to whether these private bills should be passed. On April 10 the question was undeT consideration, and the very matters involved in the bill now before us were covered in the debate that then took place. That debate lasted one afternoon and the Prime Minister rose in his place and proposed an adjournment.

I would remind the house that the correspondence between the United States and the Dominion of Canda in regard to the St. Lawrence has been printed-500 copies in English and 200 in French. Various questions arise in these documents: What are the rights of the state of New York? What

2862 COMMONS

Great Lakes and Power Company

are the rights of the province of Quebec in regard to the St. Lawrence, in so far as it lies exclusively in that province? What are the rights of the province of Ontario in relation to waters passing by its doors on their way to the St. Lawrence? And what are the international rights and the rights of this Dominion in respect of surplus water? There is a statute in this country known as The Navigable Waters Protection Act, which provides that before an application can be brought to parliament it shall be sent to the Minister of Public Works. Before any erection can be made on an international stream it must conform to the provisions of the Navigable Waters Protection Act. Now, the preamble to this bill contains certain provisions which are hardly within the powers of this parliament, and it also raises the question of jurisdiction, which, I contend, is sub judice. Mr. Speaker has ruled upon this point; a similar question arose last session and, having been considered, the ruling was given.

I submit that this bill is out of order for the reasons I have indicated. I have here opinions from counsel for the Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario of a few years ago, with regard! to this particular question, and there is no doubt, that the control of navigable water lies with the Dominion government. If it is desired to carry on any construction which will affect navigable waters application must be made to the Minister of Public Works, who holds a hearing and reports to the governor in council. These questions are now before the supreme court; counsel are acting for the Dominion government and for the provinces of Ontario and Quebec; the pleadings are all in and a day has been named for the hearing. In view of that situation, how can we pass this bill?

Let us look at the preamble, which states:

Whereas a petition has been presented by the Great Lakes and Atlantic Canal and Power Company, Limited .... praying that it may be authorized to construct and operate a deep waterway from the western end of lake St. Francis at or near the town of Cornwall in the county of Stormont, in the province of Ontario to Hungry bay in the county of Beau-harnois in the province of Quebec, and to build a canal from said Hungry bay to a point at or near Melocheville, in the said county at lake St. Louis, and a deep waterway through lake St. Louis to a point at or near Caughna-waga in the county of La Prairie-[DOT]

They are not satisfied with that; they even name an alternative route. The canal system of this country, as I understand it, has been under the control of the Dominion government since about 1854, and since that

[Mr. Church.J

time we have spent over 8200,000,000 on that system. To-day we are spending large sums of money on the Welland canal, so I say we should not give a private company power to construct a canal of this kind. Here we have a canal to be built near the great port of Montreal, where we have spent so much money; we have the United States requesting permission to divert a great quantity of water to the Mississippi river through the Chicago drainage canal; they propose another canal from Ogdensburg to Albany, and if this sort of thing goes on there will not be a drop of water left in the port of Montreal. If this were purely a power company I would have no great objection to it; in Quebec they have a progressive premier who is always looking out for his province, but this is not such a company.

This bill gives this particular company the power to build a canal in the counties named, to the head of navigation, in and near the city of Montreal. It says:

so as to make and complete throughout the entire distance from Cornwall aforesaid to the harbour of Montreal as aforesaid, a navigable canal or canals.

This bill gives this particular company the power to build a private canal, because that is all it is going to be. It is going to be a private canal, and it is changing the whole canal policy of this country by handing it over to a private company, incorporated as it is in the province of Quebec, and giving this company powers in this province. You are going to upset the whole policy of canals in this country.

In 1854 the jurisdiction over these waters was in the Montreal harbour commission. They transferred the whole jurisdiction, in order to build a ship canal in 1854, from the port of Montreal to Quebec. The country spent $54,000,000 to dig that waterway. To hand over to this particular company the power to build this private canal, a private undertaking, as this preamble sets out, I must say is an entirely wrong principle.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   GREAT LAKES AND ATLANTIC CANAL AND POWER COMPANY, LIMITED
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At eleven o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order. Thursday, May 10, 1928


May 9, 1928