Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister) moved the second reading of Bill No. 21, to amend the Electricity and Fluid Exportation Act.
He said: Mr. Speaker, the bill which is now before the house for second reading implements the undertaking which was given in the speech from the throne on January 27 to the effect that legislation would be introduced with a view to furthering the principle of parliamentary control of the export of electric power. On the first reading of the bill, on February
11, I outlined its scope and purposes, but it might be well at this time to repeat what was then said.
While the bill in form constitutes a general amendment and recasting of the Electricity and Fluid Exportation Act, which has not heretofore been amended since it was passed in 1907, in substance its object is to transfer to parliament itself the power at present legally vested in the governor in council to control all export of electric power from this country. The bill does not affect the licences to export power which have already been granted, nor does it take from the governor in council the right to renew or cancel the existing licences. It does provide that no further exports of power may be made unless they are specifically authorized by a private act of parliament. An exception to this rule is made only in the event of a temporary international emergency, and only for the duration of such an emergency.
The house will recall that in 1928 the hon. member for Leeds (Mr. Stewart) introduced a bill in this house to amend the Electricity and Fluid Exportation Act. The bill was given first and second reading at that session but did not get beyond the committee stage. In the following year, 1929, the hon. member for Leeds reintroduced the bill, which was given all three readings in this house with practically no discussion. * The bill went to the senate, where it was given first and second readings. After the second reading, while the bill was in committee in the senate, some information was requested with respect to the number of licences that had been already issued, together with other data which hon. members of the senate desired to obtain. It was not possible to secure that information in time for consideration before the session prorogued. As a result the bill introduced by my hon. friend did not become law.
What I should like particularly to bring to the attention of the house is that in 1929 all members of this house, regardless of party, accepted the principle of parliamentary control of the export of electrical energy. That was the underlying, essential principle in my hon. friend's bill. The original act with respect to the exportation of power from Canada was enacted in 1907. From 1907 up to the present time that act has not been amended. The amendment which the hon. member for Leeds proposed in 1928 and 1929 would have taken away the power which at present resides in the governor in council to issue licences, and would have transferred that power to parliament. It was the approval of parliament that my hon. friend desired should be
Electric Power Export