March 10, 1938

LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

May I

inquire from where the hon. member took this quotation of a statement by the present premier of Quebec?

Topic:   ELECTRIC POWER
Subtopic:   TRANSFER TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY
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CON

William Earl Rowe

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROWE (Dufferin-Simcoe):

I took it from a press report of a speech delivered by Mr. Duplessis in the legislature of Quebec, when speaking on the Mercier bill, on April 5, 1933.

Topic:   ELECTRIC POWER
Subtopic:   TRANSFER TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY
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LIB

Thomas Vien

Liberal

Mr. VIEN:

Is he of the same opinion today?

Topic:   ELECTRIC POWER
Subtopic:   TRANSFER TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY
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CON

William Earl Rowe

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROWE (Dufferin-Simcoe):

I have not been talking to him lately.

Those in this country who have had experience of the export of power at different times will [DOT] recall that the late Right Hon. Sir George Perley, who formerly sat in this place in the house, stated clearly his conclusions on the subject; and may I point out that there is not an hon. member who will say that the late Sir George Perley was not sound and unbiased on most questions. He stated that it was most difficult to recall grants of power and that he was utterly opposed to its export. I shall not read from his somewhat lengthy statement, excepting this passage:

As a matter of fact, we learned from sad experience that when we gave authority to export power we could not stop its exportation when we wanted to. It so happens that I was one who had a great deal to do with the granting almost the first application for the export of power to the United States. That happened many years ago. We went over the papers very carefully and it was therein stated, as definitely as words could make it, that the export of power could be stopped on proper notice whenever the government of Canada wished to do so, or whenever the power was required in this country. But when it came to the time when we wanted the power, during the war, the United States took the ground that industries in that country had been built up through the use of the power and that it would be an unfriendly act on our part to discontinue the export of it. I take it that from that time forward everybody was pretty well agreed that it was not in the interests of Canada to grant licences for the export of power, even if it was not required by us at that particular time.

There are many other declarations to which I might refer, but I wish only to point out that all through the years both parties in this house have had one fixed policy. Neither party has ever ushered in its policy behind a private bill. The right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) stated some time ago in a speech:

Export licences should not be granted, this being the settled view of the country.

That, Mr. Speaker, is definite policy; that is the responsibility of a party leader. There is more in that one sentence than we listened

Electric Power Export

to this afternoon in three hours from the Prime Minister so far as policy is concerned. However, the Prime Minister himself a very short time ago, in February, 1929, said:

What I wish to make clear at the moment is that with respect to any projected St. Lawrence development, this parliament may take it as definitely settled and understood between the United States and Canada that power generated on the St. Lawrence and belonging to Canada will not be exported to the United States but will be used for the development of our industries and our natural resources.

Surely nothing can be plainer so far as the house is concerned than that both parties have had settled views and definite policies with reference to the export of power.

Let me cite one other authority, Sir Henry Drayton, who was power commissioner during the great war. What were his experiences? The difficulties experienced during those years made both parties more steadfast in their opposition. Sir Henry Drayton said:

The first question that was taken up-

In 1917.

-was the release of power exported by Canada into the United States. It was found that it was entirely impossible to have any of this power released owing to war conditions.

He stated in this house in 1923:

It is perfectly clear that not only the government can but should see to it that no further licences are granted for the export of electric power.

There is no doubt as to where our parties have stood in the past and as to where their policies have led. I realize that this government had a policy in the past. Three times it has declared its policy. The Prime Minister stated, this afternoon, once when parliament was sitting they refused to grant an export licence, twice when parliament was not sitting they did the same thing. Three times during the last year the present government has had courage enough to say no, to follow what had been the fixed policy of both parties. If I were as desirous of running for cover as the Prime Minister intimated this afternoon that I was, would I be as strong for this policy of preserving our own resources in our own country at this time? I know what will be said in Ontario about cheaper hydro rates; but I contend that we should have a strong policy on a large issue such as this, and I say definitely-I say this in advance to those who may think I would run to cover on this issue- that I am opposed to the export of power, because I know that power, if exported, will develop cities in a country not our own. It is the thin end of the wedge. But why this change of heart at this time? The Prime Minister will say that there is no change of

heart, but at any rate there is a change of front. The present government refused three times during the past year, once when parliament was in session and twice in the recess, to do what it now seeks to do. If it was government policy to refuse then when parliament was not sitting, why is it government fear now? Why ask a private member to introduce a bill? Why did the right hon. gentleman speak for three hours this afternoon and as the man who is chiefly responsible refuse to tell the house where he stands? Will he tell us now whether he would vote for export or not?

Topic:   ELECTRIC POWER
Subtopic:   TRANSFER TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY
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LIB

Ross Wilfred Gray (Chief Government Whip; Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. GRAY:

Is the hon. member opposed to this?

Topic:   ELECTRIC POWER
Subtopic:   TRANSFER TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY
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SC

Percy John Rowe

Social Credit

Mr. ROWE (Dufferin-Simeoe):

Perhaps I was unfair when I said that the Prime Minister was frightened; perhaps that was not the word I should have used. I have never seen him frightened.

Topic:   ELECTRIC POWER
Subtopic:   TRANSFER TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

What is there to prevent a national issue being brought into the house?

Topic:   ELECTRIC POWER
Subtopic:   TRANSFER TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY
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SC

Percy John Rowe

Social Credit

Mr. ROWE (Dufferin-Simeoe):

I grant at once that this is the right place in which to bring up national issues, but I say that the government should assume the responsibility for such issues.

Topic:   ELECTRIC POWER
Subtopic:   TRANSFER TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY
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LIB

Ross Wilfred Gray (Chief Government Whip; Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. GRAY:

Is the hon. member opposed to the bill?

Topic:   ELECTRIC POWER
Subtopic:   TRANSFER TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY
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SC

Percy John Rowe

Social Credit

Mr. ROWE (Dufferin-Simeoe):

I am opposed to the evasion of governmental responsibility as evidenced by this bill. I quite agree that a matter of this sort should be brought before parliament.

Topic:   ELECTRIC POWER
Subtopic:   TRANSFER TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   ELECTRIC POWER
Subtopic:   TRANSFER TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY
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SC

Percy John Rowe

Social Credit

Mr. ROWE (Dufferin-Simeoe):

I quite

agree with that; but there is a vast difference between an issue such as we have before us being introduced by the government and it being brought forward in the form of a private bill. Such a procedure would not be allowed in the British House of Commons and it should not be allowed here.

Topic:   ELECTRIC POWER
Subtopic:   TRANSFER TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   ELECTRIC POWER
Subtopic:   TRANSFER TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY
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SC

Percy John Rowe

Social Credit

Mr. ROWE (Dufferin-Simeoe):

My hon.

friends laugh.

Topic:   ELECTRIC POWER
Subtopic:   TRANSFER TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Yes.

Topic:   ELECTRIC POWER
Subtopic:   TRANSFER TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY
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SC

Percy John Rowe

Social Credit

Mr. ROWE (Dufferin-Simeoe):

And Canada will laugh. The Prime Minister himself indicated this afternoon the reason why an issue of this sort should be sponsored by the government when he pointed out the difference between a private bill, which concerns the welfare of private persons or corporations, and an issue such as this, which is of great

Electric Power Export

concern to the country at large. It affects not only the homes of private citizens but great national enterprises, not only one district or the economy of one province, but the development of a country. This is a national issue just as much as is the fiscal policy of the country; it is as much a national issue as is immigration. I wonder what is becoming of parliamentary procedure and the authority of parliament if a government with 170 members behind it cannot assume responsibility where a national issue is concerned but takes shelter behind a private bill.

Topic:   ELECTRIC POWER
Subtopic:   TRANSFER TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

One hundred and

seventy-nine members.

Topic:   ELECTRIC POWER
Subtopic:   TRANSFER TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY
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CON

William Earl Rowe

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROWE (Dufferin-Simcoe):

I beg your pardon-one hundred and seventy-nine. I am sorry that the Prime Minister's feelings were hurt by my saying he was frightened. During the last thirteen or fourteen years I have seen him in difficult situations in the house and have never seen him unduly frightened, and I must compliment him on his level-headed approach. But I can tell him that I, too, have been in difficult places. I just wonder whether he had more reason to be frightened than he told the house this afternoon; for it will be recalled the premier of Ontario some time ago made reference to the attitude of the government at Ottawa and, according to the Windsor Daily Star of December 17, he was reported as follows:

The federal government's opposition to export of power application is due wholly to pressure being brought to bear on Ottawa by Washington to force Ontario's and Quebec's hands on the development of the St. Lawrence deep waterways.

He stated further in the same interview:

Mr. King, in referring the matter to parliament, is again taking the line of least resistance.

He then said that he would make public Ottawa's attitude in respect to hydro's back-to-Niagara policy.

Topic:   ELECTRIC POWER
Subtopic:   TRANSFER TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY
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LIB

William Alexander Fraser

Liberal

Mr. FRASER:

It put you back in this

house.

Topic:   ELECTRIC POWER
Subtopic:   TRANSFER TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY
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CON

William Earl Rowe

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROWE (Dufferin-Simcoe):

Let me tell the hon. member for Northumberland (Mr. Fraser) that what Mr. Hepburn should have said was that he had his back to Niagara and his face to Montreal, and my hon. friend cooperated with him in the greatest betrayal of public confidence the province has ever known.

Topic:   ELECTRIC POWER
Subtopic:   TRANSFER TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY
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March 10, 1938