Mr. MACKENZIE KING:
statute gives the governor in council power to issue a licence that is permissive. The first thing my hon. friends would have said, if the present government had granted the application of the Ontario government, is that the governor in council had taken that action either out of fear of or of favour for the administration at Toronto; that they had been afraid to leave the matter to parliament, notwithstanding they had declared as respects the earlier applications from Quebec to leave the matter to parliament. That is what we would have been hearing to-day. May I say to hon. gentlemen opposite that, as far as the Ontario government is concerned-and I have reason to know its mind in this matter-it would have much preferred to have had the old bill remain exactly as it is and to have had the governor in council grant a licence for the export of power with or preferably without the subsequent approval of parliament than to have the matter of its application referred, as it is being referred under the present bill, for approval to parliament itself. That, I believe, is the truth of the matter.
However, I was recalling the position taken by the leader of the Conservative party at the time the bill regarding export of power was introduced in 1907. Sir Robert Borden then said-and I think he was right in his contention-that the governor in council was the last body which should be expected to decide a matter of this kind. He gave his reasons; they were quite explicit and applicable to what some hon. gentlemen have been saying-that the governor in council is concerned with matters of policy; that council has not the opportunity to get the full and
Electric Power Export
exact information with regard to these matters enjoyed by other bodies, such as a committee of the House of Commons or the railway commission, which are able to bring before them the parties that make the application and to place on the parties themselves the onus of making good the case on their own behalf. Sir Robert pointed out that an administration would have to depend in large part upon the word of some official of a government department as to what it might be best to do with respect to any particular application. But he went a step further, and said there was another reason why the governor in council should not be trusted with this power, namely, that the council was actually and necessarily a partisan body, composed of members of one party. He did not think it right that members of one party should have it within their power to grant or withhold applications for licences to export power, which if granted might mean a great deal to their friends, and if refused for partisan reasons might mean a great loss to those concerned.
Subtopic: TRANSFER TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY