March 22, 1938

CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. HEAPS:

Were there any Liberals who opposed the deal?

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

Arthur Graeme Slaght

Liberal

Mr. SLAGHT:

I have not yet heard of any Liberals who would be opposed to the deal, but there may be. Perhaps the hon. member has information that I am not possessed of.

Topic:   ELECTRIC POWER
Subtopic:   TRANSFEB TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY
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UFOL

Agnes Campbell Macphail

United Farmers of Ontario-Labour

Miss MACPHAIL:

Are there any Liberals having anything to do with the export of power?

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

Arthur Graeme Slaght

Liberal

Mr. SLAGHT:

Yes, madam.

Some hon. MEMBERS. Oh, oh.

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

Arthur Graeme Slaght

Liberal

Mr. SLAGHT:

The hon. member will pardon me; I did not say that in any light vein. But answering the hon. member, if the question has any application, and I do not see that it has, I understand her to invite me to state whether any Liberals had anything to do with the export of power.

Topic:   ELECTRIC POWER
Subtopic:   TRANSFEB TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY
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UFOL

Agnes Campbell Macphail

United Farmers of Ontario-Labour

Miss MACPHAIL:

But don't go back to Sir Wilfrid.

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

Arthur Graeme Slaght

Liberal

Mr. SLAGHT:

Perhaps she does not like an illustrious illustration, such as Sir Wilfrid Laurier, who had to do for a long period of years with the export of power under seventeen different licences year after year. The Prime Minister of Canada, in his former governments, also had to do with the export of power year after year; and, if I may complete the idea the hon. member perhaps has in her mind, the Right Hon. Sir Robert Borden in his day, the Right Hon. Arthur Meighen in his regime, and the present leader of the opposition in his five years, all endorsed the principle of the export of surplus power to the United States. The leader of the opposition, the hon. member for Leeds, the former Minister of Trade and Commerce, to whom I have to say a word-I am sorry he is not here to-day-all sat for five years, in which time they issued seventy-five licences for the export of power to the United States. Yet, if you believed what you hear on the hustings, and some of the indictments delivered in the debate on this subject, you would think that the principle of the export of power was something new for this parliament to consider. I wonder what the leader of the opposition was thinking when he voted in council, along with the gentlemen I have

named, to license seven different corporations year after year for the export of power. In those five years they exported at least 300,000 horsepower annually, or 1,500,000 horsepower in that period. That is what they exported to the United States. Were they concerned at that time? Did their investigation of those applications lead them to believe that there would be a revolution in the United States if they exported power under these annual licences? Certainly not. We find whipped up for the first time in the last two months, both in the country and in this house, an absolute attack by a cabal, as I put it, against the export of power because, in my humble view, the applicant for the export of power was the young premier of the province of Ontario, who, in the election of 1935, travelled from ocean to ocean and took a prominent part in turning these gentlemen out of office and walking them across the floor to the opposition where they now sit. And for no other reason that I can find in examining their speeches. There was no difference between the proposed hydro application, not a jot of difference, and the seventy-five applications for the export of power which by order in council they approved of.

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

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

One must correct a misstatement. There were no applications granted; there was nothing but the renewal of existing licences.

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

Arthur Graeme Slaght

Liberal

Mr. SLAGHT:

Quite so.

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

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Let us get it straight.

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

Arthur Graeme Slaght

Liberal

Mr. SLAGHT:

If my right hon. friend believed that the renewal was wrong or evil, that it had all the evils that might attach to his condemnation of this present hydro application, is he the type of man to have renewed the licences? I give him credit for being otherwise. If he believed that they were wrong and ought to be stopped, he would have stopped them. But he did not stop them because he believed that they were proper renewals, that the United States should have the right to buy that power, and that the various provinces of Canada that desired to export surplus power should have the right to exchange it for American dollars.

There has been a good deal of misapprehension about the facts connected with the export of power for thirty years. May I correct one or two of them. We have exported power under twenty-eight different licences for thirty years, consistently and continuously, and increasing up to some ten or twelve years ago when it remained practically stationary. During that thirty years we discontinued the export of power that had been previously

Electric Power Export

going on under eleven different licences. There was no revolution in the United States when we discontinued that export. There were none of the terrible consequences that hon. members on the other side have portrayed with regard to the hydro applications. No; because it was recognized and has been down to the present time that the export of power from this country should proceed.

In connection with the hydro application, after investigating the matter, I undertook to sponsor the proposal to the extent of having the bill introduced as a private measure when the legislation so required. I looked into it and believed on the facts presented to me that it was proper so to do. Orders in council have been passed by the provinces of Quebec and Ontario reciting solemnly that the power which it is proposed to export is purely surplus power not needed in either of those provinces. The hydro commission of Ontario is a quasipublic body; let me remind hon. gentlemen opposite of that. This is not a case of a private corporation coming forward for gain to fatten the pockets of its shareholders, and seeking to export this power for the purpose. The hydro commission, if you will examine the statute that created it, is the trustee for the municipalities and the people of Ontario, and the commission has no right to make a dollar's worth of profit out of any power that it generates and exports. Its duty is to generate power for the industrial needs of our people.

Topic:   ELECTRIC POWER
Subtopic:   TRANSFEB TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY
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UFOL

Agnes Campbell Macphail

United Farmers of Ontario-Labour

Miss MACPHAIL:

And the agricultural too.

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

Arthur Graeme Slaght

Liberal

Mr. SLAGHT:

I was coming to that. My hon. friend and I are in accord in these matters. Its duty is also to generate power for the agricultural interests of the provinces, interests whom I have the honour to represent in my district of Parry Sound. I am sure my hon. friend will not think that I am forgetting them. We must ask ourselves this question: Who was the applicant? As far as I am concerned, having undertaken, on the facts and the position as it then was, to sponsor and present to parliament for their consideration the application of hydro to export power, after analysing the reasons given by the president of the United States in the white paper given to us this morning, and in view of the definite statement that he does not desire more power imported into the United States, I cannot see that hydro could present in this house at this session in the present state of affairs a private bill applying for the export of power. I think all hon. members will agree with me on that. It would be an act of international discourtesy

now for the parliament of Canada to authorize the Ontario Hydro-Electric Power Commission to export 110,000 horsepower to the United States, immediately after reading a most dignified and courteous communication from the president of the United States that in the interests of his country he feels regretfully compelled to say to us that he could not now tolerate any increase in the export of power from Canada to that country. So let that point be made clear.

But I want to deal for a moment with some very vigorous denunciations, intended no doubt for me as the likely sponsor of a private bill, which fell from the lips of hon. members on the other side. It was said to be preposterous that by a private bill any member of parliament should have the right to decide the terms-the hon. member almost said "decide"

under which a private applicant should have the right to export power. Hon. members may not all know that the present head of the Ontario Hydro-Electric Power Commission is Doctor Thomas Hogg, who, I regret to say, is very ill just now. When he was appointed to the chairmanship of that great commission, which has assets of $500,000,000, the press of this country and the right thinking people by almost unanimous acclaim said that Doctor Hogg was a worthy chairman for the Ontario Hydro. He was appointed to office as an engineer for the commission under Sir James Whitney, the leader and colleague of my friend the hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe of those days. All the higher engineers in the hydro organization-Mr. Jeffries, Mr. Dibblee, and three or four others who have had great engineering problems to deal with for hydro-were appointed by Conservative regimes. Doctor Hogg was elevated to the position of chairman by the Hepburn administration, and the premier of Ontario was commended by practically all members of both political parties for having made a non-political appointment.

Topic:   ELECTRIC POWER
Subtopic:   TRANSFEB TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY
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CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. HEAPS:

He is a private ownership man, is he not?

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

Arthur Graeme Slaght

Liberal

Mr. SLAGHT:

My hon. friend says so; I would not have thought it. My hon. friend's voice is a voice in the wilderness, the first in or out of the house. Let me point out that the first white paper published makes it clear that that non^political chairman-my friend may call him what he likes as to public ownership or otherwise, although I think it is quite unfair to Doctor Hogg-

Topic:   ELECTRIC POWER
Subtopic:   TRANSFEB TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY
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CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. HEAPS:

Not in the least.

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

Arthur Graeme Slaght

Liberal

Mr. SLAGHT:

That non-political chairman, in his report to the premier of Ontario,

Electric Power Export

said that there was an undoubted surplus of power which Ontario could not possibly use and that it was in the interest of the commission and of the two million people in Ontario to obtain permission to export. What should we have thought of a premier or cabinet in Ontario which, their skilled engineers having made that report, did nothing to secure the right to export that surplus power and bring 1,500,000 United States dollars into Canada for power which otherwise would be running over the dam and absolutely wasted?

I have reviewed briefly the vicious attack that was made in an attempt to kill the bill, and I was about to deal with the criticism that a private act is all wrong because there would be a great lobby; and that there was a great lobby behind this bill. The hon. member for Kootenay East (Mr. Stevens) was shocked at the idea of the lobby. As he put it, it was going to be almost irresistible to him; he would hardly be able to hold back. Let me say that since I undertook to sponsor this bill I have not asked a single hon. member amongst my friends on the other side or on this side, not a single member of the House of Commons, either to support or to vote for the hydro bill. One did not need to, because until the receipt of these documents last night the case for the export of power under the private bill which I intended to present was so strong, so impregnable, that in my view no hon. member who had the interest of his country at heart would have dared to refuse his consent.

Topic:   ELECTRIC POWER
Subtopic:   TRANSFEB TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY
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LIB-PRO

Joseph Thorarinn Thorson

Liberal Progressive

Mr. THORSON:

Will the hon. member

speak for himself in that respect?

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

Arthur Graeme Slaght

Liberal

Mr. SLAGHT:

Very well; I accept my

hon. friend's suggestion. I am only indicating my view as to the strength of the case for the export of power. I hope the committee did not understand that I had any view as to how my friend might or might not vote when he heard the facts.

Two or three hon. gentlemen on the other side of the house said they were utterly opposed to this export of power by hydro. They did not want to hear the facts, they could prejudge the case. They were "agin it." I should have thought they might have waited to hear the facts presented.

Topic:   ELECTRIC POWER
Subtopic:   TRANSFEB TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY
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UFOL

Agnes Campbell Macphail

United Farmers of Ontario-Labour

Miss MACPHAIL:

Mr. Roosevelt did not wait, did he?

Topic:   ELECTRIC POWER
Subtopic:   TRANSFEB TO PARLIAMENT OF CONTROL OF EXPORT EXCEPT IN INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY
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March 22, 1938