May 30, 1938

LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

I am afraid the next Conservative convention will not find material there to build a platform on.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   GRAIN HANDLING AT QUEBEC
Sub-subtopic:   KATES FOR HANDLING FROM LAKE VESSELS THROUGH ELEVATOR AND FREE STORAGE-QUESTION OF TABLING DOCUMENTS REFERRED TO
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

The matter cannot be disposed of in that way-

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   GRAIN HANDLING AT QUEBEC
Sub-subtopic:   KATES FOR HANDLING FROM LAKE VESSELS THROUGH ELEVATOR AND FREE STORAGE-QUESTION OF TABLING DOCUMENTS REFERRED TO
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LIB

Walter Edward Foster (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

What is the hon. member speaking on now?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   GRAIN HANDLING AT QUEBEC
Sub-subtopic:   KATES FOR HANDLING FROM LAKE VESSELS THROUGH ELEVATOR AND FREE STORAGE-QUESTION OF TABLING DOCUMENTS REFERRED TO
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I am speaking to a question of privilege and rights, in view of the attitude of the government.

On May 6 I submitted in the proper way certain questions. On May 18 these questions were passed as an order for return. I do not know why that should have been done, but it was asked by the government and the house concurred. The return simply answered the word "no" to five of the questions. One of those questions had to do with a special agreement with Louis Dreyfus and Company regarding the handling of grain, I ask the house and the government to bear in mind that that question was asked on May 6. Today the minister gave a lengthy verbal answer to that question. He referred to the letter as having been written by a member of the national harbours board to the Dreyfus company; but, he said, as nothing happened as a result of that letter, there is no object in tabling it. Then he added, "I will now table an order in council amending the grain charges." I notice that this order is effective May 21, and was amended by P.C. 1115 dated May 18, a considerable time after the question I asked the minister, and fully a month after the letter was written by the member of the harbours board to Mr. Kaiser of the Dreyfus company.

Pensions and National Health

My submission is this: Knowing that these documents do exist, knowing that these negotiations were carried on, I have a right, and this house has a right, to know what the negotiations were. The mere fact that subsequent to their being brought to the attention of the house the matter was changed by this order in council is not a suitable response to my request and the right of parliament to see those documents. The minister himself admitted to-day that the document existed, although later he said he had not personally seen it. But he knows the letter exists and that it was written. I add now that it was written by Mr. Roberts of the harbours board to Mr. Kaiser. All I am asking is that that letter with the confirmation attached thereto of the outline of an agreement should be tabled in order that we, the members of this house, may properly discuss the subject matter of it, which is a matter of very great importance and involves not only a discussion of lake rates, as the minister said, but also questions affecting the rates in that elevator, first as they apply to the Dreyfus company, second as they apply to the public generally; and furthermore whether or not there was an invasion of the jurisdiction of the board of grain commissioners. These are all important questions of grave public interest, and I submit that there is no reason whatever which can properly be offered why this document should not be laid on the table of the house. I again assert my right to the document, the right of parliament to see it, in order that when the estimates come up again we may properly and intelligently discuss the very grave questions involved in this whole matter.

The minister does not reply. Well, Mr. Speaker, I have made a request, and I do not think that mere silence is an answer. This affects the right of a member and of all hon. members.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   GRAIN HANDLING AT QUEBEC
Sub-subtopic:   KATES FOR HANDLING FROM LAKE VESSELS THROUGH ELEVATOR AND FREE STORAGE-QUESTION OF TABLING DOCUMENTS REFERRED TO
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

Why does not my hon. friend make a motion in the ordinary form, as all hon. members do?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   GRAIN HANDLING AT QUEBEC
Sub-subtopic:   KATES FOR HANDLING FROM LAKE VESSELS THROUGH ELEVATOR AND FREE STORAGE-QUESTION OF TABLING DOCUMENTS REFERRED TO
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I started by following that course. I say to the government that this is not the end of this question.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   GRAIN HANDLING AT QUEBEC
Sub-subtopic:   KATES FOR HANDLING FROM LAKE VESSELS THROUGH ELEVATOR AND FREE STORAGE-QUESTION OF TABLING DOCUMENTS REFERRED TO
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LIB

Walter Edward Foster (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Let the hon. member

make a new motion if it is necessary, as provided by the standing order, and then it will be considered.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   GRAIN HANDLING AT QUEBEC
Sub-subtopic:   KATES FOR HANDLING FROM LAKE VESSELS THROUGH ELEVATOR AND FREE STORAGE-QUESTION OF TABLING DOCUMENTS REFERRED TO
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

The hon. member has to accept the answer given to the question.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   GRAIN HANDLING AT QUEBEC
Sub-subtopic:   KATES FOR HANDLING FROM LAKE VESSELS THROUGH ELEVATOR AND FREE STORAGE-QUESTION OF TABLING DOCUMENTS REFERRED TO
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PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH


On the orders of the day:


LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Hon. C. G. POWER (Minister of Pensions and National Health):

On Friday, May 27, during the course of the discussion relating to the publicity division of the Department of Pensions and National Health, I stated that there had been a long delay in making the appointment of chief of this division, and left the impression that the dilatory procedure of the civil service commission was wholly responsible.

Examination of the file and closer study of all the pertinent facts in connection with this appointment clearly indicate that I did an injustice to the commission, which I hasten to correct.

On May 28, 1937, the civil service commission was requisitioned by the department to set up a position of Chief, Division of Publicity and Health Education, but shortly afterwards the department decided to change the title of the position to that of Director of Publicity. The educational qualifications were changed and the salary range modified. On October 28, 1937, the department asked the commission to advertise the position. Applications were called for from the whole of Canada, the competition to close on December 11, 1937. The appointment was actually made on May 23, 1938. It is evident that the department, and therefore the minister, must shoulder at least an equal portion of the blame with the civil service commission.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
Sub-subtopic:   STATEMENT OF MINISTER IN EXPLANATION OF DELAY IN FILLING POSITION IN PUBLICITY DIVISION
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NATURAL RESOURCES


Right Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Minister of Justice) moved the third reading of Bill No. 106. to amend the Manitoba Natural Resources Act, the Alberta Natural Resources Acts and the Saskatchewan Natural Resources Acts. -


CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I indicated to the right hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) that I proposed to make a few observations with respect to this bill on the third reading. The bill involves two questions. One deals with a purely local matter affecting the oil lands in the province of Alberta, but the other is far more important. The

Natural Resources

other amendment contemplates this parliament handing over to the provincial authorities the waters within the various provinces.

This is not a new question. In 1930, when additional agreements were made between the provinces and the dominion to turn over the natural resources to the provinces, I directed attention to the fact that the language was not broad enough to turn over the waters under or on the lands, and it will be remembered that when the provinces were created in 1905 parliament was very careful to retain the rights of this dominion under The Northwest Irrigation Act. I need hardly point out that the Alberta and Saskatchewan Acts were alike in that regard, and it was provided by those statutes that the waters dealt with by the irrigation act passed by this parliament should continue to be dealt with by the parliament of Canada, notwithstanding the fact that we had created the new provinces. Section 21 of the Alberta Act, which is similar in terms to the Saskatchewan Act, reads as follows:

All crown lands, mines and minerals and royalties incident thereto, and the interest of the crown in the waters within the province under The Northwest Irrigation Act, 1898, shall continue to be vested in the crown and administered by the government of Canada for the purposes of Canada, subject to the provisions of any act of the parliament of Canada with respect to road allowances and roads or trails in force immediately before the coming into force of this act, which shall apply to the said province with the substitution therein of the said province for the Northwest Territories.

Similar language is employed in the Saskatchewan Act. It will be observed, therefore, that a clear distinction is made between crown lands, mines, minerals and royalties, and waters. The reason that water in the west stands in a peculiar position is that in 1898, as will be remembered, the parliament of Canada saw fit to enact the Northwest Irrigation Act, under which we declared that the waters in the west were the property of the crown and that when patents were issued for homesteads they should not convey to the patentee the water, which should remain the property of the crown. That is so even to this day, and the classification of the licences for the use of water provided for by that act still stands. You have a domestic user, a user for irrigation purposes and a user for commercial purposes. All that was the law when in 1905 the province of Alberta was created by this parliament, and section 21 of that act retained those rights.

In 1930 the government of the country decided to turn over to the provinces their mines, minerals and royalties, as indicated by

the agreement between the Dominion of Canada and the province of Alberta on the one hand, and later the province of Saskatchewan and the province of Manitoba. Section 1 provides for the transfer of the public lands generally, but it makes no provision for the transfer of the water. That provision is made in these words:

*-the interest of the crown in all crown lands, mines, minerals (precious and base) and royalties derived therefrom within the province, and all sums due or payable for such lands, mines, minerals or royalties, shall, from and after the coming into force of this agreement and subject as therein otherwise provided, belong to the province, subject to any trusts existing in respect thereof, and to any interest other than that of the crown in the same, and the said lands, mines, minerals and royalties shall be administered by the province for the purposes thereof, subject, until the legislature of the province otherwise provides, to the provisions of any act of the parliament of Canada relating to such administration

That is what was turned over to the provinces under the agreements. When the matter came before the House of Commons the Solicitor General and I engaged in a short debate, and on April 29, 1930, we had some extended discussion. The Solicitor General finally said:

It is possible that further legislation is necessary.

Whereupon I replied:

That is the case I am endeavouring to make to the house at the moment, and if the Solicitor General says that, he has quite answered my objection.

Then I dealt with the matter at some considerable length, pointing out what were the provisions having regard to the transfer of crown lands and mines and royalties under the terms of the agreement, and to the limitations that had been imposed upon the transfer of water by the irrigation act. That agreement, of course, was an amendment to the constitution of the provinces; because originally, under section 21 to which I have referred, these crown lands remained the property of the crown in the right of the dominion. It will be recalled that it was asserted by some of our friends that there was a right on the part of this parliament to continue to deal with the matter, but I pointed out then, as I do now, that while under section 3 of the British North America Act of 1871 parliament was given power to create new provinces, it was specifically provided that once the power was exercised we were functus officio. Section 6 of that act reads as follows:

Except as provided by the third section of this act-

Natural Resources

And that is the section which gave us the power to create the provinces.

-it shall not be competent for the parliament of Canada to alter the provisions of the last-mentioned act of the said parliament in so far as it relates to the province of Manitoba, or of any other act hereafter establishing new provinces in the said dominion, subject always to the right of the legislature of the province of Manitoba to alter from time to time the provisions of any law respecting the qualification of electors and members of the legislative assembly, and to make laws respecting elections in the said province.

Therefore when we created the province of Alberta and gave it a constitution we were not competent to amend that constitution; and when in 1930 we amended that constitution by providing that the mines, minerals and royalties that theretofore had been the property of the crown in the right of the dominion should be vested in the crown in the right of the province, that amendment had to be ratified by the imperial parliament. It will be found in chapter 26 of the statutes of Westminster for 1929-30 that this agreement was ratified.

My contention was that if we proposed to deal with the question of water, about which there have been grave differences of opinion- because it was felt that we had the machinery to maintain a uniform policy-the transfer of the waters was a matter that required much more than ordinary or casual consideration. So to-day the waters are being administered by the dominion, not by the provinces; the rehabilitation act in the province of Saskatchewan was predicated upon that assumption. During the period that we were responsible for administration, representations were made with respect to an amendment that might be made, but we never agreed upon the amendment. Now the minister proposes in this bill, for which third reading is asked, to vest these waters in the provinces and divest the dominion of its power. If I am right in my suggestion to the right hon. Minister of Justice it follows that this can be done only by having an act passed by the parliament at Westminster confirming that statute.

It was contended by some of our friends that this was unnecessary, and this was the reason they gave: In the agreement of 1930 they found these words:

24. The foregoing provisions of this agreement may be varied by agreement confirmed by concurrent statutes of the parliament of Canada and the legislature of the province.

It has been pointed out in some quarters that that is broad enough to enable this action to be taken, but I think the Solicitor General thought differently in 1930. Obviously

it is an amendment to the constitution and, as I pointed out in 1930, you cannot have the constitutions of the provinces or the dominion amended by concurrent legislation on the part of the dominion and the provinces. Therefore, on the third reading of the measure,

I point out that in my opinion this is in effect legislation to accomplish that very purpose. If it is intended to transfer the administration of the waters of the western provinces from the dominion to the provinces and thereby amend their constitutional position, it would be essential to do so by the method followed in amending the constitution in 1930. I realize that effect can be given to section 24 of the agreement, but that section cannot possibly have the effect of constituting an amendment to the British North America Act, for the reason that in the list of cases to which reference has been made, the privy council pointed out that you cannot by treaty or agreement divest the provinces of their legislative power in order to confer authority upon the parliament of Canada.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATURAL RESOURCES
Sub-subtopic:   CONFIRMATION OF CERTAIN AGREEMENTS BETWEEN DOMINION GOVERNMENT AND PROVINCES OF MANITOBA, SASKATCHEWAN AND ALBERTA
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

This operates to confer more power on the provinces.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATURAL RESOURCES
Sub-subtopic:   CONFIRMATION OF CERTAIN AGREEMENTS BETWEEN DOMINION GOVERNMENT AND PROVINCES OF MANITOBA, SASKATCHEWAN AND ALBERTA
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

This operates to confer upon the provinces jurisdiction over waters which is now vested in the crown in the right of the dominion.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATURAL RESOURCES
Sub-subtopic:   CONFIRMATION OF CERTAIN AGREEMENTS BETWEEN DOMINION GOVERNMENT AND PROVINCES OF MANITOBA, SASKATCHEWAN AND ALBERTA
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I raise that point merely because the privy council decision had to do with the reverse of that.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATURAL RESOURCES
Sub-subtopic:   CONFIRMATION OF CERTAIN AGREEMENTS BETWEEN DOMINION GOVERNMENT AND PROVINCES OF MANITOBA, SASKATCHEWAN AND ALBERTA
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

But the argument and the statute applied equally to both, that is, that the competent authority to amend the constitution of this country was the parliament at Westminster and not any arrangement or agreement that might be made by the legislatures of the provinces and the dominion. The constitution of the Dominion of Canada cannot be amended by agreement. Concurrent legislation enacted by the provinces and the dominion cannot possibly have the effect of creating an amendment to the British North America Act. The agreement provides that there may be amendments to the agreement, but that would be an amendment within the ambit of the agreement itself and not an amendment to confer new jurisdiction upon the provinces in the exercise of their powers over the waters to which I have referred.

Difference of opinion exists in many quarters as to whether it is advisable, having regard to the possibility of large irrigation works, to vest in the provincial authorities jurisdiction with respect to these matters, or to have them remain as part of a national policy. It is

Natural Resources

realized that only a national policy can deal with so large an issue as that of irrigation in these great western provinces which would involve expenditures on a vast scale.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATURAL RESOURCES
Sub-subtopic:   CONFIRMATION OF CERTAIN AGREEMENTS BETWEEN DOMINION GOVERNMENT AND PROVINCES OF MANITOBA, SASKATCHEWAN AND ALBERTA
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Right Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Minister of Justice):

Mr. Speaker, of course I am not in order, but with the consent of the house I shall proceed. These agreements have been negotiated by the Minister of Mines and Resources (Mr. Crerar) and the governments of the three western provinces which are interested. Until my right hon. friend raised the point, I did not know that there were any difficulties of the kind he has indicated. I have been told by the officers of the Department of Mines and Resources and the Department of Justice that it was the intention at all times to include waters in the phrase "crown lands, mines and minerals." In the minds of the officers of the departments there were no practical difficulties, but it was thought better to include waters. I have the greatest respect for the opinion of my right hon. friend, but I submit that the legislation of 1930 transferred all the natural resources to the provinces.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATURAL RESOURCES
Sub-subtopic:   CONFIRMATION OF CERTAIN AGREEMENTS BETWEEN DOMINION GOVERNMENT AND PROVINCES OF MANITOBA, SASKATCHEWAN AND ALBERTA
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

It was called the natural resources act.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATURAL RESOURCES
Sub-subtopic:   CONFIRMATION OF CERTAIN AGREEMENTS BETWEEN DOMINION GOVERNMENT AND PROVINCES OF MANITOBA, SASKATCHEWAN AND ALBERTA
Permalink

May 30, 1938