On the order for motions:
Hon. L. S. ST. LAURENT (Acting Secretary of State for External Affairs): I should like at this time to make a brief statement which was asked for by the hon. member for Broadview (Mr. Church) on October 4. as reported at page 756 of Hansard. The hon. member asked:
Will the acting leader of the house be in a position to make a statement within a few days regarding the St. Lawrence waterway, in view of the message of President Truman to Congress yesterday recommending an early start?
In reply the Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. Mackenzie) stated that the question would be referred to the Acting Secretary of State for External Affairs. I have had the statement prepared and I think it should be communicated to the house.
The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Basin agreement was signed at Ottawa, March 19, 1941. It makes provision for the development of navigation and power resources within the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence basin for the joint account of the peoples of Canada and the United States. Generally, it covers the same fields as the Niagara convention of 1929 and the St. Lawrence waterway treaty of 1932.
2. Immediately after the signing of the agreement, a white paper, including correspondence and documents relating to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence basin development, was tabled in the House of Commons on March 21, 1941.
For the convenience of the members of the house I am tabling additional copies, both in English and in French, of the white paper: Correspondence and documents relating to The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Basin development, 1938-1941.
I am also tabling copies, both in English and in French, of an additional white paper: Correspondence and documents relating to The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Basin development, supplement No. 1; (i) legal opinions; (ii) summary of outstanding features.
3. The agreement provided for ratification and it was made subject to approval by the parliament of Canada and the congress of the United States of America. In this respect, it differed from the 1932 treaty which required the observance of "constitutional methods"
St. Lawrence Waterway
before ratification. The 1932 treaty could only be ratified by the President of the United States if approved by a two-thirds majority of the senate. The present agreement could only be ratified by him if it were approved by joint resolution of both the senate and the house of representatives.
4. Accordingly, the agreement was submitted to the house of representatives in 1941 and referred to the committee on rivers and harbours. It failed, however, to obtain the necessary congressional approval and no action was taken by way of ratification either in 1941 or in succeeding years.
5. An attempt was made in the senate of the United States in 1944 to obtain the necessary approval by the adoption of what would have been a joint resolution, but it was unsuccessful.
6. Upon the initiative of the President of the United States of America, a joint resolution was introduced in the senate and in the house of representatives on October 2 of this year. The procedure followed is somewhat different from that which was adopted in earlier years and the joint resolution is fundamentally different. The earlier resolutions had been designed to provide for approval of the entire agreement with a view to ratification of the agreement and proceeding with the project. The joint resolution as presented both in the senate and in the house of representatives is different from the earlier resolutions in the following respects:
(a) The resolution approves the agreement with the exception of articles VII and IX and authorizes the President to fulfil the undertakings, other than those which are contained in these articles, upon approval of the agreement, with the exeception of the articles in question, by reciprocal or concurrent legislation in Canada.
(b) The resolution indicates that it is the view of congress that the President should negotiate with Canada a treaty or treaties covering the subject matter of articles VII and IX, including the provision with respect to perpetual navigation rights on the great lakes, on the connecting channels and canals, and in the wholly Canadian sections of the St. Lawrence river, and provisions for the amendment of the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 with respect to the diversion of waters at the Niagara river, and should submit the treaty for the advice and consent of the senate.
(c) The president is directed to provide for the investigation of the feasibility of making the project self-liquidating by the imposition
of reasonable charges or tolls on the foreign commerce of the two countries utilizing the facilities.
(d) Provision is made with respect to the appropriation of funds and there is a declaration to the effect that no exchange of notes under article I, section 4 of the agreement is to impose additional financial or other obligations on the United States. (This refers to a power enabling the governments, by exchange of notes, to prescribe rules and regulations for the conduct of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Basin commission, to expand or abridge its powers and duties, to reduce, or after reduction, to increase the number of members, and to wind up the commission. The declaration does not, however, change the obligations of the governments in any respect, as the limitations would be implied in the absence of an express provision of this sort.)
(e) The President is authorized, by arrangement with the government of the state of New York, to transfer the power facilities to the appropriate agency of the state in accordance with certain principles and there is a proviso that the arrangement must be consistent with the laws of the United States and protect the interests of the United States and of other states and also that the arrangement is to be subject to approval by congress and the legislature of the state of New York.
7. For the information of the members of the house, I am tabling three copies, in English, of the joint resolution which has been introduced both in the senate and in the house of representatives of the United States of America and, if this course meets with the approval of the members of. the house, the text of this joint resolution could be printed in Votes and Proceedings. May I take it that I have the unanimous consent of the house?
Some bon. MEMBERS: Consent.
Mr. ST. LAURENT: To continue:
8. If the joint resolution is approved by congress, it may be necessary for the dominion government to confer with the governments of the province of Ontario and Quebec. The existing arrangements, so far as Ontario is concerned, are embodied in the agreement at page 11 of the first white paper and in the correspondence at pages 43-45. The arrangements with the province of Quebec are embodied in the correspondence at pages 66-72. Consideration of the question as to whether the modifications involved in the procedure now before the congress of the United States of America present any difficulty from the Canadian point of view must, necessarily, be deferred until a later stage.
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