Hon. L. B. Pearson (Secretary of State for External Affairs):
Mr. Speaker, I should like to table three copies in English and three copies in French of the Niagara diversion treaty, which is being signed in Washington this afternoon by the Canadian ambassador, Mr. Hume Wrong, and by the United States Secretary of State, Mr. Dean Acheson. With your permission I should like to make a short statement on this treaty.
We have been discussing with the United States government the possibility of amending article 5 of the Boundary Waters treaty of 1909 with respect to the use of water from the Niagara river for the generation of hydroelectric power. In these talks we have had the valuable assistance of the chairman of the Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario and the chairman of the Niagara parks commission. The discussions have resulted in a Niagara diversion treaty.
The Boundary Waters treaty of 1909 authorized the diversion by the United States of 20,000 cubic feet of water per second, and the diversion by Canada of 36,000 cubic feet per second. Although Canada was thus allowed to use more water than the United States the power produced by the extra Canadian share has been exported to the United States. As a result, each country has had the use of hydroelectric power produced by approximately half of the water made available by the 1909 treaty.
During the second world war, additional diversions of 13,000 cubic feet per second on the Canadian side and 12,500 cubic feet per second on the United States side were authorized on a temporary basis.
The new Niagara treaty reserves adequate quantities of water for flow over the falls and through the rapids, and then authorizes the use of all remaining water for power
purposes. Since this water will for the first time be divided equally between the two countries, the United States government is being informed through our embassy in Washington that when facilities have been constructed in the United States to use the full United States share of water, Canadian export licences then in effect will not be renewed unless circumstances existing in Canada at that time make such a course desirable.
It is not possible to say just how much more water this treaty will make available to Canada, since the necessity of preserving the scenic beauty of the falls and rapids is the first charge on the fluctuating volume of water in the Niagara river. However, it is expected that both countries will normally have the use of more water than before. At the same time, the fact that the temporary arrangements agreed upon during the war are being superseded by a permanent agreement will permit the construction of new power plants of the latest design to replace a number of existing plants now in operation which cannot make the most effective use of the available water. For these two reasons, a substantial increase in the amount of hydroelectric power generated at Niagara can be expected once this treaty has been ratified and the new power plants have been constructed.
Nevertheless the demand for power keeps increasing, and this additional Niagara power cannot be expected to meet the full needs of Ontario and New York state. The power requirements of these areas can be met only by the full development of the potential power of the St. Lawrence river. The additional Niagara power should help to tide us over the period required for the construction of the St. Lawrence facilities, but the need for St. Lawrence power is as urgent as it ever has been. The new Niagara diversion treaty does not in any way lessen Canada's interest in, and desire for, early ratification by both governments of the St. Lawrence waterway and power agreement of 1941.
The treaty contains two provisions designed to protect and enhance the scenic beauty of the Niagara river and falls. It calls for early completion of remedial works to ensure an unbroken Crestline on the falls by distributing the waters more evenly. It also ensures that the flow over the falls and through the rapids will not be reduced below the amounts
Niagara Diversion Treaty which experience has shown are essential for the preservation of the full scenic spectacle.
I have been advised by the chairman of the Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario that this treaty meets with the approval of the premier of Ontario, the Ontario hydro, and the Niagara parks commission.
Subtopic: USE OF WATER FROM NIAGARA RIVER FOR HYDROELECTRIC POWER PURPOSES