June 14, 1950

PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

There may be certain technical problems in connection with the chairmanship of the committees, but I should imagine that the chairman would recognize the wish of the house if the government is prepared to consent to such a motion.

Topic:   NIAGARA DIVERSION TREATY
Subtopic:   CANADA-UNITED STATES APPROVAL OF RATIFI- CATION AND OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND ONTARIO
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LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent:

I have no doubt the chairmen of the committees are present in the house, and that they will sense the desire of the house. I would hope that when then-respective committees meet they might adjourn for the forenoon, as suggested by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Drew).

Topic:   NIAGARA DIVERSION TREATY
Subtopic:   CANADA-UNITED STATES APPROVAL OF RATIFI- CATION AND OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND ONTARIO
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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

It will be unnecessary for me to read again the motion of the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Pearson). We will proceed with the motion moved by him.

Topic:   NIAGARA DIVERSION TREATY
Subtopic:   CANADA-UNITED STATES APPROVAL OF RATIFI- CATION AND OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND ONTARIO
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LIB

Hughes Cleaver

Liberal

Mr. Cleaver:

Before the matter is dealt with, as chairman of one of the committees I should like to say that we have witnesses from out of town attending our meeting who are here after notice. I think perhaps the public accounts committee might excuse the leader of the opposition from attending their meeting.

Topic:   NIAGARA DIVERSION TREATY
Subtopic:   CANADA-UNITED STATES APPROVAL OF RATIFI- CATION AND OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND ONTARIO
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PC

James Arthur Ross

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ross (Souris):

They would be pleased.

Topic:   NIAGARA DIVERSION TREATY
Subtopic:   CANADA-UNITED STATES APPROVAL OF RATIFI- CATION AND OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND ONTARIO
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Since I made the motion, I am not going-

Topic:   NIAGARA DIVERSION TREATY
Subtopic:   CANADA-UNITED STATES APPROVAL OF RATIFI- CATION AND OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND ONTARIO
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LIB

Ralph Maybank (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys)

Liberal

Mr. Maybank:

Mr. Speaker, who has the floor?

Topic:   NIAGARA DIVERSION TREATY
Subtopic:   CANADA-UNITED STATES APPROVAL OF RATIFI- CATION AND OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND ONTARIO
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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Are we dealing with the motion of the Secretary of State for External Affairs?

Topic:   NIAGARA DIVERSION TREATY
Subtopic:   CANADA-UNITED STATES APPROVAL OF RATIFI- CATION AND OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND ONTARIO
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LIB

Ralph Maybank (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys)

Liberal

Mr. Maybank:

I wish to speak to the motion that has been moved by the leader of the opposition.

Topic:   NIAGARA DIVERSION TREATY
Subtopic:   CANADA-UNITED STATES APPROVAL OF RATIFI- CATION AND OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND ONTARIO
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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Before the hon. member does so, I think I should allow the leader of the opposition to make another statement.

Topic:   NIAGARA DIVERSION TREATY
Subtopic:   CANADA-UNITED STATES APPROVAL OF RATIFI- CATION AND OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND ONTARIO
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

I simply want to say that I have no intention of dealing with the remark that was made, which I think was inappropriate to the manner in which I presented the suggestion. I would say, however, that while witnesses may have been brought here, the question of their not being heard until this afternoon is not comparable with the necessity of the elected representatives of the people of Canada hearing two of the most important discussions that will come before the house during the current session.

Topic:   NIAGARA DIVERSION TREATY
Subtopic:   CANADA-UNITED STATES APPROVAL OF RATIFI- CATION AND OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND ONTARIO
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LIB

Ralph Maybank (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys)

Liberal

Mr. Maybank:

Mr. Speaker, I have no doubt that every member of the radio committee would desire to be present during the discussion that is about to take place in the house. Certainly I would desire to be here. After considerable discussion a special witness from Toronto has been brought before the radio committee, a citizen who urged the committee to hear him. That was arranged, and the committee began to sit at ten o'clock this morning. It adjourned for the purpose of allowing members to come into the house for the orders of the day. Judging from the way the evidence of this gentleman has gone so far, in my estimation it is impossible for the examination of the witness to be concluded in a short time. Therefore I feel that, while every member of the radio committee would certainly like to be present in the house, it is their duty under the circumstances to attend the radio committee, and I feel it is my duty to be there. That is the situation confronting a good many members. I do not know whether there is any divergence of opinion between the leader of the opposition and myself on this point, but I think that Liberal members of the radio committee at any rate have enough confidence in their colleagues to trust them with the handling of the matter now before the house.

Topic:   NIAGARA DIVERSION TREATY
Subtopic:   CANADA-UNITED STATES APPROVAL OF RATIFI- CATION AND OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND ONTARIO
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LIB

Louis-Philippe Picard

Liberal

Mr. Picard:

Mr. Speaker, as chairman of the public accounts committee I think I should be permitted to say that, in answer to the demand generally expressed by the house that the committee should carry on its work in a thorough manner this year, we have held quite a number of meetings. We sat earlier this morning and adjourned at eleven o'clock with the intention of resuming our sitting as soon as orders of the

day were taken up. We have witnesses before us. I know they can -be called on another day, but the number of days before the end of the session is limited. We have undertaken to examine a certain matter thoroughly, and we are doing it. Therefore I do not think it would be fair to the committee if we accepted the motion of the leader of the opposition. Furthermore, this afternoon a meeting of the public accounts committee is being held to discuss its first interim report on a matter that has occupied fourteen meetings of the committee. The present session is nearing an end, and it is desirable that the report of the committee should be prepared and presented.

Topic:   NIAGARA DIVERSION TREATY
Subtopic:   CANADA-UNITED STATES APPROVAL OF RATIFI- CATION AND OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND ONTARIO
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

I should like to suggest that a simple solution of the problem would be for the government to agree to defer the debate on the motion of the Secretary of State for External Affairs-

Topic:   NIAGARA DIVERSION TREATY
Subtopic:   CANADA-UNITED STATES APPROVAL OF RATIFI- CATION AND OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND ONTARIO
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?

Some hon. Members:

No.

Topic:   NIAGARA DIVERSION TREATY
Subtopic:   CANADA-UNITED STATES APPROVAL OF RATIFI- CATION AND OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND ONTARIO
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

-and the debate on the defence supplies bill until a time that might be arranged by agreement among the various parties. There is plenty of work to do today in committee of supply.

Topic:   NIAGARA DIVERSION TREATY
Subtopic:   CANADA-UNITED STATES APPROVAL OF RATIFI- CATION AND OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND ONTARIO
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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order. There is nothing further that I can do about this matter. The house has heard what has been said by the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, and the committee chairmen. We will now proceed with the consideration of the motion moved by the Secretary of State for External Affairs.

Topic:   NIAGARA DIVERSION TREATY
Subtopic:   CANADA-UNITED STATES APPROVAL OF RATIFI- CATION AND OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND ONTARIO
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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

Mr. Speaker, in submitting

this motion to the house for approval I should like to make a brief statement concerning it. I think it can be brief, because on February 27 I made a statement to the house with regard to the Niagara Diversion treaty, on the occasion of its signing in Washington, and I have not very much to add to what I said then.

Hon. members will recall that the purpose of -this treaty is to provide for the permanent regulation of the diversion of water from the Niagara river for hydroelectric power, and to ensure the preservation of the scenic beauty of the Niagara river and Niagara falls.

The earliest regulations for the diversion of water at Niagara for power were contained in article V of the Boundary Waters treaty of 1909. By this treaty the United States was permitted to divert 20,000 cubic feet of water per second, and Canada 36,000 cubic feet per second. Although Canada was thus allowed to use more water than the United States, exports of power from Canada

Niagara Diversion Treaty have resulted in a fairly equal division between the two countries of the use of Niagara water.

The growing demand for power during the second world war made additional diversions of water necessary. Canada was accordingly authorized to use a further 13,000 cubic feet per second, and the United States a further 12,500 cubic feet per second. These authorizations were made on a temporary basis only. Canada also undertook to divert 5,000 cubic feet of water per second into the great lakes system from the Albany river watershed through Long Lac and the Ogoki river, and was accordingly authorized to use this additional 5,000 cubic feet per second at Niagara. After the war the demand for hydroelectric power kept increasing. A permanent agreement on the use of Niagara river water was needed to permit the maximum development of power consistent with the preservation of the scenic spectacle of the falls. Discussions which were held in Washington last December resulted in the preparation of the Niagara Diversion treaty which was signed on February 27, 1950.

Previous agreements on the use of Niagara water simply specified the total amount of water each country could divert. Any water remaining would flow over the falls. In this treaty the procedure is reversed. Article IV reserves definite quantities of water for flow over the falls and through the rapids; and article V authorizes the use of all remaining water for power purposes. This method of approach provides for the most effective use of whatever water is available at any time, and for an appropriate division of that water between scenic and power purposes.

Article VI provides for equal division between the two countries of the water available for power purposes. This does not apply to the water that is added to the great lakes system through the Long Lac-Ogoki works; this water will still be used exclusively by Canada. Since Niagara water is for the first time to be divided equally, the United States government has been informed that when facilities have been constructed in the United States to make use of 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.

Since the volume of water in the river fluctuates from time to time, and since definite amounts of water are reserved for scenic purposes, it is impossible to say just how much more water this treaty will make available for power generation. It is expected, however, that both countries will normally have the use of more water than before.

Niagara Diversion Treaty More important for Canada, perhaps, is the fact that the existing temporary arrangements are being superseded by a permanent agreement. This will make possible the construction of new power plants of the latest design, making more efficient use of the available water. For these two reasons this treaty is expected to result in a substantial increase in the supply of power at Niagara.

A thorough study of the scenic aspects of Niagara falls was conducted some years ago by a special international Niagara board, established by the United States and Canada. In its final report, in 1929, the board recommended the construction of remedial works to enhance the beauty of the falls by distributing the waters so as to produce an unbroken Crestline on the falls. Some of these works were built during the war. Article II of this treaty provides for the completion of the works when suitable plans have been drawn up by the international joint commission and approved by the governments of the United States and Canada.

This treaty is of primary interest to the province of Ontario, and in its preparation we were greatly assisted by experts from that province. The chairman of the Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario and the chairman of the Niagara parks commission participated in the discussions in Washington, and helped us to conclude a treaty which meets with the approval of the government of Ontario.

On the Canadian side, the object of this treaty is to provide more power for Ontario, and it has been recognized by the province that any financial commitments that may be involved should be met by Ontario. The agreement between this government and the government of Ontario, which was signed on March 27, accordingly provides that Ontario will construct and pay for the Canadian share of the remedial works and satisfy any valid claims arising out of damage or injury to persons or property in Canada in connection with the construction and operation of these works. The government of Canada undertakes to consult the government of Ontario before giving approval to the recommendations of the international joint commission as to the nature and design of the remedial works. The government of Canada also promises to authorize the government of Ontario to divert the water made available to Canada by the treaty when it comes into force.

It is our hope, Mr. Speaker, that the Niagara Diversion treaty will be ratified in the near future by the United States, in order that the redevelopment of the power facilities at Niagara may be started as soon as possible.

[Mr. Pearson.!

I wish to emphasize, however, that this redevelopment at Niagara will not in any sense take the place of the power that we expect to obtain from the St. Lawrence river. We must have additional Niagara power now, and St. Lawrence power as soon as we can get it. For that purpose we should all be glad to see appropriate and early action taken in Washington in regard to the St. Lawrence power development scheme.

Topic:   NIAGARA DIVERSION TREATY
Subtopic:   CANADA-UNITED STATES APPROVAL OF RATIFI- CATION AND OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND ONTARIO
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PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Gordon Graydon (Peel):

Mr. Speaker, I had hoped that the business of the house might have been so arranged that the leader of the opposition (Mr. Drew), who has had wide experience in matters having to do with power development, and particularly in connection with this scheme, could have been here to make some observations which I am sure would have been interesting and helpful with respect to the resolution that has been presented by the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Pearson). At this time I have no intention of doing more than indicating the approval of our party of the proposed resolution.

I should like to re-echo the hope expressed by the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) from time to time in his addresses in the republic to the south, and reiterated by the minister of external affairs this morning, that the United States government will make a concerted attempt to see that the St. Lawrence waterway is developed in the near future. This should be done not only from the standpoint of the power needs of the provinces which would be contiguous to that development, but also because of certain other considerations which need not be mentioned at the moment but which are of vital importance to both nations in this critical period in international affairs. I believe it should be indicated that not only is the government anxious that the St. Lawrence seaway be proceeded with, but that it is the unanimous wish of this parliament that that should be done. I believe it is time we indicated to our great friends to the south-and they are great friends-that that is the wish of our people, not only in our own interests but in the interests of both countries, working toward the common goal of peace.

I have no intention of taking up the time of the house further in this connection, because the hon. member for York West (Mr. Adamson), who has made a close study of the matters which are mentioned in this resolution, will make some observations with regard to them. I shall therefore terminate my remarks at this point and leave the discussion of the subject, so far as our party is concerned, in the capable hands of the member for York West.

Topic:   NIAGARA DIVERSION TREATY
Subtopic:   CANADA-UNITED STATES APPROVAL OF RATIFI- CATION AND OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND ONTARIO
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that this is another of those occasions on which there is not an opportunity to put questions to the minister. Once this motion passes at this stage, that is the end of it. I believe the minister does have the right under the rules of the house to speak at the end of the debate, and if I ask a few questions while I am speaking I hope the minister will take advantage of that opportunity to answer those questions, along with others that may be put by any speakers that follow.

Generally speaking, I want to indicate our support of this treaty, and I also want to add my word to what has already been said concerning the St. Lawrence river power development. I should like to express the hope that the voice of Canada in this regard is being heard by our friends to the south, and that it will not be too long before that project is undertaken. I could not help but wonder while the minister was speaking -and this is one of the questions I shall put to him-whether, had the St. Lawrence power project been undertaken, it would have been necessary to get this additional power at Niagara. I should be glad if the minister would deal with that when he speaks. Would it have been necessary to get any additional power under those circumstances, or might it still be necessary to get additional power but not to the extent as now seems to be required?

In connection with a matter of this kind we laymen have to take the word of the experts. I have in mind in particular the balance that I take it is being sought between the power needs and the preservation of the scenic beauty of the falls and the Niagara river and rapids. One can only hope that balance is being achieved by the figures that are set out in the treaty. When I read, for example, that there is to be reserved for the daylight hours, for a period of seven months of the year, water going over the falls to the extent of 100,000 cubic feet per second, I should like to know the present rate of flow in cubic feet per second. In other words, could we be given some idea of the extent to which the flow is cut down if the flow is reduced to the minimum figure suggested in this treaty? As I say, we have to take the word of the experts that they have found this to be a proper balance between these two aims. We certainly need the power, but I think all members will agree it would be a tragedy if our interest in and need for power were to lead us to the point of spoiling in any way one of the greatest scenic wonders in North America.

Niagara Diversion Treaty

Is it so that under the terms of the treaty the reduction to 50,000 cubic feet per second can be made during the hours of darkness for the seven months referred to and for twenty-four hours per day during the other five months? I should also be interested in knowing whether or not plans have already been made to make use of the water surplus to the 100,000 cubic feet per second during the time specified, and whether power developments have been made for the use of the water surplus to the 50,000 cubic feet per second to which the flow can be reduced during the five winter months as well as during the hours of darkness in the summer months. The house should also be told how much additional power will be made available by the use of that extra water. What is the relationship between that additional power and the amount of power now being developed at Niagara?

I do not wish my questions to be interpreted as indicating that we are against this treaty. We are in favour of it, but it is only proper that we should indicate our concern that the balance referred to will be achieved. After all, it is our responsibility as members of parliament to be concerned about these matters. By asking these questions I believe I have indicated the difficulty with which we are faced when presented with a resolution which goes through only one stage. I hope the minister will solve that problem for us by answering the questions when he closes the debate.

With that, Mr. Speaker, and with my own endorsation of what has been said about securing early action on the St. Lawrence project, I wish to indicate our support of this treaty.

Topic:   NIAGARA DIVERSION TREATY
Subtopic:   CANADA-UNITED STATES APPROVAL OF RATIFI- CATION AND OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND ONTARIO
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June 14, 1950