Mr. Rodney Adamson (York West):
Mr. Speaker, I believe it is fitting that this resolution should be introduced today because, as I understand it, today marks the opening of the Tunnel power plant. I believe the first two units will be put on the line today. The Des Joachims power plant, which is nearing completion, is, next to the Niagara power plant, the largest development in Ontario. It is not as large as the Shipshaw but it is the largest single plant outside of Niagara on the Ontario Hydro Electric Power Commission system. I think the significant thing is that this house should realize what this means. The Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario have under construction not only the plant at Des Joachims but several others which will be put into operation this year or early next year. I will not go into the details as to the size and the number of kilowatts, because they are all given in the hydro electric power commission's report and
Niagara Diversion Treaty
have been frequently commented upon by Mr. Saunders, the chairman of that commission. The significant thing for this house to realize at the moment is that, despite the full utilization of all the power plants now being constructed, the province of Ontario and the central part of Canada will again face a power shortage in the year 1957. Less than seven years from now all the available power in Ontario will be fully used, and unless our development in the central part of Canada is to be arrested, steps must immediately be taken to begin the construction of the St. Lawrence power project.
I want to deal briefly with the Niagara situation. The resolution does two things. First of all, it preserves the beauty of the falls. By a series of underwater weirs the flow of the falls at Niagara is made continuous from one edge of the river to the other. The geological history of Niagara falls has been that a great volume of the water was concentrated in a comparatively narrow trough, and the edges of the falls were beginning to be left a little bit bare. This had an unfortunate effect, in that as the volume of the water over the narrow trough increased, there was erosion of the central part of the falls. The centre part of Niagara, particularly the Horseshoe falls, was eating back at the rate of many feet a year, and intensifying the percentage of water which went over the narrow central trough. For that reason alone the work envisaged by this resolution is desirable, because the work to be done will not only stop the increased erosion but will preserve the beauty of the falls from now on. For that reason alone it is important.
There is, however, another reason. With the desperate shortage of power that there is at the present time, or that there will be in the comparatively near future, the efficiency of Niagara must be increased. As hon. members know, the head at Niagara itself is approximately 167 feet, whereas the head at Queenston, farther down the river, is 305 feet. In other words, the efficiency of a cubic foot of falling water is in the ratio of 167 to 305; or it produces at Queenston almost double the amount of electric power that it produces at Niagara falls. That fact in itself is an important consideration.
One of the unique things about the Niagara system is the evenness of flow. I have not before me the figures for the maximum and minimum flow, but the variation of flow in the Niagara river and in the St. Lawrence river-which is of course part of it-is about fifteen per cent to twenty per cent from the maximum to the minimum. The mean flow is about 300,000 cubic feet per second. The flow is amazingly constant. Those doing the
work can count on this constant flow, and the engineers can design the structure with a great deal of accuracy. On other rivers, or on the average river, the flow in the springtime, in the freshet, will be sometimes ten, fifteen or twenty times the normal low water flow. To give you a small example of the variation, the Amazon, over a length of I think about 250 miles, where the river is a minimum width of 17 miles, rises sixty feet over the distance in the flood season.
As to the destruction of the beauty of Niagara, there is no possibility of that through this resolution. There is, however, something which I think must be emphasized. As I have mentioned, we are facing a power shortage of considerable magnitude in Canada today, despite the tremendously important new works which have been recently constructed. The St. Lawrence deep waterway is an integral part of the whole great lakes system, and the discussion of this resolution must also involve consideration of the St. Lawrence waterway and power project.
It is estimated that some 800,000 horsepower will be added to the Niagara system by the more efficient use of the water, as set out in this resolution. That, I suggest, gives some idea of the importance of electric power. At the same time however there is at this moment 2,200,000 horsepower going to waste on the St. Lawrence. Despite the fact that we have utilized the water in the purely Canadian Beauharnois section of the St. Lawrence, there is still between 2,000,000 and 2,500,000 horsepower going to waste on the St. Lawrence.
I do not want to introduce the other question specifically, but I have on the order paper a resolution which, I believe, I should read at this time. It is as follows:
That in the opinion of this house, the government should take into consideration the advisability of approving the application of the state of New York and the province of Ontario to proceed with the construction of hydroelectric works on the St. Lawrence river, with the proviso that such works be constructed in such a manner that should agreement between the United States of America and the Dominion of Canada ever be reached on the deep waterway, navigation facilities could be subsequently installed without interference with the continuous generation of electric power; that furthermore the design of structures would permit the continuance of the present 14-foot shallow draft navigation, the cost of such works to be met by the state of New York and the province of Ontario.
In the submission of the Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario to the international joint commission the agreement for continuous navigation was made by the Ontario Hydro Electric, who were willing to see to it that the structure should be such that the present 14-foot navigation would continue.
In the opinion of the engineers it would not be difficult to construct generating works so that the installation of a 27-foot or even 30-foot navigation would be comparatively simple.
I do not propose to discuss the navigation issue at the present time; but I do want to say that, despite the tremendous addition of power, we shall be forced to consider generating electricity by coal and by steam unless the St. Lawrence deep waterways project can be proceeded with in the comparatively near future-and by that I mean this year or next year. It is estimated that a kilowatt-hour can be produced on the St. Lawrence deep waterway system for 2-58 mills, whereas the cost of producing and delivering the same killowatt hour by coal would be 7.7 mills. In other words the cost of generating electricity by coal is approximately three times that of generating it by water.
If our industry is to be able to compete with industry in the rest of the world, then the one thing we must have is cheap electric power. To burden our industry now with an increase not of fifteen or twenty per cent but of possibly one hundred per cent, is going to level a very crippling blow against the whole Canadian economy. I emphasize this because hon. members should realize how tremendously important and serious this question is.
I have studied the manner in which this question has been handled by the United States Senate over a period of some years. Every president since President Hoover, and every major political party at every national convention, has gone on record as approving of the development of the St. Lawrence river. This was stressed by the late President Roosevelt, and was adopted at both the Republican and Democratic national conventions the year before last. Up to the moment it has been a major point in President Truman's policy. However, despite the overwhelming pressure for this development the political machinery of the United States Senate makes it virtually impossible to get this measure through. I do not want to be a pessimist, but I do feel that a small group in the United States Senate can and will hold up the development of the St. Lawrence deep waterway project, and the electric power resulting therefrom, for a considerable period of time. With the political complexion of the United States we must realize that there is no likelihood of having this development approved before we are faced with a major power shortage. There is no use waiting another two or three years, because we are going to need more power in seven years, and it takes from six to eight years to carry out the construction. Our time is running out.
Niagara Diversion Treaty
I suggest to the government that they take this stand with regard to the development of the St. Lawrence deep waterway: If by such and such a time, setting a definite deadline, ratification is not forthcoming, the Canadian government will approve the development of this great project by the state of New York and the province of Ontario. The problem is not one that we can afford to let go much longer; the problem is one of immediate and pressing urgency.
Today Ontario has enough power, but witn the increasing acceleration of the load caused by industrialization that power will run out about 1957, or possibly before. The generation of electricity by coal costs three times as much as it does by water. If the new iron ore discoveries and our primary steel industry are to be developed, we shall need even more power, I believe, than we estimate at the present time.
This is not only a matter of commercial importance; it is something that affects the economy and virtually the security of the North American continent. If we are to have a great steel industry it must be situated where it will be safe from enemy attack. We cannot afford a long ocean voyage for cargoes such as iron ore. I envisage the great developments in Quebec requiring the smelting be done in the upper lakes, and that would be impossible unless the St. Lawrence waterway is proceeded with. The whole development of that iron ore will be in jeopardy unless it can be transported to the upper lakes.
Subtopic: CANADA-UNITED STATES APPROVAL OF RATIFI- CATION AND OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND ONTARIO