May 23, 1956

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS

ANNOUNCEMENT OF CANADIAN-UNITED STATES EXAMINATION OF BOUNDARY WATERS

LIB

Jean Lesage (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources)

Liberal

Hon. Jean Lesage (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources):

Mr. Speaker, I would like to make an announcement, the text of which has been agreed to by the governments of Canada and the United States for simultaneous release today. It is as follows:

The Canadian and United States governments have decided to examine together the subject of waters which flow across the international boundary between the two countries.

The last time both governments examined this matter thoroughly together was before the conclusion of the boundary waters treaty of 1909. During the 46 years which have elapsed since its ratification, the international joint commission, which was established by the treaty, has worked with outstanding success in solving water problems within the framework of this treaty.

It has recently appeared, however, that the development of the resources of such basins as the Saint John, the Columbia and the Yukon requires, among other things, the solution of various complicated legal, economic and engineering questions. In agreeing to examine the matter of waters which cross the boundary, the two governments realize that there may be no easy or quick answer to the problems which are arising today in such areas and that the studies may reveal that the boundary waters treaty of 1909 is sufficiently broad to meet present problems. The two governments believe, however, that a full and confidential exchange of views may contribute to the resolution of these problems and it is in this spirit that the discussions have been agreed to. At the same time, the two governments desire that the international joint coffimission shall press forward its studies under the Columbia river basin reference of 1944 and the other similar references which it has under consideration.

I should like to add, Mr. Speaker, that I have written to the premiers of the provinces that are directly concerned with waters crossing the boundary and I have sent them copies of the announcement. I have told them that I will welcome any views or suggestions they may wish to make concerning the subject matter of the forthcoming discussions and I have added that I will be in touch with them further as matters develop.

I might also add that, in response to an invitation extended by the premier of British Columbia, I shall visit Victoria for discussions with Mr. Bennett on water problems on June 5.

67509-269i

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF CANADIAN-UNITED STATES EXAMINATION OF BOUNDARY WATERS
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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Howard C. Green (Vancouver-Quadra):

Mr. Speaker, could the minister tell the house which department of the government will be carrying on these negotiations with the United States? The minister did not tell us whether it is to be a governmental body or one or more of the departments or in what manner these negotiations would be taking place. Could the minister also tell us whether the provincial governments will be allowed to have representatives sitting in on any of these conferences?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF CANADIAN-UNITED STATES EXAMINATION OF BOUNDARY WATERS
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LIB

Jean Lesage (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources)

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

The intention, Mr. Speaker, is to have a Canadian team for discussions with a United States team.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF CANADIAN-UNITED STATES EXAMINATION OF BOUNDARY WATERS
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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

Would that be at the ministerial level?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF CANADIAN-UNITED STATES EXAMINATION OF BOUNDARY WATERS
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LIB

Jean Lesage (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources)

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

It will be at first at the official level, for sure, sir, but the composition of the discussion team is not yet definite. There will be representatives of various departments of government on the team. We have asked the United States if there would be representatives of the states on their discussion team and they have told us there would not be. That is why I am securing the opinion of the premiers of the provinces interested and also that is why I am going to have full discussions with the premier of British Columbia on June 5.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF CANADIAN-UNITED STATES EXAMINATION OF BOUNDARY WATERS
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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

But no official representatives are to sit in on the conference?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF CANADIAN-UNITED STATES EXAMINATION OF BOUNDARY WATERS
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LIB

Jean Lesage (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources)

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

The studies will be made here by the interdepartmental committee on water use which is composed of representatives of various departments.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF CANADIAN-UNITED STATES EXAMINATION OF BOUNDARY WATERS
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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

Which departments?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF CANADIAN-UNITED STATES EXAMINATION OF BOUNDARY WATERS
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LIB

Jean Lesage (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources)

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

There is a long series; I believe it is six or seven departments, and also the international joint commission. The officials of the various provinces would have discussions with the members of this interdepartmental committee.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF CANADIAN-UNITED STATES EXAMINATION OF BOUNDARY WATERS
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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. E. D. Fulton (Kamloops):

Mr. Speaker, may I ask the minister if General McNaughton will be a member of the team or an officer of the governmental team?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF CANADIAN-UNITED STATES EXAMINATION OF BOUNDARY WATERS
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LIB

Jean Lesage (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources)

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

General McNaughton attends the meetings of the interdepartmental committee on water use.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF CANADIAN-UNITED STATES EXAMINATION OF BOUNDARY WATERS
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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

Will he attend?

Inquiries of the Ministry

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF CANADIAN-UNITED STATES EXAMINATION OF BOUNDARY WATERS
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LIB

Jean Lesage (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources)

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

General McNaughton usually attends all meetings of the interdepartmental committee.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF CANADIAN-UNITED STATES EXAMINATION OF BOUNDARY WATERS
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CCF

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

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

Mr. H. W. Herridge (Kootenay West):

Mr. Speaker, I am sure this is a most welcome announcement. Could the minister tell the house when the discussions between Canada and the United States are likely to commence?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF CANADIAN-UNITED STATES EXAMINATION OF BOUNDARY WATERS
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LIB

Jean Lesage (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources)

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

It is expected, sir, that the question will be studied fully in the United States and in Canada for some time but during that time we expect that we will have informal communications between the two governments in preparation for the formal discussions later.

[Later:!

On the orders of the day:

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF CANADIAN-UNITED STATES EXAMINATION OF BOUNDARY WATERS
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CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

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

Mr. F. S. Zaplitny (Dauphin):

I should like to direct a question to the Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources arising out of the statement he made earlier today with regard to the discussions between the government of Canada and that of the United States in connection with waters which cross the international boundary. Will these discussions include the question of flood waters and soil erosion?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF CANADIAN-UNITED STATES EXAMINATION OF BOUNDARY WATERS
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LIB

Jean Lesage (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources)

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

I do not believe so, Mr. Speaker. 1 shall look into the matter and try to give a more extensive reply, but I do not believe so.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF CANADIAN-UNITED STATES EXAMINATION OF BOUNDARY WATERS
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LATIN AMERICA

May 23, 1956