Mr. Speaker, I rise to express a grievance against
previous governments of Canada who failed to protect Canadian rights satisfactorily when the United States was developing the Columbia south of the constituency which I have the honour to represent. As a result of that grievance against those previous governments I want to express certain anxiety in this connection which is felt by some of my constituents. Before doing so I must say that the statement made by the Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources (Mr. Lesage) on March 26 with respect to the willingness of the federal government to assist the provincial government of British Columbia in the development of power on the Columbia river was a most welcome statement to the people I have the honour to represent. I trust it will not be long before we hear that the premier of British Columbia accepts the offer and we begin to hear of negotiations with respect to the development of the river that will soon terminate in an announcement like that made this morning with respect' to certain power developments in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
Mr. Speaker, I suppose we are all human and I do not know of any government that has ever been in existence that has not made announcements at what it considered to be the appropriate time. What we are concerned about is the fact that the announcement has been made and it is one of the most important announcements that has ever been made by this government with respect to the development of the province in which I live. I do not want to deal at length with that, but what I am saying is generally felt by the people whom I have the honour to represent.
I was also glad to hear the minister's statement with respect to negotiations at high level between representatives of the government of Canada and the government of the United States with respect to the settlement of these problems that have arisen, particularly in the proposed development of the Columbia basin in Canada. I hope we shall hear news of these negotiations in the near future. We look for a settlement that is satisfactory and an arrangement that is equitable to all governments concerned, the Canadian government, the government of British Columbia and the government of the United States. I just want to emphasize one or two things, the two points on which there is a certain anxiety.
First of all, I do want to emphasize that many Canadians fail to realize that it was General McNaughton's understanding, foresight and firmness, and the same understand-
ing, foresight and firmness on the part of the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) that highlighted Canadian rights with respect to this important development and their strong stand on this matter has now been recognized widely in the United States.
Less than a year or two ago some prominent people who were quite misinformed were making statements that these rights did not exist. I had the opportunity last summer to address quite a large gathering of businessmen from the state of Idaho with respect to this whole problem, and when I finished speaking to them about the attitude of the Canadian government and the Canadian people with respect to this problem, several of them came up to me and said they were very pleased to hear our side of the story; that they had not heard our side of the story before and were to that extent misinformed.
It is known, and it is a fact, that General McNaughton and the Minister of Trade and Commerce had highlighted this by their firmness and that is now being recognized in the United States. In that respect I want to quote from the joint hearings before the committee on interior and insular affairs and a special subcommittee of the committee on foreign relations, United States senate, 84th congress, second session, held on March 22, 26, 28, and May 23, 1956. This is a most comprehensive document. It contains copies of various reports from various newspaper items in Canada, and so on.
First of all I want to quote from page 372 of the report. In this they reprint an article from the Winnipeg Free Press by Mr. Grant Dexter. It is printed in full. The comments made in this article are printed in the evidence before the committee. I want to refer particularly to one paragraph in the article which refers to the boundary waters treaty of 1909 as follows:
Having established this law in 1909 as the international law, the United States has invoked it consistently and "ruthlessly" against Canada. The United States did so by diverting the Allagash river in Maine into the Penobscot river. It did so by diverting the St. Mary river in Montana.
Both diversions were costly to Canada. But as Canada was not using this water and could not claim it as being "dedicated", there was no case under the treaty against the United States. It was hard on Canada but the Canadian government accepted the law as agreed to in the treaty and made no protest.
Now, for the first time since the treaty was entered into, the shoe is on the other foot. The spring flow of the Columbia river, carrying 5 million horsepower in its tumultuous progress, is surplus water, unused by anyone, and therefore "undedicated".
I quote this paragraph from the newspaper report because reference is made to it by various witnesses later on to indicate clearly that they have come to the opinion that we have those rights which have been so firmly
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Power Development-Columbia River maintained by General McNaughton and the Minister of Trade and Commerce.
In addition to that I want to quote from the daily Journal of Commerce, Portland, Oregon, Friday, November 9, 1956. The article is entitled "Canada and the Upper Columbia". It is a United States paper. I read:
The September 29 issue of Maclean's magazine, one of Canada's most widely read magazines, contains an article entitled "The Coming Battle for the Columbia". Bruce Hutchison, author of the article, sets forth the Canadian viewpoint and a great deal of background and history leading to present negotiations over use of the water in the upper Columbia river.
Unfortunately for the United States, the history goes back to the days when the nation was a lusty, rapidly growing group of states with little thought of our future resources and little regard for anything that stood in the way of our growth.
The article points out one of our great blunders in the past, going back to the days when we coveted gold in Alaska. Along with the gold we desired Alaska's panhandle, which controls such rivers as the Yukon, even though nearly all of that river lies in Canada.
The common law of England had developed from the theory that no man has the right to diminish or damage the flow of that river to the detriment of another man downstream. The United States rejected any such theories, and bulled through its own concept of the time-that a nation has the right to do as it pleases with any water in its borders.
That is the way the matter now stands, and we cannot question the legality of any move Canada may make with the waters of the Columbia or any other river within her borders. We can only hope that Canada will be generous for other reasons, but to be realistic we must realize that she is well aware of the value of her hydroelectric power potentials and is not preparing to negotiate them away without some real inducement.
This is from the daily Journal of Commerce, a very influential paper in the state of Oregon. I mention these things because when General McNaughton and the Minister of Trade and Commerce were making their statements some timid souls doubted their wisdom and thought they were going too far in their strict interpretation of article 2 of the boundary waters treaty but that idea has been dissipated in this country and their claim has been increasingly recognized as valid in the United States.
I want to quote from pages one and two of the same report to indicate the importance of this matter to the people of the United States as well as to ourselves and to illustrate that it is recognized. From page one I read:
The purpose of these hearings is to give thoughtful consideration to the problem of properly conserving and making the best possible use of one of our nation's greatest natural resources, the Columbia river system-
The same applies to Canada. On page two I find the following:
Above the border of Mica Creek dam, the finest storage site in the entire basin and the key to the development of the Columbia river in Canada, is similarly mired down.
That is the position we hold at the present time The people whom I have the honour to
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Power Development-Columbia River represent, and I think the majority of the people in British Columbia who give some consideration to these things, recognize that fact.
I have reason to mention particularly two anxieties on the part of the people I have the honour to represent. The first is that they naturally want this matter to be settled in equity as between all governments concerned but they are concerned that there is no compromise on the part of those who negotiate for Canada and no change made in article 2 of the boundary waters treaty, and that it is recognized that we have those rights and are in a very strong position on that account just as we had two leading Canadians who emphasized that point, when some had doubts.
The second point I wish to make which is of concern to thinking people in that part of the country is that those who negotiate for Canada make certain to secure adequate compensation for, shall I say, the interference with Canadian rights by the United States in the development of the Columbia when they built the dams south of the line. As I said before, that was done and previous governments both Liberal and Conservative failed to properly protect Canada's rights at that time. I remember on one occasion asking the present Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Pearson) if he had any information with respect to it in the records of the department. He had the records of the department searched and he informed me there was not a scratch of the pen with respect to the violation of article 2 of the Oregon treaty of 1846 by the United States in the building of the Grand Coulee dam. I made what I consider quite a good speech on this subject in the House of Commons on September 22, 1949.
In any event, I am going to quote from that speech the second paragraph of that article which is as follows:
In navigating the said river or rivers, British subjects, with their goods and produce, shall be treated on the same footing as citizens of the United States; it being, however, always understood, that nothing in this article shall be construed as preventing, or intended to prevent, the government of the United States from making any regulations respecting the navigation of the said river or rivers, not inconsistent with the present treaty.
Well, what happened? The treaty was violated by the building of the dams and we lost the right of navigation which was considerable in relation to the land lost by us in the western portion of Oregon. I quoted from the records of the British house and that was the argument used in the British House of
Commons. The argument used in the United States Senate was that they got the best of the deal because they got the land and all we got was navigation. Well, navigation was considered an important matter at that time.
Surveys were made in 1914 which showed that the Columbia at relatively small expense in terms of modern costs could be made navigable from the sea to Revelstoke to take 14-foot draft boats down to the sea; but our transportation developed across the country instead of north and south. The government of Canada at that time allowed that treaty to be broken and surrendered the valuable rights without a protest.
My point is this. My constituents hope that when negotiations are going on consideration will be given to the need for compensation for the loss of those rights. I talked to United States engineers and fisheries department officials in the United States who told me they were amazed that the Canadian government made no protest whatever and they were confident if a protest had come from the Canadian government at that time there would have been adequate compensation for the loss of the navigation rights on the Columbia river, for the loss of the salmon run which used to come up into the district where I live and for the inconvenience in general.
I have risen to express these two questions which concern my constituents. We do trust in view of the grievance we have against former governments that this government will continue the good work it is undertaking in this respect by completing a settlement in equity to all concerned and making certain that Canadian rights are protected to the limit.
Mr. Speaker, tomorrow we shall take the third reading of the bill with respect to hospital insurance, then the Agricultural Products Marketing Act, then the act to amend the United Kingdom Financial Agreement Act, then the international atomic energy agency convention, then the three bills with respect to double taxation in the respective countries and then a motion for interim supply.