March 10, 1938 (18th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)


That is true; but sometimes, if we put these statements in, let us say, the vernacular they are more clearly understood. Let that company lower its rate and see how rapidly the use of its power will increase; probably they will find that any surplus they have will be rapidly taken up, so that the people of Montreal will have the advantage of the lower rates, the company will have the revenue, and the country will retain the power within the province. That is the answer I would give them.
Let parliament study how we can increase the use of electrical energy. That is real business. Look at what has been done in Ontario by the Hydro-Electric commission. I am not concerned in the squabbles and
Electric Power Export

quarrels about this, that and the other thing relating to the Hydro-Electric commission. I have driven through Ontario and seen what hydro-electric energy, administered by the commission, has done for Ontario within the scope of my own memory. I can remember very well, when I wras a boy, the first street lights that were installed. The town I lived in was lit with gas, and I recall the time when electric lights were put in. From that day to this the history of hydro-electric development in Ontario is one story of continued progress and good administration, on the whole, with, no doubt, some mistakes. Let us see if we cannot do something for the back country of these great provinces-the villages of northern Ontario, where certainly they have hard enough times, and the villages of northern Quebec. Reflect also upon the difficulties that have to be faced on the prairies. Let us consider how we can get this hydro-electric energy to the people of this country; let parliament bend its energies and its brains to constructive effort rather than to the evasion of responsibility. The Prime Minister will, I hope, take it kindly from me when I say, with great earnestness, that in this section 4 he is evading responsibility, and he is failing to include in the bill the safeguards which from the very inception of legislation on this subject, from the time of the earliest act, a copy of which I hold in my hand, have been provided-safeguards as to prices, the question of surplus, of revocability, and so on. At the least, let these things be put in the bill; let it provide some protection.
I am opposed to the principle of this bill because in my opinion it dees violence to the prerogatives of the federal house. It aggravates the differences of opinion at present existing between the provinces and the dominion. It will be recalled that much of the trouble in the last few years regarding trade and commerce is due to the fact that the federal authorities do not occupy the field of control of local trade, although they are empowered to do so. We have surrendered powers here and there to the provinces, and then we wonder why after a time they claim these powers as a right. This bill is just adding one more aggravation to the problems which already exist in that respect.
I therefore shall oppose the bill-not that I am opposed to bringing to parliament the matter of the control of the export of electrical energy, but because I believe this is a retrograde move and inimical to the best interests of the people of this country.

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