March 22, 1938 (18th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)


All licences for the export of power granted prior to the passing of this bill will expire each year on March 31, whereas power which might be disposed of under a

private act would be for a term fixed by the private act. I should think that in all conscience this bill should provide that every private bill shall be subject to the control which we now exercise, namely, that the licence shall expire on the thirty-first day of March. The private bill should be based upon the same principle as that which has governed us heretofore in granting such permission to export power. The other evening the Prime Minister brought forward the Canadian Power Company case as indicating a licence to export power. I confess that at that moment I was not aware of the fact that this was the present Ontario Power Company, but that private act did not contain in any part of it a provision for the export of power. It merely provided that they could carry the wires across the bridge and connect them up; in no place in that act did it say that any power was to be exported. So far as I have been able to find out, nowhere in the Canadian statutes is there any private act that authorizes the export of power.
In support of that position all you have to do is look at the white book, where you will see that this very company has had to take out its annual licence, and the footnote indicates that the rights of the old Canadian Power Company under chapter 120 of the statutes of 1887 were acquired by the Ontario Power Company, the rights of that company in turn being acquired by the hydro-electric commission. As I say, the provisions of that statute did not contain a single reference to the export of power, but they did contemplate the connecting up of the Canadian company with the American company, and it provided that they might make an arrangement to work the said electric light or other power jointly. But they were very careful not to say anything about the export of power.
Should we not maintain a measure of uniformity in connection with this matter? Here are the licences for the export of power, at pages 97 and 98 of the white book. Those licences, as I say, are allowed to run for only a year and expire, I repeat, on March 31, as I understand it. But they are renewable in the terms of the licences, in the absence of any understanding or event that might make it undesirable so to do. I put this point to the Minister of Justice. Yesterday the United States declared that they do not desire to import power from Canada. That relieves this situation very greatly. So far as this bill is concerned it can have no bearing in relation to the United States, and I do not know of any other country to which we would export power. Under the circum-

Electric Power Export
stances is it desirable to have one statute under which licences expire on the 31st day of March in each year and, assuming that conditions changed, another set of exports or sales in connection with which the term is fixed by private acts? I think not. I strenuously object to the export of a part of Canada being provided for in a private act brought in by a private member. The very theory itself is contrary to our system of government; that is, that a private member should introduce a private act by petition under which a part of this dominion may be exported out of this country, fixing in the terms of his bill-not the general act-the provision as to how long this is to be done.

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