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


Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)


But the private member introduces the measure and indicates to the house his idea as to what should be done; and that bill, as it is presented to the house, necessarily will contain a statement as to the period of time during which that power can be exported. If it is important that we should have these other provisions in what you might call a regulated plan, then is it not more important still that we should have a period of time fixed within which these exports can be carried on, especially having regard to the observations made by the utilities board of New York, and the order in council passed in 1914 against the acquisition of vested rights in connection with any such exports? It may be purely academic now in view of the dispatch from the United States, but obviously should not the standard be set in the enabling statute and not in the private act?
I mention that because, I repeat, in the act as it will leave this house we shall have provided that the sales now authorized shall be renewed only from year to year, unless, in view of the dispatch from the United States indicating that they do not desire to import power from Canada, these licences will not be renewed. In any case it is distinctly provided that there is no acquisition of a right by reason of the licences now in existence. I say this in no contentious or controversial sense, but I do think that in order to prevent the possibility of a vested right being acquired under any private act fixing a period of time during which power may be exported, it would be desirable in the enabling statute, if I might call this such, not only to provide what we
have provided with respect to surplus power, the price at which it can ibe sold, and the punishment or penalty or sanction, if I may use the word, for disregard of the terms of the private act-loss of the right to export; we should do also what we do in the Bank Act or the Railway Act or the Trust Companies Act or any of the other acts which deal with the essential point of the period of time, and indicate in the standard enabling act, which this will now become, the period during which the export could take place. For, as I say, on the one hand we will have a licence and on the other a private act, both authorizing the export of power. One will be for the term fixed by the private act and the other will be for the term fixed by the enabling statute, which makes it clear beyond peradventure that no vested rights are being acquired and that on the 31st day of March in each year there must be a termination of the right to export; and that a new right arises only as it is confirmed by the renewal of the licence, or, in the case of a private act, as might be thought desirable by reason of there being no controversy as to surplus power or price or as to the performance by the selling company of all the obligations placed upon it by the statute.

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