February 22, 1905 (10th Parliament, 1st Session)


Henry Robert Emmerson (Minister of Railways and Canals)



I would inform my hon. friend that the department has already taken the steps to which he makes reference. If we only had the Atwater avenue bridge to build we might complete that within a certain time, but there are other works which necessitate the removal of the water from the canal. There is a retaining wall that has to be rebuilt and there is some stone lining that is absolutely necessary and the canal will have to be dewatered to provide for these. As respects the complaint of those who utilize the water power on that canal if it is due to the negligence or inattention of any of the officials of the canal I shall certainly see that it is remedied. If by any precautionary measures, the officials can prevent the difficulty complained of, it is certainly the duty of the department to have it done. There is, however, a question whether the cause is due particularly to any want of care on the part of the officials. The question of ice is one that has arisen in connection with the Cornwall water-powers, and the department has contended that the remedy should be applied by those who use the water-powers. Those who use the water think that the expense should be borne by the department. Of course, many of these water-powers, as my hon. friend knows, are leased for practically a nominal sum. Years ago the rental was fixed at a very low rate and it has continued necessarily because the leases were for long

periods. The department does not operate the canals simply to develop water-power, That is only an incident. The department is not, I think, justified in expending large sums or any sum with the view of developing water-power. I think it very properly leases these water-powers where they do not interfere with navigation, but I doubt whether tfie department is justified in making expenditures or going to any expense to provide water-powers. That should be borne by those wishing to develop and utilize these water-powers.

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