July 15, 1908 (10th Parliament, 4th Session)


Andrew Broder

Conservative (1867-1942)


When the House rose at six o'clock I was arguing that local commercial interests should not interfere with the navigation of a river that was of general importance. Now in order to give the House some idea as to what the St. Lawrence Power Company, in connection with the Long Sault Development Company, are asking the government of this country to do, I wish to read the request that they make upon our government :
(a) To construct a solid masonry dam from a point near the Canadian main shore, about opposite lock 20, extending to the international boundary line, there to join a darn to be constructed in connection with the works above described in American territory.
(b) To construct a power house between the northeasterly end of this dam and the Canadian shore, together with a new lock about 2,600 feet west of present lock 20, and an earthen dike, having a top width of about 100 feet, between this power house and lock, also a similar earthen dike extending from this lock northwesterly and parallel to the present

canal, and connecting with the main shore at Milles Roches.
(c) To enlarge the present channel of Little river as above set forth, to a minimum width of about 800 feet, and to raise the level of the pond above the dams to an elevation five feet higher than the present level of the Cornwall canal above lock 20.
(d) After the stability of all of the above described works has been satisfactorily proved, to remove the two earthen dams at the easterly and westerly ends of Sheik Island and to enlarge the present channel on the north side of Sheik Island.
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray.
Now that is the proposition. That means to dam the St. Lawrence river at that point from the main shore over to meet similar works on the American side. I want to say this, that you cannot tell, in a work of that kind, what eventuality might arise. Something might occur that might change the whole aspect of that river so far as navigation is concerned, and if anything should occur to transfer the control of the navigation of that river now in our hands, to American control, in which the citizens of the United States were interested, then Canadian interests might suffer very materially. Now it may be quite a surprise to many in this country to learn that the people Sf Canada have not had the use of the New York state canals for thirty-seven years ; for thirty-seven years Canadian marine interests and Canadian vessels have not been allowed to use the New York State canals. Now what does that mean in case anything should be done to transfer the control of the navigation of the St. Lawrence at that point from the Canadian government to the American government ? As I say, you cannot tell what might happen. It is a peculiar circumstance, that while in the treaty of 1871 the United States government stipulated and agreed to urge upon the state of New York the wisdom of giving Canada the use of her canals, whether they carried out that obligation or not, the state of New York has not allowed Canadians to use their canals for the last thirty-seven years. If you go down into the Richelieu river you find that our pulp wood, our lumber and coal go down that river to Lake Champlain in American bottoms. These are things that ought to be considered, and I would like to consider them more at length if time allowed. I certainly think that this is a question deserving of careful consideration by the Canadian government; it is a question that should not be left to one or two men, but should be considered from the national standpoint of keeping that river for the use of Canadian navigation interests. That river is the channel through which imports from Europe are carried into the interior of this country, and it is the great navigable outlet to the sea in the summer time from the interior portion of Canada. It seems to
me the government cannot be too careful in dealing with those interests, because no engineer seems to be able to say what effect the damming of the river at that point, as proposed by these companies, might have on the navigation of the river. We know that the slowing of the current by ice jams some miles below Morrisburg has raised the river ten or twelve feet at Morrisburg. When the ice jams occur some eight miles below, the ice gradually fills in until you can drive across it at Morrisburg. This is the first time that it has been known to have reached as far up as Morrisburg. But it has occurred several times some miles below Morrisburg, and raised the water in the river several feet. If the proposed dams were built, the slowing of the current might bring on this ice jam and cause very serious injury to the people along the shores of the St. Lawrence on either side. There is this point to consider, that if you leave the river in its natural condition, any damage that may occur from ice jams, or from any natural cause, the government of this country could not be held responsible. But if we allow dams to be built across that river then this government would be responsible for damages that might result. I have felt it my duty, as voicing the feelings of my constituents along the river in that section of the country, to draw the attention of the House and the government to this important matter, and I regret that the time at our disposition will not allow me to pursue the subject further.

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