March 7, 1910 (11th Parliament, 2nd Session)


John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)


This is not a railway Bill at all. But simply a Bill to acquire some water-powers along the Saskatchewan and Nelson rivers. I would call particular attention to section 7. That provides jthafc the railway may begin)- where? At the mouth of the Saskatchewan river, at the mouth of the Nelson river, or at any place between these two points, which are 150 miles apart. It may begin any place along the north shore of Lake Winnipeg between two points 150 miles distant, practically it begins anywhere. It runs neither east, nor west, nor north, nor south. It runs to some place where it 153
may intersect the Hudson Bay railway. The Hudson Bay railway is not located yet. It may run directly west or north, or it may run northeast along the banks of the Nelson river, and with its other powers to construct canals and dams it is placed in a position to grab all the water-powers along that river until the Hudson Bay railway strikes it. It is quite plain that what the promoters are looking for is the acquiring of rights in reference to these water-powers. Another point. Manitoba is interested in this Bill. This territory is all within the limits described by the resolution of the Prime Minister which passed this House about two years ago, whereby the boundaries of Manitoba are set forth. Then there may be another question, the same question that arises in reference to thte canal that was projected along the Winnipeg river. There they are developing water-powers under local charters. Here then we may have local jurisdiction in the course of a year, or in a few years, over this stream and the serious question arises as to whether the title that is given to this railway company by this parliament is not paramount to the title which may be given to some other corporation by the local legislature. For these reasons, and for others, I think the matter ought to be seriously considered by the government. As it is to-day the city of Winnipeg is instructing counsel to see that their rights are protected in reference to the Winnipeg river. If you look at the applications that have been made for charters in the unorganized country north and northwest of Manitoba it will appear that there is some concerted action on the part of promoters to secure or grab all the water-powers in that territory.

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