I am glad to hear the hon. gentleman (Mr. Lennox) take this high stand, because in the absence of an express declaration to this effect, some hon. members on this side might have had the impression that there was some attempt to delay the progress of this Bill. I take it for granted that hon. members who have discussed this matter on three-different occasions have been sincere in
their expressions concerning it. They have been discussing it as though the proposition in this Bill was to give this company the right to go on and expropriate water-powers and use them at their own sweet will. My hon. friend from South Simcoe (Mr. Lennox) knows better than that. He has been following this measure through the Railway Committee. So does myi hon. friend from Selkirk (Mr. Bradbury) who has taken an active part in this discussion in the committee. He must know that as this Bill is amended, and as it is now before this committee, all that this company has is the right to legally hold the water-powers if they can get them. They have not the right of expropriation; they have not the right to acquire these water-powers otherwise than as I might acquire them if I went up there to do business. We are simply creating an entity having the legal right to own those properties, or those rights, if they can get them. It seems to me that is as far removed from the position which my hon. friend has been arguing as the North Pole is from the South Pole. All we are doing, if we allow this Bill to pass, is to create an entity which has a right to hold these water-powers if they can succeed in getting them from the proper authority, whether it be from the federal government or from the province of Manitoba after this land comes into the possession of the province of Manitoba. I do not know whether the time is far distant or near at hand when that will take place. We do know, however, that there will have to be a wonderful change in policy on the part of both governments ever since confederation if, when this territory becomes the property of Manitoba, the Manitoba government will have the right to deal with it. But even if they should get that right, and if there should be that change in policy, then all this company will have a right to do is to go to the province of Manitoba and make a satisfactory trade if they can do so; if they cannot, they get nothing. If these rights do not go to the province of Manitoba, then if they have a right to come to this government and make a satisfactory trade if they can. They are simply placed in the position I would be in, or the hon. member for Simcoe would be in, or anybody else who went out there and bought these properties, if they could do so. Now, it is passing strange that my hon. friends so strongly oppose the passage of this Bill and want a declaration of policy on the part of the government as to what they are going to do in the future when applications are made to them to lease or purchase water-powers, when only two weeks ago these hon. gentlemen had no compunctions of conscience in voting for Bill (No. 118) in which section 12 gave Mr CARVELL.
the company the right to operate these water-powers in the province of British Columbia. And perhaps they will say why such a change of sentiment has come over them, evidently, during the last week.
Subtopic: NELSON RIVER RAILWAY COMPANY.