February 12, 1915 (12th Parliament, 5th Session)


Frank Broadstreet Carvell


Mr. F. B. CARVELL (Carleton, N.B.) :

I wish very briefly to endorse the sentiments of my hon. friend from South Renfrew (Mr. Graham). I have also, like him, had a practical experience in my family of what putrid water means; and when we go through such experiences, we have perhaps a different view of the conditions than we would otherwise lhave. However, one does not require personal experience to have an understanding of what impure water means to a community, to a town, or to the country at large. The hon. member from Selkirk (Mr. Bradbury) deserves a great deal of credit for the persistence with which he has brought this measure before the House and for the large amount of information which he has been the means of disseminating amongst the people of Canada. Hon. gentlemen so far have been talking very largely about conditions in the city of Ottawa and other portions of the province of Ontario; but there is hardly a place in Canada at all fairly well settled but has to contend with the same problem. In my portion of the province of New Brunswick

exactly the same condition exists as in Ottawa. The problem is just as acute and just as urgent there as it is in the city of Ottawa. The whole thing resolves itself into two questions: one as to the cost, and the other as to the method to be adopted. The question of cost, of course, in a small community, is always important; but the difficulty it presents is not insurmountable. The great difficulty seems to be that there is no power to prevent the recurrence of the cause of the difficulty. Take our own case. We are taking water out of the St. John river. Now, this river runs through a number of small towns and villages above us, all of which are pouring their sewage into the river. It is not of much use for us to take means to improve conditions unless others are compelled, so to say, to behave themselves. But it may be done. There is a great deal in what my right hon. leader (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) says, that the Bill might be changed so that the power to bring it into effect in any given district shall rest with the Government-not make it the general law with certain districts exempted. Otherwise certain districts might not be exempted that ought to be so treated, and some crank coming along could commence prosecution of an innocent user of the water. If the Government had the power to bring the Act into force by Order in Council, stating the portions of the country in which it should be effective, it would be much better. But that is a matter of detail; so far as the general principle is concerned, I think the Bill is entirely right. I am very much of opinion that some action ought to be taken to bring this matter to a head during the present session. Let us be men enough to stand up and vote upon it; let us take our responsibility. So far as I am concerned, I am ready to vote on the principle of the Bill; and I have confidence in the judgment and ability of this House to work out the details in such a way as to insure justice being done to all and injustice to none. It is pretty hard, from my standpoint, to conceive of injustice being done to any man by compelling him to keep pollution out of the river which is the water supply for all his neighbours as well as for people, it may be, hundreds of miles away from him. Personally I am ready to take responsibility in the matter. Therefore, I do not like the motion of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Hazen). For, while I do not say it offensively, yet I do say, that this is a dilatory motion. We who have had some experience in parliamentary matters know that, in a session such as this which will
necessarily be short, if a matter like this is handed over to a committee to take some further action, that means that it goes over until next session. The hon. minister knows that there have been hundreds of Bills sent to the political bone-yard since he entered Parliament, and thousands since Confederation. And for a public Bill like this, which can only be discussed in the early stages, except with the leave of the Government, once it is sent to the committee, it might as well be put out of existence and its promoters told to come back next year. I do not say this in any controversial spirit. I do hope that some arrangement can be arrived at between the hon. member for Selkirk and the hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries by which this Bill will not be sent to the political bone-yard but a vote taken upon it,-and I hope that vote will be to-day. I believe this Bill involves one of the most economic questions ever brought before this House or that could possibly be brought before it. So far as I am concerned, I should like an opportunity to vote for this Bill to-day.

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