In moving the second reading of this Bill, I was impressed with the importance of the question with which it deals. I have given a great deal of attention to the matter, and believe that it is one of the most important questions that this House can deal with. The fact that so many valuable lives have been sacrified because of the pollution of our streams, and that so many of our citizens are going through life with impaired health and weakened constitutions on account of the use at some time of polluted water should be sufficient reason for Parliament's taking some action in the matter. However, after listening to the remarks of the right hon. gentleman who leads the Opposition, I realize that there is good reason why this Bill should go back to committee. I had no intention of making the Bill so far-reaching as the right hon. gentleman pointed out it would be; nor had I any intention of making it a hardship on outlying districts. I felt that I had provided for that, however, when I inserted a clause under which the Government had power to withdraw certain districts from the operation of the Act. I am anxious that something should be done; consequently I am willing that the Bill should go back to the committee, with the understanding, I hope, that the Bill will be considered, and that the committee will make its report as soon as possible, and that the House will deal with the matter during the present session.
I realize that the hon. Postmaster General, as a member of the International Joint Commission ought to be well informed, but I am not prepared to agree with him that this House should not take any action until we know what the United States or the International Joint Commission are going to do. I think we ought to take care of our own country; we ought to make it impossible for our people to cause the pollution of our rivers and of the lakes which they are obliged to use for domestic purposes. I think we could appeal to our friends on the other sicle of the line with more force after taking action on our own part. However, as the hon. gentleman has
pointed out, a reference has been made to this commission with regard to the effect of the disposal of sewage in boundary waters, and I presume that to that extent the hands of this House are tied until we know exactly what the views of the commission are, as expressed in its report. I understand from the hon. gentleman that that commission has reported.