May 31, 1921 (13th Parliament, 5th Session)


Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)



There is nothing here
to prevent compensation if any injury is done. The question is: dependable flow, or no dependable flow in respect of waters flowing out of the lake? The hon. gentleman, as I understood him, argued for half an hour that we had no right to insist on the principle of dependable flow, because the owners of power had the right to natural flow, and all the advantages that the natural flow would give. In the first place, how can you have natural flow when, at the same time, you must, not naturally at all, but for the general benefit of all, keep the flow of the lake out of the natural level? How can you have natural flow? In times of high water you must hold the water from going out of the lake, and do the very opposite at other times. There you have the principle of natural flow interfered with, and you cannot help it. You must have it interfered with to the general advantage of navigation and in the interests of all concerned. But in the next place, have we reached the point where we must discuss whether dependable flow is a right principle or not? The International Joint Commission, after hearing all parties affected, find that it is the right principle; after hearing all the power interests, the navigation interests, the fishery interests, and those whose lands were flooded, reported in favour of the principle of dependable flow; and acting upon that

report, having accepted it, it is our business to see that we are in a position to carry out that recommendation. What is the sense of saying, in one breath, that we should keep the present board in operation under the Orders in Council, and in the next breath advocating that we should abandon the dependable flow principle, and let these people at Norman dam, and further down, have natural flow? Why, the Orders in Council that constitute the board say it must insist upon the dependable flow principle. I hope I have made that clear. Those who say that dependable flow must not be insisted upon at the lake of the Woods, must also say that we should abandon the board altogether, and put it out of office, because that board, while in office, is bound to carry out the dependable flow principle. The hon. gentleman stated -and I took his words down mentally- that if the joint legislation had been passed, things would have been all right. Well, the town of Kenora was opposed to the joint legislation. They were invited to come down and be heard and were given plenty of time to do so.

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