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


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



They had been here,
but they did not appear before us at all. They went home, and were given notice which allowed them two or three days, before leaving, to come again if they had anything to say. I really thought that two or three days' time was enough, but they did not come. Anyhow, all I insist on is the fact that they were just as much opposed to that joint legislation as they are to this, because the Backus interests at Kenora

and naturally Kenora is concerned in the development of the Backus interests-do not want dependable flow at the lake of the Woods, but such flow as suits Mr. Backus The more it suits him the better pleased they are. That is the whole thing. They were just as much opposed to that legislation as they are opposed to this. Now, where is the consistency in saying that the joint legislation would have been all right if it had gone through, that things would have been fine, and at the same time arguing that you must not carry out the dependable flow principle? The joint legislation provided for that. The province of Ontario, through its Prime Minister acquiesced in the principle of dependable flow, and not only did it acquiesce, but
ever since its representatives have been on the Control Board, the board-for the last two years-has upheld that principle, as they uphold it to-day. We are either going to throw it overboard and put the control of the lake of the Woods outflow in the hands of those who will abandon the dependable flow principle, and take the flow as they want it, or we must pass this legislation or some other legislation to the same effect.
Surely we do not want any more reason for the legislation than that given by the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Keefer), and the member for West Lambton (Mr. Pardee). They come to the committee and say there must not be any control that has such statutory foundation that it can enforce its decrees. They are ready for control that has no statutory foundation, and that can be defied. There must not be such control as insists upon dependable flow, but only such as leaves the flow to the sweet will of those in control of the Norman dam, giving the assurance, not to us, but to the Government of Ontario, that they will take care of the control of the Norman dam in such a manner that our international obligations and the interests of navigation will be respected, and we shall not need to bother our responsibilities at all. I do not see what stronger argument in favour of this legislation could be addressed to the committee than that put forward by the two hon. members who have just taken their seats. It is not that there is any one in Manitoba who wants to take advantage of investments at Kenora. The hon. member for West Lambton tries to lift before us the shadow of the ghost of Mackenzie and Mann. He says that they have interests further down the river, and that they are behind this legislation. Well, the correspondence on
the table of the House shows that the most insistent demand for this legislation comes from Mr. Norris, the Premier of Manitoba. Is he championing the cause of Mackenzie and Mann? He is championing the cause of the province of Manitoba. Is he the champion of the cause of Mackenzie and Mann? No, he is the champion of the cause of the province of Manitoba. It is his duty to act in that capacity. We would have no right to accede to his demand at the expense of some other province, or m defiance of some principle; but we do accede to his demand because it is consistent with the findings of the tribunal which heard the case-which was compe-

tent to hear it and competent to decide it -and which gave this as its judgment. That is why we accede to his demand. Not only is Mr. Norris urging this legislation most insistently, and Mr. Norris's Government, but also every municipality in that whole province which is affected. I have not looked through the list but there is a series of resolutions, an inch or half an inch thick, emanating from municipalities and others whose very industrial life depends upon the conservation of the principle which the International Joint Commission lays down. My hon. friend (Mr. Keefer) now says a situation exists wherein the people of Manitoba are asking that other people make investments for them at Kenora and at the lake of the Woods. Nothing could be more fanciful than that. All the people of Manitoba are asking for is this: that there be control of the water-powers in order that such control shall bring about the maximum utilization of the waters of the lake. That is what the International Joint Commission sought to determine. They were there to determine how best the interests of navigation, the interests of the owners of these lands that would be flooded, the interests of the riparian owners, and of everything else, power included-how all these interests could best be served. They made the'r finding, and it is not until this afternoon that their finding is openly attacked in what might be called central determination namely, the principle of "dependable flow." For if we now abandon that, then we bid good-bye to the projects that have rested upon it and upon which thousands have been expended-yes, I think millions-projects that are in part the enterprise of private individuals it is true, but projects that are in the main the enterprise of the collective people of the province of Manitoba and of municipalities there-not the city of Winnipeg alone but many other municipalities as well. Those projects-in which Ontario has acquiesced, in which Manitoba has acquiesced, in which United States has acquiesced,-have the right to expect that they shall stand and not be invaded and cast down by the conduct of any interest, of any individual or any town however ample the justification of that town may appear to be. It is not the intention of any control board to interfere with any legitimate development by the town of Kenora. Why should it do so? There is nothing to be served to that end. If it is in the interest of this board to do so, why was it not equally in the interest of the board that has been operating in the past? Right here let me say that the Government intends-and I do not think there is any reason to doubt that the intention will be carried out if this legislation passes-to appoint the very same men who have been acting for the last two years and a quarter, including the two who were nominated by the province of Ontario. Manitoba has no representative upon that board. There are two Ontario representatives and two Dominion representatives, and if the Ontario representatives are willing and are permitted to act then it is the intention of this Government that they-in association with the two with whom they worked in harmony all these years-shall form the board, and when they set to work they will be setting to work on the ground work of an authority that is unimpeachable, and able to have their will carried out; not carried out according to mere caprice and in a fashion which will destroy private rights without compensation-if those private rights are really vested and secure-but that will gain the utmost public advantage from, ana the utmost utilization of, the existing great resource. That is all the board will seek to do, and in seeking to do that it wiP be armed with authority to that end.

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