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


Horatio Clarence Hocken



Yes, the principal protester in this matter is Mr. Backus, who now practically owns the lake of the Woods and Rainy lake and wants to own the Winnipeg river as well as what Mr. Drury can give him. If my hon. friend would go to the city of Toronto, where there are half a million people studying this question, reading what has been done in Parliament and what has been done by the Ontario Government, he will realize that there is the very strongest sentiment against enfranchising Mr. Backus as he has been enfranchised by the gift of tremendous areas of pulp lands on the English river, and by the gift practically, of additional water-powers in that neighbourhood. Let Mr. Backus have another year or two and he will have the Winnipeg river as well as the lake of the Woods, Rainy lake and Rainy river. The whole district will come under the hands of one man. I can tell my hon. friend that throughout Ontario there is the strongest feeling that Mr. Drury made a capital mistake, a very serious blunder, in allowing Mr. Backus to talk him into giving the concession that he has given. I think I can speak for the province of Ontario when I say that this Bill will not excite the slightest antagonism in any part of the country except in the Parliament Buildings at Queen's Park-and that is simply because, having granted to Mr. Backus these enormous privileges, the Government is apparently anxious to give him the additional water-power to add to what has already been given.

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