May 1, 1925 (14th Parliament, 4th Session)


William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)


Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister) moved:

Resolved, by the House of Commons,-That it is expedient that Parliament do approve of the Treaty between His Majesty, in respect of the Dominion of Canada, and the United States of America, for the further demarcation of the international boundary between Canada and the United States, laid upon the table of the House on Thursday, the 26th of February, 1925, which was signed at Washington on the twenty-fourth day of February, one thousand nine hundred and twenty-five, and which was signed on behalf of His Majesty in respect of Canada by the plenipotentiary therein named, and that this House do approve of the same.
He said: Mr. Speaker, hon. members of the House will observe that following this resolution on the order paper there is a resolution asking the approval of parliament of the Convention and Protocol between His Majesty, in respect of the Dominion of Canada, and the United States of America, for regulating the level of the Lake of the Woods. It might be well were I to take advantage of the opportunity on the first of these resolutions to say a word as to the use of the word " treaty ", in the case of the one resolution, and the words " convention " and " protocol " in the *case of the other.
International agreements take on a great diversity of forms, for example: Treaty, convention, acte final, declaration, agreement, protocol, exchange of notes, and so on. Of these, the treaty and the convention are the more formal, and are used for more important matters. In British practice, treaties and conventions are made between heads of states, while agreements, may be made between governments without the issue of full powers.
As between " treaty " and " convention ", the distinction is not definite. They do not differ as regards their structure. The terms are frequently used interchangeably, but as a rule a treaty is considered a more formal document than a convention; it is always used in making peace, and it is generally used in agreements as to boundaries. The agreement of 1908, between His Britannic Majesty and the United States, as to the Canadian boundary line, was styled a "treaty", and so is the document now under consideration -Boundary Demarcation Treaty-the Lake of the Woods agreement has been styled a " convention ".
It also makes use of the word "protocol." Protocol is a term used in different senses; it may mean a preliminary agreement to be embodied in a convention or treaty later, or an agreement on certain temporary or supplemental measures to be taken to carry out the intent of the main agreement. It is in the latter sense that it is used in the Lake of the Woods agreement: The protocol here provides for engineering reports on plans, representation on a temporary damages tribunal, and so on.
Coming now to the resolution which is before the House, as is indicated it asks the approval of this House in the first instance to the treaty between His Majesty in respect of Canada and the United States of America for the further demarcation of the international boundary between Canada and the United States. A copy of this treaty was laid on the table of the House on Thursday, 26th February, 1925. The negotiation and signature of this treaty has been in accordance with the practice which was laid down at the Imperial conference of 1923, and which has been followed with respect to other recent international agreements between the United States and Canada which have been before this parliament during the last year or two. The Halibut convention, the convention for the suppression of smuggling operations along the border and the convention for the extradition of traffickers in narcotics, were other international agreements that have been
Canada-U.S. Treaty

approved by this House and by the Senate. The latter two are about to be ratified. This treaty respecting the demarcation of the international boundary was signed at Washington, as I have mentioned, on 24th February, of the present year. It was signed on behalf of His Majesty in respect of Canada by the Hon. Mr. Lapointe, Minister of Justice, who received full powers from His Majesty to sign in his name on behalf of Canada. It was signed on behalf of the United States government by Secretary Hughes. This treaty was ratified by the Senate of the United States on March 12. After its approval by both houses of this parliament ratification in the name of the king will be sought and obtained and when ratifications are exchanged the treaty will then become binding upon the two countries.
The purpose of the treaty is to readjust the boundary line between Canada and the United States in three respects, and to provide for a continuance of the commission appointed under the treaty of 1908 to mark the boundary in certain areas. With respect to the readjustment of the boundary the details, I think, can be given in a few words:
First of all, article (1) of the treaty relates to the boundary line along the Lake ofthe Woods and the northwest angle. Theboundary line from the mouth of the Pigeon river to the northwest point of the Lake of the Woods, as defined in article (5) of the treaty of 1908, intersects at five points the boundary line
from the northwest point of the Lake of the Woods to the Rocky mountains as provided in article (6) of that treaty, and leaves two small areas of two and a half acres of United States waters entirely surrounded by Canadian waters. It is proposed to make the southernmost intersection the meeting-point of the two boundary sections, instead of the northwestern point taken in the treaty of 1908, thus leaving the water area in question a part of Canadian territory. It takes certain waters that at the present time are practically surrounded by United States waters, and brings them into Canadian territory.
Article (2) of the treaty relates to the boundary line from Lake of the Woods to the Rocky mountains. This line is defined in the boundary treaty of 1908 as consisting of a series of curved lines joining adjacent monuments, each following the curvature of the forty-ninth parallel. It has been found that such a curve, though small, not exceeding four inches in the one and one-third miles between monuments, is not as practicable a

boundary as the straight line which has been adopted in all other sections of the international boundary. The treaty therefore provides for straight lines between monuments. This involves a cession of some twenty-two acres of land all told to the United States.
The third article relates to the boundary line at Passamaquoddy bay and Grand Manan channel, New Brunswick and Maine. It is found by surveys that the terminus of the line in Grand Manan channel, laid down in the treaty of 1908, is less than three miles distant from the shore lines of Grand Manan island and of the state of Maine, and leaves a small zone of waters of controvertible jurisdiction between this terminus and the high seas. It is therefore provided that this line Should be extended 2,383 metres further through the middle of Grand Manan channel to the high seas.
The second part of the treaty relates to the continuance of the work of the boundary commission to be found in article (5). The original work assigned the commission, consisting of one Canadian and one United States commissioner, in marking the boundary, is nearing completion. It is, however, desirable to provide for its continuance, in order to inspect and keep in repair or relocate the monuments and buoys and keep open the boundary vistas. The boundary line between the United States with Alaska, and Canada is 5,520 miles, and is marked by 7,734 monuments; approximately 1,070 miles are timbered areas through which a twenty-foot vista has been cut. Experience shows that boundary monuments deteriorate and vistas are closed by growth unless inspection is continued. By article (6), the provision for the continuance of the commission may be terminated by twelve months' notice, any time after six years.
As to expenditure, there would be no outlay for salaries on Canada's part, as the office of boundary commissioner has been merged with that of the Director General of Surveys, and the other staff will be provided by the Topographical or Geodetic surveys. Any outlay woud be for actual work done in the field in repairing or relocating monuments, and might run from $2,000 to $10,000 in any year.
These, Mr. Speaker, are the essential features of the treaty which the House is asked to approve. Needless to say the matter has been the subject of very careful negotiation more particularly between the Minister and officers of the Department of the Interior of Canada and the Secretary of State and offi-

Canda-U\S. Convention
cers of the corresponding department of the United States, and it brings to a final conclusion or removes finally from the arena of future possible discussion some minor points that are of real significance with respect to the international boundary and which if left unsettled might come to create confusion or discussion in the future, but which if settled in the manner here proposed cannot do other than help to further the good relations which so happily exist between the American republic and our own country.

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