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


Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Leader of the Opposition):

The previous treaty did
not appear to be of such importance as to require very prolonged consideration on the part of the House, but this treaty is of real significance. I do not now feel as familiar with the subject as I once was, but the treaty *in question is a result of a submission which was made nine or ten years ago to the International Joint Commission of certain differences which had arisen and problems that were on the horizon with respect to the lake of the Woods and adjacent territory, the inlet and the outlet. Canada's case was very thoroughly presented before that tribunal, as was the American case, and a finding was made in which the Canadian commissioners concurred and the American commissioners as well. But a very strange incident occurred with the American commissioners. While concurring, all or some of them submitted as well a sort of subsidiary report, and the concurrence with the majority or the unanimous report was subject to whatever results might flow from the submission of these subsidiary recommendations. Anyway, the consequence was that the United States did not approve of the finding of the international board, and thus there has been a delay extending over all these years. What I would like to be clear on, first of all, is as to what concessions have been made, if any, to the United States, in order to induce them to concur in the treaty. That is to say, what is there embodied in this treaty that is in the nature of a concession, a change

from the original terms of the finding of the international board. In view also of the rather involved character of the arrangement now come to, embodied in this convention and in the protocol which subjoins it, it does seem to me the House owes it to the importance of the subject to go into committee of the Whole, so that we can get more detailed information. Possibly it would be better-although on this I do not insist-to go into committee of the Whole at another date, when such information as we can get now can be studied with the treaty itself, and we prpbably can make more rapid progress. The consequences of the treaty are very great, or rather the importance of hon. members understanding its terms is quite considerable. The great power interests which depend on the outflow of the lake of the Woods will in future rest their lights on the terms of the treaty and, as well, on its fairness will depend in considerable degree the presence or absence of friction between the two countries in years to come.

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