March 8, 1928 (16th Parliament, 2nd Session)

LIB

Charles Benjamin Howard

Liberal

Mr. HOWARD:

A great many articles have been written and a great many suggestions have been advanced with respect to this proposition, and in almost every instance the only objection to it is on the score of cost and its international features. As I stated this afternoon, I am not worrying one bit about the cost to Canada. I think that as Canadians we ought to spend in the development of this country the money available in our surpluses, and if there is one thing which in my opinion would develop Canada it is the expenditure of possibly $600,000,000 on the deepening of the St. Lawrence waterway.

The Budget-Mr. Howard
During the three sessions that I have had the privilege of being a member of this house I have heard hon. gentlemen opposite ask this government many times to stop Chicago from stealing the water of lake Michigan for the purpose of diverting it into the .Mississippi river. If the opposition are so much concerned about the interests of Canada, let them cease criticizing the Immigration department oveT the McCon-achie case and make some constructive suggestions that would really be in the interests of this country. The diversion into the Mississippi river of 8,500 cubic feet of water peT second from lake Michigan is a serious matter to Canada. When we utter those figures rapidly it does not seem to be a very serious matter, but those who are acquainted with the city of Sherbrooke know that power is developed there on the river Magog. That power has helped make Sherbrooke what it is. Now the mean flow of the Magog river is 550 or 600 cubic feet per second. In other words the water that is being taken from lake Michigan, and which belongs to Canada, is fourteen times the mean flow of the river which furnishes power to Sherbrooke. The biggest argument against this development is its international feature, but my position in that regard is that I have every faith in Canadian statesmanship and I am not the least bit afraid to treat with the United States on that subject. If that project is carried out, one thing we know it will do is put a stop to the building of a canal from Buffalo to the Hudson river and in view of the extent to which our Canadian trade is already going via New York surely it is imperative that we make every possible effort to divert this trade through Canadian channels.
As regards the power development in the St. Lawrence river I am sure that the people hardly realize, when they criticize the project, that of the total fall in the river between Kingston and Montreal only 93 feet is in the international section while 115 feet is in the all-Canadian section, so that in any case Canada stands to benefit by more than 75 per cent of the total power development. Some remarks that I made the other day on this subject were misquoted and I wish to correct that error now. If this scheme goes through we shall interest not financially but morally the large section of central United States and also the state of New York, which is interested in the power end of the scheme and they will be a large factor in stopping the Chicago steal. Speaking as a man from Quebec, I believe if the deep waterway were built for no other purpose than the fact that it will permit a development of power near

the city of Montreal, that it might be a good thing to have this power in the hands of the government rather than allow it to pass into the control of private individuals.
If we are so much interested in the prosperity of our country, let us remember that in the past this prosperity has always been due to some great government work being undertaken. For instance, the time that my section of the country went ahead was when the Grand Trunk railway was built through the eastern townships. In fact from that section the people came in delegations to Montreal, the then seat of parliament, and asked the government to undertake some governmental work during that period. When the great Canadian Pacific railway was built through Canada, there was, as was stated again this afternoon, a wonderful period of prosperity. If we want a successful immigration policy; if we want to bring people into Canada; if we want to make Canada prosperous, let us go ahead with this scheme, and even if we create a false prosperity during the next ten years and spend $500,000,000 or $600,000,000, the effect will be that it will make two jobs in Canada for every man and create an employment situation such as is essential to the development of our country.
In closing, Mr. Speaker, I may say that the first budget of the Liberal administration in May, 1922, showed a deficit of $81,000,000, and to-day, after six years under this government, and including two months and thirteen days under Tory administration, there is a surplus of nearly $45,000,000. So much for Liberal administration so farl

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
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