Charles Alexander MAGRATH

MAGRATH, Charles Alexander

Personal Data

Party
Conservative (1867-1942)
Constituency
Medicine Hat (Alberta)
Birth Date
April 22, 1860
Deceased Date
October 30, 1949
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Alexander_Magrath
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=0d3802ee-5118-4612-99bd-4b507be17b3b&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
land surveyor

Parliamentary Career

October 26, 1908 - July 29, 1911
CON
  Medicine Hat (Alberta)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 4 of 30)


May 16, 1911

Mr. MAGRATH.

Mr. Speaker, before resuming my argument which was broken off

owing to the House adjourning for lunch, I would like to revert for a moment to a feature that I may not have made absolutely clear this morning, and that is that while article two enunciates that sound principle that in the case of streams flowing across the boundary, vested rights on one side must be honoured on the other; that owing to the rider which does, not allow that feature to be applied in the only existing case, that case had to be settled by special arrangement, and which was done in article six. I merely wish to point out how that sound principle was totally disregarded by the negotiators in article six, wherein the Canadian company, with a canal taking 800 cubic feet per second from the St. Mary's river, with legal rights up to 2,000 cubic feet per second, was only given a prior right of 500 cubic feet per second against the St. Mary's river, and not even that, because when the stream falls so that three-fourths of it will not produce 500 feet, then the Canadian canal will only be entitled to what that three-fourths of the stream amounts to. On the other hand, the charges against the Milk river in Montana, adjudicated at 350 cubic feet, are given a prior right of 500 cubic feet per second against that stream, though, of course, I know it is not capable of producing that amount in normal years during the irrigation season.

Returning now to that undated memorandum which I was dealing with when the House adjourned, the only question which Mr. Anderson raised which appears to have been seriously considered by our government, was his criticism that the United States need not build immense reclamation works whereby Canada would be served therefrom; but our representative disposes of even that view on page 80 of the return, in which he says:

Therefore, it will not be necessary for the United States, Mr. Anderson says, to provide any storage on St. Mary's river. The flaw in this argument is in the fact that Mr. Anderson deals with average flows.

And elsewhere on page 82, he says:

It is probable, therefore, that the dam will be built.

I think Secretary Ballinger's letter, of which a portion already has been read, indicates that there was not very much flaw in Mr. Anderson's argument. Elsewhere, it appears that Mr. Anderson referred to a very important feature which appeared in a communication made by the late John Hay, then Secretary of State, to the British ambassador, dated at Washington, February, 8, 1903, as follows:

It is proposed to deal with this matter in strict conformity with the laws concerning the right to the use of water as recognized by the Mr. MAGRATH.

courts of the arid region, both on this side of the international boundary and on the other. The principle may be stated in the language of section 8 of the Reclamation Act: that the right to use of water shall be appurtenant to the lands, irrigated and beneficial use shall be the basis, the measure and limit of the right.

Mr. Anderson pointed out that that statement substantially meant that the Canadian company should be protected in its legal appropriation against the St. Mary's river. That statement of Secretary Hay is the sound and just principle of allowing vested rights to be protected, but our government's representative, in criticism on that point on page 75 of the return, uses the followinig language:

I do not think there is much force in this argument. The United States would probably say in reply that if they are bound by Mr. Hay's words they are bound only in the sense in which he personally intended them.

It is rather an astonishing admission that Mr. Hay's own views were not used against his country in discussing this question. It appears to me that it would be more in the interest of Canada if we had theorized less, and had dealt in a practical way with a practical question, which, however, of course could only have been done by practical men. Finally, on page 83 of the return, we find the following statement from our representative:

It is suggested in the note that storage on the Canadian side of the boundary could be secured at less cost and with greater assurance of permanence than at the outlake of the St. Mary's lake. This is corroborated by Mr. J. S. Dennis of the Canadian Pacific railway, who has a thorough knowledge of the engineering questions involved. While in the government service about fifteen years ago, he surveyed the whole of that region for the very purpose of ascertaining the possibilities of irrigation by water diverted from St. Mary's river. His view is that by utilizing the storage facilities of the northern slope of Milk river ridge, Canada can store all her share of the water, and that the storage in the basin of the St. Mary's lake would be of little or no service to her.

There are three features in the foregoing statement worthy of some attention. First, we have the statement of American authorities endorsed, namely: that storage facilities in Canada are better than in the United States. It is not a question of permanence of structures, because the United States is committed to the construction of a dam some forty feet in height, which will probably hold behind it 200,000 feet of wateT. It is a question of putting two holes in the bottom of that dam, one for the use of Canada, the other for the use of the United States. That of course, would involve the building of the American canal as originally located, and involve

that country in greater expense. Instead of that, however, there is to be one hole in that dam twenty-five feet above the river level, out of which the American share of the water will be taken, and the Canadian share of the water will go down the valley uncontrolled.

Then, we have the opinion of Mr. Dennis, that by using the storage facilities of the northern slope of the Milk river, Canada can store all her share of water. That statement is absolutely incorrect. The storage facilities of Canada are situated many miles from the St. Mary's river. They can only be connected by earthen canals with the river. Those cana'ls can only be operated in normal years, about seven months in each year. We must realize that earthen canals must be closed down in order to allow them to dry out, so that teams can be placed in them to do the necessary repairs before the frost sets in. Any child in these northern latitudes knows that water cannot be carried in such canals during the winter months. Then, what happens to the flow of the stream for what, I may term, the five winter months? It is true that water will run longer than seven months, but I have already explained that the canals have to be closed down, and my 'experience in operating canals, is that they have never operated more than about seven months per year. So that at once disposes of that question. Then the other statement is that the storage in the basin of the St. Mary's lake would be of little or no service to Canada. All I have to say in connection with that is that the storage in the basin of the St. Mary's lake, is good enough for the United States, and, looking carefully over the entire treaty, and the success which has attended the efforts of the United States in its negotiations. I am disposed to think that what is good enough for that country, should be good enough for this.

Sir, when this question was before the House in May, 1909, the right hon. the Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) criticised me rather severely for importing, as he said, political bias into this debate. I absolutely deny the charge, Sir. I was not sent here to throw platitudes at anv one in this House. I came here to look after what I regard as the interests of the people of this country. I went into the western country over thirty years ago, without any very great appreciation of the value of either water or timber. I settled on the plains of western Canada, and it gradually came to me the great value of these two natural advantages. I was connected with development work in southern Alberta, and I say that any man who has an interest in this country 288

should be glad to take part in making two blades of grass grow where one grew before I realize the necessity, as the people in that country to-day realize the necessity of every drop of water we are entitled to. We know that we have not sufficient water for our needs; and when the government allows water to be taken from us to which we are legally entitled, I have every right to come here to criticise the government. More than that, Sir, we are not doing what I consider we should do in the development of the water resources of that country. We have vast bodies of water going down towards Hudson bay, and doing little or no good. The government should carry on careful investigations to see to what extent the water can be put to beneficial use. Nothing is now being done in that direction beyond the measurement of some streams. But, before we can attempt the development of our water resources other things need to be done. We have certain gentlemen north of Lethbridge asking that water should be taken out of the Belly river for use in that country. They are not in a position to say whether that is or is not feasible from an engineering point of view. The government ought to go to their aid and tell them to what extent it is feasible.

Now, a few words dealing more closely with the Bill before us-that is in reference to the appointment of the three gentlemen who will be associated with the three appointees of the United States for operating the Waterways Treaty. I understand that the three representatives of the United States were selected several weeks ago and that ex-Senator Carter, of Montana, is one of them. Senator Carter was most active and aggressive in pushing forward Montana's claims during negotiation of the treaty.

I consider that our government has a great opportunity to render a signal service to Canada in the selection of the three Canadian representatives. In my opinion, it is not a question of obtaining gentlemen with legal lore, as the questions which will be involved are engineering questions. We know that continental Europe has been forced through circumstances to reduce transportation to a science. She has been forced to bring her water routes-the very cheapest-to the highest point of development. She has developed energy for industrial purposes in the same way, and in doing so, has made use of electricity for the transmission of power produced from water. Irrigation with her has likewise been brought to the highest point of efficiency, therefore, her engineers have had greater opportunity than has yet been offered in young America, but America is being forced in the same direction, through keen competition. Then, it appears to me that this is

the time for Canada to hunt for a man who stands pre-eminent in that branch of the engineering profession, which this commission will be called upon to deal with, namely, water questions. L'et us get that man, regardless of price or where he comes from,as we need a man with such a reputation that when he speaks he will be listened to throughout Europe as well as America. Having secured such a man, let our government place a copy of the treaty in his hands with instructions to carry on investigations along the international boundary, so that when the five-year period for which the treaty was made comes- to an end, he will be able to point out all the weak places so far as Canada is concerned. Place before him a map of Canada and draw his attention to the vast bodies of water possessed by this country, with streams flowing in almost every direction; point out to him the strategic position this country possesses in the world of commerce, and the vast quantities of raw materials we possess. Tell him to study Canada's problems of industrial development so as to be able to lay down a policy of water-power development and water transportation that will permit this country to get its products into the markets of the world at the lowest possible figure. Then, Sir, every link that we lay down in our transportation system will be -a link in that enlarged plan of'our ultimate aim in the matter of transportation which will enable Canada to be a great country with a prosperous people.

Topic:   INTERNATIONAL WATERWAYS TREATY.
Full View Permalink

May 16, 1911

Mr. MAGRATH.

Does the minister know the height of the dam they would have to build to get to the Marias river?

Topic:   INTERNATIONAL WATERWAYS TREATY.
Full View Permalink

May 16, 1911

Mr. MAGRATH.

It would be 180 feet high according to the reports of their own engineers.

Topic:   INTERNATIONAL WATERWAYS TREATY.
Full View Permalink

May 16, 1911

Mr. MAGRATH.

When Mr. Anderson made his report the treaty was as it is today. That is to say, he was called in after the treaty had been signed at Washington, so that it has not been altered through any suggestion made by him.

Topic:   INTERNATIONAL WATERWAYS TREATY.
Full View Permalink

May 16, 1911

Mr. MAGRATH.

That is quite correct. I thought the minister was referring to Mr. Anderson's criticism of the treaty.

Topic:   INTERNATIONAL WATERWAYS TREATY.
Full View Permalink