Frederick Forsyth PARDEE

PARDEE, The Hon. Frederick Forsyth, K.C.

Personal Data

Lambton West (Ontario)
Birth Date
December 29, 1867
Deceased Date
February 4, 1927

Parliamentary Career

November 22, 1905 - September 17, 1908
  Lambton West (Ontario)
October 26, 1908 - July 29, 1911
  Lambton West (Ontario)
  • Whip of the Liberal Party (January 1, 1909 - January 1, 1911)
  • Chief Government Whip (January 1, 1909 - January 1, 1911)
September 21, 1911 - October 6, 1917
  Lambton West (Ontario)
  • Chief Opposition Whip (January 1, 1912 - January 1, 1912)
  • Whip of the Liberal Party (January 1, 1912 - January 1, 1912)
December 17, 1917 - October 4, 1921
  Lambton West (Ontario)
March 11, 1922 - October 4, 1921
  Lambton West (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 2 of 181)

May 31, 1921


The right hon. gentleman may say that it is very little, but so far as that is concerned there was very little to he done. The great point made by my right hon. friend is that the commission contemplated by this Bill is necessary to keep the levels as they ought to be kept. The fact remains that the present board, which was appointed in 1918, has acted and is acting satisfactorily.

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May 31, 1921


But they did.

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May 31, 1921


I have not the right

hon. gentleman's telegram of the 26th. I do not intend to take advantage of that at all, and if he will send it across I shall be glad to read it, it is only fair that it should also go on record. Here is the .telegram, dated Ottawa, May 26, 1921, in these words:

Hon. E. C. Drury,

Premier of Ontario,


The Bill respecting the Lake of the Woods referred to in your telegram of May 25th proposes no more than to take power to exercise the undoubted jurisdiction of the Dominion in respect both of navigation and of our international obligations. Further there is a clause providing that if the Ontario legislature enacts the legislation referred to in the Lake of the Woods Control Board Act passed earlier this Session the force of the present Bill may be suspended. Unless we adopt this Bill the position resulting from failure of Ontario legislature to adopt the legislation agreed upon this year is that there may be no means effectively to protect great public interests and that the responsibilities of Dominion Government in respect of a great navigable water system and of our international engagements may be at the mercy of purely private interests. This is a position for which we are not prepared to take responsibility.

Arthur Meighen.

That is exactly what the right hon. gentleman said to-day. I contend that nothing could be more fallacious than the statement that if the Ontario Legislature enacts certain legislation we will go back to the old status quo. Section 10 of this Bill provides:

If the necessary legislation of Ontario referred to in the preamble of the Lake of the Woods Control Board Act, 1921, be enacted by the legislature, the Governor in Council may, by proclamation published in the Canada Gazette repeal or suspend this Act and the regulations made thereunder-

That is absolutely permissive and may or may not be done as suits the Government which may be in power at that time. That section also provides:

Provided that notwithstanding any repeal or suspension of this Act .in the manner provided by this section the works and each of them hereby declared to he for the general advantage-

of Canada shall remain and continue to he works for the general advantage of Canada.

In other words, Sir, you give with one hand and you take back with the other, and you leave the donee absolutely nothing.

Now let me continue my argument as to what efforts had or had not been made by the province of Ontario and the Dominion, tut more especially by the province of Ontario, in order that this matter might be amicably settled without any prejudice to the rights of the province of Ontario. In that connection I will read the letter of May 27, 1921, from Mr. E. C. Drury to the Right Hon. Mr. Meighen:

With reference to your telegram of yesterday re Lake of the Woods I feel it my duty to remind you again of your promise contained in your letter to me of April 29th as follows: "X will take up the matter of continuing the present Control Board with the Minister of the Interior and can assure you that we will endeavour to do so if the same can toe effectively done." There is absolutely no reason to believe that the present control cannot toe effectively continued. This Government is in a position to assure you that-pending the execution of the White Dog lease under the terms of which the control of the Norman Dam will toe permanently established-it has an undertaking that the present control will not be disturbed toy the private Interests involved.

That is pretty strong. Premier Drury lays it down on his responsibility as the head of that great province that they have assurance that the present control will not be disturbed by the private interests involved.

In view of your undertaking and the firm position we have taken regarding control of the Lake of the Woods, the contention now advanced that control is in jeopardy is unwarranted and is, I submit, no justification of your proposed legislation which attempts to dispossess this province of its constitutional authority over its water-powers. I draw your attention to the fact that this Government has not been consulted i-n the matter of this drastic action that we have had no opportunity to see the proposed Bill and that we are prepared to co-operate with the Dominion, as we have been doing to ensure that the interests of navigation will toe amply safeguarded.

Could anything be more absolutely explicit in asserting that Premier Drury, on his responsibility as Premier of Ontario, is willing to give every undertaking that so far as the waters in that region are concerned to-day things will go on as they have done in the past, that the waters will remain at the same level as they have remained at for the last ten or fourteen years, anti that as a consequence no person who requires the use of those waters will be in the slightest degree prejudiced. I submit that nothing could be stronger or more explicit than that. Then, what further does he say?

Tour contention that failing your legislation international engagements will toe at the mercy of private interests is, I submit, lacking in frankness because no such engagements have yet been ratified and because there are means of controlling the private interests involved. I am therefore compelled to ask you not to proceed with the Bill which is unnecessary and unjustifiable invasion of the rights of Ontario.

I ask again, could language be stronger or more explicit than this language used by one holding the responsible position of Premier of the province of Ontario? Then there is a telegram-I am sorry to have to detain the committee, but I wish to put these things on record-from the right hon. Prime Minister to E. C. Drury, dated May 28, 1921. I quote:

Your telegram May 27th respecting Lake of the Woods. My statement of April 29th that we would endeavour continue present means of control was, as your telegram itself shows, conditional upon question whether such means would toe effective.

I submit with all deference that that is a rather far-fetched conclusion.

As I have already pointed out we regard their effectiveness as being so doubtful that we cannot take responsibility of relying upon them.

They have been quite effective for many years.

I pointed out before, and your telegram now confirms it, that the only existing basis upon which control can toe founded is some engagement with private interests to which the Dominion is not even a party.

Why should the Dominion be a party, I want to know? When shall it be said that a province may not deal with its own natural resources as it sees fit-in this case, so long as the flow of water below the dam is not interfered with?

Even if it were a party we could not regard this, in view of all the circumstances and importance of interests at stake, as a satisfactory basis upon which to rest our responsibility in respect of navigation and our international engagements. Your own agreement earlier this year to concurrent legislation constitutes in itself recognition of inadequacy of existing basis and of necessity of remedy.

Not necessarily, I argue. They were quite ready and quite willing to pass enabling and concurrent legislation. The only reason why there should be concurrent and enabling legislation was the fact that the commission did not have the power to carry its decrees into effect. I will admit all that, if it is any comfort to my right hon. friend. But I want to point out further that there was absolutely no reason to doubt the wisdom of what they were doing.

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May 31, 1921


They would have the

right of action.

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May 31, 1921


The Protection of Navigable Waters Act, Part 1, section 4, says: No bridge, boom, dam or aboiteau shall be constructed so as to interfere with navigation, unless the site thereof has been approved by the Governor in Council, nor unless such bridge, boom, dam or aboiteau is built and maintained in accordance with plans approved by the Gov-, ernor in Council.

Now, Sir, I continue the reading of this telegram. It says:

In view of the results and of fact that we can expect no further co-operation from your Government-

In view of the correspondence which passed surely the Prime Minister could not reasonably say that he could hope for no further co-operation. Every line and every syllable of the correspondence so far as the province of Ontario is concerned indicates

a willingness to co-operate in the fullest possible manner.

-now that the Ontario Legislature has prorogued, it is impossible to understand what useful purpose could have been served by further consultation on the present situation. Your concluding observation that my telegram was lacking in frankness is sufficiently surprising in itself. It is the more so in that its context discloses a complete misconception of tihe nature of the international obligations here involved-Under the existing Treaty of January 11, 1909, the Dominion has obligations in respect of freedom of navigation, maintenance of levels, and the prevention of injury on the other side of boundary waters. That is a responsibility solely of Dominion and purpose of present Bill is to make it quite certain that Dominion Government shall not be powerless to exercise that responsibility. In this and other respects We have proceeded throughout on the advice of law officers of the Crown. In the circumstances %ve have no other course than to proceed with the Bill which invades no rights of the province and which is essential to adequate exercise of Dominion jurisdiction.

Arthur Mbighen.

I leave this phase of the matter, Mr. Chairman, at that; I do not propose to labour it further. But in this connection I wish to read the following paragraph from the report of the International Joint Commission:

The average controlled level of the lake of the Woods between 1892 and 1916 was 1,059.82. The average level which would have prevailed during the same period of years, if the outlets had remained as in a state of nature is 1,056.77 or practically 3 feet lower. Ordinary high water from the viewpoint of the rights of the riparian owners, is dependent upon the level which prevails during the planting, growing and harvesting season. For the purpose of this report, we have adopted the mean of all levels above the average summer level prevailing between June 1 and'September 30 as mean or ordinary high water. On the basis of comparison of ordinary high water the recommended level of 1,061.25 is 2.23 feet higher than the computed natural leve1 of the lake.

It will be seen, therefore, from the report itself that the level of the lake has not been so interfered with as to prejudice international rights in any way; the navigation of these waters has not been prejudiced in the slightest. I repeat again that all these matters have been amply and satisfactorily handled.

I had commenced, when asked a question, to give a slight resume of the Hudson report. As I understand the matter, the Hon. Mr. Hudson, at the request of Manitoba, came to Ottawa to represent that province on the hearing of this case. Subsequently Mr. Hudson sent in a report. I do not propose to read it all, but he says this:

The question on which I anticipated the most difficulty was the casting vote on the

Board. The Ontario people felt that they Should have predominance to deal with waterpowers within the province.

I quote that only to show that the people of Ontario have at all times stoutly maintained that those water-powers were theirs and theirs alone.

Let me for a few minutes deal with one or two legal aspects of this Bill. I want to draw the attention of the committee to clause 2, which reads:

All dams, structures and other works of whatsoever description which have heretofore been or may hereafter be constructed in, upon, over, about or across-

I contend that that clause is not good because it is not specific. Any legislation brought down toy the Government in regard to this matter should show what dams are to toe constructed and what water-powers are to be affected by those dams. It must show specifically just what the Dominion Government propose to do. They have no right to put in an omnibus clause allowing them to have jurisdiction wherever they may desire. Only last week the British Columbia Electric case

4 p.m. was being argued in the Supreme Court, and the judges, although they had not given their decision, were inclined to pay considerable attention to the fact that there was involved in that case the very point that I am to-day arguing. One of the counsels said that it was a guessing contest, and the judges seemed to agree with that. I, therefore, say, first, that this clause is not good because it is not specific. Further, I doubt if the Dominion Government have any jurisdiction except over the actual physical structures that may be put up. They may have the right to say what is the height or width of a dam, where it may be located and so forth, but the fact that they may have the right to do that does not give them the right to control the waters of the province of Ontario. It is a moot point, even in the matter of navigation, whether they can go any further than that or not.

To show what widespread interest there is in the matter; to show how deeply the people of that section of the country are interested in this legislation; to show with how much fear they regard any such legislation, I want to read just one or two clauses from " an open letter to the Right Hon. Arthur Meighen, M.P., P.C. and to the hon. members of Parliament for Ontario constituencies," which I find in the Toronto Mail and Empire, of April 25,1921. The letter reads:

The people of Kenora district and of northwestern Ontario respectfully urge thalt you defer further action on the Bill designed to transfer the rights of the province of Ontario over her water powers to the province of Manitoba.

If the Bill becomes law, the waterpowers in this part of Ontario will be seriously curtailed and industrial and commercial development severely handicapped.

Divorced of legal phraseology, the position as we see it is:

The electrical power interests of the city of Winnipeg aim to secure the primary right to control the regulation of all the waters in the English and Winnipeg rivers in Ontario.

They do not need this "privilege" in order to furnish power to their customers.

But, in order to give that impression, and to divert attention from the fact that they propose to waste about one-fourth their utilizable waterpower, they have used the phrase "dependable flow"-

I have not gone into the question of " dependable flow," because I shall leave that for others, but it is a question that might well be argued before this committee.

-and are seeking to encroach upon Ontario's waterpowers and to blind the public and their elected representatives to tihe real results.

Efficient development of the waterpowers along the Winnipeg river will Obviate any necessity for preventing the full use of Ontario's resources.

Exactly what I have said, that if the province of Manitoba and the city of Winnipeg are willing to develop their own water-powers and to spend the money that is necessary for such development, there is no need whatever to interfere in any way with the vested rights of the province of Ontario. Let me read only this one more clause:

If the Dominion Parliament bows to the will of the Winnipeg electrical power interests and the Bill becomes law, a direct hindrance to northwestern Ontario industrial growth will be achieved and a dangerous precedent established in permitting one province to encroach upon the rights of another.

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