Hon. J. B. M. BAXTER (St. John City and Counties of St. John and Albert):
Mr. Speaker, I should be sorry if anything in this debate would misrepresent the attitude of the province of New Brunswick with regard to 273i
water-power development. It is true, as my hon. friend from Restigouche and Madawaska (Mr. Michaud) was saying, that the province is about to embark upon a very large expenditure for this purpose. I do not think that the people of New Brunswick wish to add very largely to their capital debt merely for the purpose of getting back a bare return upon the outlay by the sale of power to a foreign country for the upbuilding of industries there rather than within the limits of the province itself. I think New Brunswick can be described as a unit in desiring the fullest and most extensive development of water-power within its limits for which a market can be found. Now, what must that market be? The development of our wood resources principally, to a minor extent the application of electricity to farm purposes, and incidentally, of course, the lighting of cities, towns and villages. The export of power from New Brunswick would mean that for every unit exported a precisely similar development would be sustained in the state of Maine in competition with the development of our own natural resources. No New Brunswicker can want that. What we do want is this development within our own territory. It is the one opportunity that we have. I feel that the people of New Brunswick will stand by me in regretting any suggestion that we are simiply going into the development of water-power for the purpose of exporting it and building up a foreign country at the expense of our own resources.
Now, I have no fear that this amendment in any way touches the situation of New Brunswick. It does not. As my hon. friend from Restigouche and Madawaska has explained, the International Joint Commission has approved of an arrangement which has been made. They declined, and I am very sorry that they declined, to enter into a discussion and ultimate decision of the question as to whether or not the state of Maine had any right to demand a portion of this power. As a matter of fact it is not really the international boundary that is in question; there are very large areas of the watershed within the state of Maine, without the utilization of which it would be impossible to develop the project at Grand Falls to its ultimate capacity. The province of New Brunswick has no right to go into the state of Maine and demand to be allowed to place dams there and pen back that water; and the state of Maine, in my judgment, has no right to say that the consideration for so doing shall be the sharing of the power. But the action
Export oj Power
of the International Joint Commission has virtually treated it as such, and I notice that an arrangement has been completed for the export of about 2,000 horse-power to the state of Maine, which has accepted this as an equivalent to what it claims as its proportion. It bases that not at all on the figures given by my hon. friend, but on the view that it would be entitled to one-sixteenth of the power produced, which it estimates at about 50,000 horse-power. An arrangement has been made that a certain concern in the state of Maine shall receive this 2,000 horse-power annually.
The International Joint Commission having approved of that arrangement, we must remember that the commission acts entirely under a treaty to which this country, as part of the empire,, is a party. It has the force and effect that all treaties have by section 132 of the British North America Act, which provides that:
The parliament and government of Canada shall have all powers necessary or proper for performing the obligations of Canada or of any province thereof as part of the British Empire towards foreign countries arising under treaties between the empire and such foreign countries.
Therefore the 2,000 horse-power that will go out under this arrangement from the province of New Brunswick will go out not as an export controllable by this parliament, but as a fulfilment of a decision or as approval by a body which has sovereignty in the matter, that is the International Joint Commission, based upon a treaty, which treaty must be supported by any legislation that is necessary, and that legislation must be enacted by this parliament. We are obligated by the British North America Act to do it. So if legislation to the fullest extent were to be based upon this amendment, it would not affect the arrangement that has been made with regard to New Brunswick, or any other arrangement which would be imposed as part of a bargain approved by the International Joint Commission.
Further than that I do not feel any special interest in the question, except on the general ground that what we can utilize for our own development should be utilized here and not sent out of the country to compete with us. It is no way to build up our own country. Hon. gentlemen may view the matter in any way they like, but it is morally impossible to continue the practice of export over a long series of years and then deny the people who have been getting the benefit of the exported power the right to continue it. It is all very well to say that they understand you will put an end to it. It is not the way that one decent
neighbour would act towards another decent neighbour who had done him no harm, and countries must be controlled by the same principles that would apply to citizens. Therefore before any power is exported and rights to it acquired, it is only fair I think for us to say to our neighbour, "Look here, we are going to need all this for ourselves, and we are not going to increase the quantity that you now get," That is the principle we should apply. But every man within hearing of my voice, every man who is interested in the question, knows there is something more immediate, something more insistent than that. We know that it is only by the advocacy of this principle at this time that a willing government is being rendered afraid to take a step which will be disastrous to Canada.
Topic: SUPPLY-EXPORT OF POWER