Sir LOMER GOUIN:
This bill is the same as the one that was introduced last year and accepted by the House of Commons, but rejected by the Senate. The purpose of the bill is to repeal chapter 38. 11 and 12 George V, passed in 1921 and assented to on the 4th of June of that year. In 1920, there was an understanding between the Ontario government and the Dominion government to the effect that a commission composed of four members, two to be appointed by the Ontario government and two by the Dominion government, would t control the waters of the Lake of the Woods, Lac Seul, English river and Winnipeg river. It was agreed that legislation should be submitted to the legislature
Lake of the Woods Regulation
of Ontario and the parliament of Canada for the purpose of organizing that com-
10 p.m. mission. The Dominion government accordingly introduced a bill which passed as chapter 10, of 11 and 12 George V, which was assented to on the 3rd of May, 1921. The government of Ontario, proceeding also in accordance with the agreement to which I have referred, introduced similar legislation; but the premier of the province, facing an opposition to the measure, withdrew it. Under these circumstances the government of the day, considering it important that some commission should have authority to control these waters, passed another bill, which became chapter 38 of 11 and 12 George V, to which I referred at the outset. The second clause of that act provided that-
All dams, structures and other works of whatsoever description which have heretofore been or may hereafter be constructed in, upin, over, about or across,- (a) any outlet of the Lake of the Woods, (b) the Winnipeg river at or about its junction with English river, or (c) English river at the outlet of and below Lac Seul, which do or may or can in any wise control, regulate or affect the outflow of water from the said lakes, or either of them, or the natural levels of the water in the said lakes, or either of them, at any time, or the natural flow of the water in the Winnipeg river or in English river, at any time, are and each of them is declared to be for the general advantage of Canada.
The last clause reads as follows:
If the necessary legislation of Ontario referred to in the preamble of The Lake of the Woods Control Board Act, 1921-
That is, chapter 10.
-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 at any time when or after The Lake of the Woods Control Board Act, 1921, shall come into force: 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 be for the general advantage of Canada shall remain and continue to be works for the general advantage of Canada.
Acting under the provisions of that statute the government of the day appointed a commission, also composed of four members, as agreed upon. I understand that the government of Ontario was asked to appoint two of the members of the commission but they refused to do so, contending that this statute should never have been passed and that the works of the Lake of the Woods, the English River and the Winnipeg river should not have been declared works for the general advantage of Canada. Last year the then Solicitor General introduced a bill similar to the one now under consideration. I may say that in the session following the Act of 1921 the legislature of Ontario did pass the legis-
lation which had been agreed upon, and last session the then Solicitor General thought we should simply repeal chapter 38 of the statutes of 1921. After some debate the bill was adopted by the House but was subsequently rejected by the Senate. After prorogation, at the instance of the premiers of Ontario and Manitoba, a conference took place in Ottawa in which the premiers of those provinces and the Prime Minister of Canada took part. After discussion and deliberation the representatives of the three governments arrived at an understanding which was put in writing and signed by them. The first clause of that agreement reads as follows:
This agreement, as a working basis for the regulation of the English and Winnipeg rivers, is entered into on the understanding that all parties are agreeable to the repeal of the Lake of the Woods Regulation Act, 1921, but Ontario does not bind itself to the terms of this agreement in the event of that act not being repealed.
Then follow the different clauses which were accepted by the three parties. Consequent upon these circumstances we introduced the present bill. After it was read the first time representations were made to us first by the government of Manitoba and afterwards by the government of Ontario. The government of Manitoba urged that chapter 38 of the Statutes of 1921 should not be repealed until the provisions of the arrangement of November last had been fulfilled. We had a conference and listened to the arguments of the representatives of Manitoba. We told them that this bill would come into force only by proclamation, and that that proclamation should be made only when the essential conditions of the arrangement entered into had been fulfilled. Subsequently the representatives of the Manitoba government wrote a letter to the Prime Minister stating that they could not accept the suggestion that we should proceed with this bill at the present session. In reply the right hon. Prime Minister wrote the following letter to Mr. Farmer, the mayor of Winnipeg:
Dear Mr. Farmer:
I have duly received the letter dated the 29th instant signed by yourself and Messrs. Preudhomme, Sanger, Guy and Johnson, with respect to the above.
You are quite correct in your understanding that the repeal act should not become effective until the conditions of the agreement of November last have been complied with. You suggest that the repeal bill should be amended in such a way as to provide that it shall go into effect on proclamation only after Ontario and Manitoba respectively have so requested by order in council. With reference to this suggestion I would like to point out that the bill has been drafted in a matter which would permit of ho exception being taken by the Ontario government to it.
Lake of the Woods Regulation
provisions. Were the conditions you propose incorporated, it might only serve to raise a fresh obstacle to the final settlement of this whole matter, which is now so near the point of satisfactory adjustment. Our government has in view but the one object of effecting a settlement of the question in a manner which will be wholly satisfactory to all parties concerned. We are as favourably disposed toward the province of Manitoba as toward the province of Ontario, and, inasmuch as the federal government, not less than the governments of Ontario and Manitoba, is a party to the agreement of November last, I think you may take it for granted that we would not take any action or permit any action to be taken which would prejudice the right of either Manitoba or Ontario under any of the conditions of the agreement.
With this assurance I hope you will feel that Manitoba will be justified in withdrawing any opposition it may have to the Repeal Bill in the form in which it has been presented to parliament.
With this assurance, Mr. Speaker, given by the right hon. the Prime Minister of this Dominion speaking for himself and for his colleagues, I do not see that the government of Manitoba can persist in any opposition to the measure.
Topic: WAYS AND MEANS ONTARIO ELECTIONS AND PETAWAWA CAMP
Subtopic: LAKE OF THE WOODS REGULATION