Mr. L. P. BANCROFT (Selkirk):
At this late hour I shall not delay the house at any great length, but there are a few remarks that I shou'd like to make in opposition to the resolution and the amendment now before the house. The resolution reads:
That, in the opinion of this house, no disposition of the natural resources, under the control of the federal government, shall be effective until ratified by parliament.
The amendment strikes out the words "natural resources," and substitutes therefor the words "water-powers."
In my judgment both the resolution and the amendment are aimed at the natural resources and water-powers of the three prairie provinces. I shall speak more particularly of the province of Manitoba.
The water-powers of Manitoba are very, very valuable. The Winnipeg and "Nelson rivers are the chief sources of the water-powers of Manitoba. Winnipeg river drains lac Seul and the lake of the Woods into lake Winnipeg. This great river, falling over the rocky slopes on the western end of the Laurentians. creates a great amount of water-power, about three-quarters of a million horse-power.
The Nelson river, which flows from lake Winnipeg into Hudson bay, is four hundred miles long, and falls seven hundred feet in its course. This river is capable of producing somewhere around three and a half million horse-power. The people of Manitoba are very proud of these natural resources. They feel that these water-powers are their own property, that they belong to the people of Manitoba, and that no one else is directly concerned in their development or disposal.
The water-powers of Ontario have been developed or disposed of by the government of that province, representing the people of Ontario. The water-powers of Quebec have been developed or disposed of by the government of that province, representing the people of Quebec. Both these provinces have seen fit to develop and dispose of their water-powers without consulting the federal parliament. They never thought of consulting the Canadian senate. Yet if this resolution and amendment carry to-night, the people of Manitoba cannot develop their water-powers without first coming and consulting the federal members in this house from Ontario and Quebec, from the island of Cape Breton and from the Yukon, and if they succeed in convincing the majority of these members that their plans are good, next they have to run the gauntlet of the Canadian senate before they can proceed to develop what they believe to be their own water-pow'ers. I cannot understand how any member from Manitoba, and this applies to the members from the other prairie provinces as well, can vote for a resolution Which places the people of the province of Manitoba in an inferior position, as compared with the older provinces, in the matter of developing their natural resources. Surely the rights of the people of Manitoba are not less than the rights of the people of the older provinces. If they are, it is high time we knew about it.
Not much more than a week ago the house unanimously passed a resolution moved by the hon. member for Frontenac-Addington (Mr. Edwards) declaring, in effect, that in the best interests of confederation, and the economic development of -western Canada, the three western provinces should be granted their natural resources free from restrictions. My hon. friend from Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) supported that resolution, and in view of his action then I cannot understand how he can now move a resolution which places a restriction upon the return of the natural resources to the prairie provinces. The whole house approved of the return to the provinces of those resources. The hon. member for South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie), the acting leader of the opposition, who moved the amendment now before the house, supported the resolution of the hon. member for Frontenac-Addington, and yet his amendment would place a very serious restriction upon the development of the natural resources of the western provinces.
Subtopic: NATURAL RESOURCES