Mr. H. O. While (Middlesex East):
Mr. Speaker, I wish to say a word or two on the very important amendment to the National Energy Board Act introduced by the hon. member for Middlesex West (Mr. Thomas). I wish to compliment him on the great work he is doing for his own constituency and for southwestern Ontario in particular as far as this amendment is concerned.
For many years all of western Ontario has been trying to deal with this problem, first of all in connection with the railways and then in later years with respect to pipe lines. While there seems to be provision in the provincial act, as time goes by, we in that area and those in the Galt, Kitchener and Guelph areas will have to face the question of pipe lines for the distribution of water. Let us now make some changes in the act so that drainage installations, which are costly from the viewpoint of the farmer, are not made almost impossible.
The hon. member for Middlesex West pointed out the cost to the oil companies of lowering their pipe lines in accordance with provincial regulations, and if that cost is added to the cost of municipal tile drainage systems many of them will not be installed. Consequently it is of vital importance that the amendment suggested by the hon. member for Middlesex West be considered seriously at this time.
I also want to point out that for many years prior to 1903, when section 273 was
incorporated in the Railway Act, the railways hindered much of the development and drainage of those areas simply because they would not co-operate with the municipalities or with the farmers. With respect to the installation of pipe lines in Middlesex county over the past few years, if it had not been for the yeoman service of the Middlesex county federation of agriculture much greater difficulty would have been encountered. The oil companies were not too co-operative with respect to the expropriation of land and the restoration of tile drains.
Section 273, as I mentioned before, was incorporated in the Railway Act in 1903 to solve the problem and has served very well since that time. It is passing strange to me that when the National Energy Board Act was passed in order to deal with these problems the Railway Act was copied but section 273 of the Railway Act, strangely enough, was not included in the National Energy Board Act. It seems to me that it was more by design than by mistake that it was not incorporated in the act at the time.
I mentioned also that the question of water pipe lines may enter the picture in the years ahead. There is some reference to this in the Ontario act and I should like to read one portion of that act because to me it seems to leave some doubt whether water pipe lines would come under the provincial drainage laws. Section 20 of the Ontario act reads as follows:
Where a drainage work or a part of a drainage work is to be constructed, repaired, improved or maintained upon, along, adjoining, under or across the lands, permanent way, transmission lines, power lines, wires, conduits or other permanent property of a public utility, the public ' utility shall have the option of constructing, repairing, improving or maintaining such work or part.
So far as the distribution of water is concerned, in some cities this would be under the jurisdiction of a public utility but there is also the possibility that it might come under a conservation authority, which presents another problem to us and to the provincial authorities. It is interesting to note that the minister of highways of Ontario, Mr. Cass, has become very interested in this matter and, along with county councils, township councils and the Ontario federation of agriculture, has concurred in the proposed amendment introduced by the hon. member for Middlesex West. May I call it six o'clock, Mr. Speaker?
Topic: EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic: NATIONAL ENERGY BOARD ACT