The International Waterways Treaty
Publication:
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 6 Apr 1911, p. 241-252


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The International Waterways Treaty


The Joint Commission, known as the International Waterways Commission, undertaken by the United States and Canada to deal with the matter of the use of boundary waters. The composition of the Commission. A description of the great lake system. The all-important question of maintaining the level of this great system in its integrity. Two pressing questions that lead the United States to suggest the formation of this Commission. The estimated capitalized value of the water power of this system. The innumerable charters being applied for an granted at Niagara Falls. The speaker's belief that it is most desirable in dealing with our neighbours in matters relating to our special interest, that we should assume responsibility and deal with them ourselves and not call upon the Mother Country to do so. The matter of gaining respect from the Americans. Details of some of the difficulties involved in getting agreements within the Commission. An agreement in general principle that navigation interests must be paramount and that no diversion for power, irrigation or sewage purposes should be permitted to the injury of that paramount right. The Canadian Commissioners, taking their stand upon the principle of equal division everywhere. The difficulty of the Commission in having fixed principles of international law agreed upon. The consequences or possible consequences of the absence of some regulations. Fixing the order of precedence in terms of use: Domestic purposes; Uses for navigation, including navigation interests; Power and irrigation purposes. Exceptions made with regard to Niagara Falls. The Webster-Ashburton Treaty as it finally passed, adopting in substance the principles suggested in the original draft. The first provision, and its importance. Dealing with diversions in one country of waters which in their natural course, would flow into the other. Details of the pertinent Article. Remarks on President Taft's proposal of a treaty with Great Britain by which all manner of questions shall be referred to arbitration. Ways in which it is the common people's century. The Mother County to maintain her supremacy on the sea; our duty to her to build up on the right foundation a country which its people shall love. Making good Canadians first as the best and easiest way to make good Imperialists.