Mr. R. L. BORDEN (Halifax).
Before you leave the Chair, Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring briefly to the attention of the House the matter which I mentioned in a very superficial way to my hon. friend the Minister of the Interior last evening. Some considerable interest is taken, especially in the western part of the country, with regard to the concession known as the Treadgold Concession, and a good many communications have been sent to members of parliament from the Yukon concerning certain features of the arrangement between the government and Mr. Treadgold and his associates. The matter was to have been brought up in parliament by certain gentlemen on this side, but about the time when they were instructed on this matter, it was announced in the public press that the government had rescinded the Orders in Council, which had created so much excitement, and revoked a great many of the features of the concession which were regarded as objectionable. I do not propose to discuss at present, as it is too late in the session, certain constitutional features beyond saying that as it seems to me, though I have not carefully examined the question, there is a great deal of doubt ns to whether the terms of this concession did not exceed the powers which could fairly be regarded as vested in the Governor General in Council. 1 also would have suggested to the House that a concession of this kind, covering so wide a range, involving such enormous interests, might properly have been submitted to parliament in the first instance, and should not have been passed by Order in Council, even if the Governor in Council possessed the technical right to pass it under the authority of the statutes. I also would have taken the ground that assuming that the powers possessed by the Governor in Council were legitimately exercised in this instance, it was a matter upon which parliament should have been informed at the very commencement of the session, so that the House might have had occasion to fully consider the terms of this concession, which are of such great interest to the people of the Yukon. Apart from that all I have to say at present is that I have not been able-nor indeed do I profess to possess the knowledge which would so enable me-to clearly distinguish between the effect of the concession in the terms first granted and its effect in the terms granted by the subsequent Order in Council. And I do not know to what extent the excitement which prevailed among all classes in the Yukon, by reason of the terms of the first concession, has been allayed by the fact that the concession has been rescinded as well as the Order in Council granting it, and a concession in sqme what different terms granted the same gentleman. What I desire to do at present is this. I brought to the attention of my hon. friend the Minister of the Interior last evening the fact that a memorial with regard to this matter had, as I understood, been sub-
mitted to mv bon. friend, and I was anxious to know to what extent the objections raised in that memorial, which demanded the repeal of the concession, had been met by the terms of the new Order in Council and the itew concession. It appeared that either through some difficulty in the mail service or on account of the pressing engagements of my hon. friend during the closing days of the session, this memorial had not been brought to his attention, and I believe he saw it for the first time when I handed to him what purported to be a copy of it, taken from a Dawson newspaper which had been sent me. I do not suppose that the hon. minister has been able to take this matter up to any extent in the meantime, as it was three o'clock this morning when I brought it to his attention, but upon consideration I think that it may be well to read the memorial to the House in order that hon. members may be acquainted with its terms and that it may be useful to them perhaps, if there should be any occasion at a subsequent date to discuss the terms of the new concession. I think that possibly the House will pardon me for taking up its time in the few minutes necessary for the purpose of reading this document, and I trust that my hon. friend, the Minister of the Interior, will not think I am bringing this matter to his attention without notice, because I have really had no opportunity of giving him notice except that which I gave him this morning, when I told him I thought I would briefly discuss the matter in the House and desired that he should be present. The memorial is signed by a large number of gentlemen who purport to be the holders of very large claims in the Yukon. It was published in all the papers at Dawson, I believe about the 16th of this month. The newspapers I received were dated the 16th, and contained a copy of this memorial. It is in the following words:
The preamble to the Order in Council of June 12, 1901, gives as a reason for the privileges granted the following :-' The mining now carried on in the Klondike district because of the inadequate supply of water, is necessarily confined to the washing of the richest gravel only, comparatively small in area, thus leaving large tracts of gold bearing gravels unworked.'
It is true that there are large quantities of ground unworked for want of a sufficient quantity of water ; at the same time the men at present in the district are gradually absorbing this land and applying capital and machinery to the purpose. Among these are operators who are identified with the country since its discovery and have grown up with it.
The statement that the richest gravel, only is worked at present is not correct ; it is partly and only partly true. The hydraulic system has already been introduced by private enterprise. For example : Mr. Alexander McDonald has employed it on the Bonanza creek. Mr. Johannsen on Hunker, and others have followed their example and have placed hydraulic machinery upon the ground for use during the coming season. The operators above mentioned work not Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).
the richest ground only, but all the gravel on their claim, leaving nothing undisposed of. In the natural course of affairs, if miners are allowed to proceed as they have been doing hitherto and without interference, other capitalists will undoubtedly proceed on the same lines, and by this means without any cost to the country, without any special concessions, without favouritism and without injury to any other interests, the whole of the gold bearing gravel will be operated up to a certain height, which height will be determined by the cost of raising the water from the creek level up to the hill side gravels and by the values of the hill side gravels encountered.
The grantees under the Orders in Council are only required to give a 300 ft. elevation; the miners who are already using hydraulic apparatus are raising water themselves to a height of 300 ft. at a less cost than Mr. Tread-gold and his associates are authorized to charge.
It is possible, though not probable, that paying dirt might be found at a height at which a private operator under ordinary circumstances and with a small amount of capital, would find unprofitable work. In such a case it would be justifiable to grant special advantages to a largely capitalized company, which by operating on a wider scale and employing more expensive machinery, would lift the water to the highest levels at a cost sufficiently small to allow them a fair profit.
This, however, is a contingency for the future and a plan that can only be adopted fairly and with profit to the district after the creeks which are now being worked have been exhausted. Under present conditions the creeks are worked continuously, but, should a large company with an extensive volume of water operate the higher levels, there would be a discharge into the creek beds of so much dirt or debris as to effectually put an end to operations in them. For economical mining it is absolutely essential that the creek claims should be worked out before hydraulic operations on a large scale are commenced on the hill sides. The miners who work on the creeks carry on their business at present with a fair profit, having only to handle the dirt naturally belonging to the creek, but a discharge of debris from1 the hill side would so add to the expense of their operations as to take away their profit and drive them out of business. In our opinion it will be from 10 to 20 years, if then, before the district has been so far worked as to call for any such wholesale grant of lands as is included in the Treadgold concessions or justify its adoption.
Injurious Effects of the Concession.
The above incontrovertible facts and considerations establish clearly, we believe, the following propositions :
That no capital has been kept out of the country by the want of such a scheme ; that the needs of the country, in so far as the application of hydraulic machinery to mining operations is concerned, are being amply met as they arise by private enterprise and will continue so to be for many years to come ; that the concession secures nothing that the miners are not already providing for themselves ; that it saves nothing in the cost of the water to those who require it, and that if taken advantage of to carry out the purpose indicated in the preamble of Orders in Council, it will have a disastrous
effect upon the operations at present going for-w.ard in the creek beds.
We now propose to consider another important feature of the arrangement. It is provided by the Orders in Council that all abandoned claims on Bear, Bonanza and Hunker creeks and their tributaries-this includes Eldorado- shall be deemed to be vested in Mr. Treadgold and his associates, on and after the first day. of January, 1992.
It might be supposed by a person ignorant of mining that a claim which has been abandoned is by that very fact proven to be inferior and non-productive, or at least not sufficiently productive to pay for being worked by the private individual. This, however, is very far from the truth. It is the universal experience in mining countries that claims may be prospected three or four times and abandoned and may yet turn out to be rich and profitable. The value of the gift made to Mr. Treadgold and his associates is incalculable, but we believe it is no exaggeration to say that it runs up into millions of dollars.
The effect of a blanket concession like this is to close up the district and withdraw it from relocation. When it is remembered that the district included in the grant comprises the greater part of the gold bearing area which has been exploited in the vicinity of Dawson city and that ic contains almost all the roads and improvements that have been made by the government in the raining territory, it will be seen how important the consequence of this measure will be.
The prosperity of the district, the diffusion of comfort among all classes, the continued influx of population and the attraction of further capital for development-'all depend upon the abandoned claims being left open to be further prospected by private individual miners and relocated.
The closing of the district will be injurious to the interests of the wage-earner. At present the mining area is thickly populated with individual wage-earning operators. These i%sn are not occupied continually, being usually idle part of the year. During the idle period they are accustomed to prospect and try to find something for themselves.
It is not alone those who are for the time being idle who engage in prospecting, but there is another class of wage-earners even more useful. These are men who are ambitious to better their condition. They work first, in order to earn a small reserve, and spend weeks, sometimes months, searching for the precious and valuable metals. More often than not they fail and have to begin again. It is in this way that the resources of the 'district are exploited. Such is the universal practice throughout the world.
The capitalists who have been engaged in developing the country depend upon the two classes of labourers above mentioned for their supply of workmen. By closing the district to further prospecting, both the capitalists and wage-earners above spoken of will gradually disappear.
There is no longer any incentive for the individual wage-earner to stay, as he is prevented from looking about for claims for himself, and. as explained above, he cannot obtain continuous employment the year round.
The capitalist must go because he will be compelled to import labour for a short period of the yeq,r at higher wages and consequently
the cost of production will be increased. Banks of gravel that would be worked with wages on the present scale could not be profitably operated on a higher scale. Further, the ground now owned by individual miners will be worked out in many cases in from three to five year3, and the operators will 'hen be compelled to seek further locations, not from the government or under public regulations open to all the world, but from a private firm, whose interests is strictly financial, and whose only object will be to get every dollar they can out of the property they control.
The machinery belonging to miners and mining companies now in the country represents millions of dollars ; this would be rendered idle and consequently valueless, since the owners would be at the mercy of a universal landlord and must either submit to his terms or leave the country.
It may be asked why they could not remove their machinery outside the Treadgold concession and commence operations anew. The answer is that the concession covers nearly all the roads and improvements made in the district by the government ; consequently in moving to a location outside the concession new roads would have to be built to reach the objective points, and no individual could stand the expense. It would in fact be cheaper to bring in machinery for a new district from the outside up the natural water-ways of the country than to attempt to move it from its present position across intervening mountains and valleys to other places.
The ordinary miner has to prospect, mark out and enter upon his claim. The grantees under the Order in Council are saved all that trouble since it is provided that all mining locations now or hereafter abandoned on the various creeks included in the grant, are to be deemed to be vested in them without entry.
The ordinary miner has to pay $15 per claim per annum rental and to do work to the extent of $200 on each claim (called ' representation * -see Order in Council, June 12, 1901, sec. IS, sub-sec. 5). Mr. Treadgold and his friends are relieved of these expenditures-sec. 13, subsec. 4 and 5.
The grantees are to expend fduring the present year at least $250,000, and this is presumed to be some kind of return for the enormous grant made them.
It is stated that 1,310 abandoned claims became vested in them January 1, and March 1, of the present year. In the hands of private miners, these would have entailed an outlay as above of $215 each, at least, or in all $281,650 per annum, some portion of which would go to the government, while the government will get none of the $250,000 required to be expended by the concessionaires.
In any event we consider the expenditure required of the grantees 'trivial in comparison to the extent of the gift made to them.
We are confident, from our experiences in this and other mining countries, that every abandoned claim in'the district will be taken up within two years, at least, if the district is left open to individual prospectors, and that most of them will be taken up within one year.
The grantees are required to deliver within the district during the summer of 1905 a flow of 3,000 cubic feet of 18,600 gallons of water per minute at such an elevation as to afford
a pressure at an effective head of not less than 300 feet, and this at a charge of 25 cents per miner's inch per hour. One private operator in the district himself raises 1,500 gallons per minute for his own use to a height of 300 teet at a less cost than 25 cents. There are others doing the same thing quite as cheaply, and additional new machinery has been placed on the ground for the same purpose by still other parties.
It is our firm conviction that if the arrangement is not repealed and the Orders in Council rescinded, they will put an end to individual enterprise in the Yukon, will paralize every branch of industry there, will cause the people at present in the country to get out of it as quickly as they can work out existing holdings, will hand the country over bodily to a gigantic monopoly whose interest it will be to carry on their operations with Chinese or Japanese labour, and will in fact complete the ruin of the Yukon Territory, not at a distant day, but within the next four or five years.
Dated at Dawson, this 15th day of April, 1902.
G. Geo. Johannson, for Johannson & Black <30 claims) ; James Henderson, manager for McDonald Bonanza, Ltd., (16 claims); Geo. T. Coffey, manager Anglo-Klondike Mining Co., Ltd., <40 claims) ; Albert Trabold, (46 claims) ; L. Faillaid, manager Syndicate Lyonnais, (lo claims) ; Charles Af. Dunn, manager for Stanley & Worden, (12 claims) ; McKay, Nelson & Dalgarn, (13 claims) ; Gervais & Simard, (10 claims) ; Thomson & Granger, Patterson & Mc-Askill, Pauli & Cordt, Southier Bros., McKnight, Chilo & Bagley, White, Sheets & Co.; Fyfe & Danson ; Alexander & Rhisdan ; Higgins & Whyte ; Johnson & Lee ; Brazeau Brothers ; Nordstrom Brothers ; Yeager & Co.; Badger & Co.; Henderson & Tange ; Fax & Co.; Miller & Curtis ; Clark, Stafford & Williams ; Disher & Christianson ; Weeks & Co.; Bourke Bros. ; August Ryberg ; Frank Agnew; H. McGuinness, Isaac Watier; James Burnfield; F. Hicks; Ef A. Wendt ; Martin Murray; Patrick King; Simon Fraser; J. S. Cameron; H. E. Boucher; Joseph View; T. Potter; C. Andrews; James Butler; John A. Moo; J* P. Simonds; John Erickson; C. J. Putrow; James Hall; H. C. Belcher; Charles J. Anderson; P. H. McCormick; F. C. Johnson; C. W. Sankey; J. B. Shattuck; Carl Blomquist; C. M. Van Cleave; James Munroe; R. G. Wilson; James Cosgrove; Lee Sholson; Ben Jones; John Macaulay; A. W. McLeod; A. F, Stander; Charles Reid; Noe Dufaul't; A. Binett; Joseph Duleau; George Harvey; H. Y. Crockett; R. J. Oliver; John Mellon; K. L. Smith; II. C. Ash; S. D. Hartman; R. Gilmore; Kenneth Sinclair; John Kerns; Louis Renand; A. H. Anderson; E. McWilliams; Frank MeCandless; John Knoll ; Albert Dalton; B. A. Burton; J. F. Brown; J. McIntyre; Louis E. Miller; John L. Eby; Chas. Olsen; Henry Aviser; Robert Casilty; J. McGrath. I
I thought It was desirable to bring this to the attention of the House, in order that hon. members may be made familiar with the claims of the miners regarding this concession, and also in the hope that the Minister of the Interior may be able to give some statement to the House as to whether Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).
the indictment which has been preferred against these gentlemen interested in that country has been met in any way by the changes which have been made by the recent Order in Council. The hon. gentleman will notice that the statements with regard to the effect of the former concession are very strong, and they are supported, apparently, by a great many people who have large interests in that country. My hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries seems to be amused by this indictment. Is there any particular cause of merriment ?