June 5, 1908

CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AMES.

The hon. gentleman (Mr. Oliver) speaking with reference to the Peace River Colonization Company, I think, misunderstood one point that I was making. He said that if the strict letter of the law was not absolutely fulfilled, it might not affect the settlement. I do not think it is so much the letter as the spirit of the bargain that we are interested in in the case of these concessions. The spirit of the concession was to bring to that north country repatriated Canadians and Canadians from other parts of the country. Taking up this Edmonton paper, the ' Clairion,' I see an article in the January and February number headed, ' Audacious attempt of American Land Corporation to capture a concession.' If the minister finds, on investigation, that this concession, granted for one object, is in danger of being captured by an American land corporation to be used for another purpose altogether, it seems to me it should have a very considerable bearing on the settlement of the case. This is a very valuable concession, when you come to look at it. The grant of 576 square miles means a grant of about 368,640 acres. Now, the condition upon which about half of this, or 176,620 acres could be purchased for $1 an acre on very long terms was that the company should put in, all told, 1,200 settlers as homestead; ers. If they can purchase this quantity of land for $1 an acre and sell it for $6 or $7 an acre, that means a million dollars of profit. We do not object to the company acquiring this million dollars of profit, if, in return for it, they fulfil the original idea of the company

viz., placing repatriated Canadians and Canadians from other provinces in that western country. But, if there is to be sold to an American syndicate a concession out of which a million dollars can be made, it seems to me it is about time that that sort of thing was brought to an end. So, I want to call the minister's attention to the fact that the spirit of the bargain which underlies this concession is quite as important as the letter.

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

I agree with the hon. gentleman (Mr. Ames), and am glad to find that he agrees with me, that the spirit is really more important than the letter. But I do not agree with him as to the importance of what he seems to consider the spirit of this transaction. In the first place, let me say that this transaction is not in line with the policy of the government at the present time.

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

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CON
LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

It is a transaction that was entered into a considerable number of years ago, when conditions were not at all as they are to-day. I agree with my hon. friend that it is a laudable purpose to try to secure the settlement of even distant parts of the country, and I suppose he will agree with me when I say that it may well be necessary, and, being necessary, it may very well be proper, that special arrangements should be entered into in order to secure the settlement of these distant tracts. On that principle, many years ago, Special arrangements were entered into to secure settlement under the late government and under this government-under this government very few and under the late government very many. This is one of the very few instances under this government. My own impression is that, in the present circumstances of the country and under present conditions, it is not the best policy, in promoting the general settlement of the country, to enter into a special agreement with a special organization for any special class of people to be settled in any special place. I find no fault with the policy that prevailed years ago under different conditions. As conditions change, it is right and proper that our policy should change. My idea is that, under present conditions, our best policy is the principle of the land for the first comer and first come first served. On that principle, I should be inclined to take a somewhat unfavourable view of the claims of this company even on the lines suggested by my hon. friend in as much as it means a special effort on behalf of special people if I understood him correctly.

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CON
LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

Well, even our own people. My idea is that the value of these concessions lay in securing a nucleus of settlement in the then far-distant, and still distant, Peace River country ; a settlement which could demonstrate by the labour and enterprise of the settlers, the agricultural and other possibilities of that vast region. Now, it seems to me that if this company can arrive at that end, whether they arrive at it or not absolutely and strictly within the letter of their agreement, I do not say that we would, but I say that we might, be justified in overlooking their failure to actually live up to the letter of their agreement, without regard to whether they were securing the settlement of repatriated citizens of Canada or the settlement of even a Canadian colony there. I would be inclined to consider them as having fulfilled the spirit of their agreement if they were successful in placing upon their land a colony of a reasonable number, that would achieve a reasonable measure of agricul-

tural success. However, I would much rather have the privilege of dealing with this question of the Peace River colonization according to the practice of the government as well understood, and place the result before the House ; otherwise our dealings may be somewhat hampered, to the disadvantage of the public interest.

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CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AMES.

What is the policy of the government at the present time with reference to granting timber and coal in areas that are not surveyed ? Does the government intend to continue that policy, and what steps are taken to ensure the exact location of berths ? For example, in this same section we are discussing, this Peace River section, the government have seen fit to give, I think, 350 square miles of timber for a mere bagatelle, to J. W. Stewart, who is connected with the firm of Larkin Brothers and Foley. Now what steps are being taken to secure a delimitation of that immense area of timber that has fallen into the hands of Mr. Stewart ? Who does the surveying ? Has the surveying been commenced ? How long has Mr. Stewart been allowed by the department to locate these tracts ? He has secured a practical monopoly of the best timber that supplies this Peace River section, and it will be needed as soon as settlement goes in there. Is it still the policy of the government to grant timber areas in sections which are remote from settlement, and in sections which are unsurveyed ? How does the government deal with timber limits in sections like that, and what is the present policy of the government in granting such areas ?

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

With regard to the timber limits secured by Mr. Stewart, my information is that the surveys have been completed by Mr. Stewart, as in all cases, under the former regulations, surveys are made by the persons who acquire the limits.

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CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AMES.

What is the character of that survey ? Does it include township lines and subdivisions ?

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

Certainly not. He runs a line, he defines the timber that he has purchased by metes and bounds.

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CON
LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

No, because the townships are not surveyed. But he makes a survey which is a legal survey, and which can be mapped, and is just as definite as if it was made by a township survey.

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CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AMES.

How can you lay it on the map of the department ?

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

I am not a map maker, but as a matter of fact the limits to which my hon. friend alludes are shown on the more recent maps issued by the department. I am sure he will absolve me from

the necessity of explaining how it is done. But I know that the limits are surveyed and appear on those maps.

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CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AMES.

Do you describe the limits with any reference whatever to the townships in which they lie, or do you describe them simply by certain points representing bluffs or hills ?

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

By the survey lines, the lines run by the surveyor. The stakes set by the surveyor are the boundaries of the limits, and they are definable on the map, the same as section and township lines are definable.

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CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AMES.

Is it now the policy of the government to survey their own timber limits that they may henceforth grant ?

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

Yes, under our present regulations. They provide that when application is made for a timber berth, or when the government thinks the time has arrived that a certain body of timber should be offered for sale, the regulations provide that it shall first be surveyed by the government. .

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CON

June 5, 1908