November 16, 1909

LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

With all deference to your position, it seems to me that the interpretation of the rule given by my hon. friend the leader of the opposition is correct. The object of the rule is not to interrupt the business of the House by a motion to adjourn.

Topic:   INDIAN LANDS IN THE PROVINCE OF ALBERTA.
Permalink
L-C

John Herron

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HERRON.

I shall take up the time of the House but for a few moments. I desire to refer to a sale of land occupied by Indians, that was advertised to take plaae on the 24th of this month. The Teserve is situated between Macleod and Pincher Creek, where I live. The quantity of land is something less than a township. A majority of the Indians on the reserve that own the land are required to give their consent to a disposal of any portion of the land. Be that as it may, I am not thor-Mr. MONK.

oughly posted. It is claimed that when the first vote was taken half of the Indians on this reserve did not know the vote was to be taken to dispose of their land. It seems the majority was not sufficiently large to authorize a disposal of the land. It is alleged that the Indians were induced in some way to leave the reserve and be absent when the second vote was taken, and the second vote did not carry by a sufficient majority. A third vote was therefore necessary, and it is also alleged that some inducements were offered to some of the Indians who opposed the selling of the land to be absent, and on the third vote the proposition was carried. Now the sale is advertised to take place on the 24th of this month, and the Indians are apparently making a pretty vigorous protest, that is those who were opposed to the selling of this land. For my own part I am not prepared to say whether it would be a good thing for the Indians to dispose of a portion of their land or not at the present time. I think it would be rather to their advantage to sell the land. But that is not for me to say here to-day. I desire to draw this matter to the attention of the Minister of the Interior in order that he may be acquainted with the facts. Perhaps they may be serious.

Topic:   INDIAN LANDS IN THE PROVINCE OF ALBERTA.
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Hon. FRANK OLIVER (Minister of Interior).

I am sorry the hon. member has not seen fit to ask for the production of the papers in this matter, because had the papers been before the House, there would have been an opportunity for all members on both sides to acquaint themselves with the actual facts of the case. However, as the question has been brought forward by my hon. friend; and as it happens I am personally familiar with the facts to a considerable extent, I may take the opportunity of placing them before the House, with the hope, however, that later on my hon!" friend will move for the papers, and that they will be placed before the House.

Topic:   INDIAN LANDS IN THE PROVINCE OF ALBERTA.
Permalink
L-C
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

As the hon. gentleman has said, the Indian reserve in] question is situated between the two towns of Macleod and Pincher Creek, .in Southern Alberta. The reserve is a very large one, and it is occupied by about 500 Indians. It is much larger than that number of Indians are entitled to under the treaty. But the reserve having been set apart for that band, they exercise proprietary rights in regard to the whole area. This band as well as several others in Southern Alberta, have made considerable progress towards self support. They have emerged from the condition of absolute dependence on the government, and to a great extent they now earn their own living, either by working for wages amongst the farmers and others

outside of the reserve, or by rearing stock and cultivating land within the reserve. Recently the development of agriculture in Southern Alberta has been such that it has borne in upon the minds of these people the possibilities that there are in the raising of crops upon their reservation, and they have from time to time approached officials of the department with the request that they be outfitted with the necessary implements and seed which would enable them to cultivate on a larger scale than at present.

Although the conditions of farming are perhaps not as arduous in the west as they are in the east, still farming requires capital; there must be motive power and machinery to break up the land, sow the crop and harvest it. The Indians could not be placed in a position to carry on farming operations without an expenditure of money. Their land has become very valuable by reason of the increase of settlement in the vicinity and it did not seem to the department reasonable that parliament should be asked to vote large sums of money to supply the Indians with a farming equipment when these Indians in their own property had ample means to supply their requirements. The matter has been under discussion for some time and naturally there are differences of opinion among the band on the subject. A member of the band who had a good farming outfit, with stock and a house, would naturally not be in favour of disposing of any of the land, whereas a member who had no equipment or cultivation would naturally be inclined to view the proposition with favour. The question was brought before the band as provided by the Indian Act, the proposition being to sell for the benefit of the band, a certain portion of the reserve on the side towards the town of Macleod. That proposition was not received with favour by the band. It was then proposed to surrender another portion of the reserve and this too was not received with favour. A third proposition was made for the surrender of a, portion of land on the northwest portion of the reserve, which lay across the Old Man river from the portion of the reserve that * was principally occupied by the Indians and this proposition was received with favour by the band. On a vote being taken, a majority of 12 of those present voted in favour of the sale of that portion of the reserve. This vote having been taken and it being considered by the department to be in the interests of the band that this land, which was of practically no value to the Indians, should be utilized to outfit them so as to enable them not only to earn their own living but to actually become profitable producers in the country, the surrender was accepted and means were taken to dispose of the property to the best advantage. Some 35 sections of land are involved. I visited the land myself. It is to a large extent very desirable land and no doubt will produce at the sale which is advertised to take place on the 24th of this month, a very substantial amount, which will certainly be sufficient to so equip the Indians as to enable them to support themselves on the portion of the reserve which they retain. That is our belief and in that belief we have been prepared to go on with the sale. When the papers are laid before the House they will show that there is no foundation for any suggestion of impropriety on the part of the department in the matter.

There is, as I have said, a difference of opinion between the Indians who have an equipment and the Indians who have not, but apparently the Indians who have not are in the majority, and as the law says that the majority shall rule, I see nothing else but to go on with the sale as has bean intended. I held council with the Indians myself for some five hours and heard arguments on both sides very thoroughly threshed out, and I certainly was of the opinion that, the surrender having been made, the sale should be carried out.

Topic:   INDIAN LANDS IN THE PROVINCE OF ALBERTA.
Permalink

ST. JOHN RIVER VALLEY RAILWAY.

CON

Oswald Smith Crocket

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. O. S. CROCKET (York, New Brunswick).

Mr. Speaker, before the House adjourns, I would ask the Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) if the government have yet considered the proposal which was made to a sub-committee of the cabinet consisting of himself, the Minister of Railways (Hon. G. P. Graham), and the Minister of Public Works (Hon. Wm. Pugsley), in April last by a delegation from New Brunswick for the construction of a railroad from Grand Falls to the city of St. John by the valley of the St. John river and, if so, what decision has been arrived at? The right hon gentleman (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) will remember that there was a very large delegation representing all the river counties of the province and that they represented to the sub-committee of the cabinet that they had the assurance of the government of New Brunswick that the Governor in Council of that province would undertake to guarantee bonds of any company undertaking the construction of that railway to the extent of $25,000 a mile, provided this government would agree to take over the line on completion and operate it as part of the Intercolonial system on the basis of a rental of forty per cent of the gross revenue. The delegation asked for an early reply in order that the necessary legislation might be put through the New Brunswick legislature at the last session, which was then expected to prorogue in the course of a few days. I remember the Prime Min-

ister stating that he considered the proposal a very definite one and intimating that a reply would be given in a very short time. Notwithstanding that assurance, I understand that there has since been no official communication to the government of New Brunswick, or to any other authority, in reference to the action of the government, and I would like to know now if the matter has been considered, and if so, what decision has been arrived at.

Topic:   ST. JOHN RIVER VALLEY RAILWAY.
Permalink
LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Hon. WM. PUGSLEY (Minister of Public Works).

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has desired that, as this is a matter affecting more particularly the province i f New Brunswick, and as I am very familiar with what has taken place, I should reply to the request of my hon. friend (Mr. Crocket) for information. I may say to him that no proposal was made to this government by the government of New Brunswick, but a proposal was made on behalf of a company which, we were informed, was incorporated by the legislature of New Brunswick. The members of the company were present, and I think also some officials of the province, particularly the Provincial Secretary, the Hon. Mr. Fleming. It was stated at that time that the company had the assurance of the provincial government that they would ask from the legislature of the province authority to guarantee the bonds of the railway company to the extent of $25,000 a mile, provided the Dominion government would agree that the Intercolonial railway should operate the line as a part of the government railway system and would pay over to the province forty per cent of the gross earnings. The government took the matter into consideration and a short time afterwards the government were informed that the hon. member for Carleton, New Brunswick (Mr. Carvel!) had received a telegram from the company stating that they were desirous of having a reply to the proposals which had been submitted. The member for Carleton (Mr. Carvell) interviewed the Prime Minister, the Minister of Railways, and myself, and possibly other members of the government, and as a result of that interview he wired, as he was authorized to wire, to the company, that before giving-I am mw stating the effect of the telegram, I do not profess to give the exact words.

Topic:   ST. JOHN RIVER VALLEY RAILWAY.
Permalink
LIB
LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

This is the telegram *which the hon. member for Carleton sent to the secretary of the company:

Ottawa, April 28, '09.

J. -I. Winslow, Fredericton, N.B.

Before the Dominion government can give positive answer they require information as to details of proposition. They suggest that the local government pass legislation authorizing guarantee subject to conditions that the Dominion government make satisfactory agreement to operate.

Topic:   ST. JOHN RIVER VALLEY RAILWAY.
Permalink

F. B. CARVELL.

CON

Oswald Smith Crocket

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROCKET.

By whom was the member for Carleton authorized to convey that information?

Topic:   F. B. CARVELL.
Permalink
LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

I have stated that that was sent after consultation by the member for Carleton with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Railways, and myself, and the member for Carleton was authorized to send that telegram in answer to a telegram from the secretary of the company, addressed not to the government but to the member for Carleton.

Topic:   F. B. CARVELL.
Permalink
LIB
LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

This is the telegram dated April 27, 1909; from the secretary of the company to the member for Carleton:

' Fredericton, N.B., April 27, 1909.

F. B. Carvell, M.P., Ottawa.

We are credibly informed that local government will not introduce legislation guaranteeing bonds Valley railway unless prior assurance is received that Dominion government will operate road on completion. Would it be possible for you to obtain this assurance and wire us at once, as House rises Thursday or Friday.

J. J. F. WINSLOW, Secretary.'

The member for Carleton upon receiving that telegram saw the Prime Minister, the Minister of Railways, and myself, and he was authorized to send to Mr. Winslow the telegram of April the 28th, which I have read to the House. I may say that subsequently I received communications from the mayor of Fredericton, who is the president of the company, and I submitted the correspondence to the Prime Minister and also to the Minister of Railways, and as a result of the interviews I had with my colleagues I made it very plain and clear to the company that before this government could give a definite answer it would be necessary that a definite proposition should be submitted on behalf either of the company or of the provincial government. I called the attention of the company to the fact that an ofler to merely construct a road without specifying what was to be the standard of construction, what the grades, what the weight of rails, what the kind of bridges and culverts, what the equipment of the road, and without specifying these, to ask this government to agree that the road should be operated upon the basis of paying over to the provincial government 40 per cent of the gross earnings, was too indefinite a proposition for this government to consider.

Topic:   F. B. CARVELL.
Permalink
CON

Oswald Smith Crocket

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROCKET.

Would the minister allow me a question right there? Does the

Topic:   F. B. CARVELL.
Permalink
CON

Oswald Smith Crocket

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROCKET.

minister remember the Prime Minister, the Minister of Railways, or himself, making any intimation to the delegation that such details as these would be required before this government would consider the proposal? Not a question indicating any such suggestion was asked by one of them. On the contrary the Prime Minister as already pointed out, described the proposal as a definite one which would have to be considered by the cabinet and intimated that an answer would be given in the course of a few days.

Topic:   F. B. CARVELL.
Permalink
LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

I have not stated it was asked at the conference referred to, but I have stated that it was asked in a telegram which the member for Carleton sent, and I have also stated that it was asked distinctly and clearly in the letters which I wrote to the secretary and president of the company. These letters I wrote not only upon my responsibility as the minister representing the province, but also after a conference and also a full understanding with the Prime Minister and the Minister of Railways. I may say, Mr. Speaker, that no legislation was introduced into the New Brunswick legislature by the provincial government, and no proposition has yet been made by the provincial government in response to the suggestions made by the member for Carleton and which were afterwards made by myself in the letters to which I have referred.

Topic:   F. B. CARVELL.
Permalink
CON

Oswald Smith Crocket

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROCKET.

I would like to ask the minister if the government took the proposition that they would not consider the proposal until it was put in the form of a statute.

Topic:   F. B. CARVELL.
Permalink
LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

Not at all. I hope I made myself clear to the hon. gentleman. What I stated was that before this government would consider the proposal as to whether or not the Intercolonial would operate this railway upon the basis of paying over to the province 40 per cent of the gross earnings, they must know the character of the road which it was proposed to build, what would be the grades, what the description of bridges, what the weight of the rails, and what the equipment, in order that they might determine intelligently whether or not the road could be operated upon the percentage basis proposed.

Topic:   F. B. CARVELL.
Permalink

November 16, 1909