May 9, 1911

FOREST RESERVES AND PARKS.


House again in Committee on Bill (No. 85) respecting forest reserves and parks.- Mr. Oliver.


LIB

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

Liberal

Hon. FRANK OLIVER (Minister of the Interior).

This Bill was before the committee on a previous occasion, when somewhat full explanations were made in regard to it, and a map was laid upon the table which would give, perhaps, a clearer explanation than anything I could say. That map will be laid on the table again in a few minutes. Unless another resume of the purposes of the Bill is required, I would suggest that it be taken up clause by clause.

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CON

George Halsey Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PERLEY.

The minister might explain the general purposes of this Bill.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

I have just stated that I explained the Bill at some length on a previous occasion, but if another explanation is required, of course, I can repeat. The Bill is practically a revision of the present Forest Reserves Act. Perhaps the most important feature of it is that which sets apart by statute the eastern slope of the Rocky mountains as a forest reserve. Certain parts of that area are now under reservation. The Rocky Mountains Park, of which Banff is the capital, is a reservation by Act of Parliament-a park reservation, not a forest reserve. The Waterton Lakes reserve is a reserve by Act of parliament. The large area of which Jasper House might be called the capital is under reservation by order in council as a forest park. It is proposed to place the whole of the eastern slope of the Rocky mountains, including these reservations, in the position of a forest reserve, under restrictions as to surface occupation and regulations as to the protection of timber which prevail in regard to all other forest reserves under the present Forest Reserves Act. But this Bill contains a provision which differs from the existing Forest Reserves Act in this-that any portion of the area included in a forest reserve may be placed under the additional

restrictions or provisions which would enable that particular area to be used as a park or pleasure resort. These are the two distinctive features of the Bill.

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L-C

John Herron

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HEBRON.

Does the government own all the timber that is going to be protected?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

There may be some small isolated areas taken up by settlers. There are certain small areas which we propose to take out of reservation. On examination it has been found that they do not meet the conditions considered desirable in a forest reserve, and we think the public interest is best served by withdrawing them. Besides the reserves shown on the main map, there are reserves in the railway belt of British Columbia which are shown on another sheet.

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CON

Charles Alexander Magrath

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MAGRATH.

Is there not a reserve on the American boundary of Alberta? And has not some effort been made to have some other regulations on both sides of the line?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

None that have come to my attention. Any representations that have been made have looked to securing the setting apart of the reservation on our side. With that done, perhaps some question of uniform regulations might come up.

On section 2,-lands in schedule withdrawn from sale and occupancy,

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

What area is included in these reserves, and of the total what portion is on the Rocky mountains' slope?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

Under this Bill there are twenty-four reserves, with an aggregate area of 16,760,640 acres, as compared with twenty-one reserves, with an area of 3,379,200 acres under the present Act.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Within those sections that are set apart and are within these boundaries, are there any private ownerships, leases or anything of that kind?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

There are some mineral claims in this proposed Rocky Mountain reservation, and there may be an occasional settler. But the number of settlers is very limited, and of course their right would have to be dealt with; and there are some timber limits.

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L-C

John Herron

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HERRON.

As the minister is aware, there are a number of settlers in some of these reserves, and is it the intention of the government to let them remain in peaceful possession where they are now, or to remove them?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

It depends on circumstances. If the settlers have gone upon the reservation after it was declared a reservation, then they are not recognized as having any right, and are subject to summary Mr. OLIVER.

removal. But if there are settlers now in legitimate occupation of land covered by a reservation at the time the reservation is declared, then of course they are dealt with on the basis of that right, whatever it may be. There is no intention or desire on the part of the government to interfere unduly with any man's right. But if parliament, in its wisdom, sanctions the action of the government in setting apart a certain reservation, and if, in pursuance of the purpose of parliament, it becomes necessary to clear that area of settlers, then of course that clearance must be effected, always having due regard to the value of the rights of the settlers. If a man has a right, and it is the will of parliament that he shall not retain that right, then he must be compensated.

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CON

Alexander Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAGGART (Winnipeg).

I understand these reserves will only be declared as such when this Bill becomes law. There is no declaration of reservation yet, is there?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

These lands will only become a reservation when this Bill becomes law. But there are now a number of reservations under the existing Act which will be included under the terms of this Act when it becomes law. In the territory that is put under this Act, rights existent at the time of the passing of the Act of course must be recognized.

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CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY.

Are there any timber limits held under license and abutting on these reserves?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

Yes, there are timber licenses both abutting on the reserve and included in the reserve. The owner of a timber license would be in just the same position as the owner of a mineral right or a surface right. Whatever rights he had he would retain, or else be compensated for them.

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CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY.

Do I understand the minister to say that the holder of a timber license may still retain his right in that reservation?

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May 9, 1911