May 9, 1911

CON

Frederick Laurence Schaffner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SCHAFFNER.

I understand that the primary object in setting apart these reserves is to conserve moisture and rainfall. What idea can the minister have in his mind when he wants to utilize the tintber that is at present growing on these reserves? The minister must not lose sight of the fact that if this timber is once utilized it will toe very difficult if not impossible to reproduce it. I think that the minister will agree with me that that will be the result in the case of most of these reserves. If what the minister has stated is the primary object, it seems to me that it is not good policy that this timber should be utilized, and that he should depend upon

tlie reproduction of tlie timber for the purpose of conserving moisture. I cannot see what good object the minister has in his mind.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

Of course, we are quite aware that we cannot eat our cake and have it too, that we cannot take coal out of a coal mine and still have the coal mine; but we do know that we can grow wheat on a certain area one year, harvest the crop, grow wheat again on that same area next year and continue the process indefinitely. So, by the present existence of forest growth and the proved adaptability of the area to the growth of forest trees, we have hoped and we believe, judging from the experience of other countries, that we will be in a position to harvest our crop of timber and reproduce that crop.

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CON

Frederick Laurence Schaffner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SCHAFFNER.

How long does it take to reproduce average kinds of timber?

I assume that it takes some years anyway.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

It depends upon the kind of timber. Poplar will reproduce in fifteen or twenty years, spruce takes much longer and other kinds of timber will take a still longer time. I am not ^ suggesting that we can harvest our crop this year and again harvest another crop next year. We have to take it according to the term of years that intervenes before the next crop will be matured, but still I believe it is possible to harvest those trees in the forest which have attained their maturity, or their reasonable maturity, leaving the trees which have not yet attained that maturity to be harvested within a few years after that when they shall have attained their maturity. With a tree, as with an animal, or with any crop, up to a certain period of its life, its growth will be faster than at any other period, so that, after having arrived at a certain period in life, whether it be an animal or a tree, the growth will be very slight. We believe that when a tree has arrived at the period when its growth has done its quickest work in the production of timber, that is the time to harvest the crop and leave room for the neighbouring tree also to come up to that standard of growth. That is the theory of forestry as I understand it.

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CON

Frederick Laurence Schaffner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SCHAFFNER.

The minister has undertaken quite an important work, and he will require to use a very great deal of judgment as to which of the reserves he shall utilize in the manner he has stated. Certainly none of the reserves on the prairie can be utilized in that way. I have brought the question of our own Turtle Mountain reserve before the House on several occasions, but I shall not say anything particularly with regard to it to-day. I may say that the policy of the minister in retaining these timber

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CON

Frederick Laurence Schaffner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SCHAFFNER.

areas for the purpose of conserving moisture is a very laudable one, indeed, and one to which governments might long ago have given their attention with beneficial results, but I am not much in favour of a policy of destroying the timber on these reserves, and depending upon the reDroduction of the forest growth. I think the minister will have to use a great deal of judgment in deciding as to what timber he shall destroy. What he says about the life of a tree, and the life of a man is all very well, but the comparison does not extend any great distance. I repeat, that it will require a great deal of judgment as to what timber shall be destroyed in the expectation that it will reproduce itself.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

I quite appreciate everything that my hon. friend has said, and I may say that we are hastening slowly in this matter. We are studying the conditions as they exist in our own country. We have a vast mass of information with regard to forestry, and forest reproduction in other countries. What applies in other countries may not apply in our own, and for that reason we are studying the question very carefully to see what the possibilities are. We hope that we will be able to work out a system such as they have adopted in other countries of harvesting our crop, and still having another crop to harvest, all the while protecting the sources of water supply as they can only be protected by some measure of forest growth. We must always recognize that timber in our own western country is of special value. It is worth so much per thousand feet, but it is worth a great deal more than any actual economic value in the settlement of the country. While it is desirable that we should see that the sources of our water supplies aTe preserved it would not be possible for the government-at least I do not think it would be possible-to sit tight and say: We will not allow this timber to be

utilized. I know that in order to meet public opinion, even if we had no other reason, we would have to provide for the utilization of the timber as it reached tne point when it was most useful as a commercial article.

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CON

Frederick Laurence Schaffner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SCHAFFNER.

Will it be your object to select only timber which has fully matured, leaving the younger timber an opportunity to grow? License holders will not be allowed to cut down acre after acre of timber, young and old.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

That is absolutely our policy, that is the ideal we are working to, but of course we have to meet the immediate pressure of public opinion, of the settler who wants wood and wants building logs. We are at the same time doing our best to consider the proper conservation and reproduction of the timber. I want

to assure my hon. friend that the idea he has expressed is exactly the object of our administration of the forestry branch.

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CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY.

That is a very old clause in the timber limits, there has been such a provision for the last 30 years, that no timber shall be taken below a certain size. How much of this area is now held under license by timber men, how much has been operated and who are the licensees in each reserve?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

As I said to the hon. member for North Toronto, I have not that information under my hand, but we have it in the department and I shall produce the figures within a day or two.

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CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY.

In case of a man holding a timber license in the area which you are including^ in the reserve, does he contribute anything towards the protection of his timber?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

Certainly, limit holders under any circumstances, must pay a share of the cost of fire protection.

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CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY.

Nothing special is add-[DOT]ed for the protection when the area is taken within the park?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

No, the limit holder does not ask to have his timber included in the forest reserve, and I do not see that we would be justified in placing him under any penalty because of our adopting this policy.

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CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY.

What inspection is -. qarovided^to-insure- Lhe-carrying-out-of-the regulations as to the size of timber to be cut and the protection of the reserves from fire by the removal of brush from the cutting of the timber? The regulations under which they are allowed to operate in the reserve ought to be stringent and strictly enforced.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

It is the intention and policy of the department, to see that the cutting of timber inside the forest reserves is done in conformity, not only with the license that has been issued', but also with our general regulations for cutting timber within forest reserves. We pay men to enforce those regulations, and if they do not do their duty they ought to be fired.

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CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY.

Is there any provision for replanting areas that have been cut over, or are the government simply protecting the younger trees that are left growing? More timber has been destroyed in Canada than has been used by the people, and the fires which have caused this destruction *are often caused by brush left on the ground that has been cut over. Are the government providing for the protection of this timber by having the brush removed -or destroyed?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

The cutting within the reserves is expected to be done under the special regulations which are applicable to the forest reserves. We liave not entered upon a policy of replanting in the areas that have been cut over. So far, we have contented ourselves with providing as well as we may for the opportunity of the younger growth to develop and for its protection. We have made some small experimental efforts in seeding and planting, but the committee will understand that with 16,000,000 acres of forest reserves, the resources of Canada are not adequate to undertake a general policy of reforestation.

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CON

Alexander Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAGGART (Winnipeg).

This is legislation in the right direction which will have the sympathy of every member in this House. I suppose that the details of the regulations for the prevention of destruction and for reforestation will be the subject of the rules and regulations that may be made from time to time by the department?

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May 9, 1911