or two to hunt up those figures, and in the meantime I might perhaps make some explanation with respect to this somewhat substantial reduction in the appropriation for experimental farms. Possibly this reduction will be too large to suit some and too small to suit others; but, speaking generally, I think it is in fair conformity with reductions in the estimates which have resulted in an aggregate reduction of $46,000,000. We hope, however, not to curtail the services to any appreciable extent; but certain activities will have to be dispensed with in order, with this reduction, to take care of the work.
I might refer to the contemplated establishment of a new experimental farm in the northern part of British Columbia. In a sense, there was a commitment to that by the government which preceded this one. I visited that territory myself two years ago, and with certain reservations I would say that the promises of my predecessor were substantiated by myself. We find, however, that that will have to be deferred a little longer. As regards the proposed extension of the Brandon farm which has been flooded very considerably during the past two years, and which should have an extension of territory attached to it on the bench land above the valley at Brandon, we shall have to wait a little while before we make that necessary outlay. These are some of the retrenchments that we shall have to consider in order to carry on these farms without any decrease in efficiency. The figures asked for by my hon. friend from Bow River (Mr. Garland) are
Swede Creek, Dawson, Yukon Territory $2,020
Fort Smith, Fort Resolution and Fort Providence 690 Fort Vermilion 5,525
Yes, it is quite possible that we may have extended our frontier rapidly in many respects as well as in the establishmnet of sub-stations. Our policy used to be that we could not get too far towards the
setting sun, and that was carried out by our pioneer farmers as well. I presume that it was in conformity with that general policy, that this sub-station was opened about fifteen years ago. While possibly we are living in a period of retrenchment, we have not thought it advisable to do anything in the way of abolishing experiments that have been conducted at that sub-station. Whatever my personal views might be with regard to this work, I feel a little loath to begin to tear down any of the work of my predecessors who have been building up those institutions for the last forty years. Yet I hope, where it is shown that they are not required; that the money is either wholly or partially wasted; that there is no possible chance of settlement or of gaining useful information, that change can be brought about if necessary.
It will be about the same. I have a note that indicates that wheat has been ripened every year except one at Fort Vermilion, and of course where wheat will ripen, coarse grains will ripen better still. I shall be glad to have any views regarding the desirability of keeping' those northern sub-stations open. The expense is not very heavy. I understand that in that district there are some three or four hundred settlers. I am sure the advantages of that pioneer district will be comparatively limited, and if we do anything to abolish this institution, those settlers may feel that we are deserting them altogether. I understand settlers are still going in there.
Exactly the same information is given by this farm as is given by any other experimental station. Instead of every settler carrying out a line of experiments at his own expense, this sub-station demonstrates just what the locality is adapted for. There is no doubt that we have had pioneer districts established1 in Canada, particularly in the older parts of Ontario and some other places, without the aid of such institutions; but it is equally true that new settlers coming in are materially assisted by these experimental stations.
This station would no doubt induce other settlers to locate in that district and ultimately the cost to the country of the work carried on there would be considerably greater. The place being so far from a railway, does the minister think he is justified in keeping the station open?
That, of course, is a question that is open to argument. I might say that I myself once went in two hundred miles from a railway, and from my experience I am inclined to be somewhat sympathetic towards these people.
That, of course, is true. But there are a great many institutions that are not self-supporting which at one time were, and I do not know whether this is to our advantage or not. If we take the ground that these settlers should not have gone in there, and if for that reason we discontinue the work of this station, it will be tantamount to telling these people that so far as we are concerned they will have to get along as best they can. If that is the view hon. gentlemen take, then I shall look into the matter; but for my part I do not think that would be wise.
I do not wish to be unfair to the minister, but, frankly, I think that he might very seriously consider the advisability of suspending all operations at this sub-station. I understand that we are bending all our efforts to the settlement of those parts of Canada that are situated within reasonable distances of our many railways; but there is no prospect of a railway going into this particular locality. It is four hundred miles from a railway and I hope it will be many years before very many people go there, because it will cost the country so much, and without a railway I do not think the expense woul(j_be justified. I am not suggesting that the minister should virtually say to the settlers out there that he throws up the sponge and that no one can
exist in that part of the country. But it seems to me that the settlers themselves realize far better than the minister does that they cannot make money there; probably they are barely existing.
The question is a proper one for discussion. This winter I have discussed the matter fully with my officers, somewhat along the line indicated by my hon. friend, and I was forced to the conclusion that it would be very much like cruelty to deprive the people in that district of the advantages they get from this station. I do not know that we should have too much sentiment in matters of this kind, but, as one who has pioneered in the West, I do not feel just now like taking the institution away from them. In my opinion the policy of development in the West has suggested a reaching out towards the setting sun.