February 19, 1926

CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

The hon. member for St.

James says that that is all right. Well, that may be the political standard of our friends of the Liberal party, but I hope the Conservative

The Address-Mr. Ladner

party will never adopt it. Such a principle of action is ruinous to the country, for it corrupts the people; it causes men to seek office by promising all sorts of things to the electorate, instead of basing their appeal upon the enactment of legislation for the general welfare of the Dominion. It is a poor exhibition of statesmanship-in fact it is not worthy of the name of statesmanship. I take another quotation from this interesting report. It relates to the alternative vote.

Mr. Kang said that had the alternative vote been adopted Liberals would have had advantages in a number of three-cornered fights, "but." he added, "I am coming to see more dearly that the alternative vote will help to perpetuate the group system, and I believe the group system of government bad."

He believes it is bad-that was in October last. Now that the election is over he comes right back to practise what he then believed to be bad. He joins with the Progressive group and promises the single alternative vote to maintain himself and his government in power against the clearly expressed opinion of the majority of the electorate.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I have referred to these things because they are a sample of the campaign generally which was carried on last October, I believe that the questions and answers contained in this report of the Saskatoon meeting are very significant, particularly the question, "How many miles per member will you complete?" I think it aptly expresses the policy of the government in this present parliament. The Speech from the Throne discloses beyond doubt to any reasonable man who understands the great questions of the day that the whole purpose of the government's action is to seek the support of the Progressive members in order to maintain itself in power. In other words, the government is carrying out the policy of "How many miles of railway per member will you complete?" They have now got the support of twenty-four Progressive members. Just how many remaining miles of the Hudson Bay railway will be built? Well, the Prime Minister has run in Prince Albert in the meantime, and no doubt the whole road will be completed. You will observe, Sir, that in Saskatoon the question of the Hudson Bay railway was paramount; the report does not reveal any other subject of discussion. In Vancouver the question was freight rates, while in some other cities it was low tariff. I refer to these matters because I believe that instead of creating that unity of spirit and of action and promoting that good will among our confederated provinces which every true Canadian should try to foster, this temptation of yielding to the demands of certain sections

of the country in order to secure votes is bad for the Dominion and must inevitably bring about sectional ill-will and disunion.

I purpose now to deal with that portion of the Speech from the Throne relating to the transference of the natural resources to the province of Alberta, namely:

Your attention will be invited, among other measures, to a bill to (provide for the transfer to the province of Alberta of its natural resources.

I recall to Your Honour that in the Speech from the Throne of 1922 a declaration was made that their natural resources would be handed back to the three western provinces. In keeping with the general sluggishness of the government, nothing at all was done to redeem that promise, but now, at this critical moment, when the government's fate depends upon the Progressive members, several of whom come from Alberta, the government suddenly awakens to the realization that it is in the best interests of western Canada to hand back their natural resources to those provinces. I wonder why the government has not come to an arrangement with the province of Manitoba, which has sent a number of Conservative members to this House? Those who have made a study of this question, particularly those who have read Mr. Chester Martin's little book, will undoubtedly agree that there are strong reasons why the province of Manitoba should receive its natural resources just as well as the province of Alberta.

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LIB

Francis Nicholson Darke

Liberal

Mr. DARKE:

Is the hon. member aware

that the same terms offered Alberta were also offered to Saskatchewan and Manitoba?

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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

I do not happen to be in the confidence of the government, but I have noticed that its conduct frequently co-ordinates with prevailing political conditions. In other words, I would judge that the agreement made with the province of Alberta is largely influenced by the advantages accruing to the administration from the support of Progressive members from that province.

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LIB
CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

Saskatchewan seems to

have been looked after in another way. I refer the hon. gentleman to this Saskatoon speech.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

They are just ordinary

Grits.

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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

My right hon. leader suggests that the Saskatchewan members are "just ordinary Grits." The government has got them, anyhow.

The Address-Mr. Ladner

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LIB

Francis Nicholson Darke

Liberal

Mr. DARKE:

But they did not need to

be bribed.

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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

If the hon. gentleman will

read in Hansard the quotation which I have made from that famous speech in Saskatoon, he will find there the main incentive for most of the arrangements to be found in the Speech from the Throne.

I have taken for some time an interest in the question of the natural resources of the western provinces. In 1922, when I spoke on the Address in reply to the Speech from the Throne, I went somewhat exhaustively into the matter and into the claims of British Columbia wfith respect to the natural resources that were taken from our province unfairly and unjustly in order to bring about the completion of the Canadian Pacific railway. The principles underlying that problem are the same as those which apply in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

On January 26, at the request of a certain Toronto newspaper, I made a suggestion with respect to the railway belt and the Peace river block in British Columbia, and with respect to the Pacific Great Eastern railway and the very extensive land grants given to that railway and with respect to the Canadian National Railways. My proposal was published in the Vancouver Daily Province, and the next day Mr. Oliver, Premier of British Columbia, made a reply upholding a certain proposal that he had in the way of legislation for handing over the Pacific Great Eastern railway with some 16,075,000 acres of land to certain United States financiers who, it appears, were contemplating taking over this system. About ten days later Mr. Oliver, leader of the Liberal government, made in Vancouver a speech which was published in full in the Morning Star, a Liberal organ, of the 6th February, in relation to the same question. I make reference to this because I believe it is the first step by my good friend Mr. Oliver, who is a shrewd and able tactician in political matters, in connection with the next provincial election and, perhaps, in connection with the next federal election.

This question of British Columbia's claim for better terms had its inception in 1906 when Sir Richard McBride was leader of the Conservative government, and that question as well as the claim for lower freight rates began about the same time, the fight being carried on for a number of years. When Mr. Oliver became premier he took up the question of lower freight rates, and after enticing to his support non-political bodies such as boards of trade and other organizations in 14011-75

British Columbia, he finally made the freight rates question the centre of the hottest and fiercest political fight that has been carried on in that province. The question of freight rates became not only the centre of the political contest provincially, but the centre of the contest federally in the last election. Mr. Oliver proposes to hand over the Pacific Great Eastern railway, together with 16,075,000 acres of land containing many valuable assets, to these United States financiers, and he is making a claim on the federal government for the return to the province of the railway grants which originally consisted of about 13,000,000 acres but of which about

10,600,000 acres remain; and claims also the Peace river block.

That is the position of British Columbia at the present day. I make a proposal quite different from that. I think it will be a misfortune for Canada, and for British Columbia, if we allow a strip of land forty miles wide along the Pacific Great Eastern railway, with great resources in timber and mines and beautiful scenery, to be taken over by foreign interests of any kind who would gain a proprietory interest in those lands and in that railway. It is rumored that Mr. Oliver intends to call a summer session of the provincial legislature in order to consummate a deal which is under consideration and which was authorized to some extent by the last legislature. When my proposal was published in the Vancouver Province on the 26th January, Mr. Oliver the next morning made this reply which I will read because this is a matter, not only of provincial importance, as I will show in the development of my argument, but of national importance. Mr. Oliver made this reply:

(Special to the Province):

Victoria, January 28.-If American capitalists an willing to take over the Pacific Great Eastern railway, together with vast areas of subsidy land, they will not be barred on account of their nationality.

This was made clear by Premier Oliver when h6 issued a statement replying to the suggestion of Leon Ladner, M.P., as reported in "The Province," that the P.G.E. be kept in British control.

"As to whether British, Canadian or United States capital secures control of the railway and the subsidy lands matters but little," the premier asserted in his statement.

"If it is a private corporation it will operate for profit. Again, capital knows no international boundaries. If the railway and the lands are acquired by Britishers or Canadians their Stocks would be marketable in the United States-British to-day, American to-morrow or the reverse.

"In respect of the P.G.E. and its lands being acquired by the Canadian National Railways, Mr. Ladner's suggestions are very similar to the policy of this government, as first outlined 'by myself in a letter addressed to Hon. George Graham, Minister

The Address-Mr. Ladner

of Railways, dated April 30, 1925, and as outlined in an address to -the Vancouver Board of Trade this month. I am very .pleased to see a Conservative member of Parliament endorsing to a large extent a policy proposed by myself."

As a matter of fact, I am condemning the policy proposed by Mr. Oliver and I am repeating the policy which was proposed in this House in 1922 by myself and by other Conservatives in years gone by, particularly by Mr. George H. Cowan, who was formerly a member of this House. I submit to the House and to the government the wisdom of retaining the Pacific Great Eastern railway with its 16,075,000 acres of land under the control of the Canadian National Railways. If the Pacific Great Eastern Railway and these vast resources are of sufficient importance that the United States financiers are willing to come in, take them over, assume the obligations and complete the railway in order to gain the advantages from the resources that lie along the railway, surely such a proposal must be equally sound and advantageous to the Canadian National system which would have not only the resources but control of an important railway system.

I suggest that not only could the Canadian National Railways take over the Pacific Great Eastern railway and these lands, but the Peace river block composed of 3,500,000 acres of land, which has long been in dispute between the province and the Dominion, could well be handed over by grant to the Canadian National Railways. That would ensure to the Dominion and to eastern Canada in particular freedom from demands on the public treasury by the Canadian National system as a result of taking over the Pacific Great Eastern railway. I suggest that the Canadian National Railways should build and the future development of this country will make it necessary to build a railway from the Peace river district to connect with the Canadian National Railways at or near Fort George, either through the Peace or the Pine pass, and in that way an outlet will be given to the vast area of the Peace river district. I know some hon. members will not be much interested in this and will not understand it; but in that Peace river district there is a great empire; there are about 70,000,000 acres of land of which 20,000,000 acres can be brought under cultivation. When you consider that eleven million acres of land under cultivation in Alberta produced 110,000,000 bushels last year, you begin to grasp the immensity of the Peace river area, its importance in the west, and its opportunities for immigration and development. I submit, Mr. Speaker, that not only should we retain these railway systems,

fMr. Ladner.]

but the Canadian National should take over the Edmonton and Dunvegan railway by arrangement with the province of Alberta, so that our government-owned system would have control over the different western railways, the Pacific Great Eastern and the Edmonton and Dunvegan, and then in co-oper-at.ion with the government as well as with the other great railway system, the Canadian Pacific railway, they could undertake a scheme of immigration and colonization for the Peace river and other districts in western Canada.

This country is in need of immigrants. All hon. members, the press, and the public tel! us that the solution of our problems, financial and otherwise, is to be found in the presence of more people in this country. We know that is the solution, but I submit that we cannot get people into this country unless the government takes the initiative in formulating a constructive policy which will induce people to come to Canada, and which will provide them with the means of making a living after they are here. For that reason I commend the government for the arrangement they have recently made for securing immigrants through the co-operation of the Canadian National and the Canadian Pacific, whereby the two railway systems in a businesslike way will seek out suitable immigrants in Europe, and take the responsibility for placing them in western Canada, and see to it that they remain in western Canada to carry on the development of the country. I believe the scheme is sound, and I am suggesting to the government that the scheme should be extended to cover more completely the British Isles, so that our immigration policy would be based, not upon political expediency, not be subject to the whims of changing ministers, for we have had three or four ministers of immigration in three or four years, not be subject to a change of policy with a change of party in office, but there should be such continuity of policy and of business arrangements that the average business man who wants to make a capita! investment in a pulp mill or factory of any kind in this country, and the average man who wants to settle on a farm, could go to certain business people such as we have in these two great railway systems and make his plans and arrangements for perhaps the next ten or twenty or twenty-five years to come. In that way, by taking the business of immigration and colonization out of politics and away from government and putting it under the control of competent business management, with a consistent businesslike

The Address-Mr. Ladner

policy, we will secure results in Canada better than we have had in the past. The immigration policy in the past has been a complete failure. There has been practically no immigration in the past ten years. I readily admit that it is largely due to the low tariff that we have and to the economic conditions of the country, but I also believe that the system which has been followed by the government in the matter of immigration has been no system at all. The policy has been changed so frequently that no one can depend upon its permanency, and no man can know when he comes here with his capital what will happen to his venture.

I relate this question of immigration, Mr. Speaker, to the general development of western Canada. The Prime Minister has intimated in one of his political speeches that the spearhead of immigration was pointing westward. My right hon. leader has pointed out that statistics show that the spearhead of immigration is pointing southward, which has resulted in very little access to our population during the last ten years. I urge upon this House, in my small effort to make a contribution towards a solution of the problems of this country, the wisdom of placing in a businesslike way the control of the securing of immigrants in the hands of the management of our two great railway systems, subject to such restrictions as will protect the treasury of this country and the interests of the country at large. I suggest, I repeat, that the Canadian National railway system, without demands upon the public treasury, without obligating the government of Canada, without obligating the system itself, should be endowed.with such grants of land as would enaible it to take over the Pacific Great Eastern and the Edmonton and Dunvegan railways, and thereby be put in a position to settle these immigrants who come in throughout western Canada. That could be done without any trouble. In the Peace river district there aTe between 65.000,000 and 74.000,000 acres of land, of which 20,000,000 acres can be brought under cultivation; of that, 13,000,000 acres is class A land which will require no expense to bring it under cultivation, and the other 7,000,000 acres would require perhaps from $3 to So per acre to be made suitable for the growing of grain.

Mr. Speaker, an arrangement of that kind might involve not only the giving of the Peace river block now owned by the Dominion government to the Canadian National Railway, thereby settling a dispute between British Columbia and the Dominion of Canada, but, if necessary, the government should 14011-751

make such further grants of land out of the great Peace river area, which is owned by the Dominion government, as would absolutely ensure to the Canadian National system freedom from any financial obligations or loss in getting control of these two railways I have mentioned. I make this suggestion for what it is worth, and I am hopeful that in the course of time something like this will be done. I submit that this country will not develop unless some active, aggressive scheme is worked out and pushed forward, and the development of Canada to-day depends largely upon the development of western Canada . and upon the opening up of these new areas.

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LIB

Francis Nicholson Darke

Liberal

Mr. DARKE:

In that 60,000,000 acres, does the hon. member include the Peace river district in Alberta?

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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mir. LADNER:

Yes. The proposal I submit necessarily involves an arrangement not only between British Columbia and the federal government but also with Alberta. I am told that Alberta has actually control of the Edmonton and Dunvegan railway by arrangement with the bondholders. The situation is ripe. All the integral parts required to be brought together to enable development to take place are there ready to be taken over. The economic situation of the country at large makes it possible to make arrangements that would enable the Canadian National system and the government to take hold of this enterprise at the very minimum of expense, with all the opportunities which are bound to develop in the future.

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LIB

Willis Keith Baldwin

Liberal

Mr. BALDWIN:

What is the mileage of the Edmonton and Dunvegan railway?

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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

I do not know the exact mileage, but the price asked by the Alberta government is in the neighbourhood of $15000,000.

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LIB

Willis Keith Baldwin

Liberal

Mr. BALDWIN:

Several hundred miles,

probably.

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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

I understand that the Edmonton and Dunvegan railway is a remunerative system, and only a little extension by way of branch lines will make it quite profitable. I make this proposal so_ that hon. members and the people of eastern Canada will not feel that the public treasury of this country as a whole would be obligated with respect to this railway enterprise in the west. I think the west has now reached the stage where it can and should finance its own railway enterprises.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I have made a suggestion, but involved in that suggestion is the

The Address-Mr. Ladner

question of the natural resources of the four western provinces. It will be a matter of very great interest to those hon. members who take the time and the opportunity to read the history of that problem. I will not worry the House this afternoon with any historical data, but I wish to bring to the attention of hon. members some of the principles on which the demand for the return of these natural resources is based, particularly that of British Columbia.

Before the western provinces became part of confederation, the six original provinces of Canada comprised an area of approximately 500 million acres. There remained a vast empire of nearly two billion acres which was the common property of the confederated provinces, as well as the unorganized territories of the country. By legislation enacted in 1809 and 1912, Ontario received land to the extent of 150 million acres, giving that province a total of 261 million acres, practically doubling its size. That legislation gave to Ontario lands of great value in mineral wealth, in timber, and in pulpwood. The province of Quebec by similar legislation in those years received lands which increased its acreage from 124 millions at the time of confederation to 452 millions. In other words, the province of Quebec is now four times its original size, and in these great additions of acreage it received properties which are now disclosed to have immense wealth in minerals, timber, and other resources. I wish hon. members from the eastern sections of Canada to bear those facts in mind when considering the claims of British Columbia and the other western provinces, because it will be found that in the course of events the western provinces, instead of receiving additions to their acreage, have been deprived of their natural resources which under the law of public domain was actually their property and should have been given to them. The province of Nova Scotia, through the construction of the Intercolonial railway, from which of course other provinces benefited as well, received the benefit of an expenditure of $160,000,000.

Mr. EVA'NS: Before the hon. gentleman

gets too far away from the point, will he say why their natural resources were not given to those provinces?

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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

To the prairie provinces?

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PRO
CON

AUDITOR GENERAL'S REPORT

LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce; Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

Before you leave the Chair,

Mr. Speaker, may I have the unanimous consent of the House to lay on the Table volume 1 of the Auditor General's report?

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February 19, 1926