February 19, 1926

LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

By unanimous consent.

At six o'clock the House took recess.

After Recess

The House resumed at eight o'clock.

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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

When the House rose at

six o'clock I had been dealing with the question of the public domain and the rights, constitutionally and in the light of history, of the self-governing colonies and dominions, particularly as relating to their right, upon attaining the status of self-government, to the control of their own natural resources. It is recognized by all constitutional authorities that both the dominions and the provinces should enjoy that right.

With reference to the question of natural resources, I had discussed a proposal under which the Canadian National Railway should take over two provincial railways, the Pacific Great Eastern and the Edmonton and Dun-vegan. I wish at this juncture to summarize that proposal, because there is one feature of it to which I omitted to refer. Under that proposal the Canadian National Railway was to take over the Pacific Great Eastern, together with 16,075,000 acres of land which, under an act of the provincial legislature, had been given as a grant to that railway system. I omitted to make some reference to the resources contained in that new' grant of land, comprising an area of about 40 miles wide and nearly 400 miles long, a grant almost as large as was originally given to the Canadian Pacific Railway for the construction of a line to extend from one end of Canada to the other. The sessional papers for British Columbia for 1924 set forth the report of the surveyor who, under the auspices of the government, conducted an investigation of the timber in what is known as the Horse Fly Cruise, near Quesnel lake. This is merely one example of the resources along that railway. The report reads:

From investigations already made it would appear that this-

Referring to the Horse Fly Cruise.

-will prove one of the richest timber areas investigated by the department to-day. 75,000 acres covered, and 55.876 acres carried merchantable timber averaging 19,000 feet board measure per acre, a remarkably heavy acreage for timber east of the Cascade.

The total stand was over 1,000,000,000 feet of which 43.6 per cent was spruce suitable for pulp and paper, and I understand that one of the provincial ministers has made the statement that there is sufficient spruce and timber to keep two good sized pulp and paper mills going indefinitely. This report, as well as the report of Colonel Dennis, who is known to many hon. members as the head of the Natural Resources department of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and who had been engaged by the provincial government to investigate the lands along the Pacific Great Eastern railway, discloses the great richness of that district, particularly in mineral resources, which can hardly be calculated. I make special reference to this for the reason that in the past it has been proposed by provincial governments, who are always seeking to get something from the Dominion treasury without paying very much, that the Canadian National Railways or the Dominion government should take over the Pacific Great Eastern railway. That proposal appears to me to be not exactly fair to the rest of Canada. British Columbia has $47,000,000 invested in that railway and I might add, what I omitted to mention before, that the scenic beauty along the line constitutes a tourists' paradise.

The proposal which I now submit to parliament is that the Canadian National Railways should be asked to take over not only the Pacific Great Eastern railway and the obligations of the original investment, but receive as well the advantages of the 16,075,000 acres of land. As I have pointed out, the Canadian National Railways would also receive the Peace river block of 3,500,000 acres, of which 2,000,000 acres consist of arable lands suitable for cultivation. That Peace river block belongs equitably and, I might add, legally to the province of British Columbia although it was granted in 1884 to the Dominion under circumstances which would not be defended to-day. I suggest that if these grants of land, with their potential values in timber, mineral and agricultural resources, were not sufficient to indemnify fully the Canadian National Railways against any possible loss with respect to the Pacific Great Eastern or the Edmonton Dunvegan, then the Dominion could, as a matter of general advantage to Canada, grant to the Canadian National Railways additional lands, still m the hands of the Dominion government, out of the great Peace river area which comprises 65,000,000 or 74,000,000 acres of land, according to whichever engineer's report one is willing to accept. These are the conces-

The Address-Mr. Ladner

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LIB

Alfred Edgar MacLean

Liberal

Mr. MacLEAN (Prince):

Have any of

those lands yet been disposed of by either party?

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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

Yes. The railway originally was to go through the Yellowhead pass, but the actual grant by the province to the Dominion was not made until 1880, when the route through the Kicking Horse pass had been decided on. In the interval lands had been alienated. It is in connection with that alienation that there arises a second claim that I am now about to deal with-that with reference to the Peace river block. Since then of course there have been further alienations.

The Peace river block, which constitutes our second claim, contains three and a half million acres of land, of which two million are arable. The Liberal government of 1S74 was strongly opposed to the construction of the Canadian Pacific railway, and found one excuse after another to delay the undertaking. Sir John Macdonald and his party were strongly in favour of aggressive action, and the people of British Columbia, small in numbers though they were in 1871-ten thousand whites and thirty thousand Indians- pressed vigorously for carrying out the terms of the contract. One of the excuses for delay made at the time was that in this vast railway belt certain lands had been alienated, and for that reason it was claimed that the province of British Columbia should give further lands, called "lieu" lands, to the federal government.

The Address-Mr. Ladner

So an arrangement was made under the Act of Settlement in 1884 which adjusted a number of disputes, and this arrangement was mainly brought about by the desire on the part of British Columbia to have the railway completed. Among the disputes so settled was the claim that the lands in the railway belt which had been alienated should be compensated for by the province of British Columbia transferring to the Dominion government the Peace river block of three and a half million acres. The claim had no basis in reason or in right, for the railway belt had been granted to the Dominion government in trust- for a definite and specific purpose, which had not been fulfilled because the whole scheme of financing had been changed. Nevertheless the province was so anxious to have the railway completed that the provincial government transferred the Peace river area to the Dominion government. It is true that the province received an additional annual grant of $100,000 a year, but this it should have received in any event.

There was another important point in the act of 1884 to settle the dispute concerning what is known as the Esquimalt and Nanaimo railway on Vancouver island. As a result of the settlement the province parted with another 2,000,000 acres in order to induce the federal government to carry out their undertaking to build that railway and the arrangement which had been entered into with the Dominion authorities. In addition the Dominion government subsidized that railway with $750,000 and took over the construction of the old Esquimalt dry-dock. This question of the 2,000,000 acres of land for the Esquimalt and Nanaimo railway constitutes in my opinion the third claim of British Columbia for redress. The Mackenzie government, under what are known as the Carnarvon terms of 1874, bound themselves to build the Esquimalt and Nanaimo railway free of cost to British Columbia, but they did not go through with it. The government at that time tried to get out of the deal and after negotiations actually offered British Columbia the $750,000 to give up its rights. The province foolishly did not accept the $750,000 with the result that it has never got anything in its place, and to-day the 2,000,000 acres of land are worth about five times what it cost to build the railway.

When the Act of Settlement of 1884 came before the parliament of Canada there was naturally considerable dispute. Ontario and Quebec each had a reason why no concession should be made to British Columbia, and

in order to settle these disputes and to appease the claims of Ontario and Quebec, certain concessions were made. Quebec had subsidized what is known as the Quebec, Mont. real and Ottawa railway and had spent $5,000.000 on it. So, as part of this arrangement or deal in connection with the Settlement. Act of 1884, Quebec received back the $5,000,000 which it had expended on the Quebec, Montreal and Ottawa railway. Similarly Nova Scotia was refunded its outlay on what is known as the eastern extension which became part of the Intercolonial system, and a further settlement was made with New Brunswick with reference to some railway problems that existed there.

If you calculate the expenditures and revenues by the Dominion government in British Columbia and in the prairie provinces, you will find these interesting facts: that in the three prairie provinces the expenditures by the Dominion government exceeded the revenues by $40,000,000 since the Dominion government took over the administration, but in British Columbia, with its great natural resources, the excess of revenues over expenditures since the province came into confederation amounted to $40,000,000.

When we consider the question of our annual subsidies, we find another situation in which British Columbia, in my judgment, has the worst of the transaction. Of course these subsidies are based on population. The annual subsidies are approximately as follows:

Ontario $2,400,000

Quebec 2,000,000

Manitoba 1,470,000

.Saskatchewan 1.753,000

Alberta 1,621,000

British Columbia 623,000

British Columbia has the same population as Alberta. Of course the explanation is given that British Columbia has her natural resources and the prairie provinces do not have theirs, but in the proposal, as I understand it, which the government has submitted in the Speech from the Throne, Alberta will retain her annual subsidy of $1,621,000 for the next three years and then will take over her natural resources and receive quite a number of advantages.

To sum up the concessions which British Columbia has been obliged to make in order to induce the Dominion government to carry out, not a new agreement, but the original contract of 1871, a compact which was embodied in an act of parliament by the Dominion as well as by the province, and to complete the railway, constitute the giving

The Address-Mr. Ladner

up of lands the conservative value of which is as follows:

Value of timber, over 22.000,000,000 feet in this 11,000,000 acres of the Dominion railway belt, according to official reports.. $ 75,000,000 Peace river block: value of timber and agricultural lands 35,000,000

Esquimalt and Nanaimo railway grant:

value of 2,000,000 acres

20,000,000Excess contribution of revenue

40,000,000Total $170,000,000

This does not take into consideration the great value of mineral and coal deposits foiund in those lands. So I repeat that in order that we could have a consummation of confederation, in order that we could have a bargain which was signed, sealed and delivered with British Columbia, completed by the government of Canada, we w^ere forced by the exigencies of the circumstances to part with lands and timber the value of which exceeds $170,000,000-a colossal sum.

I have already pointed out, but I repeat by way of contrast, the treatment which Ontario and Quebec have received since confederation. When confederation started the first six provinces contained an area of 500.000,000 acres, and there was a vast domain of 2,000,000,000 acres which was the common property of the provinces of confederation as well as of the people in the unorganized districts. Notwithstanding that, out of this vast domain of

2.000. 000.000 acres, a great portion of which properly belongs to the prairie provinces and has not been given to them, by legislation of 1808 and 1912 Ontario has had her area increased from 150,000,000 acres to a total of

261.000. 000 acres, or practically double, and Quebec has had its area increased from 124,000,000 acres to 452,000,000 acres, or four times as much. I refer to these matters because in those additions to the provinces have been found enormous resources in minerals and timber which to-day are making those provinces wealthy and creating trade, traffic and industry beyond the dreams of the legislators of those times.

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LIB

Alfred Edgar MacLean

Liberal

Mr. MacLEAN (Prince):

Does the hon.

member not think the Maritime provinces have a strong claim for some compensation?

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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mir. LADNER:

I do, but the Maritime

provinces have also been looked after to a certain degree, because they have received the advantages of the Intercolonial railway and they have not been obliged like British Columbia to part with land and timber to the tune of $170,000,000. Moreover, Canada provided $160,000,000 to build the Intercolonial railway and it has been a losing proposition ever since. So the case of the Maritime provinces is less strong, although they have a certain case because, like the rest of Canada, they have a proprietary interest in the vast domain which is the common property of confederation and which, in my judgment, should not have been given, as it was, to the other provinces without some compensation.

That disposes, Mr. Speaker, of my contentions on the part of British Columbia. We have ten Conservatives here from British Columbia and I do not see why our appeal should not be just as strong as that of ten good Liberals; I admit it might not be as strong as that of ten Progressives, but nevertheless I submit these claims to the bar of public opinion, and I believe that when properly informed of the facts not only the whole of western Canada but the eastern provinces as well will realize the justice and merit and equity of these claims, and a satisfactory adjustment will be made.

There are a number of problems which face this country at the present time. In making that statement I am not indicating that I intend to trouble the House with much more talk-

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PRO
CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

My hon. friend from Bow River says, "hear, hear." I have not his eloquence, nevertheless I hope to make a contribution in fact and consistency of principle, which is something that has not always characterized the course of the hon. member in the last three years.

In reading over the Speech from the Throne, which says little and perhaps means less, we are not helped in trying to find a solution of some of the very great problems which press before the public of this country at the present time. In the earlier portion of my remarks I referred to the soldier question, to amendments to the Pension Act in connection with ex-soldier matters. There are quite a number of these matters, but the government has given no indication of any legislation in that respect. I know of cases of injustice due purely to the technicalities of the law, not intended by parliament at all, nor would they be defended by the public at large.

Then there is the question of old age pensions. That is going to be dealt with by the government,. We have matters affecting labour in this country. There is the question of the tariff, which, of course, is the bone of contention. There is the question of immigration. There is the question of reduction of taxation, and in my opinion that is one of the most important before the country to-day, because unless our taxation is on a

11S2

The Address^-Mr. Ladner

level with that of the United States, both capital and people will flow to that country and we will be at a loss. I do not see anything of a constructive nature in the Speech from the Throne that would help us toward a solution of that question.

Then there is the question of the National railways, a question which to a large extent is now out of politics. I am frank to say that in my humble opinion the National railways are under competent management which is proving successful, but there are matters which affect the Dominion of Canada in connection with the subsidies and assistance which must be given to that rail-way. Then there is the question of freight rates, on which I spoke earlier in my remarks this afternoon. The province of British Columbia particularly has suffered a great deal from the high freight rates. The fight has been carried on in parliament and before the Board of Railway Commissioners. The board has given certain concessions, but unfortunately during the last election campaign the Liberal candidate in Vancouver, Mr. McGeer, threw the whole question of freight rates into the heat of a political fight, and in my judgment did the cause considerable injury. However, the matter is now before the Board of Railway Commissioners.

Then there is a matter in which I am interested myself, concerning the protection of savings bank deposits by a system of insurance. I shall not go into that at the present time, because I have taken up the time of the House on previous occasions discussing it. I believe, however, that in addition to our existing bank deposit system, a system of guaranteeing savings deposits on an insurance principle would be both advantageous to the public and in the interests of the country as a whole, without doing any harm to our banking institutions; it would rather help them.

In regard to my own constituency, I propose to have a little private talk with my good friend the hon. Minister of Public Works (Mr. King) with regard to the north arm of the Fraser river. He is always open to receive us, but beyond that he does not always go in -the matter of giving us concessions, but this time I am hoping to show him by merit as well as by persuasion the wisdom of making some concessions.

We on this side of the House have referred to a number of these problems, Mr. Speaker, because this party offers a solution for them. I do not think that solution can be better expressed than in the words of the resolution my right hon. leader presented to the House on the 1st of June, 1925. A number of the

members may have heard this before, but they cannot hear it too often, especially my friends the Progressives. That resolution stated:

That, in the opinion of this House, to meet the situation which has resulted from a strengthening in late years of the protective system the world over particularly in the United States; to give new life to industry and productive enterprise; to preserve and enlarge the Canadian market for Canadian farm products; to stimulate the. development of Canadian resources by the Canadian people and thus create employment for our workers; to increase the traffic of our railways by which alone an all-round reduction of freight rates can be secured; and, as well, to provide added revenue and thus bring about a reduction of internal taxation, this Dominion requires an immediate revision of the Canadian tariff on a definitely and consistently protective basis.

That such revision should apply to natural products such as farm products, fish, and coal with no less thoroughness than to manufactured goods.

That to the same ends steps should be taken to conserve for Canadian development our essential and irreplaceable resources in material and power.

That while every effort should be directed toward the establishment of a system of preference for preference within the empire no preference should be given at the expense of the Canadian worker and all preference should be conditional on the use of Canadian ports.

That a tariff commission should be appointed representative of the three great classes of Canadian industry, agriculture, manufacturing and labour and be entrusted with the duty of studying Canadian tariff problems in their every bearing and of making from time to time such recommendations to the government as it deems in the general public interest with the reasons therefor, and with power also, where it finds unfair advantage is being taken of protective duties, of making recommendations to be given effect by the government for removing or reducing tariff schedules or imposing special excise taxes upon products in respect of which such advantage is taken, and that its reports, findings, recommendations and reasons therefor be given to the public.

That to enable the products of the western and Maritime provinces to reach more readily the markets so developed the special transportation burdens borne by those provinces should be shared by the whole Dominion either by contribution to long haul freight costs or by assistance in some other form.

In my judgment that policy, short and to the point, offers a solution for many of the problems which face this country.

I would also like to direct attention to a few word's from a report that many hon. members may have heard quoted from before, but it will do us no harm assembled here in parliament to hear them again. The United States Department of Commerce, in its official report No. 44, dated November 3, 1924, says:

Economically and socially Canada may be considered as a northern extension of the United States. The establishment of branch factories in Canada-as a means of supplying the Canadian market-is closely tied up with Canadian tariff policy. In fact there are movements under way now which a year hence may considerably curtail the advantages of operating branch factories in Canada.

The Address-Mr. Ladner

That movement I suggest was the general election in October. I quote further:

Against the set ,policy of the Conservative party of building up a thoroughly protective tariff to favour Canadian industries has been operating the influence of the Liberal pa-rty who stand for a more moderate level of import duties.

I read that, Mr. Speaker, in order to bring to the attention of hon. members the dispassionate and well considered view of keen, shrewd business men of the United States. That is the analysis they make of the situation in Canada; and I would commend the thought and ideas to my hon. friends the Progressive members before they continue, without limitation, their help to maintain the government in power.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the debate in this House has from time to time revealed very clearly, whether in matters of policy or in conduct of public affairs, the weakness and the inactivity of the government. I commend to hon. members a reflection on the situation in the various democracies of the world. Before the war the sovereignty of the people was universally accepted. Since the w'ar we have had a reaction, a very strong reaction. Russia has accepted a tyranny worse than that of the Czars. China to-day is weltering in anarchy. Italy has practically eliminated its parliamentary institutions and taken a dictator who rules the country with an iron hand, is oppressing the press, and otherwise exercising his will as dictators do. In Spain the democratic institutions of government have given away to a dictatorship. The three great countries of Germany, France and England have witnessed a partial disintegration of their parliamentary system. In Germany the president has recently threatened a dictatorship. In France there have been three cabinets in less than one year; and those who have travelled lately in the republic tell me that there are rumours from many directions of a dictatorship in order to right the difficulties that confront the government there. In England we have witnessed a strong reaction. Britain, the mother of democracies, has seen the development of strong, radical forces controlling the legislation and policies of the country. Throughout the world popular government is in serious danger. European nations are in the grasp of dictators. There is a revolt, not so much against democracy as against the inefficiency and the weakness of parliamentary institutions and of governments. I submit that is a fair analysis of the situation in many of the democratic countries of the world having parliamentary institutions similar in principle to our own;

and I commend to hon. members opposite, as well as to hon. gentlemen to my left, the thought of the weakness, the impotency, and the lack of initiative on the part of the present government in matters of policy, in matters of administration, and in matters relating to the direction of the affairs of this country. The government is not only weak, but it Shirks the course which a strong, vigorous and courageous government would take in regard to the various problems awaiting solution in this country. It lacks the vigour and the courage necessary to deal with the present situation in parliament. It could pursue a definite course but it is afraid to do so.

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

Do not be

too sure.

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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

The Minister of the Interior says, "Do not be too sure." I can only speak for myself, but I say that if I were in the position of hon. gentlemen opposite, and if I had a policy to submit to parliament and proposed to carry on the business of the country, I would carry it on-

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

So will this government.

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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

-and I would take the necessary means to enable me to carry on.

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PRO

Edward Joseph Garland

Progressive

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

From the statement the hon. gentleman has just made, is the House to infer that he advocates the application of the closure?

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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

Well, I can only express

my own personal opinion, and I will tell you frankly what it is: the public of this country is sick and tired of inaction. There is business to be done, there are problems to be solved. The business is not done, nor is any solution of those problems recommended, because the government is too weak to do it; and in order to prove to the country that I was not weak I would bring in closure and do the business. Such a course might not be popular with all hon. members, even all those on my own side, but I am only expressing my own view, it seems to me that when you are faced with a situation such as the country is faced with at the present time in connection with the investigation of the Customs department, and regarding serious matters of administration affecting immigration, tariff matters, and all the other problems which exist, there is need for courageous action. We read in the press before the election statements by the government leaders of what they were going to do if only they had sufficient support,

The Address-Mr. Ladner

things they could not do before because they had to depend upon the support of the Progressives, but when that election was over they would reorganize the government and they would carry those measures into effect. But now we have a stalemate. The government is in the hands of the Progressive members. There is compromise of policy and compromise of principle, and where vigour and initiative are required on the part of the government in relation to important questions, they are lacking in the necessary courage and judgment. The whole situation of parliament is one of drift. The business of parliament and the administration of public affairs could be more ably and capably carried on, I think, if we all went home and left the deputy ministers to act so far as ministerial powers are concerned. For my part, as a young man coming from the west-

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

How old are you?

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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

I am old enough to vote,

and I am also old enough to see the weakness of the government's position. One does not need to be very old to see that. It would be interesting to hear from the government leaders some explanation of why they continue this course of drift day after day.

Mr. MadLEAN (Prince): The government do not wish to be hard with young men.

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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

They may not wish to be hard on young men, but they are certainly hard on themselves so far as concerns the receiving of popular approval.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

Yes, we have to listen to a lot of nonsense.

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CON
LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

We are hard on ourselves in listening to such nonsense.

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February 19, 1926