May 25, 1928

LIB
LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

Does the minister mean, to tell me that over and above this $6,000,000 the Anticosti Corporation paid for a railway? If that were the case I would 'be very much surprised.

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

My information is that they are spending $2,500,000 exclusive of railways, and dwellings-this is the report from the engineer-and other buildings, which will be necessary to construct on the island.

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I do not know whether they spent money on the harbour. There was already in existence one harbour with sheltered deep water at the time the property was purchased. If they are finding it necessary to build two more I do not see why the government should be called upon to help pay for them.

We have too many of these large corporations in Quebec-I am not opposing corporations because they are large, nor wealthy men because they are wealthy-who are constantly coming to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, asking for assistance; when people of lesser means are unable to obtain assistance. This Anticosti Corporation is possibly one of the wealthiest in Canada. It is not undertaking development or colonization -work, and in saying that I am Sorry to have to contradict the minister. Those who know anything about the lumber and pulpwood business in the part of the country from which I come know that it is the intention of this company simply to go on the island, cut off the pulpwood and then move away. I do not think anyone Who has any knowledge of the pulp and paper situation, or the pulp and paper people in Quebec, will deny that statement. It is said that there are 15,000,000 cords of pulpwood on the island,

fMr. Power.]

but I doubt that very much. As a matter of fact, when this purchase was' made, the people who knew simply smiled and said, "Ain't it costly?", and they called it the ain't-it-costly corporation. It was not costly to the companies themselves, because the public subscribed to the bonds and if there is any profit it will go to the common stock, which helps the companies.

I do not believe there is any intention of remaining there in perpetuity. No pulp mills are being erected there, but only wharves and railways to take the pulpwood from the forest, put it on the vessels, and transport it to Port Alfred and Three Rivers. The prospectus says that the total cut will be 420,000 cords. If they cut that much they are cutting far more than the annual growth. As I said before, there is not 15,000,000 cords, and in the second place, the annual growth would not be more than two per cent under very favourable circumstances. Under the conditions that obtain here the trees do not grow fast, and the annual growth would hardly be one-half of one per cent, so there is no possibility of this being a permanent settlement, or of people remaining there after the island has been cut over.

I would suggest to the minister that instead of pressing for this item he leave it over for another year and see whether or not the statements which I have made are true. If it can 'be shown to me that there is any question of colonization here, or a permanent settlement, I have no objection to any development being carried on. I am told that the amount for dredging this summer will be $200,000, and that all of last yeans' vote has not been expended. We could Pot spend possibly more than $200,000 or $250,000 this year, and I u'ould ask the minister to reduce his estimate and if it is found at the next session of the house that there is really something worthwhile encouraging here, then we could vote more money.

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LAB
LIB
LAB

Herbert Bealey Adshead

Labour

Mr. ADSHEAD:

I proposed to reduce that by $290,000, making the amount $10,000.

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

If there is any real dredging to go on with, and if the dredges are there. I would suggest t'halt possibly there be $100,000 or $150,000 expended this year. By next year we would know whether there was any real reason for it.

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LIB

Joseph Philippe Baby Casgrain

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

I do not want to prolong the debate or the session, because I know

Supply-Harbours and Rivers-Quebec

everybody is anxious to get away, but I cannot let this matter pass without saying a few words, particularly in view of the fact that this item has reference to a place which is situated in the county which I have the honour to represent in this house.

At the outset of my remarks I may state to my hon. friend from Quebec South (Mr. Power) that I am very much surprised at the stand he is taking to-day. When there was a vote before the house that had to do with some appropriation for the province, when we were called upon to vote an item of $8,500,000 for the harbour of Quebec, at the head of which his brother presides, he did not object. I think it ill behooves the hon. gentleman to quarrel with other sections of the province and other parts of the community where necessary improvements must be made just as much as in the district of Quebec, and which in the future may be much more beneficial to the country than even those which are being carried on in the district he represents.

The question has been raised by the hon. member for Rosetown (Mr. Evans) and the hon. member for Quebec South as to whether Anticosti island would ever be colonized, and if there would be any farming earned on in that thriving community. I have a book here entitled Le Canada et 1'Emigration Francaise, by Mr. Frederic Geirbie.

In 1881, long previous to the acquisition of the island by Mr. Menier, the French senator, colonization was going on. There were settlements and farms at that time. The reason these people ceased their operations was that when Mr. Menier took possession of the island he made it a sort of national park or summer resort. He filled the rivers and lakes with fish and used the island only for his own purposes for a few weeks in the spring, summer and fall. In 1881 there were 102 occupants, and 106 proprietors; there were 89S acres of occupied land, and 427 acres of improved land and pasture, including gardens and orchards. The crops at that time, in 1881, were 51 bushels of oats, 133 bushels of barley, 11,610 bushels of potatoes, 1,178 bushels of turnips and 58 tons of hay. Progress was being made steadily at the time Mr. Menier took possession of the island. When he did take possession he had certain lands improved, and conducted some farming operations himself, as is shown by the census of 1921. If hon. gentlemen would look at page 399 of the Census of Canada. 1921, they would see that Anticosti island had 1,246 acres of pasture, 196 acres of cereals and flax. There were further farm operations conducted at that time, as follows: 21 acres

of forage crops, 24 acres of potatoes and roots, 100 acres cultivated, for barley, producing 1,400 bushels, and 80 acres sown to oats producing 350 bushels. This was the development in the little village Mr. Menier had there, wherein was situated the church, the convent, the butcher shop, the grocery shop, the police station, the fire department, and the farm which he owned.

These things had been accomplished by Mr. Menier himself, and everything was turned over to the Anticosti Corporation for the sum of $6,000,000. This amount was paid in ready cash by the three companies mentioned by the Minister of Public Works, namely, the Wayagamack-Pulp and Paper Company, the St. Maurice Valley Corporation, and the Port Alfred Paper Company, which are three of the largest pulp and paper companies in Quebec and perhaps in Canada. These companies have bought the island for $6,000,000. According to the figures which I have under my hand the corporation have spent $1,500.000 in starting the construction of two wharves in addition to the wharf that was built in the early days by Mr. Menier. These two new large wharves have been constructed in order to enable big vessels to come in and load cargoes of pulpwood for the three companies whose names I have mentioned. In addition to that the corporation have built houses for their men and an hotel for the people coining there. The expenditure on this work up to the present time is nearly $2,000,000. That has been done during the eighteen months that the new corporation has been in possession of the island.

If I remember well, when I was there in 192b and 1926, at the time of the two last general elections, only Mr. Menier and those associated with his business were on the island, but in August, 1926, this corporation came into being and since then the island has been a beehive of industry, many people having found their way there and have been enabled to earn their bread and butter in that part of the province of Quebec. Had it not been for this undertaking many of them would have been turned away from Quebec and Canada and w'ould have had to go to the United States. As the Minister of Public Works has said, there are on the island at present three thousand Canadian-born or naturalized Canadian subjects who are earning their living and receiving salaries running from at least $75 a month to as much as $15,000 a year, that being the salary which the general manager, Mr. J. H. Valiquette, is paid for the work of running the whole business of the Anticosti Corporation and developing the island.

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As regards the question of colonization I have under my hand a letter from Mr. Francois Faure, General Manager of the company who is in charge of the operations of the whole island. He writes:

The first work done by the Anticosti Corporation was to make the necessary organization to exploit the forestry resources of the island, and the next step is the classification of the soil with a view to colonizing the island with good Canadians and immigrants.

A certain amount of this work had been done before Mr. Menier became the owner of the island and according to the company's letter, the original of which has been placed in the hands of the Minister of Public Works, it is their intention to do colonizing work later on when their activities in the pulpwood and lumber business have provided a sufficient area of cleared land to establish new settlements at different points. There was a miniature railway on the island when Mr. Menier was owner. Since that time larger railways have been built and in the very near future they will circle the island in order that the company may carry on their activities and accomplish the purpose for which they bought the island.

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UFA

Robert Gardiner

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARDINER:

Can the hon. member

assure the committee that any person can go on the island without the permission of the company, and without being an employee of the company?

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LIB

Joseph Philippe Baby Casgrain

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

Persons who want to go on the island must be connected with the company, or have special business with the company, or have permission of the company to go there. There is nothing unusual about the island. There are, I am told, in Ontario and other provinces, certain territories where larger corporations conduct activities similar to those conducted by this company, where they are owners and proprietors of the land and where they have the right to order out people whom they do not want to be on their property. They are proprietors and owners of the whole area of the land, the Iroquois Falls, for instance, where the Abitibi Pulp and Paper Company is established.

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UFA

Robert Gardiner

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARDINER:

Does the hon. member know of any case of that description in Ontario where public funds are being spent for the benefit of a company alone?

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LIB

Joseph Philippe Baby Casgrain

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

I do not know what

the practice is in Ontario or what is being done in the other provinces, but I know that last year when the Minister of Public Works was faced with a request similar to this one he inquired and found out what the proper procedure was and in what way these companies should be assisted if they were bona

fide corporations that really wanted to do something to develop the country. They started on a plan similar to the one carried on, I am told, in the United States. The government helps companies that have certain financial backing and when it is sure that they really intend to do something to develop the natural resources of the country. The same thing has been done in other provinces and I think we in Quebec are asking no more than has been asked and done in other provinces.

As regards the number of cords of pulp-wood that might be taken out of the island, before these people purchased the property an estimate was made of what they could get out of it in the way of timber. Mr. Piche, who I am told is one of the best authorities on the lumber industry not only in Quebec but in Canada and who it at the head of the forestry resources of the Quebec government, surveyed the whole island, and he gave his opinion that a minimum of 15,000,000 cords of pulpw'ood could be taken out of the island. Any person can estimate from the re-growth that will come later, there will still be on the island timber to be cut for pulpwood when nearly all the members of the present parliament have passed away.

As the Minister of Public Works has said, the wood is manufactured into paper in Canada, not a stick is being exported to the United States. This means that Canada reaps the full economic benefit of the whole territory. The management of the island of Anticosti is in the hands of a staff who are all Canadian citizens. Salaries and wages paid to labourers and others for the manufacture of pulpwood and other work in which the company was engaged during the operating season of 1927-28 amounted to about 82,000,000, and the raw material which is shipped to the different cities is manufactured there into paper which, as a finished product, is exported to the United States, or used in Canada when it is required by other paper mills in this country. This brings to Canada a revenue of approximately $12,000,000 per annum and this is the case when operations are not being carried1 on to full capacity because certain works have just been started.

What is the government asked to do? The government is asked only to dredge out a certain part of the channel so that it will be possible for .the boats of the company to come with safety to the two new wharves that have been constructed by the company. The government is not asked to dredge a harbour for the sole benefit of the company. It is asked only to dredge 'a channel from the main

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channel where the vessels come near the island to their wharves so that these vessels may come in to them with safety to load pnlpwood and -other products of the island. When I went there in 1925 and 1926 on the boat of the Clarke Steamship Company we had to remain about a mile and' a half or two miles upstream and we had to be taken by gasoline launches to the wharf of the Menier family, because there was no channel by which we could reach the wharf in safety. The government and the country owe it to the company, which has invested $6,000,000 of its own money in the island, which has spent more than $2,000,000 this year, and which will spend more than $2,000,000 in salaries and wages every year if it wants to develop the natural resources of the island, to give it an opportunity to have a proper channel from the main channel in the river St. Lawrence in order that boats may reach the wharves with safety.

During the 1928 season of navigation ten boats per week carrying mechandise, coal, cattle, horses, pulpwood and passengers will pass through this port. The number of passengers it is estimated will approximate from five (o ten thusand people going to and from the island. There are in addition the boats of the Clarke Steamship Company, which, under the terms of the subsidy given by this government, have to ply every week to these wharves. When there were hardly three or four hundred people on the island when it was owned by Mr. Menier, the vessel could anchor upstream, and that was sufficient for the small population of the island at that time, but now that the population has reached three thousand, and is likely to increase later on, it is necessary to provide facilities for the vessels of the Clarke Steamship Company and also for such vessels as will carry pulp and other products from the island, and as the Postmaster General reminds me, it will also enable the boats to carry the mails in safety.

This company has four vessels, one of which was recently built at a cost of many thousands of dollars: the George McKee, the Fleurus and the Savoy. The last two vessels were owned formerly by the Menier family. There is also the Sable "I", which is owned and operated by the Bras d'Or Navigation Company, but in which this company at Anticosti is interested, and which plies regularly from the spring right up until the fall, and even in the winter months, to that port and to the ports of Quebec and Montreal, with supplies of goods and passengers. The Postmaster General again reminds me that I have omitted to mention the revenue; he never forgets anything. In 1925-26 the revenue from the

port Menier post office was $319.23; in 1926-27, 86S5.06; in 1927-28, $2,285.31; so the revenue is increasing year by year and has greatly increased over what it was in 1925.

Formerly, when Mr. Menier used to occupy the island, apparently it was his own private property and practically no customs and excise duties were collected; they amounted to $57.97 in 1925-26; $37.63 in 1926-27, and in 1927-28, $585.19 was collected and accrued to the national revenue, so there is business being done in a regular way at that place, and I think that this is a proposition that is worthy of consideration and encouragement by all the members of the house.

I have no particular interest in this proposition myself. I do not own a cent of stock or of bonds of the company. I have never had any dealings with the company. I have never been on the island since this company was operating. I was there in 1925 and 1926 when the Menier family were owners of the island. When a company such as this is ready to undertake a large work of this kind in developing the natural resources of this country, I think we ought to give it the fullest possible assistance, and make it easier for the company to go on with its business.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

Do I understand from

what the minister said that within a few years the revenue derived from the sales tax that will be paid on the sales of pulpwood or paper manufactured in Anticosti island will be sufficient to repay in full the amount that it is now proposed to expend on this work?

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

I cannot say just what

the exact revenue will be, but I am told by the Finance department that the business of all such companies helps the general business of the country. There will be a sales tax on the paper when it is manufactured, and there will also be income tax. Work of this kind all contributes to the general business of the country, and the more business there is, the more revenue the Finance department gets. The revenue from $25,000,000 worth of paper manufactured in Canada will be a very important revenue. The collection of the tax on the profits of the corporation will also bring in a considerable revenue to the treasury of Canada. The business that this company will carry on will materially aid the financial situation in this country.

I want to say to my hon. friend who asked the question with regard to whether anybody else is getting similar assistance, that this is a principle that has been followed for over twenty years; that is, where a company or an individual was coming in and starting a concern which would employ labour and pro-

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duee materials, tending to the general development of the country, the policy of the government has always been to help them by way of dredging, wharves, breakwaters and all that sort of thing. We are doing it for the Thunder Bay Pulp and Paper Company at Port Arthur. We are doing it for the United Grain Growers; we dredged a slip to their elevator at Port Arthur. We are doing it for the Saskatchewan Co-operative Grain Growers; we dredged a slip to their company elevator at Port Arthur. We did dredging for the elevator that was built in Sarnia. We are doing it for the Powell River Lumber Company in British Columbia. We are doing it similarly for coal companies. There is no difference in principle.

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PRO

William Russell Fansher

Progressive

Mr. FANSHER (Lambton):

Are not all

these public ports, not private ports?

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

They are public ports,

but my hon. friend does not get the point. The dredging we did was dredging to enable them to get from the main stream to their elevators. That is just what is being done here, only in this case there is an additional advantage. I want to say to my hon. friend, because I know he wants to be fair, when he refers to the fact that there was no reference the other day to the fact that this was a harbour of shelter, what I read to him to-day were the details prepared over a year ago when this matter was submitted to the house, and when the house committed itself to the project, and the contract was let.

Somebody asked how much dredging was done. There was $187,000 of dredging done last year. I want to explain to the house that if they do not approve of this sort of thing, it is going to affect all similar projects. It includes, for instance, the coking plant at Hamilton; it includes the Manicouagan Company, Trinity bay and various other works.

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LAB

Herbert Bealey Adshead

Labour

Air. ADSHEAD:

But in these other cases

the companies do not own the whole town; they are not company towns.

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

They own the property

to which the slip is being dredged, but in this case, it is very near the main channel of the St. Lawrence. The engineers report that it is the most suitable place for a harbour of refuge in that part of the river. I do think that the dredging should proceed this year, and that it should proceed to the full amount of the item mentioned here. If I thought it were possible for us to do with less money, there is nobody more anxious than I am that we should get along with the least possible

[Mr. Elliott.)

amount, but this house committed itself, without any objection, to this work a year ago. I want the house to have all the information possible. I appreciate the discussion, because if this is the feeling of the house, then I want to know it.

Mr. ADSHEAD; The hon. gentleman made a statement a short while ago that nobody could go on the island without the consent of the company; that it was a company town and that the company owned all the stores.

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

Practically all the large

concerns keep control of their own property. Where a company is carrying on business operations, it is absolutely necessary that the public should not wander about at will over Ihe company's property. I think everybody will agree with that proposition. Take the steel companies, or the plant at Hamilton; take the Thunder Bay Pulp and Paper Company; take any of these works we are assisting, and the same rule applies.

Mr. BOYS; Are there not public highways through all the properties you are referring to?

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May 25, 1928