June 14, 1929

LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

The whole 17,000 acres composing the camp were not of course used for the air force by any means. The total amount expended on the whole camp up to the time the imperial munitions board took it over would be about $1,584,000 for construction, and about $21,000 for maintenance.

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CON
LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

The buildings at either camp would cost about the same. It is estimated that necessary buildings and improvements at Camp Borden would cost about $1,400,000, while the estimated cost for buildings at some other point, without married quarters would be $1,100,000 and with married quarters about $1,500,000. In addition to the $1,400,000 which would be necessary to be expended at Camp Borden, the committee will understand that we would have to spend probably $500,000 to provide a seaplane base at another point.

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CON

William Earl Rowe

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROWE:

This camp being situated in

the riding which I have the honour to represent, it seems to me that at this time, when we are talking so much about economy, this would be a very extravagant move for the government to make. Anyone familiar with Camp Borden will readily appreciate that the camp should be sufficient to maintain the nucleus of an air force, and especially in view of the efficiency of that camp in times of war. I quite appreciate that the vast acreage would not be needed to maintain a training camp, but it is situated inland and this factor was considered as being of great importance by the Imperial government and by the royal air force. The Imperial government and the Department of Militia and Defence recommended this site very highly. Criticism has been made as to lack of transportation to the camp, but it is situated on a switch only four miles long on the Canadian Pacific railway and five miles long on the Canadian National railway. It is only

about half a mile from a good highway, and it seems to me that with the conveniences which are at the camp at present it would be sufficient to maintain a training camp for the purposes for which the minister proposes to vote this money. The camp has been equipped with seventeen hangars, one hundred and twenty by sixty feet each; each hangar capable of housing six aeroplanes, or a total of about one hundred. There is an engine shop, sixty by forty; a carpenter shop, sixty by forty; t^o large barracks eighty by eighty, two storeys high, each capable of housing comfortably seventy-five men, all steam heated, electric lighted, with other quarters for married men; twenty cottages for married officers and their families; school for forty pupils; hospital capable of looking after thirty-five or forty patients. It has in fact, everything necessary for the comfort of the soldiers, and the only feature that could be improved is the location for a hydroplane base. Further, it is within fifteen miles of Kempenfeldt bay, which would be a most appropriate place for a base for hydroplanes. Surely it is a consideration if a camp is situated where there is a denser population and where there is heavy traffic on the highway similar to that at Trenton. Hon. members who are familiar with the Toronto district know the trouble they have had at Leaside in keeping the traffic back and avoiding accidents. There is a large patrol force there in order to keep the traffic back when flights are being made.

I wi^h also to impress upon the committee the fact that a camp situated on the boundary line between this country and a foreign country is not as appropriate for a military camp as a camp situated some fifty miles away, as the present Camp Borden is. That was a feature which was strongly impressed by the British government on the royal air force when it was established at Camp Borden. The United States has fifty-three aeroplane bases and only three of them have accommodation for hydroplanes and aeroplanes as combination bases, and surely if such a large country as the United States consider it sufficient to have, out of fifty-three, only three with hydroplane facilities, we should take this increased expenditure into consideration. Moreover, I think only one of those fifty-three, the one at Mount Clemens, is anywhere near the boundary line. It is for the committee to consider whether it is wise to spend millions of the public money to establish a military camp close to the international boundary to replace a camp that has cost between $3,000,000 and $4,000,000.

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The sum of $375,000 that was paid by this government was only about twenty-five cents on the dollar of what the camp cost the British government. While there are 16,000 or 20,000 acres of camp ground it is not all used for aviation. There is an aerodrome a mile square. It has been recognized by most eminent authorities on aviation that Camp Barden is one of the best camps in the British Empire for such a purpose. At Leaside and other camps, after heavy rains, they cannot take off with their planes, but at Camp Borden, owing to the sandy loam, they can take off in safety fifteen minutes after the heaviest rain. It is an absolute extravagance to waste Camp Borden which has cost the country so much money, and a camp which was sufficient in time of war should be sufficient to maintain the nucleus of an aviation force in time of peace.

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CON

Alfred Burke Thompson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. THOMPSON:

I feel that I must join with my colleague from Dufferin-Simcoe in protest against this expenditure. Undoubtedly the amount already expended on the site has been upwards of $2,000,000 and it will take a like amount to establish a camp at Trenton. I venture to assert that when the Trenton camp is finished it will not be equal to what we are going to scrap at Camp Borden. During the present session the government have retained, to a certain extent, the sales tax which falls so heavily upon the poor people and they have done so on the ground that they need the money. The government have also refused to contribute toward highway construction and technical 'education on the ground that they have no money to spend on such objects. Now we are asked to scrap a camp, costing upwards of $2,000,000 and to establish a camp on a new site.

If the minister is sincere in his statement-that he wants to make a combination camp, why does he not utilize some of those magnificent stretches of water that are almost- in the immediate vicinity of Camp Borden? He could establish ait several poiimts an auxiliary camp to be under the jurisdiction of the main camp, which would serve the dual purpose equally well and at a very small cost to the people. The hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe has mentioned Kempenfeldt bay within fifteen miles and an auxiliary camp could be established there. He could even go to lake Couchiehing with the town of Orillia near by and a camp could be established there. If he wants to go on the southern shore of Georgian bay, all in the county of Simcoe nearby, there are such places as Collingwood, Penetanguishene, Midland, Coldwater or Vic-

toria Harbour, Waufoa-ushene or Fesserfcon, all on land-locked harbours, and they are admirably situated for this purpose. Now we are asked to give up all that we have spent there and duplicate the expenditure in a new place. Has the minister considered what a serious thing it is for that community to lift ou't bodily a population of 700 souls and transport it to a new location altogether? This camp has been in existence for fifteen years; social and business relations have been established, and all this is going to be disrupted by the action of the minister. I think he would be well advised if he would let the matter stand in abeyance and look more closely into the question of Camp Borden. Camp Borden was not chosen hurriedly in time of war. If the minister will study the records of his department, he will find that- the military authorities had for years previously thought of establishing a camp there. It seems to me that this proposition is a useless expenditure of money, and the matter could be handled much better than by scrapping the valuable camp we have at Camp Borden.

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CON

William Ernest Tummon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TUMMON:

I am not at all surprised

at my good friends from the district where Camp Borden is situated being anxious to retain that camp there. As to the suitability of a location for a camp, I do not feel that I am in a position to speak as an expert. I must put myself largely in the judgment of those who are capable of selecting a site for such a camp. The location at Trenton has been mentioned by my hon. friends in comparison with Camp Borden. While I cannot take the position that I am capable of judging, yet there are advantages there that in my opinion should be looked upon as of special importance as regards the location for such a plant. It is on the bay of Quinte, a-landlocked body of water. It is protected on the north by the mainland, on the south by the county of Prince Edward, and on the west by that strip of land which connects Prince Edward county with the mainland. It is close to a prosperous and growing town, with a city on the other side to the east. There is a paved highway running between Toronto and Montreal, and both the Canadian. Pacific and Canadian National railways, thus affording not only rail and highway transportation but water transportation as well. If a larger body of water is needed, lake Ontario is only a few miles away What I have said in regard to Trenton can I think be said with equal force of Camp Mohawk. The minister has said that he proposes to

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investigate further the camp at Mohawk, and I think that will meet the approval of those most interested.

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CON

Arthur Edward Ross

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROSS (Kingston):

I am not going to

discuss whether Camp Borden is suitable or not. I wish to consider this question from the point of view of economy. I think the minister, before the item goes through, should and must make a further statement in regard to this selection. It has always been considered that the camp near Deseronito was an ideal air force camp. Until within a few short weeks it was practically accepted as the site for the new camp. Here is a camp that has been tried, where there has been service and training, and it has proved absolutely satisfactory to everybody, and to my knowledge satisfactory to the whole area. But now within the last few weeks a new site has been selected. I think the house should know the reason why such a change has been made.

It must be accepted that Mohawk camp is absolutely acceptable both from past experience, and according to the advice of the technical officials in the department. I have spoken with them and I know that it is absolutely acceptable to them. I have no interest in the removal of the camp from Camp Borden to any other place, except from the point of view of economy, but I have felt that if any change was to be made, no better place could be selected than Camp Mohawk.

I want the house and the committee to realize that we have at Camp Mohawk today all the water supply ready for use. That means a saving of hundredls of thousands of dollars. Are you going to scrap Camp Borden with all the expenditure that you have made there, and are you going to scrap Camp Mohawk with all the expenditure that has been made at that place? I have seen a letter to the effect that it had been practically decided to make Camp Borden the permanent camp. Neither of these two sites, Camp Mohawk and Camp Trenton, is in my constituency, but both are a short distance away, and I do say that when several hundred dollars can be saved in the selection of a site, we should insist upon saving that money. I think it is up to the minister to explain this sudden change of location. Not only that, but there are numerous cement bases at Camp Mohawk all ready, which with a very little expenditure could be enlarged and made suitable as buildings. The camp was actually used during the war and has been used ever since, and it has proved acceptable to all parties. I will

guarantee that it is acceptable to the technical officers of the department, and that they consider it preferable to moving to a site that was never formerly considered by anybody. You have these two sites on the same body of water. Training, I believe, can be done under more favourable conditions at Camp Mohawk, where you have a well protected site. It has always been a training ground. Before the selection of Petawawa camp, Deseronto artillery camp was the only training camp in Canada. Here is a camp fixed up with a water supply ready for use, with concrete bases that can be made use of. I have no doubt that the technical men might say that these concrete bases would not be acceptable. I know both grounds and I want to know what are the advantages of this new camp pointed1 out by the technical mien. Never mind the feeling of the people of these two towns; it is the country and economy that we are interested in. Surely there cannot be so much difference between two places only fifty or sixty miles apart that we must suddenly scrap hundreds of thousands of dollars and start a new camp. I want to know what are the advantages of this training camp before I will vote for it.

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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

I think my hon. friend might be satisfied with what I suggested, that I am perfectly willing, and have so told the deputation from Deseronto, to go into the matter further with the object of making absolutely sure as to the relative advantages of these two places. I can give my hon. friend in detail what the technical officers represent as the advantages, but after all it seems to me, having given my hon. friend that assurance, he might be reasonably satisfied. I can assure him that there has been no change in the last few weeks. Trenton was first discussed by the officers in July, 1928, and I have here a list of no less than a dozen technical officers of the department, including the engineers, all of whom favour Trenton, but at the same time in view of the fact that the deputation came to me^with such strong representations, I undertook to make further investigation to see if any of the paramount features, which Deseronto alleged, had been overlooked. I hope my hon. friend will accept that. Our only idea is to find the very best site, having in view the interests of the service and nothing else.

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

What would be the objection to leaving Camp Borden where it is to be used by the land air forces, and establishing at Trenton a camp for the water air forces? I understand that in the United

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States except in very rare cases they do not have the land forces and the water forces in the same station. In the interests of economy, I would ask the minister if it would not be advisable to leave the land forces where they are, and to establish the water forces at Trenton.

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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

I do not think my hon.

friend got the figures that I gave. I pointed out that if we stay at Borden we will still have to make a very substantial permanent expenditure of something over one million dollars; the buildings there are not fireproof and we have had over half a million dollars fire losses; that we have $1,700,000 worth of technical equipment and stores there and therefore Borden would have to have permanent structures if we were to stay there. In addition to that, if my hon. friend's suggestion were accepted we would have to have another base for seaplane training at Trenton or some other suitable place.

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I did not mention Trenton particularly. I meant the point decided on.

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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

It would mean not only

double expenditure in connection with plant, but also double overhead. Dealing with what my hon. friend from Kingston-

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CON

William Ernest Tummon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TUMMON:

Might I just say a word

before the minister proceeds? Reference was made to the air organization in the United States. Is it not a fact that there they have two different services while in Canada we have only one?

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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

That is the answer. In

the United States there are three air services as a matter of fact, the navy, the military and the Department of Commerce. Here all the air services are combined under one department.. One hon. member said that the United States have 53 training stations while we have one central station. I think our form of combined organization will lead the committee to the conclusion that it is in the interests of economy that we combine our seaplane and land plane training if we possibly can. That is what we are endeavouring to do. We are not scrapping Camp Borden as a permanent aviation plant; it never was such. There is, as I have said, plant at Borden to the value of $234,000 which might be utilized in connection with a combined station; but when you got through with spending over a million dollars you would have only a land plane base, with disadvantages which I need not take the time of the committee to enumerate. I can assure hon. members that the matter has been carefully looked into

by the officers of the department, and they say that Borden cannot be made a suitable place for an aviation training station. My hon. friend said that the British authorities reported something to the contrary. I think he will find that that is not so. They simply took an army concentration camp such as we had and adapted it as an aviation camp; but it was not primarily an aviation camp and was not so constructed.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

May I mention that it takes a little time to arrange for the proceedings of prorogation, a number of matters having to be considered in connection therewith. I would suggest, therefore, to the committee that we leave over for the time being items that are likely to be discussed at some length and dispose of what might be termed non-contentious items, in order that the government may be able to form some idea as to the hour at which prorogation can be arranged. We have taken nearly one hour on this single item. I think we might well proceed with other items and take up this particular item again if it is going to involve much more in the way of discussion.

Item stands.

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INDIANS


Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Northwest Territories- Hospitals, medical attendance, etc.-further amount required, $25,000. Supplies for destitute Indians-further amount required, $30,000. To provide farm working outfits for graduates of Indian schools. $15,000. Surveys-further amount required, $5,000. Sioux-further amount required, $8,000.- Total, $83,000.


PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

Under this item I wish to draw' the attention of the minister to the sale of section 26, township 32, range 32, west of the first meridian. This land was formerly used as pasturage by the Keesee-koose Indian reserve. At different times there was talk of its being thrown open for sale. A number of people wrote to the department asking to be given an opportunity to bid. There are letters on the file showing that departmental officials promised to notify some of these people when the land would be offered for sale. However, it was finally withdrawn in 1926 and remained as pasture. Later on apparently a certain party got after this land and it was sold to him privately at a good deal less than its actual value. One of the gentlemen who had correspondence with the department, a barrister and real estate agent, tells me that he had offers

Supply-Interior-Indians

from bona fide farmers in the district as high as $20 an acre; but the land was sold privately for $10 an acre.

The council of the village of Pelly asked for a right of way through this land to a quarter section on the beach of Racing lake, where they have a recreation ground. After considerable correspondence the department agreed to grant them a road allowance, the papers so far as I know were all completed, and all that was necessary was to have a survey of the road. There was some detailed work done in that connection and finally the village authorities did have a surveyor on the ground. The road was laid out, there being no doubt whatever about accepting the word of the departmental officials, because the matter was settled so far as they were concerned. However, after the survey was made and after they had done some work on the road they suddenly found that the land had been sold, and the party who had purchased it then stepped into the picture. On appealing to the departmental officials we found, as they had to admit, that consideration had to be given to the purchaser; and a good deal of correspondence is still going on. But the village even at best must now pay the other party a considerable amount for the land. They have been kept out of it for a long time and at the moment they are not absolutely sure that arrangements can be made.

I protest, first, against the failure of the department to carry out the promise they made, that they would notify the people in the district when the land was sold-and it was apparently sold to a man whom we suspect of being a political favourite, for very much less than its intrinsic value. That is the first complaint; and the second is that a direct obligation was undertaken by the department to provide the village of Pelly with that road. On the strength of the assurances given by the officials this survey was made, and later on the department's promise was deliberately disregarded and the land sold to private parties.

I wish to quote from sessional paper 169 a letter dated August 27, 1926, to the secretary of the Department of Indian Affairs, and signed by W. M. Graham, Indian commissioner. The letter reads:

On the 12th instant I wrote, recommending withdrawal from sale of section 26-32-32, Wist in the Keeseekoose reserve, as the area can be profitably used by the Indians as a pasture and I shall be glad if you will inform me whether the action recommended has been taken.

A further letter, No. 7 on the file, dated September 3, is addressed to Mr. Graham, the Indian commissioner:

Replying to your letter of the 27th ultimo, under your file No. 310-6, I may say that the sale covering section 26-32-32, Wl, Keeseekoose reserve, will be withdrawn from our sale list and reserved for the Indians in the reserve, as requested.

Apparently up to that time the matter was closed, and then appears a letter from George W. McPhee, the 'honourable member for Yorkton, dated December 15, 1926. It is addressed to the Hon. Charles Stewart, Minister of the Interior, and is marked personal. Before I read that letter I wish to commend the minister for his decision to leave personal letters in the file and to bring them down in sessional papers. On a previous occasion I had a good deal of argument with the Postmaster General (Mr. Veniot) over this question of including in the file personal letters of a really public nature and bringing them down. I consider it an infringement of the rights of parliament to withhold such letters, and in this case, whatever blame I attach to the Minister of the Interior in other respects, I commend his fairness in putting these letters on the file. This particular letter reads:

Mr. McKay wrote last summer to Mr. Graham. Indian commissioner, asking with respect to section 26. township 32, range 32, west 1st. and he received a letter dated June 18. giving the acreage of this section. Mr. McKay wanted to buy the west half and forwarded a certified cheque for $200 deposit. This was returned to him on the 30th of August. stating that the land had been withdrawn from sale. I know this land and I feel satisfied that it is not required by the Indians and should be in the hands of someone who will make it productive. Mr. McKay has offered $7 an acre for the west half and $2 an acre for the east quarter of this section.

The letter is signed George W. McPhee.

First I want to call attention to the fact that the hon. member for Yorkton takes upon himself to say that the land is not required by the Indians, whereas in fact there is a letter on the file from the Indian commissioner who states that the land is required for pasturage; moreover, there is a further letter which I shall read, written by the Indian agent, saying that the land is required for pasturage. As a matter of fact, I know that up to that time the Indians of Keeseekoose had no other pasture land. There is a letter from the minister to Mr. McPhee dated December 20, 1926. It reads:

I have received your letter of the 15th instant, with reference to the desire of Mr. Norman McKay, of Verigin, Saskatchewan, to purchase a portion of section 26-32-32, W. 1 M.

The department, I may say, was not aware that Mr. McKay had made application to purchase these three quarters, as Commissioner Graham some time ago recommended the with-

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drawal of this section from sale on the ground that the Indians required the land for pasturage purposes. Mr. McKay's application therefore did not reach the department. For the reason stated, this section is, of course, not at present listed for sale, but I have instructed the officials to request Commissioner Graham to report in the matter, and to state whether in his opinion the land is still required for Indian use. I shall be very glad to write you further in the matter in due course.

Then there is a letter, which I will not delay the house reading, from the assistant deputy and secretary to Mr, Graham at Regina, asking for a further report. Next is a letter dated January 7, 1927, addressed to George W. McPhee, Esq., M.P., Yorkton, Saskatchewan. This reads:

With reference to my letter to you of the 20th ultimo, relative to the desire of Mr. Norman McKay, of Verigin, Saskatchewan, to purchase a portion of section 26-32-32, W. 1 M., I enclose copy of a report submitted by Commissioner Graham, of Regina.

You will observe that in the opinion ^of the Commissioner, this particular parcel o! land is required by the Indians for pasturage and hay purposes.

Then there is a letter addressed to the Department of Dominion Lands from Pelly, Saskatchewan, dated May 14, 1927:

I understand that the above section of land has been held by the Indian department and used by the Indians south of Pelly for pasture land; and that recently this section has been turned back to the department and is to be sold.

If this is correct when and how is it to be sold? Will it be by public auction or private sale? A party spoke to me to-day who wishes to bid on this land and I will be glad to hear from you as to how and when it is to be disposed of.

This letter is signed J. M. Telford, who is a barrister dealing in real estate in Pelly.

Next is a letter dated June 8, 1927, to J. M. Telford of Pelly, Saskatchewan:

Replying to your letter of the 14th ultimo, in connection with the above land, I may say this section is still being reserved for the use of the Indians for pasturage and hay purposes. In the event of the land being thrown open for sale, you will be advised.

This is signed J. C. Caldwell, in charge of the lands and timber branch. I direct particular attention to the last sentence. I submit that when a responsible officer of the department writes a letter of that kind to someone in the country it should be taken seriously and there should be someone in the department who feels in honour bound to carry out the obligation undertaken. Yet this promise was deliberately disregarded. The land w'as sold at private sale for at least not more than half of what some of the farmers, with whom Mr. Telford was in communication, had offered to pay.

IMr. Campbell.]

There are many other letters dealing with the same matter, but I do not wish to delay the house reading them. There is in the file a letter dated August 19, 1927, to Mr. Fred J. Malakoff, signed J. C. Caldwell, informing him that the land at that time was not available for sale. On November 3, 1927, a letter was written to E. A. W. R. McKenzie, Jr. Indian agent, by J. C. Caldwell, as follows:

Will you kindly advise the department, at your earliest convenience, if section 26, township 32, range 32, Wl-M, is still required for the use of the Indians for pasturage and hay purposes.

Here I want to draw the attention of the minister to this fact: On November 23 there was a letter from Kamsack, Saskatchewan, to the secretary of the Department of Indian Affairs, Ottawa, as follows:

Replying to your letter No. 68970-4 of the 3rd inst, regarding section 26, township 32, Range 32, W.P.M. I beg to advise that this is the only pasture that the Keeseekoose band have for their cattle and is still required for pasturage and hay purposes.

Your obedient servant,

(Sgd.) E. W. R. McKenzie,

Indian Agent.

To my mind this is the worst offence of which the department is guilty. Here you find the Indian agent, a man on whose recommendations they must depend, informing the department that this was the only pasturage land available for this Indian band, yet in spite of this the department deliberately disregarded the obligatipn entered into with Mr. Telford and disregarded as well representations of the Indian agent, all in the interests of one man who desired to secure this land for much less than its actual worth.

Then there is a letter under date of November 30, 1927, addressed to the hon. member for Yorkton, in which the official takes the stand that the land is not for sale. Some other correspondence follows, with which I need not weary the committee, but in this correspondence it is suggested to Mr. McPhee by the departmental officials that he might discuss this matter with Mr. Graham. The letters which passed between Mr. McPhee and Mr. Graham are not in the file, and one can only surmise what actually happened, but I find a letter from Regina under date of April 23, 1928, addressed to the secretary of the Department of Indian Affairs, as follows:

In reply to departmental letter No. 68,970-4. of the 11th instant, I have to say that I am of the opinion that section 26, T. 32, R. 32 west of the first meridian could now be disposed of without adversely effecting the interests of the Keeseekoose band.

Your obediant servant,

(Sgd.) W. M. Graham,

Indian Commissioner.

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What caused Mr. Graham to change his mind between the time he wrote the original letter and this later date is hard for one to understand. The other letters are not material to the point I wish to discuss; there was considerable correspondence between the village of Pelly and the department with regard to this roadway through the land to their recreation grounds on the shore of the lake.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

Will it

shorten the discussion if I say to my hon. friend now that any promise which has been made by the department with respect to that road will be carried out? I judge from my hon. friend's statement that the department committed itself to a road; the road was surveyed and in the meantime the sale took place, and now the village is being asked to pay for that road. On behalf of the department I will say to my hon. friend that I will see to it that the promises contained in the correspondence are carried out by the department.

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PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

I am glad to have that statement from the minister; it will shorten the discussion very considerably. In the meantime, however, there has been a long delay and the village not only had to settle with the department according to the original agreement but now they are obliged to settle with the new purchaser, and it has cost them considerably more than it should.

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June 14, 1929