I wish to discuss the
question mentioned by the hon. member for Kenora-Rainy River, and of which the minister has knowledge. Last week Mr. Finlay-son stated that work on the trans-Canada highway would be started west of the town of Hearst. This is a message that has been received with great joy in my section of the country and also in the riding represented by the Minister of Labour, and I should like to receive from the minister an assurance that the government of Ontario has approached him in this matter in his capacity as head of the unemployment relief administration.
There is one question which is of very great importance to our section and it is this. Construction of the highway west of Hearst is a problem that must have been studied carefully during the last three years-that is, the routing of the road. If the road swings back immediately south of Hearst it will have no significance to our section from the point of view of tourist traffic. The routing of the road west of Hearst should go westerly following the National Transcontinental highway for a considerable distance, at least as far west as Nakina. I draw this to the attention of the minister because I think he is familiar with the situation so far as the trans-Canada highway is concerned, and I think that sufficient time has been given the provincial government to study the proper routing of the road.
I should be glad if the minister could tell the committee that what Mr. Finlayson has
Relief Act, 1934
said will be carried out in the course of the summer, and that the work will be started very soon in the spring.
There is another matter which is discussed a good deal in our section of the country, and that is the land-bonusing scheme. I believe the impression has been created in northern Ontario that the scheme will be financed partly by the federal government and partly by the treasury of Ontario, and this is one of the best ways whereby to remedy the dire situation that exists among our settlers in northern Ontario. It may be suggested that such promises are made only in anticipation of an election, but I do not take it in that sense. I am sure that if this promise were implemented it would provide an excellent way of improving the condition of our settlers, and the beneficial results would be reflected not only throughout Ontario but in the whole of Canada.
Another matter in which I know the department is interested is the back to the land movement. I would point out to the minister that this year most of the people settled under the scheme in northern Ontario will find it absolutely impossible out of the $10 a month that they receive, or, to be precise, out of the $200 they get yearly for three years, to supply themselves with the necessary seed grain. This being so, I think that everyone will realize at once that unless the necessary seed is given them free the people who have settled under the back to the land movement will find it utterly impossible to get along this season, because they cannot provide seed for themselves this year. It is true that some of these people have been operating under the scheme for the last two years, and some settled last year. The question may be asked: How is it that these new settlers did not find it possible to grow sufficient grain to supply their own requirements for the coming season? Well, the answer will suggest itself to anyone who is at all familiar with the climatic conditions that prevailed last summer in that part of the country. The conditions were such last year on account of the drought that practically no grain could be grown on the land by these people, and that should convince the committee and the minister that it would be impossible for these people, out of the $200 they receive under the tripartite arrangement, the contributors being the municipal, provincial and federal authorities, to provide sufficient funds to buy the necessary seed grain. I believe that the government of Ontario led the settlers in my own section of northern Ontario as a whole to understand that they would be
supplied with seed this spring. Now, I do not believe in giving a wrong impression of any situation, but I am bound to say to the minister that in my section not five per cent of the settlers will be in a position this spring to buy seed grain, and I know that if the grain is not given them free most of the area ploughed last fall will remain uncultivated. It will be absolutely impossible for these people to put the ground under crop, and from that statement the committee will realize that the situation will be aggravated next fall; it will be worse than it is this spring. I do not know how far the federal authority will go in supplying the seed grain to the settlers who have been on these farms a number of years, but I do know that under the back to the land scheme the government will have to find funds sufficient to supply with seed for the coming spring the new men placed under the direct policy of the federal government.
Reverting to the important question of the trans-Canada highway, I must repeat the statement I made a few moments ago that when that message on the subject was delivered by Mr. Finlayson it was received with considerable enthusiasm in my own section of the country. In view of the fact that the federal government is contributing fifty per cent of the money spent on the trans-Canada highway, I think it should have something to say in regard to the routing of this highway, and we fervently hope that, in the light of the knowledge and experience of the present federal Minister of Labour, the routing will be one that will satisfy our section. I will not take up the time of the committee reading several editorials that have appeared in the Northern Tribune of Kapuskasing and in the Cochrane Northland Post, but it is pointed out in these articles that it would be deplorable if the government did not push the route westward following the Canadian National line as far as Nakina, then branching off with the other branch of the trans-Canada highway from the southern section of northern Ontario and eventually connecting direct with Winnipeg. If the road were constructed immediately south of the town of Hearst, following the Algoma Central and giving direct communication with Sault Ste. Marie, that would not provide a solution of the problem from our point of view, because it would not give the communication to which we are entitled. I should like the minister therefore to be kind enough to answer the three questions I have submitted to him.
Relief Act, 1934
Subtopic: BILL IN TERMS GENERALLY OF RELIEF ACT, 1933, WITH PROVISION RESPECTING DELAYED RELIEF ACCOUNTS