February 20, 1935

CON

Samuel Gobeil

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SAMUEL GOBEIL (Compton):

Mr. Speaker, I have no intention of taking up any considerable time, and I can assure hon. members my observations will be very brief. I speak more for the purpose of receiving enlightenment than that of offering any suggestions.

In an able speech the hon. member who sponsors the resolution (Mr. Bradette) gave credit to this government for the many measures it has passed and is now passing which will have the effect of helping the farmers. In addition to the reforms he mentioned he could have mentioned many more. In my view the important point to decide is as to

the responsibility shared by the federal and provincial governments, a point which should be determined so that the position of those governments may not be in doubt, and so that calls for grants may not be made upon governments not responsible for such grants.

The hon. member for North Timiskaming (Mr. Bradette) holds the view that this government should create new centres of colonization. I had to ask myself the question: How could the federal government create new centres of colonization when in fact it has no land which could be used for that purpose?

Topic:   LAND SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   FIVE TEAR PLAN TO ENCOURAGE AND ASSIST RURAL POPULATION IN FARMING
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

There is plenty of land. [DOT]

Topic:   LAND SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   FIVE TEAR PLAN TO ENCOURAGE AND ASSIST RURAL POPULATION IN FARMING
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CON

Samuel Gobeil

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOBEIL:

Topic:   LAND SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   FIVE TEAR PLAN TO ENCOURAGE AND ASSIST RURAL POPULATION IN FARMING
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UFA

Michael Luchkovich

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. MICHAEL LUCHKOVICH (Vegre-ville):

Topic:   LAND SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   FIVE TEAR PLAN TO ENCOURAGE AND ASSIST RURAL POPULATION IN FARMING
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LIB

Frederick William Gershaw

Liberal

Mr. F. W. GERSHAW (Medicine Hat):

I have received many letters from young men who are anxious to get a little assistance to start in farming. I think we all agree that farming is the oldest occupation of mankind; all down through the ages it has been the chief occupation of the race, and I certainly think that if assistance is to be given any class of people in the country it should be given to the boys and girls, the sons and daughters of the pioneers, to help them to be self-supporting and to become established.

In the district in which I live there are a great many of these young people who would like to become established and to start up in their immediate localities, and I think that is an important factor that should be kept in mind. They know something of the nature of the soil and of the difficulties to be overcome, and they are in a much better position to fight successfully against the elements, the disasters which are so common in the farming life, than are people who come from distant parts of the country.

We realize that there is a surplus of wheat, of cattle and so on. But many of these people who have been brought up on farms would not go in for mining the land but for making homes; they would go in for mixed farming and would try to provide for themselves nearly all the necessities of life so that they would not add greatly to the surplus and would be at least self-supporting. Surely the people of the country owe something to the young men and women; they owe them the opportunity of fitting themselves for the business or industrial life of the country. It seems to me therefore that steps along this line will help in that direction.

I have in mind the idea of the younger people settling in homes near the places of their birth so that community centres could be established. They would be close together and would be in a position to make use of the churches, the schools, the roads and so on, and medical and hospital attention would be accessible to them as required. In Alberta people have gone to distant districts and located on homesteads, and when they have been stricken in sickness they have cost the province many hundreds of dollars getting

Land Settlement-Mr. Howden

them down to some place where they can get relief. They have gone beyond the districts where utilities, roads, schools, bridges and so forth have been established and in that way have put the province to a great deal of expense. I do think that if community centres could be established, if the people born in the district could be helped to establish homes for themselves there, the social life of the farm would be made much more attractive and a great deal would be added to the contentment and happiness of the people who are trying to make a living at this occupation.

Topic:   LAND SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   FIVE TEAR PLAN TO ENCOURAGE AND ASSIST RURAL POPULATION IN FARMING
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LIB

John Power Howden

Liberal

Mr. J. P. HOWDEN (St. Boniface):

I

desire to go on record as being entirely in support of the resolution of the hon. member who has proposed it (Mr. Bradette). I know that a great many members of this house do not agree with the sentiment, and a good many of those who are themselves established in agriculture feel that an endeavour of this kind would be futile. But I would say for myself that back in the early stages of this depression, when factories were closing their doors all over the country and businesses were going to the wall, men and women being released into the ranks of the unemployed in hundreds and thousands, I was one of the early ones in the house to advocate a back to the land movement. I felt then, as I feel now, that it is the only movement that offers any remedy, immediate or permanent. We all hope that in the course of months or years, as the depression subsides in some degree, industry in all its branches will be going fully again and our unemployed will be to a large extent absorbed. But certainly it is very much better to have a family residing in the country than idling in the city. You cannot grow potatoes or cabbages on a boulevard; you cannot raise poultry or pigs in the city. But when you have established a family on the land, at least they have cheap shelter and as a rule they can obtain fuel and water; and with a little endeavour they can manage to have milk, eggs and poultry and whatnot without much expense to the state, all of which things have to be paid for one hundred per cent for those families that remain in the city.

I may be right or wrong, but as the matter presents itself to me I believe we shall always have extensive unemployment. It seems that as the years go by manufacturing and other urban industries are releasing more and more men all the time. How they will ever be taken up I have never been able to guess; I have not the remotest idea what

we shall ever do with them, because as improvements are made in manufacturing machinery more and more men will be released. We abhor the idea of a peasantry, but this much we must say, that in the days of the peasantry the country was filled with peasants who managed to live and did not demand relief from governments. I think it is fortunate that we have the land, because I believe the time is coming when there will be hundreds of thousands of people back on the land. The advantage we have over the older countries at present is that they have their hundreds of thousands of unemployed, not knowing what to do with them; they have no land to settle them on and no industries that can engage them. In this country we have the land and we hope that the people can go back to it and make a living out of it.

I readily appreciate the fact that the resolution as proposed is on a very much grander scale. It contemplates the expenditure of some $20,000,000, proposing to start each individual off with $1,000. It is rather a large order to think of at the present time, but I sincerely hope that the time will come when it will be easy for the government to engage in such an enterprise. In the interim we in Canada have acres upon acres, sections upon sections of excellent land on which we can establish families, and all the cities are brimming over with bona fide agriculturists who are ready to go back to the land. I do not think we should wait for the time when we shall be able to give them $1,000. I think we had better send a lot of them back and give them what backing we can. It is true that in some parts of Canada the movement has not been a success, but on the other hand, in Manitoba we have established some 300 to 350 families on the land and I believe ninety per cent of the movement in that province has been a success. Most of them are doing well; most of them have taken the movement seriously and have no desire to return to the cities.

I do not know that I have much more to say, but in reply to the hon. member for Compton (Mr. Gobeil), who was wondering whether it was the business of the federal government to reestablish families or individuals on the land, I think he knows in the matter of the soldier settlement scheme alone the federal government already has an arrangement with the provinces by which men are sent back to the land. Hundreds of families have gone back to the land under this scheme, and when the time arrives there will be no difficulty in the way of this parliament,

Land Settlement-Mr. Vallance

if it so desires, making an arrangement with any or all of the provinces so as to send unemployed people back to the land.

I sincerely hope the good work which has been commenced will be continued and the wide open spaces which we have for hundreds, if not thousands, of miles in this Canada of ours, will some day be occupied in the profitable manner in which they can be occupied, by having people return to the land.

Topic:   LAND SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   FIVE TEAR PLAN TO ENCOURAGE AND ASSIST RURAL POPULATION IN FARMING
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LIB

John Vallance

Liberal

Mr. JOHN VALLANCE (South Battle-ford) :

I have listened with a great deal of interest to the sentiments expressed by those who have been participating in this debate. It seems to me that this is another illustration of what I choose to call "swivel chair farmers" advising the farmers. What do we find? We find that the mover of the resolution (Mr. Bradette) is a merchant lawyer. The next speaker is a school teacher; the next, the hon. member for Medicine Hat (Mr. Gershaw), a doctor and the hon. member for St. Boniface (Mr. Howden), another doctor, all probably viewing this question not from their particular professional standpoint, but from the great national point of view. I propose to approach the problem from an entirely different angle; being one of those honest dirt farmers, I propose to deal with the motion as I see it from the farmers' standpoint. Why is a resolution -{ this character necessary?

That, in the opinion of this house, it is expedient that the government should take into immediate consideration the establishment of a five-year plan for settlement on the land of the young farmers of this country.

We admit in that motion that the farm is not attractive enough to keep on it even those who are raised there and we propose to make it a little more attractive. All legislation today tends to induce people to leave the farm. All one has to do to realize this is to look through the order paper. For instance, the reform legislation all tends to make the urban centre just a little bit more attractive for all the population of Canada and until you make the farm pleasanter to retain those who are born there, you will always have to deal with this problem.

During the years I have been in Ottawa I have been privileged to visit Montreal and Toronto, and it is amazing to me to find that the great executives of all the large corporations are boys off the farm. In the early years when I was first in the house, when the Manufacturers' Association used to give us little excursions out into various portions of Quebec and Ontario, we invariably found that 92582-651

the men who were and who are to-day the executives of those large businesses were all boys off the farm. The same problem as exists to-day existed then. The farm is not attractive enough for them. What do we find? We find those men who were raised on the farm are to-day advising their sons that the only place to go is back on the land. I was raised in a large industrial centre and I was engaged in industry until I attained the age of twenty-three years. I came on to the farm and for the last, well, twenty-nine years, I have got a living off it.

Topic:   LAND SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   FIVE TEAR PLAN TO ENCOURAGE AND ASSIST RURAL POPULATION IN FARMING
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

And stayed there.

Topic:   LAND SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   FIVE TEAR PLAN TO ENCOURAGE AND ASSIST RURAL POPULATION IN FARMING
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LIB

John Vallance

Liberal

Mr. VALLANCE:

Yes. I was rather disappointed when I heard the hon. member for St. Boniface talk about the glorious days when we had a contented peasantry. If one reads the history of agriculture in those countries where they had a contented peasantry, why were they contented? It was simply because they were ignorant. You will not find in any country a contented peasantry where there are the educational standards we have on this continent or even in the British isles. It is education that has created this situation. What is needed now to bring people back _o the farm is education, but along a different line. I am in favour of a scheme such as is suggested if it can be worked out, but not only should we do this but we should utilize the facilities we have now under the control of the federal parliament to encourage the boys to stay on the farm. The other night when the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Weir) was on his estimates dealing with experimental farms, I suggested that we were not utilizing those institutions to the best advantage. We should take the boys my hon. friend has in mind in bringing down this resolution and give them short courses of instruction in live stock, cereals and other branches of farming. This would make agriculture more attractive and give the boys a better understanding of it. I hope I never live to see and I hope Canada never sees a contented peasantry as it has been known to exist in the past. I would be loath to think Canada would ever have that type of agricultural situation.

Everyone agrees that the day of farming on a large scale is over, and those who are engaged in it realize this. They know the thousands and thousands of acres that have been formerly run as a unit cannot be economically run to-day. Strange as it may seem, when one makes a review of conditions in western Canada one finds so far as farming is concerned that the man contented to

Land, Settlement-Mr. Coote

stay oa his 160 acres of a homestead is today, as we say in the argot of the west, at the top of the pile. But the fellow who has been farming thousands of acres now finds himself making application under the Farmers' Creditors Arrangement Act. You do not find any farmer with 160 acres making application under that act or to the farm loan board, and this proves that the large farm is not economical to run and is not a sound basis for agriculture. As one who has lived twenty-nine years in western Canada I have come to the conclusion that the day of the big farm is past.

Various schemes have been suggested; the Hornby plan was brought up to-day and I heard the sentiment expressed that those people should not be permitted to come to this country. I think that is a mistake; the Hornby plan should be accepted. I would remind the house, especially hon. members who come from western Canada, that when they look over the west they will find some of the leading, some of the best, agriculturists were not farmers in the old land. Under the Hornby plan it is proposed to take these people on approbation as it were, for a given period of years. If they are not fitted for farming and are not able to carry on without becoming a public charge they go back. One trouble we have had with all British immigration-and I speak as an immigrant- is that immigrants coming from almost any other country in Europe except Great Britain always find some organization to take them by the hand, but I at any rate never found any organization doing anything like that for the Britisher when he came to this country. He has been left to fend for himself. If we are to encourage British immigration it is time that some scheme such as that of General Hornby should be adopted. We can no longer allow promiscuous immigration.

As far as the present resolution is concerned I think it is good. I am faced with this problem right in my own home; I have two boys, and it would be useless to give either of them a farm. To give them $1,000 and set them up on a farm would probably be a mistake, you would be likely to find them in Montreal or Toronto some day. Man's natural occupation is the land, but those of us who stay with the land do so because of a natural bent and love of the soil and farm animals. No matter what money you give to an individual to put him on the farm, if he does not love the land and the stock and all pertaining to farm Life

[Mr. Vallance.J

you might as well throw your money in the sea. If we are going to adopt this scheme we must educate these young farmers. As I walk along the street I am approached from time to time, as doubtless other hon. members are, by boys asking for two bits or ten cents to get a cup of coffee; this continues in spite of the camps we have set up for unemployed, homeless, single men. I have talked to many of them and I find that most of them were raised on the farm. As I have mentioned to my friend the hon. member for Humboldt (Mr. Totzke), if when I arrived in Canada conditions had been what they are -to-day probably I would be -one of these men. If we -bring in the immigrant we must take care of him. If we adopt this resolution we must handpick those who are to come under it. Every boy raised on a farm is not a natural farmer, and I speak with some knowledge of the problem. I propose -to give this resolution my support, with that proviso that the men are handpicked before the $1,000 or whatever sum it is to be is given to them.

Topic:   LAND SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   FIVE TEAR PLAN TO ENCOURAGE AND ASSIST RURAL POPULATION IN FARMING
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UFA

George Gibson Coote

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. G. G. COOTE (Macleod):

In considering a resolution of this kind we may well profit by the experience which the dominion, the provinces and the municipalities have had in connection with the land settlement scheme under which $600 per family was advanced, of which $200 was provided by each of the bodies I have named. I have here a statement from a recent issue of the Calgary pa-per, telling something of Calgary's experience with that .plan. I am sure that the city of Calgary in choosing the families which were settled under this scheme took care to see that all of them had had farm experience, that they were not sending out green settlers. But this dispatch says:

Whether or not the city of Calgary will continue to take part in. the joint dominion-provincial farm settlement scheme in 1935 will depend upon action taken at the meeting of the relief committee of the city council this afternoon.

The 1934 relief committee forwarded to the 1935 committee a resolution -advising against further participation in the plan.

A check-up of farm settlement reports to-day showed that of the 166 families who had been sen-t -back to the land under the plan, 35 had returned to the city and the entire 166 of them were still on relief.

That is whether they were still on the farms or had returned to the city, they were still on relief.

Under the plan, second-year settlers are supposed -to receive $100 per year as a sub-

Land Settlement-Sir George Perley

sistence grant. Last year this amount was

found to be inadequate and the city was compelled to increase it slightly.

City officials stated to-day that the greatest drawback to the scheme was that the city has no guarantee that the farm settlers will ever get off relief. In the past it was shown that if the settlers could not get along on the amount they were receiving they merelyabandon their farm, come back to the city

and immediately apply for their regidar relief allowance.

I am not saying that under the scheme proposed by the hon. member for North Timis-kaming (Mr. Bradette) the majority of those placed would come back for relief, but I

am citing this experience for the information of the house. I am sure that a good deal of care was exercised by the city of Calgary before any of these families were accepted for land settlement. I was told that by an alderman of the city, and was told by a department official of the provincial government in Edmonton that they would not accept any family unless they could prove that they had had a term of fairly successful experience on a farm previous to coming into the city. I believe it would be a splendid thing for Canada to get some of the unemployed in the cities back on the land, but I think they should be put on farms that are now occupied. There are roughly 700,000 farms in Canada. On the average I think I am safe in saying every one of those farms could make good use of the services of another man, but the farmers cannot afford to hire them. If a reasonable degree of prosperity were restored to the farmers I believe that at least one-quarter of them would hire a man, and in that way approximately 200,000 men now unemployed would go back on the farms to help the farmers who are now there. The farmer may be said to be employed to-day, but he has not what may be called an income. I know many farmers who are attempting to farm a whole section of land by their own efforts A man living not more than fifteen miles from me has farmed a section for the last three years without the help of a hired man. I know another case of a man who harvested 8,200 bushels two years ago with the help only of an eight year old boy; he could not afford to hire a man. The solution of the farm problem is to restore farm prices, restore the farmers' income, and when that is done most of these young men will find their way on to farms just in the natural order.

I am not going so far as to oppose this '[DOT]''solution, but I say that if such a scheme

is adopted it needs to be handled very carefully and there is no use touching it at all unless a measure of prosperity is restored on the farms. The experience of the soldier settlement board Shows that. What is needed is to restore farm prices, bring prosperity back to the farms, and then we shall not have to spend so much time talking about unemployment and farm settlement schemes and things of that nature.

Topic:   LAND SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   FIVE TEAR PLAN TO ENCOURAGE AND ASSIST RURAL POPULATION IN FARMING
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?

Right Hon. S@

Topic:   LAND SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   FIVE TEAR PLAN TO ENCOURAGE AND ASSIST RURAL POPULATION IN FARMING
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BACK-TO-THE-LAND MOVEMENT


Family settlement-Farm Labour Placements-Relief Land Settlement As at December 31, 1934 Summary of Activities Settled without financial assistance (October 1, 1930, to December 31, 1934): Families settled' on farms-Department and railways Single men placed in farm work-Department and railways Total settlement without financial assistance Settled -with financial assistance (June 1,1932, to December 31,1934): Relief land settlement plan-agreement, Dominion and provinces.. .. Total land settlement and farm labour placements Families 15,589 Persons 77,945 33,842 15,589 111,787 3,948 20,657 19,537 132,444 Analysis by Provinces Families settled on farms (without financial assistance): British Number of Columbia Alberta Saskatchewan Manitoba Ontario families. . . . 996 4,812 3,498 1,631 1,652 Mari- Quebec times Total 2,652 348 15,589 Farm labour placements (without financial assistance): Number of farm placements. . . 295 9,271 3,197 6,459 Relief land settlement (agreement-Dominion and provinces): Number of families settled. ... 52 588 930 574 10,947 2,174 1,499 33,842 Nova Scotia 917 302 3,948 I place these figures on record simply to show that the results of the policy followed by the government have been at all events substantial. It will be noted that the first figures given are those which have arisen as a result of the colonization arrangements made between the railways and the government. Then later in the table are shown the figures which have arisen as a result of agreements between the dominion and the provinces. As I said before, at the present time the government may act in this matter only in cooperation with the provinces, treating it as an unemployment relief measure. That is the plan which has been put forward by the Minister of Labour, the one which is in operation under the agreements as they exist, and which has been productive of at least substantial results. The hon. member for St. Boniface (Mr. Howden) said-and I took down his words- "It is better for people to reside in the country than to remain idle in the cities." I entirely agree with that statement, and I believe it would have the approval of every hon. member. I repeat however that this problem is world wide. The question is: How may we stem the tide of people who desire to go to the cities rather than live in the country? During my lifetime life on the farm has been made more pleasant and more comfortable in many ways. Farm communities now enjoy rural mail delivery, rural telephone service, electric lighting and many other improvements. But despite this fact the drift to the cities continues, the glamour of the city still appeals to a great many people. This is a problem the world must face, and one which is common to Canada and all other countries. We must consider the element of human nature and decide how life in the countiy can be made so pleasant that people will prefer living on the land and raising their own food to living in the cities. That is the practice which has been followed by the habitants of



Sockeye Salmon-Mr. Neill the province of Quebec, and I claim-I know -there are no more contented or happier people than the habitants of that province. I believe that is all I have to say. I repeat that I am sorry the Minister of Labour is not here, because he is thoroughly informed in matters of this kind. During the last four years he has had such matters under consideration, and could have explained the situation to the house much better than I have done. So far as the government is concerned, however, if hon. gentlemen wish that the resolution be referred to the committee on agriculture, it seems to me there could be no objection to that being done.


LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette

Liberal

Mr. J. A. BRADETTE (North Timis-kaming):

Mr. Speaker, after the remarks of the acting Prime Minister (Sir George Perley) it is my intention-

Topic:   BACK-TO-THE-LAND MOVEMENT
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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

May I point out that the remarks of the hon. member will close the debate.

Topic:   BACK-TO-THE-LAND MOVEMENT
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LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette

Liberal

Mr. BRADETTE:

I appreciate what the acting Prime Minister has said. All hon. members realize that in a forty minute period it is impossible fully to elaborate the points involved. If I understood him correctly, I believe he is content to allow the resolution to be referred to the committee on agriculture. Is that so?

Topic:   BACK-TO-THE-LAND MOVEMENT
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CON
LIB
CON

George Halsey Perley (Minister Without Portfolio)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE PERLEY:

Mr. Speaker, I suggest the hon. member move that the resolution be referred to the committee on agriculture.

Topic:   BACK-TO-THE-LAND MOVEMENT
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February 20, 1935