March 11, 1935

LIB

Charles A. Stewart

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

Are any of the construction crews, that is in the unemployment camps, being used on the British Columbia end of this particular piece of road?

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CON

Thomas Gerow Murphy (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MURPHY:

Yes, last season under the Department of National Defence certain camps were in operation on that road. There are none at the present time, I understand. The work which they were doing consisted in putting that portion of the road constructed by the province into fairly passable shape, clearing out landslides and doing a certain amount of grading. The work on the eastern leg was carried on under the Public Works Construction Act.

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IND

Angus MacInnis

Independent Labour

Mr. MacINNIS:

Could the minister give an estimate of the value of the work done by the men in the camps?

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CON

Thomas Gerow Murphy (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MURPHY:

I have not the figures; that would have to be given by the Department of National Defence.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

As this item includes historic sites, I take this opportunity to thank the minister for the cairn which has been erected at Cabano, in Temiscouata county, in remembrance of Vieux Chemin du Lac and Fort Ingall. And now, sir, may I make a suggestion to the minister? At St. Patrick, Sir John A. Macdonald, a former prime minister of Canada, used to spend his summers. The house is still there. May I ask the minister to see that a memorial tablet is put on that house? It is quite forgotten now, and it should be brought to the attention of passersby.

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CON

Thomas Gerow Murphy (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MURPHY:

The hon. member for

Temiscouata is a very astute gentleman, and I could not find it in my heart to refuse the appeal which he has made. I shall be very glad to take it into consideration.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

Thank you. I can tell

the hon. gentleman why I ask that. It is because it has been promised for eight years by the provincial government, but we have nothing yet; therefore I appeal to the minister.

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UFA

Alfred Speakman

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. SPEAKMAN:

Under the forestry

item I notice there is a slight increase in the expenditure contemplated. May I ask if the department contemplates extending the policy of forest experiment and demonstration stations, establishing new stations or extending their activities? I ask this particularly in view of discussions that have been carried on in connection with the drought problem and the possibility of helping to cope with that problem through forestation.

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CON

Thomas Gerow Murphy (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MURPHY:

Yes, we have endeavoured in the past four years to extend our field experimental stations, and during the past year we brought a new one into being at Kananaskis in Alberta, in which station woods indigenous to that area can be studied in the field. I think the hon. gentleman has reference more to the service that the forestry department can render in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture in restoring to fertility the drought areas in the west. We have been in consultation with the Department of Agriculture and are at present working in close cooperation with them both from a forestry and from a water power standpoint.

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UFA

Alfred Speakman

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. SPEAKMAN:

Has the department

any experience in the attempt to grow trees in drought areas? There is a great deal of

Supply-Interior

discussion about that at the present time both here and in the United States, and naturally many of us are very much interested I am asking this because of what I have been observing in the drier areas, and because there is some doubt in my mind as to the possibility of growing trees where drought conditions have become bad. I have seen a good many shelter belts and plantations where trees which had been growing for some twenty years and had become well rooted have died out because of the drought. In view of this I was wondering whether experiments have been carried on in attempting to grow trees as part of the battle against drought, and if so what the results have been. Possibly the experience has been so limited that the department has not been able to form any definite conclusions, but it is a topic of much interest in parts of western Canada.

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CON

Thomas Gerow Murphy (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MURPHY:

So far the forestry department have conducted no experiments along the line indicated. It may be that certain experiments have been carried on at the tree stations at Indian Head or Sutherland in Saskatchewan, but as those two stations are now administered by the Department of Agriculture I am unable to speak as to the results. The Department of the Interior has not carried on any experiments of the kind mentioned.

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

What was

the reason for taking the forestry station at Indian Head from the control of the Department of the Interior and handing it over to the Department of Agriculture, especially as the Department of the Interior has a forestry branch? I have never been able to understand why that change was made. Did it result in any saving?

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CON

Thomas Gerow Murphy (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MURPHY:

I am unable to state

whether any saving of money has been made. This change took place I think in 1931. The Department of Agriculture have I believe an experimental farm in that area, and as the activities of the forestry branch of the department were greatly curtailed owing to the transfer of the natural resources, when it was necessary to curtail the personnel and the activities of that branch of the Department of the Interior it was decided after fully canvassing the situation that these two stations could with advantage to the public interest be transferred to the Department of Agriculture. I believe they have been carried on since that time without any lessening of the activities or services to the people of western Canada.

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

It seems

strange that the work of tree planting and tree production, which should be entirely under the control of the forestry branch, a branch that remains under the Department of the Interior, should be transferred to the Department of Agriculture. Clearly the latter department was not performing that service at all prior to that time, and it has not been extended since. Probably the minister is aware that it was the intention to establish a nursery farm in Alberta, but that has not been done. I did not realize just how much curtailment had taken place in connection with this activity until I made application this year to the provincial department in Alberta for some trees, and they informed me that they were giving out trees only for public parks and grounds around public buildings. To separate this particular branch from the forestry branch seems to me a retrograde step. I cannot see what special qualification either the minister or the officials of the Department of Agriculture have for the carrying on of that work that is not possessed by officials of the department in which this branch had up to that time been located. I think the change was a serious mistake.

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CON

Thomas Gerow Murphy (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MURPHY:

If I understood the hon.

gentleman correctly he said there had been a cessation of activity in regard to the distribution of trees from these stations. To the best of my knowledge, and I think I am correct, there has been no cessation of the work. It has been carried on since 1930 as extensively as before that time, the only difference being that it is now administered by the Department of Agriculture instead of the Department of the Interior. The employees at both these stations, Indian Head and Sutherland, have been retained. One reason which induced the change was that after the transfer of resources our field staff was practically non-existent, whereas the Department of Agriculture had inspectors whose duties took them over all areas in the three western provinces. That was practically the deciding factor in making the transfer. These men could carry out the necessary inspections and obtain the necessary information along with their other work, so it was thought that they were in a better position to administer these stations.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

If I may intervene, my recollection is that the government in 1931, in their very proper desire to economize-so long of course as it was true economy-had decided to close the forestry farms at both Sutherland and Indian Head. The minister will correct me if I am wrong.

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I remember that the staff at Indian Head were all notified that their services would not be required after a certain day, I think June 1, 1931. Then a great agitation spread over the land. My hon. friend will remember that was one of our very worst and driest and windiest springs, yet when the country was almost blowing away the government was deciding to close the forestry station from which in the past trees had been obtained for planting. It was such an extraordinary move for the government to make that great public indignation arose, which was made manifest in so many ways that the government had to do something rather than just make an about face, so they decided to transfer these farms from the Interior department to the Department of Agriculture. I think that is about t'he way it happened. Then no extra vote was inserted in the estimates of the Department of Agriculture; these forestry farms were tied up to the experimental farms vote, with a smaller vote than the experimental farms received previously. If that sort of thing can be done without prejudice to the service, my hon. friend deserves a leather medal or something better. That is a feat of which I never heard before, but apparently it is being done, after a fashion at all events. If I am wrong in my recital I would consider it a friendly act if the minister would put me right, but my recollection of what happened in this respect in 1931 is pretty acute.

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CON

Thomas Gerow Murphy (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MURPHY:

It is true that following

the transfer of the resources to the western provinces in 1930 the activities which had been carried on in the Department of the Interior came under review, and it fell to my lot to scrutinize carefully every activity which might be continued by the department. It is true, as the hon. member has stated, that certain employees of these stations received notice that their services might be terminated as of a certain day, but not all the employees of those two stations were so notified. I may say quite frankly that it never was definitely decided that those stations should be closed, but rather that all services were studied in order to ascertain those that should continue to be performed by the Department of the Interior, having regard to the public interest, and what services should be performed by the provinces.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

We could not

expect the minister to put it just as I did, but at any rate that was the effect of the whole business. If all those who were notified had been let out, these forestry farms could

.

not have been carried on. However, the old saying is true; all's well that ends well. I was never particular whether these forestry farms were administered by the Interior department or by the Department of Agriculture, so long as they had the staff and the money with which to do the work. Time has shown that there is just as much demand for the services of these farms as there ever was, and if financial circumstances permitted the people to make more use of them I think there would be a greater demand now because of the devastating winds we have had since 1930.

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LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

I wonder if the minister has

the information before him with regard to the quantity of seed produced at the coniferous seed plant in New Westminster to what countries that seed is sent, and if any reports as to the results from that seed have been received from the countries to which the seed went. Further, is any of the seed produced or extracted at that plant used in Canada?

Mr. MURPHY': The total seed collected

to the end of 1934 amounted to 46,785 pounds, of which the British forestry commission received 28,259 pounds, New Zealand 17,183 pounds, Australia 677 pounds, the Irish Free State 52 pounds, Northern Ireland 140 pounds, while certain small surpluses above the requirements of these countries were disposed of to dealers in Canada, Spain, Belgium, Finland, Denmark and other countries. I have no report as to the success the various countries had with these seeds, but as they are taking them year after year I judge that the results must be successful.

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LIB

March 11, 1935