February 12, 1937

PRIVATE BILL

FIRST READING


Bill No. 19, for the protection of the Dionne quintuplets.-Mr. Gray.


BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

CANADA-UNITED KINGDOM TRADE AGREEMENT- PROBABLE DATE OF BUDGET


On the orders of the day:


CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition):

Before the -orders of the day are proceeded! with I should like to ask the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) if it is likely that the trade agreement between the United) Kingdom and Canada will be laid upon the table before the budget is presented, and also if he is in a position to give us any indication as to when we may expect the budget in the event of the trade agreement not being presented- before the budget is brought down.

Hon. CHARLES A. DUNNING (Minister of Finance): It is a little early to determine that. The trade agreement has not yet been finally completed. I shall endeavouf to give the house as soon as possible information as to the time of presentation of the budget and also with respect to the trade agreement.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   CANADA-UNITED KINGDOM TRADE AGREEMENT- PROBABLE DATE OF BUDGET
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PRAIRIE FARM REHABILITATION ACT


The house resumed from Thursday, February 11, consideration in committee of Bill No. 18, to amend the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act-Mr. Gardiner-Mr. Sanderson in the chair. On section 2-Duties of committees.


LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Hon. J. G. GARDINER (Minister of Agriculture) :

Mr. Chairman, I took advantage of the over-night adjournment to have the departmental officials and the law clerks go over the discussion which took place last evening and make suggestions as to what they thought might de done to meet the proposals then made. The chief law clerk advises that in order to clarify the position the word) "advisory" should- be added to sections 3 and 4 of the act. The addition of this word will make it perfectly clear that these committees are not charged with administration. Subsection 1 of section 3 of the act would then read, "The governor in council may establish

one or more advisory committees. . ." The word "advisory" should be added in subsection 2 before the word- "committee." In section 4 of the act the word "advisory" should precede the word "committees" wherever it occurs.

In further explanation of what was said last evening I may say that the original advisory committee found it advisable to have other committees set up. One committee was instituted to advise in connection with water work, another to advise in connection with regrassing, and so on. The committee found it preferable to have this more or less expert advice on these matters. I am informed that the main committee met only twice, once in May and again in December of 1935-that is, one under the previous government and one under the present government. The real work that was based on the discussions that took place there was carried out by these subcommittees which we hope to establish in some legal position by an amendment to the act. It is intended that these committees shall be advisory in the same sense that the original committee is advisory. I would suggest, therefore, Mr. Chairman, that these amendments be made to the bill, adding the word "advisory," at the places indicated. I am sorry that the typewritten recommendation has not yet reached my desk, but I expect it here at any moment.

Topic:   PRAIRIE FARM REHABILITATION ACT
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Mr. Chairman, I bad thought out certain amendments which I believed would meet what the minister stated was his purpose last evening.

First we must take it that he proposes to abolish the present advisory committee. I submit respectfully that that is a mistake. I should like to have placed upon Hansard the names of those who comprise that committee as it now is. I mentioned it yesterday, and the minister stated that he did not have the names then, but perhaps he will place them on Hansard this afternoon. I think it is a great mistake to destroy this committee. The minister says he may reappoint it, but why abolish what you may reappoint? That seems to be a reasonable question.

I have in my hands the report made under the provisions of the statute of 1935 which was filed on the Friday preceding the day I came into the house, which perhaps accounts for my not having seen it before. I hope I shall not be misunderstood when I say that this is a report signed by nobody and ad-

Farm Rehabilitation Act

dressed to nobody, and it is a little difficult to treat it as a proper report of the kind that should be made under the act. It is headed, "Report of the work conducted under the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act for the fiscal year 1935-36," and after citing the act it proceeds as follows:

Administration of this act is vested in the federal Minister of Agriculture, who is assisted by an advisory committee appointed by order in council. The advisory committee comprises representatives of farming, ranching, financial and railway interests in the affected areas, as well as officials of governments of the dominion and of the provinces concerned. The function of the advisory committee is to suggest measures to the minister for the rehabilitation of drought and soil drifting areas. Detailed organization and supervision of work under the act is largely performed by the dominion experimental farms.

In view of that paragraph in the report, I ask this committee whether they think it is quite fair to put this work in the hands of Mr. Vallance. Mr. Vallance was a member of this house. His strong predilections are so well known that it is not beyond reason to say that he could not go into any community and remain there longer than a few hours without discussing politics. That is not unfair, but I shall not say more than that in his absence. He has no peculiar qualifications for this position, and he is being paid the equivalent of the indemnity of a member of parliament, he having been a member of the last house. I submit that whatever we should do, we certainly should take out any thought of there being anything of a political flavour to the administration under this bill, and it is impossible to do that with Mr. Vallance at the head of it-absolutely impossible; and what is more, there is no member of this house who was here in Mr. Vallance's day that does not know it. He has told us on several occasions that he was born in Scotland, which of course is a great asset, a very great asset in Canada; but the knowledge he has of these areas is problematical, in view of his own statements from time to time, because he lived in a section of the country that is not concerned or has very little concern with this-

Topic:   PRAIRIE FARM REHABILITATION ACT
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LIB
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Swift Current is, but how much of Battleford was in that area?

Topic:   PRAIRIE FARM REHABILITATION ACT
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LIB
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

It is all in it, every bit of it.

Topic:   PRAIRIE FARM REHABILITATION ACT
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

We will assume he is familiar with his own locality. Now I take the minister's own statement-these are the words in the report:

Detailed organization and supervision of work under the act is largely performed by the dominion experimental farms.

What is more, this report contains details of what apparently the dominion experimental farm people were doing. I put this to the committee: is it fair to the people of Canada who are to spend millions of dollars in rehabilitation that a very strong partisan should be placed in charge of this work? Remember this: the preceding government had to deal with it, and whom did they put in charge? They took the manager of the experimental farm at Swift Current, so that those who had to provide the money would feel at least that there was no political flavour to the administration.

I confess to having a great liking for Mr. Vallance personally, as many others have; but as to his fitness for this position it is quite inconceivable that anybody would seriously consider it. He could not go into any community without talking politics. He is so constituted that he cannot help it. I am not saying that to his detriment at all, because it shows a lively interest in public concerns; but it does not indicate any fitness for this job, and that is the reason that the preceding government placed the administration in the hands of the experimental farm manager at Swift Current. I do submit that to appoint Mr. Vallance to this position at $4,000 a year is to give a blow to the efficiency of the administration of this act right at the start. It is now under suspicion; it was the minute Mr. Vallance was appointed, and will continue to be, and that is unfair to the people who have to find the money. The press this morning suggests that the minister expects to get $3,000,000 for next year. When the $3,000,000 is provided, the gentleman who is to be at the head of its administration is one whose offensive political observations in this house have been of such a character that certainly he is not entitled to great confidence on the part of many people. The people in the area affected are not all of one political faith; they are people with differing political views. I put that to the government.

Farm Rehabilitation Act

After a statement of the general drought conditions, the report continues at page 2:

Under the rehabilitation program which has been inaugurated in accordance with the terms of this act, efforts are being made to effect improvements in farming practices and land utilization. An essential feature of this work is the encouragement given to farmers to solve their own drought and soil drifting problems by community cooperative action, with a minimum of material and financial assistance from governmental sources. For this reason the rehabilitation program is largely demr.nstra-tional and fact finding, with the object of supplying leadership and guidance for permanent readjustment of agriculture in the affected area rather than to provide temporary assistance during the continuance of the existing conditions.

With the foregoing general aims in view, measures are being introduced throughout the drought and soil drifting areas to secure the most economical utilization of soil moisture for crops, to prevent soil drifting and to reclaim abandoned farm land for its most suitable use in either crop production or grazing. Drought resistant grasses, with soil binding properties, are being used for the production of hay or pasture on areas of land which are unsuitable for grain production. Regrassing work of this nature is especially timely in the semi-arid areas of Saskatchewan and Alberta in view of the present trend towards grazing on these areas. Tree planting as a measure of soil drifting control is being conducted on a large scale, both for demonstrational and experimental purposes. Throughtout this work considerable attention is being given io the economic aspects.

That is a record, not a prospectus. The minister indicates his prospectus, but this is the record which the minister places before the house of what has been done, not of what is to be done. On that state of facts it is shown by the record that we have been able to do this with the aid of this advisory committee.

I would ask the committee to look at the closing paragraph on that page:

An important part of the rehabilitation program is the development of surface water resources for stock watering purposes, and for the production of reserve supplies of feed under irrigation.

In connection with all phases of this program a considerable amount of investigational work is in progress, while the demonstrational projects have valuable fact-finding qualities.

The various rehabilitation measures in use, and the agencies through which they are being introduced, are described below, together with some reference to the progress made during the fiscal year 1935-36.

Then follows the record of all these proceedings. Here are the words:

During 1935 thirty-nine district experiment substations were established at strategic points in the affected area of the prairie provinces. The location by general districts of the various substations is shown in the following list.

Then follows the list: southwestern Manitoba, three Goodlands, Lyleton, and Pipestone; southeastern Saskatchewan, Alameda, Avonlea, Radville, Strasbourg, Weyburn; southwestern Saskatchewan, Canuck, Carmichael, Fox Valley, Limerick, Lisieux, Parkbeg, Tompkins, Tugaske, Valjean, Gravelbourg, Herbert, Kincaid, Piapot, Riverhurst, Shaunavon, Willow Bunch; central Saskatchewan, Dunblane, Guernsey, Juniata, ICindersley, Lovema, Rose-town; southern Alberta, Bindloss, Castor, Cessford, Consort, Foremost, Lomond, Whitla, Youngstown, and Pincher Creek.

Inasmuch as the district experiment substations serve as the principal means of introducing the best measures of drought and soil drifting control, and of determining the relative value of different measures in various districts, the work of these stations is described below in some detail.

After which follows several pages giving in detail the work that has been accomplished.

Then follows reclamation projects and these projects are referred to at great length- at Mehta, at Mortlach, and at Kerrobert; and as to the agricultural improvement associations, what has been done is set out in some detail.

There follows what I conceive to be most important, in view of what the minister said yesterday-this is his report, not mine-on page 10: "Agricultural improvement associations under the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act as of March 31, 1936." That was nearly a year ago, and here is the statement of the improvement associations that existed then. Presumably there are many more now. There was no amendment of the act at that time. In Manitoba there are associations at Good-lands, Lyleton, Medora, Pierson, and Reston. In Saskatchewan there are associations at Aneroid, Beechy, Ceylon, Chaplin, Estevan, Gull Lake, Hazenmore, Herbert, Kincaid, Lafleche, Limerick, Lucky Lake, Macrorie, Maple Creek, Meyronne, Minton, Moose Jaw, Mortlach, Orkney, Shamrock, Shaunavon, Sidewood, Tugaske, Valor, and Weyburn. In Alberta there is the Argyle-Clear Lake agricultural improvement association.

We then come to grass seed production. The question was asked yesterday what was intended to be done. Here is the record, not of what was intended to be done, but what was done, in respect to grass seed production:

Farm Rehabilitation Act

During the fiscal year the following quantities of seed were supplied for various rehabilitation projects:

Pounds

Crested wheat grass

Brome grass

Western rye grass..

Sweet clover

Alfalfa

Alsike clover

Timothy

Reed canary grass..

Here is a record of achievement under this act that I consider to have been a fulfilment of the purposes for which it was enacted.

Then there is a reference to seed and clover, where it came from, and the conditions under which it was produced:

86.3S4

25,760

8,190

35,000

7.230

1,000

In order to determine the best methods of seeding perennial grasses and legumes seeding experiments are being conducted by the dominion forage crops laboratory at Saskatoon, in cooperation with a number of farmers in that district. In these experiments grasses and legumes were seeded at different dates on light soils both broadcast and drilled, with and without cultural treatments. While the results secured during 1935 were not sufficiently conclusive to enable recommendations to be made, they provide some valuable guidance for future investigations.

Tree planting is then dealt with, and one is amazed at the very large effort-much greater than one would have expected-that has been put forward in that regard, in the distribution of seedlings. Reference is then made to the field crop shelter belt association,-all these under this act; all in actual operation:

These associations have been formed by farmers in selected districts where it is desired to establish demonstration field shelters in order to determine their effect in checking soil drifting and conserving soil moisture. Bach member of an association undertakes to plant field shelter belts on his farm with the assistance and under the supervision of the tree planting division.

Then there is a reference to the Conquest field crop shelter belt association:

It was organized in January, 1935, and subsequently brought under the operation of the Rehabilitation Act. By March 31, 1936, this association comprised twenty-seven members representing a farming area of 51,840 acres. During 1935 over 80,009 trees were planted in shelter belts in this area, and preparations were made to plant 372,200 trees in the spring of 1936.

A statement follows of what has been done with regard to soil research and soil survey. I consider the matter of soil survey to be so important as to warrant a few observations with respect to it. One of the very richest of the station owners in Australia left his large fortune, or a substantial part of it, to establish

a laboratory for the purpose of providing a survey of the soils of western Australia,-the Waite institute. It is presided over at the present time by Doctor Richardson, who has visited this country and with whom our research department is in close consultation. A complete soil survey map of Australia is being prepared to determine what parts are capable of being used for the production of crops of grain and what parts are fit only for grazing and for the raising of cattle and sheep. Observe now what we are doing here, and I think this is one of the most important observations in this report:

The object of soil survey work is to determine the nature, extent, and location of various types of soil, with special reference to their crop producing capacities. This work, in addition to being of fundamental value in soil research work, is particularly useful in the formulation of land utilization policies and for the guidance of farmers and prospective settlers.

For a number of years soil surveys have been conducted in each of the prairie provinces under the direction of the provincial universities. Under the rehabilitation program soil survey work throughout the drought area is being accelerated by the provincial universities and the dominion experimental farms.

During 1935 the department of soils of the University of Manitoba conducted a soil survey of 1,774,080 acres of land in the southwestern part of the province. The area surveyed consisted of townships one to seven inclusive in ranges 19 to 29 west of the prime meridian. This survey covers the principal drought and soil drifting area in Manitoba.

Then follows a reference to what has been done in Saskatchewan through the soils department of the university of Saskatchewan; and these words, on page 17, are important:

This map is the result of wrork done during several years prior to and including 1935.

Topic:   PRAIRIE FARM REHABILITATION ACT
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Since 1926, in fact.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I will read it.

A reconnaissance soil map of the southern part of Saskatchewan, with a descriptive report, was prepared during 1935 for publication by the soils department of the university of Saskatchewan. This map is the result of work done during several years prior to and including 1935. The area covered by this survey, consisting of more than 60 million acres of land or about two-fifths of the total land area of the province, extends from the international boundary to township 48, and includes practically all of the settled agricultural land in the province.

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

For the information of my right hon. friendl I may tell him that that work was done as a result of the establishment by the province of Saskatchewan a

Farm Rehabilitation Act

number of years ago of a fund at the disposal of the university as an endowment for that specific purpose, the moneys used being a surplus accruing to the province from the operations of the 1919 wheat board. The work has been going on for quite a number of years. The sixty million acres referred to really represent the accumulation of the work.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Well, I have read from the report of the minister's colleague. The report of the Minister of Agriculture is a report under this act, and I assume when he states that the map was prepared in 1935 he is stating the fact.

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February 12, 1937