March 1, 1937

LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

I am sorry we have not the vote set up in a manner which will give that information readily. If I had a lightning calculator here, I could do it.

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LIB
LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

Yes; we can procure almost anything.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

That is a rather doubtful statement.

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

If the hon. gentleman will ask me the question when another estimate is before the committee, I shall have the information for him.

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LIB

Burton Maxwell Hill

Liberal

Mr. HILL:

From information published in the press of New Brunswick last year it would appear that six sites in that province have been discovered, and of those six sites that at Lepreau in Charlotte county measured up about twenty-five per cent more effective for park purposes than did any other site. I have been over all the sites, and I believe I can speak with authority in stating that the one at Lepreau lends itself to the development of a national park to a greater extent than any other in New Brunswick. In view of the favourable report of the inspector, why was it not selected?

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

I have endeavoured to indicate that the matter of selection does not lie alone with this government. One condition in the establishment of a park is that the park area must be conveyed with a clear title by the provincial government, and when it comes to that question I can understand the difficulty with which they must contend. For instance, if much property has to be repossessed there is the matter of settling for it.

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LIB
LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

I am not familiar with the details, but I am simply pointing out some of the difficulties with which the ' provincial government will have to deal. That difficulty has arisen in connection with Cape Breton Island park.

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LIB
LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

If my hon. friend will ask his question on any of the votes for the surveys and engineering branch, I shall be able to give him the information he requires.

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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

Was the request in connection with Garibaldi park, referred to by the hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Green), made by the provincial government?

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

I believe it was made three years ago.

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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

With all due deference to the hon. member for Vancouver South, I agree with the minister when he says that he thinks the government should go slow in taking over this park because of the fact that it would cost

so much money to develop it. The dominion government already have four mountain parks in British Columbia and this would make the fif th. While the officials of the department have not admitted it openly, I believe it is their opinion that they do not want any more mountain parks in British Columbia. What they do want is a seaside park which would provide a variety of entertainment for tourists coming to this country. It would also provide a low elevation resort where the people from the central prairies could come for a necessary holiday. They get upset and debilitated by the high altitude; the women become very nervous, and even the poorest of the tourists have Ford cars in which they could come to this district only four hours from Vancouver. At very small expense they could have a holiday for six weeks, a rest that would be of the utmost value. I do not know what the department has in the east, but it has no seaside park in British Columbia. The area to which I refer is on the Oyster river. This matter has been presented privately if not officially to the department.

To create a national park in this district would cost the department practically nothing. It would not be necessary to build expensive roads as there is already a paved road going right through the district. There are electric lights practically on the premises. There is a wonderful trout stream right at hand and there is something like three miles of the best possible beach. Last year they had a picnic at which 6,000 people attended and the beach was so large that they were hardly noticeable. Back of the beach is a beautiful park-like area where the underbrush has been cut away, leaving only the large trees. A wonderful park right at hand and the only cost to the government would be a couple of thousand dollars to put up tourist cabins and the like. Apart from that, the park would be self-sustaining.

I do not believe this matter has been presented by the provincial government, which shows that they have been lacking in their duty and in keeping their promises. I want this matter to go on record so that the minister will give it serious consideration when it is presented to him. Perhaps it was by certain members of the department who have been retired, but the fact is that the opinion has *been expressed to me that the government did not want another mountain park in western Canada, that what they did want was a sea-level park. I do submit that the minister should take notice of this matter against the day when the British Columbia government wakes up and fulfils its promise of offering this park to the government.

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CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHURCH:

Mr. Chairman, for the past few years I have been endeavouring to bring to the attention of the government the utter absence of national parks in the province of Ontario. With the exception of a few acres on Pelee island, and two or three other little places, there are no national parks in Ontario. This matter was brought to the attention of the government by the late member for Mus-koka, Doctor McGibbon. The government, through its various departments, has very heavy investments in land and waterpower sites in the Trent valley, the St. Lawrence valley, the Ottawa valley and on the Muskoka lakes, Georgian bay and lake Simcoe. The late member for York North, Mr. Lennox, also brought this matter to the attention of the government. As I said before, there are a few acres on Pelee island, a few more on the St. Lawrence and in the Ottawa valley, and those are all the national parks we have in Ontario. Ontario has been overlooked absolutely although we pay 40 per cent of the cash taxes of Canada. Every time Ontario wants something, we are always told it comes under anbther department.

There are a number of beautiful summer resorts along the Trent valley canal which are federal property. If it was any country but Canada, this beautiful acreage of parks and scenery to be found through the Muskoka lakes, on Georgian bay, on lake Simcoe and along the St. Lawrence would be linked up in a general parks' scheme. The Trent canal belongs to the oxcart days. It is used only for a few pleasure boats which can get up as far as Bobcaygeon. All these points should be linked up in a general parks' system. Many of the members of the faculty of the Johns Hopkins university are Canadians and they have their summer homes in Muskoka and these other districts. I have been calling this to the attention of the present minister, as I did to the previous minister, but I cannot make any headway. I think the province of Ontario is entitled to some additional consideration.

In northern Ontario there is a provincial park, known as Algonquin park, and a few other small parks throughout the province, but that is not enough. These other wonderful districts are being allowed to lie wasting and in idleness. Apparently a beautiful countryside means nothing in this country. We could have a modern Switzerland in the Muskoka, Simcoe, Georgian bay and Lake of Bays districts, as can be seen from what has been done at Huntsville. The time has come for us to do something, as the tourist trade is just in its infancy. Two million

(Mr. Neill.]

people came into these Ontario districts last year and we could get four or five million with the winter added if something were done.

The government has a tremendous investment in property and lands in the province of Ontario and its canal systems. There are acres and acres of beautiful countryside; there are many beautiful inland rivers and streams, all of which could be linked up' in a really national system of parks such as they have on the continent. All this would prove of great revenue to the government if something were done. Many Americans have beautiful homes in the Muskoka district, and this is just one district in the province.

A bill known as the Borden-Cochrane bill was brought up in 1911 to provide a system of good roads in Canada, but Ontario got little and this matter seems to have been overlooked altogether. These expenditures on good roads would link up our parks' system, as they do across the border. I do not say that the present minister should do it all, but the various departments should be gone over to bring about coordinated effort in that direction. The president of the United States has a large conservation scheme linked up with parks, playgrounds, good roads, and all that kind of thing, and it is providing a great deal of relief work. I am very much surprised to see that there are not in the estimates some votes for relief work in connection with parks in Ontario. The province of Quebec gets $2,750,000, while Ontario gets about nothing, and Ontario will continue to get nothing unless some members from Ontario rise up in their places when the estimates are before the house and ask for something for Ontario in the various departments. I do not ask for anything out of the way at this moment, but I do ask for equality of treatment. Ontario has been overlooked ever since confederation so far as national parks are concerned, while millions are being spent throughout the rest of the country on national parks; yet there is in Ontario land under five or six federal departments of this government lying idle and waste. It is said that the tourist traffic in Ontario next summer will be the greatest we have ever had, and I do ask the minister to be kind enough to look over his own department and have a survey made along the lines I suggest, and as was requested by the late member for Muskoka, Doctor McGibbon.

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

I have listened with interest to the observations made by the hon. member for Broadview (Mr. Church). There are now three national park areas in Ontario. There is Point Pelee park; then in Georgian bay

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there are thirty islands reserved for a national park; then in the St. Lawrence river there are thirteen islands between Morrisburg and Kingston reserved for a national park. So there are those three national park areas in Ontario.

I appreciate the importance of the observations made by my hon. friend, but I would remind him that the province has to offer the area to the federal government for park purposes, and it must be up to standard requirements for park purposes. Possibly in a few years consideration could be given to his suggestion. I would ask him to bear in mind, however, that they have already in Ontario national park areas in the Georgian bay islands and the islands of the St. Lawrence, which are among the finest scenic spots in Canada, attracting a great many tourists every year.

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CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHURCH:

I read a return I moved for, brought down in the house along the same line as the minister has now given the committee. I would not give Queen's park in Toronto for one hundred parks like the ones the minister mentions he has now in Ontario. They are worth nothing to the tourist trade and they attract hardly anybody. Here is the province of Ontario contributing 40 per cent of the revenue of Canada, and yet we cannot get a park along the line I have suggested. The minister says he has a few islands for us. Of course, he has a few islands; one is Pelee island, and the others are some small parks and submerged islands that nobody ever visits. I'he province of Ontario gets nothing. We have no national park system in Ontario at all; we are entitled to something, and I am going to continue to bring this up year after year as long as I am a member of parliament. Little short of an earthquake will wake up this department. It seems to be troubled from the head down with sleeping sickness, and I think a doctor ought to be called in. If a doctor were called in, he would cure this condition. We have in Ontario lake Muskoka, Georgian bay, like Simcoe, the Lake of Bays and other places which for public health are unrivalled, and I think something ought to be done towards creating a national park system in the province of Ontario coordinated with a provincial system and development.

Mr. McCANN; May I ask the hon. gentleman what advantage, if any, there would be in the province of Ontario turning over to the federal government the parks which it has already developed?

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CON
CON

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LOCKHART:

May I inquire from the minister if the federal government makes any contribution whatever to such schemes as the Victoria Park Commission at Niagara Falls?

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LIB

March 1, 1937