May 20, 1938

IND

James Samuel Taylor

Independent

Mr. TAYLOR (Nanaimo):

Are any negotiations being conducted with the province of British Columbia about a national park on Vancouver island? There is no need for me to descant on the glories of that place, after every other part of Canada has had its day. But some attention should be paid to the question of a national park on Vancouver island, especially now that we have learned that there are no national parks in British Columbia; that they are merely railway parks.

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

I do not agree with the view of the hon. member for Vancouver-Burrard (Mr. McGeer) in that connection. It may be that in the remote past, in the genesis of these parks in British Columbia, there was something to support the view he expressed, but I can assure the committee that now, at any rate, they are national parks. We realize they are when we have to devote money every year to their maintenance and administration. They are not in any sense railway parks.

As far as a park on Vancouver island is concerned, I think the hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Neill) a year or two ago advanced the claims of Vancouver island for recognition in that regard. Nothing further has been done. Of course the island itself is one vast park, and I do not know that an expenditure of federal money could very greatly improve its well known attractions.

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CON

Howard Charles Green

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GREEN:

Has work been commenced yet this spring on the gap in the Big Bend highway?

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

No. The vote for that work is in the supplementary estimates which were laid before the house this afternoon. I

Supply-National Parks

expect the work will start very shortly. The plans for it are complete, but we like to proceed in a manner that will not excite criticism on the part of our hon. friends opposite for proceeding in a non-orthodox fashion, and so we did not start this work until we had at any rate the estimates before the house. If my hon. friend feels like giving me an assurance that he would not criticize me for starting the work before the estimates were passed, we might consider getting it under way next week.

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CON

Howard Charles Green

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GREEN:

If I may interrupt, let me say that I would never criticize this government for moving too fast in anything.

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

My hon. friend, I am afraid, has not as much imagination as I thought.

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CON

Howard Charles Green

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GREEN:

One would need a lot of imagination to see any fast action in this matter.

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

If my hon. friend will

survey the record of the past two years of this department, I do not think he can seriously level that criticism against it. However, speaking more seriously, we do hope to get the work there started very shortly.

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CON

Howard Charles Green

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GREEN:

I was in Revelstoke during the Easter recess, and people there told me that conditions were such that the work could be started, but nothing had been done, and apparently it takes some time to get the work camps established. Is it the intention of the government to complete the gap this year? I believe there are only about thirty-three miles to finish.

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

I am afraid it cannot be

completed this year. There is a good deal of very heavy construction, and it is through difficult country, as my hon. friend knows. If you have to push your work and machines and equipment very far in advance of the road as completed, it adds greatly to the expense. We shall not be able to complete it this year, but certainly it is the intention to have it completed next year. I am a little disappointed that we have not made more rapid progress; but last September I went right to the end of that road, where they were pulling out stumps, cutting down great, heavy trees and clearing rock cuts from Revelstoke north. I saw for myself the extremely difficult nature of the country through which they are building, and taking all the facts into consideration I think the progress with that road has been very good.

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CON

Howard Charles Green

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GREEN:

I realize that is an extremely difficult piece of construction, but I would suggest that the minister give serious con-

sideration to finishing the gap this year. I am quite sure that once the gap is completed, a great deal of the difficulty mentioned by the hon. member for Vancouver-Burrard will be done away with, because then the people of the coast, not only from British Columbia but also from the Pacific states, will be able to drive up to the national parks. Then we shall realize that the parks in the Rockies are really British Columbia parks.

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

Well, I should like very

much to see that completed this year, but I would not be quite frank with my hon. friend if I gave him any impression that this would be the case. Quite frankly, I do not think it can be, but as I said a moment ago I certainly hope it will be completed next year.

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SC

William Hayhurst

Social Credit

Mr. HAYHURST:

How is the work progressing on the road between Banff and Jasper national parks, and when will it be completed.

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

Precisely the same conditions are met with there that we find on the so-called Big Bend road; that is, the Jasper-Banff road has been built from both ends. Work has proceeded from the Jasper end and from the Banff end ever since the road was started, and there is still a considerable gap remaining; I believe some thirty miles remain to be completed. That, also, is very heavy construction. I may tell my hon. friend that I was also over both ends of that road last September. I like to get out and see the work that is going on and the nature of the difficulties that have to be overcome. The remaining portion of that road is very heavy construction, a great deal of it being rock work and the clearing of timber. In that class of construction, unless you are prepared to throw money around rather freely, it is not possible to make rapid progress, but I think I can say to the committee that, it is the intention to have that road also completed next year.

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CON

Douglas Gooderham Ross

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROSS (St. Paul's):

May I ask what

the amount of $22,200 for Pelee island is expended for, and also the $4,000 for the Georgian bay islands and the $3,500 for the St. Lawrence islands?

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

It is for general administrative work. The administrative costs in the islands, both in the St. Lawrence and in Georgian bay, are not very heavy, and consequently the vote is small. At Point Pelee, as my hon. friend is probably aware, there is heavy tourist traffic during the summer months, and the cost of administrative work is heavier. The amount is divided thus:

Supply-National Parks

Management and clerical work, $8,900; public services, $11,200; and those comprise water, roads and bridges, health, sanitation, camp grounds, gateways and information bureaux. The other items are: Stores and equipment, $2,000, and a small item for garage and repair shop, warehouses, stores and mechanical equipment. This amount has been increased in the supplementary estimates which were tabled this afternoon.

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CON

Douglas Gooderham Ross

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROSS (St. Paul's):

Is this expenditure on the Thirty Thousand islands of Georgian bay in connection with game wardens or something like that?

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

I can give my hon. friend the particulars: Administration, $3,190; office

expense, $400; garages and repair shops, $200; warehouses and stores, $210.

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CON

Douglas Gooderham Ross

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROSS (St. Paul's):

I should like to say a further word in regard to the Georgian bay lights. Very often in that country one cannot get down in the daytime, but the wind goes down at night and you can get through. I think lives would be saved if there were lights so that people could travel at night rather than during the daytime. I want again to urge the importance of better lighting for the channel through the Thirty Thousand islands and also around by Point au Baril.

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

I shall see that my hon. friend's suggestion is placed before the Department of Transport, which has to do with these matters.

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May 20, 1938