March 3, 1944

NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

-having regard to what happened last year when the estimates of the minister were before the committee.

In all fairness I say the minister might very properly allow the hon. member to continue. This is a matter of some importance, the discussion of which could not properly be had under any other item in the estimates. The minister will be the first to agree that wide latitude is given in the discussion on the administration item. I submit this is not one of those detailed matters which would normally fall within any of the actual items.

Supply-Agriculture

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LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

I believe I must repeat my first statement, namely, that item 135 at page 20 of the estimates, providing for an expenditure for dominion forest service, would afford an opportunity for this discussion. It is true that when the first item of any department is called a certain amount of latitude is allowed, but it must be realized that when specific questions are asked, in order to give answers the minister must have officials before him. The hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe was asking some direct questions.

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NAT
LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

A question was put to the minister, and the minister has said he is not in a position to answer it. His point of order was well taken. It is now proper to have a general discussion, but I believe hon. members will realize that the minister is not now in a position to answer questions on all the items in his department.

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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. CRUICKSHANK:

Speaking to the point of order, I should like to conform to the discussion of the items as they are called. However, we had a discussion with regard to potatoes, in connection with which an emergency had developed, and we were told by the minister that he would prefer to have the discussion under item 26. If the estimates are discussed as they were last year it will be about July 26 when we reach that item. That is not an exaggeration; it is borne out by Hansard of last year. The condition with respect to potatoes is an emergency condition, and I do not want to wait until item 26 is called.

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LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

If the hon. member is stating a point of order, it is my view that the subject should be discussed under item 26; otherwise representations will be made over and over again and there will be repetition. I am in the hands of the committee, and am not attempting to set up rules. I believe there is no doubt however that potatoes might be considered when item 26 is called.

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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. CRUICKSHANK:

May I speak again to the point of order?

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LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

I have given my decision on the point of order.

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LIB

Harry Leader

Liberal

Mr. LEADER:

Since you have made your ruling, Mr. Chairman, while I do not wish to interrupt the hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe, may I take it that if he is out of order I may proceed?

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LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

The hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe had the floor.

[Mr. Graydo*-.

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NAT

William Earl Rowe

National Government

Mr. ROWE:

In what I have to say I shall try to keep within the services of the agriculture department. It is not my purpose to hold up the estimates. As I have said, I am not criticizing the administration of the department, although I believe there is room for criticism.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

May I make it perfectly clear that I am not objecting to anything that has been said so far. I have no objection to what has been said; that is not the point. I do wish to know', however, whether we are going to discuss forestry under my estimates. If we are, then every other hon. member may do the same, and I hesitate to sit here all afternoon and evening discussing the estimates of some other minister's department.

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NAT

William Earl Rowe

National Government

Mr. ROWE:

I think I am still in order when I recommend that the Minister of Agriculture take the forest service entirely out of his department. I refer to the surveys with respect to insects carried on by his department. I would suggest, too, that two or three pages of the report of his department referring to that subject could then be deleted. If we cannot discuss this matter under the estimates of this department, then I think there should be a reorganization in order that this problem can be more fully considered. Surely we would be in order as a committee to discuss the advisability of taking out some of the service items that are now in these estimates and placing them, if you will, under the Department of Mines and Resources w'here I think they should be.

The hon. member for Fraser Valley (Mr. Cruickshank) has mentioned that there are emergency problems, but I would point out that this matter is an emergency problem. We must realize the great damage that has been done during the last four or five years. We should endeavour to arouse this committee to arriving at some solution or making a greater effort than the small effort being put forth to-day. I am merely pointing out that the services having to do with this great primary industry should be solidified and consolidated under one department. Something should be done along that line.

As I suggested at the outset, the minister must share at least a part of this responsibility with the Minister of Mines and Resources. Neither department is doing very much, nor has much been done in the past. I am laying this matter on the doorstep of the government, because it is their responsibility; but it must be admitted that for the last seventy years very little has been done for this great primary industry, which has grown to be the most important in this dominion; employs the most

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labour, and produces a greater favourable trade balance than any other industry. It has made to the mother country an important contribution to the war by providing over a billion and a half feet of lumber per year. It has given assistance to our friends in the United States by assisting in their requirements for explosives, for alcohol, for glycerine and many other things made from these products. Yet for seventy years this industry has been allowed, to grow up almost like Topsy so far as national direction is concerned. During the last twenty years problems have arisen which I submit create an emergency now. They should be dealt with before next spring. There is the spruce bark beetle, the bronze birch borer, the budworm, the jack pine sawfly and mountain pine beetle. Hon. members from British Columbia know the damage that these insects are doing. Every part of this dominion is affected. I know it has been said that we cannot deal with these matters because the provinces have autonomy over their own civil and property rights, but I submit that this government should review without delay the possibilities of establishing a national forest policy to cooperate with the provinces.

Some department should be made responsible for preventing the terrific losses we have sustained. From 1878 to 1886 very large quantities of the accessible timber in the state of Maine and the provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick were destroyed. The preponderance of balsam since that time has made our forests more vulnerable to the spruce bud-worm. From 1910 to 1920 from forty to sixty per cent of the accessible spruce and balsam in the state of Maine and in large sections of Quebec and New Brunswick was affected by this insect. The present budworm infestation began in the district north of Sudbury in 1935 and 1936. Foresters in that district claim that because of this infestation there was more damage by fire in two days in 1941 than there had been in the previous ten years-the ravages of the budworm making the trees so much more susceptible to fire hazards.

An estimate made by the best forestry authorities in the dominion indicates that this budworm infestation now threatens 45,000 square miles. The area damaged spreads through Ontario, Quebec, and part of New Brunswick, and over 15,000 square miles of forests are already destroyed. Do hon. members realize what that means The minister's report states that 40,000 square miles are seriously affected. This represents the destruction of 50 million cords of wood, or sufficient pulpwood to keep the pulp and paper mills of this country going for thirty-five years. Yet the federal government and this parliament have done practically nothing about it.

As has been stated by the leading entomologists in this country, we are twenty years behind the times in our effort to overcome this devastating budworm menace. Other countries have national policies in connection with their great resources. We talk a lot about rehabilitation, about free money, about giving pensions, about finding places for our men, and very little about conserving and preserving and developing our own resources, which are so fundamental to our great primary industries. It is upon these industries that much, of our national wealth and national employment and national prosperity depend. It is true that something has been done, but it touches only the fringe of the problem. From 1909 to 1920 over 200 million cords of spruce and balsam pulpwood were destroyed in Quebec and the maritime provinces by the spruce budworm.

This problem transcends the borders of the dominion; it affects the United States of America as well. On two or three occasions the state of Maine has suffered great loss. I am glad to note that there is a bill now before congress which will provide large sums for investigation and research work in an effort to arrive at a solution of this problem. Many things have been tried. Because of the nature of the problem, dusting by aeroplane has not proven entirely successful, but there is no doubt that much can be done through proper forest management, protective service and cooperation between the provinces and the dominion.

We have not faced this problem, and we must face it in order to arrive at a solution. We cannot sit idly by and watch what is happening. Every infestation affects millions of cords more than the previous one. We have been warned repeatedly during the last quarter century by the leading entomologists that unless something is done, resources of great value will be lost to the dominion. True, when you look over the map you can see enormous areas of timber still in Canada; but remember, our resources are not inexhaustible. We have excellent yellow birch in the far east, stately firs in British Columbia, and large white pines in this old province, much of which, however, has been exploited, and now we have left in its place a growth of balsam, which is fertile ground for the budworm to do its work.

I submit, Mr. Chairman, that we certainly have not met this problem. There is no industry which gives more employment in Canada to-day or has more capital invested in it than the allied forest industries, and they depend entirely on the raw production from these great forest areas. I believe that there is more hope for employment after the war

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through new uses of wood products than there is in any other single industry in Canada, but that industry is dependent upon the accessibility of sound timber. After the war we shall have to compete with Sweden and Finland and even Russia, and therefore I think it is fitting under our good neighbour policy that we take this problem up with the United States of America. I ask the government of the day to face this problem and see if we cannot bring about some joint cooperative effort between Canada and the United States to deal with it. It is not only a provincial or a dominion problem, but from its very nature it is as well an international problem. If a great forest fire starts in the Gatineau, we soon know it down here because we smell the smoke. But until we are almost on fire ourselves we do not seem to wake up. Insect infestation can prepare vast areas of our forests, square mile after square mile, in one year for a forest fire. The fallen timber through insect infestation creates a fire hazard and now causes greater annual destruction than all the timber cutting itself in this dominion.

Eemember, the figures I have given are not small figures. Forty thousand square miles is a large territory, and 15,000 square miles is now a fire hazard and a prey for the fungi and insects to which I have referred.

It does seem to me that excuses such as provincial rights should not brush aside this problem. We must grapple with it in a national way, establish surveys and detection services, international in scope, and enlist the joint efforts of the federal bureaux of entomology and plant pathology in an endeavour to solve it. It is true that we have made certain strides forward in the distribution of insecticides and parasites, and there has been more research into control methods. We have a laboratory at Belleville. The Imperial Institute has been moved out from England for the duration, and is doing excellent work. It has been shown, that parasites can be produced in sufficient numbers to be spread over areas in such volume as to prevent this insect infestation, if the work is done in time. But they cannot be spread over 15,000 square miles, and many entomologists are agreed from past experience that this work must be done in time if the forests are to be saved. And so I say, Mr. Chairman, that we must have surveys made and detection services set up. I leave it to this house to say, no matter whether the problem comes under this department or not, whether we are giving the necessary attention to this great national resource, a resource that brought to this country in 1941 alone a production of 1537,000,000 worth

and a favourable trade balance of $350,000,000. It is an industry which directly and indirectly is supporting over half a million of our people.

The question is important from many other angles as well, of which hon. members are no doubt familiar. There is the effect upon our climate and upon soil erosion. We spend a lot of time in the' different provinces in discussing reforestation policies. I can well remember the time, a quarter of a century ago, when reforestation was started by our county councils, and in Simcoe county, where I live, we have been reforesting ever since and now have substantial reforestation areas. But it takes a long time to reforest 15,000 square miles, and mother nature has proven to be the best reforestator we have yet seen. Again I repeat, we have wilfully neglected the great major national resources of this dominion. It seems to me that we, the representatives of the people in this house, should urge upon the government that more time and effort be spent on national research and the development of these resources and on their conservation and wise and scientific utilization. If we spend more time on these vitally important matters and less time on some of the wild dreams some people have of giving people something for nothing, it will open the door to opportunities and restore the confidence necessary not only to industry but especially to the labouring man himself. Nature has blessed us with timber resources in greater abundance than those possessed by any other people. Surely we should not fritter them away. I hope that the history of the next seventy years will not be a repetition of the last seventy, in which we have recklessly neglected an important obligation which rests right on the shoulders of this government-

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Rests right on the

provincial governments.

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NAT

William Earl Rowe

National Government

Mr. ROWE:

There again we come back to the excuse, of provincial rights.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Mr. Chairman, I must rise to a point of order. We have wasted thirty minutes listening to this discussion, which is entirely on provincial matters having nothing to do with this department. I would respectfully suggest that you enforce your ruling.

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LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

I have given my ruling. There is no doubt that the hon. member for Duffcrin-Simcoe has not obeyed my ruling. I cannot see how a discussion of forest resources can be tagged on to a discussion of agriculture estimates. It is the first time I have heard such a discussion on these

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estimates. There will be an opportunity when we reach item 135, for dominion forest service, to discuss the matter the hon. member has been discussing. I rule again that he is absolutely out of order.

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NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

Mr. Chairman-

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LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

I have given my decision on the point of order. Surely the committee must respect the decision of the Chair. If my ruling is disputed, an appeal can be made from it.

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NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

I was not going to speak to .the point of order, Mr. Chairman, but wanted to discuss another matter, unless the minister is going to reply.

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March 3, 1944