Since I have been here I have commended the work being done under this vote. That also applies to the hearings before the committee on rehabilitation and reconstruction. I heard only two criticisms with respect to the matter, and one of them was that the amount of overhead was unduly high. The minister has explained that it is not fifty per cent. The fact is, however, that the details show some very large overhead expenditures. Eor instance, there are travelling expenses amounting to $185,260 and another item of $22,000 for printing and stationery. Those appear fairly high. That is one criticism which has been made.
The other criticism is that a similar vote has not been made applicable to eastern Canada. This act was first passed in 1935. Grants were made, and have been made every year since then. This year we now have another vote of $2,000,000 before the committee. I understand the total appropriations have amounted to about $20,000,000. Perhaps the minister would give us the exact figure.
My complaint is that we have not had like expenditures in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick at the head of the bay of Pundy, as I have pointed out repeatedly since 1940. We have greater need for expenditures of this kind, namely expenditures for reclaiming, restoring and draining marsh lands, than have the people in the west. In the east we would be protecting and draining lands which had previously been in a good state of cultivation, while in the west the expenditures, which I approve, are being made for improvements which were never before enjoyed.
The minister told us this morning, when we were dealing with beef cattle herds and experimental farms, that he expected to have a supplementary estimate in order that work on the marsh lands might be carried on. I am sorry we have not had a statement from the minister informing us just what that appropriation will be to improve the marsh lands in the east.
I do not wish to delay the committee by going into this matter again, but it appears to me remarkable that large expenditures should be made for the west, year after year, with the general approval of the committee; yet despite the greater need in the east there have been no appropriations for our marshlands in the east.
Again I express my appreciation to the minister and his officials for the recommendation they have made. I understand that recommendations have been made in the last two years to the treasury board for an estimate of $250,000 or $300,000, and that those estimates were not approved. I hope that the minister will have greater success this year, and that this or a larger amount will be approved.
The minister has pointed out that prairie farm rehabilitation in the west is a longterm project. I believe he said it would take a twenty year programme. That length of time should not be required to reclaim these marsh lands in the east; but at least five years will be required, perhaps longer. That shows how necessary it is that the appropriation be made now, and some of the work started at once.
The minister pointed out earlier to-day that it was the purpose of the department to make experiments with special machinery adapted to the handling of marsh mud. That is very necessary. To-day that work cannot be done except by machinery, and it is essential that special machinery be devised for the handling of marsh mud. I look forward with much interest to the appropriation that will be made when the supplementary estimates come down, to deal with the needs of the marsh lands.
Last year a report was tabled in the house dealing with a number of recent surveys made in connection with the William Pearce project. This report referred to a number of schemes under the heading of 1 and 2, A and B power development schemes. The report also dealt with an old survey that was made back in 1922. I understand that a number of engineers are working around Buffalo lake to-day. Can the minister say in
connection with what scheme these engineers are working? Are they completing an existing survey or surveying for a new scheme?
They are going into detail so far as the construction part is concerned, but they are not covering large areas of land for ditching and so forth. But for the main projects they are going right into detail.
There has been a certain amount of controversy regarding the diversion of water from the North Saskatchewan river. This spring I received a letter from Mr. E. K. Phillips, dealing in part with this question, and making certain recommendations. I quote from his letter:
Whether the potential irrigable lands in Saskatchewan are irrigated from an extension of canals taking water from the streams in Alberta or whether they are irrigated by means of diversions in Saskatchewan, some 2,000,000 acre feet of water is required from the North Saskatchewan and Clearwater rivers and since such a diversion does not adversely affect conditions on the North Saskatchewan river, there should be no opposition to the proposed diversion.
_ The fact that opposition has developed would indicate that the proposed development of the Saskatchewan drainage basin is not properly understood and would show the necessity of a board of engineers to properly advise the governments as to the most economical use of the streams.
Is anything being done in regard to the appointment of a board of engineers in order that this kind of friction will not develop in the future? I have received several resolutions from boards of trade urging that a board of engineers representing the three prairie provinces be appointed for the purpose of advising on the best possible use of these waters.
We have authority under the act to make surveys of that kind, and we have the best engineers we can find. As a matter of fact, very recently the Alberta government offered our chief engineer enough to take him away from us. I imagine that they are going to use his services on similar work in Alberta. I think the engineers we have on the work are doing just as good a job as any board of engineers could do.
I do not think that is the point. What is wanted is a board of engineers representing the three provinces to decide on
the allocation of the waters as between the provinces so as to avoid any charges on the part of Saskatchewan, let us say, that Alberta is getting more than its share of the water, and similarly with the other provinces. Perhaps I had better read a resolution I have received which was adopted by the Craigmyle board of trade:
Whereas it is desirable that the federal government should continue and intensify the survey being made under the direction of ' P.F.R.A. officials to determine w-estern Canada's irrigation and power development possibilities:
And whereas it is necessary that there should be some organization charged with the duty of assembling such data as may be necessary to determine the feasibility of the projects and their economic practicability:
Therefore be it resolved that the Craigmyle and district board of trade request the federal Department of Mines and Natural Resources to set up an interprovincial water board or commission for the prairie provinces, whose duty it would be, among others, to assemble all the available stream flow data of western rivers and establish such new stations as may be required to get a complete record of the river discharge throughout the whole western drainage area, and to determine the most feasible and economical water power and irrigation projects that would make the best use of all the available' drainage water, with the object of advising the various governments concerned of the possibilities of the area;
Be it further resolved that the personnel of such board include a representative from each of the three prairie provinces, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
The idea is to avoid friction that might otherwise develop between the provinces over one province getting more than its share of the water.
The sooner the board is established, the better because otherwise the hopes of one province might be unduly raised as to the amount of water it might get, and then the board might say later that it was not entitled to that much water. That would lead to an unpleasant situation.
When the war estimates were up I asked the minister what
research was being done in connection with chemurgy. We in the cities arc very much interested. There are other uses for farm crops besides eating them. First, I should like to say that this 82.000,000 is a very small amount of money for the purpose of this vote, farm rehabilitation. It looks to me as if the thing is being done by pieces and that a great deal of money is being wasted. I think we can accomplish a great deal more by undertaking a real big project, as was suggested by my colleague the hon. member for Davenport. I notice that in the estimates of the Minister of Trade and Commerce there is an item of $325,000 for research in connection with the utilization of farm crops. It is most important that the national research council and the Department of Agriculture should work together in close harmony, because most of the work that is proposed to be done is being done for one purpose, namely, the growing of wheat, barley, oats and other crops. But for what other purposes can the crops on these lands be utilized besides eating them?