I will not pursue that matter any farther. I have gone as far as I need in that direction. I believe that Ottawa should be beautified and improved as the capital of this great dominion. I think we all agree that, while the fathers of confederation were very wise in many respects, they were shortsighted when it came to laying a plan for the development of this city. I presume we all have our ideas of how it should be done, but if I had the planning the first thing I would do would be to establish a boulevard from the main entrance of the parliament buildings to the museum. The establishment of a boulevard right down Metcalfe street would be the first step to take if we want to improve
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a national library. The need of a national library is very great. A national gallery is another. And there are other national projects. What I am saying now is that the idea of development of a national capital area does not need to be supported by the idea of a national war memorial, the need of which existed before the war and would have been with us had there been no war. So let us not confuse these ideas.
There is one other thought to which I should like to give expression.' I am, I hope, no narrow Canadian nationalist. I hope that in the breadth of view that will prevail in parliament we shall always be willing to learn where we can from other peoples. But I should like to think that in years to come, when this national area has been developed and visitors come here and express admiration of it, we shall be able to tell them that it is a Canadian expression of the conception of the national capital. In saying that, I should like to see those immediately charged with responsibility for the development of the capital area free to consult the best advice anywhere in the world; but I want to see this conception developed as a Canadian conception, the driving force behind it Canadian, the expression of thought Canadian, and the work carried out principally by Canadians. Let us consult others and get the best advice where we can, but let the work be carried out by Canadians. We have the experts here who can do it, and do it in keeping with the national objective.
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I think we all agree that we do not wish to see lavish expenditure made. We want an adequate return for all expenditure. I think that principle ought to guide us in connection with all our planning, whether of war memorials or the development of the national capital area or in any other way. Before sums are voted for the development of the area, apart from those immediately provided in the bill, we shall wish to see the plans; we shall wish as a parliament to be satisfied that the plans which are developed and the way in which it is proposed that the work be carried on to a conclusion will be in keeping with the national objectives. Let us encourage the planning; but before large amounts are voted to put the plan into execution, it must be submitted to parliament, and parliament must have full opportunity to record its approval or disapproval.
Mr. Speaker, I could not allow this bill to go through without rising to speak upon it. I want to criticize as strongly as I can the timing of this bill. When I do so I do not think I am less a Canadian than any other
hon. member, nor do I say that I am not in favour of the beautification of this city. When I first came here the beauty of Ottawa and the surrounding district appealed to me very much, and I think it is one of those odd psychological facts that those things which are beautiful we like to make more beautiful. Two of the recent speakers on the government side said they came from the most beautiful part of Canada. While one may not be able to claim as much for the province from which I come, it is yet one of the most important provinces in the dominion; and had it not been for the good fortune of rains this year, that great area where we grow so much wheat and other produce to feed not only the people of Canada but the peoples of the world would have been a source of great worry to all hon. members, because we would not have been growing any appreciable amount of wheat and other foodstuffs. This bill asks for appropriations from the consolidated revenue of this country of $300,000, and when I read press reports, with which I agree, that under the Greber plan perhaps $300 million will ultimately be required1 for the beautification of this area, I say very strongly as a democratic socialist that we should1 put first things first.
I come from an area of this dominion where I have seen people moving out of that "Pal-liser triangle" by the hundreds and the thousands into other parts of our province to try to get a livelihood, just because this government and past governments have not seen fit to make provision and set on foot undertakings to give irrigation to those areas where we can harness our rivers and assure our people of the production of crops, and I say, therefore, that this bill is inopportune.
When it is said that we should beautify this district and be proud of it as a national capital I quite agree. I believe all hon. members are of opinion that we should have the finest and most beautiful capital possible. But it is an economic contradiction that throughout the world we see beautiful capitals which have been built up, and right alongside these evidences of wealth we find scenes of abject poverty. That is true even of this country. We do not have to go many miles, not only from our capital city but from other urban and rural areas, to find similar conditions. So I say as a socialist that we should put first things first; and when our scale of living is brought up to a decent standard, when we have health insurance and the rest, the time will have come to introduce a bill such as this.
Mr. Speaker, I had not intended to take part in this discussion-I approve the principle of the bill-but I notice that other members
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Galt was not founded by John Galt, the great Scottish colonizer and settler of western Ontario. It was settled, before John Galt came to Upper Canada, by Absalom Shade and was known as Shade's Mills when John Galt came to visit it-
But we are far from the city of Galt at the moment. This city of Ottawa is one that no one can come to as a member of parliament does without being very proud of it. Prior to entering parliament, I had been a frequent visitor to the city of Ottawa, but I must confess that I never fully appreciated the beauty of this city and especially the majestic beauty of these buildings and of the hill on which they stand until I entered parliament. I think those who were responsible for selecting this site for the home of Canada's national parliament were men of great vision to whom we owe an inestimable debt of gratitude. This majestic and dignified building is worthy to house this nation's parliament, and this great hill on which it rests is undoubtedly one of the beauty spots of the nation. Any man who calls himself a Canadian need have nothing but pride in the location of these buildings. It is to be regretted that many of the other government buildings in this city are not in keeping with these majestic parliament buildings. I think we ought to take from them our inspiration in seeking to develop in this district sites worthy of the national capital.
I was glad to hear what the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Fournier) had to say to-night, because he gave expression to a thought that has impressed itself on my mind many a time as I have strolled around the rear of the parliament buildings and looked over the expanse of the Ottawa river to the lovely Gatineau hills beyond. Whoever was responsible for permitting the location just across the river, in sight of all who visit the parliament buildings, of a match factory from which every vagrant breeze blows sulphur fumes across these grounds and into this building was surely lacking in foresight. I hope that the Minister of Public Works and those charged with the responsibility for making plans for beautifying this capital area will see to it that provision is made for clearing up that unsightly picture immediately on the other side of the river and eliminating those sulphur fumes.
I entirely endorse what the Minister of Public Works said to-night about the necessity of taking a broad view and making both sides of the Ottawa river contribute to the beauty of this district. I have always been an enthusiastic advocate of municipal planning and had something to do with efforts in that direction in the city of Toronto. One thing that can be said with certainty about municipal and community planning is that the longer it is deferred the more costly it becomes. To those who feel that the prospect before us now is one of substantial expenditure, may I say that if we leave it much longer, the cost will be so much greater. So, if we believe in planning, let us begin now and lose no more time.
I wish to make one reservation with reference to this bill and any support I give to the general idea of a national area which will be a credit to the nation. I draw attention particularly to it because of the explanatory note which appears in the bill. I read the first sentence.
The purpose of this bill is to amend the Federal District Commission Act, 1927, so as to enable the commission to discharge more readily the duties that will devolve upon it in connection with the development of the national capital area as a national war memorial.
I wish to make it perfectly clear that, as far as I am concerned, as one member of this house, the two thoughts are entirely separate and distinct. The development of this capital area ought to stand on its own feet, without reference to any national war memorial. It should be a national objective which has no reference to the war and no reference to the memorial. It should be a national objective because, being the kind of nation we are and hope to be, we ought to have here a capital that is worthy of the nation, regardless of war memorials. If we are to think in terms of war memorials, frankly, I can think of some types of memorial which would be much more in keeping with the conception of an adequate national war memorial than the development of this federal area.
To begin with, as the hon. member for Temiscouata (Mr. Pouliot) said,
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war memorial. If we are to apply this money to the building of a war memorial, it should be spent in the nine provinces of the dominion. Instead of the money being spent only in this city, it should be spent in Toronto, Montreal, Saskatoon, Calgary and all across the dominion. I can see no reason why we should be asked at this time to vote-