May 28, 1948

LIB

Gordon Benjamin Isnor

Liberal

Mr. ISNOR:

I should like to speak briefly on the resolution, but before doing so, as a member from Nova Scotia, our extreme eastern province, I am sure I am expressing the thought of every maritime member when I extend our sympathy to the people of British Columbia who find themselves in such difficulties today because of floods. We in Halifax have gone through two explosions. We know what an emergency is, and the hardships that follow; therefore we can appreciate the plight of the people of British Columbia in the circumstances in which they now find themselves.

My first words in respect to the resolution, which deals with assistance to the maritime provinces in the reclamation and development of the marshlands, must be to express, on behalf of all maritime members, our appreciation and thanks to the minister. I think perhaps the Minister of Agriculture deserves more credit in this matter than any other single member of the cabinet. He has been very sympathetic to our representations over a period of years. I recall that in 1937 or 1938 I was a member of a committee which waited on the minister in this connection. As I recall it, the hon. member for Westmorland was chairman of the committee, which included Mr. Purdy, former member for Colchester-Hants, and certain senators.

Since that time various committees have been set up, and the suggestion has been given strong support by all members of this house. The hon. member for Cumberland has been very active. The hon. member for Saint John-Albert and other hon. gentlemen on the opposition side, as well as hon. members from all parts of the maritimes sitting on the gov-5849- 286J

ernment side, have given their strong support. On all occasions we have been courteously received by the minister. Later more definite representations were made by the premiers of the three maritime provinces, who recently placed certain proposals before the minister.

I am hopeful that as the outcome of those representations a bill will be introduced, founded upon this resolution, which will provide the necessary assistance to bring about the results for which we have been working for these many years.

While I am on my feet I wish to add the name of another friend of the maritimes. I refer to the splendid representations which have been made, not once but on many occasions, by the hon. member for Davenport. The other evening we listened to the hon. gentleman deal with the development of the maritimes in regard to the production of coal. That was just one more example of his friendly feeling toward the maritime provinces, and I know he will join with those of us who come from that area in supporting this measure and giving credit where credit belongs, in this case to the Minister of Agriculture.

For the benefit of western members, more particularly those coming from the prairies, let me say that while our Nova Scotia farm production is small in comparison to theirs, it has shown a steady increase. In 1938 our farm production amounted to about 817,700,000. By 1945 it had increased to over 826,000,000, and by 1946, the last year for which I have figures, to about $42,000,000. If this development takes place in connection with our marshlands, particularly in Nova Scotia, we believe that production will be greatly increased. In my province of Nova Scotia we have 33,000 farms, representing a population of 150,000 people; so you see we are very much interested in the industry of agriculture. That also applies to dairying. Our production still is not what we would like, but we do produce seven million pounds of creamery butter per year. It is because we need these marshlands for the further development of the production of butter, dairy products and feed for our cattle that we have been asking for so many years that some action be taken.

The dikelands of the maritimes bear a relation to agriculture there similar to the relation the prairie lands bear to agriculture in western Canada. While the acreage of the prairies is vastly greater, the dikelands of the maritimes are equally essential to the basic industry of agriculture.

I said I was going to speak briefly. I believe the majority of hon. members are familiar with our dikeland conditions. They have been written about in fiction and history, and have

Reclamation oj Marshlands

been referred to time and again on the floor of this house. We need reconstruction in a big way in the maritimes. We have, roughly speaking, 80,000 acres which will come under this reclamation scheme, if carried out as requested. It is because of that, and the conditions in which we find ourselves, that we are particularly interested in the bill which will be introduced.

Surveys have been made. I have correspondence covering a long period of years, and while I am not familiar with the details of the bill which the minister will introduce, or with the various points which will be set out in the sections, I know there were three definite proposals placed before the minister in respect of the manner in which this could be carried out. One involves a fairly modest amount, and a second one would run into several millions of dollars.

We are hoping that this will be a permanent undertaking, one which will have a lasting effect upon the development of agriculture in the maritime provinces; not just an emergency measure to tide us over or to satisfy us for the time being.

Topic:   MARSHLANDS
Subtopic:   RECLAMATION AND DEVELOPMENT-ASSISTANCE TO MARITIME PROVINCES
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

This covers the whole thing.

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LIB

Gordon Benjamin Isnor

Liberal

Mr. ISNOR:

Thank you; I am pleased to be advised by the Minister of Agriculture that this scheme is broad enough to cover the full program as placed before him by the three premiers in their recent conference on this subject. I take it from the minister's statement that it will be only a matter of years until our total marshlands will once again be properly protected so as to give us an opportunity to cultivate on those lands produce which will be helpful to our province.

I have endeavoured to speak as briefly as possible, so as to permit other maritime members, if they so desire, to join with me in extending thanks to the minister. Once again I thank the government and particularly the Minister of Agriculture for having brought this legislation before the house.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Perhaps if I were to give some details so that hon. members would have some information as to the nature of the legislation, it would help them in anything they might desire to say. I was hopeful that most of the discussion would take place on second reading of the bill. The bill is in print and ready for distribution as soon as this resolution passes. With the bill before us, we would be in a better position to discuss points such as those mentioned by the senior hon. member for Halifax.

At present, however, I should like to reply to the question asked by the hon. member for Souris. As he said a few moments ago, for a period of years he and other hon. members have been advocating that we should have legislation similar to that known as the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act, which would be applicable to all Canada.

In so far as it has been given consideration by the government, it was thought that if such action were taken there should be two bills, one covering the problems we have from Manitoba west and the other covering problems from Ontario east. Those problems are different, due largely to the nature of the country and to the difference in climate in the different areas. It was thought, therefore, that there should be two bills.

May I say that, among others, I have become a little bit tired, if I may use that word, of waiting for these larger bills. The suggestion made a few moments ago by the senior hon. member for Halifax is correct in every particular. Since coming to Ottawa and going to the maritimes to see for the first time the marshlands there, and the experimental work which was started there the year before I took over the department, and which has been continued since that time, I have been convinced that one of the most important works to be done in Canada was the rehabilitation of the marshlands.

I recall that from my earliest days in school in Canada I was taught that one of the highest tides in the world was that in the bay of Fundy. I did not realize what that meant until I had an opportunity to go there and to see it. The situation is one which has been dealt with over a long period of time and by different authorities. Although I have not measured it, I was told, while I was very young, that the water rises to a height of forty-two feet.

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LIB

Gordon Benjamin Isnor

Liberal

Mr. ISNOR:

To sixty feet.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

It was stated conservatively in our geographies at forty-two feet, although I would suppose that at some point or another the figure of sixty feet would be correct. In any event, forty-two feet is a very high tide; and a rise of sixty feet, as has been suggested by the senior hon. member for Halifax, is a considerable rise indeed. Hon. members will realize what this means, and that it is different from the matter about which we had been talking this afternoon. This is not something that happens once in every fifty years or in every ten years; it happens twice a day. The water rises under the tide twice a day, and this goes on year in and year out.

Reclamation oj Marshlands

A long time ago, in the first instance when the area was ruled over by the French, the French government thought this important enough to conserve these lands from the sea, the lands on the fiats which are flooded every time the tide comes up. The French put their armed forces and others to work at building dikes alongside these marshlands to prevent the rising of the water from flooding twice a day these very lands.

A hundred years ago the British had gained control of that area. It will be kept in mind that in both instances it was not the federal government which acted; rather it was imperial governments a long distance away from the work, governments across the ocean. But they took sufficient interest in the matter to see that these dikes were built. First it was the French and later the British.

The dikes were built. We like to pride ourselves upon our engineering skill today; but the engineers of that time built those dikes so soundly that they gave very little trouble over a long period of years. The aboiteaux built to control the going-out and coming-in of the water, with the assistance of some maintenance on the part of either local bodies or the provinces, since the confederation of the provinces, have remained intact, and have given good service. For some reason which I shall not discuss at the moment, agriculture was not paying as well in the maritime provinces in more recent years as it had been in the earlier period, and there was not the same care taken of these high producing pasture lands, nor was the same care taken of the dikes themselves. The result was that some of these dikes became damaged and the seawater began again to come in over these flats which are capable of producing great amounts of fodder.

As an indication of just how much they can produce, let me point out that we took over a small acreage of it alongside our experimental farm, and have been operating it since the first year I was in the government. The area was taken over in the year previous, although the experimental work had not been begun when I took office. I went to the maritime provinces, looked at the area, and the surrounding area, and decided that the work should proceed. I have been back there since to see the plot of land taken over. On one side of the road we find a condition today where a certain amount of fodder such as alfalfa or other hay is produced, while right across the road on the plot which has been properly handled under experimental conditions we find three times as much being produced from each acre.

This gives some indication of the possibilities in the area by way of increasing production through the proper handling of these lands. Long arguments have gone on as to whose responsibility it would be to make the necessary improvements. I have been convinced from the beginning that it did not make any difference whose responsibility it was, that no government short of the national government could do any considerable part of the work that had to be done. If it were to be done at all it had to be done on the same basis as the French did it in the first place and as the British did later on; it had to be directed and partly financed by some central authority and put into shape where the local people could handle it.

In the past the dikes were there, and the practice that was followed w7as to have provincial legislation under which the land behind the dikes could be managed and under which certain levies could be made in order to cover the cost of maintenance. This is administered in very much the same way as what has been done in connection with drainage in provinces across Canada.

The bill to be founded on the resolution provides for the federal government building or rebuilding or reconstructing the dikes. We think it is better that there be a division of authority rather than there be a division of funds; that there be a division of responsibility rather than that there be a division of funds. We will go ahead and do a certain job and then the province will do a certain job. Then those who will have benefits from the land will do something further, to be provided for under provincial legislation.

The job we have taken upon ourselves to do is that of reconstructing the dikes to keep out the sea. When we have completed that job we hope that there will be no possibility- if there is a possibility we may have to do something further with regard to it-of the sea getting in to damage these lands. Then the province undertakes under the legislation to do certain works behind the dikes. There may have to be some negotiation when we get down to the final determination of what is to be done by one or the other, as to just where the one stops and the other starts, but what each is responsible for is pretty clearly written into the legislation and we can discuss the details when the bill is before the house.

So far as the federal government is concerned, the total expenditures in connection with the 80,000 acres referred to a few moments ago by the senior hon. member for

Reclamation of Marshlands

Halifax will be S3,210,000. This is made up as follows:

30 miles new dikes at $10,000 a mile $ 300,000 70 miles heavy reinforcing dikes at

$6,000' a mile 420,000

200 miles medium and light reinforcing dikes at $2,500 a mile 500,000

10 very large aboiteaux at $30,000

each 300,000

20 large aboiteaux at $30,000 each . . 600,000

35 medium size aboiteaux at $6,000

each 210,000

200 small aboiteaux at $1,000 each .. 200,000200 breakwaters at $700 each

140,00080,000 acres, surveys and plans at 50 cents per acre

40,000Total

$3,210,000

Those are the expenditures under division No. 1. Then division No. 2 covers the expenditures to be made by the provinces. The estimated cost to construct, straighten, dig or clean laterals, sub-laterals and dale ditches in 80,000 acres of dikelands and marshlands and to clean larger drainage ditches or canals is $4,230,000, made up as follows:

50 miles large canals at $10,000 a

mile $ 500,000

130 miles large creeks at $5,000 a

mile 650,000

120 miles of laterals at $4,000 a mile 480,000

GOO miles of sub-laterals at $2,000 a

mile 1,200,000

7,000 miles of dale ditches at $200 a mile 1,400,000

Total $4,230,000

Expenditures under division No. 3 are to be undertaken by the dikeland owners. The

80,000 acres are to be replowed, limed, fertilized and reseeded at $18 per acre, or a total of $1,440,000. Those are the estimated figures at the moment. The works referred to a few moments ago by the senior hon. member for Halifax as being temporary were started in 1944-45 and consisted simply of patching up holes in the dikes and that kind of thing. There was nothing permanent about it. The federal government have spent on such activities in 1944-45, 1945-46, 1946-47 and 1947-48 a total of $207,601.33. These works will be continued during this year. The activities under the bill which I intend to bring before the house will start with the next season.

It is estimated that it will take anywhere from five to ten years to do the work, depending upon how much we are able to accomplish each year. In their proposals the provinces suggest that it should take nine or ten years, but we are hopeful that the work for which we are responsible can be done in a much shorter period. We think the most important thing to do now is to

keep the water out. When we have spent the amount which is required to cover the federal government's responsibility in connection with the dikes, it will then be possible for other work to be carried on by the provinces behind the dikes. If the province desires to take a longer period of time or if those interested in the land desire to take a longer period, it will be most helpful to them if our work is carried out in a shorter space of time.

In answering the hon. member for Souris who asked whether this bill would be similar to the P.F.R.A., I would say that it will not be similar. This bill covers just the one thing. So far as we are concerned, it covers the building of the dikes. That will be done by the federal government and the staff required will be an engineering staff.

I presume the advisory committee will be much the same committee as we have had for a number of years. The chairman of that committee is the superintendent of the experimental farm in Nova Scotia and he has a number of others associated with him. These men have studied the question fully and have made reports from time to time. I presume it will be that committee, or some variation of it, that will function in connection with the whole activity.

I should like to get the bill before the house as soon as possible. I may say to those who are concerned about my getting away that I am not going away for a week. Nobody needs to be in any hurry about my going away. I shall go away when the time comes whether the legislation is through or not. There is nothing involved in my going or staying in so far as the legislation or my estimates are concerned. It is simply a question of getting along as rapidly as we can with the ordinary business of the house. Even if my estimates and this bill are through, I shall probably be here until about a week from today or a week from yesterday, so that we can go on discussing these matters to the satisfaction of all wrho are here.

However I think we could accomplish more and get greater satisfaction out of the discussion if hon. members would put me in a position as soon as possible to get the bill into their hands and that can be done right after this resolution is passed.

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Subtopic:   RECLAMATION AND DEVELOPMENT-ASSISTANCE TO MARITIME PROVINCES
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PC

Joseph Henry Harris

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HARRIS (Danforth):

We need you but can get along without you.

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PC

Douglas King Hazen

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HAZEN:

A good many of acres of land that will be improved when this proposed legislation becomes law and is put into effect are located in the constituency that is repre-

Reclamation oj Marshlands

sented in this house by the hon. member for Cumberland. On a number of occasions during the past number of years he has brought to the attention of the members of the house the deplorable condition of these marshlands, and has asked the government that some action be taken. I am not in a position to say and I do not say that it was wholly through his energetic efforts that this resolution has been brought down and that the legislation is to be introduced, but I think he is entitled to some credit for what he has done for his constituents in this matter, and I think also there are other members-

Mr. IS'NOR: I gave him credit.

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PC

Douglas King Hazen

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HAZEN:

I admit that, and there are other members from the maritime provinces who are entitled to credit for what they have done in this matter.

There is in the county of Albert, which I have the honour to represent in this house, a considerable acreage of these marshlands that front on the bay of Fundy. Some improvements have been made through arrangements between the dominion and provincial governments and the landowners in the past few years to restore the dikes and reclaim these lands, and probably the experience that has been gained in these operations has been or will be of service in the drafting of the bill that will be brought down.

I do not want to discuss this resolution now at any length. As the minister has suggested, I think it would be much better to do that when the legislation is before us. But I would point out this fact, that this legislation is of a most unusual character. As a rule, the dominion does not assist people whose property has been destroyed by floods. That matter has been discussed today in connection with the floods in British Columbia. The government does not assist owners of property whose lands have been destroyed by floods or by forest fires, nor does it assist people who permit their properties to fall into such a state of disrepair as to be no longer useful or productive. But in this case public funds are to be used to assist a number, and a considerable number, of land owners to improve their own properties.

These dikes in years past were raised by the hands of farmers, with labour incessant, to shut out the turbulent tides. They did that work with their own labour, with the French government possibly assisting at one time. The work was done first of all by the French settlers and later by English settlers, and the dikes were maintained and kept up by these settlers. With the ceaseless rise and fall of the tide there must be a great wear and tear on these earthworks to keep out the seas. For

many years past they were maintained by the owners of the land, and the work was done at their own expense. But now for some reason or another, possibly a combination of reasons or circumstances-the minister referred to the fact that agriculture had been depressed in that area-the government is to do this work. For some years past the owners of the land failed to keep up these dikes; they failed to look after their own property, and as a result the dikes went down, the seas came in and the land was destroyed or made unproductive.

Now if public moneys, the moneys of the people of this country, are to be voted and spent on erecting these dikes and putting these lands into shape for their owners, I think it is essential that arrangements be made to see that the owners of the land keep up the dikes after they have been built. It is essential in this legislation or in the agreements that are referred to in the resolution to provide that the owners of the land maintain the dikes after they have been built. If that is not done the money of the people of this country that will be spent on the' enterprise will be wasted.

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LIB

Loran Ellis Baker

Liberal

Mr. BAKER:

Coming from Nova Scotia, I just want to say that I am delighted, as I am sure the other members from the maritimes are, that the government has found it expedient to reclaim the marshlands in the three maritime provinces. I shall not go into details because I want to see the bill first, but I want to express the satisfaction it gives us all to have the minister make this pronouncement. We need all the arable land we can have in the maritimes. I can assure the committee that this is not a partisan matter at all. It is something that all of us from the maritimes have asked for in one way or another, some vocally on the floor of the house, some of us more quietly perhaps, by correspondence and by direct representations. That goes for all parties in the maritime provinces. I appreciate very much the general support and interest shown by the rest of the committee in this matter.

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CCF

Thomas John Bentley

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. BENTLEY:

I think it is proper that someone from the prairies should say something on this resolution. I suppose someone may accuse me of supporting this measure simply because it affects the province of my birth. I am glad to do so on that account, of course, but that is not the main reason. We in the west have felt for many years that it was necessary to have some assistance to carry us over places where water was scarce, because we believe that the production of foodstuffs is an extremely important thing both for our nation and for the world at large. We have

Reclamation of Marshlands

been given some measure of relief for some years by P.F.R.A., which has done excellent work in the Palliser triangle, and we hope, of course, that much more will be done. It does not make much difference whether the land is submerged under water or has not enough water, for in neither case does it produce the foodstuffs it could. I 'believe that the people of the west generally will welcome the extension of this assistance, although it is not called P.F.R.A., and obviously it could not be, to the maritime provinces, because the result will be to bring more land under cultivation.

I remember some of that section of the country pretty well. One member has said that the people who owned these lands have permitted the dikes to get into a condition of disrepair. I do not believe we should go back into history to place the blame on any particular person, because you cannot alter the facts anyway after you have found out who was responsible. The fact remains that there were times when it was utterly impossible for the owners of the land and the province itself to do the maintenance and reconstruction work that was necessary, and which will be necessary, as the minister says, to bring this land back into cultivation. Whatever errors were made in the past, the thing now is to see that the necessary corrections are made, and I agree with the minister and others who have spoken that this government should take the lead. When that is done, undoubtedly there will be quite a number of people occupying these lands who will be new settlers, probably young farmers, and they will no doubt get encouragement to go ahead and do their part in building and maintenance to make this possible. This will all add to the productive power of Canada and will be of great help to the maritime provinces in rebuilding their industries there, which they regard as their right. It is a pity that more of the same thing could not be done in connection with other industries in order to make them as productive as we all know they can be.

The early part of the debate this afternoon was taken up with a discussion of conditions in the Fraser valley. In a way, I felt let down to think that while the lives of people, and a tremendous amount of personal and public property, were in danger, there should be any discussion whatever over questions of jurisdiction on the part of governmental bodies. When there is such a crisis it should be dealt with as rapidly as possible by whoever has the means to deal with it, and then the responsibility could be assessed afterwards if necessary.

After all, if someone pushes a baby into the river, the first thing that anyone who is able to rescue it will do is to get the baby out, and then find the person responsible and take whatever action may be necessary to prevent his doing the same thing again.

I think the hon. member for Fraser Valley has brought up a question which is of importance not only to that part of the country but to all of us; and the government here, being the strongest in Canada, should take immediate, active and efficient steps to do whatever should be done.

I appreciate what the Minister of Public Works, the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of National Defence have said they are doing. One minister has had his deputy out there for the last two days and no doubt he has been assisting in the work. The Minister of Agriculture has officials in the locality, and if one of them is the person I have in mind he will give a tremendous amount of impetus to the work there. But he cannot do anything without the necessary machinery and manpower. The Minister of National Defence has his engineers on the job. But that is not enough. This afternoon the newspapers indicate that something more rapid should take place.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

The army and the navy are there too.

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CCF

Thomas John Bentley

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. BENTLEY:

Some of the army and some of the navy, and it may be necessary to have them all there. When there is a battle on, it is important to have everyone fighting.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I think everyone is there who should be there. Everyone is there without direction from the federal or the provincial authority. Everyone out there near enough to be helping is helping.

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CCF

Thomas John Bentley

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. BENTLEY:

Are there more on the way?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

The question to be considered is not what can be done now, because, as I said, everyone is doing everything that can be done at the moment. The question raised by the hon. member for Kootenay East is the important one, as to what is to be done with regard to those who have lost property; but that is a thing that does not have to be decided today. As to the other things that can be done, I repeat, everyone is doing whatever he can.

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CCF

Thomas John Bentley

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. BENTLEY:

I am glad to hear that, and I am sure the hon. member for Fraser Valley will be glad to hear it also, because

Reclamation oj Marshlands

I thought he rather felt that everything was not being done that could be done, and I thought he should have the support of the committee if he was correct in his assumption that everything was not being done that could be done. If, however, the minister is right and everything is being done that can be done, that will be a source of satisfaction both to the hon. member for Fraser Valley and to other members from British Columbia.

I will not take up more time on this resolution except to say that we sympathize with the people of the maritime provinces and we hope that those who put this measure into effect will be able to do so as expeditiously as possible. We hope they will meet with the success which has attended some of the work of a similar kind done in our part of the country.

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PC

John Ritchie MacNicol

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacNICOL:

I endorse what the hon. member for St. John-Albert said in giving credit to the minister. In this House of Commons we too seldom, in opposite parties, give credit to those on the other side who do try to do something, and as far as I know the present minister is the first federal minister who has really put his teeth into this problem.

I compliment the minister, as did the hon. member for St. John-Albert. I also appreciate what was said by other members representing Halifax, Cumberland, where the works are going on near the experimental farm, to which the minister referred, Royal, Queens and other parts of the maritime provinces. We can include all hon. members from the maritimes.

Since I have been here, on one occasion or another I have spoken of the marshlands of the maritimes. Last October I spent some time in Albert county and also in the area in Nova Scotia about which the minister spoke. I must pay tribute to the early French pioneers. They did a marvellous job without machinery. They must have done it all with wheelbarrow, shovel, pick and so forth.

In the county of Albert last summer I saw one of the aboiteaux in action. In English, this means a valve in a trough or box, through which the water flows. It hangs on a hinge; when the water is draining off the land, this flap or valve moves seaward, and when the tide is coming in, the flap is pushed shut so that it keeps the sea out. The engineer on the job told me that these aboiteaux were built 200 years ago by the early French pioneers. That is a great tribute to those people.

I support this resolution and I will support the bill as well, for in my judgment it is long overdue. Anyone who heard the figures given by the minister will realize that the completion

of the job would be too much for either Nova Scotia or New Brunswick by itself. The province of Prince Edward Island would like to have dikes too, but I have not heard so much about that. I believe the whole house will support the bill.

One thing that struck me favourably about this debate was the sympathy of everyone for any province that is in distress. The feeling of members generally toward any part of Canada that is in distress is something admirable, and it brings home to us the fact that all Canada is our business and not merely the little bailiwick that each of us represents for a short time. The country at large is our concern, and every member has been in sympathy with this proposal. Some members have referred to their individual troubles, and they are very real no doubt, and should be attended to as quickly as possible, but all those members supported the resolution.

I have heard the amount of acreage stated at between 80.000 and 100,000 acres. Even

80,000 acres are well worth reclamation. It would mean a great deal to the productivity of maritime farms. The farmers roundabout apparently grow hay on the marshlands, but for some years they have not been able to do so. Years ago these activities yielded great returns, but of recent years the farmers have not been able to do much in this way.

Last summer I spent some time at a delightful little town called Hillsborough where the gypsum plant is located. They were rebuilding the dikes there. As one drives south, I presume, from Hillsborough toward the gypsum plant, the roadway lies through lowlands.

The day I was there the water was over that roadway. The tide was in. After the tide went out, I myself went along the roadway across there at the other side of the depression. The land between the roadway and the bay was under water. But when the works now being constructed are completed that land will be reclaimed.

One of the engineers gave me a copy of the bill, or maybe I got it later in Fredericton; I have forgotten which it was. I presume it was a bill passed by the New Brunswick legislature last year or the year before. It stated that the gypsum company, the railway whose line was flooded when the tide was in, and the owners through an agreement were providing for a dike or the repair of that dike. So I hope that, when this bill goes through, the people in Albert county who certainly had great expense-and that includes the railway, the gypsum company and the owners of the land-will be considered for the return of

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Reclamation oj Marshlands

what, they spent. They may not be through yet. More money may have to be expended there.

If the minister goes there, he will find the town of Hillsborough a very nice town. It has a fine hotel, which serves the best meal I believe I ever tasted. If I go back there, I am going to head straight for that hotel. I have forgotten its name, but it is on the left side of the street going south. It is well operated and serves fine meals.

In closing my remarks, may I say that I just rose because I know the areas about which the minister spoke. Having seen the tide across the road and across the low lands, I heartily support the reclamation of these lands.

Topic:   MARSHLANDS
Subtopic:   RECLAMATION AND DEVELOPMENT-ASSISTANCE TO MARITIME PROVINCES
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SC

Victor Quelch

Social Credit

Mr. QUELCH:

I should like to say that we in this group are glad to give our support to this measure. I remember that, when the reconstruction committee of this house was sitting, we made a review of history of the conditions in this area, the history of the building of the dikes, how they had been allowed to deteriorate and how the marshlands have been developed. At that time we came to the conclusion that the problem was one which was altogether too great for the province to handle. Therefore we made a recommendation that reclamation of the marshlands be carried out as a national project. At that time we felt that it would help to increase the wealth of the dominion and could well be regarded as a self-liquidating project.

It was quite evident from the history that was given to us that deterioration of the area of the marshlands had come about largely during the depression times. It was explained to us that, owing to the depressed condition of agriculture, the farmers had not been able to afford the cost of maintaining the dikes, the cleaning of the ditches and so on. It is just another example of the heavy cost we pay in times of depression, and for some time in what we might call a deflationary period. We perhaps do not realize at the time the high cost we pay. It is only at a later time that we realize that the cost of a deflationary period may be much greater than the cost of inflation that we are constantly having brought before us.

I would also say we are glad to see that steps are being taken to give immediate help in the Fraser valley. Then, of course, the next question is this. What is to happen afterwards in regard to the people who have lost a great deal of their property, whose stock maybe has been destroyed, and who will have to be given assistance? One hon. member mentioned that it is a new idea that the

federal government should accept responsibility for damage from floods. I do not think it is a new idea at all, because back in 1937, when we had the terrible droughts in the west, the federal government in part accepted that situation as a national responsibility. The federal government gave the prairie provinces a great deal of help in regard to drought conditions, and in bringing in feed. While flood may be the opposite of drought, nevertheless it is a condition that may absolutely bankrupt the farmers. Just as we accepted as a national responsibility the need for help in relation to drought, so I think we should accept the need for help in regard to damage from floods. We shall also have to accept that as a national responsibility and, when the damage can be reviewed, provide measures by which assistance can be given to these unfortunate people.

Topic:   MARSHLANDS
Subtopic:   RECLAMATION AND DEVELOPMENT-ASSISTANCE TO MARITIME PROVINCES
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PC

Joseph Henry Harris

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HARRIS (Danforth):

Before the resolution carries, I should like to make one or two observations. First, I will say that I am in favour of this resolution for the reason that those who are affected by it are close to the communities which, in days to come, might consume the products which might be produced on these marshlands. In the second place, those who live in the proximity of these marshlands are the people who are the very basis, to my mind, and the very life of those features of our Canadian way of life which we like to think of as being of a pioneer character.

Thousands of people from the maritimes have gone west and have developed that part of the country. They left these lands because they were marshlands. Even though they left the midst of these communities-and I am sorry the senior hon. member for Halifax has left his seat; I have something to say to him and I hope he will come back-even though they left the community whence comes the hon. member for Saint John-Albert, I still have a mid-Victorian idea in my system that those who left the marshlands and went west are people of a kind that did wonderfully well on behalf of Canada. As I say, I may perhaps be mid-Victorian, but I should like to hold that pioneer stock within the confines of the maritime provinces in order that we might have some well-spring, as it were, or some source from which to draw the greatest of our Canadians to help to make up for the loss of those who found it necessary, through reasons of one kind and another

for instance, that they might get a better financial return-to leave the maritime provinces and go west.

But not nearly as important or as tragic is it that some left the maritimes to go west as it is that others left to go to the New England states to develop another country which does

Reclamation of Marshlands

not fly the same flag as we do. I should like to hold them in the maritimes. I say to my hon. friends in the maritime provinces that within the last quarter of a century, right at the mouth of these very marshlands, I have seen three old pioneering families which I visited, during the last two or three decades stay home in the maritimes. I ask the hon. member for Saint John-Albert-and he knows of whom I am thinking-if one, two or three of those individuals did not accumulate within the last two decades a million dollars in the end of these marshlands, by staying home and attending to their knitting within the province of New Brunswick?

One Sunday morning I hired a car and went out to Moncton to see one of these men at the end of the bore, the bore being one of those channels cut by the tide. This gentleman was on his verandah, and he said, "You, coming from the city of Toronto the good, will, I suppose, not talk business on a Sunday." I reminded him that I had already been to church and had driven out in the same car to see him. Finally, in a cold sort of way he said, "Well, come in off the verandah," and I had the pleasure of taking lunch with him at his home and then selling him forty or fifty cars of goods. After that, he thought those of us from the central provinces were perhaps not too hard to deal with. He finally consummated the sale, even though it was Sunday, and while he still thought Toronto was the good, he felt perhaps it was not quite so good after all.

My hon. friend about whom I have been asking has not yet entered the chamber. We are all members of a confederation. Over a period of two or three decades, the maritime provinces may have been overlooked. Coming from one of the central provinces, I say to my hon. friends in the maritimes: We love, admire and respect you, and hope you may be able to develop your economy so that you will be on a par with the other provinces of the dominion. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, I am in favour of this legislation. I think we should help them in any way we possibly can. Why? For the simple reason that we owe a debt to the maritime provinces of Canada, and I think we ought to pay it. This legislation, little though it may do, will perhaps help. I am sure the provinces of Ontario and Quebec will do anything they can. If hon. members coming from the western provinces find themselves asked to vote some assistance to the maritimes, many of whose people travelled west and helped develop that part of the country, I am sure they, too, will favour any possible help that can be given 5849-287J

so that we may develop the maritime provinces as a strong entity, which will cling to us.

If we do not do that, who will rise in his place in this house and blame or criticize those in the maritime provinces if, after mature consideration and the experience of half a century, they decide that perhaps at the time of confederation they were not too wise in their decision to remain with us? That is what worries me when I think of the years that lie ahead. Within the confines of those three provinces is a great opportunity for the development of natural resources, including those they can dig out of the top six inches of soil and what they can garner from the seas surrounding them. But in addition there are the intellectual resources, those qualities of body and soul which those progenitors have passed on to their sons and daughters, which we need if we are to make of Canada a country of which we may be really proud.

I do not know whether I have made clear the idea in the back of my mind. Perhaps in days gone by we have not been too fair with that far-flung part of our dominion. If that is the case here is an opportunity to do at least something to help the maritimes; and I think it is a great chance.

I should like to put on record something which may stimulate the ideas of one hon. member who seems to think he is the sole representative in this house, and on every committee which functions here, capable of expressing the ideas which permeate the people of that part of the country. The hon. member for Halifax, whom I have had paged half a dozen times in the last ten minutes, has not as yet arrived in the chamber. I am referring to the hon. gentleman who until recently was the junior member for Halifax, who likes to think he represents everything worthwhile in the maritimes. I say to him that if he would try to strike a sympathetic and cooperative chord in the minds of hon. members coming from Ontario and Quebec he would be doing greater service to his constituents and to the maritime provinces in general. He should approach us with the feeling that we are with him to a man, because we know what the maritime provinces have done for Canada, instead of in an attitude which to my mind might be considered cynical, for lack of a better word. If he would cease telling us that rve moved the head offices of his banks from the maritimes up to Montreal or Toronto or some other place he might get along better. We did not do that.

We love, admire and respect the Macdonalds, the Mackintoshes and all those people down there, the sons and daughters of those

Reclamation of Marshlands

who came over on the steamer Hector, the sons and daughters of the highlanders who fought on the plains of Abraham in years gone by, most of whom came from the maritime provinces. We in central Canada have not forgotten the great contribution the maritime provinces made to this country, and the idea we have is to nurture and help them now.

Therefore, coming from Ontario, I support this legislation. I say to the senior hon. member for Halifax, who mentioned the French Canadians, the Aeadians and what not: Voulez-vous, s'il vous plait, entrer dans la saile de la chambre des communes et poser votre derriere sur une chaise, and say something worthwhile on behalf of the maritime provinces. You will get the support not only of those who come from Toronto, the city of the good, but of all those representing Ontario as well as my colleagues in the province of Quebec and those from the west. I say to all my colleagues: Support the maritime

provinces. Hold the maritime provinces. A few miserable dollars do not matter. Therefore it is a great pleasure for me to support the legislation now brought down by the Minister of Agriculture in this connection.

Topic:   MARSHLANDS
Subtopic:   RECLAMATION AND DEVELOPMENT-ASSISTANCE TO MARITIME PROVINCES
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May 28, 1948