May 31, 1948

PC

John Ritchie MacNicol

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacNICOL:

The bill I referred to on Friday pertains to Albert county in New Brunswick. Apparently the maritimes are working together harmoniously and cooperatively. If everyone does that, we will be sure to get somewhere.

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

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. G. DIEFENBAKER (Lake Centre):

Mr. Speaker, it is remarkable to see the degree of unanimity which on occasion can be found in this house when a matter of national importance comes before it. I listened with interest to the remarks of my colleague, the hon. member for Cumberland (Mr. Black), and also to those of the hon. member for Gloucester (Mr. Richard). They could not but have a profound effect on the thinking of all of us in this house. The bill now before us represents an attempt on the part of the national authority to meet a situation prevailing in one or more provinces. It would have been easy for the government to say that this matter was one of municipal or of provincial jurisdiction rather than to do what they did-recognize that the improvement and reclamation of the areas in question are necessary to the welfare of all parts of Canada.

As one who lives on the prairies I want to say to those who come from the maritimes that over the years we have been appreciative of the wonderful spirit of helpfulness shown to us by members from all other parts of Canada in the difficult days of drought-through which we passed. In supporting this measure we but show our appreciation of the support that has been given to us over the years.

There is one further thing I want to say in this connection. I said at the beginning that it would have been easy to say that this is a matter of provincial or municipal responsibility. We should realize that conditions of distress prevailing in British Columbia, while local in extent, may amount to a disaster national in scope. I hope that the responsibility of providing compensation to the flood sufferers will not be placed upon the municipal or provincial authorities in British Columbia. That matter too is a one of national importance ; the support of all members in this house must be secured to the end that compensation may be provided nationally, not provincial-Iy, to those who have suffered. The same spirit in which hon. members in all parts of this house support the need for reclamation in Nova Scotia calls for a recognition of conditions in British Columbia as a matter of national responsibility.

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

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Right Hon. J. G. GARDINER (Minister of Agriculture):

I should like to reply to one or two of the remarks which have been made and some of the questions which have been asked.

The question was asked why the bill is confined to this one objective. I would answer that by saying that this is a question which has been under discussion for a long time. Some hon. members have referred to the fact that it has been discussed throughout the whole period that I have been here as Minister of Agriculture. That is thirteen years now.

I know it was discussed before that, because this ten-acre plot we have-it is a small acreage compared with that suggested by the hon. member for Cumberland (Mr. Black)-which is associated with the experimental farm, was taken over the year before, so that is fourteen years ago; and I presume there was discussion about it prior to that.

Naturally at the beginning, as in all proposals of this kind, we were confronted with the question of responsibility. Our constitution lays it down that a certain authority has the right to collect revenues from certain sources, or to give the right to other bodies,

Reclamation of Marshlands

such as municipal bodies, to collect funds from certain sources, and that then, as a result of having that right, they become responsible for doing certain types of work. I think that is generally acknowledged by all political parties right across Canada, and they have been inclined to adhere to that principle. But I am inclined to think that there are many developments which cannot take place on the basis that all funds that are collected must be charged up to lands affected by the expenditures. It has been proven, for example, over a long period of years, that it is impossible to have irrigation developments based upon the price of the land that will benefit thereby. The same is true with regard to projects of this kind. In other words you cannot just say that you can apply a certain method of revenue collection and then take sufficient out of the land affected by the expenditure to pay all the capital costs and other costs of making use of the water, or whatever it may be, in order to make it possible for people to live there. The theory is that somebody must step in and spend money in order to make the project a possibility at all, and that when that money is expended, others can make charges against the land or on the province as a whole and go on with further developments.

When we started to discuss this project that is the one question which always came up: this is a provincial responsibility. The provinces and the dominion were inclined to try to get a bill which would cover all these different projects. Two years ago we had one drafted to bring into the house, but for certain reasons I do not need to discuss now it has not reached the house. So, having reached that stage I rather took the position that it would be very much better to take some of these larger projects, which everyone is disposed to agree ought to be proceeded with, and pass a bill having to do with each, in order to get on with the work.

This bill does not bring up for discussion the hundred and one other ideas that people have with regard to drainage and everything else that might be involved. For the time being we are concentrating on the marshlands and the necessity of having dikes before those marshlands can be utilized at all. The difference between ourselves and the provinces, to begin with, had to do with where we should divide responsibility. As long as we maintained the attitude that we were going to spend one-third, the provinces one-third and those who were to utilize the land one-third, and that we would get it all into one vote and do

this, that and the other thing with it, we were not able to get very far, because we could not agree on the various details. This bill, therefore, says the federal government will do the thing someone has to do before anything else can be done-that is, keep the sea out. This bill says we will build the dikes and we will build the aboiteaux in connection with those dikes. We will keep the water out; and the provinces say: If you keep the water out we will start to do the things that must be done behind the dikes before the individual farmers can utilize the land. Then they set up legislation which makes provision for the construction of laterals, in the first place, and for the maintenance of those laterals after they are constructed.

That is the principle on which we are proceeding. In order to eliminate everything else we have confined this bill, as far as we are concerned, to the building of the dikes; then the provinces may undertake, in written agreements which will be signed under the terms of this bill, to do certain things behind those dikes after they are constructed.

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

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Progressive Conservative

Mr. LOCKHART:

This would not apply, I take it, to any other project where dikes had to be built and water kept out?

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

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

It applies generally

speaking to all the lands in the maritime provinces that require to be diked, but not to anything outside those provinces. There would have to be separate legislation if we were going outside the maritimes. This has to do with the maritimes provinces only, and the necessary diking in connection with these lands. That is one question which some hon. members have been asking, and I wanted to clear it up.

Another question was suggested by the hon. member for Davenport, as to the set-up. I have in my hand a record of what has been done by the governments of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick; and the only reason similar action has not been taken by Prince Edward Island is that up to the present the question has not been discussed in relation to that province. But there are some small areas that require diking in Prince Edward Island, and we thought it well to include them in this bill while we are covering the other two provinces.

Both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have advisory boards or committees. They have both appointed the same chairman, W. W. Baird, superintendent of the experimental farm at Nappan. Each board has also appointed the same secretary, who is George R. Smith,

Reclamation oj Marshlands

of Truro, Nova Scotia. They have a common chairman, therefore, and a common secretary. The New Brunswick board is composed of J. A. Roberts, director of agricultural engineering services of the department of agriculture at Fredericton; Donald C. Oxley, assistant district highway engineer of the department of public works, Sussex; W. C. Harper, farmer, of Saclcville, and Roy Tingley, farmer, of Midway. Nova Scotia has appointed John E. Belliveau, chief engineer of the department of highways; Angus Banting, agricultural engineer, department of agriculture; Charles Logan, of Amherst, Nova Scotia, and Lebaron Troop, of Granville Centre. These men form the advisory committees mentioned in the bill; and I am sure the same committees would be continued. These men have made a thorough study of the whole situation and have advised in connection with the activities that are to be undertaken under the bill.

I do not think it is necessary for me to say anything more at this time. If hon. members desire to ask questions when the bill is in committee I shall be glad to try to answer them. I only want to join with other hon. members in saying that we feel that in dealing with these larger projects consideration should be given to the possibility of the federal government doing the thing no other single authority can do in order to make it possible for those who must assume responsibility after this work is completed to carry out their responsibilities in that connection. This is the idea that has entered into the development of works under the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act in the prairie provinces. It is the idea behind what we have begun to undertake in British Columbia during the last two or three years, which possibly will be discussed still further on my estimates. It is the thing which has been considered also in relation to the central provinces, but which so far has been put into effect only during periods when relief has been required, in connection with flooding on some of the rivers, the cleaning out of river basins and other activities that have been carried on in central Canada. As has been said, however, this is a beginning, and we hope it will aid in the general development right across Canada.

I agree with what has been said as to the necessity for development in the maritimes. I have travelled extensively across Canada. I have never had any personal interest in the maritimes, but I have never gone there without feeling that there may be some reason for the suggestion so often advanced that they did not gain from confederation as much as might have been expected. One has only to look

fMr. Gardiner.]

around when there to realize that; and I am satisfied that one of the main tasks we ought to undertake here in Ottawa is the removal of any such feeling from the minds of people in any part of Canada by doing the things that are essential to their development. If this is a step in that direction, then I hope it may not be the end, but that we may have results from this beginning which will be beneficial to the whole dominion.

Topic:   MARSHLANDS
Subtopic:   RECLAMATION AND DEVELOPMENT-ASSISTANCE TO MARITIME PROVINCES
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Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and the house went into committee thereon, Mr. Macdonald (Brantford City) in the chair. On section 1-Short title.


PC

Douglas King Hazen

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HAZEN:

How many acres of the marshlands which this bill will affect are in Prince Edward Island, how many in Nova Scotia, and how many in New Brunswick? What is the average acreage owned by the different landowners in New Brunswick?

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

William Ross Macdonald (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

I suggest those questions might more properly be asked on section

3.

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

Douglas King Hazen

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HAZEN:

Very well.

Topic:   MARSHLANDS
Subtopic:   RECLAMATION AND DEVELOPMENT-ASSISTANCE TO MARITIME PROVINCES
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Section agreed to. Section 2 agreed to. On section 3-Minister may construct dikes, etc.


PC

Douglas King Hazen

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HAZEN:

I should like to add one or two further questions in connection with section 3. Perhaps the first is a minor one, but I note that in line 14 the word used is "aboi-teaux"; I suggest it should be "aboideaux". I do not know where the spelling with the letter "t" was found, but I have looked it up in Funk and Wagnalls New Standard dictionary and I find the word is spelled "aboideaux". I have been familiar with this word for some time, and I discovered that perhaps it is the one word which originated in the maritime provinces and has become part of the English language. My suggestion is that the spelling be changed to "aboideaux".

In the New Standard dictionary the word is spelled "aboideaux" and is described as a noun; there is a note that it originated in New Brunswick. It is defined as a dike-and perhaps the definition is not a good one-to exclude tidewater from low land.

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

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I do not think that is what this is.

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

Douglas King Hazen

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HAZEN:

Will the minister look into that point?

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

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I shall be pleased to look into it, but I hesitate to change the word. The word is not mine, but rather that of the

Reclamation of Marshlands

draftsman. In connection with the definition just given, I would say it is my understanding that this applies only to the gate in the dike.

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

Douglas King Hazen

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HAZEN:

Exactly.

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

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

The word meaning a gate may be different from the word the definition of which the hon. member has just read, which defines it as a dike to exclude water from certain land. That is not what this is intended to be, because we have covered that by using the word "dike". An aboiteau, as mentioned in the bill, is just the frame for, and valve which swings on hinges, as was described a few days ago by the hon. member for Davenport. The dike is something different altogether.

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

Douglas King Hazen

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HAZEN:

But it is the intention of the dominion government to build these aboid-eaux?

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

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Yes.

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

Douglas King Hazen

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HAZEN:

I do not profess to be an authority on these matters, but I do believe the correct word should be used.

On Friday the minister told us that part of the money to be spent by the dominion government on this plan will be used for surveys and plans, to an estimated amount of $40,000. As I read the section the minister is given authority to construct and reconstruct and to assist the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island in the construction and reconstruction of dikes, aboi-teaux and breakwaters. I was wondering if at the end of that section we should add, "and to give authority to make surveys and plans for that purpose". No mention is made in the section that the minister has authority to make plans and surveys, unless such is implied.

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

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

The Department of

Justice considers that it is implied.

In connection with the spelling of the word, may I point out that I have here the submissions made by the provinces, and they spell it the way it appears in the bill. The draftsmen have checked the word and have used the same spelling. As a matter of fact I was corrected when I used the other spelling, and I take it from that there is some reason for spelling the word as we have it in the bill. Perhaps we should leave it that way.

With respect to the acreage covered in each of the provinces, let me point out that the bill is not confined to any definite acreage. Under the bill it is possible to carry on in connection with any acreage in those three provinces which may be affected by this measure. We estimate that it covers about

80,000 acres. I believe there are only two small areas in Prince Edward Island, comprising perhaps a few hundred acres. I should say about sixty per cent is in Nova Scotia and about forty per cent in New Brunswick, and it is about on that basis the division of funds has been made in the last two or three years in making repairs.

Section 3 of the bill sets out what the dominion government is supposed to do. It states:

Subject to the provisions of this act, the minister may, for the reclamation and development of marshlands in the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, construct and reconstruct and assist the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island in the construction and reconstruction of dikes, aboiteaux and breakwaters.

That is all my department can do. The next section states:

No work shall be undertaken in any province pursuant to this act unless . . .

And so on. Paragraph (b) states what the province undertakes to do. Those two sections separate what the federal government is going to do from what the provincial governments are to do. The section we are now discussing says that the dominion is to build these outer works. Perhaps I should add that a short time ago the premiers of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were here, along with their officials, and they made submissions to the dominion government as to what they thought they should do. There is only one difference between what they submitted and what is provided in the bill, and that is on the question whether we should do work behind the dikes. The only work which was suggested we might do behind the dikes was the building of main canals and the cleaning of old canals and creeks which had become more or less blocked. We have decided that the dikes should be the place where the division of responsibility is made. We build the dikes and make it possible for all the other works to be carried on behind the dikes, but we thought the responsibility for those works should rest with the provinces.

Topic:   MARSHLANDS
Subtopic:   RECLAMATION AND DEVELOPMENT-ASSISTANCE TO MARITIME PROVINCES
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May 31, 1948