May 23, 1950

NATIONAL DEFENCE

CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON BILL NO. 133


Mr. R. O. Campney (Vancouver Centre) presented the first report of the special committee on Bill No. 133, respecting national defence, and moved that the report be concurred in. Motion agreed to.


EMPIRE DAY

CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP AND CANADA'S POSITION IN THE COMMONWEALTH

LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, as the calendar indicates, this is the 23rd of May, and because it is the school day immediately preceding May 24th it is being celebrated in the schools of several provinces as Empire day.

Empire day, as hon. members know, originated some fifty years ago, the purpose being to provide the pupils with a special occasion to study the history of Canada and to take part in such exercises as might increase their interest in their own country and strengthen their attachment to the empire. In other provinces where Empire day has not been so celebrated, I am quite sure that special occasions have been provided for the telling of tales of heroism and selfsacrifice, of leadership in civic affairs and of other glorious pages in our history.

In the past fifty years there has been a great change in our status. What was then a colony in an empire is now an independent nation in a commonwealth. We have by act of parliament established our own citizenship. Consequently, as I announced in the house on April 28, I approached the provincial premiers with the result that they all agreed to have arrangements made to the end that some occasion might be found today in the schools for exercises having in mind, in respect of the position of Canada in the commonwealth, the rights, the privileges, the duties and the responsibilities of Canadian citizenship. Not only are these exercises being held in the schools, but public-spirited organizations of all kinds are making this a special day in that regard.

I think I speak for all hon. members when I express appreciation to the provincial premiers; to the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire, who have always been specially interested in the Empire day observances; to the various municipal officials and to officials of churches, service clubs, and other organizations, for their assistance and cooperation in this regard. Perhaps I may in particular express appreciation to the Canadian citizenship council, who have done so much to co-ordinate the activities of organizations promoting the study of Canadian citizenship.

In these past fifty years Canada has become a great nation. We have at all times discharged our national obligations promptly and honourably, and no country which does that needs to try by artificial means to create patriotism. On the other hand we should not ignore the desirability of providing an occasion for developing a sense of respect for the achievements of our people and for renewing our determination to exceed those achievements in the future.

Citizenship in Canada is founded on the faith that two of the proudest races of the world could each preserve their own language and their own creed and yet live together and develop a common nationality. To the partnership of the two races which held to that faith has been added the vigour and energy of thousands of others from most of the nations of the earth. These three streams in our national life have created a citizenship which with our endeavours will in the years to come give increasing reason for celebrating Canadian citizenship with sincerity and pride.

Topic:   EMPIRE DAY
Subtopic:   CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP AND CANADA'S POSITION IN THE COMMONWEALTH
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. George A. Drew (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to join with the Prime Minister in expressing pleasure that throughout this country celebrations are to take place today and tomorrow which will seek to emphasize in the minds of the youth of this country, as well as in members of the older generation, those sacrifices over many long years upon which our freedom, our development and our growth have been built.

Events may to some extent change the particular meaning of words, but any nation would be extremely unappreciative of that past which has given us our present if it did not recall in association with those names all that they have meant in making the country what it is today.

Empire Day

It is appropriate that as we celebrate the wider association of which Canada has formed a part for so many years, and of which we undoubtedly shall continue to form a part throughout the years ahead, we should emphasize the act of citizenship and all that has gone into the making of it.

I think it is a good thing on such occasions to remind our young people that all the tremendous advantages we have today have been bought for us at a very great price. Only a very short distance from us here in this chamber is one of the most beautiful memorials to be found anywhere in the world. Around that memorial chamber are these words:

They are too near to be great but our children shall understand when and how our late was changed and by whose hand.

As we seek to impress upon our new citizens, as well as upon our older citizens, all the significance of this particular day, it would also be well for us to recall how much thousands of young men and women were prepared to give for the freedom they enjoy.

No nation has better reason to be proud of its past than we have; no nation has greater reason to feel confidence about the future, and we shall develop that confidence and we shall assure our own strength and the spirit of our people to the extent that we keep alive and fresh the memories of the great services in peace and war upon which our nation has been built.

Topic:   EMPIRE DAY
Subtopic:   CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP AND CANADA'S POSITION IN THE COMMONWEALTH
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. M. J. Coldwell (Roseiown-Biggar):

Mr. Speaker, there are days, both in national and in religious calendars, on which we think of events in particular relationship to the community of which we form a part. Today our minds go beyond our own borders, and we think of the association we have with countries in all parts of the world having institutions similar to ours.

I hope and trust that the time will come when that wider association we have within the commonwealth will be extended to all the world; that we may indeed celebrate the world becoming one and the fear of aggression and of war being for ever banished from mankind.

A few moments ago I was thinking of the long heritage which, in common with other nations of this commonwealth association, we have inherited from the past. It is well that the students in our schools-particularly perhaps the new citizens who have come to help build this nation, the foundations of which were laid by two great peoples with many common institutions, though of different tongues-should have an opportunity once in

[Mr. Drew.l

a while of learning to appreciate the democratic freedoms which we have inherited from our forefathers and from the events of the past.

We join with others in this house in expressing our appreciation of the Prime Minister's approach to the governments of the provinces and of their response in making this day notable in the lives of the children attending our educational institutions.

Topic:   EMPIRE DAY
Subtopic:   CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP AND CANADA'S POSITION IN THE COMMONWEALTH
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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Solon E. Low (Peace River):

Mr. Speaker, there is something which always responds when a tribute is paid to our country, to its traditions, its history and its people, as is done on this day in each year.

When I was a mere boy at school it was impressed upon me that the 23rd of May was a day for special thanksgiving that we were born in Canada, or privileged to live in Canada, under the flag and under the traditions of the great empire of which we form a part. .

I have always been proud of my Canadian birth and heritage, and proud also of our association with the British commonwealth. I believe that the British empire has not yet sung its swan song; it still has a very great task to perform. I look forward to the day when everyone will realize even more strongly that the society of nations making up the united commonwealth known as the commonwealth of the British countries will go forward unimpeded and with an eye single to the task which Divine Providence set for it many many centuries ago.

I am very happy, Mr. Speaker, that we live in a choice land. Canada is a choice land-choice above most lands of the earth; but it can remain choice only in so far as its citizens realize their responsibilities to their land, to their peoples, and to one another. I hope that our boys and girls, our men and women, as they receive their education in the schools, will be imbued with the spirit and responsibility that goes with and is a necessary part of the freedoms which they enjoy in this country.

Topic:   EMPIRE DAY
Subtopic:   CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP AND CANADA'S POSITION IN THE COMMONWEALTH
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FLOOD CONDITIONS

SOUTHERN MANITOBA

LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I hope I may take a few moments to make a brief report to hon. members on the visit that the Minister of Justice (Mr. Garson) and I made to Manitoba on Sunday and yesterday. I had hoped to make it at eight o'clock last night. When I got here before eight I was told that before six o'clock some concern had been expressed

about the matter. Coming into the house I found that there were very few members here, and I thought it would be better to wait until there was a somewhat larger attendance. I spoke to you, Mr. Speaker, about it later in the evening, and you informed me that you still had the names of several who had expressed a desire to speak on the motion then being debated. I felt it might not be proper to ask the Chair to interrupt again that interesting debate; consequently I have waited until this moment.

We left here at 10.30 Sunday morning, reaching the Red river valley above Grand Forks in North Dakota about half past three. We then flew downstream all the way to lake Winnipeg, and circled back to land at Stevenson field. The weather was very fine, and from Fort Frances onward we had flown at a relatively low altitude so as to be able to observe everything on the surface.

The extent to which the waters had receded, in comparison with what the Minister of Justice had seen two weeks earlier, was encouraging, though the area still covered with water, particularly north of the boundary, is still very considerable. So far as one can see, there seems to be more water visible than land around the Morris area, and it is obvious that, even under most favourable circumstances, weeks will pass before farm lands are dry, and restoration of order and normal life on the farms will certainly be a big task. Villages and towns in the valley from Emerson to Winnipeg are almost completely flooded, and the task of restoration in that area will be one of considerable magnitude. .

In greater Winnipeg itself I got the impression that probably ten per cent of the houses were surrounded by water, and that estimate was later confirmed by a report given of an actual house-to-house count which indicated that something over 8,000 houses had been flooded to some substantial extent, and that almost 2,000 have water above the first floor. The count was taken by experienced employees of Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and the figure they gave me was exactly 8,233 with basements more or less filled with water, and of these there were 1,968 with water to a greater or lesser depth above the first floor.

On landing we were met by the premier and Brigadier Morton, and we set out at once to visit the flooded areas and the dikes which are still holding. We went first to municipal headquarters at Fort Garry, and then by boat to the beet sugar factory, where from the roof we had a view of a large part of the

Manitoba Flood

flooded area in South Winnipeg, and of the dikes holding back what is called McGillivray lake.

Then we visited the Wildwood dikes and went through part of the flooded area of Wildwood. We went as far as we could with waders, but we could see farther down that in some cases the water was up to half the height of the houses, and quite a number of garages had been overturned and removed from their bases.

After that we drove through the downtown area of Winnipeg, along the causeway on Water street and over the Provencher bridge for a quick tour of the dikes of Norwood and St. Boniface, with a view of the flooded area of St. Vital and the swollen Seine river. In the St. Vital area there is a lake extending from the Red river to the Seine.

We called briefly at the Norwood headquarters, at St. Boniface hospital, which had been evacuated and was used as an adjunct to the headquarters which is fighting the flood, and at the canteen in the Cercle Ouvrier.

Our last visit on Sunday afternoon was to the Scotia street area of North Winnipeg and the Luxton school headquarters. This is almost a marine establishment. There boats are tied up for the convenience of those who wish to go across that area.

We got back to the hotel for dinner at about eight o'clock, and after dinner met quite a large and representative group of citizens and officials who have some of the responsibility for fighting the flood and providing relief. That meeting was followed by a meeting with the mayors and reeves-not of all the municipalities affected by the flood, because there are some which would have found it difficult to get there unless they had been provided with helicopters to take them out and bring them in.

When that meeting was over it was well past midnight Winnipeg time, and we had had a pretty strenuous day. Yesterday morning before leaving Winnipeg the Minister of Justice and I had a brief meeting with nearly all the members of the provincial cabinet, and we then visited the headquarters of the Manitoba flood relief fund and the Red Cross headquarters in. the Winnipeg auditorium. What we saw there was very impressive. The Manitoba flood relief fund is being provided with very convenient quarters in one of the best buildings in the city, without rent. Everyone working there is doing so on a voluntary basis, and of the hundreds working at the Red Cross we were told that only ten were paid employees, and that all the rest of

Manitoba Flood

the work was done by voluntary helpers. It was impressive to see that there seemed to be no lack of clothing for immediate requirements. There were plentiful supplies, and we were told there were plentiful supplies of food and clothing.

The clothing department of the Red Cross there is much like a similar department in a large department store, with the sizes graded down or graded up, according to the end from which one starts.

I was greatly impressed by the organization that had been established for fighting the flood, for evacuating the people whose homes had been flooded, and for providing emergency relief and supplies. I was also impressed by the spirit of courage and determination with which everyone seemed to be facing the formidable problems of rehabilitation.

I heard since I came back to Ottawa that there has been some suggestion as to there being a bad odour. There was none noticeable anywhere. Even the water that was being pumped out into the street looked quite clean. I found nowhere any disagreeable odours, and nowhere any people who were not perfectly clean, eager, in good spirit, and confident of the future.

I think at this point I might read to the house the messages I left with the premier and with Brigadier Morton and Mr. H. W. Manning, chairman of the Manitoba flood relief fund. The letter to the premier is as follows:

Hon. Douglas L. Campbell.

Premier of Manitoba.

Before I leave Winnipeg, I should like to ask you to convey to the mayors and reeves and the municipal authorities in the flooded areas, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the province, the city and municipal police, the members of other governmental and municipal agencies, the Red Cross and hundreds of other voluntary organizations, and the citizens of the Red river valley generally the expression of my deep admiration of the splendid way the whole population has organized and carried on the fight against the flood.

The long hours of hard work and sheer endurance by thousands of voluntary workers on the dikes and behind the dikes have captured the imagination of our entire country. I know I speak for all Canadians when I ask you to say we are hoping for a speedy end to this time of trial, and that not only Canadians but the people of other friendly countries are translating their sympathy into practical terms to help, both in immediate flood relief and in the earliest possible restoration of normal home life to the families affected by the disaster.

To Brigadier Morton, with whom everyone I came in contact with seemed to be highly delighted, and concerning whom they expressed great admiration, I wrote as follows:

Having seen with my own eyes something of the magnificent and untiring effort being put forth by

all three defence services under your direction in fighting the Red river flood and assisting in emergency relief, I feel the service you are rendering to all levels of government, federal, provincial and municipal, merits the highest praise. I should be grateful if you would accept for yourself and convey to the officers and men under your command, this expression of my warm appreciation.

To Mr. H. W. Manning, chairman of the Manitoba flood relief fund, I wrote:

Before leaving Winnipeg I wish to express to you and all those from end to end of Canada who are working so hard to make a success of the campaign for the Manitoba flood relief fund, the satisfaction felt by millions of our fellow citizens that your fund provides a sure and effective way to give the practical help they would like to give to those families in the Red river valley whose homes have been devastated by the floods.

Once the waters recede, we all want to see the unfortunate victims of the disaster return to real homes as quickly as possible, and the Manitoba flood relief fund will be available to help, in ways no other agency is equipped to do, those driven from their houses to restore genuine family homes.

The need of the thousands of families in city and country who have lost so many of the prized personal possessions which make a home of a house has touched the hearts of all Canadians, and your fund gives all the opportunity to help which they will welcome.

As hon. members may have heard, I also met the press. I do not intend to enter into any controversy over the conflicting stories that have been published in the various newspapers about my interview. For instance, there are the reports that appeared in two Winnipeg newspapers, which have probably arrived in town by this time. In some reports things have been left out, and in other reports some things have been emphasized. Hon. members will also note that there are some inaccuracies that would appear to make necessary a clarification of the position of the federal government in relation to the disaster which has befallen the people of the Red river valley in Manitoba. As to our position I do not see how I can improve on what I said right here in this place on April 28, as reported in Hansard at page 1981. I refer to the following words:

We shall endeavour to ascertain what the situation is, and then determine what action, if any, should be taken. Hon. members can be assured that it is the desire of the government to treat every part of the country in the same way. Should there ever be in any part of the country the sort of disaster there was in the Fraser river district, the people of that section would be entitled to expect that they would be treated in the same way as the residents of the Fraser river valley were treated.

As a matter of fact I informed hon. members the other day that a commission had been set up to ascertain the nature and the extent of the disaster so that accurate data would be available to determine what grant should be made in that respect. The federal

grant to Manitoba will be based on the facts and on the same principles and considerations which applied to the Fraser valley.

I should like to refer to the Ottawa Evening Citizen, which contains a report which seems to have caused some commotion here in the house. I was asked a question by one of the newspapermen at this press conference, and I shall quote from the article which was published yesterday, as follows:

I asked him what I think was a fair question-after seeing the troubles of these Manitoba people in the Red river valley and here in the city. I said that the people in the flood areas were very, very concerned to know-in a general way-what federal aid might be expected.

I do not remember the words "in a general way". My recollection is that I was asked to indicate what amount the federal government would contribute toward the relief of the disaster. I said that I could not add anything to what I had said in the house, that a commission had been appointed and when the commission made its report we would then discuss with the government of Manitoba the amount of the grant that would be made available on the same principles and considerations as had been followed in the Fraser valley matter.

I was asked a direct question by one newspaperman-and I refer now to the Winnipeg Tribune-as to what direct federal aid was forthcoming for the "little man" whose possessions had been lost in the flood. I replied, "Directly, none." I said that our dealings were going to be with the Manitoba government, just as in the case of the Fraser river flood they were with the government of British Columbia.

It would seem that there are some who would rather deal with us than with the government of Manitoba, but that is a desire to which I cannot give effect. The position I took was that our dealings would be with the government of the province of Manitoba, and that they in turn would deal with the municipalities and individuals as they thought might befit their responsibilities in the premises. The federal government gave no direct aid to the people of the Fraser valley; our dealings were all with the government of British Columbia. In the Red river flood matters our dealings will be with the government of Manitoba.

It would be entirely wrong for me to say how the authorities of Manitoba, provincial or municipal, should discharge their responsibilities. I am advised that the government of Manitoba has indicated that it proposes to provide assistance for rehabilitation of families in cases of need. We can all understand and sympathize deeply with the anxiety of families whose homes have been devastated by the 55946-174

Manitoba Flood

flood waters, particularly those who have few resources with which to restore their homes. But I am convinced that the co-operative efforts of governments at all levels with the voluntary agencies, and particularly the Manitoba flood relief fund, will ensure help to all those who need help and who in the true Canadian spirit are ready to help themselves.

I am sure that that is true of all the people I saw in the Manitoba area. I said to them that I was much impressed by the fact that this disaster had not dampened their western spirit of enterprise, and that I was convinced that, great as was this disaster, it was not going to mean any permanent set-back in the development of Winnipeg and the province of Manitoba.

Hon. members will recall that this commission was to deal only with the extent and the nature of the damages, and the cost of the measures taken to fight the flood and the emergency precautions to guard against recurring floods. However, there will have to be some permanent measures taken. General McNaughton, who is a member of the international joint commission, accompanied me, along with two engineers, one from public works and one from the commission. We were joined in Winnipeg by Mr. George Spence. Perhaps I might conclude by reading to the house the statement General McNaughton read before we left Winnipeg, which was as follows:

With my colleague on the international joint commission I have today flown over the Red river valley and the city of Winnipeg and have examined both the inroads of the water and the protective measures which have been taken. This watershed has been the subject of study by the engineering boards of the international joint commission for seme time, and I am here to learn the details of what additional information will be required to prepare a definite plan of flood control. The minister of external affairs of Canada has directed that the work of preparing such a plan be expedited by all possible means, and authorities in the United States agree that this should be done, so there is now no obstacle to the immediate prosecution of the necessary study.

Of the utmost significance is the fact that means exist, through the international joint commission, of co-ordinating plans over the entire river system from its source in the United States to its mouth at lake Winnipeg. Control of the river must be studied by a combination of measures co-ordinated with those in progress south of the border. Various means have been suggested from time to time by qualified engineers to suit local or regional conditions-a canal or floodway around Winnipeg, permanent dikes and pumping stations capable of being raised in case of need, and the diversion of certain rivers into other channels. Many of these projects are sound from an engineering standpoint, but no single solution will meet all the requirements.

A comprehensive survey must be started at once. Before I left Ottawa, the Minister of National Defence had arranged for the Royal Canadian Air Force to take progressive aerial-photographic surveys of the area as the flood recedes, and I am gratified to learn that the Manitoba government has

Manitoba Flood

already taken photographs at the peak of the flood. Existing agencies in this area are adequate to supervise topographical surveys, hydrometric studies and soil drilling.

The work should move without delay into the planning stage. For this purpose a director or chief engineer must be provided with adequate staff to undertake the design and costing of the various engineering works. Such an office, on a full-time basis, would co-ordinate the plans already proposed by local authorities and ensure that they fit into an over-all plan that would be adequate for the whole river system.

I understand that some publicity has been given to the fact that certain control measures, such as the creation of reservoirs or water-storage basins, have been discarded as impractical.

I think from what I saw that it would be impractical. It is a great plain, and there is no place where water can be stored unless you are able to make a hole in the plain. The water cannot otherwise be stored in large volume. From the city of Winnipeg to lake Winnipeg the Red river seems to be capable of carrying in the channel all the water that comes through. There was some flooding there, but not to any alarming degree. From south of the border to Winnipeg the channel of the river is not capable of carrying all the water when all the affluents are discharging their flood streams simultaneously. Fortunately that does not happen very often, but it has happened now at least three times in the last century and a half. General McNaughton goes on to point out that the impracticability of large reservoirs does not mean that there is no solution to the problem. Then he says:

I have no doubt that a solution can be found based on a combination of measures. The nature of such measures must be determined by a thorough survey and study and must be co-ordinated with plans in the United States. The international joint commission is going ahead at once with its work on the broad plan.

I think I should add that I was able to say to the people I met in Winnipeg that there are always silver linings to these dark clouds, as demonstrated by the extent to which the feeling of common humanity exists not only throughout the length and breadth of our own country but also in many other countries.

I should like to table a message I have received, and my reply thereto, from the government of Greece. I should like to confirm the information published in the Ottawa Citizen this morning, that the international executive board of the A.F. of L. carpenters and joiners union has made a subscription of $50,000 to the Manitoba flood relief fund. The government of the United Kingdom has been most anxious to do something at once. I understand that the details are being arranged with the authorities in Winnipeg, and that an

announcement tomorrow in that regard is expected to be made in the United Kingdom House of Commons.

Topic:   FLOOD CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   SOUTHERN MANITOBA
Sub-subtopic:   PRIME MINISTER'S VISIT- REFERENCES TO PRESS REPORTS EXTENT OF DAMAGE
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. George A. Drew (Leader of ihe Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I know that every member of the house is most anxious that it should be known in Winnipeg, in the southern part of Manitoba affected, and in Rimouski and Cabano, which suffered disasters during the same period, that there is in the house no division of opinion on the question that their problems should be regarded as the problems of all Canadians. * I am sure the government may count on the wholehearted support of all members in everything that can be done to meet the most unusual situations which have developed in these widely separated parts of the country.

The Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) has spoken of the situation in Manitoba, and I shall direct my remarks to it. The flood is the greatest disaster of its kind that has occurred in any settled community in Canada in the history of our country. It would be well for us to keep the problem in that perspective. It is not only the fact that there are so many homes in the city of Winnipeg and its suburbs affected by the flood, but also the fact that over a large area, from Winnipeg south to the border, there are farms which will certainly produce no crops this year, farms on which all the livestock have been lost, on which all the stored feed and a great part of the equipment have been destroyed; farms on which houses and other buildings are damaged to an extent that will be apparent only when the waters have receded and they can be examined; until then it will be difficult to assess the extent of the disaster. The damage to foundations and walls of buildings and furniture cannot be measured while the water is still there.

One thing which undoubtedly will be most helpful in maintaining the morale of all those affected is the knowledge that there have been such spontaneous expressions of sympathy and offers of practical assistance from every part of Canada in meeting the loss that has been incurred. One thing which undoubtedly emerges from what has taken place is the remarkable way in which personnel having to do with voluntary help has achieved so much without any preliminary training to undertake that particular task. The remarkable adaptability of our people is made evident by the fact that those who had no previous instruction were able to take their part in meeting such an unusual and unexpected threat.

There is also the heart-warming fact to which the Prime Minister has referred, the striking evidence that has been given of the extent to which we are one family community, and of the extent to which the difficulties that may be encountered by Canadians in any one part of the country are shared as the personal responsibility of Canadians in every other part. It is a source of deep satisfaction to every one of us, as well as to those who will benefit from the activities of the Manitoba flood relief fund, that this organization should be receiving such truly remarkable support. It is a reminder of the way in which people gave their time and their efforts during the years of the war to see people putting their efforts into so many different activities which may in some way help those who are not personally known, but with whom under circumstances of the kind there is a close and intimate bond. Every Canadian will hope that the weather will be advantageous to a continuing recession of the flood waters, and every Canadian will certainly want to see the government of Canada take its full part in assisting in whatever way it can.

Undoubtedly it will help to ease the concern of many people if an announcement is made, at as early a day as possible, as to what is actually going to be done. One can only attempt to put oneself in the position of those who have built their houses, created the intimate surroundings in which their families are being brought up, developed their farms or gardens, and have seen all that destroyed. As they look into the future they will of necessity ask themselves what resources they will have to enable them to rebuild what has been destroyed. Some will be in a more fortunate position than others. I recognize, as I know every hon. member in this house recognizes, the tremendous difficulties involved in dealing with a problem on this scale, a problem which has not yet taken its final form. I feel sure, however, that all the members of this house will wish that, as soon as possible and with as much certainty as possible, those who now have to plan for the future may know exactly how they will be able to do it.

There are many lessons to be learned from what has taken place. Those lessons can be discussed at another time. Today I simply join with all others in this house in expressing admiration of the magnificent example of the people of Manitoba, both in the city of Winnipeg and throughout the whole countryside, and in praying that Providence may soon lower the waters so that the people may begin to rebuild their property.

55946-174J

Manitoba Flood

Topic:   FLOOD CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   SOUTHERN MANITOBA
Sub-subtopic:   PRIME MINISTER'S VISIT- REFERENCES TO PRESS REPORTS EXTENT OF DAMAGE
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

I should like to ask the Prime Minister whether the government expects to be able to bring in a supplementary estimate during this session with respect to this situation. I have in mind the fact that that is what was done in 1948 with respect to the Fraser valley situation. I realize that the Shaw-Carswell commission may be delayed in making its report, but I hope there will at least be a preliminary item in the supplementary estimates before the end of this session.

Topic:   FLOOD CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   SOUTHERN MANITOBA
Sub-subtopic:   PRIME MINISTER'S VISIT- REFERENCES TO PRESS REPORTS EXTENT OF DAMAGE
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LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. Si. Laurent:

The commissioners

attended this meeting with representative officials and citizens. It was strongly impressed upon us all that it was desirable to make as accurate an estimate as could be made, but to make it as expeditiously as possible, for the very reasons mentioned by the leader of the opposition.

With respect to the provision of a supplementary estimate at this time, I can assure the hon. gentleman that all measures will be proposed to parliament that may be required to avoid any delay in taking necessary action.

Topic:   FLOOD CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   SOUTHERN MANITOBA
Sub-subtopic:   PRIME MINISTER'S VISIT- REFERENCES TO PRESS REPORTS EXTENT OF DAMAGE
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LIB

Ralph Maybank (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys)

Liberal

Mr. Ralph Maybank (Winnipeg South Centre):

I rise on a question of privilege, in connection with a newspaper article dealing with this same subject. There is a report in the Ottawa Evening Citizen to which I wish to refer. Before dealing with this article, if I may be permitted, I should like, as one of the members from the city of Winnipeg, to express my own thanks and the thanks of the people of the city of Winnipeg, as well as those of the people of the Red river valley, to the leader of the opposition (Mr. Drew) for his prompt agreement with the sentiments expressed by the Prime Minister (Mr St. Laurent). I feel that I am justified in expressing the same thanks to every member of this house for the sympathy that has been extended by all of them to the affected people. It is only natural, perhaps, that I should take pride and pleasure in the references of a laudatory nature that have been made to the affected people. I do take that pride, and I desire as emphatically as possible to thank all members, particularly the leader of the opposition, for the way in which this matter has been dealt with so far.

I wish now to refer to a report which appeared in the Ottawa Evening Citizen of May 22, concerning the Prime Minister's trip. It makes reference to the press meeting, and Mr. Ross Munro says this with reference to attendance at that meeting:

He had come from a Liberal party reception downstairs in the hotel and was returning to it.

Manitoba Flood

Mr. Speaker, I know whereof I speak when I say that there was no such reception. There was no party reception; there was nothing whatever political in connection with the visit of the Prime Minister. The so-called reception was partly arranged by me and partly by Premier Campbell, in the belief that it would be well if certain leaders in connection with flood control, the mayors and reeves, could all be brought together for the purpose of talking with each other and speaking with the Prime Minister. Premier Campbell called some of these people and I called some. Those whom I called were such persons as the president of the Manitoba relief fund, the mayors and reeves, some engineers; and they were the people who were at that meeting. There were about fifty altogether. There were two men interested in flood control who had been either sent there from Washington or who came of their own volition. I did not even know the political complexion of more than twenty-five per cent of the fifty people who were present.

The leader of the Conservative party in Manitoba, Mr. Errick Willis, was there. Mr. McLenaghen, the attorney general, who is from the Conservative side of the coalition in Manitoba, I think was there, but I will not say for certain. I wish to assure you, Mr. Speaker, and the house that that is the only sort of meeting that there was in Winnipeg at that time.

This flood matter in Winnipeg and in Manitoba is far too important for any person to use it for political purposes. I am confident that there is no member in this house- and at the moment I happen to be looking at those of the parties of which I am not a member

who would descend to making any such use of this so tragic situation. In assuring people as I do on my honour of the nature of the meeting that was held, I just wish to close my remarks to the house this afternoon in the same strain as I opened them, by impressing on hon. members the fact that I know there is no person within the sound of my voice who would make political use of this tragic situation; and second, again to express with deep sincerity my thanks and the thanks of the people of Winnipeg and of the Red river valley for the unanimity of the sympathy that we have already seen exhibited in this chamber.

Topic:   FLOOD CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   SOUTHERN MANITOBA
Sub-subtopic:   PRIME MINISTER'S VISIT- REFERENCES TO PRESS REPORTS EXTENT OF DAMAGE
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PC

James Arthur Ross

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. A. Ross (Souris):

Mr. Speaker, I

should like to ask a question of the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent), and I realize that the question may be difficult to answer. It is this. Has he any idea as to when a report might be expected from the commission? I ask that question for this reason. There is a variation in the wording of the two orders

[Mr. Maybank.l

in council, the one for the Fraser river valley disaster and for this one. As has been pointed out by the previous speaker and others, this is a much greater disaster than the Fraser valley one. The matter of the Fraser valley disaster was first raised in this House of Commons, and rightfully so, by the hon. member for Fraser Valley (Mr. Cruickshank) on May 28, 1948, and there was extremely quick action. The then prime minister on June 9 of that year announced in this house a grant, without many strings attached to it either, of $5 million. At that time the hon. member said that was just a token grant. I am happy now that he is quite pleased with the final settlement.

I point this fact out because, as my leader has said, there is great concern amongst these many thousands of people as to whether they will have anything with which to rehabilitate themselves in certain categories. The sooner, therefore, that they may be given a lead from the government, the better. I am pointing out that already there was far greater action at this stage in connection with the Fraser valley flood, which was not as great as this one, having regard to what has happened. I realize that it may be difficult for the Prime Minister to say when he may expect a report from this commission. Then I want to know whether there has been a request for an interim grant to the provincial government, if they cannot make a definite report for some length of time; because some encouragement should be given to these people by telling them on what basis they will be assisted. It will be of great help if that can be done.

Topic:   FLOOD CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   SOUTHERN MANITOBA
Sub-subtopic:   PRIME MINISTER'S VISIT- REFERENCES TO PRESS REPORTS EXTENT OF DAMAGE
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LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent:

To answer the last question first, I have no knowledge of any request for an interim grant having been made. In the second place, I was asked in this news conference if any time limit had been set upon the work of these commissioners in preparing their report. I made the answer

and it is the only answer that I can make now-that we tried to choose people upon whom we did not have to put a time limit; that we thought they appreciated the situation and the conditions as well as anybody else; and that I was sure they would continue the work they had already started on Sunday and proceed with it just as expeditiously as possible. But it will be some time before there can be anything even approximate with respect to the amount of damage done. I am told that there are some of these houses which will not have been damaged otherwise than made wet and probably the plaster injured inside, but from

which the outer sheathing will have to be removed in order to allow the insulation either to be replaced or to dry out.

Topic:   FLOOD CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   SOUTHERN MANITOBA
Sub-subtopic:   PRIME MINISTER'S VISIT- REFERENCES TO PRESS REPORTS EXTENT OF DAMAGE
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PC

James Arthur Ross

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ross (Souris):

That is true; a good

many.

Topic:   FLOOD CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   SOUTHERN MANITOBA
Sub-subtopic:   PRIME MINISTER'S VISIT- REFERENCES TO PRESS REPORTS EXTENT OF DAMAGE
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LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent:

And then it will not be

possible to make even an approximate estimate of the amount of household effects lost until people are able to get back. The mayor of Winnipeg told me that they were fortunate in having had no increase in disease, and no epidemic of any kind. He said that they were going to be extremely careful to see that the people did not go back too soon and that they did not do anything that might occasion an epidemic.

Topic:   FLOOD CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   SOUTHERN MANITOBA
Sub-subtopic:   PRIME MINISTER'S VISIT- REFERENCES TO PRESS REPORTS EXTENT OF DAMAGE
Permalink

May 23, 1950