May 24, 1950

LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

In this case, when the facts are known the settlement will be determined, and the settlement, having been determined, will be administered by the province, as it was in the case of British Columbia, and as it must be in all these cases.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Therefore you have not determined whether it is going to be 75 per cent or less that the government of Canada is going to assume?

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LIB
CCF

Alistair McLeod Stewart

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

Mr. Stewarf (Winnipeg North):

It may have to be more.

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LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

There is your answer.

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PC
LIB
LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

There was some criticism by the hon. member for Winnipeg North of the statement which was issued in Winnipeg by Premier Campbell saying that compensation for property loss would be paid on the basis of need. As I have said to the hon. member for Souris (Mr. Ross) before, I wish to

disclaim credit for any of this advice to Premier Campbell that he was attributing to me.

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PC
LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

I see. But I think probably Premier Campbell may have had some other advisers. He had a delegation from the C.C.F. party in Winnipeg, and they brought in a memorandum which was signed by the hon. member for Winnipeg North, the hon. member for Selkirk (Mr. Bryce) and many of the local representatives. This is what it said. I am not implying any criticism; it is an intelligent and proper suggestion.

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CCF

Alistair McLeod Stewart

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

Mr. Stewart (Winnipeg North):

The minister will remember that in my speech I defined the word '"need."

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LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

The hon. member may have, but I am going to read the statement he signed and it will speak for itself. The statement reads:

As members ol parliament and of the Manitoba legislature, we strongly urge the government of Canada and the government of Manitoba to make an immediate and definite statement that proper compensation will be provided individual farmers, home owners and tenants of the Red river valley and of greater Winnipeg, for personal and property losses that they have suffered in this disastrous flood. It is our firm conviction that the two governments, federal and provincial, should state now that financial assistance of this kind will be provided. Assurance of financial aid has been given in general terms but it is extremely important that it be made clear immediately that such financial aid will include compensation for the individuals who need it.

When the hon. member for Souris (Mr. Ross) is casting around to find out who is the adviser to Mr. Campbell may I say that he will find a very good example right in the document I am reading. That is the basis of need, if it means anything at all. Then it goes on:

Thousands of people have lost heavily . . .

Would the house like me to read it all?

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

You had better put it all on.

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LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

Yes. I continue:

Thousands of people have lost heavily and many have lost everything and will find it impossible to re-establish themselves without assistance. Our pledge to the people of Manitoba is to do everything within our power to persuade the two governments to take such action. Next to the immediate emergency, this matter of compensation for individual victims of the flood, so far as we are concerned, has top priority.

May I suggest that that is a very clear indication that the compensation should be made on the basis of need.

My only reason for intervening in this debate was that, in line with the admirable

Manitoba Flood

statement made by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Drew), I thought if we were to have any attacks or criticisms on any person connected with this matter, it is only fair that if we are to have one side of the story we should have the other side. I am sure the hon. member for Souris will agree with that.

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PC
LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

I think he well knows that I should place against this rather harsh criticism that he has made nothing more than just the statement of the facts, and it is with that unvarnished statement of facts that I close my remarks.

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CCF

William Scottie Bryce

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

Mr. William Bryce (Selkirk):

I was not here last week to take part in the debate that went on in connection with the floods. I was out in Winnipeg getting firsthand information. When I landed in Winnipeg, along with the hon. member for Winnipeg South (Mr. Mutch), I was alarmed when I saw the constituency of the hon. member for St. Boniface (Mr. Viau). It was practically all water. It was the most terrible thing that I had ever seen. After having lived there for thirty years, and seeing it that morning, I thought it was terrible. We would need somebody with the ability and eloquence of Mr. Brockington or of John Fisher to describe it adequately. It is too bad that either of those gentlemen with no axe to grind could not have visited the area and written a story. It would give the rest of Canada a picture of what has taken place. It would bring it home to them perhaps better than anything else.

I had the opportunity of meeting the mayor of Winnipeg, the mayor of St. Boniface and the reeves of the different municipalities around Winnipeg, some of them from my own constituency, and some of them from outside my own constituency. Naturally I confined most of my activities to my own constituency along the Assiniboine river, St. James and West Kildonan.

I have heard different hon. gentlemen speak about the number of houses that have been damaged and we get different figures. I do not think I should attempt to say how many because the area is so great. When you look at the constituency of the hon. member for Provencher (Mr. Jutras) from the air, there is nothing but water. Everything is ruined there. It will not be possible for these farmers to have a crop this year. Not only will they lose their buildings; they have lost their livestock. They have lost their feed, and they will lose a year's work as well. The men in the city are losing their work. Of course they are still working because they are on the dikes.

Manitoba Flood

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

They are working for nothing.

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CCF

William Scottie Bryce

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

Mr. Bryce:

They are working for nothing, but they are working to keep Winnipeg on the map. I tried to estimate the number of homes that were damaged between that part of the constituency of the hon. member for Winnipeg North (Mr. Stewart), that is on Scotia street, and along West Kildonan, in my own constituency. I think I would be quite safe in saying that 800 homes had been severely damaged, as well as many more in the municipality of St. James. I think the reeve agreed with me that 200 homes would be damaged there or at least under water.

I travelled along with the hon. member for Winnipeg North. We both wore waders or rubber boots. Hon. members can imagine the disadvantage I was at in trying to go into water that he could go into. But we were able to get a good view of the situation. Some of them took pity on me when they saw the water running into the top of my boots. They took me into a boat, and I was able to see both sides of the river, from the boat.

The spirit of the people has been wonderful. On the morning I arrived back I saw the St. Boniface radio station which had been moved to the top of a house, and that station was carrying on as usual. The same thing can be said of the different people who make up the community. There was no work for them to do down town, because the basements were flooded, and the power was cut off. They immediately got out on the dikes. Sometimes my face was red when I was seen without a shovel in my hand or carrying a sandbag, particularly when I saw people older than I shovelling sand and carrying sandbags.

It is greatly to the credit of the people of Winnipeg and Manitoba that they rallied so completely to this situation. I am proud to belong to Winnipeg; I am proud of its people.

I am sure every member from Manitoba will put political difference aside to see that Manitoba gets a square deal. I am most serious when I say that I cannot describe the condition as I would like to. It was deplorable; no doubt some hon. members will pass through Winnipeg and will be able to see it for themselves.

I said before that I want to thank the Red Cross. I repeat that desire. May 1 also thank the Salvation Army, and the emergency centres established in Winnipeg. Among the volunteers who came along to do work were men who had never had shovels in their hands, men who went away after a few hours of work with blisters on their hands. These are the things for which we are thankful.

I am not going to enter into this dispute about who is to blame; that is water over the dam. The people of Manitoba will lay the

blame where it should be. Mistakes have been made, but my getting into the dispute would only aggravate matters. I want to see the dominion government do what is right; let us look to ourselves. I say this government should send $10 million to Winnipeg right away.

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PC

May 24, 1950