December 14, 1953

?

An hon. Member:

That is the meaning of the hon. member's speech.

Topic:   CONSERVATION
Subtopic:   PROPOSED CONFERENCE TO CONSIDER NATIONAL POLICY
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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

If and when it is constructed, the South Saskatchewan dam will irrigate five hundred thousand acres of land. Water can be supplied to that area and production will be increased tremendously. In the past we of Saskatchewan have gone through periods of drought. We expect to go through dry periods again. To meet those periods of drought nothing would help us more than the construction of the South Saskatchewan project. The Saskatchewan government is ready to proceed, and always has been, but the federal government keep on procrastinating, building up one excuse after another and doing just about nothing. However, the federal government have not given up entirely. They are still spending some money. I do not know what it is for-probably for more surveys and more inquiries with regard to this project. According to sessional paper No. 104, in reply to a question by the hon. member for Prince Albert (Mr. Diefenbaker), the federal government since April 1, 1953, down to the end of October has spent almost $200,000 in connection with the South Saskatchewan river dam and irrigation project. I see the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Agriculture is in his seat. I should like him to stand up and tell us and tell the people of Saskatchewan what the government's policy is going to be with regard to the South Saskatchewan river project.

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The hon. member for Kootenay West has brought this motion forward on two past occasions. Both times the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) entered the debate and seemed to give very sympathetic consideration to this problem. I hope the Prime Minister will enter the debate again. As far as our great conservation project is concerned, namely the South Saskatchewan river dam, we of Saskatchewan want something more than sympathetic consideration. We want the project. I am sorry the minister has announced that government members will vote against this motion because that is, in effect, what he has done. I hope the government will consider conservation very seriously-and I refer not only to soil conservation but to water conservation-and will announce at the present session its plans to go forward with the South Saskatchewan river project.

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LIB

Samuel Rosborough Balcom

Liberal

Mr. S. R. Balcom (Halifax):

Mr. Speaker, any discussion brought about by the introduction of this resolution by the hon. member for Kootenay West (Mr. Herridge) cannot help but be beneficial to the resources of Canada in the conservation of our forests, our soil, our minerals, our water and our fish, both fresh and salt. We can understand the concern of the hon. member for Kootenay West over the need for planned conservation, for he has probably seen the wanton waste and destruction of our forests and soil by our lumbermen, farmers, hunters and others. What a heritage we really have, but how careless we are with the gifts showered on us by our Maker!

I know that the hon. member for Kootenay West has a great love for the land and forests of British Columbia, and doubtless this love also extends to the other provinces, for he does not want to see them devastated. If any hon. member has been fortunate enough to visit the office of the hon. member for Kootenay West and view the fine pictures of the magnificent country in which he lives and operates, he can well understand why the hon. member wishes to take steps to conserve those things with which we are blessed. Although millions of feet of lumber have been cut and processed in this district over the years, it has been done with an eye to the future, not merely the present, for as trees were cut seedlings were planted, thus building up a future for generations to come and, incidentally, through not denuding the hills and valleys of their trees the soil and water are retained and not washed away to the sea in helter-skelter fashion.

For every tree cut in this country, Mr. Speaker, another should be planted if we wish our lumber economy and our general

well-being to survive. The early settlers of this country might be forgiven for any damage they did which has brought about a need for a thorough conservation policy. When our forefathers came to America they found such unbelievable riches in soil, forests, mineral and other natural resources that they thought it inconceivable that such wealth could be dissipated. But over the years that has proven to be otherwise.

In the latter half of the twentieth century there is no excuse for further deterioration. We have ample knowledge and scientific methods at our command today to determine the characteristics of the soil and the adaptability of soil to various crops, grasses and trees. A fair example of this is the work done in Norfolk county, Ontario, which produces, profitably, tobacco crops. Dominion-provincial surveys have been under way in Ontario at least for many years.

The federal government already cooperates with the provincial authorities in all phases of conservation and, I believe, in the study of soil erosion and the relative ability of differing soils to absorb water, the study of the use of fall and winter crops, the effectiveness of fall versus spring plowing, and flood control to reduce excessive water run-off.

History tells us that great empires have fallen with the loss of their topsoil that has been carried out to sea. With topsoil and trees gone, and the land consequently deprived of moisture and vegetation, most of the area was surrendered to the wind, the sand and the desert. It is axiomatic, Mr. Speaker, that as this country grows in population the more intense and concentrated must be our conservation efforts, for if we falter we will find large areas of our richest and most productive soil becoming the poorest.

Erosion has become such a threat that it calls for 100 per cent co-operation between federal, provincial and municipal authorities. There must be no slackening of our efforts to prevent overgrazing, continuous plowing of windswept prairies, overcultivation of cash crops, so called, insufficient use of fertilizers, wastage of manure, intensive cultivation of hilly lands, plowing and cultivating up and down instead of across the slope, clear-cutting trees and woodlots, and so on.

A nation's soil is largely the basis of its greatness. Therefore we must protect our forest, cultivate and use our soil sanely, and maintain what is most essential, a balance with nature. What has been said about our forests, water and soil, Mr. Speaker, applies equally to our fisheries. The supply of fish is not inexhaustible, and now that we have

such efficient means of catching fish by trawlers and draggers we must be on our guard. Here again the fullest co-operation of the federal government and the people to see that the fishing grounds are not overfished is very essential. Do not let shortsighted exploitation bring tragedy to our fishing people and fishing villages where the only means of livelihood is fishing.

There has been worth-while co-operation between the federal and Nova Scotia governments in their efforts to protect the land of the province of Nova Scotia. In 1949 the Maritime Marshland Rehabilitation Act was brought in, and I should remind hon. members here that in Nova Scotia conservation efforts were in effect over 320 years ago along the bay of Fundy shore. The purpose was to keep out the sea, which was submerging some of the richest land we had and washing it away.

Today there is too wide a spread between what the consumer pays for food, clothing and housing and the amount paid to the farmer and the primary producers on the soil. This is a danger point in our present civilization and the situation should be corrected if we are to maintain our soil resources and a prosperous permanent agriculture. An equitable relationship must be maintained between agriculture, labour and industry.

Conservation calls for co-operation of city and country, industry and agriculture. Canadians should move together on a united front with the common objective of conserving and building the natural resources of Canada, not exploiting them. Industry has a great stake in conservation. All wealth derives primarily from the earth and water. In our busy everyday life we do not stop and think enough about the fact that the cities and towns of Canada, the industries, the transportation systems, the accumulated wealth of the banks, insurance and mortgage companies, the foundations, universities, schools, hospitals and churches, have been built and are being supported with wealth from the earth and water of Canada. Too often we fail to remember that our homes, our incomes, our food and our clothing come for the most part from the soil and water of Canada.

We all have a personal interest and responsibility in conservation. Industry, finance, business, transportation, all have an enormous stake in conservation. The very future of Canadian industry depends on how well we conserve our natural resources. Many industries deal directly with the products of the soil, water and forests. These industries have an immediate awareness of conservation.

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Other industries, however, lacking this relationship, often do not realize that their success in the long run depends largely on the success of agriculture, which in turn depends upon the conservation of soil, water and forests. Wealth produced from the soil of western Canada has built the cities, industries and railroads of the west, and wealth from the western wheat crop has helped to build the industries of eastern Canada. This has not been done, however, without taking a toll of the fertility of the prairie soil. Industry, finance and transportation have an obligation to help restore that fertility and to conserve the soils of western Canada, the forests of British Columbia and eastern Canada, and to co-operate and aid in the conservation of Canada's natural resources. Industry, for its own good, not only has the opportunity but also the responsibility of playing a leading part in the conservation of our natural resources.

In 1949 the present Minister of Public Works (Mr. Winters), then minister of resources and development, introduced the Canada Forestry Act, which provides machinery for federal contributions and federal co-operation. A demonstration of this co-operation was made in New Brunswick, I think it was last year, when the federal government, the government of New Brunswick, as well as the companies owning the forests, got together and sprayed the menaced areas of forest in order to eliminate the budworm.

With the principle of the resolution, Mr. Speaker, I agree heartily, but I do not believe that we are ready for a dominion-provincial conference at the moment. Much further study should be given to this allimportant subject. When such a conference is convened each province should have complete data and statistics marshalled for presentation, and at this time I believe that is not the case.

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LIB

Daniel (Dan) McIvor

Liberal

Mr. Daniel Mclvor (Fort William):

I did not

intend to speak on this question, Mr. Speaker, but since I have the experience of having been trained on a farm, where the rotation of crops was strictly carried out, I think I should say a few words. I want to say a word about the conservation of soil. I know that in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, where I spent several years, one farmer might make a success of his farm where another farmer would fail. I know of one man in southern Saskatchewan who had only a quarter section, but he could raise more on that quarter section than his neighbour could on half a section The reason was that he spent his

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time on the farm, whereas the other man spent more of his time at games and on the highway.

I do not believe there is any lack of conservation of soil on the farms throughout Canada. There is a wide use of fertilizer and summer fallow. To prove this, one need only ask why it is we have had such good crops during the past three years. I think that is an outstanding argument to show that soil conservation is practised.

I congratulate the mover of this resolution on his preparation and the delivery of his speech. I congratulate also the member for Assiniboia (Mr. Argue). If the C.C.F. party come into power at the next election, I think one of these hon. members would till the post of minister of resources and development while the other would fill the post of minister of agriculture. They seem to know a great deal about agriculture.

In my opinion this is not a matter for the government alone; the individual farmer must measure up to his responsibilities. I had this brought home to me during the last election campaign, when people said the government was doing too much spoon-feeding. I know that the government has to help, and it will help as it has in the past. I say, therefore, that with hard work and the proper use of fertilizer, as our farmers have done in the past, we will have abundant crops in the future.

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PC

John Angus MacLean

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. A. MacLean (Queens):

In rising to take part in this debate on the resolution, which reads-

That, in the opinion of this house, the government should consider the advisability of calling a dominion-provincial conference on conservation with a view to the establishment of a national policy on soil, forest and water conservation and land use for Canada.

-I am conscious of the fact that perhaps the average Canadian could hardly imagine a more drab or deadly subject about which to have a debate. Probably that is the opinion of many of the members in this house. I am not suggesting, Mr. Speaker, that these members will not have the same opinion after I am finished; they probably will; but there are some things I should like to say on this subject because I think it is one of great importance to us as a nation and to our civilization.

After all, if we fall into the habit of thinking that this is not an important subject, that it is rather dull, we may fall into error. Back through the ages men's imaginations have been stirred by dramatic happenings such as wars, floods, rumours of wars; and civilizations of the past have been stirred to great activity by ideas, by religious beliefs

and by new concepts of better ways of living. For the most part, however, men have paid very little attention to the insidious, remorseless factors which invariably destroy civilization when men fail to realize that they must work in harmony with nature rather than against the 'laws of nature. It is, therefore, not surprising perhaps that almost all, if not all, great civilizations of the past have vanished, not because they were destroyed by attack from without but rather because they decayed within. In some cases this decay was caused by moral degeneracy, but in many more it was brought about by economic collapse. Almost invariably a factor in that economic collapse was the fact that the soil, water and forest resources of the area were overtaxed to such an extent that erosion set in. Then, of course, almost automatically follows the drying up of the sources of supply of food and clothing for that civilization.

If we survey the ancient civilizations of North Africa, we realize that today little exists but desert where these civilizations once flourished, grew their food and produced their clothing. It is well to have a look at the factors which caused this situation. In North Africa this situation was brought about, in the first case, by overpopulation and by poor soil practices, as well as by the cutting down of the forests. When these things happened it was but a short time until the water table of. the area fell and the climate was affected. In a short time the area was unable any longer to support the civilization that once flourished upon it. This situation is neatly expressed, although perhaps incidentally, in a poem written by Percy Bysshe Shelley in the eighteenth century, when he wrote:

I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:

And on the pedestal these words appear:

"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!" Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.

This is a record of the end result of soil erosion. One may ask himself if we can afford not to be concerned with the matter of soil, water and forest conservation. Perhaps civilizations are like individual human beings; perhaps they will grow and flourish and then begin to decay and die. Perhaps it is inevitable that they should do so, that nothing can

be done about it, and that there is no use attempting to do anything. Therefore it may be that it does not matter much whether or not we go on looting nature's storehouse.

I am not one who agrees with the pessimistic view that civilizations bear within themselves the seeds of their own destruction, and that their decay and death is inevitable. There are some who hold that our civilization will pass away in a short time and be succeeded by one concentrated perhaps in the U.S.S.R., China or somewhere else. I believe we can learn from the past and avoid that sort of thing. In my view the simile between growth of civilizations and growth of human beings is not a valid one. I think it is not only wise but essential that we continue to control our soil erosion.

In the past, civilizations made the mistake of ignoring these forces of nature which were not spectacular, forces of nature which were dragging, insidious things. But these insidious forces destroyed civilizations just as completely as if they had been overthrown by some outside forces, some conquering armies.

I should like to quote briefly from page 246 of a book entitled "Road to Survival", where it says:

At the site called Timgad in Algeria, was one of the more famous centers of Roman power and culture. It was established by the Emperor Trajan about A.D. 100 and was laid out in a symmetrical pattern, equipped with a magnificent forum embellished with statuary and carved porticoes, with a public library, with 17 Roman baths adorned with beautiful mosaic floors, with a theater to seat some 2,500 . . . Timgad was a stately city supported by extensive grain fields in the valley plains and olive orchards on the hills.

After the weakening of the Roman power by the Vandal invasion in A.D. 430 the Berbers captured the city, and after the Arab invasion of the seventh century it was lost to knowledge for 1,200 years, buried by dust, the product of wind erosion.

There, Mr. Speaker, is an example of what happens if we ignore soil erosion. It may be said that the erosion of the soil is not an important thing, that perhaps there are still places in the world suitable for agriculture, that we can mine our own soil and then pass on to newer areas.

There was a time when that was so. When North America was first settled along the eastern boundaries and it became overpopulated in that area, and when the fertility of the soil began to be exhausted, it was simply a matter of moving westward to new and fertile areas which, in turn, could be exploited. But the tragic fact is that we, as a world, are running out of new and fertile areas to exploit. Our population is going up at a tremendous rate. In the last year the population of the world has increased by 20 million people. Since the house rose last Friday the

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net gain in the world's population has been equal to the total population of this city of Ottawa.

Our population is continuing to increase in numbers, but the land available for the population is not increasing. As a matter of fact, it is decreasing, owing to the fact that much of our land is becoming eroded and is no longer fit for agricultural uses.

We have seen what has happened in the past to people who ignored the problem of erosion. It should not be felt of course that even in the past there were not people who recognized the dangers arising from this problem. We see that twenty-three hundred years ago Plato, one of the great minds of his day, recognized this problem, and recorded these words:

There are mountains in Attica which can now keep nothing but bees, but which were clothed, not so very long ago, with fine trees producing timber suitable for roofing the largest buildings, and roofs hewn from this timber are still in existence. There were also many lofty cultivated trees, while the country produced boundless pasture for cattle.

The annual supply of rainfall was not lost, as it is at present, through being allowed to flow over a denuded surface to the sea, but was received by the country, in all its abundance-stored in impervious potter's earth-and so was able to discharge the drainage of the heights into the hollows in the form of springs and rivers with an abundant volume and wide territorial distribution. The shrines that survive to the present day on the sites of extinct water supplies are evidence for the correctness of my present hypothesis.

So you will see that this question of soil erosion is not a new one. I think we are agreed it is a problem that must be faced. All that remains is to decide how to attack it. What should be done? Some people believe that soil erosion and flood control present an engineering problem, and that it is something to be attacked at the mouths of rivers. They feel that we must build great levees and dams to control flood conditions. I do not believe that is so. It is my belief that flood control is tied up with the question of erosion, and that if you control one, you control the other. I believe one cannot separate the problem of flooding and erosion from that of conservation of water resources.

In that connection I should like to quote briefly from a book by Louis Bromfield entitled "Out of the Earth". In relation to the question of whether flood control is an engineering or agricultural problem he has this to say on page 256:

Today, in the vast Missouri river valley, there is a veritable warfare in progress over the fashion in which the flood and siltation problem shall be handled. The muddy Missouri offers the greatest problem of any watershed in the United States. For years it has carried billions of tons of silt along with its wildly destructive flood waters down the lower Missouri into the Mississippi and

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Into the gulf of Mexico. Since the Louisiana territory was acquired, it has been clearly evident that dams and levees far downstream were futile measures in the control of the flooding rivers of that area. In a century or more, billions of dollars of taxpayers' money have been spent in building dams which only silted up and downstream levees which only broke and had to be repaired over and over again. Thousands of lives have been lost and billions of dollars worth of property destroyed, all because the simple and perfectly visible evidence that floods are stopped upstream and not downstream has been persistently ignored by those who have had charge of the flood prevention of our watersheds.

In the Missouri watershed, the same simple, stupid pattern is being repeated to a large extent in the plans of the army engineers. Many of the projects advocate the construction of vast dams downstream which will eventually either break out or fill with silt, and the same projects call for the flooding of hundreds of thousands of acres of excellent agricultural land and the annihilation of whole prosperous communities. In the history of the world there have been few plans representing a more gigantic waste and futility. The object of flood and siltation control is not to build the biggest earthen dam in the world, not to construct the highest dam in the world, but to stop floods and siltation and conserve water, none of which is accomplished by the expensive and futile dams and levees built at the mouths of rivers.

That is a strong opinion by an expert on the matter who believes that flood control is an agricultural rather than an engineering problem.

If it is not an engineering problem and we cannot control it by engineering methods, what are the means by which we can control it? To begin with it is essential that every square foot of our land surface not used in agriculture should be forested. After all, forests are nature's natural protection of the soil. It is not only mechanical protection, it is protection by insulation and other means. In areas that are forested the rainfall does not run off, it soaks in and in that way there is automatic control of both water and soil. Forests have a considerable beneficial effect, especially in the spring, in areas such as ours where there is a considerable snowfall.

Any farmer can tell you that when a warm, thawing wind comes in the spring and the soil of his bare fields is frozen, the snow melts very rapidly and the water runs off. However, in the woodlot adjoining there is an insulating layer of leaves and forest mould on top of the ground which prevents the ground from freezing. Then the trees act as insulators and tend to keep the coolness in the snow for some period of time. They also create friction which slows down the velocity of the wind. The warm wind has much less effect in a wooded area than it has on the bare field.

In the woodlot the snow melts more gradually, and as it melts it soaks continually into the earth beneath. The result is

[Mr. MacLean.l

that even with a sudden change of weather in the spring, when there is a sudden mild spell with warm winds, there is no appreciable run-off from the forested areas. The run-off which causes flooding in the downstream areas is that which occurs from bare fields and areas under cultivation.

Even in areas under cultivation considerable success can be achieved by adopting certain practices which tend to conserve moisture. There are such obvious things as contour cultivation, keeping the humus content of the soil as high as possible, retaining the grass cover wherever possible and so on. However, as the hon. member for Assiniboia (Mr. Argue) has pointed out, economic pressure frequently causes farmers to indulge in agricultural practices which are not beneficial to soil conservation.

They are forced to mine their soil. In order to keep operating they must draw on what is in fact their working capital, the fertility of their land. When that happens erosion sets in and then you are faced with a vicious downward spiral. When that continues you soon reach a point of no return. When the fertility of a farm falls below a certain point it can never be brought back in an economic fashion.

There is considerable argument as to whose responsibility is this matter of soil and water and forest conservation. Some people say it is an engineering problem; others say it is something for the forestry branch, and others say it is an agricultural problem. I am inclined to agree with the last suggestion; nevertheless it is a problem which requires the co-operation of every branch of government at all levels, municipal, provincial and federal. Therefore I feel justified in supporting the resolution which has been presented.

I am not alone in thinking this is a question for administration chiefly by the Department of Agriculture, and in this connection I should like to quote briefly from a brief presented to this government by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture about a year ago. They say:

On previous occasions we have recommended a national soil conservation act providing for federal and provincial co-ordination and co-operation so that our land and water resources in all provinces may be developed and safeguarded for future generations. This is an urgent matter which in the long run would be of material benefit to all Canadians.

A program of conservation and development of our agricultural resources should include such things as large and small scale irrigation works in dry areas, surface and underdrainage in humid areas, diking and flood control and reforestation, and regrassing of lands submarginal for arable farming. Some of these things are now being done in a limited way under various federal and provincial laws in some provinces. We suggest

that the time is now ripe for these piecemeal programs to be co-ordinated under a broad program of federal and provincial co-ordination and cooperation. We therefore repeat our recommendation that no time should be lost in undertaking a nation-wide program of soil and water conservation.

The Agricultural Institute of Canada also has recommendations to make on this matter in a resolution dated November 7, 1952. The resolution states:

Be it resolved that the Agricultural Institute of Canada commends the government, for its intention to provide legislation to deal with the very important problem of the conservation of Canada's resources; that a strong brief on soil and water conservation be submitted to the Prime Minister and the members of the cabinet to emphasize the necessity of continuing the Department of Agriculture as the administrative agency for any new conservation policy.

The institute concluded its brief in these words:

In conclusion may we reiterate the basic arguments of this submission. These are:

(1) That efficient land use, which is dependent on soil and water conservation, is becoming of more urgent importance as the populations of Canada and of the world increase.

(2) That there is need for a clearer and more comprehensive national policy of soil and water conservation than has been operated in Canada to date.

(3) That conservation and agriculture offers a highly complex problem, involving the services of trained personnel in many fields of agricultural art and science.

(4) That for all existing, or potential, agricultural land, soil and water conservation are inseparable.

(5) That the farmer must be considered the most important factor in the ultimate effectiveness of any soil and water conservation policy.

(6) That the farmer can be helped most by those who know his problems best.

(7) That all experience shows the desirability of centering all administrative, planning and development responsibility in the field of soil and water conservation in departments of agriculture.

It seems reasonable to me that since this matter is primarily of concern to agriculturists the measures to control it should be initiated by the Department of Agriculture.

I have talked for a considerable time, Mr. Speaker, but chiefly about the conservation of the soil and of our forests, and I have said very little about water conservation. That has been intentional. I recognize that water conservation is becoming of great importance especially in highly industrialized areas, but I am not going to go into the problem now because it was dealt with in an excellent manner by the hon. member for York West (Mr. Adamson) last year.

There is another reason why I have not stressed the matter of water conservation. It is simply that if we manage to conserve our forest and our soil the problem of water conservation will automatically be solved, because it is part of the same problem. If we are to prevent erosion we must cause

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the rain to soak in where it falls and not run off. If that is done then we automatically solve the water problem as well.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I would like to quote from "Cry, the Beloved Country":

The grass is rich and matted. It holds the rain and the mist and they seep into the ground feeding the streams ... It is well-tended, and not too many cattle feed upon it; not too many fires burn it, laying bare the soil. Stand unshod upon it, for the ground is holy, being as it came from the Creator. Keep it, guard it, care for it, for it keeps men, guards men, cares for men. Destroy it and man is destroyed.

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LIB

Andrew Wesley Stuart

Liberal

Mr. A. W. Siuart (Charlotte):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to speak only for a short time in connection with this resolution moved by the hon. member for Kootenay West (Mr. Her-ridge). I know that gentleman very well, and I believe he is one of our more broadminded citizens.

I say that for this reason. I understand, from information given me by a gentleman from his own province, that the hon. member for Kootenay West has in every way tried to protect his own holdings without assistance from anyone, and I have been given the impression that the timber rights he holds today are much more valuable than at the time he took them over, not only in dollars and cents but in the stands of timber. I believe he is to be commended on taking the stand he has taken at the present time, and in being prepared to support financial assistance to those who have exploited their land.

I wish to speak about my own province of New Brunswick, for I feel that in that province there has been too little regard paid to conservation. I do not wish to blame any one government, for this condition has prevailed for as long back as I can remember. Under neither government in the province of New Brunswick was any attempt ever made to stop operators exploiting and destroying the timber which is the heritage of all the people in that province. That exploitation has been carried on from time immemorial without any realization of the fact that we might some day wake up to find that our heritage had been lost.

I believe those who have exploited the timber lands and now ask for assistance are very selfish citizens. When the opportunity was given to cut the timber which belonged to the citizens of New Brunswick that timber was cut indiscriminately, without any thought to future generations; and these people who were allowed to carry on in that manner by the provincial government now come to the people of this country and ask them to play their part in restoring what has been deliberately destroyed. I think that is asking a little too much.

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Private owners in the provinces many of whom I know personally, have protected their holdings. They have cut very carefully, and today on land owned by private individuals you will find stands of timber that will compare with the stands that were there 30 or 40 years ago. That does not apply to the crown lands of the province of New Brunswick. I think we will all agree that control of crown lands comes exclusively under provincial jurisdiction. Therefore the conservation of these lands should have been of the utmost importance to our provincial legislature. In other words the provincial legislation has been the custodian of our heritage.

In so far as forests, rivers and soils are concerned, I would say that in my province they have been sadly neglected. To my knowledge no restrictions have ever been imposed with regard to the size of timber that could be cut. I have walked through timber lands in my own county-I refer to crown lands-where operators have been given the opportunity to go in and to cut the timber. When they were through, with the roads that had been bulldozed all over the area, it looked more like a spider's web than like a forest stand. In many cases that I know of a good percentage of the area where the cut was being taken was completely destroyed, in so far as any growth was concerned, for the next 50 years or more. That type of operation has been carried on for many years.

I would say that in my own county of Charlotte the lumber mills there would have been closed for lack of materials many years ago if we had continued with the same type of machinery for logging that we had 20 or 25 years ago. The only thing in the world that has saved the situation there is the use of trucks for hauling logs and timber to those mills. Those trucks are able to go 75, 100 or 125 miles and haul logs from areas which they could not have reached at all 25 or 30 years ago. But in the immediate vicinity I realize that it would be utterly impossible for them to get any timber with which to carry on. It could be seen years ago that the very thing I am describing would take place, but no effort was made to protect the forests which I believe should have been protected in order that the generations who follow after us might have the privilege of enjoying wealth from that same source.

I remember that two or three years ago I brought this matter before the Charlotte county board of trade. That is a board of trade that takes in the entire county. At this point I might say that I am not the owner of a single acre of woodland in the

[Mr. Stuart (Charlotte) .1

county of Charlotte or the province of New Brunswick; but I was greatly interested in and greatly worried about the destruction of our timber resources. At the Charlotte county board of trade meeting I mentioned the fact that this was a problem which should concern each and every citizen in the county. At that time I thought if we got information from a source that would be reliable it might convince us that some action should be taken immediately to try to remedy the situation. A Mr. Black, from Montreal-I do not remember his initials or his first name-[DOT]

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LIB

Robert Henry Winters (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. Winters:

Mr. Robson Black.

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LIB

Andrew Wesley Stuart

Liberal

Mr. Stuart (Charlotte):

Mr. Robson Black, who was greatly interested in forest lands in this country, who had travelled extensively in foreign lands making studies of their conservation measures, was kind enough to consent to come and to speak to the Charlotte county board of trade on this particular problem.

I well remember that in his remarks he described the conditions he found on a trip to Sweden and Norway. In those countries, even in forest lands that were owned privately, an inspector marked the trees that the owner could cut out. He could not cut the trees he thought should be cut. He cut the trees that were marked by an inspector for him. Mr. Black described the forests in those countries as being more valuable today than they were 50 years ago. The methods that have been adopted for the control of the cutting of that timber have given them a greater growth in 1950 than they had at the turn of the century. Those are the methods that should have been adopted in this country many years ago.

I am not one to say that it is ever too late to try to remedy a bad situation. However, before the taxpayers of this country are asked to dip down into their pockets and pay for the mistakes that have been made by selfish operators, I believe our own provincial legislatures should take the first step to see that the crown lands in our provinces are properly protected. Again I want to suggest that I am not blaming any one government. In the province of New Brunswick this sort of thing has been going on for as far back as I can remember. There has never been any plan. No restrictions of any kind have ever been imposed. The operators went on our crown lands; they cut, they exploited and they destroyed.

I can well remember walking on a piece of timber land just two or three years ago. It was one of the most beautiful growths of spruce I have seen anywhere in eastern Canada. The gentleman who was to cut that timber was a friend of mine. I wanted to see

him for a particular reason, and I went into his camp. They were just starting to cut. While I was there he passed me a letter, confidentially, which he had received from the gentleman who had bought the stumpage. In that letter he said, "Joe, I have paid a big price for this stumpage. I want you to take everything off this land even down to a piece that will make a two by four." Hence, one of the most beautiful stands of spruce that you could ever imagine was nothing but a desert in three months' time; and for the next 50 years on this piece of property nothing will grow that will be worth anything to anybody. That is the way the operators in the province of New Brunswick have been allowed to carry on.

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Subtopic:   PROPOSED CONFERENCE TO CONSIDER NATIONAL POLICY
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PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brooks:

May I ask the hon. member a question?

Topic:   CONSERVATION
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LIB

Andrew Wesley Stuart

Liberal

Mr. Stuart (Charlotte):

Yes.

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PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brooks:

Was that on crown land or private land?

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LIB

Andrew Wesley Stuart

Liberal

Mr. Stuart (Charlotte):

The piece I spoke of was private land, but I will give you another example on crown land.

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PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brooks:

Is the hon. gentleman not aware of the fact that there is a stumpage limit in New Brunswick with regard to cutting on crown land?

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LIB

Andrew Wesley Stuart

Liberal

Mr. Stuart (Charlotte):

I will not argue with the hon. member for Royal (Mr. Brooks) in that regard.

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PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brooks:

The hon. member does not need to.

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LIB

Andrew Wesley Stuart

Liberal

Mr. Stuart (Charlotte):

I was on a piece of crown land just a year ago, in my own county. On that crown land I suggest that they did not haul a log more than 300 yards; that is, to twitch it. They just used bulldozers and bulldozed roads all through that crown land and, as I described a few moments ago, when they were through it looked more like a spider's web than like a forest stand.

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PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brooks:

I was talking about the stumpage limits.

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LIB

Andrew Wesley Stuart

Liberal

Mr. Stuart (Charlotte):

There were no

restrictions as far as stumpage was concerned on that crown land or on any crown land I know of in Charlotte county. You could see where the bulldozers went through, where spruce trees of four, five and six inches were pushed aside by the bulldozer, and when they were through it was nothing but a fire hazard, with no chance of any worthwhile crop there for at least 50 years.

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?

An hon. Member:

Was it burned?

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LIB

Andrew Wesley Stuart

Liberal

Mr. Stuart (Charlotte):

No, it was not burned; it is still there.

Conservation

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December 14, 1953