May 17, 1955

LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

No, I did not tell you that.

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CCF

William Scottie Bryce

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

Mr. Bryce:

You said the minister of agriculture, I think, in the provincial government has it on the agenda. How long are these people going to suffer in that way? I want to cut short these remarks. However,

I want to read this resolution. It was passed at a meeting at Gypsumville at which there were 75 people in attendance, 22 of whom were directly or seriously affected:

Whereas many of us have been totally deprived of the means of making a living at farming and ranching, while others have been very seriously affected by the lake waters flooding our lands-a condition that was prevalent in 1954 and is even more disastrous at the present time-and,

Whereas under the best of circumstances it will be two more years before the waters can recede enough to allow us to use our land again, and

Whereas those of us who have been growing grain on the flooded land have been left with no means to even grow feed for our livestock.

Therefore be it resolved that we urge most strongly on the government responsible that measures be taken to allay the possibility of total

"bankruptcy for some of us and grievous hardship for others-these measures to consist of compensation for the loss of use of the land in the form of cash payments to tide us over the critical period.

I have many more letters I could read, but I know that people are going to be angry with me if I take too long. I think it was the Minister of Agriculture who told me that between the dominion government and provincial governments they are spending $300,000 a year in order to alleviate the conditions brought about by this catastrophe. But it is a matter of "Live, old horse, and you will get corn". Something must be done now. Don't wait until the people are all dead and another generation comes along. I have brought this matter to the attention of the minister previously. I know he has replied that it was receiving attention.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

Mr. Speaker will not allow me to do so, or I would answer the hon. member now.

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CCF

William Scottie Bryce

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

Mr. Bryce:

Yes, but your answers are so vague that I no longer have any faith in them. I am sorry to say that. I think the minister should take this matter seriously. It is no laughing matter. There are hundreds of farmers out there. I do not know whether or not they will ever recover from this catastrophe. I hope the federal and provincial governments will get together at the earliest possible opportunity in order to ascertain how the people in these distressed communities can be helped. I want to appeal to the Prime Minister and to the members of the cabinet for immediate action to help these people in their terrible plight at this time.

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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

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

Mr. T. S. Barnett (Comox-Alberni):

Mr. Speaker, I have no intention of pursuing the matter of flooding which has been raised by some of the hon. members who have spoken previously, even though I recognize that it is a most serious topic. The matter I wish to raise is one which quite conceivably could either augment or completely eliminate the flooding problem to which recent reference has been made.

The matter I wish to raise, Mr. Speaker, is that of rain-makers. I think this is a new topic as far as the current session of parliament is concerned. In raising it at this time I feel that I shall not be guilty of any undue repetition. Spotted at various points on Vancouver island are a number of rain-making machines. Some hon. members who know something of Vancouver island may wonder what we are doing with rain-making machines there. I know, for example, that one community in my constituency was recently described in a newspaper headline as having

Floods in Western Canada had 12 feet of rain in 12 months, and that was a fairly accurate statement.

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LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

May I ask the hon. member if he will be kind enough to tell the house how he relates the matter of rain-making machines to the jurisdiction of the federal parliament? The hon. member must speak about matters which relate to our jurisdiction. It must be a matter concerning which we may be able to do something. If we cannot do anything about rain-making machines, the hon. member may not speak about them now. We have already had a speech on the weather this session, and perhaps we could be relieved now.

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?

An hon. Member:

Change the subject.

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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

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

Mr. Barnett:

In all seriousness I am raising this question, in part at least, because I believe it is one with respect to which the question of jurisdiction, constitutionally or otherwise, may well have to be dealt with. In view of the recent discussion I realize that my remarks may appear to Your Honour to be related to a certain flood situation, but I can assure you that at the time I decided in my own mind I would raise this subject as a grievance I was completely unaware that the other matter which has been discussed was going to be raised. In all seriousness, the situation is that on Vancouver island a number of rain-making machines have been set up. I took the trouble to go and view one of these installations which, if I understand correctly, operates on the principle of having silver iodide crystals released into a mechanism in which they are ignited.

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LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

I must ask the hon. member to tell the house immediately how he relates the jurisdiction of this parliament to the conditions he is about to describe to us.

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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

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

Mr. Barnett:

Mr. Speaker, I assume this matter would come within the jurisdiction of the federal department, having to do with meteorological services; or would come within the purview of the activities of the national research council, and it is also a matter which could very well involve interprovincial relations. As I stated somewhat facetiously, I admit, in conversation with some of my colleagues, if this situation were permitted to develop it is conceivable that we in British Columbia would have the power to turn the entire prairie provinces into a desert by taking all the water out of the clouds coming in from the Pacific. Inasmuch as there does not seem to be any governmental jurisdiction at the present time, a serious question arises as to the right of certain private concerns to establish these installations.

Floods in Western Canada

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LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

I want to be very generous toward the hon. member. I know what the situation is. Members have the right to raise grievances on the motion to go into supply, but I think the hon. member is finding it too difficult to relate his rain-making machines to the jurisdiction of this parliament. He has not said very much to establish that point; in reply to the question I felt it was my duty to ask him, he has not been very specific. If the matter the hon. member wishes to raise now is linked at some point or other with one of our federal departments, could the hon. member not wait and raise the matter when the estimates of the proper department are before the house? If he thinks it relates to agriculture he may deal with it on the estimates of that department. If he thinks it concerns the national research council he may discuss it on the estimates of the Department of Trade and Commerce, the minister of that department being responsible for national research council activities.

But not being quite sure at this time how or in what way it is related to the jurisdiction that we have here as the House of Commons, I think he should delay his remarks until he is more positive, and then use the machinery provided for him to raise these points as often as he wishes when the estimates of the respective departments concerned are before the committee of supply. If the hon. member does not feel he is being unfairly treated at this point I would urge him to consider very seriously leaving this matter in abeyance until a further opportunity is afforded to him.

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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

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

Mr. Barnett:

Mr. Speaker, it was precisely because of the fact that as far as I am concerned I did not know under which departmental estimates I might raise the matter that I felt this would be the appropriate occasion to raise it as a grievance.

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LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

If the hon. member, in trying to find out to what department the matter belongs, makes a 40 minute speech and then finds out when the estimates are up that he should not have raised it at all because it does not come within the ambit of any department, he will have caused the House of Commons to lose 40 minutes of its time. This is a very serious matter. I think the hon. member should make sure that it lies within the jurisdiction of this parliament to do something about the matter before he proceeds to bring it up. In Beauchesne's third edition, pages 699 to 702, he will find a ruling which might give him comfort, but, with great respect, I am not in agreement with Mr. Speaker Sevigny's ruling on that occasion.

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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

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

Mr. Barnett:

Would I be in order to say that in the first place I had no intention of making a 40 minute speech? My purpose in rising was to put forward a grievance on behalf of some of the people in my district, and request that the government take under consideration the advisability of introducing some form of legislation to cover the situation. As far as I am aware no legislation exists at the present time, and it is on that point I wish to raise my grievance, the necessity for the consideration of the establishment of legislation to cover a situation which I feel to be a matter of general responsibility that can only be looked after properly by the government.

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

Put it on the agenda for the dominion-provincial conference.

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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

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

Mr. Barnett:

Dr. Gordon Shrum of the University of British Columbia expressed the opinion some little time ago that the question of whether or not legislation should be introduced to control the installation of such machines could very well be taken under advisement. I assume it would come within the jurisdiction of the federal government under the Department of Transport or-

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?

An hon. Member:

External affairs.

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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

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

Mr. Barnett:

-some other department. As it is a matter of growing concern to the residents of my area I wished to raise it as a grievance on this occasion.

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LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

The point the hon. member has in mind is so hypothetical that before he raises it as a grievance now I believe he should ascertain whether or not it is within the jurisdiction of this parliament to deal with the matter he has in mind. If we were to take his line of argument as being sound there are many things we would be trying to bring up in debate here, asking ourselves whether or not some day they would not fall within the jurisdiction of this parliament. The hon. member is reasonable and I do not think he will be prejudicing himself or the people he represents if this matter is delayed until the estimates of the proper department are before the committee of supply. In the meantime I feel it would be wise on his part not to press the point, and I am asking his co-operation at this time.

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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

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

Mr. Barneit:

I am quite agreeable to cooperate in the matter, Mr. Speaker. I believe perhaps the purpose I had in drawing the attention of the government and the house to the matter has been served well enough for the moment.

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May 17, 1955