May 31, 1955

NATIONAL DEFENCE

D.E.W. RADAR LINE-CONTACT WITH ESKIMOS

PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

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

Yesterday, Mr. Speaker, I raised a subject that had been discussed in certain newspapers in the United States concerning the directive given in connection with fraternization between Eskimos and others from either Canada or the United States who may be working on the D.E.W. line. When I read the quotation from the New York Herald Tribune the minister indicated that he would take notice of the question I had raised. Then he closed his remarks in the first instance with these words:

I might say immediately, however, that I do not agree with the quotation.

Mr. Speaker, I now learn that the quotation is from the agreement between Canada and the United States of America to govern the establishment of a distant early warning system in Canadian territory, which was effected by an exchange of notes with Washington on May 5 of this year, 1955. There were certain additional words not included in the-

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LIB

Jean Lesage (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources)

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

That is it.

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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

In the quotation in the Tribune.

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LIB

Jean Lesage (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources)

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

That is why I did not agree.

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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

The way the sentence actually read was as follows:

All contact with Eskimos other than those whose employment on any aspect of the project is approved is to be avoided, except in cases of emergency.

The words used by the Tribune came out of the agreement itself, or the appendix to the agreement, and I submit they do raise a question of discrimination within our own country as between citizens who have the full rights of voters; and that should be a matter of concern to members of this house.

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LIB

Jean Lesage (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources)

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

I intend to make a statement on the matter when the orders of the day are called.

On the orders of the day:

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LIB

Jean Lesage (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources)

Liberal

Hon. Jean Lesage (Minister of Northern Affairs and Naiional Resources):

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Leader of the Opposition raised

a question concerning restrictions that have been placed upon contacts with the Eskimos by men engaged in the construction and operation of the distant early warning line. He referred particularly to a report in the New York Herald Tribune of Sunday, May 29, attributed to Mr. Gerald Waring of the press gallery, which he quoted as saying that all contact with the Eskimos is to be avoided except in cases of emergency. I said yesterday I did not think I could agree with the quotation because according to my memory there was more to it than that. The Leader of the Opposition at the opening of the sitting agreed with me that the quotation was not complete.

Yesterday I dealt briefly with some of the considerations in this matter, and I undertook to take the question as notice and prepare a more detailed statement for today. With regard to my answer to this question the Leader of the Opposition said, as reported on page 4219 of Hansard of May 30:

In preparing his reply I hope that it may be one which will explain what does appear to many writers in the United States to be a rather unusual restriction upon the ordinary friendly contacts of members of the United States forces who are in Canada.

Again this afternoon the Leader of the Opposition referred to this aspect of the question.

I wish to say first of all that the regulations in question are not directed at the United States forces only. They are directed at any and all people having to do with the D.E.W. line. Everybody knows that the eastern portion of that line is being built by a Canadian contractor, the Foundation Company of Canada, Limited. The western part is being built by Northern Construction Company Limited, which is also a Canadian contractor.

However, I agree with the Leader of the Opposition that the restrictions which have been placed upon contacts may not be fully understood by many people in the United States. Might I draw his attention to the article to which he referred, in which we find a number of reasons why this agreement has been entered into. May I quote just two short extracts:

"The Eskimos are in a primitive state of social development", the Canadian government said in its note to the state department. "It is important that these people be not subjected unduly to disruption of their hunting economy, exposure to diseases against which their immunity is often low, or other effects of the presence of white men which might be injurious to them.

D.E.W. Radar Line

As a matter of fact that is practically what I said yesterday. Another quotation:

The government, which has a large scale program under way to broaden the base of the Eskimo economy and combat disease, is faced with medical evidence that the natives have little natural resistance to even relatively innocuous diseases of civilization.

Moreover, Mr. Speaker, it must be remembered that in the area from Coppermine eastward the Eskimos have had very little contact with our way of life. They are not used to our ways or customs. They do not understand what money is or what wage employment is.

As to the character of the restrictions, I might point out that they do not go so far as the New York Herald Tribune suggested, that is to exclude "all contact... except in cases of emergency." The provision is that employment should be under terms and arrangements concurred in by the department of northern affairs, and that other contact is to be avoided except in cases of emergency.

Might I just add that by coincidence this matter was under discussion yesterday by a standing committee on Eskimo affairs at the very moment the Leader of the Opposition inquired concerning it. This is an advisory committee consisting of the deputy minister and officials of the department of northern affairs; the commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; Bishop Marsh, the Anglican bishop of the Arctic; Bishop Tro-cellier, who is in charge of the Roman Catholic diocese of Mackenzie and who was yesterday represented by Father Laviolette of the Catholic Indian educational services; Mr. Chesshire, general manager of the fur department of the Hudson's Bay Company, and officials of the Department of National Health and Welfare. The committee, I am told, spent more than three hours on Eskimo problems arising out of the distant early warning line. They considered particularly the provisions with regard to employment and contact, and the representatives of both churches, of the Hudson's Bay Company and of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the other government officials were in complete agreement as to the necessity for the restrictions and with their character and application.

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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Mr. Speaker, I would point out that my question yesterday was directed to the articles I had seen, and I mentioned particularly one which quoted directly from the Canada-United States agreement. I would point out that the opening part of the section

[Mr. Lesage.l

of the agreement which deals with Canadian Eskimos has this to say;

It is important that these people be not subjected unduly to disruption of their hunting economy, exposure to diseases against which their immunity is often low, or other effects of the presence of white men which might be injurious to them.

If we have reached the point, Mr. Speaker, when we have to put an iron curtain around our own white men in our own country-

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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

-then there is indeed a problem with which we are called upon to deal. We have been proceeding for these past few years and, in fact, for generations, in the belief that the contact of the white man with primitive races in different parts of the world was to the advantage of those peoples. If in fact these requirements are necessary, then there is something to be done with regard to the white people just as much as with regard to the Eskimos.

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LIB

Jean Lesage (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources)

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

Mr. Speaker, I do not think I can allow that statement to go without reply. I believe the policy of the government and the department is sound. It has been approved by people who have had a great deal of experience with the Eskimo population. If the Leader of the Opposition wishes to substitute his own judgment for that of all the advisers whom I have consulted, and is satisfied to do that, that is up to him.

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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Mr. Speaker-

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   D.E.W. RADAR LINE-CONTACT WITH ESKIMOS
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?

Some hon. Members:

Order.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

-on a question of privilege, there was no introduction of my judgment into this matter. I was simply raising the point that these regulations impose restrictions regarding the association of white men with people who are described as a primitive race; and if this is to be the attitude of the government it is a strange attitude indeed, having regard to the extent to which we are trying to advance the interests of primitive races in every part of the world by contact with white men.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Pouliol:

Mr. Speaker, as between the Eskimos and some white men, I would choose the Eskimos.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   D.E.W. RADAR LINE-CONTACT WITH ESKIMOS
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

I agree with you.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   D.E.W. RADAR LINE-CONTACT WITH ESKIMOS
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ANNOUNCEMENT OF INITIAL PRICES FOR CROP YEAR BEGINNING AUGUST 1, 1955

LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Defence Production; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Right Hon. C. D. Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to announce that the government has approved

initial prices paid by the Canadian wheat board on wheat, oats and barley for the crop year beginning August 1, 1955 at the same levels as during the present crop year.

The initial prices are as follows:

Wheat: $1.40 per bushel basis No. 1 Manitoba northern in store Fort William-Port Arthur or Vancouver.

Oats: 65 cents per bushel basis No. 2 Canada western in store Fort William or Port Arthur.

Barley: 96 cents per bushel basis No. 3 Canada western six-row in store Fort William or Port Arthur.

Topic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF INITIAL PRICES FOR CROP YEAR BEGINNING AUGUST 1, 1955
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May 31, 1955