January 31, 1958

CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

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

Mr. Barnett:

I wonder whether the minister would tell the committee if there is any provision under either the forestry plan about which he has spoken, or under the revolving loans plan, for the acquisition by Indians of timber which is not on native Indian land? Is provision made for the acquisition of crown timber in British Columbia, for example, which could then be processed in the form of sawn logs?

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

So far, the funds available for that purpose have been band funds. If a band has funds available they are used for this purpose from time to time, but I am informed that up to the present we do not buy timber for them, as timber, out of funds provided by the department.

With regard to this general question of the efforts made to bring the department into closer touch with the Indians, I should say that we inaugurated this fall the first of what will be at least, biennial conferences of Indian field officers from all over Canada. They met at the Alpine inn, and had a three-day conference there which I had the pleasure of attending; and I can say without hesitation that it was a most valuable conference for both the headquarters staff and the field staff. The conference enabled officials dealing with Indian problems, varying as they do in different areas of the country, to exchange views on the difficulties they encounter and on the methods they follow in trying to meet those difficulties and bring

Supply-Citizenship and Immigration

the Indians forward in accordance with the program of integration. The conference proved to be of great benefit to them, and also to the headquarters officers, and we certainly intend to continue this meeting on at least a biennial basis, and if experience proves that it is as valuable, as we are inclined to think it may be, we shall probably hold it on an annual basis in future.

While on this same general subject, I should like to pay a tribute to the depu'ty minister and to the director of the Indians affairs branch, who, in 1955, inaugurated a plan of trips across the country which would have the result that within a period of 18 months they would visit every part of Canada, both east and west, including the Yukon and the Northwest Territories, thus enabling them to go into the field and find out at first hand what problems are encountered by the staff who are engaged in administering this work and, what is even more important, to meet the Indians and obtain their reaction to the work being done by the department.

I have to confess that this program was interrupted this year by events over which the officials had no control-the events of June 10 and the subsequent change of government on June 21,-which created a number of administrative problems, with the result that the deputy minister was not able to get away, though the director was able to make a trip to the Northwest Territories to attend a meeting at Fort Smith and a meeting of the Northwest Territories Council, of which he is a member. In the course of the trips he was able to make contact with a number of agencies.

In these ways, and in others which will suggest themselves from time to time, the department and the government intend to make it possible for the departmental officials to come into contact with the Indians and gain a better knowledge-a more firsthand knowledge-of what is going on in the field. I do not, of course, decry the knowledge which they now have.

But they will be placed in a position where the Indians themselves will know that the departmental officials are gaining firsthand knowledge of their affairs. Thus, at every stage, though there may be differences of opinion as to methods, there may be no difference of opinion as to the intent and the genuineness of the efforts which are being made. It is our desire to bring about this feeling on the part of the Indians with respect to the officials who administer their affairs.

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LIB

Charles Benjamin Howard

Liberal

Mr. Howard:

I wonder whether the minister could indicate when it is expected that such a visit may be made to the agencies along the Skeena river?

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

The Indian commissioner of British Columbia has been asked to prepare for a visit this spring. We hope it may be made not later than May, or possibly as early as April.

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CCF

Alexander Maxwell (Max) Campbell

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

Mr. Campbell (The Battlefords):

Does the minister not think it might be a good plan to send a note to the member of the constituency whose area these people are going to visit? Last year, I believe representatives of the department were in the town of Battle-ford and held a meeting there. I should like to have been at that meeting had the invitation been sent to me, but I did not wish to barge in. I think we might be invited when such meetings take place.

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L L

William Moore Benidickson

Liberal Labour

Mr. Benidickson:

I should like to support the hon. member who has just spoken. I, too, felt, a couple of years ago, when these representatives came to the territory of Kenora-Rainy River, that they might have let the member representing the constituency know they were coming, because there are a number of matters affecting Indians in that district of which a member of this house is, naturally, aware.

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

I am sure there was nothing intentional about this omission, and that it was an oversight. We will be glad to take what has been said into consideration for the future.

In the course of the discussion one or two questions were asked to which I am able now to give specific replies.

I should like, first of all, to deal with some questions which were raised by the hon. member for Selkirk this morning. The hon. gentleman asked me some specific questions with regard to the Berens river project of cutting pulpwood. I am able to give him two specific answers. He asked me how much pulpwood was cut in 1956 and 1957. In 1956, 1,167 cords were cut, and in 1957, 3,648 cords were cut. The second question was: how many cords were hauled? The answer is: 861 in 1955-56, and 306 in 1956-57, making a total of 1,167 cords.

In 1957, 2,554 cords were hauled. With respect to the other questions as to how much was paid for the haulage and with regard to the barges with which there were some difficulties, I am not able to give any final answer as these matters are still a subject of negotiation with those concerned.

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CCF

William Scottie Bryce

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

Mr. Bryce:

Will you not have the information later?

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

I do not think I will be able to give it until the negotiations are concluded, but as soon as the negotiations are concluded we will be prepared to make the information available.

4136 HOUSE OF

Supply-Citizenship and Immigration

The hon. gentleman asked about a brief which was submitted in 1956. I understand it has been answered in general and the points not answered are still under consideration. With regard to some of the other briefs to which he referred, I have to say that we do not recall and in the interval have not been able to lay our hands on the specific briefs but we will look for them and if they have not already been dealt with or replied to we shall be glad to do so.

As to the question of the hospital on the Split lake reserve, I have to reply that this is a matter for health and welfare, which I will discuss with my colleague in that department, and I hope we can produce a satisfactory solution. With respect to the question of the road at Norway House, there were some suggestions made by the hon. gentleman with respect to which I would not at the moment be able to say that I am in agreement with him, but we shall be glad to look into the whole question of providing the labour to enable this road to be built.

I have answered the question of the hon. member for New Westminster as to how much we pay provincial school boards. With regard to the question of fishing rights as they affect the Langley band, I can say that the general position is that the Indians' right of individual fishing continues and there can be no interference with their right to catch fish for their personal use. However, as far as commercial fishing rights are concerned, the general position is that they have to abide by the same rules as apply to commercial fishermen. We shall, however, look into the position of the Langley band regarding the reopening of commercial fishing in that area, and we are in constant contact with the Department of Fisheries on this and similar problems. The hon. gentleman will also appreciate, of course, that the fisheries on the Fraser river are under the over-all control of the international Pacific sockeye salmon commission, which creates an additional complication.

We shall also examine the question of the availability of funds in the revolving loan fund to meet the problem facing Indians in buying the kind of boat with which they can go to sea and fish if it is found that they cannot obtain rights for commercial fishing on the river because of the closure to which the hon. gentleman referred.

I should like very much to congratulate the hon. member for the Yukon on his maiden speech this afternoon in which he gave a comprehensive and constructive outline of the problems of the Indians in the Yukon. The hon. member suggested that the problems of the Indians there are far greater than they

are elsewhere. I will not quarrel with him in what he said. We have problems in connection with Indian welfare all across the country and we hope to deal with them as they exist without particular favouritism for one area as against another. But where we find a problem it is our intention to deal with it just as rapidly as possible. I might point out to him that there is as much money spent on education of the Indians of the Yukon in proportion to the population of the Yukon as is spent elsewhere.

With regard to the acquisition of land at Whitehorse for the joint school, I am glad to be able to tell him that the matter has been discussed with the Indians and that funds are being requested in the amount of $150,000 for the purposes of acquisition of land, initial construction and other things required to get on with the provision of elementary and high school facilities at Whitehorse.

As to the question of the wolf bounty and caribou survival, this is a matter of concern primarily, I think, of the Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources, and I am glad to be able to say that we are already carrying on discussions with that department, particularly with regard to the question of the caribou herds. I am also glad to be able to advise the hon. gentleman that the direction of Indian affairs will visit the Yukon territory this coming summer.

To turn to the remarks of the hon. member for Dauphin, I have already dealt generally with the question of the provision of housing for Indians in Manitoba and the speed up of the program to provide winter employment. I am glad to be able to tell him that a survey is being made in Manitoba by the provincial government of the condition of the Indians, and we are cooperating with that government in that survey. The hon. gentleman did refer specifically to the question of financial help to Indians to enable them to set up forestry co-operatives. I mentioned the revolving fund before. It is possible that we might be able to do something in this connection and if he will place his specific suggestions before the department we will be glad indeed to entertain them. I am also advised that one of the four placement officers I have referred to is stationed in Winnipeg.

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CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

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

Mr. Zapliiny:

In order to clarify the matter of the revolving fund, can the minister give an example as to the basis upon which an advance is made from that fund, or any other fund, that may be available for the purpose of capital expenditure in setting up a cooperative industry?

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?

James Ross Fulton

Mr. Fulion:

Perhaps the hon. gentleman might raise that question when we get to vote 76, as I will have the details before me at that time. The hon. member for Fraser Valley raised some questions, some of which have been dealt with in my general survey and others of which were specific. With regard to the mosquito spraying, we will have another look at that matter, but I am sure he will appreciate that, with the limited funds at our disposal, our first responsibility is to spend them for the benefit of the Indians. We appreciate that there is a large area on the reserve on which mosquitoes breed which bother other inhabitants, but we do feel that we should keep our expenditures in line with the benefits to be derived by the Indians from the program under way. However, we will have another look at the request because I realize the seriousness of the situation.

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SC
PC

Edmund Davie Fulton (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

The hon. gentleman asks if a mathematical formula is used. It is not mathematical but is the best estimate we can make of the proportionate benefit to be derived by the Indians in relation to the benefit to be derived by the white citizens from the spraying program.

With respect to the contract for skim milk,

I looked into this matter when it was drawn to my attention and I found that, as a matter of economy and saving, there was one contract let for the supplying of skim milk to the Indian schools all across Canada.

Tenders were invited, I understand, and the milk producers association referred to by the hon. gentleman did not submit a tender because it was one contract and was apparently of no interest to that concern. For that reason, I did instruct the departmental officials to look at this matter again and unless some other factors occur to me which have not yet been laid before me, it is our intention, when the contract expires and we have to renegotiate for the supply of skim milk, to advertize for tenders on a regional basis.

The hon. member for Kootenay West, in his usual sympathetic and challenging fashion, raised a problem concerning the provision of a monument for the Arrow Lakes Indian band. He suggested we co-operate with the British Columbia government and build this monument at the junction of the Columbia and Kootenay rivers in memory of this band and of the white pioneers who first crossed the Columbia river at that point. We would be glad to look into this. I think the hon. gentleman will realize that before we can ask for a separate fund to be made available from dominion government sources, it would

Supply-Citizenship and Immigration be necessary to obtain the approval of the historic sites and monuments board. If we had funds available within our departmental appropriations, we might be able to consider the project without reference to that particular body. The fact is that we have already turned over to the British Columbia government the remainder of the band funds which was left on hand at the time the last member of the band died. Therefore, we have no funds and we cannot proceed without the approval of that board.

We would be glad, however, to take the matter up with them and to discuss the question with the provincial government. If the provincial government feels that, having received the remainder of the band funds, they are able to make these funds available, that might be a solution to the problem.

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CCF

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

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

Mr. Herridge:

If the minister would not mind permitting a comment, I would say that if the minister is kind enough to do that, I know there is considerable support in our district amongst the pioneer organizations and others. We shall do the best we can to urge the local point of view because I think it would make a very appropriate centennial project for that area.

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

I am sure that the hon. gentleman, with his usual persuasiveness, will be able to help out the local and other authorities.

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CCF

William Scottie Bryce

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

Mr. Bryce:

I asked the minister one question to which I have not had an answer. Could we have the co-operation of the department in the establishment of a higher grade school at Norway House? This is something that should be done right away to benefit the pupils who are coming on there now.

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?

James Ross Fulton

Mr. Fulion:

I am advised that is a matter that the department has on the agenda at the moment, realizing the problem in that connection. One of the difficulties, I am informed, is getting the students available and ready for the school. This is a matter which is regarded as urgent and is receiving attention at the present time.

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CCF

William Scottie Bryce

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

Mr. Bryce:

I am sure that the people of the area will appreciate the co-operation of your officers and yourself in getting that established.

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?

James Ross Fulton

Mr. Fulion:

I hope we shall be able to report progress the next time we meet on a similar occasion to this one. I hope I have dealt with the majority of the problems raised.

There was one matter raised, however, by the hon. member for Terrebonne concerning

Supply-Citizenship and Immigration an area in his province which is of importance because there is a road through it connecting two main highways leading into the Laurentian area.

(Translation):

In answer to the hon. member for Terrebonne (Mr. Raymond), may I say that the reservation to which he referred is timber land, or an area of wood lots which belongs to the Caughnawaga Indians. We have received no representations whatever with regard to the problem he brought to our notice, but we will take note of them. I wish to assure the hon. member that we will give the matter active consideration.

(Text):

If there are other specific questions, Mr. Chairman, I suggest that I might deal with them on the other items dealing with the various activities of the branch.

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PC

Ernest John Campbell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Campbell (The Batllefords):

The

minister was discussing housing _ a few minutes ago, but I did not like to interrupt him. What provision is being made for housing this year in the Battlefords agency?

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January 31, 1958