February 12, 1937 (18th Parliament, 2nd Session)

LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

He probably voted for the appropriation, yes,-the government of the Northwest Territories had a policy for the building of dams and the digging of dugouts, and for the digging of wells; and the discussion as to where the wells should be dug became so intense that they eventually had to dig some of them out on the road allowances, to stop the discussion that was going on as to who should have the well and where it should be. We went on building dams and digging dugouts. We scarcely built a road of any length in the province of Saskatchewan at any time in the last forty years without building a dam somewhere along the road and putting a spillway in the dam and supplying water to the farmers or group of farmers living alongside, in order that they might use it for threshing or the watering of their stock or something of the kind. All western Canada has been covered by policies of that kind, initiated not from Ottawa but by the provincial governments. In' other words, this is not a new thing. No one sat down in the city of Ottawa, either among the staffs of the departments or in the House

Farm Rehabilitation Act
of Commons or among the ministers who constituted the government of the day, and evolved a policy out of thin air and brought it into this house and presented1 it to the people of Canada. Certainly no one in this house to-day has the right to claim credit for the expenditures that were made under these policies, further than this, that certain moneys were voted in 1935 to assist in carrying on.
We come then to the economic survey. Well, an economic survey has been going on ever since the time of the Hon. W. R. Motherwell. He set up the economic branch in the Department of Agriculture, and brought from the United States Doctor Booth, who had previously held an appointment in the economics branch of the university of Saskatchewan, to be in charge of the economics branch here and carry on the work. That work was going on during all the period that the last government was in power, and is still continuing. If I were to make any criticism of most of these items it might be that they have probably been put in the wrong place, in that they represent work that has been carried on right along, and while we have been spending money in that direction to a considerable extent we have been leaving undone things that would rehabilitate that section of the country.
As to the hydrometric survey: there was a hydrometric survey under the Department of the Interior right down to the time that the natural resources were turned, over to western Canada. It was dropped because the resources were turned over, and the same activity has not been carried on so extensively by the provinces. There is need for further development of the hydrometric survey over that area that has been dried out. As to the other matters on which we have spent money this year but upon which, little if anything was spent last year, they are only a repetition or an extension of what I have been dealing with up to the moment. I recite these facts to indicate to the house that there is not one item in the expenditures that were arranged for in 1935 which constitutes a new activity in the prairie country of western Canada.
Having made that claim, may I go back to the question of the committee that seems to have so much disturbed the leader of the opposition?
I have before me the document that was prepared when this legislation was introduced into this house in 1935. It is marked "First reading, April, 1935," and is dated April 4, 1935. Let me repeat that there never was a meeting of this committee until May 3, 1935. As a matter of fact at the time this document
was prepared the committee could not have existed because the legislation had not then been passed: I refer to April 4, 1935. First, you have the act. Then you have committees, and note that it is not headed "committee," it is "committees,"-advisory committee, and the drainage or water development committee. The present bill proposes by an amendment to the section to make provision in a proper way for these committees and the organization of work.

Topic:   PRAIRIE FARM REHABILITATION ACT
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