February 3, 1938 (18th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Martha Louise Black

Independent Conservative


I would rather have the
applause come from this side, but I think I hear someone say I won't get it. However, we in the north want better music; we want better broadcasts; and if the labourer is worthy of his hire, surely we can afford to pay that S2.50, with all due apologies to others.

The territory of Alaska is beating us in one respect; I refer to the care of game. At present we have no bounty on wolves, nor have we had for a number of years past. The territory of Alaska has a large bounty. We want all the tourist trade we can get, not only the ordinary visitor who may come in-and we had over 4,000 last year-but the big game hunter as well. They are the people who bring the money. The big game hunter coming into the Yukon and going into the Kluane and other districts never spends less than from $5,000 to $10,000, and that money is largely spent locally. We feel, therefore, that not only the local government but conservation committees and the federal government should consider ways and means of protecting our game by paying bounties both on wolves, which are a horrible menace to larger game, and coyotes, which are a menace to birds. Only three or four years ago bands of wolves attacked great herds of caribou, and my husband saw hundreds of caribou lying dead on the ground. They had been killed by wolves. The wolves do not eat the carcass; they sever the jugular vein, drink the blood, eat the entrails, and the carcass is left to rot. Our game will not last forever and we should endeavour to protect it.
Speaking of game naturally brings me to the fisheries and the fur trade. When I went to that country thirty-five or forty years ago I saw small creeks when the salmon were coming up the Yukon river to spawn, and I saw these creek beds so filled with salmon that one could almost walk across. Now, however, whether it is owing to the wheels and the traps that are used by the Indians on the lower river, or whether it is due to the canneries that are operated in the open water by the Japanese, our fisheries have gone down rapidly. A few years ago the value of our production reached about $70,000, while in 1936 it amounted to only $14,000. That is bad for the country and bad for the natives, who depend upon the wild game and fish for their food.
There is some talk, of course, among far westerners in regard to the Japanese question. It is a matter that must be approached very delicately but, as I have read my history, Holland, followed by Portugal, Spain, France, Great Britain and finally the United States, went into the orient following the cannon. They did not want us, and now I am just wondering if we are not reaping what we have sown. Perhaps it is not so easy for us to

The Address-Mrs. Black
think that we have to suffer for what our forefathers did, but if we have that feeling we had better think of what those who are coming after us may have to suffer because of our actions in many ways. I believe it was a member of the British House of Commons who, while making a speech, said they must do a certain thing for the sake of posterity. He was immediately followed by another member who threw up his hands and asked, "After all, what has posterity ever done for us?"
In the north our exports consist principally of minerals and some furs. The Yukon produces 1-8 per cent of the fur pelts that are placed on the market in Canada, so that our production of fur does not amount to very much. We do send out gold, silver, lead, coal and a very small amount of petroleum. The present high price of gold, silver and lead, is what has saved the Yukon mines. The Yukon Consolidated Company in the Dawson district employs about six hundred men. The Treadwell Mining Company, in the Mayo district, employs perhaps four hundred men. If those mines were closed down the Yukon would be almost on its uppers. Mining is carried on now in mines that had been abandoned because of the low price of gold. A few years ago $16 was the average price received, but now with gold at over $30 it is possible to work property that could not be operated a few years ago.
I should like to congratulate the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning), if I may, on the new silver coins. The ten cent piece and the twenty^five cent piece, or the two-bit piece, as we call it in the north, are artistic and beautiful, but I have yet to see a coronation silver dollar. I have asked for one at five different banks and the answer has been, "We have none." We all know that British Columbia and the Yukon depend on silver production to a large extent. How easy it would be to help those miners in some degree. I do not know that it would be possible for a government to order a bank to give so many silver dollars when a person gets a certain amount of money, but if that were possible it would help us. If we were patriotic enough to think not only of the farmers of whom the hon. member for Moose Jaw (Mr. Ross) spoke, but also of those silver miners, when we go to a bank to cash a cheque for $25 we might ask for five silver dollars. I believe our silver dollars are not large enough to be called cart-wheels. They are not awkward to carry, at least so I have been told, though as I say I have yet to see a coronation silver dollar and-of course I was in the
north-not until about five months after the jubilee did I see a jubilee silver dollar, when one was very kindly sent to me.
I see on the order paper a notice of motion by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) regarding the appointment of a deputy chairman of committees. I feel very keenly about this question. As many hon. members know, I was intimately associated with a former Speaker. His deputy was an invalid during the four years that he served. I have kept a diary for over forty years, so I am very sure of my ground when I make the statement that the deputy was not in his seat for more than twelve days during any one of those four sessions. The Speaker had to ask members of his party to take the chair, and there are many hon. gentlemen here who helped out that Speaker. It is a difficult task to sit in the chair and listen to the talk of 245 members, day in and day out. If I may 'be allowed to say so, my sympathy is always with the Speaker, especially when I am speaking, and I should like to see a deputy chairman appointed and paid, because the workman is always worthy of his hire.
Foreign goods entering the Yukon come directly through Vancouver. Every cent of customs and excise is paid in Vancouver, to the federal government. Last year $160,000 was paid into the federal treasury, through the port of Vancouver, on goods sent in to the Yukon. There is no telling how much duty was paid on goods coming from other parts of Canada, but in any case I think the Yukon has been a pretty fat plum for the province of British Columbia. The telegraph system in northern British Columbia has always been charged to the Yukon. That is not right; it should not be done. The Yukon has been a very happy hunting ground for that province. According to the Handbook of Canada for 1938, which contains a summary of the value of production in Canada according to provinces, the value of production of British Columbia is given as $187,087,995. There is a note at the bottom of that statement which says, "This includes the Yukon." The per capita net commodity production of Ontario for 1935 is given as almost $286; British Columbia produced about $250 for each citizen-and as I said before that includes the Yukon-while poor little old Alberta, whose hardships we have been hearing about for years, had a per capita net commodity production amounting to $203. I am rather losing my sympathy for those Alberta people. In 1935 the Yukon produced $1,263,567 in gold; $90,165 in silver; $7,250 in lead; $3,483
The Address-Mrs. Black

in coal; $25,575 in oil, and $230,070 in furs, making a total of $1,620,114. We have a population of less than 5,000 men, women and children, but for the purposes of computation I shall place the population at 5,000. If we divide $1,620,114 by 5,000 we have a per capita net production of $340. I do not think the Yukon has much to be ashamed of.
There is considerable shipping industry in the Yukon. There is this difference, however, that the money spent for the maintenance of lights and buoys in other places [DOT]is not spent with us; the companies spend their own money.
I am sick and tired of the whispering I can aear with respect to the great expense the Yukon is to the federal government. If the truth were known, and if hon. members on both sides of the house would study the question, they would find that for years the Yukon has pap-fed the federal treasury. Of course there have been some injustices in the Yukon, owing to the change in the political complexion of parties in power. Those changes are to be expected. The Conservatives come in and harass the Liberals; the Liberals in *turn come in and harass the Conservatives. That always happens. Perhaps I believe, as much as anybody else, that to the victor belongs the spoils. Possibly it is too bad that that is so, but until we sprout not our wings but our pin feathers, it will last.
I must say however that I do deprecate conditions in the Yukon which have arisen because of personal animosities. I do not like to speak of these things, because at my age I am not looking for trouble. I want life to be as pleasant and easy as it can be, not only for myself but for everyone else. But I firmly believe the time will come when those of us here and those in the government at home will reap as we sow. If we are unjust, if we are unchristian and dishonest, we will reap exactly as we sow.

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