May 28, 1948 (20th Parliament, 4th Session)

PC

Douglas King Hazen

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HAZEN:

I admit that, and there are other members from the maritime provinces who are entitled to credit for what they have done in this matter.
There is in the county of Albert, which I have the honour to represent in this house, a considerable acreage of these marshlands that front on the bay of Fundy. Some improvements have been made through arrangements between the dominion and provincial governments and the landowners in the past few years to restore the dikes and reclaim these lands, and probably the experience that has been gained in these operations has been or will be of service in the drafting of the bill that will be brought down.
I do not want to discuss this resolution now at any length. As the minister has suggested, I think it would be much better to do that when the legislation is before us. But I would point out this fact, that this legislation is of a most unusual character. As a rule, the dominion does not assist people whose property has been destroyed by floods. That matter has been discussed today in connection with the floods in British Columbia. The government does not assist owners of property whose lands have been destroyed by floods or by forest fires, nor does it assist people who permit their properties to fall into such a state of disrepair as to be no longer useful or productive. But in this case public funds are to be used to assist a number, and a considerable number, of land owners to improve their own properties.
These dikes in years past were raised by the hands of farmers, with labour incessant, to shut out the turbulent tides. They did that work with their own labour, with the French government possibly assisting at one time. The work was done first of all by the French settlers and later by English settlers, and the dikes were maintained and kept up by these settlers. With the ceaseless rise and fall of the tide there must be a great wear and tear on these earthworks to keep out the seas. For
many years past they were maintained by the owners of the land, and the work was done at their own expense. But now for some reason or another, possibly a combination of reasons or circumstances-the minister referred to the fact that agriculture had been depressed in that area-the government is to do this work. For some years past the owners of the land failed to keep up these dikes; they failed to look after their own property, and as a result the dikes went down, the seas came in and the land was destroyed or made unproductive.
Now if public moneys, the moneys of the people of this country, are to be voted and spent on erecting these dikes and putting these lands into shape for their owners, I think it is essential that arrangements be made to see that the owners of the land keep up the dikes after they have been built. It is essential in this legislation or in the agreements that are referred to in the resolution to provide that the owners of the land maintain the dikes after they have been built. If that is not done the money of the people of this country that will be spent on the' enterprise will be wasted.

Topic:   MARSHLANDS
Subtopic:   RECLAMATION AND DEVELOPMENT-ASSISTANCE TO MARITIME PROVINCES
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