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


Joseph Henry Harris

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HARRIS (Danforth):

Before the resolution carries, I should like to make one or two observations. First, I will say that I am in favour of this resolution for the reason that those who are affected by it are close to the communities which, in days to come, might consume the products which might be produced on these marshlands. In the second place, those who live in the proximity of these marshlands are the people who are the very basis, to my mind, and the very life of those features of our Canadian way of life which we like to think of as being of a pioneer character.
Thousands of people from the maritimes have gone west and have developed that part of the country. They left these lands because they were marshlands. Even though they left the midst of these communities-and I am sorry the senior hon. member for Halifax has left his seat; I have something to say to him and I hope he will come back-even though they left the community whence comes the hon. member for Saint John-Albert, I still have a mid-Victorian idea in my system that those who left the marshlands and went west are people of a kind that did wonderfully well on behalf of Canada. As I say, I may perhaps be mid-Victorian, but I should like to hold that pioneer stock within the confines of the maritime provinces in order that we might have some well-spring, as it were, or some source from which to draw the greatest of our Canadians to help to make up for the loss of those who found it necessary, through reasons of one kind and another

for instance, that they might get a better financial return-to leave the maritime provinces and go west.
But not nearly as important or as tragic is it that some left the maritimes to go west as it is that others left to go to the New England states to develop another country which does

Reclamation of Marshlands

not fly the same flag as we do. I should like to hold them in the maritimes. I say to my hon. friends in the maritime provinces that within the last quarter of a century, right at the mouth of these very marshlands, I have seen three old pioneering families which I visited, during the last two or three decades stay home in the maritimes. I ask the hon. member for Saint John-Albert-and he knows of whom I am thinking-if one, two or three of those individuals did not accumulate within the last two decades a million dollars in the end of these marshlands, by staying home and attending to their knitting within the province of New Brunswick?
One Sunday morning I hired a car and went out to Moncton to see one of these men at the end of the bore, the bore being one of those channels cut by the tide. This gentleman was on his verandah, and he said, "You, coming from the city of Toronto the good, will, I suppose, not talk business on a Sunday." I reminded him that I had already been to church and had driven out in the same car to see him. Finally, in a cold sort of way he said, "Well, come in off the verandah," and I had the pleasure of taking lunch with him at his home and then selling him forty or fifty cars of goods. After that, he thought those of us from the central provinces were perhaps not too hard to deal with. He finally consummated the sale, even though it was Sunday, and while he still thought Toronto was the good, he felt perhaps it was not quite so good after all.
My hon. friend about whom I have been asking has not yet entered the chamber. We are all members of a confederation. Over a period of two or three decades, the maritime provinces may have been overlooked. Coming from one of the central provinces, I say to my hon. friends in the maritimes: We love, admire and respect you, and hope you may be able to develop your economy so that you will be on a par with the other provinces of the dominion. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, I am in favour of this legislation. I think we should help them in any way we possibly can. Why? For the simple reason that we owe a debt to the maritime provinces of Canada, and I think we ought to pay it. This legislation, little though it may do, will perhaps help. I am sure the provinces of Ontario and Quebec will do anything they can. If hon. members coming from the western provinces find themselves asked to vote some assistance to the maritimes, many of whose people travelled west and helped develop that part of the country, I am sure they, too, will favour any possible help that can be given 5849-287J
so that we may develop the maritime provinces as a strong entity, which will cling to us.
If we do not do that, who will rise in his place in this house and blame or criticize those in the maritime provinces if, after mature consideration and the experience of half a century, they decide that perhaps at the time of confederation they were not too wise in their decision to remain with us? That is what worries me when I think of the years that lie ahead. Within the confines of those three provinces is a great opportunity for the development of natural resources, including those they can dig out of the top six inches of soil and what they can garner from the seas surrounding them. But in addition there are the intellectual resources, those qualities of body and soul which those progenitors have passed on to their sons and daughters, which we need if we are to make of Canada a country of which we may be really proud.
I do not know whether I have made clear the idea in the back of my mind. Perhaps in days gone by we have not been too fair with that far-flung part of our dominion. If that is the case here is an opportunity to do at least something to help the maritimes; and I think it is a great chance.
I should like to put on record something which may stimulate the ideas of one hon. member who seems to think he is the sole representative in this house, and on every committee which functions here, capable of expressing the ideas which permeate the people of that part of the country. The hon. member for Halifax, whom I have had paged half a dozen times in the last ten minutes, has not as yet arrived in the chamber. I am referring to the hon. gentleman who until recently was the junior member for Halifax, who likes to think he represents everything worthwhile in the maritimes. I say to him that if he would try to strike a sympathetic and cooperative chord in the minds of hon. members coming from Ontario and Quebec he would be doing greater service to his constituents and to the maritime provinces in general. He should approach us with the feeling that we are with him to a man, because we know what the maritime provinces have done for Canada, instead of in an attitude which to my mind might be considered cynical, for lack of a better word. If he would cease telling us that rve moved the head offices of his banks from the maritimes up to Montreal or Toronto or some other place he might get along better. We did not do that.
We love, admire and respect the Macdonalds, the Mackintoshes and all those people down there, the sons and daughters of those
Reclamation of Marshlands

who came over on the steamer Hector, the sons and daughters of the highlanders who fought on the plains of Abraham in years gone by, most of whom came from the maritime provinces. We in central Canada have not forgotten the great contribution the maritime provinces made to this country, and the idea we have is to nurture and help them now.
Therefore, coming from Ontario, I support this legislation. I say to the senior hon. member for Halifax, who mentioned the French Canadians, the Aeadians and what not: Voulez-vous, s'il vous plait, entrer dans la saile de la chambre des communes et poser votre derriere sur une chaise, and say something worthwhile on behalf of the maritime provinces. You will get the support not only of those who come from Toronto, the city of the good, but of all those representing Ontario as well as my colleagues in the province of Quebec and those from the west. I say to all my colleagues: Support the maritime
provinces. Hold the maritime provinces. A few miserable dollars do not matter. Therefore it is a great pleasure for me to support the legislation now brought down by the Minister of Agriculture in this connection.

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