November 19, 1953 (22nd Parliament, 1st Session)


Bert Raymond Leboe

Social Credit

Mr. Leboe:

Mr. Speaker, I was quite
prepared to answer the question asked by the hon. member for Burnaby-Richmond (Mr. Goode), but I notice that the hon. member is not with us, so I shall proceed. Our people in the Cariboo have a great many needs. That is nothing unusual, but there are certain needs in some districts that are most vital not only to the well-being of the people in those districts but because of the part they play in national defence. I should like to mention a few of those needs tonight.
Our people, in the part of British Columbia which I represent, lack adequate telephone communications. Prince George is 265 miles distant from Dawson Creek and yet there is no telephone service between those two points. We often find when a highway is

The Address-Mr. Leboe newly constructed that a ribbon development occurs along the highway to take care of tourist traffic. The Hart highway is just such a highway. There is no telephone service for the ribbon development between Dawson Creek and Prince George.
Many of the telephone lines upon which the farmers in the district depend for communication in case of emergency and so on are in a bad state of repair. In my estimation, this should have been corrected a long time ago. However, I shall bring this matter to the attention of the various departments in due course with the necessary facts and figures in the hope that we will get somewhere.
Telephone service is most vital to many people in British Columbia, Alberta and throughout Canada, and proper telephone service can be most important for national defence purposes. While I am dealing with needs connected with defence I should like to refer to the fact that there is no highway through the Rocky mountains between the Kicking Horse pass at lake Louise and Pine pass west of Dawson Creek, a distance of some 600 miles. This is a situation which should be remedied at once. A highway west from Jasper, Alberta, to Prince George, British Columbia, would provide urgently needed protection for and access to the Pacific coast. As such a highway is most essential for successful defence I think it involves federal attention and action. I am sure that a casual glance at the map would convince every hon. member of this house that this highway is a "must".
This would also afford an opportunity to help out thousands of people while taking care of a dangerous situation in the event of a national emergency if war should involve the west coast of Canada. British Columbia, with only a population of 1,200,000, has as many miles of highway as the combined road mileages in the states of Washington, Oregon and the northern part of California. Many miles of these roads require rehabilitation and rebuilding in order to meet the demands put upon them, and it can readily be seen that a highway from Jasper west will have to take its place on the priority list from the provincial point of view. Because of the cost involved it may remain on that priority list for some years.
This highway would be an arterial transprovincial highway to the north. Since the federal government have arrogated to themselves such a large portion of the tax field it is felt strongly in the west, and no doubt in the central and eastern parts of Canada as well, that there should be federal participation in all highways classed as arterial. It
[Mr. Leboe.I
is hoped that the committee on northern development will study the situation carefully, and here I am making reference to Bill No. 6.
While I am speaking about highways I should like to direct the attention of the government to a situation which has arisen in my area largely because the people concerned used very poor judgment and failed to keep in mind the needs of the people. There is one thing in government which we should never forget, and1 that is the needs of the people. A ridiculous situation has arisen where the right of way of a provincial road has been taken over by the Department of National Defence. The department then built what they termed an access road on the same location. The old road, while not a first-class highway, was a usable and serviceable road. In its place today we find that we have a road on which two trucks cannot pass. May I repeat? The old road, while not a first-class highway, was a usable, serviceable road. In its place today we find that we have a road on which two trucks cannot pass.
It is apparent that in taking this action no regard has been had for the use of the taxpayers' money and to see that they got the most for their dollar. Why should the Department of National Defence put a 16-foot top on a road, simply because it suits the department's needs, and ruin the road for the use of the people?
While on this subject I should like to deal with another situation which is quite serious and which has to do with co-operation between the Department of National Defence, the Department of Public Works and the provincial government. I refer now to the piece of the Alaska highway between Dawson Creek and Fort St. John. That is a wonderful gravel road but the traffic is very heavy. During nine months of the year the people using this road must travel continually in a cloud of dust which creates a very dangerous situation. I cannot vouch for the figure, but I have been given to understand that the maintenance of the Alaska highway runs to between $8 million and $10 million a year. If the Department of National Defence and the provincial government would get together and black-top this road it would save money for the people of Canada as a whole and do away with a terrible hazard which now exists because of the amount of traffic going up and down the Alaska highway.
I do not know how many hon. members have travelled over the Alaska highway and witnessed the traffic there, but any who have will know what I am talking about.

It may surprise some hon. members of this house to know that Dawson Creek in my riding has the largest volume of grain received from the producers of any place in Canada, and I believe of any place on the continent. One would think that that was something of which we should be very proud. It may be, but the fact is that the reason for this situation is the dire need of more adequate railroad facilities in the country north of the Peace river.
The hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Low) has brought before this house the need of a coast outlet for rail cargo. It seems incredible that transcontinental railroads could be built 30 years ago with what would be considered today to be obsolete machinery and at a time when there was a much smaller population, but now when we have modern machines and methods we seem to be horrified at the thought of having to build a comparatively few miles of railroad to bring relief to the Peace river area and aid in the development of an area so rich in natural resources. Surely it should not be necessary in this day and age to have grain, livestock and other commodities hauled by truck over 100 to 150 miles before reaching the railhead. Grain quotas in this district, which loads more grain than any other shipping point, must certainly add to the bottleneck.
I remember being in that area and hearing a farmer say-and, as a matter of fact, he said it to me: If 1 can only haul day and night now that the quota has been raised I will be able to get all my grain into the elevators before grain starts pouring in from north of the river. In other words, he was not concerned with what happened to the grain that came in from north of the river so long as he got his grain into the elevator. It could very well be that some of the people who would have to haul their grain from north of the river, from the large grain-producing area from north of the Peace, would not be able to put their grain in storage at Dawson Creek. It is a ridiculous situation if ever there was one.
Figures as to available tonnage and possible development which would result from the building of this rail outlet to the coast from present railheads in the Peace river area are known to our government and certainly warrant immediate action to see that what should have been done 25 years ago is done. Provision should be made for adequate rail facilities for the people of this part of Canada. The people in this part of the country need to get their supplies in and their products out to market.
I am not going to take very much longer, Mr. Speaker, but before I conclude, for the
The Address-Mr. Leboe benefit of some of those who are here, I would like to mention a few important points in the riding of Cariboo. I want to let you know that this is not a wilderness. It is not some place where Eskimos live. I have lived there for 35 years and I have never seen an Eskimo. As a matter of fact, people often ask me what kind of clothes I wear up there and I tell them that I wear the same kind of clothes at home as I do in Victoria. That surprises them because they think we have fur on our backs a foot thick up there.
The country is real country but it needs development. I think the government should take a forward step to provide some of the facilities for the development and not wait for the development and then say that they will do something about it. I think the government should show a little leadership in that respect. I was up at Fort Nelson not so long ago on a visit. It is only a small place but even there they have problems- wharving problems on the river. I noticed there a large installation for national defence purposes, but of the pieces of equipment in the very large heating plant I noticed that only the little blower that blows coal into the furnace was made in Vancouver. The rest of it was shipped in from Toronto. I know that these other things are made right in Vancouver and could have been purchased there. I imagine that Vancouver firms had a chance to bid and perhaps they should have made their bids a little lower, but I would like to see some Vancouver products in these places.
Some of you, I suppose, will know from reading about Fort St. John, and perhaps from being there, that it is going to develop into one of the greatest oil producing areas in Canada. As a matter of fact I have heard geologists say that the mother pool may well be found in the Fort St. John area of the Peace river district. These points all add up to the need for railroad facilities and a better understanding of required development in that particular part of the country.
In Pouce Coupe we find that the people have gone all out to provide themselves with a hospital. It was built largely through private donations and it is a real asset to that part of the country. Coming down to the southern part of the riding we have Quesnel, a lumbering town with a large plywood plant. It would not be fair for me to go on without mention of Wells and Barkerville, the gold mining area. I would like to call the attention of this house and the government to the historical value of the Barkerville area. Those historical assets should be looked into and

The Address-Mr. Leboe preserved. It is something that should have immediate attention and action on the part of the federal government in order to preserve the historical value of the old gold mining town of Barkerville.
The only elevator that we have in my district on the west side of the Rocky mountains is located at Vanderhoof. That town has become more and more of an agricultural community and it has to support it a great deal of lumbering in the surrounding area. Lumber comes in from Fort St. James and Stuart lake area where millions and millions of feet of virgin timber are yet to be harvested. At the east end of the riding, east of Prince George, we have the famous upper Fraser valley and the town of McBride. The most important centre and the hub of the northern interior part of the province of British Columbia is Prince George. Since I come from Prince George I am not going to say too much about it at this time. There will be other times, I hope, when I will be heard from regarding Prince George-and not without good reason.
In closing my remarks I just want to make one thing clear to this house. I was not under any illusion when I moved into politics. I was, with my brother, in partnership in a sound business. We were doing all right but I came to the conclusion that money was not everything in this world. I know that to lots of people it does mean everything, but I wish they would consider that one can eat only three meals a day, sleep in one bed at a time, occupy one seat at a time on an airplane or one berth on a train.
Hon. members of this house, you can only take so much out of life and I fear that the use of money today by some is not necessarily for security and the good things of life. To lots of people money means power which they can exercise over their fellow men. Mrs. Leboe is the one who is making the sacrifice. We have six children and they have to be looked after. Our children are our greatest asset and it is for that asset, the protection of their liberties, their right to make their own way in this world, that I am in politics today. I have forsaken a great part of the business I had back home in British Columbia and have come here with real purpose and real conviction.
As time goes on I hope not only that I can be of some benefit to the members of the Social Credit group but that I can be of some influence for the betterment of mankind. Let us give to the youth of Canada, the generations who are putting their trust in us, who are this day playing in the school yards throughout the country and are entering into life in a real way, the hope that some

day when they grow up to be men and women all is going to be well in Canada. I think we can do those things if we have a sincere conviction in this matter and remember, with regard to any money that we have over and above the amount we need, that while it is all very well to use it for security we should not use it to the detriment of mankind.

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