June 7, 1905 (10th Parliament, 1st Session)


Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)


copper to the value of $4,547,000, lead to the value of $639,000, iron to the value of $6,870, coal to the value of $3,504,000 and coke to the value of $327,000, making in all a mineral production of $16,970,000. In the same year the whole of the rest of Canada produced in gold, silver, copper, lead, iron, nickel, coal and coke, $22,000,000. and the Yukon Territory produced $12,200,000. In the year 1902-3 the province of British Columbia produced $17,000,000 odd, the rest of Canada, $20,000,000 odd, and the Yukon $14,000,000 odd. I have not at hand the figures for last year, but I recollect reading in the report of the Minister of Mines that the province of British Columbia produced, nearly $20,000,000, of which $6,000,000 was placer gold. I just mention these facts to show that the province of British Columbia, which my hon. friend has not a very good word for, has added pretty largely to the mineral wealth of this grand Dominion of ours. I am not here to say anything derogatory of the Yukon country. It is a grand country, producing a great deal of gold, and has been the means of opening up great riches to many men in the Dominion of Canada-not to as many as we would like ; because Canadians were not the first to go to that country ; the Canadian is not a miner. Outside of British Columbia and the Yukon Territory, there is very little gold mining in the Dominion. The more gold the Yukon Territory produces, the more riches there is for Canada; and the greater the mineral production of the province of British Columbia, the greater is the mineral wealth of Canada.
I agree with my hon. friend, that for many years the Yukon will produce a great deal of gold, and the same may be said of British Columbia ; and I am of his opinion that it would be infinitely better for the Yukon country-I do not know whether it would be good for the province of British Columbia or not, but I think it would-to be joined to British Columbia and become part and parcel of that province. Out in the Yukon you have a fairly large population as compared with Britisn Columbia, and in the latter province we have also a fairly large population, but spread over a considerable extent of territory, and consequently not as compact as the populations in the other provinces. We have also the same resources as the Yukon, the same class of people, we require the same laws ; and if these two were joined together they would be a greater factor in the Dominion than if separate, and no doubt the production of mineral wealth would be greater. The very trouble which the hon. gentleman lias pointed out as impeding the progress of the Yukon, namely, the timidity of capitalists to imvest their money there on account of its unsettled laws and mining regulations, would be wiped out entirely, because in British Columbia wre have, if not the best mining laws in the world, very

good mining laws. We have been mining there fifty years and have solved many of the problems that are still awaiting solution in the Yukon. By the union of the Y'ukon with our province many of the difficulties there would disappear. With regard to the suggestion of my hon. friend, that British Columbia has not been very prosperous the last few years owing to the unsettled condition of its labour market, I might reply that in my opinion we have not had a very disastrous time in our province. True, we went through some trouble a few years ago, but it was not the unsettled condition of the labour market, nor was it strikes or other labour disturbances which were the main causes. What gave that province the worst black eye it ever had, as far as mining is concerned, was not the unsettled condition of the labour market, nor the paying of too high wages-because you cannot pay miners too high wages in my opinion-tout the greed of speculators in eastern Canada, who bought up pi'ospects and mines and capitalized them for extravagant amounts, and then sold tiiese stocks to the general public, although they knew very well it was impossible to pay dividends on the capital floated. That has been the curse of our province, but that has gone by the board to a great extent, and the people out there are once more getting on their feet. Last year we produced nearly three million dollars more than we did the year before. That increased production was due to the fact that stable people were taking hold of our mines and working them for the minerals they contained, and were not depending for their profit on the sale of stocks and the gullibility of the public. We in British Columbia have the warmest feelings for the Yukon. Possibly 'per capita' more money went out from British Columbia to develop the Yukon than from any other part of this continent. We all have faith in that country, the majority of our people know what mining is, they have done their share towards the building up of the Yukon Territory, and the more that Territory' prospers the better for our province, and the coast cities in particular. For those reasons, 1 should be glad to see the Y'ukon Territory and the province of British Columbia joined together as one province.

Subtopic:   ROBERT BELL.
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