February 28, 1962 (24th Parliament, 5th Session)


Hugh John Flemming (Minister of Forestry)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Flemming (Royal):

At this stage, Mr. Chairman, and before attempting to make any observations in connection with the remarks which have been made by the hon. member for Port Arthur and by the hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe, I think it would be of interest if I were to give the particulars as to just where this $80,000 which is at present before us for consideration is being spent. I am sure the Minister of Labour would be interested. It is being spent in connection with the winters work program.
I will give to the committee briefly the general location and the general description of what is being done with the funds hon. members are being asked to vote. In Alberta, at Kananaskis forest experiment station, for cutting rights of way for access roads, clearing existing roads and boundary lines, we are asking for something over $6,200, furnishing 25 man-months of labour. In Manitoba, at the Riding Mountain forest experimental area, for stand improvement cuttings to release young white spruce for aspen overstorey, we are asking for a matter of $2,000. At Petawawa forest experiment station, for cutting rights of way for access roads, clearing boundary lines and plantation fire-guards, clearing and preparing land for planting experimental work, various stand improvement cuttings and thinnings, we are asking for a total of $54,350. In Quebec, at Valcartier forest experiment station, for cutting rights of way for access roads, clearing existing roads and boundary lines, we are asking for a matter of $5,450. The next is the Acadia forest experiment station near Fredericton, New Brunswick, constructing access roads, clearing boundary lines and areas for planting, various stand improvements, cuttings and thinnings, a total of $14,000. There is also an additional amount with respect to

the forest at camp Gagetown. The total comes to the $80,000 requested in the item now under consideration.
It was with great interest, Mr. Chairman, that I listened to the remarks of the hon. member for Port Arthur. I know that he comes from a part of Canada which is noted for the fact that the pulp and paper industry, the forest products industry, if you like, plays such an important role in the general well-being of the area. He has indicated to my satisfaction by his observations that he has given the matter a good deal of careful consideration and has devoted considerable time to a study of the various problems of research and the proper methods or proper activities that should be carried on to improve the forests so that this absolutely renewable resource will be maintained in perpetuity. I appreciate his various observations. I cannot, and neither do I think he would expect that I would attempt to solve all the problems about which he has expressed some misgivings. I assure him and every hon. member that we have a fine group of very capable people in the Department of Forestry who are available to every member of the house and every Canadian citizen for the furnishing of any information that will seem to contribute toward the general well-being of every citizen of our country.
The hon. member has indicated that he has read the report of the resources for tomorrow conference and has also read some of the speeches made by one of the economists in the department, including one speech made in Minneapolis, and that this has aroused within his mind a certain degree of confusion. I am sure he would be the first to agree that undoubtedly in the field of experimentation, and to some degree at least that is what research is, we will always continue to have a certain degree of confusion because if we do not have it, research will not be necessary at all. I assure him that I have heard very capable people argue from diametrically opposite points of view with respect to a question concerning forestry practice. The two gentlemen I have in mind at the moment were very successful in their particular field of endeavour, forestry, but they had absolutely opposite views with respect to research and with respect to methods and the extent to which cutting should be carried on.
In connection with my own business activities, when I was a little younger I remember quite well one man who I believe loved every tree on a particular lot to such an extent that we were never able to persuade him to sell us the stumpage from the lot. Finally, however, he decided to do so but he
was very stringent in laying down the conditions under which we were to operate. Only trees of a minimum certain size and larger on the stump were to be cut and we were to cut them very low. He imposed all these conditions, which seemed to be a very proper attitude for him to take. We carried out the operation and if we hesitated to follow his conditions he saw to it that we did. We carried out his directions to the letter. The logs were cut in the fall. During the following winter there was a terrific windstorm and the trees he had forced us to leave, expecting that they would grow, become larger and be more valuable, so that he could go out and pat them almost every morning, were all blown down.
This may seem to be a somewhat uninteresting little story, Mr. Chairman, but I mention it to indicate that I do not think there is complete unanimity-in fact, quite the opposite-among all foresters and all operators with respect to the manner in which forests should be handled and cut.
I should like to come back for a moment to the field of research. I am the first to acknowledge frankly that my experience in research is comparatively recent. My research was pretty much in the field of practical forestry from the point of view of one who went into the woods at a very early age and worked there for a good portion of his life. Research, both basic and applied, was something in which I had not had too much experience beyond reading articles in magazines and periodicals.
I do think, however, that we might very well consider that we are not going to get all the answers quickly with respect to the problem of the continuation of our forest resources from year to year, but I believe that we are making progress. I believe that we are finding out things every day that we did not know before. I believe that we are getting information concerning the forests and forest management.
At the present time a conference of forest officials from all over Canada is going on in Ottawa, and I was greatly interested in listening to the remarks of the deputy minister when he addressed these people last Monday morning. He spoke to them about the problems of forest management. Then he said, "In connection with your investigation of proper methods of forest management, remember that you should always keep in mind forest management in the broadest sense of the word and it starts with three p's". He was not referring to any front-bench members of the opposition whose names start with "P" but rather to production, protection and processing. He said that forest management in its best and broadest sense

is needed to stimulate these three desirable results, and that is what will contribute a great deal to the general well-being of all our people and the continuation of the industry.
The hon. member for Port Arthur speaks of forest economics. I agree that it would be folly for parliament to vote money for the purpose of stimulating the production of species of trees for which there is no market or which some other country, by virtue of its more favourable situation with respect to production, might be able to produce at a much lower price. We have to acknowledge that in this day and age we are living more and more in one world than ever before, and every day that goes by we find that this is more the case. Whether or not we like it, we do face world competition. Therefore I should like to say to the hon. member for Port Arthur that I believe it is necessary that the economics be studied quite carefully. We must address ourselves to the production of the type of trees which we can produce with some natural advantages and which will be of a sufficiently superior quality that we will not only be able to hold our own but will have an advantage in the markets of the world.
I am sure he would also be the first to acknowledge that in a free country the officials who devote their time to studying certain aspects of forestry such as the economics of it may express opinions during a public address or anything of that nature which might be construed as not being final. I do not believe this is unnatural. I think it is difficult, if not impossible, to arrive at a conclusion with respect to everything. The fact that our aims are brought out into the light, the difficulties presented; the fact that the end result for which we are striving is mentioned, seems to me contributes something to our general knowledge and are somewhat thought-provoking in their application.
I do not believe the hon. member would be too critical of the fact that a conclusion was not reached with respect to the various problems that were mentioned by the gentleman from our department who spoke at the international conference in Minneapolis. In so far as the matter of applied research versus basic research is concerned, how much time should a department devote to basic research? How much time and how much money should the department spend on something that is going to be of benefit 25 or 30 years hence? The hon. member for Port Arthur pointed out that the department used money to tell the operators how to skid logs. I must confess that I cannot become very enthusiastic about that myself. However, I do believe there is

a question to be determined there. I would be the first to acknowledge that I am not certain just what the answer is. I cannot contribute too much to it by way of definition.
I will say, however, to all hon. members that one does not easily forget the habits of a lifetime. In the setting up of the Department of Forestry, I seemed to have the idea that I wanted to refrain from duplicating, at great expense, something which already existed, perhaps in other departments or perhaps in the provinces. If, in the opinion of some hon. members we have been slow, I assure you it is not because of any lack of desire to make progress and contribute something to the well-being of all Canadians, but it is due to the fact we have always had to count the cost of everything before we undertook it. I believe we are nicely on the way, and we are making progress. I think there are many things we are determining from day to day that will be of benefit to the country. In the study of silvicultural methods, forest management and so on, to which I referred in general terms, I think we are making headway.
The hon. member for Port Arthur mentioned the matter of black spruce. Those of us who have been in the lumber business know-and I can see he has given the matter considerable study-that black spruce is a wood of considerable density. We have pulp-mills from Ontario and Quebec coming to New Brunswick looking for black spruce of high density. During the hon. member's remarks he mentioned that today chemists could apply to any kind of wood a chemical treatment that would produce an equally satisfactory basic raw material. But, Mr. Chairman, let me just mention one point, and this goes back to economics again: I am told by the pulp and paper people that a high density spruce will produce 20 or 25 per cent more pounds, more weight, than will the balsam fir, for instance, which we have all over Canada.
To what does this all add up? It simply adds up to this, that the pulp and paper industry, the lumber industry and other industries based on the forests are somewhat complex. However, we are still making progress. Things are being improved. I am one of those who measure improvement by the fact that companies engaged in business are making profit. I am one of those who thinks that profits make good times. I am one of those who believe these extra profits that people have, as individuals and as corporations, all lead to greater expansion and that leads to good times. I am a firm believer in profits. I agree, generally, with the hon. gentleman's observations in connection with

the distribution of these profits. I believe that is a matter which is, generally speaking, taken care of.
I was very much impressed by the remarks of the hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe. He mentioned that he had been associated with the industry for a long time and had found that it was possible to stimulate business, to keep it going and do the things that would contribute to expansion. During his remarks the hon. member for Fort William used the expression-Port Arthur, I should have said. I was last spring on a visit to Fort William, and I want to say at this time that the hon. member for Fort William was extremely kind to me. He certainly showed me around the town. I regret the fact that I was not able to call on the hon. member for Port Arthur. I made some inquiries, but he was not in the city at that time.
The hon. member used the expression that we should address ourselves to the general proposition that we should crystallize our problems. In my opinion, that is fine as an objective and we should all strive towards it. I do think it is going to take a prolonged time before we crystallize all problems. We are working towards that end and I am sure that, in his capacity, he is working towards that end also. But I am also sure that everybody within the sound of my voice in this chamber is working towards that end, to crystallize all our problems; but I doubt if we shall achieve that objective in our lifetime. However, it will be a lot of fun trying. That is really what we will get out of life. What we will get is this joy of working and joy of trying, with sometimes a great sense of satisfaction in having achieved something. I am sure that is what we are all striving to accomplish.
I appreciate the comments which have been made in connection with the forestry department and I assure all hon. members that if at any time there seems to be any additional information which they do not want to bring publicly to my attention in this chamber, they would be very welcome to visit the department to the see the things that are being done and get a better view of the general objectives of all the capable staff connected with it.

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