This is an extremely important item even though the amount of money is only $80,000. It is important because of the effect which it could have on our forest industry. I say this because of a degree of personal background in the industry itself in British Columbia, and also because it is estimated that 30 to 40 per cent of the economy of British Columbia rests upon the forest industry, that is, the all inclusive forest industry, the sawmill industry, pulp and paper, logging and the like.
I can appreciate the expression used by the Minister of Forestry to the effect that he did not want to rush full-scale into a huge program of expenditures until there was some assurance that there would not be duplication and that it would be beneficial. What we want to ensure in the field of research, whether it be in forestry or anything else, is that it be done on a regular and planned basis. It would be detrimental to the effectiveness of a research program if the appropriations for it were handled on a sort of hit and miss, feast or famine basis, fluctuating from one year to the next depending upon the sharpness of the red or blue pencil which the Minister of Finance uses. This is especially so in the field1 of so-called pure research as differentiated from applied research. There must be some degree of assuredness of a fairly long period of time, and especially is this so in forestry, so that research projects may be carried on to their conclusion.
We used to have a pretty disgraceful situation in the lumber business in British Columbia when the industry itself did not particularly care whether any trees grew the following year, or 10 years from the time they were logging. In British Columbia there was a policy of clear cutting areas, usually referred to as a policy of cut out and get out. Of course that does not exist any more.
Over the years we have got more and more into the field1 of forestry management, developing sustained yield programs both by way of tenure with private industry and by the establishment of working circles and areas within which there is a limit to the amount of timber that can be cut and logged over a certain period of time. This sustained yield program and concept being relatively new, it brings with it-and certainly this is the view of management operating under what were originally the forestry management licences- some rather complex problems researchwise. It brings out the attempt to understand what is going to happen 50 or 60 years from now or at the conclusion of the rotation period, whatever the period of years might be.
This is something which cannot be entirely dealt with by the research facilities of the forest service in British Columbia, or in any other province for that matter. This, of course, is one of the reasons for the establishment of a federal Department of Forestry, the function of which is to work with the various forest services which exist in the provinces so that these branches will function on a co-ordinating, co-operative basis rather than going in different directions.
It is also a specific problem that I think the federal Department of Forestry should be working toward, and undoubtedly it has started to do this. It should be a matter of specific concern over a long period of time, thus making it possible to estimate how much money might be required in the future for the particular type of research program necessary to deal with the complications and difficulties arising out of our sustained yield or forestry management system in British Columbia. I am sure this is also applicable to other provinces.
I think this sort of thing presupposes that there is a large degree of knowledge available; that it really is the application of that knowledge to a particular problem which is important, and then the problem will be overcome. However, I do not think it is as simple as that. Without trying to put words into the mouth of the hon. member for Port Arthur, I think the idea he was seeking to leave with the committee was that, with so many imponderables, we have to attempt as best we can to ensure that if for the sake of argument, we have a 50, 60 or 70 year rotation period, and 50 or 60 years from now we are going to come back and re-log the area we are logging today, the growth will be at its height at that time so that the combination of each yearly increment of wood will be at the limit. We want to ensure that insect infestations, fungi and the like are kept to a minimum and do not interfere with the growth of that particular stand, and that when it is time to log the area we have the best possible type of wood which is fungus and disease free.
I think in British Columbia this is perhaps as important a question as any, research-wise, with which we should be concerned. This applies to the province in the way of research work undertaken by the forest service, and research work by the industry and the federal Department of Forestry.
In the field of research by private industry I think we must realize, without in any way wishing to be misinterpreted-and I hope nobody misinterprets this as being unkind to industry or to any body else-that the motivating factor behind carrying out pure or
applied research is an economic one. I think we find that the research engaged in by industry is directed more toward a greater utilization of the product, less breakage and the like, so that the product which comes out of the mill contains the greatest volume of wood, and waste, and the like, is cut to the minimum. Private industry is concerned in keeping the cost of producing the unit of wood, or pulp or paper, whatever it is, to a minimum. This is the prime field of research in which private industry becomes involved.
Unfortunately we have found that the forest service in British Columbia has in years past not engaged to the extent it should have in the field of research. If I may be permitted, Mr. Chairman, I should like to read one or two brief quotations from the report of the royal commission on the forest resources of British Columbia. This royal commission was headed by the late Chief Justice Gordon McGregor Sloan and the report was published in 1956. The report deals with the question of the research activities of the forest service, and I should like to quote from volume 2, page 559. The late Chief Justice says this:
The type of study for which this division is staffed and equipped may be defined as applied research; that is, the application of known principles or procedures to local conditions to which the specific reactions can only be determined by direct experimentation and observation.
Then he goes on:
Research for the sake of knowledge itself and without a practical objective cannot be undertaken with the limited staff and facilities presently available.
Throughout the report there are references by the late Chief Justice to this question of research. Evidence was given by Dr. Orchard, the deputy minister of lands and forests, and other people, to the effect that (1) research is without question one of the most important aspects of a proper forestry program; (2) the provincial forest service had unfortunately up until the time of the commission's report not had sufficient funds at its disposal to deal with this particular question, and in some fields engaged in practically no research whatsoever.
This matter was mentioned by the hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe; that is, the fields of insect infestation and diseases. I think this should be one field wherein we should concern ourselves to a very great extent. We all know that the spraying of forests with insecticides can have, and has had in the past, a beneficial effect upon the forest because it destroys certain types of insects which have been infesting particular areas, but it has a detrimental effect upon the fisheries in that area. There is this great conflict of social and
economic interests as between fisheries resources on the one hand, which are detrimentally affected by forest spraying programs, and the forest resources on the other hand, which are beneficially affected by the same program.
I know that a great deal of research has been undertaken in this field by the Department of Fisheries and some beneficial results have been achieved to the point where it is possible to dilute a certain type of insecticide to a degree which will give maximum forestry benefits and minimum detrimental effects to the fisheries. Unfortunately the problem still exists inasmuch as in British Columbia, at least up until four or five years ago according to the report of the royal commission, the money was not available to carry out a proper, thorough and effective type of research in this field.
This is a field in which the federal Department of Forestry can profitably become engaged and be of very great benefit to the industry, to the people who work in it and to the economies of the provinces concerned. The minister indicated that he is going slowly, and understandably so, to ensure that the research programs being put into effect are not being duplicated by other services or departments. The minister said his department is feeling its way in this field and progress is being made. I hope this provision means that in the years to come there will be a large increase in the sums made available for this and similar purposes-I am not restricting this comment to the vote we are considering at the moment, which is supplemental; I have in mind the main estimates, which amounted last year to a little less than $2 million. I would hope that as a result of the interest shown by the minister and the studies which are going on at the moment there will be a large increase in the funds made available for this field so that the foresters and the people working in the research branch of the federal department can become involved in questions of pure research to the fullest possible extent. My own view is that it should be possible to take such items as the clearing of rights of way, which is going on under this vote of $80,000, the effects of cutting and pruning and the like, and place them under a separate item for separate consideration because, to me, these are two separate branches of endeavour. One involves pure research and the other the question of the work itself.
As the minister has explained, the work provided for in this vote was not done primarily for research purposes but to provide winter work to assist somewhat in bolstering the economy of this country. If we could
make this distinction between the two different types of activity I do not think any confusion would arise about the purpose of the work being done by the research branch of the Department of Forestry. I do not think there is confusion about the approach we might be making in the provision of research, but I think at the present time there is confusion about the end which is sought by the research branch of the department.
I have nothing further to say at this time. I note that this a supplementary estimate, and it is kind of the committee to be so courteous as to allow not only myself but other members who have participated in the debate to stretch their remarks perhaps beyond the strict confines of the vote now under consideration.