GAUTHIER, André, B.A., LL.L.

Personal Data

Lac-Saint-Jean (Quebec)
Birth Date
February 6, 1915
Deceased Date
May 22, 1994

Parliamentary Career

June 27, 1949 - June 13, 1953
  Lac-Saint-Jean (Quebec)
August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
  Lac-Saint-Jean (Quebec)
June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
  Lac-Saint-Jean (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 19 of 19)

November 29, 1949

Mr. Gauthier (Porineuf):

Do you mean under the authority of the housing act?

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October 25, 1949

Mr. Andre Gauthier (Lake St. John):

Mr. Speaker, this being the first time that I have had the honour and privilege of speaking in this house, it is fitting that I should do so in French. I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate you upon your accession to the high office which you now hold. I also wish to congratulate particularly the Deputy Speaker of the house who so worthily represented my constituency during the last four years before the present parliament was called.

It is my heavy responsibility to take his place as the representative of my constituency. I trust that bearing in mind the high standard which he set in parliament during those years, and fully aware of the responsibilities of my office, which I have accepted entirely, I shall not be the cause of too much disappointment.

Geographically speaking, the constituency I have the honour to represent is situated in the north of the province of Quebec, forming a semicircle around the great lake St. John. Father Jean de Quen set up the cross there more than three centuries ago.

The population of the constituency, almost entirely of French descent, is half agricultural and half industrial. The hydroelectric development at Maligne island and the imminent harnessing of the Peribonca river portend a great industrial future for my district. The farming community, sound and intelligent, has kept the best French traditions. It is a fact that the highest average number of children per family for the whole of Canada is to be found at Notre Dame d'Hebertville, a fine agricultural centre. That half the population of that locality should be of school age is therefore not surprising.

Aluminum production of Maligne island and the pulp mills of River Bend bring well deserved earnings to an industrious and law-abiding class of workers. At both latter points, the English-speaking people of my riding live in perfect harmony with the French-speaking population. This is a living

example and a concrete symbol of that unity which must and does exist throughout Canada.

Lumbering, related and subordinate to the paper industry, is generally prosperous though at the present time there is a rather marked drop in employment, due to the uncertain British market. Moreover, pulp companies, having accumulated substantial reserves, have seen fit this year to do much less wood-cutting, hence the considerable rise in unemployment. It might be felt that unemployment insurance will come to the rescue of these men in their temporary difficulties but such is not the case. This timber industry does not fall within the jurisdiction of the commission and those who are deprived of their usual livelihood are in urgent need of help.

I realize, Mr. Speaker, that the government is not responsible for a situation like this one. I am confident however that once it is made conversant with the facts, the government will, in order to remedy the situation, immediately undertake certain public works which were planned during the past few years. Such projects already exist in many parishes of my county, particularly in St. Joseph d'Alma.

Up to now my requests have been favourably received by the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Fournier) and I wish to thank him for the first results obtained.

Since lumbermen are not exempt from the fluctuations of employment, they should receive the attention of the Department of Labour. The department should, immediately and without taking into account the representations of certain pulp and paper companies, apply the Unemployment Insurance Act to the lumbering industry. That would prevent a recurrence of what is going on at present.

Mr. Speaker, I should like to say a few words about my elderly constituents. Most industries seem to have made it a rule to turn down requests for work from people over 65 years of age. If men can no longer earn a living at 65, then this is the very age at which the government should grant them a pension, so they will not come to want. All old people should be paid a pension without the means test-as is being done now in the case of family allowances-or without sacrificing any nest egg they have set aside for their old age.

Mr. Speaker, the members of all parties in the house are unanimous in proclaiming the autonomy of our country, both in the national

and international spheres. But we should assert our sovereignty in the economic as well as in the political field.

Our trade policy must be resolutely and firmly directed towards Canada's best interests, even if it means the sacrifice of traditional markets often preserved for sentimental rather than practical reasons. The Geneva agreements and the Annecy negotiations are a step in the right direction. In this respect, I am happy to congratulate the government while urging that this policy be pursued still further for we cannot always expect to link two great economic powers. Fortunately, the policy of the government has put us in a better position to play the important part for which we are fitted in the field of trade.

Mr. Speaker, I know that in the minds of the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) and of the members of his cabinet, there is no room for any inferiority complex of a political or economical nature; it is in that spirit that I supported the government during the last election.

I do not belong to that generation whose only interest is to magnify the glories of the past, but rather do I belong to that generation which looks to the future, which, while it jealously guards the legacy left by its forebears, is anxious to enrich, improve, and develop it.

For this reason, Mr. Speaker, because the present government is going in that direction, I have every faith in the future of my constituency and in the destiny of my country.


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October 13, 1949

Mr. Gauthier (Porineuf):

Mr. Chairman, I am glad to see that the hon. member for Quebec South is in his seat. I know that he is better qualified to speak on this subject than I, but I am going to say a few words and I know that as he is a good friend and citizen he will not make any remarks. I am not an expert on this matter but I do want to take part in this debate, speaking only as a citizen who is anxious to see developed a general offensive which may result in a victorious battle against fire, insects, wastage and perhaps apathy in some quarters, the result of which is destroying slowly but surely one of our greatest assets.

My remarks will be confined entirely to personal observations. Not being an expert, as I have said, in order to sustain my contention I shall have to rely upon what has been said by those whose goal it is to preserve our forests against devastation by the means to which I have just referred.

Many people who are members of protective associations, forestry associations, the Canadian pulp and paper industry and so on are constantly looking for new designs and methods which may be used to develop a program which could be studied and perhaps finally accepted by the various provincial governments. Concerted action may be the successful means of giving the assurance of a new era in the protection of our trees, the continuance of our water power and, to a certain extent, the permanent irrigation of our soil. Some have proposed that a national congress should be held, but I suggest that there should be a dominion-provincial conference to deal with this matter and study it carefully. The apathy of our population may prove disastrous if even the layman is not interested and leaves the job to be done by others.

I often have the privilege of enjoying fishing and hunting trips in the Laurentides. My county is divided into two parts from east to west by the Laurentides, these lovely and enchanting mountains, the oldest in the country. I have often noticed the lack of cautiousness shown by some people in the handling of camp fires, matches and so forth. We will never know the loss suffered by the


Canada Forestry Act

taxpayers of Canada because of carelessness and lack of proper education. People should at least be willing to observe the warning posted in that forest. They only have to read the posters issued by the different associations and governments by the thousand and meditate on the meaning of one sentence that can be read on them, namely:

One tree can produce one million matches; one match can destroy one million trees.

But how many read it, and if they do so how many think of it and for how long?

The trouble lies in the absence of the program of widespread education I was advocating a few moments ago. Preventive medicine has learned that education must start at home with the help of the father and mother so that our children will know where danger lies. Prevention of forest destruction by fire and insects should begin at home and be continued in the primary and secondary schools. Naturally when a child grows older he is inclined to forget, and if public opinion is not aroused it will endanger and probably render impossible what I might call, when I speak of reforestation, the resurrection of the Canadian forest.

The arousing of public opinion is urgent. I hope that the step taken by the Minister of Mines and Resources will strike the right note, show the way, and provide the necessary incentive so that the march towards realization will be on for good. I urge the members of the house to look carefully into the wells of information given to us by the Canadian Forestry Association. Not being an entomologist I will not discuss the loss the forests of Canada have suffered from insects, but I will say a few words about wastage. Walking in the forest I often have deplored the enormous quantity of timber lost by careless exploitation. The forestry association tells us that five hundred million cubic feet are wasted in logging each year, and that you have to add to that figure four hundred million cubic feet wasted in sawmill operations. You will see what that amounts to in the depletion of our forests.

In co-operation with the provinces we should find a way to use waste timber of all dimensions which is left on the ground and provides, if not cleared out, a wonderful centre of culture for insects and fires. In the wintertime many poor people need fuel wood. Even in the best managed country of the world there will always be poor people. My proposal is to form an organization whose function would be to collect this lost timber, haul it out of the forest and forward it to charitable institutions in various communities so that the poor would be provided with

Canada Forestry Act

the fuel wood they lack. With the help of the various governments interested, Canadian Forestry Association contractors, jobbers and others, we might come to a point where it would be possible to work out a system to give, to those in need, fuel wood which otherwise would be left to the ravages of fires and insects. I think I could see from the remarks of the minister that he had in mind the elaboration of a general program of research and education to be carried on co-operatively by the federal and provincial governments.

Let us follow the example of a highly industrialized nation which years ago climbed the ladder of fame by its industry. They left nothing untouched; they created something out of almost nothing and came to a point where an industry was the pivot of world industry. If an insane leader had not misled that nation her potentiality would still be a power to deal with. I refer to the German nation. Let us be industrious and use the waste, reference to which is found in the pamphlet sent to us by the Canadian Forestry Association, and which is entitled "The Case for Forestry in Canada". They show that the waste from fire, insects and disease is eight hundred million cubic feet annually, and they go on to say:

This loss can be greatly reduced by better protection and education.

I stress the reference to education. It should be enlarged and forced into the minds of our people, especially our children. The pamphlet continues:

Waste in utilization.

Logging waste 500 million cubic feet

Sawmill waste 400 million cubic feet

If we were as industrious as the German people we would not lose that waste. We would bring it out somehow by means of some kind of organization. It takes only good will, co-operation, understanding, and an absence of political purposes, to form an organization of that kind so that we can use every piece of that timber that we see in the forests, which is now good for nothing and is lost to the population. It is only good for the insects and for fires. We could use it for the benefit of our population. We all remember that before the war the Germans used to manufacture tin toys for the little ones out of tin cans. We should follow that example, and I am sure that everyone in the country will be satisfied. The children will be glad to know. It would be a lesson in patriotism for them to know that a great deal of our timber is being used for their own benefit. To that end we need an example from the government and these associations.

IMr. Gauthier (Portneuf).]

I hope that the program the minister wants to put into effect will be followed by everyone, and that the march is on for the recovery and resurrection of our Canadian forests.

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