Martha Louise BLACK

BLACK, Martha Louise

Personal Data

Independent Conservative
Yukon (Yukon)
Birth Date
February 24, 1866
Deceased Date
October 31, 1957
author, homemaker

Parliamentary Career

October 14, 1935 - January 25, 1940
  Yukon (Yukon)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 4 of 6)

February 14, 1938


As a life member of the Imperial Order of

the Daughters of the Empire, I feel that I would not be doing my duty if I did not say just a few words on this question.

We are talking of the flag, the union jack, and of foreigners who come to this country. When they came here they came under the protection of the union jack, knowing what the union jack stands for on land and sea in Australia, in New Zealand, in India, in Canada itself. Surely they did not come thinking they were going to live under the protection of a newly made flag. Let those of us who perhaps think the union jack does not mean so much, who may be forgetting what the union jack typifies, what it means, what it holds, reflect that we have the tricolour of France in the red, white and blue; white, for purity of purpose; blue, for tenacity; and red, for steadfastness in time of trouble; the cross of St. Andrew, for the Scots; the cross of St. Patrick, for the Irish; and the cross of St. George, for the English. I ask all hon. members to stop and think before they tamper with the union jack, which has meant so much for ages past.

Topic:   193S
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February 3, 1938


I would rather have the

applause come from this side, but I think I hear someone say I won't get it. However, we in the north want better music; we want better broadcasts; and if the labourer is worthy of his hire, surely we can afford to pay that S2.50, with all due apologies to others.

The territory of Alaska is beating us in one respect; I refer to the care of game. At present we have no bounty on wolves, nor have we had for a number of years past. The territory of Alaska has a large bounty. We want all the tourist trade we can get, not only the ordinary visitor who may come in-and we had over 4,000 last year-but the big game hunter as well. They are the people who bring the money. The big game hunter coming into the Yukon and going into the Kluane and other districts never spends less than from $5,000 to $10,000, and that money is largely spent locally. We feel, therefore, that not only the local government but conservation committees and the federal government should consider ways and means of protecting our game by paying bounties both on wolves, which are a horrible menace to larger game, and coyotes, which are a menace to birds. Only three or four years ago bands of wolves attacked great herds of caribou, and my husband saw hundreds of caribou lying dead on the ground. They had been killed by wolves. The wolves do not eat the carcass; they sever the jugular vein, drink the blood, eat the entrails, and the carcass is left to rot. Our game will not last forever and we should endeavour to protect it.

Speaking of game naturally brings me to the fisheries and the fur trade. When I went to that country thirty-five or forty years ago I saw small creeks when the salmon were coming up the Yukon river to spawn, and I saw these creek beds so filled with salmon that one could almost walk across. Now, however, whether it is owing to the wheels and the traps that are used by the Indians on the lower river, or whether it is due to the canneries that are operated in the open water by the Japanese, our fisheries have gone down rapidly. A few years ago the value of our production reached about $70,000, while in 1936 it amounted to only $14,000. That is bad for the country and bad for the natives, who depend upon the wild game and fish for their food.

There is some talk, of course, among far westerners in regard to the Japanese question. It is a matter that must be approached very delicately but, as I have read my history, Holland, followed by Portugal, Spain, France, Great Britain and finally the United States, went into the orient following the cannon. They did not want us, and now I am just wondering if we are not reaping what we have sown. Perhaps it is not so easy for us to

The Address-Mrs. Black

think that we have to suffer for what our forefathers did, but if we have that feeling we had better think of what those who are coming after us may have to suffer because of our actions in many ways. I believe it was a member of the British House of Commons who, while making a speech, said they must do a certain thing for the sake of posterity. He was immediately followed by another member who threw up his hands and asked, "After all, what has posterity ever done for us?"

In the north our exports consist principally of minerals and some furs. The Yukon produces 1-8 per cent of the fur pelts that are placed on the market in Canada, so that our production of fur does not amount to very much. We do send out gold, silver, lead, coal and a very small amount of petroleum. The present high price of gold, silver and lead, is what has saved the Yukon mines. The Yukon Consolidated Company in the Dawson district employs about six hundred men. The Treadwell Mining Company, in the Mayo district, employs perhaps four hundred men. If those mines were closed down the Yukon would be almost on its uppers. Mining is carried on now in mines that had been abandoned because of the low price of gold. A few years ago $16 was the average price received, but now with gold at over $30 it is possible to work property that could not be operated a few years ago.

I should like to congratulate the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning), if I may, on the new silver coins. The ten cent piece and the twenty^five cent piece, or the two-bit piece, as we call it in the north, are artistic and beautiful, but I have yet to see a coronation silver dollar. I have asked for one at five different banks and the answer has been, "We have none." We all know that British Columbia and the Yukon depend on silver production to a large extent. How easy it would be to help those miners in some degree. I do not know that it would be possible for a government to order a bank to give so many silver dollars when a person gets a certain amount of money, but if that were possible it would help us. If we were patriotic enough to think not only of the farmers of whom the hon. member for Moose Jaw (Mr. Ross) spoke, but also of those silver miners, when we go to a bank to cash a cheque for $25 we might ask for five silver dollars. I believe our silver dollars are not large enough to be called cart-wheels. They are not awkward to carry, at least so I have been told, though as I say I have yet to see a coronation silver dollar and-of course I was in the

north-not until about five months after the jubilee did I see a jubilee silver dollar, when one was very kindly sent to me.

I see on the order paper a notice of motion by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) regarding the appointment of a deputy chairman of committees. I feel very keenly about this question. As many hon. members know, I was intimately associated with a former Speaker. His deputy was an invalid during the four years that he served. I have kept a diary for over forty years, so I am very sure of my ground when I make the statement that the deputy was not in his seat for more than twelve days during any one of those four sessions. The Speaker had to ask members of his party to take the chair, and there are many hon. gentlemen here who helped out that Speaker. It is a difficult task to sit in the chair and listen to the talk of 245 members, day in and day out. If I may 'be allowed to say so, my sympathy is always with the Speaker, especially when I am speaking, and I should like to see a deputy chairman appointed and paid, because the workman is always worthy of his hire.

Foreign goods entering the Yukon come directly through Vancouver. Every cent of customs and excise is paid in Vancouver, to the federal government. Last year $160,000 was paid into the federal treasury, through the port of Vancouver, on goods sent in to the Yukon. There is no telling how much duty was paid on goods coming from other parts of Canada, but in any case I think the Yukon has been a pretty fat plum for the province of British Columbia. The telegraph system in northern British Columbia has always been charged to the Yukon. That is not right; it should not be done. The Yukon has been a very happy hunting ground for that province. According to the Handbook of Canada for 1938, which contains a summary of the value of production in Canada according to provinces, the value of production of British Columbia is given as $187,087,995. There is a note at the bottom of that statement which says, "This includes the Yukon." The per capita net commodity production of Ontario for 1935 is given as almost $286; British Columbia produced about $250 for each citizen-and as I said before that includes the Yukon-while poor little old Alberta, whose hardships we have been hearing about for years, had a per capita net commodity production amounting to $203. I am rather losing my sympathy for those Alberta people. In 1935 the Yukon produced $1,263,567 in gold; $90,165 in silver; $7,250 in lead; $3,483

The Address-Mrs. Black

in coal; $25,575 in oil, and $230,070 in furs, making a total of $1,620,114. We have a population of less than 5,000 men, women and children, but for the purposes of computation I shall place the population at 5,000. If we divide $1,620,114 by 5,000 we have a per capita net production of $340. I do not think the Yukon has much to be ashamed of.

There is considerable shipping industry in the Yukon. There is this difference, however, that the money spent for the maintenance of lights and buoys in other places [DOT]is not spent with us; the companies spend their own money.

I am sick and tired of the whispering I can aear with respect to the great expense the Yukon is to the federal government. If the truth were known, and if hon. members on both sides of the house would study the question, they would find that for years the Yukon has pap-fed the federal treasury. Of course there have been some injustices in the Yukon, owing to the change in the political complexion of parties in power. Those changes are to be expected. The Conservatives come in and harass the Liberals; the Liberals in *turn come in and harass the Conservatives. That always happens. Perhaps I believe, as much as anybody else, that to the victor belongs the spoils. Possibly it is too bad that that is so, but until we sprout not our wings but our pin feathers, it will last.

I must say however that I do deprecate conditions in the Yukon which have arisen because of personal animosities. I do not like to speak of these things, because at my age I am not looking for trouble. I want life to be as pleasant and easy as it can be, not only for myself but for everyone else. But I firmly believe the time will come when those of us here and those in the government at home will reap as we sow. If we are unjust, if we are unchristian and dishonest, we will reap exactly as we sow.

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February 3, 1938


While congratulating the hon. members who moved and seconded the address in reply to the speech from the throne, I have wondered if they realized the compliment that their government has paid them. It is somewhat over thirty-five years ago that a former hon. member of this house told me he had been selected by the then Mr. Wilfrid Laurier, leader of the Liberal party, to move the address in reply to the speech from the throne. This young man, afterwards a commissioner in the Yukon territory, was at that time only twenty-one years of age. It was a privilege and a compliment that he will pass down to his children and grandchildren.

I have listened with a great deal of attention to the previous speaker. The hon. member

lived in the Yukon in the very early years of his life. I thought, as I listened to his statement on the conditions of the middle prairie provinces, that he was either very brave or very foolhardy. Time will tell which.

We in the Yukon have perhaps fewer problems than the majority of people in Canada. We have fewer desires; our main desire, our chief wish, is to be let alone. That we seem to have gained in some small measure. We would ask the government, however, for consideration of old age pensions. Men and women living in the Yukon territory work for their living or they starve; as long as they are able to work they work. Young and old alike, they feel that if they have the strength and ability they must work rather than accept help from the government or from individuals. But when old age comes on or ill health strikes them, then they do ask that the government help them. Twenty dollars a month is given in the Yukon. It is given more in the form of a dole than as an old age pension, and our people there who are obliged to accept it find fault with the way in which it is passed out. There are many Yukoners who have lived there since 1896, 1897 and 1898, who are now too old or too poor in health to work. They would like to go to the coast to live. That is impossible; no matter how long they have lived in the Yukon or how hard they may have worked or no matter how diligently they may have helped in building up the mining industry in that country, if they leave the Yukon the government does not. give them that paltry sum of S20 a month. While I realize that the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) has burdens which he sometimes thinks are almost too heavy to bear, I should like him, if he has an odd moment to spare now and then, to consider what $20 a month would mean to the Yukoners who would like to finish their days on the coast. The increase in population is very small. We had from March 1936 to March 1937 eighty-eight deaths, largely of men and a few women who had been in the Yukon since the very early days, who had worked there and lived and died in the country they had grown to love.

Recently there has been considerable talk about air mail in the north. I heard a Vancouver man, a friend of the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Mackenzie), say that Vancouver had finally awakened and emerged from the tomb when the people there asked that an air mail service be established from Vancouver to the north. It was only a few short days ago that the first trip was made from Vancouver into Dawson, Yukon. The

The Address-Mrs. Black

ship was piloted by W. S. Holland, a very well known pilot. The only passenger was the president of Northern Airways who owned the plane-George Simmons. On the way to the Yukon they stopped at Ashcroft, Bums Lake, Telegraph Creek, Atlin, Carcross, Mayo and finally Dawson. The trip was made with these stop-overs, in winter weather, in wind and storm, in less than forty-eight hours.

This is the logical air route from Vancouver and the coast cities; for over ninety per cent of the mail and freight going into the Yukon goes via Vancouver. Why not send it by that route as far as we possibly can to help to build up the coast city of Vancouver? When men or women, in the fall, wish for a surcease from the cold weather, they wish to spend their winter holidays either in Vancouver or in Victoria or some other city on the coast; and when one reads in the newspapers of the temperatures in the prairie provinces one wonders-"Coming from the Yukon, why go to Edmonton?"

The tourist traffic is a matter of vital importance to us. The local government does comparatively little to build it up, but what it can do, it does. The one transportation company there does its very best in every possible way, but it is hampered every season by changing river conditions. Every time the ice goes out, every time there is high water, there are new river beds both in the Yukon and in the Stewart and the Mayo rivers, ft is impossible for new pilots to come in and carry on as the old pilots have done. A year ago last summer we lost two of the finest vessels in the fleet. This summer we were fortunate, both in regard to steamers and in the air. In fact, not one of the three concerns in the Yukon, owning the fleet of ships we have now, has ever suffered a fatal accident, which I think is probably a record for most enterprises of this kind.

I have seen in the newspapers recently, and have heard considerable talk, about the increase in the radio licence fee. This pronouncement of mine may not be very favourably received by either friends or enemies, but I do not think that S2.50 is too much to ask.

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March 12, 1937


Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) occupies a most difficult position. He must provide the actual moneys to be paid out for pressing needs, and he must look to the future in order to provide the staggering amount required to pay the interest on those moneys. No matter whether we agree with his policies or not, we all realize that he lives in an atmosphere of horrible anxiety, and is weighed down by enormous responsibility. I believe that all hon. members, irrespective of party lines, will acknowledge that under the circumstances the minister has done the very best possible.

Returning to my constituency last summer I was anxious to find out how some of my Liberal supporters would take the fact that I voted against the trade agreement with the United States. I spoke to one of our very dear friends, a hide-bound Liberal, if there is such an article, who had supported me because of a great favour the previous member for the Yukon had done him. I said, "What did you think of the stand I took?" His reply was, "Oh, I don't know; it all works out the same way in the end. Dunning put on an eight per cent sales tax, and after all what you loses on the swings you gains on the roundabouts."

The isolation of the Yukon will make whatever remarks I have quite different from any of the speeches of other hon. members. We are separated by a land belonging to another nation. We are separated from Canada by seas, mountains and rivers. Since I have sat in the gallery and in the house, in those years from 1921 to the present, I have heard hon. members one after another cast little slurs on the Yukon, with its small population, which they said was always coming to the government asking for money. It was only a few days ago that the hon. member for Pictou (Mr. McCulloch) asked what the government of the Yukon had cost in 1935 and 1936 in-

The Budget-Mrs. Black

elusive. He also asked for information about the population. The answer he received was that the moneys for all expenditures by the federal government during 1935 and 1936 inclusive amounted to $568,081.54. The population of the Yukon on June 1, 193.1, according to the last census, was 4.230. It is probably the same at the present time.

I ask the government and hon. members if it would not be just as fair to ask for information as to what value the Yukon has been to Canada. From 1898 to 1936 inclusive the Yukon has produced in gold alone $193,578,489. From 1925 to 1936 the production of silver in the Yukon territory has amounted to $11,195,090; there is no record of silver production prior to that time. I believe a moderate estimate would put previous production at $1,000,000. The production of lead from 1925 to 1936 amounted to $2,312,772, and prior to that time amounted to possibly $125,000. Customs duties collected on imports entered for consumption in the Yukon territory, from 1898 to 1936 inclusive, totalled $7,262,994.41. Then we must not forget for one moment the great market the Yukon territory has afforded Canadian goods. Millions of dollars have come to Canada from the Yukon every year. The Canadian packers, wholesale firms and machine manufacturers have benefited. From 1898 to 1936 the expenditures of the Department of the Interior in the Yukon territory amounted to $11,489,883. Other expenditures made by the government for the Yukon territory include those for public works, post offices, justice, Indians, telegraph lines-there has always been injustice in connection with that item, because much of the cost was charged to the Yukon when it should have been charged to British Columbia-miscellaneous expenses and mounted police. From 1898 to 1936 expenditures on these items totalled $20,895,649. These, added to the expenditures by the Department of the Interior, make a grand total of the cost of the Yukon to Canada of $32,385,532. I would ask in all reason if we have not returned that amount of money, in view of the fact that we have produced almost $225,000,000. I should say that was very good interest for the government of Canada.

It is said that Seward, Secretary of State under Lincoln, who purchased Alaska from Russia for the United States for the sum of $7,200,000, died of a broken heart because of the ridicule heaped upon him. Alaska was called Seward's icebox and Seward's folly, and yet we all know that within recent years that territory of Alaska in one year alone returned to the United States as much as

[Mrs, Black.]

$120,000,000. Hon. members must try to realize the significance of the fact that the Yukon, a much smaller territory of only 200.000 square miles, in less than forty years has produced at least $225,000,000, and I believe I am safe in saying that the land has not yet been scratched. That amount seems to me somewhat more than a fair return on the national expenditure of $32,385,532. The return is almost $200,000,000 greater than the expenditure. From the first rush in 1898 the Yukon has never asked for mercy, but has asked only justice in all things. When Lord Byng. as His Excellency the Governor General, came to the Yukon, after he had visited the various mining camps, he said to the then member, "Captain Black, I believe you represent the only truly socialistic community in the British Empire to-day," to which the member replied, "No, we are not socialists up here." "On the contrary," was His Excellency's reply, "you are ideal socialists. You have no very rich; you have no very poor; you have no social distinction. Both the men and the women must work, or go without. You take care of your sick and aged, if they have no means of their own." That, of course, is true.

It is in this connection that I want to speak about the old age pensions as they are applied to the Yukon. Many of our men and women have been in that country for from thirty to forty-five years and have not at the present time sufficient to keep them in their old age. Some of them had money and went through it, while others worked steadily almost beyond human endurance for that length of time and- yet have not sufficient to take care of their old age. The local government gives these people $20 a month. It is not called, a pension; it is referred to as a dole, which is a most offensive thing to every self-respecting man and woman. No matter how poor we may be, we all have a right to honest pride. The great majority of these men and women have worked hard while in the Yukon. They receive this $20 a month in the form of a dole and, unless they are absolutely helpless, under the conditions that prevail there they are able to live even on that small amount. Wood can be had for the cutting, there are fish in our waters and game in our woods; there are plenty of moose and caribou, and during the summer months our gardens produce almost anything that anyone might want. Then there is a great spirit of comradeship and generosity among Yukoners which I do not think can be equalled- anywhere else in the wide world. I have lived

The Budget-Mrs. Black

in the Yukon since 1898 and I cannot recall having met half a dozen truly mean men or women.

Many of our people who are entitled to old age pensions would like to go outside where they could be near relatives and friends. At present they are forced to remain in the Yukon because they are deprived of this dole when they leave the country. I contend that the dominion government should pay the whole cost of pensions for these people. If a man or woman lives for five years in British Columbia, after spending twenty-five or thirty years in the Yukon, he or she can obtain only 85 per month, an amount hardly sufficient for even an old person to live on. The government pays the whole cost of these pensions in the Northwest Territories, and if the same could be done in the Yukon it would help our people greatly. They could1 then go outside where they would be more c omfortable, where they would be close to relatives or friends and be able to enjoy some of the amenities of outside life. Sections 1, 2 and 3 of chapter 156 of the revised statutes of Canada give to the residents of the Northwest Territories the right to receive a pension from the dominion government, and I ask this government to consider giving the same right to Yukoners. These men and. women have worked hard and have been a credit not only to the Yukon .but to Canada as a whole. I ask the government to give the same consideration to the people in the Yukon as is given to residents of the Northwest Territories.

Once again I must refer to the superannuation paid to civil servants in the Yukon. The superannuation act was changed by the government in office prior to 1930, and this change has been continued down to the present time. When the government announced through an order in council that Messrs. George MacLean and George Mackenzie, former gold commissioner and acting commissioner in the Yukon, were being paid superannuation on their combined salaries and living allowances, I looked for the same justice to be shown the other civil servants in the Yukon. For years the following civil servants have been contributing on both their salaries and living allowances:

Interior department: Messrs. .Teckell, Grant, Burton, Faulkner and Gillespie.

Justice department: Mr. Blankman.

Customs department: Mr. Betts.

Public works department: Mr. Wyness.

The above list does not include any post office employees, the three officials in the White Horse customs or the eight or ten men who have been retired from the various de-31111-109

partments. It is on record that these members of the government service have paid into the superannuation fund on the basis of salaries and living allowances. Section 2 of the Civil Service Superannuation Act provides as follows:

(1) "salary" of a contributor means the regular salary paid in respect of his service, together with the value of living and residential allowances but does not include allowance or payment for overtime or other extra allowance or pay or any gratuity.

It will be seen by this section that the government promised the payment of superannuation on both salary and living allowance and the employees paid accordingly into the fund. For some time the government retired employees on this basis. Later when certain civil servants from the Yukon and the Northwest Territories were brought down they realized that they would be retired only on their regular salaries. Accordingly they made application to the government for a return of the money they had paid into the fund1 on their living allowances, which application was granted. I think all hon. members will agree that by that act rank injustice was done to those civil servants who remained in the service in the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. Members of the service who for years had been paying on both living allowances and salaries, on retirement, either compulsory or voluntary, found to their consternation and, despair that the government had betrayed' its trust. In many cases incomes were reduced below the actual cost of living necessities. We would have the same thing in a widow going to an insurance company for the $5,000 or $50,000 of insurance for which her husband had paid and being told by the company that as they could not afford to pay all that had been paid for, she would receive only half. That is just what is being done to the civil servants in the Yukon. The Yukon civil servants made their payments when they were due, but the government, in order to make a few friends, changed the act over night and1 has failed to meet its obligations. I am asking only for justice for these men and women who have worked so hard in the north.

Labour organizers are beginning to work among the workmen of Canada, and it behooves the leaders among the employers as well as those among the employees to meet each other on a footing of reason and equity. The fight that is going on in the United States between the leaders Green and Lewis for control of the powerful labour organizations under one head is already finding a repercussion in this country and in my own land to the north. When one realizes that many

The Budget-Mrs. Black

of the labour unions in Canada are so closely bound with those of the United States that before making any settlements regarding policy permission must be given by union headquarters in the United States, the time has come when thoughtful men and women must ask, "Whither are we drifting?" Would it not seem strange to ask Italy or Germany or Russia for permission to carry on our business? As an integral part of the British Empire, would it not be more sensible to have an imperial labour organization?

Times are changing; they have changed. Laws accepted as a matter of course to-day would have been revolutionary fifty years ago. The same will be true of development in another half century.

For a number of years in the north my closest associates and best friends have been the working men and women of that country. At one time I myself cooked for sixteen men, baked bread for as many more, and did all of the work with the assistance of my twelve year old son, baking time off on Saturday afternoons to have candy pulls or other parties for the boys in the Sunday school class I taught at the Forks. I know whatwork is; I know what luxury is. Hard work

never hurt anyone, given good health.

My heart goes out to the women who at the present time must watch their children deprived of the necessities of life. I know that in addressing hon. members of this house I am talking to many who have children of their own; in a special degree they

must realize their responsibility for the wellbeing of our children and our grandchildren. The Minister of Labour (Mr. Rogers) understands as well as if not better than any member of this house the dangers and anxieties of our present situation.

On the whole, labour conditions in the Yukon have been fairly good. Hitherto we have been free from the strikes that trouble the outside world, but this spring, to my shocked surprise, a strike occurred in the silver district. At first a "sit-down" strike was intended, but better counsels prevailed. One mounted policeman visited the camp: he said, "Boys, this is, after all, private property; I think you had better go down to Mayo"; and the boys moved off. I am told that the citizens of that town, the strikers' committee, and the mounted police communicated with the present acting commissioner asking that he order the government liquor shop be closed during the period of the strike. These requests were either ignored or refused-I shall be very careful to obtain exact information upon my return to the Yukon in the

spring. But to the credit of the strikers, they themselves organized a committee to see that there was no disregard of the decencies of life. I believe that the mining company met practically all of the demands of the workers, at least sufficient of them so that the men went back to work. Can anyone in this part of the country or in the United States imagine a strike of several hundred men carried through with absolutely no rowdyism in spite of the fact that there was only one police officer in the entire district? I wonder how many people in this part of Canada appreciate what the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have done in the isolated districts of our great country? Surely high tribute must be paid to the strike committee and the men generally, and also to the lone member of the mounted police who represented the federal authority.

Governments must move with the times, and learn to face new conditions. For the first time in the history of the Yukon I have come to realize that we must meet labour conditions such as exist all over the world. Fortunately we have had almost invariably strict observance of law and order. I have known one mounted policeman to go among a milling mob of several thousand men, including "bad men," as we call them, from the south of the line in Alaska, and step up to one of these men and say, "Boys, I don't think you want those guns with you here. You won't have any use for them. We don't have any use for them." In the early days the mounted policeman was never armed, but no harm was done; men who were known in Alaska as bad men readily gave up their guns. This they did not because of fear of that stripling, not because of the way they expected law and order to be executed in the Yukon, but because everyone in that country knew that the entire force of the Canadian government was back of that one lone mounted policeman. We thank our justice department, we thank our governments-no matter under what regime-for the execution of law and order in the north. True, many times in the early days the police protected the unjust as well as the just, but after all these things work out in the long run.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, may I say that, my remarks are wholly inadequate to the love I bear for that great north land. From the bottom of my heart I thank every member of the government and every member in this house-the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett), and the Minister of Justice

The Budgets-Mr. Rowe (Athabaska)

(Mr. Lapointe), and every private member- for the great kindness and consideration that they have shown me in the last few weeks.

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February 9, 1937


Mr. Speaker, in the press a few days ago I saw that the governor in council at Ottawa

Suggested Issue of Silver Dollars

had adopted a ruling that certain duties should be imposed on coronation souvenirs, and that seemed to me a correct thing for any government to do. Immediately after the recent abdication I also noticed in the press that hundreds of people in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Roumania and other central European countries had been thrown out of work because of the cancellation of orders for coronation souvenirs.

It does seem to me that the British Empire is quite large enough to furnish its own coronation souvenirs. In England we have well-equipped factories producing most beautiful china of all kinds. In this country as well, in New Brunswick, in Alberta and in British Columbia, we have china clay that would make excellent souvenirs. But above and beyond all that, coming as I do from a mining constituency it seems to me that this would be the time for the government to consider issuing silver coronation dollars. The government could: issue dollars, as the government did at the time of the jubilee ceremonies, but of course they could not force people to take the dollars. For some time the banks failed to supply to their customers the silver dollars issued at the time of the jubilee, for the obvious reason that they had to pay cartage on the silver, which amounted to a fairly substantial sum; but the situation later was rectified by an arrangement with the government. Canada is the third silver producing nation in the world, and the silver mines of Ontario, Quebec, the middle west, British Columbia and my own constituency of Yukon could very well supply the minister with the silver out of which these dollars might be made. The Minister of Finance has authority, under the revised statutes of Canada, to purchase silver and other precious metals, and I should think the government could well afford to put on the market a million silver dollars.

At the time of the jubilee about half a million silver dollars were coined, out of which I believe the government made a profit of about $300,000. For every sixty cents worth of silver which is struck off in silver coins the government clears approximately $1.15. It is not very often that a member of this house is able to rise and tell the government how to make money; rather we are all holding out both hands and saying, "give me." I should like to feel that the government, through the Minister of Finance, would be willing to authorize the striking of a million silver dollars in order to help the miners and the communities in which the silver is produced, and also because of the fact that it would be a money-making proposition. Next

summer we will have thousands and thousands of tourists. All of us, men and women alike, are more or less souvenir hunters. Practically every tourist would take back a souvenir dollar, as happened in connection with the jubilee dollar. It would not be like the Aberhart money, for which some of us paid a little premium. I know I paid $1.50 for a dollar scrip, but that is scrapbook money. If, however, the government issued a silver dollar it would always, so long as government endures, buy a dollar's worth of material. After the first expense, the cost of striking copper, bronze, nickel, silver, or gold coins is not great.

In the name of the mining constituencies, and especially on behalf of the Yukon, I would ask the Prime Minister to consider the matter, and show his willingness to strike as souvenirs for Canada one million silver dollars.

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