VILLENEUVE, Georges, B.A., B.C.L.

Personal Data

Roberval (Quebec)
Birth Date
February 20, 1922

Parliamentary Career

August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
  Roberval (Quebec)
June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
  Roberval (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 8 of 10)

April 29, 1955

Mr. Villeneuve:

Mr. Chairman, I would like to avail myself of this debate on the estimates of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration to call the attention of the minister (Mr. Pickersgill) to a matter which worries me greatly at present, namely the matter of education at Pointe Bleue in the constituency I have the honour of representing in this house.

The Indian reserve at Pointe Bleue dates back about a hundred years. Today it has a population of some 1,125 people, making up 200 families, of which 110 are sedentary residents and 90 are nomads. In the reserve there are at present 272 children of school age; 110 attending the local Indian school, 28 the residential school at Fort George, while

5 go to other Indian schools, 55 attend provincial schools and 74 are not going to school at all.

The matter which I would like to bring to the attention of the department, has to do with nomad Indians. As those Indian families leave for the hunt in the fall and return only the following spring, some 100 Indian children of school age cannot attend school and therefore receive no education whatever.

Now the Indians of Pointe Bleue are becoming more and more sedentary. Besides, the majority of them are now in that category. However, children whose parents go out into the woods during the hunting season are deprived of the education to which they are entitled.

It is not a matter of preventing parents from taking their children with them when they go out hunting, but of encouraging them to let their children attend school in the reserve. I see only one way of doing it. As a matter of fact, after investigating the situation on the spot at the beginning of last month, together with the Pointe Bleue authorities, I have come to the conclusion that a residential school large enough to accommodate 120 pupils would be the only adequate solution to this problem, now or in the future. Since our Indians are ever desirous of living normally, they should be given that opportunity and should be provided for that purpose with every possible means of acquiring the education they need to earn a living.

If these children were placed in residential boarding schools while their parents are away hunting during the winter, they would receive a normal education which would enable them to face up successfully to the problem of earning their living. Indians, like all of us, are entitled to a better future.

If I am defending their interests here, it is because I know that these children of school age, being sent in this way to a residential institution would enjoy normal schooling, in every way comparable to that of the children of sedentary families who attend the local day schools. My attention has always been drawn to the fact that the problems affecting the Indians are often the result of deeds done by white people who took advantage of special circumstances to teach them ways of life which are foreign to them.

I urge the minister to consider my request with all the attention it deserves and to try to solve the problem by 1956 at the latest.

Building a residential school or boarding school for the children of wandering Indian families at Pointe Bleue would constitute an adequate solution.

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April 26, 1955

Mr. Villeneuve:

Introducing as it does

legislation providing for an extension of the powers of the Canadian National Railways, particularly with a view to allowing the company to construct short lines without special permission, this resolution provides us with an opportunity of dealing with a subject which is of great interest to the northern part of the constituency of Roberval, which I represent in this house.

At the present time, this part of my constituency, including the municipalities of Dolbeau, Mistassini, St. Stanislas, St. Eugene d'Argentenay, Notre Dame de Lorette and Ste. Elizabeth de Proulx, plus part of this last named community and four others situated in the adjacent constituency of Lake St. John, is served through Dolbeau where the Canadian National Railways terminal is situated.

The economic advantage of a railway line and station to any community is well known. The value of such facilities can only be appreciated, in fact, by those who are deprived of them. Mistassini is in that case. Its trade, its postal service, its tourist facilities, the projected establishment of small industries, the existing industries and its agriculture, in a word, the economy of Mistassini in general is seriously handicapped by the lack of a railway.

The Mistassini area holds a population of

4,000 people, 3,000 of whom live in the town of the same name. Its economic life is based on forest products and the paper mill of the St. Lawrence Corporation, on trade of various kinds and on agriculture. A railway would strengthen the economic situation of the Mistassini area and would enable its industrious people to show what they can do. Ten years ago that district was contributing little to the economy of the district but its geographical location enabled it to assume an ever-increasing importance.

The bringing of the railway to Mistassini would require a two-mile extension of the line and the building of a bridge across the Mistassini river, which separates Dolbeau from Mistassini.

As they are made of wood and are more than 25 years old, the Dolbeau station and freight and express sheds are in need of major repairs, and as this project would probably mean the shifting of that station and those sheds to another part of the town of Dolbeau, the Canadian National should not miss the opportunity to rebuild those buildings which are out of date and not in keeping with such a fair town.

Fully aware of the needs of Mistassini and of the projects made for the future of that fast growing town, which now enjoys all essential services except those of railway transportation, I rely on the sympathetic consideration of this government and the Canadian National Railways for this project which I am anxious to see carried out, as are all my fellow citizens from Mistassini.

(Text) :

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March 15, 1955

Mr. Villeneuve:

He has no time to waste.

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February 4, 1955

Mr. Villeneuve:

That has nothing to do with unemployment.

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January 27, 1955

Mr. Villeneuve:

Mr. Speaker, we are told, today, that more and more farmers are leaving the land to settle in cities. If we have to deplore an ever-increasing unemployment, seasonal unemployment, in particular, it is

because our farmers are going to the cities where they add to the number of labourers who, unfortunately, have to rely on temporary jobs for their living.

It is our duty to help keep the farmers on the land, and in so doing, we help maintain the stability of the Canadian economy, because agriculture has always been and will always be the soundest basis of society, and that is needed in this country probably more than elsewhere.

In concluding, Mr. Speaker, I would like to say a word or two on the subject of the building of the Chibougamau-St. Felicien railway. Last summer, I made numerous representations together with my colleague, the hon. member for Lake St. John (Mr. Gauthier), in order to bring the matter to a head. Guarantees were put up by the lumber companies, and we have not yet given up hope that the Canadian National will accept these guarantees. I plan to deal with that subject again, when this house discusses the motion introduced by the hon. member for Lake St. John. However, I think I always did my best to bring about the implementation of that project which, in my opinion, is of capital importance for the future of the economy, not only of my constituency, but also of my whole district. It has always seemed strange to me to note that those who never work for the cause are always the first to take the credit. They give us the impression they are trying to keep alive the tradition of the fly on the wheel.

Incidentally, I would like to ask the hon. member for Three Rivers (Mr. Balcer), whose absence is so often noticed in this house, to kindly read again what was said last year in this house and at the railway committee, in order to find out what the hon. member for Lake St. John and myself have done, within our party and outside, to have that project carried out one way or another.

I would like to tell him again, in conclusion, that I am confident the Chibougamau-St. Felicien railway will soon be built; I will continue to rely on the spirit of understanding of the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent), of the Minister of Transport (Mr. Marler), of all the members of the cabinet, and of the Canadian National authorities for the construction in the near future of the St. Felicien-Chibougamau section of the Chibougamau railway. No doubt it will be built in my constituency, and I undertake to promote this project to which we could never give too much importance.

Mr. Speaker, I shouldn't like to overtax your patience, and I thank you for the forbearance you have shown me.


On motion of Mr. Harkness the debate was adjourned.

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