Joseph Miville DECHENE

DECHENE, Joseph Miville

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Athabaska (Alberta)
Birth Date
October 22, 1879
Deceased Date
December 1, 1962
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Miville_Dechene
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=86b009fb-e658-41cc-8d03-6b3ab3024e63&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
farmer

Parliamentary Career

March 26, 1940 - April 16, 1945
LIB
  Athabaska (Alberta)
June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
LIB
  Athabaska (Alberta)
June 27, 1949 - June 13, 1953
LIB
  Athabaska (Alberta)
August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
LIB
  Athabaska (Alberta)
June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
LIB
  Athabaska (Alberta)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 2 of 42)


April 12, 1956

Mr. Dechene:

We should have to wait and today the oil would still be there; no development would have taken place.

Now I want to speak about those railroads. In 1909-that is a long time ago-the Liberal government in Alberta went into the railway construction business in this manner. We had a great wave of immigration under the Liberal government of Sir Wilfrid Laurier. People were pouring into the western plains, breaking the virgin bosom of the wealthy prairies and beginning this great production which is the marvel of today even in a nation

as rich and as well organized as the United States. But those people needed communication. They needed transportation. The Liberal government of the day made a deal or an offer, guaranteeing the debentures of the railway companies up to $15,000 a mile, in order to bring branch lines from Edmonton and Calgary into this country into which the settlers were pouring. The result was that from Edmonton straight north to Atha-baska 100 miles, from Edmonton to St. Paul, from Edmonton to my own town of Bonny-ville, from Edmonton to Fort McMurray in the riding of Athabaska, Alberta railways were built1 to the Peace river. These guarantees brought those lines to give transportation facilities to these settlers, farmers, and businessmen living there for their production. I wish we had a map large enough. There is your map represented by my extended arms, these lines all going out like the arms of an octopus, bringing trade to Edmonton. But every farmer in my country had to pay the backhaul of 175 or 200 miles into Edmonton and back again if he wanted to reach Winnipeg or the eastern market.

Mr. Speaker, I wish more time were available. I have not watched the clock very closely. I have here resolutions accepted unanimously by the assembly of Alberta with regard to the connecting of these lines to the Saskatchewan and Beaver rivers. This is not just a plan, as I said, it means an outlet and route for all this vast country north of Saskatoon and Prince Albert, north of the Saskatchewan river across the prairie, across the northern part of the province giving access to the Pacific ocean at Prince Rupert.

This is not a dream. Charters were issued. The C.P.R., knowing by that time the value of that north country, came to this parliament and demanded a charter. It was proposed and they received it. They were to build west of Prince Albert through Meadow Lake-this is built now, as those who come from that country know-to near Goodsoil, a place in northwestern Saskatchewan, where they meet the Canadian National Railways line from Battleford-St. Walburg into Cold Lake. According to the regulations laid down by this parliament the C.P.R. received running rights over 55 miles of the Canadian National Railways line from Goodsoil or nearby into Cold Lake in the constituency of Athabaska and began to build.

I have here the dates of the charters and everything. I know time does not allow me to refer to them, but the records are readily available. In 1931 the whole thing was stopped. I see that the Minister of Agriculture is in the house. One of his secretaries at that time was in charge of the removal of the 67509-183J

The Budget-Mr. Dechene settlers from the dry belt in southern Saskatchewan into the interior of northwestern Saskatchewan and northeastern Alberta which were to be served by these railroads and where we had rain, growth and grass, where we had everything. Literally thousands of people came from the south.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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April 12, 1956

Mr. Dechene:

Did you say anything?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Full View Permalink

April 12, 1956

Mr. Dechene:

It is people like you that prevented this country from going ahead. The hon. member is a defeatist or a poltroon, one of those who, after the first world war, began to agitate and to tell the people how unhappy they were, that our country was no good, that we were all broke. That agitator, a man who has meagre political capital, has used this policy of discouragement to achieve his own end. He is one of the men who prevented those railroads from being built. But today I am still pleading for those railroads to be built.

The same argument was used in a letter to my hon. friend from Vegreville a few months ago; a line north of the Saskatchewan river would serve part of his constituency. It was stated that it had not been proved to the satisfaction of the Canadian National Railways that the building of that gap of 39 miles from Bonnyville to St. Walburg and from Heinsburg to Frenchman Butte in Saskatchewan would produce enough revenue to warrant its construction. Well, why did they not use that argument when they built that part of the Canadian National in northern Ontario, where you can travel for a whole day without even seeing a rabbit? If the argument was good with respect to this gap, surely it would be worth something in northern Ontario.

About a month ago two ministers of the crown in Alberta went for a trip on the Canadian Pacific Railway to a place called Marwayne. This will be interesting to the Minister of Transport and to the Canadian National Railways. They told the people of Marwayne that a new bridge was going to be built over the Saskatchewan river at Lea Park, about 35 miles down the river from Elk Point, to provide another bridge between Edmonton and the boundary of Saskatchewan for the transport of agricultural products. And, sir, they stated that in one year over 10,000 head of cattle had crossed the river by ferry to go to the Canadian Pacific Railway south of the Saskatchewan river. That

The Budget-Mr. Dechene business was lost to the Canadian National Railways, and that is only one example. All the grain must cross the river, and so must other products.

There is a line in the province of Alberta that went about half way between the river and what they considered was the productive part of Alberta. Later on the Canadian Pacific Railway came along and obtained a charter to build from the Cut Knife and Lloydminster country, in between the C.N.R. and the river, to Edmonton. I think I would be safe in saying they took 70 per cent of the trade or business in that part of the country. The Canadian National Railways are watching the whole thing getting away from them while we are appealing to the government to have this gap closed. They say that the closing of this gap of 39 miles would not prove to be a paying proposition.

I hold in my hand three resolutions, but I shall not read them all. At the time they were presented I was a member of the opposition, and hon. members know how easy it is for a motion from the opposition to carry in the house. These resolutions are dated 1932, 1934 and 1935. In order to save time I shall read the shortest one, which is dated 1932:

Moved by Mr. Dechene, seconded by Mr. Falconer:

He was the provincial member for Atha-baska. He is still living.

That this assembly regrets the decision of the dominion government not to proceed with the construction of the extension of the Bonnyville-St. Walburg and the Heinsburg-Frenchman Butte lines of the Canadian National Railway lines from Edmonton to St. Walburg and Edmonton to Turtle-ford;

That under existing conditions the farmers of all that great district north and east of Edmonton have no direct access to eastern markets and are compelled to pay a back-haul on all the products shipped out and on merchandise imported into that district;

That a large number of settlers induced to settle in the districts to be served by the proposed lines will find themselves in a precarious position, and a large percentage of them, in need of relief;

That we respectfully urge the dominion government to reconsider the matter and to proceed with the construction of the said lines during the coming season.

The debate continued.

The motion being proposed Mr. Speaker declared the motion carried.

Nothing was done, and I am still here pleading for those settlers. I assure the ministers, the Canadian National Railways and the Canadian Pacific authorities, that I am seeking no political benefit out of this request presented on behalf of those farmers and those pioneers. In spite of that, they made good. With the courage of the western people, with the pioneering spirit of those

men and women, they made good in spite of the fact that they were so far away from the railroads. They came from the dry belt, with nothing whatever when they came there except old, worn-out horses and some wagons and a few head of cattle that were hardly able to walk, and in spite of the fact that they were this distance from transportation facilities they made good. But they still need those transportation facilities for which, sir, I have the privilege tonight to plead.

I may not long be able to speak on behalf of these people in this parliament of Canada. However, as long as God lends me life I intend to continue the work I began, because I was one of the men who went to Edmonton and then came to Ottawa in order to induce the railways run by the government to act on behalf of this great country to the north, east and west of Edmonton. There is an empire in the making there.

The other day a man who should know-let me mention his name; it was Mr. Sweezey from Montreal-wrote an article in the press in which he pointed out that the tremendous coal resources out west were not going to remain idle. He is one of the experts in this line. He said that with the immense quantity of coal we have in the west and in Alberta, power could be produced cheaper at those mines than could even be produced with white hydro, and he should know. The Calgary Power Company is building one of its largest units west of Edmonton, at Lake Wabamun. It will be completed shortly and will eventually develop some 350,000 horsepower right on top of a coal mine, because they know that the coal available is so extensive that it will last almost forever, and such a plant is so much cheaper to build and operate.

I should now like to speak about gas. When the natural gas question comes up I may have something further to say on it. When I come from home to Edmonton I drive through the Redwater oil field, and almost as far as you can look you can see the gas burning. They have to do it. When they hit the oil they pipe the gas away from it in another pipe, and they have to burn the gas to get rid of it. They have no way of using it. Well, they are doing that. They are burning the gas while we are talking about bringing it to the people of the east who need it.

When I was a young fellow 52 years ago,

I went down the Athabaska river. It was a great trip. Old Captain Shott was the captain. His name was Fosseneuve, but because he was the first man ever to shoot the rapids of the Athabaska they called him Captain Shott. The name remains even to this

day. His children and his grandchildren are called Shott. We went down the McMurray. It looked as if you were at the end of the world. I never thought I would reach there, but I did, and I am the representative of those people in this house tonight. I think of Fitzgerald, McMurray and Waterways. There you will find the greatest reserve of oil in the world. I refer to a report of the United States bureau of mines and of our own bureau of mines in Ottawa.

The officials will tell you that this is not a dream, nor is it a guess. They have found bituminous sands all over the country. They estimate that at least 500 billion-not million-barrels of oil will be available when they have found the way to separate the sand from the oil. It can be done. I said in this house some years ago that if these reserves had been in Germany at the time of the second world war they would have used the oil for their war machinery. All this potential is just 350 miles from Edmonton.

There is also there enough tar available to pave every road, street and lane in Canada. We continue to import tar from Trinidad and other places. Billions of tons of tar are available. Do you wonder at my asking for the floor tonight in order to bring this matter once again to the attention of the people of Canada and their elected representatives? This is the dream of my youth, the prosperity of this great land to the north and to the west with its vast possibilities. This is the great challenge to our young people.

I remember talking over the radio a short time ago in answer to an agitator, a demagogue who told us we could not do anything. I said we had heard that story back in 1920 after the first great war, and we heard it after the second world war. I say to them now that you do not have to look to the east, west, north or south; you merely have to look at what is staring you in the face in this wonderful land of ours with its incredible resources and indescribable wealth. This is indeed a challenge to our young men and women. I wish I were young so I could devote some more years of my life to bringing about the completion of the railway lines and help to develop Canada's resources for the welfare of the whole country. God in his wisdom knows best.

The other day I picked up a great newspaper, the Toronto Star Weekly. I found an article written by Harold Hilliard. The author writes from Skagway, Alaska, following a tour through the northern part

The Budget-Mr. Stanton of Alberta. I should like to quote one paragraph from this article:

The railroad proposal closest to reality is one which the federal government and the Canadian Pacific Railway have under active consideration. It involves a 350-mile extension of an existing line which terminates at Waterways, Alberta.

That is in the constituency of Athabaska.

It will be pushed north to the shores of Great Slave lake in the Northwest Territories. Here Consolidated Smelters of Trail, B.C., a Canadian Pacific Railway company, is reputed to have proven what may be the world's greatest deposit of lead and zinc.

The railway to develop Great Slave lake should be built from no other place but Fort McMurray-Waterways, because that is the end of the navigable water on this route. I hope there is some truth in the plan as outlined in this paper.

I hope I was not wrong in asking for the floor tonight; I know I am speaking under a handicap. Hudson bay to the Pacific, Port Arthur and Fort William to the Pacific; that is the country to develop, 1,000 miles of it. Millions are waiting for this through transportation line which should have been built long ago. We are surprised that Americans come here; perhaps they will build the line if we are unable to do it.

I should like to conclude my remarks with a thought I expressed on a previous occasion, and which now comes to mind again, sir. My thought refers to the incredible wealth and beauty of the land and the lakes which will soon be free from their shroud of ice and snow under the smiling sun of Alberta. The province is frequently referred to as sunny Alberta. When the beneficent being who attended to the work of all creation, who cast the stars, the comets and planets into limitless space and created all earth, and who then created men and women to inhabit it came to rest on the seventh day and cast a look upon his work and declared himself satisfied, I am sure that at that moment he had a glimpse of the beauties of the Athabasca and Peace river country.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Full View Permalink

April 12, 1956

Mr. J. M. Dechene (Alhabaska):

Mr. Speaker, when I came into the house a few moments ago in hopes that you would give me the privilege of the floor tonight, and I opened this bulky file, my young friend from Fort William (Mr. Mclvor) passed the remark that he hoped I was not going to read all this. Well, sir, I have not yet read a speech in this house, and I do not intend to begin tonight. My eyesight is not as good as

that of some hon. members who stand straight up and read every line of their speeches laid on the desk. I will admit that the style I use might not read so well in Hansard, but I assure you that it will be my own thoughts and the things I believe.

I hesitated to ask you for the privilege of speaking tonight and using the time of this house. Mr. R. B. Bennett, who knew something about figures, stated to my hon. friend the former member for Temiscouata, about 1931, that the cost of the sitting of parliament at that time was between $1,200 and $1,300 an hour, counting all the printing of Hansard, the notices and so on, the extra staff and everything else. Imagine what it would be today. Mr. Speaker, I must admit to you that in this session so far, although I have heard many fine speeches, I doubt that I have heard one that is worth $1,800 an hour.

But before I go any further I want to bring something to your attention, sir, which I think should have been raised as a question of privilege. My comments are those of a man who has sat in this assembly for many years, who for many years before sat in the legislative assembly of Alberta, whose direct ancestor on my mother's side was a member of the first assembly ever to sit in Canada under the Quebec Act. I wish to say that I have resented very much the accusation that has been made that we over here are just rubber stamps, that we are just followers.

In order to base my argument on the proper ground I should like to refer to the words of Montcalm, while still alive, to Brigadier Townshend, who commanded the English forces after the death of General Wolfe, with respect to what was understood at the time the so-called conquered race became.part of the British people. It is on record that Montcalm wrote:

Monsieur, the humanity of the English sets my mind at peace concerning the fate of the French prisoners, and the Canadians.

They were already a Canadian nation then. They understood him too.

Feel toward them as they have caused me to feel. Do not let them perceive that they have changed masters. Be their protector as I have been their father.

I believe, sir, those words of Montcalm should be placed on the records of this house because as a result of this attitude we have succeeded, through many years of struggle, in becoming a united and independent nation. We remember that some time ago the Minister of Agriculture made a speech at a convention. He said that he had read the speech of Sir Wilfrid Laurier in 1904 in which he expressed the thought that there would be as many people west of the 07509-183

The tsudget-Mr. Dechene great lakes by 1950 as there would be east of the great lakes. Unfortunately, with all his vision and his genius Sir Wilfrid could not know that there would be two terrible conflicts in the meantime which would change the course of events and prevent this great growth of the western provinces.

Under Laurier we had as minister of finance one of the best men, a man who led his province for many years as premier, W. S. Fielding. Later we had Robb, Dunning, Ralston, Ilsley. What a tremendous job Ilsley did during the war! Then we had Abbott and now we have the present Minister of Finance (Mr. Harris). In spite of anything that had been said, and knowing the conditions under which the budget was brought down with, as every hon. member of the house knows, the danger of inflation, the Tory papers and the Tory politicians predicted exactly what the minister was going to do and once he did it they all criticized him bitterly because he had done so. I join his name with those of these other great ministers of finance. I do not hesitate to say that I am proud of him and we are all proud of him.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Full View Permalink

April 12, 1956

Mr. Dechene:

Did you say something?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Full View Permalink