François (Frank) BLAIS

BLAIS, François (Frank)

Personal Data

Independent Liberal
Chapleau (Quebec)
Birth Date
August 22, 1875
Deceased Date
June 2, 1949
contractor, farmer, lumber merchant

Parliamentary Career

October 14, 1935 - January 25, 1940
  Chapleau (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 1)

June 13, 1938


For a copy of all correspondence, letters, telegrams and other documents dated from 1935, with respect to the post office at Amos, Chap-leau county, province of Quebec?

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May 7, 1936

Mr. FRANK BLAIS (Chapleau) (Translation) :

Mr. Speaker, I should like first to congratulate the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) on the splendid budget which he presented to the house on May 1. With the exception of a few discordant views- always emanating from the same quarters- this budget has been highly welcomed throughout the country, and I feel certain that the resolutions which will be approved shortly will contribute to the improvement of our economic solution.

Bill No. 19, introduced in the house by the hon. Minister of Labour (Mr. Rogers) and passed on April 22 last, is an Act to relieve unemployment, promote agricultural settlement, and assist in the conservation and development of our natural and other

resources. The section of the country which I represent is so closely interested in these important problems that I would be remiss to my duty were I not to indicate here the means whereby this country could benefit from the development of the various natural resources to be found in Abitibi.

I approve this government's policy of undertaking and getting undertaken public works that do not involve too heavy an expenditure for the state, in order to provide work for our people and thus do away, as much as possible, with direct relief, while improving the financial situation of the country. Many unemployed desire work that will permit them to live decently and provide for the future, thus setting a good example to the growing generation, instead of continuing to receive the dole which has developed into national exploitation, as may be readily seen in a number of localities.

I have pleasure, sir, in pointing out a few of the national resources of the Abitibi district, the development of which, I am sure, would alleviate unemployment, which threatens our country with disaster. In the vast territory comprised in the Abitib' district numerous gold mines are being worked and many others will be developed in the near future. Besides the mining industry, agriculture offers great possibilities, as well as the lumber industry, which enjoys an excellent local market for its products. There are splendid water powers which, when developed, will supply electric energy for which there will also be a ready market as this form of energy will soon become indispensable.

I shall speak first of the gold mines of my Northern Quebec constituency. Ten years ago they were absolutely unknown. Noranda Mines Limited, scarcely ten years in operation, already have an annual output of over $14,000,000, give employment to more than

2,000 men and provide a livelihood to a population of 16,000. In the same locality, a number of similar industries will soon be in operation, doubling the town's population, increasing the number of men at work and relieving unemployment.

To the northeast, in the same mining area, nine other gold producing mines have started operations in the course of the last six years. They are: Beatty Gold Mines Ltd, O'Brien Gold Mines, Ltd,, Canadian Malartic Gold Mines Ltd, Siscoe Gold Mines Ltd, Shawkey Gold Mining Ltd, Sullivan Gold Mines Ltd, Greene Stabell Gold Mines Ltd, Lamaque Gold Mines Ltd, and Perron Gold Mines Ltd. All these enterprises are very promising; although only at their first stage of development, they may be expected in the neai

The Budget-Mr. Blais

future, to double, even quadruple their output. At the present time, these mines employ-more than 5,000 men, and have become the mainstay of the farming population of this section and provide an additional market for the products of the lumber industry, the yearly output of sawmills being over 36,000,000 feet of lumber, used in the mines and for building purposes in villages and towns. These industries provide part of the livelihood of a population of 40,000.

I do not think that I am too optimistic or far from the truth when I state that by the end of 1936, at least three other gold mines in that section of the country, will get on a production basis, and gradually increase their output as the years go by, thereby increasing the number of workers and reducing unemployment.

The mining bureau at Amos, which is a branch office of the Quebec Department of Mines, gave me, on the 1st of February last, the following data. There are at present twenty-five mining undertakings showing satisfactory progress to date and likely to produce gold in the near future, that is, as soon as good roads for the transportation of their machinery and other material can be built in the district. I shall refer in a moment to the question of good roads, as they constitute, to my mind, the principal means of obtaining satisfactory results.

Furthermore, 125 claim holders employ at present more than 500 men, and their outlook seems most encouraging. As a sequel to these operations we may expect many industries to be established.

The section of Abitibi comprised in Quebec covers an area of 10,000 square miles. Its natural resources are beyond estimation. This region comprises 3,500,000 acres of good farming land on which 35,000 families could be settled. May I add that this district 'holds a splendid future for the farming class, since, at present, we must import nine-tenths of the farm products required by the mining population. Three carloads of provisions are shipped weekly to Amos alone, yet it would be possible to raise these in our district if agriculture were given more encouragement.

The most practical way to carry out a program of development would be, first, to build a good road from Amos to the district of Chibougamau, then to extend it as far as James Bay with crossroads as the development of the country required. Many of the mining properties at Chibougamau are in the hands of reliable capitalists who have long been asking for a suitable highway for the transportation of the material and machinery required to erect plants.

The distance between Amos and Chibougameau is about 154 miles, and many promising mineral prospects are to be found along this projected road which would be a factor in developing this large territory for colonization and farming. It would also be necessary to build 15 miles of road from the Sigma Gold mines to Ovicourt so as tofacilitate the transportation of machinery to a number of mining properties the outlook of which, to date, is among the promising of the north country. The carrying out of this project this spring, would employ thousands of workers, to the great benefit of the unemployed, while developing our natural resources. I note, sir, that from 1930 to 1936, $189,000,000 have been distributed in direct relief, running the country into debt to that extent, while giving no value in return. Ibelieve that if, in the last five years, the

government had expended part of that amount in the district I represent, for the development of its natural resources, we would have to-day a smaller debt and fewer unemployed.

Although I am now engaged in farming I have for a long time been interested quite extensively in business, and I am familiar with the conditions existing in the Abitibi district. I have been living there for the last twenty-three years and have closely followed its development, being in contact with every mining company and the business men of a number of localities. I have come to the conclusion that the most effective way of developing our natural resources would be to build good roads. I am aware that the construction of roads is a provincial responsibility; however in a special case such as this one, I think the dominion government should take charge, as the matter has become a national one.

May I refer to the Trans-Canada highway which has now almost reached the Quebec boundary; it should be continued to Amos and Senneterre, from which points, two roads, now under construction, lead to Mont-Laurier, Maniwaki, Montreal and Ottawa. I know that my good friend, the hon. member for Cochrane (Mr. Bradette), is also eager to see this road, which would be of very great service, continued into the Abitibi district.

Before resuming my seat, may I quote a statement made by the hon. Minister of Mines (Mr. Crerar) on February 14 last, at the banquet of the Mining Institute held at the Windsor hotel, in Montreal. In the next fifteen years, he stated, the future of our country will be found in the development of our mining industry, which is highly prosperous and most profitable, not only for those directly

The Budget-Mr. MacNicol

interested in it, but for the whole country. The hon. minister quoted data found in a publication of the Department of Mines, dated February 14, 1936, and which show that this industry can compare favourably with any other Canadian industry. He added that the small mining district of Cobalt, Sudbury, Porcupine and Kirkland Lake had produced various minerals to an amount exceeding $1,500,000,000, What can we not expect then from our immense district which enjoys the bright prospects I have just shown? The hon. Minister of Mines also referred to the mines of Northern Quebec which, though only at their initial stage of development are on a production basis: Noranda, for example, with an annual output of $14,000,000; Siscoe, which, since its inception has produced approximately $9,000,000; one might also mention the Beatty Gold mines, the O'Brien, Malartic, Lamaque, Sullivan, Green Stabell mines, Bill gold-producing properties still in their primary stage and which will become important mines at an early date.

I wish to congratulate the hon. Minister of Finance for having exempted from the income tax imposed on companies all metalliferous mines becoming producers before 1940. These exemptions will cover the first three years of production. This is a strong encouragement to financiers interested in the development of these natural resources.

I cordially invite all the members of this house, but especially the hon. ministers to pay us a visit, in order to see for themselves the great prospects existing in our district.

What I have suggested is quite feasable and we should immediately set to work in our country's interest so as to provide employment for a large number of people and thus conform to the Divine command: Thou shalt earn thy bread by toiling and not by exploiting the toiler. I have set forth a few suggestions in good faith, in the interest of this country, trusting that they may be seriously considered by the house and even put into practice.

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March 10, 1936

Mr. FRANK BLAIS (Chapleau) (Translation) :

Mr. Speaker, this being my maiden speech in the house, I am pleased to congratulate you on your election to the speakership and also to extend my congratulations to the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) for having proposed your nomination to this office and to the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) for having seconded it.

As the representative of the constituency of Chapleau, I wish to voice my view's on the reciprocity agreement. The county of Chapleau is already a very important one from the standpoint of agriculture and colonization, and I am free to state that, in the near future, it will be, of all the counties in the dominion, the one where agriculture, mining and forestry operations will reach the highest degree of development. No better news could have been conveyed to us than the announcement by the Prime Minister of the signing of this trade agreement with our neighbours to the south.

It was with great pleasure that I read in La Presse, of August 3rd last, that one of the principal features of the Liberal party's program was the negotiation of a reciprocity agreement with the United States at the earliest possible moment, in the event of it obtaining the confidence of the people on the 14th of October. As we hoped, the results w'ere most wonderful. The triumph was without precedent in the history of Canada.

I therefore beg the hon. the Prime Minister and his colleagues to accept the congratulations and thanks of my constituents for the prompt execution of their promise.

I am highly pleased with the reduction of $2 per thousand feet in the duty on Canadian sawn lumber exported to the United States. The production of sawn lumber in my county amounts to about 35,000,000 feet per year, and, thanks to this agreement, we shall be paid S2 more per thousand feet, representing additional receipts of S70.000, which will be highly appreciated by us. The increase of $2 per thousand feet on our sawm lumber enables us to pay to the men in our winter camps S50

Canada-U.S. Trade Agreement

and more per month, including their board; these wages are highly deserved by skilled woodsmen. The reduction in duty will prove generally advantageous to all lumber merchants who avail themselves of its benefits.

On the 5th of February last, at the Mount Royal Hotel in Montreal, a general convention of Canadian and American lumbermen met for the purpose of considering trade conditions and changes likely to occur as a result of the reciprocity agreement which, at the time, had been in force for thirty-five days. We asked a straight question to the American lumber merchants as to how they were affected by the treaty. The reply made by Mr. Kennedy, of New York, shows that the tariff reduction was in our favour. It enables us, he said to offer you $2 more per thousand feet; we are pleased with this lowering of the duty and we trust to be in a position to continue dealing with you.

Mr. Speaker, the general increase of $2 per thousand feet on approximately one billion feet of sawn lumber, which is the yearly cut of Canada, means for us a profit of $20,000,000. This tariff reduction alone, therefore, represents a substantial gain for Canada.

Some hon. members from the prairie provinces inform us that the cattle industry is the one that benefits most by this treaty; of that I am quite pleased. Two reductions alone, on cattle and on sawn lumber, will give us annual profits of over $40,000,000. Although they constitute the most important items, they nevertheless show how valuable to Canada the agreement is, without taking into consideration the numerous other items that will prove beneficial to us.

Some hon. members opposite seem to think that the treaty might have a detrimental effect on the prices of our vegetables, especially carrots, cabbages, etc. I may say that, on the contrary, these products have gone up i cent per pound since the treaty has been in force.

They also speak of imports of American farming implements which are likely to harm our Canadian industries. I do not think that these gentlemen are in earnest. In the manufacture of farm implements Canadian hardwood is used, which is partly imported from Canada and therefore becomes fairly costly in the United States, the freight amounting to $14 per thousand feet, to which is to be added a duty of $2. So, I fail to see how unfair competition can be waged by American factories.

As to our Canadian companies, they are in part, branches of American concerns located here and they know quite well how to look

after their own business in either country. Why then such prohibitive prices in Canada? I consider them unfair and detrimental to the purchasing power of our farmers. I note with a good deal of satisfaction that the government has arranged to investigate the increased prioes of farm implements manufactured by these companies; such an inquiry should produce excellent results and be of a great benefit to our farmers.

Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate the members of this house who, realizing the importance of this agreement, have given it their unreserved support, mindful as they were of the fact that for years past we have suffered great hardships. Had this agreement been approved in 1911, the depression we are now going through would not have been so severe. We suffered from overproduction while having at our very door, a market for our surplus production. We could have benefited by it had we concluded a trade agreement with the United States. No longer shall we have to deplore that grave error. Great advantages have already accrued from this agreement which has been in force only a short time ago. We may then rest assured that within five years this arrangement will prove to be a great boon to our people, while being helpful to our neighbours in the United States.

The right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) should support the measure and thus compensate to a certain extent the harmful effects of his five years of power, during which he sometimes wanted and sometimes did not want a reciprocal trade arrangement. Again, I wish to sincerely thank the right hon. the Prime Minister for the excellent work he has accomplished as well as for the splendid triumph he achieved on the 14th of October last.

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