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.
Topic: THE BUDGET
Subtopic: DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE