However, on February 18 Kootenay West came home both to its roots and to its political tradition. 1 hope that by my efforts over the ensuing years I can persuade the riding to stay in that home and with those roots and to try to build a new tradition, not only there but in the rest of the country as well.
How is it that an area like Kooteny West should so often choose and choose for so long to act independently of their fellow citizens in many other parts of Canada? To begin with, Mr. Speaker, it is a matter of geography. Kootenay West is rather like an island. It is surrounded by rivers, lakes and mountains. The Columbia River winds around the 100 by five-mile span of Kootenay Lake, into the Arrow Lakes, which are a slight widening of the Columbia River. Mind you, Mr. Speaker, they are not as they used to be prior to the intervention of two successive federal governments and one provincial government in British Columbia.
We also have a richly diverse population. We share that privilege with many other provinces. There are British, German, Italian, Portuguese, Scandinavian, Dutch and many other nationalities, but we also have a rather unique blending of successive waves of political refugees. These are political refugees from the right, from areas all over the world, even this continent.
This began in the early 1900s with the large influx of Russian Doukhobors, many leaving their former homes on the prairies. What they had to say about why they came, through Peter (The Lordly) Verigin, who was their spiritual leader at that time, describes, 1 think, what can be said of many other people in our rather spiritually and geographically isolated corner of this country. I should like to repeat something Mr. Verigin said as quoted by Bert Herridge here in 1946, as follows:
In British Columbia we will buy our land and own il so it will not be necessary to be subject to the English king, and keep our land. No schools are there. The air is very pure, like Switzerland. So we will live in good health in the Christian way with no government to bother us, no rheumatism and few mosquitoes.
The Address-Mr. Kristiansen
Following the wave of Doukhobor settlers there came another, rather more forced migration, that of the Japanese Canadians. They came as a result of the War Measures Act during World War II and the hysteria that pervaded the land. I am proud to say that this party did not share in that hysteria at that time and neither did the right hon. gentleman, who used to lead the party to my right. Many of the Japanese stayed. Thousands came and many stayed and made their contribution to our society in the West Kootenays.
Next came the Quakers seeking the peaceful life that we seem to offer in our corner of our province. Members of the Society of Friends from all over North America settled there.
In the 1950s came the American refugees from the McCarthy era bringing an extremely rich array of skills and talents that could no longer find outlets for expression in their homeland during the dark age dominated by the senator known as "Joe". The final wave of American political refugees that arrived were driven by a distaste for a war which they sincerely believed was unjust, unwise and unAmerican. They arrived in increasing numbers in our community.
Now we have all of these groups piled one on top of another, mixing and blending their array of talents with many others of more conventional backgrounds who also came to our area attracted by work in the forest industry or the mining industry. The Cominco smelter in Trail is the largest lead-zinc smelter in the world. Many of these workers are industrial workers and some of them find a quieter and what is to them a more satisfying way to live. Now we all mix together and that makes us the rather rich community that we are today.
One event I mentioned earlier forged this community into what is perhaps one of the most active collections of community and volunteer organizations in the country, especially on environmental issues, that I have ever seen. I refer to the boondoggle called the Columbia River treaty. Hon. members from Kootenay West, whether Conservative, CCF or NDP, have fought that treaty and its extension that appears to be on the horizon in the form of an operation called "The Kootenay Diversion".
It is difficult to know who sired the Columbia River treaty. It was a kind of abortion resulting from an incestuous relationship between Conservative federal governments, Liberal federal governments and a Social Credit provincial government. We ended up with a $1 billion bill for something which was not supposed to cost us a nickel. The worst part of it is that our people were dislocated, we lost our valleys and many of our rivers, some of which are now nothing more than sloughs and dust bowls. We have nothing to show for that money, Mr. Speaker. That is something that will never be forgiven, and no matter what it takes to stop something else like it in that part of the country, it will never be allowed to happen again under any circumstances.
One of the things that happened as a result of the treaty is that thousands and thousands of acres of productive forest were wiped out. That leads me, in part, to the topic that I want to spend the rest of my allotted time discussing.
April 21, 1980
The Address-Mr. Kristiansen
There is no mention of the forest industry in Canada in the Speech from the Throne. In spite of the rather brave and encouraging words of the Minister of the Environment and Minister of State for Science and Technology (Mr. Roberts) a few days prior to the commencement of this sitting, acknowledging the rather dismal record of the formal Liberal administration as regards the deterioration of the Canadian forestry service and the inactivity of that government in that area over many years, there was not a single word relating to Canada's forest industry in the Speech from the Throne. One out of ten people employed in industry in Canada work in that particular industry, yet there was no mention of it. This at a time when seminar after seminar and conference after conference from the east coast to the west and in between have been drawing attention to the neglect of that industry.
Our timber resources are no longer a renewable resource. Mr. Speaker, when a resource is being depleted faster than it is being replenished, then by definition it is no longer renewable. That is a tragedy. It is especially a tragedy in communities like Kootenay West and many others across the land, which contain single resource communities existing only because of one industry.
Interest rates under this government, as under the former government, are driving people out of their homes, virtually turning back the clock in regard to housing construction from one end of the country to another. Even in the so-called boom province of Alberta housing starts have dropped from 7,828 one year ago to 4,429 today. In Saskatchewan the drop is from
11.000 to 6,000, and in Manitoba the percentage fall is even greater. Thousands upon thousands of forest industry workers have been laid off in community after community after community across the country.
I worked in the forest industry before 1 was elected to this House, Mr. Speaker, and I intend to spend part of the summer recesses when we get them-we may not get one this year- working in that industry. That is where one hears what is going on. That is where it is at in the forest industry and in other industries throughout this land.
This past weekend I attended a meeting of over 100 woodworkers in the ridings of Kootenay West and Kootenay East. They are angry, Mr. Speaker-more than angry, because in the last two weeks they have seen the number of their brothers and sisters in British Columbia's forestry industry who are unemployed increase from slightly in excess of 2,000 to 6,000. At this very moment the statistics for today are being gathered and it is anticipated the figure will be somewhere between
8.000 and 9,000.
On May 2, Manitoba Forest Industry, the key employer in the central northern part of that province, a plant which employs many native people, will shut down. It will take a lot of other businesses in that part of the country down with it. [DOT]
In northern Ontario we find that about one-third of Lumber and Sawmill union members are now out of work. One sometimes wonders whether the government is intending to solve the problem of reforestation by causing us to build less houses so that we will not cut as many trees, and maybe things will catch up without their having to do anything. That is rather an odd way to go about it. I could think of more lunchroom-like terms to describe it, but perhaps I will not at this point.
I would like to read a resolution passed by the meeting which I just attended this weekend. It was put by representatives of people who work in the sawmills, the plywood plants, and in the shake and shingle mills of this country. I quote:
Whereas thousands of our brothers and sisters in the western Canadian forest industry are experiencing devastating lay-offs, including hundreds from our own local; and
Whereas these lay-offs are caused almost entirely by the disastrous interest rates imposed by the federal governments of Canada and the U.S.; and
Whereas these interest rates are also responsible for depriving many workers' families of their homes;
Now therefore be it resolved that this local of the International Woodworkers' of America go on record as being absolutely determined to do everything possible to rid our country of governments which inflicts such massive injuries upon ordinary people, and generally to do everything possible to correct this disastrous interest situation;
And be it finally resolved that this resolution be immediately submitted to the Prime Minister, to the Leader of the Opposition, and to the Leader of the NDP.
I have done that on their behalf.
I would like now if I may, Mr. Speaker, to move, seconded by the hon. member for Kamloops-Shuswap (Mr. Riis):
That the address be amended by adding thereto the following words:
This House, however, regrets to inform Your Excellency that the government has failed to provide a program to deal with the crisis created by massive lay-offs in the lumber industry, and this House condemns the government for its failure to provide such a program.
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY