Wilbert Ross THATCHER

THATCHER, The Hon. Wilbert Ross, P.C., B.Comm.

Parliamentary Career

June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
  Moose Jaw (Saskatchewan)
June 27, 1949 - June 13, 1953
  Moose Jaw (Saskatchewan)
August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
  Moose Jaw--Lake Centre (Saskatchewan)
April 22, 1955 - April 12, 1957
  Moose Jaw--Lake Centre (Saskatchewan)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 305)

March 13, 1957

1. Since January 1, 1957, what total loans have been made by the federal government In the province of Saskatchewan, for the purpose of building limited dividend projects for senior citizens?

2. What was the location of each project, the number of units provided for, and the amount of the federal loan in each case?

Answer by: Mr. Bourgel, Parliamentary Assistant, for the Minister of Public Works:

(1) Since January 1, 1957, 16 loans totalling $3,221,073 have been approved for limited dividend companies for the purpose of building limited dividend projects, for senior citizens, in the province of Saskatchewan.

(2) The location of each project, the number of units provided for, and the amount of the N.H.A. loan are:-


Self-con- bed-accom- Amount of

Location tained units modation loanAssiniboia .. 48 48 $367,214Balcarres .. 14 14 114,724Carnduff ... 20 20 185,296Estevan .... 24 24 212,508Kamsack ... 20 20 186,864Macklin .... 10 - 55,152Maple Creek 20 20 179,739Meadow Lake 20 20 185,083Middle Lake 30 - 147,888Ponteix .... 16 16 139,708Shaunavon . 20 20 179,110Swift Current 74 74 582,475Tisdale .... 18 16 158,085Unity 20 20 184,000Wadena .... 16 16 155,870Watrous .... 20 20 187,357TOTAL 390 348 $3,221,073

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March 6, 1957

Mr. Thatcher:

1. What is the present population of Indians in Canada, by provinces?

2. How many Indians were in receipt of relief rations or the equivalent from the federal government as at January 1, 1955 and January 1, 1956 (a) by provinces: (b) by Indian agencies?

3. Has the department a tangible program to remove Indians from federal relief rolls and place them on the Canadian labour market?

4. If so, how many Indians across Canada were so placed during the calendar year 1956?

Answer by : Hon. J. W. Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration):

1. Indian population by provinces as shown

in the 1954 census of Indians:


British Columbia .... . . 31,086


New Brunswick . . 2,629

Northwest Territories . . 4,023

Nova Scotia


Prince Edward Island . . 272




2. (a) January 1, January 1,

1955 1956

Prince Edward Island 40 20New Brunswick 624 459Nova Scotia 452 451Quebec 2,690 2,282Ontario 2,923 3,178Manitoba 2,047 2,009Saskatchewan 2,624 2,911Alberta 872 861Northwest Territories . 201 275British Columbia 3,254 3,139Yukon 414 367(b) Agency January 1, January 1,1955 1956Maritime region Miramichi 246 274Kingsclear 90 99Tobique 288 86Eskasoni 252 259Shubenacadie 200 192Prince Edward Island 40 20Quebec region Abitibi 1,273 958Bersimis 39 30Caughnawaga 239 202


Jeune Lorette 5 4Maniwaki 10 14Pierreville 88 62Pointe-Bleue 101 84Restigouche 178 179Seven Islands 300 300St. Augustin 418 430Timiskaming 39 19Southern Ontario region Cape Croker - -Caradoc 174 138Christian Island .... 47 64Golden Lake 152 154Moravian 2 2Parry Sound 39 31Simcoe - -Rice and Mud Lakes - -Sarnia - -Six Nations 21 13St. Regis 265 200Tyendinaga 76 90Walpole Island .... 13 17Saugeen 4 6Northern Ontario region Chapleau 43 40Fort Frances 111 124James Bay 284 305Kenora 70 75Manitoulin Island .. 425 640Nakina 700 886Nipissing 10 7Port Arthur 63 67Sault Ste. Marie .... 127 103Sioux Lookout .... 297 216Manitoba region Clandeboye 380 349Dauphin 282 279Fisher River 153 265Nelson River 190 108Norway House 777 717Portage la Prairie .. 78 93The Pas 187 198

Saskatchewan region

Battleford 841 711Carlton 146 145Crooked Lake 166 163Duck Lake 374 563File Hills-Qu'Appelle 688 660Touchwood 105 120Meadow Lake 112 118Pelly 154 418


Includes Wood Mountain reserve No, 160, Maple Creek reserve No. 160A and Moose Woods (White Cap) reserve No. 94, administered directly by Saskatchewan regional headquarters 38 13


Alberta and N.W.T. region

Athabaska 103 118Blackfoot 6 3Blood 41 2Edmonton 76 43Fort St. John 12 8Fort Vermilion 348 510Hobbema 6 4Lesser Slave Lake .. 135 76Peigan 5 7Saddle Lake 77 33Stony-iSarcee 63 57Fort Norman 77 122Yellowknife 124 153British Columbia region Babine 372 298Bella Coola 49 85Cowichan 865 1,004Kamloops 71 62Kootenay 94 91Kwawkewlth 52 50Lytton 261 225New Westminster ... 75 154Nicola 75 81Okanagan 90 77Queen Charlotte .... 137 -Skeena River 106 112Stuart Lake 463 451Vancouver 15 55West Coast 464 335Williams Lake 65 59Yukon 414 3673. Yes. Indians are given assistance to prepare them to take their place in the labour market. Training in academic, technical,commercial and trade subjects is available

and Indians are encouraged to take advantage of these opportunities.

In co-operation with industry, the national employment service and other federal, provincial and municipal government agencies, Indians are assisted in obtaining employment.

In addition, a labour placement program for Indians in urban areas is being developed.

4. 2,940. In addition employment was found for many other Indians who were not receiving relief assistance at the time of placement.

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February 20, 1957

Mr. Thaicher:

Mr. Chairman, I intend to speak only briefly on this resolution. This measure is designed primarily to give a degree of security to the prairie wheat producers. I am sure it will meet with widespread acceptance in Saskatchewan by people of all political affiliations. As you know, the

prairies have always been particularly susceptible to the vagaries of drought, so susceptible in fact that wheat growing is called the greatest gamble in the world.

Hon. members will recall that in the 1930's our farmers on the prairies went through experiences which were almost unbelievable. A terrible drought which lasted for five or six years brought many thousands of farmers to their knees economically. In those days a farmer had to depend completely upon his own resources, and as a consequence a great majority of them were forced to go on direct relief. Most of the residents in these rural areas had to depend on eastern Canada for assistance, even for charity, for their needs in clothing and sometimes in food. The resulting situation robbed the farmers of western Canada in many cases of their dignity, their self-respect and their pride. Many were forced to move to other parts of the country.

These terrible conditions were largely responsible for the growth of the C.C.F. in Saskatchewan. Many people joined the C.C.F., not because they were socialists but rather because they were fed up with the depression conditions which then existed. I recall my own reasoning during that period. I came back to western Canada from university in 1936 when half the population of our province was on relief. I felt that there must be something wrong with a government which would permit conditions of that kind to exist. The C.C.F. was new, its speakers were plausible, and many of us hoped that they had policies which would help the farmer. Unfortunately time and experience have proved us to have been completely wrong.

One of the great virtues of the Liberal party is that it tries to benefit from past experience. It tries not to make the same mistake twice. That is one reason why this legislation is before us today. There are some in the house who have argued that crop insurance is the only answer to the problem of providing security for the western grain farmer. Undoubtedly crop insurance would be an ideal solution. But unfortunately there is not a company in the world, not even Lloyd's of London, which would be willing to assume the risks involved in insuring the western grain crop.

Whether the socialists like it or not, there is no power that the federal government has under our constitution, under which they can introduce crop insurance. That field lies completely within the jurisdiction of our provincial governments. If the socialists feel so strongly that we should have crop insurance, they should appeal to the C.C.F. government in Saskatchewan.

So the Liberal party had to look elsewhere for a solution.

In 1939, largely, I think, at the instigation of the Minister of Agriculture, an alternative to crop insurance was found and the original P.F.A.A. was introduced. Its object was simple and straightforward; it sought to guarantee to the western farmer that no matter how severely he was treated by the vagaries of climate or nature, he would have a certain basic income with which to pay for food and clothing and, perhaps, seed. Under the 1939 act, a minimum payment of $2.50 per acre was provided on half the cultivated acreage up to a maximum of 400 acres, with a total payment not exceeding $500.

Mr. Chairman, this particular act has been to the prairie farmer what the Unemployment Insurance Act has been to the working man. The farmer has borne a part of the cost by paying out one cent a bushel on the wheat he sells, but it is interesting to note that payments to farmers under this act have far exceeded what they have contributed.

Between 1939 and July 1956, prairie producers paid into the fund approximately $95 million. In the same period they have received benefits amounting to $184 million. I think the farmers of Moose Jaw-Lake Centre might be interested to know that they have drawn $6,815,000 under this act. I am sure the people of Assiniboia would be interested in knowing that up to December 31, 1955, they had drawn $13,762,000 under this act.

These substantial payments indicate the value of this Liberal legislation. For a number of years prairie Liberals have realized that the benefits under the act should be extended, and they have consistently urged such action on their colleagues from other parts of Canada. I think the reasons for these representations are fairly obvious. Since 1939 the cost of living has gone up and also the cost of production to the farmer, while inflation has depreciated the value of the Canadian dollar. Now the appeals of prairie Liberal members and, particularly, the appeals of the Minister of Agriculture were made on their merits, in a spirit of reasonableness and co-operation, and this legislation which is before us today is a direct result of those representations.

Under this bill when it is brought down, if my understanding is correct, the benefits will be increased over-all by roughly 50 per cent. Yet the cost to the farmer remains constant. I am convinced, as I said a moment ago, that the farmers of Saskatchewan almost without exception will welcome this measure with open arms. This is particularly true, Mr. Chairman, because of the effects of the great North American drought.

I have talked to many Canadians in recent weeks who have travelled through some of

Prairie Farm Assistance Act the states south of Saskatchewan-Texas, Wyoming, Colorado, Oklahoma-and most of them have been shocked by the devastating effects of that drought. They were shocked by the dust that is flying everywhere, and by the ruin and the desolation which have been caused. It is our earnest hope that this drought will not extend northward into Saskatchewan, yet we know from past experience that this is likely to happen. I say that if a drought does come to Saskatchewan this P.F.A.A. legislation which is now before us, will be one of the major weapons which will be used to fight the effects of that disaster.

I was very interested in C.C.F. criticism of this bill. As they so frequently do, when government legislation is introduced, they announced that they would support it. They dare not do anything else. Then, of course, immediately afterwards they said in effect: "It does not go far enough; a 50 per cent increase in payments is not sufficient; the benefits should be doubled."

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February 20, 1957

Mr. Thatcher:

I wholeheartedly support this resolution. In my opinion it is one more nail in the coffin of Canadian socialism.

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February 20, 1957

Mr. Thatcher:

Mr. Chairman, I say that if this bill doubled the payments, the C.C.F. would immediately say they should be trebled; and if the bill said the benefits should be trebled, the C.C.F. party would contend they should be quadrupled. It is always so easy for a party which has no responsibility of office, and which will never be in power, to promise the moon-to advocate the proverbial "pie in the sky."

I have always been amazed at the complete lack of financial responsibility which so many of the socialists from Saskatchewan seem to possess. For instance, in a speech made a couple of weeks ago, the hon. member for Assiniboia made suggestions which, if the government had adopted them, would have meant additional expenditure this year alone of $2,250 million.

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