June 22, 1905

LIB
CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

The hon. member had better keep quite on that; that is too much comedy.

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L-C

John Herron

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HERRON.

Before the debate closes I wish to say a few words in connection with the proposed schedules. Although I had something to do in assisting the hon. member for Calgary in preparing the figures, I shall not follow him in his argument, because he, and the hon. members for Montreal and Argenteuil, have placed the results .before the House in so convincing a way that it is not necessary for me to speak of them in detail. The figures presented by these gentlemen ought to be sufficient to show this parliament that an injustice is being done to the southern portion of Alberta. I do not believe that the Prime Minister and the Minister of the Interior have any solid foundation for their contention, that the geographical conditions of the north should be taken into consideration as against the greater population of the south. As the Minister of the Interior knows, from 1887 up to last November, almost the whole of the new province of Alberta was represented toy one member 'in this parliament, and the" hon. gentleman himself has represented it for the last eight years. If there is a good reason why we should have two members for that northern country to-day, there must be very good reason to say that we have been very badly represented for the last eighteen years. Alberta, which has been represented by one member was certainly far greater in area than the Peace River and Atliabaska districts to which it is proposed to give two members in the local assembly. The district of Alberta was something like 450 miles in length and over 300 in width, while the new district is in or about 300 miles square. The industries were just as varied in the old district of Alberta as they can possibly be in the two northern constituencies. One hundred miles north of Edmonton in a district which the Minister of the Interior represents, is chiefly a fur-producing district, Edmonton is an agricultural district and the south was a stockraising district for a great number of years. If the varied industries afford a good reason why this district should now have two members, it affords the same reason why we were badly represented for the last eighteen years all over Alberta. I was interested last evening to hear the member for Strath-cona refer to the industries of Atliabaska and Peace River districts. I shall not dispute his figures because I have no statistics to euable me to do so, but- at

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

the same time I do think they were veryi much exaggerated. I am quite satisfied, from the conditions in that country in the early days and judging by the conditions which prevail in mountain and foot-hill countries generally, that the stores to which he referred are in a great many cases not what people down here would consider ordinary places of business. A store in the general acceptance of the word in such a country simply means a settler living by the wayside who may be tweny-five miles from a neighbour aud who only keeps articles for trading purposes with travellers who frequent that northern country. It would perhaps be more correct to call these stores trading post. I know also the Hudson bay have posts in that country. I think the hon gentleman stated last evening that one of these stores represented something like $300,000 of commerce. I suppose it does at certain times of the year, when the furs are coming iu. But it is a trading post just the same, aud I do not think it indicates much permanent settlement iu that country. I do not think the stock interests are very great-in fact, I know they are not. I have not been there for a number of years, but I have information from men who travelled that country and that information is quite as reliable as that of my hon. friend from Edmonton (Mr. Oliver.) It is a moving population. The Minister of the Interior (Mr. Oliver) has said that, according to the present regulations of the department, squatters' rights are not protected in unsurveyed territory. The surveyed territory, I believe, extends only about 50 miles from Edmonton. Therefore, the population outside of that limit is not of a permanent charaeer.

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

The hon. member (Mr. Herron) will pardon me, but, while there is no regulation of the department protecting squatters' rights in this country, squatters' rights are and always have been held to be the best rights a man could have.

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L-C

John Herron

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HERRON.

That is not borne out by experience in my country. Previous to about 1889, squatters' rights were recognized, but about that time notices were scattered broadcast that they would not be longer protected. I know many cases of people having been removed, aud denied redress because of the notice having been given that they were no longer protected.

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

Squatters before survey V I think not.

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John Herron

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HERRON.

Yes ; they are not protected now as they were before 1889. Therefore, I say population in that country is not of a very permanent character. A fair estimate of the number of voters iu that northern country would be 250 for each constituency. Compare that with some of the districts in the south. Take, for instance, Cardston, with its great irrigation scheme, iu which probably more than $1,000,000

has been invested. We know that that irrigation system is attracting immigrants from the south. It will be seen that neither the voters' list nor the number of votes cast is a fair criterion by which to estimate the population of that section to-day. A large portion of the voters there are on 40-acre plots along the line of the ditch. Then take the district of Lethbridge, in the south, and compare it with Stony Plain, near Edmonton. Lethbridge is a very prosperous town-city, you may say-with a 'population, probably, of 5,000, and the centre of very large business interests of all kinds. From the coal mines there they have been sending out 2,000 tons of coal daily for years past. The town of Raymond is also hi the Lethbridge district. Four years ago there was not a soul where that town now stands with a population of nearly 15,000. It has a sugar refinery that cost over $400,000, and has about it a very large rural and agricultural population. To show that the number of votes east is not a criterion of poulation in that country, I may say that in the town of Raymond, with a population 2,800, only 113 votes were cast in the last election. It surely is unreasonable to give to Lethbridge , and Raymond, with their great agriculttiral population, only the same representation as is given to Stony Plain, near Edmonton, or to give this district in the south only one member when two members are given to Athabaska. Or take the district of Pincher Creek, in which I live. We have the Crow's Nest pass there, with the town of Frank and its coal mine that sold for over $3,000,. COO the other day. That mine is in operation, and has probably $500,000 invested in plant and sends out a large quantity of coal daily. The French campi of Lille is in the pass also. It is another mine, in which probably half a million dollars is invested. The town of Coleman is also in the pass with another great mine, with a plant ir which is- invested $300,000 or $400,000. Belleview is the name, I believe of another new town with a mine and plant in operation. Besides these there are several smaller mining villages. In addition to all this, there is the agricultural portion of Pincher Creek that will ship this year

500.000 bushels of wheat from thb station where I live. There is a population of 10,000 people in the district in which I live, including the Crow's Nest Pass and Pincher Creek. I do not think it fair to say that one member should be sent from that district to the assembly to vote on equal terms with a member from the sparsely settled northern district. I do not think we could give a much better representation to that country than that given by the legislative assembly in 1902. That was immediately after the census. As has been stated here, nine members were given south of Red Deer and six north of Red Deer. And there never were any complaints

from the north, so far as I know. That would indicate that that representation was a fairly good one. Then take the redistribution of Dominion seats in 1903, south of the Red Deer there were given two seats and two north. The hon. member for Strathcona (Mr. Peter Talbot) said last night that one-fifth of his district was also south of Red Deer, so that in Dominion representation (or one and four-fifths to a distinct in the north they have two and one-fifth in the south. I think that would be another fair way to estimate the seats in that country. Why, in this distribution, do they give thirteen seats north of Red Deer and only twelve south. I cannot see any good reason why that is done. I cannot see any good reason why Athabaska with only 2ob votes should have the same representation as Calgary which has over 10,000 souls. I do not think that any hon. gentleman would say that that is a fair way to represent that large district in the new parliament. Then take the Banff district and look at the interests there, for instance, the Anthracite coal mines. In Canmore, $250,000 are invested in coal mines and in Bank head $800,000. These districts are growing just as rapidly as the northern country. We have been told by some members that we are providing for an increase of population and by others that we are not; but no matter which way you take it, these places are developing as rapidly as that northern country and will develop more rapidly in the future. Therefore, I have yet to see any fair reason why north of Red Deer should have thirteen seats and south of Red Deer only twelve. As regards the grain producing capabilities of the two countries, I see that in 'the Edmonton district spring wheat averages 10'53 bushels per acre, fall wheat 11-60, oats, 29-70 and barley 24-73. Take Calgary and I find that spring wheat averages 19-04 per acre compared with 16-03 in the Edmonton district; fall wheat 23-40 compared with 11-00; oats 37-41 compared with 29-71 per acre in Edmonton district. In the Macleod district there is still a greater difference. Fall wheat there compares 25'97 bushel with 11-60 in the north, and oats. 34-57 against 29-71 in the north. I take these figures from the geography published recently by the Department of Agriculture. They show that even from an agricultural standpoint, the southern country will rank above the north; and for that reason I do not see why it should not continue to progress in the same proportion. For many years the southern country was supposed to be nothing but a stock country, but in almost every part of it where agriculture has been tried to any extent, it has proved a success. In the district where I live, at one time we thought it would be impossible for a farmer to make a living from his farm, yet to-day we find it the most prosperous farming country pro-

bably in tbe Dominion. For the last five or six years, we have raised the best crops grown anywhere in the country, either wheat, oats, barley or potatoes or in fact vegetables of almost any kind. So that I do not see any reason w'hy our southern country should not be considered a first-class country, likely to go ahead in the future even more rapidly than any part of the northern country referred to. As regards schools, it is well known that in a stock country, the stock men evade the school tax in every way possible. That is easily understood by any one who understands the conditions under which these men live. There would be a large area covered by one of the stockmen, and the odd settlers who would go in there would naturally try to establish a school district. Eight children are sufficient to form a school district, but the stockmen would have to pay the bulk of the taxes and naturally would oppose the establishment of schools, and therefore they did their best to keep out small farmers who would settle on 160 acres each. They discouraged the schools and drove the small settlers into the town where their children could get schooling. That is one reason why there are not so many schools in the southern country as in the north. The local improvement districts are practically in the same position. A lot of farmers living together would rather turn out and do their own work with their own teams in their spare time in the month of June, than contribute $2.50 to the general treasury. Whereas on the other hand the stockmen, who do not use teams very much, would naturally prefer to contribute to the general assembly at Regina, and every one in the Northwest has the option of either paying to the local improvement district at Regina or forming a local district. I think eight men, or about that number, can form a local district and do their own work if they see fit to do so. You can see from what X have said that the local improvement districts are not a very good ground for saying that there is more population in the north than in the south ; neither do the post offices form a good index of population. The Minister of the Interior represented our district for the last eight years and I think he was more kind to the people of the north than to the south and for that reason there are more post offices in the north than in the south, although there is not so large a population. Many of our people have to go from ten to twenty miles for their mail. I have been asking this session for post offices in districts where there are a dozen families in a settlement who have to travel seven or eight miles for their mail, but my applications have been refused with the statement that it was impossible to establish post offices for that number of people. That I say is a good reason why post offices are not a good guide in which to estimate a basis of representation. The minister said it was Mr. HERRON.

men who voted and not money or cattle. I claim that we have both men and the money in the south; we have a larger population and more invested, proportionately, than they have in the north country. That is not a reason why the northern people should not have an equitable proportion of representation, but under these conditions they should not have more representation in the north ; it should be equal. The

Minister of the Interior and the member for Assiniboia have said that the Northwest Territories assembly should have been called together and have the feeling of the people of the Northwest put on record with reference to these new constituencies. The reasons for. not calling that legislature have been made clear to this House. There were seven vacant seats in the assembly, and the assembly held its annual session a year ago. The Northwest assembly received money from here as a sort of gift annually in the form of estimates, each item assigned to a special service. I suppose the estimate of last year was taken in the usual form and was used by the ordinary session last year. As soon as the session was over these men resigned. In the first place there was no money to hold the by-elections and I do not suppose there was anything provided wherewith to hold a session of parliament. That I think is a good reason why the assembly was not called. Then it was well known or anticipated from the time parliament met and the Bill was introduced that the powers of the legislative assembly would cease on July 1st. We in the Territories, including Mr. Haultain. were expecting that we -would eventually get justice in that country, and' I have no doubt he was fighting and living in hope that we would get the same justice in the south. I was surprised to hear the hon. member for East Assiniboia (Mr. Turriff) say that my opponent was in favour of this distribution of the seats. The Board of Trade of Lethbridge has condemned it in the strongest terms possible, and I believe they have sent a protest to the First Minister. More than that the gentleman in the Lethbridge district wTho was looking for the nomination there and who I believe was nominated, received the nomination strictly on condition that he would oppose these Bills. He had to give that promise before he could get the nomination. and he is a Liberal supporting this government.

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

Has the hon. gentleman heard any objection from Macleod or Pincher Creek ?

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L-C

John Herron

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HERRON.

I have had protests made to me personally and I think I can produce resolutions of the Board of Trade of Macleod.

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

And this Bill gives Macleod two members when it only had one by the redistribution of two years ago !

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L-C

John Herron

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HERRON.

X acknowledge we have two, but I think you will admit we were entitled to them.

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

So yon were before but you did not get them.

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

You had to wait for this Bill to 4 justice.

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CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AMES.

Has the minister read the Mncleoil ' Gazette ' of May 18 and the rinclier Creek ' Rocky Mountain Echo ' on this question ?

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LIB
CON
LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

What I have already said to the House will show how reasonable those protests are, when they are getting twice the representation under thi3 that they had before.

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June 22, 1905