February 3, 1928


William George Bock


Mr. W. G. BOCK (Maple Creek):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to ask the indulgence of hon. members for any imperfections they may observe in my attempt to present a few remarks in connection with the speech from the throne. Being a plain western farmer with no claims to oratorical ability and with but a very scant knowledge of parliamentary procedure, I trust their criticisms with regard to any observations I may make will be tempered with kindness, in return for which I shall endeavour to be as brief as possible.

In the first place I should like to congratulate the hon. member for Hants-Kings (Mr. Ilsley) who made so splendid an address on Friday last, and also to make mention of the very able manner in which the hon. member for Provfncher (Mr. Beaubien) acquitted himself. I hope at some future time I may be able to present my remarks with the same assurance and ease of manner which my hon. friends displayed on that occasion. I also wish to congratulate the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) on his having been elected to that high position, and, like many other Liberals present no doubt, I hope that he may long continue to hold that position.

I have been so much impressed by the grandeur and the splendour of these historic halls that I fear I may not be able to do justice this evening to my constituents, conscious that I am surrounded by brilliant statesmen and gifted orators. I can only comfort myself by remembering that, unschooled and inexperienced in parliamentary lore, nevertheless, as I wish to assure hon. members, I am sincere in my desire to be of service to my constituents and to Canada as a whole.


Agnes Campbell Macphail



I would not take the # splendour too seriously. The hon. member ' is of more account anyhow.


William George Bock



I thank my hon. friend. On an occasion of this kind I could scarcely forbear to refer briefly to the celebration of the diamond jubilee of confederation, and I think the national committee deserve our congratulations on the very successful manner in which that vast program was carried out. I am sure this celebration served to create a deep interest in Canadian history and tradition, because no one could have participated in that celebration without acquiring a more comprehensive knowledge of Canadian history. The various departments of government, both federal and provincial, reviewed

the progress of our country since confederation in their many publications and supplied a mass of information on our political and economic development. In addition to this the newspapers, private institutions, and many individuals, contributed a large amount of valuable information touching on various phases of our Canadian life.

I am convinced that the influence of the celebration on the children of Canada must have been remarkably strong. From coast to coast our young people were busily engaged in essay-writing competitions and oratorical contests on Canadian subjects, which must have revived and deepened their interest in the study of Canadian history. The hon. member for Yorkton (Mr. McPhee) referred very appropriately last night to that particular part of the celebration when he commented on the way in which our foreign-born young people had participated in it. When we reflect that it is on the rising generation tha't the future of our country depends, the keen interest displayed by young Canadians was gratifying. The very atmosphere seemed to be filled with harmony and unity, and with a consciousness of the fact that the entire nation was listening to the grand carillon pealing forth our national anthems. The inspiring words spoken by our foremost Canadians .seemed to find echoes in the hearts of us all. All question of partisanship, all distinctions of class, race or creed, were pushed far into the background where we hope they may remain forever. I am glad that at this session of parliament, following as it does the great jubilee of confederation, there appears to be even in this chamber an exemplification of that harmony and unity so strikingly in evidence last July, because sometimes on reading Hansard in the past I have been inclined to think that at times there was scarcely sufficient harmony to go round.

In the year just past we have had some very distinguished visitors in the person of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, his royal brother Prince George, and Mr. Baldwin, Prime Minister of Great Britain. While we as Canadians are always glad to welcome a representative of His Majesty to our shores, we always feel particularly glad to welcome His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, as wherever he goes he carries a message of goodwill, and through his kindly and cheerful personality he has done much, I am sure, to strengthen the bonds of sympathy and common interest which unite the various units of the British Empire. The visit of Mr. Baldwin might be considered a reminder of the importance of our jubilee of confedera-

The Address-Mr. Bock

lion. I understand in visiting us last summer he established a precedent, as prior to that time no British premier had ever visited one of the dominions during his term of office. It is also interesting to recall that Mr. Baldwin was bom in 1867, the year of confederation, and the fact that he celebrated his sixtieth birthday on Canadian soil was rather a pleasant coincident.

I should like to place on record a few remarks with regard to the Hudson Bay railway. In this regard I think the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Dunning) is to be congratulated on the very prompt manner in which he acted in making his decision in favour of Fort Churchill as the terminus of that railroad. He did not hesitate nor allow the grass to grow under his feet after he received the preliminary report of Mr. Palmer, and though his prompt action in this matter was criticized to some extent by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett), yet we all are aware that had he deferred action in order to await the approval of parliament on a matter of this importance, he would have subjected himself to the criticism of every energetic citizen of Canada, including probably the leader of the opposition himself.

I believe it is customary for a new member to refer to some of the outstanding features of his constituency, and in this connection also I shall endeavour to be very brief. The constituency of Maple Creek is situated in the extreme southwest corner of the province of Saskatchewan. It is an entirely agricultural area- adapted to ranching and wheat raising. The western half of the constituency lies within the area known as the Chinook belt, which is not always blessed with the average or ordinary amount of rainfall, and which is subject in the growing periods to those hot winds that sometimes sweep in from the southwest and destroy the crops in a very short time. Many of the farmer's in that area are in a rather unfortunate position. A considerable number of the original settlers have left and have located in other parts of the province where the rainfall is more plentiful. Many of those remaining will never be able to pay up the amount still owing on their pre-emption. It has been thought by some that if they were given an opportunity to file on a second homestead-the abandoned lands in that area being made available for this purpose, with the indebtedness cancelled -it might assist them materially to carry on. The hon. member for Medicine Hat (Mr. Gershaw) last night touched on this phase of the situation, as his constituency adjoins mine and many of the conditions there are

much the same as those in Maple Creek. I have been informed that some relief may be anticipated, an act respecting debts due to the crown having been passed at the last session. This would mean that each case would have to be adjusted on its merits, I understand, as a blanket policy would involve difficulty in establishing boundary lines; that is, if a certain area were segregated it would apply to all located in that area. The settlers in this area are a very good class of people and are deserving of some consideration in this regard.

You, Mr. Speaker, have no doubt heard of the bountiful crops with which the west was favoured last year. We had an unusually late spring, and with the almost continuous rainfall seeding was not completed until about June 1, and in some cases later. We had an abundance of moisture, and the prospect looked veiy bright. Then, a series of disastrous hailstorms swept over the country and wiped out thousands of acres of splendid crops. This was followed by frost and then by rust, and when the crops were harvested continual rainy weather delayed threshing operations. To aggravate matters, winter set in on November 6, much earlier than usual, and I would judge that in the western half of my constituency at least 45 or 50 per cent of the crop is still unthreshed, having been snowed under. A large percentage of the grain that had been threshed was of low grade owing to frost and rust damage, and the wet weather prevailing at that time caused most of it to grade tough or damp. So when we read in the papers about the glowing conditions in the west, we regret that those conditions do not obtain everywhere.

In this connection I would point out that I believe conditions would have been, much worse had it not been for the operation of the wheat pool, for I am sure we are all agreed that through our system of distribution by means of centralized marketing we have been able to secure a much better return for our product than we could have done otherwise. I think the splendid success of the wheat pool in western Canada to-day constitutes a demonstration of the benefits of economic distribution, for while it raised the price of wheat to the producer-it has been said by reliable authorities in the neighborhood of 25 cents a bushel-it did not increase the price of bread to the consumer. Possibly some of our hon. friends who are seeking an upward revision of the tariff might be able to reduce their cost of distribution in somewhat the same manner.

The Address-Mr. Bock

I have noticed' in the press recently that some of the experts engaged in rust research work in connection with the Department of Agriculture might be obliged to discontinue it owing to the remuneration not being sufficient. I think, Mr. Speaker, that if this branch of the department has any hope of solving so serious a problem as that of stem rust, we should see to it that sufficient funds are provided to enable the department to carry on in this very important research work.

I could not very well refer to the constituency of Maple Creek without making some mention of my hon. predecessor, Mr. George Spence, who was our representative in this house in the last two sessions of parliament, As an untiring worker in the interests of his constituents he had no peer. He devoted a great deal of his time to the promotion of railway branch lines. Indeed, most of his electors were very reluctant to dispense with his services as their federal representative. His work in relation to the establishment of the consumers' league is, I am sure, well known to us all. I might mention incidentally that the winning of elections was one of Mr. Spence's favourite pastimes. I believe in the past two years he has contested and won four elections. This is a record which, I think, will stand for some time to come. To follow in the footsteps of so energetic a man as George Spence-he is now Minister of Railways and Highways in the province of Saskatchewan-is going to be no easy task for me if I make any attempt to maintain the fast pace which he set.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, possibly I should thank the hon. leads' of the opposition for the fact that the Maple Creek seat was not contested in the recent by-election, and I can afford to do so. But I am inclined to think that my acclamation was not due so much to any generosity on the part of the hon. leader of the opposition, or to any great personal merit of my own, but that it was rather a reflection of the confidence of the people of my constituency in the present Liberal administration.


Harry James Barber

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. H. J. BARBER (Fraser Valley):

Mr. Speaker, at the outset of my remarks I wish to congratulate the last speaker (Mr. Bock) on his maiden speech. I am sure that the oldest member is still able to look back to that outstanding event in his parliamentary career with a certain feeling of satisfaction. But although I am a young member I must confess that I do not recall my own maiden effort with unmixed pleasure; in fact I have not yet altogether recovered from the ordeal.

The speech from the throne has been criticized for what it contains and for what it does not contain. Many able addresses have been delivered from both sides of the house, in the course of which the ground has been very fully covered, and if it were not that during the debate the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) brought to our attention a matter which is very vital to the province of British Columbia, I would hesitate to take part in the debate at this time. I may say that the oriental question has never been a political issue in our province. We have, irrespective of party, been working shoulder to . shoulder in that great fight for a white British Columbia. For the last thirty years we have appealed to this parliament and to the people of eastern Ontario to join with us in checking what we have termed the oriental menace. We have been rewarded by the fact that some years ago we were successful in securing the exclusion of Chinese immigrants. Since that legislation went into force not one Chinese immigrant has stepped on our shores. Now comes the question of the Jap, and I can assure hon. members, irrespective of party, that the people of the province of British Columbia were delighted to know that one of the old parties in Canada in convention this year, with representatives from all parts of this Dominion, recognized our claim for the general application of something in the way of effective exclusion of orientals. The Prime Minister in his address last Tuesday expressed regret at the action of this convention. He.said:

I was sorry to see at the party convention which my hon friend attended that among other resolutions which were passed was a resolution declaring for oriental exclusion.

I think, Mr. Speaker, that this house will agree with me that there was nothing wrong with that resolution. It is short and I am going to read it to you. It is as follows:

Therefore resolved, that Canada adopt an aggressive system of immigration based upon the selective principle and with that end in view efforts he directed to:

(1) Repatriation of Canadians.

(2) Securing a larger percentage of British settlers.

(3) Taking full advantage of the assistance tendered by the British government to promote empire settlement.

(4) Making arrangements between the two governments to ensure proper training of the youth of the British isles as agriculturalists to better qualify them as Canadian settlers.

(5) That in the selection and settlement of immigrants a sane classification and distribution should be made taking into consideration the immigrants' previous occupation and adaptability and that in such distribution the needs of all provinces should be given fullest consideration.

The Address-Mr. Barber

(6) That in selecting new immigrants, relatives of present citizens of Canada should receive favourable consideration.

(7) That special concessions be granted to Canadians to enable them to settle our vacant lands.

(8) .Oriental exclusion.

That resolution is in the best interests of Canada. I am not going to deal with it generally, but I will take up section 8, and I think it is fair that we should read along with this section the preamble:

Therefore resolved, that Canada adopt an aggressive system of immigration based upon the selective principle and with that end in view efforts be directed to oriental exclusion.

This is what we have been working for in British Columbia for a number of years in regard to Japanese immigration. We have asked that some action be taken that would eventually lead up to the exclusion of Japanese immigrants. About twenty years ago we entered into an agreement with Japan which was ratified by the two governments. It is known as a gentleman's agreement. The terms have not been made public, but it is understood it was to limit the immigration of Japanese immigrants to this country. In 1922 during a debate in this house I understand that a full day was set aside to consider the oriental problem. During that debate it was pointed out by some members from British Columbia that this agreement was ineffective and a demand was made for its abrogation. The government at that time agreed to accept an amended resolution reading as follows:

The government should take immediate action with a view to securing the effective restriction of future immigration of this type.

The words "effective restriction" were preferred by the government to the word "exclusion," and they assured us that that would very shortly lead up to what we desired, namely, exclusion. What has been done to give effective restriction to Japanese immigration? The gentleman's agreement is still in force. Has Japanese immigration decreased since the year 1922? Let us look at the reports in the Department of Immigration and Colonization. Those reports show that the number of Japanese who entered this country were as follows in the years given:

1923 369

1924 448

1925 501

1926 421

1927 475

These Japanese entered as immigrants and became residents of this country. The

serious part of this influx during those years is that so many women have been permitted to enter. Of the 1.397 Japanese who entered Canada during the last three years, 724 were women and 250 children under 18 years of age. It is construed that because nothing was said in the agreement about Japanese women there was no bar to their entry, or in the words of a Japanese, it is a gentleman's agreement and does not apply to ladies. They say there is a woman for every Japanese man who wants one, and as a result the Japanese are breeding themselves into possession of a good share of the business of British Columbia.

The following details of the oriental occupation of British Columbia were assembled through official inquiries made by the bureau of provincial information, giving the situation accurately to the beginning of 1927:

(1) At the beginning of 1927 the oriental population of the province was at least 46,500, or 1 in 12 persons. (Taking the adult males only into consideration, there is one Asiatic male for every five men in British Columbia. -T.M.).

(2) The Japanese birth-rate was 40 per 1,000, as compared with a general birth-rate (except native Indians) of 18 per 1,000.

(3) The increase in the Japanese population through excess of births over deaths was greater, by more than two to one, than the immigration of people of that race.

(4) Arrivals of Japanese women have greatly outnumbered arrivals of men for several years; two women coming in for every man.

(5) Of oriental arrivals in Canada in the past 20 years, British Columbia got 80 per cent of the Chinese, over 98 per cent of the Japanese, and nearly 99 per cent of the Hindus.

(6) Orientals owned land and improved property in British Columbia to an aggregate value of $10,491,250, and lease property valued at $1,099,500.

(7) Over 11,300 orientals were employed in the industries of the province.

(8) In three years preceding 1927 the number of Japanese children in the public schools had increased by 74 per cent, while white children had increased by only 6 per cent.

(9) With development of production under glass, the oriental was more and more increasing his hold; in 1923 he had constituted 9 per cent of the growers with 28 per cent of glass area; in 1925, 13 per cent of the growers with 37 per cent of the glass area.

(10) The handling of produce and garden truck by pedlars or hucksters was almost entirely in the hands of Chinese, and the same applied to the sale of vegetables in stores, to the extent of 91 per cent in the city of Vancouver.

Speaking of Vancouver, I have a statement here from the city hall records, as of October 31, 1927, showing that the number of trade licenses issued to Chinese in that year was 756. and the number issued to Japanese 1,060.

The Address-Mr. Barber

The Prime Minister and others have laid great stress on the question of trade, and have pointed to the growth of the Pacific ports. All I have to say in that regard is that other countries have adopted exclusion measures, and it has not interfered with their trade with the countries affected. South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, sister dominions in this great empire, all have oriental exclusion laws, but still they trade with Japan and China. The United States has passed a Japanese exclusion law, and yet their trade with Japan increased enormously last year.

Another stumbling block appears to be Great Britain anti her foreign relations. So far as British Columbia is concerned, I do not think anyone will doubt the loyalty of that province to the British crown, and we would not like to see anything take place that would disturb the friendly relations between Great Britain and Japan. We claim that it is not necessary to disturb these relations, and that such a thing would not happen. It has not happened with the other British dominions. As I said before, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia all have exclusion laws. Asiatics are not permitted to enter these countries as immigrants or to become citizens. Australia to-day boasts of being a white man's country. At the same time the people of Canada must realize that under the present arrangement there has grown up a great domestic and economic problem in this country. I would point out to the Prime Minister that we do not insist upon the word "exclusion", which he claims is so objectionable to Japan, being incorporated in the legislation. He may adopt the Natal act or any other act that he sees fit so long as it will give the result we desire, and that is the exclusion of Japanese as immigrants to this country. I feel that there should be no objection on the part of Japan if it was pointed out to them that some legislation of that kind was necessary, that it was impossible to assimilate their race with ours, that such an attempt would be fraught with great danger, and that it was in the best interests of both nations that immigration should cease. In other words, we must be able to say to them, without offence, that the time has come for effective exclusion of that class of people from our shores as residents.


Joseph-Arthur Bradette


Mr. J. A. BRADETTE (North Timiska-ming):

Mr. Speaker, I think it is in order for me in rising to speak on the motion for an address in reply to the speech from the throne to congratulate the mover (Mr. Ilsley) and the seconder (Mr. Beaubien) of the address. It has been a great privilege for me

[Air. Barber.]

in this my second session to study the members of this house, and I just wish to say that the hon. member for Hants-Kings (Mr. Ilsley) certainly lived up to expectations. That part of the country has produced eminent orators and statesmen, and he is a true Liberal of that great school. I also wish to extend my congratulations to the seconder of the address. His was a splendid speech. I have had the pleasure of reading it all the way through, and the hon. member did credit not only to his constituency but also to the great race that he has the honour to represent in this house.

I also want to congratulate the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) and the Prime Minister of Canada (Mr. Mackenzie King). I know that my humble congratulations will not go very far, especially afteT the wonderful reception their addresses have received in the press throughout the whole of Canada. They have certainly lived up to the high expectations that were held of both of them, and they thoroughly deserve all the congratulations that have been showered on them from both sides.

I had the good fortune to-day to read some comments in Saturday Night on the speech from the throne, and I gathered from that reading that there was considerable information to be gathered and a lot of work to be done this session.

I wish to make just a brief allusion to the celebration of the diamond jubilee of confederation. It has been a wonderful thing to unite all the different groups living in Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It has been a wonderful thing for the whole nation. Some splendid addresses were made, and we had distinguished visitors from Great Britain whose visits were appreciated by every section of this country. Several suggestions have been made as to the best ,way of commemorating this great national event. One came from the maritime provinces that we should construct a confederation highway. That would be something tangible to show to future generations that we really wanted to unite the whole of Canada and maintain the spirit of confederation. It would be a highly desirable thing to construct a highway from the Atlantic to the Pacific, binding together every section of this great country of ours.

I want to say just a word in regard to the St. Lawrence waterway. I believe that the government has taken the only practical stand under the present circumstances in giving this question, which is not only a national but an international question, very thorough study. While I am in full sympathy

The Address-Mr. Bradette

with the needs and requirements of these two provinces, we have in Ontario, within our own borders, a wonderful waterway which eventually must be developed; I refer to the Georgian bay canal. It is really a national waterway within our own borders. As I said when I spoke in this house last year, the problems of southern Ontario ,are also the problems of northern Ontario, and vice versa, and I think in this discussion we should consider first of all the national waterway we have within our own borders.

Now I would like to say a word or two about immigration. I have heard hon. members opposite say that during the last ten years the population of Canada has not been increased. I am glad to say, as a representative of one of the most prosperous ridings in the whole of Canada, that the population in my riding and in northern Ontario generally has increased at least 300 per cent in the last ten years. If you look at the statistics you will find that in 1916 we had a population of only 30,000 people, while to-day we have over 100,000, and I believe the same principles should apply tp the western provinces. We need immigration, but as the government has well said through the Prime Minister, we want to be .in a position to assimilate the people we bring in. Let us not go too fast in these matters; let us try first of all to give them work.

I was greatly surprised two or three weeks ago to read in a newspaper the fact that a young British immigrant brought before a justice of the peace said he was surprised to find that there were six months of winter in Canada. We must tell the truth to the immigrants who leave their own shores and come to Canada. It has been my good fortune to speak to many British immigrants and they were absolutely unprepared for the winter conditions in this country. While we all know we have a beautiful winter I think everyone naturally prefers the summer, and we should see that the people we bring out are fully acquainted with these facts. Perhaps it would not make so much difference to those coming from the Scandinavian countries, where conditions are somewhat similar to ours, but I must say that some of the British people are being brought here under false representations. As you know, most of our immigrants arrive in the spring or early summer, and are greatly surprised at our winter climate. When the first snow comes they expect it to go away shortly as it does in England, but when they find it remaining for six months they are disillusioned and disappointed,: and this is one of the great 56103-12

reasons why so many immigrants leave Canada. We should tell them the truth before they come here. I do not say that we are handicapped by our climate, but of course it creates certain seasonal conditions. As we all know, the primary industry of Canada is farming, and the farmers do not employ as much help in the winter as they do during the summer months. That condition applies until the end of March or the first of April. For these reasons I repeat that it is not fair either to Canada or to the immigrants themselves to bring them out here under any misapprehension. We must tell them of the exact conditions which prevail here, and if they want to come over under those conditions, as I believe they will, I am sure they will make better Canadians.

There is another class of immigrants to whom I would like to refer. I speak now of those who come to Canada with the sole intention of sending out as much money as they possibly can. You would be surprised, if it were possible to get these statistics from the Post Office department, to learn the amount of money which is being sent from Canada back to Europe. Every dollar earned in Canada by this type of immigrant is a dead loss, because it is all sent out of the country. We should see that we get the class of immigrant who really intends to live here all the time.

Let me go a step further. I do not believe we shall need so many immigrants, and I am sure we will not lose our population to such a great extent, if the government will do something to see that young Canadians are offered some inducement to go on the farms and stay there. As you know, the bright lights of the cities, with their theatres, dance halls and so on, are wonderfully attractive even to the urban papulation, so it is no wonder that the young people are attracted from the country. If it were possible for the government to induce those young men and women to remain on the farms it would be a very splendid thing. Just in this connection I might mention something to which I have given a good deal of thought. In northern Ontario we have at least 20,000,000 acres of the best land in Canada to-day, and I believe it to be a fact that there are millions of acres of vacant lands in the western provinces as well. It should be easy, therefore, to retain our young manhood which we are now losing to the bigger towns and cities of this country and eventually to the larger centres of population to our south. Most of these young people would make good farmers and good citizens, but what are the actual conditions?


The Address-Mr. Bradette

Within the last four weeks I was in the city of Toronto, and on my way to the theatre I was stopped at different times by five able bodied young men asking for a quarter with which to get a meal. It seems to me that if the federal and provincial governments could do something to settle these young Canadians on the land it would be the best possible way to provide employment. If we could induce a young man to take a farm in northern Ontario, perhaps the government might promise to give him twenty-five dollars for every acre of 'land that he clears, for a yearly maximum of 20 acres of land for every acre he cleared to a total value of 11,500, and some arrangement might be made whereby, if that young man remained on the farm for ten years, the money would be refunded to him and he would have his land free. If something of that sort could be worked out it would help a great deal in keeping our people here.

We were told this afternoon that we are importing a large percentage of our vegetables and fruits, and surely it is no wonder, because I believe our cities are over-populated. I was in Montreal some time ago and was told by some people there that if they lost their positions around the beginning of December they would be unable to get other work until spring. In northern Ontario, however, we have seasonable employment. When the farmers are through with their work in the summer they can work for the big companies in the woods or in the minesi and in that way find employment twelve months of the year. Again I say I believe the government are following a wise policy in trying first to assimilate the immigrants we have already brought in, and in not bringing more' people here by the thousands without finding employment for them for the whole year.

Then I would like to say a word in connection with the reduction of the national debt. I am absolutely in favour of certain measures by which we may expect to reduce our debt slowly and surely, but I believe the time has arrived when this government should spend money on public buildings all over Canada. We know that in the past the governments have been following a very wise policy in only spending what was absolutely necessary, but I believe we should now begin to spend money in this way where it is needed.


An hon. MEMBER:

Hear, hear.


Joseph-Arthur Bradette



I can tell my hon. friend opposite, to ease his mind, that I do not want to make a run on the treasury myself.

I am thinking at the moment of the city of Toronto, where they need a big customs house.

I think that is something they should get, and I have no doubt they will get it in time. There are of course a good many other localities besides Toronto and Montreal in which public money should be spent, because I know in certain sections of the country they are very badly in need of post offices and other public buildings. I do not- suggest that this money should be spent on public buildings alone, however, and I will give you an instance of another way in which some of this money could be profitably spent. In the town of Kapuskasing, within the limits of my own constituency, we have the best experimental farm in the whole of Canada, but within the last year I have had several reports from the settlers of that district fo the effect that some of the horses belonging to that experimental farm were being hired out in order to make both ends meet. There is a case in which I believe some money could be spent to great advantage, because it is not fair for the settlers of that district to have to compete with government agencies in that way. I have suggested to the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell) that sufficient money be given that experimental farm to permit them to meet their own expenses, and relieve the settlers in that neighbourhood from this unfair competition.

We cannot always go by what we see in the newspapers; sometimes they contain the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but at other times they contain very queer things, and I would not like it to be understood that I am suggesting a run on the treasury. I do not intend to make any such raid unless conditions absolutely warrant it, but in this case I believe we could spend at least $10,000 more with very good results.

One of the other things with which I would like to deal while I am on my feet is the very momentous question of the taxation of railway properties. People in the town of Cochrane, and when I say that I include the whole district of northern Quebec and northern Ontario practically from Quebec city to the Manitoba border, have been agitating for the last ten years at least that the property of the Canadian National Railways, or at all events a section of the old National Transcontinental line, should be taxed. We had several promises made by different ministers of federal governments of both parties, but with no result, and I am putting this before the house not in' any political sense but because I believe it to be a national matter. In order that this cause might be furthered, before the house opened I gave notice of the following motion:

The Address-Mr. Bradette

Taxation of Canadian National Railway property, on that portion of the railway system primarily known as the National Transcontinental, and extending from Quebec city to Winnipeg, for municipal and school purposes, in all localities, along these sections of the railway municipally organized-

Whereas, government ownership of the Canadian National railway system has created a burdensome situation in a number of municipalities through having a large portion of otherwise assessable property placed on the exempt list; and

Whereas, in many cases the loss of municipal taxes from such exempt property is out of proportion and creates a very serious loss of revenue absolutely needed for the proper administration of municipal affairs; and

Whereas, the prerogative of the crown, of having crown property exempt from taxation, was established prior to the crown ever expecting to or undertaking to take up competitive business in full competition with private corporations which are subject to municipal taxation; and

Whereas, it would appear that justice and equity would preclude the crown from taking advantage over private corporations in the discharge of corporate business; and

Whereas, the National Transcontinental was built by the Dominion government for the Grand Trunk Pacific railway on the understanding that it would be handed over to this latter railway on completion and under a lease, as an integral part of the Grand Trunk Pacific system; and

Whereas, the principle of taxation of railway property on the Canadian National railway has been maintained and in some cases established, in most sections of the present corporation, namely; over the portions of the system originally called the Grand Trunk railway, the Grand Trunk Pacific, the Canadian Northern and the Intercolonial;

Therefore be it resolved: That this house urges tile waiving of the prerogative of the crown of exempting any such railway property from municipal and school taxation, on that section of the Canadian National railway system originally known as the National Transcontinental railway, from Quebec city to Winnipeg, for all organized municipalities along that part of the Canadian National railway system, which is occupied and used solely for the administration and maintenance of that portion of the aforesaid railway system.

A few days afterwards I received the following letter from the Clerk of the House of Commons:

January 19 th, 1928.

Dear Mr. Bradette,

The notice of motion which you sent in for the order paper does not seem to be in order, as resolutions to increase a charge upon the people must be introduced by the government with the recommendation of the Governor General.

You are asking by this motion that the house urge the waiving of the prerogative of the crown of exempting the Canadian National Railways from the municipal taxation in a certain part of the country. If you secure an affirmative 56103-rl2i

vote, the government will be bound to renounce these taxes. In other words you are asking for a decision of the house on a charge upon the people without following the ordinary practice.

I took the matter up with Mr. Speaker this morning and he entirely agrees with me. I regret therefore my inability to give notice of this motion when the session opens.

As I said before, this is a very important matter for northern Ontario. I have no quarrel \Vhatever with public ownership. I am well aware of the fact that public ownership is dcfing wonderful work in the province of Ontario; it has certainly accomplished striking results from an industrial and commercial point of view in the southern portion of the province. I doubt, however, if we should have the prosperity we enjoy to-day in northern Ontario if we had had to depend upon that policy. To private ownership and the investment of private capital we owe much of the development in the northern parts of the province. In presenting the case as I do for the town of Cochrane I am speaking for the whole of northern Ontario and northern Quebec. In that sparsely populated northern country the municipalities need all the taxation they can get, and the amount involved here will run to from $75,000 to $100,000 a year.

I am going to read a memorial which was drawn up by the town of Cochrane, discussing the merits of the case. Other municipalities have concurred in this representation, and although it is somewhat lengthy I deem it better to place it before the house so that all hon. members may be apprised of the fact. The communication in question reads as follows:

The municipal council of the town of Cochrane, in conjunction with other municipal bodies in northern Ontario and northern Quebec, has the honour to place before the honourable the Minister of Railways and Canals, the great injustice suffered by the towns and villages in these localities through the differentiation in respect to taxation for municipal purposes of the Canadian National railways, and to respectfully submit the following facts in connextion therewith: -

(1) The National Transcontinental line was built by the Dominion government for the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway on the understanding that it would be handed over to this latter railway on completion and under a lease, as an integral part of the Grand Trunk Pacific system.

(2) The National Transcontinental line, to all intent and purpose, was completed at the close of the year of 1913 but the failure of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway to fulfil their undertaking left the National Transcontinental line at the mercy of an indifferent operation of portions of the road, by contractors, thereby greatly retarding the development around hero, until in July 1915 it was consolidated with the Intercolonial railway into the Canadian Government railways and has been in operation ever since.

(3) A large section of the National Transcontinental line has heen built through virgin lands

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of northern Ontario and northern Quebec and must be considered, in every sense of the word, purely a colonization road and the townsites along this section have been laid out on picked out level stretches of either muskeg or swampy bush land which required an enormous amount of groundwork in the clearing, in order to permit even the most rudimentary town planning.

(4) The building of this colonization portion Of the National Transcontinental line can therefore in no way be considered a boou to the towns along its right of way as all these towns had to come subsequent to the building of the railway and they have since done their full sh9.re in the colonization and development of the territory within their sphere of influence, in even a larger proportion than the railway itself has done for northern Ontario and northern Quebec.

(5) The demand for educational and sanitary measures alone, in the building up of the towns to the present time, has been out of all proportion to the ability of ratepayers of these towns, to meet, since the largest property holders, the railways, are exempt from municipal taxation.

(6) Conditions as they exist to-day in Cochrane are to be found in a more or less like measure along the entire colonization section of the National Transcontinental line between La Tuque, Quebec, and the Manitoba boundary.

(7) In addition, the town of Cochrane, in common with other towns and villages along the National Transcontinental line in northern Ontario and northern Quebec, has suffered repeated devastation and the town of Cochrane especially, suffered on two occasions almost complete destruction by fire which struck the town from surrounding bush lands and for which no blame can be attached for lack of prevention.

(8) Again, owing to the inability of collecting adequate taxes, by reason of exemption of railway property, the town of Cochrane suffered severely through the scourge of epidemics, brought about through lack of funds to complete necessary sanitary improvements, with the consequence that the ratepayers have been greatly impoverished besides causing intense suffering through loss by death of a large number of citizens.

(9) In the year 1919 the town of Cochrane petitioned the Dominion government and parliament for relief through permitting assessment of railway property within the municipality' and a promise was made that pending legislation of the session of 1919 would make special intervention by the government unnecessary, as through the creation of the Canadian National Railway Company, this company would be given a lease of the Canadian Government railways and would take the status of any ordinary corporation.

(10) Statements made in the House of Commons at that time by the leader of the government, as appearing in Hansard of that session, clearly indicate the intention of the government to fulfil promises made to the town of Cochrane, but there is nothing in the final bill enacting the Canadian National Railways Company to supplement such statements.

(11) The colonization section of the National Transcontinental line is the only railway built in Canada through virgin lands in the last forty years which has never assisted in the building and subsequent progress and development of towns and villages along its course, by assuming their just share of taxes to such muni-

cipalities, and yet the proper operation of a railway, and the subsequent success from such, preconceives that towns be built and conveniences be furnished to further the welfare and provide suitable living conditions for the employees of such railway.

(12) There is no place in Canada which presents a more incongruous situation than that which exists in northern Ontario and northern Quebec with respect to exemption of railway property from municipal taxation and no comparison can be made with other sections of the Canadian Government railways where the advent of the railways came subsequent to the existence of towns and villages, thereby bene-fitting such towns and villages in a large measure. Any assistance, therefore, which may " be granted to the town of Cochrane and other municipalities along the colonization section of the National Transcontinental line, can in no way be considered a precedent, to be followed in respect to other places.

At a meeting of representatives of municipal bodies from along the colonization section of the National Transcontinental line between La Tuque and the Manitoba boundary, at which delegates were present from Cochrane, Sioux Lookout, Redditt, Kapuskasing, Hunta and Moonbeam in Ontario and Privat in Quebec, the following representation was fully concurred in.

Therefore, having in mind the unwillingness of the Dominion government to open up the general question of taxation of Canadian government railway property, the undersigned municipal corporations urgently request the honourable, the Minister of Railways and Canals to favourably consider the justice of making an annual compassionate grant, in lieu of taxes, to the municipal bodies affected and to have the necessary appropriation for the current year included in the supplementary estimates to come before the House of Commons during the present session, on the basis of the average annual loss of taxes had the railway property been subject to taxation.

The loss from taxation suffered by the town of Cochrane, based on a property assessment of the National Transcontinental line within the municipality, as appearing on the Cochrane assessment roll, of approximately $300,000 since 1915, when the line became operative, would at an average tax rate of 40 mills represent a sum of $12,000 annually, or for the whole period until the end of the year 1923 a total of $108,000.

The loss from taxation suffered by the town of Sioux Lookout, based on a property assessment of the National Transcontinental line within the municipality, as appearing on the Sioux Lookout assessment roll, of approximately $448,900 since 1915, would at an average tax rate of 40 mills represent a sum of $17,950 annually or for the whole period until the end of 1923 of the year 1923 a total of $161,550.

The loss from taxation suffered by the town of Kapuskasing, based on an assessment of $20,000 since 1921, the inception of the town, would at an average tax rate of 42 mills amount to $840 annually or a total since 1921 of $2,520.

The loss from taxation suffered by the public school section No. 2, Clute and Calder, at

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Hmita, based on an assessment of 83,000 would at an average rate of 22 mills amount to $66 annually or a total since 1921 of $198.

All of which is most respectfully submitted.

We sent several delegates to interview the government of the day, and although we were all given a warm welcome and a sympathetic reception, no headway was made in the direction of the desired legislation. I have here several letters that 1 have received either from members of the government or from one or other of the two political parties dealing with this matter.

Here is a letter signed by Senator G. D. Robertson, and written under date of February 14, 1923:

Dear Sir: .

This will acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 8th inst. together with printed circular enclosed referring to the desirability of the Canadian National Railways being assessed for municipal and school purposes.

At Cochrane and other points along the Transcontinental where the railway property represents a large portion of the improved property in the municipality, I readily appreciate the propriety of the railway bearing some of the cost of municipal taxation, especially for schools, as most of the children attending such schools are children of employees of the railway company and such employees ought not to be taxed for school purposes more heavily than are similar employees in other municipalities where the proportion of taxation is more widely distributed. This question was discussed some two years ago by the late government, being brought to its attention by the undersigned after my return from Winnipeg in August 1920 via the Transcontinental railway, when this question was brought to my attention, but it was not deemed advisable to take action at that time, or until the whole of the government-owned lines were merged into one system. Now that this is being done and the Grand Trunk and Canadian Northern portions of the Canadian National system do pay taxes, there would seem to be no good reason why some reasonable rate of taxation should not also be imposed upon the portions of the national system formerly known as the Canadian Government Railways.

I shall be glad to lend such aid as I may be able to bring some relief to your municipality, and others similarly situated, but feel that the movement should be initiated in the House of Commons, as the jurisdiction of the Senate, of which I am a member, respecting the introduction of money bills might be questioned.

This is a letter dated February 23, 1923, from Mr. William Irvine, M.P.:

I have received your communication, alsc resolution passed by the municipality of Cochrane, regarding the taxation of Canadian railway property -within the boundaries of your municipality. I certainly am in favour of the taxation which you demand, and if the matter is brought before parliament, it will certainly receive my support.

I have on file at least a hundred letters from ministers, premiers of the day and

members of parliament, and although many of these letters were absolutely non-committal, some of them were sympathetic. From these letters I gathered the impression that this matter was going to be brought before the house. I had the good fortune on one occasion of listening to the late Hon. Frank Cochrane, then representing a portion of the riding which I have the honour to represent to-day. He was at that time Minister of Railways and, speaking at Cochrane, my home town, he said that government railway property should be taxable; that it was an injustice, especially in connection with that section of the Transcontinental, that it should not be taxed. Do hon. members realize that to-day, as has been stated in those petitions, the Canadian National railway system is actually paying taxes on most sections of the road, and that in 1925, if I am correct, special grants were given to the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, to the amount of $230,000 a year, as compassionate grants in lieu of taxes? As I said at the outset, we do not want straight taxation, but I believe we are entitled to a compassionate grant.

In the same year, 1925, an amount of $75,000 was offered to the province of Ontario, but for some reason, unknown to us and known only to Premier Ferguson, that offer was turned down. As I said at the beginning I believe the taxation on the whole system from Cochrane to Winnipeg will amount to $100,000, and I do not see why the Premier of Ontario refused that grant, which was and still is absolutely necessary. If the government is willing and ready to-day to extend that grant, it should be distributed through the provincial government or the railway municipal board to the municipalities. I remember on one occasion when a delegation was waiting upon the Hon. Mr. Ferguson, asking him for taxation on. the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario railway, which is a provincially owned railway, the answer he gave us was in this sense: The moment we

receive taxation from the Canadian National, the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario and the provincial government will do their share. In my home town the total assessment of those railways is at least a million dollars, so that if we were to receive a compassionate grant it should amount to at least $10,000 a year. I know the Canadian Pacific has a special department, with officials visiting all sections on which they are paying taxes. As hon. members are aware they are paying taxes on practically their whole

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system, but we would be satisfied with a compassionate grant instead of a straight assessment. Perhaps many people are not aware of certain facts. This is a clipping from the Northland Post, a Northern Ontario newspaper:

An enquiry from Ottawa regarding the conditions of British government property in London brings the information that the Imperial government pays practically on government property in London the local tax rates. The thing is done in the frequent British way of meeting a troublesome situation by doing what ought to be done, but specifying that no legal obligation is admitted. The Imperial government declines to acknowledge any liability for taxes but appoints an officer to report what is fair. The officer reports that it would be fair for the government to pay a certin amount to the local authorities -and it turns out that this certan amount is equal to what would be the taxes if the property were taxed.

As I say, we would be quite satisfied in Northern Ontario to receive such a grant. We do not want a straight assessment. Perhaps in the discussion some legal point might be brought up which it would be hard for us to overcome. After approaching the Canadian National Railways on many occasions we wrote a letter to their attorney and this is the reply, dated May 14, 1923:

I have your letter of the 9th inst. You ask whether the act incorporating the Canadian National Railway Company gives the directors wide powers in respect of taxation. In reply I beg to advise that it does not. The only powers that are given to us in respect of the Canadian Government Railways, under the entrusting order in council, are to manage and operate the property, that is, we practically have the powers of a general manager. Now the exemption from taxation relating to crown property held by his majesty in the right of the Dominion is found, as you know, in the British North America Act. As general manager we have no authority to disregard the terms of the British North America Act. It would be just as reasonable, or even more reasonable, to expect the Postmaster General to pay taxes on post office property and to waive the crown right for exemption as it would be for us to attempt to do so in respect of crown railway property in the town of Cochrane.

It seems to me that the only remedy can be by act of parliament, or by some act of the Dominion government directing us, notwithstanding the exemption, to pay taxes. This direction could not be limited to the town of Cochrane, it would have to extend equally to every municipality through which the government railways run, or wherever they own property, and the question therefore is a very large one. Furthermore, if the crown in respect of railway properties pays taxes, the same condition, though with less force, could be made by any other municipality where Dominion property is situated, in respect of post offices, military property, canal property,

immigration property, and all other property held on behalf of the crown. You cannot, it seems to me, admit liability in one case and deny it in another. You would have to treat all municipalities fairly and on an equal basis.

It can readily be admitted that the town of Cochrane is situated disadvantageous^ in respect of its taxable area, since a great deal of property is held for railway purposes either by Dominion railways or provincial railways. Both are equally exempt under the same act. On the other hand, it must be admitted that the town owes its very existence to the two railways in question.

If the matter came before our directors I would be obliged to advise them, from a legal point of view, that they had no power in themselves to waive the exemption provided by the British North America Act, as the question is purely one for the Dominion and provincial governments to consider and to remedy as they see fit. The only feasible remedy that I can see would be by a special appropriation made by parliament to the town in lieu of taxes, but whether the government or parliament would be content to recommend or pass such an appropriation is very questionable, in view of the discrimination they would thereby be making in favour of your municipality as against all others.

Those are some of the objections against such taxation. On one occasion I met Mr. Ruel personally and he made the same argument, that the British North America Act should be amended so that the government railways could pay taxes. Everyone is aware, without being a legal light, that when the British North America Act was drafted in 1867 there was no thought that the government would go into the railway business; that railways would be under public ownership. It was well known that the Canadian Pacific was under construction and no one dreamed that the government of the day or any future government would go into the railway busniess. But I believe in view of the manner in which the Canadian National Railways are being administered the system if not legally, at least is morally bound to pay taxes.

At the time of the amalgamation of the railway systems now forming the Canadian National Railways the Right Hon. Arthur Meighen, during the discussion in committee of the bill to effect the amalgamation, said, as reported in Hansard at page 1697:

It makes the new corporation liable at law and vests in the new corporation the rights at law of a corporation rather than putting it in the position of the crown. . . It can act as a corporation not subject to the restrictions or to the enjoyment of the privileges of the crown.

And again at page 1698 we find him saying:

Upon amalgamation the company will own the direct physical assets.

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Further at page 1703 we find him proceeding:

Does not this bill mean that we are attempting to set up a system of corporate management divorced from direct government interference or control of this great railway system-corporate as distinguished from departmental management? ... It seems to me to be a very real company. We want to make it a real company, but it will be a very unreal company if one-half is to be departmental and the other half corporate. I do think that while it is true that this is in reality a government enterprise, it is equally true that we are trying to operate it as a business concern under corporate management.

To live up to the spirit of these words, as the system to-day is being administered absolutely independent of the government-for I believe every member on both sides of the house will recognize that politics do not enter into the management-the whole system should be liable to taxation.

At page 1690 of Hansard I find the following pertinent statements of Sir Thomas White, at the time Minister of Finance and acting leader of the house:

This railway company of which the government is the virtual proprietor, notwithstanding the corporate form in which its assets are held, is not a department of the government in the same sense that the Railway or Customs or Inland Revenue is a department of the government.

That is a complete answer to the letter of Mr. Ruel, the counsel of the system regarding the ownership of the Canadian National Railways. Sir Thomas continued:

As I pointed out last evening when I spoke upon this matter, there are two ways in which the Dominion government could administer this great railway system which has now come into our hands and such other systems as may be acquired in the future. One way would be to attempt to administer them as the Intercolonial railway was administered, by the Railway department of the government, which, as the committee knows, is under the direct control of the Minister of Railways. The other way, both for practicability of administration and for divesting the government as far as possible of control in order that no question of political patronage may enter, is to administer them through the medium of a joint stock company or companies. Take the situation as it exists to-day. The various departments of the government, including the Railway department in respect of the Canadian Government Railway, make their estimates, and all expenditures are audited by the Auditor General, as my hon. friend has indicated. But in connection with the Canadian Northern Railway Company, whose stock is held by the government-just as the stock of this company which we are now creating will be held for the government -the administration being under a corporation is carried out as corporations carry out their enterprises. The corporation, as such, receives all revenue, and all expenditures are made under the authority of the board of directors.

It will be seen that it was said by tne government of the day that the Canadian National railway system was going to be run as a private corporation absolutely independent of the government. From that a layman would gather that the corporation would be liable to taxation just like any other private corporation. Another thing: to-day the Canadian National railway system is paying taxation to the tune of millions of dollars. Apparently what is meat in one case is fish in another, and northern Ontario seems to foe out of luck because of the fact that at the time of the construction of the National Transcontinental line the Grand Trunk Pacific did not want to undertake work of construction from Quebec to Winnipeg and through some unforeseen development the line was not taken over by that company. But I see no reason why we should be penalized on that account. It is absolutely unfair, and, I repeat, that morally, if not legally, the section of the population affected should be given compensation by way of taxation.

In the course of the evidence given by Mr. A. J. Mitchell, vice-president in charge of finance of the Canadian National Railways, when he appeared before the parliamentary committee on national railways and shipping, he stated that municipal and provincial taxes and taxes on lands in 1920 on the national lines amounted to $1,371,853.41. But northern Ontario did not get a cent of that money, other sections of the country benefited, and even the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, although they may not be getting direct taxation, are taxing the revenue of the system. Here is another typical case which I quote:

A report from Toronto states that the Canadian National Railways lost the appeal in the divisional court respecting the business assessment on the Toronto suburban ticket office, executive offices and express sheds. The court of revision held that the assessments were not validly made. Judge Denton restored the assessment, and the Ontario Railway and Municipal Board affirmed his order. Now the appellate court sustains the board's ruling.

My time is almost up, Mr. Speaker, I have made this appeal as strongly as I know how, but I fear through lack of experience I have not made it nearly as convincing as I should like it to be.


John Frederick Johnston (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)



Order. The

hon. gentleman is exceeding his time.

On motion of Mr. Sanderson the debate was adjourned.

On motion of Mr. Mackenzie King the house adjourned at 9.20 p.m.


Peace River-Settlers' Railway Rates

Monday, February 6, 1928


February 3, 1928