June 3, 1948 (20th Parliament, 4th Session)


William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)


Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I received this morning the following telegram from- the Prime Minister of Great Britain, the Right Hon. C. R. Attlee:
On behalf of my colleagues and myself I should like to express to you the deep regret with which we have heard of serious floods in British Columbia and our sympathy with those who have been rendered homeless.
In reply to that message I sent the follow-acknowledgment :
I thank you warmly for the expression of sympathy from your colleagues and yourself for those rendered homeless by the disastrous floods in British Columbia. Immediately on its receipt I communicated your message to the Premier of British Columbia. The sympathy of the United Kingdom government will be deeply appreciated by all the people of Canada, and especially by those of the stricken area.
Referring to the flood conditions in the Fraser valley, I have this morning 'been in further communication with the premier of the province, Mr. Byron Johnson, concerning the floods in the Fraser valley, and I should like to make a statement to the house with reference to where the matter stands as between our two governments at the present time.
It is clear that the damage has already reached such proportions that federal assistance will be necessary, not only for relief, but also for rehabilitating and restoring the devastated areas. To help in allaying anxiety in the minds of thousands of Canadians who are homeless and who have lost so much in this terrible disaster, I have, with the approval of my colleagues, informed the premier that the federal government is prepared to assist the province financially, not only in meeting the expenditures required for immediate relief, but also in meeting the cost of rehabilitation and restoration. The two governments are continuing to co-ordinate, in the most effective manner, the services of provincial and federal departments, and are in consultation on the extent of the financial needs, their equitable apportionment, and the supervision of expenditures.

I might say our government has in mind, and I have suggested to the premier of British Columbia, the appointment of a representative of our government at Victoria and the appointment by the government of British Columbia of a representative of their government, the two to become members of a commission that might be called the Fraser valley relief and rehabilitation commission, to have general supervision over the entire situation, and be able to deal with questions as they may arise from hour to hour, as well as from day to day.
I am not in a position as yet to say who will be named; I think, however, it is well that hon. members and the people of British Columbia should know that the two governments have felt that what I have mentioned would be the most effective manner of having the two governments work together in connection with matters which have already arisen or may develop from now on.

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