George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)
Mr. George A. Drew (Leader of the Opposition):
Mr. Speaker, I am sure that all members will welcome the evidence offered by this statement by the minister of the measure of co-operation that is being established in the conservation of our forest resources. The protection of the forests is something which is particularly suitable for effective co-operation across provincial boundaries. As the minister has emphasized, fire is one of the great dangers. Actually there is greater wastage from fire than from cutting in a year when fires reach any substantial proportion.
In view of the fact that the dominion government is now undertaking to carry out such extensive plans for the supervision of the forests in co-operation with the provinces, I would again make a suggestion which I made on an earlier occasion. In the United States they are meeting with great success in tackling certain types of forest fires by dropping highly trained fire fighters by parachute from aeroplanes. These paratroopers-or, shall I say parafirefighters- have been successful in extinguishing many fires in remote hillside and mountain areas that otherwise could not have been stopped until they reached major proportions.
A large measure of success has been achieved also in fighting incipient fires in remote areas by the use of chemical bombs dropped from helicopters. At a time when air training is being extended as part of our general defence program, part of the training
might be devoted to activities of this kind, for the purposes both of defence and of fire protection.
I make this suggestion again, in all earnestness, because a substantial amount of success has been achieved in other jurisdictions in fighting fires by these methods.
Subtopic: PROPOSED MEASURES OF CO-OPERATION WITH PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS