Mr. J. A. Simmons (Yukon-Maclcenzie River):
Mr. Speaker, in seconding the motion that an address be presented to His Excellency the Governor General expressing thanks for the gracious speech delivered by him to both houses of parliament, I, as parliamentary representative of the people of the Yukon Territory and the Mackenzie river district of the Northwest Territories, wish to express my appreciation of the honour paid to my constituents by this action and also my personal pride that at this particular moment I have the privilege of speaking for these people. I know when he appointed me to second the address the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) intended to pay a compliment to the constituency I have the honour to represent in this house which is the largest in area in all Canada.
My constituents, like all other Canadians, have been gravely concerned over the state of health of His Majesty the King. I should like to join with the mover of the address, the hon. member for Beauharnois (Mr. Cauchon), in saying how pleased we all have been with the daily bulletins which have indicated a steady improvement in the health of His Majesty. We all hope that he will soon be restored to good health and continue to reign over us for many years.
The people of Canada have been honoured and are proud to welcome to their shores Their Royal Highnesses, The Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh. I like to
think, too, that the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) realized that the people of the Yukon Territory and the Mackenzie district of the Northwest Territories would be disappointed that our royal visitors could not include some part of that vast territory in their present visit. Speaking for my constituents, we hope that the royal couple have such a wonderful time in Canada that they will want to come back again to see more of the country, and that when they do they will plan to visit the land of the midnight sun because there is no other place where there is so much scenery to see. It is also our hope that the assurance of our loyalty, which I am delegated to express, will in some small measure give them and Their Majesties strength and confidence to lead us in the days ahead.
Before proceeding further I should like to tender my congratulations to my colleague, the hon. member for Beauharnois (Mr. Cauchon), for his excellent speech. His eloquence and the manner of his delivery typify the ability and ease with which our fellow Canadians of French descent enrich the proceedings of this house.
Last June the Prime Minister told us that when we came back in October we would have a busy session before us. I do not think anybody quite realized how busy it would be until we listened to His Excellency's speech on Tuesday and heard all the important legislation with which the government is expecting us to deal. I know that my constituents will expect us to get down to business in this house and deal with this very large program, and I am sure that is the view of people all over Canada. We should not need to take too much time with the old age pension bill because all parties in the house are on record as approving it. It is a tremendous forward step along the road the Liberal party has been following over the years, and the new universal pensions which are to start on January 1 will give citizens of Canada who have reached the closing years of their lives a measure of security as great as is provided in any country in the world.
We are proud too of what our Canadian forces have done in Korea. Both the navy and the army had a growing share in the fighting there, and they have behaved as Canadians always do. But I should like to say a special word for the unsung heroes of the Royal Canadian Air Force who have been flying steadily for all these long months on the long hop to Tokyo without a single accident. In my constituency, where air travel is so important, we appreciate perhaps better than
most other Canadians the real heroism involved in what the Royal Canadian Air Force is doing to help keep the forces of the United Nations in Korea supplied, and in evacuating the wounded.
The defence of North America so far as attack from Asia is concerned is established chiefly in Alaska, the Yukon and northern British Columbia. We must be strong north of Edmonton, and I realize that the Department of National Defence is endeavouring to make us strong in that region. When the world situation is clarified and the democratic peoples of the world no longer fear the outbreak of war I hope that the day will come when there will be a great commerce between our people in the north Pacific region and the peoples of Asia. I hope that a great stream of products may go from our northern communities, cereals, oil, metals of all kinds, fish, lumber and newsprint, to supply the needs of the people of Asia. I realize that when peace comes to Asia they will have products to sell us which we do not produce but of which they will have a surplus.
All my constituents will approve of the action being taken by the government to strengthen the forces that General Eisenhower is building up in Europe. The maintenance of peace fully justifies the utilization of the Canadian 27th brigade and sufficient air squadrons overseas, and as the time element is of importance the early action indicated by the government should meet with universal approval.
Turning to the other legislation we have before us, it appears to me that the main items deal with the development of transportation and communications in Canada. There is the St. Lawrence seaway, the strait of Canso causeway, the amendment to the Railway Act to lower the cost of transportation between the east and the west, the investigation of the advantages of the South Saskatchewan power and irrigation project, and the broadcasting legislation. Except for broadcasting, none of these developments concern my own constituency directly, but there is no part of Canada where transportation and communications are more vital than they are to the people of the north at this time.
We also know that the improvement of communications in any part of Canada helps to bind the country together, to make us more united and to speed up the development of our great resources. Therefore I do not think my constituents would expect me to do anything but support these proposals for strengthening the foundations on which our country can continue to grow.
On this occasion, Mr. Speaker, I should like to take some time to mention a few
The Address-Mr. Simmons matters relating to my constituency, which comprises an area of approximately 750,000 square miles. First I should like to express my pleasure and the satisfaction of the people of the Mackenzie district with respect to the legislation passed during the last session which added three elected members to the Northwest Territories council in addition to the five appointed members. This constitutional change, which brought about the election of some of the members of the Northwest Territories council, is an extension of true Canadian democracy to its territorial areas. There are solid grounds for the claim that the council should be wholly elected, as is that of the Yukon Territory, and I hope that it will not be too long before this is brought about.
I am happy to relate that the first election was held last month, and that residents of Indian and Eskimo blood were able to vote as citizens of Canada. It is also my definite opinion that the people of the Northwest Territories should be given the right to elect a member to represent them in the House of Commons instead of having to share a member with the Yukon Territory, as is now the case. Both the Yukon Territory and the Northwest Territories are going to play an increasingly important role in the industrial and economic life of the nation, and the area covered by both is too large to be represented properly in this house by only one member.
I am sure all hon. members will agree that it would be well to amend the Representation Act to provide for subdividing this vast riding and allowing two members, one for the Yukon Territory and one for the Northwest Territories.
The present financial agreement between the government of the Yukon Territory and the federal government expires this year. During its three-year term this agreement has led to a better understanding between the two governments, and it is my hope that the new agreement, when its terms have been finally settled, will take into consideration the accelerated tempo of development in the Yukon which is now becoming apparent. With the introduction of a more democratic government in the Northwest Territories a similar agreement between that government and the federal authorities will serve to assist in the orderly development of the mineral and other resources of that area.
If we examine the broad picture of Canada today we find that, while accepting and shouldering our responsibilities as a member of the United Nations in resisting aggression and in giving a helping hand to people less fortunate than ourselves, we ourselves are
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The Address-Mr. Simmons experiencing a rapid and phenomenal expansion of our industrial and economic life. We are planning wisely, with imagination and courage, to develop the natural resources which God has given us, while at the same time extending social and cultural benefits to our people.
It will be noticed that from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from the iron mines in northern Quebec and Labrador, through Lynn Lake in northern Manitoba, lake Athabaska in northern Saskatchewan, Kitimat and Atlin in British Columbia, Pine Point, Yellowknife and Eldorado in the Northwest Territories, and Whitehorse, Dawson and Mayo in the Yukon Territory, Canada is moving northward in a big way.
At this time of international strain and tension, when the free nations of the world are once more girding themselves to resist aggression, it would be well for us to assess the sources of our potential strength. The solid enduring strength of Canada comes from the character of its people. Supporting this are the natural resources which come out of and from the ground. The insatiable demand for minerals, which is ever increasing, causes us to look around for further mineral supplies. Fortunately for us we have in the Yukon and Northwest Territories huge areas which have hardly been scratched, but which have every indication of being the last undeveloped reservoirs of mineral wealth on this continent. These indications have been known for a long time but the remoteness of the areas and the lack of adequate transportation facilities precluded development while more accessible mineral deposits were available.
The development of these resources to the advantage of Canada will be largely through the efforts of those hardy, courageous and resourceful prospectors who have played such an important role in opening the north. These adventurous men often encounter great hardships in their work, and at times find it difficult to finance their operations, from which Canada as a whole benefits. Mr. Speaker, I am strongly in favour of some plan whereby a bona fide prospector in the north would receive a measure of assistance from the government in financing his exploratory work. I am satisfied that the return to Canada in mineral wealth would justify this expenditure. Despite all the advances which modern science has made in improving and speeding up methods of geological investigations the prospector still has a most important part to play, for it is he who discovers the leads and does the pioneering work in uncovering the mineral
wealth. It is our responsibility to see to it that the industry grows with Canada, and that it continues to be enterprising, vigorous and increasingly productive.
There was never a time in our history as a nation when mining and the products of the mine were so vitally important to our safety and to our future in the world. Actually Canadians cannot be strong or remain free in the face of perils today without the products of our mineral industries. Mining in Canada is now a billion dollar industry. The value of its output passed that mark in 1950 for the first time in our history. We can all feel proud of its pioneering accomplishments, opening up new territories and winning over the wilderness.
Inflation can be checked by the Canadian people if they produce more, we are told by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott). I hold that inflation can be checked if we produce more natural wealth in Canada. We are making our Canadian dollar strong when we in the north pour into the economy of the country gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, wheat, lumber, fish and oil. Every manufacturing city and town in Canada shares in the market created by the development of new wealth beyond the great lakes, and in the northern areas of Ontario and Quebec. In the Northwest Territories, Yukon Territory and the western provinces, thousands of our young men are employed in new industries. More are needed. Nowhere in the world is there a better and safer place for capital investment. Money spent on frivolous things, on luxuries and vanities, adds to inflation. But money spent on picks and shovels, gas engines and other power units, on trucks and tractors, farm machinery and mining equipment, materials and equipment for the pulp mills, the smelters, the railways, airways and the ocean-going ships, goes to stop inflation and make our economy sound and solid. The implications of this on our national economy are very apparent. It is an easily accepted fact that, with such strides in our natural resources development, this nation advances to greater heights of achievement among the free nations of the world. Labour, manpower, commerce, transportation and natural wealth will be and are being benefited. The worth-while needs of our people are being satisfied, and our national importance intensified.
In all these developments our government has had a hand, has encouraged and supported free enterprise to build and develop the action of the pioneers of our industry.
The first gold brick produced in the Northwest Territories was poured at the Con mine at Yellowknife in September, 1938. The gold
mines in this area contain vast quantities of gold, and the ore already blocked out assures operations for many years to come. The fixed price of gold and the mounting costs of operation have placed the industry in a precarious position, and it is to be hoped that the action recently taken will result in a price commensurate with the cost of producing it, so the operators can stabilize their position and look forward with confidence in planning future operations, so necessary for the future of gold mining in Canada and particularly throughout the Yukon-Mackenzie River riding. I should like to remind the house that it was the new gold from the Yukon in '98 which started Canada upon her twentieth century era of progress.
Interest in oil is not confined to the western provinces. The wells and refinery at Norman Wells, along the Mackenzie river, continue to meet to a large extent the requirements for oil products of the Mackenzie river district. Exploration for oil and natural gas is being actively carried out in the Great Slave lake and Peace river areas where some millions of acres are now under permit, and where a score of drilling operations are now under way.
In the Yukon Territory placer gold was first discovered in the Yukon river in 1869, but the world-famous discovery of gold on Bonanza creek, a tributary of the Klondike river, which made the Yukon world famous and which started the Klondike stampede rivalling the California gold rush of 1849, was not made until August 17, 1896. To date the Yukon Territory has produced approximately one-third of a billion dollars of mineral wealth for Canada, a great deal of this when gold was valued at $15 per ounce.
The Mayo district with its high grade silver-lead-zinc deposits has been perhaps the most active mining field in Canada during the past year. Last year the mines in the Mayo-Keno area produced nearly $5 million of mineral wealth and the production for this year is running at a much higher figure.
Further impetus to mineral development in this area will be given upon completion of the Mayo river hydroelectric project now under construction by the Department of Resources and Development. This will provide the district with cheap power, so that the vast mineral resources may be adequately developed.
Other parts of the Yukon, including the Whitehorse area, have been most active from the mining standpoint during the past year. We now have sufficient information to anticipate that the Yukon is destined to become one of the largest mineral-producing areas in Canada. It has long been the largest placer
The Address-Mr. Simmons gold-producing area in Canada. It also has large deposits of coal, copper, antimony and lode gold; interesting deposits of platinum, molybdenum, tungsten, tin and mercury; and intriguing possibilities for iron and petroleum. A large asbestos deposit of excellent quality has been discovered just south of the Yukon in northern British Columbia, and also a large body of tungsten ore near the Alaska highway in southern Yukon is awaiting development.
While the Yukon Territory covers an area of over 207,000 square miles, the Northwest Territories contain an area of over 1,300,000 square miles, or more than one-third of the total area of Canada. This figure includes, of course, the Arctic islands to the north. The mainland contains three main geological areas of which two are tremendously interesting for the production of mineral wealth. To the east of the Mackenzie river valley lies a huge area covered by the Canadian shield which contains the same kind of rock as that which has produced such famous mining camps as Sudbury, Kirkland Lake, Noranda and Flin Flon. This area has produced the well-known Yellowknife gold field and the world famous radium-uranium mine at Eldorado on Great Bear lake. Huge lead-zinc deposits on the south side of Great Slave lake are being actively explored. This region has promise of becoming one of the most important in Canada.
The installation of air services between 1935 and 1940 in the Peace river districts of British Columbia and Alberta, and the extension of these services from both Vancouver and Edmonton to the Yukon, on to Alaska, and into the Northwest Territories, have greatly helped in northwestern development. I cannot pay too much honour to the bush pilots who laid the foundation for the present great system of airways across the west and north. We need more air services. They should be extended in all directions. Airways are the keys to northern wealth. This is proved every day. Our great mining operations are serviced by air. Our armies are serviced by air. Air services out over the Aleutian chain are but extensions of the air services begun by the pioneers of aviation. I visualize the day when Canadian airways will be extended to all' points of Asia and the south seas, when air service will be one of the great commodities exported by Canada. I hope that more and more young men may be trained to operate northern airways. Here again our defences will be made stronger if we have a great army of young men fit and trained to handle aircraft in war or peace.
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If we examine the history of any nation we find that it develops along with the development of its means of transportation and communication. Ancient cities grew up on caravan routes or avenues of water transportation. Many nations have grown because they knew how to utilize sea transportation. Then came the construction of canals, to be followed by railways and later by highways and air routes. As far as northern Canada is concerned, we have seen the impetus given to northern British Columbia, Yukon Territory and Alaska by the construction of the Alaska highway, the Haines highway, the Whitehorse-Mayo road, the Carcross-Atlin road and allyear airports. We have also seen the impetus given to the development of Yellowknife and the great fishing industry on Great Slave lake by the construction of the Mackenzie highway from the railhead at Grimshaw, Alberta to Hay River on the southwest shore of Great Slave lake.
The need for improved transportation facilities for the development of our economic life is recognized by the construction of the railway from Seven Islands in Quebec to the iron ore deposits in Labrador, and by the extension of the railway to Lynn Lake in. northern Manitoba. By the same reasoning we must be prepared to improve the transportation facilities of the Yukon and Northwest Territories, in order to reap the benefits of our northern inheritance.
In our system of free enterprise, which has worked out so well for us in the past, a most effective role has been, played by the co-operation of risk capital and government assistance and encouragement. The construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway with government assistance not only helped to knit a number of widely scattered provinces into a nation, but opened up the west. As the federal government owns and administers the natural resources of the Yukon and Northwest Territories, including the vast potential mineral wealth, it is my contention that it should construct and maintain trunk and resources roads required for the development of these natural resources.
I have referred previously to the vast base metal potentialities of the Yukon. It is now anticipated that the Mayo-Keno area is destined to become one of the largest silver-lead-zinc mining camps in Canada. This region is served by the Whitehorse-Mayo road, which was recently built by the Department of Resources and Development; and its effect in stimulating mineral production has been encouraging. This road, 247 miles in length, contains three ferry crossings over the Yukon, Pelly and Stewart rivers. The traffic over
this highway is increasing steadily and the ferries are proving to be bottlenecks. I think the time has come to consider the construction of permanent bridges over these rivers to replace the ferries.
The urgent need for the construction of a connecting all-weather road from Stewart Crossing on the Whitehorse-Mayo road to Dawson city is well recognized by the Department of Resources and Development, and I would respectfully urge that construction of the project commence early next spring.
When considering the development of the Yukon we must also consider its means of communication with the rest of Canada and the outside. An examination of this kind indicates the importance of a railway through northern British Columbia into the Yukon and on to Alaska. Such a rail link would be of far-reaching advantage to the future development of British Columbia, Yukon and Alaska, and our defence on this continent.
I have dealt briefly with some of the transportation problems of the Yukon. May I refer to similar problems affecting the Mackenzie district of the Northwest Territories. I have mentioned the mineral developments at Lynn Lake in northern Manitoba and Pine Point on the south side of Great Slave lake. This belt contains the new uranium deposits on the north side of lake Athabaska. Just across the lake from Pine Point lies Yellowknife, which as I have previously stated is a mineralized belt stretching through Hottah Lake to Eldorado and on to Coppermine. There is another mineralized belt at the east end of Great Slave lake and the potential oil-producing area at the west end. Just look at these places on the map and figure out how we are going to develop them. We get back to the well-tried combination of capital and government assistance in the provision of transportation facilities. It would, therefore, seem logical to me that the railway line should be extended from Lynn Lake in a northwesterly direction to the uranium development on the north side of lake Athabaska, on to Pine Point on the south side of Great Slave lake and thence in a southerly direction to connect with the Northern Alberta Railways and a Pacific coast outlet by rail. Orderly development would also call for an extension of the Mackenzie highway to Mills Lake and Yellowknife, with feeder roads to neighbouring mineralized areas.
There are other facilities which will be required for full development of the natural resources of the north. Smelters will be needed to smelt the ore and electric energy to run the mines and the towns which will be built. The development of this electric
energy will require still further utilization of other natural resources, whether it be waterpower, coal, petroleum or natural gas.
What a picture this is! Probably never before in history has a country had the natural resources at her disposal for becoming a great nation that Canada has at the present time. Sir Wilfrid Laurier declared that the twentieth century would be Canada's, and today such an assertion might well be made on the strength of our national resources, so widely and generously distributed. In no sphere of our national life is the opportunity of exercising human energy greater than in the development of our national God-given resources. In this field we can meet and overcome inflation. The world cries out for the products of our natural resources.
I have dwelt at some length on the mineral potentialities of the northland. I would now like to bring to the attention of the house a short summary of other natural resources which have a bearing on the economic condition of the territories. [DOT]
The tourist industry is becoming an important source of revenue in both territories. An essential to the development of this industry is good highways which provide access to national scenic features. The Alaska highway provides one of the finest scenic roads on the North American continent, and the scenery of the Yukon, northern British Columbia and Alaska is unique and cannot be duplicated anywhere. This knowledge is attracting tourists in increasing numbers. In addition to its value as a tourist highway, the Alaska highway with its feeder roads is proving to be of great economic value to Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon and Alaska.
At this point I would like to draw attention to the excellent co-operation and friendly relations which exist between our good neighbours of Alaska and the Yukon Territory. The relations between both territories should be an object lesson of the results which can be obtained by friendly co-operation and mutual understanding.
Much could be said of what can be done and what is planned for this important part of Canada by this government, and through its liberal legislation in the encouragement of private enterprise to develop our vast natural resources. The importance of this expanse of territory became better known as a result of joint defence projects during the last war, such as the Alaska highway, the northwest chain of airfields, the development of oil resources along the Mackenzie river and the providing of uranium ore for war purposes from the Great Bear lake region. We
The Address-Mr. Simmons must not overlook the fact that there is land for farming and gardening, and forests for the production of lumber. Probably our greatest need today is to encourage new settlers into the northern valleys. While we are increasing the number of settlers coming into Canada, we can afford to encourage many more to come into the country north of Vancouver and north of Edmonton. Settlers from Great Britain and especially the northern countries of Europe should be encouraged. To fill up our northern valleys, where work and wages are available, is one way of adding also to the defence of this country. New Canadians are entering into the spirit of the country and there are vast numbers of worthy people in the old world who could profitably move into the new land and find opportunity and contentment. The experimental stations of the Department of Agriculture at Pine Creek, adjacent to the Alaska highway in the Yukon Territory, and at Fort Simpson and other settlements in the Mackenzie district, have shown conclusively that these northern areas can successfully produce farm products to meet local needs.
Forest resources of the territories are recognized. Important stands are to be found in river valleys in both territories. These of course are most valuable in meeting territorial building requirements and possible defence needs. We can well afford to open our gates wider to hardy peoples from other lands.
The fishing industry in the Northwest Territories is reaching large proportions in Great Slave lake alone. Under the management of the Department of Fisheries a take of nine million pounds per year is now authorized, much of which goes to markets in the United States. These are the largest inland fisheries on the continent.
The development, settlement and opening up of the north will vastly increase our national wealth, and provide work and homes for countless thousands of new Canadians. As the frontier is pushed back, as each mine is opened and each mile of road built further northward it will increase our strength and ability to resist aggression and enable us as a nation to take an increasingly important part in maintaining a free world, in which happy and free people may live. Vigorous development in the northwest is the road to national security, prosperity and welfare.
These thoughts naturally bring to mind the great work being done for Canada and for the world by members of the cabinet and our departmental officials. Canada, though small in population, is held in the highest esteem not only within the British commonwealth of nations but in the United Nations. Our
The Address-Mr. Simmons domestic activities and developments, our preparedness against aggression and our our foreign relations have for many years been magnificent, and have given Canada a standing in the world that no small nation has ever held before.
While all due respect must be given to the ministers and their advisers for this achievement, yet we will agree that the Eight Hon. Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) has been one of Canada's greatest benefactors. He has played a successful part in both our international and our domestic affairs, particularly in our interprovincial relations.
While thanking him for giving me the honour of seconding the motion calling for this address to His Excellency the Governor General, I wish to join all other Canadians in paying him a strong and respectful tribute for his great work for Canada.
On motion of Mr. Drew the debate was adjourned.
Subtopic: ADDRESS IN REPLY, MOVED BY MR. ROBERT CAUCHON AND SECONDED BY MR. J. A. SIMMONS