March 5, 1912 (12th Parliament, 1st Session)


George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)


I have not the figures at hand. But I am satisfied that when the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Rogers) takes the opportunity to reply he will give the figures. He made the statement yesterday-and I have seen similar statements in the Manitoba papers and reported as having been made in the legislature by the Premier of Manitoba and others-that the swamp lands of Manitoba had realized as good a price as the school lands sold by the late government by competition, so called. Under the late Dominion government peculiar methods of conducting the auction were followed. One was this: If in a given
district some of their friends wanted a particular piece of land, some person attended the auction who would bid the land away up above its value, and then would fail to deposit his cheque for 10 per cent as was necessary in order to make the sale binding. This land was supposed to be sold, every man present in the office supposed this tract of land was sold to Mr. So-and-So, to Mr. Smith, we will suppose, who was bidding on it, and the consequence was that the auctioneer in settling up would find that the land was not sold at all. We had evidence of this thing in Manitoba on different occasions, and the friends of the government got the land at their own price.
I wish to say in reply to the
charge made by the ex-Minister of the Interior that the swamp lands of Manitoba never having been advertised, that there was one large area that I remember something like 200,000 acres, in the year 1905 or 1906, it was advertised in To-Mr. BRADBURY
ronto, Ottawa and Montreal papers and in American papers for thirty days. That land was situated in my own county and the highest bid that the provincial government received at that time was 52 cents an acre. Now, Sir, knowing the land as I do I did not wonder at it because I did not consider it was worth any more. I want to say right here that knowing the bush swamp land of Manitoba as I do there are hundreds of thousands of acres of it that would be dear if the government gave it as a gift to any one who would undertake to drain it, clear it and put it in shape for cultivation. And still my hon. friend tries to make out that the province of Manitoba is losing by this proposed settlement. Who is to he the judge? Is it the right hon. gentleman who leads the opposition, who knows very little about the province of Manitoba, and I am bound to say cares less, ot is it the late Minister of the Interior who is a resident of another province and who has been cheated in a princely fashion by the late government of which he was a member, or is it the people themselves who live in the province of Manitoba? I have an editorial here from the Winnipeg * .Tribune,' a paper that supported (the right hon. gentleman for many years, that supported his candidates in every constituency at the last campaign and did all that was' possible to defeat the Conservative candidates in every riding of this Dominion. Here is what the Winnipeg 'Tribune' says:
Thursday, February 29.-So far as we can
see at present Manitoba is to be congratulated upon the terms embodied in the Bill which Premier Borden lias introduced to define the boundaries of this province. Especially are our people to be congratulated upon the financial terms to be accorded to this province.
And this, Mr. Speaker, is. what my hon. friend from Edmonton (Mr. Oliver) tries to convince this House is unfair and inadequate to the province of Manitoba, while the right hon. gentleman who leads the opposition takes the opposite tack and claims that the terms .are altogether too generous tor Manitoba. The article goes on to say:
Mr. Roblin has maintained a long and strenuous battle for terms of equality with Alberta and Saskatchewan and his final victory entitles him to the thanks of the people of this province. The new financial terms make a splendid addition to the income of this province. The argument against the increase advanced by Sir Wilfrid the other day is scarcely worthy of him. The fact that Manitoba has gone along for forty years on a niggardly subsidy, while her more favoured and recently launched sisters, Saskatchewan and Aiiberta, were accorded princely terms, should be regarded as an irresistible argument in favour of according to Manitoba justice, even if belated. Sir Wilfrid takes tbe other view for what reason it is difficult to conceive, except it be due to a prejudice against

the postage stamp province which the ex-premier has long been suspected of harbouring.
Meantime Premier Roblin and his government and the people of Manitoba are to be congratulated upon the settlement that has been secured.
Now, Mr. Speaker, who is in a better position to speak for the people of Manitoba? The Winnipeg ' Tribune,' an organ of the late government, a paper that championed the cause of the hon.
member for Edmonton and his leader, which has the honesty and the fairness to come out and congratulate the Premier of this Dominion and the Premier of Manitoba on this magnificent settlement that has been effected. But we have other witnesses? Take the local legislature now sitting in Winnipeg. Every hon. gentleman knows that for years the local legislature has been unanimous in demanding that the province of Manitoba be placed on an equality with her sister provinces. A few days ago a member of that House, Mr. D. A. Ross, the member for 'Springfield, was asked his opinion of the action of the right hon. leader of the opposition in this parliament regarding the boundary question, and he made this statement:
Mr. Ross said only snatches of Sir Wilfrid's views had been published, but he declared that as far as the ex-Premicr's reported stand of Manitoba-getting-too-much was concerned, he was not favourable.
Mr. Ross hesitated. He said only bits of Sir Wilfrid's speech had been published, and he was eager to express an opinion. If it was true, however, that Sir Wilfrid begrudged Manitoba the money, as retroactively speaking, he is reported to have done, well then Mr. Ross said, he is most certainly opposed to that phase of the ex-Premier's stand.
Mr. Ross is a Liberal member of the local legislature, I might say one of the strongest Liberals in Manitoba, and one of the most ardent supporters of the right hon. gentleman who leads the opposition in this House. Another reference was made by another member, Mr. Molloy, M.P.P., a bright young man, Who said on the boundary question:
On the boundary question, he said that Manitoba was being sold out by the arrangement made with the Dominion government. He held that they should have been allowed to retain control of the swamp lands, and that the compensation offered was not sufficient to recompense them. The speaker based his argument in regard to the area of the swamp lands on figures given by the late Minister of the Interior, Prank Oliver.
The Premier, intervening, said that Mr. Oliver at that time had simply been playing a game of politics. He (the Premier) had seen Sir Wilfrid Laurier officially immediately afterwards, and the then Premier of the Dominion had told him that the statements of Mr. Oliver were absolutely untrue.
Now I do not wonder that the right hon. gentleman made that statement in face of the facts laid before this House by my hon. friend the Minister of Finance, when he read to this House a statement which I have just read by Mr. Young and which shows that the swamp lands even at the biggest estimate, comprise less than 5,000,000 acres. Still my hon. friend Taised the estimate up to 8,000,000 acres, to suit his argument, and to make it appear that Manitoba was losing a great deal by this transaction.
There was a piece of swamp land sold in the province of Manitoba, and it was sold by public competition as every acre of swamp land has been sold in Manitoba during the past ten years. Books have been opened, provincial valuators have been put over the land, and an upset price put on each parcel, and any man, the hon. member for Edmonton (Mr. Oliver), for instance, could have walked into the office and' bought any of the land that he wanted to buy as hundreds of his Liberal friends did. There was one piece which especially interested Mr. Edward Brown. The hon. gentdeman knows bo whom I refer, and he knows Mr. Brown is not a Conservative. He is the ex-leader of the Liberal party of Manitoba. There was a large area of land offered for sale, and Mr. Brown put his valuator over that land. The upset price of the government was $2.60 an acre. The valuator came back and advised Mr. Brown that the valuation was too high. The consequence was that Mr. Brown refused to pa}' $2.60 an acre for the land, but Mr. Brown had the opportunity like any other Liberal in the country. But the truth is, that it would pay the country to give a clear title to much of this swamp lands on condition that they were properly drained. It does seem strange, just
on the eve of everyday, common justice being done to the province of Manitoba, that the right hon. leader of the opposition, and1 his friends, should take the position they are taking at the present time. Instead of assisting the government in settling this question, and allaying the irritation that exists in Manitoba on account of the unfair manner in which they have been treated for years by the late administration, we find these hon. gentlemen arraying one province against another, and trying to incite the jealousy of the lower provinces, and of Ontario as against Manitoba. I hold that this is an unworthy position for hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House to take. If this country is to prosper, and be what it ought to be, a great and prosperous nation, it must be by the united efforts of both parties to unite our different provinces, and unite our people from the Atlantic to the Pacific. When

my right lion, friend the leader of the government, is attempting to implement the pledge which he gave to the province of Manitoba, brings in this Bill for the purpose of d'oing justice, and of placing Manitoba on an equality with the two western provinces, it is hard to understand the attitude of hon. gentlemen opposite in opposing that proposition. We, who have lived in that province during the last thirty years, realising that Manitoba is the pioneer province which has blazed the way for the great provinces that have sprung up to the west of us, feel the unfair and harsh treatment that we have received from the Liberal party in this province during the last eight or ten years. Manitoba has been penalized. Why? Because the Conservative party rose equal to the occasion ana turned the rottenest government that ever existed in Manitoba out of power, and placed a Conservative government in power. Ever since that day the Liberals in Ottawa led by the right hon. gentleman (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) have penalized that province and have refused to do it simple, everyday justice. In conclusion, I want to congratulate my right hon. friend the leader of the government upon bringing this Bill in to do for the province what he promised, to give to the province an equality in the great family of provinces, and to place Manitoba in the position which she ought to have occupied years ago.

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