BOWERMAN, Edward LeRoy

Personal Data

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)
Prince Albert (Saskatchewan)
Birth Date
June 2, 1892
Deceased Date
February 17, 1977

Parliamentary Career

June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
  Prince Albert (Saskatchewan)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 4)

March 31, 1949

Mr. Bowerman:

That would include everybody.

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March 17, 1949

1. What was the cost of the clearing of the 11-6 miles of road in the Prince Albert national park during 1948?

2. What construction firm, if any, did this work?

3. What was the cost to the government of this clearing?

4. Was there any management fee paid for this work? If so, how much?

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March 8, 1949

Mr. E. L. Bowerman (Prince Albert):

Mr. Speaker, there is a matter with which I should like to deal before this debate is concluded. It has to do with the treatment of Indians in northern Saskatchewan, of which my constituency is a part. The throne speech fails to refer to this matter and some of us are wondering why. For the basis of my remarks, Mr. Speaker, on the educational requirements of treaty Indians, I intend to use a brief submitted by Mr. M. F. Norris, Saskatchewan government field agent for northern Saskatchewan, and a survey made by C. H. Piercy, the northern education administrator for the same government.

While treaty Indians are constitutionally the responsibility of the federal government and the department of Indian Affairs, they are also citizens domiciled within the provinces.

I should like to call to the attention of this house that the government of the province of Saskatchewan has fulfilled its obligation towards providing educational facilities in the northern settlements of Saskatchewan for Metis and other franchised citizens. This is in keeping with the mandate given that government which maintains that, so long as any person or group of people in this province is under-privileged, the social and economic democracy to which the government is pledged cannot be realized. In the case of the Indian settlements the responsibility is primarily upon this government and the department of Indian Affairs.

In a report of a survey made by C. H. Piercy, northern education administrator, he submits the need for schools in settlements in northern Saskatchewan where the population is predominantly treaty Indians. Twelve such settlements in northern Saskatchewan are mentioned in which schools are required. In addition, he recommended the replacement of three schools. He further recommended that construction of these schools and grants for them be shared by the dominion and provincial governments on a proportional basis according to enrolment. In the case of Stanley and other such similar settlements where

treaty Indians predominate, the responsibility is primarily that of the department of Indian affairs.

Mr. Speaker, the crown promised to provide schools for Indians. In the book "The Treaties of Canada", Lieutenant Governor Alexander Morris stated:

The treaties provide for the establishment of schools, for the instruction of Indian children. This is a very important feature, and is deserving of being pressed with utmost energy. The new generation can be trained in the habits and ways of civilized life-prepared to encounter the difficulties with which they will be surrounded by the influx of settlers, and fitted for maintaining themselves as tillers of the soil.

While such an eminent person as the former lieutenant governor advocated that education should be pressed with utmost energy, it is unfortunate that subsequent agents of the crown have not fulfilled their obligations to treaty Indians in this regard.

The union of Saskatchewan Indians, representing treaty Indians in every part of the province, have long realized the urgent need for a progressive program of education. They have made repeated requests for this through the proper constitutional channels. In a brief submitted by that organization in May of 1947, there is a detailed outline of their educational requirements. Again at their annual convention, held in the city of Saskatoon in January of 1948, they reaffirmed their request for educational facilities in the following resolutions:

(a) Whereas the treaty Indians, members of the John Ballantyne, Amos Charles and John Roberts bands, resident at Deschambault lake, Pelican Narrows, Lac La Ronge and Stanley settlements, represent bona fide locals of the union of Saskatchewan Indians and,

Whereas we reaffirm the representations made by the union in May, 1947, with regard to education and schools, and

Whereas we have forty-six children, twenty-nine of whom are of school age at Deschambault lake and greater numbers at Pelican Narrows, Lac La Ronge and Stanley, all of whom reside with their parents at their respective settlements.

Be it resolved that we petition the Indian Affairs branch, requesting that day schools with teacher's residence be established at the places hereinbefore mentioned at the earliest possible time.

(b) Whereas the union of Saskatchewan Indians have made representations to the Indian Affairs branch with regard to education, and

Whereas the need for education is such that early and immediate implementation of education facilities is of paramount importance, and

Whereas in the third report of the special joint committee of the Senate and the House of Commons, to both houses of parliament at the conclusion of the 1947 sittings, it is recommended among other things, "That the whole matter of the education of Indians be left over for further consideration,"

Be it resolved, that we urge in the strongest terms possible that immediate implementation be effected to our representations for educational facilities in northern Saskatchewan.

With respect, sir, to the above resolutions, attention is directed to a subsequent report made by the special joint committee hereinbefore mentioned, at the conclusion of the 1948 sittings wherein it is mentioned that since May 13, 1946, the said committee had held one hundred and twenty-eight meetings with one hundred and twenty-two witnesses heard. In addition, 411 written briefs from Indian bands and organizations have been received. In the report submitted the committee recommends, among other things, the following:

Your committee recommends the revision of those sections of the act which pertain to education, in order to prepare Indian children to take their place as citizens.

Your committee, therefore, recommends that wherever and whenever possible Indian children should be educated in association with other children.

Further, sir, the union of Saskatchewan Indians assert that there are in the province of Saskatchewan at least one thousand treaty Indian children who are without school facilities. Of this number it is estimated that approximately sixty per cent or six hundred are residing in northern Saskatchewan.

The following figures, covering four settlements only in northern Saskatchewan, were recently supplied to me by the person I have already named:

No. of No.

treaty attending BalanceIndian residential notchildren of school at attendingSettlement school age Prince Albert schoolStanley ... 67 12 55Pelican Narrows.. 45 9 36Deschambault ... 25 3 22Lac La Ronge. ... 60 33 27Total ... 197 57 140

These figures are representative for treaty Indians in northern Saskatchewan. It will be observed that only approximately thirty per cent of the children of school age are attending school. It may be argued by those who are unsympathetic to the establishment of day schools for treaty Indians that there is at Prince Albert a residential school which they may attend. I should like, however, to call to the attention of the house a statement made by one of the chiefs of one of the Indian groups. I shall quote his letter in full. It reads as follows:

My belief and my earnest desires are these. I believe that our government should abide by their treaties with us Indians in the way of education; to establish day schools on our reserves they will be contributing the greatest single factor for our advancement. Education is something that should be continually improving. The children of today will be the men and women of tomorrow. It is therefore very important that our children are equipped with facilities for earning a living in a modern world.

The Address-Mr. Bowerman

The children should learn to be able to think for themselves, and be prepared for living with others. Does the present system give us the highest standard of education? No. We have come to the stage where we are more particularly interested in education as a way of life. We want it to teach our children how to live among their fellow men, how to adapt themselves to others and how to meet life's situations in the school room, from which they will derive lessons which will govern their conduct in later years. Working for the common good of all is the basic principle. It is up to all of us to work for better educational facilities, as we want our boys and girls to be able to accept the responsibilities of tomorrow. We are now living in a time of great opportunity.

We Indians feel that we have not been treated in the past as if we were members of the human family, or like citizens of Canada. Nor do we feel that we are at present considered worthy to participate in the benefits arising from the modem way of thinking. We resent this as an insult to the dignity of man in us-that feeling which we have inherited from our worthy fathers, the Indian chiefs, whose advance towards a brighter life has been so cruelly interrupted by the unscrupulous usurpers of our rights. We demand that the government of Canada accept our petition of rights in the same spirit that other rights of mankind throughout the world are accepted.

When our country suffered a depression and the governments found it necessary to relieve the situation by various relief measures, we Indians were not considered for the same benefits, and we starved when our neighbours, some of whom were not even required to be Canadian citizens, were given help by the government. That was not right, was it?

When all the people of the provinces are having schools in their communities, our children are taken from us and we don't see them for a year at a time. Don't we love our children? Don't our hearts break with longing for the only thing we have in life? Does not blood run through our veins? Are we made of different material to the white man? Do our children need the loving companionship of their mothers and fathers less than the white children?

Are we made of stone that has no feeling? Don't we feel the pain of a hungry heart as does every human being? Why are we deprived of the simple rights that God has conceded to every one of his children? We want the white man-our white brothers-to practise his Christianity the same which he has preached to us Indians. We want him to demonstrate that God's love covers all people. Indians are unable to exercise the cruelty of depriving children of their parents as the present system of education facilities provided the Indians entails. We should have our schools right at home, where parents, teachers and the children will be in constant living contact with each other. This would relieve the present heartache suffered by Indians in their separation from their children.

And, Mr. Speaker, he continues in this manner:

Why do our sons fight for the principle of democracy when at home we Indians are not accorded these simple fundamentals of decent living? Give us back our freedom and our privileges which we enjoyed before we were dispossessed. We Indians are sometimes subjected to the kind of indignities that our fascist enemies have inflicted on freedom-loving peoples. This situation makes it difficult for us to distinguish between the evils we hear about in fascism and the democracy that we are fighting for. Is there a special justice for Indians? We do not believe it! We'll fight for our rights! We


The Address-Mr. Bowerman

would rather be dead heroes, worthy of our forefathers, than to be like rats, a shame to our ancestors, a disgrace to our children. When the four freedoms finally come to this world, may we have our share?

I should like to give a little bit of additional information concerning these educational matters as they affect the residents of northern Saskatchewan. I wish to refer to certain settlements in particular, in order to give a brief picture of the situation in those settlements.

At Stony lake and Black lake there are 255 treaty Indians and sixty-five Metis people. There are no educational facilities for the treaty Indians. At this place there is an Indian agency. A residence was built for the agent and completed last fall. The estimated cost, fully furnished, is $17,000, but in that settlement there are no school privileges for some 255 children. Of medical services there are none.

At Fond du Lac there are 258 treaty Indians. There are no educational services for the treaty Indians in that settlement. There are no medical services for these Indians. There are no statistics as to the numbers at Garson lake, but there are no educational and medical facilities there. While at this settlement money has been provided by the Saskatchewan provincial government, through the department of education, for the erection of a school, this has not been built owing to a suggestion emanating from J. P. B. Ostrander, superintendent of Indian agencies, Saskatchewan, that the treaty Indians residing there at the present time would be moved to the north end of Peter Pond lake. That was two years ago. These two years have gone by and nothing has been done.

At Dillon the Indian population is 221. There are no educational facilities for the treaty Indians. At the Clear lake settlement situated on the west bank of Churchill lake, approximately twenty-five miles from Buffalo Narrows, there are 309 children. There are no educational facilities for these treaty Indian children. I could go over the whole list of these Indian settlements in the upper part of Saskatchewan.

I have gone to some length to place on the record the immediate need of our northern Saskatchewan treaty Indians for schools and educational facilities, which we promised long ago. I have done so because it seems to me that the government's refusal up to now to reconstitute the committee on Indian affairs, or to mention it in the speech from the throne, is evidence that they have decided to drop the whole matter, or have failed to arrive at any definite decision on policy. Meanwhile, as in the past, in many instances

the government is permitting this disgraceful neglect to continue. So far the work of the committee has been that of investigating the deplorable conditions existing among the vast majority of our Indians. It was the unanimous opinion of this committee that the Indian Act needs to be revised in order to implement the necessary changes required to complete the work assigned to the committee. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I would urge that without delay the government implement the recommendations of the committee with regard to setting up immediately a claims commission and the redrafting of the Indian Act.

The manner in which we have fulfilled our treaties and obligations to the original citizens of this land is a disgrace to us. Canadians everywhere are incensed at the indifference of this and past governments in regard to this matter.

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March 7, 1949

1. How many miles of highway have been built by the federal government in the Prince Albert national park during 1948?

2. What construction firm did this work?

3. What was the cost to the government of this construction work?

4. What was the basis of the contract?

5. Was there any management fee paid for this work? If so, how much?


Subtopic:   HIGHWAY
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May 31, 1948

Mr. E. L. BOWERMAN (Prince Albert):

Mr. Speaker, before Your Honour leaves the chair, I should like to make a brief statement. On February 25 of this year, as recordedin Hansard at page 1621, I read to the house the following quotation from the report of the committee on evangelism and social

service of the United Church of Canada:

We are driven to the conclusion that the only thing that will solve our present day social and economic problems will he the absolute Christian socialization of the means of production and distribution of all the necessities of life.

I went on to say it was no wonder church bodies took this position, and I repeated the quotation I have just read. The hon. member for Peel (Mr. Graydon) then interjected with this question: "Does that include the farmers?" In keeping with the view of the United Church which I was then quoting, I quite naturally replied: "That would include everybody." It is perfectly clear that in my reply to the hon. m.ember for Peel I expressed the belief that the views of the United Church applied to everyone. After all, the church believes that Christianity is for all, including the farmers, of whom I am one.

However I regret to say that this statement has been widely distorted outside this house


by people who know better. In many newspaper editorials and advertisements it is being alleged that my remark means that the C.C.F. proposes to socialize farm lands. This is a deliberate distortion of what I said, and is completely untrue. Everyone knows I was simply asserting that the doctrines of the United Church apply universally and in particular to all its members, including the hon. member for Rosthern (Mr. Tucker), who at present is trying to spread this falsehood in Saskatchewan. Since Mr. Tucker is a member of the United Church, I assume he agrees with its views. If so, his distortion of the views of his own church is really amazing. If he wishes to quarrel with his own church that is his privilege; but I wish to make it clear that the interpretation he is trying to place upon what I said on February 25 is completely and utterly false, and he knows it.

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