Mr. K. A. BLATCHFORD (East Edmonton) :
The Budget-Mr. Blatchjord
prairie to a place dotted with cities and towns, with ribbons of steel in every direction, and telephone and telegraph lines gradually going up everywhere. I know, therefore, what the eariy pioneer had to contend with in those days, and I can picture to myself very well what the pioneer in the Peace River district has to put up with when homesteading.
Now I will submit a proposition which, while some people may laugh at it, I believe can be worked out with careful consideration. Let me state it in a nutshell. Give any man or woman 160 acres of land on the strength of a. guarantee to the government that they will break and fence 50 acres, build a house and bam according to plans and specifications laid down by the government, and at the end of three years secure clear title to the property. This is not impossible, because a man working for the railway or in a bank could stay on his job and have the work supervised by government managers of some description. At the end of three years he would have a farm worth not $1,500, the amount he would have to pay in improvements, but worth, if the country were settled1, $5,000. Under present regulations however, a man wishing to acquire such a farm would have to quit his job and go on the farm, sleeping there, as I said before, for six months, so that when he came back he would find his job filled-in short, he would be fired. I think a scheme of that kind' could be worked out to advantage; there are people in Ottawa to-day who would, gladly invest in a savings bank proposition of that nature, because if there is anything a person likes to talk about it is owning a piece of land, a ranch or a farm.
With reference to the $300,000,000 which the hon. member for North Vancouver proposes to gather in taxes, that could be used to good advantage if it were necessary-and it is necessary to a great, extent-in building railways to the coast; to build an outlet; in building branch lines, which are badly needed; in building terminal elevators in the interior, of the Peace river country as well as on the Pacific coast. To-day farmers are hauling their grain from fifty to one hundred miles in four-horse sleighs to Spirit River, Grande Prairie and Peace River at a cost of 35 to 50 cents per bushel. I will ask the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Kennedy) if this is not so. When the farmers arrive at the rail head the elevators are very often blocked; they have no place for their grain, and the grain buyers have control of the situation so far as grades and prices are concerned. Terminals should be built in the in-
terior where they have limited elevator space, and on the Peace river, a big, navigable stream; coal bunkers should be built on the Pacific coast for Alberta coal-the greatest coal fields in existence.
In addition to that, a great deal of this money could be used in assisting immigration into western Canada. We now assist immigrants from Great Britain, why should we not assist our own Canadians first, along with those who have gone to the United States? They are the cream of the earth, as we all know; they have gone to the United States during hard times but they are anxious to come back and would be glad to do so if they had a little assistance and a farm ready for them to work on. If an immigrant comes to this country with $500 or $1,000, he has enough capital to buy a team of horses, a plough and a wagon; he can go to work and get his crop off the first year, and fifty acres will support him if he is not too extravagant. I believe something should be done to bring back the Canadians who have gone to the United States; our own native sons should be assisted first, and then we should go to foreign fields. I do not think we should go abroad and spend a great deal of money in immigration when we have people here in Canada only waiting for a chance to go on the farms; they usually make good farmers.
I would go even further than the hon. member for North Vancouver has gone in opening up the west and the northwest. I have talked it over with the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Stewart), and I suggest that the doors of the Northwest Territories be opened wide, and that persons interested in mineral development be allowed to enter that country and survey it thoroughly. I would suggest also that the country be checker-boarded as is done for homesteading; that 5,000 square miles be set aside for any man or group of men who will put up a $50,000 bond with the government and guarantee to spend $50,000 within three years. That man naturally would need a hydroplane with which to take his prospectors into the country; the day of the prospector with pick and shovel and grubstake on his back has gone. I worked in the Kootenay country in the early days when the prospectors who went into those hills were young fellows, but to-day they are all old men; the young chaps do not follow the former system. With the checker-board idea of developing the Northwest Territories, which no doubt is the best mineral belt in the world, every man or company taking over
5,000 square miles of land would need a hydroplane with which to transport his prospectors and his grubstakes, and the work
The Budget-Mr. Blatchjord
would have to be done in the summer time. The prospector staking a claim would have an interest of 10 per cent in any mineral wealth discovered, which would give him some protection. It would not be fair to a company to spend money exploring the wilderness only to have some of his employees take the best mine and leave him high and dry. I am quite sure that if the Minister of the Interior will agree to a proposition along this line which has been already submitted to him the result will be the opening up of the Northwest Territories in ten or fifteen years instead of the one hundred years it will take under present conditions. I am sure parties could be sent in from Hudson bay to work west, and I have a guarantee from a firm worth millions of dollars, that they will put in other parties from the head of Slave lake and Bear lake to work east. As conditions are at present, even if a man discovers a mine it is no good to him out there in the great open spaces where only Eskimos live. You have to discover many mines, and if a high pressure survey were made you might discover sufficient mineral wealth to justify the construction of a railway from Nelson through to the head of Bear lake or Slave lake, where you have water transportation to the outside world. I feel inclined to submit such a proposition to the government and to ask them to give it some consideration. Personally I would support it, and if it were worked out in detail I think every member in the house would be in favour of it.
The oil regulations should be treated in the same way, because there is no doubt that Alberta has great oil resources. At the present time there is an oil well 1,500 miles north of Edmonton, or the same distance north of Edmonton that San Francisco is south of that city. This oil well was discovered quite a number of years ago, but it has been capped ever since because there is no way of using the oil and no way of getting it out to market. The oil regulations are so tied up with red tape that the big companies refuse to go into the Alberta field, and I would suggest that those companies be allowed certain territories in which they would agree to place a deep-drilling rig to test the area getting protection for a period of six months, so that gamblers could not jump in and stake leases next to the well. You must protect capital to a certain extent; while I do not believe in too much protection we must have fair play, and I am sure all these problems could be worked out in a way which would tend to the early development of the mineral and oil resources of the northwest.
Now, I would like to say just a word with regard to coal rates. I have been pleading with the government for reduced rates for a number of years and I was surprised to hear some of the members on my own side oppose the establishment of a rate from Alberta to Ontario. My good friend from Moose Jaw (Mr. Ross) had the nerve to get up and object to any rate being put into effect while he was sitting in this house. When the Hudson Bay vote came before the house last year it was supported by the Alberta members, although we do not expect to derive a great deal of benefit from the completion of that railway; dome day it may be used for shipping cattle, but I am afraid it will not carry a great deal of our grain. At any rate we supported that vote, but now the hon. member for Moose Jaw objects to any rate on coal being established. The hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Neill) also objected. Can j'ou imagine a man living on Vancouver island objecting to a coal rate being established east of the Rocky mountains? Our mines produce coal equal in quality to any you will find on the Pacific coast within 500 or 600 miles of British Columbia; we have never tried to invade that market because we were trying to enter Ontario first, which would naturally relieve the pressure so far as the coast market on the coast is concerned. The hon. member for Comox-Alberni, however, says, "No, no coal rate for Alberta coal to eastern Canada". I will tell him now, in the king's English, that so far as I am concerned, and speaking for the operators in Alberta, we are going into the British Columbia market whether he likes it or not, if we do not get into the Ontario market. We are making application to the railway board, but we have refrained from proceeding any further because you cannot ride two horses at once, and we thought we would ride into Ontario first.
Topic: QUESTIONS-ANSWERS IN DUPLICATE FOR MEMBERS
Subtopic: THE BUDGET