MR. SPEAKER: O Eternal and Almighty God from Whom all power and wisdom come; by Whom Kings rule and make equitable laws; we are assembled here before Thee to frame such laws as may tend to the welfare and prosperity of our Province; grant O Merciful God, we pray Thee, that we may desire only that which is in accordance with Thy Will; that we may seek it with wisdom and know it with certainty and accomplish it perfectly for the Glory and Honour of Thy Name and for the welfare of all our people. Amen.
MR. J. COWAN (Winnipeg Centre): Mr. Speaker, I beg to present the petition of Earl Malcolm Campbell, James Arthur Eldridge, and others praying for the passing of an Act to incorporate "The Wildwood Club."
MR. SPEAKER: Reading and Receiving Petitions
Presenting Reports of Standing and Select Committees
Notice of Motion
Introduction of Bills
Orders of the Day
MR. E. GUTTORMSON (St. George): Mr. Speaker, before the Orders of the Day, I move, seconded by the Honourable Member for La Verendrye, that the House do now adjourn for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely, the matter of urging the Government of Manitoba to be ready with an alternative policy regarding The Flood Control Programme announced by the First Minister in the event that the federal Government refuses financial support.
MR. SPEAKER: My ruling on this motion is that it is out of order on the grounds of urgency.
MR. W. C. MILLER (Rhineland): Mr. Speaker, the other day we had a discussion on this very subject matter. I made a few studies, not only of our own rules, but also the rules of the House of Commons, and I give you the following quotation on page 90, fourth edition Beauchesne, "The Speaker's duty with regard to a motion to adjourn the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, under standing order No. 26, is confined to determining as to whether, in the first instance, a motion so proposed is in order. There his responsibility ends. There is a further question as to the propriety or desirability of discussing a matter of such great importance -- that is for the House to decide. The Speaker, having found the motion in order, may submit the question, 'Has the Honourable Member leave to proceed?' If objection is taken, the Speaker requests those members who support the motion to rise in their places. If more than 20 members support the motion, the Speaker calls upon the Honourable Member to propose his motion." The number required in Ottawa are twenty or more - the rules of our House provides that if three members support the motion, the member has the right to proceed. So with great deference, I would suggest, that you have no responsibility to rule such a motion out of order.
HONOURABLE DUFF ROBLIN (Premier) (Wolseley): Sir, if I may enter into this debate, it would have been, I think, desirable, if the Honourable Member who has spoken would continue with his quotations from the rules of Beauchesne. I'm reading from the third edition, but it's the same paragraph, it's been repeated in the fourth edition - because it goes on to say "The House affirmed on December 19th - February 1932, that there is no appeal from the speaker's decision, but a motion to adjourn the House for discussing an urgent matter of public importance cannot be made unless the members statement shows there is an actual urgency of debate. The Speaker decided that his decision on this point was final, Mr. Ralston's appeal from the Speaker's refusal to permit an appeal from his decision and the Speaker was sustained." Now that, Sir, is just as applicable, I think, to what has been said on this point of order as the previous statement. I am loathe to have a debate on the same point and just the same arguments brought forward as we had the other day. I will simply repeat this, that there is no desire on our part to in any way inhibit debate on this subject, and there will be other opportunities, one would assume, in the normal course of events -- long before we have to face the question as to whether
or not there is going to be a decision on the 75%-25% issue with the federal Government which will enable the Government to state its policy. I could say this to the honourable member, if it would ease the situation, in any way, that it was my intention to elborate a little further on that point at another occasion in the Throne Speech debate that is taking place, because I anticipated that someone might desire a further explanation on that point, and if so, I'll give it. However, I musn't trespass this matter now. I simply say that on grounds of urgency of debate -- not urgency of the subject matter -- on grounds of urgency of debate that the item is not in order.
MR. GUTTORMSON: Mr. Speaker, I refer to you the journals of 1954. On Friday, March 5th, the Honourable, First Minister, then a member of the opposition moved the following motion - "I ask leave to move the adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance" and stated the subject to be, "the recent decision of the Motor Carrier Board on highway transportation which strikes at the basis of competitive freight rates in Manitoba." ... skipping some of these things, the debate arose, Mr. Roblin and Mr. Campbell having spoken and by leave of the House the motion was withdrawn. I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that this is far more important, this resolution than the one that was submitted by the Honourable, the First Minister, at that time and he had the right to speak on it. On the 23rd of July, 1952, the First Minister said "I ask leave to move adjournment of this House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance" and stated the subject to be "the deplorable state of public information respecting the proceedings of Provincial Municipal Committee." There is no comparison, Mr. Speaker, he had the right to speak on that and I would suggest that I have the right to speak on this matter which is far more important than those two subjects.
MR. SPEAKER: Order! I will read the rule that the Honourable Minister for Rhineland read - "The members shall then hand a written statement proposing to be discussed to Mr. Speaker, who, if he thinks -- "he" thinks it is in order, reads it out and asks whether the members have the leave of the House. The decision to state whether the motion is in order is mine and I accept that responsibility, and I rule it out of order on the grounds that the matter, it is not of urgent public importance.
MR. D. L. CAMPBELL (Leader of the Opposition) (Lakeside): Mr. Speaker, if you would permit me, I realize that we should ask the opportunity to speak on the point of order before a final decision is given. If you have no objection to me once again reiterating my stand on this matter, I would like to say once again that while I agree with the position taken by the Honourable, the First Minister, with regard to the procedure at Ottawa, my contention is that the procedure here, in all the time that I have been in the House, without exception, has been different to the procedure at Ottawa. Because at Ottawa, it's true, that regardless of what the rules say, the custom there has been -- because I have read occasions of where it has happened -- that the Speaker there does take, whether the rule allows it or not, into consideration the question of urgency. I have the note in my copy of our rules here that in Ottawa, the Speaker has the right to decide whether it is of urgent public importance that the subject be discussed now or that it be discussed at this time and there is a ruling on that - and I have a note here - "See Hansard June 8, 1954, page 5623." I haven't looked at that citation recently, but I think you will find that that is clearly laid out there. But, as the Honourable Member for St. George, has pointed out, that has not been our procedure here, and may I once again, at the risk of labouring the obvious, read once again - well, I didn't have it here with me the other day to read, but now I have - the general rule, our rule No. 1 - "Proceedings in this House and in all committees thereof shall be conducted in accordance with its standing, sessional and other orders" -- Subsection 2, "Cases not provided for in the orders shall be decided in accordance with the practices of the House. The practices of this House. And if none are applicable, then in the accordance of the rules and practices of Ottawa." Mr. Speaker, I maintain in this regard as in so many others that where we have laws of our own which are within the competence of the Province of Manitoba, we are just as supreme in our jurisdiction as Ottawa is; and where this House has rules for the conduct of its business, then those rules apply. And we go to Ottawa -- with all due respect for the two honourable gentlemen who have quoted -- Beauchesne -- we go to Ottawa only when ours do not apply. And we have a rule that applies on this point for years and years on end, and that rule has been that the consideration as to order is as to form only.
And Mr. Speaker, I am positive that has been the, if not the rule, if the rule itself is not clear and if order could be taken to have the interpretation that you have placed upon it, then I submit that the practice undoubtedly is the other way.
MR. SPEAKER: ... is this... they are set up for the orderly conduct of business and the speedy despatch of business; and they are restrictive in nature. But to take care of emergent situations that suddenly arise, the permission is granted to bring in motions of this kind. And if we allow every day motions of this kind that come in that are not urgent, it certainly will hinder the despatch of business in the legislature. That is why the rule is put in there and that is why the Speaker is given the right to decide whether it is in order or not.
MR. R. W. BEND (Rockwood-Iberville): Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I would just like to point out how inconsistent we have been in these two days. Yesterday, a point of order arose with respect to speeches that were being given on a specific amendment to the Throne Speech, and it was agreed by this House and your decision sought, that this debate could continue because it had been the custom of the House to allow a very wide scope of debate on any part of the Throne Speech. And although under ordinary circumstances, had it not been for the customs of the House, I think, Sir, you made it clear, and I agree with you, that in ordinary circumstances, it certainly would have been out of order. But the custom of the House, in your opinion, Sir, had allowed the debate to take those lines yesterday. Now, today, it has been established by the Honourable Member for St. George that on previous occasions in this House, that this was allowed to be done on certain matters, shall we say at least of no greater importance that this one that has been mentioned today. And if we apply the same rule of thumb we did yesterday, I humbly submit that the rules of the custom of this House would allow the Honourable Member to proceed.
HONOURABLE STERLING LYON (Attorney-General) (Fort Garry): Mr. Speaker, if I may speak for a moment on the point of order before you now, Sir, I think if Honourable Members will refer again to paragraph 3 of rule 27, and read it carefully, they will see why Mr. Speaker is in order. "The member shall then hand a written statement of the matter proposed to be discussed to Mr. Speaker, who, if he thinks it in order, reads it out and asks whether the member has the leave of the House, etc." Now, the paper has been handed to Mr. Speaker, and Mr. Speaker has ruled that the motion is not in order. The citations are clear from Beauchesne that once having made that order -- once having made that ruling -- it is not appealable to the House. The other day the House saw fit to vote on such a matter but, in any case, I suggest to you that he has made his order and we do not carry on now with the other procedure that was suggested by the Honourable Member from Rhineland, mainly because the Speaker has found this motion to be not in order.
And dealing again with the second question which has just been raised by the Honourable Member from Rockwood-Iberville. If the matter is of urgent public importance, Mr. Speaker, there is nothing to stop the Honourable Member from St. George, the Honourable Member from Rockwood-Iberville, the Honourable Member from Rhineland standing up this afternoon in the Throne Speech debate on the basis of the ruling which you made yesterday and debating this subject, because it is a matter of Provinical concern, a matter which can be raised on the question of confidence of the Government. So certainly there is no inhibition in the debate, no need to delay the debate of this House to discuss a matter which shortly, as we get into the Throne Speech debate or the resumed debate, can be discussed. And, furthermore, there will be ample opportunity at a later stage to discuss this matter when the question is raised in Committee of Supply or when the question is raised on the estimates of the Department concerned. And so I suggest that the Honourable Member for Rockwood-Iberville is merely supporting our argument when he says that by your ruling yesterday, you ruled that there was a wide open debate for the House on the debate relating to the C.C.F. sub-amendment. And so, if they wish to speak today, let them go ahead. There is nothing to stop them. We have no desire to delay debate on this point at all, certainly none at all. But let them go ahead and speak on the question today in the Throne Speech. And on the question of urgency, what could be more important, I suggest, Mr. Speaker, than the confidence of this Government? Has the House confidence in this Government? Well, that is a matter of some urgency, I would suggest to you right now. The Honourable Member for Rockwood-Iberville and the Honourable Member from St. George make reference to a case raised by the present First Minister a few years ago having to do with
the Motor Carrier Board, I believe it was. I can suggest another case where it might be advantageous for the House to move on such a motion as has been raised today but where the circumstances would be much different, and that's raised in Ottawa all the time. If a man is going to be hanged tomorrow morning, certainly that is a matter of urgent debate and the House must stop its business because there is no reasonable opportunity at a later time to discuss the matter, because if you discuss it later on the man may not be around to benefit from the discussion. And so certainly I suggest to you that in all of these cases, the circumstances of the matter must be looked at as I am sure you, Mr. Speaker, have looked at them. And certainly, I suggest, there is no desire to inhibit debate on this subject, in fact let them go ahead this afternoon and debate it but not on this type of motion.
MR. E. PREFONTAINE (Carillon): Mr. Chairman, on a point of order, I would like to tell the Honourable Member who has just spoken, when he says that the member has no right to adjourn the House to discuss this matter, that it could be discussed later, it can be discussed later this afternoon -- on the Speech from the Throne, for instance -- well, why was it that it was so important yesterday that the Prime Minister of this province took twenty-five minutes to read a statement on flood? It seemed that he thought it was very important when he delayed the work of the House yesterday.
HON. MR. LYON: ...said that the member didn't have the right, I merely said that under the rules there is certainly no support for the honourable member's motion in these circumstances.
MR. LLOYD STINSON (Leader of the C.C.F. Party) (Osborne): Mr. Speaker, it seems that in this present Legislature, one should always come armed with Beauchesne, and I happen to own a copy but it's in my office at the moment. I can't even find my little red book of rules. This one is so marked up that it is difficult to understand.... [Interjection] ... Well, I'll read that at the end of my speech. I know the reference and my Honourable friend has already read it. Now, Mr. Speaker, this is a difficult point and I sympathize with you in your present position, and this is a pretty rough sort of House for a new Speaker to preside over. But I cannot recall in my years here of a motion of this kind having been refused. We've had a great deal of lattitude with respect to the rules. Of course, we've never had a political situation like prevails at the present time, so that we may have to write a new rule book for this House. I can recall the former member, Mr. St. John, who represented Winnipeg Centre at that time, moving the adjournment of the House to have a discussion on a second T.V. station in Winnipeg - so that all manner of subjects have been brought before the House in this connection. And as I say, I can't recall any refusal in this connection, and I would suggest, Sir, that in the interests of free speech, that you reconsider your decision and allow the Honourable Gentleman to proceed.
MR. SPEAKER: I have leaned over backwards since I have been Speaker of the House to permit free speech in the House, and this is not a question of free speech at all. It's a question of the orderly conduct of the business in this Chamber. The honourable member will have ample opportunities long before the river breaks up to our right here, to bring in a Resolution or speak to it on the Speech from the Throne or on the Budget debate. And why should we clutter up the proceedings of the House with motions and debates that should take place on other debates? I ruled the other day a similar motion out of order, I allowed the House decide the issue and they thought differently than I did, but I'm being consistent when I rule this one out of order on the same grounds because practically the same arguments are applicable. And for that reason it is out of order....Order! Order! Order! You can't challenge my ruling.
MR. CAMPBELL: Mr. Speaker, up to date, Mr. Speaker, we have been prepared to listen to you with a good deal of consideration for your position, but not on this one. You are not going to refuse this House to challenge your position, I can tell you that, because there has been the custom of this House and Mr. Speaker you read those rules and don't make a mistake about them. This decision will be challenged.
HON. DUFF ROBLIN: Mr. Speaker, I think it would be best for the House if we did request your permission to consult the wishes of the House on...
MR. CAMPBELL: It certainly would!
MR. ROBLIN: ...because while there is the precedent in the other House to which I know your mind is turning at the present, I would suggest that under these circumstances, in view of the entirely unnecessary row that my friends are making, we should allow them to have
a vote and then we'll settle it and the House, Sir, will abide by the majority rule and, I know that you will be glad to do the same.
MR. SPEAKER: I might say that the Dominion rule does not permit a division on this particular subject and as I remember former Speakers in this House, they did not appeal to the House. But in this particular instance, I have no opinion either way of too great importance, and if the House desires a chance to say whether the Rule is in order and should be enforced or not, I have no objections, and I would ask to call in the members.
The question before the House is -- shall the ruling of the Speaker be sustained?
[A standing vote was recorded and the results were as follows:
YEAS: Messrs. Roblin, Thompson, Lyon, Evans, Willis, McLean, Johnson, Boulic, Lissaman, Ridley, Carroll, Shewman, Scarth, Alexander, Martin, Cowan, Groves, Jeannotte, Stanes, Corbett, Strickland, McKellar, Cobb, Williams.
NAYS: Messrs. Campbell, Shuttleworth, Prefontaine, Greenlay, Miller, Stinson, Gray, Swailes, Bend, Hryhorczuk, Lucko, Hillhouse, Paulley, Wagner, Wright, Teillet, Molgat, Clement, Guttormson, Roberts, Tanchak, Shoemaker, Orlikow, Reid, Schreyer, Peters. ]
MR. CLERK: Yeas: 24. Nays: 26.
MR. SPEAKER: I declare the motion carried. ...It has been moved by the Honourable Member for St. George, seconded by the Honourable Member from La Verendrye that the House do now adjourn for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely, a matter of urging the Government of Manitoba to be ready with an alternative policy regarding the flood control programme announced by the First Minister in the event that the Federal Government refuses financial support. Are you ready for the question?
MR. GUTTORMSON: Mr. Speaker, when the First Minister announced a policy of flood control which included controls on Lake Manitoba, I was extremely pleased, as were my many constituents who are located along the shores of this lake. I remember all too well the tremendous damage which these people suffered during the flood years; although I wasn't a member at that time, I had an opportunity to travel around the lake and I hope I never see sights like it again. Farms completely inundated by water, people unable to get to their farms except by boat, women crying because they couldn't get to any of their homes, and just had to leave. Some of them were beautiful homes, and some of them have not been able to return because the land has turned sour and they have not been able to reclaim it.
During the ... that flood and following it, the Lake Manitoba and Winnipeg Board was set up to study the possibility of correcting a possible recurrence of this disastrous flood. The report released last July by the Board revealed that it was economically feasible to set up controls which would all but eliminate agricultural losses such as those affected during the 1955 flood.
At the last Session, the Honourable Member for Ste. Rose moved a Resolution urging the implementation of the Board's report. The First Minister at that time assured this House that action would be taken and we were all very pleased. Since then the Government has set up a cost-benefit study and this study has revealed that such an implementation of the Board was correct and economically feasible. However, the hopes of the people in Manitoba regarding flood control measures were dashed badly Wednesday when the Premier snapped an answer to a question I submitted on whether the agreement for this Government would carry out the flood control programme alone if the federal Government refused financial assistance. This is what the Premier said in reply, "My honourable friend knows he is not entitled to ask questions of that sort, that bear on the advice the ministry will give the Crown in the event that certain hypothetical situations take place." Mr. Speaker, I suggest that this answer was pure double-talk; the Premier is a master at double-talk. Since his election to the office of Premier, we have heard and seen nothing but releases in the newspapers; one day they are studying a project, the next day they are continuing to study the project; the following day the studies are almost completed on this project, and the story goes on and on. Yet all to fool the public of Manitoba, but in reality what is really being done. All this is propaganda to fool the public, and I wish to assure you, Mr. Speaker, that the people of Manitoba aren't so foolish to see through all this garble.
I challenge the First Minister to tell us what happens if the federal Government refuses financial assistance to these flood programmes. The people of Western Canada have no
confidence in the Diefenbaker Government. Why should they? Look now how they snubbed the prairie farmers when they went down in delegation; what about the financial assistance to municipal people; what about the Federal Tax Agreement? I can well remember his speeches on television, the tears literally flowed on my living room floor. What poppycock! What reason have we to expect that Manitoba will fare any better on the flood control project which amounts to such an amount of money?
I say, Sir, that the Premier has no right to infer to the people of Manitoba these projects will be continued or carried out unles he has the assurance of the federal Government, and he hasn't got it, by his own admission. Mr. Speaker, a lot of these announcements, including the flood programme, is sheer poppycock, and I suggest to you a phony, and typical Tory election propaganda. By his own admission, Duff is a pupil of Dief. In other words, a puppet of the federal Government. Who ever heard of a puppet telling the puppeteer what to do?
MR. C. E. GREENLAY (Portage la Prairie): Mr. Speaker, I wish to say a few words on this particular subject, and I think that it is a very timely subject indeed. I think, particularly one point which I shall try to raise and try to explain to the House, is of urgent importance.
Now, Mr. Speaker, we did have some debate last year in connection with this particular question of control on Lake Manitoba. Mr. Speaker, I think this is one of the most important matters which is before the people of Manitoba and before this House at this Session, and that is the control of the level of Lake Manitoba. I am sure that if the level of Lake Manitoba is allowed to continue to recede that it will not only affect those who are directly interested in the waters of Lake Manitoba by way of fishing, by way of trapping, and so on, but the effects of that water receding will certainly have an extremely bad effect on the adjacent farming lands to the south of it. It's a well known, or well recognized fact, that the level of the Lake Manitoba does affect the water table in and around the Portage plains. Now, Mr. Speaker, the level at that lake can go down very, very rapidly. A year ago now I would say that it was up somewhere around about 815, 814.5, 815 and last fall, according to the table that is being used, it was, I think, at 811.6.
Now, Mr. Speaker, that is the one point which I really want to speak on with some emphasis today, and that is that for Goodness Sake, don't let us be led astray by those particular figures which are used in that report. Now I am told that those figures are based on the measuring stick which is at Delta. I am told also that that measuring stick, if it is correct, and if the level of Lake Manitoba last fall was 811.6, then it should not be controlled from 811 to 813, it should be controlled from a higher level, from 811.6 or 812 possibly, to 814. Because they tell me that there is an error, actually an error, in the actual level above sea level. And don't let's just take that report and say it should be from 811 to 813. I don't care what the figure says, but for Goodness Sake, the level last fall was too low, and if the level was 811.6 last fall then it certainly shouldn't be let go down to 811.
HONOURABLE GURNEY EVANS (Minister of Mines and Natural Resources) (Fort Rouge): Would the member permit a question? Could you tell me whose measuring stick that is, under whose jurisdiction...?
MR. GREENLAY: It is under the jurisdiction of the Provincial Government.
MR. EVANS: The Provincial Government?
MR. GREENLAY: I have been told some rather remarkable stories about how it is read and when it is read. And all I am asking, and I am not interested in what those reports have been. But all I am saying is, that before the plans are made, and the plans go too far for the dam at Fairford, the control structure at Fairford, for Goodness Sake, let us establish without any shadow of doubt just what the level is and just where it should begin. I would like the Honourable Minister of Mines and Resources to check what the level was given at last fall; but if it was 811.6 for Goodness Sake, don't let's get down to 811 because it's plenty low enough at 811.6, and I think the people in that part of the country, the fishermen, the trappers and all the rest of them will agree, that it was too low as of last fall. That is the one point which I think is extremely important, and extremely important at this time, because if the Government is proceeding to establish and make up plans and specifications for the control structure, then certainly we should have a good sound starting point in the level of the water as it was last fall. I think that that is very, very important.
One of the other things that I would like to speak on at the moment with regard to the flood
control and it has to do with the level of Lake Manitoba, and is contained in some of the flood reports; that is the question of the diversion, the Portage la Prairie diversion. Now we have had two suggestions: One is a diversion west of Portage la Prairie at the Old Fort, and the other one further down towards High Bluff. Now, Mr. Speaker, I happen to know that particular part of the country, the rural part, very well, and the levels and the way that the drainage takes place, and the run-off trend in the particular area. And I would like to submit to you, Sir, that if this channel is put west of Portage la Prairie, at the Old Fort, that there will have to be quite a structure provided in order to raise the water up high enough to get it out of the river. And, Mr. Speaker, I don't think that structure would be out of place. I think that there is a place for it, a low level dam or a weir at Portage la Prairie, to provide some sort of a basin so that the city and the airport and so on, that are being served by the water supply at Portage la Prairie, will have a sound assurance of a sure supply.
Now then, Mr. Speaker, it has been said that generally speaking the people who are investigating, the Commission, are of the opinion that probably the one down near High Bluff would be the one that would be most acceptable; but Mr. Speaker, I do know this as a fact, that the level of the land about half-way between the river and the lake in roughly the course of where that channel would run, at the present time is lower than the lake was last fall -- 811 on the southeast corner of 11 in 14.6. Now, Mr. Speaker, I think then that means there has to be considerable dykes put up at that particular point to continue the water which is going to go across to Lake Manitoba. And, I ask you, Mr. Speaker, what are they going to do with the water they collect west of that? Are the farmers going to drink it up, soak it up? These are some of the problems that I think have not been properly referred to in this report and I think they are things that should be looked into before that diversion should be put in. I think there are a lot of arguments against the diversion; frankly I don't think that it amounts to a hill of beans. When you need water in the lake, the lake's low; where are you going to get water out of the river, the river will be low too. When you have lots of water in the river you'll have lots of water in Lake Manitoba, and what do you want the diversion for? Mr. Speaker, they talk about the suggestion that this should be put in for the protection of the valley downstream from Portage la Prairie, and I don't know whether all of the Honourable Members know the particular conditions which exist with regard to the Assiniboine River, but for the ones who do not, I would like to explain that down to Portage la Prairie the Assiniboine River runs through a considerable bog, and in that way if there is an extesive amount of water it backs up on the flats, but it does not get out over any very wide area other than up in west of Brandon; up in the western part of the provinces there are some pretty wide spots which do take a lot of damage from the floods. Mr. Speaker, just at Portage la Prairie, those high banks disappear and the river is no longer in a valley, it is just a little stream running through the prairie.
And now, Mr. Speaker, another thing that I would like to point out is this. You have the water confined and comes down to Portage la Prairie and then if there is a great amount of it, it can spread out. But the other thing that I wanted to say with regard to the diversion is this; that, in my experience, and I have lived along close to the river all my life -- you will find if you go back over the records that I would say 4 out of 5 at least, or more than that, I think it is nearer 9 out of 10 times that you have a flood which puts water out of the Assiniboine River, it is not by reason of an excessive amount of water coming down the river, but it is by reason of an ice jam. And, Mr. Speaker, in all this report that has been presented, nothing has been said about how they are going to persuade the old river to jam at the right place so they can get the water out to the diversion. Well, Mr. speaker, I think that's an important point because if the jam occurs, and I have seen a good many jams, and you don't know which way it is going to go, whether the river is going to go north or whether it is going to go south, but it's sure going to go someplace when it jams up and it doesn't matter whether there's a diversion or not, that river is going to get out; and if the jam occurs west of the diversion and the water comes out the south side, you've got the same old condition. And if it occurs east a few miles, say 4 or 5 miles east of the diversion, the diversion wouldn't do anything for you because the water is down too low and it'll jam down there and you are going to get the water out of the river just the same. The only time the diversion would be any good where there is an ice jam is if the ice jams just below the diversion; and it seems to me that it is a pretty difficult thing to try to arrange where those jams are going to occur. And those are some of the reasons why I don't
think that the diversion is the answer insofar as either the flooding of the valley or with regard to getting water into Lake Manitoba. The amount of water that would flow out of the Assiniboine River and any one of those floods into Lake Manitoba, I think you wouldn't hardly be able to measure it on the level of Lake Manitoba when it gets spread out all over.
Now, Mr. Speaker, the other thing that I think is wrong with the diversion is that I don't think that we should be trying to get rid of the water. I think that the greatest need that we will have in this part of the country, in Manitoba and in the west here, will be for a steady supply or bodies of water being retained in the area and I think the further back-up stream that you can retain those -- as long as they're being retained, particularly in an area which at times is quite dry, that I think the further back you can provide these storage basins, the better. And it seems to me that the reference (I think there was a little reference to a dam at Holland in order to hold back some of this water and further dams further up the river), I think all of those are good and I think that they should be proceeded with. And I would certainly hope that nothing is done to go ahead with the diversion just because it's in the report. Let's get these other facts -- and I think that we should get something by way of control dams and dams to hold the water back at any place feasible down the river. I think too, that there should be a low level weir such as that one which is in the Saskatchewan River at Saskatoon, put in the vicinity of Portage la Prairie, as I said before, to hold back a body of water to be sure of a supply for the city and for the airport which get their water from that same source.
I think, Mr. Speaker, that those are about all the points that I want to cover, but I do think, particularly the one with regard to the level, and particularly with regard to trying to conserve the water and hold it back by dams, rather than running it off to get rid of it, are the important ones. And I would certainly suggest that the government should take particular pains in this regard before proceeding any further.
MR. STINSON: I desire to speak, Sir. Although I have strong feelings on the subject of flooding, I can't speak with the vigour or with the violence of the Honourable Member for St. George. But I do think he put a valid question to this government. And as I recall it, that question was "What happens if the Federal Government refuses financial assistance for flooding projects in the Province of Manitoba?"
Now, we did get the impression yesterday from the Honourable, the First Minister, that the province woudl go it alone if necesssary. Now that may have been a wrong impression. I don't want to do his arguments an injustice, or do I wish to do the honourable gentelman any injustice, but the impression certainly was created that if federal money was not forthcoming that the province would find ways and means of proceeding with the projects on its own. It was somewhat ironical, at least it was ironical to me, to hear honourable members of the Liberal party speak this afternoon with such feeling on the subject of flooding, and when the Honourable Member for St. George talked about the tears flowing from his T.V. set, I thought this afternoon that there were some crocodile tears so far as he was concerned.
Now, let me just recall a little bit of history. I will give it to you in a sort of thumbnail sketch. In 1950 we had the most disastrous flood on the Red River in the memory of man in this area. And then in 1953 we had the report of the Red River investigation, which outlined these engineering projects. And then it took the former government three years and three months to get around to naming a Cost-Benefit Study Commission -- and we had that report tabled in this House yesterday. So the history of this thing is one of delay and neglect.
Now, Sir, we want some action in this matter of flooding, but we do not want to be misled. We want to know exactly what the score is; and I am certain that the province could not go it alone in a matter as gigantic as this -- because when you think in terms of making a channel around the City of Winnipeg, creating almost a second river with this great diversion, that is something certainly that is gigantic in scale. I think that there is no doubt about the facts now; the engineers have told us that it's possible; the Cost-Benefit Study Commission has said that it's beneficial. Some of us who are laymen in this matter have been of this opinion all along. As a matter of fact, the City Engineer and other engineers have spoken on this matter for many years and we have had other public bodies make pronouncements in this connection, that the diversion is a perfectly feasible and proper thing to carry out. When it was first suggested there were people who thought, "Oh well, this is impossible, this is too
wild a dream altogether", but now we have all of the evidence -- I haven't had a chance to study the Cost-Benefit report but there have been digests of it in the newspapers, and the general position taken by that commission I think is well understood. So that now there is no doubt about the practicability of it. There remains the matter of getting it done, and of finding the money. And in a matter of this kind it naturally would take a little time. The honourable gentlemen opposite are so anxious these days to put their best foot forward that they perhaps are rushing into print almost too quickly. But certainly we do want action, but we don't want to be misled. We want to know exactly what can be done and who is going to do it. I think that is about all that I can say on the matter at the moment.
MR. PREFONTAINE: Mr. Speaker, I rise to compliment the Member for St. George who has brought this matter before the House at this time, and I think it is very important that we should have some more information on this important question. I for one believe that either too much or too little has been said yesterday in the famous announcement from the government. I went home last night to a hockey game and I met quite a few people who had heard the big news on the air -- $85 million. One gentleman from St. Jean asked me, "Well, where do we come in, do we come into the picture at all?" "No,", I said, "according to my understanding, the government will still study the situation, as far as the upper valley is concerned." And he further asked me, "Well, who is going to pay for this $85 million?" "Well," I said, "I am not clear myself on that. The government is going to ask Ottawa to assume 75%." "Well," he says, "if Ottawa doesn't come through, who is going to pay for that?" I said, "I don't know." I met another gentleman in the other part of my constituency, who said to me, he said "We had to construct a floodway recently which cost the municipalities $65,000.00." The Teulon Creek -- to protect the farmland against flooding, and the municipalities had to pay one-third of the cost. It carried mostly foreign water. The government paid two-thirds. Now, yesterday we got no intimation at all as to whether the municipalities in this metropolitan area would be asked to contribute at all, and the residents of the valley are wondering whether this is another free gift from the Manitoba Government to these municipalities. And I believe that we should have more information from the government. This is a most important subject. Hopes have been raised in the minds of a lot of people. I think around the City of Winnipeg and this metropolitan area they must have been very happy last night, but they were not so happy down in the valley. These studies might take quite a while and I, for one believe that it would be difficult to protect the towns in the upper valley against flooding, towns like Morris and St. Jean and Emerson. But it should be possible to try and come out with some scheme, an insurance scheme to compensate them against flooding, and that should be included at the same time. The project should be all-inclusive. It should include at the same time protection for the upper valley, because if we start spending $85 millions without any decision with respect to the upper valley, what would happen in case of flooding? They would be left to the good graces of the government at the time, I suppose.
I think that it was right for the member to adjourn the House. We should get more information on this important matter and false hopes should not be raised in the minds of the people of this province.
MR. LYON: Mr. Speaker, as the elected representative of a constituency, a good portion of which lies along the edge of the Red River, I feel that it is encumbent upon me to say a few words in this debate, which has been started by the Honourable Member for St. George.
I think everybody in the House knows, Mr. Speaker, that the Municipality of Fort Garry lies entirely along the Red River, throughout the length of the municipality, and that, of course, comprises a large part of the constituency which I represent. I think members of the House as well realize that during the late disastrous flood of 1950, a good portion of that municipality suffered extremely great hardship as a result of the rising waters of the Red River. I think of such developments as Wildwood Part development within Fort Garry; I think now of the people down there that I represent; I think of the number of these people who have come to me from time to time, and who have said to me -- "One reason we voted for you was because we want to see some action taken on flood control. We've had members in the House for eight or ten years on the other side and they did nothing to protect us; we hope that you will do something if we give you a chance to do it". And yet today, Mr. Speaker, after an announcement yesterday that the government was proceeding with a plan to start a new flood development
program for Manitoba, we have the anomaly of a party which in ten years failed to produce any plan at all, now asking the government in office to produce two plans in 48 hours. And so I say, Mr. Speaker, that it ill behooves men such as the Member from St. George and other members who live, especially in flooded areas, to be coming out now and attacking a government which believes in a bit of action -- on a few occasions in any case. It ill behooves them to come out and start attacking a positive plan, when after ten years from the 1950 flood they themselves faild to do one single thing to obviate the flood threats.
Another thing that comes to my mind is this. Last year when we were discussing the education plan in this House, there was a great deal of cackling from across the way, as to what effect would be given to the new school grant proposal if a number of these divisions didn't vote to go in. What are you going to do about money for them, and so on and so forth? This type of negative thinking seems to be characteristic of the Liberal members opposite, always anticipating the most pessimistic eventualities that anyone could anticipate at all, and in a liberal way, as my colleague says here behind me, and in a very liberal way, always looking to the black side of the picture, always forgetting in a case like this that the Federal Government gave considerable assistance to the Province of Saskatchewan last year in the provincial development which has been started in that province. Are their memories so short that they forget that shortly after the Fraser River Valley flood back a few years ago, similar assistance was given to those people, and all we say now is: are we not entitled to believe that the same fair treatment will be given to this province that has been extended to the Province of British Columbia and to the Province of Saskatchewan? And certainly I don't think that there is any great cause for debate, or urgent debate, as the Honourable Member for St. George has put it, on a question like that. The Honourable the First Minister outlined yesterday to the House a positive plan for action. This House has not heard such a plan for years, and yet within 24 hours we have the Honourable Member for St. George, and I would suggest with respect that living as he does in my constituency -- I don't know whether he votes for me, although probably he does -- living as he does in my constituency, he should stand up today in this House and say: "I welcome the action taken by the Government of Manitoba to give my home protection." He's got a lovely wife and two lovely children -- and I think they are both going to be Conservatives -- out there and I want to see them protected as much as my own wife and the other people in Fort Garry, and so I say that I am rather surprised -- rather surprised, Mr. Speaker, to see a man such as the Honourable Member for St. George raising this question today. He talked about propaganda. Well, I don't think that the statement of the Honourable the First Minister was propaganda, I think it was a statement of action -- a statement of action. My honourable friends opposite have been going around the country, especially the Leader of the Opposition, saying that they weren't very good at propaganda, and if they had been a little bit better at advertising that perhaps they would still be on this side of the House. Well, I suggest that they are wrong in that, Mr. Speaker, it wasn't advertising or propaganda that they lacked, it was action that they lacked -- just action, that's all they had to do. They weren't doing enough to publicize anything. And action by itself, Mr. Speaker, will speak for itself, and will endear the persons who do it to the electorate and will certainly ensure their term in office. And had the honourable members opposite in the last ten years taken some positive action on flood control, it's a certainty -- not a certainty -- but there is a better chance that they might now be adorning the front benches of this House. But they failed to do it, and now we are attempting to go ahead with a positive plan, and what do they say? Oh well, what if this happens, or what if that happens? What about all of these black eventualities? That's all they can say. The Honourable Member for St. George said that we had been investigating and that we had been looking. Well, yes, we've been studying and investigating and looking for approximately nine months, but he wasn't in the House, nor was I, when his Government were fumbling and sitting back and sitting on their hands, and chewing their nails, and doing nothing, absolutely nothing, about this tremendous problem which has faced the Province of Manitoba for a good number of years, particularly the Winnipeg area since 1950. I know something about Lake Manitoba, of which the Honourable Member for Portage la Prairie spoke. I've been out to that beach, not as often as he, but quite often, and I know that that area out there has had a constant problem -- a water problem, for as many years as I can remember, and I think, and I'm sure that a great deal of attention will be paid to the remarks that he made this
afternoon in connection with the water levels of Lake Manitoba. But getting on to the main project -- the main project in this new plan about Greater Winnipeg. I say to the members of the House, Mr. Speaker, that if anything, the Honourable Member for St. George should have adjourned the House on a matter of urgent debate, and should have proposed a resolution of this House to commend the Government for its finally taking some action in a field in which his own colleagues failed so miserably, to take any action for so many years. Thank you.
MR. T. P. HILLHOUSE, Q.C. (Selkirk): Mr. Speaker, representing a constituency, along with the Honourable Minister of Health, which is going to be the chief recipient of all this generosity, I think it's incumbent upon me to propound to the First Minister certain questions that are giving me some trouble. Now, as every member of this House is aware, all these waters that are going to be controlled are eventually going to find their way into Lake Winnipeg. The waters from Lake Manitoba, all the waters from the south. I have no fear that anything will happen to the Town of Selkirk as a result of that diversion around Winnipeg. I feel that all that will do will be to accelerate the flow of water which will eventually pass through the Town of Selkirk. But I have some doubts in my mind as to what is going to happen around Lake Winnipeg, and on the south end of the Lake, particularly around the Netley marshes. Now, these doubts arise due to the fact that I am lacking in information as to whether the level of Lake Winnipeg is going to be controlled by a flood control authority or by the Manitoba Hydro-Electric Board. If the level of Lake Winnipeg is going to be controlled by a flood control authority, I believe that that authority would take under advisement a height of water which would be safe for all of the area bounding on Lake Winnipeg and all of the area south. I think the Honourable Member for Gimli will back me up when I say this, that during the times that the level of Lake Winnipeg was above its forty-year mean level, which I think is 712 feet, it only takes about two hours with a north wind blowing, to raise the level of that lake at the south end considerably. Now that water, when it's raised at the south end of the lake, finds its way back into the Netley Marshes and raises the level there, and when the level of the water in the Netley marshes is raised, it interferes with the drainage in the Municipality of St. Andrews. Now, I appreciate this fact that if the Hydro-Electric Board is going to control the level of water in Lake Winnipeg, and I understand that they are going to control it, because in order to operate a hydro-electric plant on the Nelson River, it's necessary to have a large reservoir of water during the winter months. Now, I would like some assurance from the government that there will be no danger to the Municipality of St. Andrews, or to those other portions of my constituency as a result of the policy that is adopted by the government in connection with this Greater Winnipeg Flood Control. I don't think there will be any danger if the level is going to be fixed by some flood control authority, but I have grave doubts that there will be considerable danger to my constituency if that level is going to be fixed and maintained and kept at a figure suggested by the Manitoba Hyrdo-Electric Board. Because the information that I have, that in order to operate the hydro-electric plant on the Nelson River during the winter months, you have to build up a large reservoir of water, and that reservoir of water must be kept above the forty-year mean level.
MR. F. GROVES (St. Vital): Mr. Speaker, I feel that since I am the representative in this House of a constituency that in 1950 was completely inundated by that flood -- furthermore, not only were they completely inundated, but the constituency was completely evacuated. We had in 1953, a scare that we were going to have in this year a repetition of the 1950 flood. Many people in my constituency in 1953, fearing a repetition of 1950, moved out of their homes at considerable expense to themselves. Our municipality, with the co-operation of the former administration, spent many thousands of dollars upon building up the dike and other flood work that proved in the end to be unnecessary. These works were done and they weren't required, all because we had only in 1953, the possible threat of a flood of the magnitude of the flood of 1950. In the last election campaign, much was said about flood control and it was the policy of our party and we put it in our literature, it was one of the planks in my platform so to speak, that the Conservative party was prepared if given the opportunity to take office, to take action on flood control. We made this promise, and this Government has kept its promise within a very short time of its assuming office. The previous government did nothing about this problem for over ten years. Since 1950, I am sure that there have been many reports tabled or
given to the former administration which have done nothing up until this spring, when our new government took over, but gather dust in the vaults in the Legislative Building. And don't think that this inaction of the previous government wasn't considered when the votes were cast in the last provincial election in Norwood and St. Vital, and for that matter in many, many of the constituencies of this province that were affected by the flood of 1950. In Norwood and St. Vital, which comprised my constituency, every spring the residents of those two areas live, while the spring break-up is in process, in a constant fear of flood. They can well remember what happened to their home, what happened to their properties, and to many of them, what happened to their jobs, as a result of the 1950 flood. Many of the men found it necessary in the spring of 1950, to leave their employment in order to evacuate their families. As a result of this policy of our new government, the people in my constituency are very happy that the government is prepared to go ahead with this scheme, and perhaps they are prepared to go ahead with this scheme whether or not the Federal Government is prepared to participate, and surely the Honourable Member from St. George isn't serious when he suggests that perhaps the Federal Government won't contribute towards this scheme and we have in this instance two very good precedents in this matter. Firstly the works that were done in the Fraser River Valley in British Columbia after their disastrous flood, and also last year the financial contribution that the Federal Government was prepared to make towards the South Saskatchewan dam project. Surely then the Federal Government must have some very good reason if they are not prepared to support a project of this magnitude in Manitoba, and a project which in my opinion has every bit as good an argument as the ones that were proposed to them in connection with the Fraser River work and the South Saskatchewan dam. Surely those who remember the flood of 1950 cannot think otherwise, and I agree with the Honourable the Attorney-General, that the Honourable Member for St. George's resolution shouldn't regret the Government's lack of policy or unclear policy in this regard, but should commend it for taking this action on such a large project so soon after taking office.
MR. R. TEILLET (St. Boniface): Mr. Speaker, I certainly do want to say a word about this. Yesterday, we heard the First Minister give to this House a very important statement on flood policy. He certainly raised the hopes of all the people of this metropolitan area. After all, we have been living in a condition in this area where every year we do have this fear of floods. That is quite true. Yesterday, the Premier of the Province gave us a statement which should in every respect raise our hopes and make us optimistic for the future. However, I think the public of this area are entitled to know specifically how this will be done. The statement does not say -- the statement makes the assumption that the Federal Government will come to its aid. I don't think there is any justification for that statement, and I do believe the Premier owes it to the people of this area to tell us, and now that he has raised our hopes, now that he has brought back to us the thought, well, something can be done about this question, something will be done to control floods in this area, I believe it's his duty, and I think it's our right to expect from him a clear-cut statement of how this will be done if the Federal Government says "No". While members opposite have talked about precedents in Saskatchewan and elsewhere, about federal help in these matters, we do have a precedent in Manitoba, and that is the Seine River flood control project, and what has been the story there. A clear-cut "No"from the Federal Government, so that the precedents of the Federal Government are no indication to us as to the attitude they will take in this connection. Now, Mr. Speaker, I believe that there are three points in particular on which we are entitled to some clear-cut statement.
Number 1: Now that our hopes have been raised that this policy will go through, the flood waters will be controlled, I think the Premier owes it to the people of Manitoba to tell us how it will be done, in a clear-cut fashion. This could reasonably be said to be just a little bit more than a promise until we know what happens if the Federal Government says "No". I can only interpret this as a promise, and not as a policy statement.
Secondly, I would hope that the Seine River project is not tied to federal participation. I would hope that that project would continue as at present by the Provincial Government on its own whether the Federal comes in or not. I would appreciate a statement on that.
And finally, I think again, we should have a clear-cut statement of policy on that 25% share. Nothing is mentioned in the statement about municipal contributions. I, for one, would hope that the reason for that is that the municipalities of this area are not expected to
contribute. However, I would appreciate an assurance on that point. All these things, Mr. Speaker, do need to be clear.
I reiterate again that our hopes have been raised, the hopes of the people in the metropolitan area have been raised that we need no longer fear these flooding conditions. Do not place us in a position where these hopes may be dashed again, because the Federal Government says "No".
MR. H. P. SHEWMAN (Morris): Mr. Speaker, I had no intention of speaking this afternoon, but this is a subject that has been very close to everyone that went through the 1950 flood. Also the 1948 flood. Had the gentlemen on the other side of the House had the interest of the people of the Red River Valley at heart there would not have been near the suffering. The Honourable Member from St. George this afternoon made quite a talk -- quite a talk. You have heard of cyclones bursting over a certain area, and I gasped for breath because I thought the cyclones had hit the Chamber. If I remember rightly, I think that the Honourable Member was in St. George during the 1950 flood, was covering the Red River Valley for the Free Press. And it's not so long ago that I was reading an article that he had written in an old paper -- newpaper - Free Press. He was urging the Government then to take immediate action to relieve the suffering of the people of the Red River Valley. Now he comes in here this afternoon, and he wants immediate action. If I would take just a moment and just trace the action of the party that he belongs to as far as flood control and action is concerned, I think that he will have a different attitude and a different feeling in life in general. Now, Mr. Speaker, I went to Morris when the House was prorogued here, I think it was the 24th of April of 1950 -- the 20th or the 24th of April -- and I had adjourned the House on a question similar to this -- on the 20th of April I guess it was -- to ask for immediate help for the people of the flooded area, and I was granted that privilege too. The First Minister then of the province, in answering, said that everything would be done that would be humanly possible to be done. Before I had a chance to speak to the Minister again I had to -- the First Minister I should say -- I had to make inquiries about getting boxcars to get the stock out of the flooded areas. I came to the Department of Agriculture at that time and asked them for help, and my answer was that the Red Cross would supply box cars to get the cattle out of the Red River Valley. Now, Mr. Speaker, when the Honourable Member for St. George said that we should have immediate action and the situation is desperate, I go along partly with him, but he must stop and think that when I was asking nine years ago for box cars I was referred to the Red Cross.... The Department of Agriculture. I think then the Honourable Mr. Bell then was Minister of Agriculture. Well, now it was Mr. Connor I believe was in there at that time, one of the two men that you so greatly emphasize the fact that they were up and down the valley rescuing livestock. Just a minute, you'll have a chance now, I'd wipe my chin off if I was you because you'll have a chance.
Now, it's true that on the 28th of April that I did send a wire to the First Minister asking for help and the wire would read this way: "The flood of 1950 is just as bad as that of 1948 in the Red River Valley. Financial aid is a must for the people of this area. Would suggest a commission to investigate flood control." Now that is true; there was immediate action taken on that question and a committee was set up of three members of the committee by Ottawa and its government to investigate. We did have immediate action but that act occurred through the pressure that was put on from Ottawa to this government. And they recommended at that time that something should be done immediately. So I say again, nine years is a long time, and for some people almost an eternity, to wait for immediate action. Now, I know ti will be a serious problem if there is no immediate action and I believe that there will be immediate action as far as flood control is concerned. Now the answer that I got from my wire from Premier Campbell and he quotes April 29th, the next day, "Good sir," and he quotes, "I realize with regret that the flood is causing such widespread inconvenience, distress, and loss, but think it most important at present to continue fullest co-operation by all agencies in protecting the lives and health of the people and keeping property damage to a minimum." And he goes on, "In this the government of Manitoba is giving and will give every assistance and will call for further federal help if necessary. Questions of national financial assistance and investigating committee can be taken up when present emergency is over." Now, I wasn't altogether happy with the treatment that the people of the Red River valley were getting at that time and I went a step
further and I wired the Prime Minister of Canada, the Honourable St. Laurent, at that time, and this is the wire I sent to him: "I would like to ask your government to give aid to the flooded area of the Red River Valley as this is a national emergency. This area flooded badly in 1948 and 1950. Many people have suffered great financial loss. Would suggest that a Royal Commission be set up to investigate flood control, also income tax exemption for the repairing of homes this year." Now the wire that I received back at that time for Mr. St. Laurent was to the effect that "this is a provincial affair and we cannot do anything on this matter until we have the request from the provincial government". Now, that was on the 29th of April and this government did not request any action, if I remember rightly, until along about the 15th or 16th of May. Almost three weeks had elapsed. And the Honourable Member from St. George is asking for speed. I would like to know, Sir, where the speed was in those days of 1950 when the people of the Red River Valley were really stuck. Then we go on and there was a report tabled....
MR. GUTTORMSON: I never asked for immediate action.
MR. SHEWMAN: Well, we'll wait till we get Hansard tomorrow, and read Hansard tomorrow. If I am in error I'll willingly withdraw, but I think you demanded immediate action. There was a report tabled in Ottawa in 1953 that took in some flood protection for the Red River Valley and City of Winnipeg, and Mr. Winters, then was Minister of Public Works, and he did write a letter to the Honourable First Minister of Manitoba, and in part he suggests this: "You may wish to study this report in order to determine if and to what extent you deem it advisable to undertake additional work to reduce the likelihood of damage occurring from future floods. In the event of new work being contemplated, it would of course be necessary to give consideration to an appropriate allocation of costs. Should you wish to discuss this report with me, I'll only be too happy to meet with you at your convenience." And I have been informed, Sir, that was in 1953, that Ottawa at that time would have carried on with the 75 - 25%, the same as they did in the British Columbia Fraser River Valley flood. And I have been informed that in a good many instances that British Columbia has received up to 85 and 90% costs for some work, such as dyking and such kind of work. Now again, Mr. Speaker, I ask the Member from St. George, where was the speed in those days?
And we come along to this committee that they appointed in 1956 on Flood Cost Benefit. It was from 1950 to 1956, Mr. Speaker, it was the continual urging and public opinion that forced the then government to set up that commission of which the report was tabled yesterday, which this government is going to give immediate action.
MR. G. MOLGAT (Ste. Rose): Mr. Speaker, it seems, on this side of the House at least, that our honourable friends across the way, not having been able today to twist the rules to suit themselves have decided that possibly by confusing the issue they can obtain the solution that they want. This problem isn't nearly as confused as some of the speakers across the way have tried to point out. I don't think the speakers on this side have been criticizing the statements that the First Minister made yesterday. I don't think we've been criticizing the plans that he has suggested. What we've been trying to get is simply information. I don't think there is any argument about the importance of this flood matter. So far as Lake Manitoba particularly, in which my constituency is concerned, I moved a resolution here at our last session; at that time, as I recall it, the government said that a Cost-Benefit Survey was required. But there was no statement made then that Ottawa would be included in the solution. I understood then -- I may have misunderstood -- but I understood then that the government, in the words of the First Minister, was agreeable to proceeding with the Lake Manitoba flood control, provided that the Cost-Benefit Survey was indicative that this was a good measure. Now yesterday, the First Minister made an announcement. I commend him for his announcement. I might add that it was in keeping with excellent publicity policy that he has been following. It was a very brave statement. It makes good reading -- particularly when we consider that there is an election around the corner. But now we have a different view. All the flood control program is connected with Ottawa. Well, Mr. Speaker, if we can get Ottawa money, well and good. I'm the first one to recommend it. I'll accept all the money Ottawa is prepared to send us for Flood Control and other measures. But it is very easy, Mr. Speaker, to make promises on someone else's money. This seems to me to be window dressing.
Now I have no confidence in the government across the way. I think that the House will
follow that lead very shortly. I think that they'll prove that this side of the House has no confidence in the Government. But if it is possible I have even less confidence in the Government in Ottawa. Mr. Diefenbaker has promised many things and he has fallen down miserably on so many of them. He promised a better Dominion-Provincial fiscal arrangement; a promise but no fulfillment. He promised aid to the farmers; again no fulfillment. He promised aid to municipalities; the same story, no fulfillment. As far as I know he never promised aid to Manitoba in its flooding problems. That may be a very good sign, possibly we'll get it. But, Mr. Speaker, when we reflect on the failure of the Ottawa Government under Mr. Diefenbaker to live up to its solemn promises; when we consider the serious financial situation in Ottawa today, I ask you -- have we any reason to believe that they are going to come along and agree with the recommendations of the Manitoba Government to give us 75% of something like $90 million? I see no reason why we should expect that they would do so. If they will, well and good, I commend them, and I commend the First Minister for getting it out of them. But have we reason to believe that they will? I am not criticizing, and as I say again, the plan that the First Minister gave us, I commend him. But I do think that it was made with an election in mind. And I don't think it's enough. In view of the present situation at Ottawa, we require an alternative.
Now all that we're asking on this side of the House is -- what is the Government going to do if Ottawa doesn't agree? It seems to us a reasonable question, in view of the present situation at Ottawa, and all we ask the Government to give us at this time, before an election, so that the public of Manitoba will know -- is not just a statement on Flood Relief poked onto Ottawa, but a statement of what is the Government going to do if Ottawa doesn't come across?
MR. R. W. BEND (Rockwood-Iberville): Mr. Speaker, I don't intend to speak very long but there were a couple of speeches given in here, in the course of this debate, that have given me the desire to say a few words. I'm sorry that the Honourable Member from Morris has left his seat, but since we have a Hansard, he no doubt will read it in there tomorrow, if he can get glasses that'll make this small print big enough to read.
And now then, in the first place, I remember quite well the situation in 1950 in this House when the honourable member concerned was sitting as an Independent. I also remember something else. That the Minister who reported to this House with respect to floods was at that time the Minister of Public Works, now the present Minister on that side of the House, the Honourable Errick Willis. And I also remember the member from Morris asking him this question, because I was sitting not too far away. And before Orders of the Day, he asked the Minister -- what is the situation with respect to the Red River as to the possibility of its flooding? And the Minister at that time gave an answer something like this. This might not be the exact words but it can easily be picked up through the records of the debates -- he said that our information at the present time shows absolutely no danger of flooding this year. Now I do not criticize him on that statement because there were a great many felt the same way. There were a series of events that followed that, of course, caused our flood. I only want to make the point that it was one of his Ministers who was responsible for reporting to the House on this matter at that time, and I don't think it would be too much of a guess to make, that if he was the Minister reporting to the House, he would also be the Minister reporting to the Cabinet of that day.
Now then, the second point in regard to this debate. The Honourable, the Attorney-General, chastised us quite severely for not waving flags and saying we are right behind this programme. I only want to reiterate what my colleague, the Honourable Member from Ste. Rose, has just said. We did not criticize his statement. No sir, we did not criticize this plan.
A MEMBER: Propaganda.
MR. BEND: No sir; wait a minute; we'll show you where the propaganda angle comes in, in a minute. Yes, unless you have some policy other than the hope that you'll get 75% from Ottawa. That's not a policy -- that's not a policy. Now then, returning to the point I was wanting to make, and it's simply this, that with respect to this statement I would like to read the way it was introduced. "Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a statement to the House concerning a matter of some significance recently" -- oh, I am sorry I -- you can't hardly see this thing --. Oh, here it is, "and in connection with the latter report, Sir, which has been in the hands of the House for a few days now, I would like to have permission to make a statement that will reflect the Government policy in connection with that and other matters". That was the statement reflecting Government policy, and all we're asking is for a wider reflection. Your reflection is only on one side. The proposals, and we say, that's fine -- oh, don't worry, this will be Duff's fairytale before he's through. Now then, this is what should be done, we have no quarrel with that, these are engineers, we assume they know their business, and after all it was a Commission set up by the former Government and this is their report. This Government has been fortunate in many ways in that it has had reports that were arranged for by its predecessor right in front of them from which they could act, and this is only one example. And so we're not quarreling with this and don't think for a minute that if there is a method of protection, that we don't want it. I certainly have a consituency, Mr. Speaker, since redistribution, that follows right along the Assiniboine, and don't ever think, Sir, having grown up there and having seen in 1922, what that river can do and all you have to do is count the bridges between Headingley and Poplar Point. And without exception, I believe, with maybe possibly one exception, they were all caused by the flood of 1922 where the river water cut through, and so when I am speaking on this I believe that I'm speaking in the interests of my people, and surely to goodness sake you don't think I would be foolish enough to block something that will help them. But are we out of order here by asking simply -- supposing this falls through, -- supposing that you can't get the money? What is the alternative? That's all we're asking. Is that too much?
Now when that question was asked, look at the answer we get. This, Mr. Speaker, is the Honourable Member from St. George -- "Mr. Speaker, before the Orders of the Day I would like to direct a question to the First Minister. If the Federal Government is unwilling to share
in the costs of these projects, is the Provincial Government prepared to carry them out alone?" A perfectly reasonable question. Mr. Speaker, we had a statement to the House and the question is the most fundamental one. Certainly you would want to know. Now of course we'll get the information. Listen to this -- "Mr. Speaker, my honourable friend knows perfectly well that he is not entitled to ask questions of that sort." Now you mustn't ask any questions, Mr. Speaker, that might be embarrassing. That's not playing the game at all. You mustn't ask anything like that. All he had to do was say yes or no. That's all -- he didn't need to give a lecture, the honourable member. I want to direct a question to the -- no -- that he is not entitled to ask questions of that sort which bear on the advice the Minister will give the Crown in the event that certain hypothetical matters -- hypothetical -- is it a foregone conclusion you are getting this money?
Now then, Mr. Speaker, if the Honourable the First Minister had had great luck on tax-rental agreements, and had found that what we, when we were down in conference had asked for, had been granted, -- if he had been successful in the various fields that he's approached his teacher for help with, -- then precedent would say well, he was able to get it before I don't think we need to bother too much about that. But just as the Honourable Member from Ste. Rose has said, that certainly hasn't been the case. And you say about Saskatchewan getting this dam. Would it be too much to say that there was a little bit of politics involved? Mr. Speaker, if you follow the history of that dam and when the promise was made that it would be done. And also the member in Saskatchewan happens to be a member of a different party, the First Minister of Saskatchewan. He can raise a great more fuss than the Honourable Prime Minister's student. He knows, he knows -- no, and he will have the same fun, he'll say, Mr. Diefenbaker will say something like this, Mr. Speaker -- "now you know this is ... we have our problems here and I just can't do it now". And will the Honourable the First Minister blister him for it; will he really get up and attack him for it in here? That will be the frosty Friday. Now then ... that's alright, I'm just telling you the facts of life and they are starting to come home now, they're starting to come home. And now then -- no, it sure isn't, that's exactly what will go wrong, and I'll go even a little further, the two men who least want a Federal-Provincial conference at the present time, who least want it right now, -- may I humbly suggest that they might be the Prime Minister of Ontario and the Prime Minister of Manitoba. And do you think for one minute, and do you think for one minute, Mr. Speaker, that Mr. Frost, who gave such wonderful help -- okay, I will go on to the Throne Speech, right, Mr. Speaker, -- I'll say that on the floor....
Returning to the question, Mr. Speaker, -- will you give me some help? Now then, Mr. Speaker, in all seriousness here and those other things I think will be found to be somewhat true. This Government wasn't asked to do a thing in 48 hours. This Government surely didn't start to look at a possible alternative since the Honourable Member's question from St. George. Surely to goodness sake that you've explored all the policy angles, and surely the members, Mr. Speaker, on the first bench know what they are going to do if they don't get 85%, or 75%. And that's what we ask. If you do not get the 75% do you go ahead or don't you? That's a simple thing. Well, Mr. Speaker, we've been told that work will begin, and I dare say, Mr. Speaker, it will begin, and you'll see bulldozers and you'll see everything moving, because we are going to have an election before the middle of June. And you will see all sorts of activity, all sorts of activity, but that doesn't mean anything, that doesn't mean anything. What happens if Mr. Diefenbaker says no and there is no one in this whole province that doesn't know something about the financial problems that are facing Ottawa today. Is there anybody here so wet behind ears that they can believe it can go on deficit financing forever? Is there anyone here that thinks for a minute you can live in a fairyland like that?
Two years ago $85 million would have been nothing down east, but it is a little different situation now. So here are some questions: No. 1. If the Honourable the First Minister finds that he is unable to get this money from Ottawa does the project go ahead or doesn't it? Surely to goodness sake, the people who are concerned with this have a right to know that. Surely to goodness, we as members of this House are certainly not carrying out our responsibilities if we don't use every method we know how to get it, and that's what we are doing here today. Now then, is the policy going to be this -- that we are going to do it, 50% by the municipality and 50% by the Provincial Government? Is that the policy? Or do the municipalities come in
at all, and you don't think municipal men don't want to know those answers? So, Mr. Speaker, we present our case -- we say to the First Minister, we have no complaints whatever with this as outlined. All we say is this. What are our chances of getting it; and what are the various alternatives that occur if the First Minister is not able to convince his teacher that he should have the money?
MR. J. TANCHAK (Emerson): Mr. Speaker, the Honourable Member from Morris just spoke a few minutes back and I had no intentions of getting up here and saying anything, but he prompted me to say a few words. And right at the beginning of what I have to say I would like to say that I am really surprised that the Honourable Member from Morris after talking for say 15 minutes, I listened very carefully to what he had to say, and the net result was that after 15 minutes of talking, I don't think he said anything, I mean, in defense of his constituency, that is Morris, except maybe the simple fact that the Minister's box cars were there at Morris at the time the then-Minister of Agriculture as has been mentioned before, happened to be the honourable Mr. Willis. And that's about all that we learned from that, and I say I am surprised because I think he should have picked up at this debate the question of "what is going to be done for the constituency of Morris and farther south of Winnipeg". Sitting back here and listening and seeing all those different goodies hung up on the huge Christmas tree before us, it makes me wonder. And now yesterday the latest goody that was hung on that Christmas tree was this flood control, -- and I have no quarrel with that. I'm happy to see that something may be, will be done, depending, as far as I see it now, depending on what Ottawa is going to do. Now, Mr. Speaker in the past we have been accused that all we can do is pass the buck to Ottawa. Now I ask you a question. Isn't this passing the buck to Ottawa? Ottawa is supposed to participate 75% in this programme. I think this is the greatest passing of the buck to Ottawa that has ever happened in the Province of Manitoba, or maybe since the days of Adam and Eve, in any administration. Passing the buck to Ottawa. If Ottawa gives us some money we will do that; if Ottawa does this we will do this, and on and on and on ... he's still studying it. Now we have no right to discuss it today.
This is why we thought we had the right to discuss -- that it was urgent because the people, not only the people of Winnipeg, and I am happy that there was an announcement made will relieve the suffering of the people of Winnipeg and down the Assiniboine River and so on. I'm not quarreling with that. Something is necessary to relieve this suffering. But what about the people south of Winnipeg; what about the people of Morris; the people of St. Jean; the people of Letellier, St. Joseph and Emerson? Aren't they entitled to some consideration? I think they are. We know that enormous amounts of money will be spent on this programme. Where will we get the money? The First Minister hopes that the money is coming from Ottawa, and the province probably would share to the amount of $10 million or maybe 20 million, a quarter of it -- we don't know -- and that's just what we would like to know.
I have a clipping here and this is what prompted us to wonder whether Ottawa is ready to come across with any sum. Here is a clipping from the Winnipeg Tribune, March 19th, and here is what it says -- "Ottawa is not ready to give the provinces more money this year because the Federal treasury already faces a whopping deficit". They're not ready, and we all know that. We know what the Diefenbaker Government has done to our great nation. They are facing a whopping deficit. The money simply isn't available without adding to the deficit. The Prime Minister has been somewhat less than frank in this matter. He would have done better to acknowledge that the promise of increased financial aid to the provinces, which he made during the election campaign, cannot be kept at the present time. It cannot be kept, therefore, we have our doubts like the Honourable, the Minister across, before said we are always looking at the black things, looking ahead. Statements like this prompt us to wonder what is coming, and we wonder maybe this Government who claims to be able to do wonders, maybe they're supermen, maybe they're superhuman, they may be able to do wonders. Well if that is right that's the kind of Government we'd like. But prove to us that you can do wonders, that you are supermen.
The citizens of Manitoba, I think, are all first class citizens. Probably you have heard that quote before, and I believe that we have a fair right to ask for our share in the protection south of Winnipeg, and I do not think that when different parts of the Province of Manitoba are going to benefit from this $85 million. I do not think that the Red River Valley, the towns that
I have mentioned, should not get some consideration, and I think that the Government should consider these people because I think that they truly suffered even to a greater extent than quite a number of people in the City of Winnipeg. The people in the City of Winnipeg suffered and I'm sorry that they did, and I hope they don't have to do it again, that they don't suffer again, -- but the farmers in the country suffered to a greater extent, not only that their dwellings were damaged but their farms were damaged and they sustained great losses. I hope that if Ottawa does come, and even if Ottawa doesn't come through with that 75%, I hope that the Government will explore the condition and do something for the people south of Winnipeg, here along the Red River.
MR. N. SHOEMAKER (Gladstone): Mr. Speaker, I just have two points here that are of interest to me. No. 1 is that I was very glad indeed to hear that it was the intention of this Government to proceed with the Fairford River Project that we discussed at the last Session of the Legislature, because in that report on the levels of Lakes Winnipeg and Manitoba there was in effect a cost-study made. It did indicate as the First Minister suggested yesterday I believe, that the agricultural losses alone in the last three or four years totalled 1.6 million and the cost of the entire project was exactly the same amount, so it does sound to be good business to proceed with that project. And I can confirm what previous speakers have already said as regards the losses to agriculture in the immediate vicinity of the Lakes; and I refer in particular to the agricultural losses in Lakeview municipality which is immediately west of Lake Manitoba, in that area of Langruth and Amaranth. The big flood year, I think, was in 1955 and a lesser one in 1956 and I know from actually being on the spot on numerous occasions that much of that land, it is hoped, will be back in production this year. It has been out of production for four years, and I don't think that the report on the levels indicated any loss in revenue since the flood year, -- that is the loss to agriculture could well exceed the 1.6 million indicated in that report. So I do welcome the news that we are about to proceed with the Fairford River Dam Project; but it certainly does concern me as to what will happen to that project if we do not receive this 75% grant from the Federal Government.
Another matter of concern to me since I am vitally interested in soil and water conservation having moved a motion at the last Session of the Legislature relative to the Whitemud River Watershed District, and giving us permission to establish ourselves under the Act, I would like to know whether this $85 million programme includes soil and water conservation, because it distinctly says in the paper here that an 85 million flood and water conservation programme. That's what it says it is, and I'm wondering whether included in that 85 million is the soil and water conservation programme that the Honourable the Minister of Agriculture outlined to us yesterday, and if it is the intention of this Government to proceed with the soil and water conservation programme in event that the federal grant is not forthcoming. Just about two weeks ago I attended a meeting at Plumas, sponsored by the Department of Agriculture, we had two speakers out from the Department in addition to our agricultural representative, and it was more of an organizational programme -- planning your watershed they called it. And I came home from that meeting with the impression that we, that is the people of the Whitemud River Watershed, might be expected to pay about ten percent of, certainly not more than ten percent of the total cost of any project that was proceeded with in that area. Now I would also like to know if this Government has developed a formula as between Federal-Provincial and municipalities as regards the programme of work to be carried on in the various watershed authorities.
Now I think that that is all that I have to say, Mr. Speaker, and I sincerely hope that this Government is successful in getting the federal money as outlined, and as one of the previous speakers has suggested, I hope they get more, -- the more the better.
MR. R. S. CLEMENT (Birtle-Russell): Mr. Speaker, speaking about your ruling today I must say at the outset on this resolution that I was a bit disappointed at the ruling you made, however, ...
MR. SPEAKER: You may not discuss the ruling of the speaker in the debate.
MR. CLEMENT: Very well. I was just going to say I was sorry I wasn't able to support you like I did the other day because I felt you were right the other day. Mr. Speaker, on this resolution of the Honourable Member from St. George, there is a great deal of urgency. Last Friday there wasn't. We are speaking about something today that is very urgent to the people of Manitoba. Last Friday it was some motion about a legislature several thousand miles from
here who were unanimous and no concern whatsoever of ours. Quite frankly I think Mr. Smallwood deserves a medal and I know there are more members in here that think the same, but I don't suppose too many will admit it. However, Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Honourable the First Minister of this province gave a very extensive statement with regards to the subject under discussion this afternoon. He pointed out, amongst other things, that the Russell Dam was one of the recommendations made by the Royal Commission and that this Commission considered it improbable that a dam site could be found between Portage and Brandon. Now, Sir, he says there is such a possibility. What I want to know, in fairness to the farmers who live behind this proposed dam at Russell, -- they have several of them been very concerned over the last year or two about the possibility of this dam, -- now he says there is a possibility of one being constructed somewheres between Portage and Brandon. And in fairness to these farmers, is there a possibility of building such a dam? And if there is the possibility of a dam between Portage and Brandon, does that mean that it would take the place of the dam at Russell or would that be simply in addition? If this proposed dam at Russell is to be built, I think if it is within the powers of the First Minister to say yes or no, he should stand up and say so. This other proposed dam -- is it a possibility -- is it their intention to go ahead with it, or is it simply a political stooge to keep the farmers from the northwest part of Manitoba quiet on this subject for obvious reasons for the next month or two?
Now, Sir, the Honourable, the Attorney-General, jumped to his feet a few minutes ago and said it ill behooves the Honourable Member from St. George for attacking the Government. He said what did your Government do in ten years. He said are we supposed to have two policies in 48 hours. I submit to him, Sir, who set up the commission to look into this flood proposition? Who set up the committee to look into the education problem? Who put in a certain recommendation -- or not -- recommendation is not the word I am looking for. In this vote we had with regards to the school, who put the little piece in there that says if you don't do this you don't get that? And is that the reason that the school vote was such a success in his eyes? I don't think he should take all the credit for it because believe me there's a lot of people who didn't vote and who would have voted -- I think would have voted to a much greater degree if that iron fist deal over top wasn't put in in black and white. However, that's getting off the subject. But I want to suggest to the Honourable, the Attorney-General, that when he gets a little time in under his belt in this Legislature -- and I'm not in a position to say whether he will or whether he won't -- he's one of the better looking members across the floor. However it takes more than good looks to keep you in this Legislature. Quite obviously it wasn't good looks that's keeping me here. As a matter of interest I happened to notice the other day in one of the pictures of the Legislature of oh, eight or ten years ago, that there was quite a distinguished looking young man sitting up in this seat. He not only has gone down this side but he's gone right across the table here. And whether it was good looks that got him over there or not, -- I don't think it was altogether good looks -- I'll have to admit that he is a hard worker and maybe tries to do his best. But I have enough faith in you, Sir, that even you, are not a big enough gambler to go out on a limb on this flooding business and be prepared to spend 57 million bucks without having a pretty good idea up your sleeve where it's coming from. And I think it's up to you to admit it right here and today, not two weeks before there is an election coming up this summer. And I suggest to you, Sir, that when you get up and have your little say about this flooding, and where the money is coming from, that you let your hair down and for once forget about politics and tell us the truth.
MR. S. ROBERTS (La Verendrye): Mr. Speaker, I rise very briefly to tell a little story, -- you've heard enough of them, -- but this one concerns the time I first met the Honourable Member for Morris, -- not the first time I saw him but the first time I met him, -- and it was in 1950 during the flood. I hadn't shaved for weeks because, as the Honourable Member for Morris knows, I lived right in the water. I hadn't shaved for weeks; I hadn't bathed except falling in with clothes on. My clothes stuck to me. I felt pretty grimy. He barely spoke to me, and he, Sir, was dressed as he is today, with his white shirt and his suit and that was the day that I decided that I wanted to be a politician. And so, I think it little behooves him to make fun of our Manitoba Department of Agriculture Extension Service who, with me that day, were unshaven. The assistant livestock commissioner, the swine field man, the dairy cattle field man, the beef cattle field man, and other members had been down there fighting that flood with their
hands and their arms and their backs, not their mouths -- for weeks and weeks on end while this sort of thing went on. And so I don't think that that was a very gentlemanly remark about the late Mr. Connor and the livestock branch.
MR. SHEWMAN: Mr. Speaker, I did not condemn the individuals; I would ask who they were. I was condemning the present Government of that time, not of the individuals.
MR. ROBERTS: Correction -- you said, as I recall clearly, Sir, you recalled you remembered the day that you went into the livestock branch and asked how box cars were getting into the area, and this is what these funny men told you. Now apart from that I hope that the Honourable Member from Morris is satisfied with this flood control programme, because if he is satisfied he knows more than we do that there is protection coming for the people who live south of Winnipeg, and I do hope that he is satisfied that he has achieved his goal. And I know that he has been fighting for it here -- all the flood protection for the people south of Winnipeg because my area is in that area. I lived in that area. My home that I live in now would be flooded again if we had a flood such as 1950; the home that I lived in in 1950 similarly. And so I do hope that he is satisfied that this is the answer, because if it is the answer for him of course it is the answer for me.
Now I think there are other things that we have the right to know -- they have been mentioned today and some of them are of a great deal of concern to me. One of course is the Seine River programme. Is the Seine River programme going ahead with or without federal aid? I think we must know that. I think that that is only right. I think that we should know how much municipal contribution there is going to be in this plan, in this policy, which whill provide flood relief to this area of Manitoba and the Honourable Member for Birtle-Russell has suggested a possibility which I think, perhaps, is quite sensible. Does this Government know where the money is coming from? Have they something to tell us or are they holding it back? I think if this is the case we should also know.
MR. M. N. HRYHORCZUK, Q.C. (Ethelbert Plains): Mr. Speaker, the southern part of the province has been pretty well covered in this debate and I think that some of us from the northern half or the biggest part of Manitoba should add something to the debate. We have been criticized -- fellows on this side that formed the last Government have been criticized for having done nothing through the years that we sat on the Government side of the House. I don't think that criticism is fair. I don't think it is called for in this debate. Insofar as the City of Winnipeg is concerned, it has some protection from floods. These protections were given to it back in 1950. We don't begrudge Winnipeg that protection; in fact we have no objection to Winnipeg being completely protected from flood damage. But I would like to point out, Mr. Speaker, that although these projects that are under discussion don't affect my constituents of the northern half of Manitoba in any way at all, there is some concern there because after all we do pay a share of the cost these projects in one way or another, immaterial of where the money comes from -- whether it comes from the province of the Dominion Government, it's collected from the people of the province and we are contributing part of these costs. And I would like to point out to the First Minister that insofar as rural Manitoba is concerned, in the northern portion and some of the southern portions also, the farmers have suffered flood damage in proportions far beyond anything that any of the residents of the City of Winnipeg have suffered. We have farmers, and hundreds of them, who for two and three years in a row have not received any benefit from their farms. The floods have just taken away their livelihood altogether. On top of that there have been damages done to buildings and farm lands and so forth, and all I want to say, Mr. Speaker, is this -- if the Honourable the First Minister and his Government is prepared to spend the millions of dollars that have been mentioned in protecting a section of the province, I believe it is only fair and just that the thousands of others who are suffering from flood damages and are contributing towards the payment of the cost of the protection under the proposed projects receive the same type of consideration. In my constituency in particular, which is based at the foot of the escarpment of both the Riding Mountain and the Duck Mountains, in this area in particular the damages in the last quite a number of years have been terrific and I would very much like to know whether the First Minister and his Government intend to give us the same treatment as he is offering to other sections of the province.
MR. W. LUCKO (Springfield): Mr. Speaker usually picks a judge to settle the case so I had better do that. It seems to me that the First Minister has brought up ... that the
poor cat couldn't get out and that is how all the argument is going. Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the Honourable the Attorney-General that the positive plans as he said, to me in my way of looking at this whole thing, the way the Honourable the First Minister has brought it in the Attorney-General backed him up in the positive plan which is a most ridiculous plan. If he runs any department with the positive, as it states right here in the way the First Minister has stated, there is no positive to it whatsoever. Here is what it reads. "Negotiation with the Federal Government need not delay making initial preparation necessary for these works. The province will move ahead immediately." And remember -- listen to this -- I say there will be no flood protection unless the First Minister will get the dictionary and interpret the wording that he or somebody has wrote here for him. "On the assumption that the Federal Government will share in our programme on the basis at least equal to the formula of the Saskatchewan South River Dam." Now what does it mean? It's just purely a political issue thrown out to the people. They will proceed with it on the assumption that the Federal Government will come along and have a share of it. Now what have you to show that the Federal Government is going to share on this thing? And I want to give a little advice to the Honourable the First Minister. I came to the House the same year he did but I am a little older and I am very careful in business -- and another thing -- I want to advise him on behalf of the people of Manitoba. If you are going to undertake $85 million to go ahead and play politics with it, you are going to go ahead just because there is a fear of an election. That is the poorest type of business anyone can run. I want to assure you of that. We must be sure that there is something of protection for the people of Manitoba that we shall not tax our own people for $85 million of this project here. And that is your responsibility to see to that. And we demand that and you further go along and say here that ... you will carry the Greater Winnipeg floodway, the control of the Fairway Dam, and the completion of the Seine River diversion. Still on the assumption if the Federal Government convene. What are you going to do as to this thing? In spite of a year ago, are you going to leave, as the Tribune has ruled about three months ago, that won't dry rivers in the whole of the province? What is the present Government going to do with it? According to the statement here -- and leave the Seine River standing today after it has been a project for three years? I have seen business done but I haven't seen a piece of legislation being discussed as it was brought up here and yet the Attorney-General gets up and says "we have a positive plan". Without no insurance what you are getting, you don't know what you are going to be getting and you know that it is not going to be easy to get. And I say -- make agreements first and then you know where you are standing. Don't get up with things like these because a baby can run a business like that. It doesn't take the Government.
MR. R. PAULLEY (Radisson): Sir, while I think that for the most part we are a long way from the original intention of the adjournment, namely, a question directed to the Government as to what we are going to do in the event of non-participation of the Federal Government, I think that in all deference to my constituents who are at the mercies of the Seine River, that I should say a word or two at least. For years the people in the areas served by the Seine River have been subject to flooding in many cases when there hasn't been flooding in other districts, and had made repeated requests of the former Government of Manitoba for some project in order to alleviate their difficulties. In the City of St. Boniface itself much erosion has taken place on the banks of the Seine River because of the sort of flash floods that is possible in such a small tributary of the Red and numerous complaints have been made of that erosion to the Municipal Council of the City of St. Boniface, the provincial authorities, and indeed also to the federal authorities, without relief. And I am sure the people that are on the banks of this river are very, very vitally concerned with what is going to happen. If I am correct, Mr. Speaker, after the results of years of continual pressure on the former Government of Manitoba, a commitment was given a couple of years ago of a diversion channel to take the water across and into the Red River in around St. Anne.
I noticed that on the present Government taking office, if my memory serves me correct, that the work was stopped on the Seine River diversion. It may be that they had justifiable reasons; I do not know. There is two little significant points insofar as the Seine is concerned. First of all, that no work actually was commenced on the diversion until just prior to the last provincial election, and now where we are rather assured of another election, that the matter
is up before us again. Now, as I understand it, in the original plans for the diversion channel, the municipal councils concerned, I believe St. Boniface, St. Vital and Tache all pledged contributions to the digging of this canal, and I think some of the points that have been raised by the members on my right as to what happens insofar as those contributions or pledges of contributions are concerned in the event of federal participation, and further to that, in the event of non-federal participation, are those municipalities going to be removed or the obligations that they undertook upon themselves going to be removed in any plan that the present Government has in reference to the Seine River? In only rise, Mr. Speaker, to ask those questions of the Government. I think they are very important so far as the area that is served by the Seine River is concerned.
MR. P. WAGNER (Fisher): Mr. Speaker, I would like to join the forces also, but I will be very brief. I just rise to say a few words about floods we farmers had in the fifties. And what did our former Government do? When we approached for assistance and our case was presented to this House -- not to this House, to the House at that time -- but on Speaker's ruling, it was out of order. Now, Mr. Speaker, I am very concerned or even worried as to what will happen in the Interlake area this spring due to this heavy snowfall we had, but I hope and I call upon this Government to do what is humanly possible to ease the situation.
MR. R. O. LISSAMAN (Brandon): Mr. Speaker, I would like to add a word or two to this discussion. It is apparent here, at least to my way of thinking, that there is a lot of negative thinking going on in this Chamber. I think anyone who heard the Premier's statement the other day and then proceeding with this sort of a debate is missing entirely the main essential at issue, and that is the results of the cost-benefit study. Now if I were engaged in a business operation and I hired a group of experts and they said to me "Here, you have an inherent weakness in this department; it's costing you, let's say a thousand dollars a year but, at the expenditure of a sum of money which amortized over 50 years, your annual costs will be less than your loss now, so you will have a net saving on that loss each year," then any sensible business management would be only confronted with one fact, -- that of cutting your losses. This is the kind of thing we are facing in this province. Now any Government of this province, I am sure, whether it was Liberal, C.C.F. or Conservative, would certainly do everything within its power to get the Federal Government to assist in such an undertaking as this is. It is only natural -- we are Manitobans first. And if we get that help all to the good, and I think we have every right to claim that help because the rivers are the mutual concern of both the Federal Government and the Provincial Government, but if that is not forthcoming immediately, then business management is only confronted with one problem -- cutting the present losses. The cost-benefit studies have shown that this is sensible and profitable to do and all this argument is beside the point. It is an attempt to tell the people of Manitoba that this is only election promises, thrown out the wind -- a lot of wind thrown on the wind. Study the report and read the First Minister's statement and I can't see how any member in this House can escape the fact that this is a strictly business deal and should be examined in that light.
MR. C. L. SHUTTLEWORTH (Minnedosa): Mr. Speaker, I have listened to the debate this afternoon and I think the House will agree that from the discussion that we have had here this afternoon that there was a good reason for to ask for adjournment of the House to discuss this issue, and the honourable member who has just taken his seat suggests that we have had a negative approach to the statement that the First Minister made yesterday. Well I suggest to him, Sir, that the approach on the other side was the negative one and they've got very good reasons for it and those reasons will come to light no doubt in a short time from now. They have made the statement; we have no quarrel with the statement or what was in the report of the Commission. What we are asking, as has been stated before, is that the First Minister should indicate to us firmly what he is going to get from Ottawa. Surely on a proposition as large as this we should have some clear indication, some agreement between Ottawa and ourselves as to what we can expect, and the least that he could do was to be forthcoming with a statement to that regard because those of us who have had some experience before with Ottawa, with both Governments, realize that this isn't going to be easy. And you do have to have the support of all the people in Manitoba.
I think we should have a statement from the First Minister as to the approach he intends to make to Ottawa. Does he intend to approach it under the existing legislation that they have
at Ottawa, the Canada Water Conservation and Assistance Act, or does he intend just to go down to Ottawa and say "here's a thing -- what will you do about it for us?" Certainly it's too large to take under the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act, and I think it is only right that the House should have some of those answers before this debate is adjourned, Sir, because we have to remember, as I said before that we have had experience with Ottawa as far as projects of this kind is concerned. And this, no doubt, is a major project and I have no quarrel with it, but there are many problems that it brings to light at the present time and I suggest to you, Sir, in all sincerity, that while the experts have spoken in this report and the engineers have spoken and they have spent a lot of time on it, and a good report, that that doesn't indicate that there is still room for layman's opinion. I suggest that before you proceed to ask Ottawa about this, that possibly a Committee of the House should take a look at it and I think there could be a great deal of good come out of that. I know that the men who sit in the front benches and the ones behind them -- they like to leave the opinion that is endowed in them now is all wisdom and they can just go ahead and do everything that's proper. But I still have a lot of faith in other people as well and I think that possibly a Committee of the House of the members of this House possibly should be called so that we might have more suggestions on what the approach might be to Ottawa in this regard. And the local people who are interested -- I know they had their opportunity to appear before the Royal Commission but Mr. Chairman, the Royal Commission isn't the Government and those people should have an opportunity to appear before the Government before a step of this size is taken, because the results of this are going to be with us for a long, long time here in the Province of Manitoba. And there are many questions that might be raised. The First Minister in his statement suggested that they were going to ask Ottawa for 75%. Now, Mr. Speaker, I suggest when it comes to an international river such as we have in the Red, it's been pretty well considered that the Federal Government has a 100% responsibility on that river. On international rivers, such as the Assiniboine River, certainly we have always insisted that the Government of Canada take complete responsibility. And then when it comes to the actual control works themselves, we have actual control works in Manitoba at the present time that could be comparable with this scheme where the Government of Canada has put up 100% on those projects, and I think there is reason to believe that they should do so where the Assiniboine River is involved. I do feel, Mr. Speaker, where streams within the boundaries of our own province that we should make a contribution, because there is always the tendency to abuse or overstate our needs if we can get the other fellow to pay the whole shot. But that is not true when it comes to the Red or the Assiniboine Rivers.
And then when you come to the actual projects themselves, Mr. Speaker, I want to suggest to you that we need to take a good look at that too. This Commission dealt with the problems in the Province of Manitoba but, in my opinion, if you are going to get adequate control on the Assiniboine River, regardless of the Russell Dam, that there is got to be a good many more dams built on the headwaters of the Assiniboine River and that is what the officials of C.F.R.A. maintain up in the Kamsack country where the Assiniboine River has its headwaters. And I suggest to you that we have to keep that fact in mind and that just indicates the need of having a 100% federal participation were the Assiniboine River is concerned. And then when we come in to the project itself down here in the Province of Manitoba, in my opinion, Mr. Speaker, the project that should have the urgency placed on it at the present time, and certainly the overall project should not hold up this particular one, and that is the proposition that is being presently discussed and looked at in connection with the dam close to Holland on the Assiniboine River. I suggested that in this House last fall and the Minister of Agriculture pointed out at that time that they were making a study. I rather gathered from him that they would have all the information ready by this time. He's always going to do things in a hurry, but he doesn't always end up doing it -- even answering his mail at times. However, Mr. Speaker, the fact is that the dam in the area around Holland in my opinion, can not only be a good control feature on the Assiniboine River, give flood protection, but also I think it has a very, very good chance of being an answer to quite a lot of the problem of water in the Pembina Triangle. As I pointed out last fall, if we can get a dam with the proper head of water there, of the proper height, then it's quite a simple matter to divert that water across into the Boyne River and on down into the Pembina Triangle. And, I don't think the overall project, Mr. Speaker, should in any way hold up going along with some of those projects. And, I don't rule out the
Russell Reservoir at all. I suggest, Sir, that every one of those control structures that is built on the Assiniboine River is all good, but what we have to do is give priority to the ones that will do the most good to the most people. That is the important factor. Certainly in this area, the by-pass around the City of Winnipeg is of great importance to the Winnipeg people, and I have no quarrel with it, -- but our question is -- "If the Government of Canada is not prepared to go ahead, then where do we stand?" As we've had -- we've had the experience, as I said before, of being told that we were not going to get money for certain things. The dam at Rivers, on the Minnedosa River had been approved by the former Liberal Government, and we had to twist their arm on many occasions to get some money out of it, but when the new Government came in, they said "No dice!" And, I didn't blame them for it too much at that time, because they wanted to look over those projects that had been approved to see whether they would go ahead with it. But after several months I was in Ottawa, and I asked Mr. Harkness and he said no, they were not going to go ahead with the Rivers Dam; but just by coincidence, just about a year ago now, prior to the federal election they announced that the dam at Rivers was going to be built. And so, we've had some experience in that regard.
Then we come to the Seine River and for two or three years we had been negotiating with the Government at Ottawa for to get in on that. And, their main objection at that time -- and it seemed to be a fairly valid one, -- was because that the Seine River might be the -- the building of the Seine River diversion might have some implications in the overall picture of flooding in this area and they were rather reluctant to get into it. But finally, our engineers seemed to prove to them that there was no danger in that regard, and we had had a commitment -- we had had a commitment from the former Minister of Agriculture that they would go ahead with the project, and then we had a change in Government in June, 1957, and Mr. Speaker, when I wrote to Mr. Harkness about the Seine River project, and I got the reply there was no doubt about what they were going to do. They just weren't going to come in. Administration -- yes; but money -- no. Now, I heard the suggestion from across the floor of the House today when the Honourable Member for St. Boniface was speaking, that possibly we were the wrong Government.
A MEMBER: The wrong member.
MR. SHUTTLEWORTH: Well, the wrong member. [Interjection] Now Mr. Chairman, it's come to a sad situation in the Province of Manitoba if you have to be the right Government, the right party before you go to Ottawa.
MR. ROBLIN: Excuse me, I was thinking you were referring to the member for St. Vital, and I thought you had confused him with my honourable friend from St. Boniface, who is so distinguished looking and graces this Chamber always.
MR. SHUTTLEWORTH: I accept the Minister's -- the First Minister's statement, but that isn't the way I understood it. That isn't the way, and it isn't the first time that I've heard that suggestion. Well, if you're going to get things out of this Government of Manitoba or the Government at Ottawa, you've got to belong to the right party. Now that's pretty important -- that's pretty important, and I just hope -- I just hope, Mr. Speaker, that the First Minister now does belong to the right party. I think he seems very brave in going ahead with this project without getting a commitment out of Ottawa. But I hope, Sir, that as he's been a teacher -- or a pupil of the great teacher down there, that he will be able to get his way with him. But I think it's only fair and reasonable, Mr. Speaker, that here in this House the statement was good yesterday but it just left everything hanging in the air -- everything hanging in the air money-wise. And, I know this Government doesn't care too much about money -- money doesn't seem to matter with them any more. But surely the people of Manitoba have a right to know and expect before we're committed to a project of this size, how the money is going to be raised, and whether the Government of Canada is prepared to pay 75%, or are they prepared to come into the picture at all.
We've had some grave warnings, as was pointed out this afternoon, that things are all not well financially down at Ottawa. And, the "Great White Father" now is beginning to have to shake his head quite often -- quite often. The western members of Parliament haven't got the vision or the veil that the vision put before their eyes lifted yet. They just can't see that at all. There was one, the member for Dauphin, yes he did, he's beginning to see the light now, and
we hope that some more of them one of these days will, so we'll have a voice at Ottawa. But the fact remains, Mr. Speaker, that I think the very least that we can expect from the Government across the way is that they can at least tell us what their proposal is to Ottawa. Surely they've gone that far along the road as to what their proposal is to Ottawa, so that we could have an idea of what it's going to be all about.
I think the mistake, Mr. Speaker, that was made yesterday, was that the First Minister used this statement in a place where it wasn't debatable, because it's very important and should be debated. Sure, we can do it on the Throne Speech as was pointed out this afternoon, but this subject is far too large, -- far too urgent, and far too important for to have let this opportunity go by, and I feel, Sir, it has been well worthwhile.
A MEMBER: Mr. Speaker, if no else will...
MR. ROBLIN: Sir, before you close the debate, Mr. Speaker, I have been waiting with mounting anticipation for this opportunity of setting at rest all the fluttering pulses on the other side; all those dreary desmonds over there who see their whole world crashing around them; spirits down, says the Honourable Member for St. George; hard times on the way; floods back; Government window-dressing -- nothing to it -- well I think it's only fair that in this stage of the debate, I should step in and tell all my honourable friends to "cheer up"; the Government means what it says! (Here! Here!)
Now this has been a very instructive and interesting afternoon. I'm afraid I'm a little disappointed in it in one respect, because it disclosed to me, Sir, in a way that hasn't been done before, that whatever else did happen yesterday in connection with my statement, my honourable friends didn't understand it, or they didn't take the trouble to read it, because they have made so many statements which the facts of the -- that were placed before them yesterday fully covered and explained, that it left me certainly in some doubt on this matter.
Now, there were however some points which I feel in spite of the fact that they were covered, I think in the statements made yesterday -- there were some statements which honourable members made which I know were made in an effort to be constructive on this matter, and I want to deal with some of them because I feel that they certainly deserve that attention.
The Honourable, the Member for Portage la Prairie was concerned about the Portage la Prairie diversion, and the question as to where it should be. And some other members spoke in connection with the Holland Dam and matters of that sort. And I must confess, that the Honourable Member for Portage la Prairie made some excellent points in what he had to say. He talked about the fact of ice jams on that river, and the fact that a diversion might be of little assistance in the case of flooding from that source -- and that is certainly a very true observation. And, he talked of the necessity of saving water as well as draining it away, and that was a very true observation, and, I want to tell him that one of the cardinal points of our policy, -- not only as outlined in the statement about the Manning Report of Associated Flood Matters, -- but also in connection with drainage and water control matters generally, have that matter of conservation of water in mind. He is quite right to raise it -- and, it's a very important point and one which I assure him we have not overlooked in our consideration in this matter. I want to tell him though -- I want to repeat for his benefit what was said in the statement. Namely, that it was not our intention to proceed with the Portage la Prairie diversion at the present time for the simple reason that the information given to us by the Royal Commission who looked into it, and whose advice by and large, we are taking, was to the effect that there was another factor in the equation, which they had not the time or the information to evaluate. And, that other factor was the question as to the feasibility of a dam at Holland. They have been told in times gone by that such a dam was not feasible, and consequently they framed their recommendations both in respect of the Russell Dam and the Assiniboine diversion which in a way are inter-related. However, studies have taken place -- the Honourable Member for Minnedosa mentioned them, and they are still being worked on -- and I must say the answer is not ready for us yet, -- that indicate that in spite of the fact that in days gone by there seemed to be no chance of a dam at Holland, -- that now, technical opinion seems to think there might be such a chance.
I regret that I cannot tell the House this afternoon whether the Holland Dam can be proceeded with in the way that has been indicated as a possibility. We are studying it. We hope to know soon. We have greatly enlarged our Engineering and Technical staff in the Department
of Conservation. We are making large, large increases in our staff and expenditure there, for the express purpose of being able to provide the public and ourselves, more quickly than in the past, with the information that we need in order to settle those particular points.
So, I say to the people, and this also applies to Russell, and someone perhaps wouldn't mind telling the Honourable Member for Birtle-Russell that we feel that it is unwise to proceed with both the Russell dam and the Assiniboine diversion until the question of the Holland dam has been settled once and for all on a technical basis. We expect that technical decision will be arrived at quite shortly in the course of the present summer, to the best of our information at the present time. So, we are holding that matter in reserve, and it looks at the present time as if it's a question of "either - or" -- either the Holland dam or the Russell dam and the Assiniboine diversion; or possibly the Russell dam and the Holland dam and no Assiniboine diverison. But, as was outlined I thought in the statement yesterday, we are unable to recommend to the House any positive action on that point until that particular matter has been cleared up.
Now, there are other matters of a similar nature, the Honourable Member for Carillon, and the Honourable Member for Emerson have mentioned it. If those honourable gentlemen are as forward-looing and aggressive and provide leadership in this question of saving the flood-racked shores of the Red River Valley south of the City of Winnipeg as they were in leading their people to a successful vote in the School Divisions question, Sir, I'm afraid that there'll probably be a long time before anything is done down in that section of the world. But fortunately...
MR. TANCHAK: I resent that statement, you'll hear from me later.
MR. ROBLIN: Well, you may resent the statement and for all I know it may be wrong, but I say this, that it happens to be my opinion, and I think that I'm entitled to give it.
MR. BEND: Mr. Speaker, could I ask the Honourable the First Minister a question?
MR. ROBLIN: If you would wait until I'm finished with my remarks, I'd be glad to answer any questions that you have to put with me as best I can.
MR. BEND: I thought that's exactly what you'd say.
MR. PREFONTAINE: May I correct you in the statement that you have made? Carillon constituency voted three to one in favour of the School Division.
MR. ROBLIN: Carillon constituency?
MR. PREFONTAINE: Yes.
MR. ROBLIN: Well, what about the -- all right, my honourable friend can have it any way that he likes. All I know is that when the school debate was on -- perhaps it's my honourable friend from La Verendrye that I should be talking about. If so, I'll be glad to switch names around, but all I'm trying to say is that I wish that some of my friends opposite would develop a little more -- what shall I say -- hopeful outlook on some of the useful public measures that this government puts forward. That's exactly the point that I'm trying to make.
Anyway.... Well, I don't know, he's reported in the public press and I never saw it retracted that if we had these school divisions it was going to mean one school per school division. That appeared in the Tribune -- and, I never saw him retract it. If it isn't correct, no doubt he [Interjection] ... Order! Order! ... but he made that statement in the course of the school divisions debate, and it has never been retracted. Don't think that's very helpful!
Well, I want to say in connection with the Red River Valley that the Manning Report in my opinion did not find themselves able to recommend a very acceptable proposal in connection with assistance in flooding down there. They seemed not to feel quite certain that they should recommend an insurance plan which would cost about three-quarters of a million dollars per year as I remember the figures, though they did consider it. They seemed to favour ring dykes around the towns down there which, of course, is burdensome in the towns and of no help outside the towns; and we felt that it would be better before we plumped for that type of solution to their flood problems there, that we should give further consideration to the various factors involved. And, as I said in my statement yesterday, that is what we propose to do. I, by no means, wish the people or the members who represent those parts of Manitoba to feel that we are in any way less anxious to come to their assistance then we are to the assistance
of other parts of the Province of Manitoba, that are being protected by the policies that we propose, but merely that we do not feel that -- I probably think that they would agree with me -- that it would be wiser to make some further considerations and as some of my honourable friends suggest, consult others that might be interested in this thing, before we come to any final conclusion with respect to measures that may be taken in their parts of the province. So, I make that statement because I'd like to get that point across to those who are interested in it.
Now, the Honourable Member for Selkirk raised a very interesting and important point that I would like to speak to for a minute. And that is in connection with what happens to Lake Winnipeg, and what happens to the people who are around Lake Winnipeg. Well, I think we will all agree that Lake Winnipeg will get no more water than it does at the present time. It still has to cope with the flood situation; it is the ultimate reservoir within the boundaries of the Province in that particular sense, and that problem is an old problem and it continues, I must admit, under the new measures that are being proposed. I will say this though to the honourable member, that I do not think that any of the measures that are being proposed now will have such an adverse effect on Lake Winnipeg which is a very large body of water, as to call for any special measures, and that is what our advisors tell us. But, I would say this to him, that if in the future, the Mantioba Hydro-Electric Board or any other body has the responsibility for regulating the levels of that lake, why then, they will be in a position, and it well certainly be our policy if we are here, to see that those who might suffer from such regulatory action are protected. And that, I think, is an assurance that I can give him.
Now, I see that it's getting close to 5:30 and I'm not sure, Sir, whether we want to continue this debate tonight, so I'm going to skip over some of the other points that were raised. We dealt with the Russell dam, the Member for Russell adjures me to tell the truth -- I'll do my best to oblige him on this, as on all other occasions. Then we go on the question about the Seine River, the Seine River will be proceeded with in the course of the current year, in the manner that was set out when it was first planned. One of the members, if I remember correctly said "What about my part of the country?" Oh yes, the Honourable Member for Ethelbert, he says "When do I get mine?" Well, I assure him he's going to get his. ... But in the particular way that I'm going to mention today, he's going to get his and all the people of Manitoba, who are in a similar situation, can look forward to some relief in this respect, and that is, we recognize full well as was clearly stated in the statement the other day, that this flooding matter affects not only the people concerned in the immediate matters we have before us now, but it also is a matter of grave importance on the Whitemud, on the -- I can't remember the name of that roaring river that comes down in your neck of the woods -- there are others that are very hard to handle -- have caused a great deal of damage. For that particular purpose, Sir, as my colleague said the other day, we have established a new branch of the Department of Agriculture, we have staffed it with many more technical experts and engineers than was previously available. We have provided a large sum of money, or we will provide if the House permits us to do so, a large sum of money to take care of that very kind of thing; so that we can make a beginning now in building up a co-ordinated arrangement to tackle these water control measures everywhere in the Province of Manitoba. So I can assure my honourable friend that that is the situation that we are trying to deal with.
Now, having tried to answer some of the questions that have been raised, and I hope that I dealt with the major ones, let me come down to the main thing that I want to say this afternoon. I rather wonder that any member on the opposite side was willing to draw aside a decent veil of forgetfulness from the record of the Liberal party in this province in connection with flood measures. Now, I know that when I sit down, my honourable friend, the Leader of the Opposition, will jump to his feet and say "Oh no, who built the ring dyke around Winnipeg." He'll say that -- and he'll say "We didn't neglect them -- we've something there." By the Grace of God, we have not had to test those ring dykes. But, every word of this Manning Report tells us that is not a satisfactory protection for the City of Winnipeg. He'll say to us "Never fear, perfectly true that it's now a long time since 1950, but we did bring in the Royal Commission to look into this matter" -- and that is a true fact, he did. How many years after the Red River Investigation Body reported, which called on its very first page for a Benefit-Cost study. My honourable friend over there, the Leader of the C.C.F. party said it took him
three years and three months to do it. I don't know whether that is an exact figure, but I know that it is something along that line. It's a precise figure. So, I say that I hardly feel myself subject to criticism, when having received the report and had it in our hands for some three months or so, and studied it and consulted our advisors on it, as best we could, that we are now coming forward with a policy in this respect. I won't say a thing about that distressing episode in 1950 -- I won't say a thing because it's been said by thousands of citizens of this province before me as to what they thought of the leadership given by the Government of Manitoba in that day. But I would have thought that a man like the Member for St. George, Sir, whose people have suffered, would hesitate a little bit before ringing the welcome the way he did this afternoon. But, those are matters of past history and I've no interest or intention of debating them all over again. I'm only concerned with the future, and what this government is going to do, and I've no hesitation in telling the House what this government is going to do. I say to them ... [Interjection] ... 19 speeches, oh no, 18 speeches, one to come. 18 speeches, all saying the same thing, fair enough -- no complaints.
Mr. Speaker, the best advice that we can get, the kind of advice that my honourable friend recommended to us when he appointed the Royal Commission has said that in this plan we have a cost-benefit ratio of four to eleven. Each year, for every $4.00 we will spend in the construction of this plan, we save eleven, and that says nothing of the effective gross and nothing as to the monetary value of an easy mind and a peaceful heart. And, I say to you, Sir, that if we had to do this thing all by ourselves, I would recommend to this House that we would do it. But I say that fortunately, that is not the case.
My honourable friend over there -- just sit in your seats for awhile till you get all the facts -- my honourable friend over there said "What are you going to do if you don't get anything from Ottawa?" The question was asked of me -- I'm trying to locate Hansard to get the exact wording, but I probably remember it well enough -- the question was asked me, and it will take me about three minutes to finish, by the Honourable Leader of the Opposition, appropos of the proposal which we had already made to Ottawa -- which my honourable friend from Minnedosa appears to have overlooked entirely in his study of this matter -- clearly stated in my statement -- my honourable friend the Leader of the Opposition asked me if we had any assurance that the particular proposal we had made was acceptable to Ottawa. And I replied to him that I had no authority to say that it was. Following that, my honourable friend, the Member for St. George, thinking himself hot on the scent, gets up to say "What are you going to do if they don't give you anything?" And, I told him in other language -- "Wait and see". But now, in this debate, our honourable friends over there are quite willing to hack away in any way they can at our bargaining position with Ottawa, which made me reluctant to make a statement yesterday, but I can say this -- I can't tell you whether the 75% or the 25% ratio will come in, but there will be assistance from Ottawa, and the Province of Manitoba will proceed with these works. In this coming year, and the estimates that are in this House, you will be asked to provide the money for the Seine River continuation; you will be asked to provide money to buy land; you will be asked to provide money money to get that engineering planning and drawings going that are necessary to start digging and all that sort of thing. We are not bluffing; it's not window-dressing; we are going on with it! And, as I said before, if we had to go on with it all by ourselves, it would be justified in the public interest -- but thank goodness we will not. The question is, are we going to get 75%? That I don't know, but there will be money from Ottawa, and this government will proceed with this plan.
MR. BEND: Mr. Speaker, the Honourable the First Minister was kind enough to say that if I held my question to the end of his address he would answer me. And the question grew out of his remarks to my two colleagues, about what they had done to get people to vote for the school referendum. My question to him is this, "Does the Honourable First Minister believe that it is the duty of a representative of this House to tell a person how to vote?"
A MEMBER: No, Sir, never in my life...
MR. ROBLIN: Well, never's a long, long time. I suppose in a fit of enthusiasm, even my honourable friend may have suggested to somebody that he should vote Liberal. What I suggest is this, that it is not unfitting, or unbecoming for representatives in this House to advise their electorate as to how they should vote. If they wish to advise them one way or the
other, one has to admit that's their privilege, but I submit that it is a matter that is open.
MR. SPEAKER: Moved by the Honourable Member for St. George...
MR. GUTTORMSON: Mr. Speaker, in closing the debate, I won't be very long, I've been charged with condemning and criticizing the plan...
MR. SPEAKER: Order! There's a question come up on the last motion of urgent public importance. The Leader of the C.C.F. Party stated he didn't know if he had the right to close the debate or not. It's not too certain in Manitoba, but in Ontario, and I have the book before me -- "A member desiring to move adjournment for such a purpose must submit to the Speaker in advance in writing the terms of the subject he desires to discuss." And then there's a paragraph in between and it ends up -- "There is no right of reply of a member who introduces the motion." That is the Ontario rule, and I believe that the rule in Ottawa is similar. But if the members of the House wish to grant him the privilege of closing the debate I'm quite agreeable, but as Speaker of the House, I must state why.
MR. ROBLIN: Mr. Speaker, let him speak.
A MEMBER: I'm pretty hungry.
MR. GUTTORMSON: Mr. Speaker, I'll be very brief.
MR. SPEAKER: Proceed.
MR. GUTTORMSON: I've been accused by members across about criticizing the plan. If they'd been listening to what I said, I said I was very pleased when I heard the First Minister announcement. That isn't a criticism. I criticized the First Minister's answer to my question yesterday. I never criticized the plan, or told the government they were not going fast enough. All I asked them was to let us know whether they would proceed if the Federal Government would not provide the funds. I'm still not satisfied with the answers, however, we can't proceed any further. The First Minister has gone into past history. I dealt strictly on present day -- if he wants to go into history, maybe we should go back to the days of the last Tory government. I am all in favour of this plan. I wanted to see it go through and if the government proceeds with it, I'll congratulate them.
MR. SPEAKER: It has been moved by the Honourable Member for St. George, seconded by the Honourable Member of La Verendrye that the House do now adjourn for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely a matter of urging the government of Manitoba to be ready with an alternative policy regarding flood control program announced by the First Minister in event that the Federal Government refuses financial support.
Are you ready for the question?
MR. GUTTORMSON: Mr. Speaker, according to the custom, I now ask permission of the House to withdraw my motion.
MR. SPEAKER: Can the honourable member have leave to withdraw?
MR. ROBLIN: Mr. Speaker, I would be wise to make it clear that I hope I have the general consent of the House when I say that we meet again at 8 o'clock tonight.
MR. SPEAKER: 5:30 and I leave the chair till 8.
Page revised: 22 September 2009