1975 Legislative Session: 5th Session, 30th Parliament
The following electronic version is for informational purposes
The printed version remains the official version.
FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 1975
[ Page 1739 ]
Privilege Request for withdrawal of allegation. Hon. Mr. Hartley — 1739
Statement Gas revenue distribution formula. Hon. Mr. Lorimer — 1740
Committee of Supply: Department of Recreation and Conservation estimates On vote 239. Hon. Mr. Radford — 1741
Appendix — 1764
The House met at 10 a.m.
MR. H.A. CURTIS (Saanich and the Islands): Mr. Speaker, later today in the gallery we will be visited by a group of students from Spectrum Community School in Saanich accompanied by their teacher, Mr. Zmuda. I would ask the House to note this visit today.
HON. W.L. HARTLEY (Minister of Public Works): Yesterday evening at about the time of adjournment the Member for Columbia River (Mr. Chabot) rose in his place and made a false statement with regard to myself having been evicted from some premises in my riding. This statement — and I have checked the Blues, pages 698-3, 699-4 and 700 — that I wasn't ordered out but was thrown out is a contemptible and dastardly statement. If the gentleman is the honourable Member I believe he is, he will stand in his place and apologize.
MR. SPEAKER: I take it that this is a matter of privilege. The Hon. Minister, just prior to coming in here, indicated that he was going to raise this matter of privilege. It is a matter of privilege and a contempt of the House to libel another Member. Usually when this happens the appropriate and gentlemanly thing to do is to apologize and accept the statement of the other Hon. Member that such an event did not take place. Otherwise, it is a scandalous libel. It's the sort of thing that the House itself has the jurisdiction to punish or to correct.
Libels against a Member outside the House, of course, can be taken care of outside the House by the normal processes of court. Here inside in matters of this kind the gentlemanly and the proper thing to do is to withdraw such a statement where it affects another Member personally and deals with a matter that has nothing to do with his duties in the House. Would the Hon. Member do so?
MR. J.R. CHABOT (Columbia River): I'll certainly accept the Minister's version. I was probably in error to suggest that he was bodily thrown out of this restaurant. He was merely ordered out of the restaurant.
MR. SPEAKER: Was the Hon. Member there and a witness to all this?
MR. CHABOT: No, it's been verified by the owner.
MR. SPEAKER: Then I point out to the Hon. Member that he is again falling into an error; that is, he is not speaking of his own knowledge. Therefore it is improper for him not to accept the statement of another Member in this fashion and to qualify his withdrawal. I would ask him to make an unconditional withdrawal in terms of what the Minister has stated.
MR. CHABOT: Mr. Speaker, I accept the Minister's version.
MRS. P.J. JORDAN (North Okanagan): I wonder if you could clarify for me whether there is a new policy developing in the government. We have had male and female Pages in the House. I understand that it is the law of the House and your precincts that the male Pages, and all Pages, wear caps. I understand now that only the male Pages have to wear caps; the females don't. I wondered if this was the beginning of a new Barrett government policy of discrimination against men....
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I think that what you are saying is a contempt of the House.
You are suggesting that the government runs the House, that the government runs the Speaker, that the government runs the Sergeant-at-Arms. I find this so absolutely abhorrent that I would object to any such suggestion by any Member.
HON. D. BARRETT (Premier): Mr. Speaker, I want to inform the Member that I have difficulty in attempting to run my own house.
MR. N.R. MORRISON (Victoria): Yes, I'll bet you do.
MR. SPEAKER: I want to assure the House that the government has nothing to do with the Pages' hats and it had better not have anything to do with them either. My policy is to let them do what they want.
HON. MR. BARRETT: And if Shirley's in the gallery, I apologize.
MR. SPEAKER: Is there anything else this morning?
HON. J.G. LORIMER (Minister of Municipal Affairs): I beg leave to make a statement.
MR. SPEAKER: On what subject, please?
HON. MR. LORIMER: On the sharing of the gas funds with municipalities.
[ Page 1740 ]
GAS REVENUE DISTRIBUTION FORMULA
HON. MR. LORIMER: I wish to announce the formula for distribution of natural gas revenues to the municipalities of British Columbia. This is the first time that any municipal government in Canada has had the opportunity to share directly in the revenue flowing from exports of natural resources.
Under the formula, the provincial government will guarantee an additional $20 million to British Columbia's municipalities, regardless of the new level of our increased export prices of natural gas. The $20 million will be above and beyond the approximately $80 million in per capita grants already detailed in the budget speech. Details of the formula have been worked out following consultation with the Union of British Columbia Municipalities. The details are as follows:
Every municipality, regardless of size, will receive $25,000. This comes to a total of $3,450,000. The $25,000 across-the-board grant exceeds the amount suggested by the UBCM in a brief to the government, as they called for $20,000. So we followed basically to quite a large degree the suggestions made by the Union of B.C. Municipalities.
This $25,000 payment will be of great assistance to smaller municipalities, particularly villages. In most cases this amount will greatly exceed what they would have received on a per capita basis. Any portion of the $25,000 which exceeds 50 per cent of what a municipality collected in 1974 from real property taxes for general and municipal purposes must be placed in a statutory reserve fund established under provisions of section 301 of the Municipal Act. This is being done to maintain a realistic property tax distribution within and between municipalities.
A further $3.2 million will be paid to municipalities on the basis of $100 for each housing unit start in 1974. The housing component of the formula allows municipalities to benefit from high-growth activity in the housing field during the previous year. This reflects recognition of the demand that growth places on municipal services. I might say that this also was a recommendation for recognition of housing starts by the Union of B.C. Municipalities.
Municipalities will be asked to provide the Department of Municipal Affairs with the 1974 details of housing starts to complement material already available from the provincial Housing department and the Central Mortgage and Housing.
By far the largest portion of the $20 million, about $8.24 million, will be distributed on a formula based on the relationship between operating costs in every municipality as compared to the total operating expenditures of all municipalities in the province. For example, municipalities whose operating expenses are 2 per cent of the municipal total will share in 2 per cent of the $8.24 million.
Figures from the 1973 municipal statistics are the basis for the calculation of these grants. The percentage method of calculating distribution of this money more accurately reflects the demands municipalities face in providing services based on geographical, climatic and servicing factors.
The remainder of the $20 million will be distributed in the following way. Approximately $1.31 million will be allocated to assist in the construction of water systems. This is seen as a companion programme to the Sewerage Facilities Assistance Act passed last year. Until this time provincial funds have not been available to assist municipalities with their water systems.
An additional $1 million will be made available to regional districts to assist in capital costs of waste-disposal sites, including land acquisition, building of fences and buying of equipment.
Also, there will be $3 million retained in a community disparity fund. It is the government's intention to use this money to assist those municipalities with low assessment bases, which have special problems as a result. The Union of B.C. Municipalities will assist me in determining which municipalities are deserving of grants under this fund. I might also say that not only will it necessarily go to low assessment areas — that is the major area of disparity — but also under any formula there are some areas which, due to certain reasons, have not done as well as others under any formula. So that will also be looked into, as well as the low assessment areas.
MR. W.R. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition): Mr. Speaker, in responding to the Ministerial statement: it only brings to light the very real question we had when the budget came — that the $20 million or any amount of money didn't have to wait for the gas price. In fact the government could have, as they have said now, allocated the money in the budget in the normal way as part of the growth revenues of this province.
The fact that our revenues have gone to $3 billion and doubled in just three years and that the government hasn't kept pace in the distribution of that money indicates very strongly that the very real questions that were raised and the opposition that was raised to this type of iffy promise was, indeed, correct. The municipalities were correct in their opposition. The $20 million will not be adequate to meet the rise in the cost of municipal services this year. The $20 million is not adequate; it's not enough.
While we've welcomed a statement, finally after all this time, when we still don't know the price of the gas, we feel as we felt before in this party, along with the municipal governments, that sharing of revenues should be on a specific basis. The information should
[ Page 1741 ]be shared and be made available during the budget, and not wait until the municipal governments are well on into their fiscal year. Nevertheless, late as it is, $20 million will go some way to helping the municipalities save themselves from the excessive increases on property tax that the homeowners of this province are facing this year and will continue to face, even with this small drop in the bucket.
MR. SPEAKER: To the Hon. Second Member for Victoria, may I point out that full-scale debate on the issue should not be the purpose of the statements.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON (Victoria): Mr. Speaker....
MR. SPEAKER: I'm not criticizing the Hon. Member, but I'm pointing out that....
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: I should hope not; I haven't said a word. (Laughter.) Mr. Speaker....
MR. SPEAKER: I haven't remarked any on you in this....
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Well, you recognized me and then you started to comment. Why don't you wait or else comment upon the Minister's very political statement earlier on?
Mr. Speaker, I'd like to welcome the Minister's statement, at least to this degree: it does end the uncertainty. I'd like to welcome it also because, while I'm quoting him roughly, I think I'm quoting him correctly where he said that this $20 million guarantee will come regardless of any new level of export price — clear proof that the linking of the export price for natural gas and this $20 million is one of the fictions in the Premier's mind. There is no such linking, proved again by this Minister in his statement.
We think that this particular new programme of $20 million, while very necessary, brings up the problem of a variety of systems of financing the municipalities. You are now drafting another scheme upon the existing schemes, and there is no real rationale between them. We think, as the official opposition does, that this would have been much better handled by a straightforward accounting procedure in the budget and in your estimates before this House.
I would like to comment on one particular point and congratulate the Minister on the growth-grant aspect to this. I think, in that respect at least, he is showing a little bit of ingenuity and a little bit of thought. I think that that is a good point. But generally speaking, we would like to go back to a more simple system; develop a system which does not rely on secondary grants coming in and secondary programmes coming in after the bulk of the municipal budgets have been established.
Hon. Mr. Strachan presents the second annual report of the Insurance Corp. of British Columbia for the fiscal year March 1, 1974, to February 28, 1975.
Orders of the Day
The House in Committee of Supply; Mr. Dent in the chair.
ESTIMATES: DEPARTMENT OF
RECREATION AND CONSERVATION
On vote 239: Minister's office, $121,032
HON. J. RADFORD (Minister of Recreation and Conservation): Mr. Chairman, I would first like to introduce two new appointments to the department made last year as Associate Deputy. One was to Mr. Ed Vernon, who has been in the public service of the provincial government for 15 years. The next is Mr. Bob Ahrens, who has been in the public service of the province for 26 years. Mr. Ahrens is the former director of the park and is to a great extent responsible for the park system we have in the province today.
I don't want to use the opposition's time. They've been accusing the government of taking up too much time. I know they will want to debate and discuss the increases of this department, the great increases of this department over the last two years. I know they will want to discuss the increase of this year's budget. I know that they are aware that the increase isn't as what is put on paper, that the contingency fund which makes up $6.1 million is included, and that there is a salary increase. I know they will bring this up. I just want to bring it to their attention and help them out a little bit because they may have trouble in debating this department this year.
This year's budget has been increased from $25.1 million to $47.4 million. This is a far cry from the budget of 1972 of the past government, when the whole department had a budget of $10.4 million. This year the Fish and Wildlife budget alone is over $10.4 million — just one department. When you compare this year's budget, especially over Fish and Wildlife — and actually of our whole department alone — it is rather ironic when you look to other jurisdictions throughout Canada and the United States and find that the Departments of Recreation and Conservation, Parks, Fish and Wildlife, have declined significantly. They are in dire straits in other areas.
For example, in an article just recently printed in
[ Page 1742 ]True magazine, it states here that of the 50 states interviewed by True, 37 reported themselves in situations ranging from bad to critical. The costs of running these wildlife agencies have doubled and are presently doubling again.
In the State of Washington the entire fish-hatchery programme has been put back by 20 per cent. In other states, the State of Oregon,.... I'll just quote you an article:
"Louis Samaroff, director, Oregon State Wildlife Commission, says we have had to put a 2,500-acre game-management tract up for sale. We are closing down one fish hatchery, and we have put a 25 per cent reduction in amount of miles we will allow our people to run." It sounds like the old government. "We have cut back in every phase except law enforcement. We leave some positions vacant."
In Washington it is the same story. "We have had to cut our hatchery programme from 2.2 million pounds of fish to 1.7 million."
So really it is rather ironic that our government has not come anywhere near following the other jurisdictions. Our government has put a real importance on our environment and on the whole Department of Recreation and Conservation because we are aware that people are taking to the outdoors and that leisure time is of great importance. It is rather ironic that one of the first departments to be cut in most governments is the Department of Recreation and Conservation. I'm glad to see that our government has taken an opposite view to other jurisdictions.
You know, if we listened to the Liberal government over there, we would be in real dire straits. The First Member — not you, Mr. Leader (Mr. D.A. Anderson) — for Vancouver–Point Grey (Mr. McGeer) in his usual annual budget that he dreams up every year, made this statement when he came to Recreation and Conservation — after cutting all the other departments, saying that our budget was inflationary. He says:
Recreation and Conservation, that's cut $17 million. We would propose a 20 per cent increase in one year.... If the parks don't all get built in one year, that won't be the end of British Columbia. If the choice is postponing that extra park construction for one year, or providing the kind of tax incentives that will start mining and exploration, gas exploration, oil exploration, or scientific research to build new products and jobs for the future, it is better to make that postponement.
This is what the First Member for Vancouver–Point Grey says. It's easy to tell how many parks he has in Point Grey. I am glad to see that the Liberal government isn't in power, or the department would be in dire straits.
As I say, our budget is a far cry from what it was in 1972. As the Minister, and like every Minister here who is really with it with his department, I can always use more money.
I know the opposition will want to discuss the parks, as I say. They will want to discuss the 12 new parks and the many new additions that were made to parks last year. I know they will want to discuss the increase in acreage. The acreage in parks in the past government at the end of their term in 1972 was just slightly over six million acres. Today the park system in British Columbia has increased to 9,433,000 acres. Yes, that's a far cry from the six million acres that were there when we came into office. Do you know why? Because parks were chopped at, taken away, mining, logging, and there was a real depletion in park acreage with the past government.
I want to talk about the Community Recreational Facilities Fund. The Community Recreational Facilities Fund is one of the greatest programmes of recreation facility increase anywhere in Canada. At a recent recreation Ministers' conference in Halifax, it was admitted by all the other provinces that our province is well out in front when it comes to creating recreation facilities. I think we've proved that there was a real gap in recreation facilities in this province. To date, we have spent $35.5 million on recreation facilities in 200 communities, involving 602 projects. This has also brought about a great increase in construction. In the construction of buildings to date, $127.9 million has been brought into the economy through the construction of new buildings.
Now there was a great hue and cry about a job security budget in the past. This fund, to date, has created employment from the construction of approximately 2,675 full man-years of employment. It has also created, in the recreational industry itself, 3,080 full-time positions. This has been a great programme. It has been a great programme, but you wouldn't know it by the press we've been getting.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!
HON. MR. RADFORD: And is it any wonder that we may have to pay for ads to tell the people just what we're doing? I have some vivid illustrations here of examples of just what goes on in our media. We have put out press releases stating that $30 million has been given away for recreation facilities...
MR. WALLACE: Well, give it back.
HON. MR. RADFORD: ...communities, and guess where it appears? Page 12, in a little corner right here — just a small mention.
I have another illustration here of another announcement where it mentions — and I can hardly even read it, it was in such small print at the bottom of the page here — "'$30 million worth of
[ Page 1743 ]recreational grants have been given today,' announced the Minister of Recreation and Conservation." This is in The Vancouver Sun, November 7, 1973. Here it is here, way down in the corner. You know, you can hardly see it.
I've got other illustrations here but, you know, when it comes to an announcement by the federal government, we have here: "Ottawa to Increase Performing Arts Grants — Faulkner." Here it is, headlines. But, you know, it's for a $1 million announcement and, man, do they ever get coverage! It's for $1 million.
HON. MR. RADFORD: But when we give away $35 million it appears on page 37 in a little tiny column. It's rather ironic.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON (Victoria): Poor Jack! Tears are coming to our eyes, Jack.
HON. MR. RADFORD: This fund has also — and I think you Members will appreciate — been given with no bias whatsoever. The leader of the opposition party, the Member for South Okanagan (Mr. Bennett) — the total of grants given in his riding was $1.856 million.
MRS. P.J. JORDAN (North Okanagan): That was part of the amalgamation agreement. Don't take credit for that.
HON. MR. RADFORD: Oh! The Member for Langley (Mr. McClelland) — the amount of grants given in his area: $1.214 million. Do you know what? The Minister who administers this Act, from Vancouver South, do you know what his poor people got? $28,687. Maybe I haven't been doing a good enough job for my constituents, you know. Maybe I haven't been doing a good enough job, but maybe there'll be an increase just before the election or something. I hope the people put in a few more grants.
MRS. JORDAN: Can't you people get along over there?
HON. MR. RADFORD: Oh yes, Mr. Member for Oak Bay (Mr. Wallace), I forgot you. Oh, yes, there's $1,000,085...
MR. G.S. WALLACE (Oak Bay): Keep it coming.
HON. MR. RADFORD: ...to that great, glorious constituency of Oak Bay where most of the people are in real dire straits for recreation, you know. It's rather ironic — they have a nice, big golf course there. I think we've forgotten our philosophy a little bit when it comes to this grant. Maybe we're being too fair.
MR. WALLACE: You're doing a great job, Jack. Keep it up.
HON. MR. RADFORD: I know you'll want to talk about the Olympics. Oh, the Olympics! That's been forgotten about — the government's decision not to have the winter Olympics in 1980.
AN HON. MEMBER: You scuttled it.
HON. MR. RADFORD: Oh, there was a great hue and cry, you know. I have an editorial here from, again, the First Member for Vancouver–Point Grey (Mr. McGeer). He wrote a letter to the Sun. Oh, it's in big letters here: "Olympics would be a boost for B.C." He says: "The event, with so many potential benefits, will surely be beneficial to the province. Are we afraid the wrong people in our province might enjoy these facilities in future years?"
I say that the government has made the right decision; I think it has been proven by what has gone on in Montreal. I think we have shown that we don't want to bring an extravaganza here for a 10-day situation when we can use our recreation facilities and bring them to all outlying areas of the province.
HON. G.R. LEA (Minister of Highways): Right on.
HON. MR. RADFORD: I know you will want to discuss the Olympics. I know many Members of the Liberal Party certainly made many statements on the reluctance of the Province of British Columbia to bring the Olympics to B.C.
MR. A.V. FRASER (Cariboo): The green light's on.
HON. MR. RADFORD: Again, it is rather ironic that only two countries applied for the Olympics when years ago there was quite a competition to vie for the Olympics. This year we had two — Lake Placid, New York, and Chamonix, France. Then at the last minute there was only one. So something is wrong when we talk about the Olympics. I think we should be recycling those Olympic sites; that is what we should be doing.
MR. WALLACE: The light's on, Jack.
HON. MR. RADFORD: As I said...I don't want to go on — I hope that the opposition will use my brief remarks as an example to let everyone have a chance to question. I know many times they have used the whole allotted time. I would hope that you
[ Page 1744 ]have constructive criticism, and I would ask you for any suggestions you have or any advice you can give our department. It is welcome from the opposition. So I sit down now and await your questions.
MR. J.R. CHABOT (Columbia River): Mr. Chairman, it is always a pleasure to rise in my place. Unfortunately, the time is short; we have only two hours to discuss this portfolio of $47 million — $23.5 million-an-hour questions. It is a very limited time to make a thorough analysis of the expenditures of this particular portfolio. However, that is the way it is in British Columbia today.
MR. FRASER: Closure!
MR. CHABOT: But I do want to say that it is always a pleasure to listen to the roly-poly, cheerful, long-winded Minister give his explanation of what is happening in the Department of Recreation and Conservation. I do want to congratulate the Minister on the large increase in his budget. However, he hasn't been heard or been as forceful as he should have with the cabinet in some other areas. But in this particular area he succeeded in having his budget increased by $22 million, of which $6.1 million are for salary contingencies.
Going through his projected expenditures I find that there has been an increase by one in biologists and there has been an increase by 16 in conservation officers. Mind you, you have to delete the three wildlife assistants who, no doubt, have become conservation officers, so there has been an increase of 13. There are almost as many conservation officers and biologists in the province as there are grizzly bears.
MR. FRASER: One biologist for every bear.
MR. CHABOT: I look at the parks branch allocation and as far as staff is concerned, we look at the projected new salaries that are provided for in these estimates, and they are substantial. We find that the allocation of salaries is $3.2 million. However, the contingencies for salary increases are $4 million. That is a pretty substantial contingency for salary increases. I am wondering if the Minister would explain just why it is necessary to have over 100 per cent contingencies for salaries when already there are provisions for large increases in the projected costs of the various categories of employees in the parks branch.
I have heard that there is a possibility that the provincial parks will not open until June 15, six weeks later than usual. If that is so, I wonder if the Minister would tell me why there is this tremendous delay in opening up the provincial parks.
Now a few brief questions to the Minister. I want to give everyone an opportunity to have a few words here, but I want to say a few brief words about leghold traps — that device which is used for the capturing of fur-bearing animals in the province.
It is an extremely controversial subject today. It is an issue upon which I have received more correspondence in this session than upon any other subject. People are concerned with the pain and suffering of fur-bearing animals in the province. I have corresponded with the Minister on this issue, but it appears that any time there is any pressure from the public regarding the inhumane way of trapping fur-bearing animals, the Minister issues another press release.
He was critical of the newspapers this morning because he is not getting the publicity. I'll tell you, Mr. Minister, if newspapers were to publish everything that comes out of the Department of Recreation and Conservation, as far as press releases are concerned, they would have to have a special page. There is almost a daily press release coming out of the Department of Recreation and Conservation. The Minister burps and he issues a press release; it's almost that bad.
I wrote to the Minister regarding the leghold trap device and the Minister's secretary wrote and said: "Here's up-to-date information on the humane-trapping issue, which is self-explanatory. Here is the circular letter which we distribute throughout the province when people express their concern." The letter goes on to say that in September, 1973, a joint federal-provincial committee was established for the examination of a more humane means of trapping fur-bearing animals. It continues that this is a long-term goal.
I don't think you should make this a long-term goal. I don't think that it should be prolonged and spun out over a five-year period, because in your press release you say that in addition to this department's monetary commitments to the committee, a $5,000 grant was previously awarded to the Canadian Association of Humane Trapping to aid in trap research. A more recent grant of $4,000 in trust has been awarded to the B.C. Association for the Protection of Fur-bearing Animals to assist in the development of what appears to be a promising and humane trap invented by Mr. Bill Gabry of Avenby, B.C.
If you have one that's promising, Mr. Minister, I don't know why it should take up to five years to put this trap into operation in the Province of British Columbia. There are people out there who are concerned with the way fur-bearing animals die. I think that the action should be more quickly resolved than what appears to be the procedure that is taking place through your department.
Now the Minister talked about the Community Recreational Facilities Fund. I want to say that it is
[ Page 1745 ]one of the few pieces of legislation on which I have always publicly commended the government. It's a good piece of legislation and it's done a great deal in providing recreational facilities, be it in incorporated municipalities or unorganized territories as well. As the Minister mentioned, it has benefited, I believe, 200 projects. In the latest correspondence I have from the Minister dated November 29, it mentions 175 projects, which no doubt has increased. It says $32 million. These are all very worthwhile projects, a very worthwhile endeavour on the part of the province.
What really disturbs me regarding the Community Recreational Facilities Fund is the kind of credit the government continuously attempts to take for the provision of these recreational facilities in the community. Every Minister has a different version as community what these facilities do. The Minister of Municipal Affairs (Hon. Mr. Lorimer) and the Premier suggested that this is aid to municipalities, and why should the government increase the per capita grant? "We are giving them all this aid on the Community Recreational Facilities Fund." Now make up your mind what it is. It's either for the provision of recreational facilities in the various communities of this province or it's municipal aid. It can't be both.
Then the Minister also goes on to say how much it helps employment in the Province of British Columbia. In British Columbia we have over 102,000 people unemployed at this time, and he says that it provides jobs.
I would suggest that projects that have been developed in my constituency have been done by volunteer work — by volunteer work — and in the organized municipalities it's been done by the regular municipal employees. So if it happens in my constituency, it must be happening throughout the province. So how many jobs does it really produce? In some instances, by contract, it must produce jobs. But the smaller communities undertake these projects on a volunteer basis. So it's not producing the kind of jobs you are attempting to lead the people of this province to believe.
I asked the Minister a few days ago regarding the cutback in Careers '75, the students' summer employment project. There was a very serious cutback there, which I will make reference to a little later. But in talking about it the Minister brought up again the Community Recreational Facilities Fund. Certainly the Minister knows full well that Careers '74 didn't hire any students and that Careers '75 is a project for summer student employment, and you can't start mixing it up with the Community Recreational Facilities Fund. But in answer to the question the Minister suggested that that's where all the jobs are; they are in the Community Recreational Facilities Fund for student employment. That's far from the truth. So the Minister and the government take credit for a great variety of reasons in this fund.
I said before that I supported the concept of the recreational fund. Now the government has handed out the carrots to the various municipalities and unorganized territories, and they've taken advantage of it. Now reality has struck, the reality that they have been encouraged to undertake the construction of these facilities, but now where do they get the money to operate them? Where is the money coming for the operating of these facilities? Many smaller municipalities in many smaller unorganized territories find themselves in a very serious dilemma.
I'm wondering whether government is going to offer any operating grants. You've spent a lot of money, but there was a catch-up period and now, no doubt, the time has come where the allocation should be in operating grants. I wonder if the Minister will tell me if he is considering or will consider offering operating grants to the various communities that have built these recreational facilities.
I have before me in the final report for 1974 the Cache Creek checking station figures which give a fairly clear indication, I guess, of what's happening throughout the province on an average of game harvested and the number of hunters in the province. We find in looking at these figures that the harvest on every species is down very substantially. The Minister talked about all the allocations for Fish and Wildlife, the management that takes place in this particular branch, and now we find that the harvest is down very substantially.
We also find that the number of hunters is down. We find that the resident hunters are down very substantially. Through the sampling at Cache Creek we find non-residents are almost down by 50 per cent from the....
AN HON. MEMBER: No.
MR. CHABOT: Well, this is a sample from Cache Creek which gives a fairly clear indication of the number of hunters. We find that in 1973, checked at Cache Creek, were 3,607 non-resident hunters. In 1974, 1,970 non-residents were checked there, for a decrease of 1,637. I'm wondering whether the tremendous decrease is because of the prepaid trophy fee which was instituted by the government for the purpose of generating revenue.
I always thought the fish and wildlife branch was there to manage the wildlife resources of the province. But it has now been suggested by the department that the increase in prepaid trophy fees and the various other tag fees was for the purpose of generating revenue. It appears that they are more interested in revenue than in game management.
I'm wondering if the Minister would tell me how seriously.... There's no doubt that the tremendous decrease in the number of non-resident hunters has
[ Page 1746 ]very seriously affected the guiding industry in the province. The guiding industry in British Columbia a large industry. We had last year 416 guide outfitters in the province, of which 37 were native. It provided a labour force for various categories, cooks and wranglers and so forth, of 2,000 people, which is a worthwhile industry. I'm wondering how seriously it has been affected by the introduction of the prepaid trophy fee and the escalation of the various fees in the department.
One other subject regarding game management which I want to discuss, and which disturbs me no end, I'm sure, disturbs many other hunters and many other residents of the province, is the establishment by the government of a private hunting preserve in the province for one individual. I'm talking about the great reserve which the government has established in the Spatsizi River area on behalf of Howard Paish. The only access into the area, basically, is through the Paish hunting territory. There are some very revealing statements regarding the setting up of the government's friend's private hunting preserve.
When I say the government's friend, he was engaged by the government in 1973 for environmental studies to the tune of $41,000 and possibly as much, if not more, in 1974, but we don't have those figures yet. But I can't see any justification for the establishment of private hunting preserves that benefit strictly individuals in the province and do not benefit the people who like the outdoors in this province.
On December 11, 1974, in The Vancouver Sun, there was an article regarding the establishment of the Paish private hunting preserve. I'll just read some of the brief paragraphs in here:
"Vancouver environmentalist Howard Paish is the owner of the camp and was one of four men involved in proposing" — he proposed his own private territory; can you imagine? — "the establishment of the reserve and the conservancy to the provincial government."He helped tell the government how he could protect his hunting territory.
"According to Kregina, Paish's camp was saved from becoming part of the non-hunting reserve because he would have raised great objections if it had been included."Can you imagine! He would have raised objections. Then he goes on:
"'When I prepared my first Spatsizi presentation, I included the whole of Cold Fish Lake in the reserve,' Kregina, an internationally known botanist, said in an interview. However, he said he agreed to change the reserve boundaries after being told by Dr. J. Bristol Foster, director of the ecological reserve programme, that Paish would raise great objections if this camp was included."
Well, could it be any clearer than that that you've jiggled around with the boundaries up there to protect Paish's private hunting territory?
"'I would like to see the lake included in the reserve, but if that is difficult because it might be opposed by some persons"' — he could have added "some persons" — "'then I think the lake could be used as fishing ground,' Kregina said."
I don't think that Paish objects to the proposal as it now stands. In fact, I think he's very pleased. He'll be the only game guide in there. Well, these are the people that you've engaged, professionals, that are making these statements. Then he goes on: "Cowan, another individual involved in the study, said that Paish's camp was left out of the reserve because it is private property." When has the government been concerned about private property? The Minister's bought a lot of land in the Kootenays, in the East Kootenays to be specific, yet when we find an area that the government feels should be protected by an ecological reserve, they jiggle around the boundaries because of a friend wanting a private hunting territory in the area.
You can imagine how you've enhanced the value of this hunting territory by restricting access into the area, by setting up the no-hunting territory surrounding his location and with the limited hunting on the periphery of the no-hunting territory.
I think it's absolutely disgraceful, having read these statements from people that are involved in the establishment of ecological reserves in the province; and they worry about one particular guiding territory. Yet we find that the Minister hasn't been hesitant. I understand that his department's bought a ranch in Fort Steele, right across from the Fort Steele historical park, at considerable cost. The department has bought considerable land in the East Kootenays for game management, yet when it comes to the protection of the very species that exist up in the northwestern part of the province, because it happens to be Paish they leave Paish inside the ecological reserve. So there doesn't appear to be any consistency in what the government says and what it does. It all depends who is involved in the various structures.
Now the Minister, when I asked him regarding the establishment of the new management units.... In some 28 management areas we now have in British Columbia we now have some 201 management units. Now when I look at it on this map, it is very difficult to visualize just where the boundaries are established. But in the Kootenay area, we find now that there are 40 management units, very narrow in some instances, and I'm sure it will create a great deal of confusion and uncertainty as far as the hunters are concerned. I don't know whether the reason for the additional biologists or the additional conservation officers is for the purpose of following the various hunters in the province to identify the various management
[ Page 1747 ]units.
I find, just from a cursory examination of the regulations and the opening dates that are spelled out here, that on December 20 in management unit 4-6 white-tailed deer is opening — December 20. That's not too difficult to administer, I would think, because it's on a permit basis. But where are the boundaries? I wish the Minister could give me some clear-cut answers as to where the boundaries will be.
We find also that on September 20 in management unit 4-10, 11, 12 white-tail deer opens. Now what about 4-9, which is just adjacent? How is the hunter going to identify 4-9, and how is the hunter going to identify the other abutting management units?
It appears, at least at the moment, unless I can get some clear-cut definitions from the Minister, that it's going to be an extremely confusing thing. It's going to be exasperating on the part of hunters trying to identify which units they're in. I facetiously, when asking the Minister the other day, suggested that maybe he should tag each and every animal so you could identify which management unit they belonged in. But I don't know just how it is going to be administered.
Speaking about game management, I want to say a few words about the protection of the habitat for big game. It appears in some instances that this department talks about the multi-use concept, the multi-use of the resource, and then in their actions we find that they are utilizing the single-use purpose of land utilization.
I do want to commend the department for its protection of the habitat in certain regions of the East Kootenays. It is something that I have advocated for some considerable time, not only to your government but also to the former government. I found that the former government did very little in respect to the protection of the habitat for big game winter grazing areas. You have commenced on the programme, and with an expansion of that programme, certainly we find that we can have multi-use in the East Kootenays.
As I said before, I am disturbed with the single-use concept and the single-use practice which is evident in your department. I maintain, and always have maintained, that with proper management of the range wildlife and livestock can equally benefit.
We have heard a lot of talk of management of the range, primarily as far as livestock is concerned. There has been very little done, despite statements made by the Department of Agriculture. We see the only action being taken is by the Department of Recreation and Conservation, but, in some instances, at the expense of livestock. As I said before, with proper range management both can survive and survive well.
We notice that the Minister was in the East Kootenays taking part in the elk feeding programme up in that area. I want to commend the department for feeding the elk in a tough snow year, but we find that the government is unwilling to take any consideration as far as livestock is concerned. On the range in the Ta Ta area, for instance, which should be multi-use, there is no consideration being given there regarding agriculture, as far as the Department of Lands or the Department of Agriculture is concerned.
We have the same evidence in the Cariboo as well. A women there wrote very recently, on April 17, and she says: "As I write this there is 12 to 18 inches of snow on the ground, a west wind blowing snow. A load of hay came in, costing $80 per ton." She sent a sample and it is strictly garbage as far as that is concerned. She says: "We have all our stock on full feed and there is no turn here until May 15." And she goes on expressing her concern. "I know you are going to say no funds are available, but this cannot be so. Millions and millions of dollars are found for recreation, research, exploration grants, free stumpage, boats, pulp mills, and refineries when they say there is not sufficient oil in all the capped wells now, and then they sit back and let food and agriculture go down the drain."
I find there is very little consideration for the multi-use concept being practised. There is a lack of co-ordination between your department and the other departments. I'm not criticizing what you are attempting to do on behalf of game management in the province, but let's practise it on a multi-use basis.
There is a serious lack of consistency on the part of part of the government in its treatment of both livestock and big game. Now you've spent a considerable amount of money buying up ranches in the East Kootenays for game management, which has been detrimental to livestock as well. You spent here $195,000 on one ranch; $165,000 on another ranch; $185,000 on Bummers Flats, adjacent to Fort Steele and Wasa.
I am wondering if the Minister could give me some information regarding the development that is taking place on Bummers Flats. I see a lot of potholes have been dug out; I guess they are duck ponds on ummers Flats. There has been a very costly dike which no rancher could have ever possibly constructed because of the cost; it runs several miles — I don't know how many miles it runs. Last year I noticed that the water came over the dike, so what useful purpose does this dike serve, protecting Bummers Flats? The feeling in the East Kootenays is that this whole project is a bit of a costly flop. I wonder if the Minister would like to comment on it.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Green light....
MR. CHABOT: Oh, gee. See, there we go again. Shortage of time.
I have a few more questions to pose. I will just ask
[ Page 1748 ]one more quick question of the Minister. This one concerns Western Heritage Supply Ltd., a small book company in Vancouver that supplies historical, informative facts about subjects and people of British Columbia. Now they have been virtually kicked out of their providing of these informative historical books in Manning Lodge, virtually thrown out. They have lost their account. I can't see any reason why the Minister would cancel that account when we find that in Manning Lodge there are still True Romance books and — as is stated here — "assorted awful American magazines." Why would you throw this small, struggling British Columbia publishing firm out of the right to sell its publications in Manning Lodge? I have examined some correspondence. I have a fair amount of correspondence here, some from the Minister, and so forth, and I can't see any justifiable reason for the action that you have taken regarding these publications in Manning Park.
HON. MR. RADFORD: I have quite a list of questions and, as usual, the opposition have used up their whole allotment of time.
MR. CHABOT: There is no time.
HON. MR. RADFORD: First of all, you asked the question on the $4 million increase for salary contingencies. This includes 101 temporary-continuous personnel covered by bill funding last year. No longer do we have bill funding, Mr. Member, for parks. The parks can now plan year-by-year on what their programmes are. The bill funding will no longer be used as a political ploy as it was in the past. This also includes 77 new positions for better field offices and headquarters programmes. The new salary levels are expected and the COLA is also included. In general, the increases for staffing provisions and these kinds of things (and I could give it to you in detail but I think you are already aware of that) you will see in the printouts were increased from 124 to 227. This is a 103 increase of people who were temporary-continuous in past years. We have some people who were on staff on a temporary-continuous basis for nine and 10 years. Many of these people didn't get the fringes and that that go along with this. This is why it looks like our complement has increased a lot. Many of the people were on a temporary-continuous basis.
You made the statement that the parks will not open until June, which is a ridiculous statement. Our parks are open now. As a matter of fact, I think the Member realizes that many of our parks are open all year round.
The leghold trap — this has been quite a controversial subject. I certainly am aware of the cruelties involved with the leghold trap. As I stated before, our government is in the forefront of bringing about the federal-provincial committee which was instituted a couple of years ago to deal with bringing in a more humane trap on a national basis. I think everyone realizes that we just don't want to bring it in in one province; if we are really sincere about bringing in a humane trap, we should do it on a national basis. This is why we have done it in cooperation with the provinces and with the federal people. We have played our role in that. We have given contributions on the ratio as to the harvest of furs and trapping in the province. B.C. is seventh in the production of furs in Canada. I think our contribution over a period of time is something like $13,000.
On top of that, we earlier donated $5,000 to the Canadian Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals. Since that time, we have instituted a provincial committee on the protection of fur-bearing animals and the enhancement of bringing in a humane trap. People who comprise this committee are the status Indians, the non-status Indians, the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals, the B.C. Wildlife Federation and our branch. We have also given $4,000 to the association for Bill Gabry, whom you mentioned was the inventor of the Challenger trap, which has not been perfected. This is the real problem. No trap yet has been deemed as humane. Some of them are partially used, some of them are partially humane, but we would like to see immediately one brought in that is designated as a humane trap.
On top of this, we have instituted the trapping school in Prince George, which was held for two terms at Caledonia College. Again, this was done at the request and suggestion from the association and the trappers' association. This of course was brought about to introduce new methods of trapping. New methods of humane trapping were carried out in the field, and I feel that this province has probably done more than any other province to bring about a humane trap and humane trapping.
As a matter of fact, I have some letters here and I would just like to read to you from Mrs. Clements' letter, dated October 25, 1974 — she is the president of the humane trapping society. She ends the letter by saying: "We are pleased to see that the NDP government is showing leadership in this field. Congratulations to you again and to the staff who seem to be doing such good work in this field."
AN HON. MEMBER: File it.
HON. MR. RADFORD: You can see these letters any time you want, Mr. Member.
Another letter, dated May 23, 1974, from Mrs. Clements says: "Thank you, Mr. Radford, for your keen interest in this important problem. Congratulations to the NDP government for taking
[ Page 1749 ]the first positive steps ever in B.C. to solve the humane trap problem."
Now a further letter, and we get back to The Vancouver Sun newspaper again....
MR. G.B. GARDOM (Vancouver–Point Grey): A year ago?
HON. MR. RADFORD: No, this letter was March 20, 1975. Mrs. Bunty Clements had written letters to The Vancouver Sun and portions of her letters were left out, so she writes a letter to the editor of The Vancouver Sun: "We write to correct a serious error in the article by Lou Thomas relating to our movie 'Canada's Shame' and our campaign to ban leghold traps."
She goes on and on and then she says: "This association feels that more has been done in the last two years by the B.C. government than in the last 20 years, but much more needs to be done and urgently." That was never printed by The Vancouver Sun by the way. Never printed. That was March 20.
On April 11 we put out a press release — one of these press releases again, Mr. Member for Columbia River (Mr. Chabot) — and in this press release we related to the remarks made by Mrs. Clements where she said that our government had done more than any other government in the last 20 years. But guess what? In the Sun newspaper...here we go again: everything in the press release was in the newspaper, except the remarks made by Mrs. Clements.
AN HON. MEMBER: A coincidence.
HON. MR. RADFORD: Yes, it's kind of a coincidence, right. But, again, we can expect these kinds of things, I guess.
Two days ago, by the way, I sent a letter to the federal-provincial trapping committee asking for an increase in their budget, and suggesting to them that this province is willing to increase the budget to bring about a faster means of finding a humane trap. We also urged that reports be given to all the associations involved in this progress report.
The Member for Vancouver–Point Grey (Mr. McGeer) asked questions about why all the slowness and why these traps aren't being tested, et cetera. I related why in an answer to him. It's quite a process of testing traps. Patents have to be searched as the traps have to be patentable; engineering has to be done on the traps; prototypes have to be made, et cetera. The person who comes out with a humane trap, by the way, will be a multimillionaire overnight with his invention. We are hoping that a humane trap is found very shortly, and because of the money involved in finding a suitable trap, I know there's quite a surge right now to get into it and get on with the job.
You mention the Community Recreational Facilities Fund again. As I did say earlier, quite a few jobs were created from construction underway or completed, equal to 2,675 full man-years of employment. The Member is right when he says there's a lot of voluntary work done, and that voluntary work is taken into consideration for the two-thirds that is paid by the organization to set this up.
MR. CHABOT: How about operating grants?
HON. MR. RADFORD: Mr. Member, I think the people in the community appreciate the one-third grant. This is what the government has given and it has given an impetus to start and build around these things. We have not considered operating grants. These things are always considered when the grants are given. As you know, we go through quite a screening process, and this is one of the considerations before a grant is given — that these people can carry on and maintain the facility.
We talked about Cache Creek checking station, and that the numbers of game harvested are down, et cetera. This is true because the number of hunters is down, naturally. You should remember that the Cache Creek checking station is not just a checking station for checking game. It's a biological station where certain parts of species are taken in and examined, et cetera.
The guide situation. It's true. You mentioned the figure that indicates the guides and non-resident hunters have been decreased by 50 per cent, and that's quite wrong, Mr. Member, the number has decreased to 34 per cent and the residents have decreased to 17 per cent. The non-residents have decreased from 6,784 to 4,488.
The Member mentioned Howard Paish having preferential treatment. The Member should be reminded that this is an old-established guiding area and that it's just a proposed ecological reserve that is coming into being.
MR. CHABOT: So was the Molson hop farm. You bought that.
HON. MR. RADFORD: It's only a proposed ecological reserve. The ecological reserve come long after the guiding territory was established. And just for your information, Mr. Paish does not hold a guiding territory or a guiding outfitter's licence.
MR. CHABOT: Oh, he'll have one.
HON. MR. RADFORD: No, you said earlier that he was a guide and that he held a licence. He does not hold a licence. He will not be eligible for either until he has held an assistant guide licence for a period of
[ Page 1750 ]two years. Then he will be eligible to be licenced as a guide-outfitter, after March 13th.
You talked about land in the Kootenays, Mr. Member, and you want to know about....
HON. MR. RADFORD: Can I have some order, Mr. Chairman? Thank you.
You talk about the acquisition of land in the Kootenays, and you talk about Bummers Flats and all the dikes that are being built there, et cetera. Those dikes are built by Ducks Unlimited at no cost to the Province of British Columbia. And they're doing a tremendous job. They're doing a tremendous job. This is in your area, Mr. Member, and you should be talking in support of these things in your area.
You say there's been no cooperation between Agriculture and our department? You're entirely wrong. You know that there's a big programme going on now in the Kootenays — that brings in Water Resources, Land, Agriculture — to bring about better integration of the resources. You talk about cooperation. Our department, Fish and Wildlife, took over a farm and managed this far. And do you know what? I don't know if the Minister of Agriculture (Hon. Mr. Stupich) is aware of this, but our department in managing this farm, and this rancher won the rancher-of-the-year award in the Kootenays. And that was managed by the Department of Recreation and Conservation.
MR. GARDOM: Cabinet split!
HON. MR. RADFORD: I think I've answered nearly all of your questions. You discussed the new management units, Mr. Member. You know, this proposal came from your area 10 years ago, this proposal for smaller management units. I'll read it right from the paper. It says here:
"Wildlife groups, such as the Golden-Selkirk conservation group, were suggesting this in 1965 and we concurred, but we did not have the staff or budget to administer such a change then."This is from a paper up your way. It goes on to say:
"The new management unit areas will allow more specific gathering of wildlife information and more precise regulations. These areas will now be tied in with forestry, highways in all the new management areas."New maps will be printed this year to ensure that we will assist the hunters, and just wait until you see these new maps, Mr. Member. You will not get lost as you did in the past when you went out into the bush.
MR. GARDOM: Mr. Chairman, we much enjoyed the remarks of the Hon. Minister this morning.
Everybody in this House appreciates that morality isn't the private reserve of any political party. I wish this morning to discuss only one topic because it is of significant importance and seriousness that it has again got to be brought in front of this Legislature in order that proper emphasis can be given to it and that proper emphasis can be given to methods to improve a system which is very cruel and very tortuous.
I am happy to see that at last, and I have to underline the words "at last," this government has seen fit to do something and to recognize a problem, but its priorities have been mighty low; its emphasis has been mighty little.
The Hon. Minister was quoting extensively remarks from Mrs. Clements. Well, I see in a Victorian report of April 16 that they weren't satisfied with his answers about the action that provincial and federal governments are taking to ban the leghold trap. She stated that. I also see in another report that association representative Bunty Clements said that the procedure....
HON. MR. RADFORD: Order, please.
MR. CHAIRMAN: The Hon. Minister has a point of order.
HON. MR. RADFORD: I believe there has been a bill presented by this Member.
MR. GARDOM: Mr. Chairman, I intend to address myself to that question. I noticed this morning, Mr. Chairman, that the first speaker, the Member for Columbia River (Mr. Chabot)....
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!
MR. GARDOM: May I make my point or not?
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. It has been drawn to the attention of the Chair that there is a bill on the order paper. However, since some latitude has been allowed other Members already, I think we will allow the Hon. Member to continue on a limited basis.
MR. GARDOM: I think we have a cruel enough system, Mr. Chairman, without compounding it with a technical defence. I'm ashamed of the Minister, trying to do that. Some people have got to go ahead and make a plea for the speechless, Mr. Minister.
I want to say a few words about human conscience; I want to say a few words about man's inhumanity. I wish to show all of the Members four instruments of torture. First of all, I'd like to show you a leghold trap.
[ Page 1751 ]
This is used for squirrels and it catches birds, too. This has been 30,000 sources of individual agony over the last fiscal period.
This is used for muskrats; there have been some 31,000 sources of agony over the last fiscal period.
This is used for beaver; some 18,000 sources of agony over the last fiscal period. It's an awful thing to have to talk about agony and link it in with fiscal periods.
The trap that is on the desk of the Hon. Member is one that is used for coyote and lynx; this was 11,683 sources of agony over the last fiscal period.
Perhaps we should do unto others.... If any Member would like to get the true emphasis of man's inhumanity, let him come and be an exhibit.
The technology, Mr. Chairman, is available; the technology is there. An appropriate step could be taken in a matter of days — not weeks, not months, not years. The ethical decision has been the decision that has been lacking, and it has to be made — a policy decision has to be made. The public of this province — indeed, of this country — thoroughly supports a proper expenditure of funds and a proper policy to bring . We have been snail's-pacing and it's not good enough. It's not good enough for the Hon. Minister to say that B.C. has done its job. It has made a contribution, but it has not done its job. That is not only the fault of this Minister of this government; it's the fault of everyone here, but the Hon. Minister is at the controls and he has the power to bring about a solution.
I'd like to direct myself to some very short, specific questions, merely to illustrate that that which has been done is not being done fast enough. I understand it took about six months before the federal and provincial committee on humane trapping could even acquire a co-ordinator. It took about eight months for that organization to determine its objectives. The Minister in the House in an earlier statement raised the point that the traps first of all have to go to firms of patent attorneys to determine their patentability, and that if only drawings are submitted no prototypes can be made. But I gather that there are no end of traps — 30 is the number that Mrs. Clements refers to — that are made up and are awaiting testing. This is the statement of Mrs. Clements, which the Minister interrupted me on a few minutes earlier:
"Association representative Bunty Clements said that the procedure of testing new traps must be speeded up."Can't we reach a decision in that? Say yes.
"'There are 30 traps we know of just waiting to be tested just gathering dust on the shelves.' She said some 10,000 letters had been sent to Radford in the last month requesting action. 'The federal-provincial committee on humane trapping,' she said, 'is doing nothing and part of the problem is a small budget financed by all of the provinces.'"So it is a dollar problem interfering with resolution of something that is barbaric.
MR. GARDOM: The Member for West Vancouver–Howe Sound (Mr. L.A. Williams) says ban the traps and a solution will come about pretty quickly. Perhaps that's an attitude that the Minister should give serious thought to. Perhaps there should be a moratorium declared on trapping until a practical solution is arrived at.
[Mr. G.H. Anderson in the chair.]
Earlier on in this session the Minister replied to questions from myself and indicated that five traps had been tested. Information that I have received, again via the same lady — a most spirited citizen — is that two laboratories are required to test traps: a mechanical laboratory and a biological laboratory, plus there has to be field testing. But the present state of the laboratories is that the machines for the mechanical laboratories have not yet all been acquired. My information is that the contracts for the biological laboratory has not even yet been let. So no test could probably effectively have gone through the testing process because the mechanical lab is incomplete and the biological laboratory is non-existent. Conceivably, field testing could not occur until mechanical and biological tests are complete.
The humane trap development committee apparently put a figure as being required to test traps at $75,000. That was a rock bottom figure, I am informed, yet the federal and provincial committee on humane trapping has allotted only $70,000 total for six years. That is the information that I have received. If that information is correct, I do wish the Minister would correct it for me.
If it is not incorrect, I would ask the Minister if the contribution of this province to the federal and provincial committee on humane trapping in 1973-74 was $560; in 1974-75, $2,216; and a total over the six-year period of $13,710.
I don't wish to get into these figures. I don't wish to point fingers of blame, Mr. Chairman. What I want to do is bring about a cure. The technology, Mr. Minister, is there. We have to have the will to condemn and outlaw this kind of cruelty. As I said, we have to make an ethical decision and spend money, utilize some technological knowhow, and if there is going to continue to be trapping, let's at least ensure that it becomes more humane.
Ample warning, without any question of a doubt, has got to be given to the people in the industry.
[ Page 1752 ]
What I am suggesting is changing trappers' methods, not their lifestyles. We had a film brought over to this Legislature, "Canada's Shame," and I am very sorry that the attendance of this House at that film was very limited. Many Members had informed me that they had seen it before, and many of those Members who told me, Mr. Chairman, that they had seen it before didn't have the stomach to see it again. If we don't have the stomach to see something like that on film, we should have the guts to do something to bring it to an end.
HON. MR. RADFORD: Yes, Mr. Chairman, I agree with the previous speaker, although he really didn't state what the solution was. He said that we have the power to bring the solution about, we should change trapping methods; but he really didn't say what he wanted. Does he want to ban trapping tomorrow, next week, right away?
MR. GARDOM: Ban the leghold trap.
HON. MR. RADFORD: You want to ban it right away?
MR. GARDOM: Ban the leghold trap.
HON. MR. RADFORD: Ban the leghold trap right away. This is what the position of the....
MR. GARDOM: I didn't say that.
HON. MR. RADFORD: You didn't say that?
HON. MR. RADFORD: I explained earlier that my position, and this government's position, is that we have just sent a letter to the provincial-federal committee on humane trapping urging them to increase their budget, urging them to increase the budgets of all provinces, saying that this province would be willing to increase its commitment...
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Why don't you send a cheque instead?
HON. MR. RADFORD: ...and also that we would ask for progress reports. This is one of the reasons the provincial committee was set up as a supplement: we weren't satisfied with the progress of that committee. The Association for the Protection of Fur-bearing Animals people are on the provincial committee.
I could go on and on, but there is no excuse really. There is an excuse in as far as we are doing everything we can humanly possibly to bring about the invention of a humane trap. But it is like so many other things — the cure of cancer, the invention of this, the invention of that — it takes a considerable time. Believe me, as I say, I would give anything tomorrow to announce that a humane trap has been invented. I really would. I think the Member knows that and appreciates that. But he comes in and says that he would like something done; that we have the powers to do this; that what we need to do is change the methods of trapping. He doesn't really say what he wants. Does he want to ban trapping tomorrow?
He has made statements previously that many people derive their living from trapping and that it shouldn't be banned right away. People like Frank Conibear, inventor of the Conibear trap — which is a trap which is partially humane. He makes the statement: "I don't think there is much point in simply banning the use of the leghold trap." He says: "Trappers, who are often poor people, just can't afford to buy an entire new stock of traps at the same time."
MR. L.A. WILLIAMS (West Vancouver–Howe Sound): How many trappers are there?
HON. MR. RADFORD: The Member over there asked me about how many trappers there are. There are 2,653 registered traplines in the Province of British Columbia. The number of traplines held by Indians in 1,663. Indian trappers are not required, I am told, to have a trapper's licence and therefore the exact number is unknown. Any number of Indians can trap on a trapline. A whole band can trap on a trapline. We do believe there are anywhere between 6,000 and 10,000 trappers in the Province of British Columbia.
You are talking about banning the leghold trap immediately. The president of the association has told me that their position is not to ban it immediately...
MR. GARDOM: I said a moratorium, my friend.
HON. MR. RADFORD: ...because we would be talking about the livelihood, the way of life of people that has been in existence for 200 years.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: You should change that.
HON. MR. RADFORD: We want to change that, right. But the whole solution is to bring in the invention of a humane trap, and we would be willing to do that.
MR. L.A. WILLIAMS: What is the average annual income of a trapper?
HON. MR. RADFORD: The annual average income of a trapper is approximately $800. That may
[ Page 1753 ]be a pittance to you, Mr. Member, but to those people, $800 is a lot of money in the north.
MR. GARDOM: They're on welfare!
HON. MR. RADFORD: I know that the trappers and the consumptive users of this resource would like to see a better trap, a more humane trap, come into existence. They've often said this. So the whole problem resolves around the fact that we haven't found a humane trap; we are looking for it. This province has urged and done everything possible to bring about an invention of a humane trap. If the Member has any ideas — maybe he has a number of suggestions.
MR. GARDOM: I have; I made them.
HON. MR. RADFORD: Okay.
MR. GARDOM: Just in response, Mr. Chairman, the Minister, with every respect....
MR. CHAIRMAN: You wish to correct some of the Minister's statements?
MR. GARDOM: Yes, I do.
The Hon. Minister indicated that I was not suggesting cures. Hon. Member, neither you nor I, unfortunately, have the capacity to design a humane trap. But I can tell you this: the technology is there; the expertise is there. What I am asking you to do is provide the steam to make that work, and that means one thing — it means money. It doesn't mean $13,000 over six years, of $5,000. When the trapping industry paid in $1.9 million in B.C. over the last fiscal period, why not go ahead and take 10 per cent of that money and do a proper job? That's the first point.
The second point is this: you asked about banning the leghold trap. I think if the position was taken by this government that a moratorium would be declared on the leghold trap, say effective July 1, 1976, you would find a lot of action and interest in the industry, as well, to do something about it.
It is not enough for you to sit back and piddle around with $18,000 and say you are doing your job.
HON. MR. RADFORD: Mr. Member, I related to you earlier what we've done, what commitments have been there. There was an agreement on a federal-provincial basis that the moneys be given to the federal-provincial committee on a ratio basis as to the harvest or the productivity of the fur resource in each province. We have lived up to that commitment; we've gone beyond that commitment. As I said, a letter has been sent showing our willingness to increase our commitment.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: That letter was sent two days ago because you knew your estimates were coming up.
MRS. JORDAN: I'll try not to take too much time because this is a very interesting and vital portfolio and I know there are many Members who wish to speak on it. I do have some questions I would like to ask the Minister, and I'd like some clarification from him.
First of all, would he confirm to or advise this House if in fact he is designing a new policy for the Province of British Columbia in which he is going to rob Peter to pay Paul, and which would indicate — if the information that is circulating but hasn't been confirmed is, in fact, true — that when Crown parks or provincial parks, or provincial lands for recreation, are turned over to regional districts there is going to be a charge imposed upon the regional district in order to acquire the administration and control of those lands.
I cite as an example the most disturbing news regarding Silver Star Park which is actually in the constituency of the Hon. Member for Shuswap (Mr. Lewis). But it is of vital importance to this province as almost one of the finest family ski areas in the world — certainly the finest in North America. It's a wonderful tourist attraction for the province, as well as serving the local valley as a whole, the whole Okanagan-Mainline area, actually, as a daily ski area.
As the Minister is aware, we have negotiated for some time to have this park turned over to the regional district for administration. I would like to make public — because I've stood beside the Minister, or asked him to stand beside me — that we are in complete agreement that when the administration of this park is turned over to the regional district, there must be an ironclad agreement that no housing development can take place within that park — no condominiums, no living accommodation.
The park is only 14 miles from the centre of downtown Vernon. It is an excellent road, and highly accessible. If we allow living accommodation to any degree within that park, it is only a matter of time when people would have $20,000 or $30,000 or $40,000 invested in a recreational cottage and they would demand to live there year round. It would make a demand in terms of developing sewers, water, light, fire protection. I would like to say in speaking to that demand which would be imposed that it would be used as an excuse to utilize those facilities for year-round living for families.
I know the Minister stands with me; at least I believe he has come to believe that I am right. I shall stand unilaterally, unalterably opposed to the development of living accommodations in that park, whether it's under the direction of the provincial government or the regional district. But short of that,
[ Page 1754 ]Mr. Minister, my understanding was that we had come to a situation where we could agree to the turning of the administration of this park over to the regional district.
Now they have been advised by a number of your department that there would be a levy of 8 per cent of capital costs, or capital development and improvements that have taken place in the park, levied against the regional district. This came as a surprise, following meetings with our regional district and our recreational planner and our regional district planner and Mr. Broome and Mr. Matheson, and following the general impression that there had been a position of mutual agreement found and that it was merely a matter of formality in terms of turning over the park.
So I would ask you, Mr. Minister, if in fact your department or you intend to impose an 8 per cent levy on the capital improvements in Silver Star Park. Is this to be an annual levy or is this to be a capital cost for turnover of the park? And if this is true, is this then the forerunner of a new policy in British Columbia? I'm really shocked, Mr. Minister, by even the suggestion that this type of levy would be made. I've never heard of this in British Columbia. We have precedent after precedent where Crown lands have been purchased by the provincial government, or lands have been purchased by the provincial government. Crown lands have been owned by the provincial government and have been turned over to vocational schools, to schools, for park purposes, for any number of purposes short of commercial usage without any change other than $1 as a binding token. I would be most disturbed, Mr. Minister, to think that your department was going to embark on this type of a programme, especially in light of what the Minister had to say when he was extolling the virtues of his spendings in this branch.
We all welcome money being spent in recreation and conservation, but I would remind the Minister, thinking beyond that, that the problems they're having in the United States in having to cut back have not been paramount in British Columbia because of the sound fiscal management and the policies of the former administration. Your government and your department, and your comments today, Mr. Minister, are riding on that foundation, because this government has not expanded the revenues of this province in the resource area. The majority of your budget this year, Mr. Minister, that you're spending high, wide and handsome, is coming right out of the taxpayers' pockets in the form of increased taxes and revenues from income tax, gasoline tax, clothing tax, shoe tax, taxes on housing.
Under your administration, Mr. Minister, resource revenues in mining and forestry are down. The revenues that you talk about are people revenues, and that's not where the basic revenue of a province should come from. So you may not be in such a happy position next year if your policies continue. I don't find it a happy situation to know that the money you brag about spending and which we all welcome into the recreation areas is in fact not coming from the basis resources of this province. It's coming out of every pocket of every man, woman and child in this province, and it's based on inflation. So they're being hit twice. Keeping that in mind, if you're going to embark on a new policy of charging for the transfer of land for recreation from Crown to regional district, I suggest that this is just another shifting of your responsibilities, that it will be used as a means to finance recreation indirectly and that you're not living up to your commitments.
I'd like to ask you, Mr. Minister, about Mabel Lake Park in the North Okanagan. This park is a beautiful piece of land on Mabel Lake, covered in pine trees. It was acquired by the former administration, the Social Credit government, and it was acquired with the assistance of a number of people in the area in a good cooperative effort. Since you became involved and the NDP government took over, there's been nothing done in the way of development. A small amount of money was spent last year, Mr. Minister, for road development. This was to a large degree wasted by the employment of incompetent workers, and the people in the area were unhappy with the amount allotted. They are unhappy with the slowness of the development, and they are very unhappy that what moneys were spent were spent unwisely.
Mr. Minister, it was a commitment of the former administration and myself to the people of this area to have a five-year programme in which to develop this park. You are now three years behind the times. I would urge you, Mr. Minister, that you've only got two years in which to complete that park with boat launching facilities, with picnic facilities and camping facilities in a small pocket-like environment. We don't want a massive park. But I will gladly support the Minister. I'll happily give him credit if he'll announce in the House today that that park will be three-quarters completed this year and fully completed next year.
The next point I'd like to bring to the Minister's attention and discuss with him is this policy that has developed which the Minister doesn't admit to, but is increasingly evident, that the parks branch in British Columbia has been completely emasculated by the Minister of Lands, Forests and Water Resources (Hon. R. A. Williams).
No longer is this branch, this department or this Minister of Recreation and Conservation in charge of his department. No longer do they have the say in which land should be purchased for, utilized or transferred from forestry reserve to park usage. The split, the break, the exclusion of this Minister — the ignoring of this Minister — is so great that neither he
[ Page 1755 ]nor his department even know what's going on after a purchase has been made. I don't say this with any criticism to the Minister himself in this light, nor to his department. I feel that he has an excellent department and I support his staff very thoroughly.
But, Mr. Minister, you're running around like a gilded lily talking about parks when, in fact, somebody stole your stem and you don't have any roots at all. I refer you for a specific example to the whole purchase of the Cosens Bay area. It's known down here as the Coldstream Ranch, but really it's the Cosens Bay and a portion of the Coldstream Ranch.
Everyone welcomes the purchase of what lands were purchased, but it's a tragedy and people deplore the fact that the Minister of Lands, Forests and Water Resources, I assume without your consent, has made this into a political fiasco. The Minister is aware that this was a high-priority purchase as a provincial park by the parks branch under the former administration and that many efforts to purchase it were frustrated because the owners did not wish to sell. At the time it became evident that they would sell, the former administration committed itself to purchase the park. They were committed before it was for sale in discussions with directors of the park. I'll name one specifically: Mr. Phillip Sterling, now deceased, who was one of the major directors of the Coldstream Ranch. But there was no way that that land could ever go to any other use than recreation use in the Province of British Columbia. The former administration was committed to purchase it, but they wished to do so at a time when the owners were willing to sell and on a willing seller-willing buyer basis with proper negotiations if at all possible.
By rights that land should have been purchased two years ago The negotiations were in place. Even today we're only at the point where there appears to be an agreement. To the best of my knowledge, there has been no transfer of title. There's a good deal of work to be done. But I'm disturbed because the Minister of Recreation has not been involved. His department and his Deputy have not been involved in these negotiations. No one has known what has been going on. The mayor of the Coldstream municipality in which this whole land mass lies was completely excluded from any discussions. The councilmen were excluded from any discussions, with the exception of Mr. Leahy, who the people felt has sold them short.
The Cosens Bay committee that one of your very competent parks people, Mr. Ahrens, met with a number of years ago — people such as Miss Reynolds, Miss Herriot, a biologist, Miss Bishop, a naturalist — where we had representation of naturalists, employed people, small business people, fish and wildlife, put together an excellent slide presentation and an ecological presentation and a financial presentation which was used to present material to the Second-Century Fund of the federal government. It was presented to your department; it was presented to the government of the day. This presentation was made to service clubs and other interested groups in order to keep up enough public support to see that the administration did, indeed, purchase this land.
When the Minister of Lands, Forest and Water Resources took over, all these people were excluded. That's all right if he wants to do things in secret. But to have the Minister exclude even the Department of Recreation and Conservation and the Minister of Recreation and Conservation seems an unacceptable situation. Compounded with this, for the Minister of Lands, Forests and Water Resources, on behalf of the Minister of Recreation, to go to the interior at taxpayers' expense and at an NDP political meeting try and make political hay out of the purchase of this land is completely unacceptable. I suggest that it's beyond the realm of responsibility of the Minister. I believe that it's a questionable moral action. If the Minister wished to make the announcement in the interior, so be it. But it should have been made to the citizens at large — certainly to the mayor of Coldstream, Alderman Kosty, Mr. Seymour, who has taken many aerial photographs at his own expense; these people should have been advised of the purchase. The Minister should be condemned for playing blanked rank politics on a project in which he had almost no input and which he has bungled by this political hanky-panky. Because we have not purchased all of the land that was recommended, he is to be condemned.
Mr. Minister, you stand up and say that it's going to be developed for camping, and in the same breath you say that we're going to preserve the rattlesnakes. I ask you, Mr. Minister, who's going to take priority — rattlesnakes or campers?
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Rattlesnakes.
MRS. JORDAN: You're right. There are a few in the House, so we might as well have a few more.
MR. WALLACE: Name names.
MRS. JORDAN: Mr. Minister, your first obligation is to see that the people of the area....
MR. WALLACE: Name names.
MRS. JORDAN: If the skin fits, rattle it.
MRS. D. WEBSTER (Vancouver South): She's talking about herself.
MRS. JORDAN: Your first obligation, as Minister, is to consult with the people of the north Okanagan; at the same time, Mr. Minister, consulting with your
[ Page 1756 ]own department, because we in the Okanagan, and I as MLA, do not want the Lands, Forests and Water Resources tsar of this province administering that land. We believe it belongs under the jurisdiction to the parks branch. We believe that there must be a good deal of local input.
I wish to assure you, Mr. Minister, that the general feeling is, both within your branch, I would venture to say, and certainly from the public, that this must essentially be a natural recreational area. Motorized vehicles should be excluded. It should be used solely for footpaths. There may be the necessity for some small picnic area developed, and then I would expect very controlled vehicle access with provisions so that handicapped people could be driven down to the picnic areas and take advantage of the park.
There are a lot of other things I would like to talk about with this park, but in view of the time, I won't. I would like to again say that the Minister of Lands, Forests and Water Resources (Hon. R.A. Williams) or yourself, played around with this purchase for political reasons. In so doing, we have lost and not purchased one of the most vital sections of that park. I refer to, I believe it is approximately 800 acres, which we call the gulch. This includes Deep Lake, a number of marsh grasses, and a very interesting cliff area. I urge you, Mr. Minister, and I state before this House that it will be a commitment of this party to see that that land is included in the park.
I also have recommended for a long time, and have been supported by the people in the area, that the forestry reserve adjacent to the Cosens Bay area should be examined very closely and brought largely into a recreational conserve so that we will then completely project the arm and the east side of Kalamaka Lake from any form of development, from any form of logging or intrusion, not only will this provide a marvellous recreational area for people, but it will serve as a means of protection for the qualities of Kalamalka Lake.
[Mr. Dent in the chair.]
The last question I have, Mr. Minister, and I would like an answer, is whether or not the Minister himself, his department, or the Minister of Lands, Forests and Water Resources have entered into any discussions at any time with regard to using a portion of the Cosens Bay area or the Coldstream Ranch area that has been purchased as a park for spray irrigation of the effluent system in Vernon. There are rumours reaching the interior that in fact the Minister has entered into discussions to use part of this parkland for the effluent spray irrigation from Vernon. This is a most disturbing bit of information for the people. If it is incorrect and the Minister will give a commitment this afternoon that there will be no invasion by effluent spray irrigation, there will be no destruction of that very unique habitat and those unique ecological characteristics of that area by such a programme, I will let the matter lie and I will be glad to take the news back.
But I wish to advise you, Mr. Minister, on behalf of the people whom I have the honour to represent, that there are thousands of acres of rangeland, of arable land in the north Okanagan which can be used in our very successful and very worthwhile pilot project of using effluent spray irrigation as a means of agricultural development. Cosens Bay is not the place for this kind of an intrusion.
HON. MR. RADFORD: I am surprised at the Member for North Okanagan bringing up Cosens Bay. She said that this should have been purchased two years ago. Believe me, this is one of the most outstanding beach areas in British Columbia, but it has been there a long time, Madam Member.
MRS. JORDAN: It wasn't for sale.
HON. MR. RADFORD: It was there 20 years ago...
MRS. JORDAN: It wasn't for sale.
HON. MR. RADFORD: ...when your government.... The people in that area supported your government; it had representation from your government; you were the MLA for North Okanagan. The Premier (Hon. W.A.C. Bennett), as a matter of fact, represented the area adjacent. That area had a cabinet Minister for six years, but the past government didn't see fit to bring this area into the park realm. They didn't buy it.
MRS. JORDAN: Was it for sale?
HON. MR. RADFORD: It's rather ironic that it took our government to come in and realize the potential.
MRS. JORDAN: Was it for sale?
HON. MR. RADFORD: It was for sale.
MRS. JORDAN: In 1971?
HON. MR. RADFORD: Our parks people for years and years wanted to bring that property into its present status.
MRS. JORDAN: It wasn't for sale, and you know it.
HON. MR. RADFORD: It had a cabinet Minister, as I mentioned, for six years and representation from
[ Page 1757 ]the past government.
HON. MR. RADFORD: It wasn't considered, no. It took our government to do it. Not only that, the Okanagan was really devoid of parks. There weren't that many parks in that area, although it lends itself to parks, swimming, camping, et cetera. It was our government which brought in the Okanagan Mountain Park last year — 25,000 acres. Recently we also bought Ogopogo Island, also called Rattlesnake Island. We also purchased Reluctant Dragon Cove on Okanagan Lake which will allow boaters to bring their boats in and allow for some relief for boats that get into trouble. It is a natural boat basin. These are some of the things we have done in your area, and it shows that this government is interested in the environment and not just playing politics as the last government did.
The Member mentioned the Minister of Lands, Forests and Water Resources (Hon. R.A. Williams) — certainly he had a part to play in this. This land was bought through the greenbelt fund, through the urging of the parks branch, I might add, and was dealt with through our Environmental Land-Use Committee. You are right, Madam Minister, it is a fragile area and it has to be managed with the utmost care. The parks branch intends on managing it to keep it as close as possible to the natural environment. Motor vehicles will be banned from that area.
MRS. JORDAN: What about the sprays?
HON. MR. RADFORD: I was in the Okanagan last week talking to the Similkameen-Okanagan Parks Society, and made the statement there that the public and the community will be involved in planning. They will be involved.
Now getting back to Silver Star Park....
MRS. JORDAN: Excuse me. Just before you leave, Mr. Minister, what about the effluent spray irrigation?
HON. MR. RADFORD: There has been some discussion, but, as I said, the plans are not finalized yet. We have only started to consider what plans we have on that area and I can't answer that question at this time. I know there have been some discussions in the past — I am not too sure how far in the past — about spray irrigation on some of the inaccessible parts of that property. But I wouldn't like to make a definite statement at this time.
Talking about the Silver Star Park, transfer of land to the regional district momentarily is being held up while the lands service works out the conditions of turning it over to the regional district. As you know, we have had discussions over the past year on transferring that into the regional park.
MRS. JORDAN: What about the 8 per cent?
HON. MR. RADFORD: This suggestion came out of the lands service — that there should be a capital charge on regional districts for improvements turned over by the province when land is leased for regional park purposes. This is under the jurisdiction of the land branch — the 8 per cent.
MRS. JORDAN: This is a new policy.
HON. MR. RADFORD: I don't know. You will have to address that question to the Minister of Lands, Forests and Water Resources.
MRS. JORDAN: No, you are the Minister of Recreation and Conservation.
HON. MR. RADFORD: When you are talking about regional parks and housing within parks, those decisions will be made at the time of turning the area over. Our policy in our parks system is to have no inholdings, although in the regional parks situation, it is a little different.
You talked about Mabel Lake. The parks branch will commence on 50 units, initial phase, of a campground in a new cluster design in that area. All structures on the frontage will be moved to a new site on the lake for senior citizens' cottages.
AN HON. MEMBER: Are you going to take credit for that too?
MRS. JORDAN: You're the authority on taking credit around here.
HON. MR. RADFORD: I have already mentioned Kalamalka Lake, which I am surprised the Member brought up. But, as I said, for 20 years when your government was in power...
MRS. JORDAN: You're playing politics.
HON. MR. RADFORD: ...it never did a thing about that park, or any of the parks in the Okanagan.
MRS. JORDAN: Why didn't you turn up at the meeting when you had people coming from Penticton....
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please.
MR. D.T. KELLY (Omineca): I am glad to get into this debate today to discuss the Minister's estimates. Certainly I am very pleased to see the amount that
[ Page 1758 ]has been allotted this year for the running of that branch. Of course, I am glad to see the backup staff the Minister has with him today. I congratulate those who were promoted because I am very confident that they deserved their promotions. They have been well known to me over the years. Although I don't know them personally, not well at least, I have known of them and of the work they have done.
To start with, I want to relate what happened in my particular area of the province last fall — the closure on the antlerless animals in the region about 170 miles long west of Prince George, including the Prince George area, and all the way to Rose Lake, and would close the area down to hunting of antlerless moose and deer. I am, of course, extremely happy that happened because I had spoken in the House before on that particular issue. This year, I think, is really going to be a fine example of what's going to happen. I'm sure that there will be a very low winter kill along with the kill of the animals on the highways and on the railroad, which had happened in previous years. So this is a fine year for it to happen.
I am a little reluctant, though, to say that I am pleased because it has taken so long to take place. Just last year I went into the branch office in Prince George and talked to the people there — I'm on a personal friendship basis with some of them — and I was assured that everything was in good order, that things were as good as they were the previous year, that the cow-calf ratio was good and so forth. But then all of a sudden, in the fall, the biologist in charge issued a statement to the press that said that the decline of moose kills was suspected but not confirmed until a study was carried out in the past year. In fact, he stated that this was one of the best moose-hunting areas in the province.
Now the biologists you have in your branch — although I'm sure they are all good men in their field — but I don't know whether, in fact, their information has been fragmented, and if, indeed, a study has been taken to show what is happening in the province generally.
For example, I would like to show you what is happening in the Alaska area — and, you know, it's not so far away from our particular area. Here in this April issue of the Alaskan magazine I quote what is being discussed by people of the wildlife branch up there. They're doing a study on a specific area going back as far as 1970. I'd like to quote just a couple of paragraphs:
"Because of the tough winter of 1970-71 it wasn't surprising to find relatively few calves in November of 1971 — 27 calves per 100 cows. Cows on the ragged edge of death may resorb or abort foetuses, or calves that are born may be small and weak.
"That in November of 1972 the cow-calf ratio of 38 to 100 was encouraging, making it appear that the moose were starting to rebound. But in November of 1973 the biologists found only 22 calves per 100 cows and became concerned. Something was killing moose calves before their first winter. Then last November, 1974, the calf count had declined further, to only 18 per 100 cows. The problem became even more obvious."
The department's scientists figured the wolves were taking all these animals before they had a chance to mature and get out to fend for themselves.
I don't know whether that is what is happening in our particular region. I don't really know whether the department knows; or whether, if they do, are they concentrating this information? For example, a year and a half ago — and I spoke on it last year — I met a gentleman in Prince George who was speaking to the wildlife branch up there about plant succession. Now plant succession is a very important thing, naturally, to that kind of wildlife. Sixty years ago there were no moose in the Prince George-Burns Lake area; or if there were, they were so few that not many people saw them in that day. Of course, when the plant life that was ideal for moose finally came into being, after all the great fires that took place after the first white men came into the area, then there was a great crop of moose and deer coming in directly after that.
In recent years there has been a tremendous amount of agriculture take place and the undergrowth is now developing into large trees again. Possibly the area isn't really ideal for moose now. So to blame farmers specifically for removing moose habitat, I think, is a fairly poor excuse, although it is part of the excuse.
I don't really know whether the biologists are telling us the whole story. If they are, are they acting on the situation? Why don't we, for example, keep certain areas for wildlife or, indeed, even plant the kind of plants that are necessary to keep moose? Is there any reason why we should have moose in the first place? Why do we, for example, suggest that it's better to keep wolves than it is to keep moose?
I think moose have every bit as much right to live as do wolves. Now I know that they are a food animal to a wolf, but when they come to the state where they eat themselves out of a house and home, then I think we are going too far, especially now when we have become what we think is so smart that we are able to manage this province of ours like a large farm and should, indeed, crop only those animals we need to crop to keep the herds at a proper balance.
So I feel, Mr. Minister, that there is really not all that kind of cooperation going on between the biologists, no matter whether in this province or in Alaska or Alberta, and that the public should be kept fully aware of what is going on in the conservation of our game animals.
[ Page 1759 ]
I also would suggest, Mr. Minister, although I don't know the figures for this year, after the very good move that you did make in having that area closed off, that it might be possible that the balance of bulls isn't in accordance with the number of cows we have. It may be that that should be considered for one or two years, too, because I really believe the people in the areas involved really cooperate with you and feel that you've done an excellent job in the area where you made this closure. I would suggest that that might be a good idea, if the balance is not as it should be.
Once again, I don't know whether the biologists are really that familiar with the number of bulls it takes to serve X number of cows. From what I have been told, it is not like a bull elk that will corral 20 or 30 cows; a bull moose doesn't do this. In fact, the cows come to the bull, and sometimes in a season one bull may only service three or four cows. If we are going to have to get that kind of a ratio, it just possibly could be out of balance.
On predator control, I think that when you were in my riding last summer or in the early fall, there was evidence presented to you that the coyotes were in too numerous numbers in the area. The local ranchers were complaining of their sheep being taken. I don't have the statistics here today, but whereas just a few years back several ranchers had several hundred sheep apiece, today the industry is just about non-existent in the Vanderhoof area. I know that we need a balance of coyotes, too, but one good weasel is as good as 10 coyotes if you're talking about what they do on the land, killing mice and other small animals that are a hindrance to the outdoors.
Also, I spoke on this once before, but I might as well say I haven't changed my mind: it's about the sustenance permit. I know it is a pretty dicey issue, but when we're talking about saving a species of animals, I really believe that we have to make a firm commitment on the number of sustenance permits we are going to issue on behalf of the welfare department — because that is exactly what they are for. Even the native people that are involved, and it is not all natives, have spoken to me, either at meetings or privately, and suggested that as far as they were concerned they would like to see it stopped.
I think, Mr. Minister, that soon, very soon, we must stop issuing permits for taking these animals in mid-winter when there is really no need for it. There is lots of beef available. I think that everybody is aware that the cattle industry is in a disastrous situation because farmers can't sell their beef. I think, when you measure the actual value of the animals we are talking about, that it would be in order to supply, if necessary, the meat to replace the moose that are going to be killed.
Once more, I would.... Well, I shouldn't say once more because I don't really think I have mentioned this little issue before. I would like to refer to the Stellako River. In the last two years, especially with the influx of people to the area.... And it is an excellent river. In fact, in 1974 we had the best fishing in nine years, and I think that that was because of the department plan to shut the river down for two months in the spring. The river was closed during the months of April and May to allow the spawners into the river, and I think that was an excellent move.
But for a summer like this coming year, where we are going to have a very low run-off, there is going to be a chance for fishermen to literally wade that river from one end to the other; and if they can't take them with a rod, they'll kill them with a club.
I would like to see some thought put into making the Stellako into a fly-fishing stream. There are, I believe, other areas of the province, at least some areas of the river, allotted for fly-fishing only. Fly-fishing is becoming more popular all the time and, like other sports, there should be some areas set aside for that kind of fishing. The Stellako would be ideal for that kind of a sport.
Also, the day of using roe to take trout out of a stream like that, I think, is outrageous. People come there and use roe and they might tie on a piece as big as your fist, and what trout can resist that? You might as well be throwing hand grenades in as allowing the use, especially, of fresh roe. It seems to be highly available there during the salmon season when the salmon come in to spawn. The Indians are allowed to take the salmon and they all have roe readily available for sale. It's just a way of cleaning a river out of trout.
I'd just like to go on to my last subject, Mr. Chairman. Although two others have spoken on it today, I would just like to add my few opinions to theirs and hope that the Minister would maybe use some of the things that we discuss as being reason for why he might take some action on the issue. That, of course, is the leghold trap. You know that I've spoken on this on two previous occasions, and I imagine the Minister is getting pretty tired of it; but so are a lot of other people.
MR. H.A. CURTIS (Saanich and the Islands): You've got to keep at him.
MR. KELLY: I know that it's a pretty darned tough problem to deal with, but the fact remains that if the people in his department and he himself realize just what was happening in this issue, he would act today — if not today, at least in the very near future.
Just recently, about three weeks ago, a news announcement came out of Fort Ware. It's a very isolated community in my riding. Fort Ware has about 200 residents, all native, except for about one
[ Page 1760 ]or two. Everyone is on welfare in one form or another. All the adult people trap. Yet three weeks ago a report came out that if something wasn't done the people of Fort Ware were going to starve to death. I think it shows you the significance of really how much money is taken or derived from trapping. It does not amount to a hill of beans when it's applied to the population generally. The income, as it was stated here a little while ago, was $800. I believe they probably even make a little more. But if they don't get enough money to live on, then there's something wrong with the whole system.
I feel, as one of the Members stated here, that there's no doubt that the whole thing is carried on for the benefit of the fur industry, for the people that manufacture coats for export abroad. Of course, Japan is coming to be a big buyer of furs and they're manufacturing these fur coats in Japan, into very valuable fur coats, and then again exporting them overseas from that country.
Mrs. Clements, who I know now quite well, is only the head of an association to help the animals when it comes to the trapping. She doesn't want to see inhumane trapping. I don't think that she could be considered an authority on trapping, although I know she does know something about it. But when she comes and speaks to public groups, she is only pleading really on behalf of the animals and the torture that is taking place. I don't think there is one person in this House that disagrees with it being a very terrible way that these animals die.
In the most recent film that they had, "Canada's Shame," I don't think that too many people recognized that in the first three instances those three animals were quite humanely trapped. If all animals could be trapped as humanely as that, then indeed there wouldn't be the furor that there is being carried on today about the leghold trap, because each of those animals was caught around the body and they would have been dead within seconds.
But when you see an animal that is held by the leg, or by some other part of its body, until it either dies of exposure or is killed by another animal, or chews its leg off and gets away, well, that's when the real pain of this thing comes to the recognition of the people in the province and the people that view it. The film I think was.... It's got to be used to show people what is happening.
I think that if you banned the leghold trap today, there would be an alternate trap tomorrow. I think there would be.
In a recent film showing the Cree Indians in Labrador, they had the Conibear trap. It is not only partly humane; let's face it, it is the most humane thing available today and will kill 99 out of 100 animals. That average, as far as I am concerned, is pretty darn good. Until that other alternative comes along, at least a trap such as that, or similar to that, could be used.
MR. CURTIS: Why won't he take action?
MR. KELLY: I feel that money is the problem. I feel that if, for example, there had been a large reward.... I don't know whether you could put it into a prize or whatever it might be, but if it could be large enough, somebody might actually invent a trap of that nature that could be recognized and would be the ideal trap for trappers to use. I think if could be done.
We are worrying about what a few thousand people may not get in a bit of an income which, I think, even could be subsidized if necessary until this alternative trap came in. I think there should be a target date set for the removal of this trap. If there isn't a trap on that day, well, then, that's tough luck! — I was going to say something else. (Laughter.)
MR. L.A. WILLIAMS: Put one of those in a trap and see what happens. (Laughter.)
MR. KELLY: Anyway, Mr. Chairman, it is absolutely necessary that the Minister take some positive action now.
AN HON. MEMBER: Now!
MR. KELLY: The committees, no matter how sincere they might be...I just don't believe they have the gumption behind them to get going into this thing in making those kinds of positive statements we need today, or tomorrow at the latest. With that, Mr. Minister, I would hope that you would try and take some really positive action on something on this matter. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
MR. WALLACE: On the subject of traps, I feel there are several ways you can get trapped, whether you are an animal or a human. (Laughter.)
I think necessity is the mother of invention. I like the Member for Omineca's blunt statements. I am sure that if the industry requires to trap animals — and I am sure that people in that industry are entitled to go about their legitimate business — I agree with him that if a date were set and some other alternative had to be found, it would be found. It's human behaviour down through the centuries that it is much easier just to find an excuse rather than create a situation which demands an answer.
With all due respect, I think the Minister was fudging when he answered in the House the other day in question period and put up all the technical reasons and all the bureaucratic reasons why it is such a long, tedious, complicated business to develop another trap. I think it is a question of conviction and money.
When the Americans got the conviction and the money that they were going to put a man on the
[ Page 1761 ]moon, they put a man on the moon. I am not saying that they haven't got their priorities all screwed up, but I am saying that human nature is such that if somebody has enough will and desire to do something and to develop a technique or an implement or a machine, it can be done. Therefore I think the comments of the Member for Omineca were most appropriate. I would suggest maybe that the Minister now approach this national-provincial committee with that proposal. I think there must be a lot of time drifting by without any sense of urgency. If we don't get the trap this year, well, next year, or the next year maybe, or even the next year will be all right. Well, that isn't all right.
I think the many people who are pursuing the issue and who are writing to their MLAs or MPs — and we all know we have received a great deal of public interest in this issue — have every right to feel that time is not being wasted when the initial decision has been taken to find an alternative.
I was very interested in the Minister's comments earlier on this morning on the Community Recreational Facilities Fund, when he used the phrase "giving away money" and "giving away funds."
AN HON. MEMBER: It's the people's money.
MR. WALLACE: I hope it was just a slip of the tongue, Mr. Minister, because you weren't giving away anything; you were giving back money that the government has already taken out of your pocket and mine. The other day I was very unhappy with the Minister of Highways (Hon. Mr. Lea) who believes in self-advertising on the highways with these big signs: "$4.5 million of your tax money being well spent." At least the Minister of Highways had the courtesy to use the phrase "giving back the taxpayers' dollars." Let's make that very plain.
AN HON. MEMBER: Right on!
MR. WALLACE: Now having been very critical, let me be very laudatory in saying that the benefits in Oak Bay from the Community Recreational Facilities Fund have been considerable. We got about $1 million, in fact, to build a recreational complex. I want to recognize the benefits we are having in Oak Bay from this provincial funding. I am already on record on previous debates, but I do feel it is fair to acknowledge what this government has done in that respect.
I wouldn't be carried away, however, with the feeling that Oak Bay is getting anything it doesn't deserve. Oak Bay and the greater Victoria area — I notice the Minister of Transport and Communications (Hon. Mr. Strachan) is listening attentively — are the lowest cost factor in the province for automobile insurance.
With the subsidizing across the province of a uniform rate, I'm assured that certain people in Oak Bay are helping to make the rates cheaper for drivers in other parts of the province. So when you pick out Oak Bay and always refer to our small land mass and suggest that the Community Recreational Facilities Fund is going overboard for Oak Bay, there are a lot of things that Oak Bay taxpayers are doing for other citizens elsewhere in the province. I'm agreeing with the principle but I think what I'm saying, Mr. Minister, is that if you're willing to play a little bit of politics in your speech, so am 1.
HON. R.M. STRACHAN (Minister of Transport and Communications): Oh, oh!
HON. MR. LEA: Shame!
MR. WALLACE: Oh! Shocking! Talking about....
HON. MR. LEA: Shame! Bringing politics on to the floor of this House!
MR. WALLACE: Isn't that awful? (Laughter.) It's taken me five years to learn that sometimes that's the only way. (Laughter.)
Talking about politics and one's own riding, I'd like to talk about a park which we're hoping to establish in Oak Bay — a public park. The Minister knows the park I'm talking about. I'm talking about Anderson Hill, which is an elevated, very picturesque piece of land, about six acres, in Oak Bay overlooking the waterfront It's some distance back, but it's elevated and has a fantastic view of the waterfront, the Juan de Fuca Straits, the Olympic Mountains and the Straits of Georgia, looking north toward the San Juan Islands and Mt. Baker.
The Minister has already been very sympathetic in listening to the application from Oak Bay. I want to acknowledge the opportunity that I had to appear before the Environment and Land Use Committee of cabinet. Unfortunately, I haven't heard the outcome of that situation, but I just do want to say that Oak Bay would like to contribute by creating this park for people outside of Oak Bay. There has often been the criticism that Oak Bay is not providing on a regional basis the kind of park facilities which Oak Bay residents use in other municipalities.
Oak Bay has tried in various other ways to show a community spirit towards the region. The Anderson Hill area proposal that has been put forward is that Oak Bay would put up two-thirds of the cost, the total being somewhere around $350,000. We feel in Oak Bay that this would provide some significant advantages to all the people in the region because, first of all, the site has archaeological significance. Even if it were not to become a public park, there
[ Page 1762 ]probably could not be other uses because of the archaeological remains that have been identified. I'm told that the site really abounds with wildflowers and rare species of plants and is of tremendous value from a botanical point of view. There is also the fact that it is really quite close to the city, so if it became a public park its access by citizens only a few miles away in the downtown city region would be most appropriate and useful.
For these basic reasons, I hope that we can perhaps work out an arrangement between Oak Bay and the government to have the government support Oak Bay to some degree in providing part of the cost of converting this into a regional park. It's being made quite plain by Oak Bay council that the council will remain responsible for the subsequent maintenance and the costs involved in that maintenance.
I noticed in the throne speech there was mention of a rivers protection Act. This is the kind of bill which I think is long overdue. We introduced a private Member's bill a year ago based on some legislation that we read about in the United States. I just wonder if the Minister could comment whether the government is still planning to proceed with legislation to try and classify rivers as to the degree to which they can be used and the potential to clean up rivers that are presently contaminated.
I won't bore the House by going back over the comments of a biologist who resigned and whose comments I raised during the debate on the Minister of Lands, Forests and Water Resources, Mr. Newcombe, when he was talking about the permit to pollute the Kootenay River. He pointed out that there was a significant effect on fish and that some of the fish caught below the outfall...I'm talking about the Crestbrook Forest Industries Ltd.
This biologist, who felt that the pollution control branch was just issuing permits to pollute rather than take some constructive action to prevent pollution, said that fish caught below the mill's effluent outfall were nauseating and quite inedible and that use of the river by anglers between 1962 and 1966 had increased but since then has markedly decreased.
I wonder what comment the Minister has on the question of river protection. Specifically, can we assume that the bill or the legislation mentioned in the throne speech is in fact to be brought in this session?
On the opposite side we are wondering more and more if this government is going to bring in any bills worth mentioning. We had a prediction that there would be 80 to 90 pieces of legislation. At the present time, we are puzzled to know just exactly how much there will be. The kind of bills that have been before the House already are less than world-shaking in their impact.
But a step forward in taking some measure to protect rivers from pollution or the cleaning up of polluted rivers would be quite an exciting step for this government to take. The Minister said in his earlier remarks that this government had taken many initiatives in the whole field of the environment, and I wonder if they mean to persist with this particular step.
I wish to mention two last points. One, to refer back to Oak Bay, is that it is not a huge land mass where you go fishing and hunting, but we do have many citizens in the older age groups who use the golf courses. The government introduced legislation which was an attempt to alleviate to some degree the accelerating municipal tax costs on golf courses. I have made some inquiries and I wonder if the Minister could comment. One of the managers or officers of one of our golf clubs wrote to the Minister of Finance seeking some assistance in the criteria to be used in the application procedure to be followed if a golf course is seeking assistance under the legislation. I gather that the letter was passed from the Minister of Finance to this Minister just within the last few weeks. I don't have the exact date.
At any rate, there are two points to be asked. First of all, how well defined is the procedure whereby golf course management can seek financial help? Secondly, is it intended that the financial help would be retroactive to 1974? When the legislation was introduced last year, many of the golf clubs in drawing up their budgets assumed that at least part of the 1974 year would be taken into consideration when the tax relief was to be calculated, and they budgeted accordingly. Some of them are in real trouble now if, in fact, there is to be no tax relief even for part of the year of 1974.
The last point I wanted to raise was just to talk in some general terms, quickly, about the Minister's own estimates. Again, because of our system, it is very difficult to assume that we'll get back to specific votes. But I'm concerned in this department, as I am in many others, about these enormous figures for salary contingencies and the very substantial increase in staff. We've got an increase, for example, in the Provincial Museum, going from 40 people to 107, which is an increase of over 150 per cent. In general administration we have no change in the number of staff but the salaries are increased by 118 per cent. The salary contingency is $314,000, and we have an unclassified project — research project — for $90,000. Now the Minister might care to comment on some of these figures.
I notice also under marine resources that the staff number hasn't changed at all but the salary increase is 167 per cent. I notice that when the Minister was getting upset about federal announcements getting the big headlines when Romeo LeBlanc announced a plan that would cost $300 million to increase hatcheries and salmon spawning and so on, it was
[ Page 1763 ]announced that he had...and I am quoting from a newspaper of March 25: "The Minister had already held discussions with provincial Recreation and Conservation Minister, Jack Radford, and federal and provincial officials are working together closely." If I can get finished very quickly, you could perhaps answer to what degree financial involvement on our part as the provincial government is involved in this $300 million federal plan, and is some of that money included under the title "Marine Resources" — or which vote are we talking about?
Finally, the budget mentions the $20 million for a renewal of last year's employment programme for students. I wonder if the Minister could tell us how much of that $20 million is scheduled to be spent by his department. I presume that none of that is included in any of these estimates that are under his estimates in the books.
HON. MR. RADFORD: In answer to your last query, that comes under the Department of Labour. As I stated earlier, our department this year received $2.4 million for the careers programme.
In addition, $400,000 has just been added for special projects and special careers people, handicapped people and native Indian people in the north.
AN HON. MEMBER: How much?
HON. MR. RADFORD: It's 2.4 plus $400,000 — well, 2.8.
You were inquiring about marine resources. We have made statements on the enhancement programme. It is the position of the provincial government to support and work with the federal government on the enhancement programme. There will be a two-year period of inventory and working together before any formal agreement is worked out on the whole enhancement programme.
You inquired about the Recreational Land Green Belt Encouragement Act. We have had 35 official application forms from a variety of organizations. I think the organization to which you referred has sent in theirs. We have the lists here. In all, an additional 85 inquiries concerning the fund have been received by the department.
The fund will not be retroactive to 1974. If you will look at the recent regulations that just came out and the bill.... The Recreational Land Green-Belt Encouragement Act bill stipulated that regulations would be coming out and they would be applicable to the regulations. The last regulation on it stipulated this by saying that an application for reimbursement may be made only in respect of taxes paid subsequent to signing of an agreement. It would be hard to give retroactively for something on which you had no agreement. In other words, it is all applicable on an agreement with the owner and the Crown.
HON. MR. RADFORD: Yes. It took awhile to get staffing, et cetera, to administer this fund. We do now have the people, and we are looking over the 35 applications at present.
You mentioned the recreational corridors Act involving wild rivers. At the present time the recreational corridors Act is under analysis with other government sources. Following this will be public discussion. We have a discussion paper on this, as a matter of fact, already. We will be taking this discussion paper out along with a film, and meeting with organized groups to get some input from the public, get some ideas from the people so that when we do bring the Act in, the Act will be well scrutinized and suitable, and people will have input into it. I think it will be a real enhancement on our river systems and on our whole recreational system in the Province of British Columbia.
You mentioned Anderson Hill Park in your riding. I would like to inform you at this time, Mr. Member, that there has been a recommendation from the Environment and Land Use Committee on purchasing the one-third cost. However, the finality of it is in the hands of the Treasury Board. That is our recommendation from the Environment and Land Use Committee. We do have, I think, one member on our Environment Land Use Committee who is on the Treasury Board.
MR. WALLACE: I just hope I didn't upset the Treasury Board this week.
HON. MR. RADFORD: The Member for Omineca made the statements on the decline in the ungulates, wildlife in the area. He is quite right in saying this is due to loss of habitat. This is so throughout our province where people now inhabit areas. Farming, sure, in some instances has caused a decline in the moose, although it has a built-in enhancement quality for other ungulates such as deer. Habitat is the key to our enhancement and our increase in ungulates.
The sustenance permits that the Member mentioned — the Wildlife Act provides for the issuance of permits to residents to hunt, trap or kill designated wildlife during an open or closed season when they are in actual need of sustenance. I think the Member well realizes.... He comes from an area where there are situations where people do need these permits; they can't always go down to the store and buy beef. I would say about 95 per cent of the sustenance permits that are issued are given to the native Indians. There are native Indians, as he well knows, in his own area who just can't go down to the corner store to buy beef or pork. They rely on the
[ Page 1764 ]wildlife sustenance. But, I will say that our department has been putting a closer scrutiny on the issuance of sustenance permits. As a matter of fact, in 1972, 1,009 permits were issued; in 1973, 1,142 permits were issued; and this year and last year, because we asked our people to make sure that the people were really in need before sustenance permits were given, only 902 permits were given, which is quite a decline in the past issuance of these permits.
The Member also talked about the leghold trap, and I won't go into that in any further detail. He well knows the situation. In his area there are about 15 bands of Indians, and I think he realizes their situation, realizes the plight of those people that rely on trapping. The Member has a good idea in discussing some of the solutions to bringing in a humane trap. I think that in all our discussions today on the leghold trap, pressures need to be there; and this province and myself are taking those steps to bring about a humane trap on a national basis. I would like to see it internationally. It has been banned in some areas where there is not too much trapping taking place — such as Florida and various other areas. I do look forward to some significant changes in that federal-provincial committee, and I do look forward to some help coming from the federal government in this situation also.
The House resumed; Mr. Speaker in the chair.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Speaker, the committee reports progress and asks leave to sit again.
Hon. Mr. Strachan files an addendum to a return in answer to question 60.
Hon. Mr. Strachan moves adjournment of the House.
The House adjourned at 1:01 p.m.