PRESENT CONDITIONS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA.
An Address by Mr. A. S. Goodeve, M.P., of Rossland, B.C., before the Empire Club of Canada, Toronto, March 23, 1911.
Mr. President and Gentlemen:
I have chosen for the few remarks that I shall make this afternoon the subject of our Pacific Province. Before entering upon this subject, it might be well to very briefly trace the history of that portion of the Dominion. In 1846, by the Treaty of Oregon, Vancouver island was acknowledged to be British territory, and in 1849 the Island was made one of the colonies of the British Crown. The mainland of British Columbia, at the time of the gold rush in 1858, was also made a British colony, and in 1866 the two colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia were united anal became the united colony of British Columbia. On July 20, 1871, the united provinces, or the colony of British Columbia, joined the Confederation of Canada, and thus completed that splendid galaxy of. provinces stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific which formed our glorious Dominion and became the brightest gem in Britain's Crown.
This is briefly the history of how we came into possession of this splendid heritage of ours; but it really embraced a long slow struggle. There were men, when this great Province of British Columbia was considering coming in Confederation on the condition that she would be united with the rest of Canada by a transcontinental railway, who said the cost would be too great. There were many public, many prominent men who felt that the undertaking, that the task for our young Dominion was more than it would be able to stand. They said that British Columbia was but a "sea of mountains," and they were right too. British Columbia was 'a "sea of mountains," but nature was so lavish in her splendid gifts to that glorious province that it could not contain all the treasures and so, to hold the precious metals, the gold, the silver, the copper and the great black diamond-the coal areas of that country--it was in these vast mountain peaks that the glaciers were formed which supply those majestic rivers--the Thompson, the Kootenay, the Columbia and the Fraser; it was the mineral soils washed down by those great streams that fed the rich and smiling valleys; it was through the tumbling from great heights that they developed the electrical energy that enables us to use the great natural resources that we have in that country. The mighty slopes of these mountains were covered with splendid Douglas firs, cedars, hemlock and spruce, and so we have the vast natural resources of which we are so proud.
British Columbia, our maritime Province of the Pacific, is the largest in the Dominion of Canada, and is variously estimated to contain from 372,000 to 395,000 square miles. It is about 700 miles from north to south and 400 miles in width. It has a coast line of something over 4,000 miles, including all its capes and bays. Perhaps you will better understand the immensity of this province when I tell you that we could place in it side by side two Englands, three Scotlands, and four Irelands, and have 5,000 square miles left over. It has twice the area and double the natural resources of the German Empire. This great province is represented at Ottawa by three Senators and seven members. Its Government is what is known as responsible government, with one Lieutenant-Governor and a Legislative Assembly of forty-two members. These members are elected for four years. We have manhood suffrage by which every male adult who has resided six months in the province ands is duly registered-with the exception of Chinese and Japanese-can vote. It is in the temperate zone-the zone of the brainworkers and thinkers. It is the heart and nerve centre of the British Empire, because it is at about an equal distance from India, Australia and the Motherland. (Laughter.) It is the last point touched and the first point reached in going to and from India, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the Hawaiian Islands.
The trade of two continents passes through that great Province of British Columbia, the trade from Europe to those great Eastern countries which are now awakening to the marvellous possibilities of trade and commerce with this young and growing province: The vast area of this province, comprised as it is within nearly 12 degrees of latitude, between the 49th and 60th degrees, has a great variety of temperature, but, owing to the Japan current striking the coast, it is very mild, both on Vancouver Island and the entire Coast. There is little frost or snow, and there is a difference of at least 10 degrees of latitude in favour of places on the Pacific coast as compared with corresponding positions on the Atlantic coast. The interior is subject to greater extremes, both of heat and cold, but nowhere are the extremes so great as on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains; the climate is for the most part drier, and the snowfall consequently less.
In our educational facilities we have made ample provision for absolutely free national schools, including free text books; no dogma or religion is allowed to be taught in any of our schools; but the highest morality is inculcated there. The Government has also made provision for higher education by setting aside a large endowment in provincial lands for the establishment of a Provincial University. All our High Schools at present are affiliated with McGill University, so that without leaving home we can take our preliminary courses. We trust very shortly now that we will have our own university, so that our people may be educated within the confines of the province itself.
We have many natural resources. We have the largest area of timber on the American continent. Our forests and woodlands comprise 182 million acres, of which 20 per cent., or one-fifth, is merchantable timber. That would give us 36 million acres of merchantable timber. Taking a very moderate estimate of 10,000 feet to the acre, which is very low, it would give us 360 billions of feet of merchantable timber, which would produce 3,600,000 feet annually for one hundred years. In addition to this we have many thousands of square miles of pulp and papermaking wood. That gives you some idea of our riches in timber alone.
It is very difficult to estimate the amount of our agricultural lands in that province, but this I can assure you, that today we feel assured that we have much more agricultural land than we had any idea of in the earlier settlement of the province. This has been due to the fact that many of the areas formerly considered unfit for agricultural purposes are proving to be the very best for the raising of hay and clover, and fit in many cases for the growing of wheat and other grains. We have ten times the agricultural land in the Province of British Columbia as is contained in the whole Japanese Empire, where they raised last year 22 million bushels of wheat. We have twice the agricultural area of Sweden, and they support there a population of five millions of people, one-half of whom are agriculturists.
Ten years ago our orchard area was less than 7,000 acres, today we have 100,000 acres under fruit cultivation and we have, I think, a quality of fruit unsurpassed anywhere in the world. Year after year we have taken the gold medal at the Royal Horticultural Society's Exhibition in London; also at the Spokane International Apple Show we took a large number of prizes, and in one case we took 13 prizes out of 14 entries in competition with 22 states of the Union.
Our mines have produced since their inception no less than $347,800,000, and we have a quarter of a million of square miles of unprospected mineral territory. Dr. Henry S. Poole, an authority on mining in Nova Scotia, stated in a recent report that the Rocky Mountains are the largest coal areas known in the Dominion of Canada and, what is more important from a commercial point of view, are the only large coal-fields of first-class coal at present known on the Pacific slope from Alaska to Mexico. Eighty percent of these measures are in the Province of British Columbia and 20 percent in Alberta. In East Kootenay, which is the riding I have the honour to represent in the Dominion House at Ottawa, is situated the famous Crow's Nest Pass coal measures; and there are, besides, the coal measures on Vancouver Island, in Northern British Columbia, and in the Peace River District. Dr. D. B. bowling, who is in the Official Geological Survey of Canada; estimates the coal areas of the Crow's Nest Pass district -southern and northern portions-to contain the enormous quantity of 36;000 million tons of workable coal.
In addition to that we have large iron deposits scattered throughout various parts of that province. Already we are having established by Duluth capitalists steel works down on tide-water. These are matters for congratulation as opening up an industry such as in other countries is taken as the index of industrial progress. What the successful introduction of iron and steel-making means to the Coast and the ,province generally, you gentlemen are well qualified to judge.
Then we have our fisheries. They employ over 12,(100 men, and produced last year over 30 per cent. of the total value of the fisheries of the Dominion of Canada, nine-tenths of this being in the salmon fisheries; while the catch of halibut was ten times greater than that of the Atlantic last year. In Nanaimo harbour alone we took out last year 45 million pounds of herring. We have, in addition, our deep sea fishing, the cod, the whale and -the seal, our oyster culture, the manufacturing of fish oils and fertilizers, the canning of our crabs and clams and other shell-fish. You will get some idea of the enormous value of these fisheries when I tell you that it was estimated by a trial made on the Pacific coast of Canada by means of trawling that in half an hour we can take up more fish product than they can take up in six hours in countries of Europe bordering on the North Atlantic; and yet those countries support a population of no less than one million fisher-folk. This will gave you some idea of the fisheries on the Pacific coast of Canada and the immense value of these fisheries to the Province of British Columbia.
In regard to our game, and some of you men are interested in that, I can only say that no country peopled by white men surpasses the Province of British Columbia in opportunities for the hunter and the angler.
It may be news to you to learn that we have in that province no less than 1,700 miles of railway, being about a mile of track to each 250 square miles of area--and there are now under construction 400 miles. With the completion of the Canadian Northern and the Grand Trunk Pacific we will have an additional railway mileage of 1,300 miles. . In addition to that we have over 9,000 miles of waggon roads and 4,500 miles of trails, making a total of 14,000 miles in all Apt the present time the British Columbia Government are building a trunk road from Vancouver to the Province of Alberta, and this, I can honestly say, will probably, from a scenic point of view, be one of the greatest waggon roads in the world.
In 1904 British Columbia's imports amounted to $12,079,088, and the exports to $16,536,328. For the fiscal year ending March 31, 1909, the imports were $24,180,452 and the exports $23,941,187, .an increase in the total trade of that province in four years of $19,506,223; a remarkable increase considering the population of the province. The Bank clearings for 1910 aggregated $536,555,892, an increase in twelve months of $175,000,000, in a province with probably not more than 350,000 population. Our merchant marine is steadily increasing. The navigation returns for 1909 show that we had 5,000 sea-going vessels sailing from British Columbia ports, while there were 20,000 vessels engaged in coasting trade, representing in all over 9,000,000 tons of shipping.
At the present time British Columbia inscribed stock stands higher on the London market than any other colonial securities. In the year ending 31st March, 1910, we had a cash surplus of $2,500,000, and today British Columbia is in the unique position, which, as far as I am aware, no other country or province occupies in the world, of being able, if she so desired, of writing her cheque and paying off every cent of her bonded indebtedness. The value of production in our industries last year was estimated at $100,000,000, roughly divided as follows:
|Last year we imported in||
|Live stock ................||$5,253,286
|Dairy products ................||2,701,946
|Fruits and vegetables ............||163,620
|Eggs and honey ................||306,893
Now we raised of the same products last year in the province $14,000,000 worth. We imported, as I have told you, $14,962,000, every dollar of which should have come from the Prairie Provinces of the West. They could supply us with all these products in return for our fruit and our coal. That gives you some idea of the splendid value of this inter-provincial trade-one with the other.
Now, Mr. Chairman and members of the Empire Club, I have endeavoured to give you these facts and figures in order that you might grasp something of the marvellous resources of my great province, but I may here say that a country's greatness is not measured by the richness of her resources, but rather by the moral stamina of her people. We in the West have the Asiatic question with us. It is not so acute at present, yet we have it always with us. I can only say to you that it is not a local question; all of you in the Dominion of Canada are vitally interested in it with us; and the whole British 'Empire is interested in the great question, of not only Asiatic but of all immigration. I think, Mr. President, that we are too busy in this Canada of ours advertising to the world our great natural resources. We are inviting all and sundry to come and partake of these marvellous riches. We are throwing too wide open our doors. I think it is time for Canada to stop and take stock, to learn lessons from the other nations of the world-like the great nation to the south of us-to sift our immigration more carefully. It takes a long time to build a nation. You men who have been to our Western country and seen one of those magnificent Douglas firs from 150 to 300 feet high anal watched it with admiration, realize that sometimes when you examine this tree you will find that it has grown too rapidly, it is rotted at the root-it is hollow butted-fair to look upon, but, as every lumberman knows, it will not make good timber. We want to be careful we are not hollow-butted. There should be no slums in Canadian cities. (Loud applause.) Rather let us grow more slowly but grow more soundly in the development of this great country of ours. Remember, it takes 200 years to produce a sound and sturdy tree, and it takes longer to make a sound and sturdy nation.
This is a heritage for you and me to care for, it is a heritage handed down to us by those who have gone before, and now I say it is not a question for you and me to decide, whether we shall protect the Province of Nova Scotia .at the expense of Ontario, or Ontario at the expense of Manitoba, or Manitoba at the expense of British Columbia, or vice versa. The question for you and me to decide today is, shall we keep this nationhood of ours clear or shall we weakly allow this heritage to be merged into the nation to the south of us (Voices, No, No.) Shall we, true to the ideals of the great Anglo-Saxon race, shoulder the responsibilities of the Empire or shall we follow the flesh-pots of Egypt into the bondage of the American fiscal tariff? This is the question for you and me to decide today. This land is dear to us through its traditions. The soft beauty and strength of the maple is entwined with the tough and sturdy oak. We love it for its silent and open spaces, we love it for the life and vigour of its cities, we glory in its storm-swept prairies, and our hearts fill with pride at the majesty of its mountains. We glory in the roar of the Atlantic upon its rock-bound shores, and we are proud as citizens of Canada, and our hearts throb with fierce joy, and are filled with tender pity, as we watch the warm waters of the Pacific gently lave the shores of its smiling valleys. Members of the Empire Club, we love this land most of all because it is ours, bought with the blood of our fathers, shielded by the flag that has stood for righteousness, freedom and honesty. I ask you members of the Empire Club, shall we keep it such?