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Newfoundland National Convention, 7 November 1946, Debates on Confederation with Canada

164 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1946

November 7, 1946

Mr. Chairman[1] Before we begin, I have to report that the health of Hon. Mr. Justice Fox has improved, as well as that of Mr. Brown and Mr. Banfield.

Report of the Education Committee:[2] Committee of the Whole

Mr. Ashbourne ....The money spent on schools and teacher training has been discussed. They are both very important and necessary, complementary to each other. We cannot allow the children of Newfoundland to spend their days in delapidated, unhealthy and unsanitary schools, and the Commission of Government should be highly congratulated for embarking on school reconstruction on a big scale, as well as in the raising of teachers' salaries, which still need further attention. Brainy people can command good wages, and if teaching does not offer the necessary pecuniary reward it is small wonder that the ambitious seek other employment, where their services are more adequately compensated. If we expect to have as leaders to train our youth, to reap the fruits of the capabilities and talents of those who have attained the heights of scholarship, we must be prepared to pay salaries to induce them to remain in the teaching profession. In some outport schools we lack teachers who can satisfactorily teach certain languages and science. Teachers who cannot give instruction in these subjects will be at a disadvantage and the pupils also....
With reference to common or amalgamated schools[3], there is a sincere desire on the part of many to have these schools; but on examination we find different grading of teachers. Where can we hope to get suitable teachers for common schools until we are assured that a uniform and standard diploma of competency is forthcoming? Doubt may exist regarding the qualifications of teachers, but I feel that more co-ordination of the various heads of the Department of Education might be a good idea. Then the matter of ownership of these common schools comes up, and who is going to be responsible for their maintenance and repairs? The present system in Newfoundland has progressed very well, but if a concentration of the population were deemed advisable the matter would have to be solved. It is to be regretted that the building program has been temporarily halted owing to lack of nails and other building supplies. Another matter that calls for cement is school medical examination, which should be received by all pupils. Fortunately in Twillingate we have the Notre Dame Bay Memorial Hospital, and there is a clinic held by which each student can have a free medical examination. I believe this is the policy in vogue in St. John's also, but I would like to see it extended to all the outports....
I would like to pay tribute to the various school boards, as without their services I am afraid the whole plan of education could not function so well. I spent nine years as a member of a school board and in that time we had to pay 90% of our grant towards teachers salaries.
Next there is the matter of free and compul November 1946 NATIONAL CONVENTION 165sory education. In that the government made a step in the right direction.[1] If pupils cannot pay half for school books, the government should see that they are provided free. I believe that it would be a good move to have a university here. Also, it is essential to have regional schools provided in the larger outports. I regret to have heard the figures given out yesterday, namely, that there were 325 ungraded teachers and 1,788 graded. This is surely the outcome of the low salaries paid in the past; and I hope now that salaries have been increased somewhat teachers will come forward to get their necessary grades. Adult education has been also mentioned and I am pleased to see the progress made. I would like to refer to political education; it is very necessary in Newfoundland. We must aim at true democracy and that means that we must be responsible for our own affairs. But it devolves upon the government to see that the people are educated politically so far as is possible
Mr. Vincent As I see it, the Education Committee has done a good job.... I believe their figures are essentially accurate and I am quite willing to discount the Chadwick-Jones paragraph on education in favour of theirs. They have presented a fair picture of a very important sub, ject.... There are ever-expanding fields of improvement in education, for everyone will agree that the first requisite of a nation is the education of its children. The present estimates of slightly over $3 million for education is not at all adequate for the needs of such a sparsely populated country as ours, and, could our economy afford it, it might be double that amount. What of the future of the teaching profession? Are we agreed that the remuneration they receive is sufficient, and befits their high calling? Says the report, and I quote, "The median salary including augmentation and cost of living bonus is for 1945, $992." The average teacher actually receives today the modest sum of a little in excess of $82 per month for 12 months (it must not be mistakenly supposed that a teacher doesn't eat and spend some money in the holidays, which of course are without pay). Mr. Hollett spoke wisely when he affirmed that teachers' salaries are ridiculously low. I know of schools in this island with but one teacher, trying desperately to cope with the almost insurmountable problem of having to teach all grades from Kindergarten to Junior Matriculation for the fabulous sum of $45 per month plus a small augmentation. Mr. Newell stressed yesterday that the cause of the high percentage of Ungraded teachers was mainly due to the great shortage in the profession. The real cause for this regrettable situation is obvious โ€” can we expect our teachers to continue in the calling for such a ridiculously low scale of wages? Take up your daily paper tomorrow and you will read in the want ads โ€” domestic servants wanted, $35 per month (that means plus board). Is it any wonder then that school-teachers seek other zones of employment? ....
Mr. Jackman One of the most important matters, if not the most important, we have to deal with is education because it deals with human value. The boys and girls of today are the men and women of tomorrow. They constitute our greatest national asset. Our teachers are equally important. What are we doing to see that those teachers, whom we depend so much upon, are getting enough pay to live on in order to educate the children of the country? I would say that we are doing very little over this injustice. I know we, as a Convention, cannot do much because we have not got the authority but I think this Convention should at least try and call the attention of the people to this very important matter. The conditions under which so many of our teachers have to exist is scandalous. As Mr. Vincent has said, "Is it any wonder we have a shortage of teachers?" And he struck the nail on the head when he said it was because of small pay. I can give several examples of that. I know a chap at Bell Island who taught school for a number of years. He was single at the time and managed to get along, but eventually he got married and was compelled to leave the teaching profession and go down in the mines shovelling ore in order to feed, clothe and educate his family....
A balanced budget at the expense of human deprivation and suffering is not a balanced budget at all. If the government was to balance their budget at the expense of the teaching profession, I don't want a balanced budget....
Mr. Chairman, I beg to move that the committee of the whole place itself on record as being greatly dissatisifed with the present pay scale paid our teachers, particularly those in the lower 166 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1946 income group, as inadequate in view of the high cost of living, and that we feel that an immediate revision upward in the present basic salaries should be made, and we ask the Education Committee to include this in their report.
Mr. Hillier I have read the Education Report through and it contains some very important information. I think the report gives us an idea of what the expense of education will be in the future, also that it would be necessary to have a larger amount.
In speaking of education we have to go sometimes beyond our immediate vicinity, to look abroad upon this country, and we will find there are many small communities containing small schools, and the boys and girls can never hope to rise beyond a moderate standard of education, because of the early age at which they are advised to leave school. To the few is extended the opportunity to obtain an education. We are specially privileged in St. John's. In looking abroad again upon the outports there is a very large number of boys and girls whose parents have not the ways and means to send them to St. John's or elsewhere to get an education. But in some of these communities there is a lot of hidden talent. So in the large centers we must never lose sight of the many who have not our advantages...
Mr. Burry Much has been said about the need to raise teachers' salaries and give them a better opportunity to get a better education and training with which I agree heartily, and would like for the Education Department of the government to do all it can to interest the teachers in Newfoundland. They will not be wasting money. Any money spent will be well spent in the interest of education, but we ought not to overlook the fact that the Commission of Government has made great strides to increase the earning power of our teachers, and while in the lower brackets it is rather low, and perhaps not too high in the higher brackets, the fact is that the average teacher today is getting much more than he or she used to get. When we make any suggestion or recommendation to increase the salaries of teachers we ought to avoid using too harsh phrases such as "ridiculously low salaries"; because they are not so ridiculously low today... I want every member of the Convention to understand me properly. I am not trying to discourage any effort to increase the salaries of teachers, but looking over this table I find that it refers to 1944, and there are only two teachers getting less than $300 a year, and 196 teachers getting less than $500 or $600 a year. We all know that does not refer to the total amount that is paid to these teachers, because the cost of living bonus is not included, and the augmentation is not included. I am given to understand that there is no graded teacher employed with an augmented salary of less than $660 for the school year. I don't know if the Committee will bear that out or not in their findings, but if that is so perhaps such words as "ridiculously low salaries" may not be used without bearing this in mind.
Any increase in salaries that can be given in the future ought to be given, but we ought to bear in mind that the salaries at the present time are not so very low compared with the past, and with what young people in St. John's and the outports earn in other callings. Perhaps that is not a fair comparison, but I am trying to avoid giving the public or the possible teachers the idea that they are not going to be paid at all no matter what grade they may get. We want to do all we can to get the young people to come into the teaching profession...
Mr. Starkes The report by the Education Committee, is to my mind, not very encouraging to say the least....
Let us look at the figures brought by our Education Committee. For the year l921-22 when our expenditure was around $10 million we spent roughly $817,177, 8% of our total expenditure[1] ; in other words $24.35 per student. This was spent 25 years ago, and after 25 years of progress and advancement in education, this year 1946-47, with an estimated expenditure of over $34 million, the Commission of Government estimates spending around $3 1/2 million only, or 10%....
Mr. Newell Mr. Chairman, before we go any further in this discussion of teachers' salaries, there are one or two things that I have to point out. One is that the figures given on page 7, contrary to the opinion expressed by the delegate from Labrador, do include the cost of living bonus... These are the average salaries up to November 1946 NATIONAL CONVENTION 167 1944. I regret we did not read these tables yesterday all together, because some of these matters might have been straightened out as we went along. We are apt to pick out an item and overlook the real purpose for which these figures were given. I did not have, at the time of submitting these tables, the figures for 1945. The report of the Department of Education was delivered to me a few minutes ago, and, if you wish, I can give you some figures for 1945, which will make the position somewhat brighter.
Page 7, paragraph 6. First of all there are no figures for June 30, 1946. They have not yet been compiled statistically.... While we have not any definite assurance from the department, it is probable that these teachers were only working for six months. Also in 1944 there were 31 teachers getting between $300 and $400. There were none so low as these in 1945. Also in 1944 there were some getting between $400 and $500, and there were none in 1945. In other words there were 273 teachers getting less than $500, whereas in 1945 there are none. That makes the situation quite different. It is regrettable that we did not have this report before...
Mr. Bailey Mr. Chairman, no one in this world knows worse than myself the lack of an education. At 20 years of age I had to take copy books and learn to write, so I did not get much of a start in life. I am glad that we have this before the Convention and before the people, because it's the first chance I have had to learn about education in this country as it is.
I have watched closely the statistics in different countries where I have been, more particularly in the United States, and I have come to the conclusion, not only in Newfoundland but in other parts, that teachers are the very poorest paid people in the world... I totally agree with this report in every way, and firmly believe that we cannot cut expenditure down, if anything it should be raised up.
I am not in sympathy with the system of education in this country, especially in the outports. A lad in St. John's has got a chance, but under the system in the outports he has not. If we, along with two or three other spots in the world, have a different education system from the rest, surely all the world can't be wrong and we right? We have three denominational schools, in my home town today. One teacher has somewhere between 40 and 50 children between the grades of four and eleven, and another has about 15 between the grades of Kindergarten and eleven, and just alongside another teacher has a school of 11 children. Consequently it is likely there won't be more than two or three children in that village that will make the grade. It is utterly impossible for a teacher to get through because he has too much on his hands.
I firmly believe our system of education is costing us at least half a million dollars too much. Probably our people are back where some countries were 150 years ago. It is not the fault of the country, there has been a real earnest endeavour to adjust to more modern ideas. I think this should be stressed strongly, that we should get together and cut out the cost of the overhead, and if we can't increase the money, I believe it is up to every Newfoundlander to see that this system is changed as quickly as possible, so that our children can go out into the world equipped for their jobs.
I know a man who left one of our outports a number of years ago, and although he started from scratch, by the time he was 35 years old he was head of one of the largest construction firms in the United States. I know what can be done, and I know what is being done in various parts of the world. I believe if we put in the Scotch system of education it would not be so expensive. There is nobody today that can face the world better than the Scotchman. If you go into a shipyard in the States every second man there is Mac, the architect, the manager, the office worker, because he is the best equipped for every job. In the far-flung parts of the Empire, everywhere you will find the Scot. If he comes from the Hebrides or wherever he comes from, it is all the same, they are all educated and can take their university course, and wherever he goes he can carry on his education and pick up everything necessary. That is why Scotland today has the smallest percentage of illiteracy in the world. I believe something can be done in this country; after all, it is what Newfoundland desires today.
Mr. Smallwood I have a great deal of admiration for the gentlemen in the Department of Education - for their enthusiasm on the job, for the extent to which they have successfully hounded more and more money out of the Commission of Government, I give them credit for it. 168 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1946 I think it is only fair for someone to say a word also for the education authorities before Commission of Government came here at all. You will notice that the Education Committee's report drove a peg in, and dealt with the period from that peg. That peg was 1921-22, which was around the time that the Department of Education was set up. That department was set up with Dr. Arthur Barnes as the first Minister of Education. Dr. Barnes is still living at Bay Roberts, extremely active mentally and physically, extremely interested still in education and in the affairs of Newfoundland. He is one of the greatest Newfoundlanders we have ever had in the field of education.... I do not remember the year, but I do remember the time when the total expenditure of public money on education in Newfoundland reached the shocking amount of half a million dollars, considered by the education people in this country to be a magnificent achievement. Beginning with the creation of the department the total amount of public money earmarked for education began to rise steadily and almost unbrokenly, up to the very moment when the impact of the world depression was felt. So for that reason, the Education Committee wisely and fairly made its study of the progress of education, at least materially, over the priod 1921-22 up to the present time.
Turn to page 3 of that report and you will notice that total expenditure rose steadily from 1921-22 year by year until it reached $1 million in 1930-31.... This increase in expenditure, this growth in the education plant, is nothing spectacular; it is not a thing that began with Commission of Government. This process of spending a larger proportion of money on it began before 1921-22; it has been a process practically continuous. We ought to give credit to the pioneers in education and especially to Dr. Barnes and Dr. Burke, who has just retired; also to Dr. Blackall and Dr. Curtis who worked and sacrificed to build education into what it is today.
Mr. Hollett It is refreshing to hear Mr. Smallwood referring to the good men no longer in the limelight; I am sure we have had some grand men in the past. There is one thing in Mr. Smallwood's remarks referring to the expenditures in 1921-22 โ€” I do not know if I heard him correctly โ€” if you look at the percentage it was 8.1 in 1921-22, and in 1946 10.41.
Mr. Smallwood I am aware of the percentages in the third column; but 8.1% of the total revenue is very much more money than 10.41% of the revenue of 1946-47. That is the point I am making. Relatively it is much more money.
Mr. Starkes In 1921 when the revenue was $10.5 million our education grant was $817,000, and now the Commission of Government with a revenue of $34 million are spending 2% less on education than what was spent 25 years ago: 12% of our expenditure went on education.
Mr. Hollett So far as I can see the percentage being spent now is greater.
Mr. Newell Assuming that the expenditure was $10 million 25 years ago, the percentage spent was 8.1%, I make it.
Mr. Chairman I think it better to defer this point, as Mr. Figary, who possesses one of the few books with accurate figures, is absent from the session.
Mr. Harrington I am not interested in any exercises of arithmetic as I think it is a waste of time. I did not propose to say anything on this report as I was a member of the committee.... Nevertheless, there was one point raised by two speakers and that was the system of education. It was agreed at the outset that the current system was the most desirable, and I would like to go on record as being unalterably in favour of the present system because it is the best that could be devised. The history of this country shows that before there was any attempt made by any governmental authorities, the churches stepped into the breach and gave us what educational facilities we have at the present time, and I am quite convinced that, under conditions as they are in the country today, the present system is the best under the circumstances, and it does not come within our province as a Convention to interfere and supplant it by any means.
Mr. Hollett With regard to Mr. Jackman's resolution, at the outset let me say that I am all in favour of giving teachers a living wage; but you will remember this Convention only has power to recommend, but not to demand.
Mr. Jackman I made the motion in good faith, and I thought there might be a recommendation go to the government on behalf of the teachers; but I would not urge to have it incorporated in the report.
Mr. Miller I oppose Mr. Jackman's motion for November 1946 NATIONAL CONVENTION 169 two reasons. First because it is beyond the power of the Convention to approach the issue in such a manner; and secondly because the motion depends entirely upon statistics instead of a complete survey of the background. The matter of raising the scale of wages should be left to the authorities concerned. I would advise the Convention to be cautious unless it was equipped with complete knowledge.
Mr. Jackman I realise how limited our authority is. The issue is purely a moral one and it is only asking that such important persons as school teachers be paid enough to live on.
Mr. Chairman The motion is that the Report of the Education Committee be received.

Report of the Forestry Committee:[1] Committee of the Whole.

Mr. Cashin Mr. Chairman, this report has been in the hands of delegates for about ten days and I would like to go ahead with it now and get it cleaned up. Monday[2] is a holiday and there will be no sitting, and if the members of the Convention want we can sit tonight in order to get this thing finished as soon as possible. Whatever members ask for I will accommodate them to the best of my ability. The report covers the whole forestry situation, including the pulp and paper industry and saw mills, The committee took an overall picture of the whole country to try and bring out as accurately as we could the caming power we get from paper, pulp and local lumbering industries in Newfoundland.
Mr. Smallwood Will you give us some idea of the basis of the computation?[3]
Mr. Cashin There's around 50 million feet of lumber cut annually by our own sawmills, and we had gentlemen on the Committee who had a good idea of the price of lumber, sawing, loading, etc. They figure about $35 a thousand, and lumber is selling today in St. John's for about $65. By the time you pay freight, etc., the man who actually produces it, if he had to do all these things, cut, saw, etc., would make $35 a thousand on it. That is how we estimated the earning power of the men engaged in cutting, sawing, etc. That is approximate.
Mr. Smallwood Mr. Chairman, if you will turn to page 11, sec. 7.... Would you give us the basis of that belief?
Mr. Cashin If you will notice the papers, particularly here in St. John's, it is announced every week. Building here is increasing constantly, and they are going to require more lumber, and therefore it will require more work in cutting, sawing, manufacturing, and we figure that therefore the earning power will increase.
Mr. Higgins Mr. Chairman, I wonder if Major Cashin would pass a comment on this. I notice in today's issue of the Evening Telegram that the editor comments on the report and says it is very fine in every way, he says:
In one important particular, however, the figures quoted are at least open to question. It states that there are in Newfoundland 22,000 square miles of timberland under leases. Out of the total area of 42,000 square miles, that would represent fifty percent or, excluding the area comprised of lakes and rivers, given in the report as one third of the total, seventy-five per cent of the whole land area in the island. So far as this paper is aware, there are no survey figures available to show what proportion of Newfoundland's surface is timberland, but if the surveys made in Canada to determine the extent of its forested lands may be regarded as a criterion, either the forest growth in this country is phenomenal or the figures are fantastic.
I don't know if there is any basis for that.
Mr. Cashin In connection with that, I think it is agreed that one third of the island is composed of lakes, rivers, etc., and a lot of these are included in the leased land, and we got that information from the Department of Natural Resources. They gave us an idea, as closely as they could, on the amount of timber on these lands, It is figured today that the two pulp and paper companies, who control practically all the leasehold land in the country, have roughly between 45 and 50 million cords of wood in these areas. The two companies have between them around 20,000 170 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1946 square miles of timber land, which includes lakes, Grand Lake, Gander Lake, etc. They are paying rental on water as well as on land, I am pretty certain. I will let you know that the next day we meet.
Mr. Smallwood On Page 8, under "Birch," the last paragraph.... What does that mean?
Mr. Cashin Referring to the pulp and paper companies, there is considerable bitch on their property. They will not allow us to go in and cut where they are cutting at the present time, but I understand that they are only too delighted for the people to go in and cut on what has already been cut over. By "material assistance" I don't mean that the government should finance that venture, but they should encourage it by tariffs, etc. We have found out that there are markets in Canada, as well as in the United States, for birch. It is a wood which is very difficult to handle because it is very heavy, but at the same time the opportunity is there for men making furniture, veneer, etc., and I understand that quite an industry can be developed in that. I think Messrs. Wm. Dawe and Sons did export some of that over 20 years ago. I did not mean that it should be financed, but that it should be encouraged.
Mr. Higgins On page 2, Major Cashin, of the report, you say there is $360,000 collected in revenue at Grand Falls. Is it suggested that that is from the wood working?
Mr. Cashin Prior to the inauguration of the paper mill at Grand Falls there was no revenue there. We attributed that to the fact that when Grand Falls was built up it brought in revenue in other ways. Buchans has a customs department in its own place. If you will go on further there was over $1 million collected in Corner Brook, and no doubt the herring fishery contributes a lot in the way of revenue, and if the pulp and paper industry had never been started we would have had considerable revenue....
Mr. Fudge In connection with this matter of birch, I may add that early last year I was called to the office of Bowaters[1] and Mr. Shaw informed me that there was an outside concern interested in the birch, and that they were prepared to erect a mill or a factory which would employ some 150 men. We went on further to discuss the wage rate and it was all agreed upon. l am not in a position to state to this Convention just what will happen, but when we were preparing this report we took that as a possibility. I believe that there will soon be an industry opened, an American outfit, and that they will employ about 150 men in their factory there. The birch will be made into veneer I believe.
Mr. Dawe I believe there is a market for birch.
Mr. Smallwood On page 8 again, Mr. Chairman, under the heading of "Labrador", in the second paragraph, there has been no reliable survey made of the amount of timber on Labrador and the opinions vary. What estimates, or whose?
Mr. Cashin I have seen various surveys of Labrador areas, some were not so good, others fairly good. I happened to see an aerial survey of Labrador some years ago, but I am not able to express an opinion as to the amount of wood in the various areas, but some people say 100 million cords. Other people say 50 million cords. There was a survey in Hamilton Inlet some years ago, and the gentleman in charge down there figured 50 million cords. I have seen the survey of the Sandwich Bay area and Eagle River on properties owned by the McMaster interests of Toronto, and these areas have over 10 million cords of wood. I know that the Hamilton River is heavily timbered. I would say that in those 300 sq. miles there is some 1.5 to 2 million cords of wood. There is also the Double Mer property. A survey was made some 30 years ago and shows it carries 6 million cords of wood. I believe there is only 2 million on it.
Adding them all together, Mr. Smallwood, I have no hesitation in saying there is at least 50 million cords on it. I don't think there is 100 million cords but 1 hope so.
Mr. Hollett I might say that I read this report through when it was presented and remember I noticed there was a noticeable lack of statistics with regard to the earnings of our people generally from forestry, and of the amounts of revenue collected by the government down through the years. It would have been wiser if the Forestry Committee had brought in some statistics over a period of years since they would give us a broader idea of the value of our forests and our financial and economic set-up, and also the possibilities for the future. I can find nothing in this report which shows me those figures. I wonder if Major Cashin can tell me why.
November 1946 NATIONAL CONVENTION 171
Mr. Cashin In reply to Mr. Hollett, the government gets around $18 - 20,000 a year from those sources. There are estimates of the earning power of the pulp and paper mills, sawmills, and the cutting of pit props, etc. We want to get an idea of the forecast for the future. I refer particularly to the pulp and paper industry because it has been publicly announced in recent months, that Grand Falls is expanding, and also Corner Brook, and it is fairly easy, to figure out the earning power from these two sources. The thing was to get the earning power accruing to the country at the present time for wood sawn locally, and build up the total earning power of the people annually for all forest work.
I know there are plenty of loopholes in this report, and we are only too pleased to have any further information because I don't believe any report coming in here will be perfect. But it is the best we can do, and we can't all be on the same committee.
Mr. Hollett I would like to know the value in wages paid over the years, of our forests, and in revenues collected by the government as a result of forest operations. If we had that over a period of years, from 1921 down to the present time, it would give us a clear picture to show just what advance has been made and what hope there is for the future.
Mr. Cashin In connection with revenues that might have been collected in the past 20 years, the Customs can't give it to you; it's impossible and we could only make a guess at it....
Mr. Smallwood The point raised by Mr. Hollett. The AND Company could tell you for the period beginning with their first year almost to date what they expended year by year.... Bowaters can do the same thing from the beginning.... There seems here to be a number of estimates and statements made without any supporting evidence whatever. The supporting evidence undoubtedly is there, but we are asked to accept it on faith, without the production by the Committee of the evidence on which they based those conclusions. You take on page 10 again, section 3 and 4. I am beginning now to guess that it has to do with the new machinery going in. Does it also refer to wage earning employees, or does it include them and woods operators?
Mr. Cashin Everything. In the thirties when the newsprint industry was in the doldrums I was told they figured that to produce a ton of newsprint it cost about $25 in labour. Well you all know that the cost has gone sky high since that. That's why we based our figures that way, it costs roughly $25 a ton.
Mr. Smallwood Another thing to which I would like to draw your attention, a matter of vital importance. You refer here to the three mile limit,[1] and you say that large parts of it have been denuded, which is largely the case. I am especially familiar with it in parts of Bonavista Centre, which overflows into Bonavista North, from Hare Bay up to Gambo, where there is no wood left, not a scrap. The people down there have sent a petition to the government, drawing their attention to the fact that at the present time the three mile limit is cut out completely, and immediately adjacent are paper areas. I rather expected the report to contain a reference to the serious situation that had arisen in many parts of the country where the three mile limit had been almost completely cut out. The only timber remaining is that owned by the paper companies, and small sawmill men have got to go in on the companies' land to cut, and pay royalties for so doing. Many such cases have happened in Bonavista Centre and Bonavista North. I know also of one or two cases where the government actually swapped Crown land limits for the convenience of Bowaters. I have in my possession a number of letters from Dark Cove and contiguous places around Gambo dealing with this same matter. It seems that the government did the swapping to provide the grounds for the statement that the output for local sawmills would increase.
Mr. Cashin The increase is to be expected as a result of the increase in building and construction. At present there are only 5 million cords of wood left on Crown lands in the country.
Mr. Burry The conditions obtaining in Newfoundland, as pointed out by Mr. Smallwood, to the detriment of small mill owners and fishermen, have not become as bad in Labrador as yet, but it is becoming so, and where the Labrador Development Co. is operating the fishermen tell me that they have to go far afield in order to procure timber with which to build boats and stages. I think this is worth considering seriously now, before it gets too far. Besides it is one of the ways 172 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1946 to conserve Labrador.
Mr. Higgins I wonder if the committee would consider rising now and sitting tonight, and then probably tomorrow we will be able to finish this report....
[The committee of the whole adjourned until 8 pm]
Mr. Vardy Mr. Chairman, as there were several complaints about the Education Report when it was discussed in committee, I suggest that the Forestry Report be read section by section so that the contents can be better digested.
[The Asst. Secretary read from the report]
Mr. Smallwood With regard to paragraph 1, I wonder if Mr. Cashin could tell us the number of square miles of timber held?
Mr. Cashin 22,000 square miles of timber area in the whole country by the two companies, including the water surface within those areas.
Mr. Smallwood What does that mean and how did they get their timber areas?
Mr. Cashin Most of it was held on 99-year leases and could not well be changed while the leases are in existence, but many of the leases came into possession of the Grand Falls Company[1] through purchase either from the Reid Newfoundland Company, under the railway deal of 1898[2], or from private individuals, including Mr. H.J. Crowe, who had several pieces of timber lands in those areas and sold his rights to the Grand Falls people after the commencement of the development in 1905. The rate of $2 per square mile was the annual fee paid for the fee simple areas and this was part of the terms of the leases.
Mr. Smallwood It is stated in the 4th paragraph of the report that timber areas are licensed for 99 years. Is that statutory and unchangeable?
Mr. Cashin It is statutory. Probably you might remember in 1931 action was taken because some people had not complied with the terms of their leases and they lost out.
Mr. Smallwood How does that compare with the Crown land leases in Canada and in the United States?
Mr. Cashin Take the province of Quebec for example, the Crown gets $1.65 per cord stumpage. There have been cases in Quebec where the government sold outright to big companies at high prices, but generally the charge is $1.65 per cord stumpage or $1.65 per square foot of forest. A good square mile of timber land should have 3,500 cords of wood for each square mile of forest.
Mr. Smallwood Would Mr. Cashin be able to say definitely if that is unchangeable?
Mr. Cashin My opinion is yes, but I have not checked on it.
Mr. Crosbie What is the natural reafforestation per year in Newfoundland?
Mr. Cashin Grand Falls has been operating for over 40 years and has not been recut since. It is generally known in Canada to be 60 years.
Mr. Crosbie I understand that 3% of the total growth is the figure roughly estimated for reforestation in Newfoundland. If that is so, there must be a million cords of wood dying on its feet.
Mr. Cashin We discussed that matter at our meetings, and decided that if the natural regrowth is about 50 years, something should be done in order to guard against possible denudation of timber resources. Whilst we were getting information about this son of thing, we also learned what was being done to protect the forests from fires. The railway is spending $500,000 to convert coal burning locomotives into oil burners to prevent bush fires.
Mr. Ashbourne I notice that there is around $50,000 paid for granted property in rentals, and I was wondering if any of that amount is included for Labrador.
Mr. Cashin I understand there are 30,000 miles under lease on Labrador, so that the total income from rentals there would be $20,000, and $30,000 from Newfoundland.
Mr. Harrington What we the paper companies actually paying for what they are getting?
Mr. Cashin The government had no survey records of timber land, and information regarding figures could only be obtained from the companies concerned.
Mr. Higgins drew my attention to an editorial in the Evening Telegram this evening which questioned the report's statement of the timber owned by the AND Company. But if you take 30% off for wastage you will find a different story.
November 1946 NATIONAL CONVENTION 173
Mr. McCarthy Is there any pulpwood cut within the three mile limit? And is it being used locally?
Mr. Cashin Yes, within the past three years.
Mr. Burry I would like to know if there is any regulation governing the size of the stump remaining after a tree is cut.
Mr. Cashin Yes, there is a regulation of a certain specified size, but I cannot explain it in detail. Mr. Fudge In all Bowaters' camps they have a height posted up and I think that the stumpage is not to exceed 12 inches. But I think small contractors cut everything in their way, regardless of size.
Mr. Smallwood I wonder if the production of cellulose is contemplated by the AND Company, as I know they had it under consideration in years past. I have here the wages and figures given by the AND Company showing that from 1907 to 1940 the expenditure in wages and salaries in Newfoundland was $76 million; local purchases $14 million; railway freights $4ยน/โ‚‚ million and so forth. Now I happen to know that that company has been giving these figures year by year from the beginning and they could give them up to the present year. The same thing applies with Bowaters at present. Their figures under wages and salaries and under other headings for the years 1923 to 1940 amounted to $86 million, as compared with $105 million by the AND Company in expenditure from 1907 to 1940. Would the convenor of this committee undertake to get these figures up to the present?
Mr. Cashin When we were preparing this report we had to be guided by our terms of reference, and were concerned with getting a picture of the economic and financial position of the country. I have no doubt but that the figures asked for will be made available for us by the companies concerned, although I do not think they have any great bearing on the country....
Mr. Hollett I think it is most important and desirable that we have all the statistical information possible before us to aid us in our work. Mr. Cashin Would not the figures in the Chadwick-Jones report be of some assistance?
Mr. Hollett I would rather not rely on that for reference, particularly dealing with Grand Falls where I have lived for some time. I would like to know with some degree of definiteness the number of employees the AND Company have; the wages paid; the amount for local purchases and the amount of duty paid, so that we can see what value that company is to the country and to the revenue. Another desirable thing to know is if that company hopes to make anything else besides paper during their term in this country. In other countries such companies are making other wood products. If the AND Company or Bowaters cannot do that, let us get other companies to operate here and let us get the best we can out of the industry. However, 1 do think that if the Committee had an interview with the AND Company more necessary information would be forthcoming to work on.
Mr. Cashin We would undertake to do that and have the information obtained embodied in a supplementary report, which it is proposed to bring in.
[There followed a discussion on how the Convention might obtain additional information on the newsprint industry. The section on reafforestation was discussed briefly.]
Mr. Cashin We were fortunate in having as convenor of the Committee, Mr. Fudge, who is connected with the union on the west coast and I would suggest that Mr. Fudge would reply to anything in connection with the labour situation of the pulp and paper industry. Mr. Brown, who is unfortunately ill, was also a member of the Committee and he was also connected with the labour unions.
Mr. Fudge "It is a well-known fact that during depression years wages paid our woodsmen and other employees throughout this particular industry were little better than sufficient to keep body and soul together." That is correct. in 1937 when I came into the union which I represent,[1] the wages paid for a 10 hour day were $1.60; and the cutting of wood by contract was from 90 cents to not exceeding $1.50 per cord. The wages in 1945-46 were $5.30 a day for a 10 hour day; cutters $3.60 per cord. All other rates were jacked up in proportion. If I remember, the board rate was 75 cents per day, and out of $1.60 you have some idea of what was left. Today they get $5.30 and the board rate is 80 cents per day. I would like to say that the agreement which exists between the union and the paper companies automatically dies on April 10, 1947; whereupon a 174 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1946 new wage agreement will, I hope, be made up and we are looking forward to a further increase.
Mr. Hollett Can you give us the approximate earnings of woodcutters during the past season? I know they varied considerably, depending on the ability of the woodcutters. Could you give us the approximate figure?
Mr. Fudge I am speaking of the Bowater operations. We find that the average cut per man is 1 1/2 cords; he is paid not less than $3.86 on an average. You will find the average has increased, and the reason is because the men have better accommodations and better food and are therefore better able to do a day's work. The average days' work in the woods per month is around 23 working days.
Mr. Ballam The figures quoted here are average. I think the earnings of many men are much higher. You will always find that there are some who work better than others. They can clear $5 a day less one cent, that is the general overall average. There are fellows who have a chance of making $10 or $12 a day. There are fellows who make that average for months on end. They are extra good cutters. On a general average they clear $5 a day.
Mr. Fudge I do not want to offend my friend, but I do not think that is correct. A logger does not clear $12 a day on an average. There are deductions for board and medical fees. They have to buy blankets and shirts.
Mr. Hollett While we are on this particular paragraph I rise to pay tribute to the work being done by the Woods Labour Board in connection with wages in the woods. If it had not been for that board and for the chairman[1] who looked after their interests, we would have had considerable trouble in Newfoundland during war years.... In Grand Falls, I have known bodies of men who worked together in harmony and I wish to pay tribute to these unions in Grand Falls. It is only by the companies and the unions getting together that we can have harmony in woods operations and for that matter in all operations throughout the country.
Mr. Fudge There is another thing I would like to mention โ€” forest fires. I remind the delegates that when you take into consideration the number of men working in the companies' woods during the summer months, and compare the number of tires, you will be surprised to hear that very seldom do we get a fire caused by woodsmen. There was only one year that we had two fires and there is, at times, anywhere from 5,000 to 6,000 men engaged in the forest industry and I should say most of those men make little fires to boil their kettles and get their lunch twice a day, and it is remarkable to see how careful the woodsman is in protecting the forest. We should not forget them when bringing in this report.
[There was some discussion of the section on local sawmills and the export of pitprops. The committee of the whole then rose and reportezi progress. The Convention adjourned]

Source:

Newfoundland. The Newfoundland National Convention, 1946-1948 Vol 1: Debates. Edited by J.K. Hiller and M.F. Harrington Montreal: Memorial University of Newfoundland by McGill-Queen's University Press, 1995).

Credits:

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Selection of input documents and completion of metadata: Gordon Lyall.

Footnotes:

  • [1] The Secretary, Captain Warren, acted as Chairman.
  • [2] Volume II:65. [Volume II is not in The Confederation Debates Collection]
  • [3] That is, non-denominational schools.
  • The Commissron of Government instituted free and compulsory education in 1942.
  • [1] In the original, Mr. Starkes gave the inaccurate figure of 12%, and based the rest of his speech on the assumption that the percentage of expenditure devoted to education had declined.
  • [1] Volume II:56. [Volume II is not in The Confederation Debates Collection]
  • [2] November 11.
  • [3] Of the earning power of sawmill operations.
  • [1] Bowaters operated the pulp and paper mill at Corner Brook (1938).
  • [1] Forest within three miles of the coast was reserved for use by residents.
  • [1] Anglo-Newfoundland Development Company (AND).
  • [2] The Reid Newfoundland Company received land entitlements under contracts signed with the Newfoundland government in 1893, 1898 and 1901 for the operation of the railway.
  • [1] The Newfoundland Labourers' Union.
  • [1] R. Gushue.

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