Open Collections

BC Sessional Papers


Item Metadata


JSON: bcsessional-1.0061584.json
JSON-LD: bcsessional-1.0061584-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): bcsessional-1.0061584-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: bcsessional-1.0061584-rdf.json
Turtle: bcsessional-1.0061584-turtle.txt
N-Triples: bcsessional-1.0061584-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: bcsessional-1.0061584-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

 49 Vic. Dominion Lands within the Province. 367
Copy of a Report of a Committee of the  Honourable   the   Executive   Council,   approved  by
His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor the 17th December, 1883.
On a Memorandum from the Honourable the Provincial Secretary, dated the 15th
December, 1883, recommending approval of the following Address to His Honour the
Lieutenant-Governor, which has been passed by the Legislative Assembly, viz.:—
" That His Honour will be pleased to bring to the attention of the Dominion Government
the importance of at once making the Dominion timber lands within the Province available to
the use of mill-owners and others."
The Committee advise that the recommendation be approved.
(Signed)        Jno. Robson,
Clerk Executive Council.
Copy ofi a  Report  ofi a   Committee  ofi tfie Honourable  the Executive Council, approved  by
His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor the 28th May, 1885.
The Committee of Council have had under consideration the "Regulations for the disposal
of Dominion lands within the railway belt in the Province of British Columbia," adopted by
Order in Council dated the 20th April, 1885.
The Committee regret to observe that these "Regulations," by reason of cumbersome and
vexatious provisions and excessive imposts, are altogether unsuited to the wants and conditions
of this Province; that they are in some respects inconsistent with the spirit, if not a violation
of the letter, of the agreement arrived at between the two Governments, and it is believed
that any attempt to enfore them would be prejudicial to the best interests, if not dangerous to
the peace, of the community.
The privilege of homestead entry is confined to such lands as shall have been surveyed,
and the survey thereof formally confirmed by the Department of the Interior. This limitation
is calculated to operate prejudicially to settlement, especially in view of the delay which has
occurred and, to all appearance, is likely to occur in placing these lands in a position to be
homesteaded conformably with this provision.
It was agreed (inter alia) by the Dominion Government that agricultural lands within
the railway belt in British Columbia would be thrown open with all convenient speed to actual
settlers, at the price of one dollar an acre—an agreement not qualified by limitation as to time
or survey. Assuming that section 9 provides for regulating the price of these lands by Order
in Council conformably with said agreement, the Committee would point out the serious hindrance to settlement caused in the past by the uncertainty as to right and conditions of homestead entry—a state of things which it is feared will only be intensified by the Regulations
now under review.
The exemptions from homestead entry in section 13, sub-section 3, are of a character to
deter the conscientious immigrant from availing himself of the so-called privileges thereunder.
It might, indeed, be difficult to find a quarter-section of which the settler could not be deprived
by a rigid application of these provisions. 368 Dominion Lands within the Province. 1886
The extent of improvements exacted under section 20, sub-section 4, is altogether beyond
the capacity of a single settler, especially when it is considered that much of the land within
the railway belt on the Lower Fraser is heavily timbered and very difficult to clear.
Section 12 provides that the homesteading regulations shall not apply to lands settled
upon after the first day of July, 1885. Inasmuch as the right of homestead entry is confined
to surveyed lands, and little or no land can be surveyed before the above-mentioned date, this
regulation would appear practically to take away with one hand what it professes to give with
the other—to mock the intending settler. This unreasonable limitation is, moreover, a violation of the agreement made between the two Governments, according to which agricultural
lands within the railway belt in British Columbia were to be open to actual settlers at one
dollar an acre, without limitation as to time.
Those sections of the Regulations relating to timber lands are equally, if not even more,
objectionable. Q Generally, the provisions and restrictions are so cumbersome as to become
vexatious, if not absolutely impracticable, when applied to the scattered and remote timber
lands of this Province.
When it is considered that our lumbering industry is only in its infancy, struggling at
enormous disadvantage against the gigantic establishments and heavy customs tariffs of a
powerful neighbour, it is submitted that to still farther handicap it by imposing the cumbersome and vexatious regulations and restrictions already adverted to, and to add to these the
heavy imposts provided for in sections 44, 47, and 63, would be to paralize, if not absolutely
crush out, this important industry.
Section 27 declares " that no grant from the Crown of lands in freehold or for any less
" estate has operated, or will operate, as a conveyance of the minerals therein, unless the same
" are expressly conveyed in such grant."
Crown patents issued in this Province for lands within the railway belt, as elsewhere,
have, by intendment of law, though not " expressly," conveyed everything on and under the
land, except gold and silver: and if the words above quoted are intended or calculated to
disturb the patentee in the enjoyment of his accustomed rights, or if they are intended or
calculated to interfere with the acquirement of similar rights by settlers within the said belt
who may be entitled hereafter to receive patents from the Provincial Government, the Committee desire respectfully, but most emphatically, to protest against an innovation so inconsistent with the principles of justice and constitutional law.
It is respectfully submitted that the people of British Columbia are the best judges of
what is calculated to promote internal prosperity and well-being, and the simple circumstance
of their own Legislature in dealing with the Provincial Lands, imposing regulations immeasurably less onerous and charges less than one-fourth of those under review may fairly be accepted
as a very conclusive argument in support of the contention that the Dominion Land Regulations are illiberal and burdensome.
The Committee desire to call special attention to the following: The effort of saddling
the Dominion timber lands with^regulatipns so much more onerous, and imposts so very much
heavier than those imposed upon contiguous Provincial timber lands, must obviously be to confine lumbering operations almost entirely to the latter, with the still more serious result of
destruction of the former by fire as settlement penetrates the forest. Thus not only would an
important industry be seriously crippled meanwhile, and Federal and Provincial revenues
thereby depleted, but enormous forest wealth would be completely destroyed.
The Committee most respectfully submit that the true interests of the country, both
Dominion and Provincial, would be best promoted by having the lands within the railway belt
administered on terms similar or appoximating to those governing contiguous Provincial lands.
The Committee advise that this Minute be approved and a copy forwarded to the Honourable the Secretary of State for Canada.
(Signed)        Jno. Robson,
Clerk Executive Council.
(The " Regulations " referred to in the above Minute are to be found in the British Columbia Gazette, 11th June to 2nd July, 1885, inclusive.)   ,
Receipt of the above was acknowledged by the Honourable the Secretary of State for
Canada in a despatch to His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor, dated 12th June, 1885. 49 Vic.      - Dominion Lands within the Province. ,JM%
The Secretary ofi State to the Lieutenant-Governor.
Ottawa, Sept. 8th, 1885.
Sir,—I have the honour to acquaint you, for the information of your Government, that
His Excellency the Governor-General has had under his consideration in Council, your despatch
dated the 19th December, 1883, transmitting a report of your Executive Council calling the
attention of His Excellency's advisers to the importance of making the Dominion Timber
Lands in British Columbia available to the use of mill-owners and others.
His Excellency is advised that Regulations similar to those in force in that portion of
British Columbia, the public lands in which are under the jurisdiction of your Government,
have been adopted to govern the disposal of timber on Dominion Lands situate between the
sea coast and Yale in that Provance.
From Yale to where the 120th meridian of longitude intersects the line of the Canadian
Pacific Railway, which point of intersection is about fifteen miles east of Kamloops, the Regulations which were originally passed by His Excellency in Council on the 20th April, 1885,
to govern the disposal of timber lands west of the 120th meridian apply, and the Regulations
now in force in Manitoba and the Northwest Territories, govern from the 120th meridian to
the summit of the Rocky Mountains.
I have, (fee,
(Signed)        H. L. Langevin,
For Secretary ofi State.


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items