Order In Council PC4458-1941 : Private lands expropriated
The Committee of the Privy Council have had before them a report, dated June 11th, 1941, from the Minister of National Defence, representing as follows:—
1.By an Order-in-Council dated 9th April, 1941, P.C. 2506, approval was given to the lease from the Province of Alberta of an area comprising about 700 000 acres, to be used as a full-scale Experimental Station for defensive measures against Gas and Chemical Warfare, the same to be financed and operated jointly by Canada and the United Kingdom on the basis that both capital and maintenance costs would be shared equally by the two Governments.
2.The arrangements in brief, as approved by the said Order-in-Council, were that the Province would acquire all patented lands in the area in question, remove all settlers therefrom, and would lease said lands, together with the adjoining Provincial lands, to the Dominion for a term of 99 years at a rental of $1.00 per annum, and that the Dominion would grant to the Province the sum of Six Hundred Thousand Dollars ($600,000) in respect of the cost which the acquisition of the patented lands and the removal of the settlers thereon to a new locations would entail.
3.In a letter dated May 13th, 1941, copy attached, the Premier of Alberta advised that, for the reasons therein stated, the Province felt that it is financially impossible for it to take the responsibility to move the settlers from the lands hereinbefore mentioned, and making their lands available to the Department, and said letter was followed by a telegram from the Minister of National Defence to the Premier of Alberta dated May 16th, a copy of which is attached.
4.In consequence of the foregoing and in view of the urgent need of the development of this Experimental Station, after consultation with the High Commissioner for the United Kingdom in Canada, and after consultation by the representatives of the Department of National Defence with the Government of Alberta, it was decided that, in order to obtain the requisite lands without delay, the whole are comprising approximately 700,000 acres be expropriated, on the basis set out in the following telegrams, copies of which are attached, namely:
- May 29th, from the Minister to the Hon. Wm. Aberhart,
- May 30th, Hon. William Aberhart to the Minister,
- May 30th, from the Minister to the Hon. Wm. Aberhart.
A plan and description of the whole area was accordingly deposited in the appropriate Registry Division on 31st May, 1941.
5.The Real Estate Adviser and the Special Assistant to the Associate Minister of National Defence, (such Assistant being associated with the Real Estate Adviser in connection with the proceeding to acquire such lands), now advise that they are in a position to negotiate with the various settlers and other parties having an interest in portions of the land so expropriated, but they report that, in many cases it is necessary in order to make it practicable for those having such interest to vacate the lands promptly, that an advance be made to enable them to defray expenses which such a move entails, and that to withhold any payment until the numerous titles have been searched and the precise interests of the respective parties are determined would in effect seriously delay the vacating of the land and postpone by months the putting into operation of the said Experimental Station.
6.The said Real Estate Adviser and the Special Assistant to the Associate Minister of National Defence, have accordlngly recommended that funds now be made available to enable some payment being made forthwith in respect of lands so expropriated. Said representatives have recommended that to each of the parties, in respect of whom the Agent of the Department of Justice has certified that, on the information available and subject to later cheek and final opinion, the party concerned is entitled to receive compensation, there may be paid such amount as is considered by the Real Estate Adviser of the Department of National Defence necessary to facilitate the vacating of such lands, such amount not to exceed the amount which is certified by such Real Estate Adviser as being the sum to which, in any event, said party would be entitled in accordance with the certificate of the Agent of the Department of Justice: in those cases wherein the party concerned does not agree to accept such payment in full and final settlement, the payment so made to be regarded as being a payment on account, leaving the final amount of compensation to be determined either by the Exchequer Court, pursuant to the Expropriation Act, or by subsequent negotiations. The said Real Estate Adviser and the Special Assistant to the Associate Minister of National Defence also recommend that in order to avoid delay and the causing of undue inconvenience to the parties mentioned, funds for the purpose aforesaid not exceeding the sum of $150,000. be made readily available by being placed to the credit of the Real Estate Adviser in trust in a Chartered Bank at Medicine Hat and that the Real Estate Adviser, or his duly authorized representative be empowered to make the payments mentioned above by cheque, signed by any two of the following:
Lieutenant-Colonel Goodwin Gibson,
Mr. Henry Allan,
Mr. G. M. Bowes,
Captain H. A. Dyde,
payable jointly to the parties respectively regarding whom the Agent of the Department of Justice has certified as above and to the Agent of the Department of Justice.
The Committee, therefore, on the recommendation of the Minister of National Defence, advise:—
- (a) That the action set out in paragraphs numbered 3 and 4 hereof be confirmed as of and from the date hereof;
- (b) That the recommendation set out in paragraphs numbered 5 and 6 hereof be approved; and
- (c) That the sum of One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) be made available for the foregoing purposes and under the foregoing conditions; the amount involved to be charged to War Appropriation, the necessary adjustment being eventually made when the proportion of the expenditure to be borne by Canada on this Experimental Station has been allocated between Army and Air Services.
OFFICE OF THE PREMIER
EDMONTON, May 13, 1941.
Pursuant to our conversation this afternoon with regard to the Tilley East Area Testing Field, we held a council meeting forthwith and have discussed the matter thoroughly from every angle.
When we proposed to undertake to assist you in this property we had in mind the exchanging of other Provincial land equally as good as or better than that already occupied by the people residing within its bounds. The basis of our calculation together was that there would be largely the matter of moving expenses and adjustment of buildings etc. of the residents and owners.
Honourable Messrs. Tanner and Fallow went into the district and spent five days trying to make contracts with the people to get them moved but they found that the people were not willing to accept an exchange of land and demanded a minimum of $10.00 per acre for their lend together with $6.00 per acre for crops sown, and full value of other improvements.
They secured satisfactory agreements with about fifteen residents but a few days after the residents held a meeting and passed resolutions to the effect that all agreements made were repudiated and that they "absolutely refuse individually and collectively to co-operate further under the present set up". A copy of this resolution was forwarded by them to the Prime Minister and Governor General of Canada.
Without going into the causes of this agitation, we feel that it is financially impossible for us to take the responsibility of moving these people out and making their land available to you.
We are however prepared to make available all land within the area to the Department of National Defence, according to our first proposal, with the understanding that the Dominion Government deal directly with the settlers within the area. It you are agreeable to this we shell pass O.C. making this land available to you immediately.
Yours very truly,
(Sgd.) William Aberhart
Colonel the Honourable James Ralston,
Minister of National Defence,
CANADIAN NATIONAL TELEGRAPHS
OTTAWA, May 16, 1941.
HONOURABLE W. ABERHART, B.A., M.P.P.,
PREMIER OF ALBERTA,
ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR LETTER MAY THIRTEENTH AND NOTE YOUR CONCLUSION
STOP AS YOU WILL REALIZE LOSS OF TIME PARTICULARLY SERIOUS
FACTOR STOP BRITISH GOVERNMENT BEING ADVISED IMMEDIATELY AND
IN THE MEANTIME PENDING THEIR REPLY AND TO MINIMIZE FURTHER
DELAY I AM SENDING COLONEL GIBSON AND MR DYDE TO EDMONTON TO
CONFER WITH YOUR GOVERNMENT AND OFFICIALS REGARDING CHANGED
SITUATION AND POSSIBLE MEASURES OF COOPERATION BY YOUR GOVERNMENT
WHICH MIGHT BE HELPFUL IN EVENT OF DOMINION TAKING INITIATIVE
IN ACQUIRING PRIVATELY OWNED LANDS DIRECT STOP WOULD BE GREATLY
OBLIGED BY YOUR ARRANGING THAT COLONEL GIBSON AND MR DYDE BE
GIVEN ALL POSSIBLE CONSIDERATION IN VIEW OF VITAL AND URGENT
IMPORTANCE OF THIS PROJECT STOP YOUR CONTINUED OFFER OF PROVINCIAL
LAND IS MUCH APPRECIATED
J. L. Ralston
Minister of National Defence
OTTAWA, May 29, 1941.
HONOURARLE WILLIAM ABERHART,
PREMIER OF ALBERTA,
RE TILLEY EAST AREA STOP FURTHER TO MY TELEGRAM OF MAY 16
IN REPLY TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY THIRTEENTH I BEG TO ADVISE YOU
THAT DECISION HAS BEEN REACHED TO ACCEPT YOUR CONTINUED OFFER
AS PER YOUR LAST PARAGRAPH TO MAKE AVAILABLE TO DEPARTMENT OF
NATIONAL DEFENCE ALL PROVINCIAL LAND WITHIN THE AREA STOP
DOMINION GOVERNMENT WILL PROCEED TO DEAL DIRECTLY WITH THE
PRIVATE OWNERS AS YOU SUGGEST STOP I NOTE THAT YOUR GOVERNMENT
WILL PASS THE NECESSARY ORDER IN COUNCIL STOP UNDERSTAND FROM
GIBSON AND DYDE THAT TO SAVE TIME PROCEDURE WILL BE TO FILE PLAN
COVERING WHOLE AREA INCLUDING PROVINCIAL LANDS AND THAT THEY
IN CONSULTATION WITH YOUR OFFICIALS ARE WORKING OUT APPROPRIATE
CONVEYANCING TO GIVE EFFECT TO ABOVE ARRANGEMENT STOP WHILE
NEGOTIATIONS AND PROCEEDINGS WILL BE UNDER OFFICIALS OF THIS
DEPARTMENT AND DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE WOULD OF COURSE BE GREATLY
OBLIGED TO HAVE CONTINUED ACTIVE COOPERATION OF ALBERTA GOVERN-
MENT AND OFFICIALS IN MATTERS WHERE YOUR ADMINISTRATIVE AND
TECHNICAL MACHINERY MIGHT BE HELPFUL AND WHERE KNOWLEDGE AND
EXPERIENCE OF LOCAL CONDITIONS WOULD BE OF VALUE STOP IT WOULD
OF COURSE BE OF ASSISTANCE IF LAND IN OTHER PARTS OF THE PROVINCE
WERE MADE AVAILABLE TO US IN EVENT OF PRIVATE OWNERS PREFERRING
TO BE PROVIDED WITH LAND AS COMPENSATION IN WHOLE OR IN PART.
J. L. Ralston
Minister of National Defence.
1mosy 164 day letter
Edmonton Alta May 30-41 1143a
HONORABLE J.L. RALSTON MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENCE, OTTAWA.
IN ANSWER TO YOUR WIRE OF MAY 29 RE TILLEY EAST AREA WE AGREE TO LEASE
FOR A PERIOD OF NINETY NINE YEARS TO DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE ALL
PROVINCIAL LAND WITHIN THE AREA REFERRED TO AS THE BRITISH BLOCK EX-
CEPTING THE BED OF THE SOUTH SASKATCHEWAN RIVER STOP DOMINION GOVERNMENT
TO DEAL DIRECTLY WITH PRIVATE OWNERS AND ALL SETTLERS WITHIN THE AREA
WE ARE AGREEABLE TO HAVE YOUR MEN FILE PLAN COVERING WHOLE AREA INCLUDING
PROVINCIAL LANDS AND TO HAVE THEN CONSULT WITH OUR OFFICIALS TO WORK
OUT APPROPRIATE CONVEYANCING TO GIVE EFFECT TO THE ABOVE ARRANGEMENT
WITH UNDERSTANDING THAT ALL PROVINCIAL LANDS WITHIN AREA WILL BE
RECONVEYED TO PROVINCE SO THAT A PROPER LEASE CAN BE EXECUTED STOP
WE SHALL CONTINUE TO GIVE ACTIVE COOPERATION IN MATTERS WHERE OUR
ADMINISTRATIVE AND TECHNICAL MACHINERY MIGHT BE HELPFUL STOP WHERE
RESIDENTS OF THE AREA WISH TO LOCATE UPON AVAILABLE VACANT PROVINCIAL
LANDS OUTSIDE THE AREA WE SHALL ENDEAVOUR TO NEGOTIATE SATISFACTORY
ARRANGEMENTS WITH THEM
Via CANADIAN NATIONAL
To HONOURABLE WILLIAM ABERHART,
Date MAY 30, 1941.
- PREMIER OF ALBERTA,
- EDMONTON, ALBERTA.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR WIRE OF THE THIRTIETH STOP SINCERELY APPRECIATED YOUR ASSURANCE OF COOPERATION AND YOUR READINESS TO HELP IN CONNECTION WITH NEGOTIATING SATISFACTORY ARRANGEMENTS WITH RESIDENTS WISHING TO LOCATE ON AVAILABLE VACANT PROVINCIAL LANDS ELSEWHERE STOP WE ARE ALSO VERY MUCH OBLIGED FOR THE TIME AND CONSIDERATION WHICH HAS BEEN GIVEN THE MATTER BY YOU AND YOUR COLLEAGUES IN DISCUSSIONS WITH COLONEL GIBSON AND MR. DYDE AND THE PRACTICAL HELP WHICH IS BEING PROVIDED BY YOUR GIVING US THE BENEFIT OF THE SERVICES OF YOUR OFFICIALS WHO I UNDERSTAND WILL BE WORKING WITH THEM ON THE GROUND
- J.L. RALSTON
MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENCE