HC Deb 08 March 1938 vol 332 cc1700-1
31. Mr. Lunn

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether he can give any information as to the causes of the delay in the work of the department of rural reconstruction set up in Newfoundland?

Mr. M. MacDonald

The Department was set up last year in connection with the Commission of Government's long-term proposals in regard to agricultural development, land settlement and the reorganisation on a more secure basis of village life in general. It has made progress with various measures such as the organisation of co-operative activities, land reclamation and livestock improvement. As regards the main programme, however, it was felt that further investigation and advice were needed before definite steps were instituted. On the scientific side—more particularly in relation to land reclamation—arrangements were made last autumn for Professor J. A. Hanley of Armstrong College, a distinguished soil expert, to pay a short visit to Newfoundland. His report is now under consideration by the Newfoundland Government. As regards the more general side, it has been arranged, at the request of the Commission, that an officer of the Ministry of Agriculture here should be lent to Newfoundland to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the whole field of rural reconstruction in the island. He will leave for Newfoundland very shortly.

Mr. Lunn

When are we likely to have a report of anything that is taking place in land settlement and any of the other things connected with rural reconstruction?

Mr. MacDonald

Anything there is to report of activity during the last 12 months will be contained in the annual report which is normally published a little later in the year.

Mr. Louis Smith

Having regard to the need of this Dominion for guidance and help from this country's representatives, will the Minister urge upon them the necessity of there being no further delay in the matter?

Mr. MacDonald

My answer indicated that there will be no delay.