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Community in financial distress after Verigin's death

Nov. 13th

Hon. John Oliver,
Victoria, B.C.

Honorable Sir:

Confirming my interview with you, Dr. MacLean, Dr. Sutherland and Mr. Barrow, I wish to outline all the questions in writing which I already read this morning.

First, the question was already brought up to you several times in writing and in person by different representatives of our community in the past and all times was turned down. At the present time being without our beloved leader Mr. Peter Verigin, who met tragical death in explosion on Kettle Valley train, October 29th 1924, our community decided to appeal to you Honorable Sir, once more to extend us help in the way of compensation for road works, even such amount which is just and necessary to pay taxes on property, namely $58,706.06. [[...]]

Third — if you will not extend to our community such help as above stated, the community property will be ruined unavoidably, will go to receivers' hands, and all the men will go into proletariats and people will feel very sore that Liberals did not give them any help, and they will be never in favor of Liberals. Also your Opposition will criticize you for such ruination, same as they are criticizing you now for selling our goods at Grand Forks, about which the Doukhobors already forgot long ago.

Fourth — we already made application to the Government to give us a loan to finish our water projects, for which we require about $150,000. and this application was turned down without any consideration. I would like to point out to you, Honorable Sir, that if you will help our community by way of compensation for road works in order to withhold sale of our property for taxes, then people will stay on land and gradually will install irrigation system, as I have in view to acquire steel pipes to put across the Kootenay River at Brilliant. Then I may assure you that the Doukhobor colony will be flourishing. The land was covered with heavy timber but the Doukhobors started without a penny to clear the land and put up the buildings and plant the fruit trees, and now the community has good orchards, good buildings and everything in perfect condition (except water system.)

We have built this summer five new schools and three schools were remodelled. These schools cost our community at least $15,000. The school question is arranged now satisfactorily.

The Government's money, by which they will help our community in the way of compensation for roads, will be returned to the Government doublefold in the near future by way of taxes as we will have a big income from the sale of our abundant crops of fruit and vegetables after irrigation system will be definitely installed. Our jam factory equipped in very good condition.

If you, Honorable Sir, will not help us at the present time as above stated, then I can assure you that our property will be reverted to the Crown, which land is without water, and as I am well posted on the situation of ranches in B. C., that a great acreage of land has already reverted to the Crown. That means there will be no purchasers for the Doukhobor lands for taxes and the Government will have an additional over 20,000 acres of unirrigated land, without any revenue in the way of taxes or rent payments. This will be a sad case and disgraceful to the Liberal Government.

Fifth — I came to you, Honorable Sir, with the request to help our community in the name of Jesus Christ and for the sake of the welfare of the country. Your power of course, does not come from the God but from the majority of the people of the Province, but you may use your wisdom which is from the God to help the people in your Province just at this hard time, and this help will be reimbursed as above stated. Hoping that you will give best consideration to my request, Honorable Sir, and extend to our community assistance as above outlined. Thanking you very much that you so kindly spared me your valuable time and your Ministers'.

With personal regards,
Yours sincerely,
J.P. Shukin
Manager, for the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood.

Source: BC Archives, Premier — 1925 — Doukhobor, GR 441 Vol. 246 File 7, Illegible, Letter Discussing Doukhobor Demands and Liberal Votes, November 13, 1925.

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