June 11, 1929

UFA

Alfred Speakman

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. SPEAKMAN:

Might I ask if there

has been any success attained so far? I should tike to know if there is any possibility in sight at the moment of accomplishing that task and finding out how to utilize these deposits in a commercial way.

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

If it were

not for the fact that fuel oil is fairly cheap because it is being secured in such large quantities and can be transported at a fairly rea-' sonable cost, the extraction of oil from shale, from the tar sands and from coal could be carried on in a commercial way, but while fuel oil is so cheap it is very difficult to compete with, at least under any present methods of extraction.

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UFA

Alfred Speakman

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. SPEAKMAN:

That is the point I had in mind, because we all know it can be extracted successfully; it is purely a matter of how much it costs, and I was directing my inquiry along that line.

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CON

Finlay MacDonald

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacDONALD (South Cape Breton):

Anyone who has paid any attention to this coal question must realize the difficulties confronting coal producers in Canada. I appreciate the difficulties which face the minister, but I do not think he is proceeding as he should. I quite appreciate the position we are in, with the coal fields of the United States so close to the industrial centres of Canada, which makes it possible for these industrial concerns to get American coal quite cheaply; there is no doubt that we will have a great deal of difficulty in meeting that competition. That is a question of transportation, and the minister appears to devote the most of his attention to that question. But transportation is only one element which has to be considered; there are many other and probably just as important factors in connection with this problem. There is the element of the cost of production; then there is the element of transportation; then comes the element of marketing, and, last but not

least, the element of competition. When I had the honour of addressing this house upon this question I pointed out what I thought was a feasible plan, one which might afford some solution of the problem and cause the government to give some consideration to the formulating of a national fuel policy. We admit that under ordinary circumstances it is impossible to put Nova Scotia or Alberta coal into central Canada to compete on an even footing with American coal; that may as well be admitted first as last. But as the hon. member for South Renfrew said a few moments ago, the people of Ontario and western Quebec are willing to make a sacrifice in order that we may become independent, as far as fuel resources are concerned. Of course everyone must realize that there is a limit to the extent to which the good people of Ontario would be prepared to go in that direction. The suggestion which I offered last year was the appointment of a commission to investigate the cost of production, the cost of transportation, the cost of marketing, and last but not least, the element of protection, but I am afraid that in that connection we will not have the sympathy of the present Minister of Finance. It was stated this afternoon that the present Minister of Mines rather prided himself on the quotation with reference to the "death knell of protection." Additional protection is needed on our coal in order that it may successfully invade the markets of central Canada. The government deserves credit for giving us a three dollar rate on coal to points in Quebec, but that is not enough. This national fuel policy will never be evolved by considering only one element. I suggest that a commission of outstanding public men be appointed to study this question. The facts are all obtainable from the bureau; the department is excellently staffed and the information is available which will enable a commission composed of such men, as I suggested last year, to solve this problem. I leave that suggestion with the minister.

Last year the government received a delegation from Nova Scotia which asked for a two dollar rate. The Minister of Mines was present and heard that request, but as yet no answer has been made. Is it the intention of the minister to consider that request for a two dollar rate on coal?

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

From what

points?

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CON

Finlay MacDonald

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacDONALD (South Cape Breton):

From all Nova Scotia points; to replace the three dollar rate.

3594 COMMONS

Supply-Mines and Geological Survey

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

The government does not feel that the rate can be changed until the report is received from the railway commission as to the present movement. The matter still stands awaiting that report.

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CON

Finlay MacDonald

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacDONALD (South Cape Breton):

Will the minister give some attention to my suggestion as to the appointment of a commission?

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

Speaking

personally, and not for the government, I do not think a commission would be able to gather any more facts than are being collected now with respect to transportation. The hon. member suggests that a duty should be placed against the foreign article, but it would not be necessary to appoint a commission to decide that; that would be a matter of policy. Personally, I have always felt that the manufacturers, as well as the domestic users of Ontario, were entitled to receive their coal, which is such an important factor in manufacturing as well as in domestic heating, at as reasonable a price as it could be procured; I do not think it would be fair to ask them to pay any more than they are paying at present. My endeavour has been to supply those consumers with the Canadian product at a price as near as possible to the price they are now paying. Otherwise they would be handicapped to some extent, and I do not think that would be fair. If a contribution is to be made, it should come from the federal government, but so far as I am concerned I do not think there is any necessity to appoint a commission at the moment. We are conducting test movements from both the east and the west in order to establish what is the actual cost of transportation. These movements are not being conducted to determine whether there shall be a dollar, two dollar or three dollar rate, but to establish the actual cost of transportation.

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CON

Thomas Cantley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CANTLEY:

The minister talks about test movements and giving cheap fuel to the Ontario manufacturer, but the fact of the matter is that the coal producers have a protection of about 10 per cent, while some of the Ontario users of coal brought in from the United States have a protection of from 25 to 30 per cent. Is one class of producers not entitled to as adequate protection as another? The minister referred to some of his young men having been taken away by industrial firms and I am very glad that some of them have found useful employment which they certainly could not find when they were in

fMr. F. MacDonald.!

the minister's department. The minister made reference to the fuel policy of the government as it concerns coal and coking ovens, but he was unable to answer the question as to whether or not any bounty has been paid. The fact of the matter is that the only installation able to comply with the conditions of that policy is one consisting of ten or fifteen coking ovens which were built in Halifax to replace an old gas plant which had been in existence from time out of mind. I think this plant has been completed, but when it is in operation it will not amount to a row of pins as a commercial unit, and the minister knows that is so.

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

The hon. member is aware of the fact that they were using American coal in the old beehive ovens.

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CON

Thomas Cantley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CANTLEY:

It was not a beehive

oven plant. Why are they using American coal in Montreal? If the policy inaugurated by the government was a reasonable one, a _ workable one, why was this large coking plant which has been erected on the bank of the Welland canal not built in the east end of Montreal so that Canadian coal could have been used? It was built at the Welland canal where Nova Scotia coal can get to it only by two ways, either by rail or by being lightered up at a cost almost as great as that of bringing it from Sydney to Montreal. The fact of the matter is that the legislation was of no value; it was known to be no good and it has proved to be just as valuable as we said it would be. It was simply a gesture and nothing more than that.

The minister said that one difficulty and a great one was the matter of sulphur. I state that that difficulty is not at all insuperable. All the sulphur oould be removed out of the gases for a cost of a good deal less than twenty-five cents per tan. All this talk about high sulphur content is only using camouflage to hide behind, nothing more and nothing less.

Some reference was made to the $6.75 rate from Alberta. Coal coming from Alberta to Ontario travels about 2,000 miles. We in Nova Scotia were given a flat rate of $3. If we were given a rate proportionate to the mileage, as we were entitled to, we would have a rate from Sprinighiill, not oif $3 as now, but of $1.80; from M-imto. a rate of $1.60 and from StelLamton a rate of $2.20 instead of S3. I want to tell the minister that about twenty years ago a considerable quantity of Nova Scotia coal was carried to Montreal at a rate of $1.80 from S tell art on. During the years when if was so carried during the win-

Supply-Mines and Geological Survey

ter at that rate, we had surpluses on the Intercolonial. I will admit that it costs more to operate the railway to-day than iit did sixteen years ago, because that is about the time the movement to which I refer took place, but the cost has not increased so much as to change a profitable $1.80 rate to a losing $2 rate. Why should the government apply a blanket rate over the whole of the mari-times, where there is a difference between Minto, the nearest point, and Sydney the furthest, of nearly 400 miles, or practically four-tenths of the whole mileage?

The minister made some reference to the efforts of himself and his department to further the use of Nova Scotia coal in the Montreal district. Unless the minister is greatly belied, on his return from that very enjoyable trip to Germany I understand he was royally entertained in London and he there took the opportunity of suggesting to the people of Great Britain that they were neglecting the market in the St. Lawrence. He suggested that it was a market to which they ought bo pay more attention. I do not think that is quite within his province as Minister of Mines. Still to-night he talks about the great efforts of his department to further the use of Nova Scotia coal in the St. Lawrence valley.

Last winter a considerable quantity of soviet coal entered Canada, and the minister and the government said they were powerless to do anything whatever to prevent such coal from coming in. What was the attitude of the United States in that connection? The first cargo that came into Canada went in the first place to New York. How was it met there? Under the United States system of tariff and under the power given to their president, they were able to deal with it. That coal could not be landed in the United States. The cargo then left New York and travelled all the way around Nova Scotia up the gulf and came into Montreal. Other car-gees followed into Portland thence by rail to Montreal, and this government sat absolutely supine, unable or refusing to do anything to protect the coal industries of Nova Sootia and Alberta, and allowing soviet coal to travel about 6,000 miles, one-third of the circumference of the earth, and enter Canada in free competition with our own coal. The minister did nothing to protect either his friends in the old country or his friends in Nova Scotia or his friends in Alberta in that regard and he has to-day nothing that he can say in defence of his action or lack of action-I leave it to him.

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

May I say

in answer to my hon. friend that the only coal that came in from soviet Russia, and a very small quantity at that, was anthracite coal?

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CON

Thomas Cantley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CANTLEY:

I know it was anthracite coal and tihe quantity was considerable.

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

With regard to my hon. friend's strictures about my suggesting inter-empire trade in anthracite coal and that alone, this was merely a suggestion on my part that instead of the United States getting the business in anthracite, this trade might well go to Great Britain. I was not interfering for a moment with our own domestic fuel supply, because my hon. friend knows full well that we have no anthracite coal.

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CON

Thomas Cantley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CANTLEY:

I absolutely deny that.

What did it displace ? What have we been endeavouring to displace for the last ten years? We have been trying to displace British anthracite and United States anthracite with domestic coke and if the minister would give us a chance we would do it. That is the answer. The minister should get a better story than that or else remain silent.

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

There is a plant in Montreal now and my hon. friend can take advantage of the bonus offered by the government. Let him ship coal and have it used in the Montreal plant, and supplant anthracite. That was the purpose for which the bonus was offered.

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CON

Thomas Cantley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CANTLEY:

The government is allowing German and British coke and tens of thousands of tons of United States coke to enter Canada simply because they will not protect Canadian coke by a duty on coke coming into this country.

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LIB

Mitchell Frederick Hepburn

Liberal

Mr. HEPBURN:

Will the hon. member's

leader make a declaration in favour of protection on coke or coal?

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CON

Thomas Cantley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CANTLEY:

What was it my hon.

friend said? I did not hear.

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June 11, 1929