February 22, 1938

CON

Frank Exton Lennard

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNARD:

What are the educational requirements for this magnetic observer?

Topic:   193S
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

The qualifications? I have no more idea than my hon. friend has.

Topic:   193S
Permalink
CON
LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

I am informed that the

magnetic observer does not require to have university standing. His business is to read the instruments and charge them with the rolls of paper on which the graphic record is made. I should think perhaps he would be a sort of general handy man in connection with the observatory work.

Topic:   193S
Permalink
CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART:

Does the work of this observatory require a staff on duty twenty-four hours a day? Is there any part of the day when there is not some of the staff engaged? Is everything suspended for part of the day?

Topic:   193S
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

They have regular hours, much in line with the hours established in the service, but some members of the staff are required to do their work at night. For instance, observations of the stars have to be carried on at night, and observations of the sun in the daytime.

Topic:   193S
Permalink
CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

What correlation is there, if any, between the observatory and that

Supply-Mines and Resources

branch of the government service referred to in item 391, meteorological service, under the Department of Transport?

Topic:   193S
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

There is no direct relationship. The meteorological service has agents in various parts of Canada to measure the velocity of wind, the rainfall, the temperature, and such meteorological phenomena as I have just mentioned, but that is rather apart from the kind of work that is done in the observatory.

Topic:   193S
Permalink
CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

Then, Mr. Chairman, there will be no additional burden placed upon the observatory by the institution of the trans-Canada airways, for example, which will require very much more extended meteorological service than we have had in the past?

Topic:   193S
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

No. I am very happy to say, particularly since my colleague the Minister of Finance has just arrived, that there will be no additional burden placed on the observatory as the result of the inauguration of the trans-Canada airway.

Topic:   193S
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Mr. Chairman, may I ask the minister if he will do this: Will he just investigate that department? That is all. I do not want to say anything more; I just want to ask him if he will do that. This department cannot possibly function with the material it has to work with and be of any particular national use. You must have a telescope of power. We have not had a new telescope for I forget how long. We have a telescope which, if my memory serves me aright, is of very medium power, and in these days when large and powerful telescopes have taken the place of the instruments that formerly were in use it follows that the bulletins from a college such as Harvard or from the Victoria observatory, where we have a new telescope, or from the observatory at Mount Wilson, where they have a new telescope, so dwarf our telescope into insignificance, almost, as merely to mean-to make a comparison- that we are keeping up a carriage in the days of the automobile.

If the minister will just investigate that I will be content. I know what he will discover. It is perfectly useless to undertake to keep up an institution unless it is supplied with the necessary material to enable it to function usefully. I think the minister knows how true that is. One of the members was speaking about men working for salaries that are low. Men get into this position; they are in the civil service; it is a case of security. They know that at a given time they will get their superannuation, and if the country does no,t supply them with material with which to do 31952-44

the work of astronomers, they do the best they can for a little while and then sink into that quiet calm which you sometimes find so prevalent in the public service, the undisturbed calm of waiting for the day; not the final day-

Topic:   193S
Permalink
?

An hon. MEMBER:

The senate.

Topic:   193S
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Very few of them see the senate, unless they are organizers of the Liberal party, and sometimes that involves a reduction in pay. At any rate, be that as it may, I want to point out to the minister that we should either maintain a service that is worth while or we should cease playing with it, making ourselves more or less ridiculous. Astronomy is one of the oldest of sciences. Astron-omera made tremendous contributions, not only to science but to practical things, arising out of the application of the principles which they have established by experiment and otherwise. It would take a long time indeed to tell about what the astronomer has contributed to the world, going back to days long before the clan Mackenzie were located in the highlands of Scotland. The result of what we are doing is purely negative. On the question of time they do make a contribution undoubtedly, but I am glad to see that the minister has lopped off four employees this year, because it is perfectly obvious that with the material at their hands we have entirely too great a staff. Either give them something to work with or do not keep them out there doing nothing, waiting for that day that comes to all.

I am not going to discuss the matter in detail, for reasons that are obvious, but I do ask the minister himself to investigate it. There is just as much need for putting in a charge here for temporary help as there is for putting a fifth wheel on a coach. You do not need any temporary help there. It is a convenience, a very great convenience too. I mean it is convenient to many people; almost as convenient, for instance, as that S3.000 for the assistant franchise officer, a post which was not filled for so long until after the last election.

The basis of all success in astronomical work is equipment. I do not care what genius you may have in the science of astronomy; unless you have the equipment you can do nothing. That is why the Dunlop telescope was of such very great value to the university of Toronto. That magnificent equipment now enables them to play a part in the scientific world; but did anyone ever point to any part we played in the scientific world with the equipment we have here? I believe they did detect a .tremor about the time of the Shaw report, but as far as any other tremors were concerned I understand there have been no evidences of them.

Supply

Mines and Resources

Topic:   193S
Permalink
LIB
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Oh, yes; the distance increased by geometrical progression as the days passed, and the old maxim, "Hang together or hang separately," which was referred to yesterday, became of great value, but that had nothing to do with astronomy except that it had to do with those dimensions which are immeasurable and about which Einstein speaks so learnedly. I dare say the fifth dimension was determined about that time. Probably the symbol for it would be JG raised to the nth power, but that is a matter for further discussion on other occasions.

Will the minister just look into this himself? That is all I ask.

Topic:   193S
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

Well, Mr. Chairman, I may say that I had it in mind to get a little better acquainted with the work of this observatory during the coming year.

Topic:   193S
Permalink
CON
LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

No. When I want to acquire proficiency in the art of star gazing I shall take my right hon. friend along with me.

Topic:   193S
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

He will be pleased to accompany you.

Topic:   193S
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

I have no doubt that between us we could make an admirable job of it. It is quite true that the telescope at the observatory here is old, and not a modern one. However, that is only part of the work of the observatory. They have to do with the matter of looking after time; they have to do with the recording of earth tremors, and I understand that their seismographic instruments, if that is the correct term, are fairly modem and complete.

Topic:   193S
Permalink

February 22, 1938