May 13, 1938

IMMIGRATION ACT

AMENDMENT OF PROVISION RESPECTING PROHIBITED CLASSES


Mr. A. W. NEILL (Comox-Alberni) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 112, to amend the Immigration Act. . Some hon. MEMBERS: Explain.


IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

Mr. Speaker, the house seems to have a perfect yen for asking explanations about my humble, unobtrusive bill. If it is not one section asking, it is another section demanding. There have been so many bills reprinted in the last few days, this seems to be a sort of legislative Easter. This bill is the resurrected body of Bill No. 38, iwhich was crucified three days ago by the application of a fifteen-year-old rule for which there did not seem to be very much precedent. It now comes before us clothed with explanations, as with a garment, like some beautiful and ostensibly repentant Magdalen knocking at the doors of society for reentry. I hope it will be received with that kindly interest that society always does accord to people with a lurid past when they are fair to look upon and when their sins are sickbed o'er with the pale cast of repentance.

The bill is exactly the same as the one introduced on March 9; the two are identical, word for word, with the exception that the date is different. On an attached sheet, but

2838 COMMONS

Supply-Transport-St. Lawrence Dredging

not forming part of the bill, are to be found certain explanations required by law and I shall be pleased to read them if necessary, though that would take some time. I suggest that I might epitomize the explanation by saying that the purport of the bill is to extend and amplify to a small extent a section of the Immigration Act that has been in force for some twenty-five years, which applies the educational test to immigrants. Those who really want to see further into it will find it set out at page 2735 of Hansard of May 10.

I am sure that, relieved of its handicap in the form of a lack of explanation, the bill will now be treated on its merits and have a pleasant, prosperous and speedy passage through the house.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

The house in committee of supply, Mr. Sanderson in the chair.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT OF PROVISION RESPECTING PROHIBITED CLASSES
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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT


River St. Lawrence ship channel-contract dredging in the St. Lawrence river and Montreal harbour, and the extension of existing weirs, including cost of administration-capital, $2,933,400.


SC

René-Antoine Pelletier

Social Credit

Mr. PELLETIER:

I believe the minister had begun the other evening to give an explanation of the disposal of the St. Lawrence dredging fleet. Before we proceed further perhaps he would like to resume what he was saying on that occasion.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Hon. C. D. HOWE (Minister of Transport):

The hon. gentleman was speaking at the close the other evening. He called it eleven o'clock. Perhaps he would like to continue.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
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SC

René-Antoine Pelletier

Social Credit

Mr. PELLETIER:

Shortly before eleven o'clock I had just begun to point out that three of the contentions advanced by the minister were not, in my opinion, quite accurate. In the first place he told us that the government began to give out contracts for the dredging of the St. Lawrence in 1929 because it realized the necessity of hurrying the work in order to provide a thirty-five foot channel. The records show that contracts were given quite a few years before 1929, but what strikes me as most peculiar is the information brought down by the minister in which he states:

The number of dredges employed by the contractors and by the department on the St. Lawrence work has varied from time to time and it has happened that work has been done by contractors' dredges when departmental dredges were not fully employed. This has been due in part to the urgency of the work.

(Mr. Neill.]

If the work was really so urgent, why were the government dredges doing nothing when contracts were given out to contractors?

The second point which the minister discussed the other day was the Sorel shipyard. He told us that the Sorel shipyards, to use his own words, were maintained simply to repair the government dredging fleet; that that was the yard's main work. I do not think that is quite an accurate picture. It would lead us to believe that the Sorel shipyard was nothing but a repair yard. That is not so. I said the other day, and I repeat it, that the Sorel shipyard was equipped to do a great deal more than mere repair work; it was equipped not only to repair but to build vessels. In proof of that I would point to the number of vessels that were being built in certain years. For example in 1925 two vessels were building; in 1926, eight; in 1927, twelve; in 1928, ten, and so on. So to say that the Sorel shipyard was simply a small affair without much equipment is far from accurate. The Sorel shipyard was equipped not only to build vessels, but even to manufacture the marine boilers required therefor. Furthermore the number of employees at the yard goes to show that it could not have been a small establishment. The minister stated the other day that at times there were between nine hundred and one thousand men employed, so certainly the capacity was much greater than the minister indicated.

But the most important aspect of this deal is the question of valuation. The minister told us the other night that he had asked a private company, the Canadian Appraisal Company, to make a survey of the equipment which was to be sold, and that he based his calculations upon such survey. I believe if we studied the story of the valuation we should find that there is a great deal more to be said than just what the minister told us the other day. For example I have in my hand a part of the return brought down by the minister, showing on page 9 a summary of appraisal values by the Canadian Appraisal Company. I should like to discuss item No. 1, which reads as follows:

Land, including wharves, railway sidings, paving, fences and drainage, value, $60,000.

I believe that valuation is entirely wrong, and I propose to give figures taken from the department's own records to show what the government paid for the land in the first place, proving positively that the valuation of $60,000 is a ridiculous figure in the face of what it cost the government.

On May 26, 1932, the following purchases were made at Sorel: parcel 442, 4,356 square

Supply-Transport-St. Lawrence Dredging

feet; parcel 443, 4,356 square feet; parcel 444, 17,424 square feet; parcel 445, 15,130 square feet; a total area at that time of 51,266 square feet were purchased. The purchase price was $18,316.62, which means roughly 35 cents per square foot. I refer not to the buildings or improvements but to the actual land itself, upon which there can be no such thing as depreciation. This deal was made in 1932 at the lowest point of the depression, and one has only to read the speeches of the then leader of the opposition to know what the condition of the country was at that time and how low values were. Therefore that price of 35 cents a square foot was paid by the department at a time when values were at the lowest possible level.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

What land is it that the hon. member is referring to? Where is it located?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
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SC
LIB
SC
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

The hon. member does not know whether it is or not.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
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SC

René-Antoine Pelletier

Social Credit

Mr. PELLETIER:

It is land that is now part of the shipyard property, commercial land used for that kind of purpose in the town of Sorel. Since the shipyard property is in a much more valuable location, I imagine it would be more valuable than other property.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
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LIB
SC

René-Antoine Pelletier

Social Credit

Mr. PELLETIER:

The situation at Sorel is this. The Richelieu river runs into the St. Lawrence there, and the best possible industrial locations would be immediately at the junction of the two rivers. That means that there is water frontage on two sides, an ideal condition for property for that purpose. In any event these are prices paid by the department for land there, and I take these parcels as examples because they were purchased in 1932 at a time when values were known to be low.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

My hon. friend stated that this land was purchased by the government and later sold, and he has just told us something which would indicate that nothing of the kind took place. Suppose he apologize to the committee for giving false information.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
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SC

René-Antoine Pelletier

Social Credit

Mr. PELLETIER:

I do not believe I have given false information. What I am trying to do is to establish the value.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Did the hon. member say, or did he not, that the land was purchased and then sold?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
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May 13, 1938