June 12, 1941

LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. MacKINNON (Edmonton West):

That is for capital account.

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?

Thomas Miller Bell

Mr. COLDWELL:

Could the minister tell

us briefly what is being done here?

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LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. MacKINNON (Edmonton West):

The special committee on aeronautical, electrical and hydraulic research facilities, comprising representatives of the departments of national defence, public works and transport, and of the national research council, under which the project has been developed, held its first meeting April 12, 1939. The design of buildings and equipment is being carried out by the council staff. Contracts are let and construction supervised by the Department of Public Works. Expropriation proceedings were initiated in April, 1939, and active design of buildings and services commenced that month.

The new laboratories are located on a site of some 130 acres, adjacent to the Royal Canadian Air Force, Rockeliffe air station, at the corner of the Montreal and Skead roads, about four miles east of Ottawa. The original project comprised some fourteen separate laboratories and buildings. Subsequently, following the outbreak of war, the construction of four laboratories, not of direct war importance, was postponed. The present

Supply-Trade and Commerce

project includes ten of the original buildings and an explosives laboratory, a total of eleven structures.

Construction on the first building commenced October 17, 1939. The present position is as follows. Settlement of all expropriation claims has been affected. A water supply and distribution system has been installed; sewers laid, and construction of a system of roads is well advanced. The Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario has constructed a transmission line to the site and a transformer station on the property. The corner-stone of the aerodynamics building was laid on July 23, 1910. Construction of the following buildings is nearing completion and they are now occupied wholly or partly:

Aerodynamics building (wind tunnels and aircraft instrument laboratory).

Central heating plant.

Instrument and model shops.

Storage building.

Aircraft structures laboratory.

Gate house.

The following buildings are in various stages of construction and all should be completed by September 30:

Aircraft engine laboratory.

Model testing basin (floats and hulls).

Gasoline and oil laboratory.

Flammable storage building.

The design of the explosives laboratory is practically finished, and tenders are about to be called.

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Thomas Miller Bell

Mr. COLDWELL:

What is the total estimated cost of this project?

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LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. MacKINNON (Edmonton West):

The total cost is $1,782,168.

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

Has the national research council been carrying out any investigations in connection with the extraction of magnesium from dolomite?

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LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. MacKINNON (Edmonton West):

As the hon. gentleman knows, that work is secret. I have no information on it, but something has been done.

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

Could any report on what the council has been doing be obtained?

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LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. MacKINNON (Edmonton West):

For reasons that will be readily understood, this report is not for publication. I do not ithink there would be any objection to giving such information to any hon. member.

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

I do not understand why it is not published.

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LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. MacKINNON (Edmonton West):

I am in the hands of my advisers.

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

During the past few months I have seen this metal being extracted

from dolomite most successfully. Perhaps this would come under the Department of Mines and Resources.

Items 361 and 523 agreed to.

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NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

Before we leave the estimates of the Minister of Trade and Commerce, I should like to ask a question with respect to the Hecker H-0 company in my riding. I was unavoidably absent this afternoon when the minister's estimates came up. Could the minister make a statement now as to whether there has been any change in the situation with regard to this company getting permits to export to Great Britain?

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LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. MacKINNON (Edmonton West):

The hon. member for Waterloo South (Mr. Homuth) has spoken to me about this particular company and its shipments to the United Kingdom markets, and since it is a typical case, I think I should make a brief statement respecting the negotiations between this company and my department.

On the outbreak of war in September, 1939, the United Kingdom prohibited importation of many commodities and subjected others to import licence. From time to time new commodities were prohibited or restricted by licence control. Cereal breakfast foods, including "Force" manufactured by the Hecker H-0 company, were subjected to import licence as from March 21, 1940.

The Department of Trade and Commerce on March 21, 1940, instructed the Canadian trade commissioner in London to give every assistance possible to the representatives of the Hecker H.-O company in the matter of obtaining import licences for "Force". The trade commissioner replied on April 9 that the representatives of this company had received licence to import 8,700 hundredweights of "Force" during the ensuing three months.

In July, the Hecker H.-O company informed the department of further difficulty in obtaining licences for "Force". The Canadian trade commissioner was again asked to assist. He reported on July 18 that the matter had been discussed with the dominions office of the British government and also that a subcommittee of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, comprising London representatives of different Canadian breakfast cereal companies, had been formed for the purpose of negotiating with the ministry of food over import licences.

Writing further on September 11, the trade commissioner stated that owing to the urgent necessity of concentrating overseas exchange resources and shipping and port facilities upon essential services, the rr inistry of food had decided that they could not issue licences for

Supply-State-Civil Service Commission

importation of breakfast foods. The general and economic situation had become even more critical than earlier in the year. The trade commissioner was of opinion that in view of the attitude of the authorities toward various staple food products, no useful purpose would be served by pressing the matter with the ministry. For example, about this time licence was refused for importation of packaged rolled oats.

A further effort was made to assist the Hecker H-0 company by furnishing a statement of their case to the Canadian delegation, headed by the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner), which went to England in September, 1940. On their return, the delegation reported that discussions with the ministry of food definitely indicated that there was no prospect of any reversal of the position taken by the ministry regarding breakfast foods at this time. The whole matter is one of shipping space.

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DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE


SH. Civil service commission-salaries and contingencies of the commission, $406,900.


NAT

Howard Charles Green

National Government

Mr. GREEN:

Will the minister explain the attitude of the government with regard to that portion of the annual report of the civil service commission for the year 1940 which is to be found at page 5 and deals with salaries of employees in the lower grades who have been brought into the service since the war started? The passage reads:

The commission accordingly recommended that the salary of these employees should be increased on satisfactory service to $65 per month after six months' service, $70 after one year's service and $75 after two years' service. This recommendation was not approved by the treasury board, although an increase to $65 after six months' service was allowed, and a new class carrying a salary of $75 per month was set up for duties of a higher nature, to apply to certain employees giving exceptional service and having served for at least two years.

The commission goes on to use these significant words:

While this step affords some alleviation, the commission is still of the opinion that the form of increase originally proposed by it is' best suited to meet the situation, and that it is in the public interest that it should be applied.

Will the minister explain to the committee the attitude of the government with regard to that recommendation?

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LIB

Pierre-François Casgrain (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. P. F. CASGRAIN (Secretary of State):

That is a matter to be dealt with especially by the treasury board. At the present time there is before the government a petition from the Civil Service Association with regard to that matter, and that, is under consideration as well as other representations 14873-247

received more recently from the Amalgamated Civil Servants. This will be considered, I think, at the same time as the other matter is being adjusted.

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NAT

Howard Charles Green

National Government

Mr. GREEN:

What about the next paragraph of the recommendations of the commission found at the top of page 6, which has to do with the present limitation on the number of permanent positions in a department? The report reads as follows:

Difficulty has also continued during the year with reference to the granting of permanent status to employees who are performing work that is permanent in nature. This does not apply to war employees, but the reestablishment of the quota regulations limiting the number of permanent positions in any department to a definite proportion as set by the treasury board has renewed difficulties which it was hoped had disappeared when the original quota order was rescinded by order in council in 1939. The commission is of the opinion that permanency in tenure should depend not upon an arbitrary figure but upon the permanency of the work involved, and 111 at if the work is permanent, the employee, if giving satisfactory service, should also be permanent.

I think that is the belief of many members of this house as well as being the belief of the civil service commission, and I would ask the minister to explain why the government continues to insist on a certain percentage of employees in any one department not being allowed to become permanent.

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LIB

Pierre-François Casgrain (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

I am given to understand that there is always a certain percentage of permanent employees in a department, 80 per cent, and that the rest are what are called "temporaries" by the nature of their service. It has been thought from time to time that certain temporary employees should be permitted a permanency. For instance, the other day, as the hon. member will recall, certain readjustments were recommended by the civil service commission with respect to the servants of this house, and the commission's report was adopted by the house whereby certain temporary employees on the house staff were made permanent. I have in mind to bring this matter up anew with a view to seeing that action such as my hon. friend has suggested be further considered.

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June 12, 1941