May 19, 1942

LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport; Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Yes; there are very severe restrictions. My hon. friend is receiving protests about the use of asphalts, and I am receiving protests from cities which would like to use tarvia. However, they are not permitted to do so, because restrictions are severe with respect to the use of petroleum products on roads. I was surprised to read that asphalt pavements are being laid. I had thought that was prohibited, but I may be wrong. I shall be glad to get the regulations and advise my hon. friend as to what the prohibition is. But tarvia, and products of that kind, cannot be used.

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LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

A regulation is in effect, I believe, whereby those having two spare tires have to report the same to the wartime prices and trade board. A request came in to me the other day, and when I made an inquiry from Mr. Williamson's office, who is in charge of rubber control, I was told that a party having two spare tires would have to report to the wartime prices and trade board. My question is this: I am wondering where

this overlapping is going to lead. The wartime prices and trade board have control of the handling of rubber. In a notice issued to-day the whole question of tire rationing is set out. I should like to know what anyone in the wartime prices and trade board has to do with looking after tires. I thought their duty was in connection with prices of various articles. I am pointing out to the committee that we had better keep our eyes on some of these boards, because if you give them an inch they will take ten miles.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport; Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

The wartime prices and trade board has charge of the control of peace-time articles, whereas the wartime industries control board deals with strategic materials for war, and the materials necessary for war production. The tire situation is rather involved. Of course rubber is a strategic material for war. It is under the jurisdiction of the controller of supplies, who is attached to the Department of Munitions and Supply. But the enforcement of the regulations has been turned over, by arrangement, to the enforcement officer of the wartime prices and trade board. This board has an enforcement department represented in all parts of the country, under the direction of Mr. McGregor. The enforcement of the rubber rationing regulations is carried out by that branch of the wartime prices and trade board.

The regulation as to trucks is, by arrangement, handled by the wartime prices and trade board-by Mr. Stewart. The regulation of buses, strangely enough, is handled by the transit controller in the Department of Munitions and Supply. There are reasons for each of these divisions. Perhaps one reason why trucks were regulated by the wartime prices and trade board is that I was once bitten and twice shy, and I was not anxious to undertake that branch of control. However, there is a pattern to it, and it seems to be working reasonably well.

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NAT

Alfred Johnson Brooks

National Government

Mr. BROOKS:

I was pleased to hear the minister say that they are investigating the oil shales of New Brunswick, and that there would probably be some developments there. It seems unfortunate that it took a war to bring about those developments, because we have known in New Brunswick for a great many years that we have rich oil shale in that province.

The minister also stated that it was not his intention to develop power plants. I had intended to ask if he would consider enlarging the power plant at Grand Lake in New Brunswick. I understand that one reason why we have not more industries in New Brunswick is our lack of cheaper power, and I believe

War Appropriation-Supplies

this plant could have been developed. An extension could have been made very cheaply and, in justice to my province, I believe we should have more developments there, more munitions plants and other war activities.

However, it was not my intention to speak particularly along that line to-night. There was another matter I wished to bring to the attention of the minister. I believe we have now exhausted the subjects ftf housing, wooden ships and oil. We have also discussed the scarcity of rubber, metal and other commodities, and have considered the provisions being made to see that enough is salvaged for our war needs.

I wish now to ask the minister some questions regarding the scarcity of paper in this country. I would ask first whether there is a scarcity of newsprint and paper? I ask this question knowing the great effort that is being made, from one end of the country to the other, to salvage paper. In every city and every town school children and organizations are gathering up scrap paper. I know that in military camps we are instructed to collect all paper, and as a result every little scrap of paper is collected and saved. I wish the minister would tell us the situation in Canada regarding this commodity. It does seem strange that while we are spending so much time salvaging paper in Canada, we do not seem to have any curtailment in the use of newsprint. I have not noticed that our newspapers are cut down in the quantity of paper they are using. When one buys the Saturday editions of newspapers he will find that they consist of forty or fifty pages, and I believe that in war time five or six pages would be sufficient. It is a strange anomaly that every schoolboy in every community is being asked to salvage paper, while at the same time we permit this great waste of paper throughout the country. I believe the government is setting a good example in many cases by using both sides of paper in its correspondence. Orderly rooms at military camps are instructed to use both sides of the paper in preparing their orders. Everything is being done to try to save paper, and we are told that such saving is necessary because paper is scarce.

Another matter which might very well be mentioned at this time is the export of paper from Canada. If there is a scarcity of newsprint, why is it that a paper such as the Chicago Tribune can have exported from Canada thousands of tons of paper used in the publication of that newspaper which, as hon. members know, was anti-British before the United States entered the war? It never loses an opportunity even now to disparage

our own Canadian effort in the war. It disparages the efforts of Great Britain and of the whole British empire, and still we in Canada are exporting a commodity which must be scarce. If it is not, then why do we have these provisions for the collection of salvage and scrap paper?

These are questions I should like the minister to answer. I have hesitated to bring them to his attention at so late an hour in the day. After such a long and trying day, however, possibly these questions will appear much easier to answer than some which were propounded to him this evening.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport; Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Yes. As a matter of fact I have enjoyed the discussion very much. I am glad to give what information I can on the subject. I think there is a misunderstanding as to why campaigns for the collection of paper are necessary. This is not done because of a shortage of newsprint for the purposes for which newsprint is usually used. As a matter of fact there is spare capacity for the production of newsprint, because some of our mills are working only four or five days a week. But there is a great need for pulp or rough cardboard, wood pulp pressed into sheets for the packing of shells and finished rounds of ammunition. Newspapers or paper of any kind are just as good for that purpose as pulp made from newly cut timber. It is really to save a drain on our lumber mills and to prevent waste that we are collecting newspapers and using them for that purpose. I do not know whether there would be a shortage of paper if we had to use freshly cut pulp for packing shells, but there very likely would be. At the moment we are able to fill our own needs for newsprint, satisfy the export demand and still have some surplus capacity. Nevertheless I want to impress upon all hon. members that the salvage campaign for old paper is well worth considering.

As far as writing paper goes, there was a shortage of that at one time and it may still exist. I believe the campaign to use both sides of a sheet of paper for official documents is worth while, and I think it will carry on after the war. I see no reason why we should write only on the one side of a sheet of paper, and I think this habit of thrift is well worth cultivating.

As far as the oil shales of New Brunswick are concerned, my hon. friend probably knows that they were under private control for a long time. It was only after they were restored to the control of the province that it was worth while for governments to spend considerable sums of money investigating them.

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War Appropriation-Supplies

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacINNIS:

There has been a great deal of discussion to-night about oil shales. Among the many other things that we have in British Columbia are some deposits of oil shale. I brought the matter to the attention of the minister who brought it to the attention of the oil controller. He wrote me to say that he had investigated it last summer when on the coast, and he did not think there was very much in it. However, apparently some one in the department has changed their minds since then because I have a letter from the assistant oil controller asking me where further information can be obtained. I am glad to know that this matter will be investigated.

In connection with gasoline I agree with what was said by the hon. member for Cape Breton South (Mr. Gillis), that we should accept these restrictions, not reluctantly but with good grace in order to assist the government to conserve gasoline for the purposes we have in hand, and that none should be wasted for pleasure purposes while there is a need for our war effort. One of the difficulties that I find in getting people to see the necessity for saving gasoline is the fact that the regulations do not seem to operate equitably. I have received several letters about this, and I have one from a man who has a light delivery truck. He tells me that he has a wife and four children and, since he cannot afford a private car, he takes his family out in the truck on Sundays to the beaches or other places. It was intimated to him that he could not use his truck for driving around on Sundays, that he might have his permit cancelled if he did so. He feels rather badly about this. He states that if he could afford a private car he could get a category A card for it and use it on Sundays. He enclosed the letter he received from the regional office manager for the oil controller in Vancouver. This letter was most reasonable, and I think I should read it. It reads:

I have your letter of April 30 and although as yet there are no specific regulations which prohibit the use of your panel delivery truck for personal driving, I must point out to you that the commercial category books have been assigned to you for commercial purposes and in view of the serious shortage of gasoline you are not expected to drive such long distances as from here to White Rock and return for private purposes any more than the owner of a passenger automobile.

Are owners of private automobiles going to be restricted from driving long distances? Of course, if they do drive long distances their ration cards will not go so far. If some

way could be found whereby people who cannot afford a private car, or two or three cars, can be made to feel that they are not being discriminated against while other people in better circumstances are allowed their ordinary pleasures, I think it would be much easier. I do not know just how that could be done, but if it could be done it would help a great deal.

I should like to say a word on the matter of saving paper. I think a great deal of paper would be saved if there were less advertising. There is a lot of what appears to me to be the most useless kind of advertising, and I am sure it comes to every hon. member in reams. I have before me an advertisement by the Firestone Rubber company. They have no commercial rubber to sell because I imagine the government takes it all for war purposes, but yet here is a most expensive' advertisement, on expensive paper in colours. This all takes time and materials; it needs skilled labour to produce, and it seems to me that we are not putting everything into our war effort when we allow what appears to be waste. I saw an article recently, I think it was in the Financial Post, to the effect that the Aluminum Company of Canada, although it did not have a pot or a pan or any other article of aluminum to sell, had provided an appropriation of $1,000,000 this year to advertise these articles. I also have under my hand a full-page advertisement by Dominion Foundries and Steel Limited, Hamilton, Canada, which appeared in the Financial Post. These people do not need to advertise their wares at the present time. It takes time and it consumes materials to put out such advertising. There are many ways that we have not touched yet in which we can save waste and add to the efficiency of the work we have in hand.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport; Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Mr. Chairman, every effort is being made to eliminate unfairness in rationing. I was told-in fact the gentleman concerned himself told me-of a motorist who was driving out of Toronto some time ago when he was stopped by an enforcement officer, who asked where he was going. He said he was going fishing. Where was he going? He gave the destination. The enforcement officer asked to see his category, found that he was in category C, and pointed out to him that that was a business category for business purposes, and that if he could go fishing on that category he did not need a C rating. The next day his book was exchanged for a category A book.

We are trying to bring all those who use their cars for pleasure into category A. In

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fact it is quite possible that there will be a category lower than A for people who use cars exclusively for pleasure. We are trying to eliminate unfairness; that is, we are not giving high categories to people who do a good deal of pleasure driving.

Whether we like it or not, pleasure driving is going to be a real luxury. Gasoline is for those who have a real use for it in connection with the war effort. We are going to try to take care of people who must go to war plants; business executives; producers in the war effort, such as farmers, and other people who have a real need for gasoline. But the man who simply drives from here to there for pleasure is going to be without gasoline shortly.

So, I think, my hon. friend's acquaintance who had the truck was simply getting the same kind of treatment that the man in a business category who is using his car for pleasure is getting as the enforcement officers catch up with him.

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NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

What about the man with two cars in the family? I suppose that will be checked, too. I know of people who have two cars in a single family, and while I doubt whether their business entitles them to better than category 1A, through some agency they have obtained category C.

The other day I asked for an extension of the hours of sales of gasoline to farmers. I am pleased that the minister announced today that this request had been granted.

I also spoke of a certain oil company-I think I had better mention that it was the British-American-trucking their own products from Moose Jaw through southeastern Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba. Since I spoke on this matter I have had a letter from the secretary of one of those towns pointing out that in twenty-four hours ten very large trucks with trailers went through that town. He estimated that those trucks used fifty gallons a day; they had very heavy tires on their trucks and trailers, and they were paralleling a railway line. The Canadian Pacific railway agent there tells me that they can obtain tankers along that line. Also the man-power situation comes into the matter, because each of those trucks requires a driver, whereas the use of a tank car on the railway would eliminate that. To what extent this practice is carried on I do not know, but it is a serious wastage. Further, it sets a bad example to the people in those towns, who wonder why they should curtail their own small supplies while those companies are

allowed to carry on in this way. I trust the minister will look into the practice and prohibit it.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport; Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

The matter of trucking oil was mentioned in this chamber a while ago, and at that time I sent a marked copy of Hansard to the controller for his action.

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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

I wish to associate myself with the hon. member for Regina City in the excellent appeal he made for our province with reference to having a part to play in the economic aspect of our war effort. The hour is too late for me to say very much about the matter now, but it seems to me that there are two factors to which some attention might be directed.

The first is the one he has mentioned, and to which the minister has already replied-the possibility of developing power, either in the north, where we have considerable water power, or in the south where there are very large coal deposits. I can appreciate the point of view expressed by the minister. Nevertheless there is a strong feeling that a greater use could be made of the industrial resources of the prairie, rather than draining off the population, as has happened in the last year or two.

The other factor in the contribution which we might make has to do with the bits-and-pieces programme of the department. The minister has not made any detailed statement on it, and it is too late to-night, but I wonder if he would do so to-morrow. This afternoon he made a statement with reference to garage-men. He said that provision would be made for the type of establishment which was equipped to do something. My understanding of the set-up does not lead me to believe that that is taking place. Mr. Pyne, who has been handling the subcontract coordination branch in Winnipeg for western Canada, does not, I understand, place subcontracts direct from the government; he acts as a sort of employment agent for firms who have contracts and want to know of people who can take subcontracts. He does not place contracts; he only directs firms which have contracts to people who might take subcontracts. I believe that they are not making full use of the people who could be doing more in our bits-and-pieces programme. I am not going to take time to elaborate that to-night. I know that a survey was made of the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. When I was west I saw a copy of the survey. I hesitate to quote from it from memory, but I believe there are 277 machine tools which were listed in the two provinces and which were not being used.

Questions

They would, of course, vary in size. I know a number of such cases. One man in particular with a small aluminum foundry has done some excellent work. But these people do not seem to have been able to make any contacts. They go to Mr. Pyne, who says, "I should be very glad to give you something to do, and as soon as some firm asks us for a subcontractor we will direct them to you." But that is not very satisfactory, and for two years these people have been twiddling their thumbs; either they have to move east and get a job there, or stay where they are and continue to do commercial work.

I would appreciate it if the minister would give us to-morrow some outline of the bits-and-pieces programme, whether it is his intention to expand it, and how it would be possible for these men who think they can play some part in Canada's industrial effort to be brought more directly in contact with the government and those places where there are contracts.

Progress reported.

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At eleven o'clock the house adjourned without question put, pursuant to standing order. Wednesday, May 20, 1942


May 19, 1942