July 7, 1944

NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

The minister referred to certain promises having been made by the premier of Ontario, while he was in the norths western part of the province. I take it that the minister himself, knowing the situation so far as air transportation up there is concerned, would be favourable to the kind of undertaking the premier of Ontario suggested should be carried out.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Perhaps my hon. friend can just tell me what kind of undertaking it is- something about it. He just said he was going to build air lines.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

And on that score, perhaps the minister would indicate his approval or disapproval of the suggestion.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

The federal government had built a fairly complete system of air services throughout the north country. There is a missing link, required to give service to Fort William and Port Arthur-my own riding: Perhaps if I had been as aggressive as some of riiy predecessors in office, the link would have been closed. However, I thought it was better to let those links develop naturally. There is a fine airport in the area, and it is the intention, as soon as we can get suitable equipment, to serve Port Arthur and Fort William with a direct air lane operating between Winnipeg and Toronto. That has been made abundantly clear. Premier Drew knew all that when he made his speech at Port Arthur. But that is rather beside the discussion here. When we compare the present system of air transportation in northern Ontario with that which served the area in 1935, when my hon. friend's party turned over the reins of office to this government, it will be seen that there has been a vast improvement.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

I suppose that is because of a general development throughout the world. * I understand that.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

There was a great development throughout the world until 1935, too.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

I do not wish to take anything away from my hon. friend in the matter; nevertheless I think he will find that there has been a development in air transportation throughout the world generally.

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PC

Agar Rodney Adamson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. ADAMSON:

In 1935 Canada led the world in air transport by freight.

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LIB
PC
NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

It is about northern

Ontario I wish to say a word now. I do not

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like to see this conflict between the minister and the premier of Ontario. I would like to feel that their interests are the same, and that both desire to develop northern Ontario.

I am convinced that the chambers of commerce which met at Fort Frances recently, and who were addressed by the Premier of Ontario, had the same object in mind, the development of that country. I have been asking myself just how the government of Ontario, or for that matter any government of any other province wishing to do the same thing, could develop its hinterland. However I shall confine my remarks to Ontario, and as to how the government of that province can develop the north country. I know the minister himself is very much in favour of such development.

I have tried to arrange for a plane trip to the Belcher islands, and to the Clark islands, up in Hudson bay, to examine the iron deposits there. I have not been able to get that service. The Ontario government might want to develop an air transport line to the Hudson bay coast, and it might also wish to develop air lines to bring back the iron resources to the mills at Sault Ste. Marie. I am sure that the plane industry will develop planes of 500 tons capacity. Just a few days ago we read of a plane carrying 50 tons of freight and something over 50 passengers from Africa to America. I think it is easy to envision 500 ton aeroplanes. If that comes to pass I can see a fleet of 500-ton transport planes carrying ore from Clark island and Belcher islands down to the smelter at Sault Ste. Marie. How can Ontario give encouragement to a private company to start up a transport line of this kind when they are limited by this bill? This ore is needed to operate the smelting plant at Sault Ste. Marie, and later there might be a great smelting plant in the minister's own city. The high grade ore will be brought down from Steep Rock, which is northwest of Fort William, and low grade ore will be required to mix with it. Belcher islands' ore would help.

I am alarmed, perhaps because I do not-know enough about it, over just how much this bill is going to prevent private development. I really know little about the legality of these items, but the hon. member for Lake Centre is a celebrated lawyer. I anf not one to make jokes about lawyers. I like to keep put of their hands as much as I can, and I like to keep out of the courts. But he does know what he is talking about and apparently he is much alarmed about this bill, which confines the air transport business to a board which is to be clothed with supreme powers but which also is under the control of the minister.

The hon. member suggested that there should be the right of appeal to the courts. What objection can there be to that? I cannot see any. Surely there should be an appeal from the minister to the courts on whether or not a licence should be granted, and I support the hon. member in that regard.

Coming back to where I started, I am very much concerned about whether this measure will encourage the development of northern Ontario, and I am confining myself to that part of the country. The whole north end of the province adjacent to Hudson bay, while not all tundra, does contain a great deal of muskeg. . The development of the area, from the plateau on which the Albany river flows, down to the bay cannot be carried on by the building of railroads. What better method of transporting ore could be developed than by air? I appreciate Colonel Drew's desire to develop northern Ontario and I do not think the minister should consider it as being politics. I do not say that he does. I am afraid that there will be objection to the construction of branch air lines in that north country and I am strongly in favour of the Ontario government or any other provincial government being able to construct their own lines.

My hon. friend (Mr. Diefenbaker) comes from Prince Albert-a beautiful and splendid city, a city with a great future. It should develop into one of our greatest airports, because it has everything in the way of topography and territory for the creation of an important air transport centre. It should be the centre of air transport into the country right through to lake Athabaska and east of lake Athabaska. That country is full of lakes and rivers, but it is also full of minerals. I can envision my hon. friend's city of Prince Albert becoming a great centre of aeroplane transport service. Would Saskatchewan be allowed to develop a line?

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

It has a service now, and has had for years.

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NAT
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Oh, yes, it is.

Mr. MaeJCICOL: Not 50- and 100-ton planes. There are a few running up the Alaska highway, but that is not in Saskatchewan.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

There is no such thing as a 100-ton plane or a 50-ton plane.

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

I know a few planes run north from Prince Albert to Goldfields and Yellowknife, but those are mail planes although they carry a few passengers. I am thinking of the transport planes that carried in machinery

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to Yellowknife and to the north side of lake Athabaska. I am pretty sure they belonged to the Consolidated Mining and Smelting company. I know they had their own planes which took in a lot of freight.

We should all wish to see this country opened up, and an aeroplane service is one means of doing it. I do not like to oppose the minister's suggestion, because he has given it a lot of thought, but I am firmly convinced that this country could be opened up more rapidly and more profitably by having competitive services in air transport. I am not speaking now of Trans-Canada, although in that case I think after the war-the minister is a business man and he will appreciate this- air transport could be carried on better by the great rail transport companies.

I hold no brief for the Canadian Pacific or for the Canadian National. I want them both to succeed, but how can the Canadian Pacific develop a great transport business in the air? So far as I can see, it cannot do it under this bill; yet I think it should be able to do it. The Canadian Pacific has been one of the greatest agencies in the opening up of this country. Both the Canadian Pacific and the Canadian National have the necessary facilities in the great cities like Montreal. They have the trained personnel, and it seems to me to be unbusinesslike to prevent a great companylike the Canadian Pacific from participating in the air transport field. I am sure that after this war aeroplanes will not stop at 500 tons; there is no reason why they should not go up to 1,000 tons capacity.

The Canadian Pacific is the largest transport company-if not the largest it is the second largest-in Canada, and I do not think that company, or the Canadian National, should be prevented from opening up this country by means of air transport, and any others who want to start should not be prevented. I feel satisfied that we are heading in the wrong direction. I cannot add anything more to what I have said. I have expressed my opinion as to what I think about the ability, of private industry to open up the country. I have seen and heard1 enough about private industry to know this. I have heard private industry denounced in this house, but I know that many businesses have been kept going by men who have sat up all night trying to develop and advance their industry.

It would not be possible to have that in a government-operated organization. Men in government-operated plants do not sit up all night. I have been through it and I know. Time without number I have sat up all night week in and week out trying to develop and

fMr MacNicoI.]

advance big business. Money cannot pay for that; you must have the heart and will to develop. Men in a government-operated plant will not do it; they never have and I do not expect they ever will. I am not going to say anything against the Canadian National. It has been a fine company and has done a fine job. The same can be said about the T.C.A. Some one took out of something I said that I was not an advocate of the T.C.A. I have not said anything in opposition to the T.C.A. It has been well managed and has done splendid work and will continue to do so. But that does not detract in any way from the strength of my advocacy of private operation, private incentive and private enterprise.

I am supporting the hon. member for Lake Centre in his desire to have an appeal to the courts of the land. They should be best qualified to judge whether a company's application should be accepted or rejected. I endorse Colonel Drew's desire to open up northern Ontario, which he .said emphatically at Fort Frances that he would do. Here is the dispatch:

Fort Frances, June 23 (Special).-If the

necessity arises and licences are not granted for air routes so that development can be completed before the end of the war, then the province of Ontario will itself go into the air route business, said Premier Drew Thursday night.

I hope that the minister will not think for a moment that there is anything political in this matter. I can hardly conceive of any board set up by the minister refusing an application for a licence from the government of Ontario or of Quebec or of any other province. These are large and important bodies, and it would be a serious thing in my judgment for any board set up by this house to refuse an application from a province of four million people, or a province like Quebec of three and a half million people, or from any other province no matter what its population might be. But under the bill as it stands the application could be refused, could 'it not?

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

Except for some of the remarks of the hon. member for Davenport it seems to me that a good deal of the discussion we have had thus far this afternoon has skirted the real issue which has been put before us by the introduction of this bill. We have had discussion about provincial rights and constitutional questions, and we have had cross-fire between the minister and a provincial premier who is not here. But the real issue is this. Are we to carry on with the old idea of private enterprise, with its right to cut its own throat and impoverish the country,

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or are we so far as air service is concerned, to inject into the whole set-up the principle of planning for the public interest? It seems to me that that is the difference between the powers of the board of transport commissioners and the powers of the air transport board which the minister proposes to establish. On the one hand you have what is really a judicial body. But here you will have rather a body whose purpose is to help the government formulate policy. As I understand it, if this bill becomes law and we go ahead with the government's proposal, the decision will have been made that so far as air service is concerned there is to be planning as a matter of government policy.

The minister a little while ago, in one of his replies to the hon. member for Lake Centre, stressed one point which I think needs to be stressed again and again when he spoke of the cost of developing airports, beams, ranges and all the other facilities that are necessary to flying. My friends to my right are continually singing the praises of private enterprise. Yet we know quite well that we would not have had aviation developed to the point it has reached to-day in this country if it had not been for the huge expenditures of public money on the facilities that are necessary to make flying possible. I insist that if it is going to require the expenditure of public money to provide the basic essentials of flying, the public, having a major interest in the whole set-up, has the right to expect the government to see to it that these services are properly planned.

A great deal is said about our concern for our young men of the air force who will come home well trained and capable of providing flying services all over Canada. I want to put in a word for them in this way. I feel that they should not come home to the kind of cut-throat experiences which this country had to undergo in the early days of flying, when sufficient government expenditure was not made available to make flying practicable and safe. The result was that pilots were rushing in wherever it was possible to make half a living, and eventually competition in those areas forced them all out. We have also had the story of private companies in this country culminating in the merger of a dozen or more companies in Canadian Pacific Air Lines. All of this, as I see it, adds up to the fact that if we do not have the regulation and planning of all our air transport services, our airmen in the Royal Canadian Air Force will come home to a set-up of cut-throat competition which will discourage and greatly disillusion them.

To me the history of the development of our air services in this country indicates

definitely that it does require the expenditure of public money and public planning. While, as I said before, I. am not satisfied that the government goes far enough, I am with the minister every inch of the way that he does go in this bill. As I said, I felt that the hon. member for Davenport was different from the previous speakers in that he did get down to the real issue, namely, the issue as between private enterprise and public control.

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PC

Alfred Henry Bence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BENCE:

What is the hon. gentleman's idea with respect to the north and south feeder lines? Should they be taken over by the T.C.A. or be operated by private enterprise?

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

I asked the minister with respect to that, and my question was worded in such a way as to suggest that in my opinion the major north and south routes, such as the northwest staging route, the route down the Mackenzie and several other important routes, should even now be taken over by the government and operated under the T.C.A. We are quite prepared to agree to the idea of private companies operating in some of the smaller feeder spheres, and the Minister of Transport provides for that in the bill. It seems to me that any virtue that there is in some initial flying in these areas by privately-owned concerns is not debarred by this bill. What my hon. friends to the right are asking is that private firms have their rights extended not only to go into business as private firms but to multiply and compete with each other and cut each other's throats until public money is lost and a disservice is done to the public interest

Returning to what I said a moment ago, I congratulate the member for Davenport on bringing us back to the basic issue which is being fought as between the Progressive Conservatives and the Liberals. All his followers do not support the Minister of Munitions and Supply, but I wish to register again my support of the stand he is taking. In the course of his remarks to-day and on other occasions, the member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker) has had a good deal to say about the power put into the hands of the minister; it is characterized as dictatorship and all that sort of thing. The suggestion has been made that this power or authority should be in the hands of the governor in council. So far as that distinction is concerned, it is six of one and half a dozen of the other. We have the principle of cabinet solidarity, which is such that if the minister is responsible the government as a whole has to share in that responsibility. On the other hand, if you put the power in the hands of the gover-

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nor in council, we have had enough experience in watching what the government does during the war to know that the governor in council in any case acts upon the advice of the minister concerned with that particular branch.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

Is the hon. member opposed to the principle I suggest, that there should be right of recourse to the courts against the decisions of any board, whether controlled by the minister or not?

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July 7, 1944