July 7, 1944

CCF

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

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

The difference between

the member for Lake Centre and ourselves is basically over the question whether air services are to be a matter of government policy or whether the government is simply to stand on the sidelines and allow private enterprise to have its own way. I take the position that so far as the legality of the statute is concerned, naturally there should be recourse to the courts; but if the statute stands on legal ground, then it seems to me that the time has come when matters of this sort should be the concern of the people's representatives. What we have here is not, as I see it, dictatorship but rather the extension of the principle of responsible government. What I was trying to say was that as between the minister and the governor in council having the authority it is six of one and half a dozen of the other, and it does not matter to me which it is; but as between the minister having any real say in the matter-the minister or the government, however you put it- and the government merely standing on the side as a judicial body and allowing private enterprise to go ahead and cut its own throat and do a disservice to the country at large, I am in favour of the matter being in the hands of the people.

Under this bill recommendations will be made to the government or to the minister which will involve the expenditure of money. You will have under the provisions of the bill not just a judicial body making decisions as between competing firms but a body making recommendations to the government for the development of airways, and that will involve the expenditure of public money; and once you introduce that element into it you are flying in the face of our whole concept of responsible government if you suggest that the minister or the government should not be responsible for any implementing of the decisions of the board. For that reason 1 think the bill is right when it puts this measure of authority, if you want to call it that, though I call it responsibility, in the hands of the minister.

I am not surprised that my hon. friends to the right find it difficult to understand

fMr. Knowles,]

this concept. What you have here is an attempt, as far as it goes, to avoid the kind of mistakes this country made when it first launched on the development of our railway systems. In those days the people paid the shot and private corporations netted the profit. In this instance we know from the start that if there is to be a proper and adequate development of this tremendous means of modern transportation, air services, money will have to be provided by the people. It is the people's interests that are paramount, and I take the position, with the Minister of Munitions and Supply, that it should be under the direction and control of the people through their duly elected government.

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PC

Alfred Henry Bence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BENCE:

The hon. member suggested that some of the north and south feeder routes should be allowed to remain in the hands of private enterprise but that the more important ones should be taken over by the T.C.A. Would he suggest that the smaller and less important north and south feeder routes, when they become more important through the development of air contract, be then taken over by the T.C.A. or a government-owned company?

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CCF

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

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

If you ask the minister you will get a different answer from mine-

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PC
CCF

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

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

I will answer the question; don't be impatient.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

The hon. member and the minister are together on this bill.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

That is the difference between us and some other hon. members in this house. We do not mind agreeing with those whom we are fighting when we find that they take the same position as we do on some issue. So far as this bill is concerned, we agree with the minister and I contend that we have given him the best support he has had in the house. However, to come back to the question. Even flying in the feeder routes in smaller areas, to which the hon. member has referred, will call for public assistance if they are to get anywhere at all, and I have no hesitation in saying that once these lines are developed to the point where they are important in the whole plan of our air services in Canada, they too should come under public direction and control.

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NAT
CCF

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

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

Yes, and socially owned by the people of the country.

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NAT
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Why not ask the Chair?

Aeronautics Act

4t>07

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LIB

James Joseph McCann

Liberal

The ACTING CHAIRMAN (Mr. McCann):

Order. Any hon. member who wishes to speak will please rise and address the Chair.

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NAT

Douglas Gooderham Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (St. Paul's):

Through you, Mr. Chairman, may I ask the lux nember this question. There are a great many expenditures made by the government of Canada on canal systems. Is not that comparable to the expenditures made by this country in connection with air routes? If the hon. member is in favour of taking over these concerns, now that all shipping companies are successful, is he in favour of taking over all the shipping companies in the country?

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CCF

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

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

If I may quote some of my Liberal friends who are not in the house, transportation is a natural monopoly and I think that the direction we have to move in over the whole field of transportation, if it is to be rationalized and organized so as best to serve the interests of the people, calls for extending the principle of public ownership.

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NAT

Douglas Gooderham Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (St. Paul's):

One further question. The hon. member, then, is in favour of taking over the C.P.R.?

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CCF

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

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

Definitely.

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LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre omitted to refer to the question of centralization of power at Ottawa, whereby neither the provincial governments nor an individual in those provinces will be able to go into the flying business unless he obtains a licence from and is controlled by some department at Ottawa. The hon. member centred his argument on the difference between private and public ownership. I came to the House of Commons in 1930, and I view with alarm the centralization of power in Ottawa. Canada is different from all other countries. It is perhaps four thousand miles in extent. It has great, areas sparsely settled. There is no country comparable to it, with the exception of the United States. It therefore behooves us to watch with a great deal of care-especially those of us who come from the east and the west-the powers which we think we are losing.

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PC

Alfred Henry Bence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BENCE:

I am a little surprised at the attitude taken by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre with reference to the north and south feeder routes. If the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation believes in public ownership of the transportation systems, then it must include the whole system, the Trans-Canada routes and the north and south routes. I do not see how* they can blow hot and cold at the same time w'ith regard to this important matter. It is a peculiar attitude to take when you suggest that you allow

private enterprise to take over a feeder route, develop it and get it to the point where it is successful and of real service to the nation, and then say that the government is to take it over. Surely you cannot hope to obtain anything from private enterprise in that way.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

How about the Canadian Pacific Air Lines taking over eleven firms?

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PC

Alfred Henry Bence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BENCE:

the hands of the minister and the board is to be merely one that will advise him with respect to regulations and licences, why is it now necessary to continue the policy of divorcing the railways from the air lines? The whole authority now rests in the minister's hands. If he believes in government policy being implemented completely, and in there not being an impartial or non-political power in control of this thing, why does he not tell the railways that they may continue on with the airways system but that he has the power and authority to say to them definitely there is no possibility of the Canadian Pacific Air Lines being able to set up a Trans-Canada system?

I believe this matter came to a head at the time of the application of the Canadian Pacific Air Lines for an expansion of their line from North Battleford to Edmonton. It looked like another step in the policy of the Canadian Pacific Air Lines, if it was their policy, to extend their lines completely across Canada. Because of the fact that under normal circumstances if that route were specified the board of transport commissioners could give a licence without getting permission from the government to do so, this whole matter came to a head and the statement of policy was made by the minister last March. In view of the authority contained in this bill, and if the minister insists on obtaining the authority, could he tell us whether or not it is necessary for him to insist on divorcing the railways from air lines operations? This is the way I feel about this question. If air lines are to be divorced from the railways, we shall not have an economical system on the north and south routes. If it is split up into small companies, I do not see how it is possible to have economic systems on these north and south routes. The companies will not necessarily be well financed, nor will they necessarily be responsible.

There are many things to be considered in a matter of this kind. There is the question of accidents. The minister referred to that in 1937. When Trans-Canada Air Lines were linked up with the Canadian National Railways he referred to the responsibility that an air company had to its passengers and to the fact that any company carrying air traffic should be completely responsible, particularly if there were any negligence and any loss of life or property. There is no question about the fact that monetary compensation should be made. If this policy is continued, and if the government insists that the railways shall be divorced from the air lines, only one thing can eventually happen. We shall have a complete

government monopoly on the across-Canada system and on the north and south feeder routes, because I believe it is impossible to carry on a system of small operating units all the way across the country, each one with separate overhead and with no means of coordination of cooperation between the whole.

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July 7, 1944