April 11, 1945

LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

I will appreciate it very much if you do not bring any more delegations.

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CCF

William Scottie Bryce

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

Mr. BRYCE:

I assure hon. members that we asked the minister for his permission to bring the deputation and he agreed. At the same' time we asked him when we should bring it and he said: "Why don't you tell them to come on Friday?" We said to him, "If we told them to come on Friday you would have told them to stay at home," because that had been our experience before. You have to bring them here and make arrangements for the minister to see them.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

I should just like to make this point clear. I am sure that the appointment for that delegation was made by a responsible union of Winnipeg and nothing was said about bringing C.C.F. members. The appointment was made from Winnipeg for a certain day and I was there to see the delegation. I must say that I have never made an appointment with a labour delegation and then not received the delegation on the day arranged. I resent the comment that if it had been on a Friday I would not have seen them at all. Unless my hon. friend is prepared to assume that I am a responsible minister of the crown, and attending to my business, I suggest that he just drop the conversation.

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CCF

William Scottie Bryce

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

Mr. BRYCE:

I am sure the minister will remember that we made the arrangements for the deputation. In fact, he complained to us because the deputation that was coming from Winnipeg had not made the arrangements before they came. I am not going to take up any more time, but it seems funny to me that we have people to-day criticizing government-owned plants, ridiculing them because they are no good, and still we are told that there are buyers ready to take over those plants to make money out of them.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

I admit I find great difficulty in following this kind of debate. A few evenings ago, when the Department of National Defence (Army) was under discussion, a fairly long speech on mutual aid was made by an hon. member to my left. To-night another hon. member started to speak on the same subject and after a while he got off it

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War Appropriation-Munitions and Supply

onto something else. I should like to say something on mutual aid but perhaps this is not the time. I intend to speak on the other side of mutual aid, and if I do not get another chance I wish to say right now that I hope the government, between the time this parliament is dissolved and the new parliament meets, will carry on mutual aid in as great a measure as possible to those nations which need it. I am going to leave it at that now, because I hope to have another opportunity of pressing the matter a little farther. I imagine that is the intention of the government and that is why the appropriation is in the estimates, and I hope that they will continue with it.

I should like to ask the minister one or two questions with regard to production in Vancouver. I notice that the hon. member for St. Paul's said that Toronto was very proud of her production records. I think the complaint that most other parts of Canada have is that they did not get the same opportunities to produce as Toronto did, and that in so far as we got those opportunities we have made a record of which we may be proud. As far as manufacturing on a large scale is concerned, Vancouver had two important industries, the aircraft and shipbuilding industries. In a statement last night the minister said that in the matter of units of aircraft, production would be down to about fifty per cent of last year, but in the matter of poundage it would be down about twenty-five per cent. Could the minister tell the committee how long the air production programme at present in operation at the Boeing plant or plants in Vancouver will continue and what is the prospect for reconversion after the war to some, other useful production? In so far as shipbuilding is concerned I believe that at the peak of production there were some thirty thousand shipyard workers in the Vancouver area. I do not know how many there are there now, but I believe it is considerably Jess than that. How many of the forty 10,000-ton ships and of the twelve 4,700-ton ships are to be built on the west coast? How long will that programme last? I see by the papers that one of the yards, the Burrard South yard, is scheduled to close at the end of the year. Then I should like the minister to tell the committee how many of the naval craft, he mentioned last evening, are to be constructed on the west coast, and how long those contracts will last. And if it is in order at this time, although perhaps it may come under the Department, of Reconstruction, I should like the minister to tell the committee

what are the possibilities for a shipbuilding yard in Vancouver or in British Columbia after the war.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

My hon. friend suggests that Vancouver has not had the same opportunity to share in war work that other cities have had. I would point out to him that the population of Vancouver has shown a much sharper increase during the war years than any other city in Canada, and I assume that war work has had something to do with that. I just draw that fact to his attention.

My hon. friend brought up the question of work on aircraft. I suppose he knows when the end of the Japanese war will come, but I do not; so that I am afraid I cannot give him the exact date for which he asked. I may tell him that the Vancouver work is on the latest and largest bomber used in the war, the bomber that is doing most of the work in the Pacific, and I think I am safe in saying that until the Pacific war ends that work will go on. I believe consideration is being given to civil work; but while my hon. friend may be able to predict exactly what is to happen in this country two or three or four years hence, I am not able to do so with any accuracy. However, we have an excellent plant at Vancouver which has operated very well so far, and we hope it will continue to operate.

As far as shipbuilding on the west coast is concerned, I was speaking with our representative from there to-day about putting some more work in that area. He tells me it would simply mean transferring labour from existing work, that Vancouver is working to capacity. I assume he should know something about the matter; he has been in charge of shipbuilding work there for some years, and that is his opinion. He states that this will be the situation at least until after the end of this year. It is difficult to put in more work than the capacity will permit. My hon. friends have been running a campaign for three or four years on the theory that tomorrow everyone will be out of work. Strangely enough, men have not been out of work in any part of Canada. I have before me a list that shows we have 127,000 high priority jobs in this country that we are unable to fill. It is fun to predict unemployment ahead, but for the last three or four years my problem has been to contend with a shortage of labour to do the work we have on hand. When that situation changes I am sure we shall be able to cope with it.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

I have not been prophesying, nor has anyone to my knowledge been prophesying-

War Appropriation-Munitions and Supply

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Last spring your leader predicted 100,000 unemployed by last spring.

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CCF
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

The hon. member for Rose-town-Biggar.

. Mr. MacINNIS: That is all right; my

hon. friend will get the 100,000 soon enough, sooner than I would wish. However,

I asked certain specific questions which the minister overlooked in order to indulge in a little criticism. I do not mind that; I can ask them again. I wanted to know how many of the forty 10,000-ton ships that are to be built this year will be built in Vancouver or British Columbia yards, and how many of the twelve 4,700-ton ships will be built there?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

I am afraid I have not that information at the moment. A certain number of 10,000-tonners are building there, but I do not think there are any 4,000-tonners. If my hon. friend will look about the yards the next time he is in Vancouver he can count them himself; they are all on the ways.

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NAT
LIB

William Henry Golding

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Golding):

We have a list which we are trying to follow in order to give every hon. member an opportunity to speak. The hon. member for Lethbridge is next.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

I have been waiting

patiently for a discussion of the minister's estimates by the committee, but up to the present time, except for the last few minutes, it seems that hon. members have been interested in almost everything else. I desired to discuss at some length, while the minister's estimates were before the committee, three questions, namely irrigation, coal developments and housing. With respect to irrigation I should like to discuss the Lethbridge southeast water conservation project, sometimes called the St. Mary and Milk rivers water development project, under which it is proposed to store 738,700 acre-feet of water in ten reservoirs to irrigate 345,000 acres of land, at a total cost of $15,178,439, but it seems to me the proper time to discuss that matter wdll be after the minister has made his statement on post-war reconstruction and rehabilitation. I should like to discuss the question of coal from the point of view of processing it into oil, rubber and' other substances. Probably that also would come under the minister's other department. I should like to discuss housing rather fully, but it seems to me that comes within the second division of the minister's work, so that I shall speak about these matters to-morrow and turn the minister back 32283-51J

to those who have some questions to ask on the aspect of his work now under consideration.

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LIB

Henry Read Emmerson

Liberal

Mr. EMMERSON:

Several hon. members have spoken of the matter of controls. The controls in which I am particularly interested at the moment are those having to do with motor vehicles. I should like the minister to tell me how many trucks are to be released for civilian use this year and, if possible, the sizes of those trucks. I think all hon. members have heard complaints from people in their constituencies who have asked for permits to buy trucks and been refused. If my information is correct we have about 257,000 trucks in operation in Canada to-day. If we say that a truck lasts ten years, although I am sure it would not last that length of time, we can take it that ten per cent should be replaced every year. This means that we would require 25,700 trucks to replace those which have worn out. I think the public would like to know how many trucks are to be made available this year, and in what sizes. Then those whose applications for new trucks have been refused will have some understanding of the reason for the refusal.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

The average production of trucks in Canada from 1937 to 1940 was 27,259 per year. In 1944 the controller released 9,000 trucks, or 33 per cent of the pre-war average. This year we have made arrangements to manufacture trucks on two production lines and in 1945 we expect to have for release 12,181 trucks, or 44-6 per cent of the pre-war average. These are the lighter types of trucks, consisting chiefly of one-ton and two-ton varieties. We have made a sincere effort to keep trucks on the road, and to keep in operation transport which depends on trucks. In this I believe we have succeeded fairly well. There may have been some errors in judgment as to what was an essential service requiring protection, and what was not. But the fact remains that there has been a sincere effort to replace worn-out trucks required to carry on essential services. We are better off for trucks, in proportion to our pre-war use, than any other country of which we have record. I think even the United States is considerably below us in the proportion of pre-war manufacture being released to truckers in that country.

In the matter of heavy trucks we are in the hands of the United States. About the same number of heavy trucks will be imported into Canada this year as was imported last year.

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War Appropriation-Munitions and Supply

We hope to keep industry depending on heavy trucks in operation to about the same extent as obtained last year.

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PC

Mark Cecil Senn

Progressive Conservative

Mr. SENN:

I have listened with great interest to the minister's statement with regard to trucks. Last night I pointed out to him that nothing much had been said about agricultural implements, particularly farm tractors, and he said he would have some information to give. The situation in Ontario with respect to farm tractors is, to use the minister's expression, very tight. Tractors are being sold on a quota basis. I think the base year was either 1940 or 1941. Firms which sold a certain number of tractors in 1940 or 1941 are put on a quota basis in the same proportion as they sold in those years. This has worked a hardship in some respects, because there were certain firms which sold only a limited number in those years. Since that time they have been in a position where they have had only a very few tractors delivered to them for sale. I know of one particular area, right in my own district, where a firm has received thirty or forty applications for tractors, but they are allowed to sell only three a year. At that rate it -would take a very long time for them to catch up on their orders.

In the meantime the farmers are suffering. I am not speaking particularly in the interest of the firms concerned. I speak rather in the interest of the farmers in that district, whose tractors have become so old that they are unable to operate them, and they are not getting their work done. I wish the minister would make a statement respecting the supply of tractors.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

I asked for the information from the administrator of farm machinery of the wartime prices and trade board, but it has not yet come to hand. I hope to have it to-morrow, at which time I shall be glad to give it to the hon. member.

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CCF

Joseph William Noseworthy

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

Mr. NOSEWORTHY:

Would the discussion of matters related to War Assets corporation, which is to dispose of government-owned plants, and other matters relating to the operation of the Park Steamship Company Limited boats come under the Department of Munitions and Supply, or would it come under the Department of Reconstruction?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

The Park Steamship company is a subsidiary of the Department of Munitions and Supply. War Assets corporation is a branch of the Department of Reconstruction. Therefore, while a discussion respecting Park Steamship company would be in order, there might be some doubt about War Assets corporation.

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April 11, 1945