April 11, 1945

LIB

Louis-Philippe Picard

Liberal

Mr. PICARD:

I do not agree with the

hon. member.- Whether the present Minister of Munitions and Supply is then in that portfolio or not, the Liberal party will be there to conduct the affairs of the country after the next election.

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LIB

Frederick William Gershaw

Liberal

Mr. GERSHAW:

The last speaker told

of the difficulties in his district in getting permits for trucks. The condition is general, and in Alberta where the needs have been great and the distances considerable we, too, have had much trouble in getting these permits. But the people of Canada realize that rationing is sharing and they have loyally submitted to restrictions because they know what a difficult position the department is in.

There are few men in Canada who have as great a knowledge of industrial construction and of industry generally as the Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe). He has had a difficult job and has rendered great service as Minister of Munitions and Supply. I believe the whole reconstruction problem of converting the industry of Canada from a war-time to a peace-time basis will be safe in his hands.

I would call the attention of the committee to one post-war activity which I believe will bring rich results toi the people of Canada. I refer to the irrigation problem in the dried-out districts of southern Alberta. We know of two projects there which have been surveyed and re-surveyed. At a cost of $20 million spread over six or seven years they could be completed. Four hundred thousand acres of land which is now of no use could be made productive and it would add greatly to the output of products that are needed in Canada. I refer to- the Redcliff-Ronelane and St. Mary projects.

It is said that in Canada we have too much wheat and too little meat, but the reclaiming

of this area would make it possible for the farmers who might locate there to produce meat, vegetables and fruits which are needed in the diet of the average Canadian. Canadians do not have sufficient dairy products, fruits and vegetables. They have not sufficient meat or eggs, and the reclaiming of this area would do much to help in the nutrition of Canadians. Sugar factories could also be constructed, as well as canning factories, quick freezing plants, so that these fruits and vegetables co-uld be processed and used the whole year round. Moreover, the reclaiming of this area has been proven to be feasible. There are already practical schemes in operation in both districts and the water supply is available. If the projects could be completed where the ditch is already constructed the present irrigation districts would have more water and new areas could be brought under cultivation. This is badly needed if we are to save the waters of these international streams which may go to another country if they are not used here. In addition, the developing of these districts would provide homes for those who have suffered so mueh in their struggle to eke out an existence in the dried-out area, and also homes for many who are returning from the battlefields and are anxious to make a living on the land.

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NAT

Alfred Johnson Brooks

National Government

Mr. BROOKS:

There are a good many speakers on the list and I am sure no one wants to take up too much time, but I wish to mention a matter that is very important to my section of New Brunswick. It rvas brought to my mind particularly this afternoon as I listened to the hon. member for Davenport and the hon. member for Cape Breton South. It has to do with the coal mine situation in New Brunswick. We have a small coal area in New Brunswick, but although it is small it is very important to the economy of the province. It represents about two per cent of the net value of all commodities produced in the province. While this area in New Brunswick is small, it is one of the oldest bituminous coal mining districts in North America. It is mentioned in history, in 1667; and in the seventeenth century coal was being shipped from the Grand lake area in New Brunswick to Boston.

Its importance can be emphasized in this way. It has grown until we now employ some 1,400 men in the industry and the livelihood of over 6,000 people is dependent upon it. We have as our market principally the province of New Brunswick. The hon. member for Davenport this afternoon mentioned

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the possibility of shipping maritime coal to Ontario, Quebec and other parts of Canada. We in New Brunswick have not shipped coal to Ontario; it is not feasible. We have shipped small quantities to the province of Quebec and small quantities to the state of Maine. But our important market-and I should like to emphasize this-is our own province of New Brunswick. The chief buyers of New Brunswick coal are the two railways, the Canadian National and the Canadian Pacific. We also sell quite large quantities to the pulp and paper mills in our province, to the New Brunswick electric power commission, and then a certain proportion, about twenty-five to thirty per cent, is sold as consumer coal. I might point out to the minister-and I am sure this is a fact of which he is well aware

what we consider to be very unfair competition from the coal mines in Nova Scotia. Prior to the war this industry was being operated at a loss by a good many of the coal operators in the Minto district. Because of the great necessity for coal in the eastern provinces during the war particularly, the Minto mines have been operating almost to capacity. We are afraid that after the war a situation will again develop which will work to the detriment of the coal industry in New Brunswick.

To illustrate to the minister and to the committee the unfair competition from which we are suffering I shall quote from the submission of the New Brunswick coal producers association to the royal commission. I am reading from page 36:

A comparison of the subvention expenditures in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in 1939 shows a marked difference on a per ton basis. The subvention paid per ton of coal moved from Nova Scotia was $1.23 as against 84 cents in New' Brunswick. In terms of total output of the two provinces in that year (7,051,176 tons in Nova Scotia, 468,421 tons in New' Brunswick) Nova Scotia received assistance at the rate of 42-3 cents per ton of coal produced, compared with 9*7 cents in New Brunswick.

I think anyone can see the unfairness exemplified in that statement. I should also like to state here and now that the coal producers of the Minto-Chipman area of New Brunswick approve whole-heartedly all the assistance that has been given the industry in Nova Scotia. They do not in any way wish to have that help or assistance lessened. But what they do ask is that the coal industry in New Brunswick be placed on the same footing as the coal industry in Nova Scotia. May I indicate further how this competition is most unfair to our coal producers? I said a few moments ago that the pulp and paper industry in New Brunswick

takes a very large proportion of our coal and would take a much larger proportion if it were not for competition such as I have mentioned. I again read from the submission to the commission :

On a basis of freight per ton, some of the rates from Springhill Junction, Nova Scotia, are lower than rates from the Minto field to the same points in New Brunswick, as shown in the following figures.

From Minto to Bathurst the rate is $1.10 for 169 miles; from Springhill Junction, 80 cents for 188 miles; from Minto to Campbellton, New Brunswick, $1.50 per ton for 234 miles; from Springhill, $1.20 per ton for 253 miles. From Minto to Dalhousie, New Brunswick, the rate is $1.30 for 231 miles; from Springhill, $1.10 for 250 miles; from Minto to Saint John, 90 cents per ton for 101 miles, and from Springhill, 85 cents per ton, 155 miles.

It can be seen from these comparisons that the rate structure applied to the movement of coal from Nova Scotia to New Brunswick bears no relationship to the cost of service.

By quoting these two examples I believe I have illustrated the point I wish to make, namely, that the coal produced in New Brunswick is not receiving the assistance it should, and is not being placed on a fair basis with coal from the neighbouring province of Nova Scotia.

I should also point out that while we in New Brunswick are confined almost entirely to -our own province, Nova Scotia can, does and should be given an opportunity in a larger sense to ship coal to Ontario and other parts of Canada and leave to this small province and this small area the coal that is produced in our own province. My desk-mate, the hon. member for Davenport, said this afternoon that all areas of Canada should work together as far as possible to assist those areas which need assistance. I recall that when I was overseas a few months ago I had the pleasure of meeting Sir Andrew Rae Duncan, and having a talk with him. It will be remembered that he is the gentleman who prepared the Duncan report on the maritime provinces. He told me that we in the mari-times were a long-suffering people because, according to his views and ours, the Duncan report has never been implemented. He also said that in certain parts of Great Britain there were areas that were not self-supporting.

I believe he called them development areas. He also said that Great Britain under her reconstruction policy would see that those areas were helped by other areas and by the whole country. He pointed out, and I think I can point out to the committee, that the problem we have in this small area of New

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Brunswick is not the responsibility of the area only; it is not the responsibility of New Brunswick only; it is the responsibility of the whole Dominion of Canada. Sir Andrew Rae Duncan mentioned the coal mining area of Durham, the northern part of England and of Wales. He also mentioned other sections of England which would be helped by the whole country of Great Britain. I am satisfied that unless proper assistance is given to the area to which I refer it cannot be selfsupporting and self-sustaining. It is the responsibility of the whole Dominion of Canada to see that proper assistance is given. Certain recommendations are made in this submission to the commission. I hope they will be fully implemented. I hope that the minister will see they are implemented and, as I said before, I hope that this matter will receive the careful consideration of the Minister of Reconstruction.

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NAT

Ernest Edward Perley

National Government

Mr. PERLEY:

I am sure we all listened last night with a great deal of interest to the report and review that the minister gave of his department and the different phases of its work. I know we all agree that this department is possibly one of the most important departments that has anything to do with the war. If it had not been for the equipment and supplies provided for our men overseas they could never have made the progress and the success they are making to-day. Therefore we must give credit to the department that has been responsible for supplying the munitions and other materials necessary for these men to do that job.

I am not going to go into the minister's remarks in any great detail. He spoke about questions pertaining to reconstruction since he is the minister responsible for that department. He spoke about coal supplies, gas supplies and the like. I think the hon. member for Davenport covered that phase of the minister's remarks very well this afternoon and made a request for consideration of developing western Canada w'hich would mean a great deal in providing jobs for the men when they come back and go a long way toward solving the question of employment when the war is over. The hon. member dealt with such matters as water conservation, power projects and other developments of one kind and another, and showed what it would mean by way of creating employment if we had a proper development of the resources of the three prairie provinces, and particularly Saskatchewan. I trust the minister will give serious consideration to the suggestions put forth by the hon. member for Davenport who,

I am glad to note, in the last few years has become interested in western Canada. When he goes out there now he can draw a grand crowd any time he wishes to speak. I heard him address a crowd who filled the hall because they felt here was a man from eastern Canada who was taking a real interest in the west. That is why I hope the minister will give consideration to some of the measures outlined by the hon. member to help create jobs after the war is over.

Last evening, just before the house adjourned, the minister stated that to-day he would make a statement with respect to farm implements. He had dealt with the question of industrial implements, machines and things of that kind, and in reply to a question by the hon. member for Haldimand said that to-day he would make a statement outlining the position with regard to farm machinery. The supply of implements for the farmers is an important matter in Canada at the present time. Many of our farmers have been working under very difficult conditions, and their old machinery is pretty well worn out. Many of them have sons overseas; they have been working by themselves, and they need new equipment, not only tractors which come from the United States but machinery that is produced in Canada. In addition, many of the boys who come back will go on farms under the Veterans' Land Act, and it is important that consideration be given to supplying the implements that are required to replace the worn-out machinery, and the implements that will be necessary to get these young men started. I hope the minister will give us a statement outlining the farm implement situation as it affects western Canada.

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SC

Victor Quelch

Social Credit

Mr. QUELCH:

Mr. Chairman, the special committee on reconstruction and rehabilitation, under the able chairmanship of the hon. member for Cariboo, listened to representations from provinces and municipalities dealing with post-war plans within their boundaries. We found that progress in drawing up blueprints was somewhat curtailed because of the uncertainty as to what body would be responsible for financing such plans. As a matter of fact I recall that the premier of Manitoba emphasized the fact that he was unwilling to raise the hopes of the people of his province by suggesting that this or that project could be carried out before he received the assurance of the federal government that the necessary financing would be provided He made it quite clear that it would be impossible for Manitoba to finance some of the larger projects in which they were interested, and

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that until he received the assurance of the federal government in regard to this matter he was not prepared to go ahead.

I should like to give an example of the sort of uncertainty that is being created by the absence of such a declaration. I wish to deal with the question of irrigation in the drought areas of Alberta. I have in mind one of the largest schemes ever produced on the continent of North America; that is the William Pearce project. The first survey was made back in 1922, and the purpose of the project was to irrigate a million and a half acres of land, one million in Saskatchewan and half a million in Alberta, at a cost of around $100,000,000. The water for this project was to be diverted from the North Saskatchewan river into the Red Deer river, and then by canal down to Sullivan lake. Nothing happened as a result of that survey. In 1938-39 a. number of new surveys were conducted. At that time the proposal was still to utilize the water of the North Saskatchewan river, and provision was made also for a number of power projects, which of course, as the minister will realize, are very much needed in Alberta if we are ever to have the industries we need in that province. Nothing came about as a result of those surveys, no doubt on account, of the outbreak of war.

This question of irrigating land in Alberta by diverting water from the North Saskatchewan river into the Red Deer river was discussed in the house committee on reconstruction and a good deal of opposition developed to the diversion of this water. I believe the hon. member for Davenport is well acquainted with the type of opposition I have in mind, because he was one of the hon. members who pointed out that such opposition would be met. As a result of that opposition I wrote to the superintendent under the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act asking whether or not it would be possible to develop the irrigation scheme in Alberta by utilizing the waters of the Red Deer river alone. Mind you, under the original project in 1922 it was intended to irrigate only about half a million acres in Alberta, the other million acres being in Saskatchewan. It seemed to me it should be possible to provide water from the Red Deer river alone for the purpose of irrigating land in Alberta, leaving the people of Saskatchewan to irrigate their land from the North or South Saskatchewan river within their own province. The reply I received from Mr. Spence indicated a good deal of uncertainty as to whether or not it would be feasible to irrigate any large area 'of land from the Red Deer river. He

said that if the irrigation were carried out it *would be necessary to establish large reservoirs on the river or up in the mountains.

A new survey was undertaken in 1944, and I believe is still being carried on. This survey shows that it should be possible to irrigate about a half a million acres in Alberta by using the waters of the Red Deer river alone. The proposal is to place a dam on the Red Deer somewhere near the Content bridge, then carry the water by ditch over to Hamilton lake, and at the same time raise the level of Buffalo lake to what it was in former years. The estimated cost of this project would be only about $7,000,000. It is interesting to note that under the original project it would have cost $100,000,000 to irrigate a million and a half acres of land in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Under a modification of that scheme it would have cost around $23,000,000 to irrigate about 427,000 acres in Alberta. Under the scheme at present proposed it will cost only some $6,750,000 to irrigate about half a million acres in Alberta; and of course the people of this area are only interested in irrigation in Alberta. If the people of Saskatchewan prefer to irrigate their land from the Saskatchewan river, I know of no reason why they should not do so. *

This scheme would provide work for 1,500 men for a period of eighteen months, and the benefits to be derived from the project would include among others, the following. First of all, it would provide irrigation for half a million acres of land and would supply water for over twelve hundred miles of creek that is dry to-day. It would make that area into one of the best farming districts in the west; and it must be remembered that services already have been established there. We *would not be faced, as we would in a new country, with the cost of building up roads, railways, towns and so on. It would be possible to establish 7,500 new families in the area, or in other *words to increase the population by something in the neighbourhood of thirty thousand people, of course in addition to rehabilitating the families already there.

As I say, it would provide for the raising of Buffalo lake. At one time Buffalo lake used to be a fine summer resort-good fishing, boating and swimming. It is the only lake for a hundred miles to the south and to the east, and therefore it draws support from a large area as a summer resort. But unfortunately, ever since 1916, that lake has steadily gone down, until to-day we find that summer cottages which used to be at the edge of the water are now a hundred yards away from it. The result is that one finds a long expanse of somewhat stagnant beach. In addition, the

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scheme would provide for the development of power on Red Deer river, which is much needed in Alberta.

I might point out that the people of the area are very much concerned as to whether or not the government is in reality going to go ahead with that scheme. Then we have the question of the railways. There is a Canadian National line from. Scapa, running into Saskatchewan, which was built just before the depression years, and has never been completed. The steel was laid, and the line was ballasted as far as Hemaruka, but from Hemaruka to Scapa the ballast was never completed. The president of the Canadian National Railways takes the stand that there is not a sufficient amount of business in the area to justify the expense of ballasting the line. But he admits that if irrigation were carried out in the area the picture would be entirely different, and that the company might be justified going to the expense of completing the line.

It must be evidence that the only way of financing a scheme of that kind would be to finance it as a national project. It is altogether too much for a province to go ahead with, because it cannot stand the financial cost. We cannot expect private enterprise to carry it out, for the simple reason that you cannot charge the capital cost of irrigation against the land of the farmer. The history of the Canadian Pacific Railway Colonization company proves conclusively that you cannot charge that cost against the land; otherwise you would bankrupt the farmer. Once the irrigation project has been completed and the cost absorbed, the farmer would be in a position to take care of the maintenance of the project.

If the federal government were to finance a scheme of that kind as a national project, and absorb the cost, they could very well look upon it as a self-liquidating project, because as a result of the increased production they would be well reimbursed' through the increase in taxation and excise duties collected. In addition, they would be relieved of the financial responsibility of maintaining that drought area in times of extreme drought, such as we have had in the past.

It is interesting to note that from 1918 to 1935 in the drought area of Alberta over $10,000,000 was paid out in relief. Since 1935 hundreds of thousands of dollars have been paid out under the Prairie Farm Assistance Act and feed relief measures. If irrigation were put into the area a large amount of that expense would be eliminated. So that again I say that a scheme of that kind might very

well be looked upon as a self-liquidating project, on the one hand through increased revenue and on the other hand through the lessening of liability.

And, mind you, the federal government has a direct responsibility in so far as that liability is concerned, because it was the federal government that urged the people to settle in the area in the early part of 1900. It will be remembered that back in 1908 and 1909 large posters were put up in England telling the farmers to come out to this country. When they went to the land titles offices to locate land they were not warned that the drought area was not suitable for settlement. Yet the federal government at that time had the reports of engineers showing conclusively that that land was not fit for settlement. Despite that fact, it allowed farmers to settle in there, with the result that the history of the area has been a tragic one. Millions of dollars of investment have been wiped out. Over sixty per cent of the population has had to move out. Now you find mile after mile without habitation.

I think it should be possible for the federal government to make an announcement in the very near future regarding its policy in regard to the financing of national projects, not only the one to which I have referred, but all national projects of a similar nature. If that were done it would greatly build up the confidence of the people regarding what is to happen in the post-war world. And we know this, that if we once allow the confidence of the people to be destroyed it will be a much harder problem to obtain a full development of the resources of this country afterwards.

I should like to mention one other thing- and I do not wish to be accused of indulging in any political attack when I do so. Nevertheless people are becoming somewhat sceptical of the way in which surveys are conducted. It seems that the government get busy making surveys just before an election, and after the election they seem to forget about them, and nothing is done. That happened in 1938-39; and now we have this project surveyed in 1944 just prior to an election. The people are wondering whether it is just another way of trying to obtain votes to support a government, and when the government is re-elected the project will be forgotten. Up to the present time no department of this government has been prepared to say definitely that this project will be carried out.

Surely it could be possible for the Department of Reconstruction to make the definite statement that this will be one of the post-war reconstruction projects. I would not expect

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the minister to say that this project would be started next year or the year after, but he could say that it would be included in the list of projects, and that as soon as the men and materials necessary to complete such a project were available it would be put into operation.

The people are afraid that once again we will hear the same old cry we heard so often in the depression years: Lots of men and lots of material, but no money. I think it is high time the government made it quite clear to the people that the financial policy which has been developed during the war under which no financial restriction will be allowed to hinder the development of war industry, will be carried on in the post-war period. It should be made clear that the motto in the post-war period will be that whatever is physically possible and desirable will be made financially possible.

When the minister speaks I hope he will be able to tell the committee exactly what the government's policy will be with respect to the financing of national projects. Is the government to be prepared to take on the responsibility of financing all of them? We know very well that during this war had the federal government said to the provinces, "We need air fields across the country; you put up thirty per cent; the municipalities will put up thirty per cent, and we will supply the remainder," we would not have had the air fields we needed. The only reason why we did have air fields was that the federal government absorbed the financial responsibility. The only reason why we have had the war effort we have had lies in the fact that the federal government was prepared to find the money for every project that was needed. Had there been some limitation regarding financing, like we had before the war, Canada would not have been in a position to make the splendid contribution she has made.

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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 should like to join those who have expressed regret that the minister whose department is now before the committee has said so little at this stage in his capacity as Minister of Reconstruction. However, the matter I wish to discuss has to do with the minister in his capacity as head of the Department. of Munitions and Supply.

During the course of his statement last night the minister, at page 746 of Hansard, outlined the situation concerning aircraft production. He pointed out that there is a necessary decrease in aircraft production in the current year, but concluded those observations with these two sentences:

As announced last June, production of trainer types terminated in recent months, or will terminate shortly. We have been fortunate in obtaining substantial contracts for aircraft components from the United States for the manufacturing capacity released with the cessation of the trainer programme.

It is on the basis of that last sentence that I should like to say a few words about the situation among aircraft workers in the city of Winnipeg, from which I come.

On April 5 last I directed a question on this matter to the Minister of Munitions and Supply which is found at page 505 of Hansard. On that occasion the minister cast some doubt on my statement that lay-offs were continuing to take place at MacDonald Brothers aircraft plant at Winnipeg. In fact he used these words:

I have no information as to how many men are employed now at MacDonald's, but I think the numbers are on the increase rather than on the decrease.

As the minister will recall, on January 31 and February 1 of this year a delegation of aircraft workers came from Winnipeg to Ottawa to see the minister concerning the contracts at MacDonald Brothers Aircraft Limited, Winnipeg. -The hon. member for Selkirk and I had the privilege of accompanying the delegation and waiting on the minister on those two days. The second time we met him the minister gave us the forthright assurance that work would be forthcoming which would take care of the situation at MacDonald's in particular and in Winnipeg in general. In fact he gave us information which is substantially the same as the statement he made last night when he said that his department had obtained substantial contracts for aircraft components from the United States.

Mr. .HOWE: I did not say any such thing. Let us tell the truth.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

I said nothing about the United States. There was never any question of contracts from the United States. They were never contemplated. I told the hon. member the exact facts, that we were moving a contract from the Canadian General Electric Company in Toronto to Winnipeg and that the effects of it would be felt in June. I will thank the hon. member very much not to lead any more delegations into my office.

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NAT

Douglas Gooderham Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (St. Paul's):

I resent that. It is the privilege of any member of parliament to lead a delegation to see a minister.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Make the minister retract.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

No; if the minister wants to make that statement, it is perfectly all right with me. My remarks and his will be on the record and will be read with interest by the members of the delegation-there were five of us-who were in his office and know what was said. The whole purpose of the visit of that delegation was to try to get the assurance that something definite would be done. Other members of the delegation, the aircraft workers themselves, said to the minister: "Can we be assured that this new work will be placed in time to prevent the lay-offs now taking place?" The minister's reply to that was that the full effect might not be felt until June. He went on to say that the government was not the kind of government that would tell a private company what they should do, but that if he were manager of the plant and knew of the contracts that were coming there would not be any lay-offs.

The fact of the matter is that lay-offs have continued. The members of that delegation went back to Winnipeg in early February quite happy as a result of their interview with the minister, and they assured the workers in the plant where they are engaged and the members of the union with which they are associated that the minister had the matter

in hand, and that while there might be some temporary dislocation, there was nothing to worry about in the long run. However, despite that, lay-offs are still continuing.

I have a letter in my hand from Mr. Frank Murphy, the business agent of Spitfire Lodge, No. 741, International Association of Machinists, written after the minister made his reply to my question on the orders of the day last Thursday, in which the business agent tells me that a total of a thousand workers were laid off at MacDonald's in February and March and that there are now only about five hundred employees left at the airport compared with a figure of 3,500 when employment at MacDonald Brothers was at its peak.

This is not the first time, nor was the occasion, January 31 and February 1, the first time that I have discussed the matter of employment at Winnipeg with the Minister of Munitions and Supply and also with the Minister of Labour. It is a matter I have had occasion to discuss ever since I came to this house, and I feel that I must point out to the government that the treatment which we get from the two ministers falls into a well defined pattern. When we ask on behalf of Winnipeg for the placing of war contracts there to provide employment we are frequently told that the government cannot be asked to produce war materials that are not needed just for the sake of providing employment. That is a perfectly logical statement to make, provided that we did not get other kinds of replies when other questions are asked. But when we ask, on the other hand, as we have in recent months of the Minister of Munitions and Supply, who is also Minister of Reconstruction, that he start a reconversion programme in such a plant as MacDonald Brothers at Winnipeg, the minister tells us that there is a war on and that this is no time for the consideration of such matters.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, I do not think I should be misrepresented. I can tell my hon. friend that the position in MacDonald Brothers Aircraft is so serious that Grant MacDonald was in my office to-day trying to buy the plant, and he said he was offering to buy the plant because of the prospects he had ahead. That is the difference between the real facts and the story my hon. friend is helling the committee to-day.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

Will the minister indicate what the figures of employment are in the plant to-day?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

He told me but I do not

remember exactly. They seemed to. be higher than the figure the hon. member just gave. What was that figure?

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CCF

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

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

Mr. KNOWLES :

The figure I have in the letter from the business agent is 500.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Grant MacDonald told me

and I think the figure was 1,400. He is in the city and I will get a signed statement by him. My hon. friend's statement is in line with his usual accuracy. I 'have great respect for the word of any hon. member, but I must say that my hon. friend is amazing in reporting interviews he has had in my office.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

The minister should

remember that he gave us full permission to give publicity to that interview; in fact, he urged us to do so. But when he made his statement in reply to my question on the orders of the day last Thursday, the reading of that statement by members of the delegation who were in the office led them to express amazement at the contrast between the minister's statement in the house and the statement which he made to us in his office. I feel it is my duty to bring this matter out into the open.

I should like to continue with the statement which I was making as to the sort of treatment we have been given wThen we have pleaded for work in the city of Winnipeg. We have received the answers already indicated, but we have continued to press for contracts for the sake of employment, because we have had men in Winnipeg needing work. There are certain other answers which we get. First, we are told that the labour situation at certain times is tight. I admit that that may be the general picture over the country; and yet on almost every occasion when either the Minister of Munitions and Supply or the Minister of Labour has referred to the tight labour situation, we have had large numbers of men registered for employment at the selective service office in Winnipeg and unable to get it.

Another reply which has been given to us is that there is work in other parts of the country, and that these departments of government have sent people to Winnipeg to try to get some of these workers because they were needed in other parts of the country. But the fact is that the wages offered at these jobs in other parts did not make it possible for men with homes in Winnipeg to pick up and go. particularly for the short time for which employment was guaranteed.

Another answer which we got from both the ministers I have referred to-in fact it was the answer I had the first time I ever asked a question in this house of the Minister of Labour-is that there are periods of seasonal unemployment which we have to accept, that there is never full employment in Winnipeg in. February and March, anyway.

But the point I am trying to suggest is that all these things combined have given the workers of Winnipeg-and not only the workers; I know something of what the members of the city council of Winnipeg, and of bodies such as the industrial development board of Manitoba think about this-the feeling that we have been given the runaround in connection with war contracts to provide sufficient work for Winnipeg.

On that basis I still hope that the minister, even if he feels provoked, will try to give the information which obviously I am seeking.

I wonder what has happened to the contracts which he had in mind when he assured the men on February 1 that work would be available. Have any contracts which he has offered to MacDonald's been turned down? Perhaps he might tell us also on what basis the contracts have been let to this firm. Has there been any change in the basis on which they have been let as between the earlier years of the war and the present time? Also I may say that workers in the plant have an interest in the question as to what is to happen to the government property at MacDonald's.

I wish that somehow we could get this across to ministers of the government, that when some of us stand here in this chamber and speak, even though they may think of us as members of another political party and as people they have to try to "sit on", they should remember that we speak for the people whom we represent. I am speaking in this question on behalf of the workers in the plant at MacDonald Brothers, Winnipeg, and one of the things they are interested in is what is to happen to that plant,

I notice, in the interesting figures which the Minister of Munitions and Supply laid on the table last night, and which appear in yesterday's Votes and Proceedings under the title "Government financed expansion of industrial capacity in Canada as at December 31, 1944", there have been some fairly substantial sums invested by the government in this plant. The amount actually expended by the government to that date at MacDonald Brothers Aircraft Limited for aircraft manufacture is S346,834. The amount actually expended at the same plant to provide facilities for aircraft overhaul and repair is SI,582,238. These two figures make a total investment by the government in the

War Appropriation-Munitions and Supply

plant there of $1,929,081. An investment of fairly close to two million dollars is quite substantial. It indicates the value there is in this plant. The workers are interested in the kinds of uses which it might be put to as a result of reconversion, and they would be interested', even if the minister does not feel that he wants to give me the information, in knowing what is in store for the equipment in which this vast sum of public money has been invested. .

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

My hon. friend expects to be a member of the next government, I am sure. Why does he not give them his own ideas?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
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LIB
NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

You are not suggesting

that his group are going to be the next government?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
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April 11, 1945