October 23, 1945

LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Yes, branch lines.

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PC

Frank Exton Lennard

Progressive Conservative

Mr. LENNARD:

Does the minister propose o subsidize bush lines or feeder lines? He mentioned subsidizing bush lines. Does he mean bush lines or feeder lines?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

So far I think that the government has not subsidized any lines. My position would be that if a service is needed in an area and cannot be performed without a loss, provided that the operation is efficient I 47696-89

should be prepared to subsidize that service. But if it is not a necessary service, I would not be prepared to subsidize it.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

While the minister is making his statement to the effect that the government is not subsidizing lines, would he not also complete the picture' by referring to the amount of money the government has spent in developing routes, beams and meteorological and other services? I have before me a document tabled by the minister in August of last year in which is listed an item for S29 million spent by the Canadian government directly on the development of routes to the north. It also refers to the fact that the Canadian government has agreed to pay to the United States government $76 million for installations of a permanent value. I have had these things in my mind during the discussion which has been going on for the last half hour. Hon. members, particularly those to my right, have spoken as though these private firms flying to the north were doing it entirely on their own. But they have been able to do it only because of the immense amount of help made available to them through government expenditures.

While I am on my feet perhaps I should make a further comment. The minister said that with the folding up of these small air lines, if the Canadian Pacific had not come into the field we should have been denied that service. May I point out that if it had not been for the expenditure of public money on developing these routes, even the Canadian Pacific would not have been able to carry on the service. I am only suggesting that the-minister should complete the pioture. In fact I was going to ask him if he could give the committee the up-to-date figures as to what it has cost the government to develop these northern lines.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

May I point out to the hon. member that all the airports which have been built in the north during the last five years have been built for war purposes. For the defence of Canada and the United States it was necessary to have a chain of airports extending from Edmonton to Alaska. Large expenditures were made on that route, and tremendous quantities of freight were shipped over it to serve the war in the east and1 to assist Russia in her war effort in Europe. Those are matters quite separate from the discussion here to-day.

May I tell the hon. member that the services of which he speaks were in operation before those expenditures were made. While the aircraft use facilities of that type for present day service, I doubt very much if airports have added to the earning power of

Trans-Canada Air Lines

those planes, through the fact that they now operate on wheels where formerly they operated on floats. The expenditures in the north for war purposes are scarcely pertinent to this discussion. However, I feel I should finish my statement, and then let someone else have the floor.

The reference to subsidizing the flying of transocean aircraft, to which reference was made in my statement concerning the amendments, refers to the pioneering of new services outside Canada. So far as the Canada-United Kingdom service goes, may I say that that service has already been pioneered. I believe it can be a profitable service, right from the start. In fact we hope to inaugurate a fare paying service before the end of this year. In the meantime we have practically covered .the cost of the line through the very heavy movement of mail handled, as a result of our troops being in England and on the continent. I think we'need not worry about subsidizing the Canada-United Kingdom service. Nevertheless when we pioneer from Canada south, through the West Indies and into South America, that will be an expensive operation, and in its initial stages it must be subsidized either by Trans-Canada Air Lines, if its funds permit, or, if not, by a government appropriation. The same is true of the Pacific. That is a very thin traffic route, extending some six thousand or seven thousand miles, and it is scarcely conceivable that in its initial stages it can operate without a subsidy.

But I can say this, that the three routes I have mentioned are routes which we believe will ultimately represent a profitable operation. And I can also add that Canada is in " the air in a practical way, and that we do not intend to operate indefinitely any route which will not pay its operating costs. That has been our policy in the past. We have abandoned certain routes because we became convinced that they were not profitable, and our policy in international aviation will be the same as it has been in domestic aviation in that respect.

Mention was made of selling shares of certain companies, or of subsidizing certain operations.

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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GREEN:

Buying shares.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Buying or selling, yes. That arose from the fact that several South American countries have a proviso in their laws to the effeet that any air lines operating into their territory must be owned, in certain proportions, by the nationals of those countries. For instance, the law in Brazil requires that any service operating into that country must be owned to the extent of forty per cent by

residents of Brazil, and must carry a certain proportion of pilots who are nationals of that country.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

Will the minister

permit a question?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Just let me finish my statement. The purpose is to give Trans-Oanada Air Lines the same freedom in the development of civilian services that any privately owmed competitor would have in carrying out the same operation. I believe I have covered the questions asked by my hon. friend.

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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GREEN:

Would the minister say

something further about the transpacific route?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

The proposal is to operate in cooperation with a partnership made up of the government of Australia, the government of New Zealand and British Overseas Airways. The combination of these three will form one company, and Trans-Canada Air Lines will be their partner in the operation. The intention is that the Australian-New Zealand-British Overseas Airways group will operate one flight, and that Trans-Oanada will operate the second flight.

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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GREEN:

Right through?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mir. HOWE:

Yes. I Would not say,

however, that that will be the final solution. Australia and New Zealand have rights both in the United States and in Canada. Canada has rights in Australia and New Zealand, but it has no rights in connection with that particular flight in the United States. If Canada flies across the Pacific on that route, it will fly from Vancouver. The Australian air lines may fly to San Francisco and then to Vancouver.

The hon. member asked about the route north from Edmonton. That, of course, is the short route to the orient, through Siberia, China and Japan. Whether that route can be used will depend on negatiations with the government of Soviet Russia; therefore I cannot speak definitely about the future of the route. In time it may be our best route to Australia >and New Zealand, as well as to the orient, but that of course is a matter for future development.

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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GREEN:

I asked that question because on September 24 Mr. Symington is reported to have said that it was expected to fly the northern route to China and Russia.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Negotiations are pending.

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PC

George Russell Boucher

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BOUCHER:

Yesterday the minister

said this:

The bill also empowers Trans-Oanada Air Lines to acquire and dispose of shares in companies established to operate air services. In

Trans-Canada Air Lines

order to protect the position of any companies incorporated under this act, and ensure that they may always remain under government control, it is also provided that Trans-Canada Air Lines must always retain fifty-one per cent of the shares of any such company.

Does the minister mean by that statement that Trans-Canada Air Lines will own fifty-one per cent of the shares of all companies operating air lines, whether they be domestic, national or international? Do I take it that before licensing any company to operate any air service in Canada the government will require that it be fifty-one per cent government owned?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

This explains what I said

yesterday, that it is difficult to discuss a bill without seeing it. That provision applies only to external air lines and transoceanic air lines; that provision does not apply to domestic air lines in Canada. It means that if we decide to operate in Brazil, through a separate company, Trans-Canada Air Lines would own fifty-one per cent of that company, but it may dispose of any part of the shares in order to meet the laws of Brazil.

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PC

Thomas Langton Church

Progressive Conservative

Mr. CHURCH:

The minister has made a

statement about this matter, first in connection with the domestic side and then, second, in connection with the international side. I raised some questions about this last year on March 28, at a time that was vital in the history of our empire. One international branch of this matter deals with the Pacific; another has reference to the north Atlantic and the third deals with lines operating to the West Indies and South America. I raised certain questions last year and the year before because I felt that Canada was away behind the times, that if we did not change our policy we would soon be in a precarious position.

I would call the attention of the committee to to-day's order paper. Item No. 6 is in connection with the carrying out of the provisions of an interim agreement which was signed in Chicago. The next matter of business to which I would direct attention was dealt with a week ago to-day when a motion to appoint a committee was agreed to. A year ago when the minister made what I considered was a leap in the dark in connection with this whole matter I proposed that it should be sent to the committee on railways and shipping in order that all sides of the matter might be considered. We should know now what the policy of this country is going to be in view of the rapid progress that has been made in civil aviation.

I wish also to call attention to the resolution that was placed on the order paper on October 47696-891

22, the matter which is now before the Chair. Why is it necessary for Canada to take part in all these secret conferences when parliament is in session? The Prime Minister is in the old country at the present time and he is supposed to be dealing with matters relating to the defence of the empire, civil aviation, trade, migration and other matters of interest to the empire. Why is it necessary to have all these secret arrangements that have been made? As I said last year on March 28, continuing again on March 31:

Why did Canada not seek first a conference with the other dominions in order to formulate an empire policy as a unit? What was the need for all this secrecy in regard to a public matter such as this which is of the utmost importance to the future of the world and the future of our empire? Why were all these star chamber proposals made, when we had the minister and his staff in London at a time when there were also in that city representatives of nearly all the countries of the world trying to devise some definite plan for the progress of civil aviation and the progress of the world in general.

Mr. Curtin and Mr. Fraser appealed to Canada to formulate a policy for the Pacific. Those two prime ministers pointed out that the United States had grabbed all the air routes in the Pacific. In this connection I would refer to the report of the British shipping board. The Americans have a tremendous hold over the Pacific, and they did not get it by accident but by enterprise at a time when Canada was asleep. They have made great concessions to travellers. The United States air service over the Pacific is free, every military pr civilian traveller having the benefit of that route at no cost to himself.

The prime ministers of Australia and New Zealand had a conference on January 17 of last year at which they agreed on a plan for the Pacific. They made an appeal for an empire air policy. Canada has ignored it all and has done nothing about it. As I said last year, Canada now announces an international air policy as though she were a first-class power. The United States will have nothing to do with internationalism; neither will Russia. Russia has made an agreement good for ten years-with whom? With Great Britain. The United States have made several agreements, as I pointed out the other night. These are with whom? They are with the Latin republics in South America and with other countries.

We have had in the C.N.R. some most unfortunate experiences with branch lines, American subsidies and merchant marine. We want to link this up with Canadian National Railways. The Canadian National Railways is public ownership in some ways, but not in others. What is the railway system going to do? The time has come when that system needs more rolling stock for passengers and

Trans-Canada Air Lines

freight. A great need at the present time is more housing, but yet you are going to create some more civil aviation subsidiaries for our railway system, a system which was supposed to be bankrupt a few years ago. That railway system has done splendid work, and I have referred before to the wonderful work done during this war by the employees of the system. We have had an unfortunate experience with the subsidiaries of the Canadian National in the United States. They have received most of the benefits in equipment and rolling stock during the war, before the war and between the two wars. We have had a most unfortunate experience with our merchant marine. Ships that cost a million and a half were sold for $15,000 to $30,000. We have had a most unfortunate experience with the useless duplication and waste in the branch lines of the Canadian National system across Canada. We have had reports by royal commissions on these things, but we have ignored all of their recommendations to avoid errors in transportation.

I have the report of the British shipping board. The British merchant marine has been on the seas for over two hundred years. Under their policy they allowed ships of all nations to enter their harbours under user, but retained sovereignty over them, and I suggest that the same principle should be applied in the matter of civil aviation.

We have a British navigation policy, under which any ship can enter our harbours and land its cargo. They cannot enter our coastwise trade on the Atlantic or Pacific, but they can land their goods at our ports. That policy has proven in navigation a success for two hundred years, and has made Great Britain the great ocean-going country she is. The same principle should be applied to civil aviation, which should be free the world over, with user given, but not sovereignty.

The old country, with New Zealand and Australia, appealed to Canada to act as a link in an all-red empire air route, but in January and March 1944 we rejected that appeal. We should never forget what the other privately-owned railway company, the CJP.R., has done to build up this country, by the building of the air branch lines and the development of ocean traffic, as well as what it has done in~civil aviation. I repeat that government monopoly of transportation in the air will not be a success if we now branch out into an international world effort over the head of the mother country, and other dominions.

I say further that we need a constitutional change. Why should one minister of the crown be able to walk all over the world and

make agreements respecting the Pacific, the Atlantic and South America and any place else over the head of parliament in session, or political pledges given to foreign countries? What kind of constitution is that? A pledge which in time will take the form of a treaty, no doubt. It could not be done in the old country, and I would recommend a change in our constitution so that the minister would first have to report to the cabinet.

Is this the time to embark on a separatist scheme like this over the head of the other dominions? I say no. I say further that no individual politician, and we are all politicians, should obligate the government of this country in any matter which has not first been submitted to parliament. We have seen what happened in military matters by not following that policy, and we have seen what happened at Locarno, for instance. We have seen how some agreements made over the head of parliament have led to a second war. The first duty of yes-men in Germany was to find out what the dictator wanted and then to do that very thing. Are we going to be a lot of yes-men? If so the authority of parliament is gone. Yes-men are not all astrologers. Perhaps if they were, we would be better off. Germany, Italy and Japan all depended on yes-men to keep their authoritarian governments in office. Are we going to be yes-men? Are we going to act aver the heads of the other dominions to pass this separatist agreement? If so, we are headed for disaster. As I said, there should be a constitutional change. No minister of the crown should be able to act over the head of parliament. It cannot be done in the old country.

I asked the minister the other day a question about the interim agreement made at Chicago. I asked if the report had been tabled and he said that he did not know. I do not know whether it has been tabled since or not, but we are to be tied by this resolution to everything that was done at Chicago.

There is another side of this picture. We have an international defence board. As I said before, it is all board and no defence. It seems that the minister has ignored that board altogether when laying down his policy. We have also to consider the Atlantic. Has Britain ever been consulted for cooperation in such a policy as this? During the war Britain made an agreement with the United States by which it got fifty-six of her old destroyers and in return she gave the United States a ninety-nine year lease of her naval bases, practically freehold, from Newfoundland right down to British Guiana, and according to the congressional debates the United States is not

Trans-Canada Air Lines

going to give up those bases. We had better stay in the pond before we wander out into the lake. Internationalism is all right, but it presages a perfect world which we never will have. We must never forget that Canada is a country of only eleven million people. None of the dominions are able to go it alone, and if we and the other nations of the commonwealth do not hang together we shall hang separately.

We need not think that we are a first-class power in the Pacific. The mother country was in such straits in the war with Germany that she had to leave the Pacific to the United States, and I do not criticize that at all. But one of the mistakes Canada made during all this war has been that we have surrendered to Washington. too much political, military, financial, and economic initiative. The people of the, United States, our great ally, would respect us much more if we told them what our views are not only in regard to this question but in regard to other questions.

The most important feature of all, the defence feature for the future, the minister has apparently not considered at all. Let me read a few paragraphs'from Sir Edward Grigg's book on "The British Commonwealth" which has been recently published. He says:

Until the present century it was only naval power that this island had to fear; but the advent of the aeroplane has established a new menace which commits it still more deeply to a vital interest in European affairs.

The role (which used to be hers) of semidetachment combined with a vital interest in certain aspects of European affairs now passes to Canada. She must suffer the reluctance to be involved which Britain has always herself felt and shown; with this from her own experience Britain can fully sympathize. But facts will compel the Atlantic democracies as they have always compelled her. An accumulation of potentially hostile naval and air-power upon the western seaboard of Europe and northern Africa would menace Canada and the United States, not merely with destruction of their sea communications and trade, but With attack upon their peoples at home; and they are furthermore exposed to a danger which has not troubled Britain for at least a century past-namely, that if their foreign relations were unwisely handled or their defensive preparations in arrear, they might be threatened -with simultaneous war upon their Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

He goes on to say:

So far as the United States are concerned, the issue rests with the American people; but their decision, whatever form it takes, cannot affect the need for the closest possible understanding between Britain and Canada. The latter's position is of vital importance for the development of air communications, and this should be planned in concert by the British and Candian governments. It is also of consequence that British and'Canadian measures for the welfare of sea transport and the protection

of sea communications should be complementary. Canada is now too great a country to be regarded as a British or American or Anglo-American protectorate. Her resources are vast; and if her population increases suitably and proportionately, she may well be the equal of any but the greatest powers before the end of the present century. It is of moment to the whole commomvealth that British institutions should prove their strength in her. the greatest oi the younger nations of the British family. She is the first example of what nationhood within that wide brotherhood can achieve as it passes from semi-dependence to the full stature of national maturity; and the destines of the empire now lie as much within her lands as in those of the British people.

These are wise, true words. At this time we should have plain speaking and clear thinking on this question.

I contended last year that there should be a chair of aviation in every large university in Canada. One of the hopes we had last year when this matter was under discussion was, that, next to agriculture, aviation would prove to be one of the main sources of employment for the boys returning from the front. But if we have this kind of international policy our place will be taken by competitors whose resources and experience exceed our own. The minister has spoken of the planes which have been selected. I predict that they will be obsolete by the time that the extensions,' which will require a year or two years, are carried out. Nor do I favour the policy of handing over empire bases for international purposes; they should not be retained subject to user by other countries. Where would we have been in this war had we surrendered all those bases to international control? Where will we be in the next war if their ownership passes into other hands?

The policy which the government is adopting over the head of parliament will not, I predict, be a success. I was about to refer to this the other day in connection with the motion for the setting up of the committee on railways and shipping. We are adding today to our obligations in connection with this department, and more subsidiaries to be, and I can say this, that the Canadian public, with the experience of the vast expenditures on the C.N.R. in the branch line days of Sir Henry Thornton, are long-suffering, but there is a limit to their patience regarding this particular problem, and in my opinion the limit has been reached. Thoughtful men are concerned at the number of government subsidiaries and outside boards that are spending money like water. There seems no hope of parliament regaining control.

I suggest to the administration that one of the most important things to be done is completely to reorganize Trans-Canada Air

Trans-Canada Air Lines

Lines. Look over the board of directors. Millions upon millions of dollars are to be expended. Has our finance minister, whom I am glad to see back with us to-day, been' consulted about this? If you had the responsibility for a private railway or a steamship company, would you entrust that great public ownership venture to Mr. Symington and Mr. Henry and the other gentlemen, some of whom were mentioned a few years ago in this house in connection with a light and power scheme, the Beauharnois of blessed memory? These are the men who are to head this whole world extended system, branching out all over the world into the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and international transportation generally, over the head of the mother country, and the other dominions, without any consideration of the effects on all allred empire air scheme of this policy. I do not doubt that they are good men, I have nothing against them personally; they are splendid citizens, but they have too much to do now in -other lines, and no time for this as another venture. If we are to have a publicly owned monopolistic system, at least give it a chance with public ownership men. I repeat that I believe the whole Trans-Canada Air Lines should be reorganized. In this connection it is of the utmost importance that we have an agreement and an understanding with our great ally the United States and with the mother country. What has been done in this direction? We have not heard one word about the results of the empire conference in London in January, 1944, when Canada was represented and did not aid in it. At the present time the Prime Minister is over there: we do not know what he may have done regarding this matter.

I have recently expressed myself on the policy of adopting this big programme and going extensively into this business over the heads of the other dominions: Hansard, March 31, 1944, page 2046:

Reference has been made to the selection of the Douglas DC-4 by the Trans-Canada Air Lines. It is obsolete. They say that the Lancaster is unsuited for civilian purposes, but it has been shown by Handley Page and others in the old land that some of the bombers can be readily adapted in a few days for use as transports, and also Lancasters by simple changes in design by research at Malton.

I do not believe that in connection with this aviation problem we have given sufficient attention either in this war or the last to scientific' research. ... I believe that the government will waste a lot of money by utilizing the Douglas DC-4 for its civilian air service. A much better plan could be worked out along the lines I have indicated. Canada should try to take the lead in the field of design and should prepare a definite policy for the next twenty-five years. Fundamental changes will occur in the future. Aviation in Canada is yet only in

IMr. Church.]

its infancy. Research, design and experimentation will be more important than ever. In Canada and in the empire we are on the threshold of a grand new age which will revolutionize aeroplane construction and the development of aeroplane engines. In this field high speed is essential to supremacy. Problems of all sorts arise; science and research will provide even lighter alloys and nerv types of wings, engines and parts which will withstand various climatic conditions the world over.

I do not think Canada should have a monopoly in connection with civil aviation, any more than she should have a monopoly in connection with design. No doubt immediately after the war improved aircraft for the transportation of passengers, emergency foods and many other articles will be absolutely necessary, because when the war is over the railways and, other forms of transportation will be choked. So it will be of the utmost importance that there be close cooperation and mutual understanding between Great Britain, the United States and the dominions.

I believe this question, instead of being a secret with the minister and the government, should be considered by the committee on railways and shipping, which dealt with one aspect of this question the other day. It should hear all sides of the question. Trans-Canada. Ait-Lines, Canadian Pacific Air Lines and private lines in this country, which carried on the work of civil aviation between the two wars, should be heard and a proper policy should be adopted. We are now embarking upon a policy of complete isolation from the mother country; we are going over the heads of Australia and New Zealand, and I say we are at the parting of the ways. I warn hon. members of the danger; I say we should stop, look and listen to the advice of those who have seriously considered this matter. When the young people come back from the war and look for employment, where will they find it?

For these reasons I oppose the international feature of this project. I am in favour of a red all-around-the-empire scheme. Indeed it is necessary to have such a programme to solve our own problems and to enable the mother country to recover. She is suffering as hardly any other nation has done; unless we stand behind her in this aviation programme she will simply revert to being a small island and become a second-class power like Denmark, and the British empire will pass into liquidation. The time has come for clear thinking and wise and plain speaking on these empire matters in this house.

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LIB

Daniel (Dan) McIvor

Liberal

Mr. McIVOR:

Those of us who live in

western Ontario or in northern Ontario are intensely interested in Trans-Canada Air Lines, Of course we know that T.C.A. is a baby of the minister, and it is not surprising to know he is extremely proud of his boy-because there is nothing feminine about the T.C-A. After this baby has been half starved during the war we find that the minister wakes up this House of Commons and the country to the fact that this baby must be fed. He

Trans-Canada Air Lines

realizes, as a wise father would realize, that there are two sources from which this baby can get the food it needs. One is the House of Commons and the other is the natural resources of the northland. He is calling for support from both. We at the head of the lakes-and that includes the two progressive cities of Fort William and Port Arthur-believe that the minister is wise in calling for additional expenditures to feed this lusty baby, and I am sure that he will get it.

He then initiates those feeder lines. We have thousands of young airmen who risked their lives over Germany. They have initiative left; they do not want to be tied down too much. They have been accustomed to running their own show in the air pretty well, and now many of them are beginning to organize feeder lines all over Canada. I hope that the minister will continue to give them the encouragement they need and thus feed the lusty baby from -those feeder lines.

I should like to say that before the war I was in room 16 with the minister and three specialists who wanted to get an order for a plane or planes to serve on the T.C.A. The minister said, "What is the name of your plane?" Well, of course, it was not known; it had never been tried out. I can see the minister with his smile set, striking from the shoulder. He said, "No plane will be tested out on the Trans-Canada Air Lines." You can imagine me just sitting back and saying, "thanks", to the Great Aviator that we have a man like that at the helm so that no young man's life will be risked.

We at the head of the lakes are very much interested in the Trans-Canada Air Lines. We have had pictures of Fort William, Port Arthur and the Thunder Bay district, of course, feeding it on the Trans-Canada Air Lines. We have been told that we would be on the direct route, and that is natural. The minister himself sees that that is the natural route for the Trans-Canada Air Lines. Look at the distributing point. Fort William and Port Arthur are the very centre of Canada, the breadbasket of the world, as I said the other day. Why should not we be on the main route of the Trans-Canada Air Lines? I speak as the mouthpiece of the Thunder Bay district and say to the minister: "Success to you; look after your baby; feed him well. Feed him well from the feeder lines all over Canada and you will have an air parent that will live long after you have closed your eyes in sleep."

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PC

John Ritchie MacNicol

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacNICOL:

I am going to ask only a few questions, because to make a speech on this matter at the moment seems to me to

be entirely out of place. We can do that on the second reading of the bill. However, I should like to get a little clarification on a matter over which I am concerned. Yesterday I asked the minister a question on the orders of the day. My question arose from a rumour that appeared in La Presse of Montreal to the effect that negotiations were under iway to expropriate the Canadian Pacific Air Lines. The minister replied to my question as follows:

The government has not given consideration to expropriating the shares of Canadian Pacific Air Lines, and is not doing so at present.

In a return tabled in reply to a question asked by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre, some information is given, and I would gather that negotiations must be under way because of a quotation which appeared in this morning's Gazette. The quotation is as follows:

Mr. Howe said discussions were under way with a view to carrying out the announced government policy of compelling the Canadian Pacific Railway to divest itself of ownership of the Canadian Pacific Air Lines.

These two replies do not jibe, and I should like further explanation, because, as the minister said to-day, it is the announced policy of the government to compel the Canadian Pacific Railway Company to divorce itself from the operation of airlines.

The minister outlined the policy of the government in a speech he made on March 17, 1944. In that speech he was not a bit friendly toward the good work which the Canadian Pacific had done. I am not here to defend the Canadian Pacific Railway any more than I would get up and speak in defence of any other company that had done good work. I myself am not interested in any company, but I am interested in defending any company that does a good job.

I had determined to make a trip to inquire into air service over the far north country, and I received a good deal for joy from it. I had to go by the Canadian Pacific Air Lines because there was no other way for me to go. I presume this line from Edmonton to Fort McMurray, from Fort McMurray to Fort Smith, and from Fort Smith to Yellowknife is what the minister would call a feeder line. The same thing applies if one goes the other way, from Fort Smith to Fort Resolution, from Fort Resolution to Fort Providence, from Fort Providence to Fort Norman and from Fort Norman to Norman Wells. I found the service excellent. I made up my mind that when I had an opportunity I would suggest to the minister that the airfields could be improved. The airfields on the eastern route are just the ordinary gravei runway airfields and there is a great deal of

Trans-Canada Air Lines

traffic over them. I do not know whether or not it is a paying traffic, but there is a lot of traffic over that route. The airfields should be improved with the object of opening up the country more rapidly. When I was there I do not believe there was an 'airfield at Yellowknife. My trip on the last occasion did not take nie over to Yellowknife. When I went to Yellowknife I went in a pontoon plane that rose and alighted on the water, but I am told there is a wheel plane field now at Yellowknife.

I ask the minister to consider in his programme having plane fields much farther north. I met quite a number of prospectors representing very large companies that are up in the Coppermine area. Of course they had to go into that country by pontoon planes. All of them suggested the advisability of having somewhere up in the Coppermine area a field that wheel planes can alight on, because once the frost comes down there is no way of getting out of that country, since the pontoon planes cannot alight on ice until it has formed in sufficient strength to support them.

I suggest to the minister that a field to accommodate wheel planes be constructed at Aklavik. There is quite an area there on which a field could be constructed. I made it my business to make a thorough examination both north and south of Aklavik, and Doctor Livingstone, the government representative at that point, pointed out a very good position which on examination looked to me to be all right too. There is quite a community there, and as it is the outpost of this country on the Arctic I would imagine that it would be good business to construct a field in that area on which wheel planes could land. I want a further explanation from the minister as to what he means by feeder lines in relation to the position of C.P.A. in that country, and I only mention C.P.A. because ;hey have no other feeder lines there. I do lot know why Trans-Canada has not decided to go into that country unless, as the minister has suggested, it is because the department would not allow a line to be started that could not be operated at a profit. Somebody has to* operate these lines which do not make profits. I do not suppose C.P.A. makes any profit, and all the more credit to it for opening up that country. I found them very satisfactory and the airfields on the west line from Edmonton to Whitehorse are 100 per cent. They are the best I have seen anywhere; large, well-lighted and with fine buildings.

In his speech yesterday the minister spoke of starting a line to fly from Whitehorse to

rMr. MacNicol.]

Fairbanks. Is the same line going to carry traffic from Edmonton to Whitehorse? If so, it washes out C.P.A. as far as that route is concerned; if not, then that line will be away off by itself. I feel that in the course of his remarks the minister at least should have paid a compliment to that great railway which operates those air lines in that far north country at its own expense. The Canadian Pacific has been a pioneer railway, and I often contemplate the great men who built it; Mount Stephen, Van Horne, Beatty, and the other great men who pioneered throughout the west and I presume did more than any equal number of individuals to open up that whole country for the benefit of Canada. They are worthy of a bit of praise, but not one word was said by the minister on behalf of the C.P.R. or the C.P.A. I am not here to defend them. They need no defence on my part. They are quite able to take care of themselves, but the C.P.R. and the C.P.A. do deserve some praise in this house for what they have done. Now they are again pioneering in that country in the matter of air transportation, and personally I am not in favour of wiping them out. I believe in supporting the T.C.A. to the limit, but I am a believer in competition, and I can speak very highly of the service I got from C.P.A.

Perhaps I might tell the committee one instance the like of which I do not think could be found anywhere else. When the plane I was on arrived at Fort Good Hope everyone got out to see the little old church built by the fathers who were in that country many years ago. It is quite an ornate structure and I took many pictures. Soon I exhausted the film in my camera and went back to the plane to get more. To my surprise I did not see my suitcase anywhere, so I asked the pilot if he would mind getting into the plane and handing me my suitcase, because I wanted a film. The pilot got in and turned over all the suitcases but could not find mine. When he came out he said, "I guess I must have left it on the dock at Norman Wells." I said, "Well, you might as well have left me there. There is no use in my going to Aklavik and all through that country unless I have my camera and films." So he said, "Just wait [DOT] a minute." Then he hopped in the plane and went back over a hundred miles to Norman Wells to get my suitcase which had been left on the dock. That is service.

Topic:   TRANS-CANADA AIR LINES INCREASE OF CAPITAL-CREATION OF CORPORATION TO OPERATE SERVICES UNDER CONTRACT
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October 23, 1945