The house resumed from Wednesday, February 11, consideration of the motion of Mr. J. A. Dion for an address to His Excellency the Governor General in reply to his speech at the opening of the session, and the amendment thereto of Mr. Bracken, and the amendment to the amendment of Mr. Coldwell.
Mr. GORDON B. ISNOR (Halifax): Mr. Speaker, when the house adjourned on Wednesday I was replying to a statement which had been made by the hon. member for Cape Breton South (Mr. Gillis). I had
expressed the view, which I know is held by the majority of the members from the mari-times, that it was to be regretted that the hon. member for Cape Breton South and other members of the C.C.F. group had gone to such lengths to decry the possibilities of the mari-times, particularly of the province of Nova Scotia.
In his remarks the hon. member for Cape Breton South had questioned the accuracy of statements made by the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) when he spoke to the Halifax board of trade last Monday evening. He had also referred to a statement which I had made that considerable work was to be carried on at the port of Halifax, and he likewise questioned the accuracy of that statement. I inquired of the hon. member whether he was in position to indicate whether the statement I had made was correct, and he replied, as reported on page 1105 of Hansard'.
I do not know anything about it. But if it is on a par with the statement issued by the Minister of Trade and Commerce, then it leaves a question in my mind whether it will relieve the situation which I know exists down there.
The hon. member for Cape Breton South went on to give a dreary and dismal picture of conditions in Halifax and Nova Scotia generally; and he referred to the fact that I was a member of the reconstruction committee which sat in 1942. He was very sure of that statement. While I did not correct him at the time, I wish to state for his benefit that I was not a member of that committee in 1942.
I should like to deal now with the hon. member's statement about coal. This is one subject which the hon. member for Cape Breton South should know' something about because he comes from a mining district. Hon. members of the house who are not as familiar with the subject expect him to give us information of a helpful nature. I recall that this question was discussed last April when something like 13,000 miners were out on strike. At that time I said I felt that greater production would be helpful, and that it was necessary for us in Nova Scotia to make the best possible use of our coal. Having suggested that increased production would help I was reminded that that strike cost the province of Nova Scotia something like one million tons of coal w-hich otherwise would have been produced during that time. I also took occasion to suggest to the Minister of Trade and Commerce and the government that if possible a scientific research centre should be set up in Nova Scotia with a pilot plant to look into the possibilities of developing the by-products of our coal industry. I
The Address-Mr. Isnor
said that if that were done I believed it would have a marked effect on the future of our coal operations. I stated that I was throwing out that suggestion to the cabinet, at the same time hoping the hon. member for Cape Breton South, with his knowledge of the coal industry of his own native province, would co-operate and offer some constructive suggestions which would help solve the difficulty which existed.
As I say, I was hopeful that the hon. member would offer some constructive suggestions in regard to the greater use of our coal. But apparently he was not as much concerned about that as he was in sowing seeds of discontent and creating the impression that our province was backward and had very few possibilities.
A week or so ago, on Tuesday, January 27, the hon. member made a speech in this house and again referred to the question of coal. He was speaking on the import and export regulations which had been brought into effect. At page 596 of Hansard, referring to the industrial centres in Ontario and Quebec, he said:
All the United States has to do at any time at all, if she wants to cripple and paralyse this country, is to withhold her fuel. By withholding her coal she can close down every industry in this country within a very short time.