I could make a speech on this matter, though I am not going to. We are anxious that we should have sympathetic understanding on the part of the minister and his officials, and that is what we are hoping to get.
There are other agencies at work which are anxious about this port, anxious in particular about reciprocal trade between western Canada and British ports. I am informed on good authority that the government of Saskatchewan-and surely in a matter of this kind, which is a national matter, we should not prejudice the issue if we mention the name of a government whose ideology is somewhat different from that of this government ; surely we do not have to face that sort of thing-is taking particular pains to talk
with various agencies in the old country about reciprocal trade between Britain and Saskatchewan. and they are anxious that some of that trade should be carried through the port of Churchill. I am told, for instance, that the government of Saskatchewan has on order now a good number of trucks and automobiles they want to bring to western Canada this year. Many other items could come through the port of Churchill, and we cannot see why they do not.
We realize, of course, that Churchill is better equipped for export, that is the export of grain, than for the import of goods. It lacks certain shed facilities and other things which I am not going into now. If this import trade does materialize and does increase I hope facilities will be provided at Churchill to handle that trade better than it has been handled in the past, as well as the purely export trade in grain. The other day someone told me that some repair work was going on at Churchill this year. I believe last year I suggested that certain repairs and additional work were necessary, and I am hoping some of it is now being undertaken.
The hour is late, and I do not know whether I can expect the minister, on a general item, to answer the questions I have raised. Incidentally, before coming to the chamber this evening I had not the faintest idea that this discussion would be coming up. I had prepared one or two questions to place on the order paper embodying at least some of the things I have asked this evening, particularly the question with respect to freight rates on the Hudson Bay road, and the rumour that ocean freight rates to Churchill had been lessened. I should be pleased, and I know it would set. at rest the minds of those in Saskatoon and Regina who are interested in this matter, if the minister could give some definite answer to the questions I have raised.
Mr. Chairman, coming as I do' from a section of Nova Scotia where the swift moving tides of the bay of Fundy merge with the mighty waters of the north Atlantic, where we are subject to fog, sleet and ice as well as all the normal dangers of navigation, I feel that I must say a few words regarding matters of marine. First of all, I wish to say I appreciate very much the co-operation I have always received from the minister.
Then, I want to suggest to the minister that an agency or sub-agency be established on the Nova Scotia side of the bay of Fundy. There is one operating in Saint John, but I think we need one on the Nova Scotia side to look after all the lighthouses and aids to navigation between Cape Sable and Point
Prim. A central area would probably be at Yarmouth, but I am not going to suggest what place. I think such a service is needed.
Then I consider we need additional icebreaking equipment. As the minister knows, we need additional buoy maintenance and lighthouse service ships. A large type of ship is needed, and I would suggest that these ships be constructed so strongly in the bows that they could be used for the dual purpose of ice-breaker and buoy and lighthouse tender. This is a very much needed service and probably the minister has it under consideration. I hope so.
I want to commend the minister for placing in his estimates an amount to cover the construction of a new lightship to take the place of lightship 14 which has been the guardian to the entrance to the bay of Fundy for over forty years. This is one of the few ships with an iron hull that is still in operation. I can assure the minister that this will be much appreciated by all of us who know the dangers of the Lurcher shoals. If the minister will take these few thoughts under consideration I am sure the people in my part of the country will greatly appreciate it.
I should like to say one further word with regard to a coastguard service. I do not suggest that any great capital expenditure be made over and above what is actually needed, but I suggest that we utilize all the available equipment we have in the air-sea rescue branch, the Department of Transport ships and the Department of Fisheries ships and then provide what additional equipment may be needed. We could have central offices or stations through which these services could be correlated so that relief could be sent at the shortest notice to any ship in distress. They would know just where to look for it.
As I say, I am not urging a tremendous increase in capital expenditure; I am simply asking that sufficient money be provided to maintain an adequate service at this time. Perhaps eventually this service will grow into something larger, but I think it is something that could be handled from a few offices to which the ships from the various departments could report and then be detailed to wherever rescue operations were needed.
They are, but I do not expect the minister to answer them now. These are questions which I asked before the railway committee but did not get an answer. What were the operating expenses of the Canadian National Railway lines to Portland in 1947, and how much of that amount was paid in United States funds? Has there been an additional operating expenditure, or has there been an operational saving over the Canadian National lines to Portland since the reduction in freight rates became effective on November 17, 1947? I was told in the committee that I would be furnished with that information, but I have not received it.
I shall try to get answers to the questions for the hon. gentleman, but after listening to the second question I am afraid that it will not be possible to get that information. I should not like to say that I cannot get it until I have communicated with the officers of the Canadian National Railways.