September 28, 1949

LIB

John Decore

Liberal

Mr. Decore:

At this election on June 27 he received slightly over 300 of a majority.

We have been accused of making wild promises, but that is not so. We relied entirely on the policy of our party and the character and integrity of our leader.

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An hon. Member:

You did not swamp the province.

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LIB

John Decore

Liberal

Mr. Decore:

No, and we did not make promises to pay a $25 a month dividend.

The Vegreville federal constituency, adjoining the constituency of Edmonton West, contains in it the famous Redwater oil fields.

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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

The Liberals got that, did they not?

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LIB

John Decore

Liberal

Mr. Decore:

The Social Crediters are trying to take credit for it, I understand. This oil field is not only the largest one in Alberta; it is the largest in Canada. If we compare it with the Leduc field which is another major field in the Edmonton area, and the Turner valley field, we find that the Redwater field has recoverable reserves equal to the combined reserves of those other two fields to which I have referred. Recently the provincial government received as high as well over $3 million in cash for one section, and will in addition receive royalties from daily production which will become far more valuable than the cash bonus which they have already received.

A few days ago I had occasion to speak to Dr. Hume, who is the director of the mines branch of the Department of Mines and Resources, and this is what he had to say:

The rock formation from which oil has been taken out in the Redwater area is reported to be a reef similar to a reef found in the Leduc field and the Golden Spike. The presence of reefs in Alberta, in the Edmonton area, is very significant, in the

light of developments that have occurred in the West Texas Permian basin, where reef structures have given very prolific oil production.

The Norman Wells field in the Northwest Territories in the Mackenzie river valley is also a reef in the Devonian.

Dr. Hume expressed the hope that reef structures will be found to be very widespread, and that such a formation will continue from the Edmonton fields to the Mackenzie river valley. If such hope ever became a reality, the area I have made reference to may become the greatest centre of oil production in the world.

There is no question of the part that the Vegreville constituency will play in our Canadian economy, especially when we are trying to conserve United States dollars. It is unfortunate, however, that although some farmers in that constituency have mineral rights, many of them have not. Since this matter is entirely within the jurisdiction of the government of Alberta, it is hoped that that government will eventually see fit to give some recognition to farmers who have only surface rights.

I should also like to refer to the Elk island park, situated within my constituency. A few weeks ago the Minister of Mines and Resources had occasion to visit this park. It has become one of the most popular recreational centres in northern Alberta, but aside from its recreational features it has the distinction of being the largest fenced animal reserve in Canada. You will find roaming over its lush pastures over a thousand buffalo, and many moose, deer and elk. I refer to Elk island park because I understand that the government, for educational purposes, plans the construction of a museum in this park, tracing the historic development in northern Alberta of early settlers from the pioneer days. I hope that this museum will include a replica of a palisaded fort used as a trading post in early days in that area, as well as a typical structure of the pioneer homes used by the early settlers and the ingenious ways and means that they devised to construct these homes without the necessity of buying readymade material.

Most of the population of Alberta is mainly engaged in agriculture, or is indirectly dependent on it. There are therefore problems pertaining to agriculture in that province which are peculiar to that part of Canada. Although it is not often that we have drought conditions in northern Alberta, this year in my constituency there was a considerable lack of rain, and the crops of the farmers are poor. It is hoped that the minister will introduce such amendments to the Prairie Farm Assistance Act as will make it possible to reduce these large blocks, so that farmers in that area, especially in northern Alberta-and the 45781-21

The Address-Mr. Decore same applies to northern Saskatchewan and northern Manitoba-will be eligible under the act.

The people of the rest of the western provinces, along with the people of Alberta, feel keenly about freight rates, and it is hoped that some adjustment will be made by which the distribution of such freights may be more equitable for western Canada. I might also add that there is a well represented farmers' organization in Alberta known as the Farmers' Union of Alberta. The leaders of this organization are well acquainted with farm problems, and it is my sincere wish that should any representations be made to this government by various delegates from this farmers' organization the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) will receive them favourably, provided of course that such representations or requests are within reason and fair.

My attention is also drawn to the fact, by people living in my constituency along the Canadian National Railways from Edmonton by way of St. Paul to Heinsburg, that this line is not completed. There is a gap of some thirty-nine miles from Heinsburg, Alberta, to a point in Saskatchewan called Frenchman's Butte. Because this gap is not completed, the farmers are getting less for their produce. I might also add that along this same line is located the Redwater oilfield, and further along the line there is a salt mine. There is quite a demand for rail transportation, and it is my sincere hope that the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) will enter into consultation with the directors of the Canadian National Railways and suggest to them the advisability of completing this gap of some thirty-nine miles.

The population of the Vegreville constituency is made up of various racial groups. In it you will find Canadians of different extractions, including Germans, Scandinavians, French, Polish, Roumanian, Scots, Anglo-Saxons and others. By far the largest group are Canadians of Ukrainian origin. These people originally migrated from Europe some fifty-five years ago, from a country where they knew nothing but suppression and obscurity. They came to Canada seeking better opportunities for themselves and for their chil-'dren. Above all, they chose this land because they wanted freedom. It is almost impossible for me to describe the difficulties that these people had to surmount upon their arrival in Canada. Not only were they poor, but they had no knowledge of the English language, and they were not acquainted with Canadian institutions. They were allowed to settle on land which was considered the wilderness of the west. If you were to go through these communities today, Mr. Speaker, you

The Address-Mr. Thomas would find that this wilderness has been transformed into the best developed agricultural area in western Canada. The fact that these people were able to maintain a cultural tradition is worthy of praise. I feel that Canadians of Polish, Roumanian, Ukrainian or any other minority group are better Canadians if they realize that the stock from which they come has a fine past, incorporated in literature, music, handicrafts and religious faith. It will certainly give them not only a pride of origin, but, at the same time, confidence in their own ability to accomplish things that are worth while.

The hon. member for Vancouver South said that in diversity lies our strength. Canada is not a country of one race of people. We are in fact a country of minorities. Whoever we may be, wherever we came from, or whence came our parents or ancestors, we as Canadians should be proud of our different racial origins, proud of our traditions and of our culture. We should be proud of the fact that these things can weld us together, to make us not only better Canadians and better men, but also to make Canada, this great country of ours, a better place in which to live.

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SC

Ray Thomas

Social Credit

Mr. Ray Thomas (Wetaskiwin):

Mr. Speaker, since the house opened on September 15 I have been sitting back in my little corner listening to the flow of oratory from both sides of the house. Because of that realization has come to me that I am among the best speakers available in the country; therefore I am rather hesitant about taking part in this debate.

I should like to add my voice to those of hon. members who have spoken earlier in welcoming the new members from Newfoundland. I speak with firsthand information, because I spent a good deal of time in Newfoundland during the last war. I found that the people of that new province are extremely hospitable, hardy and industrious. With this in mind I should like to say that in my view hon. members from Newfoundland will add greatly to the dignity of this chamber.

For a few moments this afternoon I should like to speak about my home constituency of Wetaskiwin. It is not as large or as barren as some of the constituencies thus far described. Neither does it produce an abundance of fruit, or, as has been brought to the attention of the house previously in respect of the constituency represented by the hon. member for Fraser Valley (Mr. Cruickshank), nuts. My constituency, however, is a mixed farming area. The eastern half consists of rolling fertile hills, with an abundance of water. This makes it an unrivalled mixed farming area. My reference to water is not

confined to rainfall. Sometimes we are a little short of that. I had reference more particularly to the lakes, streams, and sloughs which are so necessary to the raising of livestock. Also in the central part of the constituency one finds a chain of lakes which in their pure scenic beauty are unrivalled anywhere in Canada. Any hon. members who at one time or another may have done a little fishing around Pigeon lake or Buck lake will bear me out in this.

In the northwest section of my constituency one finds immense stands of timber around Breton and Winfield. During the last few years fires have depleted these natural stands, and I say it would be in the interests of all if reforestation in that area were implemented.

On February 13, 1947, the bombshell

exploded. Imperial's Leduc No. 1 well was brought into production, twelve miles northwest of the village of Leduc and twenty miles southwest of Edmonton. The oil rush was on. Overnight small, sleepy, complacent farming towns became buzzing beehives of activity. Tin-hatted oil men were brushing shoulders with the farmers on their way to market.

In December of that year thirty-one wells were in production in that area alone, producing 99,750 barrels of oil. At the end of the first year a total of forty-seven wells had been drilled in the Leduc sector, and out of that, number forty-two had proven to be productive.

Owing to the influx of oil workers, there was a great demand for accommodation. The Imperial Oil Company consulted the provincial planning commission and drew up plans for a boomtown. This town became the town of Devon. One might think that a town of this size or description would be only a group of tumble-down quickly-erected buildings, tents and shacks. This did not prove to be so, however. Devon is one of the most modern small towns to be found in Canada. The bungalows constructed for the use of the oil workers are trim and modern, and would do justice to the residential area of any city in Canada. The streets are landscaped for beauty, and all facilities for recreation and sports have been provided. They have a gymnasium, a skating rink, a curling rink, and recreation grounds.

It will be remembered that Atlantic No. 3 well ran wild for six months, and also resulted in the closing down during at least part of that time of this oil field. But during the six months in which the well ran wild it produced over a million barrels of oil. This fact in itself proves the immense potentialities of that oil field. During the past year a refinery has been built at South Edmonton to accommodate at least part of the oil flow-

ing from this field. I understand that another refinery is being planned at the present time.

During the week ending August 1 last, the daily production of oil in Alberta was more than 2,000 barrels above the average of the previous week, and nearly double the average of the corresponding week last year. A total of 58,826 barrels were produced each day in the week of August 1, compared with 56,648 per day in the preceding week and 30,344 barrels in the week of August 2, 1948. Of this total the Leduc oil field gave 29,377 barrels daily as compared with 27,466 barrels in the previous week and 14,643 barrels in the week of August 2, 1948. I might add that the Redwater production for the same week was 13,408 barrels per day.

The number of operating oil wells was also increased. As of August 2 there were 890 wells in the province as compared with 876 operating wells in the previous week. Leduc went up from 289 to 294 wells, and Redwater jumped from 118 to 127. A total of fourteen wells went into production during that week.

I have before me a newspaper release issued by the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey.

The article reads:

Merrill Denison, a writer on Canadian economics and industry, says in the September issue of The Lamp, a company magazine:

Only a little more than two years ago Canada was importing 92 per cent of the petroleum she used. Today, with oil flowing from the new fields around Edmonton at the rate of 60,000 barrels a day, local production has already reached a level sufficient to take care of the needs of the prairie provinces; and it is more than likely that by 1958 oil from Canada's own ground will be sufficient to supply the rapidly mounting needs of the rest of the dominion as well.

Indeed the discovery of the new oil fields, if the bright promise is fulfilled, will prove more important to Canada's economy than almost any single event in her 452-year history. The promise is already tangible enough...For Canada, at long last, now is able to obtain in quantity from within her own boundaries the raw materials from which to fashion the implements of agriculture and industry, and the fuel with which to power them.

Proved reserves . . . stand today at one billion barrels. And as for the potential, it is believed that the surface has scarcely been scratched. Some idea of its scope may be gleaned from the significant fact that the promising territory is larger than that of the United States five leading oil-producing states-Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, California and Kansas-combined. Ultimate discoveries from this vast area will probably exceed ten billion.

A question was raised in the house the other day as to the advisability of running a pipe line from Alberta through the United States rather than along the Canadian side of the great lakes. The following statement by the Hon. N. E. Tanner may throw a little light on the subject:

The Hon. N. E. Tanner indicated Monday last week that a petroleum exchange agreement may soon be signed with the United States allowing

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The Address-Mr. Thomas

Alberta to export oil to that country. Under the agreement, the United States would buy oil at the lakehead; eastern United States producers in turn would sell oil to eastern Canada. Mr. Tanner said such an agreement would only be possible after the completion of a proposed pipe line from Regina to-the great lakes.

Mr. Tanner said that if such a policy were not agreed to by the United States, Alberta oil could only be shipped to eastern Canada at a greater cost. "We don't feel this will be necessary," he said. "We think the United States will co-operate."

He said certain United States interests oppose the United States importing oil from Canada and have accused Canada of trying to invade the American market. An agreement along the lines outlined would do away with any such accusations, Mr.. Tanner stated.

All this adds up to a constituency which is rich in natural resources-and Social Crediters believe that the real wealth of the nation is its natural resources. These riches, fostered and administered so completely by Hon. E. C. Manning and his Social Credit government, makes this indeed a district to view with pride.

I should like to refer briefly to the Department of Veterans Affairs. First I should like to congratulate the government on its magnificent legislation for veterans. I know that in my own personal experience the re-establishment credits and rehabilitation that I received assisted me greatly in setting myself up in business and in furnishing my house. Nevertheless there are some things with which I am not entirely in agreement. I should like to quote a couple of sections of the Veterans Business and Professional Loans Act. Section 3, subsection 1, clause (d) reads::

The minister shall, subject to the provisions of' this act, pay to a bank the amount of loss sustained by it as a result of a loan made to a veteran in pursuance of an application by such veteran in any case where:

(a) the sum of the principal amount of loan, the amount of any loan applied for by the veteran and concurred in by the minister and the amount of any guaranteed loan previously made to the veteran as disclosed in the application of the veteran or of which the bank had other knowledge did not exceed the sum of three thousand dollars.

Then follows clause (e), which reads:

The principal amount of the loan did not exceed two-thirds of the proposed total expenditure by the veteran for the purpose stated in the application.

I take that to mean that the loan that the veteran may obtain cannot exceed $3,000, that the veteran must put up $1,500, and that the loan of $3,000 will have to be the final payment on the business he is proposing to purchase. Section 8 reads:

(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Bank Act or any other statute, if a bank makes a guaranteed loan in respect of which it is required by regulation to take security on real or immovable property, the bank may at the time of making such loan take as security for the repayment thereof and the payment of interest thereon,

(a) a mortgage or hypothec upon the real or immovable property in respect of which all or part

324 HOUSE OF

The Address-Mr. Cannon of the proceeds of the guaranteed loan are to be expended;

(b) an assignment of the rights and interest of a purchaser under an agreement for sale of the real or immovable property in respect of which all or part of the proceeds of the guaranteed loan are to be expended.

(2) A bank shall have and may exercise, in respect of any mortgage, hypothec or assignment taken under this section and the real or immovable property affected thereby, all rights and powers that it would have or might exercise if such mortgage, hypothec or assignment had been taken by the bank by way of additional security under The Bank Act.

This would indicate that in order to obtain a loan the veteran has to give a mortgage to the bank. Coupled with the fact that through the Department of Veterans Affairs the government underwrites a certain percentage of the loss in the event that the veteran defaults, it would indicate that this section of the act does not afford any protection to the veteran. In my opinion it is simply designed to protect the banks from these horrible men, the veterans. I urge the minister to consider this matter very carefully so that a veteran desiring a loan to start up a business may use the loan as a down payment in making his purchase. This in itself may not sound like good business, but it was very poor business on the part of the men who gave up their associations here at home and went overseas in order that we might live and be in this House of Commons today. It is only fair that they should be considered not in a businesslike manner but in the light of the deeds they have done.

I am sure all hon. members have received a circular from the superannuated civil servants' association of Vancouver. I need not say very much about it, but these people find themselves in the same position as many others in Canada today. Many people are living on the verge of poverty, barely existing. They include those on old age pensions, blind pensions and disability pensions, as well as those living on the proceeds of various contributory pension schemes. I would urge the government to consider the position of these aged and incapacitated people, and see that they are enabled to live at least in comfort, if not in luxury.

(Translation):

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LIB

Charles-Arthur Dumoulin Cannon

Liberal

Mr. Charles Cannon (Iles-de-la-Madeleine):

Mr. Speaker, it is fitting that my first words in this house should be spoken in French, the language of 90 per cent of my constituents. I therefore take pleasure in resorting to French to congratulate you, as well as Mr. Macdonald, on your election to your high positions. There is no doubt in my mind that you were both eminently worthy of the honour bestowed upon you by the house.

Your tact and efficiency in the discharge of your duties are further proof of the fact that the choice of the house was indeed a happy one.

I also wish to congratulate the mover (Mr. Boisvert) and the seconder (Mr. Laing) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne. Like all other members, I was impressed by the very interesting ideas embodied in their eloquent speeches. I have the honour of being acquainted with the mover of the address, but not with the seconder. I am delighted to tell the former that he has more than lived up to his friends' expectations.

My warmest congratulations also to the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) on his magnificent victory. It was a personal triumph due largely to his tireless devotion to duty and to the painstaking journey he undertook from one end of the country to the other. In the whole history of Canada, no other premier has ever campaigned in such a manner. May I pay my respects to Mrs. St. Laurent, our premier's gracious wife who travelled with him and gave Canada striking evidence of the characteristics which distinguish a great lady and French-Canadian mother.

I wish also to congratulate all those who have taken part in the debate on the address in reply to the speech from the throne, and especially our friends from the new province of Newfoundland. Together with those who have already done so, I wish to welcome them. I want to congratulate more particularly those hon. members from the new province who have delivered such interesting speeches.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I shall go on with my remarks in the language of the majority of the members of this house.

(Text):

I think it only fitting, Mr. Speaker, that at this, the first session of the House of Commons it is my privilege to attend as the member for the Magdalen islands, I should take part in this debate, since this is the first time since confederation that the Magdalen islands have had a federal member to represent them exclusively. Until the last redistribution they were part of the county of Gaspe, which was then ably represented by my colleague the hon. member for Gaspe (Mr. Langlois), who continues to represent that constituency in this parliament.

As you know, the Magdalen islands are situated in the gulf of St. Lawrence, about an equal distance from Newfoundland and the Gaspe coast. Thus they are more or less a link between the old part of Canada and

the new province that has now joined us. In their early history they were visited by some of the greatest explorers of the North American continent-by Jacques Cartier in 1534 and again in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain who gave to Havre Aubert the name it still bears. At that time they were not inhabited. The first concession was made to a Mr. Francois Daublet in 1663. They were again conceded in 1719 to Lecompte de St. Pierre. During that period they were temporarily inhabited, and in 1763 there were ten families on the islands. By 1798 this number had increased to one hundred families, and now I am proud to say there are about twelve thousand people living on the Magdalen islands.

There are six inhabited islands in all, five of which are linked by sand bars. On some of the sand bars we have roads, and one may pass on the other sand bars at low tide; therefore the main islands, including Amherst island, Grindstone island, Alright island, Coffin island and Grosse isle, are connected; Entry island is separate. The principal industry is fishing, in which about eighty-five per cent of the inhabitants engage, and which lasts from May until October.

Up until a few years ago walrus were caught in quantity off these islands, but unfortunately this is no longer the case. They have been so depleted, they cannot be exploited on a commercial scale. The fishing industry also comprises lobster, mackerel, cod, and other species. The lobster fishing is important during the summer months. A considerable trade with the United States has been built up through the shipment of live lobster by air to Maine. Those that are not shipped are canned. These canning factories provide employment for a large number of the inhabitants of the island.

For about two weeks during the early part of June, mackerel are caught. They are known as the spring mackerel and are caught in nets. Later on in July there is another mackerel catch. These fish are caught on lines which are set out by the fishermen. Cod is the main catch. For a few months this fishing industry is the main source of income for the men. The fishermen find it difficult, however, as it is not a sufficient income for them to live on for the entire year. They are far from being well off.

The land on the islands, on the other hand, is really quite fertile. It is similar to that in Prince Edward Island. I believe if agriculture were encouraged as a second source of income for the islanders it would help improve their economic position. It is my intention to do what I can to encourage agriculture.

The Address-Mr. Cannon

These islands are very beautiful. I picture them now as they were when I first saw them, lying in the gulf of St. Lawrence under a June sun. The red cliffs rising from the blue waters of the gulf were topped with a green carpet, and all three colours blended beautifully. I shall never forget that picture. I had never been to the islands before it was my honour to run as a member, and I have fallen in love with them. I am proud to represent them in this house.

One of the many difficulties facing the fishermen is the fact that they have to use relatively small boats. This restricts the area in which they can fish. It would be a great advantage to them if they could use the larger sailing vessels such as are used off the coast of New Brunswick. The federal government passed an order in council, P.C. 1919, which provided for subsidies to aid fishermen in constructing these larger vessels. The use of the larger vessels enables the fishermen to remain out several days at a time and thus make larger catches. I have received several inquiries from fishermen as to how application is made for these subsidies. After studying the order in council, I find it provides for loans to be made to fishermen through the fishermen's loan boards. These loan boards have to be set up by the provincial legislature. This has not been done in my province, but it has been done in several other provinces. I suggest it would be an excellent thing if my own province undertook to pass the legislation. The establishment of such a board would enable the fishermen to benefit from these subsidies which the federal government is willing to provide.

While I am dealing with this subject, may I say that a few years ago the control of fisheries was transferred from the federal government to the province of Quebec. Several fishermen in my county have complained about this, since they believe they received better treatment from the federal government. I suggest it might not be inappropriate to look into the matter with a view to ascertaining whether or not it would be proper to return the control of fisheries to the federal government. In many respects, the federal government is better equipped to take care of the needs of the fishermen, particularly those engaged in deep-sea fishing, as is the case around the Magdalen islands.

The fishermen of the Magdalen islands are organized into co-operative associations. These co-operatives are often short of funds. They own ships which ply between the islands and the maritime provinces and bring goods and merchandise to the islands not brought by other shipping lines. I have received

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The Address-Mr. Cannon several requests for subsidies and I intend to take up the matter with the competent authorities. In my view it would not be inappropriate for the federal government to devote a few thousand dollars to help these co-operative associations, composed of fishermen of the Magdalen islands, to make both ends meet.

Many references have been made to the abolition of appeals to the privy council and the establishment of the Supreme Court of Canada as the final court of appeal. I do not intend to spend much time on that this afternoon, since it has been fully covered. Little remains to be said, but may I join the hon. members who have preceded me in this debate, as well as in the debate on the Supreme Court Act, in saying that I have the Utmost confidence in the judges of the Supreme Court of Canada. The hon. members of the opposition who expressed misgivings at the idea of replacing the privy council with Canadian judges are expressing misgivings that are entirely unfounded and that do not do justice to Canadian judges, who are without peer in the world. Canadian judges are better able to administer our Canadian laws in the best interests of the Canadian people.

I should like to make one remark about the doctrine of stare decisis. I heard some expressions of opinion on it yesterday when it was suggested it should be incorporated in the Supreme Court Act. I wish to tell the house through you, Mr. Speaker, that in my humble opinion, and I think it is the opinion of all lawyers, such a doctrine cannot be incorporated in a statute. It is a doctrine of the common law that has developed over the years. We must count upon the judges for its application. I believe one hon. member said that, when the judges take their oath of office and swear to uphold the law as it is, by that very fact they are undertaking to apply the doctrine of stare decisis. It is part of our law although it is not written into any statute. We need have no misgivings on that score. The doctrine of stare decisis will be applied by the new Supreme Court of Canada just as it has been applied in the past. No one will suffer and there will be no encroachment upon individual or provincial rights through any lack of the application of that doctrine.

I wish to say a few words about the powers that the government of Canada is going to ask this house for, as has been foreshadowed in the speech from the throne. I refer to powers to amend the constitution of Canada by act of parliament passed in Canada. To those members of this house and those persons outside of it who have any misgivings as to

provincial rights being encroached upon or that they are being placed in danger by such legislation, I wish to say that they are entirely in error. The wording of the speech from the throne shows clearly that it is not the intention of the government of Canada to do anything which might possibly encroach upon provincial rights. The relevant part of it reads as follows:

You will also be asked to approve addresses praying the parliament of the United Kingdom to vest in the parliament of Canada the right to amend the constitution of Canada in relation to matters not coming within the jurisdiction of the legislatures of the provinces nor affecting the constitutional rights and privileges of the provinces or existing rights and privileges with respect to education or the use of the English and French languages.

Nothing could be clearer. This House of Commons and the Senate of Canada will ask the parliament of the United Kingdom to enable us to alter the constitution of Canada only in matters that do not come within provincial jurisdiction. After all, from a practical point of view, it is simply a change in method. It has never been contested that the parliament of Canada has the power to amend its constitution as it sees fit. As the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) has already pointed out, the constitution has been amended several times; but in the past it has been done by both houses of parliament adopting an address to the parliament of the United Kingdom, asking them to amend the British North America Act. The United Kingdom parliament has always done what we have asked it to do. It is just a matter of procedure. What we want to do now is to continue to exercise the right to amend our constitution; but, instead of doing it by an address to the parliament of the United Kingdom, we wish to do it by an act of the parliament of Canada, which is the way in which it should be done.

As was pointed out yesterday by the hon. member for Bellechasse (Mr. Picard), there are four federations which exist in the world today-the United States of America, Australia, Switzerland and Canada-but we are the only country with a federal system of government which has not the power to amend its own constitution. I think it is high time that we had this power.

May I also add this thought, Mr. Speaker. The evolution of the constitutional status of Canada, and the progress Canada has made toward nationhood during past years, have made it inevitable that, sooner or later, we should come to the point where it is necessary for us to take into our own hands the matter of amending our constitution and ask the parliament of the United Kingdom to give us these powers. I say that it is well for the minorities of this country, and particularly for

the people of my home province, that that moment should have come when it is our great good fortune to have at the head of the government of Canada a man like our Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) on whom we can count to see that the powers that are taken by the federal government to amend the constitution do not encroach in any manner on the powers of the provinces as now granted by the constitution.

It is needless to say that, in order to attain nationhood, any sovereign nation exercises three basic powers: the legislative, the executive, and the judicial. If we are to exercise our legislative powers in their plenitude, it is essential that we be given the right to amend our own constitution, because it is the most important legislative power that any country can exercise. It is the fountain of the other two powers, the judicial and the executive. It is essential that we have the right to exercise our legislative powers, and I am sure that the whole of this great dominion of ours will join in thanking the government of Canada and this house for passing the legislation which has been announced in the speech from the throne and which will finally bring to us that fullness of power that we require in order to be a truly selfgoverning nation.

From a practical point of view, the powers of the provinces on constitutional questions will not be affected at all. As I have said before, we are only asking the parliament of the United Kingdom to give us the power to amend the constitution in purely federal matters. As to other matters, if there is need to amend our constitution, until we have made an agreement with the provinces, it will be amended as it has been amended in the past; that is to say, by an address to the parliament of the United Kingdom. If an amendment to the constitution is desired in any matter which clearly comes within the jurisdiction of the provinces, any such amendment would naturally be made by an address to the parliament of the United Kingdom, and the situation will not be changed as far as they are concerned.

Naturally, our opponents say that there may be a difference of opinion as to what are the powers belonging to the federal government and what are the powers belonging to the provincial governments. The answer to that is that the British North America Act will not be changed. It will remain as it is. We shall still have sections 91 and 92 which set out what those respective powers are. We shall still have the body of jurisprudence which has been built up and which has decided any difficulties that may have arisen as to the interpretation of that statute. If it

The Address-Mr. Cannon should happen, though

and this is something which is not likely-that the federal government should introduce some legislation which, in the opinion of one or more of the provinces, encroaches upon provincial rights, the provinces could then ask the federal government to refer the matter to the Supreme Court of Canada-and it is extremely unlikely that the federal government would refuse to do so-for a decision as to whether the matter was a federal or a provincial one. But let us suppose for the moment that the federal government should refuse to do so. Even then, the provinces themselves would have the recourse of referring the matter to their respective courts of appeal; and from there the matter could be brought to the Supreme Court of Canada by way of an appeal. Then, as a last resort, they would also have the method of attacking the acts that would be carried out by the federal government as a result of the legislation. For instance, suppose the federal government decided to amend the British North America Act in such a way that a certain field of taxation would be federal and not provincial. If the two methods that I have already set forth failed to bring results, it would always be possible for someone to attack the constitutionality of the act, refuse to pay the tax, and thus bring the matter before the courts.

There is no doubt whatever that basically the rights of the provinces are perfectly safeguarded and it cannot be said in truth that these rights are affected in any way by the legislation that is being brought before the house.

I should also like to say to hon. members of the opposition, whom I have had the pleasure and honour of hearing in this house, that they do not need to fear that the government of Canada, as it is now led by the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent), will do anything to depart from the principles of democracy, or that he will take the bit between his teeth, to use an expression common among farmers in my county and others, and because of the great majority that he now has in this house, do things that he would not do otherwise. Those of us who know the Prime Minister can safely say without fear of being in error that the ship of state is safe in his hands, and that he will steer it on a fair and even course and will not take any flyers in one direction or the other.

Before closing my remarks I should like to say that it was brought to my attention recently by somebody that in Canada today, although the war has been over for four or five years, no fund has been set up to compensate those who have suffered personal or property loss as the result of the war. I

328 HOUSE OF

The Address-Mr. Ferrie understand that in the United Kingdom such a fund has been set up and compensation has been paid. That is true of the United States also. In our country that has not been done.

I am told that there is a certain amount of German property which has been confiscated and is now in the hands of the custodian of alien property. This property could be sold and the proceeds used to constitute a fund to pay these war claims. I respectfully submit that it might be appropriate for the government to look into the matter and decide, having regard to the time which has elapsed since the close of the war, whether the time has not come to take some steps to see that these claims are paid.

May I return to the Magdalen islands. I have the honour to represent the smallest constituency in Canada from the point of view of its population, but from the point of view of its needs it is far from being the smallest in Canada. During the election campaign I said to the electors whom I have the honour to represent here today that there was not a county in Canada for which the federal government could do more than for the Magdalen islands. There they are, out in the middle of the gulf of St. Lawrence. The shifting sands fill in their harbours all the time. They need a lot of dredging; they need many public works; and, as the ministers have already begun to realize, I shall be visiting their offices often to obtain for my electors the help that they need from the federal government, and I am sure the federal government will give it.

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LIB

Gladstone Mansfield Ferrie

Liberal

Mr. G. M. Ferrie (Mackenzie):

Mr. Speaker, first, I must congratulate you on attaining the position you now occupy in this house, which represents the most wonderful country in the world. I also wish to thank the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) for the help he has given in obtaining a majority of Liberals in this house. His trip was most helpful to the western members. The fine simple manner in which he and his wife spoke endeared them both to the people in a way never to be forgotten. He and his most gracious wife were kindness itself and we hope that they both will be spared to live to show the people of this country, and the world, that that which means the most to the country and to civilization is the home and all that surrounds it.

I also want to thank him on behalf of my constituency of Mackenzie for his great contribution to peace and good will toward men.

May I join with those who have previously spoken to extend my sincere congratulations to the mover (Mr. Boisvert) and the seconder (Mr. Laing) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne. I also wish to add my congratulations to the seconder, whose

eloquence and knowledge of the English language should surely, in the future, serve him in good stead, to the great advantage of this house and the country at large.

I congratulate the leader of the opposition (Mr. Drew) on his address and the kind remarks he made regarding our leader, and I hope he will go out of his way to render the service to the country that His Majesty's loyal opposition is supposed to.

I was very much surprised-it may be my lack of knowledge-but to see all the Conservatives on my left voting with the C.C.F. on the amendment to the speech from the throne is beyond my comprehension.

I wish to congratulate the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) on his speech. I cannot say I am glad he is here, because he beat one of my best friends, and why the people of his constituency would vote for him-a city man and school teacher against a farmer, a cattleman, and a director of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities-is beyond my comprehension. Mr. Noble knew all their troubles, and was well able to put them before any assembly. That outstanding man, Duff Noble, is also a real Liberal and believes in free enterprise, and if there is a body of farmers in western Canada who should believe in free enterprise it is those men of Rosetown-Biggar who live in a wheat factory.

Mr. Speaker, I have listened to the hon. members on my left who, ever since the house opened, have made speeches prophesying doom. The hon. member from Calgary West (Mr. Smith) is the only one on my left who has faith in the ability of our people and in their courage to conquer anything which befalls them.

The hon. member for Vancouver-Quadra (Mr. Green) said that this session would go down in the history of Canada as a constitutional session, but I think it will go down in history as a whining session. The members of the C.C.F. party have whined and wailed all through the election. They should be ashamed of the record of their colleagues in Saskatchewan, who during their entire regime of five years have not put on the statute books of that province one piece of legislation of which they can be proud.

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the Minister of Reconstruction and Supply (Mr. Winters) on his housing scheme. But if he increases the number of houses to be built to 15,000 or

25,000 to satisfy the people in the cities, what will our farming population do for material? This year, in most of my constituency, we could not get one bag of Canadian cement under any circumstances. The only cement the farmer could get was United States

cement. The farmers and dealers co-operated and shipped in carloads of cement from the United States which cost them from $2.10 to $2.60 per bag. I say the farming population of this country is entitled to some of the material to improve their places of abode.

I should like to bring to the attention of the house my views in regard to a subject about which nearly everyone who has spoken has said something, and that is the trans-Canada highway. I am one who is not very much concerned about the trans-Canada highway. I believe that this parliament should make provision for a minister of federal roads. We should have a system of federal roads, and the minister should appoint a commission to map out a road system that would be built, operated and maintained by the federal government. Hon. members will, no doubt, wonder why I am saying this. We people in Canada need this protection. If in April or May the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Claxton) had to move an army across Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, to protect us from the north, it would be bogged down before it had gone a hundred miles.

A modern war has never been fought in this country, but our great development in Alberta of this black gold, called oil, is the envy of the world. Wealth of this kind carries with it great responsibilities, and this system of federal roads, for our protection, is one of them.

The three agricultural provinces could never maintain let alone build a standard of roads to take care of any army. This is a responsibility of this parliament to the Canadian people.

There is another matter I should like to mention, and about which I shall go into greater detail at a later date. Youth, the greatest asset we have in Canada, is not represented in the House of Commons by a minister of the crown. There should be a minister of youth, to see that our youth are started off in the right direction. I will have more to say in regard to this at a future date.

Having been in the public life of the province of Saskatchewan for twenty-seven years, I will naturally have many suggestions to put before parliament in the near future.

Let me say to the two Newfoundland members who sit with the official opposition that they need have no fear of what will happen to them financially or in any other way, provided they have a legitimate case and do not begin asking for more than can be justifiably given. They have joined the greatest nation and the finest people on earth, and they can be justly proud. So I say to them: Have faith in your people and our people, the great Canadian people; have faith in our great

The Address-Mr. Argue leader and his government, as well as in the 184 men who stand behind him in unity and strength.

Our great leader, the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent), like some of the rest of us, went through trials and tribulations in the early days of this country. He does not want to go back to that, nor does he wish to see any part of the people have to do so.

I say to parliament and to the people of Canada: Have faith in this glorious country of ours, and stop this nonsense of talking depression. We have here a House of Commons of more than 250 members; and if this ugly monster of depression should rear its head, surely after the experience gained in the last one we should have enough brains and courage to help our government destroy it before it makes any headway.

In closing I should like to say something about our great little man from the west, the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner). His contribution to the country, particularly during the last war, will be recorded in history. His policy of storing moisture in the summer fallow and wheat in the granaries was a farsighted one. He knew that after the war the peoples of the world would need this great cereal called wheat. The process of summer-fallowing resulted in growing crops second to none in our history, with the result that overnight Canada became the bread basket of the world. To a great extent this was due to the foresight and the courage of our Minister of Agriculture.

On behalf of the people of my constituency I wish to thank the minister for the great work he has done for agriculture, especially as it is found in western Canada. I thank you.

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. H. R. Argue (Assiniboia):

My first words in this debate, sir, will be to congratulate you upon your elevation to the high office of Deputy Speaker and chairman of committees. I was happy when I saw that your name was likely to be proposed for that office, one whicli I am sure you will occupy with dignity and with justice to all members and groups in the House of Commons.

At the same time, through you I should like to convey to Mr. Speaker my congratulations upon his election to that high office. So far as I am personally concerned, no more agreeable choice could have been made.

At least part of my time this afternoon I shall use to discuss a problem almost as old as confederation itself, one which is most complex, namely that of fair and equitable freight rates. I realize this is a problem that cannot be easily or speedily solved, having regard to the interests of all concerned.

330 HOUSE OF

The Address-Mr. Argue However, while it may be a difficult problem, it is one of such importance that all possible steps should be taken toward its solution as quickly as possible.

Every section of the population wishes to have as cheap freight rates as possible, while at the same time I have no doubt the railway workers would like to have adequate wages.

I believe that, because of the increased cost of living which has developed in recent months, they deserve some consideration by way of increased wages. I submit however that an increase in freight rates should not be given on the sole ground that increases in wages may take place, because that is a factor which no one can ascertain.

A continental country such as Canada certainly requires an efficient railway system. Particularly is that true in those areas of Canada which must depend almost entirely upon the railways for the transportation of raw and manufactured products into such areas. We do need an efficient service, and for that reason we would not wish to cripple the railways from a financial standpoint, and curtail their earnings to a point where efficient service could not be maintained. At the same time, however, we feel that the freight rate structure in all parts of Canada should be made equitable. That there has not been equity in the past in the freight rate structure was recognized by the cabinet in order in council P.C. 1487 of April 7, 1948. That order in council stated that a general inquiry into freight rates had not been held since 1925, and instructed the Board of Transport Commissioners for Canada to make such a general inquiry. I wish to quote a part of that order in council:

... it is therefore advisable that the Board of Transport Commissioners for Canada be directed to make a thorough investigation of the rates structure of railways and railway companies which are under the jurisdiction of parliament, with a view to the establishment of a fair and reasonable rates structure which will, under substantially similar circumstances and conditions, be equal in its application to all persons and localities so as to permit the freest possible interchange of commodities between the various provinces and territories of Canada, and the extension of Canadian trade both foreign and domestic, having due regard to the needs of agriculture and other basic industries.

Despite the Board of Transport Commissioners for Canada having been directed to set freight rates that should be, as far as possible, equitable to all parts of Canada, we find that we are now faced with an increase in the existing freight rates which are already discriminatory, as we all know, between the various sections of the nation.

I think too that now is a most inopportune time for an increase in freight rates. Daily in the press we see that the prices of many articles have been increased as a result of

the devaluation of the Canadian dollar. We import many commodities from the United States-coal, oil, steel and machinery of all kinds. Many of these items have been increased approximately 10 per cent. Therefore, I say, while the cost of so many important articles is increasing there should not be added to that cost an increase in freight rates. The increase in freight rates does not apply only to the freight charged on the finished article for transportation from the factory to the ultimate consumer. An increase in freight cost will increase the cost of the raw products needed by manufacturers, will increase the cost of transporting the finished products to the distribution centres, and in addition will increase the cost of transporting those products from the distribution centres to the ultimate consumers.

I think we all agree that the devaluation of the British pound creates new problems for us in holding the British market. It will be more difficult now for the British people to buy from us the same quantity of goods that they have been buying. The cost of our commodities to the consumer in Great Britain will rise. That market is important for many farm products. It is true that to some extent we have a guaranteed price for wheat, and the devaluation of the British pound may not

and I hope will not-affect our market for wheat in Great Britain for the next few years, but it certainly cannot help affecting our market for cheese, eggs, meat and other products.

When the farmers of western Canada in particular are faced with a period of great difficulty in finding adequate markets, then I say that freight rates should not be increased, thus increasing the cost to the farmers of producing these commodities, an action that cannot help lowering their standard of living. We believe that the prairies, and for that matter all of the western provinces, have paid more than their share of freight rates in the past. For every dollar that the C.P.R. and C.N.R. have earned on railway lines east of Fort William they have earned more than $2 on railway lines west of Fort William. Therefore I contend that it is not fair or just to increase the rates in those regions where they are already too high.

As I view the freight rate situation, there is only one circumstance under which an increase in freight rates at this time might be justified: that is, if the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, which has always been considered the yardstick by which freight rates should be judged, were facing imminent financial peril. Then an increase in freight rates would be justifiable in order to main-

tain our railway services. Reading the annual report of the C.P.R. for 1948, I do not think anyone can say that they are in financial peril. The annual report of the C.P.R. for the year ending 1948 shows current assets to be $145,511,052 and current liabilities to be $47,795,364, a ratio of current assets to current liabilities of a little better than three to one. Certainly that is an enviable situation. On that basis the C.P.R. is not facing financial difficulty.

At the same time the liquid position of the C.P.R. is excellent. Cash and investments in government bonds total more than $61,435,313. Reserves and unadjusted credits were $91 million in 1939, and by 1948 had increased to over $492 million, an increase in reserves and unadjusted credits of more than $400 million in the short period of nine years. That proves to me that the financial position of the C.P.R. is good, and that a legitimate case could not have been made for an increase in freight rates at this time.

I should like to quote from the bottom of page 8 and the top of page 9 of the recent judgment of the Board of Transport Commissioners for Canada as follows:

If the board accepts the railway's contention respecting depreciation-

That is a reference to the user rates of depreciation used by the C.P.R. in 1947.

-it is, in fact, projecting into the future a fixed expense, which, in respect to the intensity of use of the equipment and property in the future, may well be inflated, and thereby setting a general level of freight rates, applicable to the future, which may be higher than warranted.

On page 11 of the judgment the board, after having refused to consider the C.P.R. rates of depreciation, had this to say:

In the 21 per cent case the board reduced the $21,230,000 depreciation estimate of the railway by $4 million, leaving in effect a net charge to expenses of $17,200,000. The above calculations-

That refers to calculations on the previous page.

-for the year 1947 indicate that the board could properly have reduced further the total depreciation item.

These calculations show that the board could have reduced the depreciation item by a total of $4,467,924. The board did not allow the user rates of depreciation claimed by the C.P.R. in 1947. I now quote from the annual report of the Canadian Pacific Railway for 1948 in respect to depreciation:

Pending the outcome of studies now under way, the user rates of depreciation were raised in order to take into account increases in investment in depreciable property which have become effective since the rates were first established. This resulted in increased depreciation charges of $6,164,075.

The board would not allow the user rates of depreciation established by the C.P.R. in

45781-22J

The Address-Mr. Argue 1947, and certainly they should not allow the increased user rates established in 1948, which resulted in the depreciation charge being increased by more than $6 million. Further on in the annual report I find that the net earnings from railway operations in 1948 were $18,419,166, a decrease of $4,473,023 as compared with 1947. I say the only logical thing for the board to do with the 1948 balance sheet, in order to properly compare it with the 1947 balance sheet, is to add to the net earnings for 1948 the increase in depreciation, amounting to $6,164,000. This would show the profit of the C.P.R. in 1948 from railway earnings at $24,583,000 as compared with a profit of $22,892,000 in 1947. So the true profits in 1948 were greater than those in 1947. Surely that does not indicate such financial heed as would warrant an eight per cent horizontal increase in rates which are already discriminatory as between many parts of the country.

Then I think we would like to know the earnings of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company apart from its net railway earnings. Here I quote from page 19 of the judgment:

In the case of the Canadian Pacific Railway "other income", before providing for income tax thereon, amounted to $27,189,949 in the year 1943, an increase of $2,401,022 over the year 1947, $4,410,155 over 1946 and $12,082,992 over 1945.

So the earnings of the C.P.R. on the host of railway companies that it has leased, on its packing houses, hotels, steamship companies, telegraph companies and so on, have been going up year by year until in 1948 its earnings apart from net railway earnings were $12 million more than in 1945. I say this proves conclusively that the C.P.R. is in an excellent financial position. Railway earnings in 1948 were higher than in 1947. Its other earnings were at an all-time high. Does the board believe that the railway companies face a loss of revenue in future? I say they do not, and here again I quote from page 19 of the judgment:

Since March 30, 1948, the revenue from the railway operations of the Canadian Pacific Railway has undergone, and is undergoing, many changes. Apart altogether from the increase in revenues resulting from the authorization in order 70425 of March 30, 1948, there have been other matters affecting the revenues of that company such as the removal of the mountain differential, increases in competitive international and special rates, increases in passenger fares, etc. More time will have to elapse in order to remove from the realm of conjecture the impact of these changes on the revenue position of the company.

The board says the future revenues of the C.P.R. are still in the realm of conjecture; in other words they may decrease or they may increase. I wonder, then, why the minister should think the railways need increased freight rates, when the judgment of the board says it is still in the realm of speculation or

The Address-Mr. Argue conjecture as to what the railway revenues may be in future. I should say it would have been much fairer and much more logical if the board had waited until some time had elapsed in order to find out what changes were taking place in railway revenues, and whether the railways in fact did need an increase in freight rates. Again, I quote from page 17 of the judgment:

Under the existing legislation, as provided in the Canadian National-Canadian Pacific Act, 1933, this board is not empowered to consider what degree of co-operation, if any, has been achieved by virtue of that act. The respondents urged that a condition precedent to the granting of increases In freight rates should be proof by the railways that all economies contemplated by that act have been achieved. While I do not subscribe to any theory which would result in placing an impossible burden on the applicants in this regard, I have however great sympathy with much that the respondents urge. At the present time it is beyond the board's jurisdiction to inquire into that question, but I find again that one of the matters referred to the royal commission on transportation in P.C. 6033 is that it "review and report on the results achieved under the Canadian National-Canadian Pacific Act, 1933, and amendments thereto, making such recommendations as the present situation warrants."

In other words, the railways have not proved and have not attempted to prove that they have co-operated as provided by that act of 1933 in order to bring about savings in operating costs. The board of transport commissioners will not know whether or not the railways have made the savings they were to make under this act until the royal commission reports. I am therefore amazed that an increase in freight rates should be granted before the royal commission has reported as to whether or not the railways are co-operating in order to provide the most efficient service possible. In the judgment the board found that the 21 per cent increase was too great and that a 15 per cent increase would have been sufficient, but the application for an additional 20 per cent increase was based on the exhibits and arguments used in the 21 per cent case. In its judgment the board says this about the exhibits:

I have already stated the extent to which the decision in that casemeaning the 21 per cent case-[DOT]

-must be revised. In the light of that revision this application will certainly require that the evidence and exhibits in its support be restated and if necessary be revised.

In other words, before the board of transport commissioners could ascertain whether or not the railways needed an increase in freight rates, the railways would have to provide a new set of exhibits and set out new arguments, because the arguments and exhibits used in the 21 per cent case were fallacious.

In regard to maintenance costs used by the Canadian Pacific Railway, the board says this, at page 18 of its judgment:

On the hearing of this application the applicants restated and brought to date their evidence and exhibits with reference to maintenance costs. I think that these maintenance costs will require further study before any decision can be given, even assuming that the requirements of the Canadian Pacific Railway are to be accepted as the yardstick for a further increase in freight rates.

This means that the maintenance costs submitted by the Canadian Pacific Railway cannot be accepted and must be resubmitted.

The board has this to say about the deferred maintenance charges shown by the Canadian Pacific Railway in those exhibits:

The Canadian Pacific Railway commenced deferred maintenance in the year 1941, and accumulated by way of deferred maintenance, $27,600,000. To date (the end of 1948) that fund has been drawn on only to the extent of $2,250,000. The evidence in support of this application indicates that the deferred maintenance fund would be drawn upon only in those years in which "normal" maintenance had been exceeded. It may very well be that a substantial balance of this deferred maintenance fund would be carried over for an indefinite period.

In other words a substantial part of the Canadian Pacific Railway's deferred maintenance fund should be used for the payment of fixed charges and dividends, and in providing for surplus. Perhaps a large part of that $27 million in the deferred maintenance fund should be considered as profit and, to that extent, the railway rates could be reduced. This proves to me that the Canadian Pacific is in an excellent financial position. It does not face imminent financial peril and, therefore, should not be given a horizontal increase in freight rates which discriminate against so many parts of Canada and against the agricultural industry in particular.

As I said at the outset, on April 7 the governor in council instructed the board of transport commissioners to review the freight rate structure in Canada with a view to the establishment of a fair and reasonable rate structure which would, under substantially similar circumstances, be fair to all persons and all regions. By order in council P.C. 4678 on October 12, the governor in council set out the various complaints of the provinces against the manner of handling the 21 per cent case. There were ten complaints in all, and the governor in council instructed the board of transport commissioners to consider those complaints as well as the initial instructions to the board to bring in equitable freight rates. I quote from the end of the order in council of that date:

The committee therefore advise that the board be directed to consider, in the light of such changes in conditions of operations as have or will have taken place, the complaints set forth in the petition concurrently with the pending application for a further increase in freight rates, and that the disposition by the board of the matters set forth in the petition and any revision of order No. 70425 that may result from such consideration be made by the board in

relation to its disposition of the said pending application.

The board of transport commissioners should consider the question of unjust and discriminatory freight rates, the apportionment of other income of the Canadian Pacific Railway, whether or not the depreciation charges were excessive and the other complaints of the provinces, concurrently with the application for an increase in freight rates. All those matters should be considered at the same time and a decision rendered. The board has failed to deal with the complaints of the various provinces, but the board did not fail to deal, to some extent at any rate, with the application of the railways for increased freight rates. The board granted an 8 per cent increase in freight rates without, at the same time, having dealt with all the objections raised by the provinces and particularly without having dealt with the discriminatory freight rate structure.

In view of all these facts, Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) delay the coming into effect of the order granting an 8 per cent increase in rates. When the minister was speaking about this matter the other day he seemed rather confused. In one place he said that an order of the board had never been changed by the governor in council except, perhaps, in one instance. At another place in Hansard he is reported as having said that the governor in council had no right to interfere with an order of the board of transport commissioners.

I should like to quote section 52 of the Railway Act, which is found in the 1927 statutes.

The governor in council may at any time, in his discretion, either upon petition of any party, person or company interested, or on his own motion, and without any petition or application, vary or rescind any order, decision, rule, or regulation of the board, whether such order or decision is made inter partes or otherwise and whether such regulation is general or limited in its scope and application; and any order which the governor in council may make with respect thereto shall be binding upon the board and upon all parties.

This demonstrates that the governor in council has the right and authority to change in any way at any time any order of the board of transport commissioners. Finally, I would plead with the Minister of Transport and with the cabinet, in the light of the facts that have been presented and in consideration that a royal commission is now examining the whole freight rate structure in Canada, to delay the 8 per cent increase until the royal commission has submitted its report, thus assisting the board of transport commissioners to at long last establish a fair and equitable freight rate structure throughout Canada.

The Address-Mr. A. F. Macdonald

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LIB

Albert Frederick Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. A. F. Macdonald (Edmonton East):

May

I be permitted, Mr. Speaker, to congratulate you on your elevation to the position of Speaker of this house. As the member for Edmonton East in this parliament, I am greatly honoured but deeply conscious of my responsibility in representing an entirely urban constituency of the city of Edmonton, which is recognized as the most rapidly developing and expanding community, per capita of population, in Canada if not on the North American continent. The prestige of our leader and the record of his government gave good reason to the constituents of Edmonton East to send me here.

I must now pay tribute to the example given to the hon. member for Edmonton West (Mr. Prudham) and to me in the admirable record of the Hon. James A. MacKinnon, now a senator and minister without portfolio. He is held in the highest esteem by all residents of Edmonton and has served that city, his province and Canada with great distinction.

I should like to add my words of congratulation to the hon. member for Nicolet-Yamaska (Mr. Boisvert) and the hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Laing), who delivered excellent addresses in moving and seconding the address in reply to the speech from the throne. When I listened to the speech from the throne I recognized that in this session we indeed were going to consider timely and necessary legislation.

Representing as I do an entirely urban riding, I shall be ever mindful of the social security needs of my constituents, the greatest needs at the present time being those outlined with particular reference to housing, pension plans and health measures.

Edmonton, capital city of Alberta and its largest, continues to show phenomenal and steady development of commercial enterprise and industrial activities. Although recent discovery of three major oil fields in the Edmonton area has stimulated the industrial growth of Edmonton to an enormous extent during the past two years, the city has for the past many years shown a steady and consistent growth reflected not only in bank clearings but in great population gains, with huge increases from year to year in building. The spectacular growth of Edmonton is due in large part to its unique geographical location, for not only is it the centre of one of the richest agricultural areas on the continent but it is also surrounded by one of nature's greatest storehouses of valuable natural resources such as natural gas, oil, coal, salt and many others so necessary to modern industry.

I should like to say that in the Ottawa Citizen of today, on the financial page, there is

The Address-Mr. A. F. Macdonald comment on the expansion of the mineral industry. To indicate the contribution that is being made from the territories surrounding Edmonton I should like to quote from the article in the Citizen, which stated that the petroleum industry swept upward in production from $11 million in 1947 to $389 million last year.

Building construction in Edmonton is almost unbelievable. Everywhere buildings under construction are to be seen, and the need is Oven greater than present facilities can meet. If you go out into the country surrounding Edmonton you will see, for mile upon mile, the spires of the oil wells-spires that are really comparable to the spires of these beautiful parliament buildings. The wealth that will ire produced in the neighbourhood of Edmonton will help to solve the problems of our Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) with regard to the United States dollar shortage, and in a few years will make a great contribution to the reduction of the national debt.

The constituents of Edmonton East are of many racial origins; and I always like to think that in Edmonton East is developed a distinctive national consciousness which makes the constituents ever mindful of their unique position and their obligation to contribute their best efforts to the greatness of Canada.

In Edmonton industrial relations are excellent. Management and labour dispose of the problems that arise from time to time at a level of satisfaction that is most commendable. It is almost impossible to paint too bright a picture of the industrial future of Edmonton. A much greater development of industries allied to oil has already gained momentum. Coupled with this development is the vast agricultural revenue that flows into Edmonton from the rich farming areas surrounding the city. The constituents of Edmonton East know that as agriculture flourishes, so do the city dwellers prosper.

Edmonton, lying at the gateway of the north and its mining riches, is developing in a way never in the past conceived. Serving Edmonton are three excellently managed railways and many air lines. The city's huge airport, which is the busiest airport in Canada, handles more freight by air than any city in the world. So I can now say Edmonton, the oil centre, agriculture centre and aviation centre.

We in Edmonton East believe that a trans-Canada highway should pass through our constituency. At another time, probably quite soon, I shall have an opportunity to discourse on that subject in this house.

We in Edmonton are conscious that the residents are in complete accord with the policy

of this government and its administration, and that they will at the first opportunity express through their democratic ballot a desire to select for Alberta a government in step provincially with the national administration.

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LIB

Leonard T. Stick

Liberal

Mr. L. T. Stick (Trinity-Conception):

Mr. Speaker, along with others who have spoken I also should like to extend to you my congratulations. We who are new to this house cannot perhaps appreciate you as well as others who have known you longer. Your consideration to new members has endeared you to us, and I should like to convey to you my warm and sincere congratulations, and I wish you to accept them as such.

To the mover and seconder of the address I say, I have not had the honour of knowing you long but in the time I have known you I have learned to appreciate you and, young members that you are, I feel that in this party we have in you young men of promise. I offer you most heartily my congratulations on the way in which you presented your addresses.

I want to speak this afternoon on union; and, if I can, I want to rectify some of the impressions which hon. members have received on Newfoundland's entry into union. We have been received here with much kindness. We have received every consideration, and we appreciate that to the fullest. It has been suggested in this house that the people of Newfoundland voted for confederation because of the social benefits that we would receive. I do not wish to take anything away from the truth of that statement, but it is not the whole truth. I know that the economic side of union should have been surveyed and surveyed thoroughly, but there is more in union than economics. This afternoon I want to emphasize that if I can. I know that we are subject to economics from the cradle to the grave, but it is not the whole of life, and neither is it the full reason why we chose union instead of a policy of isolation. We chose it because we believed that in union there is strength, and that our future lay to the west of us, and that in adopting a policy of isolation we would be adopting a policy of disaster for our country.

As I have said, the economic side of union has been stressed in the press and on the radio, and we would do well, I think, to point out some of the aspects of union so that the whole Canadian people may have a full and complete idea as to why this union took place.

During recent years in Newfoundland we have had several forms of government. We had tried responsible government for many long years and it failed our people. It has

The Address-Mr. Stick

been said that the financial crisis in which we found ourselves was brought about by the depression. It would be truer to say that the depression hastened the crisis. We found ourselves in a position where we could not meet our obligations, and with sorrow we had to give up freedom, democratic freedom as we know it on this side of the water. A royal commission came to our country to investigate our conditions. It recommended a form of government called commission of government. We accepted it, and we accepted it in good faith. Unfortunately we found that progress without freedom is not obtainable. During the time of government by commission our people suffered as they had never suffered before. I have been amongst the people and I have come from the people, and I know what they suffered. I say that I never want to see it again as long as I live. Our people remembered these things. Because we felt that union with the other provinces would give us a measure of security, which we could never get if we had stood alone, we chose union. That was the main reason why we chose union. I was one of those who fought for it from the very beginning. It was not an easy choice for some of us to make. To give up the proud position which we had held for 450-odd years was not easy; but in choosing that side and going out and fighting for union I believed I did so in the best interests of my people, and I believe I did it in the best interests of this dominion. And now that we have union-thank God we have it-it is our job to put it to work. On what we do in this parliament in the near future, how we treat the people of Newfoundland, will very largely depend the happiness of our people.

I have been much encouraged since coming here by the kindly consideration which has been given to Newfoundland and its problems. I am glad to state here that the faith which I had before I came is sustained now, and I shall be glad to go back and tell my people that they have a sympathetic ear in Ottawa, that our just claims will be met, and that in union we shall be able to provide for our people as we have never been able to provide for them before.

I want to bring to the attention of this house the geographical position which Newfoundland holds in relation to the rest of the dominion. During recent days it has been said here that we in Canada did not come in contact with the war at first hand. The hon. member who said that did not live in Newfoundland. We did come in contact with the war at first hand in Newfoundland, and thousands of our people saw ships, laden with iron ore, torpedoed, and sent to the bottom in the twinkling of an eye with a

tremendous loss of life. We know what war means. We have experienced it at first hand. Many hundreds of ships have been torpedoed on our coasts, and the survivors have been landed at St. John's and cared for in our hospitals during the war. I mention these facts because I do not want Canada to make the mistake that the British Admiralty made in the period between the two wars when Great Britain concentrated her defences in Bermuda instead of in Newfoundland. That mistake cost us very dearly, and it very nearly cost us the battle of the Atlantic. If we had lost that battle we would have lost the war.

By this act of union Canada is now secure on her eastern border. If we had chosen otherwise I think that the party sponsoring economic union with the United States would have won. If that had happened, I believe that economic union would have taken place with that country, and this dominion would have been faced with the situation that she was faced with when Alaska was taken over by the United States. That great country to the south is a friendly country, it is true. But we wanted to keep Newfoundland British; we wanted to keep Newfoundland within the British commonwealth of nations; we wanted to link up with you, to make you stronger, so that your voice for peace raised in the future would be a strong and a united voice.

Some people have said that we should have had responsible government and that negotiation should have taken place as between governments. My reply to that is this: Economically speaking, we have gone through serious times before. The world situation in trade and commerce was none too secure, as we have had evidence of late. We believed that the only time, we should come into the union was when we were in a financially strong position. That was the path of honour, and we chose that path'. That is why we came in when we did-and I believe we did the right thing when we did it.

May I draw your attention to another point. At the very time when this great country was negotiating for the coming into being of the Atlantic treaty, my province entered into union with you. The fact is that we joined with you. Soon afterwards the Atlantic pact was signed, and this was followed by the lifting of the Berlin blockade, making the peace of the world more secure than ever before.

Those acts are related. Just at the very time when Canada's voice should have been united and strong, it was made that way by our act of union. And it may well be that, through this small act of ours, we may have played a big part in bringing about that

336 HOUSE OF

The Address-Mr. Stick alliance, which is the strongest force we have in the world today for peace. Big things come from small things. I believe those acts are related. If we have helped Canada in any way to preserve the peace of the world- even if only in a small way-we in Newfoundland will take pride in that fact.

The union of Newfoundland with Canada has been analysed from the standpoint of dollars and cents. Can anyone in this House of Commons analyse what I have said from a dollars-and-cents standpoint? It goes beyond that: it is the union of two peoples bound together by religion, by language, by geographical position and by the type of life we live. Many thousands of our people from Newfoundland have come to this country seeking their bread and butter; and they have made good here.

It has been said that we have unemployment in Newfoundland. It is sad to relate that, unfortunately, at just this time of the year, it is on the increase. But unemployment in Newfoundland is not the fault of union; we have had unemployment there for years. It is a problem which is not easy of solution; but we believe that under union we can solve it. With your sympathetic help and co-operation we believe we can do it.

My country is an old country, with 452 years of history. We are a proud and an hospitable people. Many hon. members have indicated their intention of coming to Newfoundland and viewing our country. May I

give them a bit of advice? I have received advice since coming to Ottawa, and I should like to give some at this time. When you come to visit us remember two things: remember that we are an hospitable and proud people; and when you partake of our hospitality do not forget our pride. And when you come in contact with our pride, please think of our hospitality.

The time at my disposal is almost up, and I do not wish to delay the house unnecessarily. I do wish to say this in all sincerity, however, that as it has been our boast of old that we were Britain's most ancient and loyal colony, and as we are the cornerstone of empire, so do I believe that in the future it will be our proud boast that we are Canada's newest and most loyal province.

On motion of Mr. Pouliot the debate was adjourned.

Topic:   ANSWERING OF QUESTIONS ON ORDER PAPER
Subtopic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
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BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Fournier (Hull):

Tomorrow we hope to complete this debate.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

Was there not some proposal for interim supply tomorrow?

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LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Fournier (Hull):

Oh yes; at the outset the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) will move to go into committee of supply for interim supply.

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At six o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order.



Thursday, September 29, 1949


September 28, 1949