November 21, 1949

LIB

Donald Ferguson Brown

Liberal

Mr. Brown (Essex West):

I would prefer that they divert the highway through the city of Windsor, but I am really not asking for it at the moment. I said "at the moment"; it might be that a little later I would ask for it. However the senior member for Halifax (Mr. Isnor) has brought up the point. I think

it might be well if the provincial government were to proceed at once with the building of a four-lane highway. Perhaps I should not use the word "building", because they already have the plans. However, they might well proceed with the building, for which they have the plans, of a four-lane highway from Windsor, to connect with the trans-Canada highway. Not only would it provide easy access to the trans-Canada highway, but it would bring in many more American dollars so badly needed in this country.

In 1949 alone, from January to August 1,295,549 motorcars passed through the port of Windsor. When one considers that in each motorcar there are several passengers, and that each tourist spends a considerable sum of American dollars, it must be agreed that this is a great contribution to our national economy. For these reasons I most heartily support the trans-Canada highway.

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PC

Gordon Francis Higgins

Progressive Conservative

Mr. G. F. Higgins (St. John's East):

Mr. Speaker, I notice in reading the files tabled by the minister today of correspondence with the premiers of the different provinces, that they do not appear to be complete. I wonder if this is correct; are they or are they not complete?

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LIB

Robert Henry Winters (Minister of Reconstruction and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. Winters:

I understand the hon. member is referring to the date of the last correspondence.

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PC

Gordon Francis Higgins

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Higgins:

Yes, that is right.

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LIB

Robert Henry Winters (Minister of Reconstruction and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. Winters:

The correspondence is up to the date of the notice of motion for production of papers moved by the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker).

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PC

Gordon Francis Higgins

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Higgins:

I presume the minister will file any remaining correspondence.

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LIB

Robert Henry Winters (Minister of Reconstruction and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. Winters:

If that is the wish of hon. members, I should be glad to do it.

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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

Could it be done tomorrow?

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LIB

Robert Henry Winters (Minister of Reconstruction and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. Winters:

I think it may be done tomorrow-and done of course on the same basis, that it will be filed only with respect to those provinces which have given their permission.

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PC

Gordon Francis Higgins

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Higgins:

I mention this because from the date it appears that there is further correspondence.

I do not think there is any doubt about the fact that the idea of a trans-Canada highway has general support. The only differences we may have in the matter-those of us who have differences-are with respect to the contributions that have to be made. I shall refer to that aspect of the matter later.

The chief reason I see for the trans-Canada highway-one which I think is probably

accepted generally by all-is the development of trade and industry, and particularly that industry known as the tourist traffic. The other important phase is the necessity for a good system of highways for purposes of defence.

That feature has probably been stressed in the house before, and perhaps there is no need of my mentioning it again. We all recall however the famous autobahn of Germany and the purpose of it. We know of its value to that country during the last world war. I do not suggest that we should have an autobahn, but I do feel that throughout Canada we should have highroads which if necessary can be used for defence purposes.

Another important reason, one to which the minister referred in his opening remarks, I believe, is the value of road-building in taking care of unemployment. In my opinion that is one of the important features in the program. Perhaps it is not of such importance to the other provinces as it is to Newfoundland, because unemployment is a problem we are now facing. I believe road-building has been termed a shelf project; whatever it is, it would be of immense value to us in this connection.

As has been stated so often, in Newfoundland we have immense tourist possibilities but no roads. With an area of 42,000 square miles we have less roads both in number and in quality than has Prince Edward Island with an area of only 2,000 square miles- and that is only on the island alone irrespective of Labrador. One can easily see why your poorest cousin needs and looks forward to a system of roads. The value of the tourist industry cannot be stressed too greatly, because with the opening up of highroads and the resultant opening of the country, not only will citizens from the wealthier sections of Canada come to us as often as possible, but also we will have a tremendous influx of American visitors as well. From that point of view I feel that no matter who pays for these roads, whether it is the wealthy provinces, the poorer provinces or perhaps even the Americans, it is a good investment, so long as we do not have to pay for them or pay more than we are able.

I am sure this matter has been considered before, but some years ago I noticed that on some of the American highroads specially wide and long strips were being built in places, the purpose being to take care of emergency plane landings. It might be well to keep in mind that in the proposed highroad provision could be made at no great extra cost for an extra twenty feet in width and a long straight-away of a mile or so which would serve as a first-class emergency

Trans-Canada Highway landing field, at which planes could land and from which they could take off. It might be even an attraction to tourists. This is offered only as a suggestion as we go along.

I do not need to repeat the strategic value of the island to the rest of the continent. But with the bases in Newfoundland it seems ridiculous to find that there is no road connection between them. We have a big American base at St. John's, with an airport at Torbay, which was used to a great extent during the war as a base for the spotting of submarines by aircraft. Then, we have the naval base at Argentia. St. John's and Argentia are connected; but may I remind the house that they are connected chiefly by American money being spent in their construction. Americans built and maintained that military road to give them speedy transportation between St. John's and their naval base at Argentia.

From there on however there is a great hiatus. The great airport at Gander is an important part in the scheme of defence of Canada; but there is no road connection with Gander and the rest of the country. Going farther west we come to Ernest Harmon air base at Stephenville. This is an American air base. There is no road connection with it and the other bases. So, apart altogether from the advantage of roads in the ordinary scheme of things, it seems to me apparent that in the defence scheme of the dominion and the United States all these bases should be connected by roads.

I do not think there is any contradiction to this. I do not believe it would be taken in good grace in this parliament or by the people of Canada, but I am quite certain the United States will build these roads if we do not. As a nation, surely we do not consider we are in the position where the United States should come in and build our roads. But that is what will happen unless these United States bases are connected up properly in the not too distant future. Somebody is going to do the job and I think that somebody should be Canada. This should all be part of the trans-Canada system.

The difficulty faced by the other provinces in deciding where the road is to run does not exist with us. We know perfectly well where it is going to run because we have no alternative. It will run from St. John's to Port aux Basques. Apparently this route has received the blessings of the powers that be.

But there is one thing I want to be certain about. When the highway is completed to Port aux Basques I want the minister to implement the undertaking contained in section 32 of the terms of union that a proper car ferry will be provided. This may be

Trans-Canada Highway thought to be asking for "all this and heaven too", but I am suggesting that provision should be made now so that a proper ferry will be available if and when the highway is built.

I have looked over the correspondence in this connection which was tabled. This correspondence sets out the standard of road that will be built. The details accompanied a letter to the premier of Newfoundland dated September 2, 1949. I take it that these standards will form part of the bill that is to follow and therefore it is proper to discuss them now. Apparently the government plans only a two-lane highway. I do not suppose Newfoundland itself would require more than a two-lane highway, but a military road would have to be wider. The intention is that if any province builds a road wider than two-lane the federal government contribution will be 50 per cent of the cost of a two-lane highway rather than 50 per cent of the total cost of the road.

Apparently the right of way is to be 100 feet in width with a 22 or 24 foot pavement. The shoulders are to be 10 feet and the minimum thickness of asphalt is to be three inches. The stone base will be from a nine-inch minimum to 12 inches. There will be a maximum curvature of six degrees and a maximum gradient of six degrees. The sight distances, horizontal and vertical, are to be a minimum of 600 feet. Bridges are to have an overhead clearance of 14 feet with a width of 26 feet for spans of over 30 feet, and curbs of 18 inches.

These are not my own figures. I do not know about these matters myself, but I discussed it with an hon. member who is engaged in the road-building business and who knows something about costs. I described as well as I could the terrain that would be encountered and the nearest approximate cost figure I could get was in the neighbourhood of $100,000 per mile. As I see it, the minimum distance would be 500 miles, which means that the share of the poor province of Newfoundland will be quite steep. I do not know about the wealthy provinces up here, but if we have to find $25 million as our share, it is going to be a little hard.

Then apart from the original cost the province must maintain the highway, and I understand that maintenance costs are fairly high. I hate to be considered begging all the time but I am a little worried about this part of it. We like to play our own part in Newfoundland and I would not advise taking on a job that we cannot handle properly. We do not want to be always coming around asking for more.

Another angle to this road construction business is the assistance that it will give

to relieving unemployment. Frankly I do not like the idea of this cost being as high as it will be, but even though it will assist unemployment I cannot see how we are going to find $25 million unless some wizard comes along and pulls it out of a hat. Unemployment has recently been taken care of by the provincial government by the payment of $13.20 for a 48-hour week. Can you imagine in this day and age that in one of our ten provinces a family man is receiving only $13.20 for 48 hours of work. It is easy to see what is going to happen. The family allowance cheques that are being received in Newfoundland will be used for purposes never intended by the act. I am quite worried about that and I am sure all hon. members from the province are in the same state of mind. I probably got a little off the point in this discussion, but I thought I should mention this matter.

From the correspondence the minister had with our premier it would appear that the subject of the resolution has been discussed. This letter was dated September 2, 1949, but I was rather confused by noting a Newfoundland newspaper report dated October 1. This report referred to the visit of the premier of Newfoundland to Ottawa and the discussion he had had with the minister with regard to a highway. There is a headline, "Twenty feet wide road to be built from Port aux Basques to city", and the premier is reported to have said:

Thanks to the help offered by the federal government, we'll have a paved highway from St. John's to Port aux Basques, with a minimum of a twenty-foot pavement and' two-foot shoulders on either side.

Then the premier is reported to have said further:

I don't guarantee that the paving itself will be completed within our first term of office, but the road itself will be completed and a great deal of its pavement will be laid. In addition there will be many miles of secondary roads constructed.

There seems to be confusion of thought in this matter. This resolution contemplates legislation which will follow a decision by the provinces concerned. If the premier is reported correctly it would seem that he had more or less accepted the proposal. I notice down at the bottom of this same newspaper another article which reads:

Work in connection with the survey of the western section of the proposed trans-Canada highway is progressing satisfactorily, and a party under T. H. Winter which commenced work at Robinson's on September 5 has now moved to McKay's.

These are places on the west coast.

It is understood that the work will be pushed forward and as much as possible completed before winter sets in.

I do not know if it means when the minister sets in or winter itself, but there does appear to be some similarity in the thoughts of the minister and the premier. The premier appears to have accepted the fact that it is all over and done with. In his letter to the minister he says:

Many thanks for your letter of September 2 . . . I may say that we are most eager to be in on the proposition from the very commencement.

The premier may take it as being all right. He may have decided Newfoundland can afford this expenditure, and if he sees his way clear I am not going to knock it, but frankly I do not see it as he does. I am quite worried about it. I would certainly wish to see a highway in Newfoundland in keeping with the rest of Canada. I certainly would wish Newfoundland to be able to pay its proportionate share of the cost of the highway, but I do not see how Newfoundland can do it. The bases in Newfoundland need highroads from the defence angle, but unless there is some other contribution suggested than that of 50 per cent to be paid by the dominion I do not see how the province can provide the balance. I heard the leader of the Social Credit party IMr. Low) say that for some provinces the contribution should be 33 per cent. I am not able to give a figure for Newfoundland. All I can say is that it should be less than any other province of Canada if Newfoundland is to pay its share. I am not able to go into figures, but I should like to see the road constructed. I should like to see it properly built, and I should like to see it built soon. I hope when legislation is being introduced there will be an exception in the case of your poor cousin in the matter of contribution.

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PC

Percy Chapman Black

Progressive Conservative

Mr. P. C. Black (Cumberland):

Mr. Speaker, I am in favour of the general policy of federal contribution to the building of highways and assisting the provinces therein. Therefore I am in general sympathy with the proposal before the house. I am particularly glad to give support to a minister from Nova Scotia because of my personal regard for him. I am in favour of it also because for some years I had considerable experience with highway administration and construction, and I have given my support at all times to improving highways starting in 1918, when the province of Nova Scotia had lefthand drive and nothing but sheep and cow trails all over the province. The highways were then looked after by sectional highway statute labour, when a provincial highway board was set up, of which I was a member. There were five members; three of them were supposed to be Liberals and two were associated with the other party. In those days there were only two

Trans-Canada Highway parties, but there were no politics in our efforts, at least so far as I was concerned.

We laid down certain policies and started a program. I have given my support to highway development from 1918 to the present time. I had the privilege and responsibility of being minister of highways in Nova Scotia for eight years. I had to take up the burden of administering the highways department from those early days. We were able to accomplish a good deal, and according to our revenue and resources, I believe that we accomplished as much towards the construction and maintenance of highways as has been done since. It has been the policy of everybody in the province of Nova Scotia to advance the construction of our highway transportation system. Great progress has been made.

I had the honour of proposing the policy of federal assistance for the construction of highways at the Conservative convention held at Winnipeg, which policy was adopted and put into effect under the Bennett government. Unfortunately it had to be carried out in the days of the depression when it was most difficult to secure funds to advance the programs that we had in hand. Our objective was to give as much employment as possible and to distribute the work as widely as we could. We were able to keep all our villages, towns and cities in the province of Nova Scotia solvent during those days, and no municipality defaulted on its bonds.

The industries of Nova Scotia could not give employment to their old hands. The workmen's compensation board recorded $30 million less in wages per year than they did a few years before. Because we had the responsibility in those days we were blamed by some-and I have heard it in the house many times-for the depression which was continent and world wide. We met the situation the best we could. We undertook to build many sections of the trans-Canada highway. We were not able to build it in a continuous stretch, but in different localities where labour requirements were the greatest. It is a problem today for the present minister, and for the ministers of all the provinces, to lay out the route of the trans-Canada highway so that it will serve their provinces. In those days we laid out the highway in Nova Scotia from the New Brunswick boundary to Cape Breton, through Sydney, and on to Louis-bourg, that old fortress of the historic days when the French and the British fought for ascendancy.

It is more important than ever that that route be adopted under the present program

Trans-Canada Highway because it gives connection with Newfoundland. We laid out one stretch of thirty-three miles running from Sydney. We adopted a 100-foot right of way, and the work was carried on largely by manual labour. We dispensed almost entirely with machinery, which gave more employment, but we were not able to do the work as cheaply as we could have if we had used machinery. We were only able to employ men in relays and provide two or three weeks' work at a time. It was not efficient help, but we did it in order to give employment to the people not only of the rural districts where the highways ran but also of the towns and cities. We established our own camps and supplied the food. Many of the people who came out from the mining towns in those days, where the mines were working one or two days a week, had not eaten a square meal for weeks. Many of them ate heartily, and their stomachs could not retain the food. Those were the conditions under which we carried on, but I believe we got a fair return for the work we did in those days in starting the trans-Canada highway.

A highway of the highest standard was continued to Halifax and to other parts of the province. I do not know what the policy of the government of Nova Scotia is today. I have glanced over the correspondence the minister has tabled, but I do not see any correspondence from the province of Nova Scotia. I am sure the government of Nova Scotia has an advanced policy. I feel greatly handicapped tonight, Mr. Speaker, in speaking to this resolution because there is no correspondence available from the government of Nova Scotia which would indicate their policy. I think it is due to us from Nova Scotia, in fact to all the members of this house, that the complete correspondence be placed in our hands so that we may know the attitude not only of the province of Nova Scotia but of evex-y province in Canada. I am sure that is the wish of all members of the house who desire to assist in working out the best policy possible.

All work undertaken in Cape Breton at that time was not part of the trans-Canada highway. We built the Cabot trail 186 miles largely in the constituency of the member for Inverness-Richmond (Mr. Carroll). That is a great asset to the province of Nova Scotia today and I believe the whole of Canada. That was carried out by labour during those depressed days. Not only were we able to do our share of the work in Nova Scotia and keep the municipalities solvent, but we were able to pay all our own bills and finance our own undertakings. That was not the case with the western provinces. The four western provinces, with their enormous

resources and great revenues of recent years, went through a difficult period at that time resulting in the cancelling of a large portion of their expenditure during those depressed years, but we paid all our commitments.

I am going to read some of the figures I gave to the house on May 20, 1947. The treasury bill debt of the four western provinces was as follows: Manitoba, $24,734,451.82; Saskatchewan, $80,441,852.44; Alberta, $26,212,000; British Columbia, $34,112,249.99, making a total debt of $165,500,554.25. I presume a considerable portion of those expenditures in those days went toward the building of the trans-Canada highway. The province of Nova Scotia paid every dollar of its share. The federal government has cancelled $55,456,164 of that debt and repaid, out of the proceeds of natural resources, $15,987,500. The province of Nova Scotia contributed to those great natural resources of the west. They got in addition a cash contribution, refunded without interest, of $49,729,979.99; there was also refunded on a thirty-year basis with interest at 2-58 per cent the sum of $44,326,910.19.

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LIB

William F. Carroll

Liberal

Mr. Carroll:

May I ask the hon. gentleman a question? Did the dominion government contribute towards the construction of the road the hon. member mentioned?

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PC

Percy Chapman Black

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Black (Cumberland):

I cannot hear the question.

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LIB

William F. Carroll

Liberal

Mr. Carroll:

Did the dominion government contribute anything towards the construction of the road the hon. member mentioned, from Sydney, through Bras d'Or lakes district to Halifax?

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PC

Percy Chapman Black

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Black (Cumberland):

Yes, the dominion government contributed 50 per cent of all expenditures on the trans-Canada highway. They also contributed a certain amount towards the improvement of other highways, towards the construction of the Cabot trail, towards railway crossing and other work. I am pointing out here that the portion payable by Nova Scotia was paid in full by the province of Nova Scotia, while in the western provinces their portion was largely forgiven. I say to the minister that special consideration should now be given to Nova Scotia for what it paid out in the building of roads in comparison with what was done in western Canada in the days of depression. I believe that equal treatment should be given to the eastern provinces. In laying out this trans-Canada highway, we should adopt a high standard because we are not only building for today, but for the next 100 or 1,000 years.

The province of Nova Scotia needs these highways for transportation purposes. We need these highways, too, to take advantage

of the tourist traffic. I believe that Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and to some extent New Brunswick are the most neglected parts of Canada when it comes to the tourist trade. Those sections are blessed with hospitable people, the finest climate, beautiful scenery and warm sea water for bathing. The water in the Northumberland strait is the warmest and safest of any from New York to Newfoundland. This trans-Canada highway should be built with special regard for the needs of that neglected part of Canada in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, so that there would be quick and easy access not only for the people of the United States but for the many thousands of people in central Canada, many of whom today go to the state of Maine and to other places in the United States. They should have the best possible highway in order that they might have access to our great tourist resorts.

I believe the minister should give special consideration to the possibility and advisability of building a short route through the state of Maine. I say that it is a matter which is worthy of serious consideration. I am quite sure that our friends in the United States would lend their co-operation. It would save two or three hundred miles for those who would want to go from central Canada to the maritime provinces and take advantage of our tourist attractions.

I am not going to take up any more time, Mr. Speaker. As I have said, I am in general sympathy with the policy which has been proposed by the minister. There are many features to be worked out. I am confident that the province of Nova Scotia will cooperate with him. Coming as he does from the province of Nova Scotia, he has a special responsibility to see that full consideration is given to the claims of our part of Canada and to what we have done in previous years in developing the highways of Nova Scotia and helping, within our own resources, in relieving unemployment in the days of depression.

In this connection I might point out that today there is, in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and I presume to some extent at least in Prince Edward Island, a demand for employment which is far greater than this government appears to realize. There is unemployment and distress in parts of the maritime provinces today. It is urgently necessary that work be undertaken on this trans-Canada highway project and on other government projects in order to relieve the distress that is becoming greater all the time in that part of Canada.

Trans-Canada Highway

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. J. H. Blackmore (Lethbridge):

Somehow or other, Mr. Speaker, whenever I hear a member from the maritime provinces speak, and I reflect on what has happened to those three noble provinces since they entered confederation, I find myself deeply moved. That is so tonight, as a result of listening to the hon. member who has just taken his seat.

I have long favoured the principle of a trans-Canada highway. Even before I entered parliament I wondered how it was that this matter had been neglected by successive Canadian administrations. I still favour a trans-Canada highway system.

I may say that on July 11, 1947, as recorded at page 5460 of Hansard, I raised the question of a trans-Canada highway. I was joined by a number of members, including the then members for Qu'Appelle, Fraser Valley, Weyburn, Swift Current, Macleod, Kootenay West, Kootenay East and Regina City, all supporting the southernmost route of the trans-Canada highway.

As has been mentioned by hon. members who have preceded me, there are three possible routes in western Canada. One of those goes from Brandon to Saskatoon to Edmonton through the Yellowhead pass to Vancouver. Another one goes from Brandon to Medicine Hat, and from Medicine Hat to Calgary through the Kicking Horse pass to Hope to Vancouver.

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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. Johnston:

That is something.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. Blackmore:

The other one goes from Brandon to Medicine Hat to Lethbridge through the Crowsnest pass to Hope to Vancouver. This third one is the southernmost route. As I said, the members whose constituencies I mentioned favoured the southernmost route.

I have no desire whatever, Mr. Speaker, to precipitate any unhappiness or discord in the house by advocating any one of these routes. That is not my purpose in rising tonight. Therefore the members who want to start shooting might just hold their fire until they find out whether or not they have something to shoot at.

On April 28, 1949, I rose in the house, as reported at page 2693 of Hansard, and delivered a speech in which I advocated that the federal government adopt a policy under which they would provide for the expenditure of one billion dollars in five yearly instalments for the assistance of the provinces in building and maintaining a system of trans-Canada highways. At that time I also advocated the completion of the southernmost route first, and gave the reasons why I believed that should be done.

Trans-Canada Highway

I now desire to congratulate the minister and the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) on the vision, faith and all-round statesmanship they have displayed in initiating a policy of federal aid for the provinces which is more ambitious and more promising than anything that has hitherto been advocated or suggested in the Dominion of Canada. I believe that their names will go down in history with honour because of this action. I do not believe they have gone nearly far enough, as I shall indicate, but they have made a good start; and because of that they deserve the gratitude of everyone in the Dominion of Canada.

Before I say any more, I believe that I should suggest the principles which ought to underlie expenditures in Canada upon trans-Canada highways. I believe that there should be federal aid for, as I have already indicated, a system somewhat comparable with the inter-regional system in the United States. I believe that the appropriation should be greatly increased beyond what is even dreamed of at the present time, and I believe that Canada is perfectly capable of meeting the commitments under such an increased appropriation. I believe that the dominion should undertake to pay a considerable share of the expenditures during the ten years just past upon highways that, after careful consideration, shall be found to be part of that system. For example, if we are dealing with Nova Scotia and we find that a certain portion of the highways which she has built as a province should be included under the system of trans-Canada highways, then certainly Nova Scotia should, I believe, be reimbursed to the full for the money she has expended in the construction of those highways during the past ten years. That does not need to be all done in one year. It could be done over a period of years, say ten years, greatly to the advantage of the whole of the Dominion of Canada.

I believe that we should broaden the basis of federal support to include not only the construction but the maintenance of highways. As was well developed by the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Low), the cost of maintenance is excessive. Anyone who has had any experience whatsoever in maintaining provincial highways knows that.

I believe that the next principle is this. We should leave the provinces to determine how and where the money will be spent upon highways that shall have been agreed upon as appropriately constituting parts of the trans-Canada highway system. There are a number of people who seem to think that the provinces are unable to spend the money wisely. All anyone needs to do is to listen to the hon. member who has just taken

fMr. Rlackmore.l

his seat. All he needs to do is to go into Nova Scotia and see what has been accomplished there with the most meagre financial resources. He will come away with the deepest respect for the people who administer that province and the other provinces of the maritimes. No one can tell me that the provincial governments are not alive and prudent, in a general way at least, in the expenditure of money which comes into their hands. Therefore I say, let the provinces decide where the road is to be built. They will decide. They are interested in the development of Canada just as much as anyone in Ottawa could possibly be.

The hon. member for Assiniboia (Mr. Argue) gave us an idea concerning what the United States has done for highway construction. Probably there are several things I might say which might be in addition to his excellent contribution. I think the hon. member truly gave us a most instructive, informative and perhaps inspiring address.

In the main the United States efforts began with Woodrow Wilson. He encouraged expenditures from the federal treasury for the construction of so-called "post roads". That was a long time ago. The United States has a bureau of roads which co-operates actively with state highway departments. Entirely adequate sums of money are placed at the disposal of engineering staffs of federal and state agencies for preliminary engineering purposes, and thereby serious mistakes are avoided.

In 1941 congress voted $10 million as aid toward planning for primary highways. In 1943 congress voted $50 million for planning of post-war highway work in all the states. If I may suggest so, the federal government in the United States is doing the thing in a big way, in a correct way and in a sound way. Past expenditures on roads between 1931 and 1942 inclusive in the form of federal aid in the United States amounted to $209,327,417 annually, matching equal gross sums from the forty-eight states. Between 1934 and 1942, 2-9 per cent of the total national revenue was spent on roads; -8 per cent was spent by federal authorities. If this ratio were continued it is estimated that $2,250 million would be provided for highway construction. Whether or not the United States will follow that ratio is not quite clear. In addition to that, they were spending $750 million for a proposed national inter-regional highway system.

I wish to direct the attention of the house tonight, if I may, to that inter-regional highway system, the like of which I believe we should develop in Canada. In fact I believe it is our duty inasmuch as we are jointly

responsible for the defence of this continent. I believe it is our duty to see to it that there is a system of highways in Canada which is comparable with the system in the United States so that the United States people do not need to be worrying constantly over whether or not there are going to be highways up here to enable them to manoeuvre in case of trouble.

How came it about that this national interregional highway system was planned? Well, F. D. Roosevelt, on April 14, 1941, set up what was known as a national inter-regional highways committee under Thomas H. MacDonald, commissioner of public roads, to make a survey of the need for a system of express highways throughout the United States. May I suggest that probably the Prime Minister or the minister would do well to do something like that at a very early date in Canada. This committee recommended that the federal government provide $750 million a year to help build 34,000 miles of rural and urban roads to comprise a proposed national interregional highway system. On January 12, 1944, President F. D. Roosevelt recommended that congress accept the report of this committee.

The results of this and other United States efforts are shown by figures in a schedule which I should like to have the privilege of putting on Hansard. I am not sure whether I shall have permission to do that, therefore I am going to run over hastily some of the figures which are involved. The schedule I have covers the years from 1919 to 1949 inclusive. In those years the United States government spent per capita the following sums of money: 66 cents in 1919-per capita that is. It works out to a lot of money-and in the following years 94 cents, 95 cents, 71 cents, 52 cents, 61 cents, 61 cents, 70 cents,61 cents, 68 cents, 69 cents, $1.32. A greatincrease occurred in 1930. In the following years, $1.19, $2.10, $4.37, $1.15, $3.27, $1.12,$1.08, $1.71, $1.72, $1.10, $1.38, $2.70, $1.88,

which brought them up to 1943. During the following years the appropriation dropped down considerably, particularly during the war, to 22 cents and probably nothing in the next year. But again in 1946, immediately the war was over, the appropriation rose to $3.71 per capita, $3.65 and $3.51. There is a contribution which I would suggest that the Canadian authorities keep their eye on and do their best. Let Canada have a Canadian inter-regional highway system comparable with that in the United States.

May I say that western Canada is well along towards such a system already. A great amount of construction has gone on in the three prairie provinces and in British

Trans-Canada Highway Columbia, notwithstanding the relatively meagre resources at their disposal. For example in Alberta: In the first place, the Yellowhead pass road, in the main consisting of the Alberta provincial highway No. 16, runs from Lloydminster to Jasper Park gate, a distance of 360 miles. From Lloydminster to Edmonton it is gravel surface. From Edmonton to Seba Beach it is bituminous. From Seba Beach to Jasper Park gate it is first-class gravel. Much work and great expenditure have been put forth in respect to this highway.

The Kicking Horse pass highway, Alberta provincial highway No. 1, runs from Walsh to Banff Park gate, a distance of 302 miles. From Walsh to Medicine Hat it is low-type bituminous. From Medicine Hat to Bassano it is gravel road, third class. From Bassano to Gleichen it is new grade under construction. From Gleichen to Strathmore it is new grade and gravel. From Strathmore to Banff Park gate it is bituminous surface. The Crowsnest pass route is Alberta's provincial highways Nos. 1 and 3. From Walsh to Crowsnest via Medicine Hat, Lethbridge and Macleod is a distance of 245 miles. From Walsh to Medicine Hat the road is low-type bituminous. From Medicine Hat to Taber it is first-class earth and gravel. From Taber to Pincher Creek it is bituminous, and from Pincher Creek to Crowsnest it is earth grade and gravel.

From these facts it can be readily seen that Alberta is alive right to her fingertips. If the federal government had been half as much alive as the provincial governments have been during the last fifteen years Canada would not have such deficient roads as we have in many cases at the present time. We do not need to worry about putting money at the disposal of governments that have done so much for roads as Alberta has.

Thus far Canada federally has made little or no systematic contribution towards Canadian highways. I said "systematic". There have been contributions. For example, in 1919 the dominion parliament granted $20 million to assist the provinces in highway construction. It was to be awarded on the basis of $80,000 flat to each province. It was limited to 40 per cent of the cost of construction or improvement. One hon. member. I think it was an hon. member representing Newfoundland, pointed out a moment ago that if that province is expected to pay one-half of the cost of the highway in order to get the dominion government to pay the other half, then that province never could build a highway and never could claim the 50 per cent.

Trans-Canada Highway

The minister has a reputation for good common sense. I believe he can see quite clearly what caused the trouble in 1919. It was that very fact. A number of the provinces simply could not possibly pay the money. How could they pay 60 per cent of the cost of an elaborate system of highways in order to get the dominion government to pay 40 per cent? It seems that the Ottawa government has been afflicted with a lack of common sense for a great many years. A pretty good discussion of this whole subject is to be found in the New Brunswick submission to the Sirois commission at pages 44 and 45.

After about four years or five years of trying to put into operation successfully this policy the dominion government abandoned it.

Now, what are the provinces doing this year? What have they attempted to do? Provincial expenditures for highways for 1949, proposed, amounted to $157 million. I am taking figures from a report which appeared in the Financial Post, according to information at my disposal.

For Manitoba the amount is $7,400,000. Of this $1,400,000 is for reconstruction, aid to municipalities and school districts. There were 160 miles of main highway to be graded; 65 miles surfaced with asphalt and concrete, Winnipeg to the international line at Emerson; Brandon to the international line at Peace Gardens and Brandon to the Saskatchewan border.

Saskatchewan appropriated $7,400,000, according to this report. It states that $2,500,000 of this was spent for maintenance -and it will be noted that maintenance comes at tremendous cost. There were 400 miles of bus-grade roads, 430 miles of gravel surfacing and 105 miles of bitumen-treated gravel. So Saskatchewan is alive to her fingertips. There is a whole lot more than deadwood in the Saskatchewan government. British Columbia appropriated $13 million on construction, reconstruction and paving. It states that 350 miles were to be newly paved, according to the report when it was made.

Hon. members will be interested to know something about Alberta's recent efforts. I have in my hand a government document, called "These are the Facts". These facts appear at pages 34 and 35, where it states a number of facts concerning the last fourteen or fifteen years of road-building in the province:

Main and secondary highways; miles of work done from March, 1936 to March, 1948:

miles

Grading 1,922

Reconditioned grading 844

Gravel 4,207

Asphalt 1,149

Seal coat 645

To explain what that means, here is a legend which states:

"Grading" is construction of standard earth grade to highways standards.

"Recondition grading" is done when necessary to bring highway up to standard prior to first course or replacement gravel surfacing.

"Gravelled" miles shown consist of first course and replacement gravel surfacing; it also includes the gravelling of highways where locations have been revised.

"Asphalt" miles include "blotter" and light plant mix surfaced highways, most of which were later rebuilt with a six to nine-inch stabilized gravel base and two-inch hot plant mix surface.

"Seal Coat" miles represent gravel chips and asphalt applied to seal plant mix surface.

May I interrupt at this point to say that we have had a great deal of difficulty in Alberta finding out the kind of road we should have for our terrain and climatic conditions. It cost us a great deal to learn these essential facts.

A comparison of main and secondary highway mileages between March 31, 1936, and March 31, 1948, shows the following:

Type March 31 . March 31 Difference

1936 1948

Graded (earth) .

767 221 minus 546Gravelled

2,152 3,258 plus 1,106Asphalt

92 645 plus 553Total miles

3,011 4,124 plus 1,113That is a lot of road-building. The nexttable shows a comparison of district and local road mileages as at March 31, 1936, andMarch 31, 1948, as follows: March 31, March 31, Type 1936 1948 DifferenceOrdinary road .. . 40,000 42,749 plus 2,749Graded (earth) . . 19,373 25,487 plus 6,114Gravelled . Nil 7,596 plus 7,596Total miles . 59,373 75,832 plus 16,459

The next table shows the amount of road grants paid to municipal districts:

Amount of road grants paid to municipal districts:

1941-42 Fiscal year

$101,290.951944-45 " "

468,944.731946- 47 " "

523,338.991947- 48 " "

1,038,207.68

From which it can easily be seen that there has been a regular increase to municipal districts. Then, the bridge-building record is as follows:

March, March,

1942 1948

Number steel and concrete bridges 170 216Number timber bridges

1,885 2,611Total bridges built

2,055 2,827Number of bridges repaired

1,509 2,192

Hon. members will be able to see that in this respect Alberta is right up in the forefront. My object in pointing out the efforts put forward by Alberta is, as I said, to show that we do not need any governor or overseer from Ottawa to tell the provinces

how to build roads. The people out there know how to build roads, and they do it. All we in Ottawa need to do is to provide them with the financial support, and they will do the rest, and give us a trans-Canada highway system of which we shall be proud, and which will be of great use to us.

Turning again to the matter of the route, I am afraid, from the way many hon. members have been speaking, that we shall argue about the different routes to a point where we shall nullify our efforts. Under no circumstances must that take place. I grant that all three routes advocated by hon. members and throughout the country must be built sooner or later. The Yellowhead route is important for the reasons given by the hon. member for Edmonton East (Mr. Macdonald). Of course it is. No one questions that at all. The Kicking Horse route is important for reasons which will be given by those who advocate that route. Of course it is. And the southern route is exceedingly important, also.

I am not setting forth the reasons why the southern route should be built first in order to antagonize anyone; I do so only that members of the house and the people of Canada should know why I would support the southern route first. Here are some of the reasons:

In the first place it is the most densely populated route, taking into consideration all the various towns-Winnipeg, Brandon, Regina, Moose Jaw, Lethbridge, Cranbrook, Trail, and all the other places along the route. It is asserted by those who have given the matter much study that there is a denser concentration of population along this route than along any of the others. In the second place, it is the greatest tax-producing area. In the next place its industrial importance is noteworthy. For ordinary farming, this district is outstanding, producing all kinds of farm commodities. In addition to that there is considerable oil development. Lumbering flourishes along that route. Fruitgrowing is important, as also are mining, smelting, seed-producing and sugar-producing. There are many parks along the route and a great many other features which appeal to tourists.

It is the most direct route from Winnipeg to Vancouver, and is an all-weather route. It will be argued that there are places along it which in the wintertime are likely to become seriously obstructed by snow. That may be said concerning any road which is to cross Canada and go over the mountains, I do not care which one it is. It is something that has to be faced; that should be borne in mind. The route I suggest is close

Trans-Canada Highway to the United States border and in case any particular section of it should be blocked by snow for three or fours days it would not be a difficult matter to drop down across the line, go along the United States highway, come up the other side of the snow obstruction and go right on through. That advantage is not to be found in connection with any of the other routes. I am not attempting to disparage any other route; I am simply pointing out the advantages that are worthy of note in connection with this southernmost route. It is more nearly an all-weather route than any that can be found in Canada going west from Winnipeg to Vancouver.

There are forty points of entry into the United States not very far from this proposed southern route. Great numbers of United States tourists will come from the large United States concentrations of population across the line. Anyone knows that if a person crosses the border and gets onto a good highway at once he is more likely to go into the hinterland. These are things that I believe should forcibly be brought to the attention of anyone trying to form a conclusion on this matter. This route is the natural entry to most of our parks. Many more things could be said about it, but probably I have said enough. From the strategic point of view it would be extremely important because it offers the most direct and shortest route from Winnipeg west to Vancouver.

Some will say that the Dominion of Canada cannot afford the money, but that is the sheerest nonsense. It has yet to be shown by anyone in Canada that this country cannot afford to pay as much per capita for roads as is paid in the United States. It will be pointed out that the United States has large concentrations of industry, but Canada will have concentrations of industry if we have sense enough to manage the country in the right way. If we adopt measures which prevent the development of industry, we shall never have industry in Canada.

The hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Low) pointed out how the national credit could be used for the building of these roads. This is a feasible means of providing the money. It has been used and it is being used today only we do not call it that. It can be used on a large scale by this country and by that means these roads can be built.

I should like to show hon. members how much would have been paid to Alberta as one of our provinces if Canada had been spending as much per capita on roads as has

Trans-Canada Highway been spent in the United States. These are the amounts that would have been paid to that province in the different years:

Year Amount

1939 $1,351,920

1940 869,000

1941 1,098,480

1942 2,095,200

1943 1,488,960

1944 179,960

1945

1946 2,979,130

1947 3,000,300

1948 2,969,460

1949 3,048,500

All that money was not given to the province of Alberta. That is the way it has worked out for us. The hon. member for Assiniboia (Mr. Argue) pointed out what has been spent in Montana and other states along the border. I ask hon. members to compare those expenditures with what has not been spent in Canada. We shall then have an answer for the first two-for-a-nickel politician who comes out from Ottawa to Alberta and sneers about the poor roads in that province and compares them with the fine roads across the line. We shall then have an answer for the shyster newspapers all over the country who do the same kind of thing without having taken the trouble to tell the people of Alberta or Saskatchewan that whereas the United States government is constantly helping the states down there, the Canadian government is doing next to nothing at all to help the provinces up here.

Topic:   TRANS-CANADA HIGHWAY PROVISION FOR FEDERAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO PROVINCES
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LIB

James Allen (Jim) Byrne

Liberal

Mr. Byrne:

Can the hon. member tell us what the Alberta government collects in the way of licence fees for cars and what is collected by the state of Montana? I do not want the aggregate revenue; I simply want the charge per car.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. Blackmore:

If the hon. member asked a minister of the federal government who had all his experts in front of him a question like that it would take the minister some little time to find the answer. The hon. member would hardly expect the minister to be able to give the answer offhand. The Alberta government is using practically all the money raised from motor vehicle fees and all that sort of thing in paying for the debts accumulated for roads by the provincial governments which preceded it. The money was borrowed and spent on roads and the roads have been lost. The Social Credit government were forced to build roads and then at the same time to take care of the debt that had been accumulated. If I had known, I would have come down here fully prepared to answer the hon. gentleman, but

I may bring down all this information at a later time and be able to tell him anything he wants to know.

I do not wish to spend any more time on this matter as I shall probably have more to say later on. To summarize: first of all the dominion government must enter the field of highway construction on a far wider scale than it has ever dreamed of doing. I think the hon. member for St. John's East (Mr. Higgins) put his finger right on the pulse of the situation when he said that if we did not build these roads in Canada somebody else would. If it is not the United States it is likely to be the Russians. We can take our choice. I think that is putting it pretty clearly. We just cannot escape the responsibility which rests upon us. Federally we must enter the field in a far more generous manner than we have ever done in the history of this country, than we have ever dreamed of doing.

I am grateful for what the minister is now proposing and I thank him for it in the interests of all the people of Canada, but this is only a small thing compared with what he ought to be contemplating. This may all sound pretty harsh but I am simply stating the facts. I put the figures on record so that we may know that what Canada has done looks extremely meagre and almost contemptible. As I say, the participation must be on a far greater scale.

Second, we must stop trying to decide what particular highway we are going to build and concentrate on the building of a system of highways, not only to go across Canada and be known as trans-Canada highways but to connect up the urban centres in the country, especially those which are situated in what we might term strategic positions. Speaking as a westerner I submit that all over western Canada there should be a system of highways which could be used in case we are called upon in an emergency to defend ourselves.

We do not need to bother about how the money is going to be spent. I believe the four western provinces have shown themselves sufficiently capable of handling money that comes into their hands to justify our placing implicit trust in them. All we need to do is to supply the money; they will build the highways. When they get done we shall have the system of highways that we have all longed for in Canada.

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November 21, 1949