March 6, 1950

CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

Where is it?

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LIB

John Sylvester Aloysius Sinnott

Liberal

Mr. Sinnoii:

Under this plan a hospital has been built in my riding, costing some $22,000. Another $100,000 hospital is going up at the present time, of which the federal government is paying quite a share. Laugh that one off!

We heard from the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) this afternoon with regard to old age pensions. I

The Address-Mr. Sinnott believe he was giving us all of the cure-alls. What he gave was not cure-alls. He was merely asking the dominion government to remove the means test. I do not think any hon. members in this house are more in favour of removing the means test than those of the Liberal party.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

Is that why you voted against it last fall?

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LIB

John Sylvester Aloysius Sinnott

Liberal

Mr. Sinnott:

But we must ask ourselves, where is the money to come from? Can we taxpayers afford it?

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SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. Hansell:

You should know; you ran as a Social Credit candidate at one time.

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LIB

John Sylvester Aloysius Sinnott

Liberal

Mr. Sinnott:

I was like a kitten at that time. It has to be nine days old before its eyes are open. As I said before, there is no one in this house who is more in favour of seeing the means test removed than the Liberal members.

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?

An hon. Member:

Why don't they remove it?

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LIB

John Sylvester Aloysius Sinnott

Liberal

Mr. Sinnott:

We expect when the two richest provinces of Canada come into the allnation program this fall we shall be able to remove it.

We have pensions for the blind, but there is one class of citizens for whom there is no pension. I refer to those who are incapacitated and are unable to work. Being the reeve of a municipality I know who pays for these things. The whole burden falls on the municipalities themselves. The provincial governments and the dominion government should come into this field and grant pensions to these people just as they grant pensions to the blind and to the aged. These people who are incapacitated have to sit in a wheel chair day in and day out and read story books to pass away the time. They are unable to help themselves. They should come under a pension plan of the dominion government.

I should like the Crowsnest freight rates to remain as they are. They have been on the statute books for a long time and I think it would be a mistake to have them removed.

I should also like to see the completion of the trans-Canada highway as soon as possible. As we know, that highway goes through the whole of the constituency of Springfield. Not only will it help to bring east and west together, but it will result in a saving of United States dollars. With those remarks, Mr. Speaker, I should like to close.

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LIB

Edward Blake Huffman

Liberal

Mr. E. B. Huffman (Kent, Onl.):

Mr. Speaker, my first remarks this evening will be those of acquiescence in what has been said by other hon. members by way of congratulations to the mover (Mr. Larson) and seconder

The Address-Mr. Huffman (Mr. Dumas) oi the address in reply to the speech from the throne. However, I would like to add my special word of appreciation to all who have taken part in this debate. This is the first time I have spoken in the House of Commons, and perhaps it would be well if I were to tell hon. members some of the impressions I have gained as I have observed other hon. members take part in the debates of this and the former session.

I was intrigued to hear the hon. member for Skeena (Mr. Applewhaite) describe the beauties of his constituency. He told of the great trees, the beautiful scenery and everything connected with it. I was reminded, too, of the beauty of other constituencies in Canada; but as I was enraptured by the descriptions offered by hon. members taking part in the debate my mind turned to the beauties of my own riding of Kent.

In this connection let me point out that of the seventeen major crops grown in Canada the county of Kent, which it is my honour to represent, has succeeded in excelling in twelve. Attention of hon. members was directed this afternoon to the sugar beet industry. That, I may add, is one of the main products in Kent. In Kent is situated one of the largest sugar refineries on the North American continent, and practically all the sugar beets processed in the factory are grown in the county and the counties adjoining. For every dollar a sugar company pays for the beets produced, it provides in goods and services an additional $1.25. That in itself is a remarkable fact, and serves to assist in the economy of the country as a whole.

Industry has located in that area because of the excellent public relations existing between labour and management. In 1948 the city of Chatham, the only city in the county, was known across Canada as the industrial city of the year. It had enjoyed greater industrial expansion than any other city because it was served by an alert industrial commission which spent a great deal of time promoting the advantages of the city and succeeded in persuading many industries to locate at that point.

We were told in the house this afternoon why industries are moving to central Canada. I would add that anyone who wishes to attract industry to his constituency must accept as one of the prime requisites in such an endeavour the necessity of having a good public relations officer or trade commissioner. The gentleman who serves us in Chatham in this capacity, Mr. W. M. Gray, has become known across Canada because of the excellent relationships he has developed between those

wishing to establish industry in Chatham and the city executive.

The sugar industry has provided employment for many people in Kent county, and it is one of the safest crops that could be introduced to any community. Like the other hon. member who spoke this afternoon, I foresee the time when Canada will provide a much greater proportion of the sugar consumed than is provided at the present time.

To facilitate the location of industry in Chatham, we have been fortunate in the fact that the national housing administration has provided homes for those who have come to this point. For this reason labour is well satisfied and well housed, a combination of facts which has worked out advantageously. I am certain the results would be the same in other places if similar facilities were provided.

Because of its international significance, may I point out the geographical location of my constituency. We are the most southerly part of Canada, reaching as far south as part of the state of California, and for this reason we are blessed with an excellent climate, combined with good soil and climatic conditions.

In addition to these features we have a fishing fleet operating from the ports on lake Erie, and that fleet is on the lake today gathering its catch for the lenten tables of our own province, and the great consuming public to the south of us. One significant fact about one port on lake Erie stands out. It is completely landlocked, with the exception of a narrow outlet so limited in extent that a stone could be thrown across. It is nine miles in length and approximately six miles wide, surrounded by trees of a provincial forest on one side and productive farm land on the other.

I would draw to the attention of the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Fournier) the fact that a submission was made to his department some time earlier promoting the development of this port. It is the most southerly in Canada and, as I have already pointed out, the fact that the fishing fleet is at work proves that there is no ice condition with which to contend. If some work were done at the port now or in the near future the department would succeed in providing one of the safest harbours on the lakes, and one which would open first in any season and accommodate those lake freighters which might choose to tie up at that point. This work could be extended further. We have had numerous inquiries from industries that have indicated a desire to locate in this particular port. With the assistance of the Department of Public Works I am certain that a good deal could be done to develop this

port. Adjacent to the port is land from which the water is diked back. On this land are located people from every country in central Europe who mix with our own people to work this productive soil on which they are able to produce two crops in a season. .

There is another matter of perhaps national importance that I would like to draw to the attention of the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier). There is a municipally-owned air field south of Chatham. This field is half-way between the air route from London to Windsor, and it is also on the air lane of the flights to New York, Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Chicago. It is on the route of the T.C.A. planes from Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, London and Windsor. In 1941 one of the most unfortunate air tragedies this country has ever witnessed occurred in the adjoining county. If the facilities at this field had been extended it is quite possible the large transport plane could have been directed to this airport. If the lives of the 21 people who were killed when the plane crashed could have been saved I am sure that the expenditures would have been considered to be in the interests, not only of our own transport lines but of the transport lines operated by our great neighbour to the south.

I would like to make a few observations about agriculture. Going back in history we can note the development of agriculture, not only in our own country but in the country to the south. The early settlements were in the eastern part of Canada, but as time went on the curtain was rolled back and the plough was placed time and time again to the virgin soil of this country. In so doing we reaped the immediate benefits that accrue from an operation of this kind, but unfortunately in many cases we have not returned enough to the soil so that those who will follow will have the same heritage as those who have had access to the virgin soil of our country.

I sincerely hope that the agricultural program of Canada will be such that our agriculturists will be encouraged to return sufficient to the soil so that this great heritage may continue and our production be as it is at present. As the centuries have gone along and new avenues of production have opened up I am convinced, as I am certain many others in this house are convinced, that the areas of virgin soil are becoming smaller and smaller. We must not forget that only eight per cent of the world's surface is arable.

If we continue to mine the soil the results will be unfortunate and we will not be in position to feed the ever-increasing population of the world.

There never was a time in the history of our country when we heard so much about conservation. There never was a time that the agri-

The Address-Mr. Huffman culturists of this country had a better opportunity to practice conservation. I am quite certain that we can maintain a better balance within our agriculture which will permit us to meet the demands of the time in which we live. Last year the speech from the throne made reference to reforestation, a matter about which we have been negligent in the past. I am quite certain that if we work with the provincial governments on this it will be to the advantage of Canada and will continue to provide for Canada those things which are essential to our economy.

I would like to refer briefly to the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Pearson). We are proud that six years of the early life of the minister were spent in Chatham and the people of that area take great pride in the work the minister is doing. We feel that as the twig is bent, so grows the tree. I never want to make one remark about Canada that is not in the best interests of Canada. I feel that if all of us, especially hon. members of this house, would try to sell Canada to the world, the very thing that we fear most- in the words of the late president of the United States, "the only thing to fear is fear itself"

will not happen because no communist or others who think along those lines would be able to find any comfort in our remarks. We would thus attract to our country those people who possibly may not hold the same views that we do but who might be attracted to us by our actions.

The hon. member for Haldimand (Mr. Catherwood) spoke about the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of the county of Haldimand. I would like to mention at this time that the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) has agreed to visit the county of Kent on the occasion of the 157th anniversary of the founding of Fairfield village, which was founded by the Moravians and later became known as Moraviantown. As you all know from your knowledge of history, that is where the great Indian patriot, Tecumseh, came from. The battle of the Thames will be commemorated this year. As the celebration will have an international complexion, besides the Prime Minister of Canada invitations have been extended to the President of the United States and the governors of five of the adjoining states whose officers and men participated in the battle during the war of 1812 to 1814. Four of these five governors have accepted the invitation to be present on the occasion. Like the hon. member for Haldimand, on behalf of the people who have honoured me by electing me as their representative I invite each and every one of you to be present on the occasion of the 157th anniversary of the founding of Fairfield village.

The Address-Mr. Huffman

I would like to refer for a moment to the people who live in the county of Kent. In the early history of our development we were fortunate that people from the adjoining province of Quebec came there, and in their early struggles to found a settlement, the first year of which was not successful, they named their community Pain Court. According to the information I have, the translation of that name into English is "short bread". I regret I am not able to honour the French-speaking members of the house by being able to make some remarks in their language, but I can say that from the time of the naming of this village these people have become some of the best farmers in the county of Kent, and their soil is among the most productive.

So far as trade and commerce is concerned, I am certain that the people of the county of Kent would want me to pay tribute to the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe). In these times many things are being said about the loss of this market and that, but it is not because of lack of effort on the part of the Department of Trade and Commerce. No country in the world today has as extensive a trade commission service as Canada. These young people have been taught in the offices of the various departments in Ottawa, and they are the best ambassadors that Canada can have. In every country they are seeking to promote the sale of the things that we produce, not only industrially and agriculturally but everything that Canada has to offer on the markets of the world. I know that they are doing their very best to sell the goods that we have to offer. I am reminded that the hon. member for Skeena (Mr. Applewhaite) said that in this imperfect world not all is perfect.

I would like to say a few words to the Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. Gregg). I am sure every one of us realizes that the government has done an exceptional job for the Canadian veterans of world war II. As the hon. member said, not all is perfect. I should like to mention one point that has been brought to my attention on numerous occasions. As regards small holdings under the Veterans Land Act, many veterans tell me that for two reasons they are not able to establish themselves as they would like to under the existing legislation. The first is that in an area of small communities the requirements of the Veterans Land Act as to small holdings are that if the price of the land is $500 per acre or more at least two acres must be purchased, and if it is below $500 the requirement is three acres. In many small communities adjacent land is highly productive and two acres in the county of Kent, for example, would cost from $2,000 to $2,500.

This does not leave the veteran with equity enough to build a home suitable to his needs. After their return from the war many of these veterans have been living in rented houses or in rooms. They have growing families. I am certain that not one of us would deny them the right to home ownership, the pride of ownership, the home the very thing on which Canada is founded. As this matter has been drawn to my attention on several occasions I would ask that it be given consideration and revert to the half-acre requirement. I realize that the construction of homes on small holdings under the Veterans Land Act was not intended as a housing project, but nevertheless it has been a factor in the provision of housing in Canada. As my time is up there are many other things relating to the county of Kent I would like to refer to, and will on another occasion.

In conclusion I would like to observe that I am sure the people whom I have the honour to represent will not ask for, nor expect any favours except in the interests of Canada as a whole. Forming one of the 262 component parts of Canada, all that I will seek as their representative will be a fair and equal distribution of the services that Canada provides, and I shall take an active interest in their behalf.

On motion of Mr. Blair the debate was adjourned.

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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) moved

the adjournment of the house.

He said: As the first item tomorrow we will take up the motion of the Secretary of State for External Affairs to refer his estimates to the committee on external affairs. We do not believe the debate will be very long, since the first item of his estimates came up on Friday and was discussed for the full day. Then we will take up the motion in the name of the Minister of National Health and Welfare to set up a committee on old age security. Some time during the day we will move to go into committee of supply and call the departments of transport and finance. We will call transport because many hon. members have asked to have a discussion on Friday on the first item of that department. I should like to have finance in because after the estimates of external affairs are referred to the committee not many departments will be left, and sometimes a minister has to go away or is ill; so if there is no objection I would like to have at least three or four departments in.

Motion agreed to and the house adjourned at 10.50 p.m.

Tuesday, March 7, 1950

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March 6, 1950