March 20, 1950

LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. Cruickshank:

I would not insult anybody by accusing him of being a Rhodes scholar. I would not go that far. This company naturally applied for a route to protect themselves. But I want to repeat this fact. There is an application before the Alberta petroleum commission-I think that is the correct name-and before the Alberta government. The decision will eventually be made by a vote of the Alberta legislature, or by the judgment of the government of the province of Alberta, as to whether a permit will be given to export gas from that province. With that I entirely agree. This company has an application before these two bodies for an all-Canadian route.

As I said, I have every reason to believe that Westcoast Transmission will agree to have it inserted in its charter, provided it is inserted in the charters of all other companies. I have spoken for about fifteen minutes, Mr. Speaker. I have done so because I should like to give some of my colleagues on all sides of the house the privilege of speaking. I am glad that one hon. member from the maritimes has spoken. In this morning's paper there is a speech by an hon. member from the other place, that delightful spot that I hope some day to reach. He asked that some of the injustices that have been perpetrated against the maritimes should be rectified. Many of us from British Columbia have agreed with hon. members in the past and we expect to agree with them in the future, that they may always get a fair deal.

We fought for the prairie provinces when they were suffering during the depression. We fought for justice for the wheat growers and tried to get them a cheaper route. I remember that the people of my riding, and the

Alberta Natural Gas Company people of British Columbia as far as that goes, paid a fair share to build an imaginary railroad up to Churchill when you could pack more grain in the back of my Chevrolet than you will ever get to go over that route. We did not object to that so why should not some of those hon. members get behind us and, as the hon. member for Queens (Mr. McLure) has just said, support the province of British Columbia?

Every hon. member is entitled to his own opinion. I respect the opinion of hon. members and I expect them to respect mine and the opinions of the people I represent. I ask them to respect the opinions of the majority of the people of British Columbia. I have not changed my opinion one bit. Before I conclude my remarks I wish to congratulate you upon the exalted position you are occupying for the first time this evening.

We believe we have a just cause and we are asking for the support of hon. members. I hope that this matter is decided by a recorded vote because I want the privilege of standing up and having my voice recorded, because I believe I am right.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, I hope I can avoid repeating any of the arguments that have been presented already in this debate. In fact, it is my purpose to go into a slightly different phase of it than has been discussed, at least so far today. I take my cue for what f want to say from the fact that reference has been made a number of times to what happened last year, and by that I mean last April or, in other words, at the end of the last session of the twentieth parliament.

It has been asked, and quite properly, why those who are opposed to this bill treat it differently than we treated five other bills in the last parliament. It has also been asked why we do not recognize the fact that basic legislation is on the statute books, namely, an act respecting oil or gas pipe lines, and that any company which meets the requirements of that act should be permitted as a matter of routine to get an incorporating charter from this parliament.

For the benefit of those who have been referring to what happened in April, 1949, but who were not here at that time, I should like to indicate what happened and let them realize the hectic time we had. Those of us who were here at that time will remember that it was a bit of a nightmare. A great deal of legislation was put through in a short period of time. We were given a number of assurances which we thought carried certain implications but we later found out that such was not the case.

We permitted considerably more speed in the disposition of legislation at that time than parliament should permit. As a result of that I think it is fair to say that most of us who were members at that time do not feel happy about the Pipe Lines Act that is on the statute books and under which this application for a charter has been made. I have on my desk a considerable number of documents, including a couple of order papers of that last week in April, 1949, copies of the bills in the form in which they were brought in, together with Hansard and the Journals and the statutes themselves, and a copy of Beauchesne to boot. So I know whereof I speak, and have the evidence under my hand.

What happened was that on April 4, 1949- please remember that that date was close to the end of that session and to the end of that parliament-there was received in this house from the other place a bill known as an act respecting oil or gas pipe lines. The next day, Tuesday, April 5, that bill was on our order paper and was given first reading. First reading, of course, is without debate. It stayed on the order paper ordered for second reading until Friday of that week, April 8, 1949, the last day before we went home for Easter.

To our amazement we were asked to give second reading to that very important bill on that last day before the Easter recess. Two ministers asked us to do that and you will find their remarks reported in Hansard of April 8, 1949, at pages 2512 and 2515. On page 2512 the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) in moving the second reading of the bill said: t

I recommend this bill to the house. In doing so, I trust that hon. members will bear in mind that there is great urgency for the passing of this act because of the fact that these private bills are awaiting the passage of this enabling legislation. While there is some urgency because of the importance of these projects, at the same time parliament is breaking new ground in the matter of general pipe line legislation, and the bill deserves the most careful consideration of the house.

Note the circumstances. We were being asked to give speedy second reading to the Pipe Lines Act, the basic legislation, because it was urgent and so that something could be done to deal with private bills which as yet had no right to come before parliament because the enabling legislation had not been passed.

Later that same evening, after a few speeches, one by the hon. member for Van-couver-Quadra (Mr. Green), one by the former member for Kindersley, Mr. Jaenicke, and a few remarks later by the hon. member for Lethbridge (Mr. Blackmore), the Minister of

Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) had a few words to say, which are to be found at page 2515 of Hansard:

Mr. Speaker, I wish to speak only briefly. There is an urgency about this bill because I am told the capacity of the railroads to transport petroleum products from the Alberta field is approaching its limit. A real effort is being made to get this pipe line under way. The steel controller has arranged for the fabrication of steel for the principal pipe line being planned,-

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LIB
CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

We now have word we should have had then.

-which will be undertaken as soon as the bill incorporating the company can be put through.

The minister then went on to say that he had the authority of the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) to say that if the bill was given second reading it would be referred to the committee on railways, canals and telegraph lines, and then he said:

But it would facilitate matters in several directions if the bill were moved forward tonight. It would allow a private bill to be considered in another place if the principle of this bill were approved here and it would also permit prompt consideration of the bill when the house reassembles. I hope that this suggestion meets with approval.

These few pages constitute the totality of the debate which took place on second reading of this very important piece of legislation. I think members who were here at that time will confirm that we were uneasy about the whole matter, but two ministers were pressing upon us the urgency of it, and so the house consented.

The last thing that took place before we went home for the Easter recess in 1949 was the second reading of that bill. We had a two-week recess on that occasion and came back on Monday, the 25th of April. I remind hon. members that we returned to an atmosphere of considerable expectancy. There were rumours that an election might be called soon. Members who were here then will recall that late that Monday evening the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) made a statement to the effect that parliament was only going to last for that week, and then there would be dissolution and the holding of a general election.

In the course of his statement that Monday night as to the dissolution of parliament, it became necessary for the Prime Minister to indicate what business was important enough to be dealt with during the few days that remained. During his remarks the Prime Minister said at page 2570 of Hansard for April 25, 1949:

As to the matters with which it would be desirable to deal at this time, if possible, there is this pipe lines legislation . . .

20, 1950

Alberta Natural Gas Company

A little later I interrupted the Prime Minister in the course of his remarks to ask a question related to a subject about which I often have something to say. It was:

Will the Prime Minister permit a question at this point? Would1 he make clear what he said about the resolution respecting old age pensions? Is it intended to give it priority this week?

Then the Prime Minister said:

It is intended to proceed with this pipe lines legislation, then to deal with the budget until it is disposed of . . .

And so on. I read these quotations to indicate the pressure that was put on us with respect to this pipe lines legislation, and so far I am just talking about the basic act under which the company, in the bill before us tonight, asks for a charter. That was on Monday the 25th of April. On Wednesday of that week, April 27-

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LIB

Jean Lesage

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Lesage):

May I

ask the hon. member to make his point clear? I do not see very well how he is discussing the principle of the bill in what he is saying now.

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PC
CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

Mr. Speaker, I submit I am a lot closer to the point than a good many of the speeches that have been made today. I note that Your Honour agrees with that, but you may still want me to answer your question. The point I wish to make- and I am leading up to it, if you will permit me, sir-is that we had discussions during the course of that week which related to the point involved in this bill that is now before us. I shall be showing you in a few moments that during that debate there arose a discussion in the house as to what attitude we would accord to the bill for the incorporation of the Alberta Natural Gas Company which was introduced at that time. It was the same bill that is before us now with the exception of the names of the sponsors. If you will let me pursue the matter for a few moments, I submit that you will see that I am definitely speaking with regard to the matter that one should discuss on second reading, namely, whether or not we should support the principle of this bill.

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LIB

Jean Lesage

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Lesage):

I believe the question that should be discussed now is the principle of the bill itself, and not the principle of a bill that was before the house in the spring session of 1949. The hon. member should relate his remarks to the principle of the bill now before the house.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

Mr. Speaker, I submit that the principle is the incorporating of a company wishing to build an oil or gas pipe line, and that it is necessary to relate their request

Alberta Natural Gas Company to the legislation that makes such action possible. If we did not have the main Pipe Lines Act on the statute books this company could not request a charter at all. The point I am trying to make is that the legislation that made it possible for measures of this kind to be introduced was pushed through at a time in the spring session of 1949 when there was great pressure on members of the house, and we were being told that it was urgent to get these matters through. Since you do not wish me to proceed with that phase of the matter much further, Mr. Speaker, I will eliminate a part of what I intended to say. I will only point out, if I may summarize it briefly, that second reading of the main pipe lines bill was the last thing before we went home for Easter. We came back on Monday, the 25th of April, and were told that this measure was one of the most important to be put through. On Wednesday of that week the bill was put through committee stage, and on Friday just before six o'clock, as is reported at page 2770 of Hansard, third reading was given to it.

One of the things that some of us feel should have been in that measure relates to the whole problem we are talking about, namely, whether or not parliament should agree to a bill when we are led to believe that the route of the line is going to be outside Canada. During that same last week, and overlapping the consideration that was being given to the basic pipe lines bill, there was the matter of some six other bills that were brought before the house, one of which was Bill No. 239, an act to incorporate the Alberta Natural Gas Company, the same measure that is now before us. The petitions for five of these six companies were received in the house on Tuesday, the 26th of April. Under ordinary parliamentary procedure there was not time for that legislation to be passed before Saturday, the announced day for the dissolution of parliament. That created a rather odd situation. It was known that some of these companies would receive the support of most members, but there was at least one company against which there was considerable opposition. That was the Alberta Natural Gas Company, the same one that is before us at the present time.

I can say that so far as our group was concerned we did not like any of the proposed companies. We felt that public ownership should come into the picture, and at the appropriate occasion during that week one of our members moved an amendment stating that principle, which was defeated on the floor of the house. As I say, we felt that none of these private companies should be incorporated, but we were in a difficult position. We were just a small group in the house at

that time, and the suggestion was being made to us that as a minority group we had no right to hold up a project of this kind. Therefore we made what may as well be called a compromise so far as our group was concerned. We looked them over; we inquired about the various companies that it was proposed to incorporate, and we learned that one of them proposed to build a pipe line outside Canada. We were told that the other five were not going to go outside Canada. Therefore we took a firm stand with respect to the one company. We said: We will not give on our behalf the unanimous consent that is necessary to waive the various rules with respect to that one company which proposes to go outside Canada. That is the same company we are opposing at the present time. On the other hand we did agree to let the other five bills go through. We gave that consent in the same way that we had agreed earlier to let the oil or gas pipe lines act itself go through, under protest, and because of the pressure of time and the sense of urgency that was being impressed upon us, especially by the two ministers to whom I have referred.

I could go through the Hansard of that last week and show hon. members who have asserted that we are acting differently this time than we did then that we watched this one company, which we were told was going to go outside Canada, like a hawk. Every procedural move that was made, including a motion by the hon. member for Lisgar (Mr. Winkler) to send Senate bills when they came to this house direct to the committee, without first and second readings, was carefully watched. We required the observance of all the rules of the house at every point with respect to that one bill. There was no question about it, nor was there any doubt as to the reason we drew a line between that company and the other five. We had been told by the sponsors of the bills, we had been told around the halls, we had been assured that the other five would build their pipe lines in Canada, whether for oil or gas. This one, however-and the principal name connected with at that time was the present hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Campney)-proposed to go outside Canada; so we said "No" to any request for unanimous consent with respect to that bill.

I ask hon. members to go through Hansard of that last week. They will find that we did not get the petitions for those bills, including this Alberta Natural Gas bill, until Tuesday, April 26; and even then that petition, together with the others, had to be referred to the committee on standing orders because the promoters had not met all the

requirements laid down with regard to public notice across Canada, and so on. The committee on standing orders was asked to waive some of the rules respecting private bills. I was a member of that committee and objected strenuously to waiving those rules, but we were overruled by the majority and the report of the committee was brought back. On Wednesday the hon. member for Lisgar made his motion to waive certain rules, but we refused to give the unanimous consent that was required. Thursday he made the same motion, to send Senate bills straight to the appropriate committee without bothering with first and second readings, and we let that go only after we got the assurance that it did not cover these pipe-line bills but simply divorce bills and certain miscellaneous items. It was only on Friday, I think after the evening recess, that we came to the second reading of these six bills. If hon. members will go through Hansard they will find the discussion back and forth between some of us in this group and the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent), in which it was made crystal clear that we were prepared to extend such unanimous consent as was necessary to waive the rules in order to get the other five through, but that with respect to this one which we knew was going outside Canada we said "No"-I said it myself, several times-and it did not go through.

I have spelled out that opposition in detail so hon. members will see that there has been no change in our position as far as this one company is concerned. We were told then it was going outside Canada, and we opposed that. Today we are led to believe that is still the position, at least we have not been given any assurance to the contrary, and that is why we are taking the stand we do. On the other hand some of us were amazed after the session was over to get word that one of the companies which had been granted a charter during that last short week proposed to build its line down to Superior, Wisconsin. I know the first time it was mentioned to me in Winnipeg that this was going to be done I said there must be something wrong, that this could not be done because we had stopped the one company that was going to build its line outside Canada. But I had to look into the question further, because this matter kept coming up; and I soon discovered that we were mistaken.

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LIB

Alan Carl Stewart

Liberal

Mr. Stewart (Yorkton):

Was anything contained in the bills that were passed which would prevent the companies from building their lines outside Canada?

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

That is exactly the point I am coming to. There was not. We accepted the assurances we were given that everything

Alberta Natural Gas Company was all right. We acceded to the urgency that was impressed upon us, and agreed to let those five bills go through. The hon. member for Yorkton has driven home the point I have in mind right now, that too often we have accepted these assurances; too often we have given unanimous consent; too often we have let things go through even under protest. I believe this whole story is an excellent example of the validity of parliamentary rules which call for time to be taken with important legislation. I object most strenuously to the times without number when the government comes along and asks us to rush these things through. Hon. members say no rush about these pipe-line bills is being permitted because of the time that has been taken; but if we add up the hours that have been spent on these bills it really does not amount to much, considering the importance of the whole question.

I had all the pages down here giving the various times this matter came up during that last week, but hon. members who were here will agree that I am correct in saying that we stopped the one because we were told it was going to be built outside Canada, so I need not say all I had intended saying. We let the other five go through because we were told that was not the case with them. Later we discovered that one of them was being built outside Canada, and there was nothing we could do to stop it. As I looked into it further I discovered that not only had there been a mistake made in the charters of these companies permitting them to go outside Canada, but behind that was the fact that the basic oil or gas pipe lines act did not require a company applying for a charter to state in its application where it intended to build the line. This afternoon the hon. member for Skeena (Mr. Applewhaite) pointed out that the act does require a company, once it has its charter and appears before the board of transport commissioners, to file a map showing its route; but the die is cast by the time you get over to that judicial body.

I remind hon. members that we are not only acting in a judicial capacity when we deal with private legislation; we are acting in a legislative capacity as well. Beauchesne makes that quite clear in citation 759:

The proceedings of parliament in passing private bills partake of both a judicial and legislative character.

My contention-and I want to get to this point because I think that parliament is in a jam over this whole business and that it is the responsibility of the government to straighten it out-is that it is no use merely requiring a company to present to the board of transport commissioners a map showing

Alberta Natural Gas Company where its pipe line is to be constructed. What should be required is the presentation of that map or chart together with the application to parliament itself, sp parliament could insist on a change in the route, or refuse to pass the bill until the route indicated was satisfactory. Someone should interrupt at this point and say that the other companies have not been required to do this. The answer would be that that is perfectly true, they have not; but that is the mistake that comes from legislation having been put through too hastily, as was the case during the last week of the last session of the last parliament.

It seems to me the answer to all this is for the government to ask the sponsors of these two bills to agree to have them remain on the order paper for a little while, not proceeding with them every time they are called, so that in the meantime the government can bring in an amendment to the Pipe Lines Act itself.

Now, someone is going to say that you cannot deal with both of those types of legislation at the same time. Do not tell that to those of us who were here in the last parliament, because that is exactly what happened. We had these six private pipe line bills, which were passed in the Senate, and were sent over here and given first reading, before the basic legislation had passed. After that, the basic legislation had to go to the other place and then get royal assent. In other words, consideration was given in that last parliament to private bills which were contingent upon a basic piece of legislation, and they were being considered before that basic piece of legislation had been passed.

I thought that was rather sloppy. As a matter of fact, I questioned the propriety of what we were doing on several occasions. If I had taken the time to give the page numbers in Hansard of all these citations, hon. members would know the number of times during that last week that I objected strenuously to the procedure being followed. The member for Peace River (Mr. Low), may remember one interchange between the two of us when he said that we were talking out certain of these bills. My retort to him was very definite, and will be found on page 2776 of Hansard, namely, that we were not talking the bills out but we were exercising our right to insist upon the observance of all the rules with respect to one of the bills, Bill No. 239 of that year. I do not recall that interchange to stir up the argument, but rather to stress the point that some of us were considering the impropriety of the whole business, and the manner in which this important subject was handled in that last week.

I believe the government should recognize that the matter has not been dealt with properly, and should now call a recess in this business. It should ask the sponsors of these two bills to let them rest until the government has asked parliament to amend the Pipe Lines Act itself. The amendment to be made is quite simple, namely, that no company should have a right to apply for a charter until it presents to parliament a map showing where it plans to build the pipe line. Let parliament have some say as to whether or not we are going to grant these charters, on the basis of where the lines are to be built, and whether or not we feel they serve the best interests of the country. I remind members of the statement of Beauchesne with respect to what we are doing when we are dealing with private bills. We are not acting merely in a judicial capacity, and Beauchesne makes that very clear. We are not here to say yes to every company that comes along that has met the conditions laid down in some previous piece of legislation. We are also here in a legislative capacity. We have to decide whether each and every bill, on its own merits, is good legislation for Canada. I strongly urge that the government take stock of this situation, and try to give the lead to get parliament out of the jam in which the government has put this house.

I do not wonder that members are bewildered about what is going on. I recognize the arguments on both sides. I recognize the argument of my friends of the Social Credit group, that the basic legislation is there and this company has met the requirements of that legislation, so why do we say no to it when we said yes to the others? The fault lies in the basic legislation. We have a situation now in which one company does seem prepared to build its line from Alberta to British Columbia over Canadian soil. The other company is not so prepared; so it seems to us who think the line should be built on Canadian soil that the only thing we can do is to hold this bill up until this company will voluntarily take the position the other company appears to have taken. But it is really not satisfactory to have it on that basis. It seems to me a better basis would be to have it laid down in the Pipe Lines Act. I urge the government to consider, even at this time, the desirability of amending that basic act.

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer

Liberal

Mr. P. T. Hellyer (Davenport):

Mr. Speaker, I have heard so many speeches today in which members tried to give the impression they were the sole defenders of the people's interest, that I feel obliged to state my position before we are all asphyxiated. The member for Simcoe North (Mr. Ferguson) implied that the members on this side of the

house did not have adequate information concerning this bill. After listening to his stirring address, I am led to believe we have more information than hon. members opposite.

The leader of the opposition (Mr. Drew) spent some time talking about conservation this afternoon. I was not too clear about the meaning of this term, and so I asked for an explanation. I had it explained to me this way: By postponing the construction of a large power plant on the Ottawa river, the Ontario government conserved electricity.

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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

If the hon. member wants to be educated, he should go out and see it now.

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

Better late than never, but better never late. The leader of the opposition then said that both gas and oil are wasting assets. It is interesting to note that during the weeks we have been gassing in this house, the assets of Alberta have continued wasting. I am led to believe, Mr. Speaker, so much natural gas has already been discovered in Alberta that even after the one pipe line is built ample reserves will exist to take care of new cities, industries and other requirements which may occur within the foreseeable future.

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?

An hon. Member:

Why not serve Canada first, then?

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

In addition, the lack of substantial markets for this gas is holding up the production of oil in Alberta. It may be advisable to try to sell considerable quantities of the gas, looking forward to the possibility that at some future date it may be superseded as a source of energy. Someone opposite mentioned something about serving Canada first. It seems to me an irreconcilable fact that the Socialists and Conservatives as a combination, of all people, should try to force a company to accept what might prove to be the least economical route.

I am sorry that the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) is not in his seat-

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An hon. Member:

Yes, he is.

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

I should say that he is not in his own seat. He has said that the interests of the Canadian people must be properly and adequately protected. With that statement, Mr. Speaker, I am in complete accord. In order to protect them, however, those interests must first be recognized. The member for Rosetown-Biggar also suggested that gas might be piped east to Saskatchewan. I understand that as soon as there is a change in the government of that province sufficient discoveries will be made to take care of that area from local sources.

20, 1950

Alberta Natural Gas Company

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

The hon. member means the Liberals have a lot of it?

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

Then, the same member

seemed worried about the possibility that someone might make a substantial capital gain on the sale of one of these charters. On reflection, I believe he would be forced to agree that the more charters there are the lower the resale value of any one of them would be. Certainly, it would be lower than at the present time, when there is only one unrestricted charter in existence. I have always thought that in any race it was desirable to have a common starting line. Finally, Mr. Speaker, it is because of my belief in fair play, my belief that all participants should have the same handicap, that I intend to support this bill.

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March 20, 1950