March 20, 1950

LIB

Edward Turney Applewhaite

Liberal

Mr. Applewhaite:

That was the end of that particular speech. I might just stop for a moment at this time, Mr. Speaker, in order to suggest that if hon. members would restrain that impatience born of frustration which always marks the defenders of the indefensible cause, I could perhaps get on with my remarks.

As reported at the foot of page 2513, the hon. member for Vancouver-Quadra said:

The third consideration-and this is a very important one-is that this development of oil and natural gas must bring down the cost to the Canadian consumer. I submit that the development could be of great help in reducing the cost of living in Canada. There is not much use in Canada's developing vast quantities of oil and natural gas if our people are not going to have any benefit by way of reduced prices for those commodities.

That speaks for itself. The hon. member also said something else. I admit that on this occasion he was speaking with reference to his suggestion that railway rights of way be used; he said so many things that I have difficulty in keeping up with him.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Subtopic:   ALBERTA NATURAL GAS COMPANY
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LIB

Ralph Maybank (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys)

Liberal

Mr. Maybank:

You are doing all right.

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Subtopic:   ALBERTA NATURAL GAS COMPANY
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LIB

Edward Turney Applewhaite

Liberal

Mr. Applewhaite:

As reported at page 2657, he said:

If the cost is higher than necessary the Canadian people are going to have to pay the difference.

And again, at page 2514:

That means that pipe lines should be installed in the most economical way possible.

That also speaks for itself. Again at page 2514 we find the hon. gentleman saying this:

I hope the control of the board of transport commissioners is not to be a mere formality. If that were to be so, the bill would have little value.

The administration of this measure is left to the board of transport commissioners, and that board must be in a position where it can do a real job.

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Subtopic:   ALBERTA NATURAL GAS COMPANY
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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

Will the hon. member permit a question?

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Subtopic:   ALBERTA NATURAL GAS COMPANY
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LIB

Edward Turney Applewhaite

Liberal

Mr. Applewhaite:

I should be most willing, Mr. Speaker, to permit at the end of my remarks all the questions that members wish to ask; but I think if they restrain their impatience they may find that the questions which are now worrying them will be met before I get through.

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Subtopic:   ALBERTA NATURAL GAS COMPANY
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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

All right.

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Subtopic:   ALBERTA NATURAL GAS COMPANY
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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

We will tell your colleagues to follow the same course.,

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Subtopic:   ALBERTA NATURAL GAS COMPANY
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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

I shall listen with interest.

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Subtopic:   ALBERTA NATURAL GAS COMPANY
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LIB
LIB

Edward Turney Applewhaite

Liberal

Mr. Applewhaite:

The hon. member for Vancouver-Quadra was not the only person

who believed that the administration, in so far as these practical questions are concerned, should be left in the hands of the board of transport commissioners; because in the same debate, on April 27, 1949, as reported at page 2645, the leader of the Social Credit party, who is an Albertan, had this to say:

So far as it provides authority for the regulation by the board of transport commissioners of pipe lines for conducting oil. we think that the bill is excellent.

Every hon. member and every individual in this country favours an all-Canadian route if such a route is economically feasible and possible. Of that fact, of course, there can be no question. These resolutions which have been passed-and I would include the resolution of the British Columbia legislature- would have been far more effective if they had included those words "provided the same is economically feasible and possible." We all favour an all-Canadian route under those circumstances. Let there be no misunderstanding about that. But we in this chamber are in this position: The existence of that feasibility and practicability, even possibility, has not been proved before us and cannot be proved before us, because this is not a forum in which that sort of evidence can be adduced. If this bill were allowed to go before a committee, or if this company were allowed to go before the board of transport commissioners, cost accountants could be produced and these questions could be answered. The failure to permit this bill to go to a committee just makes it impossible for us to get that information. In view of the requests that have been made from various sections of the opposition during the past few months for a committee on this and a committee on that, it is a little bit difficult for us to ascertain why the opponents of this bill are apparently afraid to let it go before a committee. No logical reason for that course of action, or rather of inaction, has as yet been produced.

I do not think it has ever been denied that the refusal to incorporate any more pipe-line companies in the west would have the effect of establishing a monopoly for the one company which already has its charter. That is not a monopoly compelling that company to build through British Columbia. As the bill has been passed and as the bill stands today, there is no restriction whatever, legally, upon the company, forbidding it to build anywhere in the world it likes, provided that it can get the necessary permits.

We are asked to defeat this bill. On what ground? On somebody's vague suggestion as to the intentions of this company and the intentions of the existing company, as to

whose intentions there is and can be no definite proof until each company restricts its applications before the board of transport commissioners to one route and one route only. I have said this would result in the establishment of a monopoly. I repeat that this is not a monopoly which compels the existing company to build an all-Canadian route. It is not a monopoly which compels the existing company to build any route. It is a monopoly upon which, if they choose, they can just sit on their exclusive charter and do nothing, and Alberta can whistle for markets and British Columbia whistle for gas indefinitely.

It has been suggested that we must eventually land up with a monopoly for practical reasons; that only one pipe line is feasible. That may or may not be true, but in any event it is only partly true. In the first place, why establish the monopoly in the negotiation stage? Why should we guarantee any chosen instrument freedom from all fair competition by any other at any time? We are told that we are going to find ourselves with a monopoly as the result of a sort of accident. Well, the cases in which someone did not know the gun was loaded are also accidents, accidents which could have been prevented with a little precaution; and, accident or not, the victim is just as dead. My friends of the C.C.F.-I think I still have some-will at least agree with me in this, that an established monopoly like death is pretty permanent and pretty hard to overcome. However, if the suggestion is that a monopoly is essential, and that the present company, which has its charter, is entitled to retain such a monopoly because it is going to build an all-Canadian route, though its charter does not say so, I would suggest this. Let the directors of that company hold a meeting and say so, and then let the directors of that company if they want us to hold off any competition in the interests of Canada, come to parliament and apply for an amendment to their charter which would forbid them to build elsewhere than in Canada, at least until they do reach the city of Vancouver. That would clinch the argument. I hardly think they will do that. It would be interesting to know what valid argument they can produce against such a suggestion.

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Subtopic:   ALBERTA NATURAL GAS COMPANY
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LIB

Donald Smith

Liberal

Mr. Smith (Calgary V/esi):

You make the amendment and I shall vote for it.

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Subtopic:   ALBERTA NATURAL GAS COMPANY
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LIB

Edward Turney Applewhaite

Liberal

Mr. Applewhaite:

The suggestion has been made that we who support these bills on principle are in some way traitors to Canada or to our respective provinces. The word used by one hon. member was that this is a betrayal of at least part of the country. Nothing could be more absurd. A better job

20, 1950 901

Alberta Natural Gas Company in the interests of Canada, a better job in the interests of British Columbia and Alberta, is being done by those who are willing to see all these companies go before a committee, and all these companies take their applications before the board of transport commissioners, than is being done by those who would retain one unrestricted charter for only one company.

As I say, we have no binding information as to the intentions of either company, and we cannot get that information in this chamber. There has been quite a lot of talk about surpluses; there has been quite a lot of talk in this house and outside of it by hon. members from Alberta-and I am sure they would not exaggerate-about the surpluses and potentialities of both oil and gas in their province. Then we have had a lot of opposition criticism of this government because we have not found markets for Canadian surpluses. Well, Mr. Speaker, it is not the Canadian government who are stopping the exploration of possible markets for this particular commodity. In that connection I trust the leader of the Social Credit party will not be annoyed if I repeat some remarks which he made, and which are reported at page 2776 of Hansard of April 29, 1949. I quote and adopt these words because he said them so much better than I could. Speaking of the bills which were before the last parliament, he said:

They should all be passed. If they are passed it will enable both the Alberta government and the board of transport commissioners to consider every application for a licence and to deal with that application on its own merits. That would be ample protection to the people of this country.

We have no facts-of course we cannot have them-as to the cost of construction of an all-Canadian route. If this bill were before a committee, and still more so, if this company were before the board of transport commissioners, these things could be found out. At the present time this house does not know whether it would cost $10 million, $20 million or $70 million to build through British Columbia, or whether it could be done cheaper; and for some reason every step seems to be taken to make certain that this house does not get that information.

What about the consumer? Have we no responsibility for the consumer? I assume every hon. member will agree that the final cost to the consumer must depend very largely upon the cost of the capital works involved. And this brings me to a reiteration of a statement that I have made before, that we all favour the principle of an all-Canadian route. Why on earth would we not? But not if such a route is going to have the result of materially adding to the costs of home owners and the costs of production for ever to those who want to use gas as fuel or as power.

Alberta Natural Gas Company

I should like to ask the hon. member tor Vancouver-Quadra and the hon. member for Calgary West, both of whom are successful lawyers with many years of sound practice to their credit, to take home a little question with them this evening, and to arrive at an honest considered opinion on it in the morning. Would they advise a client to apply for a charter limited by statute to an all-Canadian route, while Westcoast Transmission still hold their unrestricted charter? Neither of these hon. gentlemen could or would answer that question with a yes. Neither of them is as green as all that.

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Subtopic:   ALBERTA NATURAL GAS COMPANY
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PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Smith (Calgary West):

My answer is yes.

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LIB

Edward Turney Applewhaite

Liberal

Mr. Applewhaite:

And yet that question shows us exactly the position in which we in this house find ourselves today.

I should like to draw to the attention of the opponents of this bill a principle of which they may or may not have heard. It is the principle of stare decisis.

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Subtopic:   ALBERTA NATURAL GAS COMPANY
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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

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LIB

Edward Turney Applewhaite

Liberal

Mr. Applewhaite:

In common layman's language, that principle means that the general public is entitled to consider that the law, once established, will remain the same without arbitrary alteration other than by statute.

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Subtopic:   ALBERTA NATURAL GAS COMPANY
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PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fraser:

You do not know the Liberal government.

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Subtopic:   ALBERTA NATURAL GAS COMPANY
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LIB

Edward Turney Applewhaite

Liberal

Mr. Applewhaite:

I would suggest to those opponents that they could find many passionate speeches in recent Hansards on that principle. Here we have the law and the practice definitely established. We have decided to treat five or six companies one way, and we are now asked to treat two in an entirely different way. I suggest that such a course of action involves an entire lack of principle.

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PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Smiih (Calgary West):

I think you had better go to work on stare decisis again. It has nothing to do with it.

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LIB

Edward Turney Applewhaite

Liberal

Mr. Applewhaite:

The vehemence of the interruptions that we get during these debates shows a lack of sound argument upon which the interrupters can depend. It has been interesting to me to watch some hon. members gaily flitting all over southern British Columbia scattering pipe lines with a lavish hand from Kamloops to Vernon to Trail to Penticton to Keremeos to Armstrong, to goodness knows where, over lakes and mountain ranges, cheerfully oblivious of cost or of density of population, of potential markets or any other practical consideration.

The fact is that in that whole area the largest potential market is offered at the city of Trail. I will admit, and I think others will

also, that if a line is built over the United States route it would pass in the neighbourhood of Spokane and Wenatchee. I suggest to hon. members that they look at a topographical map. If they do, they will find out that it would be easier and more feasible to build a line into places like Trail and Penticton from the south rather than down from Kamloops.

These are the practical facts we should have before us, and these are some of the practical facts which can be brought out only before a committee or the board of transport commissioners. I suppose it is because we do not want these practical facts brought out that we do not want to get this bill into a forum where they can be ascertained. Incidentally I wonder if it is fair to mention little places like Keremeos in a debate of this kind. Nothing could be crueler than to dangle before small communities the hope of cheap gas and cheap fuel and then find out that the population is not sufficiently large to justify the expense of the construction of the distribution works involved.

I assume that the fear in the minds of hon. members who are opposing this legislation is that gas will be exported for use by United States consumers leaving the Canadian consumers unsupplied. That is a very legitimate question to raise, but the question was answered last year by the hon. member for Calgary West (Mr. Smith) who placed on Hansard on April 27 the appropriate sections of the Electricity and Fluid Exportation Act, which provides that a permit to export may be cancelled if Canadian requirements are not being met. That statute is effective, and it provides that protection today.

In these days nearly every board of trade in my district is passing resolutions urging greater freedom of international trade and international traffic. We are all urging a greater amount of international co-operation. This debate sounds very much to me like no truck or trade with the Yankees. It sounds to me like narrow nationalism carried to the point where it is definitely deleterious to our own country, as narrow nationalism always is.

The real argument in favour of this legislation is based upon a sound principle which we should be able to count on the Conservatives supporting. It is the principle that business is entitled to conduct itself in this country on two sure foundations. One is that there shall be free and untrammelled competition on an equal basis between all who are engaged in the same business. I do not believe in playing favourites. I am not going to say to one, "Yes, you can have your charter", and to the

other, "No, you cannot even apply for a hearing". I do not believe that that is the way Canada wishes to do business.

The second principle under which business should be able to operate in Canada is that it should be free from all restraints except such as are necessary in the public interest, and those should be applied with equal hardship on all. I make this statement whether these bills pass or not, but particularly if they do not pass: The history of the next five or ten years will show that the real interests of Canada, of Alberta and of British Columbia have been best served by those who supported these bills.

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Subtopic:   ALBERTA NATURAL GAS COMPANY
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March 20, 1950