March 20, 1950

PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Smith (Calgary West):

-that just the opposite has been said.

As I say, Mr. Speaker, in my simple way I believed that the answer given by the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) was quite satisfactory, that it answered any doubts that I might have in my little mind and should answer the doubts of other hon. members. But then on March 17, of all days-

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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 the day he could be different.

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Subtopic:   ALBERTA NATURAL GAS COMPANY
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?

An hon. Member:

What is wrong with that day?

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PC

Gordon Francis Higgins

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Higgins:

It is an awful day for people not to be telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But as reported at page 850 of Hansard, on March 17, we have a question directed to the minister by the hon. member for Fraser Valley (Mr. Cruick-shank). As I say, I am reading this deliberately, Mr. Speaker, in order to try to explain to you why my doubts have not been resolved by any statements made by the minister two days before. This is the question:

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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. G. A. Cruickshank (Fraser Valley):

I should like to direct a question to the Minister of Trade and Commerce. I was not in the house yesterday when the orders of the day were called, but I note the minister is reported on page 792 of Hansard as having said:

"It has been suggested frequently in the current debate that gas will be sent to the United States from the pipe line before the pipe line reaches Vancouver. I stated last session that that would not be permitted. I know from discussions with the sponsors of the pipe line that it is not proposed to undertake any such export."

That is a citation from the citation I gave a short while ago. The question by the hon. member for Fraser Valley continues as follows:

Am I to understand from that statement that no export permit will be granted other than through an all-Canadian route?

That is a direct question, Mr. Speaker, and requires a direct answer. It is impossible to evade the question if the Minister of Trade and Commerce wanted to give the answer in a direct fashion. What did the minister say in answer to that direct and specific question? This is what he said:

Several members of the house have given information that they obtained from the principals behind the bill, and I have given information that I obtained from the principals behind the bill. ' I might say that I cannot understand the unnatural fear that certain hon. members have of letting these

Alberta Natural Gas Company men come before a committee of the house where members of the house could find out what they intend to do.

Then the hon. member for Fraser Valley stated as follows:

I take it the minister is not going to answer my question. Is that correct?

And there is no further answer recorded. What, then, are we to understand by that position, Mr. Speaker? We have, as I say, what I in my way understood to be a direct statement by the minister to the effect that the rights of the Canadian people were going to be protected. That was a definite and clear statement. Yet when the question is put formally and forcibly to the minister, what does he do? Does he answer it? Does he make a statement and say yes or no? No, he does not answer it at all. In other words, it is a direct evasion by the minister. How can hon. members of this house vote on a measure such as this when we have this kind of attitude on the part of the minister responsible, when he tells us in one breath, "Yes, you may go ahead and vote safely on this and I will see that the people of Canada are protected", and then when one of his own party members asks him for a direct and deliberate statement, he refuses to give it. I therefore say to you in all sincerity, Mr. Speaker, that it is not fair to ask hon. members of this house to vote on such a measure, in which even the members of the party proposing it themselves have not faith. I may be reading that wrongly, but I think not.

It has been suggested that this measure is being interfered with and that there has been a filibuster for reasons of selfishness. When you think of the matter, Mr. Speaker, all you have to do is merely to look again at the people who are asking that they be protected.

I refer now to the legislature of British Columbia. I believe the legislature of British Columbia is made up of three parties: representatives of the Liberal party, representatives of the C.C.F. party and representatives of our own party, the Progressive Conservative 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:

You have been swallowed up in the coalition.

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PC

Gordon Francis Higgins

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Higgins:

Yes, I believe it is a coalition.

I do not know who did the swallowing. It might have been Jonah or the whale. Who was it? Whoever swallowed whom, the whale has spoken in the matter, the whale being the legislature of British Columbia, and it specifically makes recommendations that I think this parliament should not do anything else but follow. I am referring again to those resolutions quoted at page 875; because, after all, the legislature of British Columbia is vitally interested in this matter. This particular resolution was quoted at page 875 by the hon.

member for Kamloops (Mr. Fulton); and I do not think it will do any harm to any member of this house to hear it read again, particularly hon. members from British Columbia. It is as follows:

Whereas there are strong indications that a great potential of both petroleum and natural gas exists in the northeastern section of British Columbia: And whereas exploration is presently taking place to ascertain the extent and value of these resources: And whereas it would be a further incentive to greater and more intensive exploration if an outlet to market of these commodities was available: And whereas proposals are now being considered for the construction of gas and petroleum pipe lines from available supplies in Alberta to Vancouver and the Pacific coast states of the United States:

And whereas, in the opinion of many members of the legislature the requirements of Canadians in this connection would be a matter of first consideration :

And whereas the industrial development of the interior of British Columbia as well as the Vancouver and Fraser valley areas would be greatly stimulated by the construction of oil and natural gas pipe lines from Alberta and northeastern British Columbia through the interior of British Columbia to the Pacific coast:

And whereas, if the proposed northern route is followed, many millions of dollars will be spent in British Columbia in the construction of the lines with consequent employment of thousands of our citizens:

Therefore be it resolved, that the legislative assembly of the province of British Columiba urge upon the federal and provincial authorities concerned the advisability in the interests not only of British Columbia but of Canada as well that such pipe lines be constructed through the Yellowhead pass and thence through the interior of British Columbia to Vancouver, with provision for the extension of the line to the Peace river block so that when sufficient supplies of petroleum and natural gas are available in that area there will be an available outlet to market without unnecessary delay.

This is a resolution of the province of British Columbia. I understand that municipalities in the interior of British Columbia have passed resolutions. In his speech the other day the hon. member for Kamloops (Mr. Fulton) mentioned that fact. These are responsible bodies, Mr. Speaker. No suggestion of selfishness can be levelled at them. These are Canadian people. These are people whose only interest is the serving of Canada and Canadian people first.

I listened with great interest to the hon. member for Skeena (Mr. Applewhaite). He spoke, as he always does, in a very acceptable manner. From the applause which he received from the other side of the house on the proposition he made it would appear that there was common agreement upon it. That was my understanding, and I took down his words. He said: "Every hon. member on this side of the house would be satisfied to support this motion for an all-Canadian route if it could be shown to be economically feasible and possible." I understood that that remark

received the approbation of all hon. members on the opposite side of the house. If it could be shown to hon. members that it is economically possible to have an all-Canadian pipe line they would insist on an all-Canadian route being constructed.

I should like hon. members to follow me for a short time. I understand that the oil body from which the gas is to come is the same oil body and the same gas body that the Westcoast Transmission Company, which was incorporated last year, is working on. The Westcoast Transmission Company have made application for an all-Canadian route. I should like to quote from a brief entitled: "Natural Gas in Alberta and British Columbia and its Development for the benefit of Canada". At page 15, and referring to this particular proposed pipe line of the Westcoast Transmission Company from the same body of gas, they say:

Westcoast Transmission Company Limited is the only company which has consistently sponsored an all-Canadian route to take gas to the Pacific coast. The route now chosen for the main transmission line from Edmonton through the Yellowhead pass to Vancouver is the shortest line from the approximate geographical centre of Alberta to Vancouver. The pass through the mountains is one of the lowest and most easily traversed. The only other mountainous terrain is through the coast range where the line will follow the new Hope-Princeton highway.

The entire length of the line has been inspected most minutely by the firm of Ford, Bacon and Davis, Incorporated, of New York, one of the largest oil and gas pipe line engineering firms in the world. Their report, which will be filed with the conservation board, shows the route of the line to be completely practical and economical in all respects.

Then on page 16 we find the following:

Plans for a pipe line to take oil to tidewater for the Pacific coast market from the Edmonton area, Normandville, Stettler and the large potential Peace river country of both Alberta and British Columbia, following the route of the gas pipe line are far advanced. Westcoast Transmission Company, whose charter provides for the transportation of oil as well as gas, has already had Ford, Bacon and Davis complete the preliminary engineering and design for the oil pipe line from Edmonton to Vancouver following exactly the same route as the gas line.

At six o'clock the house took recess.

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AFTER RECESS The house resumed at eight o'clock.


PC

Gordon Francis Higgins

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Higgins:

Mr. Speaker, before the

adjournment I had proved to myself with complete satisfaction that an all-Canadian route for this pipe line was entirely feasible and practical, but I cannot say how many other hon. members I convinced. Having the presumption to make such a statement, I also quote as an authority the well-known and

20, 1950

Alberta Natural Gas Company highly respected firm of Ford, Bacon and Davis Incorporated of New York, the largest pipe-line company in the world.

At the request of the Westcoast Transmission Company Limited this company made a survey of an all-Canadian route for a pipe line to transport gas from the same natural gas fields which the company now seeking incorporation would serve. They reported that the proposal was entirely feasible and sound in every respect.

That being so, there is an entirely different angle that I want to address myself to in the short time I have left. As I said earlier this afternoon, there was nothing selfish in the stand taken by the opposition, but there may be a selfish angle in another phase of this matter that I should like to stress.

Bell island is the main source of iron ore for the Dominion Iron and Steel Company at Sydney, and, of course, steel is manufactured from this iron ore. There are about 10,000 people in the town of Wabana and because of present world conditions more than half those people are affected by the reduction in the staff at the mine, which is the largest iron ore mine in the British empire. Men who have worked upwards of thirty years have been discharged and the only recourse they have is to accept the miserable pittance of unemployment insurance.

The selfish angle to this matter is this: It is estimated by the Westcoast Transmission Company that it will cost approximately $100 million to construct the proposed pipe line, and I would assume that a large part of that would be for the steel pipe. If a large order for steel were placed with Dosco, not only would it help out the constituency of the hon. member for Cape Breton South (Mr. Gillis); it would help out my own riding where Bell island is located. In addition to Dosco, there are two other large steel companies in Canada, the Steel Company of Canada and the Algoma Steel Company.

There is no reason that 1 can see why a provision could not be inserted in this bill that Canadian steel be used for the construction of this pipe line. It might be interesting to hon. members to know that the act empowering a company to operate the ore body in Labrador close to the Quebec border contains a provision that Newfoundland labour shall be employed if available. There is no reason at all why a similar provision should not be inserted in this bill. If that were done, imagine the employment that would be created. Imagine the value it would mean to all Canada.

As I said before, the practicability of a pipe line going through Canada to the United States has been proved satisfactorily to a lot

918 HOUSE OF

Alberta Natural Gas Company of people. A great number of communities in Alberta and British Columbia would be served and it would not in any way affect the places at the end of the line or interfere with the object the sponsor of this bill has in mind, the sale of gas to the United States.

It may mean a longer pipe line, but that means more money to be expended in Canada and more Canadian labour to be used. Ultimately it will mean a greater number of United States dollars to be spent at the end of the line because I presume the gas would cost a little more.

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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

$14,500,000 a year.

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PC

Gordon Francis Higgins

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Higgins:

The hon. member for Calgary East (Mr. Harkness) says $14,500,000 a year. To use what may be considered an impolite expression that could be borrowed from the United States, "That ain't hay." My leader enunciated very well this afternoon the principle of Canada first, and that perhaps covers the whole field. But in particular, employment would be given, Canadian steel would be used and there would be a greater return of United States dollars.

No hon. member wants to be named at some later period as having been a mere rubber stamp, as some of us unfortunately have been told already we are. Nobody wants to be called that. As no particular and useful purpose will be served, so far as I can see, by granting permission to the company now making application in this form, I am quite satisfied that no wrong will be done to it or to any other companies if the matter is delayed until we have the necessary undertaking. Remember, as I said earlier, all that hon. members on this side of the house want is an assurance from the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) that the pipe line will go through Canadian territory. I should also like to hear something about the use of Canadian steel. I should like to endorse that myself, but I will not make a point of it.

If he will give us a guarantee that the pipe line will go through Canadian territory then, so far as I am concerned, I will not vote against the measure.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. M. J. Coldwell (Roseiown-Biggar):

Mr. Speaker, the discussions on these various pipe lines have now been continuing for some time. While I have listened to them with a great deal of interest on occasion, this is the first time I have risen to participate in any debate on the matter. I felt I should do so because of the fact that my colleagues and I are in complete agreement with regard to this question. When we look back over the history of Canada ever since and even before confederation, and read the parliamentary records and debates of other

days, we are struck by the fact that at times parliament has not given sufficient care to the alienation and utilization of our great resources.

A short time ago reference was made to railways. I remember the manner in which many of the railway charters went through this house, apparently guaranteed by the men who were asking for them, but ultimately they proved to be to the advantage of small groups of people, and did not always inure to the welfare of the great masses of the people of the country or of the country itself. In recent years we have discovered in Canada, and particularly in the province of Alberta, one of the world's great resources, oil. It is just over forty years ago since I went to a district in Alberta not very far from where this great oil field has now been discovered. I stayed with a small rancher between Wetaskiwin and Camrose for sixteen months. I remember riding over the prairies with him, and particularly down into the Battle river valley. Having lived in California and Oklahoma, he would often say to me that one day a large field of oil would be discovered in that vicinity. I paid very little attention to his prophecy.

Some nine or ten years ago-and I remarked about it in the house afterwards-I heard the Arctic explorer, Stefansson, say at a luncheon, at which the hon. member for Vancouver-Quadra (Mr. Green) was also present, that probably the largest oil field in the world would be discovered somewhere in northern Alberta. Again most of us paid little attention to his prediction. A great field of oil has been discovered, and it seems to me that this House of Commons must consider how and where the oil and gas shall be utilized. If I may say so, I also remember that a few years ago, when gas was being burned wastefully in the Turner valley, we were told that there was a sufficient amount of gas being burned every day to heat every home in the province of Alberta. Now there is this very valuable oil and gas discovery in the province of Alberta in far greater quantity than anything that we dreamed of a few years ago.

It seems to me, when an application is made to the house for the piping of gas or oil from the field elsewhere, it is one of the duties of hon. members to see to it that the utilization of the gas and oil is considered from the point of view of the greatest good first of all to our own country. I do not believe that we should ever behave as narrowly nationalist, or that we should try to build a wall around the country in order to make Canada self-sufficient, but nevertheless

I believe we owe it not only to this generation, but also to generations to come after us, to see that the people of Canada derive the maximum benefit from the resources that Providence deposited in this land in ages gone by. Because of that, I am supporting those who are urging that, before we give assent to this application for a charter, before we pass the bill which gives this company very substantial rights, we should be informed before we cast our votes as to how the people of Canada are to be protected, and how this great resource is to be utilized in the public interest. In other words, I think we have a perfect right to have placed before us a definite statement that the pipe line will pass through Canadian territory, that Vancouver and the Canadian towns and cities between it and the field shall receive first consideration from this parliament rather than that Vancouver, that great Canadian city, should be served at the end of a pipe line after several places in the United States have been taken care of.

After all, this House of Commons represents the Canadian people, and if we as members are sent here to do any one thing it is to protect the interests of the people of Canada. It seems to me that we not only have a right, as was said this afternoon, but we also have a duty to perform in that respect. I do not think the House of Commons will be doing its duty if it fails to continue to ask, until we get it, for a definite statement as to the route that the line will take if we grant the charter. I do not think that hon. members should vote on the bill without making doubly sure that the interests of the people of western Canada are properly and adequately protected. When one looks at the measure and realizes how comprehensive a charter would be given under the legislation, one begins to understand the importance of the bill now before us. The company may do many things. It may build pipe lines for the transportation of oil and the movement of gas; it may construct, purchase, lease, or what you will, property within or outside Canada for its purposes. It may do almost any conceivable thing than can be done under legislation. Such a measure, conferring such tremendous power upon a company, should require the most careful consideration of every hon. member of this house.

I do not think we should do what was sometimes done in the past; that is, put through a bill of this description without knowing precisely what is involved. Last year, because we heard there was some urgency in the matter, we passed an oil pipeline bill. After it was all over and done with we found that the pipe line was not going to convey oil to a Canadian lake port but

20. 1950

Alberta Natural Gas Company was going to transport it to Superior, Wisconsin. Of course there was a great deal of protest by Canadians not only in western Canada but in all parts of the country. As a matter of fact, when subsequently we came to see where that line was going we found that while it went from the oil field to Regina, it entirely cut out the largest of our prairie cities, Winnipeg, and crossed the border to the southeast of that city. So if it should become desirable to build a refinery of any sort there it would necessitate a feeder line from the main line to the city of Winnipeg.

We should have known before we approved that line what route it was going to follow, and where the terminus would be; but the house was urged to pass the legislation because we were told there was a certain amount of urgency in the matter, and I am quite free to confess that I thought there was considerable urgency. In yielding to that plea I do not think any of us gave that measure the consideration that should be expected of us in this House of Commons, both individually and collectively. I do not propose to agree to a similar error at this time, Mr. Speaker. I hope a large number of hon. members will not agree to its repetition, for error it was, and error it will be if we adopt this bill without knowing the route the line will follow.

Then, too, how do we know that when we grant this charter to the people who are named as applying for it, they are actually the people who are going to carry out the undertaking? I notice that in the bill introduced this year, instead of the two names there were in the bill introduced last session there are now several. Last year we had two legal gentlemen, I am told of very good repute, though I do not know either of them, applying for the charter. It was quite obvious that they were applying on behalf of clients; and even today, with the more impressive number of names in the bill under discussion, we cannot be sure that these are the directors or officers of the company who ultimately, if this charter is granted, will carry out its provisions. I believe that is another point we should consider and endeavour to find another way in which we should try to protect the people of the country. Again, if I may say so, in days gone by charters were obtained which were used as sources of great profit to those obtaining them. Those who received the charters did not carry out the work, but turned them over at some very considerable profit without doing anything except get the charter through the House of Commons or, in some instances, through a provincial legislature. A few days ago I was looking up the records in connection with the granting of railway charters some years ago. One finds millions of dollars made

Alberta Natural Gas Company by persons who obtained the right to construct, and then turned over the undertaking to someone else. We should be assured that this is not going to happen in the case of these pipe lines, and particularly in the case of the bill now before us.

Consequently I repeat that before we grant this charter, before we pass this bill, we should know far more about this measure than we know at the present time. I know that men who have sat in this chamber over the years, men of different parties, on occasion have warned this house to be careful about this sort of thing. I have before me a quotation I copied some few years ago, and I thought of it this evening. It is from Hansard of May 18, 1932, when Right Hon. R. B. Bennett was prime minister. He was speaking in the house on another matter, but along somewhat similar lines, and at page 3036 he said:

I believe that there is no government in Canada that does not regret today that it has parted with some of these natural resources for considerations wholly inadequate and on terms that do not reflect the principle under which the crown holds the natural resources in trust for all the people.

It seems to me that is apropos of this discussion. We are not alienating a resource under this legislation, but we are facilitating the disposal of a resource that we should be treating as a trust on behalf of all the people. So I say we should not pass this bill until we have answers to the questions that have been asked over and over again, not only by hon. members on this side of the house but also by hon. gentlemen sitting on the government side, as to what this proposal really is, where the line is going, and how oil or gas or whatever it may be will be disposed of when this line is built.

I said a few moments ago that this country has great resources. During the last parliament we granted a company the right to build a railway to give access to great deposits of iron ore in the province of Quebec and in Labrador. I do not think we should pursue a dog-in-the-manger attitude regarding the development of these resources. Only a few days ago I was talking to some people in the United States about these great resources. Apparently the hope is that much of this iron ore, to which we gave access by the granting of a railway charter, will be moved from our country down into the New England states, where smelters and a new iron and steel industry will be established. Yet we have in our own country, as the member for St. John's East (Mr. Higgins) pointed out a few moments ago, an iron and steel industry established on Cape Breton island. In that region at the moment there are a great many unemployed. Almost continuously during the

15 years I have been in this House of Commons, except for a brief period during the war, there has been unemployment in that area of Canada. I believe we have to consider how we can utilize these resources, primarily for the benefit of the people in the country in which those resources are located. The first thing is not to allow these resources to be used without regard for the benefit of our own country.

We should consider that we in Canada today are, in a great many respects, hewers of wood and drawers of water for our great neighbour to the south. Many of our resources, timber, pulp, ore of various types, and so on, move across the border for manufacture. To some extent, the finished product comes back to this country, and rather complicates our dollar situation with the United States. I think that is regrettable. I do not think we can stop it by legislation. I believe that if this parliament, and the provincial legislatures, considered these matters from the point of view of the public interest, ways and means could be devised by which native industries could use more of these raw materials in Canada. This would make us more independent economically, and assist us in building up a more prosperous country. It would afford opportunities for inviting more people here by way of immigration, and prevent the constant flow of young people from this country to the United States.

I was in one of the seaboard cities in the United States last Saturday, and I was surprised at the number of young Canadians I met on that visit. Some of them were from western Canada, some from Montreal, and others from various parts of this dominion. True, they were studying in the United States, but on chatting with them I found that several of them contemplated remaining in the United States, because they considered the opportunities greater in that country than in Canada. Every time we do the thing that is implicit in this bill, allow a company to take our natural resources and utilize them outside our border when they could be utilized inside, we are encouraging the flow of young Canadians out of this country. We are denying them the opportunities that should exist in the country in which they live. After all, we have to remember that we have an obligation to future generations to conserve these resources.

I suppose every member of the house knows that over the last 50 or 60 years the resources of the United States have been steadily depleted. One has only to drive through Minnesota and Wisconsin and see how the great open iron mines of these two states are running out to realize the truth of what I

say. We have an obligation to conserve our resources to the extent that may be necessary for the welfare of our country. We do not know just exactly what is going to be done with a charter of this description. I say, Mr. Speaker, that we have no right to pass this bill without making further inquiries, and demanding of the sponsors a more complete outline of what it is proposed to do than we have yet received from anyone, including the ministers who are supporting this bill.

So then we have to make the decision. I repeat that I believe the decision we should make is that we will not pass this bill until we have the information for which we have asked, and which has been sought during the last few weeks. The conservation of gas and oil is undertaken primarily by the provinces. If there is a great surplus which could be utilized elsewhere, then I submit that the province of Alberta, and the people interested in pipe lines, might look to the east of the province of Alberta if they will not look west. Some of this gas could be utilized for the heating of the homes in the neighbouring provinces. As I said earlier in my remarks this evening, I was told some years ago that the gas which was burned wastefully in the province of Alberta would heat every home in that province, so today it would be quite easy to utilize quantities of gas not needed in the province of Alberta to heat the homes in the neighbouring provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. With the intensely cold climate of those provinces, it would be a godsend to many of the people who live there.

A pipe line going south into the United States, to Spokane and Seattle, perhaps as suggested this afternoon even going down into the state of Oregon, would leave the Canadian communities in the interior of British Columbia, even the cities of Vancouver and New Westminster, either without gas or at the end of the line, and with a problematical instead of an assured service. Again I say that if we are going to allow a company to build a line of this description, we should see to it that it is built to the greatest possible advantage of the people of our own country.

The hon. member for St. John's East (Mr. Higgins) just now introduced the matter of unemployment in another form. He spoke of the miles of pipe line that would be necessary in a project of this description. I do not know where the pipes would be obtained, but I do know that a few years ago, when it was proposed to bring gas from another field into some of the prairie cities, the pipes were going to be brought in from some of the United States iron and steel centres.

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CCF

Robert Ross (Roy) Knight

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

Mr. Knight:

These are coming from

Wisconsin.

20, 1950

Alberta Natural Gas Company Mr. Coldwell: The hon. member for Saskatoon (Mr. Knight) says these are coming from Wisconsin. I have not that information; but I am sure that if we allow this pipe line to pass out of our country and through the United States, the labour required, both in making the cut and in manufacturing the pipe as well as in the laying of the pipe, would be undertaken in the United States and not in our own country. Again I say, as the hon. member for St. John's East said a few minutes ago, that there is unemployment in at least one part of Canada where there is a steel industry; and even if it were working at the full at the present time, there is no guarantee that in a short time there would not be unemployment and the need for that kind of work in that particular area. After all, with the dollar situation the way it is across the seas, the market for Nova Scotia steel in the United Kingdom is likely to be curtailed sharply for some time to come; and anything that can be done to provide work for the people of our own country and those engaged in Canadian steel mills should be done by this parliament. That is of course another reason why, before we vote on this bill, we should first know just exactly the route that this line is going to follow. I repeat what I have said several times in the course of my remarks, namely, that until we know the route that this line will follow we should not approve this particular bill nor indeed the other bill which is on the order paper with it and which will come before us after we have disposed of this one.

We in this house have a duty to perform. Those of us who are opposing the passage of this bill and are speaking against it are not engaged in a filibuster. I had not spoken on the matter until tonight, but my colleagues were accused of being engaged in some sort of filibuster. There is no filibuster about this.

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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

I am going to repeat that statement. There is no filibuster about it.

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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

But I will tell you what there is. On the part of a large number of members on this side of the house there is a determination that we are going to do everything we can to prevent this bill from going through until we know what the bill is all about; and that is all there is to it. That is not a filibuster. This, my friends, is an attempt on the part of an opposition-because apparently this has become a government bill-to fulfil the duty and the function of an opposition, which is to get the facts before the people of this country and to have all the facts before allowing the government to take the next step.

922 HOUSE OF

Alberta Natural Gas Company

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Subtopic:   ALBERTA NATURAL GAS COMPANY
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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Subtopic:   ALBERTA NATURAL GAS COMPANY
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

Oh, I know that there may be laughter at that kind of thing. But let me say this. In a house of this description, with the overwhelming majority that is behind the government, the only method open to the opposition is to endeavour to force the issue and to get the facts in the best manner that we can get them.

The other day I was reading an interesting book, which I might just quote from memory, dealing with the British parliamentary institution. The writer said that responsible government required that a government should always live in the shadow of defeat, and that the most dangerous thing under our parliamentary system was for a government to remain in power so long that it got the idea that it had permanent power. If you apply that statement to the present situation in this House of Commons you begin to see the reason behind some of the things that have been done over the past number of weeks or months. If we can help it, we do not propose that this bill shall go through until this house is properly informed about it. Who are the people that want to build the line? How is it going to be financed? Is this project going to be really undertaken by the people who are asking for it or is the proposed charter going to be turned over to somebody else at a profit later on? Where is this line going to be built? What is its route? Is it going through Canada or is it going south through the United States? Is it going to serve Canadian communities first, including Vancouver, or will Vancouver and other Canadian communities in British Columbia be at the end of the line to take what is left after the cities on the other side of the boundary have been first served?

For the reasons I have given, Mr. Speaker,

I therefore propose to cast my vote-and I hope the matter will come to a vote-against this bill, because I believe that I owe it as a duty to the people of this country to protect their interests and to see to it that this house does not approve an application for a charter until we know what that charter involves and, in this instance, how the line is going to convey this valuable resource from one place to another.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Subtopic:   ALBERTA NATURAL GAS COMPANY
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PC

Julian Harcourt Ferguson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. H. Ferguson (Simcoe North):

On this occasion, Mr. Speaker, I rise to voice my opinion why this bill should not be passed. In the town of Collingwood in the county of Simcoe, where I reside, I have the great privilege of enjoying natural gas for heating water; and I must say that it is a terrific boon to anybody who has such an asset. I can remember how delighted I was when I purchased the property and was informed that there was a natural gas well that would heat the water

for my home at no cost whatever. It was a pleasure to me to hear of the abundant supply of natural gas that had been discovered in the province of Alberta. I am not very conversant with oil or natural gas wells, but I do realize that this House of Commons has been asked to pass a bill granting a charter to a group of men in order that they may be able to sell a natural product of the Dominion of Canada.

I was a resident of Philadelphia some years ago, and I remember the amalgamation of the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company. It comprised several operating companies prior to the amalgamation and numerous charters that had been granted by the various governments in power over a period of fifty or sixty years. When these charters were granted by the state of Pennsylvania the representatives of the people at the time did not think, apparently, that it meant much. It was simply a piece of paper that some members of the legal profession were asking for on behalf of a client. These charters were obtained in the city of Philadelphia to run transportation lines up and down various streets. They did absolutely nothing with their charters. But when the people of Philadelphia wanted proper transportation facilities, and desired to run streetcar lines down certain streets in the city, they discovered to their consternation that charters had been granted for that purpose years before, and unless they paid fabulous sums for a charter they could not give the public the service to which they were entitled. These old charters were irrevocable. Before the people could obtain what they were entitled to, millions of dollars were paid for charters that had been granted by the governments of Pennsylvania without any more consideration than this government has given to the granting of this charter for the carriage of natural gas, an asset of the Dominion of Canada.

When we hear of people heating their homes with natural gas in this cold climate of ours for the paltry sum of $125 to $150 per year we should stop and think. We should ask ourselves, are we going to give away this asset to the United States of America?

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Subtopic:   ALBERTA NATURAL GAS COMPANY
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March 20, 1950