June 23, 1950

FLOOD CONDITIONS

SOUTHERN MANITOBA

LIB-PRO

William Gilbert Weir (Chief Government Whip; Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal Progressive

Mr. W. G. Weir (Portage-Neepawa):

Mr. Speaker, I request the privilege of announcing that the money received on behalf of the Manitoba flood relief fund from parliament hill, which includes contributions from members of the Senate, members of the House of Commons, members of the press gallery, and staffs of both houses, as well as some outside contributions and the collection taken at the ball game, now totals $6,706.35.

Members of the committee named to accept these contributions are most grateful for this splendid response, and desire to take this opportunity to thank those who have so generously contributed to this very needy cause-particularly so when it is known that many had already made contributions through other sources.

Topic:   FLOOD CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   SOUTHERN MANITOBA
Sub-subtopic:   CONTRIBUTIONS FROM PARLIAMENT HILL TO RELIEF FUND
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PRIME MINISTER'S RESIDENCE

FURTHER REPORT ON CONSTRUCTION AND ESTIMATED COST

LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Right Hon. C. D. Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

Mr. Speaker,-1 wish to make a statement with reference to the Prime Minister's residence.

In the supplementary estimates to be tabled by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) the government is asking parliament to vote $300,000 for the completion of the Prime Minister's residence. This amount is in addition to $80,000 already included in the main estimates, and $30,000 expended in the fiscal year which ended on March 31 of this year, or a total of $410,000.

I admit at once that this figure, which includes $305,000 for the cost of the building and $105,000 for the furnishing of the house, is higher than the rough estimates of cost which were given to the government at the time the decision to provide an official residence for the Prime Minister was made in September of last year.

We were warned by the architects at that time that no satisfactory estimate could be made of the cost of reconstructing an old house until the work was far enough advanced 55946-256.1

to enable the architects to make a firm estimate of the soundness of the structure, and the extent to which it would have to be torn down and replaced by new construction.

As a result of their preliminary examination, the architects estimated that the cost of removing the old building and replacing it with a new modern building of similar proportions and dignity would be about $360,000. The architects considered that the existing structure could be rebuilt for a smaller amount, which is proving to be the fact, assuming that the preliminary estimate of cost of a new house is correct.

Rightly or wrongly, the government decided to rebuild the existing structure and, as I said on June 8, the government secured the services of an architectural firm which seemed to have the widest experience in this type of work, and of a local contractor with a first-class reputation.

Since the decision to rebuild was made, two factors have combined to increase considerably the estimated cost. In the first place, as the demolition of the interior of the house proceeded, it was found that the structure had deteriorated to an extent that the house practically had to be rebuilt, except for the outside walls and one or two main partitions. In the second place, building costs have risen substantially since last September.

It can be argued that the government should have decided to build a new residence, perhaps on a smaller scale than the existing house. However, the decision was made to rebuild the old residence. I gave the reasons for that decision in an earlier discussion on this subject.

As the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) pointed out at that time, once we had made substantial progress on the reconstruction of the present building, it was too late to change the decision, assuming that a change should have been made, which I do not admit. The problem then was to make the old building into a suitable modern residence. That is what is being done, and we are not spending a dollar which is not required to create an official residence for our Prime Minister which will be worthy of Canada.

When the house is completed it will not be a palace-I might just remind the hon. members by way of comparison that it is estimated the reconstruction of the White

Trans-Canada Highway House will cost $5,400,000-but it will be a dignified and well-equipped official residence where the Prime Minister can receive appropriately the representatives of any country, and in its beautiful setting, the residence will be an addition to the national capital of which the people of Canada can be proud.

Topic:   PRIME MINISTER'S RESIDENCE
Subtopic:   FURTHER REPORT ON CONSTRUCTION AND ESTIMATED COST
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

Mr. Speaker, on a question of privilege, I appreciate the quotation the minister has given from what I said the other day, but I think the minister has quoted me at the wrong time and the wrong place. I would prefer to have been quoted to the effect that I thought that this building should have been tom down and a new and smaller and more modest residence erected.

Topic:   PRIME MINISTER'S RESIDENCE
Subtopic:   FURTHER REPORT ON CONSTRUCTION AND ESTIMATED COST
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

I shall quote you accordingly next time.

Topic:   PRIME MINISTER'S RESIDENCE
Subtopic:   FURTHER REPORT ON CONSTRUCTION AND ESTIMATED COST
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PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fraser:

May I ask the minister if the figure quoted includes the original $140,000 that was paid for the property?

Topic:   PRIME MINISTER'S RESIDENCE
Subtopic:   FURTHER REPORT ON CONSTRUCTION AND ESTIMATED COST
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

No, sir.

Topic:   PRIME MINISTER'S RESIDENCE
Subtopic:   FURTHER REPORT ON CONSTRUCTION AND ESTIMATED COST
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

May I ask the minister if this additional appropriation will be the end of this extravagant splurge?

Topic:   PRIME MINISTER'S RESIDENCE
Subtopic:   FURTHER REPORT ON CONSTRUCTION AND ESTIMATED COST
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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

Is the answer yes or no?

Topic:   PRIME MINISTER'S RESIDENCE
Subtopic:   FURTHER REPORT ON CONSTRUCTION AND ESTIMATED COST
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AIR TRANSPORT BOARD

DIRECTIVES AND CIRCULARS ISSUED SINCE LAST ANNUAL REPORT

LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Hon. Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport):

On May 25, 1950, during the debate on the bill to amend the Aeronautics Act, I stated I would table directives and circulars issued by the air transport board. I now beg leave to table copies, in English and in French, of the directives and circulars issued by the board since publication of the board's last annual report.

Topic:   AIR TRANSPORT BOARD
Subtopic:   DIRECTIVES AND CIRCULARS ISSUED SINCE LAST ANNUAL REPORT
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TRANS-CANADA HIGHWAY ANNOUNCEMENT OF AGREEMENT WITH NEWFOUNDLAND

LIB

Robert Henry Winters (Minister of Resources and Development)

Liberal

Hon. Robert H. Winters (Minister of Resources and Development):

Mr. Speaker, hon. members may be interested to know that the federal government has today completed an agreement with the government of the province of Newfoundland for the construction, under the terms of the Trans-Canada Highway Act, passed by parliament at the last session, of the route of the trans-Canada highway through Newfoundland. The agreement was signed on behalf of the province of Newfoundland by the Hon. E. S. Spencer, minister of public works. '

Topic:   TRANS-CANADA HIGHWAY ANNOUNCEMENT OF AGREEMENT WITH NEWFOUNDLAND
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PC

Gordon Francis Higgins

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Higgins:

Have there been any changes in the specifications for the road?

Topic:   TRANS-CANADA HIGHWAY ANNOUNCEMENT OF AGREEMENT WITH NEWFOUNDLAND
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LIB

Robert Henry Winters (Minister of Resources and Development)

Liberal

Mr. Winters:

The same agreement and the same specifications as apply to all other provinces will apply in the case of Newfoundland.

Topic:   TRANS-CANADA HIGHWAY ANNOUNCEMENT OF AGREEMENT WITH NEWFOUNDLAND
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June 23, 1950