April 12, 1951

CALGARY OFFICE

PC

Mr. Harkness:

Progressive Conservative

1. How many men have been hired by the Post Office Department in Calgary, during the past six months?

2. How many of these men are veterans of either the first or second great war?

3. How many of these men are still employed with the Post Office Department?

Topic:   POSTAL SERVICE
Subtopic:   CALGARY OFFICE
Sub-subtopic:   EMPLOYMENT OF VETERANS
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LIB

Mr. Langlois (Gaspe): (Parliamentary Assistant to the Postmaster General)

Liberal

1. 12.

2. 3.

3. 6.

Topic:   POSTAL SERVICE
Subtopic:   CALGARY OFFICE
Sub-subtopic:   EMPLOYMENT OF VETERANS
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LABOUR CONDITIONS

REPORTED REQUEST OF HOLLINGER COMPANY FOR PERMISSION TO EMPLOY DISPLACED PERSONS


On the orders of the day:


LIB

Paul-Émile Côté (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Paul E. Cote (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour):

Mr. Speaker, I should

Supply-Transport

like to give the answer to a question asked yesterday on the orders of the day by the hon. member for Charlevoix (Mr. Maltais).

(Translation):

The hon. member inquired whether the Hollinger North Shore Company requested that refugees be admitted to Canada for employment in its plants.

I must inform the hon. member that the Department of Labour received no such request, nor does anything indicate that this company intends to place any request for the admission of non-Canadian workers. If, perchance, any such request were made, it would first, like any other application of this nature, be submitted to the offices of the national employment service in the district concerned, and throughout the country if necessary, to make sure that no workers are available locally to fill the jobs. Only after those usual precautions had been taken could a request of this nature be given attention and favourable consideration.

(Text):

The house in committee of supply, Mr. Dion in the chair.

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   REPORTED REQUEST OF HOLLINGER COMPANY FOR PERMISSION TO EMPLOY DISPLACED PERSONS
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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT


471. Departmental administration, $1,199,818.


CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

I should like to say a few words about the report of the royal commission on transportation, which was discussed to some extent the other evening.

I think that the members of the board, the Hon. W. F. A. Turgeon, Dr. H. F. Angus and Dr. H. A. Innis, did a very fine job indeed for Canada when they made this inquiry and wrote their report. The report to a very large extent vindicates the position taken in this house by those of us who criticized some of the decisions of the board of transport commissioners, and also vindicates the attitude of the seven provinces which objected to those decisions and asked for the establishment of a royal commission of inquiry.

With some opinions in the report I find myself in disagreement, but they are minor considerations compared with the major recommendations of the report. I noted with a good deal of interest that the commission referred to the request which has been made from various quarters in the country for legislation which would prevent a recurrence of the regrettable dispute and the regrettable strike which occurred last summer. I noted with considerable interest that the royal commission recommended that no special legislation should be passed for the handling of railway disputes and the prevention of strikes or lockouts. It went on to

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say that legislation of that kind would be highly provocative and in practice ineffective -in other words, that we should continue the traditional method enjoyed by labour and management through the years, namely, collective bargaining.

Some of us who took that view last year were subjected to considerable criticism here and there across the country. Indeed, those of us who had the temerity to say that, after the long months of negotiation which ended in failure to achieve a settlement, the railway unions were justified in the regrettable action they then took, can find, I think, both in the report of the royal commission and in the report of the special commissioner or arbitrator who dealt with that railway dispute, some consolation for the, in some respects, abusive remarks directed toward us last August and September.

So as to link the matter up, I wish to place on record a paragraph of some significance in Mr. Justice Kellock's report:

By September 1, 1950, the wage rate-cost ot living relationship of the railway worker had deteriorated from the 1948 level to such an extent that 10 2 cents per hour was then required to restore that relationship.

In other words the seven cents asked for- by the railway unions-was already exceeded by 3-2 cents.

And this margin, it would appear, will likely continue to be augmented.

That margin of course has continued to be augmented. It is indeed regrettable that strikes have to occur; but at the same time, when we find the justification outlined in the report of the arbitrator in the railway dispute, it can readily be seen why such action becomes necessary. I am glad to note the royal commission states that we should continue to rely upon the traditional methods of collective bargaining and not upon legislation referring particularly to employees of such public services as the railway.

I agree with the commission that it is unfortunate that railway freight rates for quite a number of years now have been a matter of public controversy, and unless action is taken, in some respects along the lines suggested in the report of the royal commission, we shall continue for a long time to come to have these regrettable discussions and disputes, and these feelings of justifiable dissatisfaction in various parts of the country. There will also be the feeling, as there has been in that part of Canada which has been my home for a good many years, including the constituency I represent, that there has been both unjust treatment and unjust discrimination against large sections of the country, both the far east and the far west.

In justification of the criticism we have made in the house from time to time I would point out that the royal commission indulges in some criticism of the board's decisions since world war II. Those are decisions we have criticized adversely and at times severely in the house. The report says:

The board seems to have treated the application purely from the revenue point of view and without considering the ability of different commodities to bear the increase.

I think that has very largely been the bone of contention. Incidentally it contrasts the attitude of our board of transport commissioners with that of the interstate commerce commission in the United States, pointing out that the American board, which has similar functions, did take into consideration some factors other than purely revenue factors, and that in their decisions there had been numerous exemptions from the horizontal increase right across the board about which we have complained in this country.

Quite properly in this connection the royal commission points out that special consideration must be given, both by the parliament of Canada and by any authority set up by parliament, to the long haul traffic, and particularly to the traffic in primary commodities. We have long argued in the house that the railways should not be considered purely from the point of view of revenue-producing institutions or organizations. The Canadian Pacific railway in particular was built to cement confederation. Indeed, one of the fundamental factors in the confederation agreement, particularly with British Columbia, was that a railway would be built to unite the far western province of British Columbia with the central and eastern provinces of the new Canada. It was on that consideration that British Columbia entered confederation. In other words, the railway was the bond of steel that joined the country together, considered not from a revenue-producing or economic standpoint only, but also as a political factor in the uniting of this great country we now know as Canada.

One can understand that the railways themselves are loath to approach the problem from the point of view I have just indicated. The royal commissioners pointed out -and I say the House of Commons should see that the suggestion is carried out-that the board of transport commissioners must approach the problem from what, for the want of a better term, I shall describe as the political point of view, or the point of view of the political welfare of the entire Dominion of Canada.

Then in connection with rate structure they say, as we have said in the house on

many occasions, that we must have some equalization of treatment in the matter of freight rates. Indeed, it would appear that from the evidence given before the royal commission they came to the conclusion that that point of view was now generally accepted in all parts of Canada. In other words they felt that our friends in eastern Canada now recognize, with the rest of us, that these injustices and discriminations must be removed, and that there must be more equality in the rate structure of our country than we have had up to the present time. Therefore I am much in agreement with that part of the report. I think the recommendation as to the treatment of rates across the country is based on sound reasoning.

The commission point out that British Columbia in some respects enjoys a competitive rate because of the water haul by the Panama canal, but that certain cities in western Canada, particularly Edmonton and Calgary, have been discriminated against. They show that the rate on canned goods from eastern Canada to Vancouver is $1.40 per hundred pounds, because of the competition, as compared with a rate of $2.65 to Calgary or Edmonton. They recommend that a new system of rating should be adopted which would bring the rate to the Alberta cities down to $1.87 per hundred pounds. They recommend that the rates to intermediate points between the east and British Columbia should never be more than one-third greater than the transcontinental rates to or from the Pacific coast. It seems to me that that is one of the wisest and fairest recommendations in this report.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
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SC
CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

It is getting closer to what we should have in the way of a rate structure. It does tend to remove at least some of the injustices that are found in the present rate structure. What we need is a rate structure that will treat all citizens of Canada, wherever they may live, as justly as it is possible to do under prevailing conditions.

I am not going into a discussion of competitive rates generally, or the proposals in the report of the commission in regard to them. I have no doubt that soon or later the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier)-at least I hope so-will be bringing down legislation to implement some of the good recommendations in this report.

I notice that the commission does not recommend the public ownership of the Canadian Pacific railway. Some time ago we urged in this house that public ownership of the Canadian Pacific railway should be considi-

Supply-Transport

ered. During the war many of the securities issued by the Canadian Pacific, and indeed many of its shares, were held in the United Kingdom. Under wartime legislation in Great Britain those securities and shares were picked up by the government and marketed in order to get dollar exchange.

We were most anxious, as we are still, that the Canadian Pacific railway shall not pass into the control of the nationals of even the friendliest of foreign countries. That kind of thing has been going on. I still think that when we had the opportunity we would have been wise to ensure to the Canadian people the ownership of this great transportation facility. However, that was not done, and the report of the royal commission does not recommend that it should be done now. Indeed, it rejected the plea that it should be done.

May I just note in passing that the plea for the public ownership of the Canadian Pacific railway came from Prince Edward Island1. That province produced some strong arguments as to why this railway should be publicly owned. My own province of Saskatchewan did not make a representation in the same sense as the Liberal government of Prince Edward Island.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
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PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brooks:

Prince Edward Island is the only province through which the Canadian Pacific does not run.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

That is right. While I have been criticized for saying it, I repeat that if and1 when this railway does come under the ownership of the people of Canada, as I believe it will ultimately, personally I would not be in favour of creating a single authority for the operation and amalgamation of the two great railroad systems. I believe that they should be competing in giving service with one another, just as it has been found advisable in the United Kingdom, and in some other countries where industries of the same type are publicly owned, to have separate management and administration, in order that one unit of the industry in one area may become a yardstick for another unit of the same industry in another area. I wanted to refer to that because it is something I have talked about in this house for a very long time.

The commission recommends an amendment to the Railway Act to empower the board and direct it to maintain a revised statistical procedure so designed as to provide the requisite data for the purposes of its duties. During the course of the presentations by the various provinces to the board of transport commissioners I was told that there was a sad lack of statistical material available, and

Supply-Transport

that they had neither the staff nor the facilities to do the job they were expected to do under the legislation. I was told that by counsel who appeared before the commission, and particularly by some of the expert accountants who were engaged in the presentation of the pleas of the various provinces before the board of transport commissioners. I notice that the royal commission directs the attention of the house and the minister to the necessity of an amendment to the Railway Act to empower and direct the board to have the facilities available to enable them to do the kind of statistical job that is necessary in connection with problems of this kind.

It is noteworthy that two of the recommendations in the report are of great interest to two particular parts of Canada, because there is legislation dealing with both of them. No one wishes to disturb the maritime freight rates structure; and by the same token I was pleased indeed to see, in spite of representations by the railways, that the royal commission recommends no interference with the Crowsnest pass rates. We in western Canada regard the Crowsnest pass agreement as one of the agreements vital to the economic welfare of our part of Canada and indeed all Canada. We feel that we have paid in full for the right which is embedded in that agreement and in the validating legislation of this House of Commons. Some of us can remember very distinctly the attempts that were made after world war I to set aside the Crowsnest pass agreement. We remember the long struggle, lasting until 1925, to prevent any interference with that agreement; and we regretted and still regret that we lost some advantages when the legislation was amended, I think in 1925 or thereabouts. But as it remains today it is of such vital importance to western Canada that I am delighted indeed to see that the royal commission recommended that the Crowsnest pass agreement should remain under the control of parliament and not be turned back to the jurisdiction of the board of transport commissioners, as the railways requested should be done.

I was also pleased to see that the royal commission took up the argument which is sometimes advanced that these Crowsnest rates inflict some burden upon the rest of Canada. The commission did not substantiate that contention. Indeed they pointed out that other parts of the country enjoyed certain advantages which quite offset any advantages given under the Crowsnest agreement. Consequently they recommended that these rates should not be made to bear any part of general freight rate increases. As I say, we are pleased indeed that the royal commission

confirmed the point of view many hon. members from western Canada, regardless of political affiliation, have advanced1 in this house from time to time.

I think one of the most interesting sections in the report is that which deals with the unproductive haul across northern and1 western Ontario, between Sudbury and Fort William. In that connection they have a proposal which I think this house would be well advised to consider very carefully, because it is the most constructive proposal I have seen along these lines during the years I have been in parliament or since this matter has been under discussion. They propose that this unproductive area from Sudbury to Fort William be considered on exactly the same basis as the canal system of Canada, which joins the great lakes and is the responsibility of all Canada. They propose that this long haul should be considered in exactly the same light, and that the annual maintenance costs-they make it clear that they are not talking about the operating costs-of that part of our railway system should be borne entirely by the federal government. They estimate that this would relieve the freight rate structure to the extent of something like $7 million annually, and they anticipate that this would be an effective measure of relief in the case of westbound traffic passing over this area which they call the bridge between east and west. I think that proposition would be fair to the railways and beneficial to all Canada. I believe it should be carefully considered and, if that consideration is favourable, approved by this house.

As I said before the report does not recommend any other legislation regarding railway disputes, strikes, lockouts, and so on. Another part of the report which I think should be carefully considered deals with the methods suggested for meeting the growing trucking competition. As a matter of fact I think everyone realizes that the truck is here to stay, and that it can perform a very useful function within our transportation system. While local trucking is under provincial control, there is no doubt that the house and the government, through legislation, cam exercise some control over interprovincial and international trucking. What seems to be happening is that am many instances the lighter, more profitable traffic that might have been hauled by the railways has been picked up by the trucking and bus companies. As a result the railways have been denied a large and profitable traffic they might otherwise have had. If this continues without consideration and without perhaps some supervision, more and more we are going to find the railways left with coal, lumber, wheat and other heavy

commodities, with the lighter and more profitable traffic handled1 almost exclusively by trucks and busses. I am not suggesting by any means the elimination of the trucking industry. As I said, I believe it performs a very useful function within our transportation system. I am suggesting, however, that the time has come when the minister and this house should consider the best ways and means of treating the trucking industry fairly and at the same time regulating it so it will be supplementary or complementary, whichever expression you like better, to the railway transportation system which must always be, within foreseeable time, the basic transportation system of this country, just as the fathers of confederation regarded it when confederation was achieved.

There are many other important matters dealt with in the report. I notice that the commission recommends the establishment of one central board to supervise our entire transportation system instead of the board of transport commissioners, the air transport board, and the Canadian maritime commission. That is one board instead of three. They say such a board would be able to undertake the kind of co-ordinated control that in these days is essential to the efficiency and welfare of the various groups and interests engaged1 in transportation, and for the protection of the public of Canada.

There is not a great deal more that I wish to say at this point. I do think that the minister will find he has a considerable amount of support in this house for the main recommendations made by the royal commission. If I may speak personally, I believe that the time has arrived when the recommendation for a national transportation commission, dealing with all forms of transportation which could come properly within the jurisdiction of such a commission, should be carefully considered by the minister and by the government. As the minister knows, I have held that view for a long time. The more I study the railway problem in Canada, the more I have been convinced that if we are going to have the kind of rate structure that will be satisfactory to all Canada, even if we have these changes that are recommended by the royal commission, if we are going to maintain our basic transportation system, then we have to view the transportation problem not from the railways' standpoint, not from the viewpoint of the trucking industry or the aeroplanes or the ships or whatever you have, but from the point of view of the entire industry and the economic effect of that industry on the welfare of Canada. When I say "welfare of Canada", we have now of course to consider also the interests of Newfoundland, as well as the 80709-124

Supply-Transport

interests of the nine provinces who were interested in this problem when it came before the house so acutely two or three years ago.

I want to say again that I believe the royal commission did ia splendid job for Canada. The commission members are to be congratulated. The main recommendations of the report I believe are of such a nature that this house would be well advised to give early consideration to them, and to enacting legislation to bring into effect, as soon as we can, those that we feel are in the interests of Canada.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
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LIB
CCF
LIB

Frederick Hugo Larson

Liberal

Mr. Larson:

Would the hon. member care to tell the house exactly how he would propose to manage the railroads, if both railroads were owned by the federal government? Would he cut out duplicate services?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

Mr. Chairman, you will note that in discussing this several years ago I said that ownership of the Canadian Pacific might come to us if we acquired its securities then held in the United Kingdom instead of allowing them to pass into the hands of citizens of the United States, and that then we would have to consider that problem. I say I believe the day will yet come when the railways will be nationally owned. Economic circumstances will ultimately force that on the people of Canada, because sooner or later the people of Canada will decide that they should not subsidize a private railway company.

I said that when that is done I personally would not be in favour, as I see it now at least, of setting up one great corporation to operate the railways as one great system. The recommendation of the commission is to set up a controlling body over these various phases of transportation. I would say that, at least until that has been tried, no further step might be necessary.

The hon. member asked me how one would administer the two railways. I would say, keep each under an administration somewhat similar to the administration you have today, that is separate administrations answerable, as is the Canadian National, for their operations to a committee of parliament. I have forgotten the last question I was asked.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
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LIB

Frederick Hugo Larson

Liberal

Mr. Larson:

If the two railways were

united it would appear that, in the interests of economy, all duplicate services should be discontinued.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

I did not suggest the uniting of the two railways. As a matter of fact,

Supply-Transport

when you speak about duplication of service, let us bear in mind that the parliament of Canada granted charters to these railroads to build where they are today. Along these routes that were granted, the people built towns and villages. I believe that in any consideration of the railway problem the interests of these towns and villages must be of primary consideration to us. To take up lines through certain territories because they are duplicated would create hardship on many hundreds of people. This parliament or provincial legislatures allowed the railways to go there, the duplication occurred, and this encouraged the building of towns and villages along those routes. We must not penalize the people who settled those parts of the country in good faith.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
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April 12, 1951