October 26, 1951

CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

Inadequate staff.

Topic:   RAILWAY ACT
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTING CERTAIN RECOMMENDATIONS OF ROYAL COMMISSION ON TRANSPORTATION
Sub-subtopic:   MAINTENANCE OF TRACKAGE
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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

Yes, and it probably has not an adequate staff. We find a reference to the board at page 273 of the Turgeon commission report. It says:

In dealing with the subject of the board, the importance of its functions and the high standard which should be maintained in the selection of its members cannot be stressed too strongly. Since its inception, the board's responsibilities have in many respects increased, and its jurisdiction has been

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extended. It is now called upon to regulate some of the most important public utilities in the country and its decisions are of vital importance to, and have far-reaching effects upon, almost every person in Canada.

There you have a very clear finding that the board of transport commissioners must be an exceptionally strong board. With all respect, I submit that the board could be improved, and I hope that the government will take steps to see that this board is set up in such a way that it can handle the problems which are now being placed before it.

It is unfortunate that the government has given no indication whatever of its policy with regard to the other recommendations made by the Turgeon commission. This legislation only deals with the first part of the commission's report. There is no indication of what the policy is to be regarding the change in capitalization of the Canadian National Railways. There is no indication either of the policy on broad questions such as whether this board of transport commissioners is to have jurisdiction over not only the railways but also shipping and aviation in Canada. Mind you, I do not want to be taken as arguing in favor of giving the commissioners authority over shipping, although I am not in a position to speak for the party in that regard. I think it is unfortunate that the government has not given the house and the country a clearer indication of the whole transportation policy, instead of giving us one part of such a policy. It is not possible for any committee or for the house to work out a proper policy to meet part of the situation when they have no indication whatever from the government as to what is to be proposed on these other matters.

Probably there is no domestic problem which is of greater importance to the Canadian people than that of transportation. Those of us who come from the more remote portions of the nation are always greatly concerned over this question. Transportation has been the means of building the nation, and it is still the main means of holding the nation together. In Canada transportation will always be of the utmost importance. The commission summed that up very neatly in the chapter on national transportation policy at page 275 of the report. It reads:

It has always been recognized that railways are of primary Importance to Canada and its people. Ours is a country great in size and small in population, yet today we rank third in the whole world in the export of goods. This by the very nature of things requires a long haul of primary commodities which to a great extent must be transported by rail.

We of the official opposition are very much concerned about Canada's transportation policy.

I can assure the minister that those members of this party who go into the special committee on railway legislation will do their best to see that thorough consideration is given to the questions under review, and that such consideration is given in a non-partisan way.

Topic:   RAILWAY ACT
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTING CERTAIN RECOMMENDATIONS OF ROYAL COMMISSION ON TRANSPORTATION
Sub-subtopic:   MAINTENANCE OF TRACKAGE
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

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

Mr. Speaker, this is an extremely important bill. It marks another step forward in the development of our entire transportation system.

I agree with the hon. member for Vancou-ver-Quadra (Mr. Green) in most of what he has said this afternoon, and particularly with regard to the necessity of considering the whole problem of transportation in all its phases in Canada. As I read the report, the royal commission on transportation emphasized four main problems. They suggested a plan for what they termed the limited equalization of freight rates as between the various regions of Canada and a recapitalization scheme for the government-owned Canadian National Railways, to reduce its fixed charges and to put it on a paying basis. I think that the house will have to go into the matter thoroughly when we have the opportunity to do so because, personally, I do not think the commission's proposals are sufficiently comprehensive to deal with the problem of the overcapitalization of the Canadian National Railways. I think, however, that it forms the basis for useful discussion and consideration.

The royal commission also suggested the co-ordinating of all forms of federally-controlled transport through a single regulatory board replacing the boards we now have, and I believe there are three of them. When the time comes I think perhaps we shall have to go beyond that point and consider whether or not it is in the interests of Canada as a whole and of the various forms of transportation as a whole to consider the regulation of the various forms of transportation under a single regulatory board with fairly wide powers, of course under the authority of this parliament.

Then the fourth recommendation which I think is important is the subsidy of some $7 million to help finance the unprofitable northern Ontario railroad stretch linking the east and the west; that is, on the C.P.R., the 550 miles-is it?

Topic:   RAILWAY ACT
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTING CERTAIN RECOMMENDATIONS OF ROYAL COMMISSION ON TRANSPORTATION
Sub-subtopic:   MAINTENANCE OF TRACKAGE
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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

Five hundred and fifty-two miles.

Topic:   RAILWAY ACT
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTING CERTAIN RECOMMENDATIONS OF ROYAL COMMISSION ON TRANSPORTATION
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

Yes, the 552 miles between Sudbury and Fort William and a like distance on the Canadian National Railways. This particular bill deals with some other matters

such as the right to appeal to the courts, but in the main it deals with two of these problems, namely, the problem of equalization of freight rates and the problem of relieving the railways of the expense of maintaining the lines across that part of Ontario which in the past at least has been unproductive, although along the C.P.R. line today, I am glad to say, are some quite large and important industries that have been established, and towns like Marathon and Terrace Bay have sprung up in the past six or seven years-certainly within the last ten years- with not inconsiderable populations. I shall have something to say about this proposal in a moment or two. But, Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that it is indeed difficult to think of the commission's recommendations embodied in this bill as a plan for equalization; because there is not a single member in the house who would permit what we term complete equalization; that is to say, the west must maintain the statutory advantages of the Crowsnest pass agreement; the maritime provinces must maintain the benefit of the maritime freight rates; and so on. But in some other respects we can remove discrimination and we can more or less equalize the burden, although the difficulties are to an extent created, of course, by the developments that have occurred in recent years in other forms of transportation.

Apart from these exceptions I have no doubt that hon. members from the central provinces of Canada too will continue to demand an opportunity for competitive rates as long as we have the present transportation system as we have it today in Canada or as it will still be under the provisions of the bill. The competitive transportation system in the central provinces is, of course, the reason why the two provinces of Quebec and Ontario did not join with the seven other provinces of Canada in making representations before the royal commission, and will probably not be particularly interested in the work of this committee. From the point of view of the seven provinces which have co-operated, and which may indeed co-operate before this committee the problem is most important. Indeed, if they wish to co-operate in making representations before this committee, they should have every opportunity to present their case to it, because, after all, they are governments speaking for the peoples of their particular provinces.

There must then remain exceptions to the equalization plan; and I think that fact is recognized in the bill itself; that is, exceptions to the general plan of what the commissioners

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and we term "equalization", although, as I say, it is equalization to a limited extent.

The railways require and must have a certain level of revenue. I think we all agree with that statement. There is one thing that I think we must never forget. Canada could not be Canada, or this country could not exist, without those bands of steel, as I have sometimes called them, that bind it together from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Indeed, it was on the fundamental consideration of the building of the first transcontinental railway between what we today call central Canada and Vancouver that the province of British Columbia agreed to come into confederation over eighty years ago. The railways therefore must have revenue; and if they cannot get it in one place, they of course look for it in another. Because of the competition in central Canada there is no doubt whatsoever that, when you examine the profit and loss sheets, particularly those of the Canadian Pacific Railway, you find that the major portion of the profits of that great transcontinental railway-and may I say that like the Canadian National it is an extremely efficiently-run organization-is derived largely from western Canada and quite largely indeed from the three prairie provinces. We find that they exploit what we might call the non-competitive areas in order to make up their returns so as to dodge deficits and indeed to build up their profits. Therefore no scheme of equalization can of itself alter the necessity for the railways doing this kind of thing. But at the same time, increas.ed costs of railway operations, increased competition from trucks for the most profitable traffic, and from busses carrying express, carrying profitable freight and carrying passengers shorter distances and therefore not having to provide facilities like roadbeds, diners, sleepers and so on, exert a serious pressure upon our railway systems. That is why I said at the outset of my remarks that sooner or later this house will have to tackle this problem not as a single railway problem but as an entire transportation problem and consider how best to deal with it-retaining the competition that we can retain and using the new kinds of transportation for certain purposes, feeding and assisting perhaps the long hauls that have to be undertaken-in order to maintain a transportation system that will give our Canadian people adequate facilities at rates that the traffic can properly bear.

Those of us who come from the distant parts of this country, particularly those of us who come from the prairie provinces, are well aware of the fact that we must have the railways to move the heavy bulk commodities that cannot be moved in any other

Railway Act

way advantageously. We must have the railways to move such things as wheat, coal, lumber, iron ore and so on, we must consider that traffic not only as eastbound or westbound from the prairie provinces, but we must consider how we can get some of these bulk raw materials into these provinces in order to build up some industry and diversify the industrial life of this country to the advantage of all Canada.

I think then that sooner or later we shall have to consider this transportation problem as not only affecting the railways but also affecting the entire transportation facilities of the country, the railways, trucks, busses, ships, planes and so on. We have entered an age when the railways, still vital to this country, are nonetheless only a part of the main transportation system of Canada.

It is proposed In this bill to amend the Railway Act to give the board of transport commissioners power to prescribe and maintain something of a uniformity of rates on certain types of goods. Of course this legislation does not deal with the rates themselves. They must be worked out by the board and by the railways and approved by the board. That is the reason why I so strongly support the suggestions that the board of transport commissioners be strengthened to the greatest extent possible. This is one of our most important boards. It deals not only with railway transportation, but with telephone rates and a large number of other matters that are of vital importance to the community in all parts of Canada. And as I interjected a moment ago when the hon. member was speaking, we must see that the board is provided with the means of acquiring and using the very best advice in accountancy and in legal matters and so on that the country can provide. I have been told by people who were very interested in the various rate discussions before the board that the staff of the board was overworked, and indeed was quite inadequate to meet the needs of the inquiry. Therefore we have to strengthen the board and provide it with facilities to do the kind of job we want it to do.

Of course one would have expected that the board would have found, as it did in its report, that the transportation disadvantages are heaviest on provinces away from the centre of Canada. That has been obvious, I think, in the many discussions that we have had regarding horizontal freight rate increases. I want to join my hon. friend in suggesting that no further horizontal increases be permitted at least until this legislation has been passed, and until we have an organization which can go into the matter thoroughly.

The horizontal increases that have been permitted in the past several years, and which we have criticized so bitterly, have caused greater discrimination and more burdens on those parts of Canada which had already been discriminated against. These increases have discriminated against the maritimes. The maritimes depend on central Canadian markets, and the relatively long hauls from both the maritimes to this area and from this area to the maritimes. Then of course the maritime provinces, like the prairie provinces, are engaged largely in primary production, production of heavy commodities. The commission itself stated that the maritimes' concern with the problem of shipping goods to and getting goods from central Canada had become acute as the result of post-war rate increases. And those of us who represent western constituencies, prairie or British Columbia, can join with them in saying that we have found that also. Lately the province of Newfoundland, though not associated with the seven provinces originally, has shown a good deal of apprehension regarding the freight rate structure and what may happen in the future because its transportation facilities, as we know, are not nearly as efficient as the transportation facilities in the rest of Canada. That I suppose is one of those understatements that one sometimes feels inclined to make. But our prairie provinces are even more subjected to discrimination, because of the long haul, than those parts of Canada that I have already mentioned.

The freight rate structure in the west is one that was built up on the basis of primary production, the production of primary commodities in the prairie provinces; but with the development of oil and gas in Alberta, and perhaps with discoveries of similar resources in the neighbouring prairie provinces there is now a considerable amount of diversification foreshadowed, and in the province of Alberta perhaps in sight. I will leave that for the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Low), who no doubt will say something about it. Therefore there is a friction, as it were, between the traditional rate structure

the board says this very plainly.-and the drive for industrial development and diversification. This must be ended.

Coming to my own province, may I say that those who have read the brief submitted to the royal commission will have noticed that Saskatchewan emphasized that its economy is highly dependent on rail transportation because of the distance from markets, the high degree of economic specialization and the bulkiness of the products to be sold. I have already pointed that out. The

producers of Saskatchewan are farther from the markets of the world than are the producers of commodities of a similar sort anywhere else in Canada. Then, there is no ship transportation to make water competition possible in that province.

Owing to the fact that some 38 per cent of all the surveyed roads in Canada are in Saskatchewan, it indicates how great a problem it is to provide extensive truck and bus competition in our province. So far as Saskatchewan is concerned the freight rates have always been oppressive and discriminatory. The same sort of argument applies to British Columbia, removed, as it is, from the great markets of central Canada and across the ocean except by the long sea route through the Panama canal.

I was interested to note something else in this report that I should like to mention. That was an opinion recorded by one of the three commissioners, Dr. H. F. Angus. It was in the form of a comment on the commission's conclusions on the question of regional disadvantages. I should like to quote him in that respect because it is something I think we should keep in mind. At page 282 of the report I find this:

The complaints made by the provincial governments seem to me to concern the effect upon their people of national policies rather than the physical fact of distance from markets and sources of supply. They do not challenge these policies which comprise not only the tariff but the very maintenance of Canada as a separate nation; but they complain that too little has been done to compensate those who suffer economically as a consequence of these policies. This is not a complaint against the railways. It is a complaint against the federal government which, in effect, is asked to subsidize the railways in order to enable them to forgo high freight rates.

It seems to me that was a very significant note made by one of the commissioners. As he says, it does not deal specifically with the railways, but it does in part make it necessary for this federal House of Commons to consider some compensatory adjustments; and one of those, of course, is in connection with the railway problem.

I do not want to speak too long, but I should like to mention the $7 million proposal set out in the bill. That is a part of the so-called equalization plan. I suppose its aim is to try to ease to some extent the full effects of rate increases on the long-haul traffic and shipments of basic commodities, to some extent similar to the easements provided in connection with maritime rates. The royal commission recommended a subsidy of $7 million a year to be paid to the railways to help meet the cost of the railway bridge between east and west across sparsely settled northern Ontario.

Railway Act

From my understanding of the bill now before us, this $7 million would go to the railways as part of their general revenue in return for equalizing the impact of rates between east and west, the attempt being of course to offset the disadvantages resulting from this bridge, as it is called, of 552 miles.

The commission quite properly pointed out that this east-west link is a long stretch of territory which originates very little revenue traffic. Then it was claimed that this payment would have the effect of relieving the railways of a liability for which they have to recoup themselves by means of relatively high freight charges on through traffic crossing over the bridge between east and west. I think we can all agree with that objective.

To justify this idea-and I thought this an interesting point-they draw an analogy between this section of track across northern Ontario and Canada's toll-free canals, which are maintained by the government at the public expense for the handling of water traffic. The commission thought that this subsidy would reduce the cost of moving goods from eastern Canada to the west, and it observed that eastbound traffic from the west already is aided by statutory low rates on grain and grain products.

The point I have in mind is this: What is the minister's suggestion for the basis of the payment of this subsidy? If we look at the wording of the bill we find this:

(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, the Minister of Finance may, when authorized by the governor in council, pay out of the consolidated revenue fund (a) to the Canadian Pacific Railway Company an amount equal to the annual cost of maintaining the trackage between Sudbury and Fort William on its transcontinental line of railway, and

(b) to the Canadian National Railway Company an amount equal to the annual cost of maintaining trackage corresponding in extent to the trackage mentioned in paragraph (a) between Capreol and Fort William and between Cochrane and Armstrong on the transcontinental lines of Canadian National railways.

(2) The Board of Transport Commissioners for Canada shall determine the annual cost of maintaining the trackage for which payment may be made under this section and shall fix the extent of such trackage in respect of each company.

There is of course a limit that the amount paid under subsection 1 shall not in any year exceed $7 million in aggregate. Then subsection 4 continues in these words:

(4) When the cost of maintenance of the trackage on the lines of railway specified in subsection one exceeds in any year the sum of seven million dollars, the payments authorized by subsection one shall be apportioned between the companies according to the amounts expended by each company on the maintenance of its trackage.

I would ask the minister to tell us what that means. Who is going to determine what

Railway Act

those amounts are? How is this to be done? Indeed, one railway may put in a bill for the maintenance of trackage at a far greater rate per mile than the bill put in by the other railway for the maintenance of its trackage. How will the benefits of each railway be assessed in that regard? I suggest that is an important point, and it was the one the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) had in mind the other day when, as we were discussing the resolution, he asked what formula the government had in mind in connection with the payment of this $7 million subsidy.

I agree with the view held by many people in the prairie provinces that this will be quite inadequate, particularly if it is put into the general revenue of the railways. I feel something more substantial has to be done. We know there were several proposals. There was a proposal to pay a subsidy similar to the maritime freight rates subsidy which today, I believe, is 20 per cent. There is a reduction discount in freight charges on maritime rail freight movements. The commission rejected the suggestion, however.

Then there was the Saskatchewan proposal which would have introduced subsidized reductions on all freight hauls within, into and out of the prairie provinces, with a somewhat wider application than in the maritime rates. This was estimated to cost $40 million a year as compared with the $9 million in the maritime provinces for, of course, much smaller tonnage. The commission rejeoted this proposal. But what I am pointing out is this, that while the government of Saskatchewan thought that a much larger subsidy, one amounting to $40 million annually, was justified, it does point up very clearly that the $7 million would appear to be quite inadequate.

While this measure is welcomed, of course -and do not misunderstand me-I repeat that while it is welcomed, what I have said expresses I believe fairly well the general view of people in the prairie provinces. However, when the bill is before the committee no doubt representatives from the several provinces will make their own case. Therefore I do not propose to do it at this time.

Having said this, and having offered some criticism, I wish it to be clearly understood that we welcome this legislation. But we welcome it as only one step forward. After all, in democratic countries we move by steps, and it seems to me that this is a step. As such we welcome it. But I want it to be clearly understood that we think the steps taken in this bill are inadequate to meet the needs of the country. If we are going to deal properly

with our railway problem we must not isolate it, we must consider it as part of the entire transportation problem of Canada.

Topic:   RAILWAY ACT
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTING CERTAIN RECOMMENDATIONS OF ROYAL COMMISSION ON TRANSPORTATION
Sub-subtopic:   MAINTENANCE OF TRACKAGE
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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Solon E. Low (Peace River):

Mr. Speaker, I think I should take just a few minutes of the time of the house this afternoon to place our views on record with respect to the bill now before us. We believe that the bill is sound in principle and we support it. It is true that we look upon its provisions as providing only half a loaf, but we in the west are grateful for what the minister has indicated he is prepared to do in order to implement the commission's recommendations.

The bill does not provide for the equalization of rates, but it does go quite a distance in removing unfair discrimination. We are very pleased with those provisions that do remove unfair discrimination in rates. We would have liked to have seen greater steps taken toward real equalization, but we realize that in a country such as ours there must be certain exceptions to the equalization principle, exceptions that probably would not have to be considered if our country was small and closely knit together and more uniform in its geographical and topographical features.

We can quite understand the necessity of maintaining the preferred position that the maritimes have enjoyed ever since the passing of the Maritime Freight Rates Act. We think that the maritime freight rates structure is perfectly justified and we have always supported the maritimes in their efforts to maintain that position. We have a great deal of sympathy for our brethren in the maritimes because we know something of the tragic effects which certain movements have had on their economy since confederation. We are ready to support their efforts to maintain their preferred position under the freight rates structure. We have never requested that the western provinces achieve equalization with the maritimes but we are anxious to achieve equalization with the central provinces.

Another exception which we understand as being necessary is the maintenance of the Crowsnest pass agreements. Those arrangements are essential in the interests of the western farmer and I am quite certain that without them the western farmer could not carry on today.

Topic:   RAILWAY ACT
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTING CERTAIN RECOMMENDATIONS OF ROYAL COMMISSION ON TRANSPORTATION
Sub-subtopic:   MAINTENANCE OF TRACKAGE
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

They are fundamental agreements.

Topic:   RAILWAY ACT
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTING CERTAIN RECOMMENDATIONS OF ROYAL COMMISSION ON TRANSPORTATION
Sub-subtopic:   MAINTENANCE OF TRACKAGE
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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

As the hon. member for Rose-town-Biggar says, they are fundamental agreements to be held in perpetuity. Under those circumstances we were happy that the royal commission suggested that they be not

abrogated in any way. There are other exceptions that we understand must be made in applying this principle of equalization.

We join with those who have spoken from this side of the house in asking that no further horizontal freight rate increases be granted to the railroads until this bill has been made law and is operative. We think that the railroads ought to be able out of their operation to recover enough to pay their costs, to keep themselves in a strong position, to renew equipment and get rid of obsolete equipment which they now have. We are certainly not attempting in any way to set aside the demands of the railways that conditions be laid down so that they can carry on successfully. We are prepared to support any move or any measure which will assist them to carry on, but we do not want any further horizontal increases granted until such time as the board of transport commissioners have in their hands this legislation in an operative form. Then we think they will be able to arrive at a proper judgment on the requests that are made.

Up to this time the efforts toward industrial development in the three prairie provinces- I am limiting it to those provinces at the moment-have met with only meagre success, largely because of the discriminatory freight rates structure. I do not believe there is anyone who can successfully argue against that proposition. In Alberta we have all the endowments necessary for successful industrialization, and the other provinces have many of these resources. However, Alberta is particularly fortunate in the diversity of its natural endowments. Oil and gas are in abundance and we have salt beds second to none on the North American continent, beds that we did not know existed until a comparatively few years ago.

We have great coal reserves, we have large timber resources, and I could go on and name many other resources, all of which would make possible a steady industrial growth. It seems too bad that our province has not been able to go ahead much faster with its industrialization program. We have tried to take advantage of every opportunity and many industries have been established there. But they were not able to make a success because they found themselves up against too great freight costs.

With all the resources that are presently visible-perhaps there are many not yet found-there should be a flourishing fertilizer industry in Alberta which would contribute to the well-being of Canada from coast to coast. If there is one thing this country needs more than another in the agricultural field, it is a sufficient supply of good fertilizer.

Railway Act

We have all that would be required to manufacture such a supply but thus far freight rates have discriminated against the development of this industry.

I think we have everything that would be required to establish a basic plastic industry, perhaps as great as the industry in Europe, particularly in England. We have everything required for a successful woollen industry. We have the three fundamental essentials of coal, gas and salt for a huge chemical industry. I make the prediction that with the passage of this bill Alberta will eventually develop an important chemical industry that will add to the well-being of our great country.

I have spoken on several occasions about the possibility of developing a great steel industry in Alberta. I have no doubt but such an industry could be successful, provided the freight rates situation was cleared away to the point where it would be economical to haul coal eastward, haul iron ore westward and haul the manufactured basic products to wherever the markets might be. I can see no reason why, under a revised and more equalized freight rate structure, iron ore from Steep Rock in western Ontario should not find its way into the coal beds of southern Alberta and there be manufactured and fabricated according to our needs. In all of these things I believe that this bill will be of considerable help.

I think it is important and desirable that the economies of the western provinces be balanced. For quite a long time we have suffered under the disabilities that go along with wheat economies. These wheat economies are subject frequently to disasters as to which very few people have any understanding. This year, for example, the prairie provinces have suffered a tragedy that has not been visited upon us for fifty years or more. We have had too much moisture, and that is not an ordinary thing at all. Usually the cry is that we have not enough. We have frequent droughts.

Topic:   RAILWAY ACT
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTING CERTAIN RECOMMENDATIONS OF ROYAL COMMISSION ON TRANSPORTATION
Sub-subtopic:   MAINTENANCE OF TRACKAGE
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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

You got all our rain.

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Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTING CERTAIN RECOMMENDATIONS OF ROYAL COMMISSION ON TRANSPORTATION
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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

We evidently got all the rain that was supposed to have been dropped on the people of the Pacific coast. All this moisture delayed our seed time and our harvest with the result that harvesting is only about 40 per cent completed. As I say, our economies have been subject to tragedies that we could obviate to a great degree by having a measure of industrialization that will balance them and perhaps mitigate to some extent the extreme disabilities of wheat economies. I think that much of the assistance to western farmers might be obviated by a greater degree of industrialization. I leave

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it at that. I impress upon members of the house that the bill will lay down better conditions and will result, I am satisfied, in some stimulation at least of industrialization in the western provinces. We must not overlook the fact that as the well-being of the people of any part of Canada is improved that very thing contributes to the strength and well-being of all of Canada.

I only wish to make one brief comment on the portion of the bill which deals with the $7 million subsidy. I was interested to note this statement by the commissioners at page 253 of the report of the royal commission on transportation:

The submission of the United Farmers of Alberta Co-operative Limited above set out before refers to the expense which ought to be borne by the federal treasury as "a percentage of the operating costs" incurred by the mileage traversed between Sudbury and the head of the lakes. There is really no practical difference between the idea expressed in that formula and the measure recommended here which is intended to attain a similar result by the application of another formula, that of charging the general revenues of the country, not with any part of the actual cost of operating trains in this middle area, but with the whole cost of maintaining the bridge over which the traffic between the two large areas must pass, just as the toll-free canals in central Canada are maintained at public expense for the passage of traffic through them.

At first when I examined the wording of the bill I had to ask myself what maintaining the trackage actually meant. It occurred to me that it was a rather narrow expression which did not have any too much specific meaning. There are many other things that enter into the cost of railroading besides the mere maintenance of right-of-way. I thought as I read the bill, and then referred again to the submission made by the United Farmers of Alberta Co-operative Limited with respect to a subsidy, that we might perhaps have found a little happier way of expressing what we wanted to get at. However, after I had given the matter more consideration I came to the conclusion that because there is a dollar value placed upon the assistance that is to be granted out of the general revenue fund of Canada it did not make too much difference how the statement was worded.

One thing that seems to me to count is that the amount will be allocated to the actual operation and shown as a credit to that operation so that everybody can see it there, and so that if the railroads ever have the inclination to come and ask for further increases in freight rates they will not be able to hide that amount at all. It will be right there and allocated to that portion of the line between Sudbury and the head of the lakes. Therefore while "trackage" might appear to be pretty narrow, nevertheless since the amount that

we are going to grant will be a subsidy and will be reflected in the rates I have no objection to it at all.

I want to end on this note. I quite agree with what the minister said this afternoon, and I want to emphasize it again. Let us not attempt in any way to make this committee a second royal commission. I think that would be a terrible mistake. I should like to see the work proceed with such dispatch that we can have the bill reported on by the committee and passed by the house at this session. I think it is important and essential in the interests of Canada that it be done that way. I want to thank the minister and his colleagues for bringing in the bill. We want to thank him for the efforts he has made to correct these ills-I will not make it stronger than that-in our transportation system. I want to say to the minister that we will give him all our support in getting down to a detailed study and putting this measure through.

Topic:   RAILWAY ACT
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTING CERTAIN RECOMMENDATIONS OF ROYAL COMMISSION ON TRANSPORTATION
Sub-subtopic:   MAINTENANCE OF TRACKAGE
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LIB

John Horace Dickey

Liberal

Mr. J. H. Dickey (Halifax):

Railway Act

As to the special interests of the maritimes, I think we find in the Maritime Freight Rates Act the protection that we require. In previous stages of this debate certain members of this house have taken upon themselves the role of prophets and have said that this legislation will have the most severe effects upon the transportation system and the freight rate problem in the maritime provinces. I am not going to join them in prophecy, except to say that any statement to the effect that there is in this legislation anything which indicates that freight rates in the maritime provinces will be increased 100 per cent is absolutely fantastic. There is nothing in this legislation which can bear that interpretation. Any statement of that kind must be based upon some information or something quite outside the report of the royal commission and this particular bill. In dealing with a matter as complicated as that of freight rates I do not think anybody can predict with absolute assurance as to particular situations when dealing with general provisions of this kind. But if there is anything in this legislation which would have anything like the effect which has been suggested by certain hon. members in previous stages of this debate- and I do not for a moment believe there is- it is my opinion that any result of that kind is directly contrary to the provisions of the Maritime Freight Rates Act and cannot be brought into effect.

Topic:   RAILWAY ACT
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTING CERTAIN RECOMMENDATIONS OF ROYAL COMMISSION ON TRANSPORTATION
Sub-subtopic:   MAINTENANCE OF TRACKAGE
Permalink
PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (St. John's West):

It is too late to stop when it is brought into effect.

Topic:   RAILWAY ACT
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTING CERTAIN RECOMMENDATIONS OF ROYAL COMMISSION ON TRANSPORTATION
Sub-subtopic:   MAINTENANCE OF TRACKAGE
Permalink
LIB

John Horace Dickey

Liberal

Mr. Dickey:

It is not a question of being too late when it is brought into effect. There is existing legislation which will prevent it being brought into effect, and it will never come into effect.

Topic:   RAILWAY ACT
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTING CERTAIN RECOMMENDATIONS OF ROYAL COMMISSION ON TRANSPORTATION
Sub-subtopic:   MAINTENANCE OF TRACKAGE
Permalink
PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (St. John's West):

Mr. Speaker, may I ask the hon. member a question?

Topic:   RAILWAY ACT
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTING CERTAIN RECOMMENDATIONS OF ROYAL COMMISSION ON TRANSPORTATION
Sub-subtopic:   MAINTENANCE OF TRACKAGE
Permalink
LIB

John Horace Dickey

Liberal

Mr. Dickey:

Certainly.

Topic:   RAILWAY ACT
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTING CERTAIN RECOMMENDATIONS OF ROYAL COMMISSION ON TRANSPORTATION
Sub-subtopic:   MAINTENANCE OF TRACKAGE
Permalink
PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (St. John's West):

What is the hon. member's interpretation of the subsection he refers to, namely subsection 4 of the new section 332A? Would he tell us that?

Topic:   RAILWAY ACT
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTING CERTAIN RECOMMENDATIONS OF ROYAL COMMISSION ON TRANSPORTATION
Sub-subtopic:   MAINTENANCE OF TRACKAGE
Permalink
LIB

John Horace Dickey

Liberal

Mr. Dickey:

For what it is worth, my

interpretation is that it makes any action taken under section 332 subject to the provisions of the Maritime Freight Rates Act.

Topic:   RAILWAY ACT
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTING CERTAIN RECOMMENDATIONS OF ROYAL COMMISSION ON TRANSPORTATION
Sub-subtopic:   MAINTENANCE OF TRACKAGE
Permalink
PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (St. John's West):

That is what it says; but what does it mean?

Topic:   RAILWAY ACT
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTING CERTAIN RECOMMENDATIONS OF ROYAL COMMISSION ON TRANSPORTATION
Sub-subtopic:   MAINTENANCE OF TRACKAGE
Permalink
LIB

John Horace Dickey

Liberal

Mr. Dickey:

Strange as it may seem, it means exactly what it says.

Topic:   RAILWAY ACT
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTING CERTAIN RECOMMENDATIONS OF ROYAL COMMISSION ON TRANSPORTATION
Sub-subtopic:   MAINTENANCE OF TRACKAGE
Permalink
PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (St. John's West):

That is what you think.

LMr. Dickey.]

Topic:   RAILWAY ACT
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTING CERTAIN RECOMMENDATIONS OF ROYAL COMMISSION ON TRANSPORTATION
Sub-subtopic:   MAINTENANCE OF TRACKAGE
Permalink

October 26, 1951