Mr. Browne (St. John's West):
I should like to make one other reference to prices. The Prime Minister was certainly very anxious about making comparisons, but he should remember one thing, and it is a very simple thing. Prices fluctuate, and sometimes the advertisers put in the paper articles that they know will be most attractive and draw customers to the stores. That is particularly true with respect to the price of eggs. It seems to be a futile business to try to compare egg prices. For five days there was a daily difference of 5 cents in the price of eggs here in Ottawa. On one day they were 82 cents, the following day 77 cents, the next day 72, the next day back to 77 and then up to 82 and down to 80. Some of these things are fluctuating from time to time; but in regard to the main items of clothing, hardware, house furnishings, and that sort of thing, all hon. members will agree with me when I say that prices are very much lower in the United States than they are in Canada. It is a great temptation for people who visit therebecause the legal limit is only $100 every three months-to bring in goods clandestinely.
For the remainder of my talk I should like to make reference to conditions in Newfoundland. Last year I drew attention to the low prices which the Newfoundland fishermen were receiving for their fish. As a result of the crisis that developed over the fish situation in Newfoundland, the federal government called for an investigation by the fisheries prices support board, and the provincial government ordered a committee to inquire into the prices which had been paid to fishermen. The committee which was appointed by the provincial government was headed by Mr. Bruce Feather, who was released by the federal government. He had been employed in the Department of Trade and Commerce. He brought in an interim report which the government said justified them in stating that 55 merchants had underpaid the fishermen, and that they were considering introducing retroactive legislation which would compel the merchants to pay higher prices than they had paid for the 1950 catch. I was afraid that the turmoil that was caused over this would prevent the fishermen getting anything from the fisheries prices support board; but fortunately the fisheries prices support board kept on an even keel and went ahead with their investigation. As hon. members know, a couple of days before the house opened the Minister of Fisheries (Mr. Mayhew) made an announcement that as a result of their investigation they were going to pay to all fishermen in Newfoundland the sum of $1.30 per quintal. A quintal is the weight we use for fish. It is a Spanish word meaning 112 pounds or a hundredweight. The federal government is going to pay that, as soon as they get the necessary information to enable them to pay it. They are going to pay it direct to the fishermen, and they are paying it independently of what the fishermen received for their fish. Some fishermen received an average of $3, some $4, some $5 and some received $9, or perhaps even higher than that. I am not at all satisfied with the bare statement contained in this announcement. We should have from the minister or from his parliamentary assistant a statement as to how this figure of $1.30 was arrived at. It seems to me the government said that the full worth of the fish was $10.10, and that the average price received was $8.80, which left a balance of $1.30, and that therefore the fishermen should receive $1.30.
However, I do wish to say this, that the fishermen of Newfoundland are pleased, and are grateful to the government for having come to their rescue in the 1950 season, and for paying even this $1.30. Of course some of them will not make money by receiving
The Address-Mr. W. J. Browne that sum, because they received such low prices for their fish. However, it is something which the majority did not believe the federal government would pay at all.
This past summer, in company with my wife, I had the privilege of touring Newfoundland, travelling around the island on a boat operated by the Canadian National Railways. We went to Corner Brook, and then visited all the various outports along the coast of Newfoundland, up to Labrador, and down the east coast. I found it most interesting, a beautiful trip. The scenery is magnificent, and I would recommend it highly to any hon. members who might want to take a trip next summer. They could take the same steamship S.S. Northern Ranger, and make the trip around the coast.
I was about to say however that in the various outports I visited I saw evidence of work being done by the federal Department of Public Works, in the restoration of wharves. I saw many fine wharves built by that department. Perhaps I am a little jealous of the attention districts represented by Liberal members have received. It seems to me they received the lion's share of the moneys expended by the Department of Public Works. The Minister of Public Works (Mr. Fournier) need not shake his head in a negative fashion, because I am satisfied that by far the greater portion of money has been spent in districts represented by Liberal members. That applies particularly to the constituency represented by the Secretary of State (Mr. Bradley). In fact I believe that in the last two years about $3 million have been spent in that riding alone. Mind you, I am not saying the money is not well spent. Nevertheless the fact is that that amount of money is being spent in his constituency. In Bonavista at the present time a wharf valued at $150,000 is being constructed and at Carbonear in the constituency represented by the hon. member for Trinity-Conception (Mr. Stick) another wharf valued at $150,000 is also being constructed.
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY