March 11, 1952

LIB

Thomas Andrew Murray Kirk

Liberal

Mr. T. A. M. Kirk (Digby-Yarmouth):

Has

the Department of Fisheries or any other department of the federal government receivedi any request from any province or any department thereof for financial assistance to rehabilitate the fishing industry in those sections of the maritimes which suffered so severely during recent storms?

Topic:   FISHERIES
Subtopic:   MARITIME PROVINCES
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE FOLLOWING STORM DAMAGE
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LIB

Robert Wellington Mayhew (Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Hon. R. W. Mayhew (Minister of Fisheries):

The hon. member was kind enough to give

me notice of his question. I can only reply that I did receive a wire from Newfoundland saying one of their ministers was coming to Ottawa to discuss with the department the matter of .storm damage. I have not received any intimation from any other provincial government.

Topic:   FISHERIES
Subtopic:   MARITIME PROVINCES
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE FOLLOWING STORM DAMAGE
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PORK PRODUCTS

STATEMENT AS TO PRICE SUPPORT


On the orders of the day:


LIB

Robert McCubbin (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Robert McCubbin (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture):

Yesterday the hon. member for Assiniboia (Mr. Argue) asked a question with respect to floor prices for certain cuts of pork. I can assure him that the floor price is the floor price which is contained in the order of February 16, which no doubt he has seen. We have agreed over this last week end to buy certain pork products at the floor price that was paid, and put them into cans.

Topic:   PORK PRODUCTS
Subtopic:   STATEMENT AS TO PRICE SUPPORT
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SC

Robert Fair

Social Credit

Mr. Fair:

Is the floor price mentioned by the parliamentary assistant effective so far as the producer is concerned?

Topic:   PORK PRODUCTS
Subtopic:   STATEMENT AS TO PRICE SUPPORT
Permalink
LIB

Robert McCubbin (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. McCubbin:

The answer is yes.

Topic:   PORK PRODUCTS
Subtopic:   STATEMENT AS TO PRICE SUPPORT
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SC

Robert Fair

Social Credit

Mr. Fair:

You mean at the packers' level; not at the producer's level.

Topic:   PORK PRODUCTS
Subtopic:   STATEMENT AS TO PRICE SUPPORT
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LIVESTOCK

REFERENCE TO STATEMENT OF MANAGER OF BURNS PLANT IN REGINA


On the orders of the day:


LIB

Robert McCubbin (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Robert McCubbin (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture):

Yesterday the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) asked a question in connection with the foot-and-mouth disease being found in the Burns stockyards or packing house, or any of their premises. I can tell him that the foot-and-mouth disease was diagnosed in the feed lots of the Burns packing plant in Regina.

Topic:   LIVESTOCK
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO STATEMENT OF MANAGER OF BURNS PLANT IN REGINA
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SPEECH FROM THE THRONE

CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY


The house resumed, from Monday, March 10, consideration of the motion of Mr. E. W. George for an address to His Excellency the Governor General in reply to his speech at the opening of the session, and the amendment thereto of Mr. Fair, and the amendment to the amendment of Mr. Bryce.


PC

Walter Gilbert Dinsdale

Progressive Conservative

Mr. W. G. Dinsdale (Brandon):

Mr. Speaker, when the house adjourned last evening I had agreed with the recent statement by the

The Address-Mr. Dinsdale Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) that governments had no philosopher's stone by which they could solve all the problems of the world, political and social. At the same time I was deploring the fact that there has been a tendency on the part of this government to promote the idea that all the wonderful progress and economic benefits we have seen in Canada since the war have been directly associated with the administrative policies of this government. Of course you cannot have it both ways, and today we find that we are faced with some real problems that have been outlined in the motion proposed by this party.

When I concluded my remarks last evening I was dealing specifically with farm problems, which have been discussed at some length already this session. I would point out that the dairy industry continues to decline. There is also a decline in diversified farming. In making their presentations to me many farmers declare that this decline in diversified farming, with all the harmful consequences it is bound to have on this basic industry, is the result of the income tax policy of this government, particularly as it applies to farmers in the prairie provinces. They feel it is of no personal benefit if they continue to produce beyond a certain level of income, because all the results of their endeavours will be skimmed off by the excessive income tax. Of course the problem of labour supply is associated with that condition as well. Last evening it was pointed out by the member for Spadina (Mr. Croll) that there is a severe lack of qualified recruits for our agricultural industry. He told us that since the end of the war 77 per cent of all immigrants have found their way to the industrialized east rather than to the area of Canada most in need of these human resources. These difficulties are giving rise to a new agrarian protest which is making itself felt on the prairies. I am sure that this agrarian protest, which in the last thirty years has produced two great political movements, with their consequent divisive effect on Canadian unity would be much more severe today were it not for the fact that we have been blessed with an unbroken series of good crops and relatively stable prices due to prevailing world shortages.

This leads me to the conclusion that in the west we have never subscribed to the myth that has been so carefully cultivated by our government, that all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds. As I listen to the representatives from the maritimes I feel that they too have much the same attitude. Highlighting the situation so far as we are concerned is the redistribution bill which

302 HOUSE OF

The Address-Mr. Dinsdale was introduced yesterday, and which indicates that Saskatchewan and Manitoba are both faced with the loss of several representatives in this house. I have some statistics on the population decline in the prairies published by the Manitoba defence development committee. This committee outlines the situation as follows:

As evidence of this the population of the prairie provinces in 1941 was 2,422,000, but during the next five years, due in great part to this migration, the population dropped 59,000, a decrease of 2-4 per cent. From 1946 to 1951, when this drain was not present, the prairie provinces increased their population by 175,000. It is a reasonable assumption that the need for industrial workers in the central provinces cost the prairies over 200,000 persons during the war years.

Those figures will become significant as in a few moments I proceed to deal with the problem of industrialization on the prairies.

Related to the redistribution situation, however, we have the matter of federal aid to education. For years now, due to this rural-urban migration carrying off the cream of our young people, we have been subsidizing the east educationally. As soon as our young people graduate from high school, rather than making their contribution on the prairies they move to the central provinces of Ontario or Quebec in search of employment. At the basis of this problem is the factor of the slow industrial development of the prairies. Actually we are just beginning to industrialize. Recent reports, particularly since the war, are very encouraging. For example, we can boast that during 1951 our gross product in Manitoba amounted to $546 million, and the number of workers now employed in Manitoba industry total 44,700, which is an increase of 87 per cent.

On the prairies we are just beginning to move toward a diversified economy. Perhaps we are in the same position that Ontario and Quebec found themselves in at the close of world war I. I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, that the only permanent solution for the repeated expression of agrarian protest with which we have been faced during the first half of the twentieth century is to have a diversified economy. It seems to me that the fact that we are today faced with a tremendous task in defence production provides an excellent opportunity to encourage the industrial trend that is already under way on the iprairies. Other encouraging factors are the recent discovery of oil in Manitoba, in two parts of my own- riding, one near the town of Virden, and the other near the town of Reston; and the mining developments in the northern part of the province. I say that with the huge contracts being awarded in connection with defence production, we have

an opportunity of encouraging the trend that is already so substantially under way in Manitoba.

If we examine the situation up to the present time, we are forced to the conclusion that there has been no real effort in this regard. In an article in Saturday Night last autumn, prepared by the editor of the Winnipeg Tribune, this title was used: "Manitoba ready and waiting." Recent statistics released by the Manitoba defence development committee express the situation in more concrete terms. The committee states:

With 5'7 per cent of Canada's population and 4 per cent of Canada's manufacturing capacity, Manitoba to date (January 15, 1952) has received 2-8 per cent of the money spent in defence contracts. Of this 2-8 per cent approximately one third has been for the construction of air stations and other military establishments, which, while helpful, have no peacetime industrial value. Furthermore, of the remaining contracts placed here a substantial portion are for clothing and for aircraft work of which a high proportion of the total cost represents materials, parts, engines, etc., which were manufactured in the central provinces.

I was delighted to read in a report of the defence production board for February that Brandon had received its first real defence contract. Recorded on page 3 of that publication was the information that a contract had been awarded to the Canadian Brown Steel Tank Company for the sum of approximately $140,000. There was only one sour note in that announcement, in that they listed Brandon as Brandon, Ontario, instead of Brandon, Manitoba. I can only conclude this error was due to force of habit.

I must now conclude my remarks. The members from the west, as well as the members from other parts of Canada, gave their wholehearted support to the St. Lawrence seaway project when it was before us last session. We did so realizing that the immediate effect of the St. Lawrence project would1 be to intensify the centralization of industry in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. We understood, however, that it was important to the defence of Canada, and all we ask is that, in the total industrial development of Canada, a conscious program of national development be undertaken by the government for the development of a healthy national life.

I think we are forced to the conclusion that there has never been a time in the history of Canada when centralization has proceeded more rapidly than it has during the past dozen years. If we are to have an equitable distribution of population, to maintain the basis of Canadian unity and to prepare in this country the bulwarks of defence, we must realize that a basic consideration should be the dispersal of industry right

across the country, the allotment of defence contracts in such a way that the minimum of disturbance is introduced into the economy, and making sure that this work is handled in the most economical way possible, with an eye to the future as well as the urgent demands of the immediate.

I am sorry that my time is exhausted, Mr. Speaker. I have more to say, but there will be other opportunities to take part in further discussions.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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LIB

Daniel Aloysius Riley

Liberal

Mr. D. A. Riley (Saint John-Alberi):

Mr. Speaker, I first wish to offer my congratulations to the mover (Mr. George) and the seconder (Mr. Gauthier, Lake St. John) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne. To us who come from New Brunswick the excellence of the speech made by the mover was not surprising, because he is one of our colleagues. He performed his task in an extraordinarily capable manner, and, with the hon. member for Lake St. John, is deserving of the highest commendation.

It was with satisfaction that we learned from the speech from the throne that at this session of parliament a bill to amend the War Veterans Allowance Act is to be introduced. I sincerely hope that this bill is being designed to provide for general increases in the rates payable to veterans who come within the scope of this act. I further hope that those increases, if they come, will be in keeping with the spirit of the act and will provide for the recipients of the allowance and their dependents sufficient funds to enable them to maintain their independence and their self-respect.

No one will deny the principle of these allowances. It is one that has been recognized for many years by national leaders, by governments and by citizens generally in this country. I refer to the principle that special assistance is owing by the state to those of our countrymen whose minds or bodies have become ravaged through wartime service in the uniform of their sovereign. Having in mind the fact that this principle has been accepted, it is the solemn duty of parliament to regulate the rates of this special assistance in order to meet the exigencies of the times. I have had personal contact with many of these cases and have firsthand knowledge whereof I speak. I am particularly concerned about cases in which children are involved, believing as I do that a special formula of rates should be devised so that those children may be provided for in a normal manner.

I express particular concern over these cases, but I also express concern over another matter. When the increases are forthcoming,

The Address-Mr. Riley it is to be hoped that the maximum extra income, beyond the assistance, allowed under the act will also be increased. While I am on the subject I should also like to point out that more discretion should be allowed to the war veterans allowance board, or more leniency should be shown by them, in consideration and examination of applications from widows of war veterans for special assistance.

The main subject, Mr. Speaker, of my remarks today is the condition now existing in the port of Saint John. From time to time, more particularly in recent years, the facilities of the port of Saint John have been taxed up to and beyond their limits. Since the disastrous fire which destroyed most of our port's facilities back in 1931 there has been a gradual rebuilding of the piers and sheds along our waterfront. But with this rebuilding has also come an increase in the amount of traffic which flows into and out of our port. The port of Saint John is one of the two ports available for winter traffic on the Atlantic seaboard of this country. Because of that fact, our port and the port of Halifax occupy a vitally strategic position in the economy of the country. At the present time we have in Saint John berthage for twenty-four deep-sea vessels and two coastal vessels. We have something like ten piers on the one side of the harbour, or ten main wharves, and a couple on the east side. Over the past ten years we have had something like 33 million tons of freight go through our port. During the past year this traffic has tended to increase more than ever. Because of this fact I want to focus the attention of the membership of this house on our port today.

Over the past week or so I have received a large number of complaints from businessmen, from the mayor of the city of Saint John, and from the president and members of our board of trade. These complaints deal with the fact that our port is overcrowded at the present time. As I said, we have something like twenty-four berths for deep-sea vessels. When I received some complaints last week about a number of vessels lying outside of the berths at anchor, I checked on the matter and at that time I found that there were thirty-five vessels in port. Twenty-one of them were working, six were at anchor, five were awaiting berths and three were under repair. The complaints last week dealt mainly with the fact that some of the pit-prop exports which were leaving our province were held up, or that the ships which were going to load those pit-props were held up. I investigated and found that on this particular occasion, because rail traffic had been

304 HOUSE OF

The Address-Mr. Riley handicapped by heavy snowstorms in the eastern provinces, and because there may have been some mutual understanding between port authorities and the shippers, these pit-props were not being handled as expeditiously as they might have been. There may be a very good explanation for this condition, but it arose at a time when the port was congested otherwise, and it sharply focused the attention not only of our businessmen and citizens generally in the city of Saint John, but also of our provincial authorities, on this particular problem which had to do with the export and import traffic through our harbour. .

The question may be raised as to why those who have nothing to do with the operation of our harbour itself may become interested in what might appear to be trifling problems of this nature. But I want to point out that the port of Saint John constitutes an integral part of the economy of our province and a very important part of the economy of the country. It should also be borne in mind that, unlike the port of Montreal, the citizens generally in the city of Saint John are seriously affected by problems which affect the port. We have something like 5,000 waterfront workers whose livelihood depends largely upon the movement of freight through our port. I can quite understand the reasons why our citizens have become aroused over the fact that the facilities available at Saint John harbour at the present time are insufficient to handle the amount of freight which is now going through the different docks.

I have wondered at times whether in requesting the construction of other facilities in our harbour I might not be shouting against the wind. I have wondered whether the volume of traffic generally throughout the year would not warrant the huge capital expenditures which are necessary on the part of the federal treasury in order to provide additional berths in a harbour such as ours. But after talking to shipping people, speaking to shipping agents and hearing accounts of the diversion, because of the lack of facilities, of ships which might otherwise have come to Saint John, I have come to the conclusion that we have reached the stage where we must demand more forcibly that additional port facilities be made available along our harbour front.

I have had occasion to bring to the attention of the cabinet the fact that we should have a continuous program of port expansion, and in recent years I have been advised that port expansion programs must necessarily be curtailed because of the necessity of

heavy defence expenditures. Well, I maintain that the expenditure of capital funds in expanding port facilities in ports such as we have in Saint John and Halifax go away beyond national defence requirements. They are an integral part of the economy of the country, and as the economy of Canada expands, as our trade expands, we must be in a position to handle the incoming and outgoing traffic through our ports.

I have reference at this time particularly to a couple of dilapidated docks on the east side of our harbour, which should constitute the next step in the rebuilding program of our port. The Digby boat wharf, so-called, and the Reeds Point wharf, are in such a dilapidated condition that they are not only a disgrace to our city but a disgrace to this country as a whole. I know that there have been instances in which ships would have come to use the facilities of our port if these particular berths were available and in shape for ocean-going vessels. When I was down in Saint John last year with some fifty members of parliament I had occasion to point out to them, standing on Pugsley pier-the newest of our piers on the eastern side of the harbour-the appallingly dilapidated condition of the Digby boat wharf. I have a picture in my hand which was enlarged from a snapshot taken by one of the visitors at that time. It shows that I am pointing out to the hon. member for Leeds (Mr. Fulford) the disgraceful condition of this pier. I recall that at that time he expressed concern over it. In a port such as we have in Saint John we should keep pace with our expanding commerce and have these berths available for the type of traffic offered. I can remember at that time that the hon. member for Bruce (Mr. Blue) expressing somewhat similar sentiments, and also the hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Laing). The hon. member for Kootenay East (Mr. Byrne) expressed the same sentiments. Therefore when I bring this problem to the attention of the house I bring it to the attention of men who have had some firsthand knowledge of the conditions existing in our harbour.

I know that the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) is aware of these conditions. I know that during personal tours of inspection of our harbour front he has expressed some concern himself over the condition of the Digby boat wharf and the Reeds Point wharf. At the same time I know that the Minister of Transport-although he is deeply sympathetic and wants to see the facilities of these ports expand; I feel certain of that-does not make government policy. It is for this reason that I want to urge upon the government as a whole that they allocate sufficient funds to rebuild the Digby boat wharf and the Reeds

Point wharf. Although it may cost millions of dollars, and the defence program may be such that public works of a non-essential character should be curtailed, I want to see the government allocate sufficient funds to rebuild these piers, because they are as essential as most defence projects, and tie in directly with them.

I further think that the rebuilding of these piers should be but the commencement of a continued and uninterrupted program of expansion of the port of Saint John. The long wharf which lies to the east side of the harbour is in such a disgraceful dilapidated condition that it needs but a nudge to collapse into the water. We need an extension of some of the piers on the west side of the harbour. We need new berths beyond the ones I have mentioned on the east side of the harbour, and we need some development work in the Courtenay bay area.

These may seem to be extravagant demands for my constituency, but if the government will examine the significance of the necessity for these expenditures I am sure that they will agree with me that they constitute the type of expenditure which should be made at this time.

I should like to mention also the question of the defence of Saint John harbour. During the last war when we had to defend our coast line there were a number of unfortunate sinkings in the area of Halifax. We know that submarines were hovering off the coast at times when the lifeline of the allied nations was in need of careful preservation. Because of a lack of harbour facilities at Saint John it was necessary at times for seven or eight ships to lie at anchor and thus provide perfect targets for submarines. It is only by pure luck that we did not have sinkings directly outside of Saint John harbour.

This may sound like an extravagant statement, but I think the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Claxton) will bear me out when I say that at a time when we were feeling comfortably secure along the Atlantic coast an enemy submarine landed a human cargo just a few miles southeast of the harbour of Saint John. At that particular time there must have been seven or eight ships strung out within a few miles of the landing point of that submarine. I feel sure that the only reason' that torpedoes were not launched at those ships was that the captain of the enemy submarine had been given orders to land his human cargo and get out of the way without exciting undue apprehension on the part of those in charge of that defence area.

The main section of Saint John is located on a peninsula and there are only two narrow arteries, with bridges on each, leading from

The Address-Mr. Riley the city. It would be quite possible to cripple those bridges with small charges of explosives. I do not know the defence program in connection with our east coast ports and it may well be that provision for the necessary protection has been made, but in case it has not, I urge upon the government the necessity of paying particular attention to the port of Saint John and perhaps to the port of Halifax as well. This matter may be within the scope of civil defence and if so I hope they will take heed of what I am saying. It may be considered a municipal responsibility, but when regard is given to the fact that Saint John is a vital and strategic port in time of war and in time of peace the problem becomes national in scope.

When we urge the necessity of defence in the Saint John area we do not do so simply for the security of our own families and our own property; we do it because we feel there is a need for national security. Before I close I want to urge that something be done in the immediate future to correct this serious situation which presently exists in Saint John harbour, due to the fact that there are not sufficient port facilities to handle the ever-increasing volume of traffic going through that port. In order to show that this traffic is increasing, I should like to indicate the tonnage handled in certain months last year as well as in certain months this year. The figures are as follows:

tons

January, 1951 345,237

January, 1952 382,816

February, 1951 358,617

February, 1952 384,697

It will be seen that the increase is substantial. I should like to stress again the possibilities of loss of traffic. On Friday of last week I was informed by some of my shipping friends in Saint John that two ships had left the harbour because they could not wait either to load or to unload their cargoes. I do not know where those ships went; they may have gone to the United States or over to Halifax.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

John Horace Dickey

Liberal

Mr. Dickey:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

Daniel Aloysius Riley

Liberal

Mr. Riley:

The hon. member for Halifax says, "hear, hear". When the time comes for any other section of the maritimes to get something a little extra, I am all for it. I agree with him wholeheartedly. I have many friends in the shipping business who are seriously concerned over the situation. These men are operating businesses which depend upon the prosperity and success of the port, but they are also interested in community affairs. I should like to be able to tell these men in the near future that the government, which I was elected to support-

306 HOUSE OF

The Address-Mr. Herridge

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink

March 11, 1952