If I did not deal with these questions before six o'clock it was not because I thought there was no argument about them. I agree there should be argument in the house about every proposal to increase salaries and amend statutes. The only reason I did not refer to the matter then was because I thought it was probably better to deal with such questions when we were in committee. I am quite happy to answer some of them now.
The question raised by the hon. member for Peel, and also referred to by the hon. member who has just spoken, about the justification for increases of this kind becomes very important. I listened incidentally, Mr. Chairman, with great interest to some of the observations of my hon. friend about salaries generally and the necessity of trying to keep them on a comparable basis. Some of those observations which dealt with cabinet ministers' salaries, for instance, may have evoked a warm response within me, but it is a matter about which it would be improper for me to say anything, as the hon. member himself indicated. I should like to add that whatever he may say about the Prime Minister outside the house, we shall always recall with gratitude the estimate of the high value
of the Prime Minister's services which he has made inside the house, and with which we agree.
It is quite true, as the hon. member has indicated, that this question of the salaries of different officers should not if possible be dealt with piecemeal. Indeed it is not, because there is a continuing review of these salaries, and there has been an effort to bring them all up to a reasonable level in view of changed conditions. That was the case with this particular commission, and the salaries of its chairman and its members. The work of the international joint commission has grown in value and in importance over recent years. I do not think there is any doubt about that. I believe I could confirm that statement by a comparison of the references which are now before this commission with those which were before the commission eight or ten years ago. The hon. member for Peel mentioned only a comparatively small number of references. If hon. members will recall the annual report of the Department of External Affairs for 1951, on page 19 there is a chapter devoted to the work of the commission, which shows how important and how widespread are the references which are now before it.
The main reason it is proposed that these salaries be increased is because of the increased work, and the increased importance of that work, as well as the fact that a salary which might have been appropriate in 1911 might be considered not so appropriate in 1952. I think I am right in saying that until fairly recently the work of the members of the international joint commission has not been such as to occupy all the time of the members of the commission on either the Canadian or the United States side. But certainly that is not the case now. It is now a full-time job for all the members, as even a cursory survey of the work now before the commission would show. For instance, at the present time there is before the commission a reference on the pollution of boundary waters; the Sage creek reference; the Niagara river reference; the Saint John river reference; the question of atmospheric pollution; the Souris-Red rivers reference; the Waterton-Belly rivers reference, which is an extremely important one; the Columbia river reference; the flood control projects on the Okanagan river; the Kootenay river projects; the project to construct a dam near Waneta, British Columbia, to say nothing of the St. Lawrence reference which we hope will be before the commission shortly and indeed the reference on lake levels to which the hon. member for Peel has referred, and which we are trying to work out with the United States government at the
Boundary Waters Treaty Act present time in a form which is satisfactory to both governments. One of our preoccupations in that attempt is to make sure that a reference of this kind, of such great importance, will not get in the way of or unnecessarily postpone the St. Lawrence waterway reference which will include proposals fundamentally related to the control of lake levels.
I therefore think it is fair to say that the work of the commission has grown in volume and in importance. A proposal of this kind that the salaries of the members of the commission should be increased is not merely a recognition of changed conditions since 1911 but also a recognition of the growing importance of this work.
Subtopic: AMENDMENT TO INCREASE MAXIMUM SALARIES OF MEMBERS OF CANADIAN SECTION . OF INTERNATIONAL JOINT COMMISSION, ETC.