Hon. Lionel Chevrier (Minisier of Transport):
Mr. Speaker, I should like to make an announcement concerning telecommunications between Newfoundland and the mainland.
An agreement has been reached by the six companies providing long distance telephone services between these points reducing the rates effective Monday, December 1, between Newfoundland and the mainland.
The companies involved are the two crown companies, the Canadian Overseas Telecommunication Corporation, which operate the over-water link for the network, and the Canadian National Telegraphs, which provide land line services in Newfoundland, and the radio communication between Port aux Basques and North Sydney. The four private companies are the Avalon Telephone Company of St. John's, Newfoundland, the Maritime Telegraph and Telephone Company, the Bell Telephone Company of Canada, and the New Brunswick Telephone Company. The toll reductions will be borne proportionally by each of the companies concerned, according to the amount of service rendered.
The new rates for three-minute calls between Newfoundland and the maritime provinces are based on mileage instead of the present flat charge of $7.20. For example, the new rate between St. John's and Halifax will be $3.20, a reduction of $4; between Corner Brook and Moncton, $2.65 or a reduction of $4.55. The rate for calls between anywhere in Quebec and Newfoundland will be reduced to $4.50 from $7.20; from Ontario the new rate will be $6 instead of $7.50; from Manitoba, $6 instead of $9; comparable reductions will go into effect for calls to and from Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.
In June of this year, I indicated to the house that there was a contemplated reduction in long distance telephone charges between Newfoundland and the mainland, and I am gratified at the results of the discussions which have taken place between the various companies involved.
I think that the results achieved are very satisfactory, and I am sure that hon. members, representing Newfoundland in this house, will join with me in extending our appreciation to the officers of the companies involved and, more particularly, to those of the Canadian Overseas Telecommunication Corporation for the manner in which the problem of the long distance telephone rates has been solved.
Subtopic: REDUCTION IN RATES BETWEEN NEWFOUNDLAND AND MAINLAND