May 9, 1953

PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Gordon Graydon (Peel):

May I ask

the Acting Prime Minister whether at any time today the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) intends to make any statement in connection with his discussions with President Eisenhower?

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Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR STATEMENT ON DISCUSSIONS OF PRIME MINISTER AND PRESIDENT EISENHOWER
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Defence Production; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Right Hon. C. D. Howe (Acting Prime Minister):

Here again the Prime Minister

has not informed me of his intention to do so. I understand that he will be in the house later in the day, and I presume he will make his own decision on the matter in question.

The house in committee of supply, Mr. Beaudoin in the chair.

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS Architectural branch-

Acquisition, construction and improvements of public buildings-

693. Newfoundland, $100,000.

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PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Chairman, would the Minister of Public Works be in a position to give an explanation of the type of public building to be erected at Harbour Grace, and also at Burin, Carbonear, Deer Lake and Windsor?

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LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. Fournier (Hull):

Mr. Chairman, at Harbour Grace the amount is required toward the acquisition of a site and the erection thereon of a public building to provide accommodation for the postal service, Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other government services. The Post Office Department have advised that they are in most urgent need of improved postal accommodation at Harbour Grace. The tentative estimate as to cost is about $100,000. What were the other ones to which my hon. friend referred?

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PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

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

Burin, Carbonear, Deer Lake and Windsor.

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LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. Fournier (Hull):

This vote provides only toward the acquisition of sites and the preparation of plans. No provision is made for any actual construction. The department

feels that this vote will have some advantage over the usual procedure of having an individual allotment for each place. In the past, when funds were provided under a title "site for public building", it was felt that the amount provided was sometimes regarded by property owners as an amount the crown was prepared to pay for a suitable site in that place.

The department has now changed the procedure so that no one will assume that a figure for a specific site is referred to. We have left off giving details of prices at which we intend to acquire sites. That applies to the repetition of these votes all through the supplementary estimates.

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PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

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

With

reference to the expenditure for Harbour Grace, let me say that I think that is a very good move. Harbour Grace is certainly in need of a public building. The post office was destroyed by fire a number of years ago, and it is a good idea to spend this money at that point.

Then, in regard to Burin, Carbonear, Deer Lake and Windsor, I am also glad to see that they are getting public buildings. I should like to congratulate hon. members in the Liberal party that they have been able to get public buildings at those points, in their constituencies, so easily. I would draw to the attention of the Minister of Public Works, however, the fact that there are two more places outside of St. John's where nothing has been done at all about public buildings, and where the population is much greater. I refer to Placentia and Ferryland. Placentia was the ancient capital of Newfoundland. The building used there is an old one, and there is need for a suitable building at that place.

Then, at the old settlement of Ferryland, which is the capital of the district of Ferryland, a private dwelling has been in use for some time, and I would hope the minister would keep in mind a public building there. Otherwise we will have to wait until a Conservative government is in office.

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LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. Fournier (Hull):

I am always pleased to receive recommendations from members of parliament, from whatever side of the house they come. But I have also to follow the advice of the different departments of government making the requisitions. Our judgment is based upon those requisitions. You would be surprised to know how many people think they should advise us in these matters.

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Item agreed to. Architectural branch- Acquisition, construction and improvements of public buildings- 695. Prince Edward Island, $25,000.


PC

Winfield Chester Scott McLure

Progressive Conservative

Mr. McLure:

What is to be the total cost of the building at O'Leary, Prince Edward Island? Is it to be a post office?

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LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. Fournier (Hull):

This amount at

O'Leary is to provide toward the purchase of a site and the erection of a public building to accommodate the post office and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police there. The proposed work is requested by the Post Office Department, who state that they are at present provided with insufficient space. They require about four times as much as they have. This was strongly recommended to us by the Post Office Department.

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Item agreed to. Architectural branch- Acquisition, construction and improvements of public buildings- 698. Ottawa, $400,000.


PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

I note that this vote is for public buildings in Ottawa. Yesterday when we were discussing the estimate for Atomic Energy of Canada Limited I pointed out the unfortunate position in which the radioactive branch of the geological survey are placed because of improper accommodation for their work. I said that at least in one instance they have expensive equipment they are unable to use, because it is impossible to air condition the room in the basement of the museum. In the course of that discussion the Minister of Defence Production said, as reported at page 4985 of Hansard:

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Defence Production; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

Blame the Minister of Public Works.

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LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. Fournier (Hull) :

Don't you think I have been blamed enough?

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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

But there is a ridiculous position.

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?

An hon. Member:

They are falling apart over there.

My statement of yesterday is confirmed today by the report of the special committee of the house on atomic energy. I refer to two portions of that report, one of which deals with the radioactive resources division of the geological survey of Canada, and the other with the radioactivity division of the mines branch.

In that part of the report which deals with the radioactive resources division I find this paragraph:

Your committee finds that the work of the radioactive resources division, geological survey of Canada, Department of Mines and Technical Surveys, is being hampered by a lack of adequate accommodation and your committee recommends that the government give immediate consideration to providing adequate accommodation for the important work being carried on by this division.

Supply-Public Works

The minister will note the adjective "immediate". And then in that part dealing with the radioactivity division of the mines branch I find this paragraph:

Your committee finds that the work of the radioactivity division, mines branch, Department of Mines and Technical Surveys, is being somewhat hampered by overcrowding. Your committee recommends that the government give immediate consideration to this problem.

I hope the Minister of Public Works will heed these recommendations. New government buildings are being erected in Ottawa all the time. I realize that other departments need buildings, although I sometimes wonder why we have to keep on putting up half-size buildings to house records. Field Marshal Montgomery said the other day when referring to NATO that there was so much paper work that he had never realized there was so much paper in the whole world. I am afraid that the government of Canada is getting into that position. One of these days Ottawa will be half full of records, which might better have been sent down the Ottawa river. However, that is merely an aside.

In this country where there have been such important discoveries in recent years and where the whole country needs the assistance given by the radioactive resources division and the mines branch I think it is poor business to have them improperly housed. The conditions under which the radioactive resources division are working are simply intolerable. I wish the Minister of Public Works would take a trip through that basement himself and if he does not break his neck falling over boxes or one thing and another I am sure he will come away convinced that something should be done at once to give these people proper accommodation. I should like to know today whether he proposes taking steps to meet this urgent need.

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LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. Fournier (Hull):

We have an item of $7 million in the main estimates for Ottawa which is allocated among the many buildings under construction. In that list the hon. member will find four items concerning mines and technical surveys. The building program in Ottawa amounts to millions of dollars and therefore we cannot expect to have them all done at the same time. I would hesitate to put too large an amount in the estimates for the capital city because, as the hon. member knows, that has been criticized before.

I believe the hon. member is right in the instance he has mentioned. I always give serious consideration to recommendations made by committees dealing with these matters and the hon. member may be sure that that project will be on the list. But when they say that this is up to the Minister of

Supply-Public Works Public Works, while they may be correct to a certain extent the fact is that I am under the thumb of other authorities which hand out the money. They do not give me an unlimited amount to spend. These items must be screened and they decide on the priority of the projects. I am glad to say that my colleague, the Minister of Finance, is always quite fair to public works, but at certain times he does take drastic action and projects do fall by the way.

I think Field Marshal Montgomery is perfectly correct in what he says about records, and it may be that records dating back to confederation should be disposed of; but the government is always faced with questions asked by the opposition as to the administration of departments. Personally I would be ready to get rid of a lot of documents, but I cannot influence the departments to agree. They tell me that they never can tell when they will be needed. If we were caught short I know what my hon. friend probably would say. He would tell us that we should not destroy important documents even though they go back fifty years. I think we have to use some judgment, but I shall try to meet the request of the hon. gentleman.

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PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

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

Could the minister explain just why there is a power plant at Tunney's Park. I do not see any-think in the main estimates dealing with such a power plant.

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LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. Fournier (Hull):

Technically I am not in a position to give a description of the power plant. I have some efficient officials who would be ready to meet the hon. gentleman on short notice and take him on a trip through the plant and explain these technical matters. The hon. gentleman realizes that I act on the advice of my officials who know about these things.

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May 9, 1953