July 26, 1955


On the orders of the day:


LIB

George Carlyle Marler (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Hon. George C. Marler (Minister of Transport):

Mr. Speaker, on Saturday last the

Inquiries of the Ministry hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) drew my attention to a telegram he had received from the international association of machinists, lodge 189, protesting against further lay-offs by the Canadian National Railways at Winnipeg, and asked that these representations be brought to the attention of the management.

In reply to my inquiry, the management has informed me that the lay-offs in question affect three men and are part of the staff reduction initiated last May in connection with the discontinuance of steam locomotive repairs at the Fort Rouge main shops.

The hon. member for Winnipeg South (Mr. Trainor) asked a supplementary question regarding diesel repair work at the Fort Rouge shops. I think he will find the situation in this respect was fully explained in an answer I gave on April 20 last to the hon. member for Winnipeg North.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   REPORTED FURTHER LAY-OFFS AT WINNIPEG
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INCREASED UNITED STATES APPROPRIATION FOR DISPOSAL OF SURPLUS FARM CROPS


On the orders of the day:


PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Donald M. Fleming (Eglinton):

Mr. Speaker, may I ask the Minister of Trade and Commerce, or the Secretary of State for External Affairs, whether the government has taken note of the bill now before the United States congress and passed this week by the Senate and sent on to the House of Representatives, to raise from $700 million to $1,500 million the appropriation for disposal of surplus farm products abroad in return for local currencies? What steps in the government taking to make representations in the light of this measure, which is so important to Canada?

Topic:   INCREASED UNITED STATES APPROPRIATION FOR DISPOSAL OF SURPLUS FARM CROPS
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LIB

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

Liberal

Right Hon. C. D. Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

Mr. Speaker, the government cannot make general representations. We make representations about any particular transaction that seems to violate the rules of sound trading. Obviously, we can hardly protest against any appropriation that the congress of the United States votes to its government.

Topic:   INCREASED UNITED STATES APPROPRIATION FOR DISPOSAL OF SURPLUS FARM CROPS
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

May we take it, Mr. Speaker, that the government has not made any representations to the state department at Washington in regard to this very large increase in the appropriation, in a matter that is of such great concern to Canada?

Topic:   INCREASED UNITED STATES APPROPRIATION FOR DISPOSAL OF SURPLUS FARM CROPS
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Port Arthur):

I feel personally that it would be quite inappropriate for the government to protest the amount of the appropriation. We can protest against the way in which the appropriation is used, and

[Mr. Marler.l

we do protest from time to time whenever we think that our legitimate trading rights are being invaded.

Topic:   INCREASED UNITED STATES APPROPRIATION FOR DISPOSAL OF SURPLUS FARM CROPS
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POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT

INQUIRY AS TO SECURITY MEASURES TO PREVENT THEFTS


On the orders of the day:


PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. George A. Drew (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, in view of the

unavoidable and greatly regretted absence of the Postmaster General, I wish to direct a question to the Prime Minister. In view of the report in the press today of the third large post office theft in the province of Ontario, making the total in that province alone some $200,000 in the last nine months, will the Prime Minister consider the advisability of an inquiry into the security methods of the post office? I need not point out that we have had presented to us the evidence of a widespread series of thefts right across the country. The circumstances are such that it would seem consideration should be given to the general problem of security for the protection of the post office staff themselves as well as the public treasury.

Righl Hon. L. S. St. Laureni (Prime Minister): I can assure the Leader of the

Opposition that the security measures taken by the post office are under constant review. Every time a theft occurs the circumstances of the case are considered and serious consideration is given by the R.C.M.P. to the security measures in existence and to the question as to whether or not what has happened in an individual case would indicate some possibility of improving the safeguard against similar occurrences.

We all regret that there should be any thefts at all in the post office, but hon. gentlemen will well know that the losses due to thefts in the post office are quite insignificant when compared with the losses that occur in banks. I think the security measures taken by the post office are quite as efficient as those taken by the banks, and I think those that are taken by the banks are dictated by the prudent wisdom of the Canadian Bankers' Association to do everything possible to avoid those thefts, even though the cost of the security measures might exceed the probable losses that can arise from crimes of that nature. I think it is in the public interest not to be parsimonious in expenditures made to avoid the occasions and possibilities of those crimes. They are not crimes against individual institutions; they are crimes against the Canadian public.

Topic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO SECURITY MEASURES TO PREVENT THEFTS
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Will the Prime Minister not agree that there is a very marked difference between the situation of the banks and the

post office? The banks are called upon to handle cash in large quantities for the convenience of their customers and also for payrolls. Similar circumstances do not arise in connection with post offices and I would think that the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) would agree that the circumstances are entirely different and that a comparison for that reason cannot be made. I would hope that the Prime Minister would give consideration to the desirability of some special inquiry into this whole matter of security because of the problem it raises for the staffs of our post offices as well as for those who might be affected by the direct robbery.

Topic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO SECURITY MEASURES TO PREVENT THEFTS
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?

Jean-Paul Stephen St-Laurent

Mr. Si. Laurent:

Special inquiry is going on all the time and I do not know of any better method of making inquiry and considering the system in force than the very close co-operation that exists between the post office authorities and the R.C.M.P. With respect to the comparison with the banks, of course individual cases frequently involve much more money when a robbery is committed against a bank than when it is committed against a post office. However, it is a matter of degree and the essentials of the operations are much the same whatever be the amount of loot secured.

Topic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO SECURITY MEASURES TO PREVENT THEFTS
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

I do not wish to extend this unduly, but I would point out that in Welland recently a theft amounted to $78,000. That seems to be a substantial sum by any test, and particularly it seems to be a very large sum to be on hand in a post office when the demands for available cash and money orders or other negotiable property would not seem to be of that scale.

Topic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO SECURITY MEASURES TO PREVENT THEFTS
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LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent:

Of course, the cash would represent both the sale of stamps and money deposited with the post office against money orders that are purchased by those who want to forward money in a manner that involves the guarantee of safety for the person concerned by the Post Office Department.

Topic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO SECURITY MEASURES TO PREVENT THEFTS
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PC

Harry Oliver White

Progressive Conservative

Mr. H. O. White (Middlesex East):

May I

direct a question to the Minister of Justice. Were the R.C.M.P. asked to assist in the investigation of recent post office losses in the province of Quebec?

Topic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO SECURITY MEASURES TO PREVENT THEFTS
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LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. Stuart S. Garson (Minister of Justice):

Mr. Speaker, I do not maintain that detailed supervision over the R.C.M.P. which would permit me to answer a question of that sort without notice. I should think, however, that they would not assist in such an investigation. The detection of crime in a province is under the jurisdiction of the provincial police and it would be only in the event of their

Supply-Mines and Technical Surveys calling in the mounted police or the post office calling in the mounted police that the mounted police would act.

The house in committee of supply, Mr, Robinson (Simcoe East) in the chair.

DEPARTMENT OF MINES AND TECHNICAL SURVEYS Administration services-

208. Departmental administration. $487,991.

Topic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO SECURITY MEASURES TO PREVENT THEFTS
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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Nicholson:

Has the minister a statement to make this morning?

Topic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO SECURITY MEASURES TO PREVENT THEFTS
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LIB

George Prudham (Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys)

Liberal

Mr. Prudham:

Mr. Chairman, last evening the hon. member for Mackenzie referred to an argument which had developed between himself and the hon. member for Churchill some months ago when the bill in regard to the Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources was before the house. The controversy seemed to centre around a report issued by the Department of Mines and Technical Surveys on December 10, 1953, relative to the process of ore separation used by the Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Company of Flin Flon. The hon. member was good enough to send a copy of that report over to me last evening and I have now had time to read it and would make the following comment.

In 1921 the mines branch made preliminary laboratory scale tests on the treatment of Flin Flon ore. This gave promising results indicating that a satisfactory separation process could be achieved. In 1925, the Whitney interests of New York acquired the property. In a paper entitled "History of Development and Organization at Flin Flon Mine, Manitoba", prepared by Mr. W. A. Green of the Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Company and published in the transactions of the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, the following statements are made:

Results of small experimental tests which we (Whitney interests) had made on the ore prior to the examination of the property (in June 1925) led us to believe that a satisfactory treatment might be obtained.

Having assured ourselves of the presence of the ore and available power, our next step was to prove, by more extensive laboratory tests, the correctness of our belief that a successful method of treatment for the ore could be worked out. Accordingly, 300 tons of ore was shipped from Flin Flon to Denver, Colorado, to the research laboratories of the Metals Exploration Company, a company belonging to the Whitney interests.

A report of Mr. S. P. Lowe, who carried out the experimental work, contains the following quotation:

Flotation testing of Flin Flon ore was started in the Denver laboratory of Complex Ore Recoveries Company in March 1926. There had been a considerable amount of flotation testing previously which had shown possibilities of success, and it

6780 HOUSE OF

Supply-Mines and Technical Surveys was felt that, with the increased knowledge of flotation and the comparatively new reagents then available, flotation held out the best prospects for a successful treatment of this ore.

The pilot plant runs, treating two tons a day, were completed on July 1, 1926, and on August 1, 1926, it was decided to instal a 25-ton pilot flotation plant at Flin Flon.

This (pilot) mill was operated until March 10, 1928, treating ore from various parts of the mine. The pilot plant was started again in July 1928, and operated until February 1929, when it was permanently shut down.

It was found that before an efficient separation of the economic minerals was obtained, the removal of talc was a necessity. This was in line with the recommendations made by the mines branch in 1922.

Thus although the preliminary tests were made by the mines branch, the pilot plant tests which led to the establishment of the 3,000-ton mill at Flin Flon were carried out by the company. It is obvious, therefore, that the final result was a joint effort in which the mines branch made a significant preliminary contribution, but the final result was brought about by tests and pilot plant operation on the part of the company.

The hon. member for Mackenzie also referred to a speech made by me at Flin Flon on February 24, 1954. He alleged that I repudiated the report of the mines branch and took the part of the hon. member for Churchill in this argument. I was able to find the notes of my speech, and the following is an extract from the introductory remarks which I made at that time. I was speaking of the hon. member for Churchill, who represents that riding, and I said the following:

Those of you who follow Hansard will know that Mr. Weaver earlier in the present session of parliament tangled with an opposition member. It was a good-natured dispute over whether the federal government mines branch or the private enterprisers responsible for the Flin Flon development were entitled to the major share of the credit for working out the metallurgical process on which your development here has been so largely based.

In his address to the House of Commons, your member was able to accomplish what few of us would dare to even attempt. He left everyone quite happy, including the mines branch and his parliamentary opponent. That sort of thing, after all, is the acid test of statesmanship.

Topic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO SECURITY MEASURES TO PREVENT THEFTS
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July 26, 1955