January 13, 1956


Thomas Speakman Barnett

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

Mr. T. S. Barnett (Comox-Alberni):

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity which this debate affords to bring to the attention of hon. members of the house so early in the session a matter which is of widespread interest and deep concern to many of the people who live in the coastal areas of British Columbia, and indeed I think it would be fair to say to the people who live in all the maritime parts of Canada. I am referring to the matter of coastal marine protection services.

In order to indicate something of the interest which this question has aroused in British Columbia I should like to give a few samples of newspaper headings which have appeared in recent months in that province. For example, in the Victoria Daily Colonist of September 17 appears the headline "Fishermen ask for naval vessels as alternative to coastguard help". In the newspaper The Fisherman of September 13 we find the headline "Union renews demand for proper coastguard". Then again in the Victoria Colonist we find on October 2 the headline "Six hundred west coast fishermen ask B.C. mariners' help". On October 17 in the Vancouver Daily Province I was interested to see the headline "Marler to inspect B.C. rescue system". On October 18 in the same newspaper, appears the headline "Marler set against B.C. coastguard. Plan 'not practical', states Minister of Transport on tour". Then in the Vancouver Sun of the following day, October 19, appeared the headline "Search called off for B.C. fisherman. Gillnetter wreckage found as chill waters claim third life."

All our ships are not lost, as indicated in the October 24 headline in the Vancouver Province, "Battered U.S. ship safe in Bull harbour after nearly foundering off B.C. coast". Then on October 31 in the Vancouver Sun appeared the headline, "Air-sea search finds fisher beached, safe".

In the Comox district Free Press of August 17, there was another headline of interest, which reads, "RCAF crashboat in night rescue. The crash boat of the Comox R.C.A.F. station was called out at midnight Tuesday and rescued a party from Mitlenatch island where they had been marooned by the stormy weather".

These are a few samples from the headlines which have been appearing in various newspapers published in British Columbia during recent months, indicating perhaps why the member for Comox-Alberni, among others, should be concerned with this matter and should be interested to take this opportunity early in the session, once again, of raising this question of marine coastal protection.

I should like to say at the outset that I am not too much concerned about that headline which states that the Minister of Transport is set against coastguards, because it has become obvious to me during the previous sessions I have attended that for some reason or other, whenever anyone mentions the term "coastguard" the government apparently goes into an immediate state of dither, buries its head in the sand and tries to forget all about the matter. That is perhaps why, as far as I am concerned, I am going to attempt to use the phrase "marine rescue service", because essentially that is what the people who are raising the question of a coastguard have in mind rather than a coastguard in the sense in which that term is used in the United States, where that service, of course, has other aspects to it.

An earlier headline I read indicated that fishermen on the coast are greatly interested in this matter and that interest has reached the extent that they have been supporting a petition which has been circulated on the coast during the past few months. I have been entrusted with the honour of presenting that petition to the Minister of Transport on behalf of those people. I should like to make it clear that this petition was not sponsored by any large organization putting on a high pressure campaign to obtain signatures for it. This petition was initiated and circulated by a widow with two small children, whose husband was lost with a fishing vessel off the west coast of Vancouver island not so long ago. Having had the opportunity and the pleasure of becoming acquainted with her,

I must say here publicly that I wish to commend her courage and initiative in doing something about the situation rather than simply sitting at home with her grief.

This petition represents the real feeling of hundreds of the people who go down to the sea in ships, that all is not well with the present situation. I am happy to say that I have indicated the contents of this petition to my colleagues, the other members of the C.C.F. group in this house, and that they are thoroughly in agreement with me in supporting it. I was also very happy to note, according to a report in the Victoria press, that the hon. member for Esquimalt-Saanich (Mr. Pearkes) and the hon. member for Victoria, B.C., (Mr. Fairey) have also indicated that they are prepared to lend their support to this petition. I am sure there are many other hon. members of this house who will be willing to do likewise, particularly those who come from the maritime areas of this country.

Now I should like to read to the house, so all the members may be fully aware of its contents, the statement which precedes the 1,860 names which are thereto attached. This is addressed to Hon. G. C. Marler, Minister of Transport:

We the undersigned do hereby petition for the establishment of a Canadian coast service which will have at its disposal every modern technological advantage in the hands of trained personnel.

We submit that the present air sea rescue service, admirable in theory, is, in practice, inadequate and inefficient and does not meet the very real and stringent requirements inherent in marine rescue work.

We submit that the present life saving service is poorly equipped, understaffed by untrained personnel, and, with reference to geographic considerations, poorly located. It is well to note that if the present life saving stations at Tofino and Bamfield are justifiable, there are exposed areas of the British Columbia coast, with as much, or greater, marine activity, that have no comparable service.

We submit that because of increasing coastal marine activity, including the development of a Canadian offshore fishing industry, it is imperative that a coast guard service be inaugurated to protect the lives and safeguard the property of those involved.

We submit that the rescue services of Britain, the United States and other nations be taken under consideration and the best features of each, with due regard to the particular and peculiar needs of Canada, be incorporated into a Canadian coast guard.

As I have indicated, this petition has 1,860 names of west coast residents, fishermen and others, attached to it, and I feel honoured to have been entrusted with the task of delivering this to the Minister of Transport. I was very glad to see that the Minister of Transport paid a visit to the coast of British Columbia during the recess. I understand he

The Address-Mr. Barnett had an opportunity of seeing firsthand something of that coast on a trip by air from Victoria, I believe it was, to Prince Rupert.

I was quite interested to discover a Canadian Press report carried by the Vancouver newspapers containing certain remarks made by the minister as a result of his inspection. In the dispatch he is reported as saying that from what he has learned the present facilities appear to be very good, at least on paper.

I must say when I read these remarks of the minister I had the feeling he was taking some words out of my mouth from the speech which at that time I was mentally preparing for delivery here. The claim has been made more than once by spokesmen for the government that the air-sea rescue service as we know it today is the answer. The Minister of Transport is also quoted as saying that those who urge a coastguard service are apparently unaware of the existing air-sea rescue facilities. Therefore I feel it might be worth while to take a brief look at the air-sea rescue service as it is now constituted, how it is set up and organized, because I want to assure the Minister of Transport that a good many of the many people with whom I have discussed this matter during the recess have had some firsthand acquaintance with just how the service operates.

I myself am not a mariner and consequently have relied a good deal on discussions with people whom I know have had many years of firsthand experience of life on the British Columbia coast through travelling up and down it by ship. Coupled with that, I have tried to make my own observations and form my judgments therefrom. I want to make it clear that while I am in complete support of the submission of this petition, what I have to say about the air-sea rescue service and the suggestions I may make as to what should be done are the result of my own observations and my own judgment of the matter.

I have in my hand a little booklet entitled "Search and Rescue in B.C., 1955 edition". It is a very good little booklet which sets forth quite clearly just what the search and rescue service is and what it is prepared to do. It starts out with the rescue co-ordination centre at No. 12 air defence group, Vancouver, and indicates that there are certain primary and secondary facilities attached to and co-ordinated by that centre.

The primary facilities are the No. 12 communication and rescue unit of the R.C.A.F, stationed at Sea island. I should like to say that the impression I had on my first visit to these establishments was favourable. I fell they were being efficiently run and were


The Address-Mr. Barnett doing, within the limits of what they were able to do, an effective job of organizing the work. Quite frankly, I was impressed with some of the equipment that the communication and rescue unit at Sea island has available for various forms of search and rescue work both on land and by sea. I think it is fair to say my own reaction is in line with the general reaction to the work of that particular rescue unit of the R.C.A.F. I have heard some very favourable comments made on the work they have done.

On the other hand, however, as I think is clear from the wording of the petition, the feeling is not so much one of dissatisfaction with what is there but with what is not there. That brings us to the consideration of this plan which, as the Minister of Transport has stated, looks good on paper. We find that attached to the co-ordination centre are quite a number of various units and organizations of one kind and another. I am going to mention the ones particularly concerned with rescue and search as far as the sea is concerned.

As secondary facilities there are, for example, the vessels of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, motor launches at various points along the coast. There are the vessels of the Department of Transport, the Department of Fisheries and the British Columbia forest service. That of course is not to mention the various communications services, including the marine radio stations of the Department of Transport! While there are some questions as to communications facilities, respecting the co-ordination of various air frequencies and so on, that have been raised with me, by and large the real criticism does not arise in the communications field.

In addition, of course, there are the vessels of the British Columbia towboat owners' association. In the areas where the vessels of the members of that association operate most frequently there is a feeling that they can do a useful job, but there is a recognition that these boats do not operate everywhere. The same thing applies with respect to the various government boats which are coordinated in this centre.

When you add all these various vessels together they appear to provide an impressive number, but apart from the two small lifeboats at Bamfield and Tofino stations none of these vessels is on duty, on call and available for marine rescue work, at any and all times or at any given or known location. That, Mr. Speaker, appears to me to be the weakness of the present set-up, plus the fact that none of the government vessels nor,

as far as I know, none of the privately owned vessels that are tied in with this plan are equipped to carry on marine rescue work or carry crews who have been trained to perform marine rescue work.

I have felt more than once that in this respect the set-up is very similar to what would be the case in a city like Ottawa if our house were on fire and we had to rely on going down the street and being able to find a truck which happened to be equipped with a pump and a ladder. The chances of doing that would be rather remote. That, Mr. Speaker, is the feeling of the people of the coastal areas of British Columbia on this matter.

By way of illustration, while I was visiting one of the centres in my constituency this summer I had the opportunity to go aboard one of the larger vessels operated by the Department of Fisheries. There are, as you may know, three of these larger vessels, the Howay, the Laurier and the Kitimat. This was my first opportunity to see one of the larger type fisheries vessel. It was quite a substantial looking boat. One felt that it could go out into the open waters of the Pacific in rather stormy weather. It was well and, I would say, quite comfortably equipped to do the work of the Department of Fisheries. But when I raised the question as to what they had aboard that vessel to carry on any sort of marine rescue work, they had to admit that the boat had no such equipment. I greatly doubt whether, under the present set-up, the crew of that vessel has ever received any special training in the carrying out of marine rescue work.

As I stated earlier, the initiator of a petition which I have read was a Mrs. Ian C. MacLeod of Tofino. I have here her recounting in a straightforward factual manner of just what happened at the time her husband was lost. I feel that this perhaps reveals some of the weaknesses of the present set-up to which I have been referring. This is the story:

On July 30, 1955, a fishing boat Maidi H was reported missing with Ian Charles MacLeod of Tofino and a friend Kenneth Wilson from Vancouver.

The Tofino lifeboat and fishermen combed the shore waters and beaches from here-

That is Tofino.

[DOT]-to Estevan point. Air and sea rescue was contacted. They sent one plane at 11.30 next morning (3 hours late due to fog here) which picked up local observers and searched for 4 hours.

The following day two planes were sent. These searched for 4 hours with no local observers aboard. Two days elapsed. Then pressure was brought to bear on the air and sea rescue and five planes were promised. These agreed to take up

local observers. However, only two planes were sent and the other three were dispatched to search for a plane (carrying government officials) lost near Kitlmat making a total of 15 planes searching in the Kitimat area.

This same day August 3rd, the fishery guardian Comox Post was requested by a local resident, and arrived from San Juan in the straits of Juan de Fuca late the following afternoon. The Comox Post tied up at the Tofino float for the night and started her search the following morning, Friday, August 5.

The forestry boat Yellow Cedar was tied to the Tofino float all during the search for the Maidi H. The skipper of the Yellow Cedar phoned to the forestry branch headquarters to ask permission to take part in the search and he was refused even though, theoretically, this vessel is incorporated into the air and sea rescue service.

This is her statement of conclusions derived from this experience:

1. We need three or four larger and faster and well-equipped boats to patrol off shore during the fishing season, spring to fall.

2. We need more lifeboats, at least two for the upper part of Vancouver island.

3. We need one or two planes based in a central west coast area, R.C.A.F. station, Long Beach. Vancouver is too far when weather conditions are sometimes entirely different between the two areas.

4. We need better co-ordination between the various organizations taking part in a search.

5. Search vessels and planes should be able to communicate on the same frequency band for better co-ordination and co-operation during a search.

6. We need better equipment on the smaller vessels.

I have here one other story which I am going to read, Mr. Speaker. This is the story of an experience of some of the Indian fishermen who live in my constituency, and is set out in this man's own words. This incident happened, I might say, in April, 1952:

We started out about 6.30 a.m. We had few provisions. We went 6 miles out from Rafael point and our engine stalled at 8 a.m. in southeasterly gale. We drifted to Estevan point i mile off shore and the wind changed to a westerly. We drifted for 6 hours at night to Lennard island. The next day 18th we pumped the boat all day and in the evening the wind calmed. Early evening of the 18th we spotted a troller 3 miles abreast. They did not see us. We tried to attract attention with smoke and a mirror. Before dark we spotted a plane directly above us. We tried to attract attention with smoke and a mirror, but they did not see us. On the 19th before midday another plane was flying on the inside of us. We tried again to draw attention with no avail. No provisions and we boiled salt water for the remaining part of the day. On the 20th, no plane. On the 21st we started working on the engine and by 4.30 p.m. she was under way and we pulled in to Tofino about 10.45 p.m.

Each day Nelson Reitlah and Johnathan Thomas worked on the engine. As a result, from 4 days' exposure Nelson Reitlah developed T.B. of the lung and was released from hospital on July 14, 1955.

The next of kin of Nelson Reitlah and Johnathan Thomas and the residents of Ahousat raised sufficient money to bring planes up from air and sea rescue, Vancouver.

The Address-Mr. Barnett

Mr. Speaker, I believe that is probably not quite correctly stated. I believe it was a private plane which was chartered.

Chartered plane Ahousat people paid $140. Ahousat people also paid $125 to supply gas for boats to go out on rescue. No help from Indian department.

Those, Mr. Speaker, are but two of many stories which could be told of happenings on the sea along the coast of British Columbia. The conclusions I come to in my own mind are that while certainly the facilities which have come into existence should not be scrapped, nevertheless before we can consider ourselves to have anything like adequate marine coastal protection they must be supplemented by properly equipped facilities, with properly trained personnel who are going to be on the job and available for quick work in the event of disaster at sea. The booklet published by search and rescue, to which I have previously referred,

I think does make quite clear that no provision has been made as yet for proper facilities of the kind to which I have been referring. On page 5 of this 1955 edition of "Search and Rescue" appears the statement:

Marine search and rescue in Canada is dependent mainly on co-operation between mariners themselves.

Later on that page it says:

Only when immediate danger or loss of life is involved, or when no commercial or private vessel is available or prepared to take on the job, will a tow be provided by one of the government operated services. Even when such a tow is provided, the master of the vessel so towed is liable to be charged for the service.

The following policy is in effect regarding surface craft in distress:

(a) Whenever surface craft request assistance which involves towing, the rescue co-ordination centre will pass the request to a commercial salvage company operating in the area.

(b) If no commercial company is able to go to the aid of the distressed vessel, then the rescue co-ordination centre will request the assistance of the Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or other government vessels.

(d) It must be understood that the search and rescue organization in Canada differs from that of the United States coastguard, in that free towing of vessels is not provided on request.

I cannot help but wonder, Mr. Speaker, whether or not the policy which is presently in effect, and which is the policy stated in this booklet, does not show more concern for the interests of the private towing and salvage companies than for the fishermen and others operating vessels along our coasts. The people who know we have government vessels operating on the coast find it difficult to understand why, particularly when they see that such vessels are attached to a service such as this, vessels which have been paid for by the people of Canada are not

The Address-Mr. Barnett more freely available and more effectively available to the people of Canada who need them.

The fishermen of British Columbia are not suggesting necessarily that they expect a completely free towing service. But they know, as I know, that for many of the areas of British Columbia there simply are no commercial firms operating in a way to provide any effective service. They know, as I know, that there are times when, no matter how much they may desire to help themselves, they cannot do so with the type of vessels they have, and we have some very fine fishing vessels in British Columbia. It is under those circumstances they feel there should be properly equipped rescue vessels available.

I have had it reported to me that in some ways in this connection we have actually gone backward. For example, I have had it reported to me that all during the thirties for about four months every winter there was a naval tug stationed at Bamfield for the purpose of rescue work, supplementary to that provided by the small lifeboats. Let me make it clear that from my own observations of the work being done by the captain and crew of those life boats, they are doing the very best they can. Generally speaking, people of the area are high in their praise of the work they perform. But anyone who sees these lifeboats realizes they are certainly not what one would consider to be modern rescue vessels. They are limited by the very nature of their construction in the type of facilities it might be practical to instal in them, as for example radar.

It seems to me that a rescue vessel which is going to be asked to go out in weather into which no ordinary vessel would venture should have the very latest type of equipment. Certainly radar is one of the great weapons of mariners in combating such things as fog. Anyone who knows the west coast of British Columbia knows that fog does descend upon it on more than the odd occasion. Nevertheless in years gone by naval vessels were made available, and they are not now being made available. There is a story which is rather notorious on the west coast of a case away back in 1951, I believe it was, when the captain of a certain naval tug set forth to rescue a tuna fishing vessel. After having steamed out for a couple of hours off the coast, according to the story, he was ordered back because he had not had authorization from Ottawa.

All these things indicate some of the sources of dissatisfaction with the set-up and some of the reasons for the demand that has arisen that we now have a marine rescue service.

The time has come to establish a proper, modern rescue service which would be available under these circumstances to the people in the coastal areas of British Columbia, and I suppose other parts of Canada. These services are necessary. It appears to me these services could be provided without incurring the enormous costs which apparently, as I said earlier, have caused the government to bury its head in the sand every time anybody mentions the coastguard. It is for that reason, as I said earlier, I have welcomed this opportunity of raising this matter almost at the outset of the current session.


Armand Dumas


Mr. Armand Dumas (Villeneuve):

In taking part in this debate I should like, first of all, to convey my congratulations to both my colleagues, the hon. member for Timiskaming (Mrs. Shipley) and the hon. member for Bellechasse (Mr. Laflamme), the mover and seconder of the address. The mover of the address is my neighbour, and as you are able to ascertain, a very good neighbour indeed. She did a wonderful job and her constituents have good reason to be proud of her, just as we have.

(Translation) :

Our good friend the hon. member for Bellechasse (Mr. Laflamme) has proved to us that he can most creditably get by in this house. The electors of his riding were right in choosing him to represent them here in Ottawa, and we are all very proud to have him among us.


I would not like to let this occasion go by, Mr. Speaker, without extending to you my sincere congratulations and good wishes. I also wish to take this opportunity to transmit to you and through you to all hon. members salutations and best regards from all the people of the constituency of Villeneuve. We are on the eve of a new session. We all came here in order to work in the best interests of our fellow Canadians, and I am hopeful that our deliberations will bear fruit and will be profitable to each and every one of our fellow citizens, from one end of the country to the other.

I intend to talk this afternoon about my constituency and the surrounding district, not because it is the usual practice in such a debate but because I feel that what is going on in northwestern Quebec is of great interest to the whole of the population of Canada. I would also like to acquaint the house with some of the projects we wish to undertake in order to accelerate the more rational development of our natural resources. And finally, during the course of my remarks, in the name of my constituents and for the welfare of our district I will be making a few

suggestions to the government, who in the past have responded so well to most, if not all, of the requests of those whom I have the honour to represent in this house.

With regard to mining in northwestern Quebec, Mr. Speaker, we are taking no backward steps. On the contrary, we are continually going forward. We are producing more and more of the much needed base metals. Our gold mines are still employing more than 4,500 men in spite of the trying times they are going through. We now have a lithium producing mine, the first one in Canada, and it is operated by the Quebec Lithium Corporation. There is a new copper producer in the Chibougamau mining area, and by the looks of things there will be probably two or three more in the very same area within the next year or two. There is every reason to believe that in this country of ours during the next ten years we shall see an even greater expansion in our mining industry than we have enjoyed during the past decade, and we know it was the most active ten years we have ever had.

There are many reasons why we should be very much on the alert regarding the development of the mining industry of this country, and there are certain facts which should always be kept in mind. First, we are sitting on top of a tremendous storehouse containing an immense variety of minerals. This accumulation of riches has only been scratched, and today its extraction from the earth and its processing have created new jobs for a great number of Canadians. For every mine which finally does reach production there are at least 1,000 other properties which are being investigated, thus providing employment for many thousands of men engaged in prospecting, diamond drilling, surveying and all sorts of exploration work. And what is more important, for each man working in a producing mine there are four or five other men working in a related or supply industry.

Second, Mr. Speaker, mining is still the biggest influence in opening up the north country, and lately it has also been bringing booms in more settled areas such as Bath-hurst and Little River in New Brunswick, Gaspe and Oka in Quebec, and Algoma, Blind River and Bancroft in Ontario. During recent years mining has been responsible for the building of more new railway lines than all other industries combined. It has tilted the scale in favour of the construction of the St. Lawrence seaway. And finally, what is more important, it has attracted huge sums of foreign capital to this country, thus bringing about much more expansion than would otherwise have been possible. It has created new investment in mining projects, to a total of about $1 billion.

The Address-Mr. Dumas

Our strategic position adjoining the world's largest industrial nation, the abundance of our mineral resources, the many big projects which either are developed or will be developed shortly, the new Canadian settlements from coast to coast, cannot help but result in a period of growth in the years immediately ahead that will far surpass anything we have experienced up to the present time.

Our mining industry has grown and expanded, and so has the federal department of mines. Before 1949 this government service was only a branch of another ministry. In fact the Department of Mines and Technical Surveys was created on January 18, 1950, by an act of parliament which received royal assent on December 19, 1949. During the past 50 years the federal department of mines has done a great job for the country in the fields of geology, mineralogy, special research and other related experiments. The excellent mapping done by the department and the very careful work carried on in its laboratories have led to the discovery of bigger and more numerous ore deposits, and have also permitted a more economical processing of them.

Airborne magnetometer surveys were started in 1947 by the geological survey branch, and during the following four or five years this kind of work was carried on over many thousands of miles in various parts of Canada. The information derived from this kind of work has been valuable and most gratifying. Those surveys have been responsible for the finding of the iron ore deposits of Marmora, Ontario, the copper-zinc deposits of Bathurst and Little River in New Brunswick, and many other ore deposits in different parts of the country.

However, since 1952 it seems that the department has discontinued this kind of work, at least in most of the provinces. I would urge the Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys (Mr. Prudham) to let the geological survey branch carry on with its airborne magnetometer surveys across the whole of Canada, especially in those provinces where there is no such work in progress. This has provided useful and valuable information in the southern part of the shield area. I am convinced that it would be of great help to those who are engaged in prospecting in other parts further north.

When I say that I have in mind more particularly that part of our district between Beattyville and Chibougamau, where the Canadian National is now building a railway line. During the next season this section will be a hive of activity as far as prospecting


The Address-Mr. Dumas is concerned, and this activity will continue for many years to come. Mines will be developed in that area, and the more tools we put in the hands of the prospectors and the companies the quicker the job will be done.

It is quite easy to understand that this intensive mining activity in the areas of known economic importance and the spreading out of those activities into new areas has caused an extraordinary demand for more and more geodetic, topographic, hydrographic and geologic surveys. It is not surprising to learn that the Department of Mines and Technical Surveys has found it most difficult to keep up with the increased needs. However, it is gratifying to learn that by using modern tools and equipment, by developing new techniques and a more rapid system of surveying, the personnel of the department have been able to speed up their work and they are now pretty well meeting the increasing demand.

But there will be much more to be done. The demands for increased services by all branches of the department will be pressing. I urge the government to make more money available to the Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys so his department will be able to keep up with its work and be permitted to continue to operate with the high degree of efficiency which it has shown in the past.

Agriculture has gradually become a basic industry in northwestern Quebec, more particularly within the clay belt which is eminently suited to the production of fodder and consequently stock-farming, either for the production of meat or dairy products. Small-scale farming and gardening could be made profitable around the larger centres such as Rouyn-Noranda, Malartic, Val d'Or-Bourla-maque and Amos. In this respect I would hope that the division of horticulture at Kapuskasing would conduct experimental work in the growing and preparation for market of vegetables in those centres. There are a great number of small farms which are suitable for that kind of production, and their owners are in urgent need of guidance and encouragement. I will go as far as to say that an experimental station for that purpose would be a profitable investment.

At this point I want to take advantage of this opportunity to offer my sincere thanks to the officers and technicians of the Department of Agriculture for all they have done to help the farmers of our district. More particularly I wish to say that the farmers of northwestern Quebec are grateful to the director, the technicians and other employees of the federal experimental farm at Kapuskasing and of the experimental substation at Macamic in the constituency of my good

[Mr. Dumas. 1

friend the hon. member for Chapleau (Mr. Gourd), for the guidance, good advice and encouragement which has been supplied in the performance of their duties. We are in great need of this kind of service, and we hope it will be accelerated.

As it is, the development of agriculture in northwestern Quebec depends mostly upon the mining industry. This industry injects a pecuniary serum which enables a settler to live through the difficult years when he has to work on virgin soil which will bear fruit only after years of unceasing labour. The settler finds in the mining centres a ready market for his lumber and other farm products, and the mining industry provides work for him during the off season. So gradually the settlement lot becomes a productive farm and the settler a real farmer who is ready to take his rightful place in the community.

The majority of our farmers are at a stage where they need additional help, guidance and encouragement. They need help in connection with their livestock and the classification, storage and distribution of their product. Studies of these various problems are now being made by local organizations, but it is only with the help of duly qualified technicians, the guidance of good management, the encouragement of the business people of our district and financial aid from both the federal and provincial governments that a program of such breadth can be carried out.

There are over 65,000 people in the cities and towns of northwestern Quebec. Carloads of such commodities as meat, vegetables, dairy products and poultry come from outside the district to be distributed by the many merchants in the different localities. In such a situation it would be thought that local products would find an outlet. However, we are becoming aware of the fact that the grocer cannot buy products which are not classified. Moreover, if he is not assured of a steady flow of products from the local farmers he cannot buy from them.

Our farmers need a distribution centre in which they could find facilities such as a slaughterhouse, cold storage and good management for the distribution of their products. These facilities are presently lacking, therefore the flow of products is not steady. This is due partly to a lack of guidance in connection with distribution.

Further progress could be made by a livestock improvement program operated jointly with a program for the development of grasses. This would enable the farmers of the district to continue the production of livestock on a more sustained basis.

Finally, so that the farming industry of northwestern Quebec may fulfil its expectations, let us hope that a large-scale program of drainage will be undertaken with the co-operation of both federal and provincial governments throughout the whole of this part of the pre-Cambrian clay belt which is level with the farm lands. In addition to improving arable land it would help reforestation and the development of large marshland areas which are now absolutely useless. The farmers of northwestern Quebec keep toiling to clear and improve their farms. The heavy work which they took on at the beginning is now producing results.

However, if we want the progress of the farmers of our district to be on a par with that of other industries, we shall have to give them a hand; we shall have to help those who have worked so hard to clear the land and, Anally, we shall have to try to make it easier for the farmers to distribute their products. We know how steadfast our farmers are, and if we help them ever so little we may be sure they will do their full share in the development and progress of northwestern Quebec.

Earlier in my remarks I said I would acquaint the house with some of the projects we of northwestern Quebec have in mind in order to accelerate the more rational development and exploitation of our natural resources. Before I do so I wish to quote, with your permission, from an article which appeared in one of our leading local newspapers, the Star, in the edition of January 6, 1956. The article is entitled "To get something done, or not", and it reads as follows:

When you see a committee set up within, or auxiliary to, a larger body, it is safe to guess that one of two purposes has prompted its formation- (1) to get something done, and (2) not to get something done but to go through the motions of getting something done.

Frankly, we have had to revise our opinion of the Abitibi East industrial commission which the federation of chambers of commerce sponsored in 1954. We were suspicious then that it was just another committee which would go through the motions.

We are happy to say here and now that this opinion was wrong. It has been proved wrong.

It has been proved wrong because this industrial commission, of which we expect so much in northwestern Quebec, has been organized by and is actually under the direction of a group of people who firmly believe that if you want something done you should at least know what you want to have done and that, if you want to be helped, you should start by trying to help yourself.

The industrial commission was organized in 1954, as I have said, and it started its work with a three-point program. First, the commission promised its full co-operation and

The Address-Mr. Dumas assistance to the farm organizations of the district in their efforts to construct a slaughterhouse and establish a distribution centre, both very essential, as I have said, to the future well-being of our farmers. Second, the commission undertook to sponsor the establishment of a paper mill in the very heart of the district, which for many years has seen its pulpwood being cut and shipped away to be transformed into finished paper in other parts of the province rather than on the spot. Third, the commission has undertaken to sponsor the construction of a zinc refinery. After only the very short period of two years we have good reason to believe that those three projects are well on their way to becoming realities.

The establishment of the paper mill, I am told, will be announced very shortly. The construction of that mill and the development of a water power site to operate that mill will mean an outlay of at least $50 million. This new industry in the district will create an important source of employment and, moreover, it will mean that one of the most important natural resources of the area will be processed right on the spot, thus giving more profit, as it should, to the people of the district. The establishment of this paper mill will necessitate the construction of a 50-mile railway spur beginning at a point on the new railway line presently being built from Beattyville to Chibougamau.

The promotion work on the proposed zinc refinery is well under way, and we are informed that the refinery itself might be in operation before the end of the year. As everyone knows, a large amount of zinc concentrates is produced every year in our district. Not only part of this production but the whole of it is being shipped to different points in the United States to be refined. Again in this case, if we can succeed in having those concentrates processed right where they are produced we shall have gone a step forward in the more rational exploitation of one of our natural resources.

As to the construction of a slaughterhouse and the establishment of a distribution centre, the project is well under way, and as soon as the financial details are arranged the construction will be started and accelerated as much as possible.

Those projects I have mentioned are not the only ones which are under study by the industrial commission. There are many others, indicative of the work which is now being done by this group of people who are so confident of the future of our country that they do not hesitate to give their time and knowledge for the welfare and the wellbeing of their fellow citizens.

The Address-Mr. Nesbitt

If I mention the above projects, it is because I think the information might be of some interest to the house, in view of the fact that more and more we hear about the desirability of processing a larger amount of our own natural resources right here in Canada. If we are anxious to do so, and I am sure we all are, what I have just said shows one way to do it.

The provinces have the responsibility and the right to control and develop their own natural resources and, as was mentioned yesterday and so well explained by the Prime Minister, they are very jealous of those prerogatives. That is their privilege and their right. But if some local organization, within its own province, takes the initiative, there are good reasons to believe that the government of that province will pay more attention to these representations than to any others that may be made from here, no matter how constructive or how sincere they may be.


Wallace Bickford (Wally) Nesbitt

Progressive Conservative

Mr. W. B. Nesbitt (Oxford):

Mr. Speaker, in rising to take part in this debate on the address in reply to the speech from the throne I should like first of all to take the opportunity of congratulating the mover and the seconder for the able manner in which they fulfilled those duties.

Before I make any comments on the speech itself, I should like also to take this opportunity of saying that I recently had the opportunity of attending the last session of the general assembly of the United Nations as a parliamentary observer, and I should like to express my personal thanks for the courtesy extended to me there by the head of the Canadian delegation, the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Martin). I should like to say at the same time that all the members and staff of the Canadian delegation seemed to be very efficient and very well up on their duties in general.

My first observation on the speech from the throne itself is this. Like others who have already spoken and no doubt others who will be speaking in the future, I cannot help regret certain omissions from the speech itself. I regret particularly that there was no reference in the speech from the throne to the problem of veterans affairs. In this regard I regret particularly that no provision was made to set up a standing committee to deal with veterans' problems as they arise. For instance, last year some new veterans' legislation was passed, quite a bit of it as a matter of fact, but already certain weaknesses in this legislation have made themselves apparent. While no veterans' legislation has been proposed so far at least this session, if a standing committee were

set up it would have the opportunity of discussing the weaknesses that have appeared in recent legislation.

I am also sorry to notice that there is no mention of any legislation respecting war veterans of world war I who served only in the United Kingdom. It had been hoped that possibly legislation would be proposed to include these few remaining persons under the War Veterans Allowance Act. However, this is apparently not being done. It seems rather a shame that these persons who served in the first world war should not be included, as they certainly travelled through an active field of warfare to get to England. I think the north Atlantic could most certainly be described as an active field of warfare from 1914 to 1918.

Again in this regard I am sorry to notice that no legislation is proposed to change the War Veterans Allowance Act to increase the ceilings on permissible income, as proposed in the Legion brief of November 10, 1955. The Legion is very thankful for the increases made in the War Veterans Allowance Act legislation last year, but feels that the amounts are not sufficient and that the ceilings on permissible income should have been raised to $1,200 for a single man and $2,000 for a married man. I also think it is a pity that other recommendations made in the Legion brief apparently were not given favourable consideration by the government.

The second matter I should like to mention at this time has reference to the Income Tax Act. I am certainly very sorry to observe that no legislation is proposed to amend the Income Tax Act. At the last session of this parliament the hon. member for Middlesex East (Mr. White) presented certain criticisms of the Income Tax Act, and I may say that the citizens of many parts of this country also have many criticisms to offer of that act. I should like to point out in this regard that my colleague, the hon. member for Middlesex East, has a resolution on the order paper and no doubt when it comes before the house these matters will be gone into in considerable detail.

However, there are some observations I should like to make at this time regarding the Income Tax Act and proposed amendments thereto. I think possibly the Department of National Revenue might very well be renamed the department of archaeology, not only because some members of that department seem to delight in delving into the past but because they seem to extend their digging and delving so far back into the past that they could properly be called archaeologists.

No longer speaking in a spirit of levity, I believe some time limit should be placed on the authority of the Department of National Revenue to make reassessments. Theoretically they can go back as far as 1917, and it seems to me that some time limit, say two or three years, should be sufficient unless, of course, the department can prove fraud. In that case I think the time limit should be extended farther back, but if so the onus should certainly be placed on the department to prove fraud and the onus should not be, as it is at the moment, on the person charged to prove that he is not guilty.

I should like to add one further qualification there. It is possible that from an administrative point of view this suggestion might not work out too well with large corporations, but it would certainly work out very well with farmers, small businessmen and individuals. It is a very difficult thing for a small businessman, a farmer or other individual to keep his records forever, and apparently you cannot get a clearance from the Department of National Revenue to allow you to destroy old records. As I have already mentioned, how far back is a person expected to keep his records? This situation places a person in a very difficult position when he is suddenly investigated by the Department of National Revenue and asked

Business of the House

where he got the money to buy a radio five or six years previously. This particularly applies to farmers, and it makes everyone exceedingly apprehensive.

I see it is almost six o'clock, Mr. Speaker, and at this time I should like to move the adjournment of the debate.

On motion of Mr. Nesbitt the debate was adjourned.




Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Finance and Receiver General; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)


Mr. Harris:

Mr. Speaker, according to the rules I find that a minister of the crown has to designate the days for this debate. If I were to state now that it was the intention of the government to use all the days next week for this debate I would hope that, while that would be taken as notice to that effect, if it became necessary or desirable to alter the procedure my present declaration would not preclude me from changing the order if I notified the house on the preceding evening.


George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Mr. Speaker, just by way of information, what change has the minister in mind that might occur?


Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Finance and Receiver General; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)


Mr. Harris:

None whatever, Mr. Speaker.


At six o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order.

Monday, January IE, 1956

January 13, 1956