January 22, 1957

LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

Henry Byron McCulloch

Liberal

Mr. H. B. McCulloch (Pictou):

Mr. Speaker, the town of Westville, in Pictou county, Nova Scotia, was incorporated in 1894. It has a population of 4,300 as shown in the last census. Since its founding by miners of Scottish and Irish descent who were the forefathers of its present people the town was built and developed, and is solely dependent on the operation of its mines to maintain and stabilize its economy.

The miners of Westville have long been noted for many sterling qualities, the main one being that throughout the years Westville mines have consistently operated without strikes or tie-ups. The highest production was maintained consistent with operating conditions, and labour relations between management and the men was always of the highest order. These desirable features do not just happen, and the very valid reason

The Address-Mr. H. B. McCulloch for them is the stability of the men, the thriftiness of their families, pride in the ownership of their own homes and active participation in church and community life in general, all of which qualities have been handed down to them from past generations. It is a known fact that the percentage of miners who own their homes in the town of Westville exceeds 80 per cent, which is probably double or more than that of any other mining town in eastern Canada.

Today, with the mines closed except for minor operations of removing pillars from existing slopes, these people who saved their money and built their own homes, primarily without government assistance of any kind, now find their town bankrupt because they have no work and they are unable to pay their taxes. They are faced with the closing of their schools, which will result in uneducated children, the deterioration of their water, impaired sanitary facilities and other services, and the loss of their homes and churches.

The town of Westville has underneath its limits a proven quantity of at least eight million tons of the best coal in Pictou county, if not in the province of Nova Scotia. Unfortunately, to mine this deposit economically requires an estimated expenditure of approximately $2,500,000. If such an expenditure were made, not only would a highly mechanized and modern mine be available if required for a national emergency, but also the Canadian citizens of Westville could look forward to the future feeling secure that they could maintain their homes and town.

In view of world conditions today it is felt that development of this mine is necessary to help guarantee the full use of our production facilities should a major war break out. This in itself would warrant government action now. In addition, it is a known fact that two other Pictou county mines, now active in a small way, will be depleted and closed within the next three years. A new mine development would absorb these men when their present jobs are closed out.

It is presently contemplated to double the size of the existing power plant at Trenton and, in fact, materials have been ordered for this purpose. When this installation is completed its daily coal requirements will exceed the entire output of the only remaining mine in the county which can carry on operations for an indefinite period. This alone would warrant a new development now to ensure our other plants of continued operations.

On behalf of the people of Westville I urge the government of Nova Scotia to assist in the opening of a new mine in that town. I feel that the government of Canada should

be prepared to assist, too, if so requested by the operating company and the government of Nova Scotia. Money made available for this purpose would not be a gift or donation; it would be a sound investment in the good people of Westville for the benefit of all Canada.

Furthermore, my request is substantiated by the Gordon commission report, which states that only modern mechanized mines can hope to remain in operation, and that government assistance to maritime industry is most essential. In view of these facts, and the bankrupt position of the town of Westville today, I urge that immediate action be taken to assure these people that their present position is of a temporary nature, and that the governments of Nova Scotia and bf Canada are prepared to lend temporary aid as I have just suggested.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
PC

John Borden Hamilton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. John B. Hamilion (York West):

Mr. Speaker, the speech from the throne is the product of a lazy, complacent, smug government. The speech from the throne is the product of a man convinced of the effectiveness of the Uncle Louis legend, so convinced that the old black magic spell can be weaved over the electors again in June of 1957 that he can treat the house and the people of the country with contempt. Not a single major problem has been offensively attacked in the speech from the throne. It is quite apparent, Mr. Speaker, that it is the intention of the government, if at all possible, to ensure that this is the quietest session on record, so that when they dip into their magic bag and bring forth the biggest election bribe in history there will be nothing to detract from the screaming headlines from coast to coast.

What are the problems that face us today? What are the problems they ignore in the hope that they will not have to answer? First, at home a large group comprising our elder citizens, the veterans and the blind, all dependent upon fixed incomes, are facing an ever-increasing cost of living. Second, the municipalities are placed in a taxation strait-jacket and find themselves squeezed between the demands for services of an ever-increasing population and an airtight tax formula devised by the government in order to ensure centralization of power here in Ottawa. Third, there is the tremendous threat from without to be faced by a Canadian government tied to the apron strings of a floundering giant in Washington.

What does the government offer in the speech from the throne? To the old age pensioners, to the veterans, to the blind, they offer arts and culture. To the municipalities they offer a few measly dollars in the form

of taxation on government buildings across the country. To the cause of world peace they offer a phony kind of conviction of the need to maintain the basic unity of the commonwealth, and their sympathy for the poor Hungarians.

Are these the answers of a government seized with the vision of the next 25 years set out for us in the Gordon report? I am afraid not, Mr. Speaker; and I am sure the people of Canada will give the answer to the ignoring of these salient facts of life during this year. Here was a golden opportunity to take care of great and growing needs without sacrificing a campaign against inflation.

Everyone knows that the $40 a month paid to an old age pensioner has a purchasing power of about $25 today. These people are in real need. Here is an opportunity to put the plan on a sound actuarial basis. Up to the moment we have taken increasing amounts from the general fund in addition to the percentage levy against personal income and corporation income. Here is a chance to fix an amount which will finally take care of this plan for the future, a chance to fix a percentage without taking any greater amount from the individual taxpayer's pocket.

Yet to date the government has failed to recognize the dire need of these people. If there is a real and inherent desire to help old age pensioners, the veterans and the blind, surely without waiting for this grand health plan about which we have been hearing since 1919, I believe, the government could institute at this time without financial assistance from the provinces a plan which would ensure that adequate medical and hospital care was available to those in receipt of old age, veterans and blind pensions. This would be a step which would prove sincerity on the part of the government with respect to its desire to implement protection for all.

The veterans have submitted a brief to the government which indicates that since 1925 the ratio of payment of pensions in disability cases as compared with wages has fallen behind at least 25 per cent. Surely this is also an indication of need. Their request for an increase of one-third would only place these people in the same position they were at the time they were granted the privileges they now have. Perhaps I should not have used the word "privileges"; perhaps I should have said the rights for which they so gallantly fought.

Then we come to the problem of the municipalities. Perhaps I might refer to page 6394 of Hansard of July 24, 1956, where I quoted from a brief prepared by the

The Address-Mr. J. B. Hamilton Canadian Federation of Mayors and Municipalities covering the period 1930 to 1951 which, at pages 31 and 32, has this to say:

Between 1939 and 1951, federal government revenues per capita rose from $45.33 to $270.68. In the same Interval, provincial government revenues per capita in Canada rose from $21.10 to $65.68, while municipal government revenues rose by a lesser amount from $28.07 to $45.49.

During the period from 1939 to 1951 the federal government has been able to increase its take on a per capita basis nine times, while the municipalities have only been able to increase their take by 50 per cent. The brief went on to say:

Municipal governments, relying upon less flexible revenue sources than the federal and provincial governments, have become increasingly dependent on grants and subsidies of other governments; otherwise they will be unable to finance the local services and responsibilities traditionally falling within their jurisdiction.

There seems to be a complete lack of understanding by the government of the problems facing the municipalities. There is a great deal of publicity about the wonderful job the government has been doing in bringing people to Canada, but there has been a complete failure to realize that for each person arriving here government on the lower level must immediately provide all the services and facilities required for streets, water, sewers and education. Yet the revenue agency which dips its hand in the pocket of the newcomer when he receives his first pay cheque is the federal treasury.

I would remind hon. members opposite that Mr. Frost of Ontario has pointed out very strongly that the revenue sources of this government could not exist without millions and millions of dollars being spent in development costs within his province. It seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that in this case as well if it is intended to indicate sincerity in connection with this problem, there are avenues of approach still open for this government.

We hear a great deal about education. When we talk about it we are told that we must be careful about what we say because of course that is a provincial matter, and that if we are going to deal with it we must set up some type of council in order to namby-pamby over the matter or we must see that the money is placed in trust somewhere where it will be available at a proper time for some provincial authority to take. I might say, Mr. Speaker, that if that is not bribery of the electors of a province, I have never seen it. But if there is true sincerity about the question of education, there is really no great problem, Mr. Speaker.

If this government is prepared to sit around the table with the provincial authorities and see that the tax base is adjusted

538 HOUSE OF

The Address-Mr. J. B. Hamilton so that additional amounts will be placed in the hands of provincial governments, then I say we can trust Mr. Frost to see that the schools of Ontario get the money. If they would like to add a little percentage abatement to their income tax plan for the province of Quebec, I am quite sure Mr. Duplessis will see that the schools get the money. This is again an indication that here is a government that must extract every last bit of favourable publicity out of every dollar, regardless of the consequence.

I might say that there must be other ways in which to assist the municipalities and still ensure that problems of provincial and federal jurisdiction are recognized. The problem they face is a demand for ever higher interest rates on their debentures in order to build facilities that are required for this increasing population. Yet I heard what was said by the Minister of Finance the other day. He answered a question by saying this: If the proposition is important enough I expect they will agree to pay the additional amount and get the money, but if they decide that it is not important enough I guess they will postpone it. Mr. Speaker, how do you postpone the building of necessary educational facilities? How do you postpone the necessary services that are required for houses from coast to coast for the hundreds of thousands of people who are coming to this country? What a facetious answer for the minister to give.

Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that if this government really wanted to do something it could do so. Maybe the Minister of Public Works might have some ideas to suggest. He is increasing the interest rate on C.M.H.C. loans and he thinks there is going to be a great deal more money available to get that nice little increase. We have seen the Minister of Finance by remote control affect interest rates from one end of the country to the other. I am wondering if those two ministers could not get together and suggest to the financial institutions-just suggest, you know; it has been an effective method so far-that perhaps they might balance their portfolios; that if they are going to get X dollars out of our guaranteed C.M.H.C. funds they might be obliged to advance X dollars at 4 per cent or 4| per cent on the debentures backed by the people who constitute the backbone of the country and the municipalities.

It might only be a suggestion, but suggestions apparently have been taken in the past and they have worked out not too badly. It could work out just in the way the municipalities are trying to solve their own problems. When it comes time to build

a new subdivision of homes they have had to say to the developers: We want the homes, but if you want the permits to build the homes you will be obliged to bring us X number of dollars of industrial building to our community. I think there are other methods this government could use if they really had the sincere purpose of solving this problem.

I wonder what we are going to do about the threat from without. I wonder what we are going to do about re-establishing-I think that was the word used-the commonwealth and all it has meant to this country. I am reminded that the Prime Minister went to a prime ministers' conference last year. When he was questioned in the house about what he thought about commonwealth prime ministers' conferences, as reported at page 7325 of Hansard of August 9, 1956, he said this:

I have never felt that time was wasted. While there are no specific agreements reached I have always felt that the time was well spent and did serve to keep us as close as possible together.

I wonder how successful he feels he has been now that we have had the episode at Suez, Mr. Speaker. I wonder how well he understood the problems that were being created at the very time he was taking part in the conference. We have had here, Mr. Speaker, indications that the Secretary of State for External Affairs feels that his country has a great role to play in reestablishing this connection. But the other day when I asked the Prime Minister in the house whether he might consider taking the initiative in having a conference convened he said this:

No, Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister does not feel that this country should take the initiative to try to determine what should be the policy of the United Kingdom government.

That quotation is to be found at page 323 of Hansard. We are not asking that the Prime Minister take over the policy of the United Kingdom government. I am going to use again the term I used previously. If there is sincerity in this government, if there is a true desire to re-establish this relationship, then it is about time this country took the initiative. If we have grown up-and for the last 20 years we have been told that the whole evolution of commonwealth relations as far as we are concerned has been part of our growing up-it is time we called a conference. It is time we held one down in Quebec city. It is time we gave some indication that we are prepared to play a leading role in maintaining what was the greatest agency for the promotion of peace in the world.

I want to tell you, Mr. Speaker, that we over here still believe in it, notwithstanding

anything that has taken place in the last few months. I believe the vast majority of the people who support the party to your right, Mr. Speaker, believe in it too. I can only ask them, does their government believe in it, and has it practised it for the last 20 years?

No, Mr. Speaker; this speech from the throne has come in like the lamb and I am sure the whole plan is that the government, after the budget presentation, will go out like the lion. However, I believe we should give them fair warning that the people of this country have been bribed once too often before election day. This year there will be no effective overtime appeal; it will take more than that.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

John Decore

Liberal

Mr. John Decore (Vegreville):

May I join with other hon. members, Mr. Speaker, in congratulating the mover (Mr. Hanna) and seconder (Mr. Robichaud) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne. The way in which these two gentlemen acquitted themselves has brought credit not only to them and to this house but also to the constituencies which they represent.

I am very well acquainted with the mover, the hon. member for Edmonton-Strathcona, whose constituency is adjacent to that of mine and with whom I share the same office in this House of Commons. The other day someone said that he is one of the hardest working members in this house, and I wish to assure you that this is correct. I wish also to give him credit for having made an attempt to speak in the French language. It is difficult for some members from the west, who may not have the same opportunity as eastern members to learn the two languages, but we do hope that all the members of the house will endeavour to master French since it is one of the official languages. If we cannot do that we can hope that at least our children, who will one day represent Canada, will be able to do so.

I should like also to congratulate the new leader of the Progressive Conservative party. The responsibility which faces him is great. He has the responsibility not only of being the leader of Her Majesty's loyal opposition and criticizing the government, but also of offering alternatives. At the same time he is expected to revitalize his party. Although I am a Liberal, I wish him well in his task of building up the Conservative party in Canada, because I am one of those who believe in the two party system if democracy is to work.

With reference to these splinter groups, at least you can say that the C.C.F. party is socialist, has a certain program and endeavours to follow it. However, since the

The Address-Mr. Decore Winnipeg convention, at which time they chucked out the Regina manifesto, I do not know whether they are any longer necessary in Canada, because I feel they are getting closer to the Liberals. In any event, one thing you can say about the socialists is that they have a certain definite platform and they endeavour to follow it.

When it comes to the other splinter group, the Social Crediters, it is a different matter. They will do anything; they will twist and turn; they will rock and roll; they will offer $25; they will endeavour to muzzle the press if they can, and whenever it suits their convenience, to put something across. As I say, I do sincerely believe, and I am sure a lot of other members who belong to the same political party I do believe, that the best way in which democracy can work in Canada is through the two party system. It is for that reason I do, in all sincerity, wish the new leader of the Conservative party every success-not too much success

in building up a strong Conservative party in this country.

During the course of this debate there have been a considerable number of references to the desire for an increase in social security payments. Reference was made to the desirability of increasing old age pensions as well as pensions for the blind. I think we should recognize this because it is quite clear that the buying power of these payments, especially with reference to old age pensions, has decreased very considerably in recent years. An increased pension to our old-timers contributes to the support and self respect of these pioneers and at the same time gives relief to the younger Canadians who have elderly dependents. I realize we are being confronted with huge expenditures, especially in the field of national defence. We all realize that social security without national security would be meaningless, especially where freedom was affected, but I do hope the government will be able to see its way clear to granting some increase, especially for the blind and for our older citizens.

Now I should like to draw to the attention of this house, Mr. Speaker, what I consider to be an injustice to the province of Alberta from which I come. I am, of course, referring to freight rates. I have spoken about this matter before, I am doing so now, and I shall continue to do so as long as I am a member representing the people of Alberta. I feel that Alberta is being discriminated against by the railway companies. We in Alberta do appreciate, and I appreciate, the fact that the geography of our country is such that it raises difficult problems with

The Address-Mr. Decore regard to rail transportation. Some of these problems are difficult to overcome, and it is not easy to eliminate the discrimination. However, I believe that with regard to freight rates, Alberta is a clear example of injustice.

Hon. members will recall that in 1951 a royal commission, after having studied the problem for some two years and after receiving a great deal of evidence with regard to the problems of transportation, issued a voluminous report. I believe it contains some 200,000 words. Certain recommendations were made. One of the main purposes in setting up this commission to study the problem of rail transportation was to endeavour to equalize freight rates across Canada. As I say there are problems, and will forever be problems, in such a vast country as ours, especially at this time when our population is relatively small. The commission endeavoured, however, to listen very carefully to the representations made on behalf of Saskatchewan and Alberta in particular. I think the house will appreciate the fact that because Alberta and Saskatchewan are so far removed from the markets, and we have not a self-sustaining population, if agriculture is to survive it is necessary that the cost of production be kept as low as possible.

One very important complaint that has been raised time and time again over the years by the province of Alberta in particular has been the cost of moving many classes of goods that are shipped from the east to our province. It costs less to transport goods from Toronto to Vancouver than it does to transport them from Toronto to Edmonton, though there are an additional 600 miles of very difficult terrain that the railways have to go over.

The reason the railways gave the special concessions or low rates was ostensibly to meet water transportation competition. However, the Turgeon royal commission, after having heard representations made by Alberta in this regard, recommended that parliament amend the Railway Act to provide that when the railways inaugurated low rates from eastern Canada to the west coast and from the west coast to eastern Canada to compete with water transportation, then the rates at intermediary points should not exceed the rate to the coast by more than one-third. In other words it was known as the one and one-third rule. It was felt that the one and one-third rule recommended by the Turgeon royal commission on transportation brought real relief from what we in Alberta felt was a long-suffered discrimination against our

manufacturing and processing industries, as well as our distributors and consumers as a whole.

Although the finding of the Turgeon royal commission, that is the one and one-third rule, was incorporated into statute by this parliament, the railways were determined to prevent its operation, with the result that this rule was destined to be shortlived. There appears to be a conflict between the Railway Act containing the one and one-third provisions and the Transport Act, under which the rate-making system of agreed charges was established in 1938.

The railways took advantage of the situation and the practice of making competitive rates on transcontinental traffic, for example between Montreal and Vancouver, was abandoned in favour of the agreed charges, and once again Alberta and western Saskatchewan were restored to the long and short haul discrimination against which these areas fought for many years. In fact a new royal commission was set up known as the royal commission on agreed charges. The finding of this commission was to refuse to recommend the enactment of legislation which would make agreed charges subject to the one and one-third rule, and that of course is the situation today.

Let me bring out, Mr. Speaker, by quoting certain figures just to what extent we in Alberta are being discriminated against with regard to freight rates. If you were to take commodities such as plate or sheet steel and ship them to Vancouver from Hamilton the cost per hundredweight, provided you shipped 100,000 pounds, would be $1.10. The cost of the shipment from Hamilton to Calgary would be $2.46 per hundredweight, or more than twice as much. In other words it would be cheaper in this case to haul the plate or sheet from Hamilton to Vancouver and from Vancouver back to Calgary than to ship it direct from Hamilton to Calgary.

Let me give you another example of canned goods from southern Ontario. The cost per hundredweight to Vancouver is $1.80. The cost to Calgary is $2.30. The cost of shipping anti-freeze from Montreal to Vancouver is $2; the cost of shipping it from Montreal to Calgary is $2.70. The cost of shipping wire rope from Toronto or Montreal to Vancouver is $1.30 per hundredweight. The cost of shipping it from Toronto or Montreal to Calgary is $2.80, or more than twice as much. Do not forget that there are 600 miles between Calgary and Vancouver. The cost of shipping paints from Toronto or Montreal to Vancouver is $2.25. The cost of shipping them to Calgary from those points is $3.35.

Take margarine. The cost of shipping margarine from Toronto to Vancouver is $2.85 per hundredweight. The cost of shipping it from Toronto to Calgary is $3.77 per hundredweight. The cost of shipping cheese from southern Ontario to Vancouver is $2.90 per hundredweight. The cost of shipping it to Calgary is $3.50 per hundredweight. The cost of shipping corn oil and syrup from Port Credit to Vancouver is $1.90 per hundredweight. The cost of shipping it to Calgary is $3.56 per hundredweight. The cost of shipping steel piles from Sault Ste. Marie to Vancouver is $1.25 per hundredweight. The cost of shipping it to Calgary is $2.51 per hundredweight, more than double.

Will you call it six o'clock now, Mr. Speaker?

At six o'clock the house took recess.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink

AFTER RECESS The house resumed at eight o'clock.


LIB

John Decore

Liberal

Mr. Decore:

Mr. Speaker, just before six o'clock I was endeavouring to point out to the house the great difference in freight rates from Quebec and Ontario to Vancouver as compared with the rates to Calgary and Edmonton. In many cases the freight rate on certain commodities is more than double between Edmonton or Calgary and Montreal as compared with the Montreal-Vancouver rate. We do not begrudge this advantage being given to Vancouver, but it is quite clear that agreed charges, to which I have made reference, are simply a new type of discrimination by the railway companies, especially against Alberta and western Canada. This affects the movement of materials, goods and manufactures, and it certainly has hampered the development of industry in that area and its competition with eastern Canada, more especially any effort it might make to obtain access to the large British Columbia market.

The fact is that these rates have tended to discourage a number of firms opening up new plants in that part of the west. As an example I can cite the case of a certain company in Vancouver manufacturing steel drums and tanks for the Alberta oil industry. This company bought a plant site in Edmonton on the strength of the reduction in the cost of steel plate brought about by the application of the one and one-third rule to which I made reference. However, the application of the agreed charge method of rate-making caused this project to be abandoned.

There has been a recent increase in freight rates, but this increase does not affect the

The Address-Mr. Decore agreed charges though it does affect Alberta and western Saskatchewan. Those parts of the country will have to bear the brunt of the new hoist in freight rates. As one observer has pointed out, agreed charges discriminate by wiping out competition, yet they were introduced to meet competition. It is felt that agreed charges should depend on actual and not potential competition. I submit that the cost of railway transportation should be such as to enable all parts of Canada to develop industrially. At the present time Alberta is being penalized, especially as far as the establishment of secondary industries is concerned.

The house will probably remember that the Turgeon commission made a recommendation, which was implemented by statute, that the railways be granted $7 million to reduce the cost of the long haul by way of the great lakes. This bridge subsidy now appears to be merely a lump payment to the railroads and has no effect upon Alberta and Saskatchewan. People will point to the Crowsnest pass rates and argue that those were to benefit the Alberta farmers. The Crowsnest pass rates are not affected by freight rate increases, but the whole purpose of those rates was to hold down the cost of transportation in order to help Canadian wheat compete in world markets. Those rates benefit the whole Canadian economy by their effect on the balance of trade, not just the grain farmer in western Canada.

Having said that in connection with freight rates and what I consider to be an injustice to the province of Alberta, I should like now to deal with another matter. There exists in Canada today certain abusive practices which I feel should be looked into, and I refer to the sending of parcels of food and clothing to people behind the iron curtain in the U.S.S.R. Hon. members will realize that after the second world war many people from behind the iron curtain entered Canada as political refugees, leaving behind them mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters or close friends. They were happy to come to this land of freedom and opportunity, and realizing the condition and plight of their relatives and friends behind the iron curtain in the U.S.S.R. they were anxious to give them some assistance by way of food and clothing.

During the last number of months certain so-called legal agencies have been established across Canada with the primary purpose of sending such parcels of food and clothing from Canada to the U.S.S.R. What I want to do is point out just what it costs to send these parcels to the Soviet union through

The Address-Mr. E. G. McCullough these so-called legal agencies. I have information that if merchandise to the value of $12 is sent from Canada the following costs

are incurred:

Merchandise cost $12.00

U.S.S.R. fee, 10 per cent 1.20

U.S.S.R. customs duty 7.40

U.S.S.R. inspection fee 1.51

U.S.S.R. invoice fee 66

Fee 1 per cent 23

Service charge 7.50

Fumigation 1.00

Parcel post 5.00

Guarantee fee 1.79

Notification fee 18

Total $38.47

The practice is to deduct the cost of the parcel in order to show that it is a gift of these agencies. On examining these figures we find that from this parcel the needy person will receive goods to the value of $12, the U.S.S.R. will receive $10.77, the agency in Canada will receive $12.70 and the post office will get $3, not $5 as charged.

I am one who takes exception to this type of benevolence. I am not opposed to the sending of these gifts to needy people behind the iron curtain, but I feel that in the first instance the U.S.S.R. should not charge the customs duties and other charges which they impose. If they do, why should these charges and duties be collected on Canadian soil? It is clear from the figures I have just quoted that the misery of the people in the Soviet union, brought about by communist policies, is being exploited by these so-called agencies in Canada, not only to fatten themselves but at the same time to finance the resources of the U.S.S.R.

I feel, Mr. Speaker, this is a matter the government should look into. As I pointed out, I am not opposed to the sending of these parcels to these unfortunate people in the U.S.S.R., but I am opposed to the Canadian people being exploited and, at the same time, directly assisting the government of the Soviet union.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
CCF

Edward George McCullough

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

Mr. E. G. McCullough (Moose Mountain):

Mr. Speaker, I feel very honoured to once again take the opportunity of speaking in this house on behalf of the people whom I represent. I like to feel, sir, that I speak for the common people who cannot be here to speak for themselves. Sir, whether I am correct or not I feel that this chamber has been shrouded by a cloud ever since last year, when the pipe-line debate was in progress. I feel that something has been done to democracy which it is going to take a lifetime to correct. I

feel that this all-powerful party across the way has, in one fell swoop, done to democracy what the communists could never do to a free parliament; I think that is the sort of atmosphere which prevails is this house.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
?

An hon. Member:

Nonsense.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
CCF

Edward George McCullough

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

Mr. McCullough (Moose Mountain):

I can

only come to the conclusion, Mr. Speaker, that the Liberal party tried to do what Macbeth suggested when, according to Shakespeare, he said: "If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done quickly." I feel that this Liberal party, Mr. Speaker, has caused an injury to parliament which it will take a lifetime to heal. I speak for myself, and I can only say this; that in parliament I have great respect for the rules and also for the privileges affecting hon. members of this house. I can only say, sir, that I want each and every privilege afforded me according to the rights and customary procedures of parliament. I want that, and nothing less.

Having said that I would like to turn to the remarks made by the hon. member for Vegreville (Mr. Decore) before the dinner hour. He was commenting on our declaration of principle as a C.C.F. party at the national C.C.F. convention in Winnipeg, and I need only say this. Neither he nor anyone else need worry about the C.C.F. party changing its policies in order to bring justice and equality into the political and economic life of the people of this country. We have not deviated from our first program early in the thirties. In this country we have a political democracy, but it was suspended in the pipe-line debate-

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
?

An hon. Member:

By your party.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
CCF

Edward George McCullough

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

Mr. McCullough (Moose Mountain):

-but

not an economic democracy which is the right of free people. Whether or not it is going to be the privilege of the C.C.F. party to bring to the Canadian people an economic system under which they will share equally and fairly in the progress made in this country, I can assure the hon. member for Vegreville that rather than the Liberal party filling the need in Canada to give these things to the Canadian people, we have had a growing gap between the rich and the strong and the weak and the underprivileged in this country. The monopolists in this country today have taken away any kind of competition in sales and prices to the consumer.

Equally the little people, the farmers, white-collar workers and people in the street, the common people, are finding it more difficult to share in the prosperity of this country. The prosperity which has been talked about

is going to swell the profits of the big corporations. I say to the hon. member for Vegreville and to those in the Liberal party who think the C.C.F. has deviated from its program, that there will be in the membership of this party many dedicated men and women who will come to parliament in order to secure for the people of Canada what is their just due in this rich and prosperous country of ours.

I followed closely what the hon. member for Vegreville said in respect of freight rates, and he used very excellent arguments in respect of the load with which western residents, and farmers in particular, will be saddled by reason of the new rates allowed by the transport board. I wish to point out that this is another case of the cost of living rising higher and higher. Of course the common people, the wage earners and the farmers, do not share in the prosperity afforded to the big corporations of this country.

The Canadian consumer debt is increasing at an alarming rate. I have here a clipping from a recent newspaper headed "Consumer Debt in Canada Hits New Peak Level". The quotation reads:

The amount of money owing by Canadian consumers for the things they bought on time rose to a record $2,395,000,000.

Surely, Mr. Speaker, it can make nobody in this country happy to learn that the common people have increasingly to go out and buy on credit in order to have a decent standard of living. It must be a heyday in these prosperous times-so-called by the Liberal party-for those people who charge enormous rates of interest in respect of goods bought by consumers on time.

Dr. Mutchmor, writing in an article I read the other day, said that it is a continual rat race by the common people of this country to keep pace with the increase in the cost of living. Yet at the same time many of the prices paid to the farmers and those who produce foodstuffs for our consumption bear no relation at all to what the consumer has to pay. I quote from the issue of the Toronto Star of January 7: "Farm Product Index Declines by 2-1 Per Cent". On the other hand net corporation profits-I do not want to list them; they can be found anywhere in the financial reports of these companies-have continued to increase. The Gazette of September 3, 1956, had this to say;

Net earnings of Ford Motor Company of Canada Limited, after taxes, for the first hah of this year showed an increase to 62 per cent over the comparable 1955 figure at an estimated $12,030,686, the company reveals in an interim report.

Thus, Mr. Speaker, there is in this country need for a political party such as the C.C.F.

The Address-Mr. E. G. McCullough I do not think you can play on both sides of the game; either you fight for the common people in order that they may share in the country's prosperity by way of improved wages and better farm returns, or you give your support to these profiteering companies as the Liberal party has seen fit to do.

I want to point out that it is rumoured in the corridors of this chamber that the Liberals, generally speaking, want an early election. They feel this all-powerful government has the next election in the bag, and that may well be. Then we have the fact that the pockets of the government are filled with about half a billion dollars with which they can play Santa Claus to the people of the country. As far as I am concerned, Mr. Speaker, it only means that the government has seen fit to overtax many people and, furthermore, that little has been done to help the people who need help. I do not forget and I do not think the people of Canada forget that this government is largely responsible for the increased cost of living, and they have been aided and abetted by other parties in this house. They took off price controls early in the post-war years. Since that time we have seen the cost of living go up and up.

Nothing has been done to help our old age pensioners during this period of inflation. So today I say I will join with others in the house if the government see fit to increase old age pensions so these older people can live in decency and security. I believe the old age pension should be increased to $65 and be payable at the age of 65, so these people may live in some kind of decency in the face of the present cost of living.

I hope, too, Mr. Speaker, that the Liberal government, even if it is a deathbed repentance before the next general election, will see fit to increase blind pensions. There came to my desk today a brief from the blind pensioners' association asking that something be done for them, and I feel the government should do something in that regard.

I also want to say something with respect to the veterans of the first and second great wars. As I understand it, under section 227 of the Pension Act regulations there is provision that the pension commission should rule in favour of the veteran, and that the onus should not be on him to prove his disability in order to get a pension. Therefore I hope the government, now that it has all this money available, will see to it that the veterans of our first and second great wars are given the pensions that are their just due. In this respect it seems to me that the government has been pretty niggardly in not

The Address-Mr. E. G. McCullough giving such pensions when there is real justification for them. In my opinion the fact that veterans have gone into the services, have been examined by five or six medical specialists and classed as A-l, have then come out of the services with a P-5 category and have had no entitlement to pension is a disgrace to this country. Many of these veterans can do nothing else than look up their case histories. Therefore I hope the government will give due consideration to my words in this regard.

I want to turn now to agriculture, the segment of our economy with which I am most familiar and which, of course, is predominant in my constituency. The farmers of western Canada and, indeed, throughout Canada are in a cost-price squeeze today. The freight rates mentioned by the hon. member for Vegreville apply to the farmers in my constituency, and indeed to all western people. The farmers have to pay for machinery manufactured in eastern Canada and then shipped to the western provinces. They have to pay for everything they need to produce what they sell, and they are caught both ways.

When the board of transport commissioners allowed the first interim increase in freight rates it was to me a blow to western agriculture. They then allowed on top of that a subsequent 4 per cent increase, and I understand that the total increase of 15 per cent requested is probably going to be granted. But when one looks at the record of the Canadian Pacific Railway I cannot see how the government can justify the pyramiding of freight rates, particularly when the load is mainly on western Canada.

I have here Canadian Pacific Railway figures taken from their annual report. They show that in the year 1939 the railway had a debt of $228 million and a reserve of $39 million. In 1950 it had a debt of $86 million and a reserve of $525 million, in 1953 a debt of $75 million and a reserve of $576,657,000, in 1954 a debt of $72 million and a reserve of $608,789,000. By 1955 it had reduced its debt from a high of $228 million in 1939 to $89,795,283, and had a reserve of $640,061,081. On the basis of these figures I cannot see how the board of transport commissioners was justified in placing additional freight costs on the western farmer when he is already overburdened with such costs.

I notice that some of the cabinet ministers have expressed different viewpoints with respect to agriculture. Those of us in the house who try to fight for a fair deal for agriculture through the establishment of parity prices for the main farm commodities cannot understand why there should be such

a diversity of opinion on the part of government officials. However, I am led to believe that there is perhaps a reason for this situation. It may well be that members of the government are trying to confuse the minds of the farmers with respect to the fight for parity. I have here a report that appeared in the Leader-Post of November 5, 1956. It is headed, "Gardiner Says Parity Received", and it quotes him as saying:

We ought to have parity, you say. It you mean by that costs of production in relation to returns, we have it now.

That was on November 5, 1956. On

December 4, 1956, an article appeared in the Globe and Mail headed, "Canada Shuns Farm Price Parity, Gardiner Reveals to Conference." Then I have a report that appeared in the Ottawa Journal of November 7, 1956, headed, "Harris Opposed to Permanent Price Supports." I have another that appeared in the Producer of November 8, 1956, headed, "McCubbin Promises Support Parity Prices Motion if Presented Again."

Here we have the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Agriculture and the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Agriculture all taking different viewpoints on parity prices. At one time the Minister of Agriculture says we have it, and at another time he says the government shuns it. The truth is that we have never had parity prices for agriculture in Canada, and I have never seen such a conglomeration of misrepresentation and confusion. I can only say it is the worst witches' brew I have ever seen.

I do not believe the government has any intention of implementing parity prices for agriculture. The situation is serious because of the cost-price squeeze facing western agriculture. From figures taken from the bureau of statistics Canadian statistical review of the past year we find that in the year 1955 the net income of farmers from farm operations was $1,454 million. It dropped to that figure from a high in 1951 of $2,155 million. The portion of the national income which the farmers received in 1951 was 12.6 per cent, and it had dropped to a low of 7.1 per cent in 1955. Equally, net income in terms of 1946 constant dollars dropped from $2,306 real income in 1951 to $1,674 in 1955.

This may not mean too much to some members of the house, but it means that western farmers are in such a cost-price squeeze today that hundreds of them are leaving their farms. They cannot see any way out, because unless this government is prepared to institute some type of parity prices for agriculture, they cannot meet the cost-price squeeze that is facing them.

I should like now, Mr. Speaker, to turn to the Gordon commission and its report, and say something with respect to its suggestions with regard to agriculture. I can only believe that the report of the Gordon commission in respect of some aspects of the future for agriculture in Canada and its recommendations were made only after the most cursory of investigations into the problems of agriculture and its future. To me some of them are silly, undesirable and completely unworkable.

I refer now to the recommendations the commission made with respect to the handling of wheat. The commission apparently recommends that the Canadian wheat board should set quotas on individual farm production in western Canada. I heartily disagree with this recommendation, for these reasons. First, it would be quite impractical, if not completely impossible, to make any reliable estimates of what the farmers are going to grow. The vagaries of the weather have such an effect on production of the western wheat crop that I do not think it would be possible for the Canadian wheat board to make any reliable estimate of what would be produced. In the second place-and I believe this is much more important-by setting the quotas for western wheat production it would give to our competitors abroad and to possible purchasers abroad of Canadian wheat some idea as to whether or not Canada was under pressure in having to sell her wheat crop.

I believe the policy I have advocated since 1945 would be a more realistic policy for this government to follow. It seems to me there are too many inconsistencies in what has been proposed by the Gordon commission. I believe the government should undertake, as I have advocated since 1945, to set up in Canada the principle of the ever-normal granary. By that I mean this government would see to it that there possibly be stored in this country, under proper long-term storage, a billion bushels of wheat for any emergency that might arise.

If that kind of program were followed I believe we then could have, under Canadian wheat board marketing policy which we have today, real and genuine orderly marketing of the western wheat crop. I believe it would encourage long-term trading agreements with potential purchasers of Canadian wheat. It would add stability to the western wheat agriculture economy. Hence I most sincerely recommend that suggestion to the government. As I understand it now, we have about half a billion bushels or a little better of storage capacity today.

I would therefore make three definite recommendations to the government in respect 82715-35

The Address-Mr. E. G. McCullough of agriculture. First, I recommend the establishment of guaranteed parity prices to producers for the main farm commodities. My second recommendation is that they set up a dominion-provincial drainage and conservation authority in order to undertake far-reaching drainage and land utilization schemes, such schemes to have adequate federal financial participation. My third recommendation is storage payments on government-approved farm-stored grain, such a plan to be co-ordinated with an ever-normal granary plan to provide for total storage of one billion bushels of grain if necessary. I believe the implementation of these recommendations I have made is necessary if we are to protect the family farm in western Canada.

I should now like to turn for a moment or two to my own constituency of Moose Mountain. I have never before in this house availed myself of the opportunity to speak in particular about my constituency, which I am extremely proud to represent. I believe it is one of the finest constituencies in Canada, if not the finest. I understand that the largest centre, the former town of Estevan, is just now being incorporated into a city. We have there, of course, the tremendous oil growth and the population growth of that city. I want to give thanks to the former postmaster general for the fact that the federal government is building a post office in Estevan. When the former postmaster general, Mr. Cote, was minister, I had occasion to rise in the house and make the recommendation that a new federal building be constructed in the city of Estevan. After the minister had recovered and was convalescing he was kind enough to write to me and say that he would take my representations into consideration. I am happy to say that the government have seen fit to build that post office, and I wish to thank them for doing so.

Located in the centre of my constituency we have the beautiful Moose Mountain provincial park, abounding in game and wildlife of all kinds. In the lakes there is extremely attractive fishing. It is the delight of sportsmen from all over the world, and many American people come up there to enjoy a holiday.

We have also the Bienfait coal mines. About one-fifth of all the coal mined in Canada comes from that area. We also have a brick plant, which is a crown corporation, producing beautiful brick for all that area. As a matter of fact they are shipping to all points in Canada. There is also being built a large electric power generating plant. Already it is the site of a large generating plant to serve the southern part of the

The Address-Mr. Schneider province, but a new one is being built at Souris river which will cost in the neighbourhood of $40 million.

I am equally proud to say that my constituency is the centre of perhaps one of the largest purebred beef cattle sections of Canada. In that area some of the finest cattle in the world are bred. Last, but not least, it is the centre of the tremendous oil boom in that province. Almost from one end of my constituency to the other an oil play is taking place. Many press reports have described this oil play as fabulous and incredible, comparing it with what took place in Texas some years ago. This has meant {hat we have many new people who are welcome in my constituency. It has also meant new industries for my constituency. But equally, it has brought new problems and it has intensified some of the old ones.

1 refer particularly to the urban and municipal financing of services.

In the villages of Bienfait and Oxbow, in the city of Estevan and in many other villages and towns in my constituency we have found that with the influx of increased population and with the very narrow base of taxation which these urban and municipal governments have, it is increasingly difficult for these municipalities to give services to the new population or to the people that were there before. I would therefore suggest to the government that they undertake to set up some form of fund by means of which these municipalities can get loans at

2 per cent or 2J per cent interest on longterm amortization plans. I think this is one of the crucial problems facing all small governments throughout the country. I therefore make that suggestion to the government.

As I say, the other main problem facing my constituency is the cost-price squeeze facing my farmers. I hope the government will not turn a deaf ear to some of the representations I have made. I hope they will take into consideration the program which I have suggested should be implemented for agriculture. Unless this is done I am convinced that the family farm in western Canada is going into liquidation. I am convinced that more and more people will leave the farms. I therefore plead with this government to try to implement the program I have outlined here tonight.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

Norman C. Schneider

Liberal

Mr. N. C. Schneider (Waterloo North):

wish to avail myself of this opportunity in the debate on the speech from the throne, Mr. Speaker, to mention a few matters of special concern to my constituents in the riding of Waterloo North. I am here to present their views and opinions, and this I propose to do in as few words as possible.

I am pleased to report general prosperity in Waterloo North. The twin cities of Kitchener-Waterloo and the town of Elmira are enjoying a high degree of employment, with figures showing a slight improvement over last year. These cities are highly industrialized, and Kitchener has become the rubber centre of Canada. My first duty in presenting the problems of my people is to report the continued deterioration of the rubber footwear industry.

While it is true that I have reported high employment in my riding, it is also true that a serious loss is being inflicted on Canada's economy by the laying off of hundreds, or I should say thousands, of skilled footwear makers, including workers at the four additional factories in the province of Quebec at Granby, St. Jerome, Lachine and Acton Vale. The three large plants which for many years manufactured rubber footwear in my riding have been reduced to two as a result of the closing of the Goodrich footwear division, which was moved to Quebec and has since closed operations there. The two remaining footwear plants are operating on a reduced basis, and one of these has added a foam rubber plant so the extensive steam plant may be kept in use. The other remaining plant is geared almost entirely to footwear, and the inroads of Asiatic imports is slowly but surely robbing these two remaining plants of their Canadian outlet.

I do not believe in endless repetition of this complaint regarding the unfair competition of Hong Kong and other Asiatic low wage products, but 7 cents to 15 cents per hour as compared to standard wages prevailing in Canada is unfair, and if continued will surely eliminate Canadian production. It would be a sad day indeed for Canadians if, in the event of war, we were forced to depend on an Asiatic or any other country for such highly essential articles as rubber footwear. With a high priority in wartime, rubber footwear is a necessity to farmers, miners, fishermen, lumbermen, the armed forces and every citizen.

In early December the tariff board held a hearing in Ottawa at which seven submissions were presented by manufacturers, labour organizations, a consumers' association, importers and foreign producers. I attended this hearing, and I feel that it accomplished its purpose by bringing out all the facts, and should be a great help in solving this ever-increasing problem.

Another problem presented to my constituents is the continued deterioration of our Canadian button industry. The inroads of Puerto Rican imports have almost eliminated this once important and busy industry in Canada.

Of the three button factories in Kitchener, one has recently declared its bankruptcy and the other two are in difficulties because the large volume lines, the plastics, are being imported from Puerto Rico at prices below Canadian costs. Puerto Rico, as a part of the United States, is classed as a most-favoured nation, but we feel that wage rates in that country gives those producers an unfair advantage. In addition, I understand that the operators in that country pay no income tax. I again appeal to the Department of Finance and the Department of Trade and Commerce to place some much-needed control on these imports, either by a reduced quota or a fair value for duty purposes based on Canadian costs plus a fair profit, so these two Canadian secondary industries will not be entirely eliminated.

To do my full duty in representing my people I must also bring to this house the appeals of many of the old age pensioners. In this debate we have heard no denial by anyone of the fact that the present pension of $40 per month is insufficient to supply the bare necessities of life today. Many suggestions involving the means test are offered regarding this national service to our senior citizens. It is most desirable that the means test be avoided in old age pensions, and the plan should not place any indignity on the deserving applicant. My own people feel that our province of Ontario has failed them in not paying a supplemental allowance. Though the wealthiest province in Canada, Ontario has done very little compared to British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Ontario's assistance involves a voluntary contribution by the municipality, and everyone agrees that municipalities are already overburdened.

I must present also the appeals of our blind citizens, and their requests for the elimination of the means test as applied to payments to our sightless handicapped citizens. It costs money to be blind, and I feel that the means test as presently applied definitely discourages the blind from making greater efforts to support themselves.

Speaking for my agricultural constituents, I wish to remind the Department of Agriculture of the excellent brief submitted last week by the dairy groups of Waterloo county asking for consideration of the continuance of the butter support plan, with the costs of handling and storage added when government stocks of butter are released to the trade. They also requested the development of high standards for grades of butter and other dairy products, a protective device or a floor price under skim milk powder, and the placing of the product under the Export 82715-35}

The Address-Mr. W. M. Hamilton and Import Permits Act. They ask also for legislation that will facilitate producers' organizations in co-operating in the orderly marketing of products on an interprovincial basis, and for assistance to the cheese producers to meet unfavourable trends that may occur in their present markets.

. I see no indication that Canadians have changed their habit of eating three meals each day. Most Canadian families offer a prayer of thanks and gratitude for each meal. Do we think also of the lonely hours spent by the farmer who plowed the land to grow the wheat to produce our daily bread? When we enjoy a glass of refreshing, healthbuilding milk or a serving of cream or cheese do we think of the regularly scheduled hours of milking which face the dairy farmer twice each day, and not five days per week but seven days per week? When we spread a serving of good dairy or creamery butter, do we think of the long hours required in the care of a good herd of dairy cows? I mention these things in the hope that the farmer-producer may receive proper recognition of his important place in our economy, and be given a fair return for his labour,

In conclusion I wish to associate myself with those who have congratulated the mover (Mr. Hanna) and seconder (Mr. Robichaud) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne. The hon. member for Edmonton-Strathcona and the hon. member for Gloucester well deserved the praise of this house on their sensible and well-considered speeches.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
PC

William McLean Hamilton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. W. M. Hamilton (Notre Dame de Grace):

In preparing my thoughts for what I was going to say tonight, Mr. Speaker, I was reminded of a little tribute which I have wanted to pay in this house almost since the day I came to Ottawa. I think I should do so now. I wish to remark on the unusual courtesy and kindness of the Ottawa taxi drivers.

As one who has been in most of the cities of Canada and many of those of the United States, and used taxicabs in each one of them, I have found that while they may be a very efficient method of transportation, the drivers do not go out of their way to look after one as an individual. I have been tremendously impressed with the difference here in Ottawa. They meet us at the station; they carry our bags up the stairs at home, and this last is an unusual factor which I do think deserves recognition from those of us who come to this city from outside. Incidentally, I may say it is probably a very profitable operation for the taxi driver, because the tips one gives here in Ottawa are considerably larger

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink

S48 HOUSE OF COMMONS


The Address-Mr. W. M. Hamilton in proportion to those one is tempted to give in any other city of which I know. The Gordon commission report on the economic prospects of Canada over the next 25 years contains some interesting statistics for all of us who live in the cities of Canada. The commission found: Canada has been becoming an increasingly urban country and this trend will continue. In 1951, 62 per cent of the population lived in metropolitan areas or in other cities, towns or villages with more than 1,000 people. By 1980 that proportion may rise to 80 per cent. Over the same period the proportion of the population living in metropolitan and urban areas of more than 100,000 people may rise from 36 per cent to 56 per cent. Translated into actual population figures, the commission estimated that by 1980 the population of Canada's 15 metropolitan areas will be some 12 million people, as compared with 5.2 million at our last census. When we turn to Montreal, with which perhaps I am more familiar than with the other metropolitan areas of Canada, we find that while the Gordon commission has not published a particular estimate for that city, other authoritative figures place our population by 1980 at over 3| million, which is an increase of more than l\ million above the present figure. Let me turn again to the Gordon report to obtain further background for what I am going to say. It forecasts that there will be a steady decrease in the number of hours we will work each week, so the present average of just over 41 hours will be reduced by 1980 to just over 34 working hours per week. It is probable, too, that we shall have a good deal more money to spend because, to quote the report: By 1980 the average Canadian, after paying income tax, will have about two-thirds again as much net income for his own use as he had in 1955. I would say in parenthesis, Mr. Speaker, that the Gordon commission is apparently forecasting a Conservative government, because we certainly have indication that the attitude of the present administration is to do nothing except follow up increased income with increased income taxes. Encouraging as these estimates may be, they foreshadow the further growth of a problem which is already a major one in most of our cities in Canada, and nowhere more so than in our city of Montreal. I refer to the problem of traffic. The figures forecast a tremendous increase in the nature and the extent of that problem over the next 25 years. That is because, first, we have an increasing concentration of our population in and around the major urban centres of Canada. Second, we have an absolute growth in the number of people who are living in those areas. Third, we have an increase in their spare time, which will be reflected in additional travelling and additional movement around the city itself. Fourth and finally, I think we can expect that the increased income which is forecast will be reflected in increased automobile ownership, as people move from no car to one car and as our families become more and more two-car families where now they operate only a single automobile. Take as one example Montreal, which is Canada's largest city-and by all indications it is destined to remain so situated on an island contiguous to other islands. It faces across the St. Lawrence river another area promising, upon the completion of the seaway, to be one of the most prosperous urban areas in Canada if not in the world. The free circulation of traffic, its smooth movement without delay not only throughout the city but across the water barrier which surrounds the city, becomes not only a municipal concern, not only a provincial concern, but a problem of national importance in which, I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, the federal government should have a very direct and immediate interest. While I have used Montreal as an example, Mr. Speaker, I make these observations on traffic not only in respect of our city but in respect of all the other metropolitan areas across this country which are faced with this problem and which are going to have to solve it, if it is to be solved, through the expenditure of immense amounts of money. Let me turn to the area which I am using as an example. We find ourselves in Montreal in the midst of a mighty and dynamic metropolitan region which stretches southward to the United States border, westward to the Ontario border, northward in to the Lauren-tians and eastward to the Richelieu river and beyond. Like all the other major cities of Canada, all this surrounding area which is contiguous to the city itself is a part of its region. The city lives, breathes and has its being only as it engages in commerce and interchange of people and business with the metropolitan region surrounding it. As this great heartland of ours grows and flourishes -and I think that future is destined for it- there is going to be an ever greater and more difficult traffic problem throughout the entire area. The co-ordination of this traffic will be the first concern, obviously, of any municipal government or any metropolitan regional government which is established. Once established it will, with the financial help of the provincial government, probably be competent to deal with the arterial roads which run through it and which bind its economic activities to the rest of the region. But even with a full measure of provincial help no local authority can cope with the many water crossings which this network of arterial roads would require. What demands are likely to be made in the future, and what are the requirements at the present time? Engineering experts have calculated that it will take a tunnel perhaps seven or eight miles in length to take trains as well as automobiles under the St. Lawrence river, and that this would cost approximately $175 million. I do not propose to quarrel with the cost, though it does seem rather high at this point. I do not even propose to quarrel with the proposed length of the tunnel, though I think we should remember when considering a problem such as this the experience of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the Rockies, where they found that spiral tunnels in which the railroad mounted around and above itself enabled them to bring the road out at a point almost immediately above that at which it entered the mountain. I think that is something which might well be considered by those who are giving this problem engineering study. Be that as it may, we have a cost estimate of some $175 million in order to provide a tunnel to allow train traffic to go underneath the St. Lawrence river and thus remove it from continued interference with the seaway. That in turn would enable the Victoria and the C.P.R. bridges to be converted to traffic use alone. Since the gradient for autos could be much steeper the ends could be raised, especially the south end, to enable it to clear the seaway and thus eliminate another problem which currently is facing us in that area. We also have the promise of the Minister of Transport to deliver a new bridge to Montreal called the Nuns' island bridge, and I shall deal with this subsequently. With the situation as presently outlined, and with another proposed bridge to the north upon which it is expected the provincial government will embark in the spring, we would still require two additional bridges to the east and west ends of the island, and these might be constructed with the help of the province. On the basis of present-day automobile ownership and traffic count, with these extra bridges and tunnels we would then be almost competent to handle today's traffic. I think I should underline and mark well that I am referring to today's requirements and not those of the future. Let us look a little into the future. As I have pointed out before, it is estimated that there will be a population increase of about The Address-Mr. W. M. Hamilton 1J million in that area by 1980. It is estimated also that motor car registration will increase by about 20,000 a year. This means that in addition to today's traffic, by 1981 there will be an additional 500,000 cars to contend with. We can add to that the increase in the surrounding areas which will rise as the seaway is completed and as industry moves in with its buildings and plans. This is a clear indication that unless we build well beyond today's requirements we are going to be facing bridge congestion and the blocking of traffic circulation on an even greater scale than at the present time. In order to deal with future requirements we would need at least four more bridges across the St. Lawrence, elevated to clear the seaway traffic, as well as other bridges to the north connecting with the arterial roads. The cost of such a program is stupendous. Taking the cost of the seven or eight mile tunnel at $175 million, and $90 million each for four elevated bridges which would total $360 million, we arrive at a grand total of $535 million. Then there would be another $300 million to pay for the bridges to connect with the expressways, which would make a grand total of $835 million or close to $1 billion as Montreal's share in providing what would be necessary to deal with the expanding problem of Canadian traffic. This figure of $835 million to cover the bridges and their immediate connections is obviously impossible of attainment even by such a great metropolis as the city of Montreal. Viewing provincial finances for as short a period as 20 years, it would appear to be even beyond the capacity of the province. If these problems are to be solved it means that they must be considered a responsibility of the federal government. I think I have outlined previously some of the reasons why traffic should be the concern of the federal government as well as the provinces and the municipalities. In order to arrive at a basis of comparison as to how the federal government might deal with a situation like this we could perhaps turn to the experience of the United States, where at the last session of congress there was created a federal highway administration charged with the building of some 41,000 miles of roads and crossroads to be free of traffic intersections and devoted only to the fast and efficient movement of traffic in the area. They propose to spend some $50 billion in the next 13 years, or approximately $4 billion a year. One of the major goals of this program is the elimination of traffic congestion in and around big cities by taking the traffic S50 HOUSE OF The Address-Mr. W. M. Hamilton over, under or around the cities by means of bridges, tunnels and underpasses. On the basis of this $50 billion being spread over some 13 years it is expected the United States government will be contributing some $3.2 billion annually by 1965. Let us relate that to the Canadian picture. On the basis of the relationship between the gross national product of Canada, which is approximately $28.5 billion, and that of the United States, which is about $409 billion, the proportionate amount for us to spend on highways would be some $223 million a year. On the basis of the relationship between our populations, about 16 million in Canada and 167 million in the United States, the proportionate amount would be some $317.5 million a year. Averaging these two figures, which would perhaps give us the truest comparison, we find that the amount would be approximately $270 million if we were to equal the present program of the United States government in highway construction in proportion to our gross national product and our population. Now let us take a look at just what this government has actually done, and is doing, in this field. The government has acknowledged its responsibility to provide at least some measure of assistance for highway construction across the country by its contribution under the trans-Canada highway plan. In 1955-56 the contributions under this plan were just over $16 million. In the current year they amount to some $30 million. I noticed in the estimates today that another $30 million is proposed for the coming year. To this we must add the construction expenditures by the government itself in connection with providing links in the trans-Canada highway in its own parks. This comes to about $11 million in the current year. Thus we arrive at a total expenditure for this highway program on the part of the present federal government of about $41 million, and we can use that as a basis of comparison with the $270 million which would be the logical expenditure by this government if it wished to institute a national program of highway development comparable for our country with that undertaken in the United States, and which they feel they can successfully underwrite. Obviously not even a major part of that amount would be spent in the Montreal area, but if we take our fair share along with Dogberry and Tumbletown, wherever they may be-I use those names so nobody will accuse me of comparing our city with any other-we would receive approximately $38 million a year were such a program instituted.


LIB

Jean Lesage (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources)

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

The premier of your province would not allow you to take it.

Topic:   S48 HOUSE OF COMMONS
Permalink
PC

William McLean Hamilton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hamilton (Notre Dame de Grace):

I am

dealing, Mr. Speaker, with the federal house, and I have not yet reached the point where I receive any instructions from the premier of my province.

Topic:   S48 HOUSE OF COMMONS
Permalink
LIB

Jean Lesage (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources)

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

Yes, but he would not take the money.

Topic:   S48 HOUSE OF COMMONS
Permalink
PC

William McLean Hamilton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hamilton (Notre Dame de Grace):

Mr. Speaker, I would just love to see any one of the gentlemen on the treasury bench really get down to this question and deal honestly with the premiers of our Canadian provinces and, more particularly, with the premier of Quebec, respecting their views, taking cognizance of local conditions and making a sincere attempt to co-operate with them. They would be very surprised, Mr. Speaker, at just how quickly their money would be taken if they had any sincere desire to give it without an abundance of strings attached.

Topic:   S48 HOUSE OF COMMONS
Permalink
LIB

Jean Lesage (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources)

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

There are no strings attached to trans-Canada highway money.

Topic:   S48 HOUSE OF COMMONS
Permalink

January 22, 1957