April 8, 1957

LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent (Quebec East):

Mr. Chairman, I think the most important recommendation in regard to legislation which was made by the joint committee was what it described as the basic issue of policy and jurisdiction in achieving the control of land use in the national capital area. The committee urged, it may be recalled, that the federal policy be exercised as far as possible through the ownership and use of property rather than by the assertion of any federal jurisdiction.

I think hon. members will be satisfied that we have faithfully followed the spirit of this recommendation in the bill that has been drafted. The government agrees with the observations of the committee that the major objectives now appear to be capable of a reasonable measure of fulfilment by this means provided we can have the co-operation of the bodies having jurisdiction in the provincial and municipal fields.

Of course it would be out of place to comment at this stage in the proceeding upon the details of the bill, but I think hon. members will find that the provisions are quite clear and that they do conform to the spirit of the recommendations. The provisions regarding the constitution of the commission itself should, we think, make it a more efficient body to carry out the considerably larger volume of business which it now has to undertake in connection with its duties.

It is provided in the bill that there shall be a chairman and a vice-chairman and an executive committee consisting of the chairman, vice-chairman and three members chosen by the commission from amongst its other members. The purposes of the commission have been, I will not say expended but they have, I think, been expressed a little more clearly and more specifically. They are such as would allow the commission, if it is provided with the necessary funds by parliament, to participate in the major recommendations of the commission with respect,

National Capital Plan

for instance, to the prevention of pollution of the waters bordering on the properties of the commission to the Queensway for which an agreement has now been signed between the provincial government, the city of Ottawa and the commission.

The purpose of this agreement is to participate in the provision of better communications with the other shore although there is no specific requirement in the legislation, on the recommendation of the commission, that another bridge between Ottawa and Hull is urgently required, the powers of the commission would be sufficiently enabling, if parliament were to provide the commission with the funds, for such a specific purpose. There would also be one provision allowing the commission to accept donations or bequests and to carry out the conditions attached by the donor or the testator to the use of such funds.

I may say at once that we are not proposing by this bill to make appropriations; we are proposing to set up a corporate body that will be entitled to accept and use such funds as may be provided and we have felt that it would make for better accounting practice to have the recurring administrative expenses of the commission provided for by an annual vote, such as the estimates which departments have to bring forward, setting out the requirements for the year. There probably will be, at least many hope that there will be, the appropriation of capital sums to be placed in a fund to be used only for capital purposes.

With respect to the acquisition of lands for the purpose of controlling their use, there will be in the bill provision that the commission may borrow from the Minister of Finance after there has been appropriation by parliament for such loans, to make loans, for the capital purpose of acquiring lands not immediately required for immediate use. These loans are to be current during such time as the commission would be holding the lands which would then be repaid out of the capital fund when the lands are taken for use by the commission.

While this is an enabling power that could be used if parliament sees fit to authorize such loans for the acquisition of lands, it would assist in implementing arrangements made with the provincial and municipal authorities to secure this green belt that is a part of the capital plan. It was however felt that in this revision of the act it would not be proper to ask parliament to make any long-term provisions of funds but that that would be a matter to be dealt with annually, for the operation of the commission, which, as hon. members know, takes

care of a lot of government property. It does, not exactly the housekeeping but the landscaping and gardening work that the government would otherwise have to do and it is for the purpose of avoiding the setting up of two organizations to do the same kind of work, paid out of the same federal funds, that this commission has been doing it.

We would expect that there might be, as there have been in the past, lump sums appropriated annually to be put into the capital fund and to be used only for capital purposes. All the recurring expenditures, however, are to be provided by an annual vote, as I have already mentioned, in the same way as the administrative votes for each of the government departments. This, of course, will provide an annual occasion to consider what is being done and how it is being done.

It would be this government's intention, if it is returned to office, to introduce a bill at the first session of the new parliament. In the meantime the privy council office serves as the channel of communication between the commission and parliament. We would be grateful if members, after having considered the bill and having suggestions to improve the form of it, would make at their convenience such recommendations as they feel disposed to make.

This is a matter which I believe all members of the house have been satisfied to have dealt with by the joint committee as an absolutely non-partisan measure. I hope in the future that such matters as have to be dealt with by the house in the common interest of making the best practical provisions for the national capital will continue to be dealt with in the same spirit. This spirit was very evident in the operations of the joint committee which sat during the last session and it has been evident in other joint committees previously dealing with the affairs of the federal district commission.

We hope that by having the bill read the first time now it will be available for distribution, not only to hon. members but to those of the public who are interested in the activities of this commission. That is why I am stating that whoever happens to be constituting the government when parliament reassembles will, I am sure, be appreciative of any suggestions which in the meantime are sent to the privy council office with the object of improving this bill in order that when it is brought forward again it may be the best legislation which those responsible for considering it here and in the other place can possibly devise for the purpose of realizing

this important objective of further establishing the national capital of a country which is going to last for a long time, which is rapidly increasing in population, in industrial and commercial activity, and also, I hope, in the activities of the mind or those concerned with the aesthetic side of human nature.

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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

I think it scarcely needs to be said that we in this party and I think all hon. members of the house are anxious to see this city a capital of which everyone in Canada can be proud, and one which is worthy of the great country to which we all belong. I believe also that we are anxious to see such improvements made in this capital city as would be consonant with the growth which we expect to take place, and with the great nation of Canada as we expect it to be in the future.

The Prime Minister, in introducing this resolution, said there was no intention to take complete action with regard to it this session. In view of that statement I think there is no course open to us, whatever our views may be about the contemplated changes, but to agree wholeheartedly that the resolution should be concurred in, that the first reading be consented to and the bill put into circulation so that everyone can see what it contains.

The Prime Minister said something to the effect that the joint committee of the Senate and the House of Commons which considered this matter last year recommended a change in the name of the administering body. Personally I do not think it is a very important matter whether the body which administers the building of the national capital and looks after its general development, or controls the type of architecture which is used in the buildings erected, is called the federal district commission or, as is proposed in this resolution, the national capital commission. Personally I would prefer to have it called the dominion capital commission, but that is just an expression of personal opinion.

The Prime Minister went on to say that the committee recommended the appointment of the chairman of the commission on a full-time basis, and that this particular resolution and the bill which will be founded upon it makes this permissive. I think that is a reasonable provision. If it is not necessary that the chairman of this commission should be employed on a full-time basis I do not see any reason why it should be made obligatory by legislation and, therefore, to the extent that the resolution allows for some flexibility in regard to this matter I think it is all to the good.

The Prime Minister went on to say something about General Howard Kennedy who

National Capital Plan

has been chairman of the commission on a part-time basis for several years, pointing out that General Kennedy was not prepared to devote the whole of his time to this work, and it was felt that if he devoted half his time to it the functions of the position could be carried out adequately. I had the honour to serve with General Kennedy in the 1st Canadian division under the command of the hon. member for Esquimalt-Saanich. I had a very high regard for him at that time, and my acquaintance with him since, during which period he has been chairman of the eastern slopes of the Rockies forest conservation project and advisor on forestry matters to a number of governments has only increased my admiration for him and for his high qualities.

I think Canada and the federal commission have been very fortunate in having the services of Howard Kennedy, and I would certainly be delighted if he were willing to continue as chairman, either on a full-time or on a half-time basis, whichever the government which happens to be in power may consider to be the necessary amount of time to spend on this very important job.

Later in his remarks the Prime Minister referred to a number of other matters which were considered by the joint committee which met last year, matters on which they spent a very considerable amount of time. I may not have heard the Prime Minister completely, or understood him correctly, but I do not remember him making any mention of the sewage disposal problem which Ottawa, Hull and all the adjacent communities on the banks of the Ottawa river are facing in a very serious form. This was one of the questions upon which the joint committee spent a great deal of time; it was considered to be perhaps the most important matter which came before them, and the primary matter to be dealt with. I was disappointed that the Prime Minister made no mention of this as far as I can recall.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent (Quebec East):

I referred to the pollution of the waters bordering on the territory of Ottawa, and I thought that comprised the matter of sewage disposal, because I understand that to be the principal cause of the pollution of these waters.

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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

The Prime Minister certainly did not stress that matter and, as I say, I think the members of the joint committee considered that this was the most important problem to be solved as far as Ottawa, Hull and adjacent areas are concerned; the places, in other words, which make up the national capital area. I hope there will be no undue delay in finding some solution to this problem.

National Capital Plan

I note also that while the Prime Minister made some mention of other matters which had an important place in the discussions of the committee he did not indicate that there was any intention to proceed toward a solution of these difficult matters which were raised; the question of roads, for example, which, next to sewage disposal, was considered to require most urgent attention.

Personally, I think that next in importance to the sewage or water pollution problem is the green belt around Ottawa. As I pointed out in the house when the motion to set up the joint committee was under discussion, unless the problem of the provision of land for the green belt was solved very rapidly the cost of doing so would soon become prohibitive. I regret very much that nothing really definite has been done with regard to the provision of the green belt area because every month and every year that go by the greater will become the expense of providing that necessary area of park land. That is another matter which I hope there will be no delay in proceeding with if it can be done, as I think the Prime Minister indicated, by the provision of funds. I was not quite sure whether he meant by supplementary estimates or what the method might be.

Another matter which the Prime Minister did not mention and which occupied quite a bit of the time of the committee is the development of the Gatineau park. It too does not permit of a great deal of delay unless we are prepared to be faced with considerably increased expenditures in the future. The Prime Minister did indicate, I think, that if his government were returned to power a bill founded upon the resolution now before us would be introduced at the next session of parliament. In view of what I at least consider to be the very considerable delays that have taken place over the past several years in doing extremely necessary things respecting the national capital area, things which have not been done by the government, I would think that the chances of having the necessary things done would be very much better if another government were given the responsibility of carrying into operation the bill to be founded on the resolution.

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

Mr. Chairman, we welcome the course suggested by the Prime Minister of having a short discussion of the resolution and then passing it so that the bill may be introduced and brought to the light of day. We agree with the suggestion that any enactment of the bill might well be left over until the parliament that meets following the forthcoming election. I am sure that whatever government is in power when we reassemble

[Mr. Harkness.l

will be interested in implementing the recommendations, so far as possible, of last year's joint committee of the Senate and the House of Commons which dealt with these matters.

I disagree with the hon. member for Calgary North on one point. He said that he did not see that it made much difference whether the commission is called the federal district commission or the national capital commission. It seems to me that this is one of those little points which does have in it a good deal of meaning.

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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

I said I preferred the word "dominion".

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

In this country the word "federal" has become associated with a level of government in contrast with another level of government. We have conferences which are given various names. Sometimes they are called federal-provincial conferences. I think it is highly desirable that the capital we are seeking to build in this centre should be recognized and be named and in fact be something that belongs to the whole nation, to the people of Canada. I suggest that for the name "national capital commission" to be substituted for "federal district commission" is along that line, and we are glad to support it. That suggestion is contained in the resolution and I assume it will be contained in the bill as well.

I think a word might be said at this point concerning the appreciation I am sure all members of the house feel regarding the services that have been rendered by the people who have been members of the federal district commission. I think of the services that have been rendered for next to nothing or for nothing at all by people who share the vision of building a capital worthy of this great nation.

I was glad that the Prime Minister reminded the hon. member for Calgary North that he had said something about the question of pollution, for that was indeed one of the issues that exercised the committee a great deal, and I am glad to know that it is the government's thought that some responsibility for that matter can be given to the proposed national capital commission.

As my leader, the hon. member for Rose-town-Biggar, has often pointed out in speaking on this matter, we are concerned about the development of Canada as a whole. We would like centres like our capital centre with green belts and developments of one kind and another, museums, libraries and theatres, at many places in Canada, not just in Ottawa, but we think it it appropriate that at the nation's capital we should

symbolize in a particular way the interest of our people in building those things that represent life at its best.

I was interested in the closing words of the Prime Minister when he seemed to be dreaming a bit of the future of this country and hoping that those dreams would be expressed in the development of a really attractive national capital here at this centre. We share those dreams but we also hope that just as it is recognized that if we are going to have a proper national capital it will have to be planned, so if we are going to have a nation from coast to coast worthy of our Canadian people it will have to be planned in all of its aspects, economic, social and cultural. We hope that after the election, to which reference is being made quite often these days, is over we will have the kind of government that will plan, not only for a better capital but for a better Canada from coast to coast.

(Translation):

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LIB

Alexis Pierre Caron

Liberal

Mr. Caron:

Mr. Chairman, as member for Hull I am very happy that the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) has seen fit to bring down this measure before the dissolution of parliament.

I might be allowed to emphasize that the Federal District Commission has been of immense usefulness to this area, on the Quebec side as well as in the national capital proper. However, as it will generally be recognized, this legislation has now been on our statute books for many years and now requires certain amendments to ensure a more rapid implementation of the national capital plan.

We are most grateful to the Prime Minister for introducing this measure at this time, for we will now be in a position to study the bill thoroughly before our return here, next parliament.

I think I can safely say that this view is shared by all the members for the area, who are happy about the work which has been accomplished so far.

(Text):

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PC

William Gourlay Blair

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Blair:

Mr. Chairman, I am very happy to see this resolution on the order paper but I am sorry that the bill is going to be delayed until the next parliament. I was a member of the joint committee and I think the committee worked very hard in the hearing of evidence. There was one point that caused considerable difficulty, the division of jurisdiction between the provinces, the dominion and the townships adjoining Ottawa. It presented a very difficult question and, as the hon. member for Calgary North pointed out, conditions in Ottawa are changing all the time, especially in the areas surrounding

National Capital Plan

Ottawa, and the sooner we get a commission empowered by the government to get busy on the plan the better it will be.

The question of sewage disposal was one that was put in the class of No. 1 priority in the recommendations of the committee. The committee heard a long report from Dr. Berry of the Ontario department of health and we were greatly impressed by that report. Since that time, however, in so far as sewage disposal is concerned, the Ontario government has passed the Ontario water resources act which is going to make it less difficult to deal with the sewage question than it was prior to that act being passed.

There were other matters that were listed in the four top priority considerations of the committee, including bridges across the Ottawa, the matter of the Queensway and the matter of the green belt. We cannot afford to delay any longer dealing with the green belt. The bridges across the Ottawa river are a necessity at the present time. The question of the Queensway is being solved by an agreement between the city of Ottawa, the federal government and the provincial government. As yet, the matter of sewage disposal is delayed, and that was No. 1 on the list of priorities in the consideration of the committee. I hope the time will not be far distant when the question of sewage is dealt with by the same committee and when power is given to the federal district commission to deal with the question.

In so far as the name is concerned, I agree that the national capital commission is the better of the two because in the minds of certain people in and around the area there was the thought that the federal district commission would be a commission somewhat akin to that existing in Washington at the time. Hence I am glad that the resolution is on the order paper, even if the bill will not make its appearance or at least will not be dealt with until another session.

I again point out the urgent necessity of dealing with the sewage question because that is a basic matter. You can not start to build a city beautiful and still maintain the conditions existing in the Ottawa river at the present time. The solution of the problem is going to entail a great deal of work. Again you are dealing with the jurisdiction of several municipalities or areas along the Ottawa river. The sooner we start to work by way of a bill dealing with this federal district commission or, to use the suggested name, the national capital commission, the better it will be. So far as sewage is concerned, the position is not improving. Owing to the growth of this city which is rapidly expanding, there are in the outlying areas of the city now developing into an urban area, conditions which should be dealt with now because, as was

National Capital Plan

pointed out by the hon. member for Calgary North, the longer we delay this question, the more expensive it is going to be to deal with it.

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LIB

Daniel (Dan) McIvor

Liberal

Mr. Mclvor:

Mr. Chairman, I was thinking about something that has not been mentioned yet. From the first world war we have the peace tower and the statue. I may not be correct but when the former prime minister introduced this question I thought it was to be a war memorial. At that time I thought that a big, dead-looking statue does not commemorate what our young men struggled for, namely hope of no more war, courage, love of country, love of God and sacrifice. No dead statue, to my way of thinking, can commemorate those things. I was going to ask the Prime Minister if this great undertaking is a war memorial in memory of our young men who made the supreme sacrifice.

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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

I should like to add a word to what has already been said. I think the procedure that has been outlined by the Prime Minister in respect of this resolution is quite good in view of the fact that we know that only a few days are left in this session. I should like to impress upon the Prime Minister, as has been done by the hon. member for Lanark, that the sooner we can get to grips with this whole national planning commission work, the sooner we shall have something like a national capital befitting a country as important as Canada has become. But, as we grow, we are going to find that we shall continuously run into this problem of sewage disposal, the problem of the bridges and the problem of the green belt. We might just as well make up our minds now that we shall be obliged to deal with these matters as quickly as possible and to make some satisfactory disposition of them before we can get very far with the development of our national capital.

We are prepared to go along with the suggestion of having the bill introduced and in time sent to the committee for further study. But let us not get bogged down in too much committee study when a new session is convened. We have already had a long period of study by a committee. It seems to me that we now have enough information to be able to go ahead and get legislation through this house.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent (Quebec East):

Mr. Chairman, I wish to express appreciation to the hon. members who have taken part in this brief debate and to point out that of course the joint committee recognized that this matter of sewage disposal, pollution and so forth was a primary concern of the provincial and municipal authorities but that it felt

that the federal district commission or, as it will be when this legislation or legislation founded upon a similar resolution is adopted, the national capital commission was also interested and should take its part in pressing this matter forward. The same statement applies with respect to roads and with respect to bridges. I think the example that flows from the co-operative way in which the Queensway was provided for is a good augury for future co-operation between the three levels of government in bringing about the things that are in the interest of three levels of government.

The hon. member for Fort William wants to know whether this is a war memorial. I think he and I both agree that everything that has been done since 1945 in the development of this country has been done because of the sacrifices that were made by those men during the last war. The whole progress of the Canadian nation is a war memorial- and a lasting and growing one-to their heroism and to the sacrifices they made for their fellow citizens in this country and the decendants of their fellow citizens.

There has been built a special roadway- the opening of which I had the privilege of attending this fall-upon Gatineau heights from which those who may want to call to mind what we owe to the men who took part in those two great wars will have an opportunity of doing so from a vantage point that overlooks the Ottawa river and the whole national capital region. It will be a good thing for their souls occasionally to visit that look-out point and there to reflect upon what we owe to the men who took part in those wars, and not only to them but to the pioneers of this great country because they too were pioneers in establishing our position in the family of nations.

Resolution reported and concurred in.

Mr. St. Laurent (Quebec East) thereupon moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 417, to establish a national capital commission.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

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MARINE AND FISHERIES

REQUEST FOR UNANIMOUS CONSENT FOR PRESENTATION OF COMMITTEE REPORT

LIB

Thomas Gordon William Ashbourne

Liberal

Mr. T. G. W. Ashbourne (Grand Falls-White Bay-Labrador):

Mr. Speaker, may I have unanimous consent to revert to motions to present the committee report?

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LIB

William Alfred Robinson (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

The hon. member is asking for leave to revert to the presentation of reports?

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PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. G. R. Pearkes (Esquimali-Saanich):

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege.

I object very strongly to the hon. member submitting a report of this committee. I am a member of this committee. My name appears on page 588 of Hansard as being a member of the standing committee on marine and fisheries. I arrived in this building at a quarter to nine this morning. At that time I personally cleared my mail box and I have been in this building continually since that hour with the exception of an hour between 3.30 and 4.30 this afternoon. I have not been advised of the meeting of this committee, either by having a notice delivered to my office or placed in my mail box. I consider that it is entirely wrong that the government should try to railroad this through without notifying all the members of the committee that the committee was sitting today.

I showed interest in this particular bill by speaking at the resolution stage Saturday. When the parliamentary assistant asked if his bill might be advanced one stage farther by having it given second reading, I rose in my seat and agreed that that should be done on the definite understanding that it would be submitted to the standing committee. As I say, I am a member of that standing committee. I have had no notice today that the standing committee was meeting and, therefore, I consider the hon. member has no right to submit a report from a standing committee a meeting of which was not called in a proper way and about which the members of that committee had not been notified.

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LIB

John Watson MacNaught (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. J. Watson MacNaughl (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Fisheries):

wonder if I could say a few words on the question of privilege raised by the hon. member for Esquimalt-Saanich (Mr. Pearkes).

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PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pearkes:

I did not raise a question of privilege; I object to the motion.

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LIB

John Watson MacNaught (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. MacNaught:

I thought you were objecting by the way of a question of privilege. I wish to reply that on Saturday last this resolution was before the house. It is quite true the bill was advanced one stage on the understanding that it would be referred to the standing committee on marine and fisheries. The bill was so referred by an order of this house. As soon as I could get in touch with the chairman of the committee and the clerk of committees I asked that the bill be brought up for consideration by the standing committee on marine and fisheries as soon as possible. At about a quarter to eleven this morning a notice was delivered to my office by messenger informing me that the committee would meet this day at three o'clock.

8, 1957 3281

Marine and Fisheries Committee I checked with some of the other members on the committee and found that the same procedure had been followed with them.

I do not think the government can be accused of railroading this bill through if, as a result of a slip taking place which was occasioned by the distribution of the notices, the hon. member was not informed of the meeting. It is regrettable, and I am very sorry for it, but I do not think it is a matter about which the hon. member should object to the bringing in of the report of the committee.

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April 8, 1957