April 11, 1957

PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Yes, less 15 per cent. I was coming to that point, and I thank the minister very much for mentioning it. Is there any reason why the Canadian shareholders in any of these corporations operating in Canada with the parent company in the United States should be subject to a 15 per cent deduction on the dividends issued on the Canadian operation? That is one of the points that should have been met.

Returning to the article Mr. Gray, who has always been a warm admirer of this government, said:

Shortly after these speeches were made by Mr. Howe, I happened to attend a convention of one of the biggest American industries, which has a multi-billion-dollar investment in Canada. I asked the delegates for their reaction to the Howe speeches.

I ask you, Mr. Chairman, to listen to the answer:

In three days none was found who had heard of Mr. Howe, let alone the speeches.

The need for Canadians to realize our heritage and our destiny will not be achieved in a situation such as is revealed in the last words I read from that article. We want to see launched in this country a great development policy under which Canadians will not be denied as they are today the right to join on equal terms with foreign investors coming into our country. We want to ensure that in the days ahead Canadian development to a larger extent than ever before will be brought about through investment by Canadians and thereby maintaining in our country our economic sovereignty.

I say that in the last few days the government finally saw fit, as was revealed yesterday by the Secretary of State for External Affairs, to point out something not in a spirit of

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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, I will not take the time to read the resolution which is now before the committee. If I did so it would greatly reduce my allotted time. The resolution, if I understand it correctly, will result in giving to the government at least seven-twelfths of all the items in the estimates

and in some instances as much as eleven-twelfths. I arrive at this calculation by recalling that before the end of March the house passed an interim supply bill granting one-twelfth of the estimates, and now we are asked to vote another six-twelfths of all the estimates, plus additional fractions which in some instances will bring the total up to eleven-twelfths.

I recognize that this is more or less standard procedure when we are on the eve of a general election, but I should point out that the government is today putting parliament in what might well be called an impossible position. The government is putting parliament in the position where it really does not matter what we do. If parliament passes this interim supply bill it will facilitate the holding of the election, which has already been indicated. It will facilitate it by making it possible for the government to draw on all the estimates from now until after the election is over, even though those estimates have not been individually debated and passed either in the committee of supply or in the House of Commons. If we were successful in opposing this bill, that would force an election. This confirms my statement, Mr. Chairman, that the government is putting parliament in the position where it does not matter what we do; either way brings on the election.

There is a third choice. Despite our being in a minority in this house and therefore unable to vote down this measure even if we wanted to, which we do not, we could keep on talking; we could delay the passing of the bill. In that event, if the government wants to hold the election on June 10- and we think it should have been held even sooner-all the government has to do is prorogue and dissolve parliament anyway, and rely on governor general's warrants until the election is held. Therefore, in terms of parliament making a decision, the decision has already been made. The election is to be held; the government needs money for the period until the election is over, and it is going to have that money one way or another no matter what parliament does.

Nevertheless, as I had occasion to indicate yesterday in another connection, parliament's job is not only to pass or defeat legislation. Parliament's job is to discuss matters which are brought before us and to reflect the views of the people of Canada whom we represent. I want to indicate a view which I feel is widespread in this country; that what the government is doing today, in presenting this measure and giving us literally no choice, is typical of the attitude of this government

toward parliament, particularly during the last four years. The government seems to think it has been in the saddle for so long that it really does not matter what parliament wishes to do; it gets its will in one way or another.

With regard to the interim supply proposal before us, may I point out that this is the only way the members of the House of Commons are being given an opportunity to vote on the proposed increases in old age pensions, family allowances, disability pensions, veterans benefits and so on. We are being given this opportunity by means of a proposal to approve, in an interim supply bill, of a fraction of the supplementary estimates which were tabled not long ago by the Minister of Finance.

Because we want to see even these very small increases in pensions come into effect as soon as possible we shall of course support the resolution before us. That is now the only way effect can be given, since parliament is soon to be dissolved, to the announced increases to which reference has already been made this morning. However, I want to register our very strong objection to the way the government has chosen to deal with this question of increases in old age pensions and similar benefits and also with respect to veterans pensions and allowances. I object to the method that is being followed because to us it is an insult to old age pensioners, veterans and others to have the important matter of their pensions dealt with by this type of legislation in this emergency and unsatisfactory method.

As I have said on other occasions there is nothing more important, in our view, that comes before parliament than social security. We think social legislation and veterans legislation should be fully and properly considered by parliament. We think the best jobs on social legislation and veterans legislation have been done when these matters have been referred to committees such as the special joint committee on old age security which met in 1950 or the several committees on veterans affairs which have met from time to time.

In those instances full study was given to these matters, and we think the results were good. But here we have a case where the government has refused to do anything about these important matters throughout the lifetime of this parliament, but on the eve of the election it decides to do just a little bit. It makes that decision so close to the time of the election that there is no opportunity to deal with it by amending legislation in the proper fashion, or by arranging for any discussion in the house or in committee. Instead,

Interim Supply

it manufactures a device which seldom if ever before has been used in the history of the parliament of Canada.

Not only is it an offence to those people who are affected; it is an offence to the importance of this legislation to deal with it in this way, and we feel that it is offensive to proper parliamentary practice. I refer especially, Mr. Chairman, to the fact that the government is using what is known as the device of legislating by items in the estimates. Items Nos. 663 to 670 in the further supplementary estimates tabled a few days ago by the Minister of Finance are items which purport to amend existing statutes. They purport to amend the Old Age Security Act, the Old Age Assistance Act, the Blind Persons Act, the Disabled Persons Act, the Maritime Freight Rates Act, the War Veterans Allowance Act and the Pension Act. I draw attention in particular to the fact that Mr. Watson Sellar, the Auditor General of Canada, has on more than one occasion expressed critical comments concerning the practice of legislating by putting items in the estimates.

I have before me a document from which I have had occasion to quote on previous occasions. It is a copy of a memorandum which the Auditor General used when he appeared some years ago before a committee of the other place. The material contained in this memorandum has also appeared at least once, if not more often, in the reports which the Auditor General makes annually to parliament. I draw particular attention to what appears in this memorandum under the heading, "Vote Texts That Legislate."

After making a reference to vote 352 of the main appropriation act for 1931, which happened to be the vote which authorized an annual motor car allowance to be paid to ministers, the Speakers of both houses, and the Leader of the Official Opposition in the House of Commons, Mr. Sellar points out that payments have been made every year since that time by relying on the text of the 1931 vote. He admits that legislation other than by means of an appropriation act is a convenience when a need is transitory. He goes on to say:

Furthermore, it avoids cluttering the statute books with expired legislation. But from the constitutional viewpoint it is open to the objection that it is, in fact, incomplete legislation because the mode employed circumscribes deliberations by the Senate.

I am not one who usually worries over much about Their Honours in the other place, but we do have a constitution under which we operate, and under that constitution parliament has three branches, the crown, the Senate and the House of Commons; and Mr. Sellar points out that when you legislate by

Interim Supply

putting an item in the estimates you do, in effect, circumscribe the deliberations of the other house. Mr. Sellar points out that this matter has been gone into at various times and that there has been a decision of the judicial committee of the privy council with reference to a comparable situation in Australia. He points out that as a result of that decision which, I admit, was to the effect that legally this can be done, certain decisions were nevertheless taken. Mr. Sellar says, for example:

Consequently, in 1908, the British public accounts committee abandoned its previous viewpoint but declared that:

"It is desirable in the interests of financial regularity and constitutional consistency that such a procedure should be resorted to as rarely as possible, and only to meet a temporary emergency."

I emphasize the fact that Mr. Sellar, by that quotation, lays down the proposition that to legislate by items in the estimates is a course which should be resorted to as rarely as possible, and only to meet a temporary emergency. This underlies my contention, Mr. Chairman, that an increase in old age pensions and in veterans benefits should not be regarded by the government as a temporary emergency but as a major matter of policy, which should be dealt with in the usual and proper way.

Mr. Sellar goes on to quote from the British public accounts committee, in this way:

The fact that a proposed vote overrides an existing statute should be clearly stated on the face of the estimate . . .

The Minister of Finance may tell me that that is done, in the sense that the supplementary estimates say clearly that they provide for amending the statutes concerned.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Harris:

I proposed doing that because we had in mind the reference made by Mr. Sellar.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

That is fine. May I go on to read the rest of Mr. Sellar's reference, which the minister has overlooked. Perhaps I had better reread the portion of the sentence I have already quoted, so as to provide continuity.

The fact that a proposed vote overrides an existing statute should be clearly stated on the face of the estimate, with the reasons for adopting that course, so that no doubt can exist of the deliberate intention of parliament. The exceptional nature of the vote should also be indicated in the appropriation act.

Mr. Sellar makes it clear that you do this only in the case of an emergency, and that when you do you should state what the emergency is. But I see nothing in the supplementary estimates stating what is the fact, namely that the emergency is the election, and that the government feels that with an

election coming on it must do something for our old age pensioners and the recipients of other benefits and allowances.

Later on Mr. Sellar goes on to talk about some of these matters that are repeated annually, and says:

As to transitory cases, it is suggested that they should be brought together in a special schedule to the estimates and be supported by adequate explanations.

And then, as the final sentence under this section headed "Vote Texts That Legislate" Mr. Sellar states-and I draw this particularly to the attention of the Minister of Finance-

Of course, a vote text which deals with a matter which normally should be proceeded with by a bill should be handled as a bill.

Now, Mr. Chairman, in terms of procedure there is no question as to what the government ought to be doing with regard to these pension increases and other payments of this kind. They should be handled by means of seven different bills amending the seven different acts involved; and if you add the Maritime Freight Rates Act, which is included here, that would bring the total to eight. But, no; instead of bringing in the proper bills to amend these eight different statutes which the minister, on budget night, said the government wants to amend, it is done by means of these items in the estimates which, if they are passed, will make it unnecessary for parliament to consider these particular statutes at all.

Mr. Chairman, I wonder whether hon. members realize what could be the logical result of this course of procedure. Any government that found it embarrassing to be bringing too many pieces of legislation before parliament could some day, on the basis of this precedent, decide that it is a nuisance to be bringing in different bills at all. It could say, "Let us have everything in the estimates; let us have all the legislation that is required for a session in one big blue book of estimates and deal with them all in that way. Then, of course, if parliament gets a bit ornery about it we can always put on closure and thus shorten the session." I submit that it is a fantastic suggestion, but-

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Harris:

It is the kind of thing of which you are capable.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

I submit that we have had things just as fantastic done by this government and that what is being done right now is of this very nature, in that the government refuses to recognize the contention that the minister admits he has read in Mr. Sellar's memorandum. The minister has brought before us a vote that legislates in a way that

avoids amending those eight statutes separately, and he has done so without including in the wording of these particular estimates the reason for doing it in this way.

I hope this is not a transitory matter. It cannot be transitory, because if these estimates are passed they will have operative effect and amend the statutes that are mentioned. It is therefore not something that is transitory and hence excuseable on that ground. If there is an emergency it should be stated. We know what the emergency is, but of course that emergency is not spelled out in the estimates to which I have referred.

We protest most strongly against the way in which the government has played fast and loose with the importance of the subjects themselves. I refer to the subjects of old age pensions, veterans benefits and so on. We protest against the way in which the government is playing fast and loose with the proper procedures of parliament by getting around the normal way of amending the statutes of this country.

I say to the minister that when parliament reassembles in the fall, whatever government is in power, I hope these matters will not be dealt with by passing these supplementary estimates in their present form, but rather that, in their place proper legislation will be brought in amending the statutes individually, so parliament can discuss and deal with these important pieces of legislation in the proper way. I say to him also that we hope that when parliament reassembles in the fall its make-up will be such that the amendments to be made to these statutes can provide for a greater increase in the various pensions than is provided in the estimates now before us.

In that connection, I protest once again against an increase of only $6 a month in old age security, old age assistance, the blindness allowance and the allowance paid to disabled persons. In the light of today's cost of living and in the light of today's gross national product in this country, I think it is grossly unfair not only to the pensioners themselves but to the good name of Canada for us to be increasing these pensions by only 15 per cent. That figure must be set alongside the fact that since 1949, when $40 was arrived at as a pension for these categories, the gross national product has gone up by over 80 per cent.

In connection with these pensions there is one slight change which seems to have been made and which we welcome, although it does not amount to a great deal in terms of dollars. As the house will recall, when the Minister of National Health and Welfare

Interim Supply

spoke in the budget debate on March 22 he announced what were to be the new ceilings in the various acts that come under his jurisdiction where there are means tests. I refer in particular to the Old Age Assistance Act, the Blind Persons Act and the Disabled Persons Act. I took down the figures as he gave them, and I questioned him at the end of his speech with respect to some of them. He repeated the same figures he had given in the body of his speech.

I then pointed out, as I pointed out more fully in a speech I made on April 2, that in the case of married couples where both husband and wife were on old age assistance or the blindness allowance or the disabled persons allowance-either both of them on the same one or the two of them on one or the other of those allowances-the increase in the ceiling of only $120 a year meant that some of those people would not get the full $144 a year-that is $6 each for twelve months-and I protested most strongly against that type of ceiling.

I am glad to note that in the text of the supplementary estimates which the Minister of Finance has tabled all those instances to which I referred on April 2 have been changed so that the ceiling is $60 higher than was announced by the Minister of National Health and Welfare. That $60 increase means that those people who are entitled, by the generosity of the Minister of Finance, to $12 a month extra by way of pension have their ceiling raised by $15 a month, so they get the $12 whereas previously, according to the figures of the Minister of National Health and Welfare, they were to be allowed only $10 a month increase and in that way they were to lose $1 each of what the Minister of Finance had given.

I congratulate the government on paying attention to the criticism we made immediately after the speech of the Minister of National Health and Welfare as well as on a later date.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Harris:

Don't take yourself too seriously.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

I suggest, Mr. Chairman, that the Minister of Finance, if he wishes to do so, can explain how it was that his colleague made a formal announcement on the basis of cabinet solidarity as to what these ceilings were to be, and how it is that a few days later, after protests had been made against such a low and despicable way of doing things, a change was made.

I want to repeat the insistence I have expressed on behalf of this group that when we come back in the fall, whatever the composition of this House of Commons may be,

Interim Supply

we must do a great deal better for our senior citizens and veterans and other recipients of social welfare benefits than is provided for in the estimates that are now before us.

I noted with interest that my hon. friend the Leader of the Opposition is not quite sure as to the amount that his party feels the old age pension should be. He has not stated his party's figure. He has expressed some sort of approval of the figure of $60 which the government of Saskatchewan suggests as a total for those pensions which are paid in part by the province and in part by the dominion. We feel that the government of Saskatchewan is doing well to suggest that it would pay its share of the $60 in these cases. But so far as the movement of which we are a part is concerned, a movement which is in power in the province of Saskatchewan, I can say that we feel that old age pensions and these other benefits should-like family allowances-be paid entirely out of the federal treasury. On that basis, in the light of today's cost of living and in the light of today's gross national product, we contend that these pensions should be of the order of $75 a month.

It is all right for my hon. friends of the Progressive Conservative party to say they do not want to promise too much. It is all right to say that it sounds like a tremendous increase over the present $40 a month. But, Mr. Chairman, for those who do not enjoy the standard of living that is enjoyed by those of us in this house who are debating these measures; for those who are trying to stay alive on $40 a month until July 31, when they will get the chance to try to stay alive on $46 a month, we suggest that $75 per month is by no means too much, and that we should be considering paying pensions of that amount right now in a Canada that is producing over $30 billion worth of wealth a year.

I say in conclusion, Mr. Speaker-in conclusion so far as this speech is concerned, because we are now in interim supply and I shall probably be back later-that we object most strongly to the position in which the government is putting parliament in so far as these estimates are concerned. Since it does not matter what we do, we are going to vote for them so as to get these miserly payments started as soon as possible. We say to this parliament and to the people of Canada, when we come back after the election is over-

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?

An hon. Member:

Are you sure you will be back?

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

We will be back, and there will be many more with us. That is on the record, and some of those who are interjecting may not be here to put things on the

record when we come back. But wherever we are in this house, we will continue to work for social justice, and that includes amongst other things a decent break for our senior citizens.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. Blackmore:

In order that as great a number of members in this house as possible, who may have objections to make, may have an opportunity to do so, I propose to limit my remarks to a very short period. I do not do so because the matters which I propose to discuss are unimportant.

I have three grievances which I propose to raise rather briefly. The first of these has to do with the matter of quotas. In our constituency we feel we have been rather unfairly treated in the matter of wheat delivery quotas. May I read the quotas which are now in operation in respect of the various receiving points in the Lethbridge federal riding:

Station

Barnwell .... Broxburn ....

Cardston ....

Chin

Coaldale ....

Coalhurst ....

Craddock ....

Diamond City Iron Springs .

Jefferson ...

Judson

Lethbridge ...

McNab

Monarch

New Dayton . Nobleford ....

Pearce

Picture Butte

Raley

Raymond _____

Stirling ....

Tempest

Turin

Warner

Welling

Whiskey Gap

Whitney

Wilson

Woolford ....

Wrentham ...

Quota in Effect . 5 bushels. 4 ". 4 ". 4 ". 4 ". 5 ". 4 ". 5 ". 4 ". 5 ". 3 ". 3 ". 4 ". 4 ". 4 ". 4 ". 4 ". 4 ". 3 ". 3 ". 4 ". 4 ". 4 ". 4 ".3 ". 3 ". 3 ".5 ",.3 ",.4 "

It is important, Mr. Chairman, to bear in mind that the only means whereby these farmers who can deliver so little of their grain can carry on during this year and get ready to plant another crop is through the sale of their wheat. The low quotas prevailing in that area are a grievance of serious magnitude.

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SC
SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. Blackmore:

Those are as of March 31, 1957. If the grain delivery situation in western Canada cannot be managed in any better manner than that, then it is obvious that some method must be considered and adopted

different from that which has hitherto been employed. Quotas of that size at this time of year are altogether inadequate.

On several occasions 1 have suggested in this house, as have other members of this group, that there should be advances paid on farm-stored grain. Obviously that is a solution in this case. People may say you cannot go on doing that kind of thing year after year. Perhaps the answer is the adoption of some other method such as arranging, in co-operation with the farmers, for a reduction in the production. But when grain has been produced all the expenses have been incurred, and the grain is there; the farmers have the land and are under the responsibility to produce in a food-hungry world, and manifestly the solutions to the difficulty is not the kind of thing we see exemplified in these quotas.

The next grievance we have pertains to our income tax office. Some hon. members will recall that last year I raised the question of the advisability of closing the income tax office at Lethbridge. I was unable to set forth any organized argument because the rules of the house at that late date in the session forbade such a thing. But I did indicate quite clearly to those who were following the questions I was asking that there were a great many reasons why Lethbridge ought to have an income tax office at least equal in size to the one we had had up to that time.

The minister saw fit to close our income tax office last year. It is the settled opinion of the people of Lethbridge, based upon a good many considerations, that we should have in Lethbridge at the earliest possible moment an income tax office comparable with the one which was opened in Penticton last year. I request that this be done. Whether or not the present government is returned to power, I request that those people who are in charge of the department, the officials who in the last analysis have to do the governing, will consider what I am here saying and will make provision for the early opening of a suitable income tax office in the city of Lethbridge.

The third grievance we have has to do with this government's neglect of the beet sugar industry. In a very large measure the economic activity of the farming area around Lethbridge is affected by the well-being of the beet sugar industry. On many occasions since I came here in 1935 I have pointed out how important the beet sugar industry is to the economy of Canada. I have pointed out what an absolute monstrosity of mismanagement it is to buy sugar from outside this country, pay United States dollars for it and go into debt as much as $28 million a year, when we can raise all our own sugar

Interim Supply

through the beet sugar industry in Canada. We can deliver sugar at a price so low that probably there are only two nations on the face of the earth in which people can obtain sugar at a more reasonable rate than can the people of Canada. I have pointed out that from the standpoint of the improvement of the soil, to maintain soil fertility, it is of the utmost importance that we have a beet sugar industry and that we take care of it, not prey on it or kick it around as has been done in the last half century.

I have pointed out that from the standpoint of the foods which can be produced as a result of the beet sugar industry, considering not only the beet sugar but the beet pulp left after the sugar is extracted; the beet tops, which are a by-product, and the beet molasses which is also a by-product; considering all these facts, the amount of food that can be produced from an acre of sugar beets is greater than the amount of food that can be produced from an acre of any other kind of crop that could possibly be grown in the Dominion of Canada.

For us to be disregarding the beet sugar industry, and producing the sugar which we are using in the main from raw cane, which benefits this nation not the slightest bit, is for us to manifest a lack of intelligence in managing the country.

I do not propose to go much further in respect of this matter at the present time, but I do urge upon those who have charge of the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Trade and Commerce and the Department of Finance after the election to give careful attention to this matter of the beet sugar industry in Canada. We simply cannot afford to go on incurring an adverse trade balance year after year after year, putting ourselves and our children and our children's children under the bondage of the United States. We simply cannot afford to do that. We cannot afford to allow the fertility of our soil to decrease. Surely we must realize that we have a responsibility to the generations following. We are doing practically nothing at the present time to increase the fertility of our soil.

Just to show what can be done, may I draw hon. members' attention to this most interesting fact. Germany, which found her soils greatly depleted in the 1870's, Germany which intended to become a great nation, decided that something must be done to improve her soils. Between the year 1870 and the year 1903 Germany paid $340 million in subsidies to the sugar beet industry, and in doing so she increased the yield of cereals on her lands from 14 bushels an acre to 39 bushels an acre. Surely, such a fact ought

Interim Supply

to lodge somewhere in the minds of enough Canadians to make them realize that they simply cannot go on drifting any longer. Something simply must be done, and the encouragement of the beet sugar industry is obviously one of the things which ought to be done. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

Mr. Chairman, I wish to deal with the increases in the veterans pensions and the war veterans allowances which are provided in the further supplementary estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1958.

We have already had some considerable mention of the general method of bringing in the increases in regard to old age pensions, veterans increases, and so forth. I think the manner of doing this is extremely unsatisfactory, and that is particularly so in the case of increases in veterans pensions and war veterans allowances. In every previous case in which there has been an increase in those veterans benefits the veterans affairs committee has been called together. The government has proposed its increase, generally has given a bill second reading and then referred it to the veterans affairs committee, where a full discussion of the proposals and a full investigation into all of the needs of the situation took place. I think that type of procedure is particularly necessary as far as dealing fairly with our veterans is concerned.

When you have a committee of that kind the veterans organizations are able to make representations and put the case of the veterans before the members of the committee, and thus before the House of Commons and the government. At every one of those committee meetings where proposed increases were brought forward, the Legion, the army, navy and air force veterans, the blind veterans association and numerous other veterans associations appeared to make representations and, as a result of the representations made, as a result of the discussions in that committee, on various occasions the legislation was considerably improved.

The case that comes to my mind most particularly is a proposal that was made by the government in 1947 for an increase in veterans pensions. The then prime minister, Right Hon. Mr. King, rose in the house and said it was proposed to increase pensions by 10 per cent; I think that was the figure mentioned at the beginning. Immediately there was a great outcry that this was not nearly enough. Subsequently Mr. King rose in the house and said the government had decided to increase the pensions by 15 per cent.

A bill was brought in on that basis and referred to the veterans affairs committee. A long discussion took place there. The committee eventually recommended that the increase should be 25 per cent. That was accepted by the government, and an increase of 25 per cent was given. That is an outstanding example of the value of referring matters of this sort to the veterans affairs committee, and of the necessity of doing so if the matter is to be gone into in anything like a reasonable way and the veterans are to get anything like justice. It is one o'clock, Mr. Chairman.

At one o'clock the committee took recess.

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AFTER RECESS The committee resumed at 2.30 p.m.


PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

Mr. Chairman, before the luncheon adjournment I had been speaking of the extremely unsatisfactory way in which the increases in war veterans allowances and veterans pensions had been handled at this session, and of the fact that we are now asked to vote a portion of the supplementary estimates. I pointed out in particular that matters relating to veterans affairs had always been handled through the veterans affairs committee, and the fact that this had not been done this year and the committee had not been convened meant that the veterans organizations had no opportunity to present the veteran's case.

I can see no reason why the matter could not have been handled in the regular manner this session. No doubt the government knew some considerable time ago that these increases were going to be put into effect; therefore there was no reason why they could not have brought in the increases in the form of an amendment to the War Veterans Allowance Act and then referred the matter to the veterans affairs committee.

The fact that this was not done points up the necessity for a standing committee on veterans affairs, something for which all parties in the opposition have argued for a number of years. We have repeatedly called upon the government every year for some considerable time past to make this a standing committee of the house rather than leaving it as a special or select committee which is convened only when the government feels like convening it. The fact that the special veterans affairs committee was not called to meet this year and that these increases were not submitted to it makes it appear that the government deliberately avoided having the committee meet.

The Legion and other veterans organizations had of course called for a 33J per cent increase in pension rates. It seems to me quite apparent that the government did not want to give these veterans organizations an opportunity to present their case for the veterans, and particularly they sought to avoid the publicity which would have resulted from the convening of that committee and the presentation of the veterans case by the organizations concerned. In my opinion the government thought that by handling it in this hit and miss manner far less attention would be given to the small increases which have been provided in some cases and the fact that no increases were provided in relation to other veterans.

When we examine the actual increases provided we find that the largest increase is for a single veteran who receives a pension on the basis of total or 100 per cent disability. When these supplementary estimates are finally passed total disability pensioners will receive an increase of $25 a month. Their yearly rate will then increase from $1,500 a year to $1,800 a year. That is a 20 per cent increase and represents the highest increase granted. The increases range from that percentage down to nothing.

When speaking in the budget debate recently I pointed out that a cleaner and helper in the employ of the Department of Public Works receives a salary of $2,760 a year. There are various other categories of labourers in the civil service who receive the same rate. You might say their wages are on a level with those received by a labourer. When the Pension Act came into force following the first great war the theory upon which it was based and to which this government has always subscribed, and which is supposed to be operative at the present time, was that a 100 per cent disability pensioner should receive a pension based on the wages received by a common labourer.

That theory has gone by the board in practice as far as this government is concerned. As matters stand at the present moment the total disability pensioner is receiving just slightly more than half the wages paid to a common labourer employed in the government service, to say nothing of the even higher wages received in many instances by people in the same classification working outside the government service. When the increase comes into effect the total disability pensioner will receive $1,800 a year, which is less than two-thirds of the amount received by labourers in the government service. It is evident from this that the government has completely failed to increase veterans pensions sufficiently to meet the increase which

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has taken place in the cost of living and to maintain the relative position of the pensioner as compared to the common labourer.

When we come to consider the married pensioner we find that his increase amounts to 17.6 per cent. The widow of a veteran who was killed overseas receives a 15 per cent increase, from $100 to $115 a month. From this modest increase of 15 per cent we go to the single man in receipt of war veterans allowance, who receives no increase at all. This also applies to the widow of a man who had been in receipt of war veterans allowance and then died; she receives the same as a married veteran on war veterans allowance, $60 a month. It is these two groups of people who particularly need help, and they are the very ones for whom no help was provided as far as these increases are concerned.

Since speaking on this matter in the budget debate I have received a considerable number of letters from all across Canada, each of which tells a pitiful story of hardship and extreme difficulty because of the meagre amount of war veterans allowance these people are drawing. Most of the letters constitute a plea as to whether something can still be done at this session to meet their situation, a plea for an increase in the basic amount of the war veterans allowance.

Generally speaking I think there is no doubt that the government is not dealing fairly with our veterans. The Canadian people as a whole expect that adequate pensions and allowances will be paid to those men who have fought for their country.

The total amount of money involved in providing adequate pensions and adequate war veterans allowances would not be very considerable, particularly in relation to the total budget and the total expenditure for many other things.

As far as the increases provided in the supplementary estimates are concerned, they come to a total of $19,250,000. I would think that even at this late date, surely it might be possible for the Minister of Finance and the government to provide for some increase in the war veterans allowances to those people who are the worst off of all veterans, the single veteran, the widow of a veteran, the widower who perhaps is left with a child to look after.

I know this session is almost at an end; we expect or hope it will end today or tomorrow, or at the latest on Saturday. Even under those circumstances it would be quite possible, if the government should care to do so, to increase those allowances. I know all the members on this side of the house, and I am sure nearly all the members on

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the government side, would be willing to waive the ordinary rules in order to make it possible to put these increases into effect.

I would hope that matters of this sort, such as veterans allowances and pensions, when they are dealt with in future will be taken care of in a manner different from what has been the case this session. I hope the procedure which has been followed here for so many years will be followed again and that the matter will be referred to the veterans affairs committee. I further hope that no matter what government is in power next year, further increases will be provided for our veterans, both in the matter of pensions and war veterans allowances; and I am quite sure that if this party takes over, which I have every hope it will, these increases will be put into effect.

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CCF

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

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

Mr. Herridge:

Mr. Chairman, I have hurriedly made a few notes, and I am not going to take the time of the house by repeating some of the excellent arguments already made by the member for Winnipeg North Centre and other members of this group on the importance of legislation with respect to the veterans, old age pensioners, blind pensioners and civilians who are disabled. I heartily support the remarks made by the member who has just taken his seat with particular respect to the necessity for improving the situation in some respects for the veterans and their dependents in this country.

I would like to take this opportunity to bring to the attention of the house one or two matters which are of very serious concern to some of my constituents. To date some 5,000 of my constituents have been denied satisfactory radio reception owing, in many cases, to the weakness of the signals. For this reason they cannot hear radio programs, Canadian or United States, at night. I have raised this matter repeatedly throughout the years in this house; I have taken it up with other members of the special committee established to study broadcasting in Canada; I have taken it up also with the chairman of the C.B.C. and with the district officers of the C.B.C. in Vancouver.

The chairman of the C.B.C. and his officials are fully aware of the situation, and they regret it exists. They have given me a most sympathetic hearing when I have attempted to put before them the views of my constituents with respect to the injustice they suffer. I have been told repeatedly that owing to the large requirements for television there are no funds available to see that these people have low-power relay stations that would provide all C.B.C. radio programs.

I was reading the report of the royal commission on broadcasting recently. I notice that the commission has dealt with this problem, and that it is not a problem which affects my constituency alone. A good number of people in various parts of Canada suffer this injustice, as I call it-and I say "injustice" because while others are able to obtain television they are still not able to obtain radio facilities-owing to some peculiar atmospheric condition or the topography of the country. I understand in the mountains it is very difficult to get strong signals over a great distance, so that there is a very shallow covering of earth over these rocks which also affects transmission.

On page 209 of the report the commission has this to say:

It came as something of a surprise to us that as much as 74 per cent of our total population is within reach of four or more radio stations during the daytime. At night, this percentage drops to about 43 per cent due to an increase in interference from distant co-channel and adjacent channel stations. The following table shows the percentages of population capable of hearing one, two, three or four or more Canadian radio stations.

At first glance, it would appear that radio coverage in Canada is very good. And indeed it is. Yet there are still almost half a million people in this country who cannot, except under freak atmospheric conditions, receive the signal of even one Canadian station.

I have quite a number of constituents in that group. The report continues.

After considering every aspect of this question with our financial advisers and C.B.C. management, we have come to the conclusion that a limited plan for the extension of radio coverage is desirable.

I am very pleased to see those recommendations. Then in another paragraph on page 210 the commission has this to say:

The most important single element in this plan is the erection of the 97 low-power relay transmitters and the four new transmitters which is contemplated in our six-year forecast at a total capital cost of nearly $2 million. These new facilities, particularly the low-power relay transmitters, are to be located in remote areas of every province except Prince Edward Island which, for obvious reasons, does not give rise to as difficult problems as her sister provinces. The over-all capital investment in the extension plan will be about $3.3 million including a contingency of $1 million to provide for future growth and shifts in population.

I do hope that as a result of this report the government will give relief to the half million Canadians who have been denied satisfactory radio reception to date by installing the necessary high-power transmitters or low-power relay stations that are required. In my district they are required at points on Kootenay lake, Slocan lake and the Arrow lakes.

This is a district which is producing, as a matter of fact, the highest family income per capita in Canada; and many of these

men in the woods and the mines, who are producing the wealth that is coming from that district are denied the opportunity to even listen to a radio program. Some can listen to United States stations at night, but none of them receive satisfactory reception from any Canadian station.

I hope the government will give consideration to that report, and that when we come back next session, Mr. Chairman, we will find the government will introduce a measure to remedy this long-standing grievance.

There are one or two other matters I wish to bring to the attention of the house. I do want to emphasize the need for a wing dam at the mouth of the Columbia river where it enters the North Arrow lakes. There was a wing dam at that point some 20 years ago, built at a relatively small cost. That dam diverted the main current well out into the lake, preventing silt forming in the docking area and, in winter, preventing ice forming at the approaches to the wharf. Owing to neglect during the war the dam became ineffective and was washed out by high water, with the result that there is now very heavy silting of the wharf area. Moreover, in winter

icing conditions around the wharf are now causing considerable trouble. Ice forms to a depth of between six and eight feet, and it is quite difficult at times for vessels to get to the dock at Arrowhead.

I suggest that the expenditure of $25,000 for the building of a wing dam at the mouth of the Columbia where it enters the lakes would mean the saving of the considerable sums now required to be spent on dredging the channel through the lake to the wharf area, and I urge that consideration be given to this matter when next year's estimates are being prepared.

I also want to urge the necessity for continuous and increased dredging in the narrows between the upper and lower lakes. Traffic through the narrows is increasing. I notice the hon. member for Charlotte is listening; he always does when anything is mentioned concerning ships. In the early days the vessels using these waters were stern wheelers. Those have now been replaced by tugs towing rafts, barges and things of that sort. The tugs have a deeper draft, with the result that it is necessary to have continuous and increased dredging in the narrows, and I hope this matter will also receive consideration when the estimates are being prepared for next year.

In addition, I urge that an early start be made on the wharf at Nakusp. The present wharf is quite inadequate to meet the needs of the district, and everyone in

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that area is looking forward to an early start on the construction of a new one. We are very pleased indeed that money has been voted for the construction of this wharf and, as I say, we hope work will commence at an early date. The same observation applies to the Crawford Bay wharf in Crawford bay on the Kootenay lake.

Mr. Chairman, I have only one other matter I wish to mention, and that is a matter I have brought up repeatedly in this house over the last six years; the question of the necessity of calling a dominion-provincial conference with a view to establishing nationwide principles for the conservation of the land, soil, forest and water resources of this country. I mention this matter again bceause I want what may be my last remarks this session to be on this question. I intend to deal with the subject briefly, because I have repeated my arguments annually, so far with little effect but with growing hope on account of the widespread and increasing request for federal action along the lines I have suggested.

I acknowledge what the government has done under various enactments, the forestry act, the water conservation act, the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act and so on. But, as I have said on other occasions, I think it it a policy of bits and pieces, and we want a co-ordinated policy in connection with the conservation of renewable natural resources in this country at as early a date as possible. I urge that the need is pressing and demands action by the federal government without delay.

I suggest the federal government should forge the necessary link in the chain of responsibility in the administration of conservation measures in this country by calling a dominion-provincial conference to do the following things: first, to establish nationwide principles with regard to the conservation of soil, forest and water resources and land use in Canada; second, to focus attention on common objectives in the application of those principles.

Mr. Chairman, I would again urge the government to consider the desirability of a land use survey of Canada, which would comprise a survey of our soil, forest and water resources as a basis for really longterm planning. Such a survey, and the operations consequent upon it, would be of great value in planning future industrial development in this country, in addition to its obvious uses. We have undertaken surveys in Ceylon and Pakistan under the Colombo plan; surely we can apply this same common-sense approach to our own problems here in Canada.

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I suggest, also, that the application of those principles to which I have referred would provide for the development and co-ordination of research between the federal and provincial governments, between the universities and the private organizations in this country and the educational programs which have to do with conservation. It would provide, also, for a satisfactory division of financial responsibility as among the various groups concerned.

I have always maintained that the federal government has a definite interest in the development and conservation of our natural resources because of the large revenue it draws as a result of the utilization of these resources. I may say at this point that I am very glad the federal government has shown its interest in these matters by its offer of co-operation with the government of British Columbia in the building of dams on the Columbia river. Then again, if my suggestion is carried out, we could undertake over-all planning to avoid duplication of effort. At the present time there is some duplication of research, some duplication of educational effort and some duplication of expenditure in several directions which could be avoided if there were over-all planning among federal and provincial governments, private industry and other interested groups.

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I think if we had the type of conference I have suggested it would give rise to a national publicity with regard to the importance of this Question which is lacking at the present time, and an awareness of the situation which the Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources has said from time to time is lacking among the general public of this country. We would focus attention across the nation on the national nature of this problem; and the value of the attendant publicity. This is very necessary if we are going to interest large numbers of people in what at times appears to many of them to be quite an abstract question. That is all I have to say at this time but I do hope the government will give consideration to the representations I have made.

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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. Johnston (Bow River):

Mr. Chairman, I do not intend to take very long in saying what I have to say, but I do want to mention something about the freight rate structure of this country. I notice in the supplementary estimates an item of $1,500,000 for assistance to the Atlantic provinces by way of concessions in regard to freight rates.

Let me say immediately, Mr. Chairman, that I am very pleased indeed that some action is being taken to give the maritimes an adjustment in their freight rate structure.

[Mr. Herridge.l

It is long overdue. One of the main things holding back the general development of this country is the unsatisfactory freight rate structure. This applies not only to the maritimes but also to western Canada, and I was amazed the other day when the Minister of Transport told me, while I was discussing this subject in the house, that he could not see any reason why consideration should be given at this time to investigating the freight rate structure of western Canada at the same time that we were doing something about it in the maritimes.

The inference, of course, was that western Canada had been doing rather well, and that therefore it did not need any assistance in this matter of the freight rate structure.

But the obvious thing should be clear even to the Minister of Transport, namely that since about 1945 there has been a continuous increase in freight rates. The Gordon commission pointed out the fact, I believe, that there had been increases in freight rates of 100 per cent, I think it was, since 1945. I am only speaking from memory now but I think my memory serves me right.

Every one of us in this house knows, or should know, that whenever a general freight rate increase is allowed by the board of transport commissioners, that increase is not applied evenly across the country. If it were applied evenly across the country then of course there would not be so much objection. But in the two central provinces-and they are the provinces that are considered to be in what they call a competitive area-the freight rates are not increased to the same extent as they are in those other provinces which are considered to be in the non-competitive area, namely the maritime provinces or the Atlantic provinces and the western provinces. Because of this continual increasing of the freight rates over and above the freight rate structure which exists in the central provinces, those two extremes of the country are put in a very difficult position. Whatever I say about western Canada applies equally to the maritimes. That is why I am pleased that some relief is being given to the maritime provinces in these estimates.

We out in western Canada find it difficult indeed to compete in the manufacture of those articles that are being produced here in Ontario. For instance, if we want to go into the furniture business, we find that to have the raw lumber shipped out to the province of Alberta, Saskatchewan or British Columbia, but to the two prairie provinces particularly, it costs us more than it does for the central provinces to ship out the manufactured product. As for the canning industry in connection with garden products such as peas, carrots, beets and things of that nature,

it costs us nearly as much to get empty cans out there as it does to have eastern Canada send the cans out filled. You just cannot progress in a nation of this size if you are going to have such an unequal freight rate structure in this country. It seems to me that the government would be well advised to have another look at this over-all freight rate structure in order to see whether they cannot bring it nearer to equality.

It was not so long ago that we gave the railways $7 million for this bridge in the northern part of Ontario. What for? In order to see whether they could not use it to reduce freight rates to western Canada. However, nothing was done. In fact the only thing that has been done, as every hon. member knows, is that we have increased freight rates in western Canada, and we have increased them on the movement of grain for domestic purposes. It is true that the Crowsnest pass rates have not been touched, but it is becoming a very touchy point now and every possible effort is being put forth by both railways to have the Crowsnest freight rates changed. It is odd that whenever they apply for a freight rate increase they bring up this question. It is equally odd that whenever the railways have had increased revenues you find that there has been an increased movement of grain. Hence they cannot be losing much money because of that movement, though they claim they are.

Seldom has there been an inquiry into the freight rate structure of this country, as a result of the railways making application to the board of transport commissioners for an increase, when the other eight provinces of Canada have not appeared before the transport board pointing out these various facts, namely the inequalities of the present freight rate structure and the discrimination as far as western Canada and the maritime provinces are concerned. We have had ministers from the maritime provinces and from western provinces appear before the transport board, but to no avail. The decision has always been to increase freight rates. Let me say again that if it is necessary to increase freight rates it should be done on an equal basis, and that the onus and the burden of the increase should not be placed on the maritimes and western Canada.

That is all I want to say on this point. I have spoken on it many times previously in this house. I hope the government will see fit to give this problem serious consideration. They have already undertaken the first step in the maritimes. Again may I say that I am pleased to see this happening, because goodness knows the maritimes need it. I was

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about to say, and I hope no one will misunderstand me when I say it, that when I visited the maritimes last year I found that they were probably as backward as any place in Canada in the development of their resources. That condition was not owing to the inertia of the people at all but was owing entirely to the fact that they have not had a square deal, particularly in the matter of freight rates.

This provision is going to give them some assistance. They will be able to develop their resources a little better. They will be able to raise their standard of living a little. Maybe the reason western Canada has progressed so rapidly is that they have rid themselves of the old line parties entirely. That might be the solution for the maritimes. They made a change but I do not see to what good purpose; at least some of them made a change. I hope this change tends to improve their position a little. However, they might do a great deal better if they would get rid of the old line parties and get on their own. Examples have proved what can be done out in western Canada. Seriously, I hope the minister will give consideration to a general overhaul of the freight rate structure in order to see whether it cannot be brought a little bit closer to equality.

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PC

Wallace Bickford (Wally) Nesbitt

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nesbitt:

Mr. Chairman, there are two matters with which I should like to deal with this afternoon, and I shall try to do so as briefly as possible. The first matter has to do with welfare services. The government's increase of $6 in the old age pension, which I understand takes into account the percentage rise in the cost of living since January 1, 1952, has certainly been a step that has caused a great deal of concern and anger in the country. It has done so not because the people are annoyed at having the old age pension raised, but rather because the amount most certainly was not enough.

Of course, I think occasionally there is a great deal of misunderstanding as to the purpose of the old age pension. I believe some people seem to have the idea that it is intended to maintain people without any other source of income. However, it is my understanding that the theory behind the old age pension was that it was not intended to do this but rather was intended to supplement the savings of elderly people, and to compensate elderly people for their loss of earning power because of age.

If we follow that principle through to its logical conclusion it would certainly seem that this $6 increase in the old age pension is not enough. You may ask, Mr. Chairman, why it is not enough. You may say it has taken into account the percentage increase in

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the cost of living since 1952; why is it not enough? I say it is not enough for this reason. The life savings of people, their insurance and other assets, have fallen in value greatly because of the decrease in the purchasing power of the dollar. As a result of this decrease in the purchasing power of the dollar, as hon. members know, the dollar today is worth just about half what it was worth 15 years ago.

Apparently the government failed to take this fact into consideration when it gave this $6 increase in the old age pension. I hope the party that forms the government after the coming election will review this matter and increase the amount. We have heard arguments put forward to the effect that the old age pension could not be increased because such an increase would increase inflation since it would increase spending. But as has been pointed out in this house on many occasions in the last few weeks, who is the biggest spender of all? The answer again, of course, is the government.

What would be a suitable figure to which to raise the old age pension, Mr. Chairman? There have been many opinions expressed on this. The members of the party to my left suggest $75 a month. I am afraid I could not agree with that because I feel it is too much out of line. My own personal view, and I repeat this is my personal view, is that the amount should be raised to $60 per month. I cannot see that this figure would be out of line in any way, and it would take into consideration the fall in the purchasing power of people's life savings since 1941 or 1942.

The other matter with respect to welfare services upon which I should like to touch is this question of the blind persons' allowance. If the old age pension is intended to supplement the lack of earning power because of a person's age, certainly the same principle should apply to blind persons. These people have lost one of their most valuable physical assets, their eyesight, and that certainly affects their earning power. I believe there should be no means test connected with the receipt of this pension. It should be a payment to compensate a person for the loss of one of his most valuable physical assets.

Another aspect of old age security and old age assistance is this question of the 20-year residence qualification. Since this country has embarked upon a very extensive immigration program, encouraging people from other countries to come here, it seems to me unfair and inconsistent to invite people to this country and then tell them they are

not going to get the welfare services Canadians get until they have been here for 20 years. It seems to me that is an inconsistent and unfair government policy.

There are many ways in which this particular regulation works hardship, and I refer particularly to people from the United Kingdom. I know of several cases in which people went to the United Kingdom just before the war in 1939. They were visiting friends or relatives, and they got caught there because they could not obtain return passage. There was a shortage of shipping space during the war. It is very difficult, of course, for them to prove that they applied for return passage. They would go to an office and be told, "No, we cannot give you any passage".

I have spoken to the Minister of National Health and Welfare about this and he has tried to be helpful, but as the regulations stand it is very difficult to prove that these people tried to get back. Now they have to suffer as a result. I would hope that some change could be made in these regulations at a future date.

Another aspect of welfare services concerns those who are in receipt of allowances because they are totally and permanently disabled. It is said that there are as many legal opinions as there are lawyers, and that may be true. I have found also that there are often as many medical opinions as there are doctors, and I say that with all respect to that profession. In many of these tricky, borderline cases, the question arises as to whether or not a person is permanently disabled. He may be totally disabled, but the question whether or not he is permanently disabled is one upon which we receive many opinions. For instance, in Ontario there are certain medical persons who decide whether or not a person is totally and permanently disabled. Well, that is all right. Then apparently because the federal government contributes to these pensions, the federal government have their own medical people who have to pass judgment on this question as well. If these medical people do not agree the person who requires assistance is the one who suffers. It should be one or the other. If the federal government are going to contribute they should have their own doctors do the examining, or else have it done by the province concerned.

I know of many cases in which the people concerned have asthma. Sometimes they have to go into hospital and are put into oxygen tents. They cannot work, and they are getting older all the time. Often they have to rely on the community for needed medical services, yet they cannot get this

allowance because the doctors say they are not permanently disabled. It is unlikely they will recover, but they might. I feel these people should receive the benefit of the doubt.

The next matter with which I should like to deal is pipe lines. I have in mind a specific company, the Interprovincial Pipe Line Company. At the moment it is going to construct a pipe line through western Ontario from Sarnia to Port Credit. There have been other pipe lines built in southwestern Ontario. Imperial Oil built one a few years ago and there were no difficulties at that time, but I shall deal with that in some detail later. This pipe line is supposed to go through my county, the county of Oxford, and through the counties of Halton, Peel, Wentworth, Brant, Middlesex and Lambton.

I have delayed saying anything about this matter until today in the hope that some satisfactory settlement might be arranged between the company and the land owners. Since none has been made, and the company has shown not the slightest inclination to compromise in any way, except in the most trivial details, I intend to bring the matter to the attention of the house. I hope that whatever government is in office in the fall will make the appropriate amendments to the Pipe Lines Act to prevent these big companies misusing their power against individuals who are not in nearly as good a position to look after themselves.

This company started out to construct this pipe line. The first thing they had to do was to obtain options on the land covering the route of the pipe line. I should like first to bring to the attention of the house the methods that were used by this company in obtaining these options. They used all sorts of high pressure methods. They went to people's houses, put their foot in the door, and often they would not get out of the house until the option had been signed. Another thing they did was to tell people they had the power to expropriate the land, and the people had to sign or the company would take the land. These representations were simply not the case. At the time the company were obtaining these options they did not, in fact, have the power to expropriate any land at all. Many options were obtained under false pretences, innocently or otherwise and I certainly think otherwise.

The agents of this company would go to a land owner and say, "This is our offer; take it or leave it". They would say they would not compromise, would not even discuss it. "You have to take our offer, and if you do not we will expropriate". They would say, "We will take you to court about it". The

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Pipe Lines Act provides for arbitration proceedings on the price of the land, so that of course is true. It is impossible for most small land owners to fight a big company like Interprovincial Pipe Line which, I understand, is largely controlled by the Imperial Oil Company. Most people do not like the idea of having to hire a lawyer, which is expensive, to fight a company like that with expert witnesses at its disposal and the ability to hire the best legal counsel. Even if they did win it would be a pyrrhic victory. They would say, "We might win a couple of hundred dollars and it would cost us $500 or $600 to win, if we won at all".

Since I practised law for some years in the county of Oxford, I have some idea of the value of land in that area. It usually sells for around $200 per acre. The company's offer was from $3.75 per running rod,-that is a strip 60 feet wide and a rod long,-to around $4.60. They said that was the company's offer and that was all they were getting. The lower figure covered land that was perhaps less fertile.

The land owners in the area wanted $5 a rod. All the farmers were asking was $5 for the use of a piece of land 60 feet wide and a rod long. That was all they were asking, plus $2 for subsoil damage. That, of course, referred to such matters as clay, gravel and rocks brought to the surface in the digging of the ditch for the pipe line, which certainly reduces the value of crops grown on that land in the future.

It must also be remembered that this pipe line interferes with the drains the people have put in. They are very expensive, and this interference causes a lot of trouble. It *must also be remembered that buildings naturally cannot be erected in the area where the pipe line runs, not to mention the fact that some people just do not like the idea of a pipe line going through their property. This is supposed to be a free country, and if they do not like pipe lines they are entitled to that view whether it is logical or not.

The farmers asked for only $5 plus $2 for subsoil damage. The company would not compromise. They said, "No, not a cent more; that is all we are going to give you."

I have in my hand a clipping from the London Free Press, dated Saturday, April 6, 1957, having regard to another pipe line that is intended to be put through western Ontario. It refers to a pipe line of the Union Gas Company that will go through Waterloo county, the county adjoining Oxford. The farmers there are asking $10 a rod instead of $5. Probably they will not have much more success than the farmers had in Oxford,

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but this is another example. The county of Waterloo is similar to the county of Oxford agriculturally. As I say, the farmers in Waterloo county are asking $10, and the land owners in Oxford county asked only $5. The company said no.

The cost to this company would have been only a few thousand dollars, but they have been absolutely adamant on the matter. It seems a very strange and unwise thing for a large company such as this, which is controlled largely by the Imperial Oil Company, to take this view, because it is very hard on public relations. These big companies are often open to public scrutiny and criticism, and this is one of the reasons I cannot understand why a large company such as Imperial Oil, which must spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and perhaps $1 million a year on public relations and good-will advertising, such as the hockey broadcasts which we all enjoy, should do such a foolish thing as this in order to save a few thousand dollars. Because of this action a lot of ill-will has been generated, not only in Oxford but in other counties as well.

I do not wish to go into the details of the manner in which the company gained its expropriation powers, or to take the time of the house to do it. If anybody is interested he can look it up. Under the Pipe Lines Act, after a company decides on the route it is going to take it has to go before the board of transport commissioners to get approval of the route; and land owners and others, of course, are allowed to make representations to the board as to the route of the pipe line. The members of the board in this case-and they may be technically right; I think there is some question about it-said, "We wash our hands of the whole affair", like the well-known gentleman in Biblical times. They said, "It is not for us to decide; we have only to approve the route or any alternative route that is proposed. We will have to allow this one".

Once the route is approved by the board of transport commissioners the powers of expropriation fall into the hands of the company under the terms of the act. A number of people made representations to the board of transport commissioners. For instance, in the case of the county of Oxford only half the land owners had signed the option, and some of the options had been obtained from them by false pretences. I know there were representations from the counties of Halton, Peel and elsewhere.

Most people agree that in this case it is to the economic good of the country as a whole for the pipe line to go through, but it was suggested that changes in the route

could be made. I myself submitted a brief to the board on behalf of the land owners.

I did not appear at the hearing, but I sent a brief. I submitted that I thought the board of transport commissioners should withhold their decision until such time as more of the land owners had signed up- only half of them had signed up-'and until such time as the company showed some indication of attempting to make some sort of compromise, some negotiated settlement with the land owners.

The board of transport commissioners said, "No, that is not our business; we will not do that". They allowed the application. I know of one case where a farmer objected to the route because it was going to go right down the middle of drains in his fields, which was a costly matter. Of course they said they would compensate him for that. I pointed out the difficulties in arbitration cases such as this. All this man requested was that the drain be moved from the middle of his field around to the edge of it along the fence line, which would not interfere with the route of the pipe line and would have caused little or no inconvenience to the company. I am told that the board of transport commissioners said to the company's representatives and this particular land owner, "You can work this all out, and we suggest you do"; but that did not prevent the board from approving the route without having the matter finally settled.

My contention, Mr. Chairman, as I have already said, is the board of transport commissioners could have withheld approval of the route of this pipe line and that, of course, would have withheld the powers of expropriation from the company until a settlement through negotiation had been reached. They did not do that. I also think they could have condemned some of the unethical actions of the company in obtaining those options, but they did not do that either.

There is another matter I should like to bring to the attention of the committee in this regard. I mentioned earlier that the Imperial Oil Company had built a pipe line in western Ontario some years ago. It was in the early 1950's. There was no difficulty at that time. I know from personal knowledge, in fact, that there was no difficulty. There were no powers of expropriation at all, but they got their pipe line through. Not having powers of expropriation they had to deal with the land owners, and they had to make some sort of compromise. In one or two instances I know we had land owners who did not want a pipe line to go through their land, and it went through the next farm. The pipe line went through, and it

did not cost the company a great deal of extra money. They negotiated and everybody was happy.

In this case, because of the terms of the Pipe Lines Act the power of expropriation is given to the company. It is bad enough, Mr. Chairman, to have to give the powers of expropriation to the government. It is tough enough to deal with the government on these matters such as highways. We all know that in certain cases it is necessary, but I certainly think powers of expropriation should not be given to big companies except as a last resort, and only as a last resort.

When big companies have powers of expropriation they do not make any attempt at negotiation. In this case you have a very good example of it. They said, "This is our price, take it or leave it. We will take it to court and arbitrate. We can fix you. We can hire expert witnesses, big lawyers and all the rest of it." This is an example of the misuse of the powers of expropriation. If this company did not have those powers but had to negotiate, as the Imperial Oil Company did a few years ago, a satisfactory solution would have been reached. It is true it is more expedient and easier for a big company to have these powers of expropriation, but it is kind of hard on small land owners who find it pretty tough to stand up to these companies.

I mentioned also that the powers of expropriation should be given only very sparingly to these companies because often it may not be the decision of the top executive; often they may not be aware of these matters, but some of the people occupying the position of fifth or sixth wheel down the line do these things. They bring big business and private enterprise into disrepute by carrying on in this way. Acts such as these are unhealthy for our economy and business in general.

In my submission, whatever party may form the government next year it should make appropriate amendments to the pipe line act and perhaps give further powers to the board of transport commissioners to prevent a situation such as this arising in the future. The damage has been done in this case and I suppose it cannot be repaired now but I certainly hope that provision will be made to prevent such activity taking place in the future. There is no

doubt that there will be further oil or gas pipe lines passing through western Ontario, and the rest of the country too of course, and I think this kind of activity is something that should be discouraged.

Interim Supply

Topic:   INTERIM SUPPLY
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April 11, 1957