November 11, 1957

LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen

Liberal

Mr. MacEachen:

While I am on this sincere and complimentary theme I wish also to congratulate the mover, Mr. Smith (Calgary South) and seconder (Mr. Arsenault) of the speech in reply for the very splendid manner in which they acquitted themselves in the first days of our sittings.

I cannot forego the proper courtesy of noting the presence in this house of nine new members from the province of Nova Scotia who are sitting here for the first time but, I regret to say, on the government side of the house. Hon. members who were present during the last parliamentary session will recall that there were 10 government supporters in the house and two members of the opposition. Well in this parliament there are also 10 supporters of the government and two members of the opposition and although I wish to congratulate these new members from Nova Scotia upon their election to this house I certainly cannot extend to them the same congratulations upon the location in which they find themselves this afternoon.

With your permission, Mr. Speaker, may I call it six o'clock.

At six o'clock the house took recess.

The Address-Mr. MacEachen AFTER RECESS

The house resumed at eight o'clock.

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LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen

Liberal

Mr. MacEachen:

Mr. Speaker, just before the dinner recess I was referring to the rather obvious change that had occurred since the last parliament in the composition of the representation from the province of Nova Scotia. I believe that such a transformation could only represent a shift in public opinion in the maritime provinces and indeed in the provinces of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in particular. I among others believe that the chief reason for this particular shift in opinion had to do with the skill with which the leader of the Conservative party had seized upon one of the chief and obvious problems of the Atlantic area. That was the fact that over the years the Atlantic provinces had not showed the same rate of economic development as other parts of the country. It is a problem that had affected the thinking of this parliament during my stay here and one which had been discussed often on various resolutions.

The present Progressive Conservative leader and his candidates, as I say, capitalized upon this particular and legitimate grievance and presented a commitment to the people of the Atlantic area prior to the election of June 10. I believe this commitment can be best represented as a promise to initiate in the Atlantic area an economic program, indeed an economic revolution, which would have as its chief effects, first of all the closing of the gaps between the incomes received by citizens of Nova Scotia and the rest of Canada, the establishment of new industries, and finally the creation of new employment opportunities which would halt the movement of population from the maritimes to the rest of Canada. These are effects which are honestly desired by all the citizens of the maritime provinces, and the Prime Minister (Mr. Diefenbaker) and his candidates prior to the election chose as the particular instrument that would carry forward these desirable objectives the now famous Atlantic resolutions. I am happy to know that there are at least two persons in Canada who are still interested in the Atlantic resolutions; namely, the hon. member for Westmorland (Mr. Murphy) and the premier of Nova Scotia because we have had references made to these resolutions by the hon. member for Westmorland and on Saturday the premier of Nova Scotia also made a reference to these resolutions to which I will refer later.

However, I think it should be stated that these resolutions were received with great interest and great appeal by the citizens of the maritimes. Indeed, the Atlantic Advocate in its issue of July 1957 states that the seven Atlantic resolutions are of prime significance. The editor states:

The seven "Atlantic resolutions" are of prime significance. They constituted the seven-point election manifesto of the Progressive Conservative candidates in the four Atlantic provinces and were endorsed in their main principles by Mr. Diefenbaker.

Indeed, so seriously did the editor of the Atlantic Advocate take the Atlantic resolutions that he suggested a new portfolio should be created in the Canadian government. He thought the problems of shepherding the resolutions through the labyrinths of Ottawa would be so formidable that the example set by the British government in having a special minister for Scotland should be applied to the four Atlantic provinces and we should have a secretary of state for the Atlantic provinces. Well, I trust if such a portfolio is established the minister who holds it will have greater success than has his counterpart in Scotland in bringing the needs of Scotland to the attention of the British parliament.

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PC
LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen

Liberal

Mr. MacEachen:

I must say that we have had no indication that the government intends to establish such a portfolio, but we do have a presentiment of the attitude of the government thus far on the importance of these Atlantic resolutions. One of the Atlantic resolutions was the establishment of a Canadian coastguard. On October 29, 1957, the hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Barnett) addressed a question to the Minister of Transport (Mr. Hees) asking him the intentions of the government with respect to a Canadian coastguard. I am sure that hon. members will recall the answer given by the minister which is to be found at page 549 of Hansard of that date. It will be clear to any person who has read the answer that up to the present the government has made no decision to change the arrangements made by the previous Liberal administration with reference to a Canadian coastal service of this type. That was the first intimation we had of the fate of the Atlantic resolutions.

Some days ago, on October 31, the hon. member for Westmorland addressed a question to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fleming) having to do with a further resolution calling for special fiscal considerations to encourage the location of industries in the Atlantic provinces. I believe the answer of the Minister of Finance deserves greater attention

than the answer on the previous resolution. The answer of the Minister of Finance will be found on page 603 of Hansard of that date. Suffice it to say that the hon. member for Westmorland asked the minister:

What special fiscal consideration is being given to private enterprises to encourage the location of industry in the Atlantic area?

In reply, the Minister of Finance stated:

-if my hon. friend will be a little more specific I think I may be able to give him a more satisfactory answer.

Well, it was clear to me, as it must have been to every other hon. member in the house, that the Minister of Finance did not even recognize this particular question as having to do with an extremely important resolution put forward by his party in the Atlantic provinces. Later, in an effort to recover whatever ground had been lost in his first answer, the Minister of Finance recommended to the hon. member for Westmorland that he consider the measures in the speech from the throne on this particular subject. Here, of course, he committed an even greater error because there is no reference whatsoever in the speech from the throne to any fiscal considerations that might be given to the encouragement of industry in the Atlantic provinces.

The Atlantic resolutions also contained a special inducement that policies would be introduced to encourage the decentralization of industry in the Atlantic provinces, calling for more crown corporations for that area and a bigger share of defence expenditures. The hon. member for Westmorland, with I think exemplary interest in his constituents, again addressed a question to the Prime Minister who replied that when action had been taken on this particular subject it would be announced to the house.

There we have, Mr. Speaker, the early reception of the government to this major manifesto in the Atlantic provinces. I trust that the later reception of the government will be more in line with the statement made by the premier of Nova Scotia last Saturday at Halifax when addressing a very important gathering of his fellow Conservatives. As reported in today's issue of the Halifax Chronicle Herald the premier of Nova Scotia said that all the Atlantic resolutions would be put into force as soon as proper study had been given them and legislation was prepared.

The premier of Nova Scotia has given us in Halifax assurances on the subject of the Atlantic resolutions that we have not yet received from the government of Canada. I trust that the very optimistic tones sounded by the premier in Halifax will be simply

The Address-Mr. MacEachen a forecast of a categorical statement by the Prime Minister that all the resolutions that were adopted as part of his manifesto will be put into force, and I will even accept the qualification of the premier of Nova Scotia, after proper study and when they can be put into legislative form.

So much for the Atlantic resolutions; I want to refer for a moment to the references made in the speech from the throne to development in the Atlantic provinces. The speech from the throne states that:

As an immediate start upon a program of more extensive development in the Atlantic provinces, you will be asked to authorize, in joint action with the provincial governments, the creation of facilities for the production and transmission of cheaper electric power in those provinces.

This particular policy has been heralded by members opposite as a new deal for the Atlantic provinces. Well, we welcome this particular deal. It is not a new deal; it is simply a repetition of the deal that was offered to the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in the budget of Mr. Harris last spring. In so far as this particular proposition will contain the merit of the previous proposal, then it certainly should be endorsed by this house and by the people of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

I think the elements of the previous proposal are worthy of repetition. The power proposal was first based, not upon suggestions made in this house by any hon. member but by a study that had been undertaken into the prospects of thermal power development in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick by Professor Christie of Johns Hopkins University, who is regarded as one of the outstanding experts on thermal power in North America.

As a matter of fact, Professor Christie made three or four small reports on this subject and-

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LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen

Liberal

Mr. MacEachen:

I am ready to deal with what my leader said on the subject and I hope the honourable member will be able to deal with what his leader said on these particular subjects.

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PC
LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen

Liberal

Mr. MacEachen:

Mr. Speaker, this particular proposal had the germ of a very important idea because it called for the unification of the power systems of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick under a central authority, and later that particular intention was expected to be carried out through handing over this particular work to the

The Address-Mr. MacEachen Northern Canada Company. The federal government, in its first proposal, also promised to pay the costs of transmission lines and to pay the cost of building those power plants in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

There was then another very particular problem that arose in connection with this power development in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and is the particular problem which the hon. member for Cape Breton South mentioned a moment ago. There were two interests involved in this power proposal. First of all was the guarantee of the use of the cheapest fuel because it was absolutely necessary that power be generated and distributed in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick by the cheapest possible fuel. That was in line with the needs of the domestic and industrial consumers in those two provinces.

The second interest, of course, was the interest of the Nova Scotia coal industry. It was an absolute necessity that this power be generated from coal because of the need of expanding markets for the Nova Scotia coal industry. Now, there appears to be a conflict of interests between these two desirable objectives; but that apparent conflict, Mr. Speaker, was overcome by the previous government in its commitment to this house and to the country that coal would be used in those power plants. It was further stated that in any particular market situation that coal was more expensive than the cheapest competing fuel, coal would be assisted to the extent that it could be used in those power plants.

There was never any question that coal would not be used in those plants, and there was never any question that the preceding government had not given a commitment that if necessary coal would be assisted in order to compete with the cheapest possible fuel.

In the course of the campaign, as is customary, there were many charges and counter-charges made on this particular power proposal and I hope that what was said in the campaign will not permit this very important project to be lost in political bickering. But, Mr. Speaker, I want to place before the house the statements of the Prime Minister with respect to subventions on coal.

In the speech from the throne and later in his first speech made in the debate the Prime Minister said that his government was prepared to pay subventions on the movement of coal for power purposes in the maritime provinces. I suggest that the statements made by the Prime Minister in the course of the campaign have no other interpretation than that his government would be prepared to pay subventions, not only on the movement

of coal for power purposes but on the movement of coal for all purposes in the Atlantic provinces, and that is why I feel it is so important to place on record the remarks of the Prime Minister on the subject of subventions on coal.

The Prime Minister spoke at a number of places and made commitments on this subject. He spoke at New Glasgow and Amherst in Nova Scotia and at Minto in New Brunswick. At New Glasgow on April 30, at a meeting at which Premier Stanfield of Nova Scotia had previously asked for an extension of coal subventions, the leader of the Conservative party said, and I quote from the Halifax Chronicle-Herald of May 1, 1957:

If we form a government I tell you, Mr. Premier, there will be subventions for coal In these provinces, according to your request and to the demands of the people.

Hon. members will note there is no qualification about coal for power purposes.

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PC
LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen

Liberal

Mr. MacEachen:

Again at Amherst the Prime Minister reverted to the same subject to point out that the subventions on coal paid by the federal government were nothing more than a subsidy which Nova Scotians already had in order to compete with the central provinces, and he is reported by the newspaper I just mentioned as saying:

What we want is coal subventions within the province.

In the light of this statement, Mr. Speaker, I suggest it is perfectly clear that the people of Nova Scotia had the right to expect that the new government would provide these subventions for all purposes and without delay. Indeed, the people of the province of New Brunswick were led to the same expectation because the Prime Minister, speaking in Minto, said:

There should and must be a subvention on coal transported within these provinces for power purposes.

Later, speaking in Cambridge, Nova Scotia, on June 3, the Prime Minister stated:

There is something strangely peculiar about the fact that Nova Scotia coal delivered in New Brunswick is higher in price than it is when delivered in Montreal. There is a need, and-

These are the significant words.

-we undertake to supply that need by providing a subvention on maritime coal.

Not just a subvention, Mr. Speaker, on coal to be used for generating power but on all coal moving in the maritime provinces. The government has had an opportunity in the representation of the estimates to the house to widen the basis of the subvention

for coal but no action has yet been taken either on the movement of coal for power purposes or on the movement of coal for all purposes. Just recently, in reply to a question of mine, the Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys (Mr. Comtois) told us that no order in council and no new rate had been established for the movement of coal in the maritime provinces. This is a very important matter and could have been dealt with quickly by the new government without delaying and waiting for an opportunity for legislation because no legislation is required. If there is any hon. member opposite-

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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness (Minister of Agriculture)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

The old government had

22 years to deal with it and did not do anything.

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LIB
LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen

Liberal

Mr. MacEachen:

If there is any hon. member opposite who feels I have been unfair to the Prime Minister in asserting that his commitment was for all coal and not just for coal for power, then I refer that hon. gentleman to a statement made in Halifax on Saturday by the Minister of National Revenue (Mr. Nowlan) who stated, among other things, that the development of the coal industry through subventions on coal moving in the maritimes would be put into effect. On page 6 of the same newspaper he is quoted as having made the same statement.

Mind you, as the Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys knows, there is a good deal of difference in making a promise to put a subvention on the movement of coal for power purposes because in Nova Scotia each year about 400,000 tons of coal are moved for thermal power purposes in that province.

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PC
LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen

Liberal

Mr. MacEachen:

However, for all coal moved within the Atlantic provinces there is represented 55 per cent of the total coal produced in Nova Scotia which reaches about 3 million tons, and if we accept the suggested figure of $4 a ton for the per ton rate that is attributed to Premier Flemming of New Brunswick, it means the difference between about $1 million or $1.5 million and $12 million. Therefore the government should really make up its mind as to when, first of all, it will clarify this situation so far as the people of Nova Scotia are concerned, and once clarification is made it should use the power which it now has under legislation to put these promises made to the coal industry of Nova Scotia into effect without further delay.

The Address-Mr. MacEachen

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PC

Donald MacInnis

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Maclnnis:

Suppose you tell us what

you know about the coal industry. Let us hear what you know about the coal industry.

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LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen

Liberal

Mr. MacEachen:

I want to assure my

hon. friends from Nova Scotia that their interruptions on this subject have no particular bearing either on the facts stated or the readiness with which their Prime Minister will carry out the pledges made to the people of Nova Scotia, some of which have likely resulted in their presence in the house tonight.

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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness (Minister of Agriculture)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

You are merely complaining that we did not do in 17 weeks more than you did in 22 years.

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Charles Eugène Parent

Mr. SI. Laurent (Quebec East):

You promised in 17 hours more than we promised in 17 years.

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LIB

November 11, 1957