Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Prime Minister):
interconnection lines at the borrowing cost of the federal government will in itself reduce the cost of power in these provinces. However, it is apparent that the reduction achieved through lower financing costs will not reduce the cost of power for industry to the extent necessary to put the two provinces on a comparable basis with more favoured provinces in our country. Notwithstanding the availability of substantial supplies of coal in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the situation at the present time is that coal for power in the maritime provinces costs more than coal brought in from the United States for the production of power in Ontario.
While central Canada has, of course, advantages in addition to this one in attracting industry, it has seemed to the government that if the maritime provinces are to be given a fair opportunity to attract industrial growth they must be able to secure coal for the production of power for industrial use at a price that does not exceed the price of United States coal in central Canada. The government has therefore decided that it will provide a subvention on coal used for the production of power in the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to the extent that is necessary to equalize the cost of that coal with the cost of coal used for the same purposes in Ontario.
I need not emphasize that the subvention on coal will have a double value. It will reduce the cost of the power that is produced from the coal, and that will help greatly. It will also do much to ensure that the coal produced in the maritime provinces continues to be used for the growing power demand of those two provinces and will not be replaced by oil brought in from foreign fields.
This program, I may add, carries the full and enthusiastic support of the premiers of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and will, I believe, have a lasting and beneficial effect on the economic growth and welfare of the Atlantic region.
Mr. M. J. Cold well (Roseiown-Biggar): Mr. Speaker, may I ask the Prime Minister one question following his important and I think interesting announcement this morning, which I hope will benefit the maritime provinces. Will he discuss with the province of Saskatchewan in connection with the South Saskatchewan power project similar assistance in the financing of that project? I understand this would help to lower the cost of financing.