August 12, 1958

CANADIAN NATIONAL STEAMSHIPS

ANNOUNCEMENT OF SALE OF VESSELS TO CUBA

PC

George Harris Hees (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. George H. Hees (Minister of Transport):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform the house that the management of Canadian National (West Indies) Steamships Limited has today announced that an offer to purchase its eight vessel fleet made by the Banco Cubano del Commercio Exterior, Cuba's foreign trade bank, has been accepted. The purchase price is $2,800,000.

The ships will be operating under Cuban registry by Flota Maritima Browning De Cuba, a Havana shipping firm, which already has a contract with the bank to operate six other ships now being constructed for Caribbean service. The firm plans to place the eight C.N.S.S. vessels in service as soon as possible between Canada, Cuba and the West Indies, using the ports of Halifax and Montreal.

The sale agreement will be signed by Canadian National (West Indies) Steamships Limited and Banco Cubano del Commercio Exterior, a subsidiary of Cuba's state-owned national bank, Banco Nacional de Cuba. The approval of the shareholders of Canadian National (West Indies) Steamships Limited has been provided by the governor in council, acting in the capacity of majority shareholder of the company.

In addition to the foregoing announcement, I wish to inform the house that the offer accepted was by far the best of any of the purchase offers submitted. Seven purchase offers were submitted for the entire fleet, while some nine others involved a purchase of a part only of the fleet. The offer accepted was not only the highest offer but the only offer providing sound security for the balance of the purchase price.

May I also inform the house that all the officers of Canadian National (West Indies) Steamships Limited were offered transfer and employment in the marine services of the Department of Transport. A few decided to retire because they were eligible to accept retirement, and a few decided to accept other offers of employment. The others are now employed in my department's marine operations. The pension rights of all concerned have been protected.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL STEAMSHIPS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF SALE OF VESSELS TO CUBA
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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Official Opposition House Leader; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Hon. Lionel Chevrier (Laurier):

May I ask

a question, Mr. Speaker. Can the minister give any indication-perhaps he did in his statement, which I was not able to follow- where these ships will be operated by the new purchaser?

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL STEAMSHIPS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF SALE OF VESSELS TO CUBA
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PC

George Harris Hees (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hees:

They will operate between the West Indies, Cuba, the Caribbean area and Canada, using the ports of Halifax and Montreal.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL STEAMSHIPS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF SALE OF VESSELS TO CUBA
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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Official Opposition House Leader; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

What are the terms of purchase?

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL STEAMSHIPS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF SALE OF VESSELS TO CUBA
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PC

George Harris Hees (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hees:

The terms are payment of 20 per cent now and the remainder in five equal yearly payments, which are guaranteed by the Bank of America.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL STEAMSHIPS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF SALE OF VESSELS TO CUBA
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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Official Opposition House Leader; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

Does this mean that the minister has presided over the liquidation of the Canadian merchant fleet?

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL STEAMSHIPS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF SALE OF VESSELS TO CUBA
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PC

George Harris Hees (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hees:

No, Mr. Speaker. The minister has simply made an announcement of a transaction which has been successfully and well completed by Canadian National (West Indies) Steamships.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL STEAMSHIPS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF SALE OF VESSELS TO CUBA
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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. Martin (Essex East):

In view of the fact that the Canadian government is giving consideration-

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL STEAMSHIPS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF SALE OF VESSELS TO CUBA
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Order. I wonder whether hon. members would defer their questions until the orders of the day.

On the orders of the day:

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL STEAMSHIPS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF SALE OF VESSELS TO CUBA
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PC

Robert Jardine McCleave

Progressive Conservative

Mr. R. J. McCleave (Halifax):

A question for the Minister of Transport, Mr. Speaker. Could the minister inform the house about the condition of the ships whose sale he has just announced and where they will, perhaps, be spruced up?

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL STEAMSHIPS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF SALE OF VESSELS TO CUBA
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PC

George Harris Hees (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hees:

Mr. Speaker, the ships will require a certain amount of reconditioning before they are fit for service, and I have asked the management of Canadian National (West Indies) Steamships Limited to ask the new owners if they will give every consideration to having the reconditioning done in Canada.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL STEAMSHIPS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF SALE OF VESSELS TO CUBA
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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Official Opposition House Leader; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

Mr. Speaker, may I ask the Minister of Transport the following question. In view of the fact that the Canadian maritime commission has recommended that the size of

3388 HOUSE OF

Canadian National Steamships the Canadian ocean-going fleet should at no time be less than 750,000 deadweight tons and since the sale which was announced this morning reduces it to less than one-third of that figure, what does the government propose to do about restoring the fleet to the size recommended by the Canadian maritime commission?

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL STEAMSHIPS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF SALE OF VESSELS TO CUBA
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PC

George Harris Hees (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hees:

As the hon. member knows very well, all possible considerations were taken into account in trying to keep this fleet intact and operating under Canadian registry. Unfortunately it was found impossible to do so, and it was therefore found necessary to dispose of the fleet.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL STEAMSHIPS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF SALE OF VESSELS TO CUBA
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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Hon. Paul Marlin (Essex Easl):

In view of the fact that the minister said consideration has been given to every aspect of this problem, I wonder whether, before arriving at this decision, he consulted with the Secretary of State for External Affairs with regard to the proposal that is being made for a ship to be provided by Canada to the West Indies federation for interisland service under a principle analogous to the Colombo plan, which is being considered by the Department of External Affairs; or was the minister not aware of this consideration that was being given by the other department?

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL STEAMSHIPS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF SALE OF VESSELS TO CUBA
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PC

George Harris Hees (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hees:

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the hon. member was not in the house when those questions were asked on, I think, at least two former occasions.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL STEAMSHIPS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF SALE OF VESSELS TO CUBA
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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. Marlin (Essex Easl):

I was.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL STEAMSHIPS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF SALE OF VESSELS TO CUBA
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PC

George Harris Hees (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hees:

And on both occasions I replied that this matter had been taken up with the West Indies federation. The ships belonging to the Canadian National (West Indies) Steamships were not suitable for their purpose.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL STEAMSHIPS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF SALE OF VESSELS TO CUBA
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CCF

Murdo William Martin

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

Mr. Martin (Essex Easl):

Has the minister seen the evidence of the recent meeting of the external affairs committee where it was suggested that possibly that was not the case?

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL STEAMSHIPS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF SALE OF VESSELS TO CUBA
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August 12, 1958