Hon. Donald M. Fleming (Minister of Finance):
Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Prime Minister, who is indoors today with a cold, I should like to report to the house on the discussions which have been proceeding in recent days between the government and senior officials of A. V. Roe Canada Limited. These discussions had as their aim the continuance of the plants of Avro Aircraft Limited and Orenda Engines Limited, and the companies' special design, research and production facilities.
The companies are at present engaged in the performance of certain contracts for the government apart from the discontinued Arrow program. Work on these other contracts will, of course, be continued. In addition, various new programs and extensions of existing programs have now been proposed by the companies to the government in the fields of military and civil aviation and nuclear power. These proposals have been carefully examined, and certain of them will be further studied in the hope that they will offer opportunity for the employment and effective utilization of technical and production personnel and facilities.
Moreover, the companies recognize their responsibility to make every effort to obtain contracts from sources in addition to the Canadian government. They are performing some work at present for the United States and other governments, and will vigorously explore ways and means of obtaining orders from the United States under the recently announced arrangements between Canada and the United States for production sharing.
If the companies are to be in a position to develop new programs and designs and to accept and fulfil contracts for production, they must retain the essential nucleus of their design, research and technical staff. To assure this desirable end the government has agreed to share equally with the companies the payroll cost of certain technical work to be undertaken by this essential nucleus of personnel for the next six months. It is expected
that by the end of that period some of the projects of the companies should be substantially advanced.
It is the hope of the government and the companies that these combined efforts will result in a steady increase in employment.