Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Prime Minister):
Mr. Speaker, I should like to say a word concerning the representations made last week by a delegation from Elliot Lake, and the course the government intends to take in regard thereto.
The government is most desirous of continuing to work with the government of Ontario to find a solution to the problem. The Minister of Labour has advised the government of Ontario that the federal government desires to co-operate and participate in the cost of any useful training program for those of the miners who will be laid off in consequence of the decision of the United States not to undertake to take any more uranium than is provided for in the agreements which were entered into several years ago.
As the house knows, Elliot Lake was last week declared a labour surplus area, and the efforts of the national employment service to find alternative job openings have intensified. Furthermore, a fact-finding group will immediately be sent by the government to Elliot Lake, consisting of representatives of the national employment service, the unemployment insurance commission and the industrial development branch of the Department of Trade and Commerce. These officials will assemble information on the range and variety of labour supply, the resources of the area and alternative development possibilities. They will consider the problem of alternative employment, the retraining of workers, industrial development prospects, and will consult with Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation concerning the problems of home owners.
On their return to Ottawa they will report their findings. The group which will be leaving this evening for the area in question consists of the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Labour; Mr. A. F. Mac Arthur, commissioner of the unemployment insurance commission; Mr. W. M. Hall and Mr. G. A. Cooper, industrial development branch, Department of Trade and Commerce. After the report has been considered the Minister of 79951-0-113
Trade and Commerce and the Minister of Labour will then visit Elliot Lake, but that will not take place before the expiration of a week or so.
Subtopic: ELLIOT LAKE, ONT. STATEMENT BY PRIME MINISTER ON GOVERNMENT ACTION