May 19, 1961


AFTER RECESS The committee resumed at 2.30 p.m.


PC

Robert Hardy Small

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Small:

Mr. Chairman, there was a bit of hassle in the committee before the adjournment regarding a purported statement made by the hon. member for Laurier. During the luncheon adjournment I checked Hansard

Supply-Transport

for a number of years, but have not been able to pinpoint this particular statement. I have conversed with the hon. member for Laurier and feel that there is no disagreement between us about the statement having been made.

There apparently was agreement among all members of the house regarding enactment of the St. Lawrence seaway project bill. I understand one hon. member took exception to this suggestion, but I am unaware of it being recorded in Hansard.

I am bewildered by the fact that there was not much debate, and great consideration given to the matter of charging tolls on this project. There was, of course, a considerable lapse of time between the original decision to go ahead with the project and agreement being reached between United States and Canada. At one time agreement was reached between these two nations but that agreement was never ratified. It was intended at that time that the project should be proceeded with to suply power essential to the defence of these nations. That was certainly agreed upon.

I should like to offer some explanation as to why there was no question about or opposition to the charging of tolls on the St. Lawrence seaway. I should also like to seek information regarding the lack of opposition to the imposition of tolls on the Welland canal. I will, however, submit my views in respect to this lack of opposition.

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PC

Jacques Flynn (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

The Chairman:

Order. I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member but his time has expired.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

Mr. Chairman, I suggest the hon. member should be allowed to continue.

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PC

Jacques Flynn (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

The Chairman:

Is it agreed that the hon. member's time be extended?

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PC

John Andrew W. Drysdale

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drysdale:

I agree if it is a reasonable extension of time.

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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

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PC

Robert Hardy Small

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Small:

The then minister of transport informed the house, about the year 1947, that there was agreement between the two authorities to impose tolls. At that time there was apparently no opposition. The tolls were to be charged in an effort to recover the costs of the project on the basis of 50 year amortization. I have read the Wiley-Dondero act and am of the opinion that it was not necessary for this country to accept that term of amortization. However, the government of the day did go along with that suggestion. There was no mention whatever, at the time, of the imposition of tolls in respect of the Welland canal.

An agreement has been in existence with all governments, the Macdonald government,

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

May I ask the hon. gentleman a question? Is he aware of the fact that in connection with the whole St. Lawrence seaway, including the Welland canal, tolls were imposed by order in council tabled in this house by the predecessor of the present Minister of Transport?

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PC

Robert Hardy Small

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Small:

I certainly am aware of that, but all the groundwork was done long before the present government took office. Those agreements were made between the two authorities, one from the United States and the other from Canada. There had been an agreement on this matter, but it was never an accepted fact that tolls would be imposed on the Welland canal because it was never intended to be that way. The question is, why was the cost not absorbed by the Canadian government itself as was done in the United States with respect to the three rivers I have mentioned? The imposition of tolls on the Welland canal was an improper charge. The cost for deepening is a maintenance expense.

I was baffled when I learned that members of the Liberal party from Welland and that section of Ontario did not take strong exception to the imposition of those tolls. I believe the reason is that it never entered their minds there would be any tolls on the Welland canal. Thank you.

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CCF

Harold Edward Winch

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

Mr. Winch:

Mr. Chairman, I feel somewhat impelled to speak on this item at this time because of what I consider to be an unwarranted, unreasonable and unmerited attack made on the T.C.A. yesterday by the hon. member for Coast-Capilano. When in the interests of Canada this government or previous governments establish a policy and make provision for the financing of crown corporations and when those crown corporations prove successful, I fail to understand why attacks should be made upon them, and thereby attacks on policy of the government that took the action required, and why it is then said, "Let's get rid of it".

Let me give a brief illustration because, as I said, I cannot understand that kind of attack. A previous government, because of

necessity, established Polymer. A capital expenditure of $48,500,000 has returned over $100 million to the federal government. The government still owns a plant worth a maximum of $130 million, and now the cry is, "Let us hand this company over to the owners of free enterprise so that they can get their money out of it".

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PC
CCF

Harold Edward Winch

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

Mr. Winch:

I would say two members from British Columbia.

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PC
CCF
PC

John Andrew W. Drysdale

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drysdale:

On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, I think the hon. member is misinterpreting and misrepresenting statements I made before the committee. The committee has not reported and I do not think the hon. member is in a position to discuss the matter at this particular time.

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CCF

Harold Edward Winch

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

Mr. Winch:

The investment of $9,500,000 in Eldorado has paid back $21 million and Canada still owns Eldorado.

Yesterday we heard, as I have said, an unwarranted, unreasonable and unmerited attack on the T.C.A. Without doubt, in an operation of the magnitude of T.C.A. all of us could find merited points of criticism. But, sir, I think such an attack on T.C.A. displays a deficient sense of responsibility. I acknowledge that the hon. member for Coast-Capil-ano was right; we have had a pioneering service in Canada which was established by our bush pilots in the northern territories of our country. But I challenge anyone to say that our bush pilots or free enterprise could in the 1930's have built anything to equal the Trans-Canada Air Lines system and an international airways system. That pioneering was done in 1937 with the establishment of the T.C.A. On an original investment of $5 million T.C.A. was formed.

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PC
CCF

Harold Edward Winch

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

Mr. Winch:

Its first route was only 122 miles, and that was in British Columbia, Vancouver to Seattle. From 1937 until today this great pioneering endeavour, established by the public of Canada through the government, has expanded from 122 miles to an air route service of 30,399 miles. It has a domestic service in Canada and a service to the United Kingdom, to continental Europe and to the Caribbean covering, if my memory is correct, some 60 communities. This public service operation in Canada, which in those 30 years has expanded from the original 122 miles of service, as I have already pointed out, is now recognized as the seventh largest air carrier in the world and as one absolutely 90205-6-320

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unequalled in safety. Yet we had to listen yesterday to an indictment of this great enterprise operated on behalf of the Canadian people through the government of Canada. It was said that it should give way to free enterprise, and the hon. member named the enterprise, Canadian Pacific Air Lines.

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PC

John Andrew W. Drysdale

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drysdale:

Would the hon. member point out specifically to what portion of the hon. member's speech he is objecting? He has made a rather blanket indictment but I cannot find any support for it.

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May 19, 1961