May 30, 1961

CAPE BRETON

ANNOUNCEMENT OF CONTINUATION OF SUBVENTION

PC

Paul Comtois (Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Paul Comtois (Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to make a statement concerning the coal mining industry of Cape Breton. Hon. members will recall that during the past year arrangements were made between the governments of Nova Scotia and Canada on the one hand, and the Dominion Steel and Coal Corporation on the other, which successfully averted the closing of three Nova Scotia coal mines last winter. At that time it was agreed that to offset losses incurred by the corporation in maintaining these mines in operation, a special subvention of $1 per ton would be paid on coal shipped by the corporation to non-subvention areas from their mines in Nova Scotia between April 1, 1960 and May 31, 1961. The province participated in the cost of this subvention.

During the past year the markets for coal here and everywhere in the world have continued to shrink, and the annual productive capacity of the corporation's various mines is now substantially greater than the possible level of annual sales. In these circumstances, if the special subvention should be allowed to terminate on May 31 and no alternative assistance be provided, the corporation would be obliged to proceed with the scheduled closures this season and many coal miners in the Cape Breton area would be laid off in the space of less than three months.

The government has discussed this difficult situation further with the corporation, the labour union and the government of Nova Scotia in an endeavour to determine the extent of the problem and the steps that might be taken at this time to alleviate it. I am now able to announce that the subvention of $1 per ton, of which 80 cents will be provided by the federal government and 20 cents by the government of Nova Scotia, up to a total sum of $300,000 per annum, will be continued for the period from June 1, 1961 to August 1, 1962, on the express understanding that the Dominion Steel and Coal Corporation will provide satisfactory assurance to the governments that this assistance will be used to good advantage in maintaining as much employment as possible in

the mines. Because of the shrinkage of markets the corporation will be obliged to reduce the number of miners on its payroll.

Authority for this continuing subvention is contained in order in council P.C. 1961/762 of May 25, 1961, and the required funds will be provided in the vote of the dominion coal board.

The government of Canada recognizes that subventions do not constitute a complete long term solution to the problem of employment in the Cape Breton area, and that other kinds of measures are also involved. Indeed, nationwide programs such as the vocational training assistance plan and the tax incentive arrangements included in the recent supplementary budget are already available for use in such areas.

The government considered, however, that as miners are displaced from employment with the corporation this season, other special steps should be taken at this time to assist in the provision of alternative employment. Parliament will therefore be asked to provide an amount of $1.5 million which will be set aside for approved projects to provide alternative employment this year in the Cape Breton area. Such projects will be considered on their individual merits, taking into account the degree of participation by the province in each case.

These two measures are being introduced to deal with the specific and immediate situation in the coal mining areas. The government of Canada is continuing to study the long term problems involved and the recommendations on the subject by the royal commission on coal, and further announcements will be made from time to time.

Topic:   CAPE BRETON
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF CONTINUATION OF SUBVENTION
Permalink
LIB

Hédard-J. Robichaud

Liberal

Mr. H. J. Robichaud (Gloucester):

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that every hon. member as well as the people of the areas concerned will welcome the announcement made this morning by the Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys. However, as the minister indicated, this is an alternative assistance to prevent the immediate closure of the mines involved, and I am sure it will be regarded as just another one of this government's crisis decisions. The house and the country know very well that as early as 1958, at the time of the first major post-war shut-down, this government was warned of the dangers inherent in the situation. At that time we were ridiculed by the government, just as we are at this very moment by some of the members concerned.

Continuation of Coal Subvention

Topic:   CAPE BRETON
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF CONTINUATION OF SUBVENTION
Permalink
PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Order. I think I should remind the hon. member for Gloucester that such a statement is made for the information of the house. It is a statement of a factual character on policy that has been adopted, and it is made by leave of the house for its information rather than having it made elsewhere. It is not made to initiate a debate. The practice of comment by a spokesman for each party has been accepted by the house and is well established, but such comment is not to be in the form of debate. As the hon. member was expressing opinions which are quite controversial, I thought I should warn him that it is not in accordance with our practice to debate the statement at this time. There will be ample opportunity to do so. Really all that is permitted is preliminary comment with a reservation of approval if that is the case.

Topic:   CAPE BRETON
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF CONTINUATION OF SUBVENTION
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LIB

Hédard-J. Robichaud

Liberal

Mr. Robichaud:

On the point of order, Mr. Speaker, I was under the impression that as a member of the opposition I had the right to say that this alternative measure announced by the minister this morning will not meet the problems of the coal miners. It will only mean further delay. As we have suggested before in the house, what is really needed is a comprehensive program of scientific and industrial research to find additional uses for coal in order to help to maintain employment. This is certainly not included in the announcement made by the minister this morning.

We are also disappointed that in the announcement the minister did not take care of the situation in the Springhill area, where a number of miners have been out of work since 1958, notwithstanding the representations that have been made to the government in recent weeks by the town council of Springhill.

As I have said, Mr. Speaker, the measure announced by the minister will only provide temporary relief, and it does not meet the problems of the coal miners of Cape Breton.

Topic:   CAPE BRETON
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF CONTINUATION OF SUBVENTION
Permalink
CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Hazen Argue (Assiniboia):

Mr. Speaker, the announcement made this morning is in large part a continuation of the situation that has existed for some time involving the payment of a subvention of $1 per ton. I was not able to understand clearly from the minister's statement whether the three coal mines scheduled to be shut down this summer will in fact be shut down or whether operations will be continued but with a very substantial reduction in the number of miners employed. I should like to have that point clarified.

As far as we are concerned, the government has not taken adequate action in this area, particularly because it is an area of very high unemployment where not long ago 18 per

cent of the labour force were out of work. I think what is required here is a guaranteed income to the miners so that if they are displaced from their jobs they will have a substantial income to maintain themselves and their families. The $1.5 million for approved employment projects will be of great benefit, but I suggest that what is required is a comprehensive program to deal with the general unemployment situation in this area, and that by and large the announcement represents merely a continuation of the existing conditions.

On the orders of the day:

Topic:   CAPE BRETON
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF CONTINUATION OF SUBVENTION
Permalink
LIB

Hédard-J. Robichaud

Liberal

Mr. H. J. Robichaud (Gloucester):

May I

direct a question to the Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys. Can the minister assure the house that, as a result of the announcement he made this morning, the three mines in Cape Breton intended to be closed early this summer will now be kept open and the miners will be kept employed until August 1, 1962?

(Translation):

Topic:   CAPE BRETON
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF CONTINUATION OF SUBVENTION
Permalink
PC

Paul Comtois (Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Paul Comlois (Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys):

Mr. Speaker, in reply to the question of my hon. friend from Gloucester, whom I am glad to see back in his chair, I must say I have nothing to do with the decision as to whether such or such a mine will be closed down. The Dominion Coal Corporation is a private industry, and it is therefore the responsibility of its management to decide which mines will be closed.

I announced this morning that we were prepared to pay a dollar a ton for coal shipped outside the subvention area, with a contribution of 20 per cent on the part of the provincial government, up to a maximum of $300,000, but my authority does not go beyond that. It rests with the company to decide which of its mines is to be closed, and to act accordingly.

(Text) :

Topic:   CAPE BRETON
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF CONTINUATION OF SUBVENTION
Permalink
CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Hazen Argue (Assiniboia):

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question. May I ask the minister whether he can assure the house that any of these three mines will be kept open? The minister says he cannot assure the house that three will be kept open. Can he assure the house that any of these three mines will be kept open?

(Translation):

Topic:   CAPE BRETON
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF CONTINUATION OF SUBVENTION
Permalink
PC

Paul Comtois (Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Comiois:

Mr. Speaker, I think my reply was clear enough, and I note that the hon. member used his earphone to listen to the translation. Again I repeat-

(Text):

It is a matter for the company to decide. It is a managerial decision for the company.

Topic:   CAPE BRETON
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF CONTINUATION OF SUBVENTION
Permalink

PROVISION FOR CONTROL OF DISTRIBUTION AND SALE OF NARCOTICS

PC

Jay Waldo Monteith (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. J. W. Monleiih (Minisler of National Health and Welfare) moved

for leave to introduce Bill No. C-100, to provide for the control of narcotic drugs.

Topic:   PROVISION FOR CONTROL OF DISTRIBUTION AND SALE OF NARCOTICS
Permalink
LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. Martin (Essex East):

Will the minister give an explanation?

Topic:   PROVISION FOR CONTROL OF DISTRIBUTION AND SALE OF NARCOTICS
Permalink
PC

Jay Waldo Monteith (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Monteith (Perth):

Mr. Speaker, this bill relating to the control of narcotics is in part based upon a measure which was intended to implement substantially the recommendations of the special committee of the Senate which investigated the drug traffic in Canada in 1955. That bill, introduced in the Senate in 1957, was given first reading in this house before parliament was dissolved.

The present measure, which to a very great extent reflects the subject matter and content of that bill has, however, been substantially revised in the light of further experience. In addition to the provisions which relate to the legal distribution of drugs, the establishment of penalties and effective sanctions for illicit traffic in drugs, the measure also contains a new and most important feature involving the treatment of drug addiction. The Minister of Justice on January 24 last explained to this house the federal proposals in this regard which are now set forth in the measure before us for consideration.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

Topic:   PROVISION FOR CONTROL OF DISTRIBUTION AND SALE OF NARCOTICS
Permalink

INDUSTRY

AUTOMOBILES


On the orders of the day:


LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Hon. L. B. Pearson (Leader of fhe Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I wonder whether the Prime Minister could inform the house when the report of the commission inquiring into the state of the automobile industry which was, I believe, submitted to the Prime Minister some weeks ago, will be tabled?

Topic:   INDUSTRY
Subtopic:   AUTOMOBILES
Sub-subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO REPORT OF ROYAL COMMISSION
Permalink
PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Mr. Speaker-

Topic:   INDUSTRY
Subtopic:   AUTOMOBILES
Sub-subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO REPORT OF ROYAL COMMISSION
Permalink

May 30, 1961