Mr. Chairman, I should first like to associate myself with the remarks made by previous speakers in this debate about your appointment as chairman of committees. I am sure you will carry on and do the job equally as well as and perhaps better than you have while filling in without the official appointment. I am sorry, sir, that your appointment has been made necessary because of the absence through illness of Ted Rea, and I associate myself with those hon. members who wish him an early and speedy recovery.
This is the first opportunity I have had to congratulate the minister since his appointment. I was privileged to take part in the ceremonies at the opening of the new airport terminal in Regina on September 12, which I think was the day following his official appointment as Minister of Transport. We were privileged at that time to have the former minister participate in those ceremonies.
The people of Regina are very proud of the fine terminal which now stands at that airport. It is certainly one that is well constructed, well laid out and well planned, and it will serve its purposes in a very efficient manner. Since the opening of that terminal, after many, many years of effort, Saskatchewan now boasts a direct north-south air service link. That link was opened on May 4 from Regina to Minot, North Central Air Lines having the franchise. It has been operating for something over a month now and its passenger, freight and express services are developing. They are operating at present in temporary accommodation in this new terminal for customs and immigration purposes. I venture to say that within a period of six months we will need to add to that terminal to take care of this traffic. We will need to provide suitable and proper facilities for this purpose. I hope the minister will keep this development in mind when the time comes, as it seems clear it will, when the service is established and the needs are there. I hope the minister will at that time give a sympathetic hearing to me when I present him with the problem and ask for action.
I should like to associate myself with the remarks of the hon. member for Calgary South in regard to civil aviation. I am somewhat concerned about the position of flying clubs in Canada. I think there is justification for the policy that was adopted in regard to this matter, just purely from the point of view of training pilots. However, it seems to me from my experience and association with the flying club at home and what it is doing that there are considerations other than the mere training of pilots.
We see lads of the district join the flying club at an early age. They graduate as pilots. It is true that they do not go on to fly and use that training commercially, but it has stimulated in them an interest in other aspects of air service and they go on to college and take technical and meteorological training, and so on. From the initial impetus given by the operation of the flying club in the community I am sure many of the personnel we
will need for our expanding development in air services could be found.
It is certainly a future that looks bright. With the ever increasing need for trained personnel it seems to me that these flying clubs should be kept on a sound operating basis, and reconsideration should be given to this program so that not only will the clubs initially train these young people to fly, but they will stimulate in them an interest in education in the other avenues of air service and so provide us with very necessary personnel for the future.
I should like to make a few remarks at this time on another matter, because I do not know where else to make them. It is a problem I want to bring before the government and the committee. I refer to developing an interest in soaring in Canada. There are now a number of very active soaring clubs in Canada. They have a national organization. I would hazard the guess that they are composed mainly of former R.C.A.F. officers and personnel, men who have served their country well.
While some people may look upon this as a sport purely and simply, and perhaps a rich man's sport, I think it goes far beyond that. We all know that the treaty of Versailles was circumvented by the Germans through the use of gliders to train the youth of Germany, so that when they broke the treaty finally and openly and started to train an air force these boys had the advantage of the background and experience they had gained in soaring.
1 would also refer to the many scientific and aviation journals that have been concerned with trying to find a reason why so many air accidents take place in the mountains. These accidents usually end up in an inquiry and a report that it was due to the pilot's error, but in many cases the pilots concerned were men with years and years of experience. From these inquiries has been brought forth information about the hazards of mountain waves. It seems that mountains set up these waves and air currents, and even today we do not have enough information about them. Through the use of motorless planes, or soaring, much information could be gained and it would provide a source of research into this problem. The soaring clubs as I know them are carried on at the expense of the members themselves. They do not have any subsidies, grants or aid.
Canada has been represented in the soaring events at the Olympics for many years. These events occur every two years. It was rather ironic and something about which I think we should be concerned that in 1960, for the first time, Canada's flag did not fly at the soaring Olympics at Cologne, Germany.
This was simply due to a lack of funds, the price of gliders and the time off from work which was necessary to participate in these events. The price of gliders has risen over the years. In spite of all the effort put forward, the Canadian soaring association found itself in a position where it could not transport even the pilots to Cologne for this contest. It was a matter perhaps of some $800.
My research and information indicate that in other countries of the world-and there were many countries represented at this competition-grants are made and help is provided. I have talked with these soaring enthusiasts and with the president of the soaring association of Canada. They do not seek grants to maintain their clubs as such. They are quite able and quite competent enough to make whatever sacrifice is necessary for the operation of their clubs. However, when it comes to Olympic competition they feel that Canada should be represented, and they would seek a policy by this government of transportation for the pilots at least.
I noticed a picture in a magazine this week showing that the United States soaring team was composed of 16 persons, and included maintenance people as well as pilots and meteorological experts. In previous years when Canada has participated we have had to go to these events and borrow gliders from other people because our clubs have not been able to transport their own gliders. They have also had to ask the help of other maintenance crews in cases of necessity, and they have had to use other meteorological services.
I ask the minister to give some consideration to this request. I think it would involve a very minimum expenditure to guarantee Canada's participation in these events. I believe it is warranted as a continuing activity in Canada, and one which should be developed and could be used for the improvement of our knowledge about mountain waves and things such as that.
Mr. Chairman, I seriously ask the minister to consider this suggestion. If it is something which is not under the administration of his department I hope he will suggest where I should refer the suggestion, because I do feel that these people have made an excellent showing in the past in spite of the handicaps they have faced. I suggest they would be excellent representatives of Canada in these international competitions.
I am very pleased to take the opportunity of referring to this subject during the consideration of the first item of the estimates of this department because quite recently Mr. Julian Audette, one of my own constituents, attended the Canadian soaring championship trials at Pincher Creek in Alberta, and there won two soaring championships, having attained an
absolute altitude of 24,500 feet and 17,500 feet altitude gain. In view of that fact this seemed to be an opportune time for me to make this request of the minister and the government.