November 27, 1962

PUBLIC SERVICE

TABLING OF SECOND VOLUME OF REPORT OF ROYAL COMMISSION ON GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATION

PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the second volume of the report of the royal commission on government organization entitled, "Supporting services for government" including therewith a statement of information and summary of the report furnished by the commission, the reports being in both languages.

Topic:   PUBLIC SERVICE
Subtopic:   TABLING OF SECOND VOLUME OF REPORT OF ROYAL COMMISSION ON GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATION
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AIR TRANSPORT

PRAIRIE PROVINCES-ANNOUNCEMENT OF ACTION TO CONTINUE SERVICE

PC

Léon Balcer (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Leon Balcer (Minister of Transport):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a statement regarding the north prairie regional air route.

The air transport board has made an extensive review of western regional air services. The board's report makes it clear that certain regional routes, including the present north prairie route, cannot operate on a self sustaining basis. The report also indicates that the volume of traffic from point to point is extremely uneven and that some points are not, in fact, making enough use of the air service to justify continuation; while at other points, although volume of use is not enough to cover losses on operation, nevertheless it is sufficient to indicate public need for and reliance upon the air service.

In the case of the north prairie route, the board reports that there is a continuing need for and community of interest in regard to air service between Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert, and that this segment of the route should be kept in existence. It also reported that the western segment of the route from Prince Albert onward to Edmonton is not carrying enough traffic to justify continuation and recommends the discontinuation of this segment of the route.

The present carrier, Pacific Western Airlines, has been asked whether it would be prepared to carry on the service Regina-Saskatoon-Prince Albert without subsidy but has replied in the negative. In the circumstances the matter has also been

discussed with the management of Trans-Canada Air Lines, which has indicated that it believes the Regina-Saskatoon-Prince Albert route could be integrated with its western services probably on a daily round trip basis, with very little adjustment on its part. T.C.A. management having expressed its ability and willingness, arrangements are being made for the granting of a licence for this route to T.C.A. The exact date for the grant of the licence and the plans of T.C.A. for operation have not yet been made final.

As far as can be seen at present, T.C.A. plans to operate this route with its own equipment and personnel. However, there may be a delay of a few weeks before this can take place; and in view of the desirability of maintaining continuity of service, the management of T.C.A. is presently engaged in discussions with Pacific Western to ensure that the latter is in a position to maintain service on the Regina-Saskatoon-Prince Albert route until T.C.A. is in a position to take over the licence and to operate itself. I have been assured by the management of T.C.A. that there will be no hiatus in the service.

I wish to pay tribute to the co-operative interest shown by T.C.A. in dealing with this problem, and the recognition of the requirements of public service which they have shown in their readiness to maintain this important route.

There remains the question of the south prairie route which was also dealt with in the air transport board report. I will shortly make a separate further statement on this matter.

Topic:   AIR TRANSPORT
Subtopic:   PRAIRIE PROVINCES-ANNOUNCEMENT OF ACTION TO CONTINUE SERVICE
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LIB

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

Liberal

Hon. Lionel Chevrier (Laurier):

Mr. Speaker, the house will, of course, be interested in the statement the minister has just made because there has been some uncertainty in connection with this matter for some time. I would have hoped, and I am sure the house would have hoped as well, that the minister would take this opportunity to make a statement on the national air policy as well as the transcontinental air policy of the government.

The minister will remember that some time ago there was a question raised in connection with that matter by one of his own officers, and while I do not want to go into

Air Transport

it I just mention it in passing because I think many of us here would welcome a statement from the minister on these services. However, the minister has made a statement having to do with this particular prairie route arising out of studies made by the air transport board, and again I think the house would have welcomed a statement of policy in connection with regional air services. This has not been the case, but the government through the minister has made a statement concerning this particular service.

I suggest to the minister with respect that this decision, far from moving toward a national air policy, is again dealing with the matter by piecemeal surgery, as it were. Here is a company, and X speak now, of course, of Pacific Western Airlines, that has played an important part in the prairie economy, and the question that comes to mind is this. Why should we terminate a subsidy to a private concern which in five years has sustained almost $1 million in operating losses to prove the route, and instead hide the loss under the wing of public investment? T.C.A., of course, is going to take over this service, but from the evidence we received in another place this morning it is quite clear that there is going to be an operating loss for T.C.A. in this particular field. It seems to me it would have been much better to allow the regional carrier to carry on under the present circumstances in the hope that with increasing business it might have been possible in time to strengthen its financial position.

I think the minister should give an undertaking to the house that T.C.A., in taking over this service into Prince Albert, is not going to increase the cost to the taxpayer; because I have some recollection of what transpired in similar circumstances on a previous occasion. The minister will remember that when his predecessor in office, the present Minister of Trade and Commerce, decontrolled certain air services because he then said that it was in the general interest of Canada, the financial position of the regional air carriers was made far worse than it had been. I am afraid that the situation here is going to be one which will hurt the regional air carriers, whereas in accordance with the Wheatcroft report the intention then, according to the expert of the government, was that these regional carriers would serve as feeders to assist the main line carriers.

I hope it will be possible for the minister to give consideration to the comments I have made.

Topic:   AIR TRANSPORT
Subtopic:   PRAIRIE PROVINCES-ANNOUNCEMENT OF ACTION TO CONTINUE SERVICE
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SC

Horace Andrew (Bud) Olson

Social Credit

Mr. H. A. Olson (Medicine Hat):

I was

not here, I am sorry to say, to hear the Minister of Transport's statement. However, I

should like to ask him if he is now prepared to table or make available the findings of the air transport board in respect of their inquiry held in Regina about a year ago, so that individuals and organizations on the prairie routes may have an opportunity to study these findings and make their wishes known to the government.

Topic:   AIR TRANSPORT
Subtopic:   PRAIRIE PROVINCES-ANNOUNCEMENT OF ACTION TO CONTINUE SERVICE
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PC

Léon Balcer (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Balcer:

I would be pleased to acquiesce in the request of my hon. friend but unfortunately this report is not a decision of the air transport board, but is a special report prepared for the government, and as such it is a privileged document.

Topic:   AIR TRANSPORT
Subtopic:   PRAIRIE PROVINCES-ANNOUNCEMENT OF ACTION TO CONTINUE SERVICE
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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. T. C. Douglas (Burnaby-Coquillam):

am sure the people served by this route from Regina to Saskatoon and Prince Albert will be pleased with the announcement by the Minister of Transport that this service is going to be maintained. There will be some regret that the line from Prince Albert to North Battleford and into Edmonton must be discontinued. I should like also to express my pleasure at the fact that since the present operator of this line from Regina to Prince Albert cannot operate without a subvention, the minister has announced that the service will be provided by Trans-Canada Air Lines.

I do not believe I can agree with the hon. member for Laurier. If the taxpayers of Canada are going to be called upon to pay a subsidy, I certainly believe that subsidy ought to be paid to a government owned and operated air line so that we will have some control of that subsidy and ultimately, if the line becomes a paying proposition, the taxpayers will receive the benefit.

I do agree that the question of these two lines raises the whole matter of the government's air policy. I express the hope, on behalf of this group, that the committee on railways, air lines and shipping will be given an opportunity to discuss the whole question of the government's air policy in order that we may have some clarification of it and in order that the minister may have an opportunity at an early date to put this whole question before the committee.

Topic:   AIR TRANSPORT
Subtopic:   PRAIRIE PROVINCES-ANNOUNCEMENT OF ACTION TO CONTINUE SERVICE
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DEFENCE PRODUCTION

INQUIRY AS TO CANADIAN SHARE IN NEW U.S. FIGHTER PLANE PROGRAM


On the orders of the day:


LIB

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

Liberal

Hon. Lionel Chevrier (Laurier):

May I address a question to the Minister of Defence Production. Will the minister say whether Canada is going to get a part of the new multimillion dollar United States jet fighter program, as announced in the press yesterday?

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO CANADIAN SHARE IN NEW U.S. FIGHTER PLANE PROGRAM
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LIB

Donat Raymond

Liberal

Hon. Raymond O'Hurley (Minister of Defence Production):

Mr. Speaker, I learned with a great deal of pleasure that General Dynamics had obtained this contract from the United States government. I met recently with Mr. Lewis, president of General Dynamics, and this question was brought up between him and myself and officials of my department. If his company obtained this contract, consideration was asked by ourselves to consider Canadian participation in it. I understand that the first part of this contract consists mainly of engineering work, and there will really be no manufacturing of hardware for some months to come.

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO CANADIAN SHARE IN NEW U.S. FIGHTER PLANE PROGRAM
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COLUMBIA RIVER

ALLEGED INTERFERENCE BY EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER


On the orders of the day:


LIB

James Allen (Jim) Byrne

Liberal

Mr. J. A. Byrne (Kootenay East):

I wish to direct a question to the Secretary of State for External Affairs. Would the minister care to comment on Premier Bennett's charge that he is interfering in the negotiations respecting the Columbia river treaty?

Topic:   COLUMBIA RIVER
Subtopic:   ALLEGED INTERFERENCE BY EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER
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PC

Howard Charles Green (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Howard C. Green (Secretary of Stale for External Affairs):

Well, Mr. Speaker-

Topic:   COLUMBIA RIVER
Subtopic:   ALLEGED INTERFERENCE BY EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER
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November 27, 1962