May 1, 1964

LIB

Jean-Paul Deschatelets (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Hon. J. P. Deschalelels (Minister of Public Works):

Mr. Chairman, I have the honour to submit to the house my estimates for the year 1964-65. I propose to proceed as follows: I shall make certain general observations on the estimates, as submitted, and speak briefly on the additional responsibilities entrusted to the Department of Public Works; I shall do it in English. I will then put forward general and personal ideas, after which I will invite my honourable colleagues to make comments thereon.

I do not intend at this stage to discuss any particular items listed in those estimates. I

Supply-Public Works shall make an important additional statement on the item concerning the national capital commission.

Mr. Chairman, the departmental estimates for 1964-65 total $201.9 million, and this represents an increase of $28.2 million or 16.2 per cent over the 1963-64 estimates. Of the increase, $15 million reflects new responsibilities being assumed by public works from the Department of National Defence. They are, first, the northwest highways system, $10 million, and second, Fort Churchill, $5 million. A further $10 million increase results from the extended application of the trans-Canada highway contribution. Incidentally, Mr. Chairman, since on Tuesday last I read a statement in the house on the trans-Canada highway program and policy, I do not intend to deal with this matter any further today unless hon. members would like to ask a few questions about it.

An amount of $2.7 million of the increase can be identified with two major construction items; building construction, which is up nearly $2 million, and harbours and rivers up nearly $1 million. The balance is a net increase arising from normal adjustments of other items.

Before proceeding further, Mr. Chairman, I should like to mention a certain change in the way in which the estimates are presented this year. Hon. members will no doubt have noticed that there has been a considerable simplification of the vote structure for this department. This rearrangement will be noticed throughout the estimates of all departments and reflects the wish of the government to make the estimates more comprehensive to parliament. Hon. members will recall that these changes were recommended by the public accounts committee in its third report to the house in December 1963.

I should now like to deal as briefly as possible with some of the features of the new year's estimates. As indicated above, a significant change has occurred in the transfer of the northwest highways system and the administration of Fort Churchill to this department. The responsibility for the highways system is one which I particularly welcome because of the importance of its communication facilities to Canada. The staff of public works is now in the area and it is the government's intention to continue the high standard of maintenance which has been achieved by the Department of National Defence. At this stage, however, our main concern is to achieve in the most orderly way possible this transfer of responsibility from

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Supply-Public Works the Department of National Defence. I know there is considerable interest in the longterm government plans for this highway, the length of which is approximately 1,200 miles, representing nearly the distance from Halifax to Toronto. As I said in the house, we are making a complete study of this situation to determine the need for and feasibility of the rebuilding and paving of this highway. We are concerned not only with the total cost but also with the time schedule within which this could be effectively achieved.

Concurrently with this, public works has made arrangements with the Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources, who have a special interest in the development of the territory, to undertake an economic appraisal of the benefits to Canada during the rebuilding, upgrading and paving program. When in possession of this information we will be able to explore with other governments any suggestions or proposals which they may wish to make concerning the improvement of this highway.

At this point, Mr. Chairman, X should like to say a word about the Haines road, which is about 160 miles in length of which 100 miles is in Canada and the balance in the state of Alaska. A great desire was expressed by the state of Alaska to keep this highway open on a year round basis, and as an experiment the Canadian government agreed to co-operate with the state of Alaska in keeping this road open during the past winter. This work is still in progress at this date and the department is now collecting and examining information and figures resulting from snowplowing operations throughout the winter, as well as the service provided. In light of this experience we will be in a position to decide whether it is advisable to give further consideration to this type of operation. It might be of interest to hon. members to know that up to 600 inches of snow can be expected in the area during winter.

The other major transfer of responsibility is the turnover of Fort Churchill to the Department of Public Works. Our main interest at this time is to protect the substantial federal investment in the area in view of maintaining the existing plant and utility and at the same time, consider with other civilian departments, alternative uses to which these facilities may best be put. We are also hoping for an improved co-ordination between Fort Churchill and Churchill townsite itself, which will eventually permit the province to carry out its constitutional responsibilities in

the area. I must say that in that respect we have made an official approach to the province.

Now, Mr. Chairman, I would like to deal with another important matter which was raised by several hon. members, particularly the hon. member for Nanaimo-Cowichan-The Islands, the hon. member for Peace River and the hon. member for Cariboo. It has to do with the Peace river power development. As the hon. member for Nanaimo-Cowichan-The Islands mentioned, British Columbia did not apply for a licence for a dam on the Peace river, as it argued that there was in fact no navigation on the river in the relevant area.

Hon. members will recall that months ago we had secured an opinion from the Department of Justice to make sure that at the point of dam construction the Peace river was navigable. The question has also been raised as to whether the legislation as it stands is binding on the crown in the right of a province. These are questions of legal interpretation as to the precise terms of the Navigable Waters Protection Act. There are a number of amendments to that act that would be desirable, and when they are brought forward action will be recommended to remove the uncertainty to which I have referred, and to make clear the extent of the application of the act. In the immediate case, as the project is now under construction, a licence cannot be applied for, under the terms of the act, until the work is completed.

In the interim the main concern is to ensure the protection of navigation, particularly downstream on the Peace river where it is of some present importance, and on the Slave river below the Peace river. This can be achieved by co-operation between the British Columbia hydro and power authority and the Department of Public Works.

On April 6, 1964, the deputy minister of the Department of Public Works wrote to the chairman of the British Columbia hydro and power authority indicating the department's concern for the preservation of navigation rights on the Peace river and the Mackenzie river system. In his letter he requested information on the proposed schedule of filling for the reservoir and the proposed method of operating the power project. I am pleased to advise the committee that the chairman of the British Columbia hydro and power authority has assured the department of the co-operation of the authority. The requested information is being prepared and will be forwarded as soon as it is complete.

It is intended to review this information with the British Columbia hydro and power authority to make sure there is no risk of prejudice to navigation and, as I said previously, amendments to the act would be desirable to remove the uncertainties; and we intend to introduce such amendments. In the meantime there exists complete co-operation with the British Columbia hydro and power authority to ensure security of navigation in the area. I hope this information will be found satisfactory by those hon. members most interested in the matter.

I would now like to deal with a very acute problem in which not only my department but also some of my colleagues, particularly those representing affected areas, are taking a great interest. It is the problem of water levels in the great lakes, and particularly in lake Huron. As hon. members know, the Department of Public Works has a responsibility to undertake dredging in navigation channels and public harbours. Our program, however, generally deals with what is internationally known as normal water levels. Unfortunately from time to time cyclical situations, which are different from the normal, occur, and at the present time the low levels in some areas have created serious problems for some industries requiring navigation facilities in certain harbours.

As was mentioned by my colleague, the Minister of Transport, thorough studies on the control of water levels are under way on an international basis, but it would be unrealistic to expect that early solutions can be achieved. We are therefore faced with a great demand to increase our dredging in areas affected by this problem. We are of course sympathetic to these requests, but I must point out that in many cases dredging itself is no practical solution, particularly where a wharf design is based on a normal water level. In some cases dredging to a greater depth would cause the collapse of a wharf facility, or the elevation of a wharf may be such that the greater depth of dredging would render it practically useless. Hence, in some cases dredging alone is not the complete solution to the problem. A practical solution therefore involves not only dredging but also complete replacement or modification of wharf facilities.

In other cases, dredging to a greater depth in the navigation channels simply could not be maintained, or else would be impractical in relation to existing elevations of lake beds and soil conditions. This is therefore a difficult and complicated problem, but so far as we can we will take all steps to deal with it.

Supply-Public Works We are now receiving our field information on harbours, with respect to locations where additional dredging may prove effective, and I propose to present these dredging projects to my colleagues not only as emergency requirements but as priority projects.

I would now like to deal with a last topic in English before reverting to certain special aspects of the operations of the department, which I intend to deal with in French. There has been a considerable interest in developments on parliament hill, no doubt stimulated by the work which has been done to provide facilities for parliament in the west block. My department has been working with the Speakers of both houses, and their committees, on a program for renovation within the centre block, which we all recognize is urgently needed, both from the point of view of the amount of accommodation provided for members of parliament as well as the standard of the facilities.

This program is one which must receive very careful and detailed study, particularly where renovations must be carried out consistent with the operation of parliament. There are many things to be done and to be considered, including a complete revamping of the electrical and mechanical services, which is badly needed if we are to have a modern air conditioning system, and adequate translation recording services.

Planning for these alterations is very complex, as all these things must be scheduled so as to permit us to continue our deliberations. For example, even the ceiling over our heads is in urgent need of repairs. There must be replacement of the leaded glass in the ten large windows on the east and west sides of this chamber where we intend to instal a coloured, opalescent glass to permit light to enter the chamber but eliminate the glare. This would permit the removal of the canvas awnings over these windows. The time needed for these alterations might be a matter of months.

Our planning extends to the east block, in which some of the alterations and provisions for accommodation are involved with the provision of a new headquarters building for external affairs, recently announced.

In some other aspects earlier solutions are possible, such as for the parking problem with regard to which plans are now in hand and being studied for the provision of sufficient space in order to leave the vista of parliament hill free of cars. It is our intention that the work will be put under contract this year.

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Supply-Public Works [Translation]

Now, Mr. Chairman, I should like to say a few words concerning our plans for the parliament building. I wish to say how important it is and I know this importance has not escaped anyone's notice.

What is the parliament building, if not the house of the people. So we should have all the facilities to greet the thousands of visitors coming from everywhere, from all provinces in Canada. No complaint should ever be heard that we have too many visitors. The public must know that here they are at home and we must make the necessary improvements on parliament hill and the surrounding grounds so that people will feel at home and so that when they leave they will be proud of their parliament. I suggest this is important, not only because of the problems we must deal with in this year 1964, but because in 1967 this national capital and this parliament hill will be stormed. We should make plans to get ready, so that the people who come here will take pride in what they have seen when they leave.

I now want to say a few words with regard to some aspects of the department's responsibilities. When I speak of the importance of the department, I mean the part it is playing and should play in this country's economy. Hon. members know that the Department of Public Works is one of the oldest in the government, but, as Canada develops, the concept of the department must evolve accordingly. For many years the part played by the Department of Public Works remained inconspicuous and static. People got into the habit of considering it as the contracting agency for public buildings, harbour and wharf projects.

I think that the first important development with regard to the part this department was playing about ten years ago, when perhaps the largest project ever conceived and carried out by the Canadian government was carried out by the Department of Public Works, and I am thinking here of the trans-Canada highway, the cost of which, when completed, will perhaps be twice that of the St. Lawrence seaway.

I must tell my hon. fellow members that one of my greatest wishes, as long as I am Minister of Public Works, is to contribute and to associate myself with those who now occupy the higher positions in that department to extend and increase the idea and, therefore, the importance of that department, and the role it has to play in this country's economy.

I think we should take resolute action to the effect of contributing, through major improvements in strategic sites, to the establishment of important industries, which would have repercussions, not only inside our boundaries, but also with regard to foreign trade. Well, that trend has already started; we even have several projects among those submitted to hon. members, which I associate with that new concept of our responsibilities, and I shall name one or two: the Canso project, for instance, in Nova Scotia, which means promoting jointly the establishment of a private business, that is, an ultra modern fishing industry, which will give jobs to several hundred workers.

A private company told us: If the government agrees to build a wharf, a breakwater or agrees to do some dredging according to the plans submitted, we will build there a plant that will give work to hundreds of people.

There is the Cap Noir project which also reflects a similar initiative.

A few days ago there was talk about the Gros Cacouna project indicative also of the new pattern according to which a study is made in a district in order to determine the measures that can be taken to spur economic activity.

There is no need to mention something everyone knows. The lower St. Lawrence region and the Gaspe peninsula are faced with serious problems due to a lack of easy, modern and adequate means of communication.

Concerning the Gros Cacouna project, I wish to say that it is the first stage of several major projects which will not only have a great impact on the economy of the whole area but will also contribute to bring the area out of the economic stagnation in which it has been for too long.

Mr. Chairman, our responsibilities include planning and economy. That is why, as has been suggested in certain circles, it might be desirable one day to change the name of the Department of Public Works for one which would reflect more specifically the various fields of activity in which it is engaged. The names of "planning and works department" or "building projects department" have been suggested.

I hope that my honourable colleagues will not show any reaction as to that.

My colleague, the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Sharp) will deal during the debate on his estimates, with this important,

this major subject matter-as a matter of fact, the second most important in Canada-[DOT] namely the tourist industry.

I will have to deal indirectly at this stage with tourism and to say a few words on a matter in which hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of people in Canada are most interested, namely the marina projects.

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LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Chairman:

Order. The minister's time has expired, unless he has the consent of the committee to continue.

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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

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LIB

Jean-Paul Deschatelets (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. Deschatelets:

I thank my hon. colleagues and I shall try not to abuse their kindness.

I was talking about marinas. If we consider what is going on in the United States, we see that there has been in the last years an explosion in the activities consisting in the creation and construction of marinas and also in the dragging of various rivers in order to link them together. That is done jointly with the central government and the local administrations.

I think that investments in the United States, if I am well informed, will reach almost $1 billion for the establishment of marinas everywhere in the country where it would be possible to build them.

In other words, our neighbours to the south consider as highly important the tourist and economic aspects of this question which spur major economic activities.

The idea is not new to us. For several years now we have been wanting to build marinas in Canada. In my opinion, we should not fail to recognize this new type of installation which can and does greatly contribute to such an important industry as the tourist industry.

I wish to point out to the committee that even though we have not yet defined precisely our policy on marinas, we are already quite conscious of the bearing they have on the economy. We believe that when a clear-cut policy is established in that respect, it would be in the interest of all areas in the country if negotiations were undertaken with the provinces to consider the possibility of entering into joint programs to get full benefit from the operation of _thisjaew

sourGe~of activity. '

Mr. Chairman, last year while discussing the estimates, some hon. members showed great interest for the improvement of our architectural designs. Having been associated

Supply-Public Works

for a few years with the association of architects of the province of Quebec, I cannot be indifferent to this matter which is even more important than some people may imagine.

When we are building a federal building, whether it be in a large city or a small village, we must not forget it will represent the federal government in the area. In my opinion the more we seek to achieve a thing of beauty, something pleasant to look at, if not something expensive, the greater will be the importance of the results. I believe that a little village post office can be such as to create among the people the desire to improve their own homes and to adopt town planning for their locality.

I discussed that question many times with the chief architect of the department. I want to praise here his understanding and his ardent desire to raise the standard of our architectural plans. We are obviously pleased with what is being done, but we can never be entirely satisfied before we have considered the possibility of doing even better. I can assure the hon. members that we have already put the emphasis on this aspect in order to achieve this object.

I thought of and tried to establish a system to show that we are really interested in reaching that goal. We are now examining the possibility that the Minister of Public Works would each year, for instance in December, recognize officially the best plans submitted by architects and engineers during the year and judged the most meritorious. I can assure my hon. friends that if it can be done we shall do it with pleasure.

As far as construction is concerned, permit me to express here a personal opinion. I think that important buildings should not necessarily be erected in the centre of large cities-and I speak here of Ottawa, but I could say the same thing for Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver-because less important municipalities should not be neglected. They, too, are entitled to their share of federal government services.

Mr. Chairman, I should like to say a word here about the problem I discussed a few months ago with the Canadian builders' association and the general association of cement contractors, that of our tender system. We do not know of any better system but perhaps it would be possible to improve it. If you follow the situation closely you will find that sometimes-I would say too often-a contractor who has been awarded a contract by the government is in financial

Supply-Public Works straits and is unable to complete a project because his tender was too low.

That affects not only the contractor himself, but also the subcontractors and the workers-* who sometimes are underpaid or not paid at all-as well as the material suppliers. But what interests us particularly is the quality of the work done. Well, I pointed out the problem but there was never any suggestion to abandon our system of public competitive tenders, and I think it is a good thing for this department which works in close co-operation with general organizations, like the Canadian builders' association, to ask for their advice on matters like these and once again, if my hon. friends wish to make suggestions on that matter, we will welcome them because while we are satisfied with the present situation, we are always prepared to welcome new suggestions which might bring some improvement to our system.

Mr. Chairman, those are the estimates I have the honour to bring before this house and I do not want to stretch the privilege given to me a while ago. I, therefore, submit them to the hon. members for discussion and approval, and I shall appreciate their suggestions which I surely will take into consideration, like all the views they might wish to put forward. I attempted to deal with the main points we never have an opportunity to discuss. Of course, I overlooked individual items, because we will review them and I hope I will be given credit for initiating the discussion on the highest level possible.

I ask my hon. friends to clearly understand that this is a very elaborate and very complex department with much diversified activities and we are the first to admit that. Undoubtedly, several sectors may leave room for improvements; and we shall do it gladly in order to serve the best interests of all Canadians.

Mr. Chairman, a few days ago it was my first anniversary as Minister of Public Works. As a matter of fact, it was at this time last year that I took up my duties. The discouraging thing about it all is that the more I learn about it, the more I realize I have to learn.

However, in closing my remarks I am sure that my hon. colleagues will allow me to join them in my appreciation of the work of all those who have some responsibility in this department: the deputy minister, the assistant deputy ministers, the high officials as well as the employees of lower rank, for their conscientious work. I hope that today hon. members will pay tribute to them for carrying out their duties no matter on what side of the house they are sitting.

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PC

Erik Nielsen

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nielsen:

Mr. Chairman, my first words on the minister's estimates, since it is the first opportunity that has been given to any of us to do this, must be of congratulation to the deputy minister. He is a new man in the post, having come from the Department of Veterans Affairs, one who has not only an extremely distinguished war record but also a distinguished record in the public service of Canada.

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Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

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PC

Erik Nielsen

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nielsen:

Second, Mr. Chairman, I would like to assure the minister, as I have privately in discussions with him on the telephone and in his office, that we of the official opposition will do everything in our power to assist him in expeditiously passing his estimates through the committee. The minister ranged widely in his opening remarks on the estimates of his department. His department is an extremely important one as is indicated by the amount of money he is charged with spending in the discharge of his responsibilities-well over $200 million. I realize that his responsibilities have been enlarged by the addition of the responsibilities he has mentioned with respect to the assumption of control of the maintenance of the northwest highway system, which passed to him on April 1 of this year from the Department of National Defence, and with the assumption, too, of the responsibility for Fort Churchill. I will be participating again in the discussion on these particular items when they arise, for I am certain the minister is aware of the great importance economically of the work of the maintenance of the Alaska highway to the economy of the Yukon generally and to a goodly portion of northeastern British Columbia. It is extremely encouraging, though, I might say briefly at this point with respect to the northwest highway system, to learn that the improvement and paving of that highway has been the subject of talks between members of the Canadian government and those of the government of the United States.

I am sure all hon. members are aware that representations have been made over the years by chambers of commerce in the United States, Canada, Alaska, and legislatures. These have come from not only politicians but businessmen of note in the whole of western Canada and the United States. So that the progress which is now apparently being made toward coming to some joint agreement for the improvement and paving of the Alaska highway is indeed warmly welcomed.

The minister's remarks concerning the Haines road responsibility, too, were of interest to me, and I draw his attention to "the coincidence that I should be leading off the discussion on his estimates, on the part of the official opposition, at a time when two of his added responsibilities happen to be located in my particular constituency. But I would draw to his attention the fact that the 600 inches of snow that he mentioned as falling on this road from time to time, fall in the province of British Columbia and not in the Yukon. This link with tidewater is the only road link which exists between the Yukon and the Pacific ocean. It is an extremely important communication facility and one which eventually we hope will receive the same treatment as the Alaska highway in its improvement and paving.

However, I am somewhat concerned over the cost. I know the government concluded with the state of Alaska an agreement whereby that state undertook to maintain this road during the last winter season at a set cost to the Canadian government of $127,000. I believe the minister will not argue with my statement that the road is going to cost much more than this to maintain. Once the minister is in possession of the full cost figures in this respect, I am rather fearful that the decision will be made not to maintain it next winter, on the basis that it is uneconomic to do so. I hope this will not be the result, particularly in view of the fact that the maintenance of this road on an all-weather basis, as well as the paving of the Alaska highway, was one of those several promises made to the electorate of Pacific northwestern Canada during the last election campaign by the Liberals.

The minister, as I have noted, has an extremely wide responsibility. He has the responsibility of a department which is charged with the construction of wharves and docking facilities throughout Canada, one which provides housekeeping and maintenance services to all departments of government and has the responsibility of acting as the agent for other departments of government in the construction of public buildings. The opportunities for abuses entering into procedures that are adopted by the government in the construction responsibilities I have outlined are many, and unless the most careful watch is kept over the various projects as they are dealt with, these abuses are bound to arise. I will have a few more words to say in a moment in connection with contract tendering policies, because I have one or two suggestions that I thing might be useful to

Supply-Public Works the minister in considering whether a change should be made in the existing system. Before leaving this particular aspect of the minister's estimates, I would like to suggest to him that he be not too quick to take pride in the type, standard and quality of post offices that are being constructed throughout the country. It may not be news to him to learn that in many areas of Canada where these $25,000 post offices are being constructed, the inhabitants of the smaller communities in which they are being constructed refer to them as the Grit biscuit boxes. So the minister perhaps might take a second look at the standard and quality of post offices being constructed, in keeping with the policy of providing these facilities to the smaller communities in Canada.

The minister has said nothing about the progress that has been made with regard to the Saskatchewan river dam, which of course he will recall vividly was commenced under the previous administration after years of dilly-dallying by the Liberals of the day. I think we should have a word from him on that matter. Perhaps we might wait until the specific item is up for discussion. But in view of its cost and in view of its importance to the prairie regions of Canada, and Saskatchewan in particular, I am sure hon. members would be interested in hearing from him on this matter.

I do not intend to comment on his remarks with respect to his plans for parliament hill itself, save to suggest to him that there may also be room for improvement here. A questionnaire was circulated quite recently asking all members whether extra social and recreational facilities could be provided which were not now provided for members of parliament. I am sure the joint committee will in due course communicate the recommendations of their body to the minister.

The minister's comments, too, were very brief concerning the national capital commission. There is a particular matter of great concern to the residents of this area and this city, with which he will have to deal when the item is raised. I am thinking of the future of the air station at Rockcliffe. A good many residents of the city of Ottawa are concerned with the maintenance of this airport as an airport. As I understand it, the eventual program is to completely eliminate Rockcliffe airport, in order to make way for the national capital commission constructing a highway right through the existing airport. If this is done, of course the airport goes by the board and the minister will be in

Supply-Public Works direct conflict with his colleague the Minister of Transport, who is trying to establish a policy of separating general aviation from the large commercial operations that exist at Uplands. I feel that this matter has to be clarified by the minister in order to set at ease the minds of the residents with respect to the future of that airport, not only of this city, but also those interested in maintaining the facility as such.

I think, also, a word is deserving here on the existing policy of the minister as to the manner in which public projects are announced. As I understand it, the minister is in accord with the view that public projects, projects that are undertaken by his department, should be announced by the member of parliament who is sitting for that particular constituency. If the minister is in accord with that view, and I believe he professes to be, he should set up some system whereby sitting members of parliament will be advised in advance of a project being undertaken in a sitting member's riding, and also as to when it is completed. I think the minister will agree that it is an obligation of a sitting member of parliament, if his parliamentary duties will allow, to attend opening ceremonies at new public buildings in his constituency.

The practice of advising defeated Liberal candidates of construction projects in a riding where there is a sitting member in the opposition is a reprehensible one. I do not care whether this practice has been the custom over the years or whether it has not. It is my belief that if it did exist before it existed wrongly, and if it exists now it exists wrongly. I suggest to the minister that in keeping with the responsibilities, duties and obligations of a sitting member of parliament he should be one of the first to advise when public projects are going to be undertaken. He should also advise when the tenders will be open. So that a member may express interest in attending on behalf of his constituency when public buildings are opened in public, if for no other reason than to ensure regularity in the proceedings he should advise as to completion of these projects, and as to any opening ceremonies which are going to be undertaken in conjunction with the occupation of public buildings.

I was interested in the minister's remarks concerning the establishment of some system of awards for architectural designs submitted by individuals in Canada, and I am wondering how he is going to reconcile this with what might be a winner in the design of the world

fair symbol, of which this parliament was rather critical but which is going to be implemented regardless.

Now a word or two about the minister's responsibility in the calling of public tenders for projects undertaken by his department. The present system, I feel, can be improved in several ways. At the moment my understanding is that in those areas where there are builders exchanges, tenders are called through those exchanges. This is so, even though there may be news media in smaller communities in the provinces where these builders exchanges exist. Perhaps the policy has been altered so that today not only are tender calls circulated through these builders exchanges, but they are also published in newspapers circulating in smaller communities. That should be the case, if it is not.

I believe that at one time the system was that the department was not required to advertise in the local newspapers. In order to give an opportunity to the residents of a community in which a public project is to be undertaken to bid, a proper policy-and it is not a costly policy; as a matter of fact it would probably prove to save the government money-would be to cause advertisements calling for public tenders to be placed in local newspapers.

I am sure the minister is well aware of the nefarious practices of unconscionable contractors in bid peddling and shop bidding. This is a field in which I know it would be difficult for the minister to develop a policy which would be consistent with dealing only with a prime contractor and not with subcontractors, but I feel some action must be taken to prevent this type of practice. The practice, of which I am sure he is aware, in some cases is for a prime contractor bidding on a public project sometimes worth several millions of dollars to call one subcontractor for, let us say, the installation of electrical material and services in a public project. The prime contractor will call one subcontractor and will ask him: "What can you give it to me for?" Then he will call the next subcontractor and tell him: "I have a price of so much from the first call; can you do it for less?" Sometimes he will suggest perhaps a lower price might be more in keeping. Then he will go on down the line of perhaps five or six subcontractors, and will do this throughout the whole field of subcontracting-plumbing, heating, ventilating, and so on-and the prime contractor will defeat the very purpose for which the tenders system was set up. I am sure the minister is aware of such things happening. Not only does

this put the subcontractor in an untenable position but it completely destroys the purpose for which the tenders system was set up in the first place.

My suggestion to the minister, in order to get around this procedure and to cure this undesirable practice-this dishonest practice in fact-is to set up a bid depository system whereby the subcontractor could, unseen by the eyes of the prime contractor, submit his bid for the subcontracting work in a sealed envelope and have it held in the same manner that the bids are now held which are submitted by the prime contractor, and then opened at the same time. If the subcontractors' bids, having been sealed in the interim, are opened at the same time as the bid of the prime contractor is opened, and if the prime contractor is then required to take the lowest bid of the subcontractors' bids, then I think we would cure a long standing situation which has worked to the disadvantage of the subcontractor and to the disadvantage of the the government.

I believe that most of our prime contractors in this country operate under a system of ethics which does not permit this type of practice; but there are a good many who pay much more attention to the dollar than to good business ethics, and it is that type of contractor who is defeating the public tenders policies of the government.

I make that suggestion for improving the existing system which the minister has called for, namely the setting up of bid depositories. They can be in the builders exchanges. They can be wherever the prime contractors' bids are now required to be submitted. The depository for the subcontractors can be set up in the same location. If there are defects in my proposal which would permit the minister to be critical and to say it will not work, then I think we should hear those criticisms.

There is only one possible weakness in this system which I am suggesting to the minister, and that is that the prime contractor may not want to have the subcontractor who makes the lowest bid do the job. There may be some personality differences between the prime contractor and, say, the plumbing contractor, which would mean they would always be at loggerheads on the job. However, I do not think this would be a usual happening. I think normally the prime contractor is going to be happy to get the lowest bid, and I am sure the government will be happy to get the lowest bid because it means the saving of taxpayers' dollars. So it will only be

Supply-Public Works the rare occasion where you would find the prime contractor unsatisfied with the subcontractor who is successful in submitting the lowest tender. This is the only weakness I can see in the proposal which I have made. There may be others, and if there are, then I think we should discuss them a little further.

I see, Mr. Chairman, that I have approximately five minutes left, and in that time I want to say that there will be others in the official opposition who will be dealing with the specific sections of the minister's estimates concerning harbours, rivers, and also engineering, a matter with which I have dealt but little in my remarks. There will be others who will be dealing with the building and construction branch, and who are much more qualified than I to discuss such matters.

Before sitting down I want to join wholeheartedly in endorsing the remarks of the minister with respect to the personnel of his department. In the few years I have been here in Ottawa I have had nothing but the highest sort of co-operation from members of his department, particularly his two assistant deputy ministers, Mr. Jackson and Mr. Williams; and I hope that by mentioning their names in the house I am not administering to those who highly qualified gentlemen the kiss of death. They are very highly qualified civil servants and are extremely capable in their jobs. Everyone familiar with the work of assistant deputy Jackson is well aware of his work in the civil service and the great contribution he has made in that field. Also, I think anyone who knows assistant deputy Williams knows the very high degree of capability that gentleman has with regard to engineering matters. I could mention others in the minister's department, such as the father of Eddie Litzenberger, a very famous hockey player. By and large the minister can be proud to be surrounded with the types of individual he has in his department. So far as I am concerned, they are very highly qualified and respected people.

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NDP

Robert William Prittie

New Democratic Party

Mr. Pritlie:

At the outset I should like to compliment the minister on the presentation of his estimates today. Watching him during the past year I have been quite impressed, and he certainly gives the impression of quiet confidence. On top of that he seems to be a man of ideas.

I rather like his ideas concerning architecture, and I should like to make a specific suggestion concerning it. Construction of the new terminal building at Vancouver international airport, which is in my riding, will

Supply-Public Works begin shortly, and I would suggest an attempt be made to get something of a local character into this building. It is very beautifully located, backed by mountains. Rather than build airports on a standard line, I think they should reflect something of the local areas. Perhaps there could be more use of wood in this terminal, because it is one of the main products of British Columbia.

I have one small complaint to make. The report of the Department of Public Works for the year ended March 31, 1963, and the report of the Trans-Canada Highway Act are still with the printers. It would have been useful if these had been in our hands before considering the estimates of the department. Probably this is not the fault of the department, but the government should have taken it into account when scheduling these estimates to come before the committee.

Not so long ago the hon. member for Northumberland talked about the need for research assistants for members of parliament, and it is at a time like this that I keenly feel this need. It is not too difficult to talk about public works in one's own riding, but if you want to deal with a very large department and all its operations, on only a few days notice, this is when you need a little help. The minister has a great deal of help at his disposal, but despite not having these reports I shall try to make a few intelligent comments on the work of his department.

I propose to deal briefly with the national capital commission, the trans-Canada highway and the organization of the department itself. It is almost a standard joke to complain about the roads in Ottawa, but really they are quite bad, as anyone knows who has bumped and thumped along them. I am sure the cost of the depreciation of automobiles in this area must run into hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, and I am certain Jean Paul would do a better job of building roads than Charlotte.

The only good roads I have come across in this area are those built by the N.C.C., or the department of highways of Ontario. I do not know what is the reason for this. Perhaps Ottawa lacks the tax resources to do an adequate job, and if that is the case we would be much better off it this job could be transferred to the national capital commission.

In recent months some suggestions have been made about the creation of a federal district embracing Ottawa and Hull, a district that would be neither in Quebec nor Ontario. This has been resisted vigorously by the

people on the local councils, but I have spoken to a good many local residents and not all of them are opposed to the idea. It is a practical suggestion and I am sure it could be negotiated. No doubt the province of Quebec would be agreeable if it were made a completely bilingual district where the traffic signs would read "slow" and "lente-ment" instead of just "slow". But if we cannot have a federal district I would like to see better construction of roads in this area. I am really quite ashamed when people come here from other parts of Canada, or from other countries, and I have to take them over the roads in this city.

The minister did not have very much to say about the trans-Canada highway, but some time ago he made a statement concerning the need for a second trans-Canada highway and the requests that had been made to him. According to the last report, which I read some months ago, about 1,700 miles of the highway are still incomplete, that is, they are not built up to trans-Canada highway standards, but I think we can agree that what has been completed is a very good highway and serves a very good purpose.

Presumably one of the purpose of the highway was the same as the purpose in building a trans-Canada railway, to help knit the country together. I would like to give a good example of how this serves the national purpose. Now that the Rogers pass portion of the highway is complete it has knitted the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta much more closely together.

Until it was completed it was the tendency in B.C., and I think in Alberta, for tourist travel to be directed towards the states immediately south of those two provinces, but now that the Rogers pass section is completed there is much more travel between Calgary, through the Okanagan valley into Vancouver, which has resulted in an increase in tourist business in the interior of B.C. This is a good example of bringing two parts of the country together, and stopping the tendency of Canadian tourists to go south into the states.

In recent months there has been some talk about a second trans-Canada highway. This is an important topic, but some people have proposed something more important, the adoption of a national highway policy. The provincial ministers of highways in several provinces agree with this idea, and many organizations in the country that are concerned with roads and travel have expressed their views on it, such as the Canadian

automobile association, the Canadian construction association, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian lumbermen's association, all of which have joined together in asking for a national highways policy. If we had such a policy the question of a second trans-Canada highway could be fitted into it.

I am sure the minister and his officials are well aware of the fact that the United States federal government is much more involved in highways construction than the Canadian federal government. We have restricted ourselves to the trans-Canada highway, to highways in national parks, and now the Alaska highway, but the United States federal government has gone much further than that. It has contributed not only to the main arterial highways of the country but also to many interstate highways, and to many highways confined within states.

The formula by which it contributes to the state authorities is quite a complicated one and I do not intend to go into it at this time. The important thing is that the federal government is committed to it and, as a result, per capita there is much more highways construction taking place in the United States than in Canada.

The type of highways which I feel should receive federal help are those that are interprovincial but which may not be part of the trans-Canada highway, and roads which are international, running towards connecting highways in the United States. In this connection I am thinking of the main highway which runs from Vancouver south to the United States border, connecting up with U.S. highway 99. This highway from Vancouver was built entirely at the cost of the provincial government, whereas in the United States the part coming up through California, Oregon and Washington right to the border was built with federal participation.

This is a heavily travelled road, something like the road in Alberta from Edmonton and Calgary south to the United States border, or the road from Winnipeg to the border, which eventually connects up with Minneapolis. In addition there are provincial highways which could be improved, such as the one across the northern part of our prairies from Edmonton to Saskatoon, and from Edmonton on to Prince George and eventually over to Prince Rupert.

I know that a couple of weeks ago the minister announced that this matter had been discussed to a certain extent with provincial departments, and at that time it was

Supply-Public Works decided not to proceed with further deliberations concerning a second trans-Canada highway. However, I would like to suggest that this idea of a national highways policy should not be forgotten.

It would have many beneficial results. For one thing it could provide a common standard of highways construction throughout the country. The trans-Canada highway standard is a good one, and so are the standards of most of the provinces, but a national highways policy would ensure the same common standard. Further, participation by the federal government would help some of the provinces which are not proceeding with highways to do more of this work. Some provinces, particularly Ontario which is a large province, can proceed on its own, as it is doing with its highways construction, particularly the 400 series which are excellent highways; but this is not true everywhere. I think it would help to co-ordinate highway planning from one province to another. The Canadian automobile association made a submission to the government in 1959, I believe, and I want to quote one paragraph. They state:

The present responsibilities for highways in Canada are not sufficiently co-ordinated nor clearly enough understood to justify hope that a national system of highways, without direction, would eventuate. The Canadian automobile association believes that it is a matter of mutual interest for all road building agencies in Canada to recognize the essentiality of co-ordinated planning.

The situation may turn out all right with every province working on its own, but it may not. I think we should have this co-ordination. I feel that some of the most important and most expensive highway construction in the country is that which takes place around our major metropolitan centres. This is very expensive, particularly since highways of many lanes have to be built and also because expensive land acquisitions are involved.

I know that the question of federal involvement in provincial matters is a very touchy one these days, but I should like to see some method worked out whereby our major metropolitan centres, which have tremendous bills for highway construction, could get some help. This is done to a limited extent in the United States. I know that a few years ago in Vancouver a scheme was presented for extensive highway and freeway construction for the metropolitan area. I know that the building of freeways does not solve all traffic problems, but certainly some roads of this type are needed. This project was abandoned because the local areas involved simply could not pay the bill.

Supply-Public Works

At the present time Montreal is in the midst of a very expensive highway construction program. They are fortunate in that they are receiving some help by reason of the roadbuilding in connection with the world fair. This may be quite legitimate, but nevertheless it does help the Montreal metropolitan area. The minister can correct me if I am wrong but I believe some money was allocated from the trans-Canada highway fund for roads in the metropolitan area.

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LIB

Jean-Paul Deschatelets (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. Deschatelets:

This is part of the trans-Canada highway, and as it is the most expensive part the province is entitled to have the 90 per cent which we have to pay on one tenth of the whole length applied there. We have done the same thing for all provinces. In this case it would not have been possible for the city of Montreal to enter into such an undertaking without the help of the province of Quebec. The province is paying nearly $100 million, I believe, while the cost to the city of Montreal is $35 million or $40 million.

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NDP

Robert William Prittie

New Democratic Party

Mr. Prittie:

I do not want to be misunderstood. I was not suggesting to the minister that because he is from that area parliament is giving any special help to the city of Montreal. Perhaps more city roads should be declared to be part of the trans-Canada highway. This might solve the problem.

I believe the minister said in his statement two weeks ago that he did not want to proceed with a further conference on a second trans-Canada highway, because of the financial commitments that the federal government had made to the provinces. I can understand this, but it seems to me that if we could develop a national highways policy under which some of the construction costs of highways in the provinces would be paid by the federal government the provinces would have less reason to demand more and more funds from the central government. Along with education the building of highways certainly involves the greatest expenditures by the provinces. I hope the minister will not give up on this idea entirely. I am sure that agreement could be reached with the provinces on this matter and it would have to be a necessary prerequisite of such an agreement, of course, that the federal government had sufficient funds available.

Some of us are a little alarmed at the growth of the autonomy of the provinces and the amount of money they are demanding from the federal government. I want to see the central government have enough money to participate in those things which serve national purposes,-and such roads do serve

national purposes. I am sure the minister will hear more about a national highways policy in the future from others, if not from me.

Finally, I thought the minister might have made some reference to the recommendations of the Glassco commission as they apply to his department. The commission made quite a few recommendations which are found mainly in volume 2 of their report. I am going to quote some of them. On page 35 of volume 2 of the report of the royal commission on government organization I find the following recommendation dealing with land:

We therefore recommend that: (2) The Department of Public Works be made responsible for the development of a complete inventory of properties owned or leased by the federal government and its agencies, and its maintenance as a perpetual record by posting to it all future acquisitions and disposals as they occur.

Here is another recommendation dealing with land:

The Department of Public Works, in its organization for real property management, assigns staff to be responsible for land use aspects of federal property ownership and to consult and co-operate with other levels of government and their agencies for the future development of urban, rural and regional areas.

Under the heading of "Property Management" on page 36 they recommend as follows:

1. The Department of Public Works be constituted the sole authority for real property management outside the defence sector.

2. Except for defence purposes, the acquisition of property by purchase or lease be made by the Department of Public Works and title thereto be held in its name.

3. The disposal of all surplus property of the federal government, including property declared excess to the needs of the armed forces, be the responsibility of the Department of Public Works and that under a form of organization appropriate for the purpose, aggressive efforts be made to identify and dispose of unneeded real property.

Under the heading of "Construction" they point out that at the time of confederation the Department of Public Works was the only department concerned with construction, but over the years other departments have got into the field, notably the Department of Transport and the Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources. As a matter of fact, they state that the Department of Public Works is doing about 40 per cent of actual construction work, and on page 47 they make these recommendations:

1. The Department of Public Works be made responsible for the planning and supervision of all construction required by civil departments and agencies and the employment of all professional, technical and supporting staffs needed for such purposes.

2. The Department of Public Works be made responsible for the planning and supervision of

construction for the Department of National Defence of all classes of property other than those at present provided for through the planning and construction staffs of the armed forces.

They make further recommendations concerning property operations. I will not quote them but they are found on pages 58 and 64. Beginning at page 65 they have a section entitled "The New Role of the Department of Public Works". I realize that many of the recommendations of the Glassco commission are probably still being discussed in government circles. There may even be power plays going on with regard to who is going to control what. I do not know, but certainly I should have liked to hear a commentary by the minister concerning the recommendations of the commission. I am not really qualified to know whether or not these are good recommendations, but presumably competent commissioners studied this matter and came up with these recommendations. Therefore I should like to hear the minister's comments on them.

I was pleased with the final remarks of the minister. He gave some personal views as to what he thought the role of the department should be. Generally I liked the views he expressed. I liked the views he expressed concerning the building of marinas. I do not know whether in this day and age he has run into difficulties with the provinces in this regard, or whether because harbours are involved this is an exclusively federal matter, but it is a very good idea. So far as the lakes in the east are concerned, and the waters on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, there are many people from the United States who would like to travel by pleasure craft in the summer and would make very good use of marinas. I hope this idea is pursued.

I have no particular comments to make on his suggestions with regard to tendering. I do not know very much about that subject but our party leader, the hon. member for Burnaby-Coquitlam, has had great experience and I believe he will be commenting on that matter later. I was pleased to hear the minister say that improvements will be made on parliament hill and in the centre block. Before the minister mentioned it here I had read that our ceiling may fall on us at any minute. It is made of Irish linen which is rapidly becoming quite rotten. But the problem seems to be that we have to get parliament out of here for several months before the work can be undertaken and I do not know how that is going to be accomplished in the next year or so. I should like to conclude by congratulating the minister again on his presentation and on the view he has of the operations of his department, but I

Supply-Public Works also warn him that there will be a great deal of criticism when we come to particular items later.

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SC

Bert Raymond Leboe

Social Credit

Mr. Leboe:

Mr. Chairman, in the five minutes left to me I want to deal very briefly with one or two items and I think it would be as well for me to cover them at this point rather than on the particular votes. First of all, I should like to deal with the Alaska highway paving program. It will be recalled that there was some paving done under a former Liberal administration, and then the paving projects ceased.

There was a conference in Whitehorse on September 11 and 12 of last year and at that conference it was my pleasure to mention to the delegates the experience I had had with the Department of National Defence. It is no secret that the Department of National Defence did not wish to pave the highway, using funds which it would much prefer to spend in other directions. I am particularly pleased that the suggestion which I made at that time, that responsibility for this project should be transferred from the defence department to the Department of Public Works is now to become an actuality. I wish to compliment the minister and thank him for the work done in this regard.

I understand, in connection with the Alaska highway, the thinking, that all the details as far as the engineering is concerned should be worked out before any building is done; that negotiations now in progress between the United States and Canada should be cleared up. We know of the bills which are before the congress of the United States in the names of Mr. Mansfield, Mr. Bettin and Mr. Olson- ostensibly, the same bills. We realize, too, that a resolution has been passed by the Alberta legislature. In the few minutes at my disposal I should like to make a plea, however, that those parts of the Alaska highway which fall within the alignment in the final survey should be paved at the earliest possible moment-I have in mind those sections where no major reconstruction program is needed. It would relieve the traveller if he could get on to a little paving once in a while. Even more important, it would reduce the danger which results from present conditions, because when a traveller is following a heavy unit which is kicking up dust, and this goes on mile after mile, he is tempted to take risks in order to pass. He dashes out into the dust and faces the possibility of a collision with an approaching vehicle. If there were occasional strips of paved surface it would help drivers a great deal.

Statutory Holidays with Pay

I see my time has expired, and since I have one or two other things to say on this subject, I should like to call it five o'clock.

Progress reported.

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LIB

Herman Maxwell Batten (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Batten):

It being

five o'clock, the house will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper, namely public bills.

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INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS

PROVISION OF STATUTORY HOLIDAYS WITH PAY FOR EMPLOYEES

NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre) moved

the second reading of Bill C-30, to provide for pay for statutory holidays and for pay for work performed on statutory holidays for employees in federal works, undertakings and businesses.

He said: This is a bill which by now must be quite familiar to hon. members of this house. It provides for one of the elements of what ought to be a national labour code. Specifically, it provides for statutory holidays with pay for certain employees in Canada.

Let me make it clear that the employees to be covered by this bill are those who come under federal labour jurisdiction. I have noticed that on some former occasions when this measure and companion pieces to it have been under debate in the house, some reports have suggested that this and the other bills dealt only with federal government employees. That is not the case. Those we talk about when we refer to employees who come under federal labour jurisdiction are all those who work in the sectors of industry which, by the terms of the British North America Act or by the terms of various decisions, come under federal labour jurisdiction, including, for example, railway and other transport workers, grain elevator employees, employees of banks, employees in certain fields of communication and so on. There are many groups of this kind whose labour relations are the subject of the Industrial Relations and Disputes Investigation Act. Actually, in percentage terms, about 10 per cent of the workers of Canada are in employment which comes under federal labour jurisdiction. The other 90 per cent are in employment which comes under the labour legislation of the various provinces.

For our part, we hope the day will soon come when there will be legislation right across Canada, both federal and provincial, to provide for statutory holidays with pay

for all our workers. But, of course, in the federal parliament the only ones on whose behalf we can legislate are those who come under federal jurisdiction. We feel, also, that if the federal parliament would take a lead in this matter the provincial legislatures would follow, and this is one of my reasons for urging this measure upon the house. I mention this because many employees who come under federal jurisdiction already have statutory holidays with pay along the lines spelled out in this legislation. For example, federal civil servants have statutory holidays with pay as provided in the Civil Service Act. There are many other employees in various industries, for instance, in the transportation and communications field, who have a certain number of statutory holidays with pay which they have won through collective bargaining. Nevertheless, there are still many employees in the federal labour field who do not enjoy the provisions set out in this bill and our purpose in bringing in the measure is to extend these provisions to all those employees and also, as I said, to give a lead to the provinces in the hope that the day may soon come when we shall see statutory holidays with pay provided for all our workers.

The bill does set out the eight holidays which it is proposed should be recognized for the purpose of holidays with pay provisions. Those eight holidays are: New Year's day, Good Friday, May 24, or whatever day is celebrated in lieu of May 24; the first of July, Labour day, Thanksgiving day, Remembrance day and Christmas day. I would point out that the bill not only provides that workers shall get these days off, and get full pay for them; it also makes provision for overtime rates to be paid in case employees are required by the necessities of their employment to work on any one of those statutory holidays.

In arguing for this kind of legislation I am really preaching to the converted. Every party in this house stands for a national labour code; every party in this house stands for the kind of conditions that are contained in this measure, and in other companion pieces to it that are on the order paper in the names of those of us in the New Democratic party. But the fact of the matter is that we have been waiting a long while for some of these things to be implemented. I know it will probably be said during the course of the debate this afternoon that the present government has promised a national labour code and therefore we should possess

ourselves in patience; that we should wait and let the government bring in that code and be confident that it will include the measure that is set out in this Bill No. C-30. I know, too, we will also be told-because this has been said in previous debates-that it is not good enough just to bring in one measure, and what my friends on the Liberal side of the house in particular want is a comprehensive measure. I would like to answer that first. I know that if we brought in a bill that had in it two, three, four or half a dozen elements of a national labour code, we would be told the very opposite; we would be told that certain members could support our bills if they were precise on one point, but it is too complicated to have several things covered. So no matter which way we bring it in, we get this kind of criticism.

On this point of waiting, on this point of having confidence in the government, Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out one or two things. I suppose my friend, the hon. member for Kootenay East (Mr. Byrne), if he deals with this matter, will probably expect me to refer to ancient history. The fact is that the Liberal party first started promising the elements of a national labour code in 1919, 45 years ago. When are we going to get it? Some pieces of legislation that now come before the house give dates in the future. It is interesting, for example, to pick up Bill C-75 and find in it dates going as far ahead as the year 2015. When we get there I do not know whether we will say "twenty-fifteen" or "two thousand and fifteen". I said "when we get there"; I suppose I should have said "if".

It seems to me, Mr. Speaker, it might be a good idea for the Liberal party to tell us if it is their intention to implement their program of 1919 before 2019. After all, that is only 55 years away, so it might be a good idea to have a clear statement from the Liberal party on this question. At any rate, we have been told for 45 years that it is the program of the Liberal party to bring in a national labour code. I will not give all the history of all the times this has been promised during those 45 years, but I point particularly to the fact that in the last parliament, the twenty fifth parliament, the last, short, Diefen-baker parliament, the Liberals who sat over on this side of the house supported by their speeches-and one of the most active supporters was the present Minister of Labour (Mr. MacEachen)-our various proposals for a national labour code. In the election which

Statutory Holidays with Pay the Liberals won on April 8, 1963, they promised that they would bring in a national labour code.

We tried to pin the government down in the first session of this parliament as to when this would take place, and we were told by the present Minister of Labour on November 8 last year that a national labour code would be brought in at this session of parliament. Well, that is beginning to get a bit nearer. It is a long time from 1919 to 1963, but finally we were assured that a national labour code would be brought in during 1964. Why don't I just take the government's word for it, Mr. Speaker? The government goes further than that. We were told in the speech from the throne that commenced this session that a national labour code would be brought in. The Prime Minister (Mr. Pearson) in his speech in this house on the motion for an address in reply to the speech from the throne confirmed that a national labour code would be brought in at this session. The Minister of Labour spoke in that debate, and he said it would be brought in at this session. There have been questions asked and answers given in the house, and we have been told time and again, "Yes, a national labour code will be brought in at this session".

I attended some of the sessions of the Canadian Labour Congress convention in Montreal a week or so ago and heard the Minister of Labour say to the delegates attending that convention that a national labour code would be brought in at this session. When I asked him when, he gave us the usual answer, "Soon". And so we go on. This is the fifty fourth day of the session and still there is no sign of a national labour code on the order paper. So it seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that we have to continue playing the role that some of us seem to have had to play for many years, that of trying to prod the government to do something about things in which it says it believes. Therefore, because a national labour code has not yet reached the order paper in any way, shape or form, it seems to me we have to try to bring this to the attention of the government by bringing forward bills such as this with various elements of a national labour code in them. We have brought such bills before the house from time to time.

I think it would be a good idea if this House of Commons this afternoon would show on the one hand that it wants a national labour code passed at this session, and on the other hand that it wants the government to act, by giving support to the principle

Statutory Holidays with Pay of this bill, by passing it on second reading. That would be an indication that the House of Commons wants action. If that happens, as I hope it will, I would be prepared to move that the bill then be referred to the standing committee on industrial relations, and it could rest there for a while to see whether the government brings in its measure. If the government does, and its measure is as good as or better than this one, the government bill can go through; but if the government does not bring it in, it seems to me that at least this element of a national labour code ought to be enacted by this parliament at this session. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I hope the house will give favourable consideration to this measure that every party and every member supports, and I hope that favourable consideration will result in this bill being passed in this hour.

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RA

David Réal Caouette

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Real Caouette (Villeneuve):

Mr. Speaker, we have listened to the remarks of the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) and we have acquainted ourselves with the principle of his Bill No. C-30 and of the explanatory note which reads as follows:

The purpose of this bill is to provide that all employees in Canada who come under federal labour jurisdiction shall receive their regular pay for at least eight statutory holidays each year, without having to work on those holidays. It also provides that when any such employee is required to work on any statutory holiday, as defined in the bill, he shall receive pay for such work at double time in addition to his regular pay for such holiday.

Nothing in this bill affects any provision for statutory holidays with pay enjoyed by any employees where such provisions are more favourable than those enjoyed herein, but this bill does supersede any provisions which are less favourable than those set out in this bill.

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member who just explained to us the necessity of such a legislation or such a bill knows that for 20 years his own party was in office in Saskatchewan and that during those 20 years they forgot to apply what the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) asks us to accept here in this federal parliament.

When we see-

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NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles:

Mr. Speaker, would the hon. member permit a question?

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Subtopic:   PROVISION OF STATUTORY HOLIDAYS WITH PAY FOR EMPLOYEES
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RA

David Réal Caouette

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Caouette:

Yes.

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Subtopic:   PROVISION OF STATUTORY HOLIDAYS WITH PAY FOR EMPLOYEES
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NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles:

Is the hon. member aware that Saskatchewan is one of the two provinces in Canada that does have legislation like this?

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Subtopic:   PROVISION OF STATUTORY HOLIDAYS WITH PAY FOR EMPLOYEES
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RA

David Réal Caouette

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Caouette:

Which is the other one?

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Subtopic:   PROVISION OF STATUTORY HOLIDAYS WITH PAY FOR EMPLOYEES
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May 1, 1964