November 5, 1964

NDP

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

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles:

And does the business for Monday hold?

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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LIB

John Watson MacNaught (Minister Without Portfolio; Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. MacNaughi:

On Monday we will consider the resolution dealing with the Canada pension plan, and on Tuesday redistribution.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION


A motion to adjourn the house under provisional standing order 39A deemed to have been moved.


SHIPPING-REPORTED LACK OF SERVICE TO CARIBBEAN AREA

LIB

Gerald Augustine Regan

Liberal

Mr. Gerald A. Regan (Halifax):

Mr. Speaker, my question was addressed to the Minister of Trade and Commerce and arose from a statement by a Canadian commercial counsellor in the central American area to the effect that Canadian exporters were missing the boat because of the lack of adequate shipping between Canada, the West Indies and the central Carribean area. I could not agree more with what Mr. Lemieux said.

I asked the minister whether the government would consider taking steps to encourage the expansion of shipping to that area so that more frequent sailings could lead to the development of our trade with the West Indies and Central American areas. Knowledge of and interest in these respective areas must precede the development of trade. I think that is generally conceded. In addition there must be frequent sailings, because an importer anywhere in those areas needs to know how he can get the goods he needs quickly, and if there are frequent sailings he can get them quickly.

In the general context of my remarks I also include the necessity for good air freight cargo service to and from the Caribbean area. We in the maritime provinces, and I think also in the province of Quebec, have long realized the importance of the British West Indies to Canada, and the historic trading relations within certain limits and certain products. I have always felt that I have found here in Ottawa that the rest of Canada have their heads deep in the sand with regard to the potential of the West Indies area to Canada. Here is an area, with notable exceptions, with a British tradition, an area which is come into independence and maturity, an area which inevitably will be nothing more than an appendage to the United States economy, unless we in Canada are at long last prepared to take the hand of friendship which has been proffered so often to us by those people, and to develop our commercial contacts with the West Indies.

What we must do is have some form of economic union, get as large a portion as possible of the West Indies into the Canadian dollar sphere and out of the sterling bloc, so that we can trade with them and send our winter vacationists there without affecting our balance of payments. It is in this connection that the mutual usefulness of the West Indies and Canada does exist. Mr. Lemieux does a service to Canada in pointing out the need for more frequent sailings. The Department of Trade and Commerce spends money and does a great deal of research to develop trade. I want to say that here is an area where the department should seriously consider providing some form of subsidy to private shipping to encourage more regular runs to that area. If this were done for four or five years, trade would have grown to the point when a subsidy would no longer be necessary. It is the old story of what comes first, the chicken or the egg. The shipping has to be there before the trade can grow. In that period of time, if it is to be made profitable for private enterprise, there must be assistance from the government. It is in the national interest. It helps our trade to grow and helps to improve our relationship with this important area, one which is all the more important because there has recently been a federation of these so-called outer seven, St. Kitts, Barbados and five others.

This is a country which will be looking for independence after 1965 and which will be looking to Canada for assistance in the development of national trade. I hope we will be prepared to meet them at that time. The

Proceedings on Adjournment Motion

prime minister of the Bahamas said to me last year that he found Canada had never shown much interest in the Bahamas in the past. I hope this will not continue. I know that in Britain Mr. Gordon Walker, as well as his predecessor in the Conservative government Mr. Duncan Sandys, and Mr. Nigel Birch have expressed again and again their desire that Canada should be willing to participate on a tripartite basis in the assistance and in the administration which is given to that area by Britain as it becomes more independent. I think that in this direction lies a great future for Canada. We must not lose our opportunity to develop a type of economic union with the only area which remains as a potential warm country, not tropical, but all the year round warm country, with which we can have some form of economic union as it develops.

Topic:   SHIPPING-REPORTED LACK OF SERVICE TO CARIBBEAN AREA
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NDP

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

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles:

What about confederation?

Topic:   SHIPPING-REPORTED LACK OF SERVICE TO CARIBBEAN AREA
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LIB

Gerald Augustine Regan

Liberal

Mr. Regan:

I know that without a doubt much can be done. Exporters in the Nova Scotia area do a good job of selling goods down there. They have to know the markets and the market is rather limited, but if exporters take the trouble to learn the market, if the department will help to provide shipping, it could be done.

I have noticed in the 1963 report of the Auditor General that on the books of the assets of this country are still some $400,000 resulting from the winding up of the Canadian National (West Indies) Steamships, which went out of existence as an active corporation in 1958. What could be more appropriate than using that money, as it comes back into the treasury, as part of the subsidy for the development of more new shipping connections with the West Indies, which is a much greater market for trade now than it was at that time. I consider this would be of great economic importance to the eastern part of Canada and indeed to Canada as a whole, and I think something should be done about it.

Topic:   SHIPPING-REPORTED LACK OF SERVICE TO CARIBBEAN AREA
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LIB

Mitchell William Sharp (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Hon. Mitchell Sharp (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

Mr. Speaker, I join with the hon. member for Halifax (Mr. Regan) in emphasizing the importance to Canada of improving our trade relationships with the West Indies, and like him I look forward to the time when there will be some federation, at least, of those islands. I had the great pleasure at Easter time of visiting Barbados and spending an hour or so with the prime minister, Mr. Barrow, when we talked about the problems that face him in the future.

The particular question that the hon. gentleman raised is as a result of some articles appearing in "Foreign Trade", a publication of the Department of Trade and Commerce, of October 31, 1964, which is devoted almost entirely to Canada's trade with Central America and Panama. I think this indicates -and I hope the hon. gentleman will accept it as such-the great interest my department is taking in the formation of trade with that area. In the course of one article in this publication Mr. Lemieux, who is the commercial counsellor in Guatemala said:

One serious difficulty in increasing Canadian sales is the lack of adequate shipping services, especially on the Caribbean-Atlantlc coast. That problem is even more acute during the Canadian winter when exports usually have to be routed at greater cost via ports like New York.

This lack of shipping of course is not general with respect to the whole area. The shipping services provided by the Canada-Jamaica Line to Guatemala and El Salvador are adequate, and so of course are the services to Panama. Problems arise in connection with our route to Nicaragua, Honduras and Costa Rica, and their trade is not sufficient to establish or sustain a scheduled cargo liner service from eastern Canadian ports. In consequence, some of the shipments have to be routed through New York and it is very difficult to develop a satisfactory volume of trade. I would just like to say to the hon. gentleman that his suggestions will be looked at very carefully. We have been very reluctant to use financial assistance for the purpose of subsidizing shipping services; but we do recognize that there is some sort of a chicken and egg relationship and we shall certainly take his proposals into very serious consideration.

Topic:   SHIPPING-REPORTED LACK OF SERVICE TO CARIBBEAN AREA
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LABOUR CONDITIONS-QUEBEC-REPORTED INCREASE IN UNEMPLOYMENT

PC

Georges-J. Valade

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Georges Valade (St. Mary):

Mr. Speaker, this afternoon, during the question period, I asked the Acting Prime Minister to confirm or deny the figures concerning unemployment in the Montreal region.

The minister said that the figures I put forward were inaccurate. He denied the figures I quoted from a Montreal nev/spaper and which were issued, more particularly by the regional manager of the unemployment insurance commission office in Montreal.

I am also amazed, Mr. Speaker, to notice that while we are discussing such a serious problem which concerns every individual, every Canadian taxpayer affected by this

Proceedings on Adjournment Motion plague of unemployment, this government does not seem interested. I notice that at the present time not one minister is in the house to give us information as to the exact situation of unemployment affecting the Montreal area.

I am not surprised to see that those ministers are not in the house to give us some information on the election promises they made when they sat in opposition, namely that if the Liberal party came to office, it would set up a bureau of statistics so that hon. members and members of the unemployment insurance commission could be made aware of the exact situation of employment. At that time it was said that the system used by the unemployment insurance commission and the dominion bureau of statistics provided inaccurate figures.

After two years of Liberal administration we are still waiting for that election promise to be carried out so that hon. members will know the exact situation in all regions affected by unemployment.

As I said, I am amazed to see that no minister is in his seat to confirm that increase in the unemployment affecting the province of Quebec and particularly the Montreal area or at least to give us some detailed information.

An English language newspaper of Montreal specified that the number of unemployed in the province of Quebec has increased by 27 per cent between April and September 1964.

In my opinion, Mr. Speaker, the government authorities should immediately take an interest in those statistics and tell us what they intend to do in order to stem unemployment in the province of Quebec which is especially affected by that situation.

I have here the pamphlet which my Liberal opponent circulated in my riding in the last election campaign. It says that the Liberal party is the only one which can solve unemployment by a program for the expansion of our industrial production. It says also that the Liberal government is the only one who will bring about full employment.

After two years under the Liberal regime we are far from full employment, when we consider that almost 40,000 taxpayers in the Montreal area are unemployed.

Not long ago the Minister of Justice (Mr. Favreau), under the pressure of a few members of the splinter parties including the N.D.P., was upset by the fact that prisoners, especially at the St. Vincent de Paul peni-

tentiary, were kept in small cells lacking elementary sanitary facilities.

Well, Mr. Speaker, if it is desirable to get more sanitary premises for prisoners, I feel that it is much more human for this government to get jobs for the unemployed who are law-abiding citizens of this country.

There are unemployed in the Montreal area and in other parts of Canada, who live in slums and old tenements. I aun surprised that the Minister of Justice does not have so much regard for the families affected by unemployment who comprise honest people and law-abiding citizens of our country. The government ignores those people who ask only one thing, to earn an honest living.

Our present government is not interested in the unemployment which prevails in the Montreal district and in the province of Quebec.

Some statistics show, Mr. Speaker, that 2,000 persons were employed this year in the building industry in the metropolitan area.

I will point out that if some 2,000 persons were employed, it is due to the construction work required by the world fair which was of course initiated under the Conservative party. But without this wonderful achievement I am wondering what the employment situation would be in the province of Quebec.

In my opinion the Minister of Industry should admit that the province of Quebec and the whole of the city of Montreal constitute a depressed area. I think this would be more in conformity with the policy being preached by the Liberal party.

But the present government would not dare take the chance of taking this step because, in so doing, it would admit its utter failure with regard to employment in this country.

I am absolutely appalled by the lack of interest and concern shown the unemployed and the unemployment situation in the metropolitan area.

There are 21 electoral districts in the city of Montreal. Of these, one is Conservative, the others, Liberal. What astounds me is that no member for the city of Montreal rises, here, in the house, as it is his duty to do, to ask the government to intervene in this slump in the metropolitan region and to demand that the government take drastic measures to remedy the critical unemployment situation.

The situation scares us because we ask ourselves what will become of our families

this winter when there are already so many unemployed at a time which is favourable to construction?

I ask the government to deny the figures I have given, or else to take the necessary steps to improve this unfortunate situation.

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS-QUEBEC-REPORTED INCREASE IN UNEMPLOYMENT
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LIB

James Allen (Jim) Byrne (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. J. A. Byrne (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Labour):

Mr. Speaker, the only statistics appearing in the article to which the hon. member referred, a copy of which I must say I have been unable to obtain, for which the national employment service takes any responsibility are those for the Montreal metropolitan area. In the metropolitan area there were 41,812 registrations, which of course are always higher than the number of unemployed, as of October 30, 1963, and 38,868 on October 30, 1964, or a reduction of 2,944 for that month. Any other figures quoted are the responsibility of the Gazette, a usually reliable paper, especially of late. However, the sweeping figures quoted are simply not in accordance with the facts.

According to the labour force summary for September supplied by the Department of Labour and d.b.s., the latest figure available shows a substantial decrease in unemployment in the Quebec region over last year. On September 21 last year there were 108,000 unemployed, while on September 21 this year there were no more than 84,000 unemployed, a decrease of 24,000. From August to September of this year there was a decrease of 16,000 in the unemployed in the Quebec region. The most recent unemployment figure available for all of Canada stands at 3.1 per cent of the labour force, the lowest in eight years.

I think it can be said that we have reached a new low in unemployment and in fact it was reported recently that the premier of

Supply-Items Passed Ontario was seeking to import many thousands of people from the Orient to work in the labour force of that province. While I am not sure what the premier of Quebec is doing in Europe, it could be he is looking for stonemasons to build the penitentiary to which the hon. member has referred. But, Mr. Speaker, the hon. member seems to be just as careless with facts as the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Diefenbaker) seems to have been in the last few days.

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS-QUEBEC-REPORTED INCREASE IN UNEMPLOYMENT
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PC

Georges-J. Valade

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Valade:

Is that the full employment you are talking about-40,000 unemployed?

Motion agreed to and the house adjourned at 10.30 p.m.

[The following items were passed in committee of supply this day]:

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS-QUEBEC-REPORTED INCREASE IN UNEMPLOYMENT
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DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE


A-Department- 1. Departmental administration, $363,600. la. Departmental administration including the expenses of the advisory committee on broadcasting, $84,000. 5. Companies and corporations branch, $167,300. 10. Translation bureau, $1,994,000. 15. Patent division, copyright and industrial designs division and trade marks office including contributions to the international office for the protection of literary and artistic works and the international office for the protection of industrial property and authority for the governor in council, notwithstanding the Patent Act, to prescribe (a) the fee payable on filing an application for patent, the fee payable on grant of a patent, and the fee payable on petition to re-issue a patent after surrender, which fees shall be deemed, for the purposes of the Patent Act, to be the fees set forth in section 75 thereof; and (b) renewal fees, payable during the term of each patent issued on an application filed after a date to be set by order in council, such fees to be a prerequisite for the maintenance of the patent rights notwithstanding section 49 of the Patent Act, $2,810,100.



Friday, November 6, 1964


November 5, 1964