Hon. Arthur Laing (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources):
Mr. Speaker, as the house is already aware, the Department of Public Works is carrying out an engineering study to determine the cost of reconstructing and paving the Canadian section of the Alaska highway, and the Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources is conducting an economic study to establish the benefits which would accrue to Canada as a result of this construction if it were undertaken.
Hon. members will be interested to know that the above studies are progressing, and for these it is now necessary to ascertain more precisely the design standards on which estimates of construction costs will be based and to obtain more detailed information about related engineering aspects. For this purpose there will shortly be technical talks between Canadian and United States officials. These talks will be without reference to possible means of financing.
Officials of the government of British Columbia and of the territorial government of the Yukon are being invited to participate in these talks and to have prior discussions with the federal officials. The question of paving the portion of the Alaska highway which lies in Canada, and of any negotiations with the United States government on the matter, remains open. Before any decision can be made it will be necessary to have more information regarding the cost of reconstruction, relocation and paving of the highway and regarding the economic benefits to Canada. A tentative date for talks with British Columbia and the Yukon is December 3, 1964, and with the United States, December 4.
Subtopic: ALASKA HIGHWAY-STUDY RESPECTING RECONSTRUCTION AND PAVING COSTS