Apart from the Department of Public Works and the Department of Fisheries there is no federal department which touches the lives of my constituents as closely as does the Department of Transport. There are many matters I should like to deal with at this time, but in order not to unduly delay the passing of the estimates I will confine myself to one subject only, a subject which in my opinion is so urgent that I would be derelict in my duty to my constituents if I did not raise it at the very first opportunity.
Before I begin I should like to pay tribute to the officials of the Department of Transport, the officials of the minister's office, the senior officials and heads of branches in the head office here in Ottawa and to the district marine agent at St. John's. I should like publicly to express my gratitude to them for the sympathetic consideration they have always given to problems I have brought before them and for their all-out co-operation in trying to solve them.
The subject I wish to bring to the attention of the committee and of the government today is the urgent need for improvement in the C.N.R. coastal service in the western half of my riding. The constituency of Burin-Burgeo is made up of five provincial districts of which only one, the district of Burin, is accessible by road, and even this district is largely dependent on the C.N.R. coastal service for freight transportation. The other four provincial districts are completely dependent on the C.N.R. coastal service not only for transportation of freight but also for transportation of mail and passengers.
[DOT] (1:00 p.m.)
Of these four provincial districts, only Placentia West has a fairly satisfactory service based on the terminal at Argentia providing a frequency of two trips a week to all communities and three trips a week to the
February 11, 1986
larger ones. So far as the other three provincial districts are concerned the picture is vastly different. These three districts extend roughly along the south coast from Ter-renceville to Port aux Basques. This area is served by two C.N.R. coastal boats running between the western terminal at Port aux Basques and the eastern terminal at Argentia, with a weekly frequency in each direction. Except for the fact that these boats are slightly larger and the frequency of trips has increased from every 10 days to 7 days, this service is substantially the same as it was 50 years ago.
The coastline between Terrenceville and Port aux Basques contains some 50 communities with a total population of around 25,000, and it is mainly about the service to this area that I am complaining. On this strip of coastline there are located seven fresh fish processing plants and a number of supply firms and retail stores. All these enterprises are greatly handicapped by the slowness of the C.N.R. service upon which they are completely dependent.
Good, fast, reliable communications are a prime essential for the industrial development of any area, but the Canadian National Railway management think in terms of the nineteenth century. If they do not wake up soon the twentieth century will have completely passed them by without any substantial improvement being achieved. The population of this area about which I am speaking, between Terrenceville and Port aux Basques, has doubled since 1949, and the prosperity of the people has also increased. However, these two facts seem to have escaped the notice of the C.N.R. management.
We are living in the twentieth century and people do not want to spend a week travelling a distance that can and should be covered in a couple of days. Neither do they want to be delayed as they are now for hours and on some occasions for whole days by having to remain in port while the ship takes on and discharges cargo. Neither do they want to suffer the offensive odours and stench which emanate from cargoes such as fish meal, particularly during summertime when the weather is warm and people like to have their portholes open in order to enjoy the cool, fresh air.
Today people want to move as fast as possible. If they have two or three weeks holidays they want to spend the time with their friends and not travelling back and forth on the C.N.R. boats. Those who come
from long distances want to be sure of making connections with the air line services on which they have reservations for the return trip. None of these things are possible at present.
It has been obvious for years that the C.N.R. coastal service is terribly inadequate in terms of the amount of traffic to be handled. People from the United States and from mainland Canada who make their reservations months in advance often arrive at the Port aux Basques terminal only to find that the boat on which their reservations were made has been transferred to another route and the substitute boat provided does not have the type of accommodation they reserved.
Passengers are herded together in small rooms beneath deck or in small deck cabins so tiny that they have to put their luggage outside in order to be able to turn around. Dozens have difficulty in finding even a place to sit much less to lie down. Great credit is due to the crews of these boats; particularly to the captains, officers and stewards who quite often give up their own berths and go out of their way to do everything possible to alleviate the hardships and inconveniences to passengers inherent in these conditions. Without their sympathetic understanding and sacrifices the situation would be quite intolerable.
During the past two or three years I have written a number of letters about this matter to the C.N.R. and to the minister pointing out the deficiency in the service and suggesting remedies, but to date nothing has happened. Dealing with the Canadian National Railway is a most frustrating experience. You write a letter and you wait about two months. Then you get a reply saying they are looking into the problems involved in the matter you have raised. In about another two months you get another long letter defending their poor service. Their attitude seems to be that this service was good enough for our grandfathers and great-grandfathers and it should be good enough for people today.
When we try to pin them down they escape by saying, "Well, we do not own this railway in Newfoundland; we are only operating it for the federal government". Then when one approaches the federal government the answer is, "Well, we cannot do anything unless the C.N.R. management make a recommendation". Thus we go round and round in this vicious circle.
February 11, 1966
What is needed in my constituency is a completely new service based on twentieth century standards. This involves, first of all, separating the freight service from the passenger, mail and express service. Present boats could be utilized for scheduled freight service until more suitable and more economic boats can be obtained. Then they could probably be used in the summer for tourist trips to Labrador and in winter for tourist trips to the Caribbean and West Indies. For passengers, express and first class mail we need fast boats running between Port aux Basques and Terrenceville with a frequency of three trips a week each way.
I stress the fact that Terrenceville should be regarded as a terminal because it has been used as a passenger terminal for the past 12 or 14 years even though the eastern terminal is based at Argentia. There is no point in passengers staying on a ship for two or three days and travelling over rough waters when they can get to St. John's from Terrenceville by road within two hours.
I understand that in parts of Europe governments, travel agencies and steamship companies have utilized hydrofoil boats capable of carrying 100 to 150 passengers at speeds around 30 miles an hour. This is the sort of service that I think would solve the problem I have been describing. I understand that hydrofoil craft are now being manufactured in Italy which are capable of travelling in rough seas with waves up to 12 feet high. This type of boat would suit the conditions under which the people in my riding have to travel for the greater portion of the year. I would therefore urge the C.N.R. and the government to find some solution along these lines. This vicious circle of avoidance of responsibility must be broken.
[DOT] (1:10 p.m.)
The premier of the province of Newfoundland has proclaimed 1966 as "come home" year. One may expect the amount of traffic to be considerably increased over that of previous years, and in view of the experience my constituents have had during the past two years the situation will be indescribable unless something is done. I again urge the government, as the owner of the railway system in Newfoundland, to take immediate steps to remedy the situation I have described along the lines I have suggested.
Mr. Chairman, I should like to make a few observations on item No. 1 in respect of railway transportation. This is a subject with which I am familiar as a result
S upp ly-Transport
of my employment in the transportation industry with the Canadian National Railways for the last 25 years. I must agree with the hon. member for Medicine Hat that many of the problems facing the industry today are a direct result of a lack of any comprehensive national transportation policy, a lack of delegation of authority and the improper exercise of the authority that does exist. It would appear that the Board of Transport Commissioners are not carrying out their proper function in protecting the interests of the public in respect of railway transportation. Their decisions appear to reflect acquiescence in company pressure and a lack of proper and logical investigation. It seems that they turn deaf ears to the protestations of the public. This is particularly apparent in their decision to allow the discontinuance of the Canadian Pacific's "Dominion".
I think that one of the first questions one must ask is whether railway passenger service is a profitable enterprise. I must admit that the answer of necessity is that it is not an extremely profitable business. There are a great many more costly aspects involved in passenger transportation than in freight transportation. As an example of these extra costs let me point to the necessity of providing sleeping and dining facilities and the accompanying employment of sleeping car porters and dining car staff. In addition, there is always a possibility of a loss in respect of ordering foodstuffs. Public relations efforts must be maintained in order to induce people to travel by rail. In view of all the facts I have to admit that railway passenger service is not an extremely profitable enterprise.
It would appear from the Canadian Pacific's submission that the "Dominion" is not a profitable operation even during peak periods of business. I must disagree with that submission on this basis. Passenger service is not a profitable enterprise when looked at on a full time basis because there are peak periods and low periods. At times during low periods railway companies do only 20 per cent of the passenger business they do during peak periods. This makes passenger business a very precarious enterprise. However, during peak periods there must be a profit or the average loss would be a great deal higher.
I was a little surprised when the Board of Transport Commissioners decided against reinstituting the operation of the Canadian Pacific's "Dominion" during peak periods. The Canadian Pacific suggested there would be a
February 11, 1966
considerable loss in over-all revenue if they were to reinstitute this service during the peak holiday period from the end of June to Labour Day. It is my impression that the Canadian Pacific is attempting to get out of passenger service completely. If this argument can be successfully applied to the "Dominion" service, that it is not profitable during peak operation periods, it can be applied in respect of the "Canadian" operation. If the Board of Transport Commissioners takes the same view in respect of the "Canadian" as it has in respect of the "Dominion", I am sure the C.P.R. will be successful in getting out of the passenger business.
As an example of the railway company's attempt to get out of the passenger business, let me point out the comparative cost of travel on the two lines. The coach class fare from Ottawa to Sudbury on the C.P.R. is $16.35. The coach class fare from Ottawa to Sudbury on the C.N.R. on a bargain day is $7.65. One can travel from Ottawa to Sudbury and return on the C.N.R. at approximately the same cost as a one way trip, coach class, on the C.P.R. Surely that is an indication that the Canadian Pacific is pricing itself out of the business. I think the C.P.R. has a good reason for pricing itself out of the passenger business. By doing so it will be in a position to capture a larger share of the lucrative freight business, and there is no doubt that the freight business is lucrative. Surely that is the reason for this action on the part of the Canadian Pacific. If this action on the part of the Canadian Pacific is allowed to continue the onus will fall on the Canadian National to assume the overload of passenger business.
Let me direct your attention to one submission made by the Canadian Pacific Railway in its attempt to have the "Dominion" service discontinued. They assessed the road maintenance costs in relation to the operations of the "Dominion" alone at $1,932,657. That figure may be correct as it relates to the company's cost accounting system but it is not a logical figure giving a true picture of road maintenance costs. The company has merely allocated a percentage of the total road maintenance costs to the operation of the "Dominion". To make my point a little clearer, let me say that if the Canadian Pacific is an efficiently run railway, and I am sure it is, it has a program of railroad tie replacement carried on year after year irrespective of whether or not the "Dominion" is
in operation. If the "Dominion" is discontinued the tie replacement program will still go on. I am sure the transposing of rails on curves will continue whether or not the "Dominion" is continued.
[DOT] (1:20 p.m.)
There is snow removal in the wintertime. The cost of this will be exactly the same; there will be no reduction because the "Dominion" has been discontinued. The program of track lifting and ballasting will be exactly the same; the cancellation of the "Dominion" will have no effect on that whatsoever. How they can assess this amount of money for road maintenance against the "Dominion" is beyond my comprehension, if we are to be realistic and logical. Obviously there would be no reduction in staff so far as section crews or extra gangs are concerned.
At this point, Mr. Chairman, let me say I am not going to get into any argument or feud with a mechanical brain or an electronic computer because I do not even pretend to be an expert in economics. But if this one item is indicative of the way the railway assesses costs against the "Dominion", I would have to question the whole list of items because to my mind they are very unrealistic to say the least.
To return to the question of handling traffic in general if the "Dominion" is not reinstated this summer, I notice that in the second judgment handed down by the Board of Transport Commissioners they indicated that buses and the Canadian National Railways can take care of the situation. I am not going to argue the point so far as buses are concerned but I know there are a great many people who do not like travelling on a bus. They would much rather travel on a train. However, Mr. Chairman, this is beside the point because I cannot understand how it is thought that during the peak periods Canadian National can handle this overload of traffic. I happened to be the conductor on one of the C.N.R. transcontinental trains last summer west of Capreol and I have to say that the normal traffic was not handled efficiently. It was a case of there being an overload trip after trip after trip. How they can take on any additional traffic is far beyond my comprehension.
I think Canadian National have been trying to give Canadian Pacific a little help because I notice that in the questionnaire requesting particulars of unfilled reservations in respect of Canadian National there is a statement
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that interests me somewhat, it being an observation of a representative of Canadian National Railways:
I am advised that it is our experience that it is indeed an exceptional case when it is not possible to offer some kind of reserved accommodation to to all who apply for it. Admittedly there are instances when we cannot give exactly what is asked for, but invariably we are in a position to offer reasonable alternatives which are accepted in most cases.
I am beginning to wonder whether I worked for Canadian National Railways last summer in view of their assertion that invariably they were in a position to offer reasonable alternatives. I do not think a reasonable alternative to a good coach seat is a seat on the bench in a cafeteria car or in a lounge car or perhaps even in a baggage car. It seems to me that the C.N.R. are certainly not going out of their way to hurt the C.P.R. with regard to this particular matter.
Also, Mr. Chairman, in the transcript of the evidence presented by the C.P.R. the fact is mentioned that previously they handled express and mail cars on the "Dominion" but these express and mail cars have been transferred to freight trains. I should like to give the committee a little indication of what this could mean. They say this traffic can be handled on the freight trains, that it means a little added expense so far as the freight trains are concerned but does not constitute a matter worth mentioning. However, if their express and mail business is what it could be or what they are trying to make it, I would say that if they are going to handle this traffic efficiently they will have to put on extra trains.
This is very profitable traffic, and in fact Canadian National Railways operate express freight trains Nos. 103 and 104. These handle express and mail; they do not carry passengers except incidentally. They do not have passenger equipment. However, here again I would argue that Canadian National Railways should provide decent equipment on these trains because they are definitely paying for themselves in respect of mail and express. If they can provide an additional service to the public by putting on extra cars,
I think this should be done.
However, the fact that they operate this train and are leaving it in operation seems to imply that the business is profitable and it could be used to help meet the over-all operating cost of a train which also included passenger service. I have a strong feeling that
the effect of the reduction of Canadian Pacific Railway's passenger service on their main line is going to have a very detrimental effect on the publicly owned C.N.R. After all, Canadian National Railways belongs to the people. This effect would apply particularly if it develops that passenger business is unprofitable on the whole, because I can see the great possibility that Canadian National will become loaded down with passenger business.
In my opinion Canadian National will not be able to slip out from under the passenger business in the way Canadian Pacific has and as a result Canadian National will have to give up a good deal of its lucrative freight business in order to handle the passenger traffic. I believe this is a very realistic approach to the situation and I do not think even the management of Canadian National would give me an argument on this proposition. I am quite sure that some of the minor officials are concerned about this problem at the present time.
In that event we will be faced with bad publicity so far as Canadian National Railways are concerned, namely, that passenger traffic is not a paying proposition and all the rest of it. But is this being fair to Canadian National? I shall not try to defend Canadian National even though I was an employee of that company. I would have to say that many of their policies do not make good economic sense in my opinion and I have questioned them on numerous occasions. I am not entirely happy with many of their policies. But I still have a certain loyalty to Canadian National and I think it will be placing an unfair burden on them if Canadian Pacific more or less slough off the passenger business to Canadian National.
I wish to refer to another question that I think is very important in respect of railway transportation. I refer to labour peace. I do not think I need go too fully into what transpired prior to the Freedman Commission being set up, but I would say briefly that due to the unilateral institution of certain runs or attempts unilaterally to impose certain runs on Canadian National employees, which runs were not accepted, and also because of the very poor employer-employee relationship in Canadian National at that particular time, there was a "book sick" withdrawal from service. As hon. members probably recall, Canadian National Railways were tied up for a number of hours because of this situation. As a result of the "book sick" procedure the
February 11, 1966
Hon. Mr. Justice Samuel Freedman of Winnipeg was given the job of investigating this problem. He was to investigate the reasons for booking sick and come up with certain recommendations.
[DOT] (1:30 p.m.)
Some of his recommendations, I think, are very significant. I should like to turn to page 135 of the report and read what he has to say with regard to run-throughs. He is referring to the right of the Canadian National, Canadian Pacific or any other railroad to impose such things unilaterally:
44. Should it continue to have that right? The question here raised lies at the heart of this Inquiry. The Commission is satisfied that it must be answered only in one way. The institution of run-throughs should be a matter for negotiation. To treat it as an unfettered management prerogative will only promote unrest, undermine morale, and drive the parties farther and farther apart. In that direction lies disorder and danger. By placing run-throughs, on the other hand, within the realm of negotiation a long step will be taken toward the goal of industrial peace. More than that. Such a course will help to provide safeguards against the undue dislocation and hardship that often result from technological change.
I think that this recommendation by the Hon. Mr. Justice Freedman should be kept in mind in this session of parliament because I believe it should be given proper consideration if we hope to have labour peace in the railway transportation area.
Mr. Justice Freedman also refers to the matter of providing compensation to employees who are affected. On page 139, Clause 54 of the report, I read:
54. On the Issue of providing compensation for losses on real estate the Commission has reached the conclusion that the company's present policy is unsuited to the contemporary industrial scene. A technological advance whose benefits accrue to the employer but whose burdens fall on the employee is unacceptable in a society which is concerned about human welfare.
The Commission accordingly recommends that any employee who is required to change his place of residence as a result of a run-through should be compensated by the company for financial loss suffered in the sale of his home for less than Its fair value. Fair value should * be determined as of & date sufficiently prior to the announcement of the run-through to be unaffected thereby. Any dispute on value should be resolved by a majority decision of an evaluating committee of three persons, one designated by the company, a second designated by the employee or his authorized representative, and the third designated by the two first named. The company should in every case have a right in priority to anyone else to purchase the home at its fair value as so determined.
If the dislocated employee is not a home owner but occupies his residence under an unexpired
lease he should be protected by the company from monetary loss arising from the need to terminate it.
As I said before, these recommendations must be kept in mind if there is to be labour peace in the railway transportation field.
I should like to conclude by speaking briefly on the subject of box cars or grain cars. I should like to clarify one small point, the difference between box cars and grain cars. I am not trying to get the railways off the hook as you will see as I go along. Box cars and grain cars are two different things. The fact that there is a large number of Canadian box cars in the United States does not mean that there is a large number of grain cars there. The percentage of those cars used for transporting pulpwood and other rough materials is large. Some of them are used for transporting flour and such material. They are not grain cars and some of them would not be suitable for carrying grain. I would say that on the average 20 per cent to 30 per cent of those cars might be suitable for carrying grain.
The point I am trying to make is that it is not because we have so many cars in the United States on foreign lines that there is a shortage of grain cars. I believe the shortage results from the fact that the companies have not interested themselves in having box cars built for this purpose because the grain carrying business is not a highly profitable one. I believe there should be more pressure put on the railways to ensure that a proper number of box cars are built to handle grain. Certainly there is every evidence that this is going to be one of our major transportation items when we have such immense sales of wheat as we seem to have at this time.
I am going to conclude now, Mr. Chairman. It seems to me there is a necessity for an over-all transportation authority with the power to institute comprehensive transportation policies embracing all modes of transportation and with the idea in mind of coordinating them for the benefit of the public as a whole.
Mr. Chairman, I should like to draw to the minister's attention a situation which I think is very important. It is not only important to my area but it affects the Prime Minister's area, Manitoulin Island, the area of Parry Sound-Muskoka, Algoma, and the ridings of Fort William and Port Arthur. It is related to tourism. Basically the problem is related to the fact that two Canadian Pacific boats plying from Port McNicoll to Port
February 11, 1966
Arthur and Fort William have been withdrawn from passenger services. They have made their last run carrying passengers.
I believe the minister appreciates as much as anybody the value of the tourist dollar. A tourist dollar coming into this country is as valuable as any of the dollars we receive for industrial material that we sell outside of this country. I do not believe I have to draw the minister's attention to the fact that this region is a designated area. The minister will recall also that in 1961, if my memory serves me correctly, we had our first positive balance with the United States on tourism in over ten years.
I believe the minister will agree also that this is vitally important when one considers the big deficit we have today. I believe he will agree too that tourism is the third largest business in Canada. These boats are not running any more because the Department of Transport said that certain regulations were going to be enforced. The Canadian Pacific said they could not afford to make these necessary changes because they would cost over $1 million.
The point I want to make is that I should like the minister to say whether or not there was any consultation or policy of conciliation in talking over this situation. Was there a time limit given to the Canadian Pacific or were they told that if they fixed one boat they would be given a year or two to fix the other boat? I say to the minister that this is a very important matter. These boats carry 200 passengers per trip and make two trips per week for the summer season from July 1st to the end of the tourist season. They carry these passengers at $100 each and carry automobiles at $25 each.
[DOT] (1:40 p.m.)
I do not think it takes much mathematical figuring to find out how much this means. Let me tell the minister, who I am sure must have looked into this problem, that two thirds of the passengers carried are United States visitors.
Every one of these people crossed into Canada at some port of entry. Every one of them travelled hundreds of miles in Canada. Some have come up through the province of Quebec, some through the province of Ontario and from other ports of entry across Canada and all have bought services as they travelled. The ships sail from Port McNicoll which is about 85 miles north of Toronto just off Highway 400. The ships also carry freight
and one of them is continuing to do so. The ships were built in 1907 on the Clyde. They came across the ocean under their own steam, were divided to go through the Welland Canal and put together in the Buffalo shipyards. Since that time they have sailed the Great Lakes without accident. They came through the great storm of 1913 which caused such havoc and tragedy on the Great Lakes. The boats are equipped, so experts tell me, with one of the finest sprinkler systems that can be provided. They have lifeboats which are checked regularly, either weekly or twice weekly, and the boats are excellently manned.
This is not only a question of tourist dollars, Mr. Chairman. All of the men employed on these boats come from a designated area, where new industry that qualifies is subsidized.
I also want to say to the minister that the regulations which were put into effect after the investigation into the Noronic fire in Toronto were based on the fact that the passengers on that boat had slept aboard in port at night. I am told that the C.P.R. disembarks all their passengers. These are the last two Canadian boats sailing the Great Lakes. I should like the minister to tell the committee what went on in the conversations with the Department of Transport when they discussed these regulations. Did they say that the government would give help or would subsidize this operation? The government are subsidizing industry in one place to the tune, according to the department from which I inquired, of $5 million. There is another case of a boat that was purchased in Miami, Florida, at a cost of $1,250,000 but by the time it was repaired and altered it finally cost the government around $4 million. If this can be done in one instance surely it can be done in another. I want the minister to tell us what conversations he had with the C.P.R. Did the government say that they would not do anything or was any conciliatory effort made to come to an amicable agreement? Was the C.P.R. told to carry on and that the government would partially subsidize the change-over because the operation brings in tourist dollars just as much as any manufactured article? I want to make it perfectly clear that I am in favour of the government doing something in that respect.
I now turn to the Trent canal system. This again concerns all members from Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay. I have gone from Port
February 11, 1966
McNicoll on Georgian Bay right to the head of the lakes. The minister has on his side of the house some members from this area who I am sure are or should be as vitally interested in this matter as I am.
The minister will recall that the Trent canal system was almost forgotten for over 40 years. Only repair jobs were done in order to keep it hanging together. There was poor morale among the members of the work force. He will also recall the day in 1960 when he spoke on this matter on estimates. He was on this side and we were trying to get the whole system jacked up so that we could remodel, rebuild and repair the Trent canal and make it the waterway it should be, for it really is one of the greatest fresh water, canal waterways in the world. It caters to the greatest concentration of small boats in the world. I remember what the minister said on that occasion. I thought it was a terrible thing that this clever fellow would get up and cut my argument to pieces. I say that with respect because the minister is very able and capable and he did do a good job trying to sabotage. On that day he said that it should all be let go down the hill and given to Uncle Leslie as a birthday present. I think the minister will recall that.
In any event we went ahead and got the plans through the house to do a remodelling job which will probably run around $20 million. When the present government came into office they did go ahead with this plan. I am very proud of this canal system. If the minister were to go up there, boatman that he is, he would go through the locks and see the personnel all dressed up today in nice uniforms whereas they used to wear overalls and go around sometimes without shirts in the summer. Now they wear sailor caps and Department of Transport shirts and trousers and are very respectable looking, which gives us a great sense of pride. Therefore I compliment the minister in following up this plan, but he only went half way. He did finish the Swift locks according to our plans and did a wonderful job. I hope he will come up and see them; his deputy did.
I will accept that excuse. I will also give him an invitation to come there and be my guest. I should like him to see the finished canal system because I am very proud of it, as are all the people that travel it. The finished lock is a beautiful 60 foot lock with no swirling water or foam. Boats rise slowly. It is all power operated and there is a nice brick office at the top. You will find nothing better anywhere else in Canada or the United States. If the officials here of the Department of Transport could see it I am sure they would be as proud of it as I am.
The marine railway was taken out but there is another one at Big Chute. Why in the world did they move this number one priority at Big Chute? Why did they not get ahead with the job? I should like to get an assurance from the minister, who is as interested in Canada as I am, that he will leave the old marine railway at the big chute because it is a terrific tourist attraction. We do not see such things anywhere else now. The old marine railways screeched, grunted and broke down. For a period of 40 to 50 years they carried the boats across. Finally they got down to being able to carry only 15 tons, which is not big enough today. The boats used to come up and then had to turn around because they could not go through. This condition still exists.
I say to the minister that we are anxious to get these tourist dollars. I saw Americans turning back last summer because their boats were too big to go through. I am sure the minister knows as well as I do and perhaps better what these American tourist dollars mean to us. I am also sure that if he looks at this marine railway he will grasp the significance of preserving this great tourist attraction which worked so long and so well for Canada after the first great war. It was just put in as a stopgap.
[DOT] (1:50 p.m.)
I have spoken of two matters which concern my riding. Nevertheless they are as important to hon. members sitting on the other side of the house as they are to members sitting beside me. They affect constituencies right from Trenton to Port Arthur at the head of the lakes. I should like the minister to make a real effort to see that these two
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Canadian boats, the last in service, are allowed to continue. Let him give effect to a policy of conciliation and see whether something cannot be worked out with the C.P.R. Then let him take a look at Big Chute, and the marine railway. I am sure he will not allow the marine railway to be taken out.
In saying all this I know there is a lamprey problem. The experts have told me over and over again that the lamprey spawns in the months of April and May. The experts say this is true with the exception of one man who said they could spawn any time. This would be a case of reproduction without the two parties and that is rare.
I say that this marine railway could be used up to July 1. The boats which go through before July 1 are the small boats of the local people. The lock could be kept closed until July 1. In the meantime the lamprey would have spawned and would be no threat to the inland lakes. I want the minister to consider this. Possibly the provincial government in Toronto is not moving fast enough. I will leave it to the minister. I am sure he understands the problem. I also extend to him a pressing invitation, when the Big Chute is open, to come and stay with me. There will be no mention made of that birthday present.
I will do everything I can to help the minister. I know he is on my side now. He realizes the importance of this matter. I will go along with him and do anything I can to keep these boats going, protect the fishing and build the lock. I will give a prod to my friends in Toronto.
Since we are now considering the estimates of the Department of Transport, I should like to take this opportunity to make a few remarks to the minister concerning the development which should be going on in certain parts of my riding which covers nearly a third of the province of Quebec and which has vast forests, streams and all sorts of minerals.
More particularly, I should like to remind the minister today of a request which goes back several years and which has to do with a grant for the construction of an airport to serve the towns of Chapais and Chibougamau and the mining communities of the northern
part of the riding of Chapleau so that those districts can develop at the same rate as the other sections of the country.
There are now a few good roads and a railway. There is also a road to Albanel lake. Considerable development could take place as far as mining, tourism and hunting and fishing are concerned. I mention this because it is important for people to be able to travel by air. That is why I urge the minister to favourably consider applications submitted by those cities so that adequate air service may be provided in that part of the country.
There is also another area in full development north of Amos, that of Mattagami lake, which would need government financial support and assistance to build an airport so that people interested in developing their country can reach that area quickly.
I know that the time of these people is valuable and that they must move about quickly. There are two mining areas in full development, one in Mattagami and another in Poirier-Joutel. A mine has just started operations in this area lately.
I should like to remind the minister that the possibility of establishing air service between Senneterre-Amos, with a stop in Mattagami, and up to James Bay, is still under consideration at present. I know that requests have been submitted to this effect, and I feel that the minister should take them into consideration and make the appropriate recommendations to the Air Transport Board for the granting of such a permit.
Another city, located in the centre of my riding, namely Amos, is also asking for a grant for the construction of an airport. I know that the work is already under way, but it seems that the minister has not finalized the project. The minister should consider this request favourably, so as to provide the city of Amos with a proper airport without delay.
[DOT] (2:00 p.m.)
That makes several requests for the same riding at one time, I agree, but I point out to the Minister of Transport that with regard to rivers and streams, the government has not spent much in our region. Since we do not have great rivers or streams, or coastlines which are being developed or will soon be developed, I think we should look to the air to get what we need so as to attain some degree of prosperity in this new area.
I want to bring another thing to the minister's attention. He might tell us that it does
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not come directly under its jurisdiction but it deals with the granting of radio and television licences in part of my riding, namely in the Chibougamau and Chapais area. The minister will recall that I made numerous interventions-
Mr. Chairman, I do not want to limit the hon. member in any way, but may I remind him that the minister responsible to the house for policies in the field of radio and television is my colleague the Secretary of State (Miss LaMarsh).
I believe it might be preferable for the member to make his remarks on this matter when the estimates of that department come up for study, because the minister is not here at the present time; for greater impact, I am sure it would be better for him to speak to the minister.
Mr. Chairman, I thank the Minister of Transport most sincerely for the worthy effort he has just made in my mother tongue. I really thought that the granting of licences, with regard to radio and television, was the responsibility of the Department of Transport.
As far as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is concerned, I will certainly have some observations to make, when the estimates of the Department of the Secretary of State come before the house.
At this time, I do not intend to talk about the quality of programming. But, on the other hand, there is one thing on which I should like to draw the minister's attention concerning the issuing of such licenses. The towns of Chibougamau and Chapais are now served by someone holding a permit to operate cable television. Now, those people have to pay twice for television services and, then again, they get poor service.
I think that the minister should recommend that the C.B.C. serve those areas. The report of the Fowler Commission contains a recommendation to that effect.
There is a very interesting article on this subject on page 74 of the report. It says that all Canadians pay for the Canadian radio and television networks, not only for C.B.C. networks but for the whole complex including private radio and television stations.
Their tax contributions represent about one third of the total costs. They pay for the remaining two thirds each time they buy a can of soup, a loaf of bread and, I might add, a cake of soap. Many of them, therefore, pay for a radio and television service that is not
provided to them. There is obviously a great deal to do.
I suggest to the minister that the people of Chibougamau and Chapais are paying twice for those services. To begin with, like everybody else, they pay through their taxes and their purchases, and then they have to pay for the installation of the cable bringing in the programs, plus $7 a month in rental fees, plus 42 cents a month for the provincial tax, for a total of $65.04 a year to be served by a television channel which is not always first rate.
Mr. Chairman, those are the facts I wanted to bring to the attention of the minister so that he would recommend the required appropriations to enable an expanded C.B.C. to serve the people of those areas as well as possible.
Knowing that the Minister of Transport advocates equality and justice for all Canadians, I am sure he will give special consideration to my representations.
I do not intend to speak any further today on the administration of the Department of Transport. I will have other remarks to make when the various estimates are called-which, I hope, will be as soon as possible.
Mr. Chairman, I hesitate to pour yet another transportation problem on the shoulders of the Minister of Transport even if they are wide shoulders. However, even though the problem I wish to talk about may not be a burning issue at the moment it could very well become contentious if action is not taken at the right time. I refer to the C.N.R. run-through program which was mentioned briefly a few moments ago.
The minister will recall the situation which developed in 1964 when the C.N.R. tried to institute run-throughs at Nakina and Wain-wright. Because of the action taken in this chamber and the strong representations made by the opposition, which were listened to sympathetically by the then minister, the government appointed Judge Freedman who made a very exhaustive report on the situation, which report was subsequently presented to the government. But up to the present we have no guarantee that the interested parties will tend to abide by the recommendations of Judge Freedman.
It would be some satisfaction to those of us concerned with this problem to get the minister's viewpoint. I am sure he is showing sufficient interest even at this moment to
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enlighten the committee on the attitude which he feels should be taken in regard to this problem.
Mr. Chairman, in the best possible spirit, and without raising a technical point of order, may I venture to make a suggestion to the hon. member for Melville? I can give him an answer to one question. The railway does intend to have a conference with the unions on precisely the subjects mentioned in the Freedman report. I have been assured of that. Today the house leader told us that the estimates for all departments for the fiscal year 1966-67 will be tabled on Monday and I feel quite certain that this subject will still be a very active one when we reach the estimates for the forthcoming fiscal year.
I am not seeking to restrict the hon. member for Melville in any way but I was wondering whether members of the committee generally might think that subjects which could equally well be discussed on the 196667 estimates could be held over until we reach those estimates, thus allowing the committee to concentrate its attention at present on those things which hon. members feel would not be current after March 31. If hon. members feel that their speeches will have the same effect on the government after March 31 as before, then with a view to getting the whole business of the session through they might consider that suggestion.