That is right. It might be a good thing but when the hon. member wanted to speak, I let him speak. If he has no farmer in his riding, we have some.
Mr. Chairman, I believe that the question is very simple. Some comparison might be drawn. When it is said that the government subsidizes gold-gold is the subject of subsidies-we know that an ounce of gold, once taken out of the ground, costs about $70 or $72. However, the selling price is $35. Who pays for the difference? The government, at the rate of $35 per ounce. Figure this price per hundredweight. The result is $56,000. Imagine, $56,000 in subsidies from the government for some hundredweight of gold. And the farmer asks a subsidy of $1.25 per hundredweight. Well, this is too much. As concerns gold, my friends, you take it and bury it in vaults, in a hole in the United States. On that score, you will supply $56,000 in subsidies. Are you serious? Is this your policy? And after that, you dare ask us where the money will come from? Did the government ask where to find the money to apply subsidies to gold? No, not at all. You did not even say a word for anybody, you fell silent and you paid subsidies so that you might go to the United States to bury gold in caves and in holes. If only you had helped one of these dairy farmers, but nothing is done. I hear the member for Sherbrooke (Mr. Allard) say that it is discouraging. True: it is discouraging, and I agree with him. It is discouraging, Mr. Chairman, to see how our governments can respond. The Minister of Agriculture raises his arms and says: "The dairy farmers belong to a class of our society which is not treated justly."
A solution is given to him: stop buying bombs and help farmers. No, nobody wants to follow the suggestion. I have the solution. There is no question of taxation. And if necessary, let us vote here to see what you will choose: bombs or farmers. Well, it is up to you to make your choice. I will tell you a fact: farmers are human beings; bombs are engines for the destruction of other human beings. The choice is there.
I think that these few remarks should convince the Liberals. I will agree with them that the price of milk per hundred pounds has increased; I will agree with them that the subsidies have increased; I will admit all that. They admit it. So much the better. The minister has admitted that farmers are not fairly
April 26, 1967
treated today. Economically, it is the most ill-treated class in Canada, the most pitiful social class in Canada. Now that all that is admitted, now that praise has been cast your way because you accomplished something, now, you will ask us for a solution. I will give you one: let us vote supply not only those for agriculture but also those for national defence.
Refuse to pass item 15 on page 318, refuse to pass vote $26,086,000 for bombs. That is all I ask of you. Refuse to pass that and tell the minister to put that in for dairy production, at the service of dairy producers and your problem will be solved. I trust that consideration will be given to this and that the members will take the necessary steps to change the credits so that bombs will not be bought which will never be used, but that instead the most unjustly treated class of society will be helped.
The Liberals tell us that they bring their pressure to bear in caucus, well-
Mr. Chairman, we realize that the hon. member for Beauharnois-Salaberry (Mr. Laniel) is not serious, when we are precisely trying to give him the answer to the problem. He and others in his group asked us to put forward solutions. We give him some, but there, you see that they are not serious. That is the big problem, Mr. Chairman, there are too many members in this house who are not serious, who are not ready to take and envisage realistic solutions, e (1:40 a.m.)
There are too many here who serve their party first when they should serve their electors first. There is the problem and the hon. member for Beauharnois-Salaberry (Mr. Laniel) has just given us a striking proof of it.
His question was most stupid, especially when it is about such a serious matter as this one.
Mr. Chairman, I feel that if the people in Quebec were aware of the attitude taken here at times by those hon. members, in short if they were aware of the submission, the bowing and scraping of several hon. members, they would get rid of them quickly.
Mr. Chairman, it is time that the Quebec people knew that the members they sent to Ottawa have not been representing them properly for too long and that they are here
to serve their political party rather than the national interest. That is what is discouraging and disgusting on the part of some members and I realized it. I was not afraid to speak out for my constituents, to speak my mind on their behalf, and I am convinced that my constituents, as well as those of Beauharnois, of Champlain or of Labelle fully endorse my request, that is, that the purchase of bombs be stopped in order to help farmers.
I challenge the hon. member for Beau-harnois-Salabery to gainsay it.
Mr. Chairman, I shall not talk about the farming problem, coming from a constituency not concerned with it. Other members know more about agriculture than I do. However, I am reminded of a remark the minister made not long ago in Charlottetown on being questioned about the merits of being a lawyer and also being the Minister of Agriculture. As I recall his reply it was: "You need not be a farmer to be minister of agriculture; after all, in Ottawa we have a lawyer who is Minister of Justice." He was referring to Mr. Cardin, and added: "You can see the mess they are in." That may illustrate the minister's approach to the farm problem.
On several occasions I have tried to bring a question before the house on the late show; consequently I am taking this opportunity to talk about problems of development in Cape Breton. Some important questions ought to be answered. After the Prime Minister's statement of last Thursday about the urgency of getting on with the country's business, I am surprised to see that four cabinet ministers, three of whom have recently been appointed, should be present tonight. All evening the debate has been going on in the absence of ministers who are supposed to be responsible.
Members opposite are saying it is not true. Last week the house was exercised because the unparliamentary word "lying" was used. I would ask the Minister of Public Works, who has been present for the last two hours, though he has not been with us, to get up and make an issue of the fact that the Minister of Agriculture made a mistake and did not realize his microphone was open. Let him make an issue of the four-letter word which was used by the Minister of Agriculture when speaking to the Minister of Public Works. I know no other example of
April 26, 1967
such a thing happening between two ministers of the crown, taking it out on each other because they were not satisfied with the way the debate on interim supply was going. I am telling the truth. The minister opposite me to my left has just come into the house.
With all due respect I had the impression that the question before us was the question of the truth, and it was raised by members on that side of the committee. The minister of health and welfare, and this is to his credit-he represents a riding in Cape Breton-has been sitting here all the evening along with the Minister of Industry. The Minister of Public Works was in a back seat. As I said before, he was present but not with us. The Minister of Forestry and Rural Development said he had been here since 8.30. I say that is not the truth.
If there are many more interruptions my time will run out, but I shall have an opportunity to rise again. The Minister of Agriculture set that example tonight. He took two half hour periods, to the agitation of the Minister of Public Works, and I could use the same privilege if members opposite push me to it.
There are only two ministers present on the government benches, and this is the government which said only last Thursday that this, this, and that must be passed by parliament, urgently. It said the unification debate had to be cut off in order to get on with the urgent business of the house. But once the unification bill was passed it was announced that we would be given a couple of days off, and those days off have now been extended despite the fact that the Prime Minister said he wanted to deal with urgent business.
Under the rules, if a member is not satisfied with the answers given him by a minister, the member has an opportunity to come on in the late show and discuss his question. I was given one such opportunity and I was provided with answers that were most ridiculous by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. Following that I raised my question again during the question period, but again unsatisfied with the answer I referred it to the ten o'clock adjournment period. However, I was refused this despite the fact that the answers were unsatisfactory. Not only were they unsatisfactory but they were far from accurate, and so I now take this opportunity to mention the lay-offs at the Fortress of Louisbourg.
The minister responsible has indicated that 44 men were hired recently. This is a lot of nonsense because last November 58 men were laid off. Those men were returned to the job after a lot of pressure was brought to bear, and in fact the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development said it was because of the representations made by the Minister of National Health and Welfare. I asked the Minister of National Health and Welfare about making further representations and to look at the statements made by the minister of Indian affairs and northern resources during the adjournment debate. That minister said that the funds were exhausted, but 13 lines further on in his speech he said they were staying within their budget.
It is important that every bit of help that can be given should be given to Cape Breton. I am surprised that the Minister of National Health and Welfare has not informed the government as to the facts. The facts are that a minister of the crown indicated to the people of this country that the government is paying subsidies to the coal industry to the extent of $7,000 per year per man. That is a lot of
April 26, 1967
absolute nonsense, but I was denied the opportunity to question it. I was given an unsatisfactory answer and I was denied the privilege of discussing it at ten o'clock.
We are grateful that the government has introduced a 15 year phasing out plan for the coal mines of Cape Breton, with guarantees of ultimate employment to be provided for each and every miner before he is displaced from the mines. This removes the uncertainty and makes the position of the Cape Breton miner more satisfactory than the situation under which he has been labouring for years gone by. It is a good move.
However, I would say to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, who does not know what he is talking about, that if it were costing the federal government $7,000 per year per man, in the interests of good business the government should make a flat offer to the Cape Breton miners of $5,000 per year, and close the coal mines out now.
The statement made by the minister was silly, but if they want to save $3,000 per man, why do they not close the mines and pay the miners $5,000 a year until other work is provided? This makes as much sense as the argument advanced by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. Let us get back to the basic fault in respect of this problem. There is no reason why the Minister of National Health and Welfare should not make the Prime Minister aware of this. The minister has made the mistake. I do not see why he does not take a look at this question, so that he will not make the same mistake of referring to subsidies in respect of the Cape Breton coal industry. The minister should make his colleagues aware of the fact there is no subsidy paid to the Cape Breton coal industry.
realize that the government has provided aid by making provision for the marketing of coal outside of Cape Breton. Without this, it would be impossible to keep any mine in operation. We realize that this assistance is directly beneficial to the Cape Breton coal industry. It is time, however, that this government became aware of the fact that these are not subsidies; they are subventions paid to the carriers. In other words this money is paid to the transportation industry, whether it is the water carriers or the C.N.R. We can break this down and see what this subvention which is paid to the
carriers means to the miners of Cape Breton. In any circumstances one could not arrive at the $7,000 figure mentioned by the minister. If we break it down and apply it to the number of people employed by means of the employment which is provided on the railway lines of the C.N.R.'s operation, or by the other carriers, we would find that the subsidy which has been referred to actually is a subvention from which we benefit greatly, but which nevertheless does not provide the answer to the fact that there are lay-offs at Louisbourg.
I am quite happy with the end result; that is, that the miners today, because of the policy announced, will be ensured of employment until other employment is provided through legislation which will be forthcoming. I can assure the minister now-and I think I speak for the other Nova Scotia members-that we will be only too happy to co-operate to the fullest extent when this legislation is brought forward. If there is anything we can do in the way of liaison between here and Cape Breton, we will be only too happy to do it. But, stop raising the bogeyman.
I might mention here that the area which the Minister of National Health and Welfare represents holds a great potential for Cape Breton. When something is good for Cape Breton, it is good for Nova Scotia, and when it is good for Nova Scotia it is good for Canada. Why in this area, where the need is the greatest, has there been this cut-back? Why was the money which was spent down here for almost two years for a hole in the ground not spent above the ground?
[DOT] (2:00 a.m.)
This project has cost about five times its originally estimated cost. It was originally suggested to help offset unemployment created by the closure of mines in Cape Breton. This government can dig up money for its own pet projects but it cannot find money for projects of this kind. If the Minister of National Health and Welfare is as strong in the cabinet as the image he likes to project in Nova Scotia, why does he not support this project in his own constituency. Why does he not make representations to his colleagues, particularly the misinformed Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, to continue this project in order that the miners who have been layed off can be rehired? Apparently he has abandoned that end of his riding, but why does he not support his own end of the constituency? After all, anything of value that is done for one part of Cape Breton is of
April 28, 1967
benefit to the whole island, the entire province and Canada.
I think if I set out the total amount of subventions paid in respect of my own province the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development would be very surprised, indeed. It is not surprising that he does not know about these things, but when I tried to raise a question today I was told that I was out of order. In my opinion any wrong that is done to a constituent is a reflection upon the member who represents that constituency in this house. I suggest that what the Minister of National Defence said regarding the question I raised today was a reflection upon me as the representative of my constituency, and I believe I had a legitimate question of privilege. The rules of this house apparently do not mean a great deal because one can always find six or seven interpretations for each rule. By my own interpretation I believe I raised a proper question of privilege.
During the last several weeks we have heard a great deal about unification. If we follow the suggestion of members of the New Democratic party, that each member of this house should be entitled to speak for half an hour, we would require 182 hours to consider every piece of legislation placed before the house. On the basis of the hours we sit each week, we would only be able to pass seven pieces of legislation each year. In spite of these figures, members on the government side have accused us of carrying on a filibuster in respect of unification. According to the formula suggested, hon. members in the Conservative party are entitled to 143 hours. We did not spend 143 hours in total during the debate on unification.
I think it is important to change our rules. Important issues come before this house and every member should have the right to use whatever time he has available to bring his views to the attention of the government. We do not require seven weeks to debate each issue which comes to our attention. But let us get back to the minister, and the erosion that has been going on in respect of Canadian traditions.
I am reminded of historical events. In August, 1914, when the Germans thought they could conquer Europe in about 39 days and were approaching Paris, which they thought they could take very easily, they decided they would have to violate the neutrality of Belgium. They therefore decided they would just cut across the corner, and excused themselves
by saying, "Well, this is a violation, but it is a small violation." The Germans thought everybody would forget about it because it was a small violation. I now come to the hearings of the defence committee. In those hearings a similar type of statement was made by the chief of defence staff, General Allard, who said the measure being discussed was only a little error. Is not there a similarity between those two statements?
Today I raised a question with respect to another tradition, one that provides that when a ship is decommissioned, if it has been named after a community in this country the bells of the ship are presented to the community after which the ship was named. The house may have thought this was not an important matter. The ship in question was the New Waterford and it was definitely named after the town of New Waterford, Nova Scotia, which as I said this morning has provided this nation with more volunteers, on a per capita basis, than any other community in the country.
When the ship was decommissioned tradition called for the bells to be presented to the town of New Waterford. Suddenly we find there is a town called Waterford in Ontario with which the Minister of National Defence has a very close association. As I said this morning, my knowledge of Waterford and whatever water surrounds it is only that it comes through the tap. It has no association whatsoever with the navy which is situated on the east coast. This ship was definitely named after the town in Nova Scotia but the minister, because of his close association with Waterford, has made available to that town in Ontario the bells of this decommissioned ship which rightfully belong to the town of New Waterford, Nova Scotia.
I received some sort of explanation in this regard. I accused the minister of breaking another tradition. There is in this matter a similarity between what General Allard said to the defence committee and the excuse given by the Germans that their action in 1914 was just a small violation. The chief of defence staff said before the defence committee that the action being contemplated was only a little error. Now we have the Minister of National Defence defying traditions. Can hon. members not see the similarity in these two approaches? We have had examples of small errors and defied traditions. This type of thing has been going on for the last two years under this Minister of National Defence. Unification got the axe. There were some
April 26. 1967
really priceless arguments put forward in defence of unification.
[DOT] (2:10 a.m.)
A member of the New Democratic party used the argument that any sailors to whom he had spoken about unification first asked what was the admirals' stand on this issue, and when they were told the admirals were against it the sailors' reply would be to the effect that in that case they are for it. The implication was that as long as the top brass in the service was for something, the rank and file would be against it. Suppose we accepted that approach. We know very well that General Allard and his staff are in favour of unification, but if we used the same approach would it not follow that in that case everybody in the army would be against unification? If we took a poll on this there is no doubt we would find that unification would not be accepted by the forces. However, as I said, this is a silly argument in the first place.
The Minister of National Defence has not accomplished that which he set out to accomplish without giving any thought or consideration to the evidence placed before the committee. Again I will point out that a colleague of the minister who saw fit to agree with the point under clause 6 later voted against the amendment put forward by this party.
At the time we also heard the silly argument advanced by a member of the New Democratic party who did not believe in giving the service personnel the opportunity to opt out. It is quite all right to give them the opportunity to opt in. So a form is put before a member of the services and he is told that he has the opportunity to opt in. If he does not opt in he has automatically opted out.
Again a silly argument was put forward by a member who made a flat statement with regard to this problem. He told the minister the kind of answers that were required or otherwise he would vote against the bill. He never got the answers but the government got his vote.
I think it is a well known fact that the Minister of National Defence is looking for a way out. Come fall, it is his ambition and his hope, so the story goes, to occupy another cabinet position. If this government is bent on suicide, this is all they need to do. Things are bad enough in every department of the government and there is only one way to make them worse, that is to transfer Hellyer around from one department to the other. That will sink them for sure.
Now we come to the Minister of Public Works. I know he is annoyed and agitated, although I may say he is sitting more quietly than he was when the Minister of Agriculture was speaking. At that time his agitation was great. Yet the government still finds some way of accusing hon. members of keeping this debate going. Will there be any publicity of the fact that the Minister of Public Works attempted to put the Minister of Agriculture down? Will there be any publicity regarding the remark made by the Minister of Agriculture to the Minister of Public Works when the latter tried to make him sit down? No, the Liberal propaganda will be spread out that the Tories are this and the Tories are that. The government has been given the opportunity on several occasions by the hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre who proposed that we get on with the nation's business.
We sat here and listened to the plea made by the Prime Minister last Thursday. He outlined a program which will keep us here, if we are interested in the nation's business. Mind you, last Thursday we were very interested in the nation's business. There was nothing more important than the urgent business which we brought before parliament in order to keep this nation on the tracks.