March 11, 1968

PC

Edward Nasserden

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nasserden:

I would be glad to repeat what I said in any place in Canada as well as in the House of Commons. If the government has been making mistakes, as the hon. member for Three Rivers indicated, most of those mistakes have been his mistakes, because he supported the government on so many occasions.

DEBATES March II, 1968

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IND

Joseph-Alfred Mongrain

Independent

Mr. Mongrain:

On a point of order. I should like to remind the hon. member that there is no city in the province of Quebec which is called Three Rivers. There is only one which is called Trois-Rivieres.

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PC

Edward Nasserden

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nasserden:

I agree with the hon. member. And Trois-Rivieres is one of the most beautiful places in Canada.

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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

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PC

Edward Nasserden

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nasserden:

I hope some day it will

send to the House of Commons a member who will support in the House of Commons the things he speaks about.

We have before us supplementary estimates covering a variety of items and, as I say, it is appropriate that on a day such as this in the history of parliament we should be discussing the question of expenditure. If one looks at expenditures on administration in the various departments he is bound to notice that salaries and special services, including professional services, are mentioned in almost every one of them. Take the Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, where the amount is $234,578. Then again, in the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, we find that $67,000-

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LIB

Herman Maxwell Batten (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Chairman:

I am sure the hon. member was listening to the hon. member for Trois Rivieres when he said we were supposed to be talking about the estimates of the Board of Broadcast Governors, and that he would do so. May I suggest the same course to the hon. member?

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PC

Edward Nasserden

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nasserden:

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. That is what I intend to do. I intend to relate what I am saying to the item before us, because on occasions such as this it is the duty of the opposition to draw attention to areas in which the government could make the savings necessary to prevent an increase in taxation, such as they are so desperately seeking from parliament at the present time. To assist me in this connection I have here an article taken from the report of the Auditor General telling us that the C.B.C. spent $104,000 for hotel space which it did not use and a further $217,000 for programs which were junked. Talking about programs which could be junked, I too can think of a few that could very well be junked.

Visiting my riding not too long ago I had occasion to call at the town of Duck Lake. The C.B.C. had a crew out there in connection

March 11. 1368

with a program dealing with the plight of the Indian population in this country. They went into this community, not to picture what was good but to pick out everything that was undesirable, everything that cast a poor light on the people there.

They dealt with this subject in a film which was sent out across Canada on more than one occasion showing what was supposed to be the situation at Duck Lake. Mr. Chairman, they even had a man go down on his knees and wash his hands in a mud puddle. Then they called Duck Lake a mud puddle, situated halfway between Saskatoon and Prince Albert in the province of Saskatchewan, e (8:50 p.ra.)

That is the kind of thing for which we pay our money. That is why we have a government that is on the ropes today, because it has to provide the money for this kind of thing. Bearing in mind that the C.B.C. spent $104,000 on unused hotel space, how dearly must the Minister of Finance wish he had that $104,000 today. How dearly he must wish he had the $217,000 spent on programs that were junked, and the $103,000 which went into obsolete film.

When the hon. member for York-Humber was speaking on the broadcasting bill, which was his right-whether we all agree with everything he said or not-the Secretary of State offered him $5.48 if he would shut his mouth, saying that was his share of the cost of C.B.C. operations. Yet when the estimates were issued later they showed that the C.B.C. cost per capita is $7. The cabinet intimates that this is a small price to pay for a national institution such as the C.B.C., but recently one newspaper headline pointed out that civil service payrolls could bankrupt Canada.

We must consider economic conditions in the country at present. We must remember how the government has shown a careless attitude with regard to the manpower requirements not only of its departments but of the various crown corporations such as the C.B.C. When we do this we have a picture of a government that does not know how to spend money properly, yet it has the arrogance to come to parliament and seek approval for these supplementary estimates.

Items in these supplementary estimates for the various departments which have caught my eye are those for specialist and professional services. I would like to know how these are broken up and who receives these moneys. I would venture the opinion that

Supply-Secretary of State much of these moneys go to favourites of the government engaged in the advertising business.

When the government took office it was supposed to have all the answers. It was going to solve all the problems. It was going to eliminate all the waste and extravagance in the public service. Now we see item after item in the estimates portraying the extravagant incompetence of hon. gentlemen opposite.

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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Barnett:

Mr. Chairman, having listened to the remarks of the hon. member who has just taken his seat I am strongly tempted to say it would be interesting to ask questions about the cost of a certain Tory extravaganza, which some of us had to watch on television last summer. For a few days we had nothing but Tory propaganda broadcast across the length and breadth of the country.

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PC

Gerald William Baldwin

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Baldwin:

That was educational television.

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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Barnett:

The item under discussion is an estimate for the Board of Broadcast Governors, and I would like to make a few remarks on that topic, supplementing some observations made earlier by the hon. member for Burnaby-Richmond.

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LIB

John Mercer Reid

Liberal

Mr. Reid:

Don't ruin the debate, Tom, by talking about the subject.

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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Barnett:

I did not catch that

interjection.

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?

An hon. Member:

He said don't ruin the debate by talking about the subject under discussion.

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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Barnett:

Mr. Chairman, I detect that you are in a somewhat indulgent mood this evening and I trust you did not catch that interjection. I wish to direct the attention of the committee, and of the parliamentary secretary who is being very attentive to the discussion, to the last section of the Broadcasting Act passed by the House of Commons recently, which says that "this act shall come into force on a day to be fixed by proclamation." I think we should have some declaration from the government on when it intends to make the new Broadcasting Act operative.

This is most important so far as the operations of the new Canada Radio and Television Commission are concerned. Appointments have been made to the top executive positions in the C.B.C., and we assume those new public servants are taking a hard look at the

March 11, 1968

Supply-Secretary of State corporation's operations and at the direction in which it should be moving. I think it is equally important that the new Canadian regulatory body should start functioning as quickly as possible.

The new regulatory body should be taking a hard look at the over-all picture concerning the future of Canadian broadcasting and should be considering the new guide lines to be laid down. In addition to the points raised by the hon. member for Burnaby-Richmond 1 wish to stress one important area which should receive early attention from the new regulatory body, and this covers the question of how the operations of community antenna systems are going to fit into the current broadcasting picture.

One of the most important changes made in the Broadcasting Act involved community antenna systems. I believe that all concerned should know as quickly as possible the rules, regulations, and the lines of departure that the new regulatory body is going to lay down in this connection. This is something of vital concern to much of the coastal area of British Columbia. At the moment it is of very real concern to certain operators within my area on Vancouver island.

As the parliamentary secretary is aware, the coastal area of British Columbia and Vancouver island is broken up by mountains which interfere with television reception. What is now needed is information on extensions planned by the C.B.C. and private broadcasters in the conventional sense, and the degree of freedom of action which community antenna system operators will enjoy, particularly in the utilization of microwave lengths.

C.A.T.V. people have expressed many fears about the prospect of their coming under the jurisdiction of the new regulatory body. I have suggested that if this new body operates as I feel it should operate, then it will protect community antenna operators, because under the terms of the legislation it must take them into consideration as part of the total broadcasting picture throughout the country.

[DOT] (9:00 p.m.)

As I have said this could be a matter of great importance and practical concern to many communities in the more isolated areas of the country which at the present time are not able to enjoy any form of television broadcasting. Associated with this I would hope that the new regulatory body, when

planning the total broadcasting picture, would impress upon the C.B.C. the importance of bringing at least basic television coverage to the areas of the country which do not now have it through the public broadcasting system. Again, in mentioning the whole northern three quarters of Vancouver island, which is one area that for a long time had neither television nor radio coverage from the public broadcasting system, I am happy to say that this last year, some 13 or 14 years after I first began making representations, radio service has been brought to many of these communities. However, I understand that television coverage for these areas is a long way in the future.

I believe this matter should be given priority by the council and the C.B.C. when planning its future capital expenditures program. When considering the capital financing requirements of the C.B.C., especially in view of the further terms of reference we have given in the new act, I believe the council should recognize the importance of the C.B.C. bringing at least its basic radio and television services to the areas of Canada which now have no such services. I hope there will be an early proclamation of the new Broadcasting Act and that this will be one of the things which will be accelerated. I believe it is important that this be done and that there be no unnecessary duplication of effort and expenditure on the part of the people in the C.A.T.V. field with that of the people in the so-called conventional broadcasting field. I hope we will be given some information either from the parliamentary secretary or from the Secretary of State, if she returns before these items pass, concerning the intention of the government when the new Broadcasting Act becomes effective.

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IND

Gilles Grégoire

Independent

Mr. Gregoire:

Mr. Chairman, I listened earlier with great interest to the hon. member for Trois-Rivieres (Mr. Mongrain). He reminded me of a San Francisco hippie throwing flowers. For the past two years, he has been going around throwing bouquets right and left. I think that is somewhat the part played by the hon. member for Trois-Rivieres in the house. He keeps the vase behind the curtain and when the opportunity presents itself, he does not hesitate to throw it, especially when the person involved is absent. Besides, the hon. member for Ville-neuve (Mr. Caouette) knows something about

March 11, 1968

it, even though he came in for some praise this evening.

He asked earlier to take part in a program, perhaps once every two years, as he said. I would suggest to the C.B.C. that he not be given free time on the program "Les affaires de l'Etat," but rather on the program "Les tra-vaux et les jours," which deals with gardening, where he would feel completely at home. On the other hand, if he is allowed to appear on the program "Les affaires de l'Etat, it will be more free time granted to the Liberals. The hon. member for Trois-Rivieres may protest as long as he wants but we know very well that it is not necessary to dig very deep before uncovering the ideas of the Liberals in him.

Now, let us go on to more serious matters.

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IND

Joseph-Alfred Mongrain

Independent

Mr. Mongrain:

Mr. Chairman, on a question of privilege.

The hon. member for Lapointe is insulting me when he says: "Let us go on to more serious matters". He is suggesting that the member for Trois-Rivieres is not serious in his remarks. I want to tell him that if I were growing flowers I would not grow evil-smelling or prickly flowers like cactus.

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IND

Gilles Grégoire

Independent

Mr. Gregoire:

Cactuses grow in barren land, not in good land.

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?

@Deputy Chair(man)? of Committees of the Whole

Order, please. I wonder whether we should not leave horticulture now to study the question before us.

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IND

Gilles Grégoire

Independent

Mr. Gregoire:

That is what I wanted to do, Mr. Chairman, withdraw from growing flowers.

A few moments ago, Mr. Chairman, something about the C.B.C. impressed me particularly and I would like to give it my support: the member for Villeneuve said that all sensible ideologies, whatever they are, must be given free expression on the C.B.C., as long as this is done equitably and everyone is able to express his opinions, and there is no shedding of blood.

Mr. Chairman, one thing should be noted in all this. We would allow everyone to express their views, but this does not necessarily mean that, during a given period of time or during a same week, everyone will have the same opportunity to express their opinions. It comes by variable periods and cycles.

I remember quite well that, following the 1962 election, the Ralliement Creditiste of

Supply-Secretary of State which I was then a member was quite popular and was invited regularly by the C.B.C., as was the case following the 1963 election.

I remember also that the Conservatives had a lot of publicity, on the news, for two or three months before their convention and that they were given two full days during their convention.

Now, that the Liberal convention is forthcoming, we notice that the candidates to the leadership are given more publicity on the news and they will get even more as the date of the convention draws near. And that is only to be expected.

I noticed also that, during the crisis of February 19 last, when I held in this house the balance of power, the C.B.C., of course, wanted to know what side I would support. It did not last very long because at the end of two days, it was the hon. member for Villeneuve who took over. The television cameras started hounding him, and I find that perfectly normal, because his role became more important.

In 1962-1963, when the Creditistes had 30 members in this house with 26 from Quebec they had some weight and they were a source of news much more important than in 1958 when none had been elected or in 1968 when there is only 8 of them left. The thing is obvious.

Mr. Chairman, we must admit that these things can vary. If, after the next election, they are 50, as I hope, they will represent a greater source of news.

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RA

David Réal Caouette

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Caouelte:

Fifty Creditistes.

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March 11, 1968