March 25, 1968

CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

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

Mr. Barnett:

I rise on a point of order, Mr. Chairman. In view of the matters which were being raised for discussion on this item at six o'clock, I ask Your Honour to permit the minister to answer briefly the relatively simple question asked by the hon. member for Winnipeg North. The minister appears to be in a fairly amiable mood. I think he must have had a restful week end. I am sure he is ready to answer that question which is related to the operations of his department.

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

I do not want to transgress the rules of the committee, but during the last discussion I had with the management of the railway, which was just a few weeks ago, I received information that no lay-offs were planned, and that the special retirement arrangements which have been made in the Canadian National will permit the railway to reduce its total labour force to the extent required at the present time. As I indicated to my hon. friend, that information is not current, but I have no reason to believe it is not accurate now. I would be glad to make further inquiries of the railroad.

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NDP

David Orlikow

New Democratic Party

Mr. Orlikow:

May I ask one more question? Has the minister any information as to the

March 25, 1968

Supply-Transport

number of men that have been laid off since the large lay-off about which there were so many questions?

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

No, I do not have that information at my fingertips, I am sorry.

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NDP

David Orlikow

New Democratic Party

Mr. Orlikow:

I do not want to hold up the estimates. Can the minister get that information in the next little while, as to the number of Canadian National employees who have been laid off since September 1, 1967? If the minister would agree to give me the information when he gets it, then I will be quite satisfied.

[DOT] (8:10 p.m.)

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

If my hon. friend would give me the time period in which he is interested, I would be glad to get the information :for him.

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NDP

Item agreed to. 3c. Reimbursement of the Department of Transport working capital advance for the value of stores which have become obsolete, unserviceable, lost or destroyed, $145,697. Item agreed to. Marine Services- 5c. Administration, operation and maintenance including authority, notwithstanding section 30 of the Financial Administration Act, to increase to $28,971,100 the commitments for the current fiscal year for the Canadian Coast Guard service, $792,100.


IND

Gilles Grégoire

Independent

Mr. Gregoire:

Mr. Chairman, item 5c allows us to deal with the administration and maintenance of aids to navigation. Of course, that includes winter navigation on the St. Lawrence and the Minister of Transport (Mr. Hellyer) is well aware of my long-standing interest in that problem.

One hundred years ago, fifty years ago and even twenty-five years ago, there was not so much talk about winter navigation on the St. Lawrence. The best winter ports were located along the Atlantic shore and winter navigation on the St. Lawrence was practically inexistant.

Thanks to modern technology in the field of transport, to new ship-building methods-including stronger hulls-to more powerful engines, to new methods of keeping the St. Lawrence open and with the help of Scandinavian countries and of Russia-Canada has not necessarily led the way in that regard-it

was realized that winter navigation was possible as far as Quebec city, Trois-Rivieres, Sorel and Montreal. Today however there is a problem: the government must change its attitude towards winter navigation. There are there different trends of thought on that point.

First of all, according to those who live in the eastern part of the country, in Halifax and Saint John, the representatives of the ports of the maritimes-and I understand their attitude-no step should be taken to develop winter navigation on the St. Lawrence and no icebreakers should be sent on the St. Lawrence so as not to harm the harbours of the maritimes. I understand their attitude, since that means something to the maritime provinces.

Secondly, there are those who say, as the former minister of transport put it a year or two ago: We will do no more and no less than what we are doing now in respect of winter navigation on the St. Lawrence. They are the ones in between, those who do not want to give an opinion, who want neither to delay not to promote winter navigation. In other words they are neutral.

Thirdly, there are those who ask the Minister of Transport to establish a clearly progressive policy in that field and to take the necessary means to open the St. Lawrence to winter navigation, up to Montreal. Thanks to our knowledge of navigation on the St. Lawrence, even during the most bitter cold weather, to the new developments in shipbuilding, the improvement of engines, the reinforcement of hulls, etc. I think it is possible for us today-not in 20 years from now, but today to facilitate very easily winter navigation on the St. Lawrence up to Montreal.

We already have ice-breakers, maybe not enough, but it it is up to the minister to adjust his policy. Studies should perhaps be carried out concerning certain details but the greater difficulties have been overcome. What we need now is not technical knowledge or means, but that the Minister of Transport should take a decision, because he knows that we can carry on winter navigation on the St. Lawrence. What we need now is a decision from the minister.

I admit that he is caught between two groups-that of the maritimes and that of Quebec, that is the ports along the St. Lawrence-but progress means opening up navigation as far as possible inland. Once

March 25, 1968

there is winter navigation up to Montreal, it will not be many years before there is navigation along the St. Lawrence seaway as far as Toronto, and then, the head of great lakes. Progress demands that the channels of communication be opened as far as possible.

The solution now lies in the decision the minister will reach. Is he willing to decide to keep the St. Lawrence open to winter navigation, not just so-so, or half way, but formally?

It will be remembered that last January, ships were trapped in the ice. Navigation was closed down for almost a month. Some will tell me that ice jams are caused by the cold but the real reason is that the minister who is responsible for keeping the channel open did not do so, when he should have.

Here is an article by an expert on winter navigation on the St. Lawrence, Mr. Denis Masse, the maritime correspondent for La Presse who wrote this on January 23 and I quote:

In the city's shipping circles, it is said that the department could have prevented those ice jams by keeping the biggest and the most powerful ice-breaker in operation between Montreal and Quebec City. It is remembered that the d'Iberville was on patrol in the Saguenay and that the John A. Macdonald was in the gulf before the ice jams built up between Montreal and Quebec City.

Past experience has shown also for quite some time that the ice jams which are never easy to break up build up in January. Although it is true that the ice jams formed earlier than usual this year, it remains that the situation should not have come as a surprise to anyone.

As early as January 9, the air survey of the ice showed the possibility of ice jams in the narrow sections of the river. Then, what were the icebreakers doing that same day? The John A. Macdonald and the Simon Fraser stayed in Quebec City and the Montcalm alone went out for a routine trip. Shipping was at a standstill the next day.

Mr. Chairman, several of those ice-breakers have an helicopter on board. Last winter, before the famous ice jams which were responsible for the floods and the closing of the channel built up, the helicopter pilots from the ice-breakers had warned the authorities of the Department of Transport in Quebec city on January 7, 8 and 9, 1968, that ice jams were building up near the Quebec bridge and a little further upstream. Department of Transport authorities took no notice of that. Why? Because they were ordered not to prevent ice jams but to break them up after they have formed. The ice-breakers did not move, even if Department of Transport authorities in Quebec city were well aware,

Supply-Transport

following reports made by the pilots of their helicopters which were watching the situation, that ice jams were forming at the Quebec bridge and upstream as far as Trois-Rivieres-and that for three days. On the 9th, the day before the ice jams formed, despite the repeated warnings of the officials in the helicopters, two of the three ice-breakers in service at Quebec city remained alongside the wharf, and the third made only a routine trip, as reported by Mr, Denis Masse, maritime reporter for La Presse.

[DOT] (8:20 p.m.)

The mistake of the Department of Transport results from the order being given not to prevent ice-jams but to break them up after they have formed. If, as soon as the ice jams started building up, on January 6, 7, 8 and 9, the ice-breakers had begun their work, then the ice jams would not have formed and navigation on the St. Lawrence could have continued as usual in January. But after ice jams have formed, if there is a delay, whatever it is, they thicken; that is why on January 15 and 16, they had reached a thickness of 30 to 40 feet; ice-breakers in the maritimes had to be summoned then to help break them. But even if there were as many as 9 icebreakers at a given time, due to the thickness of the ice, it took about ten days to break the jams, and navigation was closed for 26 days.

The main problem is not that the ice-breakers are unable to break the ice jams, but that they wait until the ice jams have built up and are too thick. Ice-breakers should be constantly kept in service, from the beginning of the winter, to prevent any accumulation of ice in the bends of the river and at the most narrow stretches. Today, with the equipment at its disposal, the Department of Transport can do it. But, since he is the authority in that field, the Minister of Transport will have to assume his responsibilities-a thing his predecessors avoided doing the past 8 or 9 years-and decide once for all that ice-breakers are not merely there to break up ice jams, but to prevent them. If ice-breakers were working continuously, 4 or 5 or them would be sufficient to prevent ice-jams from developing and the St. Lawrence could remain open up to Montreal all year round.

Mr. Chairman, it is as simple as that. All we need is a decision from the minister.

The minister told us this winter that he was studying the matter and that temporary islands were being tried in lac Saint-Pierre. But that is not the place where the worst ice

March 25, 1968

Supply-Transport

jams developed last year and, moreover, it is not because of these that navigation was closed for 26 days. It was due to the ice jams which developed between Quebec and Trois-Rivieres, and the reason why the river between Quebec and Trois-Rivieres was so solidly jammed up is that the ice-breakers had waited too long before starting to do their job.

I do not want to put the blame on the captains of the ice-breakers, for all they did was to obey the orders they received from the department, that is to say break the ice-jams when they have formed, and not prevent them when they are forming. In view, Mr. Chairman, the minister should now announce in person the clear and definite policy of his department. What decisions have been taken by the Department of Transport with respect to winter navigation on the St. Lawrence? Does the minister intend to maintain the status quo, as did his predecessor, Mr. Pick-ersgill, that is to say do nothing more and nothing less? Does the present Minister of Transport really intend to take the decisions that must be taken in order that the channel may be kept open all year round? And when I speak of taking the decisions that must be taken, Mr. Chairman, I do not mean adding a large number of ice-breakers to those now in existence.

The studies made by Professor Michel Bro-chu of the Ecole des hautes etudes commer-ciales of Montreal have shown that there were enough ice-breakers now to maintain open navigation all year round, but on condition that they do their work and that they constantly be at the ready to prevent ice-jams. The department has all the equipment needed, especially since other ice-breakers are to be added to the number already at its disposal. One of them, the Louis Saint-Laurent, I think, is practically finished, and my colleague the hon. member for Trois-Rivieres (Mr. Mongrain) tells me that another one, the Tracy, will also be put into operation soon. So that if two ice-breakers are added to those already in service, this will make an amply sufficient fleet, as long as the ships are put to work. But at the present time, they spend most of their time at the docks. This is just as costly, for when an ice-breaker is idle in its home port, it has to keep its engines running in order to maintain heat inside the vessel.

The quantity of oil burned to keep the engines running is just about the same as if the ice-breakers were operating. Moreover, a full-time crew has to be maintained aboard. The employees have to be fed, accommodated and so on. Keeping an ice-breaker in its home

[Mr. GrSgoire.l

port costs just as much as letting it run between Quebec and Trois-Rivieres, between Trois-Rivieres and Sorel or between Sorel and Montreal. That would not increase the expenses.

What we are asking for is simply a decision on the part of the Department of Transport, to the effect that the river must be open the year round. Should such a decision be made, one captain and the crew members of those ice-breakers assure me that they are able to keep the channel open the year round. Let them be free to keep the channel open and they will feel in honour bound to keep it open all year round and see to it that it is never ice-bound.

Mr. Chairman, I have been told by captains and crew members of icebreakers that they would be able and happy to keep it open. But nowadays, they are not put to work. They are only instructed to leave their home port when ice-jams are already formed and their work is then much harder, because once ice-jams are formed, the ice thickens and it takes several days to break them up.

Therefore, I ask the Minister of Transport not to increase expenditures, as mentioned earlier, but to take a definite stand this evening with regard to that very important problem, not only for Quebec, because the minister, who is from Toronto, must be well aware that once it is demonstrated that the channel can be kept open as far as Montreal, and that will be possible as early as next year, the same efforts could be made in future years to keep the seaway open as far as Toronto. Then, Toronto will also benefit from it. The Minister of Transport should keep that in mind. Not only St. Lawrence ports, but also those along the seaway, and as far as the lakehead, will benefit from it.

What a asset it would be to have such an inland seaway reaching almost to the heart of the continent and serving its largest industrial cities.

[DOT] (8:30 p.m.)

Under the circumstances, Mr. Chairman, I think Canada should no longer oppose progress. If special maritime subsidies are required in order to help these towns develop according to their situation and natural resources, I have no objection. On the contrary, I am in favour of these subsidies. But I do not think areas along the St. Lawrence or the St. Lawrence seaway should be prevented from developing. There can only be progress if it exists in all regions.

March 25, 1968

In the light of these arguments, Mr. Chairman, I would ask the hon. Minister of Transport to tell us-and he must have expected this-what is the definite policy of the Department of Transport concerning the opening of the St. Lawrence river to year-round navigation? I hope the minister is able to give us an answer tonight, and I would like him to give it now.

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IND

Joseph-Alfred Mongrain

Independent

Mr. Mongrain:

Mr. Chairman, this afternoon I called the minister's attention to damage suffered in the Trois-Rivieres area last winter due to floods resulting in fact from the ice-jams which the hon. member for Lapointe (Mr. Gregoire) mentioned earlier and which were quite unusual, I admit.

The minister gave me an answer and I appreciate it, but I must tell him that I cannot accept it as it is and for very good reasons.

The minister offered to send me the report he mentioned. I have received it from his department and I thank him for it.

I read it very attentively several times. Unfortunately, I find many weak spots in it. First of all, I see that it was prepared by his officials who seem to hold the injured parties responsible for the negligence I deplored this afternoon-and for which I asked the government to pay compensation. Therefore, this should be an unsatisfactory report which should be revised by disinterested people outside the department.

Second, if, as the hon. member for Lapointe has been saying for years every time he criticizes the government for not keeping the St. Lawrence open in wintertime as it should, the government is really doing all it can, if it has the necessary equipment and assumes the responsibility for preventing ice-jams, then the government also has the moral obligation to compensate those who have suffered from the fact that winter navigation has not been possible at all times.

There is talk of acts of God which are not the responsibility of the government. I realize that the government can do nothing to prevent an earthquake, for example. I understand that if a hurricane destroys a section of a city or part of a county, or if there is a great tidal wave, there is nothing the government can do. I understand also-if that is true-that the government has everything it needs to maintain navigation on the St. Lawrence, to prevent ice-jams. Let them assume their responsibilities and if they are unable to do so, let them compensate people

Supply-Transport

who invested large amounts along the St. Lawrence because they were told that there would be no more floods as there used to be 75 or 100 years ago, since the government was keeping the St. Lawrence open.

I do not agree with the hon. member for Lapointe when he says that the responsible people, like ship captains and area superintendents may not be at fault since they await orders. I cannot believe that it is proof of intelligence to interpret the department's orders so strictly as to wait until ice-jams are so thick that there is no way to break them. It strikes me that a most obtuse interpretation is given to the instructions of the department when he says that the icebreakers are there to prevent ice-jams from forming. There, as in other fields, the best defense is still attack. If the instructions of the department are poorly interpreted, it is up to the department to clarify them.

And now, I come back to the policy I asked the hon. minister, this afternoon, to kindly adopt, because I maintain it is the responsibility of the government to offer compensation, at least to some extent and in some serious cases. I maintain that the report the hon. minister mentioned a while ago is incomplete, inaccurate, and even tendencious. I should not want to embarrass him during his present campaign, which is important, but I warn him, as courteously as possible, that if he comes out victorious in his campaign-and even if he is still Minister of Transports-I shall go knocking at his door to refute some of the allegations contained in that report.

I will also go and knock on his door so that the people who have been so seriously wronged as a result of what I call neglect or lack of intelligence on the part of those who were supposed to interpret the instructions of the department, may get a compensation. Besides, if it is more serious than that, if the department was not clear enough in its explanations, then we shall know, because it must be written somewhere. But I say that a basic justice is required. Some poor people have been the victims of serious damage and, under the circumstances, it is the responsibility of the government to give them a compensation to a certain extent, or at least to study objectively the merits of their claims, in order to see whether or not they are justified.

Once again, I am sorry, but I cannot accept the answer given by the hon. minister. I shall not press the point any further tonight, because I should like to give him the opportunity to carry on his campaign in all peace of mind. But I warn him that as soon as it is

March 25. 1968

Supply-Transport

all over, I shall make a fresh effort, and I will not be the only member to do so, because we already had the opportunity to talk about this and to examine closely the claims which have been presented.

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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

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

Mr. Barnett:

I can agree with the hon. member for Trois-Rivieres that, in case the minister should one day find himself in another position, this may be a good opportunity to remind him of the unfinished business he has in front of him in his present capacity. One of the matters which I note comes under this item is the operation and maintenance of the Canadian Coast Guard service.

I want to remind the hon. gentleman that this is a matter of great concern on the west coast of Canada as a result of the announced intention to delay the construction of certain larger coast guard vessels. Many people had been looking forward to seeing these vessels in operation at a relatively early date. I am sure the minister has by now become fully aware of the generally accepted view on the Pacific coast, that while the present type may be suitable for some purposes they are not adequate to deal with the conditions which can be expected from time to time in the open Pacific.

When it was announced that plans were in preparation to develop larger and more adequate vessels for this work, a great deal of pleasure was expressed by those affected. Some of my hon. friends from areas where many people earn their livelihoods directly or indirectly from shipbuilding have, quite properly, sought occasions in this house to draw attention to the effect the delay in this construction program is having upon employment in those areas.

[DOT] (8:40 p.m.)

I, as a member representing a constituency where coast guard services are a very necessary item, have tended to look at the matter from the other end of the picture, keeping in mind the need and requirement for improved facilities. The two things go together so far as I am concerned. Nonetheless I think that when we talk about our shipbuilding industry we have to keep in mind that ships, if they are going to be built, should be built to serve a useful and necessary purpose, and it is from this point of view that I want to make my representations to the minister.

[Mr. Mongraln.i

I have been looking at the general pattern as I see it, and while I am concerned with the kind of announcement made in the house some time ago by the President of the Treasury Board, when he singled out these two particular items, two new ships on the west coast, as an example of things being pruned from the proposed spending estimates of various government departments, I see a development arising from that announcement.

If I read the picture correctly from the estimates as they have been presented to the house from time to time, this announcement by the President of the Treasury Board simply appears to be an accentuation of an already existing trend, because under the item of marine services for the construction and acquisition of buildings, works, land, vessels and other equipment, we find in the main estimates for 1966-67 the sum of $51,507,300 was allocated. In the main estimates for the current fiscal year we find the sum is $50,387,700, which is a drop of $1,119,600 in round figures from the previous fiscal year; and if we turn to the more recently tabled estimates forecasting the future we find that the figure for 1968-69 is $48,328,000, which is a further decline of $2,059,700 from the estimates for the current fiscal year.

There is no provision in these supplementary estimates for any expenditure under this particular heading, and so we find that in a period extending over three fiscal years there is a drop of over $3 million in this particular area of government spending. Yet at the same time we recognize a growing and increasingly urgent need for the provision of such facilities as were proposed in the construction of these larger coast vessels.

I think the minister owes the committee some explanation of what is happening in the marine services operation of his department. Are we starting on a trend that is going to take us steadily downhill in the provision of this kind of service? I do not know whether the minister has the particulars before him tonight, but I would remind him that, in addition to the proposal for larger coast guard vessels his predecessor in office informed me, by correspondence, of plans and proposals which the department had under consideration for the establishment of additional life boat stations on the west coast of Vancouver island, as well as on the northeast coast in the Queen Charlotte strait area. At that time I was hopeful that at last we were going to have developed a really adequate system of coast guard coverage by the

March 25, 1968

provision of larger vessels and by the provision of these useful life boat stations in areas along the west coast where previously we had no such services.

The proposal respecting life boat stations was that in addition to the existing stations of Tofi.no and Bamfield along that coast of Vancouver island, which at one time was known as the graveyard of the Pacific, there would be established two additional life guard stations. I had argued for the establishment of three additional stations, but it was suggested to me that for the time being there should be one established somewhere south of cape Cook and another one somewhere north of cape Cook, and I was told that investigations were going on to determine the exact locations of these stations. It was also suggested that there was a requirement for this kind of facility in the Queen Charlotte strait area off the northeast coast of Vancouver island.

In examining the total spending program of the department I realize that this is a nationwide program, and that certain sections of the program may have been completed in other parts of the country. But when we are faced with the kind of announcement that was made by the President of the Treasury Board last November, one begins to wonder whether the Department of Transport, in the over-all spending planning of the government, is being permanently bled of the necessary funds to improve the efficiency of services that many Canadians feel are a proper responsibility of the government.

I would like the minister to give us some indication of where we are heading, with particular reference to the expansion of the coast guard service through the provision of these very necessary larger vessels on the west coast and, if he has the information available, I would like to know what is happening with regard to the planning of the additional life boat stations I have mentioned.

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LIB

Ralph Bronson Cowan

Liberal

Mr. Cowan:

Mr. Chairman, if the minister is not going to answer the hon. member for Comox-Alberni I would like to refer to a matter in his department that is of more than passing interest to the people of York-Hum-ber, and to British Columbia as well. Since we last discussed estimates concerning water navigation I have been informed, by reading a letter to a private individual in York-Humber, that the administration of the Navigable Waters Protection Act has been transferred from the Department of Public Works to the Department of Transport. I want to congratulate Canada on this move because I

Supply-Transport

believe that now this act will be enforced with the proper intention under the Minister of Transport, something which it has not been for the past several years under the Minister of Public Works.

My interest in the Navigable Waters Protection Act has to do with the illegal filling of navigable waters and with the inaction of the cabinet in enforcing the regulations. I now believe that under the Department of Transport we will get action on this matter in Toronto, and may I say that I believe the same situation is developing in British Columbia.

I am not a lawyer and I know that the Minister of Transport is not a lawyer. But the Minister of Public Works is, and in the past, when I raised objection to the fact that the provisions of the Navigable Waters Protection Act were not being enforced, I was given learned lectures by the Minister of Public Works as to what is legal and what is not legal. Mr. Chairman, I have had better lectures from better lawyers, including my brother-in-law, who for many years was deputy attorney general of Ontario, and who has forgotten more about that act than the Minister of Public Works will ever know.

The reason I refer to this act now is because of the lessons that the Minister of Public Works endeavoured to give me, a mere layman. He drew my attention to the legal nicety that the beds of rivers and the beds of lakes are in the jurisdiction of the provinces, and that the beds of the lakes and the beds of the rivers being in the jurisdiction of the provinces, when the provinces granted a patent on a water lot the federal government had no authority over such lots -which is 100 per cent wrong, but that was the lecture.

[DOT] (8:50 p.m.)

This is interesting, because in the borough of Etobicoke it is possible for real estate developers to pour all the land they want on to water lots in lake Ontario,-as the Minister of Public Works says, because he does not enforce the Navigable Waters Protection Act. Precedents are being established for the province of British Columbia, which may in time bring tears to the eyes of the federal government. In the last few months we have had a statement from the Supreme Court of Canada, after a reference from the federal government to the Supreme Court concerning whether or not offshore mineral rights belong to the federal government or the province.

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Certainly it was a victory for the federal government when the Supreme Court ruled that the mineral rights off our shores belong to the federal government and not to the province of British Columbia.

If the province of British Columbia will take the lesson the Minister of Public Works has been giving me for nothing they will realize that all they have to do, since they have control over the water lots and the beds of the coastal waters, is issue patented water lots to themselves, and then they can fill in the patented water lots as far out as they want and start to mine because, according to the Minister of Public Works, the beds of a lake and of coastal waters belong to the province, and they can issue patented lots. They can go as far out as the sovereignty of the province extends. Now we have the Roberts Bank proposition in British Columbia, where the premier of British Columbia wishes to develop a port. Normally this would be considered to be under the jurisdiction of the federal government under the Navigable Waters Protection Act, but Wacky Bennett can go ahead and give himself all the land he wants off the coast of British Columbia, if he grants water lots to himself.

Very dangerous precedents are being set up by the federal government in not enforcing the Navigable Waters Protection Act in the borough of Etobicoke, in the riding I represent. The Minister of Transport is a Toronto man. He knows Toronto well and I believe he knows the waterfront well. Surely with an able man like the Minister of Transport we will be able to have a halt placed on the illegal filling of lake Ontario. Someone may say that this is a small matter involving York-Humber. It is not a small matter when it establishes a precedent for off-shore mineral rights. If a province wishes to provide patented water lots to themselves and then mine them, what is to stop them? Or if the province of British Columbia wishes to build a great harbour off the coast of British Columbia south of Vancouver, they need only to grant themselves patented water lots and then they would have control because the Minister of Public Works did not enforce the Navigable Waters Protection Act when it was in his jurisdiction. Patented lots come within provincial jurisdiction and the province can grant these to themselves.

I would ask the Minister of Transport to please consider enforcing the Navigable Waters Protection Act by declaring as national park land the illegal land that has been filled

in on the north shore of lake Ontario in the borough of Etobicoke in metropolitan Toronto. This land is worth anywhere from $800,000 to $1 million an acre. If we have an uncooperative cabinet minister who is not going to enforce the Navigable Waters Protection Act, then we will soon have a lot of land in the heart of metropolitan Toronto worth $1 million an acre. If the cabinet is not willing to enforce the Navigable Waters Protection Act under the Minister of Public Works I believe the Minister of Transport will enforce it. If the cabinet is unwilling to enforce the act in the borough of Etobicoke, surely they can realize the danger of the precedent they are setting because lake Ontario is an international body of water.

There are dangerous precedents being established which I believe will only be avoided if the Department of Transport will start to enforce this act and see that the illegal fill that has been placed on the north shore of lake Ontario between the Humber river and Etobicoke creek, is declared to be national park land. By so declaring it they would stop the land developers putting acreage into the public waters of lake Ontario. I ask that the Minister of Transport give this his early consideration, after the leadership competition has been decided, and that he pay a visit to Toronto. I know where to look and I would be glad to accompany him along the lake shore of York-Humber and the section between there and Etobicoke creek.

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NDP

Edward Richard Schreyer

New Democratic Party

Mr. Schreyer:

Mr. Chairman, may I ask the hon. member for York-Humber whether many of these patented water lots which have been filled in have had commercial development on them.

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LIB

Ralph Bronson Cowan

Liberal

Mr. Cowan:

In answer to the hon. member for Springfield may I say that in the five years I have been talking about the patented water lots and casting aspersions on their title no one has as yet dared to proceed with commercial development on them. I will not live forever, although I presume I might be reelected. However, the Minister of Transport, being a young man and a healthy specimen I would hope will survive me and would do something about this. He is engaged in a scrap right now. If he does not come out the winner, at least the others will know they have been in a fight.

While I am on my feet there is another matter which may not exactly come under the heading of vote 5c. It is, however, a matter which I should like to bring to the attention

March 25, 1968

of the minister. I have in my hand a letter from the Bell Telephone Company of Canada written and signed by a vice president. During the last several months, each month I have been receiving a bill from the Bell Telephone Company of Canada which has been quite amusing to me. It is the only type of bill-I have received five-I have ever received that shows me owing zero.

I was interested when I received a bill from the Bell Telephone Company with five cents postage on it stating that I owed nothing. It came from Montreal. The following month I got a bill showing I owed nothing and there was postage on the envelope. Then I had a third, a fourth and a fifth. The fourth one came with a four cent stamp and I have referred the matter to the Postmaster General. He is looking into it. I wrote to the Bell Telephone Company asking why they send invoices to people who do not owe anything. When I was in active business we saved our money by not sending out bills to people who did not owe us anything. I have a letter here signed by a vice president. The minister will be interested in this paragraph:

When this machine method of government irregular billing was arranged with the Administrative Telecommunications Agency of the Department of Transport it was mutually agreed that "nil" accounts would be rendered to inform members monthly that no long distance calls were made and that there was no balance outstanding.

I should like to ask the minister whether the administrative telecommunications agency of the Department of Transport has such a low opinion of the mental processes of the members of parliament that it feels they must be notified each month that they do not owe an account, so that they will be able to discover that they do not owe an account.

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

Of all the things I have read, this is certainly one of the most entertaining I have seen for a long time. It states:

-it was mutually agreed that "nil" accounts would be rendered to inform members monthly that no long distance calls were made and that there was no balance outstanding.

I don't know why the Chateau Champlain in Montreal, the Nova Scotian hotel in Halifax or the Fort Garry hotel in Winnipeg do not write me monthly to tell me that I do not owe them anything. There are certainly enough people who write when one does owe something. In any event the Department of Transport has asked the Bell Telephone Company to send out an account each month to 265 members of parliament to inform them that no 27053-506*

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long distance calls were made and that there is no account outstanding. This seems to me to border on the ridiculous. Surely this can be corrected.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

Before this vote carries, Mr. Chairman, I should like to say that so far as the question about fill is concerned, I will be glad to look into this matter. I remember hearing about this at an earlier stage when my hon. friend raised the matter.

I really cannot say why nil accounts are rendered by the telephone company, but I shall try to determine whether there is any reason for this, other than what my hon. friend has suggested.

Having regard to the question raised by the hon. member for Comox-Alberni, if he looks at page 514 of the estimates for 1968-69 he will find that although the amount being voted is reduced from $52.9 million to $50.4 million for marine services, in the text of the vote the amount given is $60,524,900. This shows a very substantial increase of about $10 million over the previous year. The reason for this seeming discrepancy is related to the difference in accounting method. The $50 million required for 1968-69 is the net figure after deducting revenues collected for services rendered, whereas the previous figure of $52 million was a gross figure. The amount of money being provided is substantially increased.

The hon. member also asks about life boats, and I am pleased to inform him that the life boat program is continuing, but the location of the stations has not yet been finally settled.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

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

Mr. Barnett:

While the minister is on this coast guard question regarding the west coast, perhaps he could say something about plans for larger coast guard vessels?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

There is no immediate plan for the restoration of the program for larger boats. As my hon. friend knows, this was cut because of the necessity to effect economies. I think he is in agreement with us, that economies have to be made. As a matter of fact, I believe he was one of the members who voted against the recent increase in taxes, so he must have thought at that time that some reduction in expenditures was highly desirable. He will have to at least share the responsibility with other members of this house for the elimination of this program. You just cannot have it both ways. You cannot have more marine services, and less expenditures with consequently lower taxes. Things just do not

March 25, 1968

Supply-Transport

work that way, and I am sure the hon. member would be the first to admit that.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

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

Mr. Barnett:

Does the minister not recall that the proposed tax increase and the cut in respect of coast guard vessels were announced simultaneously, or in close sequence, by the government? How can he suggest that my vote against the tax proposal was a vote against larger coast guard vessels?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

I do not think the hon. member can accept responsibility for one and avoid responsibility for the other. If he is going to have a reduction in expenditures, then cuts have to be made somewhere. This was one of the items which had to be cut. I know my hon. friend regrets this, as much as many other people, but there was not sufficient money available to provide all the services demanded in all parts of the country.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

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

Mr. Barnett:

Why don't you ask me to support a tax measure which would provide for construction of vessels, and see what happens?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
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March 25, 1968