Had the minister been more specific in answering the questions raised by the hon. member for Digby-Annapolis-Kings I might not have spoken on this item. However, either because he was unable to do so or because he thought it propitious not to do so, the minister did not make a very saisfactory response. I feel therefore I should bring up some points in connection with his department and the vote before us which are of interest to western Nova Scotia.
The hon. member for Digby-Annapolis-Kings and I represent the entire western end of the province of Nova Scotia, an area inhabited by some 175,009 people who have been grossly neglected as far as assistance in developing the economy is concerned. Such indices as I have been able to develop indicate that the average income in Nova Scotia as a
whole is between 20 and 30 per cent below the national norm. In western Nova Scotia the average is 30 per cent below the provincial norm. So if there is any truth in all I have heard since I have been here in parliament, and in all I have read from the Economic Council of Canada and similar sources, we have a case which needs attention.
While I recognize that the government, having go itself into a most awful mess, must and should economize, I insist that these economies should be applied selectively. Take the case of an adult with an infant child. If for some reason or another the food for the pair had to be reduced by one pound a day, nothing could be more absurd than to take half a pound from the diet of the adult and half a pound from the diet of the infant. The child would die, even though the adult might survive. This, however, is the system which has been adopted in the estimates-a blanket cut-and it is absurd.
I am the first to recognize that the economy of western Nova Scotia will not be metamorphosed overnight. But I insist that things must be done in order that we do not fall further behind than we already are. The press of the area takes a similar views. A paper which favours the government carries the headline "Billions for others, little for us''.
One of the biggest supports for our provincial economy, particularly in the western end, is tourism, and at present transport facilities are lacking. The hon. member for Digby-Annapolis-Kings mentioned the ferry across the bay of Fundy to Annapolis. I have a lively interest in this service, but there is another ferry service which runs from New England to Yarmouth. Last summer thousands of cars were turned back because they could not be accommodated; the tourists probably never did see Nova Scotia.