March 25, 1968

PC

John Oates Bower

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Bower:

Mr. Chairman, before the proceedings of the committee were interrupted a moment ago I had endeavoured to outline the serious situation that exists in the western part of Nova Scotia and the need for correcting it. As the case in point I was dealing with the ferry service to maximize the tourist

March 25, 1968

industry of the area, and indeed of the whole of the province of Nova Scotia, of Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, because Yarmouth is the point of entry from the United States to the maritime province so far as the ferries are concerned.

The ferry is inadequate at the present time. A year ago I raised with the minister of transport the matter of supplementary summer ferry service. Nothing whatever has been done about it. As I have mentioned, during the past summer potential tourists were turned away because of inadequate service across from New England-Bar Harbor specifically-to Yarmouth. Last summer was a relatively poor summer for Nova Scotia. Our normal increase in tourism did not occur. On the contrary, according to many accounts, it slipped backward due, some say, to the attractions at Expo and the fact that the overflow which we were going to get never occurred, apparently because by the time the people got through at La Ronde they did not have enough money to go to Nova Scotia. I do not know about that, but in any event we had a poor tourist season.

It is hoped-and it is very much needed -that there will be a large increase in tourism. I understand there is a possibility, which perhaps did not exist last summer, of obtaining a supplementary ship to run between Bar Harbor and Yarmouth. I brought this matter up with the minister.

We are due shortly to have a recess. It is necessary to have time in which to make preparations and arrangements for something of this nature. So before I go back to western Nova Scotia, to the complaints of disappointment and despair, I should like to know whether something is going to be done about this.

Speaking of the longer term situation, I should like to refer to the matter of the second New England ferry, so called, that would go from some point "X" in the United States to some point "Y" in Nova Scotia. That seems to have gone into a sort of suspended animation, although everybody in Nova Scotia, particularly western Nova Scotia, would like to know what if anything is being done in that regard. That is my sea issue. I have another, the air issue.

Yarmouth is an airport of entry from the United States. Some five years ago one of the runways at this airport was improved so that it would be able to handle up to date planes. However, the cross runway was not improved

Supply-Transport

and therefore there was no effectual improvement, in so far as modernizing the facilities for the type of equipment that could come in there is concerned. I have learned now that there is a proposal to rebuild or improve the air terminal building. That indeed is putting the cart before the horse. I think perhaps we could make do somehow or other with the terminal building, but airplanes cannot be landed on a terminal building; there must be a cross runway.

I think it would have been far more sensible to have planned the fundamental thing, the two airstrips, rather than the lace on the drawers, the terminal building. These are matters of fundamental importance. The way tourism is being fomented in that area it is becoming possible for people from New York, Philadelphia, Wilmington and Boston to come down for week ends and leave their families there during the summer. This could provide a tremendous source of revenue. These people could buy old abandoned farms and build modern summer homes, provided the heads of the families could fly back and forth from their work on week ends. Their families could stay for the summer. That is the significance of the development of proper air services into Yarmouth.

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

I recognize that there is a big investment at the present Yarmouth airport location, and I do not suggest for one moment that it be changed. However, there should be a supplementary emergency airport. Time and again there is thick, heavy and low-lying overcast at the Yarmouth airport. Sometimes only 15 miles inland there is good landing weather. I am not referring to a large fancy airport, but rather just a place where planes could land. Customs facilities could easily be set up at such a location.

There is a site about 15 or 20 miles inland which would be ideal for this purpose. These are the kinds of things which should be done in an area of fragile economy. People down in Nova Scotia read about the huge deficits and the amounts being spent on national arts centres and other things. They are not against this, but they feel their economic situation should be considered in the scheme of things. Some modest investment of the type I have suggested would make all the difference to western Nova Scotia. Perhaps it could then be something other than an abandoned corner of that province.

March 25, 1968

Supply

Transport

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?

Mr. Marlin@Timmins

Mr. Chairman, I am a little bit disappointed that the minister had to leave the chamber before I raised this point.

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LIB

James Allen (Jim) Byrne (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Byrne:

He will be returning in a moment.

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?

Mr. Marlin@Timmins

Perhaps he will get back when I have finished. The problem I have in mind relates partly to vote 15c and partly to vote 30c. They are so closely intertwined that perhaps I might be allowed to raise the problem under this item, so that I will not have to shuffle from one item to the other. This is not a new problem. I can recall raising it when Hon. Leon Balcer was minister of transport. That is how long it has existed, and that is how long this unfair situation has continued.

When I was first elected to this house the C.N.R. provided a pretty fair service from Timmins down toward Ottawa and Montreal. During the first couple of years I was a member of parliament, I could get a berth on a sleeper car at Timmins and come down on the O.N.R., which was hooked up by the C.N.R. and brought to Ottawa. After a few years this service was curtailed and I had to go down to Swastika, the next division point, where the O.N.R. swings north up to Moo-sonee. Then the years went by and you had to go down as far as Englehart before you could get sleeping accommodation on the C.N.R. A year or two later you had to go down to North Bay. At that time your sleeping car would be sitting on the siding and you could climb aboard and go to sleep. The western train coming through would pick you up and take you on through to Ottawa.

Finally, for some years now, there has been no accommodation whatsoever on this train. This is true of the rail service in the area that I represent, as well as in other constituencies such as that of the hon. member for Cochrane, part of the constituency represented by the Prime Minister and two or three other constituencies the focal point of which is the Timmins region, which is serviced by this railway.

Steadily over the years the railway service in this area has deteriorated. If you want to travel by train from the Timmins area to Ottawa or Montreal you are faced with one of two options. As I said before, you can go to North Bay and land there in the wee hours of the morning, about one o'clock or 1.30 a.m., and wait in a very unfriendly and cold station until the western train comes through at two,

three or four o'clock in the morning, depending on how late it is, and then board a sort of semi freight train-there is a coach on it but it has neither a diner nor a sleeper. This is not very good accommodation, as I am sure all hon. members and the minister would agree. The other option is to drive over a very crooked and hilly road some 70 miles southwest of Timmins to the main line at Foleyet.

There is no way in which one can find out whether the train is on time or whether it is late. In fact, the hon. member for Nanaimo-Cowichan-The Islands will recall the time when I drove him at breakneck pace, but when we arrived at the station on time we found that the train had left early. My colleague had to cancel appointments and make other travel arrangements the next day. When one tries to find out whether the train is on time, he is told to call Winnipeg; but it is one heck of a long distance from Winnipeg to Foleyet and even though the train may be on time in Winnipeg it could be either late or early in Foleyet. This is the kind of service that is provided in this area.

Of course we have air service. As I said, this problem not only relates to this vote but also relates to vote 30c. We have a very good air service, depending on one's destination. There is an excellent service from Timmins to Toronto providing three flights a day, one of them direct. The fare is very reasonable, at $54 for a return trip between Timmins and Toronto. If the minister wished to check the statistics regarding the number of passengers carried on this route he would find it is a well patronized route and compares favourably with any service across the country.

However, there is one interesting point which I have raised with various ministers of finance dating back to Hon. Leon Balcer. I have carried on a war with the president of Air Canada, and if the minister would like to see my file I would be glad to supply it to him. The distance in road miles from Timmins to Ottawa is 12 miles longer than from Timmins to Toronto. So far as air miles are concerned, there is very little difference.

However, the difference in fares is another matter. As I mentioned before, the fare from Timmins to Toronto costs $54, but from Timmins to Ottawa it costs $92. The reason for this is that Air Canada, in its wisdom, instead of flying its passengers Timmins-North Bay-Ottawa, flies them via Toronto. That is their business, as I have told the president of Air Canada. However when they

March 25, 1968

start charging us for the extra route, that is our business, the business of the people in the north country. This matter has been neglected year after year and by minister after minister. I think it is time something was done about it.

[DOT] (10:20 p.m.)

I recall when I first raised this matter with Air Canada the excuse was that in the early days when the Timmins airport was first opened they tried this route, but it was not a paying proposition. When I pointed out that air travel of 10 or 12 years ago and air travel today are two different things altogether, they had another excuse. A number of people are air conscious today, and a number of them have speeded up their schedules so that they need air service. The congestion on the highways is such that it is not safe to undertake a long trip because you don't know whether you are going to get there or get back. These are factors which should be considered now.

When we beat them down with that argument, they raised another one. Air Canada said they had kept a record of the number of passengers using this route over a six month period, and that the number did not warrant the flight. My reply was: Of course, not; when you are charging them double, why do you expect they will fly? I am still getting answers to these questions.

I am sure hon. members recall that not long ago I received a lot of publicity through the Thomson newspapers across the country, through the courtesy of their parliamentary correspondent Mr. Patrick Nicholson, who pointed out that the hon. member for Timmins was as expensive to the taxpayers as the hon. member for Victoria who lives some 3,000 miles away. This journalist totalled up the air fares charged in my name for a year and compared them with those charged various other hon. members. I did not mind this sort of criticism at all, Mr. Chairman, because he did prove two things. First, he proved that I am in Ottawa during the week and at home on the week end looking after my constituents. I do not believe that is anything of which an hon. member needs to be ashamed.

He pointed out another thing, Mr. Chairman, the very point I have been raising. The charge that was opposite my name was some $3,500 for air fares going back and forth to my constituency. If I had been charged, and if the people of Timmins who did use this service had been charged the proper fare, the amount would have been $2,000, not $3,500. I am glad Mr. Nicholson raised this point

Supply-Transport

because it clearly illustrates the injustice that is being perpetrated against the people in the Timmins region.

There is another point that is very important. We are very appreciative of the air service we have between Timmins and Toronto. It is interesting to note that the train service between those two points is excellent, with an overnight service both ways. The train leaves Timmins at six o'clock at night and it leaves Toronto at 6.30, both trains arriving at their destinations about 8.30. I have tried to get an answer to this question for years and years. Why is it that where the train service is good, the air service is good, and where the train service is poor, the air service is poor? What kind of competition are we trying to have with ourselves? Both companies are operated by the government. Surely we should be trying to provide service to the Canadian people and not compete where the service is good, then pay no attention to places where the service is bad. Surely we can reach some agreement among ourselves as to how we can get some sort of sensible transportation policy in these two fields.

There is another very important point, Mr. Chairman. My constituency is comprised of about 15 per cent French speaking Canadians. The surrounding areas served by the Timmins airport contain about 75 to 80 per cent French speaking Canadians. Their natural link is with the province of Quebec, with Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec city. This is where their relatives and friends are, and this is where they would like to go-not to Toronto. There is therefore an added injustice to these people because, as I mentioned earlier, the train service is very poor and getting worse all the time. It is not as good as it was five years ago, and much worse than it was ten years ago.

At the same time, Mr. Chairman, no compensation is being offered by the air service. Although the air service does operate there, it charges such a terrific rate that you cannot afford to pay the fare. The result is that you either have to take this very poor train service or you have to drive a long distance by car, a journey that involves the daily dangers presented by highway travel with its consequent loss of life and limb.

As I say, Mr. Chairman, this situation is an injustice. The problem is not new; I raised it when Hon. Leon Balcer was minister, when the present hon. member for Northumberland was minister, and with all the other successors down through the years.

March 25, 1968

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However I raise it once more with this minister. We have had some examples of the minister's despatch and efficiency. Surely if he can join the three services together he can put some common sense and fair play into the transportation service from Timmins to the Ottawa and Montreal region.

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Item agreed to. 20c. Construction or Acquisition of Buildings, Works and Land, Dock and Terminal Facilities, including improvements to Terminal Facilities owned by Newfoundland, and of Vessels and Related Equipment as listed in the Details of the Estimates provided that Treasury Board may increase or decrease the amounts within the Vote to be expended on individually listed projects, $1. Item agreed to. Air Services- 30c. Administration, Operation and Maintenance, $844,000.


IND

Gilles Grégoire

Independent

Mr. Gregoire:

Mr. Chairman, I do not intend to speak at length on that, but I shall merely sum up two paragraphs, from the newspaper La Presse of Wednesday February 14 afterwards, I will simply ask the hon. Minister of Transport what one must think about it and what are his conclusions.

Therefore, I quote this article from La Presse under the following heading:

"No money for Montreal, $9 million for Toronto."

And sub-heading, we find this:

"After tripping up Dorval, Ottawa gives a staggering blow."

It is rather harsh as a heading. Here are the first two paragraphs of that article written by Mr. Andre Chenier, from La Presse:

The federal Minister of Transport, Mr. Paul Hellyer, has just announced that estimates amounting to $9 million will be used for the expansion of Toronto's airport, which will be provided, among other things, with a new air terminal and a parking lot that will accommodate 1,500,000 more passengers per year.

For Montreal, it is not merely the tripping up of two months ago, through the elimination of estimates intended for a new runway at the Dorval International Airport: It is now a staggering blow on the most widely patronized airport in Canada.

Mr. Chairman, I have no objection to money being spent to enlarge the Toronto airport. The more Toronto expands, the happier I will be. But if money is taken away from Montreal to give it somewhere else, especially if those credits had been earmarked for two years for the Montreal airport, that is another story altogether. If what has been earmarked

for expanding and improving Montreal's Dorval airport is left alone and other credits are given to Toronto, I do not object to that.

I am asking the Minister of Transport what is earmarked for Montreal. Can he give us an idea of what must be done to develop the Montreal airport to keep it up to date and in step with the increase in air traffic, in the number of passengers, in the size of airplanes, etc.? I would like the minister to give me an answer and then, if I have some comments to make, I will.

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

Mr. Chairman, as I have indicated publicly since this newspaper report appeared, the expenditures for the two airports at Toronto and Montreal for the next 20 years will be almost identical. In addition, this year there is provision in the estimates for those supplementary facilities that are required at Montreal to enable the airport to handle the jumbo jets which will be coming into service in 1970.

[DOT] (10:30 p.m.)

The reason we have not yet been able to announce exact, immediate plans for the Montreal expansion is that the engineers who are studying the situation have not yet decided whether we can expand Dorval to meet the 20-year requirement, whether we shall have to build a new airport to replace Dorval or whether we shall have to build a new airport and operate it as well as Dorval. We do not yet have a recommendation on options from the consultants who have been looking at the question, but I hope to have their report within a few weeks. Once I do, of course we shall know exactly what they recommend.

In the meantime it has been recommended to us that we should not proceed with the runway, even if funds were available-which is not the case, at the moment. As I say, once we have received the engineer's report we shall know what is the best thing to do for the long range requirements of the metropolitan Montreal region. I assure my hon. friend that this is being given every possible consideration. I can also assure him, if he will look back over the expenditures of the last few years, that Montreal by a considerable amount has received higher expenditures than Toronto, and has not done too badly.

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?

Some hon. Members:

Shame.

March 25, 1968

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IND

Gilles Grégoire

Independent

Mr. Gregoire:

Mr. Chairman, I should like to put a supplementary question to the minister. When he says that in 1970, there will be strips to accommodate giant aircraft, does he mean to say that new strips will be built for the giant aircraft and supersonic planes such as the Concorde, for instance, which will start operating in 1971? Is anything planned in Montreal for supersonic planes? The Concorde, as we know, is expected by 1971 or thereabouts. At that time, will there be landing strips to accommodate those aircraft?

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

The supersonic aircraft will not be available that soon; they will come into service several years later. The jumbo jets will be available in 1970 and we shall be in a position to handle them at that time.

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NDP

David Lewis (Parliamentary Leader of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Lewis:

I want to raise for a minute or two a matter that has been drawn to my attention. I do not know how much time the minister has devoted to it, considering his other activities. I have been visited by some air traffic controllers who have been very critical because they allege that the second volume of Judge Robinson's report has been sitting on somebody's shelf. That is the information they gave me.

Hon. members will recall that a couple of years go, or longer ago than that, the threat of an air traffic controllers strike was obviated by the appointment of Judge Robinson as special commissioner to inquire into complaints. The judge produced the first report which dealt with salaries, and a satisfactory conclusion was arrived at between the Department of Transport and the air traffic controllers.

Some months ago a second volume came down; I have not read it thoroughly but I have read through it. It makes a number of suggestions to improve the working conditions of air traffic controllers, and other related matters. My latest information, which is not very old, from the air traffic controllers association is that the department has done little to implement Judge Robinson's recommendations. I should like to hear whether the minister has readily at his figertips information about what has been done and what is proposed to be done to meet the apparently perfectly reasonable request of the air traffic controllers, that the second volume of Judge Robinson's report be implemented, or fully discussed with them.

Supply-Transport

They have another complaint. There are about 125 air traffic controller assistants who have always worked with the air traffic controllers. In the reclassification which has been taking place over the last couple of years in preparation for collective bargaining, someone decided that these assistants should be classified as clerks. They are in the clerical group for the purposes of collective bargaining, and no longer in the air traffic control group, despite the fact that they work with the air traffic controllers in the same area and provide the controllers with assistance in terms of information and the processing of information.

These people feel they are now completely at a dead end, instead of having opportunities for promotion and for getting into the air traffic control business as their experience grows. I feel the item before us should not go through without these two legitimate complaints being drawn to the attention of the minister. The collective bargaining legislation which parliament passed for the public service itself sets the collective bargaining units for the initial bargaining exercise; it is only at the end of the first agreement that changes in the units can take place.

What will undoubtedly happen is this: Two or three years from now when the agreement relating to this group terminates, somebody will come before the staff relations board and ask for a change in this bargaining unit. In the meantime, certain habits will have been interrupted in one direction and will have jelled in another direction. This seems to me an example of stupid labour relations. The application of some criteria which I do not understand-it may be my fault-has resulted in a most illogical situation as far as these assistants are concerned.

I am totally at a loss to understand why the minister and the department have done so little to implement Judge Robinson's recommendations concerning labour conditions and related matters. If the minister has any information on this subject I invite him to pass it on to us.

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

I cannot recall exactly what the situation is, but I do know that a large number of the recommendations in that report have been implemented or are in the process of implementation. Others which require more substantial expenditure will be worked into the program as this becomes possible. Our budget is tight and this prevents our doing some of the things we want

March 25. 1968

Supply-Transport

to do. In the meantime we are living under a restriction and, while we appreciate the necessity for that restriction, at the same time we know there is a responsibility not to delay any longer than is absolutely required some of the recommendations we would like to see implemented.

[DOT] (10:40 p.m.)

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NDP

David Lewis (Parliamentary Leader of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Lewis:

What about the assistants?

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

I do not know the answer on that, but I would be glad to look into it.

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PC

Almonte Douglas Alkenbrack

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Alkenbrack:

Mr. Chairman, from time to time the minister has been talking about economy, and we have heard a lot about the amount of the stipend being paid to the new chairman of the Canadian Transport Commission. What is the salary of the minister's immediate predecessor who is now the chairman of the Canadian Transport Commission?

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

It think it was stated at the time, and reported in the press, to be $40,000.

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PC

Almonte Douglas Alkenbrack

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Alkenbrack:

Does the minister not deem this new position, conveniently created by the former Liberal member for Bonavista-Twillingate, an act of gross extravagance in view of the poor financial position of the government and of the country in general? I believe this salary is only $5,000 less than that of the Prime Minister, and it is far more than that of the Minister of Transport. Is the chairman of the transport commission more productive, more important or more vital to Canada and its economy than the Prime Minister or the Minister of Transport? Is he more important or productive to Canadian transport than the Minister of Transport? His salary is much larger. At a time when we should practise economy, I think this is a most extravagant appointment.

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

Mr. Chairman, I think the Prime Minister pointed out at the time that the president of the Canadian Transport Commission is very well qualified for that job. He, more than any other man, was familiar with the act that had been passed, and understands the transportation field. Therefore I believe it was a good appointment. On the question of relative salaries, my hon. friend will of course appreciate that there are many people who work for the government of Canada directly or indirectly who receive more remuneration than the minister and the Prime Minister. This is not a new state of affairs.

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Item agreed to. (Mr. Hellyer.] 40c. Grants, contributions, subsidies and other payments as detailed in the Estimates, $1. Item agreed to. E-National Harbours Board- 75c. Payment to the National Harbours Board to be applied in payment of the deficit (exclusive of interest on advances authorized by Parliament and depreciation on capital structures) expected to be incurred in the calendar year 1967 in the operation of the Jacques Cartier Bridge, Montreal Harbour, $53,000. [ Translation]


IND

Gilles Grégoire

Independent

Mr. Gregoire:

Mr. Chairman, I should like to say a word about item 75c. It concerns the National Harbours Board, therefore, the harbour of Montreal and, perhaps to a lesser degree, that of Quebec.

Oviously something is wrong in that har-hour. Something is radically wrong there. Conflicts remain unsettled between dockers and shippers. There is talk of inordinate theft, pilfering, in the area of the Montreal harbour. There is talk of violence, of blackmailing, of usurious rates in the port of Montreal. Several commissions were appointed to look into the whole matter, on labour relations. Several investigations were carried out and there are increasing complaints to the effect that the port of Montreal is in utter confusion.

The Minister of Transport is aware of the problem. The Montreal harbour board, headed by the president of the executive committee of the city of Montreal, Mr. Saulnier, came to meet him. There is a serious uneasiness which may jeopardize irremediably the port of Montreal, its future and those who depend on it. When one appreciates that the port of Montreal is a great asset to the economy of the area, one cannot refrain from saying something.

As I know, the minister wants to conclude consideration of his estimates tonight and is anxious to go campaigning; so, I would not want to take any time to outline the problem to him. I know he must be aware of it as well as I am; consequently I will merely put the following question to him: Has his department taken a decision with regard to placing the port of Montreal under a single authority?

At the present time, the National Harbours Board, which has the responsibility of several ports in Canada, has control over many harbours. No decisions are made; everything is higgledy-piggledy. It seems more and more obvious that the only solution would be a single authority for Montreal's harbour. So, I would like the minister to tell me, without going into details, what are his intentions and

March 25, 1968

what are the decisions made by his department in that field.

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March 25, 1968