March 25, 1968

LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

Mr. Chairman, the question of control of harbours is one which is very complicated and which at the present moment is being studied. To the best of my knowledge there has been no fundamental look at this question for about 25 years. Three studies are being done which will be co-ordinated by our department. As my hon. friend knows, the present situation is one in which there are National Harbours Board ports, ports under the administration of the local commissions, and those operated by the department itself. Whether it is best to have three different solutions like this, or whether one would be better, or whether some different solution would be more appropriate, remains to be seen. In any event there is the feeling that one consideration might be a greater local participation in the management of harbours.

I have indicated to the Montreal port council-I believe that is the title-that we have commenced this study and that I hope it will not take more than three or four months to have a report available. I have indicated to them that as soon as it is available I would then be in a position to discuss with them further the question of local participation. In the meantime I do not want to take any steps which would prejudice the outcome of the study, because it is a fundamental one which could have repercussions or which could have application in other parts of the country as well. In the meantime I hope we can keep the port operating, improve its efficiency, and then as soon as the report is ready we will be prepared to discuss with the Montreal authorities any change in the organization which might be warranted.

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IND

Gilles Grégoire

Independent

Mr. Gregoire:

Mr. Chairman, may I ask the

minister whether it is groups or special commissions which are presently carrying out investigations concerning the harbour of Montreal? He said three groups were making investigations. What are those groups?

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

Yes; the National Harbours

Board itself is doing one, the Canadian Transport Commission is doing one and the department is doing one. The three will be

Supply-Transport

co-ordinated by my deputy minister so that we can get the input from all three.

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IND

Gilles Grégoire

Independent

Mr. Gregoire:

Mr. Chairman, numerous investigations have been conducted in the past eight or nine years.

About ten years ago, the Montreal harbour commission investigated thefts at the Jacques Cartier bridge. A little later, from 1961 to 1963, Justice Norris presided over an investigation of fraudulent practices and violence in the harbours of the great lakes, the St. Lawrence and Montreal.

In 1966, at the time of the strike in the St. Lawrence ports, Justice Lippe had recommended that such abuse be investigated. Not so very long ago, a Montreal lawyer, Mr. Deschenes, prepared, at the request of the Montreal port authorities, a report on possible thefts, pilfering and fraud in Montreal harbour.

All those commissions submitted reports. Reports have been prepared for the past eight years. It has been a well known fact for the past eight years.

[DOT] (10.50 p.m.)

Presently three other organizations: the National Harbours Board, the Board of Transport Commissioners and the Department of Transport are studying the matter, in order to come up with a report. The minister tells us: "Let us hope that in the meantime the harbour will keep on developing." But it is not developing. The situation has been worsening and is getting quite serious. Shipowners, unions members of the Montreal harbour council, owners of shipping companies are complaining. Moanings and groanings are heard from right, left and centre.

The situation is not improving in the Montreal harbour. There have been too many inquiries, too many studies. There were not enough results, even when reports were brought in. The Smith inquiry is still under way. It is not included in the three inquiries or commissions mentioned by the hon. Minister of Transport. Judge Smith is carrying on an investigation. But in the meantime, the port of Montreal is on the road to ruin; the situation is getting worse.

All are complaining about the same thing: the lack of authority in the port of Montreal. There is no authority to take decisions, to settle problems and find solutions.

March 25, 1968

Supply-Transport

The four inquiries made during the past eight years have all revealed-and that of Mr. Deschenes more clearly than the others-that a single authority is needed in the port of Montreal in place of the National Harbours Board.

Now, it is all very well for the minister to tell me that three commissions are investigating the conditions, but the fact is that four have already submitted reports. Yet, it does not satisfy me, because in the meantime, the situation is increasingly deteriorating in the port of Montreal.

I can give him examples and quote a large number of reports and speeches made by authoritative persons.

I know that the minister wants his estimates passed tonight. I shall therefore spare him all those examples, but I can mention numerous comments to the effect that the port of Montreal is racing to its downfall, among others, those of the chairman of the Montreal harbour board, Mr. Bacs, who feels, according to page 3 of La Pressd of Wednesday, February 28, 1968, that it is most urgent that an operational economic study be made of the port of Montreal, in order that its harbour facilities can take advantage of the opportunities, of the 20th century, and who recommends the application of the Picard and Deschenes reports. The Deschenes report is mentioned there, but we are merely told that the department is making other studies, even though some have been made already.

I wonder therefore whether the minister could tell us when the three commissions now conducting studies expect to present their reports. A year from now? In an editorial printed on page 4 of the February 13, 1968 issue of Le Devoir, Paul Sauriol said:

A year or two may elapse before we have a report on all those studies, and the problem requires an immediate solution.

Therefore I would ask the minister whether he has any idea when we may have the results of the studies now being made. When does he expect to be able to make concrete decisions. In other words, when will he learn the results of all those studies and when will he make a decision?

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

Mr. Chairman, we are talking about different things although they all relate to the port. The studies to which my hon. friend referred relate to working conditions,

[Mr. G re go ire. 1

pilferage and so on. In the case of the latter, the National Harbours Board has already taken very forceful action to cope with the alleged theft, pilferage, blackmail and other things in the port vicinity. Some very excellent policemen have been hired and I believe the situation will be brought very much under control at once.

The reports to which I refer relate to the management of the port and the responsibility for it. It is this subject which has not been studied at all to my knowledge during the last 25 years. I hope to have information available within three months. It should be possible then to make a decision as quickly as the government is capable of making it, once the report has been received.

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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas:

Mr. Chairman, at this late hour I want to condense what I have to say into one or two simple questions. One has to do with the production of papers regarding correspondence between the federal government and the government of British Columbia in connection with the Roberts Bank proposed port. I wonder if the minister can tell us whether it is likely to be tabled reasonably soon. In spite of what the minister said the other day on orders of the day, there are a good many conflicting reports with regard to what the government has actually offered. I will not ask the minister to go over that and to put it on the record, but if we had this correspondence I think it would set forth the minister's position very clearly and it would be helpful to the province of British Columbia, where his position has not been fully understood in some quarters.

The second question I wanted to ask is whether the minister could make available to hon. members, or at least to members from British Columbia, the program which he proposes to follow in Burrard inlet during the coming year. It would be useful to have this information. I do not expect the minister to outline it now, but if we could get that information from his department it would save time.

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

So far as the first question is concerned, there is no reason for delay, but I would have to inquire into it.

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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas:

It may need clearing with the government of British Columbia.

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

This may be the case concerning the government of British Columbia.

March 25, 1968

So far as the second question is concerned, I received a technical report today at which I have not had a chance to look, so I cannot advise my hon. friend. But I hope it will not be too long before I can give some information about Burrard inlet.

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Item agreed to. 77c. 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 Saint John Harbour, New Brunswick, $240,000. Item agreed to. Atlantic Development Board-* 92c. Grant to the Government of Nova Scotia to assist in defraying the expenses of operating the former Dominion Steel and Coal Corporation Limited Steel Plant at Sydney, Nova Scotia, $2,000,000. Item agreed to. Canadian Transport Commission 65c. Steamship Subventions for Coastal Services as detailed in the Estimates, $1,768,690.


?

Mr, Barnett:

Mr. Chairman, I have a few remarks to make on vote 65c. They have to do with the policy followed in the establishment of the rates of subvention paid for various services. These items which are now before us are the result of criteria which I assume are universally applied to all applications to the water transport committee of the Canadian Transport Commission. It has been suggested to me that in some ways the policy which has been followed in the past is not adequate to deal with the problem of ensuring that services provided under the subvention arrangements are undertaken by boats capable of providing the services required. It has been further suggested that in the various criteria which are used for establishing rates, proper consideration is not given to the question of depreciation and depletion, so that firms are in a position to maintain and replace vessels as required.

By way of illustrating my point I should like to make particular reference to the item which appears with regard to the service on the west coast of Vancouver island, of which I have some personal knowledge. Not too long ago the federal Department of Public Works established a new wharf at an expenditure of some $180,000. So far as I could determine, there was adequate consultation with the com-

Supply-Transport

pany operating into that wharf. After this new wharf was built and the new freight shed opened, this service paid one or two visits to the port and then the master of the vessel said he could no longer get his vessel in or out of that harbour. I made some inquiries, and then the maritime commission had one of its inspecting masters take a trip on the vessel. He confirmed the decision of the master that this vessel could not safely operate into or out of this port. To all intents and purposes, this $180,000 turned out to be a poor investment of federal funds.

[DOT] (11:00 p.m.)

There has been a change of ownership of this particular company since the decision was made to build that wharf, so I am not blaming the present manager for the situation. I did make some inquiries and looked at the registry of shipping. This vessel is one to which a person might refer, without being too disrespectful, as a really old tub with rather inadequate power or other modern facilities for guiding a vessel in close waters.

I raised the question informally as to why the company did not trade this vessel for a new, modern one which would be able to navigate in some of the tight situations prevailing on the western coast. I was informed that this was something the company would very much like to do, but the economics of the situation were such they could not see their way clear to do it. This is one example from which one might argue that the additional subventions proposed here are either too great or too little.

I wonder if the minister could tell us the proposition on which the policy for these subventions has been founded. If he is not able to do that tonight, perhaps he could give an undertaking to the committee that he will have this matter thoroughly reviewed. I could cite one or two other examples to illustrate that this same problem is being faced by other operators. They tell me they are living off their capital, and at the rate subventions are being paid, sooner or later they will have to give up the service because the boats they are operating will no longer be seaworthy and they will not have been able to set aside anything for replacement. Can the minister give any clarification of this situation as it exists?

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

Not at the moment, Mr. Chairman, but I would be glad to take note of my hon. friend's question.

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Item agreed to.



Supply-Transport The following items were agreed to: 110c. Notwithstanding any limitation that may be contained in section 265 of the Railway Act, to authorize payment of an amount not exceeding $30,447.70 from the Railway Grade Crossing Fund to be applied to the cost of a bridge reconstruction project authorized by Board Order No. 115089 of the Board of Transport Commissioners for Canada, $1. 115c. Payments to the railway companies subject to paragraph No. 2 of Order No. 103860 dated February 23, 1961 of the Board of Transport Commissioners for Canada, which paragraph authorized the railways to increase freight rates on export bulk grain moving from certain ports located on Georgian Bay, the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River to Montreal and ports east thereof on the St. Lawrence River and on the Canadian Atlantic Coast and which paragraph has been suspended by Order in Council, requiring the railways to continue in effect the rates which prevailed and were published on November 30, 1960, such payments to be the difference between those rates which were in effect on November 30, 1960 and compensatory rates as approved by the Board of Transport Commissioners for Canada, $104,500. 120c. To provide payments to companies subject to order Number 96300, dated November 17, 1958 of the Board of Transport Commissioners for Canada in respect of the period April 1, 1966 to December 31, 1966, for the purpose of reimbursing the said companies for such diminution in their aggregate gross revenues during the said period as in the opinion of the said Board is attributable to such companies maintaining the rate level for freight traffic at an 8% increase instead of 17% as authorized by the said Order, $96,800. General- LU4c. Acquisition of Twin-Otter Aircraft for leasing to Leeward Islands Air Transport Services Limited, in accordance with an agreement entered into with the approval of the Governor in Council, at a rent that will reimburse the Crown for the cost of acquisition, and that will include an option to purchase the said aircraft, notwithstanding anything contained in the Surplus Crown Assets Act, $1,000.


IND

Gilles Grégoire

Independent

Mr. Gregoire:

Mr. Chairman, instead of speaking on the four or five previous items, I will sum up with the last one. I will restrict myself to two minutes.

It is often said that the dissatisfaction in the province of Quebec is justified. At the present time, the minister is making a tour of this country and of Quebec. Now, one of the fields where there is more reason for dissatisfaction is transportation. In many cases, it comes under the federal jurisdiction: airports, Montreal harbour, Trois-Rivieres harbour, Quebec harbour, the Canadian National Railways, Air Canada, the St. Lawrence river. It is a field that comes under the Department of

[Mr. Hellyer.j

March 25, 1968

Supply-Transport Transport and it is probably the one where there are more grounds for complaint.

Whether the minister remains Minister of Transport or becomes Prime Minister, I ask him to study in depth all the problems which exist in the field of transportation. Let him make no mistake about it: if he wants to please Quebec, he should talk about transportation, because it is in that field that there is most dissatisfaction. There is no improvement, no expansion, no winter navigation on the St. Lawrence. There are many other complaints. Anyone who takes the 11 o'clock train from Montreal to Ottawa never meets an employee who can speak French. There is no bilingualism between Ottawa and Montreal. I do not object to anyone who does not speak French, but he should not be put to work on a line where so many French Canadians travel. The minister should make an investigation about the C.N.R. line between Montreal and Ottawa, especially about the 11 o'clock train at night; he will see that there is not a single employee who speaks French. That is not very pleasant.

The situation has greatly improved as far as Air Canada is concerned, and I want to commend its directors. The European service, for instance, is much better. I used it recently to go to France, and I noticed that. I commend Air Canada in that regard.

But nothing is done by the Canadian National Railways. The minister should remember that this is probably one of the most important fields and one which causes the greatest dissatisfaction at the present time. It is up to him to find solutions.

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Item agreed to.


?

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

This completes the supplementary estimates of the Department of Transport.

Pursuant to special order made earlier this day, it being after eleven o'clock shall I rise, report certain resolutions, and request leave to sit again at the next sitting of the house?

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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Resolutions adopted in committee of supply this day reported and concurred in.

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It being ten minutes after eleven o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to special order. March 25, 1968 COMMONS DEBATES 8053 Supply-Transport [The following items were passed in Committee department of forestry and rural development of Supply this day:] 23c, 35c 40c


DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY, MINES AND RESOURCES 1c, 40c, 70c, 92c, 95c, L25c. DEPARTMENT OF SOLICITOR GENERAL 20c, 25c, L92c. ATOMIC ENERGY OF CANADA LIMITED L5c. DEPARTMENT OF MANPOWER AND IMMIGRATION 5c, 6c, 10c, 15c. DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS lc, 30c, 35c, 50c. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT 2c, 3c, 5c, 15c, 20c, 30c, 40c, 65c, 75c, 77c, 92c, 110c, 115c, 120c, L114c. HOUSE OF COMMONS

March 25, 1968