April 1, 1969

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

NATIONAL RESOURCES AND PUBLIC WORKS


Third report of ithe Standing Committee on National Resources and Public Works-Mr. Hopkins.


INDUSTRY

COPPER-STEPS TO ASSURE SUPPLY FOR CANADIAN USE

LIB

Jean-Luc Pepin (Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Hon. Jean-Luc Pepin (Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform the house of a change in the arrangements for control to offshore destinations of copper in refinery shapes. Since November, 1965 copper in all forms has been under control by the authority granted under the Export and Import Permits Act. However, in the case of refinery shapes permits have been issued on a yearly basis valid for multiple destinations.

The change that we contemplate has been brought about by the fact that over the past several months the London Metal Exchange price for copper has continued at a significantly higher level than the North American producer's price. This continuing price differential has intensified interest on the part of some of the copper concentrate producing mines, which have their concentrates smelted and refined in Canada, to sell their resultant copper at the London Metal Exchange price. These mines have traditionally sold a portion of their refined copper in Canada at the North American price.

Current conditions in 'the industry are such that there is a danger the continuing higher overseas price would attract away from Canada some of the normal and reasonable supplies of copper required by our copper consuming industries. In order to prevent this happening, several meetings have been held with the various sectors of 'the Canadian copper industry. I continue to hope that the industry will find its own solution to this problem. I consider it desirable however to

make clear at this stage the action the government will take should a shortage in the supply of copper, traditionally available in the usual way for our users, develop in Canada.

If a legitimate shortage of copper for the Canadian fabricating industry occurs and is substantiated we will, under the authority of the Export and Import Permits Act, take the following steps:

1. Withdraw or withhold export permits for refinery shapes;

2. Ensure that Canadian fabricators of rod and wire products return all new bare copper scrap generated in their operations through normal trade channels to Canadian refineries for conversion or exchange for primary copper;

3. Ensure that the Canadian brass mills arrange for the return to their own mills of all useable scrap generated in their customers' operations.

These measures would be taken to the extent and degree necessary to ensure the reasonable requirements of Canadian copper users on a competitive basis.

Topic:   INDUSTRY
Subtopic:   COPPER-STEPS TO ASSURE SUPPLY FOR CANADIAN USE
Permalink
PC

Robert Lorne Stanfield (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Robert L. Stanfield (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I am sure there will be some questions later on arising out of the minister's statement. I would like to make just one point at the moment, and that is that I emphasize the importance of the government taking whatever Steps prove to be necessary in due and adequate time to prevent a very substantial copper shortage from developing in this country, impeding the normal operations of our economy and perhaps resulting in very substantial inflationary pressures within the country.

In a minute my hon. friend from Peace River may have something to say about the lumber industry in which there has been a very substantial increase in prices of certain lumber products arising from a very substantial shortage of supply in relation to demand.

While I share the views of the minister and hope that the industry will work this problem out itself, I also hope that the minister will act in adequate time to make sure that the Canadian economy and the Canadian people are protected.

April 1, 1969

Copper Supply for Canadian Use

Topic:   INDUSTRY
Subtopic:   COPPER-STEPS TO ASSURE SUPPLY FOR CANADIAN USE
Permalink
NDP

Max Saltsman

New Democratic Party

Mr. Max Salisman (Waterloo):

Mr. Speaker, with this announcement the minister gives an example of the power of the government when it chooses to exercise its power. There is no question that there is more than just a veiled threat contained in his statement. He intends business. He intends that no copper shortage will develop in this country. He is insisting that the industry act in the best interests of Canada, and in this case to ensure that a supply is maintained.

[DOT] (2:10 p.m.)

This has not always been the case. There have been instances in which this country, one of the major producers of copper and nickel, has faced severe shortages while the raw material was being exported to the markets of the world. This was an intolerable situation which should not have been allowed to continue.

There are other points which are not answered in this statement. I hope the minister will be frank with us and state what kind of rebuffs he received from the industry. He obviously would not be taking this action unless there had been an indication that the industry was not prepared to co-operate.

We should also know the extent to which representation has been made to the Canadian government by North American users of copper, particularly in the United States. I hope there will be a frank reply from the minister in this regard.

The shortage of copper internationally gives Canadians a lever that we should use. In the past we have been critical of the fact that we have been little more than hewers of wood and drawers of water, to the detriment of our secondary industry. Now that there is a shortage it should be made clear that the top priority for our raw materials should go to manufacturers within Canada.

The minister may have to go beyond some of the things contained in this statement and consider an export marketing board perhaps comparable to our Wheat Board, so that our raw materials will be marketed through a board rather than through private companies in order to ensure that we have the maximum use of our own resources for the future development of secondary industry in Canada.

Topic:   INDUSTRY
Subtopic:   COPPER-STEPS TO ASSURE SUPPLY FOR CANADIAN USE
Permalink
RA

Gérard Laprise

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Gerard Laprise (Abitibi):

First of all, I wish to thank the minister who has kindly sent me a copy in French of the statement he has just made in the house.

He has just announced that due to a serious shortage of copper throughout the world at the present time, prices have risen markedly on the London metal exchange. He has also said that Canadian producers are interested in exporting to that market as they can get better prices there than in North America.

Mr. Speaker, to my knowledge, this is the first time that we are faced with a copper shortage in peacetime, and the minister has made three suggestions to deal with the problem.

The first would be to withdraw export permits for refinery shapes.

Mr. Speaker, if war broke out tomorrow morning, I do not think the minister would have to use the first solution. He would rather ask for the discovery and operation of new mines to produce the copper needed.

Instead of withholding or withdrawing export permits, the minister should, in cooperation with his colleague the Minister of Regional Economic Expansion (Mr. Mar-chand), promote prospecting if there are not enough mines. In fact, the minister could visit my riding where I could show him many good spots for copper mining. If that metal is really in short supply in the country and in the world, I think a good way to fight present unemployment conditions would be to open new mines and give jobs to the unemployed.

That is why I think that instead of restricting these export permits for mining companies getting a better price somewhere else, some new mines should be developed in order to increase production of this much sought after mineral.

Topic:   INDUSTRY
Subtopic:   COPPER-STEPS TO ASSURE SUPPLY FOR CANADIAN USE
Permalink

CONSUMER AFFAIRS

LUMBER AND PLYWOOD-GOVERNMENT ACTION TO STABILIZE PRICING

LIB

Jean-Luc Pepin (Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Hon. Jean-Luc Pepin (Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce):

Mr. Speaker, the government has been following closely recent developments in the building materials market in Canada and has taken particular note of the increasing cost of lumber and plywood. The price of lumber and plywood has responded to increased demand in the domestic and export markets during a period when weather conditions prevented the industry from maintaining an adequate supply of basic materials.

I have examined log exports, which have been under control by the authority granted under the Export and Import Permits Act

April 1, 1969 COMMONS DEBATES 7357

and have found that roundwood exports are nominal and that Canada was in fact a net importer of logs last year. Recent action initiated by the government of British Columbia in co-operation with British Columbia industry would suggest that the volume of log exports will be still lower in 1969. I am satisfied that effective control is being achieved under the act.

In a situation of strong demand in relation to supply it is important that the longer term interests of the industry in domestic and foreign markets is not prejudiced by short term market considerations. Given the importance of our domestic requirements for housing and other purposes and our long standing export connections, I look to the industry to safeguard the requirements of traditional customers, both domestic and foreign, and resist any tendency to neglect the Canadian market in favour of speculative short term export demand.

Following consultations with certain cabinet colleagues, a number of steps have been taken to ameliorate the situation. Representation has been made to the railways by the Minister of Transport (Mr. Hellyer) urging that an adequate supply of railway cars be made available for the movement of wood products. The Minister of Fisheries and Forestry (Mr. Davis) is presently discussing with the provincial governments concerned the question of additional supplies of timber to be made available to industry until such time as a more stable supply/demand balance is achieved. I have also been assured by the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs (Mr. Basford) that his department will be alert to any threat of anti-competitive developments in the prevailing special market circumstances.

Topic:   CONSUMER AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   LUMBER AND PLYWOOD-GOVERNMENT ACTION TO STABILIZE PRICING
Permalink
PC

Gerald William Baldwin (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. G. W. Baldwin (Peace River):

Mr. Speaker, because of the high regard we all have for the minister and because he has to labour under a tremendously heavy burden, having to answer to this house in connection with the problems of marketing and transportation of wheat, I struggled desperately to try to find something nice to say about the minister's statement and to be neutral, but try as hard as I could I found it impossible to do so.

This is one of the most innocuous statements we have had the pleasure of hearing in this house for some time. What the minister is in fact saying is that the sky is blue, God is1 in His heaven, the Liberal party will govern the country, wait a little while and everything will be fine.

Lumber and Plywood Price Stabilization

Topic:   CONSUMER AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   LUMBER AND PLYWOOD-GOVERNMENT ACTION TO STABILIZE PRICING
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   CONSUMER AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   LUMBER AND PLYWOOD-GOVERNMENT ACTION TO STABILIZE PRICING
Permalink
PC

Gerald William Baldwin (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Baldwin:

I do not find much

enthusiasm in that patter of applause on the other side. What we have seen is a demonstration of the absolute inability of this government to cope with the serious problems that are facing us.

Some time ago the government set up the Department of Industry Trade and Commerce, and the Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs. The Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs (Mr. Basford) indicated in his statements, by implication, and in the legislative orders which were advanced that all of these problems about pricing would be brought within the control of the federal government. The statement made by the minister has been produced in response to a number of questions by various hon. members of the opposition that deal with the price and supply of logs and the price and supply of lumber. These questions were addressed to the Minister of Transport (Mr. Hellyer), to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce (Mr. Pepin) and to the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs.

This is the answer we have been given to take back to our constituents. It suggests that the whole thing is a fagade; that we have nothing at all that will in any way deal with these very serious problems of high prices that affect this country, particularly in relation to housing. I only wonder that the Postmaster General (Mr. Kierans) did not get into the act and give us his views in the matter.

We on this side of the house, Mr. Speaker, are bitterly disappointed. We feel there has been no adequate answer given, and that despite all the high promises made by all ministers, including the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, this government seems to have no power at all to control the increasing escalation of prices in this country.

Topic:   CONSUMER AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   LUMBER AND PLYWOOD-GOVERNMENT ACTION TO STABILIZE PRICING
Permalink
NDP

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

New Democratic Party

Mr. David Lewis (York South):

Mr. Speaker, I was going to begin, my very brief comments by asking why the minister had produced this statement at all. It seems to me that it would have been better had he waited until some of the steps that he says have been taken produced some results about which he could inform the house, instead of making this kind of shadowy statement that really says very little.

We are concerned about two matters referred to in the statement. One of them is the export of logs, which has resulted in unemployment on the west coast. The fact is that there is still some short time in some

7358 COMMONS

Lumber and Plywood Price Stabilization sawmills in British Columbia. To the extent that unemployment has been reduced it has, of course, been due to changing weather conditions, which have enabled the resumption of logging operations on a much larger scale. This has produced more logs for the mills. But it is still' a fact, which I ascertained only a few minutes ago from the people who head the loggers union on the west coast, that a number of mills are reduced to one shift a day and are still working short time. So nothing has in fact been done to meet this part of the problem. When the minister says1 in his statement, with a naivety and disingenuousness that really is surprising, that he looks to the industry to safeguard the requirements of traditional customers, he really cannot be very serious in suggesting that an industry which has failed to do these things will suddenly be chastened by a remark made by the minister in a statement to this house.

[DOT] (2:20 p.m.)

The second factor with which this house and the country are concerned is the increasing price of timber, affecting directly the cost of housing. It is perfectly clear to anyone who has studied the matter at all-and I do not claim to have studied it more than a little- that the rate of increase in the price is not due to increased costs or any other justifiable reason. The increase is due merely to the fact that the demand is very great and the operators and corporations involved are getting what the traffic will bear. This is something our kind of society ought not to permit, and something our kind of economy cannot afford.

When we look at the last paragraph of the statement we find that the Minister of Fisheries and Forestry is presently discussing with the provincial governments concerned the question of additional supplies of timber to be made available to industry. In view of this statement I have a right to ask how it is intended to make this additional timber available. I have a right to ask, at what price, under what conditions, by what arrangements, for what use? This is really almost an insulting kind of statement, namely to tell the house that there is discussion about making more timber available, without any facts surrounding it at all.

I am pleased to hear that the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs will be vigilant with regard to increases in price and anti-competitive developments in this regard. But the fact is that prices have risen without justification and that action should have been taken before now. I congratulate the minister

DEBATES April 1, 1969

on a statement which is soft in words and even softer in meaning.

Topic:   CONSUMER AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   LUMBER AND PLYWOOD-GOVERNMENT ACTION TO STABILIZE PRICING
Permalink
RA

Léonel Beaudoin

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Leonel Beaudoin (Richmond):

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the minister for making available to us a French copy of the statement he just made. However, we are still puzzled and we are somewhat embarrassed to comment.

One might wonder if we are not back in Europe or in England, or if there is a war on, because everybody is gone and it is impossible to work. Is there a shortage of lumber or of materials? What are we short of?

I must point out to the minister and to the government that what has been lacking is planning. When we consider that in 1966, 1967 and 1968-and I have figures to prove this- lumber yards in Montreal and all Eastern Canada had great difficulties to sdll their lumber, and now we are being told that Canada is importing roundwood and logs.

Has the department responsible for ensuring the mobility of workers given up its task? Is planning related to building materials made in universities or in an ivory tower? One may wonder where that will lead us.

As far as our party is concerned, there are no congratulations to offer to the minister as to the existing planning. In fact, we lack money and several other things. If we have a surplus of raw materials that we cannot exploit how will we be able to make profits?

I would like to draw the minister's attention to that situation for, in my opinion, it should not arise every year. I suggest that a good device to give work to our unemployea people, once and for all, would be to do some planning for more than a year in advance-

Topic:   CONSUMER AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   LUMBER AND PLYWOOD-GOVERNMENT ACTION TO STABILIZE PRICING
Permalink

TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATIONS

REFERENCE TO STANDING COMMITTEE OF C.N.R. AND AIR CANADA ANNUAL REPORTS -SUGGESTED MOTION

LIB

Donald Stovel Macdonald (President of the Privy Council; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Hon. Donald S. Macdonald (President of the Privy Council):

As has been mentioned several times in the house, there have been discussions about the prospect of referring to the Standing Committee on Transport and Communications the most recently tabled annual reports of Air Canada and Canadian National Railways. I believe there might be agreement to accepting an order somewhat along the following terms without debate. With the consent of the house I would move:

That the annual reports for 1967 of the Canadian National Railways and of the Canadian

April 1. 1969

National Railways Securities Trust and the auditors' report to parliament on the accounts of the Canadian National Railways system for 1967, all tabled on September 16, 1968, be referred to the Standing Committee on Transport and Communications.

That the annual report for 1967 of Air Canada and the report to parliament of the auditors on the accounts of Air Canada for 1967, tabled March 14, 1968, be referred to the Standing Committee on Transport and Communications.

Topic:   TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATIONS
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO STANDING COMMITTEE OF C.N.R. AND AIR CANADA ANNUAL REPORTS -SUGGESTED MOTION
Permalink

April 1, 1969