February 5, 1970

LIB

Horace Andrew (Bud) Olson (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Olson:

I hope the hon. member will withdraw his Notice of Motion. I will undertake that every one of the 19 consultant studies referred to in his motion will be shown to him and to any other hon. members who may wish to see them, at any time they want to see them, if only they will give us reasonable advance notice as to when they want to see them.

There is nothing in these 19 studies that is so confidential as to make us unwilling to show them. We are not trying to hide anything. This motion and many others like it on the Order Paper would require us to produce thousands and thousands of copies of the kind of material requested. To me that would involve an unjustifiable public expense and that is why I cannot accept the motion the way it is worded. It seems to me that it would

be better for the hon. member to withdraw his motion.

I will see to it that he obtains these consultative reports or has a chance to look at them and read them. In future, if we have any such reports, if they are not confidential or involve security or like matters he is also welcome to look at those. There is no problem with regard to the 19 studies alluded to. They form 100 per cent of the list the hon. member has asked for. I therefore ask the hon. member to withdraw his motion.

If he chooses not to do that, we can vote on the motion. But even if the motion is defeated I will show the hon. member every one of the 19 consultative studies if he will give us reasonable notice as to when he wishes to look at them or read them.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS FOR PAPERS
Subtopic:   CABINET COMMITTEES
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR LIST OF COMMITTEES AND MEMBERSHIP
Permalink
NDP

John Leroy Skoberg

New Democratic Party

Mr. Skoberg:

Mr. Speaker, will the minister permit a question? Will he agree to make available to the press, under the same conditions, copies of all the consultants' reports? Also, is it not correct that whenever the government has received consultants' reports, only one copy has been made available to the member requesting same? Why is the minister, therefore, talking of thousands of copies that will be needed?

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS FOR PAPERS
Subtopic:   CABINET COMMITTEES
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR LIST OF COMMITTEES AND MEMBERSHIP
Permalink
LIB

Horace Andrew (Bud) Olson (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Olson:

The hon. member's remarks seem to reinforce my argument. Is he arguing that the members of the public and all hon. members of the House are entitled to these documents, or is he saying that he is the only member who should see them? I do not understand him. I know that we table two copies of such reports, and these are available for hon. members of the House to see. Usually enough are printed for all hon. members to have a copy. It seems to me that the hon. member is asking for consultant studies that go all the way back to 1963, some six to seven years. We do not produce that many copies of each one, but the hon. member can see a copy of every study.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS FOR PAPERS
Subtopic:   CABINET COMMITTEES
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR LIST OF COMMITTEES AND MEMBERSHIP
Permalink
PC

Frederick Johnstone (Jack) Bigg

Progressive Conservative

Mr. F. J. Bigg (Pembina):

Mr. Speaker, I do not suppose the government needs me to defend it.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS FOR PAPERS
Subtopic:   CABINET COMMITTEES
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR LIST OF COMMITTEES AND MEMBERSHIP
Permalink
PC

Robert Lorne Stanfield (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stanfield:

Oh, yes, it does.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS FOR PAPERS
Subtopic:   CABINET COMMITTEES
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR LIST OF COMMITTEES AND MEMBERSHIP
Permalink
LIB

Joseph-Alfred Mongrain

Liberal

Mr. Mongrain:

The hon. member's kind words are always welcome.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS FOR PAPERS
Subtopic:   CABINET COMMITTEES
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR LIST OF COMMITTEES AND MEMBERSHIP
Permalink
PC

Frederick Johnstone (Jack) Bigg

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Bigg:

As a responsible member of this House, and as a member of the Public Accounts Committee, I have often wondered when the dumping of alarming amounts of

February 5, 1970

printed paper on my desk every day of every week is going to end. For how long can our forests stand this drain of wood used in the manufacture of paper? I fill several wastepa-per baskets several times a week and throw out the paper which I do not want and would not order for myself in any circumstances. It clutters up our mail boxes. If we received less of this type of mail, and more legitimate mail, perhaps our postal facilities would not be so jammed and perhaps the pressure could be taken off the Postmaster General (Mr. Kierans).

If Notices of Motions requested papers which enabled hon. members to become "genned-up", perhaps we would accept them unanimously. But requests of the kind now before us, which might involve the production of many thousands of pieces of printed paper, are beyond the capacity of our present staff to fulfil. This Notice of Motion goes too far. In case anyone thinks I am here to hand out bouquets, let me say that I think we have far too large a staff as it is. We should not waste public funds and the time of public servants. We must stop this terrific waste of paper and this terrific waste of the public's time in producing a mountain of useless information. As it is, the work of the Public Accounts Committee is behind. I am perfectly certain that if the hon. member wishes to obtain this type of information, he can obtain it.

At six o'clock the House took recess.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS FOR PAPERS
Subtopic:   CABINET COMMITTEES
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR LIST OF COMMITTEES AND MEMBERSHIP
Permalink

AFTER RECESS The House resumed at 8 p.m.


GOVERNMENT ORDERS

CAPE BRETON DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION ACT


The House resumed consideration of the motion of Mr. Marchand (Langelier) that Bill C-138, to amend the Cape Breton Development Corporation Act, be read the second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Regional Development.


NDP

William Arnold Peters

New Democratic Party

Mr. Arnold Peters (Timiskaming):

Mr. Speaker, I am sure most members who were in the House this afternoon listened with great interest to the remarks of the hon.

DEBATES 3269

Cape Breton Development Corporation Act member for Cape Breton-East Richmond (Mr. Maclnnis) and the hon. member for Cape Bre-ton-The Sydneys (Mr. Muir). This bill raises many questions for hon. members from other parts of the country. I had the distinction of being a miner for 15 years, and I am very sympathetic to miners in other parts of the country because there is a great similarity in the problems of the various mining communities. Many miners move from one community to another; they are probably the original transient workers of our nation.

I have been very sympathetic to the problem that has developed in Cape Breton over the years. These miners have not had the benefit of the same wages as miners in other parts of the country in the last few years, because of the position in their industry. Because of the interest of hon. members in this situation we undertook to provide the funds necessary to establish Devco, which was to end many of the problems plaguing miners in the Maritime provinces.

Some hon. members who participated in the debate a year ago said that possibly it would be better to pay all the miners in Cape Breton a pension and forget about the whole operation. They suggested that perhaps a more viable operation should be established which would provide employment for the people in that area. They felt it would probably be wise to use the money we were going to spend and pay each miner $5,000 or $6,000 a year until a reasonable retirement age, and close down the operation entirely. The minister of the day, when piloting the Devco legislation through the House, led us to believe that a number of things could be done with the complex in Sydney, and that Devco would not only undertake reclaiming some of the operations in the mines in that area but would expand into other fields.

We listened with interest to the hon. member for Cape Breton-East Richmond. I learned something that I did not know; I read several letters written by the Minister of Labour (Mr. Mackasey) which indicated that this must have been contemplated at the time of the establishment of Devco, that is, the unemployment insurance fund would be used to supplement the act which stated there would be a $3,000 retirement fund established for each miner.

I am sure that the miners as well as most Members of Parliament believed that the unemployment insurance fund would be used in a normal manner, and that the moneys we had appropriated would be in addition to this

3270 COMMONS DEBATES February 5. 1970

Cape Breton Development Corporation Act and not part of it. Certainly the unemployment insurance fund is not the type of fund that can be used to get over difficulties in which the government finds itself. It is still an insurance plan under, presumably, an impartial commission which operates in accordance with regulations it has established. Obviously, in this case it did not establish a regulation. The regulation established by the government and operated by Devco allowed them to integrate the amount that would be paid from the unemployment insurance fund to the workers as part of the $3,000 settlement that the miners were to receive. Three thousand dollars is not a very large sum for the pension plan of an industry in which many miners have spent 20 or 30 years.

I think the amount they normally would have received from the unemployment insurance fund should have taken into consideration the fact that the men were available for work and then, as in other parts of Canada, at the end of a certain period other parts of the Unemployment Insurance Act would come into effect. This would mean transferring the workers to areas of high employment. This obviously was not done. There must have been some very dishonest people working in the unemployment insurance office, because these people were not available for work in the true sense of the word. This must have been known to the Unemployment Insurance Commission. There was obviously collusion between these two groups.

When speaking in a debate involving another bill for which the Minister of Regional Economic Development (Mr. Marchand) was responsible, I mentioned that a number of schemes have been operated in the Mari-times. One of them involved a heavy water plant in the same general area as Devco. I suggested at that time there should be legislation which would pick up the tab for whatever must be done to either establish or dispose of the liability for the heavy water plant in Cape Breton. If the government intends to get into this project, I believe it should do so by the front door, not by the back door.

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

I am sure most hon. members would support the government in any decision to put some money into the heavy water plant, though I believe we would all demand a much greater degree of control over the operation of that plant. We would probably demand that the Atomic Energy Commission give serious consideration to whether it was right in

the advice it gave about the best way of producing atomic power. The question as to whether heavy water or enriched uranium is the better material in these circumstances should be decided before Canada is called upon to spend any more money in this direction. We should be making a decision on this question.

The bill, in part, would allow the government, through Devco, to do something about this situation, because it would permit large sums of money to be borrowed. If the operation is not satisfactory, we shall have to pick up the tab anyway, in the event of bankruptcy, and I would prefer assistance to be provided openly rather than through the back door.

Some charges have been made with regard to management. These charges are serious and should be investigated. If staff are being brought from England, and in particular from the National Coal Board Whose history is not without calamities, and the appointments include people who cannot operate well in a Canadian context, we should be doing something about the situation.

To judge from the speeches made so far, there is general acceptance of Mr. Campbell; most hon. members have paid tribute to his accomplishments. He is a tough customer, I understand, and he will probably be approaching the government shortly with demands for a clean-up as an alternative to his ceasing to be chairman of the operation.

What we are being asked, in effect, is to confer important new borrowing capacity upon a corporation which, apparently, has not succeeded in doing the job for which it was established. In his outline of the legislation the minister told us that the bill sought to add only two relatively minor amendments to the act which is now in operation. I do not think this approach was entirely fair. If the present legislation is not working as anticipated, when the minister appears before the committee he will be obliged to provide answers to some of the important questions which have been raised. If not, we will have a new minister.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CAPE BRETON DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION ACT
Sub-subtopic:   BORROWED BY COMPANIES AND PERSONS
Permalink
LIB

Jean Marchand (Minister of Regional Economic Expansion)

Liberal

Mr. Marchand (Langelier):

Yourself?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CAPE BRETON DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION ACT
Sub-subtopic:   BORROWED BY COMPANIES AND PERSONS
Permalink
NDP

William Arnold Peters

New Democratic Party

Mr. Peters:

There is no need for hon. members to travel personally to the Maritimes to find out whether these projects are working effectively. When the representatives from the Maritimes express their views in this House as strongly as they did today, I for one

February 5, 1970

am prepared to allow that they know what they are talking about-that all is not well.

By simply pouring, say, another $100 million into a sick institution we are not accomplishing much for the institution and we are certainly not making the best possible use of the $100 million. Of course, I have no doubt that the bill will be passed. Politics enter into these considerations and I realize that a political decision will be made in the end. However, I am interested not so much in the politics of the decision as in whether we are doing the right thing by passing this bill, in light of the charges which have been made, supposing that those charges reflect the opinions of the people in the area most directly concerned. The bill refers to $100 million. I do not believe that in Canada we have this kind of money to throw away.

I have been shocked by what I have read, and seen on television, in connection with the heavy water plant. I know this was intended as a big experiment likely to provide additional industry in Nova Scotia. It was felt that a plant of this kind could lead to the establishment of many subsidiary industries in the area and would serve as a base for industrial development. It has not done this. Similarly, we were given to understand that by establishing Devco we were establishing a national agency which would take over from the former owners of the coal industry and provide the people of the area with a viable economic base-an industrial base capable of expansion.

The people who live in the area have a right to assistance, in my opinion, and I believe the people of Canada generally are willing to provide such assistance. But I, for one, am unwilling to provide $100 million as a basis for industrial development if the arrangements which have been established do not appear to be working.

The situation is comparable to that of the Company of Young Canadians, to the extent that one can let things ride for so long, in fact, until poor administration and bad management destroy the principle which it was intended to establish. Something like this is happening in the case of Devco. The minister may not have talked to the people who live in this area. Cape Breton people are, I know, highly political and extremely vocal in expressing their opinions, so this may be a highly political issue.

Nevertheless, if this agency is not working in the opinion of the average guy employed in the mines, or if the man who has been laid 21611-68i

DEBATES 3271

Cape Breton Development Corporation Act off and finds himself unemployed feels that the program is not in his interest, we have not done the right thing. In that case we do not need more, but less of it and we should set up a thorough investigation to find out whether the charges which have been made today are correct.

I listened to the speech of my hon. friend from York South (Mr. Lewis). He has visited Cape Breton Island many times and has many connections with the mineworkers' unions and other organizations there. Others among my hon. friends also have personal knowledge of conditions there. They are all of the opinion that the charges which we have heard are correct that there are abuses in the management of Devco and that the corporation has failed to produce the results it was established to produce. In these circumstances, the provision of another $100 million in borrowing power will not improve the situation.

In coming to Parliament for additional powers at this time, the corporation should be prepared to provide Parliament with an assessment of what has been accomplished to date. In what way has it eased the problems existing in the mining industry? Further, the corporation should provide Parliament with an indication of what use it intends to make of the resources which we are being asked to provide. If these things cannot be done, I think we would be well advised to vote against this legislation.

I am well aware of the consequences for the people of the maritimes, particularly of Cape Breton, who are in desperate straits. There has been little expansion of industry in the region; a large proportion of the population has moved from the island, leaving behind people who cannot easily be retrained to take employment in new enterprises. Devco was established to eliminate these problems, but apparently has been unsuccessful.

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

I suggest that the minister is shouldering a dual responsibility. I also suggest he may get into a great deal of trouble with me in the future in light of his background, which has consisted of working in the interests of those who have not had their share of the good life. In this regard he has accomplished things. He has, I am sure, been able considerably to raise the standard of living of those he has represented. In doing so he has also been able to increase his own ability and knowledge.

Now he has a personal responsibility to the people we want to help, and his knowledge of

February 5, 1970

3272 COMMONS DEBATES

Cape Breton Development Corporation Act the problems and needs of people puts him in a special category. The minister really cannot say that he does not understand. He has represented people working in industries where there is no pension plan. He has represented people who have not received a fair reward over long periods of time. The minister has seen workers who were left in less than advantageous circumstances and who either retired or were forced to retire.

So I repeat that the minister does have an obligation to meet. So long as he holds this portfolio we have the right to expect him to make more than just an average contribution to these people whom he represents and whose problems he understands. I suggest he will have to make this kind of contribution. Certainly he will have to indicate that he is making this contribution when he appears before the committee otherwise I would be prepared to vote against this legislation on third reading.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CAPE BRETON DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION ACT
Sub-subtopic:   BORROWED BY COMPANIES AND PERSONS
Permalink
NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Mr. J. Edward Broadbent (Oshawa-Whii-by):

Mr. Speaker, I hesitate to rise at this point in the debate since normally I like a little more time to prepare what I am going to say. I have just returned, literally within the hour, from Sydney which I visited last evening and today.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CAPE BRETON DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION ACT
Sub-subtopic:   BORROWED BY COMPANIES AND PERSONS
Permalink
?

An hon. Member:

An instant expert!

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CAPE BRETON DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION ACT
Sub-subtopic:   BORROWED BY COMPANIES AND PERSONS
Permalink
NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Mr. Broadbent:

By no means do I claim to be an instant expert. I regret not being here to follow what has been said both by the minister and by members on this side of the House.

One thing I should like to convey to the ministers, in all seriousness, is the general feeling or atmosphere which I found in the Sydney area. It seems to me that, whatever the cause, there is overwhelming discontent in this part of Nova Scotia. I come from another industrial part of the country, one that is relatively well off, where there is relatively full employment and good industrial relationships, relatively speaking. Therefore, it was a rather unique experience for me to move into an area where there are unionized workers and firms that have established themselves for many years, and to find the kind of bitter frustration and antagonism which I observed in the Cape Breton area. I inform the minister that this is a genuine feeling that exists in the province, and the minister should be under no illusion that this sense of discontent and frustration is likely to pass quickly.

Without going into the details of this bill, may I try to suggest to the minister the kind of problems about which the people of the area spoke to me. First of all, there was a feeling that things were being done to them, rather than by them or with them. There was the feeling that somehow outsiders were imposing their will on the people of the area, and there was little confidence that the outcome would be any better than what exists at the present time.

Second, and directly related to this, of course, was the feeling that the people themselves have had no active say in the operations of Devco. They have not been consulted about what should take the place of the mining industry there. They have not been asked to make any proposals, even with regard to the limited kind of tourist industry that has been newly established. They would like to play some role in this kind of decision-making.

I understand that the House was a little excited this afternoon by some rather blunt language from this side of the House, and some blunt language may be coming from the minister in reply. But I want to repeat to the minister that if the language this afternoon was blunt and forceful, it was probably a very accurate reflection of the feelings of the people in the Sydney and Glace Bay area in particular.

What I should like to suggest at this point is that the Committee on Regional Development move quicky into that area. I suggest this committee not wait a couple of months or until something serious develops in the form of violence; instead, I suggest that very soon the committee visit the Devco site itself. This committee, composed of members on both sides of the House, should make a genuine effort to understand the views of three sets of people. They should listen to the Devco officials. Then they should listen to the union leaders. Above all, they should talk to some of the people there who have this very genuine feeling, which I think has a great deal of foundation, that they are being unjustly dealt with.

It seems to me that this is the least we can do. The expense to the government would be minimal. The committee need not spend a week there; I suspect that two days would be quite sufficient to have frank talks with the people of the area. The committee could determine the basis for their grievances and see whether they are legitimately grounded.

February 5, 1970

The committee could see, in short, whether the minister has been right in what he has told the House-though I am not suggesting he has attempted to be dishonest, or anything like that.

It is my impression that if this effort is made there will be certain basic changes made, to the legislation if we act appropriately, and to the management attitude of Devco if they act appropriately. I cannot emphasize too much the feeling I had that violence, real violence, could break out at any time in this area. Anything that can be done to de-fuse the situation, to let the people of the area know that we, in this relatively distant place of Ottawa, are concerned at what is happening, should be done. Therefore, I close my remarks with the suggestion that the committee move into the area as quickly as possible and discuss with the people involved the problems that are facing Cape Breton.

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

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CAPE BRETON DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION ACT
Sub-subtopic:   BORROWED BY COMPANIES AND PERSONS
Permalink
LIB

Albert Béchard (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bechard):

Order, please. I must inform the House that if the minister speaks now he will close the debate.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CAPE BRETON DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION ACT
Sub-subtopic:   BORROWED BY COMPANIES AND PERSONS
Permalink
LIB

Jean Marchand (Minister of Regional Economic Expansion)

Liberal

Mr. Marchand (Langelier):

Mr. Speaker, if I were not aware that there would be an early opportunity to answer all the questions raised in the House this afternoon, I would now go to the trouble of answering each and everyone of them. But I know that I will soon have the occasion to discuss with the hon. members in committee all the problems brought up in the course of the present proceedings.

To my mind all those who know anything of the problems involved in economic development realize how difficult it is for the government, as well as for a Crown corporation or any other agency, to ensure economic planning and development. This is not a simple matter in Canada, not any more than in the United States, England, Sweden or anywhere else. It is a complex and difficult process and I believe that, in its efforts to spur economic growth, it is desirable that the government be continuously submitted to sound criticism in order to reset its sights if need be.

I do not come here professing to be the saviour or healer who has instantaneously solved the problems of underdevelopment in Canada. On the contrary, I come very humbly knowing full well that results so far have not been satisfactory, nor tailored to the size of existing problems in Canada. Therefore I do not rise to apologize inconsiderately for our

DEBATES 3273

Cape Breton Development Corporation Act policy but simply to dispel impressions and question some statements made earlier this afternoon.

What I find hard to take is not that the government or a minister is attacked, because I have often been a target in my life, so that I have become inured. I for one have also often attacked. So I find all this quite normal.

However, there is an unfair and negative way to attack, particularly when the attacks do not lead to fire correction, and thus get off target. Such is the type of attacks that have been made this afternoon.

After all, the hon. member for Cape Breton-East Richmond (Mr. Maclnnis) criticized the vice-president of Devco, asking the minister to get rid of him. I do not know why, but the hon. member does not seem to agree with him, and he talked at great length about him. I suggest that the hon. member for Cape Breton-East Richmond should at least read the legislation.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CAPE BRETON DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION ACT
Sub-subtopic:   BORROWED BY COMPANIES AND PERSONS
Permalink
PC

Donald MacInnis

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Maclnnis:

Mr. Speaker, may I be permitted to ask the minister a question?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CAPE BRETON DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION ACT
Sub-subtopic:   BORROWED BY COMPANIES AND PERSONS
Permalink

February 5, 1970