April 22, 1970

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS


Ninth report of Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs-Mr. Tolmie. [Editor's Note: For text of above report, see today's Votes and Proceedings.]


BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

ITEMS FOR BALANCE OF WEEK

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):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to remind the House about the business for the remainder of this week. As announced, tomorrow will be the sixth and final day of the budget debate. On Friday we will call for debate the following items: First, government order 13, report stage of Bill C-10 with regard to the Canada Shipping Act; second, government order 76, report stage of Bill S-14, the radiation emitting devices bill; third, government order 15, consideration of Senate amendments to Bill C-12, the International Development Research Centre bill.

I confirm that tomorrow at the usual time I will make an announcement of the business for next week.

9 (2:10 p.m.)

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   ITEMS FOR BALANCE OF WEEK
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REGIONAL ECONOMIC EXPANSION

ANNOUNCEMENT OF SIGNING OF AGREEMENTS WITH NEW BRUNSWICK AND NEWFOUNDLAND GOVERNMENTS

LIB

Jean Marchand (Minister of Regional Economic Expansion)

Liberal

Hon. Jean Marchand (Minister of Regional Economic Expansion):

Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to report that the formal signing of economic development agreements with the governments of New Brunswick and Newfoundland was completed yesterday.

These are agreements of a new kind. They provide for 100 per cent federal financing of a wide range of infrastructure projects which are necessary to economic growth and social progress but which the provinces and municipalities could not afford to carry out.

In the special areas designated in the two provinces, the infrastructure projects include water and sewer systems, industrial parks, servicing of residential land, schools and roads. The agreements also provide federal grants for the construction of important sections of provincial highways.

In the case of Newfoundland, the federal funds committed for the current fiscal year are $41.2 million, of which $31 million is in grants and $10.2 million in loans. The projects covered by the agreements are all to be started this year, but much of the work will be continuing next year. The ceiling for total federal expenditures on the projects is $82 million.

In the case of New Brunswick, the funds committed for the present fiscal year total $32.5 million, of which $22.7 million is in grants and $9.8 million in loans. The ceiling for federal expenditures to complete the projects is $62 million.

I should point out that these are not my department's only expenditures in the two provinces. In both provinces there is the ARDA program, and in Newfoundland there is also our assistance to the resettlement program. Our industrial incentives are available in both provinces but are at present more heavily utilized in New Brunswick than in Newfoundland. Also, we have in New Brunswick the two FRED plans. Thus the totals of my department's expenditures in the two provinces in the fiscal year will be very similar.

It should be said that these agreements are very different from, say, ARDA or FRED agreements. They are not concerned just with the principles of programs, leaving projects to be worked out later. The agreements themselves list the projects in some detail, so that work can be undertaken promptly.

One consequence, however, is that the agreements are rather large documents, and I regret that it will therefore be some days before they are printed in sufficient quantity for distribution. That will, of course, be done as soon as practicable. Meantime, I would add that in addition to providing in detail for projects to be started this year, the agreements commit us to federal-provincial cooperation in longer-term development plans.

April 22, 1970

6152 COMMONS DEBATES

Maritime Regional Economic Expansion

On the basis of this first year alone, however, it can be said that never before has federal development assistance been provided on such a scale. I believe it will make an important contribution to the improvement of employment and earnings opportunities and to the lessening of regional inequalities in Canada.

Topic:   REGIONAL ECONOMIC EXPANSION
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF SIGNING OF AGREEMENTS WITH NEW BRUNSWICK AND NEWFOUNDLAND GOVERNMENTS
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PC

James Aloysius McGrath

Progressive Conservative

Mr. James A. McGrath (St. John's East):

Mr. Speaker, having listened to the minister's statement I think it is only fair to say there is really nothing new in what he told us. We have been expecting this program for the past two months.

The question naturally comes to mind: why the delay? Why has it taken so long to get these two agreements signed? Both provinces had been informed that the agreements would be ready for signature by April 1. In the case of Newfoundland it was expected that the agreement would have been signed and, indeed, implemented by now. The minister indicated in the House in reply to questions directed to him by members of the opposition that this would, in fact, be the case. It would appear, however, that he ran into some rough weather when he placed these agreements before Treasury Board.

I notice that the agreements call for a total expenditure of $41.2 million in the case of Newfoundland and $32.5 million in the case of New Brunswick. What I find interesting is that in the case of Newfoundland the total amount is broken down into $31 million in grants and $10.2 million in loans and, in the case of New Brunswick, $22.7 million in grants and $9.8 million in loans. So far as the province of Newfoundland is concerned, I doubt very much whether the economy of the province can assume the burden of this additional debt. The province is already approaching the $1 billion mark in provincial debt and the amount is now reaching serious proportions. I doubt very much whether Newfoundland can assume this additional burden. I suggest that if the facts were known the same would apply in the case of New Brunswick, which now finds itself having to assume an additional burden of some $9.8 million of provincial debt.

I also understand that these one-year programs are to be followed by longer five-year programs which are to be signed later this year. The government of Newfoundland has indicated that it expects to have its five-year program with the government ready for signature by July, though this does not coincide with the minister's timetable.

These programs certainly cannot be the answer to all of the problems that are facing these two hard-pressed provinces. The great danger, as I see it, is that in the case of my own province, and perhaps less so in the case of New Brunswick, this particular program has been presented as the panacea for all our troubles. I think this is a great mistake because it places too much emphasis and promise on these programs, as I think the minister will be the first to agree.

It is fair to say in this regard that as far as Newfoundland is concerned the program, in my view, has been grossly misrepresented. There is no question that both provinces, Newfoundland and New Brunswick, are in very serious financial difficulties, largely as the result of many years of regional and economic disparity but also due to the consequences of the mismanagement of both provincial economies.

Unemployment in both provinces is at a rate which would not be tolerated in any other province in Canada. The per capita income of both provinces equally would not be tolerated in other areas of Canada. The per capita income of the people of the province of Newfoundland is such that it places many Newfoundlanders well below what has been defined by the Economic Council of Canada as being the poverty line.

I note that the minister's estimates are now before the Standing Committee on Regional Economic Expansion and I hope the minister will explain the programs when he appears before the committee later this afternoon. I see him shaking his head in the negative, but I hope that when he does appear before the committee he will be able to explain these programs in much greater detail.

Naturally we hope that these programs will be successful because the problems that are facing these two provinces are very severe. However, we have grave doubts about the success of these programs if the government persists in its present policy of curbing inflation without recognizing economic disparity as the number one problem in Canada.

Topic:   REGIONAL ECONOMIC EXPANSION
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF SIGNING OF AGREEMENTS WITH NEW BRUNSWICK AND NEWFOUNDLAND GOVERNMENTS
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NDP

John Stratford Burton

New Democratic Party

Mr. John Burton (Regina East):

Mr. Speaker, all of us in the New Democratic Party are happy to learn that agreements have been signed by the federal government with the provinces of New Brunswick and Newfoundland. May I thank the minister for his courtesy in making available to us a copy of his statement prior to his announcement in the House.

April 22, 1970 COMMONS

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

We certainly hope that further agreements will be forthcoming shortly with the other provinces. I suggest there is urgency in this matter if in fact these programs are going to be of any benefit during the current year in relieving very difficult economic situations.

I want to draw attention to and welcome the comprehensive features of the plan as they were referred to in the minister's statement, particularly the emphasis that is being placed on infrastructure projects. Certainly we hope that this principle and approach will be applied in the agreements with other provinces as well, because we feel it is important to develop an adequate infrastructure across Canada, very often involving projects beyond the financial and fiscal capacity of the provinces, if we are to establish an equality of standards throughout the country.

It is difficult to make adequate comment on the over-all program announced by the minister since, as he mentioned, the agreements are not available yet, but I think some note should be taken of the implications of the minister's announcement in terms of an adequate degree of economic planning and the development of economic plans in all the provinces concerned. Certainly adequacy of economic planning is essential to the success of these programs. I note with regret that an adequate degree of planning has been absent from many aspects of the department's programs. These agreements I feel possibly show a continuance of this approach of ad hocery. We have had the ARDA program, then the FRED program, the industrial incentives program, and now we have these agreements. It seems to me that this involves an ad hoc approach. I believe that the department and the minister should review their programs in order to develop a comprehensive integrated plan of action. It is very important as well that adequate funds are committed to these programs if they are to be successful.

Attention should also be drawn to the fact that various regions of Canada which the minister is attempting to help with these programs are being seriously hurt by the government's present national economic policies. This includes New Brunswick and Newfoundland with which agreements have now been signed. The minister should make every effort to relate his programs to over-all economic policies in Canada. I hope he can persuade his colleagues and seatmate, the Minister of Finance (Mr. Benson), to abandon the present sterile and ineffective policies which are

DEBATES 6153

Maritime Regional Economic Expansion doing great harm to regions of Canada such as those involved in this announcement today, and which can negate much or all of the beneficial aspects of regional development programs.

Topic:   REGIONAL ECONOMIC EXPANSION
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF SIGNING OF AGREEMENTS WITH NEW BRUNSWICK AND NEWFOUNDLAND GOVERNMENTS
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RA

Joseph Adrien Henri Lambert

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Adrien Lambert (Bellechasse):

Mr. Speaker, the statement the Minister of Regional Economic Expansion (Mr. Marchand) has just made to the House refers to projects in which the provinces of Newfoundland and New Brunswick will surely be interested. I toured those provinces last summer and I saw that all kinds of public works were called for in order to provide the population with greatly needed services.

However, since the minister says in his statement that the projects are possible through an agreement with provincial governments, I wonder if the public works will come under the jurisdiction of both provinces and municipalities or only that of the provincial government once the required agreement is signed.

I also consider this to be an effective way of creating jobs in those poor areas which really need assistance to reach the same development level as the other regions in Canada.

However, if it is possible to conclude agreements with Newfoundland and New Brunswick, I would point out to the minister that there are also special zones and designated areas in the province of Quebec and more especially in the Bellechasse constituency. There is especially in Montmagny an urgent problem to solve in connection with the dredging of the basin, in order to enable ships to reach the wharf there. That project would create some employment and give to the people the purchasing power they lack at the present time. I understand that in the carrying out of those works, most of the money would be affected to the purchase of materials of all kinds and that the labourers would receive the smallest share.

It is true that the project would surely help to improve the lot of the people, but there remains a step to be taken. I suppose that to finance these projects it will be necessary under the present system to run again into debt, to increase the burden of the taxpayer who will have even less than before. That is why I am taking the liberty of asking the minister and the government if it would not be advisable for once to use the services of the Bank of Canada to finance these public

April 22, 1970

Questions

works and thus relieve the taxpayer. When we give him something with one hand and take it back with the other, little is accomplished. It is nevertheless the practice under the present system. This is why I am offering this suggestion as I believe it would be the ideal opportunity for trying the experiment.

Topic:   REGIONAL ECONOMIC EXPANSION
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF SIGNING OF AGREEMENTS WITH NEW BRUNSWICK AND NEWFOUNDLAND GOVERNMENTS
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IND

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Independent

Mr. Speaker:

Shall the remaining questions stand?

Topic:   REGIONAL ECONOMIC EXPANSION
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF SIGNING OF AGREEMENTS WITH NEW BRUNSWICK AND NEWFOUNDLAND GOVERNMENTS
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PC

Steve Eugene Paproski

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Paproski:

Mr. Speaker, I refer to my question No. 1403. It is very simple and straightforward. I therefore find it very difficult to believe the government is so incompetent that it cannot answer my simple question.

Topic:   REGIONAL ECONOMIC EXPANSION
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF SIGNING OF AGREEMENTS WITH NEW BRUNSWICK AND NEWFOUNDLAND GOVERNMENTS
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QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER


(Questions answered orally are indicated by an asterisk.)


RAILWAY LCL TRAFFIC, ATLANTIC REGION

PC

Mr. Coates

Progressive Conservative

What is the total amount in tons of less-than-carload-lot traffic that has entered the Atlantic Region from the remainder of Canada during the last fiscal year of the railways concerned and what has been the gross revenue to the railways for the transportation of these goods?

Topic:   QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER
Subtopic:   RAILWAY LCL TRAFFIC, ATLANTIC REGION
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LIB

Gérard Loiselle (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Gerard Loiselle (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Transport):

The Management of Canadian National Railways advises as follows: The Company does not maintain records that would readily disclose the volume and revenue associated with less-than-carload-lot traffic moving from one part of the system to another as such information has no managerial significance. To develop

Non-Operating

Clerical

Mechanical Trades (Shopcrafts) Others Operating Management

Managerial and Supervisory Professional and Technical Other Supervisory

the data to answer the question would require considerable expenditure of time and money.

Topic:   QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER
Subtopic:   RAILWAY LCL TRAFFIC, ATLANTIC REGION
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ST. LAWRENCE SEAWAY-LIMITATION OF SPEED OF SHIPS

April 22, 1970