January 16, 1973

NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas:

Members opposite are only practising selfdeception when they talk, now, about an English backlash or find some other excuse. The real test of the Speech from the Throne will lie in the answer to this question: what realistic measures will the government take to reach some of the admirable goals it has outlined. Two policy areas are designated to receive major concern. The first has to do with economic policy and the second with social policy. I shall deal with economic policy briefly. The first of these declared intentions is to expand job opportunities. We welcome these measures but I believe it can be said that some of them are too late, and also that they are too little.

The minister said we will not have the final decision in respect of approving many of the projects under the Local Initiatives Program until January 19. How much time will that give those who are sponsoring these programs to provide for jobs? The program of winter works to assist provinces and municipalities was announced the middle of December. The premiers asked for that program as far back as August and the Mayors and Municipalities Association asked for it last June. Any premier or mayor of a city will tell you that if they are to have any work and wages program for sewage disposal plants or do any kind of public works they will need several months in which to prepare their plans, call for tenders and allot contracts. The program is not only late, it is too little. The Local Initiatives Program involves $165 million, but the minister says the number of applications would cost $400 million. This means that more than half of the projects will have to be thrown out. The winter works program, which is part loan and part grant is to be $350 million spread over three winters. Only about $60 million to $70 million will be

available for this winter. For the province of British Columbia the allocation for the three year period is $37.3 million. Vancouver Island alone would need $37.3 million if it is going to have over three winters an adequate working wages plan that will put people to work. It is not that there is a lack of work. When you think of the millions we are spending in handouts to corporations and think, on the other hand that there are very large cities in Canada which are putting inadequately treated human sewage into rivers, lakes and coastal waters and the price we will have to pay to clean up this pollution in the future, there should be no difficulty in finding projects and no difficulty in finding the necessary money to put these projects into effect.

The second program the government discusses is that it is going to promote stable economic growth.

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An hon. Member:

It better not smell.

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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas:

The Prime Minister said the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce (Mr. Gillespie) would discuss this. I listened to both those gentlemen very carefully and they told us in turn that we would have to wait until we heard the budget. In the Minister of Finance's speech I gathered that the government is still committed to the belief that grants to corporations and accelerated writeoffs are the answer. I say this policy has already failed, failed demonstrably and failed dismally. What this country needs are fiscal measures to redistribute income and to provide increased purchasing power to the low income group so as to increase aggregate demand. Unless the government moves in this direction all its talk about promoting economic growth will be a mirage.

The third area of the government's economic policy has to do with reasonable price stability. Again, I listened to the Minister of Finance very carefully. He eloquently depicted the dire consequences of rising prices, as though that were needed, since every person is feeling the pinch of rising prices. He failed completely to prescribe any solution or indicate any definite measures the government is going to take to promote price stability. The only proposal the government has put forward either in the speeches of the minister or in the Speech from the Throne was the appointment of a joint committee on food prices. This could turn out to be nothing more than a stalling device.

Members of the last parliament will recall the joint committee we had on consumer prices. It was appointed on March 15, 1966 and reported to the House on April 25,

1967. To the best of my recollection the report was never debated and never passed. I suggest that a joint committee will be a useful exercise in getting some information for members, but such a committee has neither the time, the expertise nor access to the books of food processing companies and chain stores to get the kind of information necessary. In addition, it is difficult to study food prices in isolation. The price the farmer gets for food can only be considered in the light of what he is paying for his machinery, the interest rate he has to pay on his mortgage and the price he must pay for the supplies he purchases.

We in this party have been advocating for several years that what we ought to do is establish a prices review

January 16, 1973

board with authority to examine the books of various companies and to ascertain which price increases are unwarranted. Such a board ought to be armed with the legislative authority to stop price increases where it finds they are unjustified and, where necessary, to roll them back. Only a prices review board would have the time and expertise to study all the relevant data which this House must have if we should decide later to move into some type of selective price controls.

The fourth area of economic policy referred to in the Speech from the Throne is the need to ensure that all regions benefit from prosperity. The government's announcement is that a conference is going to be held with the western provinces. This is a long overdue recognition of the need for building an economic base under the western economy. Such a conference could mean a great deal or it could be merely an exercise in futility. This conference will be meaningful only if the government of Canada is prepared through the Canada Development Corporation or through any of its other agencies to generate a large accumulation of capital to enable the western provinces to transform their raw materials into processed and finished products. British Columbia, as an example, has all the potential for a steel industry, for copper refining and smelting and for a shipbuilding industry. What it needs is the necessary capital generated and leadership given. If that comes out of this conference the conference will have been worthwhile.

Let me say in conclusion these few words. The Prime Minister says the government has made some mistakes. That makes it unanimous. We in this party are not granting the government a pardon but only a reprieve. Our vote is not a vote of confidence but it is a carefully considered decision to give the government an opportunity to demonstrate that the programs set out in the Speech from the Throne are more than a collection of pious hopes. This government has a chance, if it will take it, to show that it has learned some lessons from the election of October 30 by carrying out a series of dynamic programs to provide jobs, to promote economic growth and to provide a reasonable degree of price stability. At the same time, this House has a chance to show that parliamentary democracy can work by supporting the government when it delivers the goods and by changing it when it fails to do so. That is the challenge which faces the Twenty-ninth Parliament of Canada.

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Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

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LIB

Harold Thomas Herbert

Liberal

Mr. H. T. Herbert (Vaudreuil):

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Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

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LIB

Harold Thomas Herbert

Liberal

Mr. Herbert:

As an individual, I am blessed with the opportunity to enjoy the best of our two cultures. My wife and I have many different points of view. We do not pretend that those differences do not exist by closing the door on discussion.

The members facing me must be naive indeed-and I use an intentionally gentle expression-if they suggest that the question of separatism or the subject of language power is unique to the province of Quebec. Only this past week, most of you must have received the hate literature which stated that:

We are essentially again in the throes of a second Papineau rebellion, the object of which is the establishment of French power in Ottawa.

My regret is that this subject appears to polarize along party lines. I plead with every true Canadian to treat all differing opinions and minority groups with the true respect and understanding that will enable everyone to live as real equals.

My county of Vaudreuil is surely as representative of the peoples of this country as any can be. The more affluent, the less affluent, the city businessman, the farmer, all enjoy living in a county bordered on one side

January 16, 1973

The Address-Mr. Herbert

by the picturesque, if polluted, Ottawa River and on the other by the mighty St. Lawrence. Those of sufficient means can enjoy golfing, yachting, tennis, curling and equestrian pursuits, including the colourful if controversial hunt. For others, their leisure time can be filled with swimming, skating, skiing, hockey, baseball, camping and the enjoyment of our parks and woods. Our sugar camps bring visitors from afar, including the United States. We in the county of Vaudreuil are fortunate to be able to fill our leisure time in a variety of ways not available to everyone in this country.

I have had the good fortune to travel in many lands and consider myself lucky to have been able to live or work in all the provinces. From the rugged east coast to the beautiful gardens of Vancouver Island, we surely have no difficulty in extolling the wonders of a country that has such a variety of scenery and ways of life to please every taste. The breathtaking beauty of the fall colours in Nova Scotia, Niagara, the Quebec winter carnival or the Calgary stampede, Lake Louise and the magnificent Rockies, in every province and territory we can speak with pride of our favourite and distinctly Canadian attractions.

I want to quote an extract from a publication of the federal office of tourism. It reads as follows:

The more the traveller travels, the wider his horizons become. Travel brings people together, adding to each an understanding that wasn't there before, and making tourism a powerful agent for bridging the social gaps that exist within countries. We especially need this in a country as staggeringly vast as Canada, where regionalism and isolation would be problems even without the. added differences of language and culture.

Canada was born rich. We have a natural environment that's spectacular to look at, easy to live in, and a pleasure to visit. We have wilderness for outdoorsmen, water for swimmers and snow for skiers. We have cities to stimulate, culture to appreciate, and countryside to contemplate.

This is one excellent reason for claiming that our land is strong. This is why we should raise our heads with pride, because we have a product that we believe in and that we can go out and sell.

I want to speak for a few minutes on what some may consider the more practical side. More than 20 years ago my company was building low cost detached houses in Montreal that were selling for $8,500. Today in my county of Vaudreuil, well constructed three bedroom detached houses can be bought for less than $14,000. That is an annual price increase of less than 2 per cent.

I am aware of what has happened to construction wage rates, and for many trades the increases are fully deserved. Modern techniques tend to balance field labour cost increases and each year the problems of winter construction become less. The present rate of house construction is setting an all-time record, and the projections for industrial and commercial construction indicate a healthy construction industry through the rest of this decade. That does not suggest to me a weak economy.

In the Speech from the Throne we read of "encouragement to investors to make more money available to meet housing needs". This money must be available at reasonable interest rates and much of it must come from our banks. The relatively small amount of competition that exists in the Canadian banking system tends to make banking less efficient and interest rates higher than they

need be. A ceiling on interest rates should be re-imposed. This move should encourage greater lending in the house mortgage field. We should also consider whether permissible dialogue between managers of different banks does not contravene the intent of the Combines Investigation Act.

I should like now to turn to the food industry. We have seen in the past years an increased efficiency in food production and retailing that has kept the average annual price increase below the increase in the cost of living index. During this period the corner grocery store has found it increasingly difficult to compete with the big chains, and I believe that a renewed effort must be made to help this type of small, family business. Efficiency and price level must not be the sole criteria for survival. The small enterprise is a cornerstone of our nation and the need to give these businesses special tax consideration is included in the proposals of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Turner).

However, there must not be any inference here that I have any sympathetic feelings toward the suggestion of the hon. member for York South (Mr. Lewis) that we should increase the tax burden of the big corporations. Investors in large companies expect a reasonable return on their investment. If the tax load on the food retailing industry is increased, then automatically this increase will be passed on in prices and those who will suffer most will be the poor, those with low incomes. Or does the hon. member for York South suggest that along with the increased tax bite he would impose price controls? Naturally, while he is imposing price controls he would also introduce wage controls.

I trust he listened to the remarks of the hon. member for Prince Edward-Hastings (Mr. Hees). I quote:

I have been told by top leaders of management and labour right across the country that if the government introduces guidelines designed to keep the annual rise in prices to between 2i per cent a year and 3 per cent a year, and makes it very clear that mandatory controls will be introduced if these guidelines are not obeyed, both management and labour will have no alternative but to obey these guidelines.

Did the hon. member talk to the same leaders of labour to whom I have been listening? Someone appears to be dreaming, in colour!

I want to make a brief reference to agriculture. As with the small commercial business, so must the family farm be considered an essential part of the Canadian economy. Our farm policy is to give equal consideration to all farmers be they from the west or the east. Adequate price support programs, quotas that will take into account seasonal variations, even though this results in surpluses and subsidies to avoid price increases to the consumer will all encourage an industry that is seriously affected by the agricultural support programs of foreign governments. I also believe that a stepped up program of assistance for research at the university level will help rekindle the interest in agriculture which is necessary for the replenishment of the diminishing farm labour force.

I was referring earlier to the speech by the hon. member for Prince Edward-Hastings. I want to comment on the continuing references to the 3 per cent tax change. The 3

January 16, 1973

per cent tax decrease was instituted as a stimulus to the economy. Anyone doing any Christmas shopping this year would have found it difficult to believe that Canadians were buying less because of fears of a tax increase in 1973. As an example, the sales of toys were reaching new highs and three weeks before Christmas many well known quality products were already sold out. During this buying spree few people thought of our economy as being weak.

The hon. member for Prince Edward-Hastings has been espousing many of the past tested Conservative theories that have produced down-turns in the economy of our country. He makes reference to our unemployed. We will soon be considering changes in the legislation affecting the Unemployment Insurance Commission. It will be very easy to reduce the numbers by changing the eligibility qualifications. Full employment appears to be the objective of all parties. Let us not play politics with the figures, or try to take away from anyone the right to a minimum standard of living.

However disappointing the unemployment figures have been and are, the moneys paid to these persons, those of the greatest need, have been visibly injected into the economy. We have heard discussion of the work ethic. Let there not be an over-reaction that could result in unnecessary suffering and humiliation of the real needy.

A popular subject in the last few days has been old age pensions. There is a genuine need for increased payments, but I sense that much of the promotion is more with an eye to vote getting. I wonder how many of those who have talked of the problems of our elderly citizens have actively promoted and assisted in the use of those existing programs which are designed to make our mothers and fathers a little happier. Persons on pension can be helped by increases. They can also be helped by making it easier for them to live comfortably on the moneys they receive. How many of us have encouraged the building in our counties of homes for our senior citizens? How many of us have actively promoted the New Horizons program?

Mr. Speaker, since I entered this House a few days ago I have been described as "weak-kneed", "bleeding heart", and one of a "new gaggle of Liberal backbenchers that sprung up, as it were, like mushrooms in the nethermost corner of the House". I believe that many of us are guilty of using varying degrees of epithets in time of stress, but anyone using such language in what is presumably a prepared speech not only indicates his own inadequacies but does grave discredit to this House. I do not really object to being called wet behind the ears by the right hon. member for Prince Albert (Mr. Diefenbaker), but I would point out to him that many new members bring with them a length and depth of business experience that he could not possibly have, unless he is very much older than he looks.

Mr. Speaker, more than half the citizens of the riding of Vaudreuil are French-speaking. I am therefore extremely proud of the results of the last elections: they are a good example of the relations that can exist between our two cultures.

The Address-Mr. Ellis

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PC

John Raymond Ellis

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. R. Ellis (Hastings):

Mr. Speaker, as a representative of the historic riding of Hastings I approach this, my first speech in the House of Commons, with not inconsiderable trepidation. I have listened carefully to my peers and their speeches, both maiden and otherwise, and I sense a number of trends.

It is obvious that it is traditional to praise the Speaker of the House in one's opening speech. I wonder if in the past, at some time or other, members on one side of the House may well have choked on their words of praise. In this House, however, it is abundantly obvious, even in the short time that I have been here, that we are blessed with a Speaker of complete impartiality, outstanding wisdom and charming grace. I regret to presume that all the fine qualities of the Speaker may well be strained to the limit in this particular parliament. The choice of the Deputy Speaker leaves little doubt of the high regard of the House for this gentleman. Again, I am confident of a choice well made. I congratulate the hon. member for Halifax-East Hants (Mr. McCleave).

It is also customary to dwell for a moment on the qualities of one's riding. For my part this is not difficult. I have had the distinct pleasure, as I am sure most of my hon. colleagues have had, of travelling the length and breadth of Canada many times. It is my considered, objective opinion that that part of southern Ontario bordering on the beautiful Bay of Quinte and reaching into the highlands of Hastings is unexcelled.

From the beautiful rolling farmlands of the south, where every conceivable fruit, vegetable and grain is harvested, to the rugged, rocky beauty of the north, the people are universally alike. They, if any, are typical Canadians exemplifying the hard working, good living principles that have made this country strong. Originally of United Empire Loyalist stock, the strong strains of English, Irish and Scotch are fully integrated with new Canadians from every country in the world. Belleville, the county seat, is a veritable gem of a small city where employment of every sort is found, including the head offices of many national and international companies. And yet one can always go home for lunch, or within ten minutes be on the golf course, sailing on the bay, skiing in the winter, or just enjoying the fresh air of the beautiful countryside.

Historically my riding has supported the Crown. In 1836, in one of the first elections in which John A. Macdonald took part, history records that the area went solidly Conservative, and in 1851 at fairs and rural hustings in the counties around, the incredible Macdonald legend began to grow. In 1838 a regiment from Hastings assisted others from counties to the east to repell invaders from northern New York. To this day, the regiment continues that proud tradition. Over the years the riding, despite frequent boundary changes, has been well represented and never better than by my predecessor, Mr, Lee Grills, the friendly milkman. I am pleased to report that Lee is recovering from his recent accident and I convey to his many friends in the House and to you, Mr. Speaker, his good wishes. This is the area, then, which I now represent, and about which frankly, I am deeply concerned. I am

January 16, 1973

The Address-Mr. Ellis

concerned that the bureaucracy of the government is at best, unaware that this part of Canada exists.

I am concerned on behalf of the farmers of the area, and I intend to take up this matter with the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Whelan). I know that the huge grain growers of the Prairies and the fruit growers of both the Okanagan Valley in the west and the Annapolis Valley on the east, represent much larger blocks of power, but the mixed farming areas of central and southern Ontario are still the heartland of Canada. Many of these farmers rely on cheques from the federal government through the milk marketing scheme for a steady income and when these cheques are from six to eight months in coming, it constitutes a considerable and unreasonable hardship. There is absolutely no excuse for this slip-shod approach. Certainly, if the employees of the Department of Agriculture, who are responsible for checking the statements and preparing the cheques, had to wait for six to eight months for their weekly income, the situation would change quickly.

While I am rapidly learning as much as I can about agriculture and, in fact, about all of the aspects affecting the life of this great and wonderful riding I represent, my background is primarily commercial and industrial. It is for this reason that I am going to direct my remarks primarily to criticism of the government's performance in this area.

A major agency of this government, which renders a distinct disservice to the people of Canada, is the Industrial Development Bank. It represents an injustice to anyone interested in the industrial development of Canada. I contend that this body does as much to encourage the sale of our industry to the United States as any combination of other factors in the country.

While I am aware of a number of instances of this treatment, including one inflicted on a colleague on this side of the House, I refer particularly at this moment, to one of the largest non-United States-owned manufacturing industries in the city of Belleville, one of only two pre-cast concrete producers not owned by a major cement company in Ontario. As a direct result of a snail-like, suspicious, typically civil service approach by the Industrial Development Bank to this company, the company is now a fully owned subsidiary of a United States giant. The company had within it, and still has, all of the prerequisites for Industrial Development Bank support. In addition, it has a vital, young, competent management team of Canadians. I can, and will if necessary, name the company and others to prove my point that this particular form of bureaucracy has caused many companies to be sold to the United States or driven to bankruptcy.

An analysis of the eight year loss experience of the Industrial Development Bank from 1964 to 1971 with a portfolio of over $366,000,000 indicates losses of less than one-fifth of one per cent. This alone proves that the Industrial Development Bank as a lender of last resort, in a supposed high risk lending position, has failed to justify its existence. Industrial Development Bank's interest rates are nothing short of usurious unless commensurate with substantial risk. This risk has been consistently avoided at the direct expense of Canadian businessmen.

(Mr. Ellis.)

The bank takes far too much security relative to its lending position, basically mortgage funds, taking as it does, life insurance, personal, family, and affiliated company guarantees and a floating secondary ^position after existing creditors' requirements. Lending conditions are far too stringent. Businessmen require flexibility in order to meet changing demands and should not be precluded from running the business which they know best. The government assumes wrongly, that tight controls, which are in the interest of Industrial Development Bank, will prevent fraud and offset inept management.

In practice, inflation alone has protected IDB's mortgage interest even in otherwise rapidly deteriorating situations. The overly severe limitations are known to other suppliers of credit, such as banks, finance companies and normal suppliers, who often react negatively to IDB's presence and begin to build extra protection into their lending based on past experience with IDB. Firms have been forced into bankruptcy solely by IDB's presence and the resulting inflexibility of the borrower. The IDB, to say the least, has not kept up with the changing requirements and sophistication of borrowers. It is geared to servicing the traditional small customer, such as motel, restaurant and garage. This, in itself, is not wrong, but the system assumes inept and dishonest management; inadequate, untimely and unorganized financial information and lack of control over resources and personnel.

The IDB is completely unprepared to service a customer of any size with demonstrated ability. The bureaucracy cannot adapt to such a customer and frustrates rather than encourages. The Board of Directors, heavily weighted as it is by civil servants, and lawyers, just does not have the background to properly assess loans brought before it by its senior management. They rubber stamp automatically and with good reason, since the lack of imagination by senior employees in this agency allows them to only look at those proposals that are iron-clad. They know full well that their security is such that they can invariably regain their investment through bankruptcy proceedings. This, in my opinion, is a travesty of business and bears no relationship to the original intent of the IDB. It would be a highly interesting exercise to have a small team of knowledgeable Canadian entrepreneurs search carefully through those applications that never reach the board. I am confident that in this list you would find enough talent and know-how to build a viable, healthy, Canadian industrial and commercial community.

In the case to which I refer specifically, the company met and exceeded every criteria set out by IDB. The IDB took 236 days to approve funds that were short by two thirds of being sufficient to do the job. A quick reply, even if an unequivocal refusal, would be better than the handwringing indecision up and down the hierarchy. In this case, even though the amount finally offered was far too little and in no way reflected the strength and potential of the company, it would likely have been accepted, had it been offered in time. In fact, the IDB continues to advertise for new customers and actively solicit new loan applications through speeches, advertisements, new offices, glossy brochures, and expensive annual reports, even when the existing system cannot produce authorization in anything resembling adequate time. Any loan applications would be unlikely if the applicants knew the

January 16, 1973

true timing of negotiations through to the actual release of funds. There are times, as any good businessman knows, when a decision must be made quickly. By involving everyone in every detail of every file as the information flows up through the levels of hierarchy, by avoiding responsibility and rationalizing indecision, the IDB creates unemployment for Canadians.

Just as the departments which I have mentioned inflict their bureaucracy on the farmer and industrialist, I am even more disturbed with the major affliction of people of every walk of life, the Unemployment Insurance Commission! I am concerned here, on behalf of many Canadians, but since the regional office of Ontario, containing as it does, the much blamed computer which sends out the cheques, is located in Belleville, I am more particularly concerned.

First, I am concerned with the act itself; the anomalies contained in this insidious welfare document are legion. To record them all would be useless. I am confident that the members of the back benches on the government side of the House get quite as many calls as I do complaining of the inequities of the legislation and expressing frustration at the service received. They are aware that the system is constantly being abused, and that there are families who regularly receive over $600 a week from the commission as well as people whose income is in excess of $25,000 who are drawing hundreds of dollars in sick benefits. At the same time, there are people who, after contributing for a lifetime into the program, are temporarily out of work but, are unable to collect any money from the commission, or as in one case in my riding, less than $200.

I cannot, do not and will not, blame the employees of the regional office in Belleville for these sins. Nor will I countenance any such criticism from my colleagues in the House. The blame belongs within the commission. I want to stress this as strongly as I am able. From the top down, there is little or no direction. Instead of consolidating and improving the operation, changes are being made continually.

Let me outline some of the historical problems. At the time of the conception of this act, the then chairman of the commission, Mr. Jacque DesRoches, was new to the commission. He had no commission experience from which to draw and so he leaned on Mr. Guy Cousineau. Mr. Cousineau had experience in the commission and had access to many high priced consultants for assistance. Mr. Cousineau could be called the chief architect of the document, its chief planner, the word-smith who fabricated the nonsense that eventually became legislation. Mr. Cousineau also prepared the model from which costs were projected. I suggest that those estimates were as false as the model and reflect the idiotic terms of the act.

When the act was ready for implementation, the new building was constructed in Belleville. The computers were ordered and installed. Then, the trouble began. The programs for the computers were not ready and, therefore, had never been tested. The computers themselves had not been tested alongside the existing manual methods. Amidst all this confusion the new act was introduced and put into effect; but where was the architect? Where was Mr. Cousineau? Why, Mr. Cousineau was nowhere to

The Address-Mr. Ellis

be seen. He had quietly slipped out of the department and was now a senior official in the treasury department. I have no idea how the plan could be expected to operate properly when the man who designed it was not even in the department.

I do not need to dwell on the catastrophic results, but I wonder how many are aware of the other costs. Mr. DesRoches initially tried to stay within the budget set. He is no longer chairman of the commission. Now, we have Mr. Cousineau back with us as chairman, and the problem that was terrible but improving-to-bad is on its way to becoming terrible again.

Belleville was chosen, in part, because the availability of capable help at the wages paid was infinitely superior to the situation in Toronto. In Toronto, as fast as key punch operators are trained they are stolen by large insurance companies and others. The life style of the people of Belleville and the surrounding counties proved attractive to some senior staff and soon, with co-operation in all areas, the Belleville office began to be more efficient. Due to the problems connected with the act itself, almost twice the staff projected was required. Temporary space had to be rented. There is now a move afoot to reduce the effectiveness of the Belleville office and, indeed, perhaps to move a good part of it out of Belleville. The regional director of the commission responsible for Belleville does not even live in the area; in fact, he visits Belleville infrequently. I would be interested in knowing, and I intend to ask the question, how he justifies trying to manage a multi-billion dollar pay centre by remote control, especially at a time when problems are still rampant. I would also be interested in knowing how the regional director justifies an expense account while staying in Belleville and, in fact, a chauffeur to drive him back and forth when he should be residing there. I assure the gentleman that it is a delightful place to live.

A very serious concern to me at present is the removal of personnel out of the UIC office at Belleville. The latest to go is the public relations officer and his staff. The reason given is that in Toronto the public relations man is closer to the major media. This may be so, but what does he tell the media when he is so far away from the action himself? We were blessed with a fine man in the position who had integrated into the community well, and I am confident that he did not really want to leave. I find it difficult to understand the rationale for moving him when the public relations officer for the Maritimes, working as he does out of Moncton, adequately handles Saint John, Halifax, Fredericton and St. John's. The public relations officer out of Winnipeg does equally well in handling Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton and Calgary. The personnel director also has been moved to Toronto and now commutes to Belleville once in a while.

How these people and their staff can properly operate one of the most important dollar distributing projects of this government by remote control is completely beyond me. How can they, for example, consult with the chief insurance officer or other senior staff still resident at the centre in Belleville? How can they have any idea of what is happening? I am aware that there is now a movement to remove yet another division from Belleville. I suggest to the members on both sides of the House that this one will

January 16, 1973

The Address-Mr. McRae

effect us all equally. The division in question is the ministerial secretariat, the one that looks after all the complaints that you and I send in. Should this division be moved to Toronto, you can appreciate the type of service you will get then. At least now, when complaints come in, you can be sure of getting an answer. What the service would be with one hand separated from the other by 120 miles I leave to your imagination.

At one time we had the UIC training centre for all of Canada in Belleville at the local Loyalist College of Applied Arts and Technology. It was working in an excellent manner. This is no longer the case. As an aside, I point out that the Bell Canada engineering school for all North America is in Belleville and is used by engineers from almost every country in the world.

I am concerned also about the cost of the operation of the commission. I am aware of questions on this subject on the order paper. I look forward to these answers with anticipation. I predict that the cost of administration will be 60, 70 and 80 per cent over the projected budgets for 1969-72. The cost of HMCS Bonaventure will look like the price of a toy canoe compared to the overexpenditure in the administration of this department. I suggest also that the changes proposed in the act by the minister are far too little and far too late. I suggest finally that the changes requested in the rate structure will not, in fact, balance the cost of the program. They give a false picture to the public and more funds from the general purse will be required.

Is it any wonder that morale among the staff at the UIC offices not only in Belleville but across Canada is at an all time low. Many senior executives from managers on up, are absent due to illness or other excuses or are on long term leaves at full salary. Others have been shuffled about, leaving no cohesive managerial sequence. Surely, there is a crying need for a complete investigation of this commission. I demand of the Minister of Manpower and Immigration (Mr. Andras) that he hold a complete investigation publicly before the standing committee and clear the air on this matter. I have outlined only some of the problems; others would soon become evident. I have named senior members of the commission. This government, however, must accept the final blame. The previous minister gave us a great dissertation on the act just last week. To this I say, balderdash. It deserves no further mention.

These, for the moment are my chief concerns. There are many other areas which I feel deserve similar attention and I intend to devote myself to them. I have been told by older hands that I will burn myself out fighting the system. I have no desire to fight anything. I am determined to obtain for the residents of Hastings riding an efficient, reasonable and commonsense response from the people employed to serve them in the federal government. This is not a new approach perhaps, but one not likely to be achieved under the present administration. Perhaps we may even change that also.

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LIB

Paul Edmund McRae

Liberal

Mr. Paul E. McRae (Fort William):

Mr. Speaker, it was with a great deal of pride that I took my seat for the first time in the twenty-ninth parliament as a member of the House, and I am grateful for this opportunity to speak today. As the right hon. member for Prince Albert (Mr.

Diefenbaker) suggested, I am wet behind the ears. I find that there are many strange customs that one must become accustomed to in the House. Some of them, I think, are excellent and I like them very much. For instance, I like the idea that the House as a whole addresses Mr. Speaker and speaks to him collectively. Yet, I find it rather strange that all the members should congratulate the Speaker on his election. I feel that we should congratulate the members for their widsom in selecting such a fine person as Mr. Speaker, a person who has such knowledge, such objectivity, fairness and, above all, a sense of humour. I am also very much impressed by the role of the Deputy Speaker and was impressed by the manner in which he was selected.

May I also congratulate the mover and seconder of the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. I was impressed by what they said and also impressed by the fact that the mover was a French-Canadian from Ontario and the seconder an English Canadian from Quebec. If we are not one nation, we are nothing.

I am also very pleased to note that each one of us is given an opportunity during this debate to speak about our own section of Canada. I was pleased that the debate was not cut off, as proposed in an amendment. It is very important that we, especially the new members, get to know the problems of people in other parts of Canada. This is a massive country. Unless we hear all members speak, it is very difficult for us to understand the problems of the rest of the country.

I have observed that there are some massive divisions within this country. One member spoke of five different areas. These divisions give me some concern. I wish to talk about a sixth division in this country. There are two dividing lines which, in a sense, divide but which also unify. There is a patch of green that stretches from the Queen Charlottes through Prince Rupert, Prince George, Peace River, The Pas, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Timmins, Rouyn, Noranda, Baie Comeau, Chicoutimi, Rimouski, Bathurst, N.B., Twin Falls to Cornerbrook. Some call it mid-Canada. Others call it the boreal forest of the north. It does not matter how you delineate it.

This is the stretch which is the heartland of Canada, the very center of this country, an area that can bring unity to this country. There are many variations within this part of Canada, but there are many things that are the same. We are the center of the greenbelt. The forest north, the forest product industry, the pulp and paper industry and the lumber industry are centred in this area. People working in these industries have many of the same problems. The hon. member for Temiscamingue (Mr. Caouette) talked about the closing of the CIP plant. Living in this particular area of Canada, this also affects me.

We are at the center of the mineral wealth of Canada. When we talk about energy problems, we talk about the problems of the heartland or middle part of Canada. We have most of the ground water. When people in this area are concerned about water diversion, they are concerned because they know about the ground waters in the center of Canada. This is an area of great natural beauty with a great potential for tourist growth. We are a people who

January 16, 1973

are free. We are used to distance, travel and movement. There are a great variety of peoples in this area. Most of the native people in this country live in this area. I have been very close to the native people in this country through marriage and many years of experience. I know the kind of problems they face.

There are many problems in mid-Canada. This is not the growing south and not the exciting far north, but the heartland of Canada. I must list some of our problems. Perhaps the most important is absentee ownership, the fact that things are always being done to us, not by us. We are the centre for expertise. Groups of experts are always telling us how to do things.

I wish to congratulate Mr. Richard Romer on his notion about the mid-Canada corridor. However, although there was much good in it, we did not participate in the planning. A partial explanation of this situation lies in the fact that we are absentee-owned and managed. Although I cannot put my finger on the figures, a survey that was conducted indicated that 50 per cent of the large industry in this area is branch plant industry and the average manager of one of these plants is in a community for four or five years. That kind of absentee ownership and management affects us very much.

We suffer from poor communications. There is a great need for organizations such as the CBC to provide better communications. In spite of the fact that we need a network in the north, we do not have a single CBC station in that whole area, and certainly not a network. I have referred to an east-west line. There is an opportunity to do something worthwhile to unite Canada, namely a communications network across the mid-Canada corridor. I again thank Mr. Romer for this suggestion.

We are dependent on a rail system which is totally inadequate. The two major railroads in this country do not want to run railroads. I have very strong feelings about the poor transportation in the north country. From time to time, I intend to speak about the lack of desire of our railroads to run a railroad system in this country.

At this point, we are sadly under-represented. This is one problem that faces all members in this area. Of the 21 constituencies where nomination dates are early, 19 are in this area about which I am speaking. This is the area hardest hit by the new redistribution. There are three such constituencies in northern Ontario and two in northern Quebec. Four of these have an increase in area of between 40 and 50 per cent as a result of redistribution. In three of the constituencies in northern Ontario, Kenora, Nipigon and Cochrane, there are distances further apart than Ottawa from Windsor or Ottawa from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

I should like to put into the record some observations by Douglas Fisher taken from Times-News of January 3:

Ontario is to have four ridings near or more than 150,000 square miles in size, i.e., each is to be substantially larger than Great Britain, or five times as large as Nova Scotia. Each of these four ridings is populated by at least 64,000 people in scattered nodes across its space.

The Address-Mr. McRae

I would say that most contain populations of around

75,000. Mr. Fisher goes on to speak of the role of a Member of Parliament:

It becomes more obvious each year that MP's who hold such monsters are not even bystanders to the basic parliamentary work of legislation and scrutiny. Just serving their ridings takes all their efforts. This year's increases in area, and those due after 1981, will make the monsters impossible.

We've got to make changes in redistribution before 1984.

I maintain we must make changes in redistribution before 1974 or else in these areas about which I am talking we shall have virtually no representation at all. I welcome the suggestion by the right hon. member for Prince Albert (Mr. Diefenbaker) that a constitutional amendment should be introduced so as to give due representation to people in these and similar parts of the country.

I have spoken for a few moments about this strip of green, what we call the heartland of Canada. I will conclude by mentioning the heart of this heartland, the city of Thunder Bay and the constituency of Fort William. I do this because it is a custom, a custom I like, to speak about one own's constituency. I do so, as well, because here I am speaking about a sector of mid-Canada. We are neither easterners nor westerners. We look both ways. Our government is to the east; we look to Toronto for provincial government. Most of our business, on the other hand, comes out of Winnipeg in the west. If I had to choose, I would say we were more western than eastern. We receive our CBC programs from the east, and one hour later we receive our CTV program from the west. So we are one of the few parts of the country which can get CBC news and CTV news at different hours.

The newly formed city of Thunder Bay is a major communications and transportation centre. I understand that in the last shipping year we handled the largest tonnage of any harbour in Canada on a monthly basis while the harbour was open. We are very much concerned with commerce, with everything which moves between east and west.

My constituency of Fort William has been ably served the last 37 years by two very fine members. Some of those present may remember the Reverend Dan Mclvor, a very warm-hearted person who graced this House for many years-

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Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

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LIB

Paul Edmund McRae

Liberal

Mr. McRae:

-as well as my immediate predecessor, Mr. Badanai who was a member of this House for the last 13 or 14 years.

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Hear, hear!

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LIB

Paul Edmund McRae

Liberal

Mr. McRae:

I can assure Your Honour that Mr. Badanai, still does a quarter of mile around the track and swims every day-he could take us all on. He extends his greetings to all his friends in the House.

In conclusion, coming as I do from the centre of the heartland of Canada, I should like to pledge myself to doing all I can to bring about unity in this country.

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January 16, 1973

The Address-Mr. Atkey

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PC

Ronald George Atkey

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ron Atkey (St. Paul's):

Mr. Speaker, one of the

things with which I have been duly impressed in my time here in the House is the skill and diplomacy with which you and your Deputy, the member for Halifax-East Hants (Mr. McCleave) have performed the difficult task of acting as Speaker. The very effectiveness of this House as the major institution of government in this country is dependent on you to a large extent, and may I say to you, Sir, that Canadians are well served by the present incumbents of the Speaker's Chair. May I congratulate you both on your election to this office. Also, may I express my admiration for all the new members who have spoken in this debate. I refer not only to the mover and seconder of the address in reply to the throne speech, but to the new members of all parties who have set such a high standard of advocacy and eloquence in their maiden speeches in this House. And, of course, I state here unequivocally my support for the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Stanfield), a most thoughtful and considerate human being as well as a great leader. I am proud to be a member of his team.

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PC

Ronald George Atkey

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Atkey:

The riding of St. Paul's which I have the honour to represent lies in the heart of the great city of Toronto. It embraces famous Toronto landmarks known to many Canadians: Casa Loma, the village of Yorkville, Upper Canada College, St. Michael's College School, Forest Hill Collegiate and many churches and synagogues known throughout the world. Many of my constituents are leaders of government, business, the professions, the arts, labour and industry. Included among their numbers are two provincial cabinet ministers and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce (Mr. Gillespie) sitting opposite. This is the riding which produced one of Your Honour's predecessors, Mr. Roland Michener, who served with distinction as Speaker of this House from 1957 to 1962, a great Canadian who now occupies the high office of Governor General of Canada.

St. Paul's is an urban riding in the centre of one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in North America. Perhaps the growth has been too fast for the liking of the people of the city of Toronto living at the centre of the metropolitan area. This was certainly the message of the people at the recent municipal elections in Toronto. Their demand, and my demand, is to preserve our city and our neighbourhoods as decent places in which to live. I note that the government in the throne speech now appears to acknowledge, perhaps reluctantly, a major federal role in the preservation of cities. Yet one has to question the urban intentions and priorities of a government which is willing to commit over a half billion dollars to an unwanted and unnecessary airport at Pickering that is a political mistake, and thereby deprive the people of the Toronto-centred region of federal assistance for public transit and housing for which there is an urgent need.

Particularly in the field of housing, imaginative proposals are needed to assist in the rehabilitation of existing housing stock and neighbourhoods as an alternative to high-rise living. St. Paul's riding, particularly in the area known as the Annex, contains some of the finest old housing stock existing on this continent. Many houses form an important part of Canada's architectural history. Yet the residential rehabilitation assistance program

announced by the Secretary of State for Urban Affairs (Mr. Basford) last June fell far short of the mark both in terms of flexibility of loan and grant ceilings and in terms of the type of dwelling which would be eligible for rehabilitation assistance. The need is not only for singlefamily accommodation, but for multiple family use, hostels and homes for senior citizens and the handicapped. Also, the program of assistance for neighbourhood recreational and social facilities must be stepped up. One would hope that the rehabilitation assistance program referred to in the throne speech will be a substantial improvement on this earlier effort.

Another unique feature of the St. Paul's riding is that almost one in five of the voting residents there are old age pensioners. Where is the government's program to improve the lot of these people, many of whom built and served this country well, yet who find their poverty pensions whittled away by rampant inflation? When the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Stanfield) gave the government an opportunity to bring in old age security legislation as a priority item last week, who was it who stood in opposition to this humane gesture to the senior citizens of Canada? The arrogant Liberals, hand in hand with the NDP!

I do not intend to get involved in the numbers game of suggesting what the basic pension and guaranteed income supplement should be. All of us in this House know that the increases should be substantial in both cases. The reputation of the new Minister of Health and Welfare (Mr. Lalonde) among senior citizens will stand or fall on the size and nature of the increases. But what I would suggest is that some consideration be given to special increases in the supplement for senior citizens living in larger cities to reflect higher costs of shelter. Rents in the city are appreciably higher than the rural areas for all types of accommodation, and those city dwellers eligible for the supplement should receive consideration along these lines.

Now, let me turn to a matter of my special concern. It is interesting to note from the throne speech that the government has not forgotten about its famous competition bill. Indeed, it looks as though we may see the new and improved version of this fancy product some time later this session. I hope that in describing the bill which will be coming as "new and improved" I will not be violating the provisions against misleading advertising.

I know that the mention of this bill will bring back many memories to the Minister of State for Urban Affairs (Mr. Basford) who had the honour or dishonour of originally introducing it. Fortunately for him, he seems to have fared better than his former colleague who introduced tax legislation at about the same time and for whom the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) was able to find only a civil service job when it came time to bail out excess baggage prior to the last election.

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PC

Ronald George Atkey

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Atkey:

The throne speech indicates that the new competition policy will be in harmony with industrial policies in general and foreign investment policy in par-

January 16, 1973

ticular. If this means that this government's industrial policies and foreign investment policy must be determined first before the bill is reintroduced, then we are unlikely to see the new competition act before the year 2000 at the present rate at which this government engages in economic policy development.

Nevertheless, I am glad that the government now realizes apparently that competition policy alone cannot be relied on to fashion an efficient, dynamic economic structure in this country. Competition must be carefully related to and placed in the context of other industrial development policies and objectives. It was not wise for this government to have gone full steam ahead with a comprehensive competition bill without stopping to consider the economic options which that bill might have foreclosed when considering the broader questions involved in the development of a viable industrial strategy for Canada. This government had not committed itself to specific policies relating to industry structure, patterns of rationalization, export prospects, import competition and foreign ownership. Until it had done so, it was a mistake to try to lay down a specific competition policy.

Let me say a word or two about the 1971 version of the competition bill and the approach taken by its draftsmen. Now I have no doubt that the authors of this bill were able, legal scholars. They probably had read most of the literature in the field and the intricate, legislative model which they put forward was in many ways a scholar's delight. But it was also a businessman's nightmare, and one which no practical man would have ever expected could politically survive the transition from logical construct to operating program. No little wonder that the business community rose up in unison against this bill. Most Canadian businessmen would understand what they were told to do if they were instructed "to compete, but not in ways that destroy competition".

Under Bill C-256 however, the Canadian businessman would have had to live with a different commandment, going something like this: "Ply thy trade in purity; open up potentials for entry among thy suppliers, thy competitors, and thy customers; and if thy competitive decisions lead thee into murky areas of commerce, seek the blessing of the Tribunal." Such a commandment could only lead to business hesitancy and unnecessary restraints on competitive innovation. This is not to say that there were not certain aspects of the proposed competition act that were good. For example, the shift away from the criminal law approach towards a more suitable civil jurisdiction was long overdue for such matters as price discrimination and non-permitted mergers. Also, the act included for the first time service industries in its coverage of anit-competitive behaviour.

Third, the act refined and consolidated the prohibition of objectionable practices at the consumer level, providing much needed clarification in this area. And fourth, the act would have created a competitive practices tribunal capable of undertaking a sophisticated economic and managerial analysis in the evaluation of mergers, specialization agreements, export agreements, exclusive dealing and tying arrangements, etc.

These were some of the desirable features of the proposed competition act. However, they were obscured in

The Address-Mr. Atkey

large part by certain provisions of the bill which tended to completely over-reach its stated goals of nurturing efficiency through competition where possible and through agreement where necessary. For example, the act as originally introduced included a large number of per se offences which were to apply notwithstanding that the impugned combinations or agreements had no significant impact on competition. These provisions were unnecessarily harsh and it is to be hoped that the new version of the bill will subject most of these offences to the more gentle "material lessening of competition" test before the offence is proved.

Second, one would hope that there might be some amendment to Section 73(7) which would have presumed directors liable for offences of which the corporation had been convicted. This invidious section should be amended to provide directors with at least a minimum due process protection consistent with the Canadian Bill of Rights.

Third, some of the powers of the proposed competitive practices tribunal should be amended to provide further procedural safeguards, particularly relating to the notice provisions. Also, consideration might be given to requiring that at least one member of a three man panel of the tribunal should be a lawyer with the status of a high court judge, as is the practice followed in constituting the restrictive practices court of the United Kingdom.

One of the overriding problems of the competition bill introduced in 1971 was the serious doubt raised as to its constitutional validity. It is difficult to argue that the federal level is not the logical preserve for competition laws generally. But much of our constitutional case law indicates that federal regulation of businesses operating solely within a province may be an impingement of the provincial property and civil rights jurisdiction. Not only will this create uncertainty in the setting up of the competitive practices tribunal but it will create additional uncertainties in the business community already reeling from the magnitude of the substantive changes proposed. To remove these uncertainties one would hope that the federal government might work together with the provinces in having the question of constitutional validity of the new bill tested by way of reference to the Supreme Court of Canada at the earliest opportunity, preferably before the bill becomes law.

All these remarks are by way of general comment on what has essentially been a preliminary skirmish. The time for the hard analysis will come when we see the specifics of the new bill, if it ever comes.

Mr. Speaker, as a final matter, I would refer to the Prime Minister's suggestion a week ago in this House on Monday, January 8, that if the government is defeated on a clear vote of no confidence he will immediately go to the people. The hon. member for Nanaimo-Cowichan-The Islands (Mr. Douglas) has already referred to this during the debate this afternoon. While the Prime Minister may have recanted somewhat from these views in a subsequent conversation with some newspaper or television interviewer, I think it is extremely important that the correct constitutional position be stated in this House.

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January 16, 1973

The Address-Mr. Atkey

To put my position simply, I would challenge on constitutional grounds the inference of the right hon. gentleman that another election is the only course open to him under the present circumstances in this House. His was the statement last week of a desperate man attempting to cling to power at all costs. It ignores the established constitutional practice honoured in virtually every parliamentary democracy of the Commonwealth that in minority government situations such as these, His Excellency the Governor General is perfectly entitled to caution against a request for dissolution and to suggest that the Leader of the Official Opposition be called on to form a government. Moreover, it has been the tradition for a Prime Minister whose government is defeated in the House in these situations to advise His Excellency to call on an alternative government rather than to inflict another election on the people.

Hon. members opposite may think that there is some comfort to be taken from the unfortunate precedent of the King-Byng affair in 1926. But there is not a constitutional historian worth his salt who has ever suggested that Lord Byng was not constitutionally right in refusing Mackenzie King dissolution and calling on Arthur Meighen to form a government. At the very least, the most charitable comment that has ever been passed by constitutional historians in retrospect is that Mackenzie King gave His Excellency bad advice in requesting dissolution and that Lord Byng would have been perfectly entitled to point out to King the harmful effects of another election and the fact that an alternative government could be formed, before eventually succumbing to the unreasonable request.

Even so eminent a constitutionalist as Dr. Eugene Forsey, a recent convert to the swelled ranks of the retired Liberals in the Senate and, by the Prime Minister's (Mr. Trudeau) own admission last Monday, one of his speech writers and advisers, concluded in 1943 in his now famous book "Dissolution of Parliament" that Lord Byng acted correctly. Indeed, Dr. Forsey in his book put forward this proposition, that a government which survives an election and which meets the new House following that election and survives the vote on the address in reply to the Speech from the Throne, and then is defeated at some later period of time of the first session, is not entitled to dissolution when an alternative government is possible. I agree with Dr. Forsey, the Prime Minister's adviser. I agree with this proposition and would have thought that it was now a practice firmly established by parliamentary tradition in this country and throughout the Commonwealth. Certainly, that is the impression left by reading Senator Forsey's book. Therefore, it seems to me that the right hon. Prime Minister's suggestion that he will immediately go to the people following a defeat in the House this session is a questionable constitutional doctrine at best.

If the Prime Minister carries out his threat to ignore established constitutional practice, then he may well find that the Canadian people will, to coin a phrase, become disillusioned with his dissolution, and will wreak their revenge on him in the ensuing election. But the Canadian people do not want another election. They want constructive policies dealing with present economic conditions

which have given us record high unemployment combined with drastic increases in prices. They do not want delays in the House of the sort that this government seems ready to sanction, despite its statement of good intentions of January 4. Neither do they want this House to be diverted into other issues which will take the heat off this government's lack of creative ability and imagination to put forward specific policies to deal with economic matters. The Canadian people want this House to produce, and if the present government will not present the legislation to give it a chance to do so, then surely an alternative government should be given that chance.

The last thing the Canadian people want right now is to go to the polls, particularly when it may be brought about by this government setting up diversionary issues which may ultimately prove to be like the Maginot Line, failing completely to stem the onslaught of real problems facing Canada. If they will not act, Mr. Speaker, we stand ready.

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LIB

James Armstrong Richardson (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Hon. James Richardson (Minister of National Defence):

Mr. Speaker, on several occasions during this throne speech debate hon. members on this side and from across the floor have suggested, in fact some have urged, that members of the government elaborate and explain in greater detail some of the statements in the Speech from the Throne, particularly those that are in their immediate area of interest or in their area of responsibility. So, in addition to wanting to congratulate you, Sir, as well as Mr. Speaker, Mr. Deputy Speaker and the mover and seconder of the motion, in addition to wanting to join and associate myself with all the very sincere tributes that have been directed to each of you, I want to participate in the debate at this point in order to speak about two statements in the Speech from the Throne that have not been discussed, I believe, to the extent that they merit or deserve.

The first is the reference in the speech to the wider area of service open to the Canadian armed forces, and the second and really vital statement to which I want to address myself is perhaps one of the most far-reaching and significant statements in the whole Speech from the Throne, namely the one regarding the proposed conference on western economic opportunities.

First of all, turning to defence, I should like to remind the House of the exact words in the Speech from the Throne. They were:

The government intends to widen the area of service to Canada open to personnel in the Canadian armed forces. In addition to maintaining a high degree of military capability as the primary and most essential role of the forces, new emphasis will be placed on the many areas in which the varied skills and training of this large number of dedicated Canadians can contribute to the achievement of national goals.

Those are the words from the Speech from the Throne, and in speaking on this subject I wish to emphasize first of all our commitment to maintaining a high degree of military capability. The first duty of our armed forces is to protect Canada, and nothing we do in other areas should diminish that capability. But having said that, I believe that there are skills and training possessed by personnel in the armed forces that can serve other national goals. I also believe that within the armed forces there is a desire to serve, not just to serve in a military role, not just to protect this country, but to help to improve this

January 16, 1973

country. Some of the subjects that I have in mind are as follows.

I might say in these first few weeks as Minister of National Defence that I have not tried to establish programs. I simply want to put forward a concept. Take the case of engineering.

We have engineering skill in the Armed Forces. I do not go so far as to say we should copy the American Corps of Engineers who have built some of the great projects in that country, but certainly our engineering skill can be used to meet other goals than our military capability. I am thinking of the development of the north, and even more particularly of the great project along the Mackenzie valley.

I am thinking of communications where we are in the process of putting in new and sophisticated equipment, all of which is going to cost us in excess of $50 million. Looking at the department for the first time I ask myself, should we be doing this just for our own use, just for our own departmental communication, or is there some way in which this expenditure of taxpayers' dollars could be used to serve other departments or other national purposes?

Then, look at the matter of physical fitness. You will note that in the throne speech debate my colleague, the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Lalonde), has talked about physical fitness. Even if it is not now, this should be a national objective, and again I do not know of any group other than the Armed Forces who possess a higher degree of physical fitness. There must be something there in their coaching skills, and in their facilities, which could be given a wider application.

I think, too, of the ecology, of the national objective of clean air and clean water. Again, I know that the Armed Forces have an expertise in this area. Not only did they help in the clean-up on the Peace River, and in Chedabuc-to Bay following the Arrow tragedy, but daily they are on patrol spotting areas of pollution around our shores. This is another area which I think could be given greater emphasis.

Then, too, there is the whole area of search and rescue, which has recently been widely publicized. Here again there are taxpayers' dollars being spent for very worthwhile non-military purposes. Apart from search and rescue we fly over 200 mercy flights a year, some four mercy flights a week, as a contribution of the Armed Forces. I could elaborate further, Mr. Speaker, but time is limited and I want to talk on the other main subject.

Let me sum up by saying that I believe that in addition to their primary objective, which is to defend the sovereignty and independence of this country, in other words to protect Canada, the Armed Forces should also be helping to improve Canada. If I were allowed, Mr. Speaker, I might make a brief personal reference, as an example, of the kind of thing I am talking about as a secondary mission.

When I was flying with 10BR squadron in Labrador in 1944 our main military purpose was to look for submarines. The year before we were there the supply ship

The Address-Mr. Richardson

coming into Goose Bay, which was carrying a year's supply of beer, struck an iceberg and sank, and we ran out of beer about the middle of February. So, our crew were given the responsibility, as we were looking for submarines, to mark the icebergs in order that the next year's supply ship would be able to get through. It did get through, and that is an example of how secondary objectives can be attained by the Armed Forces.

Now, moving on to the other main and important subject, the proposed conference on western economic opportunities, I have already said that I believe this could be one of the most far-reaching proposals in the Speech from the Throne.

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January 16, 1973