January 25, 1973

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

COMMUNICATIONS

LIB

Gérard Pelletier (Minister of Communications)

Liberal

Hon. Gerard Pelletier (Minister of Communications):

Mr. Speaker, letters patent issued by my Colleague, the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, in favour of Telesat Canada, were tabled in the House on January 4. These letters patent pursuant to Section 33 of the Telesat Canada Act provide for the amendment of the corporation's objects to enable it to render service by satellite to and between locations outside Canada and to provide managerial and engineering services to interested parties wherever they are located. At present the Telesat Canada Act gives the Corporation the legal capacity to provide service between locations in Canada.

The letters patent become effective on the thirtieth sitting day after they have been laid before parliament unless before that day either House resolves that the letters patent shall be annulled.

The reason that Telesat service to locations outside Canada is possible, is that the beams from the Telesat satellites, which focus on Canada, spill over and cover adjacent areas such as part of Alaska and some of the contiguous States of the South.

Telesat applied for the letters patent because early last year it saw the possibility of doing some very useful out-of-Canada business. It had been receiving repeated enquiries from American companies who were anxious to use the Telesat satellites. Telesat Canada already has entered into tentative agreements with some of its potential United States customers, and these have been reported in the press.

I would like now to turn to some of the considerations which surround the new development. The first of these are Canada's obligations under the inter-governmental agreement which controls the International Telecommunication Satellite Organization (Intelsat). One of the important provisions of the agreement is that all of the member countries are obliged to give Intelsat-and thus their own investments in it-a measure of protection against the establishment of competing satellite systems which might also be used for international purposes. Thus any proposal that Telesat may make for providing international service will require consultation with the Assembly of Intelsat prior to deciding on its implementation. Here I should explain that "international Service" is

one that is rendered between locations in different countries.

Officials of the Department of External Affairs, of my department and of Telesat have held several discussions with their counterparts in the United States government on this question and an understanding has been reached on the precise modalities to be associated with the Intelsat consultation.

In the course of the discussions with the United States, both parties realized that it would be useful also to deal with the question of how the Telesat satellites, or future United States domestic satellites, might be utilized, in mutual assistance fashion, to provide services in or to the other country. Examples of possible service involving the United States and Canada fall into three broad categories. The first is a straightforward support to the other country in the event of a catastrophic failure in its own system. The second is the provision of a domestic service within the other country, on an interim basis, when its own facilities have not yet been established or it is temporarily short of capacity. The third is an extension of what is essentially a domestic service across the border to include points in the other country. Such an extension, which clearly is international by definition, would be no more than of an incidental and peripheral nature but it may be of long-term duration. Communications in support of pipelines could be in this category.

In all cases a particular proposal would be subject to the approval of the appropriate authorities in both countries and through this safeguard each country can be sure that its own interests are being served. These procedures and principles have been embodied in letters exchanged in November with the United States.

So far as Canada is concerned, the appropriate authority will be the Minister of Communications pursuant to his licensing powers under the Radio Act. Also, Telesat Canada will have to meet any applicable requirements of other legislation, including that administered by the Canadian Transport Commission. As Telesat moves forward to implement the expanded powers, I know that its board and its management have every intention of ensuring that Canadian interests, both present and future, will have priority consideration in system planning and use and I know that the tentative agreements already entered into so provide. However, in case there is any doubt I am prepared to state categorically that Canadian interests must have priority and that I have the power to ensure that this policy will in fact be respected.

Important in this matter when international communication is involved is the position of the Crown corporation, the Canadian Overseas Telecommunication Corpo-

Routine Proceedings

ration. The statute under which it operates gives the corporation the legal capacity to establish and operate external telecommunication services with the telecommunications services of other nations. "External" in this context means between Canada and any place outside Canada.

In the satellite communication field the position of the COTC takes on special significance by virtue of the corporation being the signatory for Canada to the Intelsat operating agreement, thus providing Canada's representative on the board of governors of that organization. The future of international communication is complex; it will require the careful attention of all concerned to ensure that Canada's interests are being served. This in turn demands that the COTC be a strong entity, one that Canada can regard as her primary instrument in this important field.

I am sure hon. members will agree that if, as planned, Telesat expands its role to embrace international services, even though these may seem small by comparison, there should be appropriate recognition given to the position of the COTC. In my capacity as the minister responsible, I intend that this will be done.

In summary, this new Telesat development, coming on the heels of considerable success in promoting its Canadian services, should be a very stimulating one for Canada. Not only will Telesat benefit, but there may well be new opportunities for Canadian engineers and manufacturers. The opportunities for effectively using satellite communication in and around a country such as ours are virtually unlimited.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   COMMUNICATIONS
Sub-subtopic:   TELESAT CANADA-STATEMENT BY MINISTER ON LETTERS PATENT
Permalink
PC

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

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Baldwin:

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I am not responding to the minister's statement. That response will be made in due course by the hon. member for Annapolis Valley (Mr. Nowlan). My point of order is that I wish to bring to the attention of the House and to the attention of members of the ministry that Standing Order 15(3) provides that on motions a minister may make an announcement or statement respecting government policy but any such announcement or statement should be limited to facts. I am not going to be critical of the minister; he has simply done what other ministers have done. But I point out that this statement deals with the reasons behind the letters patent that have been filed and, as the minister said, this may be the subject of debate in the House.

There is an opportunity, within 30 sitting days after the letters patent have been filed, for the House by way of resolution to debate and discuss this issue. The minister has given reasons why, in his view, these letters patent should have been presented and why the course the government has undertaken is a fit and proper policy. Under those conditions it would be quite possible to embark on a debate at this time. I do not know what the hon. member for Annapolis Valley will say. I hope he does not involve himself in debate to which there could be responses. And so it could go, down the line. However, I think I am entitled to bring this matter to the attention of the ministers and the members who respond so that there will be proper use made of this Standing Order.

January 25, 1973

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   COMMUNICATIONS
Sub-subtopic:   TELESAT CANADA-STATEMENT BY MINISTER ON LETTERS PATENT
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NONE

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

No affiliation

Mr. Speaker:

Before calling on the hon. member for Annapolis Valley I might say that I appreciate the point made by the hon. member for Peace River. I thought yesterday that there was, to some extent, an abuse of the provisions of the Standing Order, not necessarily on the part of the minister but rather on the part of those who responded to the minister's statement. This might be an opportunity to bring to the attention of both the ministry and hon. members who respond to statements by ministers that under the terms of Standing Order 15 their statements must be brief. My recollection is that after a seven or eight minute statement made by a minister yesterday there were comments in response which were much longer. I was of the opinion that the statements were too long but, because it was such an important matter, I felt I should not intervene and I did not. I appreciate the point raised by the hon. member for Peace River. I think ministers should limit the length of their statements under the terms of Standing Order 15, and I would hope that members who speak in response to those statements will also be brief.

Mr. ]. P. Nowlan (Annapolis Valley): Mr. Speaker, I certainly intend to be brief. I am glad we can honour your direction to be brief. I usually am brief.

I thank the minister for giving notice of his statement. We on this side of the House are glad to hear some communication from the Minister of Communications (Mr. Pelletier), who has been one of the more reticent ministers in the House. While some statements may be long and verbose in terms of the rules of the House, we on this side would like the minister to give more shorter and terser statements from time to time rather than sit in the vacuum of silence he has maintained for such a long time.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   COMMUNICATIONS
Sub-subtopic:   TELESAT CANADA-STATEMENT BY MINISTER ON LETTERS PATENT
Permalink
LIB

John Napier Turner (Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Mr. Turner (Ottawa-Carleton):

Oh, oh!

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   COMMUNICATIONS
Sub-subtopic:   TELESAT CANADA-STATEMENT BY MINISTER ON LETTERS PATENT
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PC

John Patrick (Pat) Nowlan

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nowlan:

I do not know whether the Minister of Finance (Mr. Turner) wants to make his statement on the budget now. We are waiting for that, and it win be terse.

The letters patent tabled by the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs (Mr. Gray) on January 4 in favour of Telesat Canada represent a substantial modification of the objectives laid out in the Telesat Canada Act. The minister's statement sheds little light on the obvious implications of modifying section 5 of the Telesat Canada Act which limits the company to establishing satellite telecommunication services between locations in Canada. The possibilities of Canadian operated satellites being able to cover contiguous parts of the North American continent have always been evident.

There is some doubt in my mind concerning the propriety of effecting such an important and substantive change in the legislation passed by parliament in this way. As it stands, the letters patent tabled by the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs will become effective on the 30th sitting day after they have been laid before parliament. At this time, careful consideration must be given to the implications of the changed orientation of Telesat services and it may therefore be necessary for the House to debate fully whether such letters patent should be annulled.

Certainly there is a serious question in my mind concerning the implication that providing services to our continental neighbour will enjoy a higher priority than providing telecommunication facilities to the northern parts of Canada. Until this latter question has been clarified adequately, it will be impossible for members of this party to welcome the changes as outlined by the Minister of Communications in his statement. In sharing our technology and the service that Telesat can give to North America, we want to make sure we do not sell ourselves short. I think that is important.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   COMMUNICATIONS
Sub-subtopic:   TELESAT CANADA-STATEMENT BY MINISTER ON LETTERS PATENT
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   COMMUNICATIONS
Sub-subtopic:   TELESAT CANADA-STATEMENT BY MINISTER ON LETTERS PATENT
Permalink
NDP

Mark Willson Rose

New Democratic Party

Mr. Mark Rose (Fraser Valley West):

Mr. Speaker, I and members of my party welcome today's statement on the expanding role of Telesat Canada, a Crown corporation, in the increasingly complex and expanding role of domestic and international communications. We also thank the minister for providing the various parties with advance copies of his statement, as we do the president of Telesat for the trouble he took to inform all parties of the rationale behind the corporation's request for expanded powers. Thus we are in a position to provide something more than an off-the-cuff reply today.

It is important to say that members of my party expressed some concern that the expansion of powers through the amendments to the letters patent tabled earlier this session deleted the previous sections limiting the company to domestic or Canadian users, thereby leaving the possibility that Canadian firms might in future be denied access to channels because of contract commitments made between the corporation and non-resident firms that may offer more lucrative terms. In short, neither the Telesat Canada Act nor the amending letters patent make it explicit that Canadian interests will be served first and that any contracts made to service foreign needs will be temporary and secondary and, further, limited to our unused or back-up capacity. We are grateful, therefore, that the minister in his statement has taken the opportunity to articulate the government's position on this subject by saying, as found on page three of his statement:

As Telesat moves forward to implement the expanded powers I know that its board and its management have every intention of ensuring that Canadian interests, both present and future, will have priority consideration in system planning and use and I know that the tentative agreements already entered into so provide. However, in case there is any doubt I am prepared to state categorically that Canadian interests must have priority and that I have the power to ensure that this policy will in fact be respected.

Therefore we are reassured that the minister has the necessary powers, and I am certain that as long as the minister is in office he will respect Canadian interests. My party, however, would be even more reassured by a statement in the minutes of a meeting of the corporation's board confirming what the minister has told us.

We are pleased by the fact that Telesat at present is roughly 60 per cent publicly owned and we desire it to remain that way. This party opposes the provision whereby the structure is to be one-third public, one-third carriers and one-third private shareholders. We consider that

Food Prices Committee

the present arrangement is more democratic and more suitable to Canadian needs now and in the future.

We congratulate Telesat on being a Canadian company which has a considerable and virtually unique lead in this new field of advanced technology in global telecommunications. We congratulate Telesat on the successful launching of Anik I at Cape Kennedy last fall and express our best wishes for Anik II this spring. We appreciate Tele-sat's sympathetic response to Canadian manufacturers in the development of Canadian expertise in this field in the future. We believe that Telesat demonstrates that a mixed private-public corporation can be successful. Telesat is successful, and we in this party want it to continue to be just that.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   COMMUNICATIONS
Sub-subtopic:   TELESAT CANADA-STATEMENT BY MINISTER ON LETTERS PATENT
Permalink
SC

René Matte

Social Credit

Mr. Rene Matte (Champlain):

Mr. Speaker, the minister's statement seems to contain the necessary arguments allowing us to support him more especially as Telesat officials were kind enough to provide us with the useful information which will enable us to make a better judgment about that new policy.

That enlargement of Telesat services will be all the more beneficial if the income thus gained speed up telecommunication services in this country. We are especially referring to television services in certain remote and even in not so remote areas such as the northern part of my constituency, for example, where people are still waiting for that essential service.

We hope that this policy will benefit all Canadians. [English]

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   COMMUNICATIONS
Sub-subtopic:   TELESAT CANADA-STATEMENT BY MINISTER ON LETTERS PATENT
Permalink

FOOD PRICES

LIB

Thomas Lefebvre (Chief Government Whip; Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. T. Lefebvre (Pontiac):

Mr. Speaker, there have been the usual consultations among the parties in the House regarding the membership of the special committee on food prices. I therefore move, seconded by the hon. member for Algoma (Mr. Foster):

That the members of the Special Committee on Food Prices be Messrs. Atkey, Boisvert, Cullen, Danforth, Fleming, Fox, Gauthier (Ottawa East), Gauthier (Roberval), Gleave, Grafftey, Horner (Crowfoot), Lawrence, Leblanc (Westmorland-Kent), Mrs. Macln-nis (Vancouver-Kingsway), Messrs. McGrath, Mitges, Mrs. Morin, Messrs. Murta, Penner, Roy (Laval), Saltsman, Scott, Whicher, Whittaker and Yanakis.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   FOOD PRICES
Sub-subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh!

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   FOOD PRICES
Sub-subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Permalink
PC

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

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Baldwin:

What an army! It is an NDP-Liberal committee.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   FOOD PRICES
Sub-subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Permalink
NONE

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

No affiliation

Mr. Speaker:

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the said motion?

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   FOOD PRICES
Sub-subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   FOOD PRICES
Sub-subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Permalink

Motion agreed to. Food Prices Committee REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT



January 25, 1973


DISCREPANCIES IN REPORTS-REQUEST FOR UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO MOVE MOTION

PC

Elmer MacIntosh MacKay

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Elmer MacKay (Central Nova):

Mr. Speaker, I rise, pursuant to Standing Order 43, on a matter of urgent and pressing necessity. Several of the monthly reports recently submitted pursuant to section 16 of the Regional Development Incentives Act contain differences and discrepancies as between the versions in both official languages. Therefore I move, seconded by the hon. member for York-Sunbury (Mr. Howie):

That this serious matter be referred to the Standing Committee on Regional Development for appropriate study and action.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   DISCREPANCIES IN REPORTS-REQUEST FOR UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO MOVE MOTION
Permalink

January 25, 1973