October 19, 1976

?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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?

Some hon. Members:

No.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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PC

Walter David Baker (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Baker (Grenville-Carleton):

Mr. Speaker, if the minister could finish by ten o'clock we would be very pleased to allow him to continue.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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LIB

Eugene Whelan (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Whelan:

Mr. Speaker, if they want to suppress agriculture in Canada I am willing to let them.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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PC

Ramon John Hnatyshyn (Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition; Progressive Conservative Party Deputy House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ray Hnatyshyn (Saskatoon-Biggar):

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Whelan) was not up to the challenge of speaking a little longer to finish off his remarks but I am quite prepared to deal with some of the issues he raised. It is clear to everyone in this Chamber that the minister has failed miserably in carrying out his mandate as minister of agriculture and he will pay the price in the next election.

I want to start off in the traditional way by complimenting those members on the government side who moved and seconded the Address in Reply to Speech from the Throne. The mover was the hon. member for Restigouche (Mr. Harquail), and I think we would all agree that he is going to amount to something in this parliament. He is unique in that he is the only Liberal to be elected in a by-election during this parliament. We realize that from now until the end of this parliament no more of his party will be elected, so I want to compliment him and say that notwithstanding-[DOT]

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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PC

Jacques Flynn (Leader of the Opposition in the Senate)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Flynn:

Mr. Speaker-

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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LIB

Denis Éthier (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ethier):

The hon. member for Kitchener (Mr. Flynn) on a point of order.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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PC

Jacques Flynn (Leader of the Opposition in the Senate)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Flynn:

Mr. Speaker, with all due deference to the hon. member I do not think our member was the only one elected in a by-election so he is giving incorrect information. This is a distortion of information and he should give it correctly. If he just got up to tell off the minister, he is wrong.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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LIB

Denis Éthier (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ethier):

Order, please. Hon. members will be recognized on a point of order but not for debate. The hon. member for Saskatoon-Biggar (Mr. Hnatyshyn).

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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PC

Ramon John Hnatyshyn (Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition; Progressive Conservative Party Deputy House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hnatyshyn:

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry that the hon. member for Kitchener (Mr. Flynn) apparently has a hearing problem. I said that the hon. member for Restigouche (Mr.

Harquail) would be the only Liberal member elected in a by-election during this parliament.

I should like to call it ten o'clock, Mr. Speaker.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION


A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 40 deemed to have been moved.


FLOODS-GOVERNMENT REACTION TO PETITION FOR CONTROL MEASURES ON RIDEAU RIVER

PC

Walter David Baker (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Walter Baker (Grenville-Carleton):

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this debate is to move to another subject, one that I raised on the fourth day of this session of parliament. It concerns the flooding that has happened on the Rideau River and the efforts being contemplated by the government to combat the difficulties that residents in my constituency and elsewhere have experienced as its result.

On October 15 I inquired of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (Mr. Allmand) if he had had an opportunity to review the petition sent to him by some 550 residents on the banks of the Rideau River concerning flood control, maintenance of water levels on the Rideau, whether he had had an opportunity to consult his officials, and what he intended to do about the problem. The minister indicated he had not seen the petition although I know it was sent to him. Perhaps he has seen it now, and he has received correspondence with respect to this matter.

I am talking of most serious conditions, Mr. Speaker. In the spring of this year thousands of dollars of damage was caused to those people who live along that river. I do not think one can say, and I am sure the minister will not say, that people built there, therefore they must suffer the consequences. I do not think the minister would say that, in the circumstances.

The difficulty exists, perhaps owing to the failure of the ministry to deal with it. The primary area of flooding that concerns us is the stretch of river between Burritt's Rapids and the Long Island locks. As the House may be aware, there was extensive flooding during the spring run-off period of 1976, resulting in the considerable property damage to which I just referred. In several years during the past decade there has been severe flooding on that river. The petitioners feel that this flooding could have been averted if the authorities had exercised proper river level management.

The residents of the area contend that the off-season water levels of the past few years have been left higher than in previous years. They contend that not only have water levels been left higher, but that there is a facility for controlling the

October 19, 1976

water at Long Island. They are as mindful as any of the importance of preserving the area's wild life and marine life. They live along the river. But they feel that since water levels have been lowered in the area north of Black Rapids, without damaging wild life and marine life, the same could be done in the area of concern to them.

They are asking for the maintenance of the water level, and for flood control on the river. They object to the high water levels maintained between the two areas mentioned, water levels which have resulted in the flooding to which I have referred. They contend that by lowering substantially the water level of a portion of the system, a greater catch basin could be created to accommodate the spring run-off.

A recently created federal-provincial-municipal organization known as COORTS has been brought together for the development of the entire Rideau-Trent-Severn system. People concerned about water levels in the area say that if those levels are to be controlled it is necessary to activate the provisions of the agreement and understanding arrived at, and apply them in the particular area of concern.

I have asked for an answer to my question and I brought it forward again for debate this evening because it is important to many of my constituents who have suffered damage as a result of the flooding. I submit that, in view of the history of the area, unless something is done similar difficulties will again arise. I hope that the representative of the ministry will be able to announce what steps are being taken. I also ask the parliamentary secretary, who has considered the matter, to bring to the attention of the minister the questions I have placed on the order paper relating to this matter, which is important to many people, many of whom have invested their life savings in homes in this area.

The Rideau is a beautiful river, Mr. Speaker. It can be made more beautiful, deepened and widened, not just for boaters, but as well for all those who indulge in recreation along the river. But when this is done I hope the people who live in the area and have invested their life savings in it will not be forgotten.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   FLOODS-GOVERNMENT REACTION TO PETITION FOR CONTROL MEASURES ON RIDEAU RIVER
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LIB

Jean-Robert Gauthier (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of State for Urban Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Jean-Robert Gauthier (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of State for Urban Affairs):

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Grenville-Carleton (Mr. Baker) for bringing this matter to the attention of the House. I like many who live in and around Ottawa, have always appreciated the value and beauty of the Rideau River. Many of my closest friends live along the river; as a result I am familiar with the difficulty to which he referred.

On October 14, 1976, a petition addressed to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (Mr. Allmand) was presented directly to the department. The petition contained more than 500 signatures.

The petitioners object to the flooding on the section of the Rideau River between Burritt's Rapids and Long Island which they state is because of the high water levels maintained on this section of the river during the winter.

Adjournment Debate

In 1976 the worst flooding on record occurred along the Rideau River between Smiths Falls and Ottawa. The break-up was very rapid due to abnormally high temperatures followed by rain. Considerable damage was caused, and officials of the department immediately began assessing what, if anything, could be done to alleviate the problem in the future.

The petition requests that the water be lowered to provide a larger "catch basin", and assumes that marine and wildlife would not be seriously affected. The petition also states that damage due to ice is increased by high water levels.

There has been insufficient time to review the petition as to what effect a lowering of the water level by three feet, as requested, would have on wildlife and the surrounding water table. It is known that in similar situations along the Trent when water levels were lowered for construction purposes, fish and aquatic mammals were killed and nearby wells have gone dry. The uplift of ice when spring freshet commences is often more severe with lower river levels and usually there is more damage caused to docks and bank protection. Officials have calculated that the amount of storage provided by such a lowering would have delayed the high water levels in 1976 by about a half day but would not have reduced the maximum levels reached.

The minister has asked that the petition be studied in detail. Game and fish authorities have already been asked to give their advice. An opinion has also been requested from an independent engineering firm as to what effect an all winter lowering would have on ice build-up. The clearing of ice jams in the Ottawa area is a municipal operation assisted by canal procedures to flush away the broken ice. Similar co-operation would be given the upstream municipalities if they wished to provide a similar service on a co-ordinated basis.

The control of water in a watershed has many ramifications besides maintaining levels for navigation. They have an effect on the water level in wells, fish and marine life, and the quality of the water itself. Departmental officials are constantly trying to improve the art to accommodate as many users as possible with minimum adverse effects. Precipitous action might have unexpected and undesirable results. It is for this reason that this complex problem requires detailed multi-disciplinary study.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   FLOODS-GOVERNMENT REACTION TO PETITION FOR CONTROL MEASURES ON RIDEAU RIVER
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LIB

Denis Éthier (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ethier):

Order, please. The time of the hon. parliamentary secretary has expired and we should go on to the next question.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   FLOODS-GOVERNMENT REACTION TO PETITION FOR CONTROL MEASURES ON RIDEAU RIVER
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ENERGY-REQUEST FOR SUBSIDY TO ATLANTIC PROVINCES- GOVERNMENT ACTION

PC

Heath Nelson Macquarrie

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Heath Macquarrie (Hillsborough):

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured and delighted that the minister is here tonight to answer my humble question. I will leave aside the preliminary recitation I made to him and the answer he gave to me.

I was impressed, indeed shocked, that on an issue so vital to the people of Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia the

80001-17%

October 19, 1976

Adjournment Debate

minister could couch his answer in such heavy layers of complacency and casuality. For many, many months the premiers of the two provinces have been presenting an urgent case for special action to provide some measure of relief for the people of Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.

I know that the whole country, indeed much of the whole world, faces a grave energy crisis. But the situation in the two provinces is especially acute and painful. We have no great hydro-electric capacities. In Prince Edward Island our electricity derives from oil-fired turbines and one need not be an expert to know the effect of increasing oil prices.

In seven minutes I would not presume to attempt an in-depth discussion of the nation's energy problems. But it is beyond question that the Government of Canada is deeply involved in, and in large measure responsible for, our current energy crisis. I can and should, Mr. Speaker, draw to the attention of the House and the minister the very grave situation in which the provinces of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island find themselves.

I hear from constituents a depressing account of their difficulty in paying their monthly electricity bills. One lady says it costs her more for electricity than for her rent. Phenomenal increases seem the order of the day. In my modest constituency office in Charlottetown, the increase is revealing. In July, 1975, the bill for electricity was $2.86. In August of 1975 it was $3.23. One year later, July, 1976, it was not $2.86 but $11.88. The bill for September, 1976, was $27.05. This is a sizeable increase for a small office with dome lights. But think of the effect on our processing plants where our fine agricultural products are frozen or otherwise processed. With our transportation costs and other deterrents to which the Minister of Transport (Mr. Lang) is adding further problems, we have trouble enough already trying to compete. If the costs of energy are to be so disparate, what is our future?

What processing plant will locate in Prince Edward Island in the face of staggering energy costs such as these? How can we really move in the direction of economic expansion and overcome regional disparity? It is for this reason I was so appalled by the minister's lack of anxiety over the matter. My hon. friend from Egmont rightly pointed out that DREE cannot accomplish anything, let alone economic miracles, if other government departments work against its aims and objectives.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   ENERGY-REQUEST FOR SUBSIDY TO ATLANTIC PROVINCES- GOVERNMENT ACTION
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LIB

Denis Éthier (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ethier):

Order. Is it customary to remind hon. members that their time has expired?

Is it agreed that the hon. member may pursue his speech?

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   ENERGY-REQUEST FOR SUBSIDY TO ATLANTIC PROVINCES- GOVERNMENT ACTION
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PC

Heath Nelson Macquarrie

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macquarrie:

I do not believe I have exhausted my seven minutes. I think Your Honour is wrong in your calculations.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   ENERGY-REQUEST FOR SUBSIDY TO ATLANTIC PROVINCES- GOVERNMENT ACTION
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October 19, 1976