March 17, 1977

TRANSPORT-DISPARITY BETWEEN SUBSIDIES FOR FERRIES ON EAST AND WEST COASTS-GOVERNMENT POSITION

PC

Benno Friesen

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Benno Friesen (Surrey-White Rock):

Mr. Speaker, on November 3 last the Minister of Transport (Mr. Lang) announced his handy-dandy made-in-Ottawa transport policy for northern coastal communities of British Columbia, which he called "improved shipping service". He said, and I quote in part from the announcement:

The three B.C. coastal M.P.s, the Honourable Iona Campagnolo, Jack Pearsall and Hugh Anderson had assisted in producing the new plan and also will be watching developments and keeping in close touch with constituents to iron out any early problems which may arise.

He went on to say:

Rivtow, whose service will be non-subsidized, has agreed to hold the tariff rate while experience is gained in the operation and does not foresee any major increases.

On November 29 the hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Anderson) was quoted in one of his own papers, the Campbell-River Upper Islander, as saying:

The rationale behind the abandoning of the Northland subsidy was that it was distorting, not helping, Northern Navigational services. Competition could be improved if the federal government were not assisting only one company.

I would like to hear what the coastal communities have to say about that.

On November 30 it was discovered that the cost of some of the services within that one month's period had risen by as much as 150 per cent.

On December 3 the New Westminster Columbian reported statements of Mr. Bill New, president of Coast Ferries Ltd., and I quote:

He said he feels that the friendship among RivTow President Cecil Cosulich, Roger Marsham, a federal ministry of transport administrator, and Goen Chestnut, an adviser to B.C. Transport Minister Jack Davis, acted as a detriment to his company's interests.

"They, Chestnut and Marsham are acting in the interests of themselves ... not necessarily to the benefit of the people who are being serviced by the companies that have received these funds subsidies," he said.

"Currently, you could say it is to the benefit of RivTow Straits."

The article goes on to say:

RivTow picked up much of the cargo business abandoned by Northland when Northland's subsidy ran out Oct. 31.

On December 6 the Minister of Transport finally got to Prince Rupert to listen to what the people had to say. He conceded he had waited far too long and that perhaps he had made a mistake in making the decisions he had. That was also when he said that he had to make the changes because the government was "hostage to Northland".

Also on December 6 the Vancouver Province ran another article in which it said that the Minister of State (Fitness and Amateur Sport) Mrs. Campagnolo had said to a staff reporter:

... that unless she gets some quick action from Transport Minister Otto Lang that will soothe the unrest among her constituents, she'll quit the cabinet post.

"I want some action," she said. "If there's no action, I have other recourses."

On December 8, according to the Globe and Mail, "Mrs. Campagnolo said Mr. Lang promised last weekend"-that would have been the first week of December-"to improve service within six weeks."

On December 21 the Premier of British Columbia sent a telegram to the Prime Minister saying:

On a per capita basis and using your east coast subsidies as a basis for establishing subsidies, the west coast should be getting more than $100 million a year. Instead, your Ministry of Transport is in the process of cutting us off entirely.

Two days ago I visited with a resident of Ocean Falls and she told me she had to wait two days to get a plane to get out of Ocean Falls because they were always socked in. Since

March 17, 1977

Christmas the Lumba Lumba, the boat that was supposed to provide such great service to Ocean Falls, has been there four times, twice in the middle of the night when the residents of Ocean Falls did not even know that it had come there.

On March 4, just two weeks ago, I put a question to the Minister of Transport. I asked him, regarding his recent visit to Victoria, whether the government would now present a 50 per cent subsidy to help the ferry system in British Columbia. The minister again gave a very inadequate answer, so I put a supplementary question to him:

Since the new improved shipping arrangement for the west coast is now four months old, and it is a makeshift proposition, are we to assume that this will now be a permanent arrangement, or will there be an announcement concerning a new arrangement?

I take up the Vancouver Province, and today I understand there is another statement which I would like to read into the record:

Transport Minister Otto Lang promised an inquiry in December, and earlier this week four regional districts sent a telegram to Lang saying the inquiry was long overdue and should be called immediately. Although she didn't have any special knowledge, Campagnolo said: "As far I am concerned it will still be heard but if there is a transfer of jurisdiction from federal to provincial then it's hard to say what will happen."

The latest word which I have just heard from the hon. member for Capilano (Mr. Huntington) is that RivTow is to have a subsidy. This is the system which was not to require any subsidy. All that the communities along the coast of British Columbia have received from the Minister of Transport is promises and delays. According to the announcement in the Vancouver Province what we have is another delay.

There is supposed to be an inquiry. We know that that is the surest way of getting another stall. It is a gimmick. I feel sorry for the hon. member for Coast Chilcotin (Mr. Pearsall) because he has been working hard for those communities, and the Minister of Transport, and the Minister of State (Fitness and Amateur Sport) have given him the shaft. It is time that the coastal communities got an answer-

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   TRANSPORT-DISPARITY BETWEEN SUBSIDIES FOR FERRIES ON EAST AND WEST COASTS-GOVERNMENT POSITION
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LIB

John Napier Turner

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Turner):

Order, please. I regret to inform the hon. member that his allotted time has expired.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   TRANSPORT-DISPARITY BETWEEN SUBSIDIES FOR FERRIES ON EAST AND WEST COASTS-GOVERNMENT POSITION
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LIB

Marcel-Claude Roy (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Marcel Roy (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Transport):

Mr. Speaker, I am always impressed by the presentations made by the hon. member during the late show, and I am also impressed by the representations made by the Minister of State (Fitness and Amateur Sport) (Mrs. Campagnolo) on this matter.

The hon. member for Surrey-White Rock (Mr. Friesen) alleges that there are disparities between subsidies paid to ferry services on the east and west coasts. This view appears to be based on a straight comparison of numerical totals and does not take into consideration the basic purpose of a subsidy program, which is to iron out unfair disparities and not to establish some sort of mathematical balance. Subsidies of the type administered by the Department of Transport are not handed out on a percentage basis but are calculated on the basis of evaluated need. In such circumstances it is possible

Adjournment Debate

that 100 per cent of all subsidies could be paid in one area and there would still be no question of disparity.

In drawing comparisons between the east and west coasts, the extent to which transportation assistance in any form may be required is clearly a function of geography and climate. In the east the main ferry services provide linkage between the Atlantic provinces. This should be contrasted with the situation in British Columbia where the coastal shipping services, including the ferries, are an integral part of the provincial communications network, and to a considerable extent play the role of intra-provincial highways.

The scale of subsidization on the east coast is, of course, primarily dependent on the constitutional commitments which were made by Canada at the time of entry of Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland into Confederation. Although the current levels of expenditure may be much higher than were originally envisaged, the constitutional obligations cannot be avoided. The nature of the geographical area and the dispersed population inevitably lead to heavy expenditures which, even without a constitutional amendment, could not easily be supported by what is relatively one of the poorer areas of Canada.

The situation in British Columbia is very different. This prosperous province enjoys the benefits of a mature transportation system in which subsidization has in fact been a disruptive element rather than a support. Indeed transportation services in British Columbia waters can to a large extent be effectively provided through normal market processes.

There is no constitutional commitment to British Columbia contained in the terms of Confederation since the province did not see marine transportation services as being as high on its scale of priorities as did the island provinces in the east.

With due allowance made for Canada's constitutional obligations, the government has been striving to establish a water transportation assistance policy-

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   TRANSPORT-DISPARITY BETWEEN SUBSIDIES FOR FERRIES ON EAST AND WEST COASTS-GOVERNMENT POSITION
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LIB

John Napier Turner

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Turner):

Order, please. I regret to inform the parliamentary secretary that his allotted time has expired.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   TRANSPORT-DISPARITY BETWEEN SUBSIDIES FOR FERRIES ON EAST AND WEST COASTS-GOVERNMENT POSITION
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MANPOWER-CANADA WORKS PROGRAM-DIFFERENTIATION BETWEEN STATUS INDIANS ON AND OFF RESERVATIONS

PC

Cecil Morris Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Cecil Smith (Churchill):

Mr. Speaker, my rising tonight in the adjournment debate stems from a question I asked of the Minister of Manpower and Immigration (Mr. Cullen) which is reported at page 2777 of Hansard, and also from a question the hon. member for Lambton-Kent (Mr. Holmes) asked which is reported at page 3521 of Hansard. My question also follows upon a speech I made with regard to employment and immigration which is found at page 3505 of Hansard.

I want to zero in tonight on the Canada Works program and explain exactly what took place over a very short period of time. The first letter I received informing me of the Canada Works program was dated December 20. I received no more communications in this regard until I received a letter on

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March 17, 1977

Adjournment Debate

January 20. That letter said that the Churchill constituency was in a category of 20 per cent unemployment? I will accept the figure of 20 per cent as representing the unemployment in the area. However, the next communication that I received from the minister's office stated that allocations had been made for each particular constituency, and that in the Churchill constituency the allocations were made in the following way: Indians, $843,000; regulars, $100,000. What this indicated to me was that the Indian population, who are the responsibility of the federal government-that was referred to by the Minister of Manpower and Immigration-were allocated a certain amount of money, but the figure on their unemployment was inaccurate. Unemployment among the Indians runs closer to 75 per cent.

The minister has asked each member of parliament to appoint a ministerial advisory board to look at the projects that have been submitted from the communities. Those boards are made up of people from the constituency and they are the ones who advise on which projects should be funded. I sometimes think that the person who designed the Canada Works program has never been out of Ottawa because he could not have known what he was doing in allocating separate funds to Indian people living on the reserve, and separate funds to regulars, which means anyone not living on the reserve, eliminated about 2,700 status Indians living in the constituency. What this did was to drive a wedge down the middle of the communities in the north.

Many of our communities are composed of status Indians, non-status Indians, and Metis people. There is a line dividing the reserve people from the others. These communities have been working in harmony over the years. They are trying their best to work together as one community. What this program is doing is to drive the wedge much deeper. I hope that when the next allocations are made on August 26 we will not run into the same problem.

The people who have been named to the ministerial advisory board are responsible constituents in the Churchill riding. One is the vice-president of the Manitoba Indian Association and another is the vice-president of the Metis Federation. They know how money should be allocated in that area, unlike the official here who decides how to allocate this money before it gets to the ministerial advisory board. I refuse to accept his criteria.

The other criticism I have of this program is that it gives little chance to people to participate in it. Perhaps that was the design of the program in the hope that application forms would not reach some of the remote areas. I have here a note from a community which reads:

Dear Sir:

Please excuse the lateness of this application. Mail is slow in this isolated community and the forms were received only three days ago.

This was dated on the day of the deadline. We fought hard to get the deadline on February 4 extended so that communities which were really in need of work would have the opportunity to get in their applications. I have received other letters

indicating that some communities have never received application forms. We do not receive daily newspapers in our area, nor do we have radio and television to carry the news of the existence of projects such as this one.

In the speech I made the other day I made reference to the other programs in existence at present. First we had LIP with $2,400,000. Next we had FLIP with $1,088,000. Then we had LEAP. We also have the Canada Works program, and the Canada Manitoba Northlands program. These were dumped, so to speak, on those communities within a period of about six months. The leaders of those communities were not even given the opportunity to sit down, assess those programs, and take the best advantage of them. The result was that many applications were made hurriedly in the hope they would be approved. I suggest that there will be ramifications and problems, because the communities were pressured into making those applications.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   MANPOWER-CANADA WORKS PROGRAM-DIFFERENTIATION BETWEEN STATUS INDIANS ON AND OFF RESERVATIONS
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LIB

Arthur Portelance (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Manpower and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Arthur Portelance (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Manpower and Immigration):

Mr. Speaker, we paid a special allocation to Indians living on reservations and on Crown lands for two reasons. First, it should be made clear that they are not included in the labour force survey carried out by Statistics Canada, and they are unlikely to be receiving unemployment insurance benefits. So we make them a separate group to be sure that they are included in the basic allocation. Second, the federal government must naturally give special attention to status Indians. On the other hand, we do not give a special allocation to Metis and status Indians living off reservations because they are included in the labour force survey on the same basis as all Canadians, with the exception of Indians living on reservations.

However, departmental advisory committees are urged when they decide the amount to be paid to non-status Indians to continue to examine carefully the projects submitted by Metis and status Indians living off reservations. In addition, should an insufficient number of acceptable applications be received from Indians living on reservations and Crown lands the unused funds would then be added to the regular fund and Metis just like Indians would be the first to be able to benefit from it.

To be more specific, Mr. Speaker, as far as the riding of Churchill is concerned, the rate of surplus manpower in this case is 6.17 per cent, excluding status Indians living on reservations or Crown lands, which would normally entitle them to an allocation of $100,000. But because of the size of the population and the high rate of unemployment registered among status Indians living on reservations or Crown lands in that riding the special allocation in their case was $843,000.

Those arrangements, Mr. Speaker, allow me to suggest that status Indians living in remote areas receive a fair share of the funds allotted under the Canada Works Program.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   MANPOWER-CANADA WORKS PROGRAM-DIFFERENTIATION BETWEEN STATUS INDIANS ON AND OFF RESERVATIONS
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LIB

John Napier Turner

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Turner):

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at eleven o'clock a.m.

Motion agreed to and the House adjourned at 10.21 p.m.

Friday March, 18, 1977

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   MANPOWER-CANADA WORKS PROGRAM-DIFFERENTIATION BETWEEN STATUS INDIANS ON AND OFF RESERVATIONS
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March 17, 1977