May 15, 1980

LIB

Jean-Luc Pepin (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Pepin:

Mr. Chairman, first of all I would like to answer the questions raised by the hon. member for South West Nova. She asked a great number of questions which will require some detailed answers.

The first series of questions had to do with CN Marine. Three contracts have been approved with regard to ferries. The first contract is Digby-Saint John, which will receive a subsidy of $3,772 million. The second contract is for Yarmouth-Bar Harbour, Maine. This is a summer service and the run which is made by the Bluenose. The level of subsidy is $2,362 million. The third contract is Yarmouth, Nova Scotia to Portland, Maine, which is a year-round freight carrier, and has a subsidy level of $4,542 million. Those are the figures for 1980, and they are at about the same level as the figures for the previous year. I understand that there is no major change.

The second point which the hon. member raised was with regard to the operations of VIA Rail in her area. Here we have a current subsidy for trains between Yarmouth and Halifax of $1,529 million. Apparently CTC decided last fall-there is no way that I can have all these facts in my mind; I need my

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officials to help me-to look at the service on an experimental basis. This is presently being done and it is being handled by VIA Rail. VIA Rail is going to report with a detailed analysis of the experiment soon. It is not yet available.

Now we come to the third question which concerns highway upgrading in Nova Scotia. As the hon. lady said, it is a program which was initiated in 1977-78. It is a shared-cost program on a fifty-fifty basis between the Government of Canada and the government of Nova Scotia, each government putting in $32 million for a three-year period. The government have still to pay to Nova Scotia $3.57 million in 1980-81 to meet the federal commitment. A number of projects come under this program but the bulk deals with highway 101.

On the subject of environmental safeguards which the hon. member raised, this is really left to the responsibility of the provinces. No environmental commitment was made in the agreement itself, although I understand that a report on alternative routes was prepared by the province. I understand that hearings and public meetings were held in the area and that the cabinet of Nova Scotia approved the northern route and so on. The idea is that the federal government provides the money and the provincial government takes care of the environment.

The fourth area of questioning had to do with a bus program which exists in Nova Scotia. The level of support is $4 million, and $2 million has already been committed. It is my understanding that this program was dropped by the previous administration. I think there was some justification for this. Coming back to what I said a moment ago-I am being totally non-partisan-there must be a limitation to the degree of involvement of the federal government at the local level. This is not a reflection on those who have used this program. I am delighted that they found it useful but it seems to me that this may not be the best use of public funds and of the federal government as an institution.

Be that as it may, it seems to have been dropped. I am going to try to find out if, for the purpose of being honourable, we could not find some unspent money in other programs to dedicate to this particular one so that at least we will end en beaute without having reneged on some good federal commitments. You see how accommodating I can be, Mr. Chairman.

There was also reference to the urban transportation assistance program as a general program. I have a few words of information on that. The Nova Scotia share of this UTA program is $8,287 million. There has been one large project funded under UTAP which is now under construction. It has to do with a maintenance facility for the Halifax-Dartmouth regional transit commission; total estimated cost is $7.1 million. The federal contribution is $5.6 million. There are five other projects on Nova Scotia's primary list and four projects on their secondary list which have been given approval in principle. All this is to say that Nova Scotia appears to be making good use of the urban transportation assistance program.

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May 15, 1980

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The big difficulty I have, as the hon. member for South West Nova is aware, is the simple fact that this program is not funded at a level needed to proceed with the amount of work that municipalities from Vancouver to Halifax would like to see. This is regrettable but there are, unfortunately, limitations.

The hon. member also mentioned something about small airports. I do not know if she had a particular airport in mind but I thought the question was fairly general. She asked what was spent on municipal airports in Nova Scotia. I find that in Nova Scotia, for Liverpool it is $57,600; Waterville, $56,000; Digby, $80,200; Trenton, $183,100; in Debert, $60,500.

The capital funding aspect of this program was shot down in August, 1978, but the operations aspect is still alive at the level of $10.7 million. This is to support the operations at small airports. However, the capital funding no longer exists.

Members of the House who have such projects will regret this but "to govern is to choose", and there are so many major expenditures in major airports for which the federal government has stronger responsibility and which need capitalization for equipment that the federal government had to slow down its involvement in municipal airports.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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LIB

Douglas Glenn Fisher

Liberal

Mr. Fisher:

Mr. Chairman, I want to thank the minister for his answers on South West Nova. 1 wonder if we could come back now to the Toronto international airport. I was intrigued by the minister's comment that he has to take money away from small airports to spend on needed projects in big airports. I want to assure him that if he has to slow down expansion plans at Toronto international, then I and the residents in my area will help him do that.

I asked the minister whether the extension of ground facilities at Toronto international would lead to expanded use of the airport and greater numbers of aircraft landing and taking off at Toronto international.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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LIB

Jean-Luc Pepin (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Pepin:

Mr. Chairman, if anybody would like to ask something else on transportation, I could collect the bits and pieces of paper necessary to give an answer to the hon. member.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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LIB

Douglas Glenn Fisher

Liberal

Mr. Fisher:

Mr. Chairman, I will add a couple more questions. If it is not possible for the minister to answer at the moment, I will be happy to wait until he is able to do so.

I am obviously concerned about the addition of the fourth runway at that airport. I should like to stress to the minister that a commitment was made, subdivisions and homes were built, local planners responded in trust to the federal commitment and home owners have purchased homes there in response. The addition of a fourth runway would be an intrusion on those subdivisions and in a sense would be a violation of trust with the home owners who accepted our commitment. It is the addition of the fourth runway that concerns me most.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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LIB

Jean-Luc Pepin (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Pepin:

Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Mississauga North has a very interesting theory, and I was delighted

to hear it. It seems to be a new theory which relates the number of people living in a certain area to the number of passengers, at least the way I understood it. No? I will start again.

The straight answer is this. Extension plans are in response to normal growth of traffic only. So there is no great philosophy behind it. You have the traffic, you have the needs, they are assessed and then you build whatever needs to be built. Presumably some people would like to build for the needs at hand, for today's needs, while others who think in more sophisticated terms would like to build for what will be needed in years to come.

The Department of Transport has sometimes been accused of looking a bit too far into the future. But at the moment we cannot afford it anyway. So the first answer concerns the relationship between normal growth and capacity.

The second answer, which is the most important from the member's point of view, is that there is no study now under way concerning a fourth runway. That is one for the future. I do not know what will happen but some day when the Toronto area needs have to be met, needs which cannot be satisfied by Malton, perhaps something will be done. In the meantime, a number of studies are being done to find out how the traffic can be decongested at Malton and rerouted to other airports in the area. Some people have mentioned that Hamilton might take some of the traffic. This is the kind of thinking that appears to be going on now.

The third question asked what is being done about noise abatement. The first thing is the way a runway is oriented. That is to say, the way in which different runways are used at different times in relation to winds, the time of day and such factors. The second point, which I had already started to answer, is that there are special takeoff and departure techniques. I was given an illustration of that the other day. The third is installing a noise monitoring system. I hope this is sufficient information, but if not I will exchange correspondence with the member for Mississauga North of the type which we have already started on another subject.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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LIB

Cyril Lloyd Francis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Chairman:

The hon. member for Regina-Lake Centre.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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NDP

Leslie Gordon Benjamin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Benjamin:

My riding is Regina West now, Mr. Chairman. They took a lot of my farmers away from me but I am going to say something for them anyway.

I have a number of questions for the Minister of Transport and a couple of hours ago I sent a note over to him listing them. He has answered one of them.

The first three questions I would like to put to him are of a local nature, but their ramifications concern many places in the rest of Canada. First is the issue of rail line relocation. The minister knows that a few days ago my colleagues the hon. members for Winnipeg North and Winnipeg North Centre, and I believe one of the Conservatives from Winnipeg, raised the subject of rail line relocation of the CPR yards in Winnipeg. I hope that is being actively planned and prepared for. However, I hope the minister will also say that Winnipeg will

May 15, 1980

have to wait in line. Regina has been waiting for four years. There have been four announcements from two different ministers of transport committing the federal government to the proper share of the cost of relocating railway yards in Regina. Phase one is the CNR yards in northwest Regina. Everything else is held up. Funds have not been allocated.

Is any of the amount of $8,816,000 as payment under the Railway Relocation and Crossing Act in the current estimates, to go to the rail line relocation for phase one in Regina?

My second question is this: Two years ago in February or March the then deputy minister of transport for air-I do not know if he is still there or not-gave me a time frame for either the expansion or the construction of a new airport terminal in Regina of three years. Two years have gone by and nothing has happened. We are managing to get another air conditioner in the old building, but that is all that has happened. Can the minister tell me where that matter stands, when something will happen and what is the new time frame?

The third question is one which the minister and I have had correspondence and discussions about, and I know he has had exchanges with many others as well. It concerns multi-modal downtown transportation centres and the use of present CN or CP railway stations and the station property that is adjacent to those rail lines to be used as combination rail and bus terminals, airline ticket offices, city transit stops and so forth. VIA Rail has probably looked at two dozen communities from Moncton, New Brunswick right through to the Pacific ocean where this could and should be done.

In the case of Regina, this is a matter of extreme urgency. If the plan is going to proceed, Regina will have to be the first one served because the Saskatchewan transportation company, the main bus company that wants to move into a multi-modal station with VIA Rail, has been waiting three years. There has been a three-year delay in building a new bus terminal in order to be able to co-operate and join in with this one at the CPR Union Station in Regina.

Negotiations have been going on between VIA Rail and Canadian Pacific for something like 15 or 18 months. Canadian Pacific has been stalling. I am informed now that Canadian Pacific tells VIA Rail that it will only sell at book value that portion of the railway station that was used for rail passenger service at the time of the inception of VIA Rail. That is a little ticket counter, the baggage room and the walkway to the railway tracks. That is what will be let go at book value. Canadian Pacific will not let the rest go except at commercial value.

Canadian Pacific is trying to hold up VIA Rail and the travelling public in Canada to ransom again. The land on which those mainline railway stations are located was acquired for nothing. The buildings have paid for themselves two or three times over. The one in Regina was built in 1912. It is a beautiful marble building but it needs refurbishing.

There is a refusal by Canadian Pacific to co-operate on a necessary and worth-while project in many Canadian cities about which, by the way, all parties agree something should be

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done, including city councils, bus companies, provincial governments, chambers of commerce and labour councils. There is agreement across the board that something should be done. It is now a case that the minister and the government have to tell the CPR that it is not running this country. Will the minister now consider requesting CTC to issue an order to Canadian Pacific to turn that property over to VIA Rail at book value?

If the minister will answer those three questions briefly, I have three more for him.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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LIB

Jean-Luc Pepin (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Pepin:

Mr. Chairman, I will try the three of them. The first one with respect to relocation is not a new one. There seems to be a running debate as to who got there first, whether it was Winnipeg, Regina or somebody else.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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NDP

Leslie Gordon Benjamin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Benjamin:

It was Regina.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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LIB

Jean-Luc Pepin (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Pepin:

I will agree with that until someone else from Winnipeg disagrees.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles:

We have needed it for 25 years.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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LIB

Jean-Luc Pepin (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Pepin:

But a number of promises or commitments-and I do not know how to describe them-were made. If my memory serves me well, the one at Regina was at the level of $16 million.

We had a conversation the other day with ministers in charge of these matters, including Mr. Smishek in Regina. I explained the difficulty that I had under the UTAP program. We suggested that he uses the UTAP program in phase one of the relocation of CN lines, and we hope that more money will be found later on when we have UTAP 2, or son of UTAP. Anyway, it was an interesting exchange of views.

I want to praise the government of Saskatchewan because they are trying hard to accommodate us in the same way as we try to accommodate them. My understanding is that the provincial government now has a proposal. We have to be able to reach a conclusion on that subject. I cannot be more specific today. We are trying to distribute the expenditures in such a way as to accommodate both governments.

With regard to the multi-modal transportation centre in Regina, unfortunately I do not have anything of major value to announce. Like my hon. friend, I understand that conversations are going on. I hope that CP reads me. I was hoping that some agreement would be reached relatively rapidly, but I am told that it has not yet, the approach being different. CP is hesitant to let go of the property of the whole of the station. It is willing to accommodate, but only with a section of it.

I just received a note that I will read. It is not from the other place! "The rail passenger program provides for the transfer of stations from CN and CP to VIA." This was a discussion between CP and VIA which all members understand. "Basic principles are at net book value."

[ Translation]

Well, well, that's interesting.

May 15, 1980

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"These matters are still being negotiated"-I have said that already-"and I hope that a satisfactory settlement will be reached". I said that too. "If not, we will look at other means." I was thinking about that. "The Regina multi-modal project is strongly supported." The hon. member for Regina West said that very well indeed. There will be more discussion on this project, interest in which is shared by a great number of people, including the present speaker. We will do whatever we can to help.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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?

An hon. Member:

You have about two weeks left.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles:

Don't forget Winnipeg.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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LIB

Jean-Luc Pepin (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Pepin:

I said during question period that the president of CP Rail was coming to see me again on May 29.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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NDP

Leslie Gordon Benjamin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Benjamin:

Take your gun out next time.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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LIB

Jean-Luc Pepin (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Pepin:

I will give him a candy bar! On Regina airport, on June 13, 1978, the Minister of Transport and Saskatchewan minister of municipal affairs announced acceptance of the recommendation of the Regina airport study. The study recommended extension of the air terminal building, land acquisition and development of the runway and a taxiway complex. The current status is this.

Action is now under way to incorporate the major changes recommended by the study into a detailed master plan for the development of the airport and this master plan is anticipated to be complete by August 1980. Meanwhile, concepts for the extension of the air terminal building have been prepared and reviewed by the airlines and the province and the required program approval documents are now being prepared. Design completion is scheduled for 1981-82, provided the necessary approvals are obtained. Construction would commence in 1982-83, with completion of the facility expected in 1984-85.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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NDP

Leslie Gordon Benjamin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Benjamin:

One quick point, Mr. Chairman. The minister referred to the use of UTAP for the rail line relocation. We must remember that the Saskatchewan allocation for UTAP is $8 million for the entire province. It would hardly be fair for the provincial government to use all of that in one place, leaving out other places in the province that require funds under UTAP.

Can the minister tell us if there has been a quick decision in the last few days or if there will be in the next few days to implement the Hall report recommendations pertaining to the Crowsnest rate and the compensatory rates, because this ties in with the whole matter of rail line rehabilitation, the upgrading of rail lines generally and obtaining more railway equipment.

According to the wire story I have, Canadian Pacific says that the three hundred and some million dollar construction project in the Rocky Mountains will remain frozen until Ottawa agrees to revise the freight rates on grain shipments. The CP vice-president went on to say that the company would not finance the project without assurances it would not have to

continue suffering heavy losses on its grain shipments. If the government would implement the Hall commission recommendation on the Crow rate, that matter would be solved right then and there.

The point is that CP has again acted as though it and not the government is running the country, blackmailing the people of this country, holding us up to ransom. They have a record over the past number of years of refusing to buy railway cars, not just for grain but for other commodities. The hon. member for Medicine Hat can talk about the 50 per cent shortage of stock cars.

CP refused to rehabilitate railway cars until a previous minister of transport had to make them get involved. They refused to properly maintain their rail lines and railway equipment and to provide year round service on branch lines.

Their profits last year were something in the order of $258 million. In addition, they received another $200 million in deferred corporate taxes last year. They now owe the people of Canada almost a billion dollars in deferred corporate taxes and they will not fix their tracks. Is the minister going to allow Canadian Pacific to operate in that manner? Is he going to enforce section 262 of the Railway Act, which states that the railways shall provide suitable accommodation for all traffic offered? That means tracks, roadbeds, equipment and everything else.

The Crow rate issue hinges on this. If the government would implement Mr. Justice Hall's recommendation, there would not be a new expenditure by the government. They could quit paying branch line subsidies and paying for rehabilitation of rail lines and other subsidies. Almost all of it that would go into the difference between paying the Crow rate and the compensatory rate would be money that has already been spent on other things. Then we could make the railways perform, make them fix the tracks and buy equipment.

I would appreciate if the minister could give us a breakdown of what rail lines and branch lines on the prairies will be rehabilitated this year, CP and CN, for $71,350,000.

My final question is on the matter of the awarding of the air route from Toronto to Halifax to CP Air. Many members have received representations from a lot of groups and individuals in Nova Scotia protesting that, asking that the government reverse its decision and give it to Eastern Provincial Airways. I recall a previous minister of transport, Mr. Marchand, announcing the division of air routes. I described him as a fifteenth century pope dividing the world between Portugal and Spain. He was dividing the world between CP and Air Canada.

CP does not need this route. This award would be harmful to Eastern Provincial Airways, jeopardizing some of the local routes Eastern Provincial Airways operates at a loss, crosssubsidizing from routes that are profitable. Will the minister advise whether the government will agree to reverse the decision of the board and award the Halifax to Toronto route to Eastern Provincial Airways?

May 15, 1980

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
Permalink
LIB

Jean-Luc Pepin (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Pepin:

Mr. Chairman, the hon. member referred to three subjects. The first is the statutory grain rates, the Crowsnest rates. I do not want to engage in the debate the hon. member raises on the role of CP in Canadian history. There is no way I am going to try and change his views this afternoon. I will repeat what I think I have already said about the Crow rates.

I am intrigued by the whole debate on Crow rates at this moment. I meet a number of people who say: Don't touch it; everything is all right as it is. I have got it from very highly placed authority that I shouldn't "mess with it". Then I get it from another side that since the Snavely report western farmers have realized that there is a problem-that the railways have been losing so many hundreds of millions of dollars a year because of the Crow rate of half a cent per ton mile. The figure of $173 million in 1979 is one which is sometimes used. Consequently people holding this view say something has to be done.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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?

An hon. Member:

Mr. Justice Hall has told you what it is.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   APPROPRIATION ACT NO. I, 1980-81
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May 15, 1980