October 11, 1983

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

WESTERN GRAIN TRANSPORTATION ACT


The House resumed from Friday, October 7, 1983 consideration of Bill C-155, an Act to facilitate the transportation, shipping and handling of western grain and to amend certain Acts in consequence thereof, as reported (with amendments) from the Standing Committee on Transport; and Motion No. 33 (Mr. Mazankowski).


LIB

Eymard G. Corbin (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Corbin):

When the House adjourned on Friday, the Chair was listening to Hon. Members on the procedural admissibility of motions in amendment to Bill C-155. So far, almost five and a half hours have been devoted to these points of order and the Chair feels that the major procedural issues have been addressed and will want to begin consideration of the points that Members have made in order that a final ruling may be rendered as soon as possible.

However, as a courtesy to the Hon. Member for Regina West (Mr. Benjamin), who had the floor when the House adjourned last Friday, the Chair will hear his argument and invites him to complete his statement. After the Hon. Member has been heard, the Chair feels that the House should resume consideration of Motion No. 33.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   WESTERN GRAIN TRANSPORTATION ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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NDP

Ian Deans (N.D.P. House Leader)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Deans:

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I recognize that it is the Chair's prerogative to make such decisions. However, during my presentation I indicated that the Hon. Member for Humboldt-Lake Centre (Mr. Althouse) would raise a particular argument on one matter that 1 felt was beyond my competence in terms of its technicalities. 1 wonder if you would consider allowing a brief intervention by the Hon. Member for Humboldt-Lake Centre.

[DOT] (ino)

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   WESTERN GRAIN TRANSPORTATION ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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LIB

Eymard G. Corbin (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Corbin):

Is the Chair to take it, then, that the Hon. Member for Regina West does not wish to contribute further to his point of order?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   WESTERN GRAIN TRANSPORTATION ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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NDP

Leslie Gordon Benjamin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Les Benjamin (Regina West):

Mr. Speaker, I have an intervention on one more motion and my colleague, the Hon. Member for Humboldt-Lake Centre, has an intervention on

another motion, as the House Leader has said. If we can proceed with those two interventions, then I think we will have pretty well completed our interventions on the matter of the admissibility of motions.

I would particularly like to refer to Motion No. 51; I did not speak to that motion on Friday. I would like to point out, Mr. Speaker, that that motion does not exceed the Royal Recommendation because the funds for branch line rehabilitation are provided for both in this Bill and in other measures. Therefore, the Royal Recommendation for the expenditure of funds is not exceeded in Motion No. 51.

Second, the Government has announced on numerous occasions its commitment to provide for the rehabilitation of branch lines, particularly those that have been put in the basic network, until the year 2000. All this motion does, Sir, is place in the Statute a provision for the carrying out of that commitment.

Rehabilitation is now taking place and has been for the last two or three years. It was the Government's intention, I believe, to have that branch line rehabilitation completed by the year 1986. My motion provides for it to be completed by July 31, 1987. This is another one of the fears of the people of western Canada. They want to see that that commitment by the Government cannot be undermined or revoked by either this Government or any succeeding government.

We were very careful with the wording of Motion No. 51. It does not go beyond the scope of the Bill because provision for the rehabilitation of those lines is in accordance with the long title of the Bill, which is to facilitate the transportation, shipping and handling of western grain. It is certainly within the scope of the Bill. It does not provide for any additional funding by the federal Government. Those funds were already committed both in this Bill and, as in previous years, through other means. Therefore on both counts, Mr. Speaker, I submit that Motion No. 51 is in order. I would urge upon the Chair that the final ruling of the Chair would be that it is in order and that it can be debated and voted upon.

The passing of Motion No. 51 is very crucial to the three prairie Provinces. As I said, we were most careful with the wording of it so that we would not go beyond either the scope of the Bill or the scope of the Royal Recommendation. I would urge the Chair and the officials to take a second look at that motion and I would hope that Madam Speaker would agree in her final ruling that it is in order.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   WESTERN GRAIN TRANSPORTATION ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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PC

William Hunter (Bill) McKnight

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Bill McKnight (Kindersley-Lloydminster):

Mr. Speaker, I rise on the same point of order and I will be very brief. The Hon. Member for Regina West (Mr. Benjamin) outlined the acceptability of the motion and the necessity for it. I

October 11, 1983

Western Grain Transportation Act should like to elaborate on some of the reasons why we would like to support the motion if it can be found to be in order- and we think it is in order.

1 think the way the Bill stands indicates that the motion is admissible. The Government has made commitments for the next three years on branch line rehabilitation. There is no change in the Royal Recommendation with respect to the expenditure of funds.

Without presuming to say whether Motion No. 33 will pass or not, we know there is a recommendation for the retention of branch lines to the year 2000 and that exchanges of branch lines have been required by the Canadian Transport Commission to be extended to the year 2000. An example is the CN takeover from CP on the Matador sub in my part of the country, and the Dodsland sub with the reverse taking place. Those transfers cannot take place until the rehabilitation has been completed.

We would like to see this motion put because it would be consistent with the rulings of the CTC and the expressed desire of the Government that those transfers should take place. As things stand, they cannot take place until the lines have been rehabilitated or upgraded. Therefore, the requirement in the Bill for that that to take place does not change the intent or the Royal prerogative. It only puts into legislation something that would make the people who use the branch lines feel more secure than they would if it rested in an order in council or some other place. I hope that, in considering Motion No. 51 standing in the name of the Hon. Member for Regina West, the Chair will consider the statements of the Government and the fact that this does not in any way change the intent of the Government with regard to Bill C-155.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   WESTERN GRAIN TRANSPORTATION ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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NDP

Victor Fredrich (Vic) Althouse (Deputy Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Vic Althouse (Humboldt-Lake Centre):

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order to discuss the ruling made on Motion No. 89 which was referred to my colleague, the House Leader of this Party.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   WESTERN GRAIN TRANSPORTATION ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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LIB

Eymard G. Corbin (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Corbin):

Order, please. 1 am sure the Hon. Member appreciates that he is not questioning a ruling but a preliminary ruling. We are still discussing the general matter in that spirit, naturally.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   WESTERN GRAIN TRANSPORTATION ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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NDP

Victor Fredrich (Vic) Althouse (Deputy Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Althouse:

Thank you, Mr. Speaker; 1 had temporarily forgotten the word "preliminary". We have been discussing a preliminary ruling in the last day or so. The point I was making referred to the preliminary ruling on Motion No. 89. The preliminary assessment was that it was considered to be beyond the scope of the Bill.

I would remind the Chair that the Bill deals with the transportation of western grain. Motion No. 89 is a motion to clarify in that it describes what is and what has been the current practice. The motion itself is consistent with current practice regarding the rates for rapeseed and canola beyond Thunder Bay. Those rates are currently set at a minimum compensatory rate under Section 23 of the National Transportation Act. In committee the shippers expressed concern that, as it stands, the Bill may leave the impression that those rates would no longer be applicable. We are therefore anxious to have the Bill make clear that the rate provisions now available to them would still be available for shipment beyond Thunder Bay. In fairness, I think that is the intent of the Government.

During consideration of the Bill we heard many arguments from Members of the Government and the Minister to the effect that one of the secondary purposes of the Bill is to encourage processing in western Canada. The maintenance of these minimum compensatory rates would assist in this. I believe, therefore, that the title of the Bill, "an Act to facilitate the transportation, shipping and handling of western grain", should be interpreted broadly enough to include rapeseed and canola oil, and for clarification purposes the policy outlined in Motion No. 89 should be described in the Bill, so that what is now in effect can continue and the producers of those particular products in western Canada will continue to be treated on a basis consistent with what has been the case up until this point in time.

I suggest that the Chair review its initial ruling to call this particular motion beyond the scope of the Bill. Given these circumstances, I hope you will find that it is indeed within the scope of the Bill and should be allowed to be debated.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   WESTERN GRAIN TRANSPORTATION ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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NDP

Leslie Gordon Benjamin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Benjamin:

Mr. Speaker, I rise on the same point of order. I would like to add to what my colleague, the Hon. Member for Humboldt-Lake Centre, has said on Motion No. 89. The intent of the motion is to continue the present practice.

I would again like to remind you, Mr. Speaker, that this does not exceed the Royal Recommendation and it does not go beyond the scope of the Bill, which says it is "to facilitate the transportation, shipping and handling of western grain".

Without Motion No. 89 Mr. Speaker, the intent of this legislation can be thwarted. Without this motion the intent of the Bill could be prevented from being carried out. That is the reason for the motion. We endeavoured to word the motion carefully so as to remain within the two bounds which must guide us on motions at report stage-that it does not exceed the Royal Recommendation and that it stays within the scope of the legislation. Surely, the scope of the legislation is the facilitation of the transportation, shipping and handling of western grain. Without this motion, Sir, the intent and scope of this legislation can be prevented in the case of a number of grains which move to eastern Canada either raw or processed. Certainly, it was obvious in committee from all sides that this was one area which needed to be addressed in this legislation, so that the intent of the legislation could be completely carried out. Therefore, Sir, I ask you to consider this additional point raised by myself in the course of the consideration by the Chair and by the officials in reaching a final ruling. I urge this motion be considered in order.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   WESTERN GRAIN TRANSPORTATION ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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PC

Donald Frank Mazankowski

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Don Mazankowski (Vegreville):

Mr. Speaker, I rise on the same point of order. I would simply want to support the

October 11, 1983

two Hon. Members who have just spoken with respect to the admissibility of Motion No. 89.

There are two points which I want to make very quickly, Mr. Speaker. My first point relates to facilitating the movement of grain. As "grain" is described under the interpretation clause of the Bill, it is clear that the production of rapeseed or canola oil are included within the context of this Bill. Those products should be included when dealing with the movement, collection and handling of grain. Therefore, it really does not go beyond the scope of the Bill in so far as the definition of the product is concerned.

Second, if there should be any suggestion that it goes beyond the Royal Recommendation, 1 would simply like to say to you, Sir, that in my humble view it does not. What this motion is really asking for is the retention of the status quo on the freight rate beyond Thunder Bay, namely the minimum compensatory freight rate which is established by a formula through the Canadian Transport Commission. The amendment seeks to ensure the retention of that rate, because quite frankly with rapeseed and canola considered as grains under the statutory freight rate regime, it would move at the statutory freight rate from any point in western Canada to Thunder Bay and beyond that at a commercial rate. So the net effect on those two products would be perhaps worse than it was before. All this motion will do is compel the railway to prescribe a minimum compenstory rate beyond the Port of Thunder Bay. That in no way affects the Royal prerogative or the money package included in this Bill. I think that point has to be made abundantly clear.

To reiterate, if you are talking about the broad concept of the Bill, and since it appears the statement of purpose 1 so eloquently described is under attack, it is fair to say that one can only rely upon the broad title, which is an Act to facilitate the transportation, shipping and handling of western grain. Processed canola and rapeseed is classified as a grain.

So on those two counts, Mr. Speaker, the Royal prerogative, and qualification within the content and purpose of the Bill, I think this motion qualifies on both counts.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   WESTERN GRAIN TRANSPORTATION ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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PC

William Hunter (Bill) McKnight

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Bill McKnight (Kindersley-Lloydminster):

Just briefly, Mr. Speaker, and I see the Parliamentary Secretary and the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Transport here, if the Allan Report had been made available to the Committee as we had requested, in al likelihood there would have been more amendments similar to Motion No. 89. That report was a study done by the Government which directly reflected what my colleague, the Hon. Member for Vegreville (Mr. Mazan-kowski), has expressed on the ramifications of this motion. If the report was available to you, Mr. Speaker, I am sure you would be able to see that it does not in any way affect the Royal prerogative.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   WESTERN GRAIN TRANSPORTATION ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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LIB

Eymard G. Corbin (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Corbin):

1 am afraid the Hon. Member is discussing the relative merits of the substance of

Western Grain Transportation Act

the amendment, not its procedural acceptability in the strict sense of the word. I invite him to address himself to that point.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   WESTERN GRAIN TRANSPORTATION ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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PC

William Hunter (Bill) McKnight

Progressive Conservative

Mr. McKnight:

Mr. Speaker, that brief statement of purpose was so that Table officers and you, Sir, could ask for something we have been unable to obtain, the Allan report, which would allow them to reflect clearly on your judgment to be made on Motion No. 89, as to whether it is admissible and, within the Royal prerogative, whether it changes the intent of the Bill and its interpretation of grain as put forward by my colleague for Vegreville or the Hon. Member for Regina West (Mr. Benjamin), and whether that interpretation in any way, shape or form changes the intent of the Bill. That is the reason 1 was addressing myself to that report. It has not been available to members of the Standing Committee on Transport, but it may be made available to you. Sir.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   WESTERN GRAIN TRANSPORTATION ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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LIB

Eymard G. Corbin (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Corbin):

The House will now proceed with debate, resuming consideration of Motion No. 33. The Hon. Member for Winnipeg-North (Mr. Orlikow).

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   WESTERN GRAIN TRANSPORTATION ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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NDP

David Orlikow

New Democratic Party

Mr. David Orlikow (Winnipeg North):

Mr. Speaker, while we have been debating the Bill for some weeks now, I could not help but think of last Thursday afternoon when we heard the very eloquent speeches of the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau), the Leader of the Official Opposition and the Leader of the New Democratic Party about how they foresaw Canada in the future as being a democratic, tolerant country in which the people who helped form this country, with its two official languages, would have equal rights. I could not help but think that none of that could have been made possible-in fact, we would not have had a country-if the Fathers of Confederation had not been far-seeing and daring enough to ensure that a railway was built from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Any person who looks at a map of North America will realize that the economic line in this continent runs not east to west, but, rather, north to south. The people of Vancouver have much more in common with the people of Los Angeles and San Francisco than they have with those in Ottawa. The people of Halifax have much more in common with the people of Boston, New York and Philadelphia than they do with those in Winnipeg. The people in Winnipeg have much more in common with the people of Minnesota and Minneapolis than they have with those in Halifax. Therefore, without the railway there would not have been a country.

Sir John A. Macdonald gave all the support necessary, and that meant tens of millions of dollars and millions of acres of land, to the promoters who built the CPR. Then certain other businessmen who thought they could make a profit started to develop other railways. Eventually, we had not two railways but, rather, at least five railways. We had the Grand Trunk, the Grand Trunk Pacific, the Grand Trunk Northern, and several other railways.

Then it was realized that we had overbuilt railways and that they could not manage financially. They certainly could not all operate and make a profit. If they had not already become

October 11, 1983

Western Grain Transportation Act

bankrupt they would shortly be bankrupt. Therefore, the Government of the day nationalized the railways, took them over and amalgamated them, and created the CNR. We essentially had two transcontinental railways, the CPR and the CNR, one privately owned and the other supposedly publicly owned.

Both railways, like most other corporations, try to operate as profitably as possible, and that means profitable for themselves, not necessarily in the best interests of ordinary people. Therefore, we have two railways, each one determined, and we can understand why, to handle as much traffic as possible and to receive as much revenue as possible.

There is a ridiculous situation in many parts of Canada, although I will speak only of how it affects the movement of grain in western Canada, where grain is being shipped on cars belonging to the CPR or the CNR for hundreds of miles unnecessarily because the CNR and the CPR do not have lines which go directly to Vancouver, where most of the grain is going.

Let me just quote from the testimony of Mr. Justice Hall, who has done a great deal of work and headed a Royal Commission in this field. On August 9 of this year, he gave testimony to the Standing Committee on Transport, and I will just quote a part of it as follows:

We heard a lot about efficiency, and the whole idea of the railways about efficiency was to get rid of the branchlines. That would have been very efficient from their standpoint. But on this question of efficiency, I am told by senior railway people, there is a railway philosophy that once the line gets hold of a commodity for transport, it will hang onto that commodity to the delivery points, come hell or high water. That works out this way and this is what we found, great quantities of grain grown on, say, the Goose Lake line ... and now that may not mean too much to members from the east, but it is one of the great grain-producing areas in Saskatchewan between Saskatoon and Calgary served by the Canadian National Railways: it is closer to Vancouver at Rosetown than to Thunder Bay, so the trend is westward. Grain was taken to Calgary, but the CN has no line going from Calgary to Vancouver. So they hauled it then northward 200 miles to Edmonton so they can take it south again to Vancouver. That was the CN.

Then he went on to give a similar example about the CP, and I will quote again as follows:

CP with the Hardisty line, which is another line going through Edmonton ... all that CPR grain went to Edmonton, but there is no line from Edmonton into Vancouver so it went south to go to Vancouver. Trainloads of grain were passing each other like ships in the night between Calgary and Edmonton.

I am not being critical of the railways. As I have indicated, they are out to move as much freight on their tracks as possible, to have as much traffic as possible, to move as many cars as possible and to make as great a profit as possible. However, that is not the efficient way. That adds to the cost and reduces the net return which the farmer receives. Because that is the situation, we believe it is necessary to give the Administrator the power to direct the railways to move grain as efficiently and expeditiously as possible.

While we argue there is no need for the Grain Transportation Agency, and that the Administrator already has too much power in the sense that his power would encroach upon the authority of the Canadian Wheat Board, we believe this is a good amendment and should be supported, because no matter what public agency has control over the transportation of

grain, whether it be the Wheat Board, the Canadian Grain Commission, the Grain Transportation Agency or whatever, that person or agency should have the ability to direct the railroads to exchange cars to promote efficiency.

Mr. Justice Hall pointed out that the railways now hang on to loaded cars of grain for movement to export position even though the other line could move them to port over a more direct line, cutting the distance and costs and adding to the efficiency of the system. We say that this tends to undermine the assertions of the railroads that they lose money every time they move a carload of grain. If that were so, presumably they would lose more money for each additional mile they haul it and would do everything possible to get rid of it as soon as possible and stick their competition with the losses. We say that without the authority of the amendment, which we support, which would be vested in the hands of a public agency, we can be sure that there would be little, if any, exchange of cars of grain between the railroads for efficiency's sake.

What the Government is proposing in fact is that the railways should be paid for the grain they move on a cost-plus basis; in other words, the more their costs, the greater their profits. The longer they hang on to the grain, the more miles they move it, the greater the cost, and therefore their profits.

The Administrator on the Wheat Board-and in this case the Hon. Member proposes that there be an Administrator-must have the power to direct the railway to move the grain as quickly and as expeditiously as possible. There has been a great deal of evidence over many years that the railways have not done that and that they will not do it voluntarily. That is why we support the amendment.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   WESTERN GRAIN TRANSPORTATION ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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NDP

Victor Fredrich (Vic) Althouse (Deputy Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Vie Althouse (Humboldt-Lake Centre):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to support Motion No. 33 which is in the name of the Hon. Member for Vegreville (Mr. Mazankowski). The effect of this motion is simply to change Clause 17(l)(d) so that it would then read: "The Administrator may "promote and shall require if necessary -the words "shall require if necessary'' are vital parts of this amendment-"reciprocal and other arrangements between the railway companies to facilitate the efficient and reliable movement of grain for the purpose of maximizing returns to producers". We support this amendment because we see the Administrator as being part of the Canadian Wheat Board, as was proposed in our Motion No. 32 which is yet to be voted on.

We believe that this authority is necessary for several reasons. Let me outline two or three cases in which we think this power could be used to increase the efficiency of the grain transportation system. Basically, the problem lies in the railways' insistence upon maintaining control of carloads of their own grain traffic over their own lines regardless of whether it is the shortest route to the port. In fact, as the Hon. Member for Winnipeg North (Mr. Orlikow) just stated, since the rates are distance related, the further that grain is transported the more money the railways can make because this Bill provides for their being paid on a cost-plus basis.

October 11, 1983

In spite of their allegations of losses, the railways seem to insist upon holding on to their own traffic over longer routes even though they allege the current rate structure loses them money. Their actions are not very supportive of their argument, however, since it is very difficult to believe that any corporate body would do something which would increase their losses.

The prime example which has been used in this debate to show how railways could co-operate and save producers money is that which Justice Hall raised in committee. Canadian National grain that is gathered in southern Saskatchewan must make the trip from Calgary to Edmonton in order to get across the mountains on CN lines. Meanwhile, Canadian Pacific grain which is gathered in northern Saskatchewan is normally transported to Edmonton and then south to Calgary in order to link with their main line across the mountains to get to the Pacific ports.

The railways have been convinced of the necessity to switch that traffic and have been doing so an experimental basis for a number of years now by simply switching cars at Edmonton and Calgary so that CP cars would go down CN lines and an equal number of CN cars would go through the mountains on the CP main line to Vancouver as well. This has been accomplished quite easily by keeping an equitable accounting of the bushels of grain transported. At the end of the year when an accounting is done, accommodation is made to equalize things between the companies at that time.

The grain companies established a similar arrangement through the Canadian Wheat Board where only certain amounts and grades are dumped at terminal locations on the West Coast and at Thunder Bay in order to avoid the necessity of breaking up the trains and sorting each individual company's grain for disposal at the required terminal. This procedure of dumping all the grain in each train at the terminal and using on accounting method to ensure that each gets its kind and grade of grain which has been shipped over a period of weeks or months has worked out quite well.

Rapeseed has been dealt with separately for some time but I understand that an agreement has been reached whereby rapeseed is bulked together and dumped at the terminal where the train is sent. An accounting is simply kept of who owns the rapeseed.

The interchange of rail company lines is extremely important not only in the Edmonton to Calgary corridor, where that co-operation pays the railways very well, but in the Vancouver area and in the shipment of grains to Churchill.

Travacon Research Limited issued a report on Vancouver rail access. It suggested that the rail lines in that area should be treated as if they belong to one company which could do an accounting procedure very similar to what the Canadian Wheat Board does with respect to the various grain companies. In other words, the transportation services could be treated as one company while ensuring that each participant is paid for the amount of work completed. It suggests that rather than a company shipping grain up to 60 miles further in a long, extended loop, simply to stay on its own tracks, the shorter

Western Grain Transportation Act

distance provided by another company's line could be used to get the grain to port a day or two earlier. This would speed up efficiency while providing a lower cost to the companies involved, and ultimately a lower cost to the user, who in this case is the grain producer.

The use of other companies' lines has been practised at Churchill only in one season. While the CNR owns the line to Churchill, a good part of the CP gathering area exists in that Churchill corridor. Churchill usually requires one particular type of grain. Recently, this requirement has been barley, which is mostly grown in northeastern Saskatchewan and northwestern Manitoba. Half of that area is serviced by CP Rail, which has no access to Churchill without a reciprocal agreement. Therefore, the requirement of a reciprocal agreement would hasten the gathering of that grain, provide a shorter route to Churchill and make it far more efficient for both the railway company and the marketing system itself.

The railways say they are loath to do this because they like to maintain control of their cars. I suggest that is an important point to remember, particularly when one considers to whom these cars belong. The railways have not bought grain cars on their own since the early 1950s. Those boxcars are fully depreciated and they are only used in the rail system because the federal Government paid to have them refurbished so they could still be used on the low volume branch lines that are unable to facilitate hopper cars. The cars that the railways are fighting over are essentially cars that were brought by the people and farmers of Canada. Therefore, the railways' argument as to ownership and control is fairly weak.

The administration which has the overview of transportation-whether under the Wheat Board, as we prefer, or a separate transport authority, as the Government prefers- should have the power to require the railways to enter into reciprocal agreements to provide the shortest haul and reduce the costs to producers and, if this Bill becomes law, the federal treasury. We believe that it makes no sense to pay the railways for shipping on a circuitous route simply because they are being paid for the number of miles they must travel. When a shorter route exists, the Administrator should be able, as this amendment would provide, to force them to reach a reciprocal agreement to move the grain over the shortest possible haul.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   WESTERN GRAIN TRANSPORTATION ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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LIB

Eymard G. Corbin (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Corbin):

Is the House ready for the question?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   WESTERN GRAIN TRANSPORTATION ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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October 11, 1983