October 13, 1983

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

WESTERN GRAIN TRANSPORTATION ACT


The House resumed from Tuesday, October 11, 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. 34 (Mr. Benjamin).


NDP

Pauline Jewett

New Democratic Party

Miss Pauline Jewett (New Westminster-Coquitlam):

Mr. Speaker, 1 am pleased to speak to Motion No. 34 today, a motion which, as Hon. Members know, provides for the elimination of Subclause (4) of Clause 17. This subclause in its present form provides that the Administrator:

-may enter into agreements to provide for the movement of grain by motor vehicle transport where, in his opinion, such agreements would be in the best interests of the grain producers.

I am pleased to speak to the amendment put forward by this Party, because unless the amendment is passed by this House, the economic, social and cultural effects will be devastating. I am speaking not only about farmers facing the spectre of widespread branch line abandonment, the Wheat Pools facing elevator abandonment and the heavy capital costs associated with the development of inland terminals, but also the effects we can expect on the social fabric of this country as a whole through the undermining of rural communities and the cooperative system.

[DOT] (1110)

Thus, I would submit that Clause 17(4) is not "in the best interests of the grain producers". It is really the opening of a back door branch line abandonment policy, despite the Government's avowed commitment to the upgrading of branch lines. The move toward trucking an increased percentage of grain now served by rail through, in many cases, branch lines threatens the viability of small communities, many of which will be crippled by the closure of these lines. This is a phenomenon we have witnessed all too often in the past, as many of my colleagues have attested. As well, the resulting longer hauls and the increased expenditures for producers,

while leading to a reduction of costs to the railways, will result in a higher total system cost to the producers.

The proposal of the Government touches upon the whole system of gathering, marketing and transporting Canadian grain. First, the decision with respect to the use of trucks and the concomitant rail line abandonment is centralized in the hands of the Administrator. One must question to what degree the Administrator's decisions will be based on very narrowly defined economic criteria and the "fudged" facts put forth too often by the railroads, and not on full economic and social impact studies.

My colleagues have also identified the effect which the closing of branch lines will have on small businesses and rural communities. No less important than the economic impact is the social impact on the network of small and vibrant farming communities which are often held together by rail service and wheat co-operatives. These are a legacy of our past and an important part of our future Canadian mosaic, one we cannot destroy to help the railroads simply gain more money and provide less service.

As well, I wonder if the Administrator, in taking the decision to move to trucks, will consider the very important negative impact such a move will have on the consequent financial burden to municipalities and provincial governments. Of course, the burden of keeping our railways in good condition is a federal one. The burden of maintaining road services is a provincial or municipal one. Under the system proposed by the Government, in which the heavy, bulky agricultural products of concern to us here are moved by large trucks, the maintenance costs will be tremendous. Is the Government, then, proposing to keep up the roads which will be overused as a result of its policies? Of course not. The burden of paying for the trucking of grain products will be shifted to the taxpayers of the Provinces involved, increasing the tax burden on the producers. 1 would submit that this is not "in the best interests of the grain producers".

There is nothing contained in the Bill to redress this problem. Cost transfers, which are provided by this clause, do nothing to reduce the total system costs. This represents simply another form of cost transfers, not cost savings.

It is primarily for these reasons, and for many of the reasons which my colleagues have given throughout the course of debate on our motion, that I would urge all Members of the House to pass Motion No. 34.

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

Robert Joseph Ogle

New Democratic Party

Mr. Bob Ogle (Saskatoon East):

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to be able to join with my colleagues this morning in supporting Motion No. 34, put forward by my colleague, the Hon. Member for Regina West (Mr. Benjamin), because I believe

October 13, 1983

Western Grain Transportation Act that in this motion we have come to terms with the very important social reality which could have great influence in the Province in which I live. Transportation has been the backbone of life in Saskatchewan since I was a child, and will continue to be so I am sure. The distances one must travel in Saskatchewan are unique. The pioneers who came to the country realized that unless there was an adequate transportation system put in place, they could not continue to exist there.

Today we are discussing a Bill dealing with the essence of that lifestyle which was built on the growing and transportation of grain. The motion we are advancing ensures that truckers will not be subsidized for carrying grain in areas where there is existing railroad transportation. To my mind that has a very reasonable ring to it. The transportation system in western Canada is what you might call the arteries of the economic life of western Canada. This motion is attempting to sustain that economic life system.

If a person has had an opportunity to visit Europe or other countries, he will find there are different ways to move things, naturally. The easiest way to move large-scale products like grain or ore is by water. Unfortunately, Saskatchewan does not have that system.

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

Arnold John Malone

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Malone:

Saskatchewan canal.

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

Robert Joseph Ogle

New Democratic Party

Mr. Ogle:

My colleague from Alberta suggests we build a Saskatchewan canal. I think that would only be an Alberta idea; we could not possibly do that in Saskatchewan. However, the most economic way of moving goods is by water through canals and rivers.

The second most economical way to move large quantities of goods is by rail; there is no question about that. If a person has had the opportunity to visit Europe, he will see that the Europeans have engineered their rivers and canals. Indeed, they have set up a network in almost the whole of Europe in which water is the major transportation mode. However, in parallel to that, double-railed all the time, they have the rail transportation system. Economically that is the simplest way to move heavy, bulky products like grain or ore, plus passengers or anything else which has to be moved in a particular direction at a particular time. They have a trucking system but that is at the bottom; it is not the lifeblood of the whole system. I think in North America there has always been a very strong automotive lobby which has pushed the production of automobiles and trucks out of proportion to their value in the long run. That lobby has forced many places to build road systems to carry that traffic.

However, Mr. Speaker, this motion simply says that we do not want a subsidy to be paid to truckers for trucking grain in areas where there is an existing rail line. We feel, and I think rightly believe, that will bring about the abandonment of particular rail lines. When that happens-and I can use many examples from Saskatchewan, when railroad lines are abandoned and track is pulled out-the lives of the people who live along that particular area are changed. They are changed in a

way which causes them to abandon their homes. It means the abandonment of schools and social structures that are part and parcel of the province from which I come.

Also, I would like clearly to mark out that the reason we are proposing the motion is that we are basically thinking of the farmer, the person who is at the bottom, for whom the whole structure has been set up. The farmer who is at the bottom will be the last one to be protected in the Bill. What we are requesting is that the farmer be the first one to be looked after in the Bill, because the trucking system will not be set up to help the farmer. As we know now, if the motion is not carried, most of the trucking firms that will get the work will be the big trucking companies, many times also operated by the railroad. Therefore, a subsidy would be going to those very routes that would be least interested in keeping the railroad in that particular place.

I call upon my colleagues in the House and all those who are concerned with the welfare of the western Canadian farmer in the rural areas of Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba to consider seriously what we are proposing here, and to use the power of Parliament to carry the motion that we have proposed to ensure that the rail lines will not be abandoned because of something that is legislated in the House.

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

James Douglas Manly

New Democratic Party

Mr. Jim Manly (Cowichan-Malahat-The Islands):

Mr. Speaker, like my colleagues, I appreciate the opportunity to speak on Motion No. 34, which would eliminate Subclause (4) of Clause 17. Subclause (4) allows the Administrator, on behalf of the Minister, to enter into agreements to provide for the movement of grain by motor vehicle transport where, in his opinion, such agreements would be in the best interests of the grain producers.

It is the contention of our Party that such agreements would never be in the best interests of the grain producers and certainly would not be in the best interests of the many communities across the Prairies, because, in effect, Subclause (4) would facilitate branch line abandonment on the Prairies. This would have disastrous effects on a great many Prairie communities.

I think all Hon. Members in the House are aware that branch line abandonment is not a new phenomenon. It is something that the railways have been attempting for years, something at which they have been disastrously successful. Branch line abandonment is not a phenomenon that is limited to the Prairies. In the last two years, in my own riding on Vancouver Island, there have been attempts by both Canadian National and Canadian Pacific to abandon branch lines to Lake Cowichan. In the submissions that I have made at different times to try to prevent such abandonment, I have pointed out the effects that this would have on our communities.

The increased movement of lumber by truck would mean that already crowded highways would be further crowded and the cost of highway building would be shifted directly on to the taxpayers of British Columbia. The Social Credit Government

October 13, 1983

of British Columbia has never done a tremendously good job of providing good highways for the people of Lake Cowichan anyhow.

There would be an increased use of energy. I am not sure about the shipment of grain, but for shipping lumber, approximately four times as much energy is required to ship lumber by truck as to ship by train. By putting more traffic, especially heavy truck traffic, on already crowded highways, we would be increasing the danger of accidents. 1 know the difficulty of trying to drive on some of those highways on Vancouver Island with some of those large, articulated trailer trucks, with both lumber and logs.

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. I think the Hon. Member is straying somewhat from the purpose of the amendment now before the House. The Bill, I remind him, deals basically with the transport of grain. He is now speaking of lumber on Vancouver Island. I would invite him to come back to the amendment.

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

James Douglas Manly

New Democratic Party

Mr. Manly:

I am very pleased to come back to the amendment, Mr. Speaker, but I was trying to use the situation on Vancouver Island as an illustration of the fact that branch line abandonment all across Canada does have a disastrous effect upon communities. In fact, when we consider the social, environmental and the total economic costs, it really argues against abandonment. Clause 17(4) is basically a move to facilitate branch line abandonment. While it talks about being "in the best interests of the grain producers", it is in fact not.

In returning to the point, I would like to emphasize that, if anything, the situation is more critical for communities on the Prairies than it is even in my own riding. I suggest that it is clauses such as this which make people on the Prairies very suspicious about the intent of the entire Bill to change the basic Crow structure. They see this Bill as an attempt to destroy the infrastructure which has been built up over the years, including not only the branch lines but the local elevators that will be left unserviced by those branch lines as trucks are used to haul grain directly to the larger inland terminals. Branch line abandonment would be served by giving subsidies to trucking so that they would be able to syphon off increased volumes of grain hauling. The trucking firms which would get the subsidy would obtain more of this business and that, in turn, would result in lesser use of the branch lines, which would ultimately lead to the promotion of the argument by the railways that the branch lines themselves were not successful.

Therefore it is on that basis that we in our Party are very concerned that Motion No. 34 to withdraw Clause 17(4) be accepted and that the Government commit itself to maintain the infrastructure that is needed on the Canadian Prairies so that those communities, those farms and services, will continue.

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

James Ross Fulton

New Democratic Party

Mr. Jim Fulton (Skeena):

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to enter into the debate on our motion which I believe all Members of the House should support if they closely review

Western Grain Transportation Act the economics of our reasoning. Motion No. 34 specifically seeks to strike from the Bill Clause 17(4), which is a provision to facilitate branch line abandonment, the closing of country elevators and the development of a system of inland terminals through a diversion of a portion of funds available for transportation subsidies to trucking.

I understand that this measure evolved from the proposals put forward by the Tory Transport critic, the Hon. Member for Vegreville (Mr. Mazankowski), in some ways supported by the Deputy Minister of Transport, to get back in the Bill a means of providing subsidies to the various trucking companies that would ordinarily be going to the railways.

I believe that most people who have followed the debate closely know that the general impact of the Crow changes on the Prairies will mean a loss of 30,000 or 40,000 of the smaller rural farms, particularly in northern and more rural areas. In some cases, these areas are not even served by branch lines but are basically being served presently by some form of trucking into the rural elevators, on to the branch lines and on into the central pools to the eventual destination of Vancouver, Prince Rupert, Churchill or the Lakehead.

I believe all Members need to be reminded from time to time of what is happening in terms of the consolidation of certain trucking interests who are very clearly interested in seeing this kind of Crow Bill go through unchanged. Clearly, they would not want to see the NDP amendment accepted and would prefer to see the special deal that has been made between the Tories and the Liberals go through.

I believe it is worth reflecting on the announcement which was made in March of this year and was noted in a story by Albert Sigurdson in a story in The Globe and Mail. The headline was "Trucking: CN Now Runs the Nation's Biggest Trucking Network". All that delayed CN from getting that trucking network up to that point was obtaining the missing link operating licences it needed in Quebec . What CN is now operating in Canada is some 3,000 pieces of highway equipment. They claim this is the most efficient and effective marketing operation for trucking in the country.

There are three key areas we have to look at if we are going to pass this part of the Crow Bill unamended. I believe, and my colleagues from the Prairies also believe, that we need to have Clause 34 changed in the way that we have proposed to take away the possibility of trucking companies picking up the freight subsidies. In our estimation, three key things will occur if the trucking companies can dig in, whether it is CN, which is now the largest trucking network in the country, CP or any other operation. These three things are branch line abandonment, elevator abandonment and the massive development of inland terminals.

Let me deal first with branch line abandonment, something that has been occurring at a great rate for many years. Branch line abandonment would be compounded by allowing federal funds, particularly federal subsidies, to go to trucking companies, which in some cases may be more efficient. I am certainly

October 13, 1983

Western Grain Transportation Act

not arguing that we for some strange, unknown reason go to some less efficient mode of transportation. My colleague the Hon. Member for Cowichan-Malahat-The Islands (Mr. Manly) made the point quite correctly. Anyone who has studied the costs per unit of moving heavy commodities, whether wood, grain, iron ore or coal, knows it is more cost efficient, almost regardless of what quality of highway is constructed, to move by rail instead of by road. You simply shift very extensive costs to municipalities and provinces if you move very heavy axle weights at certain times of the year either on gravel or on paved highways.

Branch line abandonment would be compounded, certainly in a lot of rural and northern areas of the Prairies, for a very simple and obvious reason. If the subsidy would make the trucking even marginally more competitive and the Administrator had the power or the authority to say "Okay, we are going to have trucking firms bringing all of the grain from the north Peace down into the main line areas," the smaller elevators would have to consolidate.

The ones who would lose in this operation, as most Members know, are the existing country elevator systems which are really the three prairie Wheat Pools. And getting the gravy on the other side will be the private grain trade. One does not have to go too far to find a political connection between the private grain trade and the two larger Parties in this House.

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

Arnold John Malone

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Malone:

The next thing you know, people will be making a profit.

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

James Ross Fulton

New Democratic Party

Mr. Fulton:

The Hon. Member from Alberta says the first thing you know is somebody will be making a profit. I have watched with some degree of pain what has been happening in my area as certain products have been shifted from rail on to the road. For a very short period of time it appears there is some kind of job creation going on, that the truckers are getting more jobs, that there are more trucks on the road and there are a few more service operations open. But you have to look at it in a more global context in terms of what happens when a branch line is abandoned. I think Mr. Justice Emmett Hall's Royal Commission's evidence on this made it quite clear. When the branch line closes and the country elevator goes, what happens? What is associated with the country elevator? There might be a butcher shop and a little grocery store, perhaps a gas station. If those go, then what happens? Kids have to be bussed farther to school because the small school in the community has moved. What you have is a complete reconsolidation.

A very dramatic facelift on the Canadian Prairies would occur if there are not changes made such as the one that we are making. It is all very good for the Liberals and the Tories to say, "Well, trucking is more competitive". I would be the first one to be calling for an amendment if all that we were talking about was making it more competitive. We have to look at the global and social costs of these kinds of massive changes. It is abundantly clear that if trucking corporations in certain areas-I am not saying in all areas-of the grain trade are to get this kind of subsidy, we will see branch line

abandonment; and immediately behind that, as demonstrated historically decade after decade already, we will see elevator abandonment and the pools will start to lose their own members from the existing elevator system. The trucks will be going right by into the centralized inland pool operations.

It will have a direct impact on the largest and one of the most efficient grain elevator systems ever constructed in the world, namely the one now being constructed in my constituency of Prince Rupert. Both of the main pools, the Alberta and Saskatchewan pools which are the key components of and key financial participants in that elevator system which will cost about $300 million, stand to lose if the Liberals and Tories continue with their existing position on this amendment. We stand to lose with Motion No. 34 by allowing the subsidies to go to the trucking operations, because the majority of the grain that is going to be moving through the Port of Prince Rupert comes from the northern and rural areas of Alberta and Saskatchewan, areas that are now served in some sense by branch lines and by rural pools. They will simply no longer operate in that way.

If we were more sensitive, we would be calling for a much broader and careful articulation and evaluation of what the impact of the over-all Crow legislation is going to be four or five years from now. The farmers are saying that they will lose 30,000 or 40,000 rural farms. If this amendment does not carry, we will lose X number of country pools, we will lose more branch lines and we will see increased costs shifted to municipalities to keep the roads open and provide the depth of pavement required for the axle weights needed for hauling grain by rubber.

The costs to Canadians generally of not being very careful with amendments such as this and including them in the Crow legislation go far beyond what a Liberal or a Tory Member might say. We might hear them say: "Well, all we are saying is that if it is more cost competitive to go by rubber, then go by rubber." That is true, Mr. Speaker, very true. What we need to do in this country is to become more efficient and more cost caring. But at the same time we have to take a look at the history of what has happened in the farming community by not being very careful about applying principles that are in the long-term interests of the farming community, which are in the long-term interests of the Port of Prince Rupert and to a balance of trade in this country which is $6 billion a year from grain. I think all Members of this House have a responsibility to look very carefully at this amendment and to support it.

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

Albert Glen Cooper

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Albert Cooper (Peace River):

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to enter this debate, which is my first opportunity at this stage of the Bill. This Bill affects my riding and the people of the Peace country very much. It will have an impact that cannot be measured in terms of today but in terms of the future of our whole area.

First, I want to pay a compliment to the Hon. Member for Vegreville (Mr. Mazankowski) and to various other Members of my Party who worked so hard all summer long on this particular piece of legislation. They put in hours and hours of

October 13, 1983

tedious work. Their work has been well done and the people in my area want me to pay them the most sincere compliment.

1 also wish to compliment the Chairman of the Committee. 1 have worked with him in the past and I know he is a very fair and capable individual. I know from the comments I have had from my colleagues who served on the Committee that they were very pleased with his chairmanship, and I just want to relay that message to him.

As far as I am concerned, this amendment we are dealing with today is probably one of the most significant amendments to this particular piece of legislation as it relates to the people of the Peace country. The reason is simple. We are in a unique situation in our part of the country. We have large pockets of farming population that simply do not have rail lines in the immediate area. The Canadian national average is something like 20 miles. For every farmer to move his grain from his fields, his farm, into the elevators, he has to transport it about 20 miles. In my area I have several people who have to transport their grain something like 120 miles, six times the national average. Obviously, this is six times the cost to those individual farmers who are already dealing with very high costs because of the region of the country in which they live.

I am shocked and stunned that the New Democratic Party can put forward an amendment such as this and have us believe that it is in the interests of producers. It is incredible because the very people hurt by this amendment are none other than the producers, in particular the producers of the Peace country. Clause 17(4), as it presently stands, reads:

The Administrator, on behalf of the Minister, may enter into agreements to provide for the movement of grain by motor vehicle transport where, in his opinion, such agreements would be in the best interests of the grain producers.

There are two parts of that clause which I really like. One is "in the best interests of the grain producers", and the second is the whole business of "the movement of grain by motor vehicle transport". I think this is significant, as a Member of Parliament representing that part of the country. It is the only means of transportation in much of my riding simply because we do not have rail lines. Now the NDP is saying that we should do away with trucking not allow it to exist in the system. The NDP is saying that we should not allow the Minister or the Administrator to make a payment to farmers who have to truck their grain 120 miles.

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

Lyle Stuart Kristiansen

New Democratic Party

Mr. Kristiansen:

Why don't we just build a railway?

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

Albert Glen Cooper

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Cooper:

I hear the Hon. Member. That is a wonderful solution, I really appreciate it. I wish he would sit down with the Minister and convince him of that. He knows as well as I that that is not a viable solution or possibility at this point. We would love it to happen. We are working toward it, but we know that in the short term we have to have some form of trucking subsidy for our farmers. This amendment will simply not allow it.

We have been fighting for the particular concerns of this area for a long time. My predecessor, Ged Baldwin, worked

Western Grain Transportation Act

for years to bring to the attention of the Government across the way the concerns of our farmers in terms of the difficulties they face in grain transportation. We worked hard to bring that to the Government's attention. When there was a change in administration in 1979, the Hon. Member for Vegreville (Mr. Mazankowski) worked very hard for our region and was making some progress. In a very short period of time we would have seen an off-line elevator concept which would have met the needs of those people. Now, because of the NDP-Leberal coalition, that has been eliminated. The NDP wants to go even further and eliminate the possibility of those farmers ever receiving any kind of help with a very expensive proposition they virtually face every day of their farming lives.

The whole purpose of looking at the Bill was to look after the concerns and difficulties of producers. Of course, Members of the New Democratic Party have pretended to be the great champions of those people, but I would like to know who they are representing with this amendment. It sounds to me as if it is the people in Regina, central Edmonton or perhaps even Winnipeg. It is certainly not the farmers, especially those in the Peace country. Those farmers need recognition for the difficulties they face because of the uniqueness of that particular region of Canada.

The region to which I refer is one of much potential and opportunity. We have literally thousands of agricultural acres which are not in production. They could be and will be brought into production when it becomes feasible to develop the land and the costs of production become a viable option. The only way we could see that happening would be if we allowed some kind of recognition of the unique difficulties faced by these people.

This particular amendment is a totally regressive motion, a backward movement rather than a forward one. I speak in the strongest possible terms against it. The present wording in the Bill is important because it recognizes the unique needs of the people of the Peace country. I will vote against this motion with the greatest of pleasure.

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

Lynn McDonald

New Democratic Party

Ms. Lynn McDonald (Broadview-Greenwood):

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have an opportunity to enter this debate and to talk a little sense after the words of the previous speaker. I support this NDP amendment.

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

An Hon. Member:

How many grain farmers do you have?

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

Lynn McDonald

New Democratic Party

Ms. McDonald:

It is true that I do not have a large number of farmers in my riding. There are certainly a large number of ex-farmers and a large number of garden plots. That is an important question. We have excellent fruit markets and vegetable markets. We are not high in agriculture, but I want to address the system.

Certainly the people in my riding are concerned about transportation policy, agricultural policy and about having an efficient system which works equitably for all concerned and is fair to producers. Many people in my riding are former farmers and producers. They are sympathetic, and I am certain they very much favour my speaking on behalf of the

October 13, 1983

Western Grain Transportation Act

farming producers of the country. All my constituents like to eat and want to continue to do so. Agriculture affects everyone in the country. I should have thought that was perfectly obvious.

The purpose of this amendment is to delete Clause 17(4), which reads:

The Administrator, on behalf of the Minister, may enter into agreements to provide for the movement of grain by motor vehicle transport where, in his opinion, such agreements would be in the best interests of the grain producers.

We have heard a little nonsense and we have certainly seen crocodile tears about poor truckers and about more subsidies to truckers. I would like to give an example of what is happening in the trucking industry. This example suggests that it is not the poor little truckers about whom we have to be concerned but about who is behind all this. We have trucking companies now being taken over by CP in anticipation of the House not passing this amendment, going along with the Government's plans and making the trucking industry more profitable.

I would like to refer to an article which appeared in The Leader-Post of Regina, Saskatchewan, on September 22, 1983. It reads:

CP trucks announced this week it has purchased four Saskatchewan trucking firms, including one in Regina, which have been merged to form a new company.

The new company consist of personnel, facilities and equipment of Kissner Transport Ltd. of Regina, Lay's Transport Ltd. of Meadow Lake, North Central Expressways Ltd. of Saskatoon-

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

Maurice Adrian Dionne

Liberal

Mr. Dionne (Northumberland-Miramichi):

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Clause 17(4) does not deals not deal with the trucking industry. It deals with providing a mechanism by which producers can choose to ship by truck and receive the Crow benefit.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   WESTERN GRAIN TRANSPORTATION ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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October 13, 1983