September 17, 1945 (20th Parliament, 1st Session)


Robert Ross (Roy) Knight

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)


a rickety and undernourished baby. Let me warn the government that while I am making no accusation at the present time, there is a distinct and vocal opinion in the western prairies that there is a nigger somewhere in the Hudson Bay railway woodpile.
The latest information I have on the matter with regard to shipping wheat overseas this fall is found mostly in communications from ministers of various departments of the government to officials and private people in the west. I gather that the Park ships with which the government might come to the aid of the project are not equipped with gyro compasses, or are engaged in essential services elsewhere, and I understand that the season is now too far advanced to do anything about it. The absolute limit of sailing is October 10, and, in the next place, any British ships that might have been available have either been sunk or are not properly equipped with gyro compasses. Again it is a question of being too late. Whether the latest in compass equipment is necessary for sailing into this port is open to debate, but if the old pioneers of the country had waited until they could get the latest gadgets there would have been no pioneering and no discoveries.
The question has been asked whether the N. B. MacLean could not be used to lead in sister ships equipped with ordinaiy compasses through the area of magnetic disturbance, and some people wonder why one mile of slob ice cannot be kept open later than October 10, say to October 31. Whatever the answers to these questions may be, I know that if one hundredth part of the energy and research was put into this matter that was put into certain matters in connection with the war, that route would be in full operation and a solution to most of these difficulties would already have been found. I think it is a case of where there's a will there's a way. We cannot say too much about it now. I realize the season is getting on, but we will look for the government to do something definite about that situation in the year to come. It will be coming up on the floor of the house and in discussions throughout the whole western country.
We should link this matter of the Hudson Bay route with the matter of cooperative trade. Cooperative enterprise is increasing by leaps and bounds in the province from which I come, and I have the honour to have had some connection with it. Cooperative enterprise in Great Britain, Scotland and England, is particularly anxious to promote reciprocal trade. Hon. members scarcely need to be reminded that after this war Britain finds herself in a particularly difficult situation. Be-
fore the war years she was greatly dependent upon two things, one being export trade and the other, interest upon her foreign investments. In the great cause in which we have all been engaged, Britain has freely sacrificed her foreign investments, and it is more and more important that she be dependent upon a good export trade. In that, sir, I think we should be very ungrateful if we were not prepared to assist her.
With a view to promoting such reciprocal trade a delegation of cooperatives came to this country some time ago. They were very anxious to ship to us some of their fine goods in exchange for our primary products. And these goods could very readily be shipped- and perhaps this is the nigger in the woodpile to which I alluded before-to them through the Hudson Bay route in the ship which took over to them these primary products. We could all do with some of those fine British textiles at this time. I do not know how other hon. members of this house are equipped for certain items of their wardrobes, but I could do with a couple of shirts myself. I have not had time since the session opened, but for four days before it opened I walked the streets of Ottawa in an attempt to buy two shirts, and was unsuccessful. I think it is about time we had some good British textiles on the Canadian market.

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