Mr. J. W. Noseworlhy (York South):
In this bill, Mr. Speaker, we are dealing with one of Canada's great natural resources; and I think it is rather unfortunate that the debate on this important natural resource should have taken on the purely party-political character that it has taken on in this house. It has become quite evident that the bill before us is sponsored by the government although it is known literally as a private member's bill. The Minister of Trade and Commerce has indicated quite clearly to the house his point of view, and quite evidently has given a lead to all the government followers in the house.
Here we have what the leader of the opposition (Mr. Drew) rightfully described as a wasting asset, a wasting asset in the sense that it is not something that can be replaced once it has been disposed of. This particular resource is one that nature has created over the past ages, which has lain hidden in the
ground, according to geologists, for possibly millions of years. We now become the discoverers of that great natural resource, and the question is, what to do with it. Quite evidently our present government has just one policy on that matter, which is to get this natural resource to a market by the shortest and cheapest possible route that will bring greatest profit to those who have invested in that industry, and to those who are concerned with its disposal. That is one way of dealing with it.
Here is a natural resource. We assume it belongs to the province of Alberta. I am quite sure that hon. members from Alberta and the government of Alberta will be among the first to recognize that this is a heritage of the whole Canadian people. The government's policy appears to be: Take this great natural resource. Let us dispose of it through any ready channel that will bring immediate profits, either profits to a government or profits to private investors; and if it is going to cost a few hundred thousand dollars more to build a route that will serve Canadian people, then we cannot take that route. The fact that they are getting this market cheaply, and immediately realizing profit on the disposal of this natural resource, appears to be the chief concern of the government today, and appears to be their chief concern in the matter of this bill.
There is another way in which that natural resource could be disposed of. There is another policy that could be followed. I can well imagine that we have had governments in this country in the past that would have been prepared, in the interests of the Canadian people, to have taken a much more statesmanlike view of that policy than the present government is taking in connection with this matter. We have had governments in this country in the past that would have looked upon this natural resource as a heritage of the Canadian people to be safeguarded for future generations, and not to be exploited as quickly as possible by the shortest and cheapest route possible and for the highest immediate profits possible, which appears to be the present policy.
This afternoon the leader of the opposition gave us a vision of what this particular natural resource could mean in the building of this country, a breadth of view that we have not heard come from a single member or minister of this government in connection
Alberta Natural Gas Company with the development of this resource. Every word we have had from the Liberal side of the house has been concerned with one policy, and one policy only, namely, to get this natural gas market, get it there by the most economical route, get it there to serve the large centres of population in the United States, so that somebody may be able to reap a profit therefrom.
We sometimes talk of the future possibilities of Canada. We sometimes talk of our need of immigration. We sometimes talk of this country as a country that could support many times our present population. But here we have a natural resource that will provide cheap power for the building of industrial centres in our western provinces and, as far as we know, a product that could be economically brought east to build industrial centres east of the great lakes as well. Instead of that our first concern must be, which is the most economical way of building a pipe line. Never mind what happens to Canada; never mind what happens to the cities and towns of British Columbia; let us get the pipe line; get the gas disposed of; get our profits.
On motion of Mr. Noseworthy the debate was adjourned.