It may be that I shall have to be elsewhere as these items continue, and I should like to speak for a few minutes this evening. For some time now Saint John has been extremely interested in civil defence, because our city and the surrounding area are considered to be a prime bombing target
in the event of hostilities. A considerable amount of money has been spent to date by the municipality in order to co-operate with the Department of National Health and Welfare in providing proper facilities for the defence of the area and to take care of emergencies should they develop.
The city has already spent something like $10,000 in this regard. I might say here that the city of Saint John and Saint John county are most grateful for the generous co-operation of the minister through his officers in that particular section of his department, for the training of instructors in civil defence as well as aid by way of equipment. To date this has been worth approximately $18,000.
I understand that the department through the director of civil defence has made an offer to the province of New Brunswick whereby that province could obtain more money from the federal department by putting up a like amount. Up to date the province of New Brunswick has not agreed to accept that very generous offer on the part of the department and thus be able to implement a sound system of civil defence in those areas of the province where it is considered vital that we should have such a system.
I understand that two alternative offers were made. One was that the province could put up dollar for dollar with the department, and the other was that a municipality could put up one-third, the province one-third and the federal government the remaining one-third. Up to date the city of Saint John has not been able to enter into this arrangement because the provincial government has not agreed to put up the $46,000, I believe it is- I may be slightly off, but it would be only a matter of a few dollars-either by matching the federal government dollar by dollar or by agreeing to put up one-third, so that the city and county of Saint John can put up the other one-third and thus be able to derive further benefits from the national civil defence program.
Many of the citizens of Saint John are extremely concerned about this. I am going to ask the minister if he cannot deviate from the hard and fast policy. Even though the province of New Brunswick will not agree to put up the money to enable us to get more support from his department for civil defence in our area, perhaps some arrangement could be made whereby the city of Saint John could match an amount to be put up by the department and thus carry on our civil defence program.
There are many hundreds of people who are prepared to go forward with this program on a voluntary basis. There is the Red Cross
Supply-Health and Welfare and the St. John Ambulance; and we have 25 instructors who have been trained in civil defence here in Ottawa at the cost of a good many thousands of dollars. We do not want this program to collapse; therefore I am asking the minister if some other means cannot be devised whereby our municipality can come in under this program without the assistance of the province.
I thank the minister for being so tolerant as to allow me to speak perhaps somewhat irregularly.