March 16, 1954 (22nd Parliament, 1st Session)


Robert Hardy Small

Progressive Conservative

Mr. R. H. Small (Danforih):

Mr. Speaker, following up the remarks made by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) in regard to the interests involved, he touched on one which should really be
Niagara Gas Transmission Limited given the most consideration; that is, the consumer. It is about the consumer that I intend to make a few remarks, particularly the consumer in the Toronto area which they seem to value so highly. The hon. member pointed out the fact that assurances have been given by the minister in charge of the bill that necessary guarantees will be forthcoming to protect the trans-Canada line.
The power situation, not only in Ontario but throughout the country generally, is very serious. By bringing gas from Alberta we are using one way of solving the problem of providing extra power. The economic problem will solve itself through increased demands and potential future markets. When electrical power was first made available to Ontario there was so much of it they did not know what to do with it. They were concerned with having it consumed. Then over a period of probably 50 years the situation changed and today we cannot get enough power to meet the demands.
The picture of gas being transported from the west is something that taxes the imagination again. I visualize the future of this country being such that we will be able to take all the gas that comes from Alberta and probably all we can get from the United States. But in the meantime it is essential that we have gas which is available at our door from the Louisiana source. This is where the consumers come into the picture, since they will get gas much cheaper because it has a higher heating content. I think the province of Ontario is vitally interested in having this source of supply at its door and it should be made available for use as soon as they can get it, which will be in perhaps one year's time.
There is only one means by which it can be used, through the Consumers' Gas Company. They have the facilities by which they can dispose of this gas, and they have storage for it in southwestern Ontario. I do not think there need be any worry about the future of Alberta gas. Once that line is put through to supply our markets-and according to those who have spoken on this bill that supply is expanding every day-there will be so much of it that we will have a problem in taking care of it. In fact much of it is going into the air and being entirely wasted, and the sooner we put it to some use the better. In the meantime, while building this line to bring Canadian gas here we should have the use of this other gas for the purposes suggested by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles). The sooner Consumers' Gas can get it, then the sooner the market can be provided, for in all

probability it will overcome the power shortage at present existing in Ontario, and assist the other eastern provinces in obtaining much-needed industrial power.
I mention this because I recall what took place earlier in the development of electrical power in Ontario, and I can see the very same development for natural gas in this country. Having seen what happened before we should take care it does not happen again. Once the line is built there will be no end to the demand. I believe they will probably be able to supply the western states as well, and even supply the northern part of Canada which has not yet been brought into the picture. The gas can probably reach as far as the maritime provinces even if they have to move it through the eastern part of the United States.
If you consider the development of this project over the next half century then perhaps you can visualize that project reaching the point where we can take gas from coal in the ground. If you wish to give full rein to your imagination there are many developments which can be visualized in relation to this project for the future. But at the present time the essential need is to get that gas to Consumers' Gas Company and thence to the consumers who want to use it. You need not worry about the integrity of the Consumers' Gas or whether they will observe their covenant. We are dealing with a reputable organization and we can accept their guarantees; and once the Minister of Trade and Commerce is satisfied, the company's conduct will be governed in the best interests of Canada.

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