March 28, 1955 (22nd Parliament, 2nd Session)


Herbert Wilfred Herridge

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

Mr. Herridge:

I understood the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) asked that question. My understanding is that the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre was not trying to prove anything; he was asking for an inquiry to ascertain the facts and to assure justice to the pilot in question, as well as to the Canadian public. I think from a reading of the evidence that a public inquiry is fully justified.
On February 25 the Minister of Trade and Commerce denied a statement by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre to the effect that the pilot had been on duty for a period of 16 hours in one day. If we heard the minister correctly this afternoon, by his own figures he admitted that the pilot was on duty one day for 17 hours and 29 minutes. I am not going to take the time of the house to discuss the case more fully. The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre placed the matter on record after having made a careful study of the whole situation. I would only repeat that a careful reading of the evidence fully justifies his demand for a public inquiry into this air accident; and I trust when the committee sits it will have an opportunity to go further into the matter.
I wish to say a few words about the Queen Elizabeth hotel. I listened with great interest to the hon. member for Notre Dame de Grace who, I think, covered the subject fully. I agree with what he had to say. We in this group supported the proposal that the Canadian National Railways should build this great hotel as a public enterprise of great value for Canada, and one which would serve a very useful purpose. I believe it is true to say that public response to the building of the hotel, as well as general, tourist and commercial interest in it, indicate that it will be a profitable venture.
It is an understatement for me to say that we in this group are very disappointed to hear that the operation of the hotel is being given to an American company. We think this is a reflection on Canadian hotel personnel in Canada, and the capacity of Canadians generally to administer such affairs. I think the successful management of a number of Canadian National hotels in Canada and a large number of other excellently operated hotels is proof that we have the personnel in this country to do the job, and that there was absolutely no necessity to have an American company operate this hotel. One of the hon. members has suggested that it indicates a Canadian inferiority complex when it comes to the management of such a business.
Committee on Railways and Shipping
Another matter that concerned me was the possibility of going to Montreal on some occasion and seeing there a large sign bearing the words "Hilton-Queen Elizabeth Hotel". That would be a ghastly business. I do hope that whatever happens so far as the management is concerned, the name of a man called Hilton is not allowed to appear on the building, on the stationery or in the advertising, but that it will be known for all time as the Queen Elizabeth hotel. I trust the committee will have opportunity to make inquiry into this unusual and, we consider, totally unnecessary arrangement which is damaging to Canadian prestige and would be a blow to Canadian pride.
That is all I am going to say on the subject. I am going to keep up my reputation for speaking briefly, stating the facts and presenting an unassailable argument.

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