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


Herbert Wilfred Herridge

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

Mr. Herridge:

I wish now to say a few words about the trans-Canada pipe line question. I do so because I was interested in the remarks of the hon. member for Hastings South (Mr. Foil well), when he urged that the government consider having this very necessary pipe line built by the Canadian National Railways. I was particularly interested to hear this proposal coming from an hon. member supporting the government. I thought it indicated that he had given serious consideration to the problem, one which is giving concern to a good many Canadians at this time.
Ever since we have talked about a trans-Canada pipe line this group has urged that such an undertaking should be publicly owned and under the management of the Canadian National Railways. This pipe line will be piping Canadian gas required by Canadian consumers. We in this group say, let Canadians build the pipe line, without paying tribute to any United States capitalist interests.
I think there are many arguments in favour of public ownership of this pipe line, and having it built under the jurisdiction of the Canadian National Railways. The railway company has a right of way across Canada, and no property problem would be- involved. There would be none of the complex difficulties in the matter of easements and other things which take so much time and often cost large sums of money. The building of the pipe line by the Canadian National Railways would mean lower construction costs because it could be serviced from the railway itself. Maintenance under public ownership through the railway company would be lower, for the same reason. If we were to undertake this great project in the near future it

could be a first step in an over-all plan for unemployment relief, as suggested earlier in debate by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre.
I suggest the government should float a tax-free bond issue for the building of the trans-Canada pipe line. This procedure has been popular in the United States in connection with undertaking certain large public works. Such tax-free bond issue would be subscribed to only by Canadian citizens, and would not be transferable. This procedure has been followed in the United States with a great deal of success in connection with large irrigation projects and the like. I think the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Low) made reference to this in a committee we attended some days ago. These bonds would be of small denominations, perhaps from $100 up, and an opportunity could be given to hundreds of thousands of Canadians to subscribe to this Canadian-owned project. This would be greatly preferred to the procedure of asking United States interests to come in and build the line, and then reap the profits and have the control of this important public utility.
I am confident if the Canadian government were to undertake such a project it would capture the public imagination and would receive an excellent response from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

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