Mr. Howe (Port Arthur):
-I have spoken three times in this debate, and my purpose in rising now is to attempt to make this a committee where questions that are asked can be answered.
The Leader of the Opposition has asked some questions that should be answered. In the first place, there is a provision which started as a gentleman's agreement and was converted, when three new interests joined the groups sponsoring the pipe line, into an agreement within the group that 51 per cent of all common stock would be offered in Canada and to Canadians. "To Canadians" is not in the draft, but it has to be offered by three very reliable banking houses in this country, and I feel sure that an offer will be made to place that stock of Trans-Canada.
What was the purpose of that? It has been said a good many times I said that through it Canadians would have control. I said just the opposite. I said you could not guarantee control in that way; for there is no way by which you can prevent a purchaser of stock from selling his stock, and there is no guarantee that he will sell his stock to another Canadian.
I made it quite clear that the control of the pipe line would remain in Canada because the pipe line is located in Canada and subject to Canadian law. The province of Alberta has complete control over the gas that will enter the pipe line. The provinces of Canada have complete control over the conditions under which that gas may be sold within the borders of those provinces. The board of transport commissioners have overriding authority concerning the operation of the pipe line, and the government of Canada has complete authority over the export of any gas that may pass through the pipe line and move across an international border.
The reason I have been concerned to see that 51 per cent of the stock would be offered in Canada to Canadians is that if that can be brought about it will be the only pipe line ever built in Canada where that condition has obtained. We have had two pipe lines built in this country and a third is being built today. Well, I hesitate to estimate how much of the common stock of those pipeline companies has been offered in Canada, but I would think that 10 per cent would be a very high proportion of the common stock of any company.
Why is it important to have stock offered in Canada? The Leader of the Opposition-I forget his exact words-said the common stock was the gravy of the enterprise.