November 11, 1957 (23rd Parliament, 1st Session)


Alexander Barrett Macdonald

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

Mr. Macdonald (Vancouver-Kingsway):

Canadian gas. So I call upon the government as a constructive and forthright act of statesmanship to issue a declaration forthwith under section 92, 10 (c) of the British North America Act declaring natural gas pipe lines in Canada to be works for the general advantage of Canada or the advantage of two or more provinces. That was one of the solutions: i.e. public ownership, advocated in this house by the Conservative party not a year ago. If they wish to redeem their promises of that time they will quickly transfer these companies into public services, of the people, by the people and for the people.
I was pleased that the throne speech mentioned a national development program to be carried out in co-operation with the provinces. Again that is a matter of concern to my own province which is a treasure house of potential mineral, timber and water resources. The speech from the throne mentioned the Columbia river development particularly and yet there have been two stumbling blocks. There have been negotiations going on with the United States authorities with respect to compensation for down stream benefits and there have been protracted negotiations with the British Columbia government as to the financing involved and the form the enterprise would take.
The Address-Mr. A. B. Macdonald It is a great pity that we have heard of no progress in these negotiations with the United States authorities since May 20 of this year when the last conference at the ministerial level broke up without result. Surely Canada, in a matter of such concern to one of her provinces as this, should not be without some bargaining power in dealing with the United States authorities. In connection with the second matter I am sure the majority of the people in British Columbia think this enterprise should take the form of public hydro. It should hardly be necessary any longer in this house to defend public hydro as against private hydro. The success of the Ontario hydro commission and of the Tennessee Valley authority with its vast complex of irrigation, power, conservation and industrial development, have conclusively proved that public power is cheaper power and that public hydro is closer to the needs of the region and of the people it serves.
In my own province of British Columbia that is borne out very dramatically by the electricity rates we pay. In Manitoba with public hydro and scarce water resources the average cost per kilowatt hour is three-quarters of a cent while in British Columbia under private hydro and with lots of water resources we pay an average rate per kilowatt hour of 2.1 cents.

Topic:   II. 1957
Full View