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


Alexander Barrett Macdonald

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

Mr. Macdonald (Vancouver-Kingsway):

The British Columbia government has given a reserve with first rights out of that reserve to the Wenner-Gren interests, amounting I think to 71,000 square miles.
No TV give-away program can match that, and yet the federal government is involved and has a responsibility because the Peace river, of course, flows over the Alberta border and up into the Northwest Territories. Therefore I repeat again, let this national development program in co-operation with the provinces include the development of Peace river power if that is feasible from an engineering and financial standpoint at the present time. Concerning the question of whether or not it is feasible, let the engineers of the department of national resources give their opinion as well as those of the Wenner-Gren interests.
What is this Wenner-Gren foundation? Some kindly souls have suggested that it is a charitable or philanthropic organization. Of course it is nothing of the kind. Wenner-Gren himself was blacklisted in the last war for trading with the Nazi enemy. Much of the wealth he made which poured into British Columbia came from munitions produced in the last war. Fortunately for him, but unfortunately for the province of British Columbia, one * of the three directors of Wenner-Gren in that province is a man who is also the head of the P.G.E. railway of the government of British Columbia and the financial wizard behind the Social Credit party there.
There should be no difficulty, Mr. Speaker, about the public financing of a hydro-electric development program that has been proved to be sound in an engineering way and in a financial way, and if this national development program means what I hope it means then we should move to help safeguard in co-operation with the provinces some of the equity of the people themselves in their natural resources.
I said earlier that we in this parliament have a heavy responsibility to legislate not only for the welfare but indeed for the safety of Canada. It would be madness to underestimate the scientific and technological progress of the soviet union in throwing artificial moons into the firmament, or to ignore their military and political implications. It is not so much that we need fear war itself. We can dare to hope that General Partridge in Colorado Springs will never have

to push that button that will mean annihilation for victor and vanquished alike. But those who hold precious the rights of free discussion and inquiry can lose in ways other than war if the uncounted millions of Africa, Asia and the Middle East turn not to the west or the United Nations but to the east and to the soviet dictatorship.
How can the west safeguard its position? Not by piling up new and more dreadful weapons of war. Arms alone will not save us. What we must do is recreate our society as a model embodying the human ideals of equality, freedom and fellowship upon which the peoples of the world can look with inspiration and affection. We have a long way to go toward these ideals, away from the crass materialism, dollar worship and false values of a profit driven society. There will be no excuse for us if we fail to read the signposts and plot our direction accordingly.
In this connection I cannot help but be concerned about the remarks made by irregular members of the Conservative party in various parts of Canada who seem determined to tear down and dismantle national television and broadcasting under the C.B.C. They would turn it over to the hucksters. Mr. Speaker, there is no quicker way to debauch the mind and soul of a nation than by turning over to commercial advertising interests the control of broadcasting and television. It is not that the C.B.C. cannot be improved and brought closer to the communities it serves, but I would express the hope that the Minister of National Revenue <Mr. Nowlan) who states that he is going to introduce legislation affecting the C.B.C. will give due consideration to the facts and recommendations contained in the Fowler report.
With that I conclude as I began, by urging the government to adopt the amendment of the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar. It is certainly later than we think, and none too soon to awaken in our people a driving social purpose that will enable us to meet the dangers as well as the opportunities of the world in which we live.

Topic:   II. 1957
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