I was not exactly sure what he said, but recalling the record of the government of which he was a member I thought he had put forward the suggestions X have outlined. However, X will take his word for it. I recall quite well that the leader of his party in my province declared the government of which he was a member had not even given my province half a deal.
This forward step is something which we should all applaud. I very much appreciate the fact that members from other parts of the country have spoken on this important matter. As the hon. member for Vancouver Centre, who spoke this evening, said, we are still a vital part of the dominion and we have throughout the years suffered from some political and economic policies which were nationally developed. I feel, therefore, it is high time that a board of eminence and priority was assigned to look upon our region and to assist us to develop policies of selfhelp which will bring our region to a level comparable to the other parts of the dominion. This, I regard, as an essential second step to the kind of direct assistance through subsidies, as well as conditional and unconditional grants, which have come our way in the last five years. The improvement in the last five years is exemplified by the fact that in my own little province these have been increased from $5 million plus to $12.5 million.
I want to say that the suggestion made by the hon. member for Vancouver Centre commends itself to me. I refer to the suggestion that the chairman of this very important body, which I say takes second place to any mentioned by the hon. member for Essex East, might very well be ex officio a member of the national economic development board. This strikes me as being an extremely valuable suggestion. I do not know of any national board which could not profit by the presence of a maritimer, if immodesty may be pardoned.
I would like to commend to the minister under clause 9, when we consider the measures to deal with the problems connected with the fostering of economic growth and development, that our ancient industry of agriculture be not ignored. There is a narrow concept of the word "industry" as being something that is symbolized by a factory and belching smokestack. We of course want industries developed in our provinces by the sea, but we also want a greater rationalization of our ancient industry of agriculture.
I would impress upon the minister with all the sincerity at my command that when
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Atlantic Development Board this board is set up, and I hope it will be set up soon, that an integration, a rationalization and advancement of the agricultural industry be given great consideration. There is much we can do. We are a deficiency area in agricultural products which we produce in the very highest and most acceptable degree.
I would like to say too, and say it very briefly, that naturally I consider that among those projects the feasibility of which need no further consideration is the causeway linking my province with New Brunswick, a project in which a certain hon. member across the way has developed a keen interest of late years. We regard this as a decision which has already been taken, and I rejoice in what the minister said the other day. However there may well be important economic considerations which might be looked at most carefully by this board. One sees an interesting social and economic pattern developing at either end of the Canso causeway, and I would think forward looking gentlemen of the board ought to give consideration to what will happen when other provinces in the maritimes are finally linked to the banner province of Prince Edward Island.
I rejoice in the scope of the bill. I think that clause 9 betokens the kind of co-operation which will be conducive to an improvement of maritime conditions and I am one who is not at all concerned, despite the eloquence of the hon. member for Essex East, about the feasibility of co-operation among various boards. I think a direct application of the finest minds we can gather together upon the problems of the Atlantic region will be conducive to a betterment of our whole national economy.
Subtopic: PROVISION FOR DEFINITION OF DUTIES, APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS, ETC.