December 11, 1962 (25th Parliament, 1st Session)


Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)


Mr. Pearson:

Mr. Chairman, I do not wish to detain the committee for more than a moment, especially in view of the last statement of the minister and the spirit in which it was made. We all on this side agree about the objective of this bill within the context of not only regional but national development. But the minister will agree with us that there cannot be satisfactory regional development in Canada unless there is adequate national development. Therefore we are most anxious-and this is one of the sources of our worry about this bill-that a bill of this character setting up a regional development board will not be obstructed or limited in its operation in any way by a national development board which has the same kind of duty and the same kind of function on a national scale.
The minister says that each board must be given freedom of action, and of course that is correct up to a point. He also said it would be unwise, if I understood him correctly, to so restrict the operation of this particular board that it would have a rope around its neck, and of course that is correct. But when the minister says we do not have to worry about the danger of non co-operation between boards which have similar functions in different areas; when he says, I think these were his words, that co-operation of this kind is not of primary significance, I think he underestimates the importance of this question.
[Mr. Flemming (Victoria-Carleton) .1

I recall very well the occasion a few years ago when we were debating in this house the establishment of the board of broadcast governors as part of the reorganization of the broadcasting system in this country. Some of us at that time pointed out the danger of conflict between the two important bodies which had been established in this field. But we were told at that time there was no need to worry about it. It is true the arguments used, though very much along the lines the minister has used tonight, were probably not advanced with the same skill and dexterity; they did not have the soothing quality which belongs to the Minister of National Revenue. However, we said then that the board of broadcast governors would undoubtedly come into conflict with the C.B.C. if steps were not taken at that time to avoid the possibility of such a conflict. Of course, events have proved we were right.
We are worried now about the same thing happening in this field. Our fears are increased because the Minister of Finance, speaking on another subject, the setting up of the national development board, said- and I have his words here: "The national development board will investigate, analyse and report on the medium and long term prospects and possibilities of particular areas." The maritime provinces certainly constitute a particular area. Those are special terms of reference and special functions for this very important board, and therefore it is of first significance to do everything possible to avoid overlapping, to avoid one board getting in the way of another. Surely, this is something which cannot be left to a general feeling that the boards will work out their own processes of co-operation as they go along. It is, I think, regrettable that some provision has not been made to ensure that serious overlapping will not take place. A certain amount of overlapping is inevitable. A certain amount, perhaps, may even be good. But when overlapping results in confusion, confusion will probably result in conflict. Therefore I think it is of first importance that provision should be made in some way-I know it cannot now be made under the terms of the legislation itself-

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