Mr. H. W. Herridge (Kootenay West):
Before proceeding with my question I should like the parliamentary secretary to extend my sincere congratulations to the minister on his success in connection with his prayers for rain. This is one of the most successful government policies to date.
On July 9 I asked the minister the following question:
Has the minister any information he can give the house with respect to the announcement of
Proceedings on Adjournment Motion Premier Bennett of British Columbia that his government intends to proceed with the development of the hydro potential of the Fraser river and expects the federal government's financial assistance to this end?
That question was prompted by newspaper items headed: "Bennett Adds Fraser in River Development" and "Bennett Adds Fraser River to Power Plans". In particular, it was prompted by a news editorial broadcast on July 8, 1964, over radio station CHQM in Vancouver which reads as follows:
At his breakfast meeting this morning with B.C. investment dealers, Premier Bennett had what might be called a captive audience. Not only that-the audience couldn't have been more sold on Mr. Bennett's promotion. The promotion, of course, was B.C. hydro's latest issue of small denomination parity bonds to help finance the Peace river power development.
Mr. Bennett has had tremendous success in marketing these bonds ever since he started doing it in 1959. The public has snapped them up, and the financial community quickly became convinced that it was a good way to turn a dollar.
So when Mr. Bennett said this morning that-
And they are quoting Mr. Bennett.
-"these are B.C.'s greatest years," there was no word of dissent from the investment dealers. They knew a good thing when they saw it.
I quite agree with that.
The most interesting segment of the premier's remarks, however, did not concern parity bonds. It was when he dealt with development of flood control and power producing works on the upper reaches of the Fraser river that he perked up the ears of his listeners.
The proposed development was not new-It had been recommended earlier by the Fraser river development board, a federal-provincial agency.
What was new was the premier's decision to go ahead with it right away. He was careful, in his talk to the investment men, to assure the salmon fishing industry that the value of the Fraser as a spawning river would not be diminished by the development.
But flood control in the 100 mile long Fraser delta and valley was vitally essential. The development in the upper reaches would provide this-as well as two million horsepower of electrical energy-with B.C. and Ottawa sharing equally in the flood control costs.
To the investment men, this was good news, for it meant continued expansion of B.C. hydro, and B.C. hydro would have to go to the money market to finance a good part of it.
His request for support of the investment industry to his application for Ottawa participation in the financing, can be expected to be met without qualification.
It is not certain that the fishing industry will be so enthusiastic. For at a press conference following the breakfast, the premier seemed to downgrade the fishing interests. The first public interest, Mr. Bennett said, was the protection from floods of the Fraser valley and delta, with its tremendous investment in real estate.
Subtopic: FEDERAL PARTICIPATION IN DEVELOPMENT