Mr. Maclnnis (Cape Breton South):
realize that the government has provided aid by making provision for the marketing of coal outside of Cape Breton. Without this, it would be impossible to keep any mine in operation. We realize that this assistance is directly beneficial to the Cape Breton coal industry. It is time, however, that this government became aware of the fact that these are not subsidies; they are subventions paid to the carriers. In other words this money is paid to the transportation industry, whether it is the water carriers or the C.N.R. We can break this down and see what this subvention which is paid to the
carriers means to the miners of Cape Breton. In any circumstances one could not arrive at the $7,000 figure mentioned by the minister. If we break it down and apply it to the number of people employed by means of the employment which is provided on the railway lines of the C.N.R.'s operation, or by the other carriers, we would find that the subsidy which has been referred to actually is a subvention from which we benefit greatly, but which nevertheless does not provide the answer to the fact that there are lay-offs at Louisbourg.
I am quite happy with the end result; that is, that the miners today, because of the policy announced, will be ensured of employment until other employment is provided through legislation which will be forthcoming. I can assure the minister now-and I think I speak for the other Nova Scotia members-that we will be only too happy to co-operate to the fullest extent when this legislation is brought forward. If there is anything we can do in the way of liaison between here and Cape Breton, we will be only too happy to do it. But, stop raising the bogeyman.
I might mention here that the area which the Minister of National Health and Welfare represents holds a great potential for Cape Breton. When something is good for Cape Breton, it is good for Nova Scotia, and when it is good for Nova Scotia it is good for Canada. Why in this area, where the need is the greatest, has there been this cut-back? Why was the money which was spent down here for almost two years for a hole in the ground not spent above the ground?
[DOT] (2:00 a.m.)
This project has cost about five times its originally estimated cost. It was originally suggested to help offset unemployment created by the closure of mines in Cape Breton. This government can dig up money for its own pet projects but it cannot find money for projects of this kind. If the Minister of National Health and Welfare is as strong in the cabinet as the image he likes to project in Nova Scotia, why does he not support this project in his own constituency. Why does he not make representations to his colleagues, particularly the misinformed Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, to continue this project in order that the miners who have been layed off can be rehired? Apparently he has abandoned that end of his riding, but why does he not support his own end of the constituency? After all, anything of value that is done for one part of Cape Breton is of
April 28, 1967
benefit to the whole island, the entire province and Canada.
I think if I set out the total amount of subventions paid in respect of my own province the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development would be very surprised, indeed. It is not surprising that he does not know about these things, but when I tried to raise a question today I was told that I was out of order. In my opinion any wrong that is done to a constituent is a reflection upon the member who represents that constituency in this house. I suggest that what the Minister of National Defence said regarding the question I raised today was a reflection upon me as the representative of my constituency, and I believe I had a legitimate question of privilege. The rules of this house apparently do not mean a great deal because one can always find six or seven interpretations for each rule. By my own interpretation I believe I raised a proper question of privilege.
During the last several weeks we have heard a great deal about unification. If we follow the suggestion of members of the New Democratic party, that each member of this house should be entitled to speak for half an hour, we would require 182 hours to consider every piece of legislation placed before the house. On the basis of the hours we sit each week, we would only be able to pass seven pieces of legislation each year. In spite of these figures, members on the government side have accused us of carrying on a filibuster in respect of unification. According to the formula suggested, hon. members in the Conservative party are entitled to 143 hours. We did not spend 143 hours in total during the debate on unification.
I think it is important to change our rules. Important issues come before this house and every member should have the right to use whatever time he has available to bring his views to the attention of the government. We do not require seven weeks to debate each issue which comes to our attention. But let us get back to the minister, and the erosion that has been going on in respect of Canadian traditions.
I am reminded of historical events. In August, 1914, when the Germans thought they could conquer Europe in about 39 days and were approaching Paris, which they thought they could take very easily, they decided they would have to violate the neutrality of Belgium. They therefore decided they would just cut across the corner, and excused themselves
by saying, "Well, this is a violation, but it is a small violation." The Germans thought everybody would forget about it because it was a small violation. I now come to the hearings of the defence committee. In those hearings a similar type of statement was made by the chief of defence staff, General Allard, who said the measure being discussed was only a little error. Is not there a similarity between those two statements?
Today I raised a question with respect to another tradition, one that provides that when a ship is decommissioned, if it has been named after a community in this country the bells of the ship are presented to the community after which the ship was named. The house may have thought this was not an important matter. The ship in question was the New Waterford and it was definitely named after the town of New Waterford, Nova Scotia, which as I said this morning has provided this nation with more volunteers, on a per capita basis, than any other community in the country.
When the ship was decommissioned tradition called for the bells to be presented to the town of New Waterford. Suddenly we find there is a town called Waterford in Ontario with which the Minister of National Defence has a very close association. As I said this morning, my knowledge of Waterford and whatever water surrounds it is only that it comes through the tap. It has no association whatsoever with the navy which is situated on the east coast. This ship was definitely named after the town in Nova Scotia but the minister, because of his close association with Waterford, has made available to that town in Ontario the bells of this decommissioned ship which rightfully belong to the town of New Waterford, Nova Scotia.
I received some sort of explanation in this regard. I accused the minister of breaking another tradition. There is in this matter a similarity between what General Allard said to the defence committee and the excuse given by the Germans that their action in 1914 was just a small violation. The chief of defence staff said before the defence committee that the action being contemplated was only a little error. Now we have the Minister of National Defence defying traditions. Can hon. members not see the similarity in these two approaches? We have had examples of small errors and defied traditions. This type of thing has been going on for the last two years under this Minister of National Defence. Unification got the axe. There were some
April 26. 1967
really priceless arguments put forward in defence of unification.
[DOT] (2:10 a.m.)
A member of the New Democratic party used the argument that any sailors to whom he had spoken about unification first asked what was the admirals' stand on this issue, and when they were told the admirals were against it the sailors' reply would be to the effect that in that case they are for it. The implication was that as long as the top brass in the service was for something, the rank and file would be against it. Suppose we accepted that approach. We know very well that General Allard and his staff are in favour of unification, but if we used the same approach would it not follow that in that case everybody in the army would be against unification? If we took a poll on this there is no doubt we would find that unification would not be accepted by the forces. However, as I said, this is a silly argument in the first place.
The Minister of National Defence has not accomplished that which he set out to accomplish without giving any thought or consideration to the evidence placed before the committee. Again I will point out that a colleague of the minister who saw fit to agree with the point under clause 6 later voted against the amendment put forward by this party.
At the time we also heard the silly argument advanced by a member of the New Democratic party who did not believe in giving the service personnel the opportunity to opt out. It is quite all right to give them the opportunity to opt in. So a form is put before a member of the services and he is told that he has the opportunity to opt in. If he does not opt in he has automatically opted out.
Again a silly argument was put forward by a member who made a flat statement with regard to this problem. He told the minister the kind of answers that were required or otherwise he would vote against the bill. He never got the answers but the government got his vote.
I think it is a well known fact that the Minister of National Defence is looking for a way out. Come fall, it is his ambition and his hope, so the story goes, to occupy another cabinet position. If this government is bent on suicide, this is all they need to do. Things are bad enough in every department of the government and there is only one way to make them worse, that is to transfer Hellyer around from one department to the other. That will sink them for sure.
Now we come to the Minister of Public Works. I know he is annoyed and agitated, although I may say he is sitting more quietly than he was when the Minister of Agriculture was speaking. At that time his agitation was great. Yet the government still finds some way of accusing hon. members of keeping this debate going. Will there be any publicity of the fact that the Minister of Public Works attempted to put the Minister of Agriculture down? Will there be any publicity regarding the remark made by the Minister of Agriculture to the Minister of Public Works when the latter tried to make him sit down? No, the Liberal propaganda will be spread out that the Tories are this and the Tories are that. The government has been given the opportunity on several occasions by the hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre who proposed that we get on with the nation's business.
We sat here and listened to the plea made by the Prime Minister last Thursday. He outlined a program which will keep us here, if we are interested in the nation's business. Mind you, last Thursday we were very interested in the nation's business. There was nothing more important than the urgent business which we brought before parliament in order to keep this nation on the tracks.
But how long did the government's interest last?
Subtopic: SITTING SUSPENDED