Lloyd Roseville Crouse
Mr. Lloyd R. Crouse (Souih Shore):
Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I rise to participate in this debate. My first words will be to congratulate you, sir, on your elevation to the position of Speaker of this house, a position which I know from experience you will fill with dignity and fairness to all members in all parts of this house. I also wish at this time to congratulate a fellow Nova Scotian on his promotion to the position of Clerk of the House. This is an important post and I hope that the trend in this house toward higher positions for Nova Scotians will continue in future.
Following a time honoured custom, I wish to congratulate the mover, the hon. member for Madawaska-Victoria (Mr. Corbin), and the seconder, the hon. member for Kamloops-Cariboo (Mr. Marchand) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne. They
September 20, 1968
expressed their views with clarity and sincerity in a manner which honours the constituencies that elected them to this house.
Time will not permit me to extend individual congratulations to the Prime Minister, the Deputy Speaker, the Deputy Chairman of Committees and all members of the new cabinet, among whom are some old friends. I wish them all good health in the carrying out of their important and heavy responsibilities to the Canadian people.
This morning I listened with interest to the hon. member for Burin-Burgeo (Mr. Jamieson). I regret that he cannot be in his seat this afternoon. In his remarks he did his best to explain away the removal of the salt fish subsidy to our fishing industry as well as the removal of the winter works program and other programs. In the minister's words, these were only "band aids" which were being removed to let the government take a closer look at the depth of the wound. Without being partisan or political, Mr. Speaker, I have a tendency to agree with the views expressed by the hon. member for Gander-Twillingate (Mr. Lundrigan) who asked the minister this morning why these programs are being removed before something better is put in their place. To put the matter in the words of a member representing an Atlantic region, "We don't like to take away a man's lifebuoy before we have him safely in the lifeboat."
Though this is not the first time I have spoken in this chamber I feel honoured to speak as the first federal representative of the new federal constituency in Nova Scotia known as South Shore. It is a large riding which covers an area from West Dover in Halifax county, through Lunenburg, Queens and Shelburne counties to Clyde River. It contains such famous beauty spots as Peggy's Cove, St. Margaret's Bay, Chester and Ma-hone Bay-which is famous for the legend of the ghost ship Teaser and the island in which Captain Kidd reputedly put his buried treasure-the beautiful town of Lunenburg, home of the deep sea fishing fleet and of the Blue-nose whose famous skipper, Captain Angus Walters, last month departed on his last voyage. Lunenburg also is the home of the replica of the Bounty, and contains the floating museum, the LaHave River which was first settled by the French, the beautiful town of Bridgewater, the privateer town of Liverpool which is the home of Thomas Raddall, the writer, the fishing towns of Lockeport and 29180-201
The Address-Mr. Crouse Shelburne, home of the Empire Loyalists, a section of Kejimkujik national park, and many picturesque fishing villages too numerous to mention. Truly, the South Shore is one of the most storied and picturesque ridings in all of Canada.
The people in the riding are strongly independent and derive their living from many sources. Some are engaged in the development of our primary industries such as fishing, farming and lumbering; others are employed in ancillary industries such as shipbuilding, ship repairing, foundries, the manufacture of fishing nets, fish processing plants, tree farming and the manufacture of hard-board and newsprint, to name but a few.
[DOT] (3:50 p.m.)
These industries are today, for the most part, facing the same problems as those which trouble other industries throughout Canada, namely, their costs of production are excessive and there are insufficient markets where their products can be sold at a profit. This applies to our newsprint industry, our agricultural industry and our fishing industry. As a result of our inability to compete in foreign markets we find unemployment levels increasing, and many of our people are gravely concerned about their future.
It was for these reasons that the people in my riding and throughout Nova Scotia looked forward to the reading of the speech from the throne, which they hoped would contain details of the promise made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) when he spoke in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. According to the headlines appearing in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald of May 31 the right hon. gentleman, who is now Prime Minister, stated that a new multi-million dollar ferry service would be established across the bay of Fundy between Digby and Saint John. The new vessel is to cost $7 million, and docking and other facilities another $10 million; the new freight, auto and passenger service, he said, would handle all the freight demands of southwestern Nova Scotia and the Annapolis valley. Why was this promise not mentioned in the speech from the throne? When can we expect assistance toward the provision of a second ferry between Nova Scotia and New England to aid our tourist industry?
On the same occasion, in Yarmouth, the Prime Minister spoke of economic disparities, describing them as a greater danger to Canadian unity than cultural or linguistic differences; it was too much to expect Canadians to be united unless they all got a
September 20, 1968
The Address-Mr. Crouse just share. Speaking in Halifax, the right hon. gentleman said the threat to Canada's national unity did not arise so much from French-English problems as from economic disparity, and in view of this he intended to give regional development top priority.
With these statements I agree, and I was amazed therefore to read in the speech from the throne that the government regarded its first responsibility, and the first responsibility of this parliament, that of clearing away the accumulation of essential legislative adjustments left over from the last parliament. Unless these were cleared up promptly, we were told, efficient public administration and the effective operation of the Canadian economy would be hampered. What arrogance; what gall! When we on this side asked the government to make arrangements for parliament to sit as soon as possible after the results of the election were known, we were told this was not necessary and that some time in the fall, some time in September, would do. Now the election is over, what does the government list as business of the highest priority? Not regional development as stated by the Prime Minister in Halifax, but parliamentary reform.
And when this is out of the way, what is parliament to consider? Are we to deal with economic disparities, which the Prime Minister described in Yarmouth as presenting a greater danger to Canadian unity than cultural or linguistic differences? Oh, no; according to the speech from the throne we shall next be asked to enact a totally new official languages act based on a recommendation of the royal commission on bilingualism and biculturalism.
Mr. Speaker, I do not question the importance of these matters, but there are serious doubts in my mind about the government's sense of priorities. Many Canadians are living in poverty; they are calling out for assistance. They have not yet won their war on poverty, as have the defeated Liberal candidates. They are in the position of a drowing man who needs help immediately. But what are the members of this government doing? They are ignoring the drowning man's call. They say: We will help you, but first we must swab the deck, pump out the bilge and clean up the mess in the galley left by the former captain and crew; later on we will think about throwing you a lifeline. Mr. Speaker, by that time it will be too late.
I realize that the fo'c's'le and the captain's cabin of our ship of state must be in a terrible condition after the departure of the former captain and the exodus of his sloppy officers and crew. The present Prime Minister might simply have said in the speech from the throne that the ship of state needed to undergo a refit. In fairness to the right hon. gentleman the mess is not entirely of his making, since he has only been a Liberal since 1965. But he had lots of help from Judy and Jack, Gordon and Winters, as well as Robichaud and Martin, who fouled up our international fishing nets in a 12 mile limit and a fisheries policy which defied implementation or explanation by either one of them, a fact which may account for their departure to the other place.
If members of the government would take time to read the fifth annual review of the Economic Council of Canada I feel certain they would have a better idea of some of the problems facing Canadians. Reading this review it is evident that those of us who live in the Atlantic provinces have no priority when it comes to poverty in this nation. But we in the Atlantic provinces are especially concerned about statistics which show that our per capita incomes are as much as one-third lower than those enjoyed by the rest of the nation while our unemployment rate is double the national average, resulting in poorer standards of living and substandard housing. The council's report adds up to an admission of a continuing economic crisis in the Atlantic provinces, a crisis which Ottawa has not faced. The Atlantic provinces need a development policy geared to the needs of the region-a policy which will provide for the massive investment of federal and private funds which would enable us to process our plentiful raw materials within our own area.
Take shipyards, for example. The Liberal government's present policy of curtailing and reducing subsidies for ship construction has brought about a situation in which shipyard workers in my constituency face massive unemployment. Yesterday the leaders of the industry met with representatives of the government and I am sure they underlined the serious situation which exists within the industry. To the best of my knowledge, none of the shipyards in Mahone Bay, Lunenburg, Dayspring, Liverpool or Shelburne have any ships to build; the shutting down of these plants affects not only direct employment in the yards, but has a disastrous effect upon employment in our foundries and machine
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shops. I noted with interest during the election campaign that the shortage of work in Quebec shipyards was a matter of concern to the then minister responsible for manpower and immigration, now Minister of Forestry and Rural Development (Mr. Marchand), who is reported in the Halifax Herald of June 17 as saying in Quebec that Canada made a mistake in selling its merchant marine after the second world war and that he would do everything in his power to restore it.
The speech from the throne is strangely silent about the major problems of our shipyards and of the deep sea fishing industry which is so closely allied with shipbuilding, but with the Minister of Forestry and Rural Development supporting my plea, I trust that our now silent shipyards will be reactivated. I realize, to use a popular phrase, that the bloom may be off the rose and that a large number of ships may not be required in the next few years. But some ships will be needed. In the fishing industry, Europeans are rapidly replacing their fishing fleets with new, modern, efficient vessels. In this they are encouraged by liberal loans, investment allowances, subsidies and special depreciation provisions. These large factory ships are producing frozen and packaged fish and unfortunately some of the fish they catch are marketed on this side of the ocean, creating problems for our Canadian fishing industry. As a matter of fact, the Canadian government reduced the subsidies on steel hulled vessels from 50 to 35 per cent at a time when we must compete with countries whose shipbuilding and fishing industries are state supported, and with whom expense is therefore no object.
Incidentally, no subsidies have been paid at the present rate in Nova Scotia since last November and when the hon. member from South Western Nova (Mr. Comeau) asked the Minister of Finance (Mr. Benson) yesterday when we could hope to see the restoration of those subsidies the answer he received was a model of brevity; it was simply a flat no.
[DOT] (4:00 p.m.)
One aspect of ship construction assistance has always puzzled me. I have in mind the reasoning behind the government's action in making subsidies for steel ships under the statute, while the subsidies for wooden ships come under the estimates. Why does the government not put steel and wooden shipbuilding on the same footing and in the same amount? Since the present government apparently does not approve of ship subsidies and
The Address-Mr. Crouse since its lack of action has brought shipbuilding to a halt, I would propose that the government give consideration to implementing a system of investment allowances as a form of tax remission which would benefit the Canadian shipbuilding industry, the fishing industry and commercial shipping.
The Prime Minister often speaks of total involvement by Canadians. I believe investment allowances would bring about better involvement of Canadians in the building of ships. The investment allowances principle is not new. It has been used in the United Kingdom. I should like briefly to illustrate the principle of this system. If a ship cost $100 built in Canada it would be set up on the books as $175 for depreciation purposes. This additional amount would compensate for the difference in cost between construction in Canada and European countries. Under the investment allowance system the entire amount could be written off in a four year period if company earnings warranted this. The figure I have used is an arbitrary one. When the costs are compared with the costs of European builders it may be necessary to increase this amount. However, I wish to give the government something to think about.
I would also suggest that these allowances be extended to existing vessels, especially existing fishing boats, provided the allowance is used for the construction of new ships. I say this because the accumulated depreciation on existing vessels is only a fraction of what a new ship would cost and, consequently, such ships are difficult to finance. Under this system the builders of ships would be obliged to use their own profits, but I believe investment allowances would be a double barrelled approach to our shipyard and ship construction problems. In addition this would encourage thrift, reward ambition, promote enterprise and create employment which is seriously needed in many parts of Canada.
At the present time the fishing industry is facing many serious problems brought about by ever changing social and economic conditions which are prevalent throughout the world. In order for the fishing industry to expand into the key role of feeding countless millions, for which it has the potential, it must solve the problem of recruiting and training young men for the industry and must develop better deep sea trawlers with modern detecting, handling and processing aids. Fishing must be made acceptable as a vocation for our young men. We should no longer look upon the fishing industry as a second class
The Address-Mr. Crouse industry or look upon fishermen as second class citizens.
On October 24 and 25, 1967, a conference on fish protein concentrate was held in Ottawa. I attended that conference, and I was impressed with the possibilities of fish protein concentrate. I believe measures must be taken to curb the tremendous waste of unwanted species of fish now taken by our trawlers which, it used and turned into fish protein concentrate, could further stabilize the economy of the fishing industry and supply an additional quantity of food to the starving masses of humanity.
I would also suggest to our new Minister of Fisheries (Mr. Davis) that Canada, as one of the world's great fishing nations, should take the lead in fostering international co-operation for the conservation and use of available stocks in the world fisheries. One of the major difficulties at present affecting the industry is the depressed prices in our markets arising from increased groundfish production in Britain, Norway, Iceland and Denmark, plus the effects of the devalued pound. This overproduction, coupled with a market softness brought about by one of the rulings of the Pope-there were two-which relaxed the laws of the church concerning fish, has seriously lowered the consumption of groundfish.
Some progress was made in the Kennedy round talks, which is beneficial to our fish exports. But we still have a trade imbalance with the United States. It is evident that we need greater access to United States markets under more favourable tariffs, not in 1971 or 1972 but now. In the Kennedy round the United States made no change in the access for groundfish cooked fillets which are still subject to tariff quota revisions. Any change along this line would be most helpful to our fish processing and cooked fish industry.
Some species, however, are still in great demand. Here I refer to the lobster which is now live frozen and shipped to markets in the United States, Britain and France. Although the demand for lobsters is increasing the supply is diminishing. Landings at 35 million pounds in the Atlantic provinces were down about 6 per cent last year. This has resulted in new measures for registering lobster fishing boats and a trap limit in all provinces on the east coast, except Newfoundland.
These measures have been taken in an effort to control the industry so that our inshore fishermen may have a chance for economic survival. With the decline in lobster
fMr. Crouse. I
DEBATES September 20, 1968
catches in some areas, some fishermen have found it necessary to go on the larger trawlers or seek employment elsewhere. Many of our fishermen, however, are too old to engage in offshore fishing or to be retrained. They are looking hopefully to the government's conservation measures as protection for their industry.
In view of the importance of the lobster industry, which was worth some $23J million to our inshore fishermen last year, I would suggest a change in the lobster pound regulations. At the present time the holder of a $1,000 lobster pound licence is permitted to scrub female lobsters that have become berried-that is, that have acquired eggs after impoundment-and put them on the market.
The law does not prohibit fishermen from taking female lobsters. Only female lobsters carrying eggs on their tail may not be retained. It is impossible for a fisherman to ascertain whether or not a female lobster is carrying spawn until the condition develops. This usually occurs during the period when the female lobster is impounded. I believe, in the interests of conservation, that it would be a better practice for fishing inspectors to be empowered to act for the government by buying back seed carrying female lobsters and returning them to the sea, rather than have the eggs destroyed. In this way, the natural reproduction of the species would assist in maintaining the various stocks which at the present time are seriously depleted in some areas. When we hear that a one pound lobster is capable of carrying 20 thousand to 35 thousand seeds on its tail and that if these could be returned to the ocean the chance of survival runs anywhere from 3 to 5 per cent of the 25,000 or 35,000 eggs-and, in addition, last year one pound is reported to have scrubbed something like 1,500 lobsters-we get some idea of what the conservation measure would mean to our economy.
This type of policy, if put into effect over the next five years, should go a long way toward rebuilding our inshore fishery resources. The cost of this conservation program would not be excessive. If the government cannot find the money for this project I suggest that it cut down upon the expenditures of the Company of Young Canadians, the royal commission on the status of women, or the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation which last year cost the Canadian taxpayers something like $145 million.
I should like to turn for a few moments briefly to the subject of external affairs and
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the somewhat pathetic action of the government in respect of the Territorial Seas and Fishing Zones Act of 1964. In its brief to the Canadian government on Monday, January 28, 1963, the Fisheries Council of Canada, which represents some 400 fishing companies which process 90 per cent of Canadian fishing products, outlined the fishermen's proposals in these words.
Spokesmen for the fishing industry today urged the federal government to declare a 12-mile fishing limit, shielding Canada's coastal fisheries from damaging exploitation by foreign fleets. They said the need is urgent.
Executives of the Fisheries Council of Canada met with a cabinet committee to present a 2,500 word brief which warned that unless such action is taken important fish stocks will become depleted.
Foreign fishing fleets now may operate to within three miles of the shore.
The brief proposed unilateral adoption of a plan which Canada and the United States jointly sponsored at the second United Nations conference on the law of the sea, held in 1960. This called for a six mile territorial sea and an additional six mile exclusive fishing zone. It was supported by 54 nations but fell one vote short of approval.
"The rapid increase in world fishing effort and efficiency has focused attention on the fact that, unless adequate safeguards are taken, the marine resources that have played such a vital role in the development of the Canadian economy will be harvested by foreign fishing fleets," the brief said.
It cited the recent expansion of Russian and Japanese activity.
Calling for adoption of the twelve mile limit, the brief declares that "unilateral declaration of the government's policy must be followed immediately by active enforcement... and the policing of foreign fishing fleets."
"In the council's opinion, enforcement is absolutely essential if Canada is to maintain her position in world fisheries."
... Its brief suggested that declaration of the new zone take into special consideration the historic rights of France and the U.S. in Canadian national waters. As a first step, negotiations should begin with those two nations to reach a mutual understanding about their rights in an enlarged zone.
In keeping with the terms of the 1960 proposal, any nation whose vessels had made a practice of fishing in the outer six miles of the proposed twelve mile zone for at least five years would have the right to continue fishing that area for another ten years.
But, apart from those special circumstances, foreign fleets would be barred from the exclusive zone. This would permit for the first time an effective program of fisheries management and conservation to preserve the Canadian fishing industry.
An act was passed in 1964 embodying some of the council's proposals, but since that date successive fisheries council presidents have only been able to deplore the lack of action on this important matter by our government.
The Address-Mr. Crouse
That council met on December 5, 1968 and Mrs. Marie S. Penny of Newfoundland had this to say about the government:
We are not happy about progress on implementing straight base lines, and defining certain bodies of water as Canadian waters or, at the very least, exclusive Canadian fishing zones. We know there are difficulties-but if action is not forthcoming fast many nations which up to now have not had historic rights in many of our waters will have acquired such rights. There is, also, the inevitable danger of this foreign fishing seriously depleting our fish stocks. We need a stiffer government attitude on this question-and we need it nowl
Nothing could be clearer than this, Mr. Speaker. In all fairness to this government I must say they made a start in 1967 on geographic co-ordinates and base lines which were drawn from Cape Chidley, Labrador to Cape Kay, and here they stopped. No action has been taken to seal off the gulf of St. Lawrence or the bay of Fundy, two areas where conservation measures could be carried out which would be extremely beneficial to our east cost fishing industry, whose stocks are rapidly being depleted.
I cannot urge too strongly upon the government the necessity of facing up to its responsibilities in this matter, and if this is to be a housekeeping session let us see some action from the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Sharp) and the Minister of Fisheries (Mr. Davis). This is a very thorny problem. Let us not only get the broom out, let us get the vacuum cleaner out as well. Let us sweep the cobwebs from this department and get to work in an attempt to establish geographic co-ordinates and base lines. Let us set up areas where conservation measures can be carried out which will be helpful to our Canadian fishing industry.
Finally, if I have a little time left I should like to refer briefly to the speech from the throne and to the Prime Minister's statement regarding NATO and the action he proposes to take.
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY