Mr. Jim Manly (Cowichan-Malahat-The Islands):
Mr. Speaker, like my colleagues, I appreciate the opportunity to speak on Motion No. 34, which would eliminate Subclause (4) of Clause 17. Subclause (4) allows the Administrator, on behalf of the Minister, to enter into agreements to provide for the movement of grain by motor vehicle transport where, in his opinion, such agreements would be in the best interests of the grain producers.
It is the contention of our Party that such agreements would never be in the best interests of the grain producers and certainly would not be in the best interests of the many communities across the Prairies, because, in effect, Subclause (4) would facilitate branch line abandonment on the Prairies. This would have disastrous effects on a great many Prairie communities.
I think all Hon. Members in the House are aware that branch line abandonment is not a new phenomenon. It is something that the railways have been attempting for years, something at which they have been disastrously successful. Branch line abandonment is not a phenomenon that is limited to the Prairies. In the last two years, in my own riding on Vancouver Island, there have been attempts by both Canadian National and Canadian Pacific to abandon branch lines to Lake Cowichan. In the submissions that I have made at different times to try to prevent such abandonment, I have pointed out the effects that this would have on our communities.
The increased movement of lumber by truck would mean that already crowded highways would be further crowded and the cost of highway building would be shifted directly on to the taxpayers of British Columbia. The Social Credit Government
October 13, 1983
of British Columbia has never done a tremendously good job of providing good highways for the people of Lake Cowichan anyhow.
There would be an increased use of energy. I am not sure about the shipment of grain, but for shipping lumber, approximately four times as much energy is required to ship lumber by truck as to ship by train. By putting more traffic, especially heavy truck traffic, on already crowded highways, we would be increasing the danger of accidents. 1 know the difficulty of trying to drive on some of those highways on Vancouver Island with some of those large, articulated trailer trucks, with both lumber and logs.
Subtopic: WESTERN GRAIN TRANSPORTATION ACT