Mr. G. R. Me William (Northumberland, N. B.):
Mr. Speaker, it is my wish and desire to follow the time-honoured custom and extend congratulations to the mover (Mr. Deslieres) and seconder (Mr. Schneider) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne. They both did credit to their constituencies and to themselves.
I wish to use the time allotted to me to try to bring to the attention of hon. members certain problems that face the maritime provinces generally, and in particular Northumberland, the constituency that I have the honour to represent.
Much has been said in this house by maritime members about the centralization of industries, and in this regard I also wish to impress upon the government that if the maritimes are to continue as an important part of Canada, the establishment and development of industries must be considered as vital to the economy, yes, vital to the very existence of the maritimes, which have given so much in the past and made so many sacrifices toward the development of central and western Canada.
While it is appreciated that we live in a country of free enterprise, nevertheless it is the government's duty to assist existing industry and to aid in the establishment of new industry and the development of power in sections of Canada where the economy is seriously threatened, as is the case in the maritimes.
The people of the constituency I represent recognize the need for large expenditures of money for national defence both at home and abroad. They are not unmindful of the employment provided by the construction and expansion of the Chatham jet operational and training base, the Renous naval ammunition depot and the St. Margarets radar station. Northumberland is the only constituency in Canada that embraces all three of these major defence installations. However, from a long range economic point of view, industries are needed to secure the future economy of the Miramichi. Hydro power is vitally needed in the province of New Brunswick to supply the requisite to the establishment of industries.
Like many other constituencies, Northumberland has local problems of grave importance which do not receive much attention on a national level. True, these problems to a large extent are left to our free enterprise system, or to provincial and municipal governments. The establishment of industries on the Miramichi to permit the manufacture of wood products such as pulp and paper mills, rayon mills, and other types of plants producing commodities made of wood, is looked upon as the only security of our future.
A former government of the province of New Brunswick was instrumental in having the Fraser companies erect a large pulp mill in this county. The public, the owners of the crown lands, have strong feelings in this matter and consider it only right and just
The Address-Mr. McWilliam that lease holders of large sections of crown woodlands should fully process, locally, the wood taken off the lands under lease.
Canada has had a large immigration increase and I again request the Department of Citizenship and Immigration to place new Canadian farmers on abandoned farms in New Brunswick, in an effort towards increasing farm products. Defence construction has been the largest single factor in the employment situation in Northumberland for the past four years. History has proven that markets for lumber, pitwood and pulpwood can be lost overnight. Now is the time to plan and establish industries and farming on a permanent basis.
Since the first settlers engaged in shipbuilding and the export of squared timber to Great Britain, Northumberland's chief industry has been lumbering. The fishing industry has made great strides in late years in the processing, grading and marketing of its products. It is hoped that further strides will be made with an increase in the number of draggers in the Miramichi fleet and the erection of cold storage plants, together with improved conditions in all phases of the industry. The Miramichi river, which flows for a hundred miles through the centre of the constituency of Northumberland, provides world famous delicacies of fish, among which are lobsters, oysters, salmon, smelts, clams, quahogs, and other species, as well as many standard varieties. Despite the many kinds of fish that live in the waters of the Miramichi river there are seasons when the catch is small owing to conditions beyond control. The maritime fishermen, like the western wheat farmers, run into bad weather, destructive storms, poor harvests and adverse market conditions. However, unlike the wheat farmers, they do not present a sad tale to parliament. They have suffered their losses of nets and gear, to say nothing of their catch of fish, and have relied on their determination to carry on-not on a vote of financial assistance from the government to recoup their losses. Believe me, Mr. Speaker, eastern fishermen work long and hard, year after year, against adverse elements to eke out a livelihood. They, as true Canadians, are worthy of every assistance.
The fishermen of the maritime provinces are entitled to the same degree of protection and assistance that is given to other classes of Canadian producers. With this thought in mind, I supplement my appeal made in the house on June 12, 1951, to the new Minister of Fisheries (Mr. Sinclair) and the government, to take immediate steps to provide protection for the future of the smelt fishing industry of the Miramichi.
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The Address-Mr. McWilliam
Further improvements of wharf and harbour facilities are needed on the Miramichi river for the fishing and wood products trades. I appeal to the government to give further consideration to my requests for improved facilities for certain small groups of fishermen along the shores of the Miramichi bay and Miramichi river.
In this regard I wish to commend the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Fournier) and the Minister of Fisheries (Mr. Sinclair), and their officials, for the improvements already made, and again ask that consideration be given to requests made for further facilities.
While the smelt fishing industry of the Miramichi faces an insecure future unless additional protective measures are taken, the lobster fishing industry of the east coast of New Brunswick faces a more serious threat. Poaching of lobsters on the east coast of New Brunswick, if continued at its present tempo, can only lead to the loss of the industry in the years to come, with subsequent economic disaster.
Undersized and "berried" lobsters are poached by the thousands of pounds every year. The vast majority of the lobster fishermen are law-abiding citizens. Are they to stand by and watch a very small minority destroy their future livelihood? Additional water and land patrols are needed to cope with this situation. A rigid check must be maintained. Destroy the illegal markets and poaching will stop.
Reports are also heard of alleged illegal and wholesale taking of salmon, grilse and trout at the heads of Miramichi rivers and streams during spawning seasons. It is alleged that groups from outside Northumberland county take canning outfits to the spawning grounds, clean out the pools, and can the illegal catch. I urge the Minister of Fisheries to supplement protective measures, and eliminate these grim reapers by providing adequate protection.
A number of fish exporters of the Miramichi have expressed the opinion that Department of Fisheries inspectors of oysters, smelts and alewives make a much more rigid inspection in the Miramichi area than do officials in other parts of the province. The Miramichi fish exporters feel that the crux of the situation lies in the interpretation of the regulations and the individual differences in applying them.
At this time I wish to make a request of the Minister of Fisheries that departmental officials meet with Miramichi fish exporters and members of the Miramichi fisheries advisory council to discuss inspection and grading matters.
Once again I urge the Department of Fisheries and the government to give consideration to the setting up of a form of contributory storm-loss insurance, to protect maritime fishermen against loss of gear and nets by storms that are placed in the category of acts of God.
Direction is needed in setting up a contributory system of insurance; and I feel that this direction and assistance should come from the federal Department of Fisheries, in conjunction with the provincial governments.
Before I leave the important matter of fisheries, Mr. Speaker, I wish to make an appeal to the Minister of Fisheries that immediate and full-scale action be taken to rid the Miramichi waters of great destroyers of fish, namely the seals. They not only destroy the fish, they also destroy nets; and their numbers are increasing each year. This is a most serious situation, and adequate measures should be undertaken now to eliminate these marauders.
I wish at this time to congratulate our Minister of Fisheries on his recent appointment. The people of the maritimes know of his many qualifications, his initiative, and his keen desire to bring his department up to the level it should have as an important department of the government. New Bruns-wickers feel that the maritime fishing industry will make many advances under the new minister.
At this time, Mr. Speaker, I wish to express the thanks of the people of Northumberland, and in particular the thanks of the citizens of Newcastle, to the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Claxton) for selecting Newcastle as the site of the first post-war armoury in the province. Newcastle is a focal point of military strategic importance. It is surrounded by three major defence installations, among the largest of their kind in Canada. The selection of Newcastle was well warranted, and I am pleased to say that the armoury will be completed very soon.
On a comparison with cities and towns in New Brunswick, the Miramichi area ranks first in military importance in respect to defence installations. In regard to the future program for the erection of armouries I wish to point out that the town of Chatham is in dire need of armoury facilities. With a jet operational and training base located there, its proximity to the St. Margarets radar station should give Chatham top priority when the erection of additional armouries is being considered.
It has long been the maritime cry that we have a deplorable lack of electrical power which would serve as an inducement to bring industries into our provinces. Many hydro
developments have been suggested and it is hoped that surveys will be undertaken without further delay. The joint United States-Canada projects, in conjunction with the state of Maine and New Brunswick, such as the Saint John river power development, and the Quoddy power project as well as the St. Mary's-Shepody bay development are pressing matters. All of these should receive further consideration by the dominion government.
The people of the maritimes, generally, favour the construction of the St. Lawrence seaway and power project. They have proven in the past that they support any measure that is to the advantage of Canada as a whole. However, the maritimes should receive the same consideration as other parts of Canada in respect to the development of natural resources. Maritime developments should not be left in the wake of projects in other parts of Canada.
There is a most important matter of vital concern to the constituency I represent, a matter that affects every part and every citizen of the riding, about which I wish to make some remarks. This matter of concern is the 1953 production of pit-props, also called pitwood-a wood that is used in coal and salt mines in many parts of the world. I am glad to notice the hon. member for Gloucester (Mr. Robichaud) is in his seat. He represents the riding next to mine, and I think what I have to say will be of interest to him.
The Miramichi area of New Brunswick is the main source of production of pit-props, owing to the fact that there are large stands of jack pine in this area, a kind of tree that is most acceptable as pitwood, and which does not have very much commercial value other than as pit-props. The Miramichi area with its deep-water terminals is a natural outlet. Large amounts of money are derived by woodsmen, truckers and longshoremen from this industry, which plays an important part in the economy of the area.
In 1950 the United Kingdom withdrew completely from the Canadian market, on the basis that they were able to obtain their requirements from European sources at greatly reduced costs. Difficulties were encountered in 1951, and the United Kingdom returned to the Canadian market for some of their 1951 requirements.
Since that time very large purchases have been made from Canada. Up to the end of October of this year 306,719 cords of pitwood valued at $11,749,257 were shipped to the United Kingdom. It is estimated that close to 350,000 cords will be shipped to the United Kingdom by the end of the year.
The Address-Mr. McWilliam
In addition it is expected that exports of pit-props to West Germany will reach some 25,000 cords, and that approximately 20,000 cords will be exported to Turkey by the end of this year.
For the ten-month period of January-October 1952, 13,112 cords at a value of $483,284 were shipped to Turkey and 18,741 cords, at a value of $776,913, were shipped to Germany. The figures just mentioned represent a total of $13,009,454 for the 1952 export of pit-props for the first ten months of the year.
The values of pulpwood exports for the first ten months of 1952 are:
United States $45,406,987
United Kingdom 4,299,045
The hon. member for Gloucester, speaking in this debate on December 1, said that for the first nine months of 1952 shipments of pit-props amounted to $1,812,902. This figure is for the month of September only.
The actual value of shipments of pit-props for the first nine months was $9,566,687. This amount is the highest value of pit-props that has ever been shipped in any nine-months period to any country; it is greater than the value of the total 1946 shipments, the previous highest year.
The member for Gloucester also erred in stating the value of exports of peeled pulp-wood to the United Kingdom at $152,086. This figure is the value of shipments for the month of September only; the actual. value of shipments of peeled pulpwood to the United Kingdom for the first nine months of 1952 is $2,279,051.
Again his figure of $6,507 as the value of rough pulpwood shipped to the United Kingdom for the nine-months period, January to September, 1952, is incorrect; the correct figure is $1,393,644.
The foregoing correct figures present an entirely different picture from the one the hon. member for Gloucester gave to this house on December 1. It is clear he was confused between the September figures and the total for the nine-months period.
I place the correct figures on the records as I feel that the member for Gloucester, a riding adjacent to the one I represent, must have compiled figures from an unofficial source. I feel sure that he does not wish to place incorrect figures on Hansard, thereby misleading the' members of this house and the public.
The Address-Mr. McWilliam
The hon. member for Gloucester, speaking on the figures he placed on Hansard, said, as reported at page 227 of Hansard of December 1:
These figures, Mr. Speaker, are tragically eloquent in their significance to the pit-prop and pulpwood operators, to the woodsmen and farmers of the northern and eastern part of New Brunswick.
I say, Mr. Speaker, the correct figures are magnificently eloquent. The Miramichi 1952 pit-prop export season is reported as the largest in volume and dollar value in the history of the port. Latest reports for the 1952 season of pitwood exports to the United Kingdom from the Miramichi area show:
From Chatham and Millbank 28,225 $1,139,980From Newcastle and Nelson 77,232 3,248,909From Richibucto
1952 pitwood exports to European countries, not including the United Kingdom, were valued at:
From Newcastle and Nelson, $227,628; from Chatham and Millbank, $39,527; from Richibucto, $166,337; from Buctouche, $339,15S.
Latest reports for the same area for 1952 exports of peeled and rough pulpwood to the United Kingdom and United States show:
Chatham and Millbank, $380,640; Newcastle and Nelson, $370,833; Richibucto, $643,018; Buctouche, $623,687.
I place these figures on Hansard because I feel there are many people in all parts of the maritimes who would like to see them, particularly in view of the fact that many newspapers have carried different sets of figures which in most cases were incorrect.
I wish to speak now about another industry in Northumberland county, the Christmas tree industry. Christmas trees to the approximate value of $325,000 were shipped to United States by rail and highway from Chatham, Newcastle and adjacent points on the Miramichi. This industry, a seasonal one, operates during the months of October, November and December and plays an important part in the economy of Northumberland. By proper cutting and rotation the small fir trees that grow on the Miramichi can furnish the Christmas tree markets for years to come, from which can be derived substantial revenues.
The year 1952 being the largest export season for pitwood and pulpwood in the life of the Miramichi, together with the long lumber and the fishing industries, the Christmas tree industry and large-scale defence construction programs of millions of dollars, with other phases of industry and business enjoying an accelerated pace, resulted in Northumberland reaching its peak year.
The present outlook for 1953 points to a drop in quantity and per cord price of pitwood for the U.K. market. Scandinavian prices for pit-props have been reduced and at the present time the U.K. inventories are substantial. It is anticipated that the United Kingdom will place a fair volume of pit-prop contracts with eastern Canada for 1953 shipment. Present indications are that quantities will be considerably lower than the 1952 shipments. It is also anticipated that France and Turkey will take a volume of pit-props during 1953. The United Kingdom's experience in 1950 in depending solely upon European sources should be a deterrent which should make her hesitate to again withdraw from the Canadian market.
I am sure that the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) and his officials, particularly Canada's trade commissioner in London, are doing everything within their power to secure the largest possible order from the United Kingdom for 1953 purchases of pit-props as well as from other countries.
While it is appreciated that this industry is of a free enterprise nature, the trade and those connected with it, from the woods to the wharves, can feel sure that every assistance is being rendered by the federal government.
The long lumber demand from Miramichi producers is at present normal. Early orders for 1953 requirements are being received, and while the price is down about $10 a standard it is hoped that overseas, United States and domestic demands will keep this industry on an even keel during 1953. The defence construction program in the Miramichi area is expected to be very substantial in 1953. This of course depends on the international situation. Other industries and business generally are expected to maintain the 1952 level.
I should like to ask members of the house, and particularly the members of the cabinet, to seriously consider the problems of the maritimes in the light of future existence and the necessity of industrial expansion. The constituency of Northumberland, New Brunswick, through which flows the historic and important Miramichi river, a shipping lane for ocean-going vessels of the largest types, like other parts of the maritimes, forms a part of this great Canada of ours. In it the descendants of the English, French, Scottish and Irish pioneers live in perfect harmony side by side, resolved, individually and collectively, to make Canada a still greater nation and to foster national unity in a true Canadian spirit.
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY