Mr. Chairman, I did not intend to participate in this debate, as more atmosphere most likely should be absorbed by any new member before making a maiden speech. However, as the estimates of the Minister of Transport are under review, and as transportation, or the lack of it, is one of the vital problems in my constituency, 1 wanted to make a few general remarks on transportation as it affects Digby-Annapolis-Kings on land, sea and in the air. I know the amiable minister is well acquainted with some of the difficulties. In fact, in a way I feel he is a telegraphic pen pal of mine and now, in a different forum, we could perhaps complete our correspondence.
Seriously, sir, transportation is one of the most urgent problems affecting the maritimes in general, Nova Scotia in particular and Digby-Annapolis-Kings specifically.
I do not intend at this time to refer to the contradiction of transcontinental routes by train and air, which always end in Montreal -and then with transshipment and delay the journey is completed to the east. For the time being 1 shall' stay silent on that problem in scheduling, which is as sterile as the policy which allows it. What does give us concern are services of a more local character which adversely affect regions which can ill afford it. It seems a strange paradox in this day of science and communication, when we reach for the moon, that as far as local transportation is concerned we are worse off than in the days of sail.
I wish mainly to discuss the sea
the only service in western Nova Scotia which provides a link with the rest of Canada. But before I do, rail and air deserve some comment. We in the east join in the chorus of protest over the rail line abandonment and cut back in service of the C.P.R. We look
with apprehension at what that corporate body has already done. We fear what it may still do. We await with anticipation some guide lines of direction from the government to strike, not a balance in the books from red to black, but a balance of responsibility between the community on the one hand and the corporation on the other. Surely a company which helped to build this nation, and received a sizeable portion of it, cannot now cut the umbilical cord which was and is transportation, with the scissors of a profit and loss statement.
In the valley there has already been one attempt at the Dominion Atlantic Railway, the only rail route between Halifax and Digby. There is no double track here. But at the moment there is, and has been for over 50 years, a morning and evening train service between Kentville and Halifax. And regardless of the doubling of fares and cut-back in service and co-ordination with the Canadian National Railway out of Halifax, it is still, for many, the only way to travel between the valley points and the financial and business centre of the province. Regardless of tourists in our centennial year, the provincial takeover of the Digby Pines, and students at our schools and universities, there are scores of people who go to Halifax by rail for medical and hospital care because they cannot travel by road. If the "Dominion" can be cut, what about the Dominion Atlantic Railway. Here is another area where the people long for federal direction-and, if necessary, intervention.
I come now to a service which has already been ehminated. I refer to the status of R.C.A.F. Greenwood as an alternate stop for Air Canada planes when Halifax international airport is fogged in. For many years the fog in the east, which persists long after elections, closed down Halifax and the huge air base at Greenwood was a natural alternate stop. Usually when the ceiling is zero over the maritimes, Greenwood is open. This is a far cry from the present when passengers from Montreal often land in Stephenville, Newfoundland, or are returned to their place of origin when Air Canada cannot land in Halifax. It seems such a relatively simple procedure, as in the past, to have the airline limousine, with personnel, come out from Halifax to service the altered course of the aircraft. There have been many millions spent at Greenwood and many taxpayers who while away their hours in Stephenville start to wonder about life in general and the government in particular when they phone
February 14, 1966
home to the valley to tell their expectant wives and children of the unfortunate change in plans. And their wives, in any kind of condition say, as they usually do, that in the valley the ceiling is high and the weather clear.
I now come, sir, to the sea-and I know the minister from the maritimes has a special fondness for it. But I challenge him, with all his nautical ability and experience before the wind, be it political or otherwise, to dock the schooner he once possessed at Digby wharf in any type of gale.
Topic: PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic: SUBJECT MATTER OF QUESTIONS TO BE DEBATED UNDER ADJOURNMENT MOTION