Mr. Arnold Peters (Timiskaming):
Mr. Speaker, as a newly elected member I am pleased to be able to speak in the throne speech debate at this time through the courtesy of my colleagues. I was pleased with the promises implied in the throne speech but at the same time was very disappointed by the fact that the needs of the unemployed in the lumbering industry particularly were overlooked, or worse still, not recognized. The inflation that cuts into everyone's pocket and steals half the pay cheques of our workers creates an emergency situation that is in no way alleviated.
Many of the problems of my constituents are pressing and I must ask for some consideration from the house regarding those problems. As I listened a few moments ago to the hon. member for York West (Mr. Hamilton) I wondered whether he is afraid that perhaps his party will be forced to pass the legislation that we have all wanted and waited for for so long and which is only hinted at in the speech from the throne.
I come from a riding that is dependent to a large extent on the gold mining industry, the riding of Timiskaming, and I should like to say a few words on the Emergency Gold Mining Assistance Act and its position in my area. I was pleased to be able to read in Hansard of June 12, 1956, at page 4972, a statement by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fleming) in which he said:
I have emphasized, sir, that this measure-
The Address-Mr. Peters
He was speaking of the Emergency Gold Mining Assistance Act. I continue:
-is no solution of the deep-seated problem of the gold mining industry. The difficulty and the flaw in measures of this kind is that they often lull the government and lull parliament into thinking that the problem has been solved, or at least the problem has been met for the time being. No hon. member should delude himself into thinking that this measure is any solution, even on the short-run basis, of the needs and the problems of the gold mining industry. These problems are going to require much more farsighted solutions than are offered by the hand-to-mouth, stop-gap type of assistance that we have in the present measure.
I wish to say that I agree wholeheartedly with his views, and we look forward to hearing something more very soon on the things that he said could be done for these people and these mines that are existing on emergency gold mining assistance, but we look at it from a different point of view. We think that the act did not go far enough. It did not go far enough for the simple reason that it offered no assistance to be made available to the mining communities and the miners in those communities. Some stipulation must be put in the act so that the workers in those communities and the communities themselves will receive some benefit from the assistance.
I believe the Canadian people have been pleased over the years to be able to do something for a situation which was not the making of the mining industry itself. As everyone knows, the price of gold is a set price. It appears to be much too low for the economy of Canada today. The situation has developed where the people of the mining communities have had to exist on wages that are substandard by all accounts, and certainly are not in keeping with the standard of living which is enjoyed by miners in other fields throughout Canada.
We have found that the assistance has been of little value to communities like Matache-wan and Cobalt. Matachewan is an example where cost aid was paid and it did not eliminate the problems of those mines. They eventually shut down. We have found that although the people were willing to subsidize that industry no provision was made for assistance to encourage secondary industries to come into the community so that when the day comes that the mines disappear, when they are no longer advantageous to operate, there would be something for that community to turn to in the form of secondary industry. The people who have gone into the mining communities and established their homes in those communities should be given some consideration, even if it means that the government may find it necessary to subsidize secondary industries, at least in their initial settlement in that area, so that there will be some continuity in those communities and
The Address-Mr. Peters they will not be left in the position that Matachewan, part of Kirkland Lake and a number of other communities find themselves in at the present time.
I think everybody knows the history of Cobalt. We have found that that town has continually suffered from booms and busts. Recently, the previous government had a contract on a long-term basis under which they subsidized the production of cobalt. Cobalt is a strategic metal and I think that even more than gold it should be considered when subsidies are paid. We have been subsidizing cobalt, as I say, but the term basis has disappeared and cobalt is no longer of any account. Cobalt is not even being developed. If it should become necessary to procure cobalt, in the event of an emergency, development work is not being done. In these mining communities they have not blocked out the amount of cobalt ore that remains in the mines. As a miner of many long years experience underground I know that the people in those mining communities must be given assistance, not only so that dividends can be paid but so that decent wages can be paid and working conditions can be improved in those mines. Consideration should be given to the communities in which the miners live.
In my particular area there is a large iron ore development. This development is taking place in a community called Dane. It requires some assistance to get it started. A large company has come in and bought up the rights. The ore is there. We have the miners available in the area but so far nothing has been done. We would suggest that the federal government give some consideration to subsidizing freight rates in that area in order to get this mine into production as soon as possible.
One of our primary industries in Timis-kaming is lumbering. If there is a field that has been neglected in the speech from the throne that we are now asked to consider it is, I am sure, the lumbering industry. The white pine industry is faced this year with a situation where all its lumber is in the yards in Temagami and Matachewan. Throughout the White River area no lumber has been sold this year and very little was sold last year. This problem rests directly on the doorstep of the government and its tight money program.
In speeches that have been made we have heard references to the sum of $150 million for housing. It would appear to me that the $150 million is not going to be of much more benefit than the money available before because the working people are not able to buy or build houses on account of the great
difficulty they have in obtaining the down payment. I would suggest that we should consider some of the plans that have been followed in the last few years and in the last few months, particularly at Blind River, Elliott Lake and Bancroft. At these places other methods have had to be used than those found under the National Housing Act to promote housing in those areas. I certainly hope that the government will consider extending the application of the methods used at these places with respect to down payments so that we can get the housing industry started again and get our lumber moving from northern Ontario.
I suggest that no solution for the sale of our lumber can be found by asking the producers to reduce the price because I do not think we will even then find any market for it. We are again faced with the problem of imports in the form of very fine plywood. By "fine" I do not mean that it is exceptionally good plywood; it is very thin plywood. In fact, we do not cut veneers that thin. This plywood is coming into Canada, and I suggest we are going to have to do something to expand our markets in the lumbering field so that we can market our products from east to west rather than from west to east as we are now doing.
In Timiskaming we have probably one of the finest agricultural areas in Ontario. We find in that area, as I think is true in many other areas, a great number of farmers leaving the farms. There is one particular township near my home in which at one time there were over 100 farmers and that area is now supporting only five full-time farmers. If the situation has not reached the catastrophic stage, in my opinion it has pretty nearly done so.
I should like to suggest that I believe the throne speech should have included something with regard to parity prices for farm products based on the cost of production of the product compared with the selling price that the farmer receives, parity being the amount of profit that the farmer could reasonably expect should be maintained.
We find farmers in Timiskaming growing some of the finest timothy seed that has been produced anywhere in Canada. During the recent election campaign the government's candidate suggested that if elected he would be able to find international markets for timothy seed. If such markets for timothy seed do exist then I ask the government to take advantage of them without delay so that some of our farmers who are finding it exceedingly difficult to exist at the present time will have a good cash crop.
Yesterday we heard something about rain and drought and have read about these things in Hansard in past years. In northern Ontario we are not particularly worried about drought but we are worried about rain and unseasonable weather. Our growing season is short and on many occasions we find ourselves not able to get our crops into the barns with the results that there is very little money for the family on the farm with which to live throughout the year. I suggest that some consideration be given by the Department of Agriculture to encouraging the provinces to set up crop insurance and, if it can be set up, help to finance such a scheme.
We also suggest that this could be extended to take care of crop failures so that something will be available to alleviate such situations. I should like to point out that last year the grain in the fields was not good on most of the farms in the clay belt of Timis-kaming. When the farmers went to get seed grain in the spring they found they had to borrow money from the banks to buy it and that the price was out of their reach. The result was that inferior grain was planted, grain with a germination of only 15 per cent in some cases. I believe consideration should be given to alleviating this problem of the farmers in my riding.
I do not want to take too much time but I should like to say that in my riding there is a very large lake, lake Timiskaming. It is 85 miles long and a number of miles wide. On that lake there are a number of steamers. There is a pulp log flow through the lake to south Timiskaming pulp mills. There are a large number of private craft on the lake. At Haileybury the dock is such that it cannot even be used for docking a small boat and the dock at New Liskeard was destroyed by fire. I suggest that the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Green) should give consideration to the restoration of both these docks as they are vitally important to a number of people and are most necessary to the pleasure craft that make use of the lake.
I support the amendment because it will result in the realization of some of the promises made in the throne speech, because it deals with other problems that have not been mentioned that affect my riding and because it requests that immediate consideration be given to some of the larger problems such as national health insurance. Some protection must be afforded in the face of the disaster of rising unemployment, the disaster of low and in some cases negligible farm income and the rapidly rising cost of living. I ask the house to give consideration to these most pressing problems.
The Address-Mr. Landry (Translation):
Topic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY