Mr. H. J. Robichaud (Gloucesier):
Mr. Deputy Speaker, in rising to speak on the address in reply to the speech from the throne, and rising for the first time in this House of Commons, I am privileged to offer you my congratulations on your appointment. Your qualifications and ability are well known to the veteran members of the house. May I ask you to transmit my congratulations to Mr. Speaker on his election to his honoured post. Our
Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) was well advised when on the opening day of the first session of the twenty-second parliament he moved that Mr. Speaker take the chair of the house as our Speaker. Since this debate began he has proven to us that he possesses in high degree the qualifications required to fill this role.
We new members of the House of Commons were also honoured and pleased when we listened to the mover (Mr. Hollingworth) and the seconder (Mr. Villeneuve) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne. I extend congratulations to the hon. member for York Centre and to his colleague, the hon. member for Roberval, for their magnificent presentations to the house in moving and seconding the adoption of the speech from the throne.
We have had reasons for rejoicing since the prorogation of the twenty-first parliament in May last. The coronation of our beloved Queen of Canada, Elizabeth II, was an occasion for universal rejoicing. Her Majesty holds a warm place in the hearts of all her subjects, and her devotion to duty together with her personal charm have strengthened our attachment to the crown. May I join with millions of her subjects in wishing her much joy and happiness in the long journey she and her husband are now undertaking throughout the commonwealth.
We, at least those of us sitting on the government side of the house, had different reasons for rejoicing on the evening of August 10 last when the Canadian electorate expressed in such an overwhelming manner its desire to have our great leader the Prime Minister and his government administer the affairs of this country for the next four years. As a newly elected member of the House of Commons I am amazed at all the superfluous excuses brought forward by some hon. members of Her Majesty's opposition in trying to account or answer for the defeat of their respective parties. While some hon. members have even intimated that there was no difference between the four major parties forming this present parliament, we Liberals will realize that we are here because we have a great leader and a great cabinet, and
we represent a party which embraces well defined principles applicable to every aspect of life whether social, political or economic.
In his address to the house on Friday, November 20, the hon. member for Saint John-Albert (Mr. Bell) deplored the condition of public piers along Saint John harbour. He described the dock as an eyesore of rotting and moulding timber. Before making such declarations I wonder if my hon. friend took the time to glance at the public works accounts for the last four years. If he had taken the time to do so he would have found that over $7 million was spent on public works in his own constituency from 1949 to 1952. Furthermore, when on November 20 the newspaper L'Evangeline of Moncton was reporting on page 1 an account of the hon. member's remarks in this house, on page 2 of the same issue was a statement from the chairman of the national harbours board announcing that over $2,500,000 would be spent for further improvement of the port of Saint John during 1954. I would feel proud and happy if during the next four years my constituency of Gloucester could be neglected as much as the hon. member claims that Saint John-Albert has been. We in Gloucester county would welcome public works expenditures to the extent of over $1,500,000 per year for the next four or five years.
I agree with the statement made to this house by the hon. member for Victoria-Carle-ton (Mr. Montgomery) with regard to the urgent need for cheap hydroelectric power in New Brunswick. We all realize that cheap power is the key to industry and a well balanced economy. The hon. member asked why New Brunswick has not developed more of her available resources. It is true that shortage of power has been the main factor causing lack of industries in our province, but we are forced to realize that in 1925 the government in power in the province of New Brunswick sold or practically gave away to private enterprise, particularly to United States interests, the most important source of energy on the Saint John river, namely the power site at Grand Falls. New Brunswick is paying dearly today for this most unwise and undesirable move.
My friend the hon. member for Charlotte (Mr. Stuart) has once more brought to the attention of the house an important subject which is of great interest to all of us in New Brunswick. I am referring to the proposed Passamaquoddy bay power project. Since 1935 not only this house, not only the New Brunswick legislature, but even the government of the United States have on numerous occasions discussed or taken partial action toward ascertaining the feasibility of this
The Address-Mr. Robichaud grandiose project. I adhere strongly to the hon. member's suggestion that action should be taken to find out once and for all if the realization of this project is reasonably and economically sound.
While on the question of power may I be permitted, Mr. Speaker, to bring to the attention of this house another project of major importance which also on many occasions has been a theme of discussion, namely the Chignecto canal. We in New Brunswick were pleased to hear in the speech from the throne that the New York state power authority had accepted a licence for the development of the United States share of power in the international rapids section of the St. Lawrence river. We have the interest and welfare of the whole nation at heart and we will support this project of a national character. In view of the important mining developments taking place in my constituency of Gloucester, I feel that the time is most opportune to emphasize the need for the earliest possible action toward the realization of this long talked about project, the Chignecto canal.
It was proven long ago that such a canal would be a valuable asset in time of war and also of great value in a period of peace. The cost of transportation from northern New Brunswick of minerals, pulp, lumber, fish, potatoes and other agricultural products would be greatly reduced, to the benefit of the producers of these products, if the project could be completed. In addition, its construction would provide a considerable amount of employment at a period when the situation in the maritimes is not too rosy. I fully support and concur in the suggestions of the hon. members for Westmorland (Mr. Murphy) and Cumberland (Mr. Lusby), who dealt with this question.
In my maiden speech before this house I should like to say a few words about my constituency. Gloucester, with its 200 miles of shore line, is beautifully located in the northeastern corner of New Brunswick, extending along the blue and salty waters of the baie de Chaleur and the gulf of St. Lawrence. These waters are richly populated with fish of all varieties such as lobsters, clams, salmon, cod, haddock, flounders, herring, mackerel, smelts, and we must not overlook the famous Caraquet and Shippigan oysters. These are among my county's most popular varieties of fish and shellfish.
It is to be hoped that the Department of Fisheries will take practical action to protect this industry which is so vital to the economy of Gloucester county. Better and more effective results would be obtained if the protective division of this department would
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY