Mr. Martial Asselin (Charlevoix):
Mr. Speaker, like the many previous speakers, may I offer you my most sincere congratulations on your appointment to this position of trust, which involves the compelling obligation of faithfully maintaining the sacred character of our parliamentary institutions. Every day, your spirit of justice, honesty and impartiality earns you the esteem and regard of all hon. members of the house.
I should like also to pay homage and respect to the hon. member for Longueuil (Mr. Sevigny) for his appointment as Deputy Speaker of the house. He will, I am sure follow in the footsteps of his father, whom the nation remembers as a gentleman brilliantly dedicated to the service of his fellow citizens.
My congratulations also go to the mover and seconder of the address in reply to the speech from the throne (Messrs. Lafreniere and Nielsen), who have so proudly voiced the aspirations and recommendations of their electors, thus symbolizing the youthful ideal which pervades this parliament.
May I be allowed to offer my congratulations to the hon. members for Lotbiniere and Labelle (Messrs. O'Hurley and Courtemanche) for the mark of confidence given them by the Prime Minister (Mr. Diefenbaker) when he appointed them respectively Minister of Defence Production and Secretary of State.
But, Mr. Speaker, if there is anyone in this house who deserves the consideration of the people, it is indeed the right hon. Prime Minister who has managed, in a few months, to display to his fellow citizens his qualities of leadership, his great personality, and who has succeeded in giving the Conservative party a new sense of leadership, upholding at the same time the fundamental principles that gave birth to this great party of ours.
I think it would be proper, Mr. Speaker, to offer the Liberal party and its leader (Mr. Pearson) my sincere sympathy for the ordeal they went through on March 31.
I hope the Leader of the Opposition will fully understand the obligations of Her Majesty's loyal opposition and I am asking him to offer constructive criticism in keeping with his political principles. Patience and courage should be essential qualifications for opposition members, because they will have to wait for at least twenty years before they move over to this side of the house.
Mr. Speaker, is there any need to remind you that I represent in this house one of the most beautiful ridings of the province of Quebec? Stretching on the northern bank of
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The Address-Mr. Asselin the St. Lawrence river, my riding offers to all visitors a panorama remarkable for the beauty of its mountains and lakes, and is therefore rightly called "Quebec Switzerland". My riding, Mr. Speaker, extends from Beaupre hill to the mouth of the majestic Saguenay.
I take this opportunity to point out that this year the shrine at St. Anne de Beaupre is celebrating its tercentenary. The authorities of the shrine expect that nearly two million pilgrims will come from the United States and all parts of Canada to this miraculous shrine to reaffirm their faith and their beliefs. May I tender to the Rev. Re-demptorist Fathers my respectful homage for preserving in this shrine at St. Anne de Beaupre the stimulating atmosphere which is so necessary to those who come from afar to put their problems, their trials and their plight at the feet of St. Anne.
Due to its geographic location, Mr. Speaker, the riding of Charlevoix is faced with an extremely important economic problem; I mean the problem of transportation at the three levels; by rail, water and air.
I am happy to recall in this house that our local economy has been given a start by a Conservative government, when the railway connecting Quebec with Murray Bay was built. Also, the memory of Sir Rodolphe Forget, who was Conservative member for the riding of Charlevoix from 1904 to 1917, is deeply rooted in the minds of my fellow citizens, as of a man who, by hard work and devotion, got this railroad built and thus promoted the economic and industrial development of my constituency.
However a newspaper report which appeared in Le Soleil on May 8, 1958, announced to the people on the Beaupre coast that the Quebec Railway intended discontinuing the Quebec-St. Joachim service. This public service, established nearly 50 years ago, is of great convenience to the local population and, if the Department of Transport were to grant the Quebec Railway's request, it would be a setback in the economic development of the district. I therefore wish at this point to draw the attention of the Minister of Transport (Mr. Hees) to the matter so that he may prevail upon the company to maintain its present services.
In order to promote the industrial development of the north shore at Beaupre, Mr. Speaker, it would also be necessary to look into the possibility of relocating the present
railroad line which hugs the shore of the St. Lawrence river. The present route followed by this railway prevents a great many taxpayers from using the land located near the national highway for housing projects of all kinds. Geographically the eastern north shore is so located as to be closely connected with the riding of Charlevoix.
The industrial activity of the north shore, with the construction of a paper mill at Baie Comeau and of the refinery of the Canadian British Aluminum Company Ltd. calls for the construction of a railway in the near future.
When one realizes, Mr. Speaker, that mining production in 1956 in New-Quebec reached $110 million, or 23.5 per cent of the value of the total production for Quebec, which is 465 million, while so far only 5 per cent of the 330 square miles of mineral resources have been explored, it would seem that there is no limit, from the standpoints of quantity or diversity, to the development of these areas. It means that mining development in this district is proceeding at an accelerated rate. But so that mineral products can be shipped outside the area, it should be connected as soon as possible with the province of Quebec's great centres by extending the railway from Murray Bay to Seven Islands. A technical survey has already been made in this respect and it would seem that such construction is possible and less costly if carried out in this way, in view of the fact that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.
Mr. Speaker, as my riding is located on the shores of the St. Lawrence, I need hardly say that all forms of navigation are important factors in the commercial and industrial development of that part of the province of Quebec.
There is not a single point in my riding, Mr. Speaker, where shipping does not play a leading part. In places like Petite Riviere, St. Francis, Baie St. Paul, Isle aux Coudres, St. Joseph de la Rive, Murray Bay, St. Irenee, Pointe au Pic, Ste. Catherine and St. Simeon, quite a high percentage of the people count on shipping for their livelihood.
These people make a point of owning their own coasting vessel for that purpose. They like the sea and every spring enjoy trimming their boats in the hope of new adventures. In my riding, navigation is open all year round at two places: Pointe au Pic and St. Irenee. For more than 30 years, navigation has remained open at Pointe au Pic throughout the
winter. Before the railway was built this was the connection point between the south and the north shore. This port at Pointe au Pic has also supplied the north shore with foodstuffs in winter for nearly 15 years. During the winter of 1956-57, 11,000 tons of goods were shipped there for the north shore. Winter navigation has always been possible at Pointe au Pic and St. Irenee because the ice does not accumulate, as it does elsewhere, so that ships can come in, take on a load and leave the port without the help of an ice-breaker, which is always so costly for the government to operate.
I am happy, Mr. Speaker, to congratulate the Conservative government on the interest it takes in winter shipping in the St. Lawrence estuary. The government has surely understood that, in developing winter shipping in this way, it will encourage other industries to take advantage of the cheap power and transportation which the north shore has to offer, and through the establishment there of new industries, increase the population and reduce the cost of living.
As the trend of our economic life largely depends on navigation, improved wharfage is becoming increasingly imperative.
The Liberal government, with its customary lethargy, was content, during its term of office, with mere maintenance works. But to answer the economic needs, it is urgent that substantial improvements be made to the wharves of Pointe au Pic, St. Joseph de la Rive, St. Irenee and Petite Riviere St. Frangois.
Furthermore, in view of the iron ore development in Saint Urbain, the construction of a deep-water wharf is now imperative at Baie St. Paul so as to cut down the shipping costs of iron ore to European countries.
In this connection, may I be permitted to ask the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Green) to consider the possibility of establishing a deep-water wharf at St. Joachim, in order to facilitate the shipment of paper by the Abitibi Paper Co., in Beaupre.
In 1954 the county councils of Charlevoix east and west started to build an airfield in the limits of St. Irenee. To do so the county councils had to obtain the Quebec provincial legislature's permission to borrow $45,000 in order to acquire the necessary land. That was the essential condition set by the former Liberal government so that it would then carry on such construction at its ex-
The Address-Mr. Asselin pense. But, unfortunately, things turned out differently; once the commitments of the county councils had been adhered to, the Liberal government of the time decided to cooperate in the proportion of 2 to 1. Popular subscriptions were launched by the county councils so that they could go ahead with the project and today, it is believed that $75,000 would be needed to complete it. I cannot too strongly urge the government, Mr. Speaker, to grant that $75,000 for the completion of that project, considering the importance of commercial and tourist aviation in my riding.
Agriculture also plays an important part in the economic life of my fellow citizens. Tireless workers, they have realized that farming and forestry are the cornerstone of economic expansion in this country. I congratulate the government upon the invaluable help it gave to our farmers when stabilizing the price of some commodities. Our rural communities are already feeling the beneficial effects of that piece of legislation. I believe it is fair to point out that, due to that piece of legislation, our dairy products have increased from 58 cents to 64 cents a pound. Eggs and pork have also gone up, eggs from 38 cents to 44 cents, and pork from 23 cents to 25.75 cents.
The price stabilization act gave our farmers a glimmer of hope, increased their confidence in the future and brought them substantial income which will enable them to make both ends meet, as their budget is often showing a deficit. Tilling the soil and clearing forests, most of the people back home earn their living in the lumber industry. Two paper mills operate in my riding, one at Beaupre and the other at Clermont.
To keep those mills working, forest products are needed as well as iron-willed strong men to go out into the bush camps.
The gross unfairness prevailing on the pulp-wood market in our part of the country cannot be too strongly condemned, Mr. Speaker. Dealers and buyers compete for the purchase of this wood, often below production cost. It is high time that the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Harkness) appointed a committee of men familiar with this matter who would study pulpwood problems and determine whether it would not be appropriate to ask the Industrial Bank of Canada to finance the creation of small pulpwood companies or co-operatives, in specified districts, to handle the buying and selling of this product in such a way as to avoid our people being victimized by any glaring unfairness in this field.
We would like the Minister of Agriculture to include pulpwood in the price stabilization
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The Address-Mr. Asselin act. The plan would be quite practicable for the profits made by corporations on each ton of paper are well known.
The Conservative government has put an embargo on turkeys and fowl during the last parliament. That legislation, Mr. Speaker, saved fowl and turkey producers in my riding from unavoidable bankruptcy. At last, in the fall of 1957, those producers who had been competing in an unfair market made some profit thanks to this eleventh hour legislation. We hope the government will maintain this embargo for some time, in order to restore this country's fowl market in a permanent way.
Now, Mr. Speaker, up to this time the members of the opposition have not impressed me with the manner in which they have dealt with unemployment. They have repeatedly emphasized the existence of unemployment in the country without bringing forward any positive solution to the problem. This way of acting has a disastrous psychological effect on the nation. When one complains about a pain, that pain is emphasized. In the month of June, 1957, the Conservative party, realizing what the situation was, began to adopt all the necessary measures for stopping the economic recession brought about by the Liberal party. The vast program of public works and the development of our natural resources are, in my opinion, the most effective means by which to renew the business activities which are so vital to our country.
The Canadian family, custodian of our traditions and customs is now faced with two major problems, the almost prohibitive cost of education and the alarming increase in the price of consumer goods. I see two ways of helping the Canadian family. The income of the worker should be taxable only over $1,500, and the government should also consider the possibility of increasing family allowances for children up to 16 years of age and continue paying allowances for those who wish to continue their studies after reaching that age.
The result of these two measures would be to increase the buying power of the Canadian consumer and to facilitate the intellectual development of young talents who are so often lost because they lack the financial means to pursue their studies.
Mr. Speaker, I am deeply moved by the praiseworthy efforts made by hon. members to express their thoughts in both official languages. That is an excellent way of demonstrating to the nation the fact that national unity can be achieved in this country. National unity will become a reality through positive action and complete respect for the rights and privileges of this ethnic duality which makes for the strength of the Canadian nation.
Mr. Speaker, I can assure you that the Conservative members of the province of Quebec who sit in this house in a spirit of harmony and understanding are convinced that the Conservative party, under its leader, will respect the confederation pact by granting to all provinces the rights and prerogatives assigned to them in 1867.
In conclusion I would like to thank the electors of Charlevoix-Montmoreney for the confidence they placed in me on March 31 last. Once again I would like to express to them my esteem and my deep gratitude for providing me with this opportunity of taking my place in the parliament of this nation to work together with my colleagues for the greatness and the prosperity of Canada, realizing in this way the ideal of true Canadianism.
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY