Personal Data

Progressive Conservative
Churchill (Manitoba)
Birth Date
August 18, 1910
Deceased Date
January 1, 1997
clerk, miner

Parliamentary Career

June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
  Churchill (Manitoba)
March 31, 1958 - April 19, 1962
  Churchill (Manitoba)
June 18, 1962 - February 6, 1963
  Churchill (Manitoba)
April 8, 1963 - September 8, 1965
  Churchill (Manitoba)
November 8, 1965 - April 23, 1968
  Churchill (Manitoba)
June 25, 1968 - September 1, 1972
  Churchill (Manitoba)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 165 of 166)

February 6, 1959

Mr. Simpson:

I have been listening with some considerable interest to the hon. members who have spoken on this subject today. I have been listening also with some concern and amazement because of the way in which hon. members have been congratulating the C.B.C. for the work they have done in providing a national broadcasting and television system. I believe we should take quite a long look at the situation before we start patting anybody on the back over this so-called national television system. Until the day comes when all the sections of our country are covered by television I could... not agree with the statement that we have a national television system.

Some members of the opposition have been throwing criticism at the government benches with regard to what they call the inaction of the government in connection with this strike. I must admit I have very little to say in that respect at this time but I should like to point out that during all the years of the Liberal regime we suffered from a lack of television and radio services in the area which I represent, the constituency of Churchill, which embraces about three-fifths of the province of Manitoba, does not have one small portion which is serviced by C.B.C. television. There are 14 constituencies in all in Manitoba, and I think I would be quite safe in saying that well over half of them are not serviced by C.B.C. television.

I do not intend to go into detail on this subject at this time, because later on in this session I hope to be presenting a resolution to the house respecting the desirability of supplying television service to these areas. I should like once more to impress upon the house this one fact; let us all work toward a truly national broadcasting and television system by taking a good look at the expenditures of the C.B.C., with a view to providing those services in those areas which are not already serviced.

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August 27, 1958

Mr. Simpson:

I had thought that possibly when we were discussing item 54 I would like to bring certain matters to the attention of the committee and of course of the minister responsible for the providing of funds to the C.B.C. from this parliament. I now wish to raise a situation which is becoming of increasing concern to the people whom I represent in the constituency of Churchill.

The hon. member who has just sat down mentioned the situation at Flin Flon. I do not now intend to launch into a throne speech, because I know I would be called out of order if I did so at this stage of the session. However, there are certain aspects I must mention about my constituency in order to bring out my point. My constituency comprises roughly 180,000 square miles, taking up almost three-fifths of the province of Manitoba. The matter which is of greatest concern to my people with respect to television is that at the present time there is not one single square mile of that area which is serviced by C.B.C. television. There are many other matters which are of interest and which have been discussed with C.B.C. officials, but when representations have been made to the C.B.C. respecting the possibility of servicing this area, we have often been told that we are too far removed from existing C.B.C. network facilities. This is not quite so, because the more largely populated areas of my riding, particularly those of Swan River, Flin Flon and The Pas, are not so very distant from existing facilities. When one speaks of the far north it is a different proposition altogether, but in regard to Swan River, for instance, which is a large agricultural area, it is only a matter of possibly 175 air miles from Winnipeg and less from Brandon. Extensions to the populated areas of


Flin Flon and The Pas would probably necessitate covering some 375 miles, so it will be seen that it is not right for the C.B.C. to continually say that Churchill is too far removed from present facilities. The people of the area believe, and I think justly so, that as they are being taxed in the same way as anyone else in Canada, therefore they should share in the benefits provided by such facilities as the C.B.C.

As a result of recent correspondence and discussions, the C.B.C. informs me that until the present time no private applications have been received for television station licences in the area. Undoubtedly that is correct, but I do know of one or two private concerns who are interested in going into this area but before setting up stations they would like some idea as to just when the C.B.C. network would be available to them. The area in which I live, namely, Flin Flon, as well as other Manitoba areas, are to a large extent sports minded and, as in the case of the rest of Canada, are interested in seeing such live network programs televised by the C.B.C. as the world series, the Grey cup, the Saturday night hockey games and so on. They would also like to receive the national news service.

Some of these station operators feel that if they were to go in on a private licence and to operate with kine recordings this might just serve as a deterrent to the C.B.C. ever coming in and giving them a network.

These are the problems facing people interested in applying for private station licences, and I would like to suggest to the C.B.C. that the mere fact in itself that we have an area from which we have as yet not received applications for television licences, is a direct challenge to the C.B.C. to give serious consideration to servicing such areas in order that it may become a truly national body. In areas already serviced by private stations there is not the same degree of need but in areas where there are no private stations and where no applications have been forthcoming I believe there is a direct obligation on the C.B.C. to give this question full consideration.

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December 9, 1957

Mr. Robert Simpson (Churchill):

Mr. Speaker, in discussing the aspects of the resolution which is presently before the house I should like to point out first of all that if this resolution had suggested that a committee be set up, possibly on a federal-provincial basis, specifically to plan the 100th anniversary celebrations then I would say it would certainly be worthy of support. However, it seems to me that although it appears to have the welfare of the nation at heart it is taking away most of the obligations of the hon. members of this house. I feel that we are asking the people of Canada to pay with a good deal of duplication, for something for which, I believe, they are already paying; something which they are entitled to get and for which they are at present receiving value.

Now in dealing with the following subjects I might point out that most of these problems and subjects under discussion in this resolution have already been studied and are continuously being studied by many competent committees and groups. I also think the resolution which is before us might well be construed as a measure of no confidence in most of the groups already so established. By that I mean that we have many groups in operation, independent of government, in the way of agricultural and labour organizations, chambers of commerce and many others.

Hon. members of this house from various parties of the opposition have staled that they are in full support of this resolution as it stands; they are quite willing to set up committees despite the fact, as I have already pointed out, in my opinion such committees are now in operation and they are competent committees.

I think that in the short space of time-in fact a period of less than six months-in which this government' has been in office and the period of less than two months in which this house has been in session the present government has shown ample evidence and has proved conclusively that they are, not only eager and able to deal with these recognized groups who are doing such a good job in their various localities but are also capable of sitting down and discussing with those groups their problems and bringing such problems to a successful conclusion.

[Mr. Gauthier (Portneuf) .1

In regard to agriculture, for instance, we have many capable groups working on this important question. I say important because up until now and I imagine for all time to come agriculture has been and will be, rightly so, the backbone of our nation. But what has happened to agriculture during the past few years? Agriculture has been allowed to go down to a point where the farm family is fast becoming a rarity. Families are leaving the farm areas because of today's high cost of production; due entirely to the high cost of equipment as compared to the inequitable returns to the farmer for his products; the slow process of selling his grain, plus of course the tight money situation faced until a short time ago. The farmer is unable to keep his head above water.

Now these remarks apply generally to agricultural people all across Canada but are particularly applicable to the young farmer-the type of a farmer who, until now, I have not heard mentioned in this house- and the young farmer certainly has a multitude of problems. In many many cases he returned from overseas at the conclusion of the last world conflict and had very little opportunity to get himself re-established in time to avail himself of any of the benefits from the short period of boom which agriculture may have enjoyed during the latter 1940's. Consequently he found himself sadly trapped in the terrible cost-price squeeze which has since developed.

This was one time when the old maxim of there being safety in numbers certainly did not apply, because there was small consolation to such a young farmer in the fact that he had lots of company. He had his land and he had some equipment, both partially paid for, and he could produce crops because most of them were good farmers and willing to work. He could not however pay his debts with farm-stored grain. Later on, measures were introduced whereby he was allowed to borrow money on his farm-stored grain at 5 per cent interest, so he found himself paying that 5 per cent interest and at the same time earning about 2 per cent interest or less on his capital investment.

So what did the young farmer do? In many cases he found himself in the position where, if he was fortunate enough to find employment elsewhere, he went into industry and was better off financially by investing only his physical and mental capacity in that industry as against a fairly large monetary investment in agriculture. He had more cash by working with his two hands than he could possibly get with all his land and equipment, but he did not want to be in

industry. He wanted to be a farmer and Canada indeed needed him in agriculture.

Now this situation was brought to the attention of the former government, but nothing was done about it. Solutions to these problems are going to take time, I know, but I am very happy to see that a full review of the agricultural problems and the tight money situation is now in progress with a view to solving them as quickly and fairly as possible in order to give the farmer his fair share of the national revenue.

There are many aspects relating to agriculture with which I hope to be able to deal as they come before the house, but I see time is getting short this evening. I would like to say that, come July 1, 1967, I sincerely hope through the efforts of this government that this great country of ours will be in the enviable position of being justifiably proud of the fact that all our citizens will have available to them, not only a high standard of living which will include social security, hospital and medical services, a housing program, which will allow the people the benefits of the housing to which they are entitled and of which the people of Canada can be proud, but also an employment situation which will provide full-scale employment for every employable person in our dominion.

May I call it ten o'clock.

Business of the House BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

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December 3, 1957

Mr. Simpson:

In rising to speak on this bill that is now before us, I would point out that it is one which includes two distinct measures. It provides for the construction of a rail line between a point called Optic lake on the Cranberry Portage-Lynn lake line on the C.N.R. to Chisel lake in the province of Manitoba and for the purchase from the International Nickel Company of Canada of a line from Sipiwesk on the Hudson bay line to a point near Mystery lake, the new townsite of Thompson. From experience in that area I should like to say that those are two measures that should receive the hearty support of this house.

Hon. members from all parts of this house have shown of late great concern, and rightly

Canadian National Railways so, as to what government action should be taken with regard to making possible the continuation of various developments closely related to the base metal mining industry in various parts of Canada. It has been quite evident that their concern has been in relation to the employment or unemployment situation, and in this regard I heartily concur. I might say that in both of the cases we are presently considering we have before us a concrete example as to how we can not only assure continued employment for a great number of people over an expected long period of time but can also open the way for untold hundreds to join the ranks of the permanently employed.

The construction of this one line will give immediate employment to many construction workers and at its completion it could easily be a life-saver for a mining town near its extreme end, a town which could quite conceivably soon turn into a ghost town if further development in this area is not continued at the present time. I am referring to the town of Snow Lake at the extreme end of this Chisel lake line. It is a gold mining town and unfortunately has fairly well come to the end of its resources. In that section there are roughly 900 to 1,000 people who have been there for many years. Through hard work and their own labour they have built their homes. Having their homes there now, they consider it to be home. Very fortunately the mines that are going to be served by this Chisel lake branch line are within a very few miles of the town of Snow Lake. The furthest shaft from Snow Lake town would be only eight miles, I would say; and at the present time there is a good highway from this shaft to the town of Snow Lake. Hence the completion of that rail line to Chisel lake is going to mean a great deal to the people in Snow Lake who at the present time are just wondering what is going to happen to the homes into which they have put their entire life savings.

Authorization of the other line is also going to mean a great deal. At the present time at the townsite of Thompson there are approximately 500 construction workers from all parts of Canada. The amazing and gratifying thing about this development is that quite conceivably by 1960 we can expect to have in that area a population of anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 people. The benefits to all of Canada and to Manitoba in particular are inestimable. It is going to be a great boon to the economy of the entire country. I might say that anybody from that area will heartily endorse this measure which is currently before us.

I might say that I was quite interested in the point brought out by the hon. member for

Winnipeg North Centre with regard to the statement by the hon. member for St. An-toine-Westmount. I was not quite sure whether or not I had heard correctly but judging from the answer, apparently I did hear correctly. I might point out that that portion of the line on which Optic lake is a station has been in operation for approximately 25 years. The start of the Chisel lake line at this time will tie in very conveniently with the development work which is going on in that area. At the present time there are two shafts, as I mentioned, in the process of being sunk and the program is to bring them into production at a time between now and 1960. Hence any delay we might have in starting work on the Chisel lake line could seriously affect these people about whom I am concerned at the town of Snow Lake. I would heartily recommend to all hon. members of this house that they endorse this proposition whole-heartedly.

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November 28, 1957

Mr. Robert Simpson (Churchill):

Mr. Speaker, as a new member of this house who is availing himself of the first opportunity to rise to speak I would like at this time to extend belated but nonetheless sincere congratulations to both Mr. Speaker and Mr. Deputy Speaker on their appointments to their high offices. In the short space of time which has elapsed since the opening of this house we all have had, I am sure, ample evidence of their capabilities in discharging the responsibilities involved in occupying those high positions.

In speaking to the bill which is presently before the house, which is a bill to provide minimum wages for employees, I wish to state at the outset that I am in wholehearted support of any measures within reason which may tend to better the lot of the wage earner be he a labourer or any other type of employee because like many other hon. members in this house I am one who has been in that particular class all his life.

I have been closely associated with labour for many years and feel that I am well aware of the problems of the employee. I have been a mine employee for the past 22 years and prior to that I worked for a long period of time in various jobs in the city of Winnipeg. If I might be permitted to dispel any doubts as to my personal experience with the problems of labour I would like to cite the following example. I have in my hand an urgent letter which I received from a national publication in this country, Maclean's magazine, which is in the process of preparing an article which I hope will shortly appear in their publication concerning the district and town of Flin Flon. This most recent letter which is one of many I have received from them lately lists a great number of questions which they have submitted for my approval, verification or correction. In bringing up this point I would like to refer to one question they have submitted for my verification or approval. They ask me to confirm that I am now a Conservative member of parliament representing the constituency of Churchill and that in the mid-thirties I earned 56 cents an hour and worked 56 hours a week in a northern Manitoba mine. That, Mr. Speaker, is one of the questions I will have to correct for Macleans Magazine because although I did work 56

Industrial Relations

hours a week my wages were not 56 cents an hour, they were 42 cents an hour at that time.

In case you might think 42 cents an hour is a fantastically low figure I would hasten to explain that one of the main reasons for my going to the northern part of Manitoba to work for that kind of money was due to the fact that it was approximately double the amount I could possibly have earned in the city of Winnipeg in those days.

During my years as a mine employee I have been a union member continuously wherever possible and when possible I acted as a union steward. I hope hon. members will realize from these remarks that I am not only very sympathetic to the problems of employees but I would like to see those problems alleviated to the greatest extent and as quickly as possible.

Many of the provisions of this bill to provide minimum wages for employees are highly commendable and well thought out and some of them would tend to lessen to an appreciable degree some of the burdens presently being shouldered by a great many employees. There are, however, certain aspects of the bill which I think should be given much more consideration.

I hope that I have convinced this house that I know partially from personal experience the problems of the working man and that I am wholeheartedly in sympathy with him. We must, however, be fair, honest and open minded about these considerations; especially so when in many cases under this bill we shall be legislating in regard to public money. In this regard, I might say that be it public or private money with which we are dealing we must have the same consideration at all times.

I am one who will always look on both sides of the fence, and despite the fact that for over 15 years I worked as a labourer or mill operator,-and I believe did a good enough job to earn my money-I still feel that I and many others owe a great deal to the mining industry of Canada. I grant that over the years shareholders and promoters have made millions of dollars, but they also- and I know this very well-provided me with an opportunity to bring up my family in an atmosphere which was the essence of security. I believe and I honestly think that that is one of the things that the working men of Canada want today. People might say, or some might think, that I should be afraid that some of my constituents might feel that I am saying these things merely to get into the good graces of a mining company. Well, the people of the Flin Flon area certainly will not say that because there are

Industrial Relations

too many thousands of them up there who feel just the way I do. We are fortunate in many ways to have experienced fine labour-management relations and these have resulted, I believe, in the building of one of the most happy, hospitable and congenial communities in the Dominion of Canada.

I say these things to try to show the house that I believe there are two sides to the story of many problems and sometimes both of them are very worthy. I have to say these things so that no one will feel that I am favouring one side or the other. For instance, after saying that some of the principles of this legislation to provide minimum wages were well thought out and that some should be given more consideration, I should like to point out-I have been very interested in this, especially if I am not out of order in referring to clauses-that clause 6 reads:

Where board or lodging are supplied by an employer to an employee and are accepted by the employee the value of such board or lodging for the purpose of calculating the minimum wages the employee shall be paid under this act shall not exceed $.40 per meal for board and $.50 per day for lodging and no employer shall deduct from the wages of such employee any sum for board or lodging in excess of the values fixed herein.

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