Elmer MacIntosh MACKAY

MACKAY, The Hon. Elmer MacIntosh, P.C., Q.C., B.A., LL.B.

Personal Data

Party
Progressive Conservative
Constituency
Central Nova (Nova Scotia)
Birth Date
August 5, 1936
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elmer_MacKay
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=9bc870a5-bc5d-4b05-ac22-779f048d206c&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
barrister and solicitor, lawyer

Parliamentary Career

May 31, 1971 - September 1, 1972
PC
  Central Nova (Nova Scotia)
October 30, 1972 - May 9, 1974
PC
  Central Nova (Nova Scotia)
July 8, 1974 - March 26, 1979
PC
  Central Nova (Nova Scotia)
  • Progressive Conservative Party Caucus Chair (January 1, 1976 - January 1, 1980)
May 22, 1979 - December 14, 1979
PC
  Central Nova (Nova Scotia)
  • Progressive Conservative Party Caucus Chair (January 1, 1976 - January 1, 1980)
  • Minister of Regional Economic Expansion (June 4, 1979 - March 2, 1980)
February 18, 1980 - July 9, 1984
PC
  Central Nova (Nova Scotia)
  • Minister of Regional Economic Expansion (June 4, 1979 - March 2, 1980)
September 4, 1984 - October 1, 1988
PC
  Central Nova (Nova Scotia)
  • Solicitor General of Canada (September 17, 1984 - August 19, 1985)
  • Minister of National Revenue (August 20, 1985 - January 29, 1989)
November 21, 1988 - September 8, 1993
PC
  Central Nova (Nova Scotia)
  • Minister of National Revenue (August 20, 1985 - January 29, 1989)
  • Minister of Public Works (January 30, 1989 - June 24, 1993)
  • Minister for the purposes of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Act (January 30, 1989 - April 20, 1991)
  • Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (April 21, 1991 - June 1, 1993)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 513)


June 15, 1993

Mr. MacKay:

My friend says: "None". If it were none the Auditor General would insist it be booked as an expense of the Government of Canada. It is the developer's risk.

He also said it as if there were some sin in foreign investment coming in and owning part of it. So what? This is a private sector initiative, one that is good for Atlantic Canada and good for Canada. As well, if this bridge is not ready on time, it will have to be financed by the operators. All kinds of safeguards are in place.

This head in the sand attitude toward an endeavour which is widely popular with both the people and governments concerned helps explain in part why-and my friend and I have talked about this jokingly-the NDP has about 4 per cent or 5 per cent of the popular vote in Prince Edward Island and is unlikely to change that in the near future. It is a non-existent party in all of

June 15, 1993

Atlantic Canada. This is part of the reason for this back to the future attitude it has.

The project's economic benefits both short term and long term make a powerful case for moving ahead with all speed. In the shorter term the cost of constructing the bridge will be about $850 million, representing a stimulus to the Canadian economy in the order of $1.3 billion. The project will create between 3,500 and 4,000 person-years of employment over the five-year construction period. Almost all of it will come from the Atlantic region and will contribute about $450 million to the region's economy.

An estimated 70 per cent of the purchasing of goods and services will be done within Atlantic Canada and more than 80 per cent within Canada as a whole, which in itself makes it a rather exceptional project of this magnitude for this part of Canada.

Building a bridge will provide a much-needed shot in the arm for the Atlantic Canadian economy. However the main benefits will be those occurring year after year once the structure is in place and the transportation arteries are unblocked. Then the people of Prince Edward Island can build and develop the potential of this magnificent island province which is now stunted.

It is no coincidence that the unemployment rate, as my friend from Prince Edward Island will agree, is higher than the unemployment rates in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick simply because an important tool of economic development is not being utilized.

Long-term economic benefits include an increase of about 25 per cent in annual tourist traffic. Many members in the House may not be aware that when this bridge is built there will still be a perfectly adequate ferry service to Prince Edward Island operated by the private sector, Northumberland Ferries Limited, which does a fine job. Next week it is putting a new vessel in service. About $15 million of improvements have been made to the docks of that ferry service despite the impression left that the government has somehow been starving the existing ferry service for modem facilities.

Government Orders

Prince Edward Island's agricultural and fisheries industries will see a major reduction in costs for transporting their products as well as greater certainty of delivery.

The P.E.I. Trucking Industry Commission has estimated annual savings of $10 million a year as a result of the bridge. The utility operators such as the electric power and telephone companies will save from the permanent utility corridor which is part and parcel of this bridge. The list goes on.

Suffice it to say, the completion of the fixed link will have a positive and lasting effect, an economic benefit on the economic opportunities for the people of one of Canada's poorest provinces. These benefits will ripple out to all the Atlantic region and to Canada as a whole.

Much has been made by opponents of the project concerning the possible environmental impact of such a major engineering undertaking. The proposed bridge has been subjected to the most thorough environmental assessment of any such project ever undertaken in the country. It was the member for Cape Breton-East Richmond yesterday who dealt extensively with this point. I believe he tabled a list of the literally dozens of studies that have been made in connection with the link to Prince Edward Island. It has also been the object of the most comprehensive public consultation program, with some 64 public meetings held on both sides of Northumberland Strait.

There are those who will never be convinced. I think the member for Egmont, when he spoke in February, made reference to this fact when he quoted Cathy Edward, one of those who had been charged with giving an objective assessment of the project. She has been quoted, and I believe accurately because my friend would not quote inaccurately, as saying:

We can do something about ice. It is called mitigation. I doubt

that there are mitigating measures for the heart. The heart has its

own reasons.

There is nothing wrong with the heart having its own reasons. There is nothing wrong with being philosophically opposed to a link, any link, to Prince Edward Island. However to clothe this sentimental attachment in some kind of specious argument based on economics is intel-

Government Orders

lectually dishonest and I think we should all keep this in mind.

Public Works Canada has carried out or commissioned over 90 studies relating to environmental assessment and project feasibility. Most recently, in response to a Federal Court order, the proponent, Strait Crossing Incorporated, prepared a specific environmental evaluation of its bridge proposal. Subsequently my department held public meetings and set up a toll-free telephone line to facilitate receiving advice from the public.

The specific environmental evaluation was carefully scrutinized by my department and many others. I reviewed SCI's proposal, the report of the independent ice specialists, the expert advice from other federal departments and agencies, and the comments received from the public. On May 13 I concluded the potential environmental effects that may be caused by the proposal were either insignificant or mitigable with known technology. The more this is studied, the more evident this becomes.

I am currently reviewing any further public comment that may be received. I will be announcing in the near future whether the project should be referred to a public review by a panel. After all this the opponents of the project still claim that we have not complied with the process and have initiated yet another court challenge. This matter is now before the judiciary.

I am all for open and full debate. I also firmly believe that the major public concern must take precedence over the narrower views of single interest groups which have been so vociferously put forward in particular by the NDP.

Bill C-110 is an important element in the over-all project in that it spells out the financial terms and conditions under which the project will operate. The arguments have been made. While I realize the rules of relevance are interpreted widely here, members' speeches have not focused on this simple enabling statute which is part of the process. This bill ensures that neither future federal governments nor the Canadian taxpayer will be subjected to undue or unsuspected costs.

The subsidy of $42 million annually has been carefully worked out by Transport Canada and represents the sum

of direct costs paid to Marine Atlantic, such as the administrative overhead, the replacement of vessels, and the refitting of boats in land based facilities.

Again going back into the future, the sixties as the NDP would like us to do, it is worth noting with respect to Marine Atlantic that there was an effort made to build a bridge or a causeway at that time. Suddenly the subsidies for Marine Atlantic and the service seemed to improve, things got a bit better, but once the project was shelved and a comprehensive economic development plan was put in place Marine Atlantic subsidies began to climb. This is a matter of record and can easily be ascertained if anyone cares to check.

When the bridge is built the federal government will get an $850 million bridge in good operating condition after 35 years. At that time there will be many options available as to what is to be done but it will be owned by the Crown. I suspect many of us in 35 years will have only an academic interest in what the government of the day will decide what is best.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NORTHUMBERLAND STRAIT CROSSING ACT
Full View Permalink

June 15, 1993

Mr. MacKay:

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I have been enjoying my colleague's speech in the lobby. I wanted to come in and tell him it is obvious he cannot count. He is confusing section 12 with section 13.

I rose in my place and told him that in compliance with Madam Justice Reed's decision I had exercised, as Hansard will show, section 12. Members heard this. I just want to point out to my friend that there is a difference between section 12 and section 13 of the environmental regulations.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NORTHUMBERLAND STRAIT CROSSING ACT
Full View Permalink

June 15, 1993

Hon. Elmer M. MacKay (Minister of Public Works):

Mr. Speaker, I want to straighten out a couple of bits of misinformation in a good natured way.

The ice experts reports that my friend in his very bombastic way referred to as not being published were published. The initial one was published and the final one was published. These ice experts, world famous people, attended all the public meetings so that was not correct.

It is also worth noting that Madame Justice Reed in her decision said: "The constitutional amendment is not required until a ferry service is replaced which is several years".

To paraphrase Ogden Nash he once said that maybe the one thing for which Canadian politics would be very much the better would be a more restricted use of simile and metaphor. Let us keep this thing factual if nothing else.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NORTHUMBERLAND STRAIT CROSSING ACT
Full View Permalink

June 15, 1993

Hon. Elmer M. MacKay (Minister of Public Works) moved

that Bill C-110, an act respecting the Northumberland Strait Crossing, be read the third time and passed.

He said: Mr. Speaker, it is time to get on with the job of building a bridge to Prince Edward Island. Bill C-110, an important part of that process, is being considered for third reading. I am very proud to speak in support of the legislation.

Some members will recall perhaps not directly that about 30 years ago there was an important initiative to build a link to Prince Edward Island. In fact certain preparatory work was done. At that time, to put things in perspective, it was decided by the then government to trade off the funds and instead indulge in or promote a comprehensive economic development plan for the island province.

This economic development plan has done a lot of good. Perhaps at this time the very growth it engendered makes it even more important we proceed with this link in order to take advantage of the potential for economic development that exists.

This is the most far-reaching and important project I believe Public Works has been associated with in many years. As a resident of Atlantic Canada I am very proud to be part of the project which will benefit Atlantic Canadians, people from Prince Edward Island and indeed all Canadians long after those of us who are in the House have passed from the scene and have been forgotten.

This project has the support of a clear majority of people from Prince Edward Island. Polls indicate that. A recent CBC poll taken earlier this year showed 63 per cent in favour. I suggest that any government in the democratic world that had that kind of popular support would think itself very fortunate.

This project initiated by the private sector and by our government has the continuing and constructive support of both past and present Governments of Prince Edward

Government Orders

Island, the Government of New Brunswick and the Government of Nova Scotia. The Northumberland bridge project stands as a prime example of how governments in the country can work together for the greater public good.

Business organizations and most Atlantic unions have been very vocal in support of the project. Other voices that have been raised in opposition in the House have been quite muted, perhaps not in volume but in number, and mostly confined to members of the NDP.

This party, it is worth noting for the record, has never elected a member in Prince Edward Island, ever, and probably never will. It enjoys the support of about 3 per cent or 4 per cent of the electorate, to the point where even the leader of the NDP of Prince Edward Island has found it necessary to take a summer job to save his party money, he says, but unfortunately it comes from the UI fund. This is not a good example, I would suggest, of some of the financial savings they keep urging on the people of Canada at the expense of the link.

These naysayers have suggested the government will inherit a rusting and decaying structure at the end of 35 years. In fact the bridge will have a design life of 100 years without a major refit. During the 35-year concession period, annual independent inspections of the bridge will have to confirm the necessary maintenance and repairs have been carried out before the developer can receive toll revenues. This is a very strong incentive, all members will agree, for the developers to build it right and to maintain it in good working order during the period of their stewardship.

The NDP has said that the proposed $42 million annual subsidy was too high. In fact its own witness at the all-party legislative committee examining the bill admitted the figure which was carefully worked out by Transport Canada was "fairly credible, given that the ferries are going to have to be replaced". Several of the ferries will have to be replaced. It is evident today the cost of replacing a modem ferry is going to be several hundreds of millions of dollars. Somehow this is never brought into the equation by the members from British Columbia who are speaking on behalf of the NDP.

My good friend from Skeena, and he is a good friend, in some of the more lofty flights of rhetoric he indulged in when speaking on the bill, said the following on February 8 when talking about what they do in British

Columbia. Isn't this terrific? He said: "There we try to make tourists and passengers happy while they are waiting for the ferry. We sell them a hot dog, give them a cup of coffee, let them buy some local goods, have a few people playing guitars, give them newspapers and have a little fun". I like this.

I invite my friend from Skeena some cold, rainy day to come to Prince Edward Island to see a bunch of outraged truckers and business people waiting to get across to do business. He will see how many will be made happy by some hot dog purveying, guitar strumming coffee merchants. He can tell them this is what they should be happy for instead of having a bridge.

My good friend, and he is also a good friend, from Annapolis Valley-Hants gave a speech the other day. He indicated that he thought it would be more to the point to connect Vancouver Island to the mainland than Prince Edward Island to Canada. I am not against that. If the private sector can come along with a good scheme that would not cost the taxpayers money, I would applaud it, but I remind my good friend there is no constitutional obligation, unfortunately perhaps, to make sure that Vancouver Island is put in the same position as Prince Edward Island. He knows that.

For those who argue that this is a risk-free enterprise for the developer under the agreement, that is not true. The developer will assume most of the risk for the project, including financial, design, construction, maintenance and cost overruns.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NORTHUMBERLAND STRAIT CROSSING ACT
Full View Permalink

June 15, 1993

Hon. Elmer M. MacKay (Minister of Public Works):

Madam Speaker, I will give my colleague my undertaking that this multi-purpose, multi-faceted, multi-dimensional project will continue to the best of my ability, working with my colleagues. We will do the best we can.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   PUBLIC WORKS
Full View Permalink