Mr. Murray (Cariboo):
In that connection may I say that it is good to learn that the intention is to bring the telephone and telegraphic services in the interior of British Columbia up to a high degree of efficiency. I should like to say to the minister that, regardless of any agreement which is made with any of these companies, there will remain the claim of ranchers 80 miles or 100 miles out, miners, settlers and so on, who depend upon this communication system for their very existence.
When British Columbia entered confederation in 1871 that was one of the main points taken into consideration in the agreement with Canada. Commitments made at that time, regardless of any decisions made now, must be carried out. Let us take the case of a rancher a hundred miles out from the rail, in a little community at the end of a trail. In times past the telegraph or telephone system of this government has serviced that little community, and it was available to save life or limb, or to bring relief. It was not operated on a cash and carry basis. Today in the Cariboo country we have hundreds of miles of these telegraph and telephone lines leading out into the remote areas. Neither the British Columbia Telephone Company, the Bell Telephone Company nor anybody else would be able to make any revenue from that service. Nevertheless it is necessary and vital to the success of that country.
We are most fortunate in having a minister who realizes the humanitarian aspect of the matter as well as the cash and carry side of
the communications service in that great part of British Columbia which is progressing so rapidly and emerging from pioneer status to that of a commercial area in Canada. New towns in that area are growing up with 1,000 telephones, or 500 or 400 as the case may be. A decision has to be made as to whether this service will be carried on under the crown or whether we will sell it to a private industry.
Topic: ANNOUNCEMENT OF APPOINTMENT OF THE CHIEF JUSTICE OF CANADA, THE SPEAKER OF THE SENATE, THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS AND THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION