CHATTERTON, George Louis, B.Sc.

Personal Data

Progressive Conservative
Esquimalt--Saanich (British Columbia)
Birth Date
January 16, 1916
Deceased Date
September 7, 1983

Parliamentary Career

May 29, 1961 - April 19, 1962
  Esquimalt--Saanich (British Columbia)
June 18, 1962 - February 6, 1963
  Esquimalt--Saanich (British Columbia)
April 8, 1963 - September 8, 1965
  Esquimalt--Saanich (British Columbia)
November 8, 1965 - April 23, 1968
  Esquimalt--Saanich (British Columbia)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 149 of 150)

February 19, 1962

Mr. George Chatterton (Esquimalt-Saanich):

It is with humility, Mr. Speaker, that I rise to speak from a place once occupied by an eminent Canadian, namely General George R. Pearkes, V.C. I am sure all hon. members will be pleased to hear that His Honour, with the help of his lady, is fulfilling the office of lieutenant governor of British Columbia with the acclaim and admiration of all.

I congratulate the mover and seconder of the address in reply to the speech from the throne. I have read other such speeches, but this is the first time I have heard them in person, and I was favourably impressed. I offer congratulations to the hon. member for Bellechasse on his appointment as president of the privy council; to the hon. member for Quebec South on his appointment as Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys; to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and to the parliamentary

The Address-Mr. Chatterton secretaries and others who have been elevated. I express my joy in seeing our Speaker in good health and my satisfaction in knowing that the proceedings of this house will be guided by his firm impartiality.

Every member of the house is proud of certain things in his riding. There is one aspect of my riding of Esquimalt-Saanich which is rather unique. I refer to our mild climate. I have here a clipping from a Victoria newspaper which circulates in my riding.

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February 14, 1962

Mr. George Chalterton (Esquimalt-Saanich):

I should like to direct a question to the Minister of National Health and Welfare or in his absence to his parliamentary secretary. It has been reported that Paul Enock, who set a world speed skating record for 3,000 meters while competing at Hamar, Norway, may have to cease representing Canada owing to exhaustion of funds. Can the parliamentary secretary indicate whether some assistance might be extended to this outstanding Canadian athlete?

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February 2, 1962

Mr. Chatterton:

I shall quote one example. Since being elected to the house I have heard members opposite blaming the government for the unemployment situation as it exists. We certainly recognize it is serious but, in the first place, that is not a fair charge.

The minister and many hon. members have pointed out that the major causes of the unemployment problem have been inherited by this government from the previous one. Whether or not this government is responsible for the unemployment situation, if we are blamed for it then surely we should be given credit if that situation is relieved. The hon. member for Peterborough yesterday, as is reported at page 412 of Hansard admitted first of all-no doubt reluctantly-that there was an improvement in the unemployment situation. Then he said:

This does not result from anything this government has done.

I know the opposition have to criticize, but certainly there should be a measure, even a small measure, of fairness. That is another example of irresponsibility from the far left side of this chamber. I think most hon. members, at least those on our side, recognize these things and I think the people of Canada are understanding that these kinds of statements will always come from that side.

Coming back to the value that this winter works incentive program has been relieving the unemployment situation, last night the Minister of Labour very effectively indicated the effect of this program on the unemployment situation in Canada. Neither the minister nor anyone on this side of the chamber has ever claimed that this is a panacea. This is not a cure-all. Many other measures have been taken by this government to relieve this serious problem. This is but one of them and, as was intended in the first place, this measure has been most successful.

I wish to refer to some figures for the greater Victoria area. I cannot break down these figures by municipalities because in my area the figures released from the national employment service are for the greater Victoria area. In the greater Victoria area since the inception of this program the federal government payment to four of the municipalities has amounted to $837,000. In addition to that, of course, the provincial government pays at least another 25 per cent of the direct labour costs. This brings the sum total of the payments received by the municipalities in that area to some $1J million.

As hon. members know, our wage rates in British Columbia are very high. Assuming that


the labour content of works undertaken by the municipalities is between 30 and 33 per cent, this represents some 400,000 man hours of work on site; that is, work created right on the spot by this program. That does not take into consideration the other work created by way of supplies and the use of equipment in this program. In my opinion this is a very substantial contribution to creating employment for the people in that area. I know that not only the municipalities but the local councils and the people in the area appreciate the assistance that has been given through this program.

The hon. member for Skeena tried to convey the idea that this winter works incentive program has been a failure because it merely shifts work from the summertime to the wintertime. He quoted a statement of Reeve Alan Emmott of Burnaby to the effect that in that municipality-and, he said, in the surrounding district also-200 people are not being released. I am relying on my memory here. Reeve Alan Emmott was quoted by the hon. member for Skeena as saying that they are not taking on any more men for the winter works program, but they are not releasing some 200 men who would otherwise have been released.

My interpretation of that statement is that if the winter works incentive program had not been there, the municipality of Burnaby would have released 200 men. What is the difference between taking on 200 men for special work and retaining 200 men who would otherwise have been released? Surely that argument falls to pieces when the hon. member tries to indicate that this winter works program is merely creating work in the winter that would otherwise have been done in the summer. In my own experience that is not so. I know that in my municipality and elsewhere in my riding a great deal of the work that has been done has been directly prompted by this program and would otherwise not have been done, not because the councils were not aware of the value and the need of these works but because they, as I have said, have difficulty in financing these projects which are demanded by the people. This program has prompted these people to undertake projects which would not otherwise have been undertaken.

The second point the opposition have been trying to make is that this program does not create employment in the winter. I am privileged to quote from the daily Colonist of January 6, 1962. This is a newspaper owned by the Sifton-Bell group. The headline in the Colonist of that day reads:

More people working than in past decade-

Year end unemployment figures, a sensitive barometer of the island community prosperity, indicate

a healthier employment situation even for this time of year than at any time in the past decade.

National employment service officers report a drop of some 30 per cent in the number of people seeking work compared with the same period a year ago.

Using Victoria's figures as an example it is noted that the percentage of increase in unemployment between August and November in some years has risen as much as 109 per cent. Unemployment during this critical four month period soared by a whopping average of 90 per cent during the years 1954 to 1957.

In 1961 the increase during this period was only 18 per cent.

Can those figures be construed as purely coincidental, with such a remarkable increase in employment in this period, even in my area where the impact of winter is not as severe as in other parts of the country? Can this be construed, as some hon. members opposite try to say, as being purely coincidental? Certainly not, sir. The increased employment during this period was caused first, as a direct result of this winter works incentive program and second, of course, by the over-all rise in the economy resulting from measures taken by this government. Certainly, it is the responsibility of the opposition to criticize, but we expect a certain measure of recognition for what has been done, a grain of fairness from hon. members opposite. I am one of the three youngest members of this house and I must say it is not easy to understand all the circumstances surrounding this debate. I have been here listening for three days. It was made clear at the beginning that hon. members opposite would vote in favour of this measure and approve this vote. I felt I should speak on the question, but when I heard that the opposition had been going on after lunch today, I could not understand why that should be so. One of the reasons which occurred to me was that they did not desire this measure to be passed. I know the municipalities are anxious to get their cheques, and I dismiss that possible reason for the delay in getting this vote.

Having heard the leader of the house say that the next item of business has to do with old age pensions, it occurs to me that maybe members of the opposition are not anxious to have that question discussed in the house. I certainly hope the show we have seen here today will not be carried on indefinitely. I know that on this side we are not only anxious to dispose of the present measures so that the municipalities may get their cheques, but we are anxious to get on to the next important item which, we have been told, has to do with increases in old age pensions, old age assistance and assistance to blind and disabled persons.

In my view the effect of this winter works program on the municipalities has been unreservedly good. First of all, the scheme has been well received. It has been appreciated by municipal councils across Canada. In addition, it has been appreciated by the people. This is one of the programs put forward by the government in respect to which it is easy for the taxpayers, the property owners and the public generally to appreciate the benefit of what has been done. Some of the other programs, as I have said, have not been passed on by the provincial governments and they have not been recognized by the people as emanating from the federal government. I believe the people of Canada appreciate this program. The use made of this scheme by the municipalities has, moreover, shown evidence of sound judgment. This has been my experience of the work carried out by the municipal councils in my own area and I am sure that is true also of the municipalities throughout Canada. I am satisfied that the projects which the municipalities have submitted under this program are sound. They are not relief projects which create work merely for the sake of creating it. They are projects which the councils consider to be essential, in many cases.

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February 2, 1962

Mr. Chatterlon:

Mr. Chairman, since the inception of the winter works incentive program in 1958 I have been on the receiving end of


the benefits of the program until the end of last year. Therefore I can speak with first hand knowledge of the effect of the program on the municipalities.

First of all I should like to pay tribute to the winter employment committee in my area which is known as the greater Victoria winter employment committee. It is composed of civic, labour and business leaders and these people give unstintingly of their time for a most worthy cause. I am very glad indeed that we are now proposing to advance the sum of $90,000 for their so far most effective campaign to promote the do it now program.

As I have said, sir, I have had some experience from the point of view of the receiving end of this program and I have seen how it operates on that end. I have listened intently to some of the statements made by hon. members opposite. It seems to me that their main contentions are, first, that the municipalities do not benefit from this program and, second, that the program does not aid in relieving unemployment.

The hon. member for Essex East, for instance, said that the city of Toronto paid some 61 per cent of the cost of their winter works projects. He was trying to convey the idea to the committee that the municipalities paid a larger share of such projects. Certainly they do. It was never intended that this program should pay the major part of the cost of these projects. The intent of the program when it was initiated was to encourage municipalities to undertake works in the wintertime and thereby encourage employment during that slack season. That objective has been attained.

If the city of Toronto had to pay 61 per cent of the cost of their winter works projects, then it follows that 39 per cent of the cost of the projects was financed by the senior governments. I feel that any municipality that can get 39 per cent of the cost of projects financed by other means certainly would be happy to receive such a grant. I am sure that the wise councillors of the city of Toronto appreciate that and if they do not I am sure the taxpayers do. Furthermore, Mr. Chairman, the 39 per cent is not repayable. It is an outright grant made by the senior governments.

The hon. member talks about a municipal loan fund and extending this program to benefit municipalities further. It has been mentioned that many municipalities in Canada do not participate in the program because they cannot finance their share. No one is more aware of the difficulties of the municipalities in Canada than I am. I know that they do not find the financial resources at their disposal satisfactory or adequate to meet their


own requirements. They cannot finance essential projects which their people demand and which are very often necessary to maintain the health of the people.

But, Mr. Chairman, it should not be necessary for anyone here to remind hon. members opposite that the municipalities are creations of the provincial governments. If the municipalities are the children then the provincial governments are the parents, and certainly the federal government has been very generous to these parents. This government has done more in the past five years to assist the municipalities across the country than the previous government did in 22 years.

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February 2, 1962

Mr. Chaiterlon:

Hon. members opposite, recognizing the error of their ways, realizing now their serious omissions of the past 22 years, want to jump on the government bandwagon of assistance to the municipalities. They come forward now with proposals for further assistance and extension of the programs started by this government. As I said, the present government has done more to assist the municipalities of Canada directly and indirectly in the last five years than the previous government did in 22.

Yesterday the Minister of Labour-I should like to commend his speech to all the people of Canada-outlined to us. some of the measures taken by the government to assist in relieving the unemployment problem that we have in Canada.

To return to the question of assistance by the federal government to the municipalities, I would point out there are direct and indirect aids. I shall quote one example of direct assistance to a municipality in my own riding, that of Saanich. At this point I would extend an invitation to those who have not enjoyed Saanich's beautiful climate to visit the municipality. It is not 25 degrees below zero there, as it was here this morning. It is about 50 degrees above, which is quite normal at this time of year.

Through the winter works incentive program alone, the Conservative government has paid the sum of $168,000 to the municipality of Saanich. That is no bagatelle, Mr. Chairman. I am well aware of the difficulties of that municipality. They are similar to those of other municipalities across Canada, and I can assure you that this type of assistance, an outright grant of $167,000, was greatly appreciated by the people and council of the municipality. That was the amount of the federal government's direct grant. The provincial government pays another 25 per cent

and, in certain cases, an additional 25 per cent. The total represents work to the value of at least $1.5 million, work which perhaps otherwise might not have been done. Parks have been created, ditches have been cleared, and many other works which benefit the people directly have been carried on through the municipal works incentive program, sparked by this government.

There are many other ways in which the government helps municipalities, and I shall quote one under part 6B of the National Housing Act. The municipality of Saanich received a loan of $428,000 from the federal government last year, at a considerably lower rate of interest than the municipality with its excellent credit rating could have obtained anywhere else, even with the guarantee of the government of British Columbia. In addition to the substantial benefit of the low interest rate, if the work is completed before March 31, 1963-which it undoubtedly will; it will be completed within the next two months-the federal government will make a direct grant by writing off 25 per cent of the loan which, in this particular instance, amounts to another $107,000 which the taxpayers and municipality of Saanich will receive.

I have mentioned but two examples of how the government is helping certain municipalities. These are direct aids but there is an incidental advantage to this type of program under which the assistance of the federal government, so to speak, goes directly to a municipality. In other words, it is earmarked for the municipality. Some of the provinces will not be in a position to take that money and use it for other purposes and so will not be in a position to take credit or the money paid by the federal government to the municipality. Believe it or not, quite a large amount of that is being done. Certainly the province in the far west is doing that every day.

I shall now deal with some of the indirect assistance which the government gives to municipalities across Canada. I refer to payments made by the federal government to the provinces. In beginning my speech I said the municipalities are the creation, and therefore, the responsibility of the provinces. If the federal government makes payments to provincial governments surely everyone can understand that this would put the provincial governments in a better position to assist the municipalities. Let me not be misunderstood. I reiterate that the municipalities need help. They need it badly, but let it not be said that the federal government

has not done all in its power-indeed much more than previous governments-to attain that objective.

In 1956-57 the government of Canada made payments to the provinces and provincial institutions of just under $700 million. In 1961-62, payments by the federal government to the provinces are estimated at something in the order of $1.5 billion, more than double. That being the case, if all provinces recognize their responsibilities to the municipalities surely some of that money can be used to relieve the problems of the municipalities. I regret to say that in the case of British Columbia that is not being done, but it is not the fault of the federal government. Any fault there might be lies in the fact that this money given to the provinces should have been earmarked in the same way as our contributions under the winter works incentive program and the National Housing Act, the same way as they are earmarked and tagged for specific use and relief of the municipalities.

I repeat that the municipalities need assistance but the winter works incentive program is not intended as the over-all end of assistance. I am quite sure, judging by the record of the federal government in the past, that further assistance will be forthcoming for the municipalities.

I have been invited by the Canadian federation of mayors and municipalities executive, although I am not officially a member, to attend with them in visiting the Minister of Finance on Monday week next, February 12. They are aware of the fact that I recognize the difficulties of the municipalities and that I shall do all I can to assist them. I feel certain that the government will continue its generosity to the municipalities, the generosity it has demonstrated in the past. The generous assistance and vast program that now exists are so complex that I feel the time is coming when all the assistance programs of the federal government, designed to assist municipalities, should be placed under the aegis of one department.

Certainly the federal government has indicated its willingness to assist municipalities, to listen to their problems and to consult them on further programs of assistance. In what I have said I think I have made my first point, that municipalities appreciate the assistance that the government has given them specifically through the winter works incentive program.

Some of the members opposite tried to make the point that this program is ineffective in creating winter employment. We all expect irresponsible statements from the hon. member for Peterborough and others on that side of the house.


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