Mr. T. G. W. Ashbourne (Grand Falls-While Bay-Labrador):
Mr. Speaker, I rise not to oppose the third reading of the bill but to go on record as stating that in my opinion the value of this bill for Newfoundland would be vastly increased if provision had been made in it for the inclusion of hydroelectric developments. It well may be that as the result of future research and development the day will come when the cheapest way of developing electrical power will be by the use of atomic energy. It is most important for Newfoundland that the cheapest possible power be made available. At the moment we have a great lack of atomic energy, but we have a surplus of water power which could be utilized for the development of hydroelectric power.
Atlantic Provinces Power Development
There are places in my riding where electricity is developed, some by hydro such as at Bishop's falls where the electricity used by the great Anglo-Newfoundland Development Company in their paper mill at Grand Falls is generated. Many people in Newfoundland have to depend on small motors to develop sufficient electricity for home use. These motors are run either by gasoline, which is quite expensive, or by diesel fuel oil. We are all aware of the great benefit to be derived from electrical power, and how it raises the standard of living. We are aware also of how electrical power enables industries to operate.
I believe provision should have been made in this bill so that sufficient capital could have been made available to those companies which wished to develop hydroelectric power. In Newfoundland and Labrador we have a great number of lakes, powerful rivers and waterfalls, the waters of which could be utilized for generating electrical energy. In the past the main obstacle in the way of this development has been a lack of capital to provide the necessary generating stations, transmission and distribution lines. I regret very much that the bill has not been amended to include a provision covering the generation of electrical power by means of water power.
I should like to support the suggestion which has been made by the hon. member for Bonavista-Twillingate that the matter be given further consideration by the minister and the government in order to see whether or not the bill could be amended so the people of Newfoundland could derive some benefits from it. There are places in Newfoundland where the people have to light their homes with kerosene lamps. Those of us who are aware of the benefits of electric light know what a great disadvantage that is. Today the people are looking for more electrical power so they can use this great source of energy in order to raise their standard of living.
All the coal we use in Newfoundland has to be brought in by ship from Nova Scotia, the United States of America, and in some cases from Wales. We know this measure provides one way in which the great benefits to be derived from electrical energy could be distributed to the people who would benefit in a real way. We want the cheapest power that can be provided in order that we may survive. I trust, Mr. Speaker, that consideration will be given to amending this bill.
Topic: ATLANTIC PROVINCES-LEGISLATION RESPECTING THERMAL PROJECTS