Mr. Chairman, before we proceed with Clause 8 I think we should consider something that pertains to the future. Many of us have expressed an opinion on more than one occasion about the importance of recognizing grain as being extremely important to our national economy. Before we pass Clause 8 we should give some direction to the government in respect of the future move-
August 31, 1972
ment of grain. We realize that when there is a tie-up involving the export of grain and other commodities people begin to talk about a national disaster leading to a confrontation. I suggest that the government should accept its responsibility in this regard instead of passing it on to someone else. If the government did this there would be no reason for passing legislation to handle this type of situation.
In recognizing the extreme importance of our export markets we should consider the position of the middleman in the movement of grain. We should decide whether this man is interested in making profits from moving grain and other commodities out of the country. We might also consider the idea of nationalizing our ports and adopting a comprehensive transportation policy.
All this could be looked into by a committee vested with authority to look into the general picture and problems affecting the whole movement of cargoes through ports in Canada. It has been noted in the past that people in the port of Vancouver would rather unload U.S. goods than Canadian goods. It has been suggested that grain could be handled separately. I am sure all members of the House would agree to a study to determine the effectiveness of moving grain as an item separate from general cargo.
With those remarks I should like to move:
That Clause 8, Part II be amended by changing the period at the end thereof to a comma and by adding immediately thereafter the following words:
"provided however that before December 31, 1972, the government shall initiate a study under the Inquiries Act into the possibility of separating grain from general cargo, such grain to be handled by the Canadian Wheat Board."
There may be some question whether grain should be handled by the Canadian Wheat Board or the National Harbours Board. We support the contention that the Canadian Wheat Board should be made responsible for such handling. If it is to be responsible for moving our grain into export position and making sales, it should be given the authority to move grain through the Port of Vancouver and other Canadian ports. We recognize the importance of this situation, and this amendment would require that some consideration be given to the setting up of a study to determine a better method of moving grain out of the country.
Topic: GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic: WEST COAST PORTS OPERATIONS BILL