Mr. H. J. Murphy (Westmorland):
Mr. Speaker, I am privileged to be able to take part in the debate on the address in reply to the speech from the throne. Before coming to this session of parliament it was my intention to say something concerning the plight of disabled persons but I was gratified to hear in His Excellency's address that legislation to assist these people will be forthcoming. I know that that will be greeted with delight by such persons in my constituency.
However, I should like to bring to the attention of the house the plight in which the small businessman finds himself when there is a break-up of his business through one cause or another. When a small businessman or merchant with one -or more employees finds that for some reason his business is at an end, his employees are looked after under the benefits of the Unemployment Insurance Act, but he who has contributed on behalf of those employees finds himself with no assistance. I should like to see a change made in the act so that such a person would be given some assistance to help him become readjusted in his community and gain employment for himself.
There are 78,000 people in the historic riding of Westmorland and one might say that those people have usually had the good sense to return a supporter of the Liberal party to this house. They are almost entirely made up of descendants of British Isles folk and French Acadians, Canada's first permanent white settlers. At present the two groups in Westmorland county are almost exactly even in number.
In the early days of the nation these people fought one another from the English Fort Lawrence and the French Fort Beausejour, both of which are in my constituency. Today, on almost the same ground on which those fortresses stood, two universities have risen. One is Mount Allison, an English-speaking centre of learning, and the other is St. Joseph's University, a seat of French culture. It is true enough that these people have learned to live together.
The term "we have never had it so good" applies to my constituency. We have a greater population, there is more employment, and we are enjoying a better standard of living than we ever had before. However, that is not good enough. We are experiencing a migration of young people from our area to the larger centres where opportunities of employment are greater.
We have felt most acutely the recent layoff on the Canadian National Atlantic region because the men laid off have nowhere to turn to for work. In other centres there are large factories and industries which could absorb such men, but we have none in Westmorland. My people do not want to go backward, they want to go forward.
When we recall many of the years previous to 1935 we are thankful for what we have because we remember those days with near terror. Those were the days when families in my constituency were living on relief orders that simply called for a bag of flour, a gallon of molasses and three dozen fish. We must have industries in our area but we cannot have such industries unless we have cheap power. The many projects for the production of power which have been presented in this house in years gone by have not been implemented. They were turned down as being impractical or infeasible. I should like engineers sent to New Brunswick to find out what is feasible and what type of power could be developed.
We in New Brunswick have read with interest about the plans for the St. Lawrence seaway, but we feel that a most important part is being left out, a canal through the isthmus of Chignecto, the narrow strip of line approximately 15 miles wide at the border of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. In trading with South America, and this country is anxious to do so, ships using the St. Lawrence seaway would have to travel an extra 400 miles or so around the province of Nova Scotia instead of being able to pass through the proposed Chignecto canal.
Ore boats from the northern part of New Brunswick, especially now that mining development has taken place at Bathurst, would also be required to travel an extra 400 miles.
I think it is vital in time of war as in time of peace to have an inland passage from the gulf of St. Lawrence and the Northumberland strait to the bay of Fundy. Several royal commissions have definitely established the physical and economic feasibility of the Chignecto canal. Its construction would cure our basic economic ills. It is true that it would mean a large expenditure of public funds, but that expenditure would be regarded by the people of Canada as an investment in an area which sorely needs stimulation. In my opinion the Chignecto canal must be built.
Now a word about the fishermen. The fishermen are the farmers of the sea. They need assistance in finding markets for their dried and smoked fish. These men are for the most part small operators and process
The Address-Mr. H. J. Murphy their own products. They are not brokers nor are they financially able to travel abroad to place their products on the market. This year was a very poor year and the lobster catch was only half of what is normal. Many fishermen have been left in bad financial circumstances. There is a surplus of smoked fish and the fishermen are asking the government to assist in the disposal of it.
I would like to read a statement written by the New Brunswick Fish Packers Association, dated October 30, 1953. It concerns the disposal of smoked bloaters-and smoked bloaters are smoked herring:
The Department of Fisheries has been advised by various members of the trade that a serious situation has developed in the marketing of smoked bloaters. As far as we are aware, however, no request has gone out from the trade for the department to take action. The following summary is given with the hope that the department will be able to offer some solution-possibly in the line of government purchases for relief purposes-to the problem of a large stock carry-over of 1952 production smoked bloaters.
New Brunswick and Nova Scotia dealers recently reported to the secretaries of the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia associations the stocks of 1952 bloaters they held at September 15, 1953. Their holdings were reported to be 136,000 boxes. With a carry-over of 4,000 boxes in the Magdalen islands, the total carry-over is 140,000 boxes.
Added to this, the production of bloaters in 1953, and at the time unsold, was reported to be 355,000 boxes. The total stock of bloaters on hand at September 15, 1953-both 1952 and 1953 pack-was
Sales of bloaters for the last five years, as reported by the dominion bureau of statistics, have averaged 500,000 boxes per year. The sale of bloaters for the last marketing period of June 30, 1952, to June 30, 1953, however, amounted to only
If marketing continues at this same rate durmg the present period, until June 30, 1954-and indications are that it will-the surplus at that time, on the basis of the above figures, will be 129,000 boxes. It is expected that further production will swell that surplus to well over 200,000 boxes at June 30 next year.
How will surplus react to detriment of fishermen? Many of the smokers will be forced to close out their operation next year, not having made a return this year. This will shut off the market for the fishermen's herring.
The maritime provinces are in the same geographical relationship to Canada as the New England states are to the United States although we are not the centre of a large population or great industry. On the contrary, we have very few. There must be an answer to our problem somewhere and I would like to find what it is.
Let no one interpret my words as being those of a whining maritimer. They are, rather, a statement of the needs of the people I represent. We do not expect the government to keep us, and ask only that conditions be fostered which will aid in industrial expansion.
230 HOUSE OF
The Address-Mr. Dufresne
I believe that with our pool of labour we could manufacture freight cars, passenger cars and other equipment for the Canadian National Railways. I believe that could be done economically at the C.N.R. shops at Moncton. I believe also that, with the coming [DOT]of cheap power, industries will locate in New Brunswick and provide employment for everyone. Our young people then will not have to leave and work elsewhere.
I do not speak belligerently or offensively but I speak sincerely in the interest of my people. I do not speak to my constituents now, for they have heard these statements time and again. I speak to the members of this house.
I do not agree with people who say somewhat bitterly that confederation was committed in 1867, but rather I am convinced that we must have a strong central government. To this government we look for some measure of assistance. This government has been our salvation in the past and has helped us along to the point where we are now. We are only asking for the extra push that is needed. We are simply asking for a little more.
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY