Mr. C. W. Carter (Burin-Burgeo):
Mr. Speaker, I should like to take advantage of the opportunity afforded by this debate on the budget to give hon. members of this house a brief description of my riding and to inform them of our problems and our needs, a duty which perhaps I have delayed too long.
The riding of Burin-Burgeo extends along the south coast of Newfoundland, from Cape Ray in the southwest corner to Come-By-Chance in Placentia bay and includes all the numerous islands for which this beautiful bay is noted.
History records that as far back as 1621 Placentia bay was the base of operations for the famous pirate, Captain Peter Easton, and on the picturesque island of Oderin, where he was reported to have his headquarters, a mysterious oaken floor still exists at the bottom of a small salt water pond and is considered to be one of the several engineering feats attributed to this famous sailor.
Legend has it that one of Captain Easton's ships was sunk in a battle with another famous pirate by the familiar name Cruick-shank and that this shipload of treasure still rests on the ocean bottom beneath the cliffs of Cape Roger head, six miles across the bay from Oderin.
Pirate gold is also supposed to be buried in beautiful Cape Roger harbour, but all attempts to unearth it have been frustrated by mysterious water spouts. These spouts rush up through the sandy loam when the hole reaches a depth of seven or eight feet and continue to rise to a height of ten feet above sea level.
I mention these stories to emphasize the fact that Newfoundland is an old province with a history dating back centuries before that of the mainland and her communities are steeped in history and very rich in folklore.
Incidentally, I am hoping that these names may catch the attention of the Minister of Fisheries (Mr. Mayhew) because I have been trying for some time to have a guardian placed on Cape Roger river and if the salmon are not sufficiently important, perhaps the buried treasure might provide an added inducement.
The riding which I have the honour to represent is a veritable paradise for both the sportsman and the artist. All along the one thousand miles of coast line the scenery is magnificent. High rocky cliffs rise perpendicular to the sea in their stark naked and rugged, beauty. Between these steep cliffs, so narrow as to be almost imperceptible, are numerous openings which run inland for miles, rivalling the fjords of Norway and ending in pools where beautiful salmon rivers cascade into the sea. In season these rivers and pools are teaming with salmon and salt water trout. A mile or so in the interior the country abounds with moose, caribou, partridge, rabbits and other game. The provincial government is already working to develop these natural attractions but it will take some time before they will be able to cater satisfactorily to the tourist business. Many fine salmon rivers are without protection of any kind, and it is hoped that before too long guardians will be placed not only on Cape Rogers river but on many others.
To get a picture of my riding you must visualize approximately one thousand miles of coast line studded with some 260 settlements perched close to the sea, their peaceful harbours dotted with tiny fishing boats riding at their moorings. Along the shore line nestling close to the sea the simple fishers' cottages though often poor and humble nevertheless extend unfailing welcome and boundless hospitality. In these 260 settlements live some 44,000 of the best people in the world, fisher folk who are the very salt of the earth.
The Budget-Mr. Carter They live close to nature and close to their God. They ask so little from life in this age of materialism that their humility is both touching and inspiring. They ask nothing but the bare necessities of life, and I know from personal experience that for years many of them have had to be content with much less than that. It is a great honour and privilege to serve such people, and I pray that my efforts will be worthy of their trust.
When the great issue of confederation came up my constituents gave it wholehearted support. They remembered the time when they had to exist on a government dole of 7 cents a day. They remembered the relative prosperity of their brothers fishing out of Lunenburg, of their relatives settled in Halifax, Toronto and Vancouver. They remembered the nice things in Eaton's and Simpson's catalogues on which no duty would have to be paid. They remembered the coastal services which they had enjoyed fifteen and twenty years ago, and which they had to forfeit along with their responsible government. They looked at their dilapidated wharves and breakwaters upon which not a cent had been spent for fifteen or twenty years, and they thought of the public services, the navigational aids and communication system enjoyed by the maritime provinces.
Then they reasoned: Surely confederation will bring us back at least the kind of services we used to enjoy twenty and thirty years ago, and perhaps a little better. They pictured Canada as a young giant just beginning to realize his strength and eager to use it by extending a helping hand to a weaker and less fortunate brother. I mention all these things to dispel any notion that Newfoundlanders voted for confederation to get family allowances. That was something outside their experience, and many actually doubted their existence.
Two years have now passed, and what is the position today? I think that ninety per cent of the people are still satisfied that confederation was the wisest and best course. They know now that the family allowance is a reality, and they have had time to realize what a blessing it really is. Our children are now comfortably and respectably clad irrespective of family income, and school attendance has become stabilized at a much higher level, so that the benefits of family allowances alone as an investment in the youth of our province are sufficient to justify the wisdom of confederation.
The social benefits of unemployment insurance, old age pensions and pensions for the blind are other blessings that are very greatly
2234 HOUSE OF
The Budget-Mr. Carter appreciated by our people, and we hope that in time it will be possible to extend unemployment insurance to include our fishermen. Then there -are the federal health benefits which I understand totalled $1 million last year. In my riding alone this has helped to provide three clinical boats whereby doctors can make periodical tours of their districts, and patients requiring hospitalization can be transported to the nearest cottage hospital to receive treatment under a provincial system of subsidized medicine. A new cottage hospital is being built at Channel with federal assistance at the rate of $1,000 per bed.
Then there are the improvements to our harbour facilities, marine installations, public wharves, breakwaters, slipways and protection works. In the majority of settlements this is the first money to be spent on public works for over fifteen years. Perhaps the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Fournier) is not used to being applauded for his efforts, but I feel that my constituents would want me to voice their appreciation to his department for the sympathetic consideration which has been given to these needs, and the improvements that are being accomplished through the untiring efforts of their district engineer and a small but efficient staff. They have not been able to accede to all our requests but it is very evident that they are carrying out a well considered plan to distribute their efforts over the whole province of Newfoundland as evenly and fairly as their limited staff and circumstances will permit. In this connection I should like to urge the Minister of Public Works to increase the staff of the Newfoundland office in order to alleviate the unfair burden which now falls upon the district engineer, and thus expedite the work of his department.
In looking back on confederation I believe that at least ninety per cent of our people, and possibly more, would appraise the benefits of confederation as I have outlined them and would feel that it was the right thing to do. That is not to say, however, that there have not been disappointments, and bitter disappointments too. The greatest disappointment of all was that the substantial reduction in our cost of living, to which all had looked forward with such great expectations, failed to materialize. This was due to a rise in prices on the mainland which Coincided with the date of union, together with the fact that Canadian National Railways chose to take advantage of loose wording in the terms of union to apply a system of freight rates far in excess of the preferential maritime rates which everyone, including those who negotiated and signed the terms of union, understood would apply to New-
foundland. Recently the board of transport commissioners decided this question in favour of Newfoundland, but in the meantime Newfoundlanders had paid several million dollars more than they would otherwise have paid on goods brought into the province. Mail and passenger service have improved considerably, but in spite of the improvement they are not a great deal better than the service Newfoundlanders enjoyed twenty or thirty years ago, before they were forced to give up responsible government.
Several new post offices have been opened in my riding and a fairly satisfactory service has been extended to other settlements by including them in rural water routes, a kind of travelling post office. We are grateful to the Postmaster General (Mr. Rinfret) and his efficient staff for these improvements, and for the courteous and sympathetic consideration his officials give to all our requests. However, many difficulties and even hardships arise from the fact that regulations governing postal operations on the mainland are not at all applicable to Newfoundland. A good example of this is a regulation requiring a distance of two miles between post offices. This may be all right on the mainland where settlements are connected by road, but in Newfoundland very few settlements are connected by road. In order to get to a post office one must launch a boat and row over two miles of salt water. That is quite a different matter. When the men are away fishing the women and children have to do this. In view of the hardships and dangers involved, especially in stormy weather, I feel that this regulation should be relaxed or eliminated altogether as far as Newfoundland is concerned.
Then there is the system of remuneration, which is based upon the sale of stamps. On the mainland there is probably a direct relationship between the value of the stamps sold and the amount of work the postmaster has to do. In Newfoundland there is no such relationship, because the incoming mail is usually ten to fifteen times greater than the outgoing. Family allowances have made ready cash available to parents, and a large proportion of that cash finds its way to the mail order houses. As a result the number of incoming parcels has multiplied many times. This state of affairs is likely to continue indefinitely. This increased mail order business has resulted in increased c.o.d. deliveries, insured parcels, money orders and so on, all of which have no relation at all to the stamps sold. In addition, some postmasters have to sort and distribute mail for other smaller offices which sell their own stamps. As a consequence of all these factors which do not obtain to the same degree on
the mainland, the system of remuneration based upon stamp revenue is very unfair to Newfoundland postmasters. The same is true of rental rates of post office accommodation. Probably the maximum rates are satisfactory; but when you consider that in Newfoundland soft coal costs $25 per ton, the minimum rate of $1 per month is very low when heat, light and cleaning have to be provided as well.
While I am on this subject I should like to bring to the attention of this house the plight in which our 437 postmaster-telegraphers find themselves as a result of confederation. Prior to confederation they were civil servants and as such enjoyed certain privileges such as sick leave with pay and vacations with relief operators supplied at government expense. Today as a result of confederation, though their pension rights are safeguarded by the terms of union, they have lost their civil service status and their sick leave and vacation privileges, which had considerable value in terms of dollars and cents. As a result most postmaster-telegraphers are not able to take an annual vacation for the simple reason that they cannot afford to pay travelling, board and salary expenses for a relief operator, and in consequence their health is beginning to suffer. More serious still is the plight of those who need medical treatment, surgical operations and hospitalization, and must do without because they cannot afford the cost of a relief operator.
The sad thing about this whole affair is that now no one has any responsibility for them. The Canadian National Telegraphs regard them as postmasters. They are not telegraph employees, because the telegraph company merely rents their services from the Post Office Department. On the other hand the stamp revenue is too small to qualify them as full-time postmasters, so they are only part-time postmasters and part-time telegraphers, through between the two they are full-time employees and have more than a full-time job.
There is also the erroneous idea that the salaries of these people have increased considerably since confederation. Even if this were true it would be only fair and right because the work they have to do has multiplied many times, but from my own investigation I know it is not true. About one-third are actually better off. Another third have received increases just about sufficient to offset the loss of free vacations and sick leave with pay. The remainder get exactly the same salary as before, but the loss of sick leave and vacations with pay makes them definitely worse off than before confederation. Furthermore, their telegraph
The Budget-Mr. Carter
duties require them to work overtime and on Sundays, for which they are unable to claim any extra remuneration. I hope the ministers concerned will do everything possible to find a remedy for this situation because this state of affairs, while it may conform to a strict, literal interpretation of the terms of union, is definitely not in accord with the spirit of union nor with the spirit embodied in the terms of union.
Another big disappointment is the lack of Canadian National Telegraph service to smaller settlements. Most of these communities expected that confederation would restore those telegraphic and telephonic communications which they enjoyed some twenty years or more ago but which they lost along with their responsible government. These hopes have not been realized, and worse still there seems to be little chance that they will ever be realized, because Canadian National Telegraphs is organized to operate on a profit basis and most of these small offices would operate at a loss.
On the other hand there is a definite need for these telegraph and telephone services, a need all the more urgent because of lack of roads and other means of communication. We all know that a good system of telecommunications is absolutely essential to progress. In my province it is also essential to offset the handicap of isolation, to send a call for medical aid in time of sickness or accidents, to enable the bank fisherman to contact his family when his ship puts into port. How can we measure human values in terms of dollars and cents? Of what significance is a monetary deficit when human lives are at stake? During the last war these little offices were the means of saving the lives of many of our airmen who had to make forced landings in out of the way places. They were also the means of forwarding much valuable information to defence headquarters concerning submarines and other suspicious craft. In fact, the excellent work done by the aircraft detection corps would have been utterly impossible without the aid of these small stations. I submit, Mr. Speaker, that these small telegraph and telephone stations constitute an essential part of our defence program. This fact alone is sufficient to justify an expansion of the system. The importance of these small telegraph offices cannot be judged in terms of their revenue, because without them the revenues of the larger offices would be much less. It was gratifying to me to learn in a recent committee on railways and shipping that the Canadian National Telegraph Company has now initiated a definite policy with regard to the expansion of these services.
The Budget-Mr. Carter
The coastal services of the Canadian National Railways have increased their frequency to a little better than that enjoyed twenty years ago, but the number of ports served still totals only 73 out of 260. The ship used on the Placentia bay service has accommodation for only eight passengers, while the number requiring transportation averages around 30. I travelled on this ship and saw the terrible conditions that obtain. Passengers are forced to sit up all night huddled together in narrow alleyways or crouching on their suitcases. How could anyone with red blood in his veins help but feel a sense of indignation at seeing his fellow men subjected to such treatment? Conditions during stormy weather and the winter season are beyond description. They are made bearable only by the skill of the captain and his crew, and their general solicitude for their fellow man which often compels them to give up their berths to passengers thus sacrificing their own much needed rest and comfort.
I am satisfied that the local management is in no way to blame for this state of affairs. The blame rests with the mainland offices where policy in these matters is decided by people who, I believe, are fully aware of this situation. I realize that it must be a terrible dilemma to the Canadian National Railways to be required to operate as a private enterprise on one hand and as a public utility on the other, but nevertheless, for humanitarian reasons, these conditions which I have described from personal experience should not be permitted to exist.
The urgent need of at least three small passenger and cargo boats is apparent when it is realized that the Canadian National Railways in Newfoundland not only do not have sufficient passenger boats to take care of present traffic, but they have no spare boat in reserve in case of accident or emergency. Should one of the present ships be lost, the whole coastal service would collapse. To make matters worse, one of the ships now in service is over fifty years old and is due to be retired; another is approaching retirement age. We are all very pleased that a new ferry is being provided for the gulf service, but there is serious doubt of the wisdom of building at this time such a large ship as contemplated, requiring such extensive terminal facilities, harbour installations and improvements. Experienced captains and navigators have expressed serious doubts as to whether such a large ship can be safely manoeuvred during bad weather in the small space available in the terminal port.
On my way to attend this session I was met by a delegation from Channel and Port TMr. Carter.]
aux Basques, who felt that the proposed change in the location of terminals would have an adverse effect on the life of these twin towns. They expressed surprise and indignation that Canadian National Railways should finalize plans for such extensive changes without even consulting the town council or some local organization. I believe it would be wiser to build a smaller ferry, which in conjunction with the ships now in service would be big enough to take care of the peak load traffic but still small enough to use present installations. The money saved would provide for the coastal service those smaller ships which are needed just as urgently as the new ferry. Later on a second ferry might be provided if the need arose. The ships that the new ferry is supposed to release are not suitable for the coastal service because they are too big for most of the harbours and cannot be operated economically in that type of service.
In view of the important part played by the merchant navy in the two world wars, the provision of these small ships could be regarded as almost an essential part of our defence preparation. Because the need is so urgent, I plead with the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) to give serious consideration to these proposals.
Related to this subject is the case of wharfingers, of whom there are a considerable number. Prior to confederation the Newfoundland government paid these people for the handling of government-owned packages for the federal government without ingers have been required to handle parckages for the federal government without any remuneration whatever. It does not seem right morally, and it is certainly not democracy, that any person should be required to work for nothing or to give his services for nothing, even to the national government. I understand that statutory authority is lacking whereby the government is able to make such payments, but surely that is a simple matter to remedy. I trust that this little problem will be solved on the basis of what is right, rather than what is legal.
We are grateful, too, for what the Department of Transport has done to improve our navigational aids. But many more fog alarms, gas and whistle buoys and radio beacons are needed to afford our fishermen a standard of protection comparable to that enjoyed by the maritime provinces.
A few weeks ago my good friend the member for St. John's West (Mr. Browne) described to this house the terrible plight of our inshore fishermen owing to the market price of salt cod dropping from an average of $14 per quintal in 1949 to an average of $7 per quintal in I960. Some
received even less than that. The cost of living is still on the increase, and we hope that steps will be taken to ensure that our inshore fishermen receive a fair -return for their catch. In Ottawa fresh cod retails for 39 cents per pound, yet the fisherman receives only 3 or 4 cents per pound. Salt cod retails at 49 cents per pound, and the fisherman gets 10 to 12 cents per pound. I should explain, Mr. Speaker, that this fish is from the maritimes and not from Newfoundland. I understand that mainland firms are reluctant to buy Newfoundland fish from the marketing organization known as NAFEL. It is difficult to believe that processing and transportation can account for such tremendous price spreads. I feel that this is a situation which might well be investigated under the combines act.
In his reference to merchants, I am sure that the member for St. John's West did not intend to imply that all merchants exploit the fishermen. Possibly some do, but there are many who do not. Many merchants have invested their profits in the fishery and sustained heavy losses in the interests of the fishermen. There are also many smaller shopkeepers who take staggering risks in supplying for the fishery, and they get only a small commission for collecting the fish for the exporters.
Recently the restriction on the shooting of turrs was debated in this house. This is also another matter of great concern to our people for which we hope a satisfactory solution can be obtained.
I mention all these matters, Mr. Speaker, not in any spirit of complaining, but because they are a source of real dissatisfaction to a large number of my constituents and I feel I would be failing in my duty if I did not direct attention to them. Trivial though they may appear to be, nevertheless they are very important because they concern people and they represent points where our people feel that democracy has ceased to identify itself with their needs.
When Lincoln defined democracy as government of the people, by the people and for the people, he left no doubt that concern for people constitutes the very essence of democracy. Like the Sabbath, democracy was made for man and not man for democracy. I think we sometimes tend to forget this great truth. When we set up a democratic machine and try to fit man into it, when- we subordinate man to profits, to political considerations, to expediency or to any other thing, how much better are we than the Kremlin which sets up [DOT] the state above the individual?
The Budget-Mr. Carter
We may have all the exterior trappings of democracy; we may go through the democratic motions as often as we like; but unless we are motivated by a genuine care for the needs of mankind, in our own land and everywhere else, we do not have true democracy and we fool nobody, except perhaps ourselves.
I hope that the government will be able to give favourable consideration to the matters which I have brought to their attention and which mean so much to my people. We realize that our coastal and telegraph services cannot be brought up to standard overnight; but those conditions-such as those with regard to the postmaster-telegraphers, the wharfingers, the Placentia bay coastal boat service, and the postal regulations-which are causing such unnecessary hardship should be remedied at once. Immediate action is necessary to convince our people that government is not indifferent to their needs and to restore their faith in democracy.
I should like to repeat that we are grateful for what has been done so far and we appreciate the benefits of confederation, particularly the social benefits; because we are like our brothers from Quebec in that our Newfoundland families are extremely close knit.
Here, Mr. Speaker, as an English-speaking Canadian I should like to say to my Frenchspeaking colleagues how grateful I am for them and for the people they represent. Their way of life and the emphasis which they have always placed on those deep spiritual values symbolized by the home, the church, family ties and simplicity of life, give them much in common with the people of my own province. I should like to say that we Newfoundlanders are proud to join with them and with the other provinces in working out, under God, the true destiny of our young and vigorous nation.
I believe, Mr. Speaker, that the true destiny of our nation is to give to the world a demonstration of true democracy-an inspired democracy that will capture the hearts and minds of the millions in Asia, in India, in Africa, and in Europe who are now searching for a form of government that will meet all their needs and aspirations. These millions leave no room for doubt that they are not at all impressed by the brand of democracy that we have demonstrated to them to date.
This new democracy, this true democracy, will put people before things and service before profits. Industry and business, management and labour, will be inspired by a motive higher than profits; and out of their
The Budget-Mr. Carter sense of responsibility for the nation and their caring for the needs of people will come that creative thinking which will solve our housing problems and stabilize the purchasing power of our dollar. The labourer will give an honest day's work in return for an honest day's pay, and the individual production of real wealth will increase. Instead of shortages there will be abundance for all our own needs and plenty left over to give to those who have not. Along with our gifts we will give our hearts so that our assistance may have a spiritual value as well as a material value.
Freedom of enterprise will not be the freedom of the jungle. There will be no strikes because all disputes will be settled on a basis of what is right instead of who is right. There will be no poverty because when everyone cares enough and shares enough, everyone will have enough. Honest prices and honest profits along with increased production per man will lower the cost of living. Communism will wither in the face of this superior idea by which it will be outmoded and outlived. Self control in the individual, which in its highest form is God control, will make government controls unnecessary; because the more that people govern themselves, the less they have to be governed.
Government will present issues to the people on a moral basis instead of on an economic, legal or political basis and people will be taken into partnership with government and fully briefed for the part they have to play. Individuals and organized groups will not bargain with their votes nor try to impose their will on the nation, nor will they seek advantages at the expense of others.
In parliament there will be total honesty between parties and between members: total honesty in debate, honesty of motives and honest admission of mistakes and failures. We can best preserve peace by removing the causes of war, and most of the causes of war, Mr. Speaker, lie within ourselves. This new order cannot be built without sacrifice. Temporarily we may have to sacrifice our standard of living. We shall certainly have to sacrifice our greed, our selfishness, our ambition and our comparative moral standards. We cannot build a new world and retain the old evils. We shall all have to change; because as I am, so is my nation. We shall have to learn to live on a basis of absolute moral standards. We shall have to match our external defence program by developing our internal defences of moral and spiritual strength; and we can do that only by exercising moral judgment and by making moral decisions.
This, Mr. Speaker, is my idea of true democracy. This is my blueprint for a new Canada. This I believe is Canada's true destiny. These are the things I want to fight for in my home, in my riding, in my province and in this parliament.
Topic: THE BUDGET
Subtopic: ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE