1971 Legislative Session: 2nd Session, 29th Parliament
The following electronic version is for informational purposes only.
The printed version remains the official version.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 22,1971
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The House met at 2:30 p.m.
The Hon. W.D. Black presented to Mr. Speaker six Messages from His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor.
The following Bills were introduced, read a first time, and Ordered to be placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading at the next sitting after today:
Bill (No. 2) intituled An Act to Amend the Civil Service Superannuation Act.
Bill (No. 3) intituled An Act to Amend the Municipal Superannuation Act.
Bill (No. 4) intituled An Act to Amend the Teachers' Pensions Act, 1961.
Bill (No. 5) intituled An Act to Amend the School District and Regional Colleges (Pensions) Act.
Bill (No. 6) intituled An Act to Amend the Members of the Legislative Assembly Superannuation Act.
Bill (No. 7) intituled An Act to Amend the Public Service Group Insurance Act.
MR. SPEAKER: The Honourable the Leader of the Opposition.
MR. D. BARRETT (Leader of the Opposition): Mr. Speaker, I ask leave of the House pursuant to Standing Order 35 to discuss a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely, the critical emergency created by unemployment of 70,000 British Columbia citizens and the need for immediate emergency measures to alleviate the hardships which affect the unemployed and the general prosperity of the Province.
MR. SPEAKER: One moment, please. It is seldom required that the Speaker is requested to decide the urgency of a matter, and only on about five occasions, as published in Sir Erskine May's Parliamentary Practice, is there any indication that the Speaker has decided the matter of urgency itself. The Speaker is called upon to decide the matter of urgency of debate at this particular time. A reference to page 365 in the 17th edition of May will indicate that the motion has been refused when an ordinary parliamentary opportunity will occur shortly or in time, and specifically in Subsection 5, when the matter could be raised by moving an amendment to the Address in answer to the King's Speech which of course would be, in our particular jurisdiction, the Address in reply to His Honour the Lieu tenant-Governor's Speech. In other words, the parliamentary opportunity to discuss the matter that has been suggested by this urgency motion can be made by an amendment to the Speech from the Throne either today or on a following day. The matter therefore fails in urgency and is out of order.
MR. BARRETT: I'm afraid I will have to challenge your ruling.
MR. SPEAKER: The Speaker's ruling has been challenged. The question is: "Shall the Speaker's ruling be sustained?"
The Speaker's ruling was sustained on the following division:-
YEAS - 37
NAYS - 16
MR. SPEAKER: The Honourable Member for Columbia River.
MR. J.R. CHABOT (Columbia River): Mr. Speaker, I take great pleasure in presenting the following motion, moved by James R. Chabot, seconded by G. Scott Wallace, that the following Address be presented to His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor. "We, Her Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, in Session assembled, take leave to thank Your Honour for the gracious Speech which Your Honour has addressed to us at the opening of the present Session."
In speaking to the motion, I see that the Leader of the Official Opposition has just disappeared for a moment. I wanted to comment about his semantics here, which took place a few moments ago. The only conclusion I can come to is that they're readily ashamed of what took place here yesterday. I'll have a little more to say about that a little later on, too.
Mr. Speaker, this for British Columbia is a very eventful year. It's the hundredth anniversary of British Columbia becoming a part of this great Dominion of Canada, and I think that it's important that one sits back and reflects what this country was like one hundred years ago because, in 1871, in British Columbia, we had a population of less than ten thousand people and, today, one hundred years later, it's over two million people. I hope that this fantastic growth, especially the great growth that has taken place over the last nineteen years, won't project itself into the next hundred years, because if it does, we will have a larger population than we presently have in the United States.
At the time of British Columbia entering Confederation, there were elected 25 M.L.A. s, 12 from Vancouver Island and 13 throughout the mainland, for a Population of less
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than ten thousand people. In other words, one M.L.A. represented approximately four hundred people.
Today, one M.L.A., an average M.L.A., represents approximately thirty-six thousand people. Approximately thirty-six thousand people are represented by one M.L.A. But I think what we should reflect is the tolerance and the understanding that existed one hundred years ago. Those people who were the legislators in the groups that influenced the first Parliament of our country did not have the understanding and tolerance we have today. One hundred years ago, they didn't allow the native Indians, nor did they allow the Chinese, to vote in this Province. It wasn't until several years later that they were given this right. And British Columbia has proved that ethnic groups have assimilated themselves very well within our society, because it was from British Columbia that the first Member of Parliament of Chinese ancestry was elected to the House of Commons from Vancouver Centre. And it was from British Columbia that the first native Indian was elected to the House of Commons. And it's in British Columbia that we have a native son, our friend from Atlin. He might not have too many people, but they're just as important as other people, aren't they? But, at the time of Confederation, there was great variety of opinions as to the direction that this particular territory should go; whether it should join the Confederation, or whether it should be annexed with the United States. And, I want to say thank God that sanity prevailed, because now we have a great Dominion from sea to sea, and one of the prime reasons for the people of that day deciding to join the Confederation, was the promise by the National Government that they would build a cross-Canada railroad from sea to sea. But typical of Liberals, it took many, many years to fulfill that promise, many, many years. It took so many years that the people in this Province became restless with these broken promises. There was talk of secession. There was talk in those particular days of the favouritism that was shown to some of the eastern provinces, and those talks continued from that day to this, regardless of political leadership within this Province, because these are a fact of life. But British Columbia joined Canada to strengthen the Confederation, to contribute something to a united Canada, and I speak for many concerned British Columbians, that British Columbians are prepared to continue to make economic sacrifices in order to keep Canada united.
This year we're celebrating not only the Centennial of Canada, we're also celebrating a very eventful year, because we're celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the M.L.A. from South Okanagan in public service, a man who has given loyal dedication to the betterment of his fellow British Columbians. Not only has he served for 30 years as an M.L.A. for South Okanagan, but 19 of those years have been in giving the type of leadership and direction which British Columbians have asked for.
Mr. Speaker, I am concerned about unemployment, I'm just as concerned, I am sure, and so is everyone else in this House, just as concerned about unemployment, as was indicated by the Leader of the Official Opposition this afternoon. This is something that we should all be extremely concerned about. I think this Government has taken action in many respects to try to curb this problem. The Government has set up a retraining programme in which they're going to train unskilled people so that they can take their rightful place in our society. I think the Government should be commended for this action. But we should look at the root cause, the root cause of the unemployment within this Nation, and that's because of the stupid fiscal policies of the Liberal Government in Ottawa. Their stupid fiscal policies, and those Liberals stand up here and try to tell us that they are concerned about unemployment. I wonder, I wonder what action, what type of influence, they have tried to bring on Ottawa to curb those types of policy which were instituted by their fellow Liberals in Ottawa. Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that the Leader of the Official Opposition has gone again. He never seems to be in his chair, he's always gone. You know, yesterday, in this Chamber we witnessed one of the most despicable, deplorable and disgraceful demonstrations this Parliament has ever seen. And I think that those people who were involved initially and indirectly should hang their heads in shame. This demonstration was directly sponsored and paid for by the B.C. Federation of Labour, in conjunction with the NDP. The heavy hand of the socialist was well visible in this demonstration yesterday. When I look at those banners flying, those huge banners that British Columbia's young New Democrats - I wonder if they were not involved. They were flaunting the red flag out in the front, a red flag attached to banners such as these: "Jobs with the NDP Labour to Power." I think that it's extremely tragic that ...
MR. G.H. DOWDING (Burnaby-Edmonds): You wouldn't know a Maoist if you saw one.
MR. CHABOT: That's right, I wouldn't, but you would, you would, you'd know what one looks like. You want the flag, you want it? I think it's tragic that the majority of law-abiding union members have had to contribute to that disgraceful episode that took place here yesterday. Thousands of dollars of union members' dollars were wasted in this demonstration. And speaking as a union member of long standing, I deplore those political tactics.
I listened as I was coming into this building yesterday to the Leader of the Official Opposition out there inciting the people, out there inciting them. "This is your building," he said, "this is your building." That's what he was saying. He incited them. Then I read the press this morning, his statements in which he tried to weasel out of his responsibility. Let me assure you, these were hollow, shallow platitudes he was repeating. The Leader of the Liberal Party participated as well - unknowingly, unwittingly, he participated. He was out there talking. He didn't realize that the little fires he was starting would come out of control. You started the fires (interruption).
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.
MR. CHABOT: Mr. Speaker, that Party is guilty of the demonstration yesterday. That Party was an accomplice to that demonstration yesterday. What happened to the statements of the Leader of the NDP, in which he said ...
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Would the Honourable Member please be seated? Is the Honourable Member standing to a point of order or a point of privilege?
MR. A.B. MACDONALD (Vancouver East): To a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker. As a Member of the Party, I have been accused by the speaker who has just taken his place of being an accomplice to not only a demonstration, but presumably an accomplice to the violence that took place in the buildings. That is utterly and categorically false. It is a false
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canard that is being spread deliberately by Members opposite, and I demand a withdrawal....
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Would the Honourable Member be seated. He has not made out a point of privilege. Nevertheless, the Member has made a statement that he himself was not implicated in any demonstration which took place, and that statement must be accepted by all Members of this Legislature. Order, please.
MR. CHABOT: I didn't implicate that particular Member who rose on what he called a point of privilege, but I am directly implicating the Party who is a party to these (interruption).
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.
MR. DOWDING: The Honourable Member said to this House that the Honourable Member who spoke and complained was not implicated, but he did not do the same with me and I was out there, my friend. Mr. Speaker, I was out there. But, Mr. Speaker, the Honourable the Leader of the Opposition, I endorsed his words, when he said ... I want to clear this point ...
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The Honourable Member is still on a point of order.
MR. DOWDING: Yes, I want to speak to my point of order. It is simply that I had nothing to do with what those people, the Yippees, did in here, and I want to point out that the Leader of the Opposition told those people to use democratic, parliamentary means ...
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The Honourable Member, proceed.
MR. CHABOT: The Leader, the Leader of the Official Opposition told those people, outside this hall, outside this Chamber, that "this is your building." Think it over, think it over. Disgraceful, completely inciting those people. Whatever happened to those pious statements of the Leader of the Official Opposition of last summer, in which he stated that he would disassociate himself from the B.C. Federation of Labour? Whatever happened? I'll tell you what happened. When Ray Haynes tells him to jump, he asks, "how high?" The Leader of the Official Opposition is not worthy of the job! Not worthy of it! I would suggest to the B.C. Federation of Labour and to the NDP that they owe an apology to the people of British Columbia. We've seen this same Member, you stated that this Member didn't incite those people outside. He made one of his infrequent trips to northern British Columbia this summer, and he incited a municipal council up there, by telling them that it was a shack town. Calling the community of Chetwynd, what is basically a new community, calling it a shack town. He incited those people and you can't deny that, and he denied he incited them, just like he incited those people outside. And when the little brush fire got away, he ran for cover and said, "I'm sorry."
Mr. Speaker, we've heard of a great variety of statements about the good life, the rounded life, and now we have the new life in British Columbia. Because I'm happy and I want to congratulate the Minister of Recreation and Conservation for his initiative, along with the co-operation of B.C. Hydro, in the project in which they are going to reclaim the mess which is now called Stave Lake. I think that it is important that this mistake, this Liberal mistake, took place many years ago, but at that particular time, I think that we can forgive those people for the mistakes they made, because conservation was not the most important thought in the peoples' minds at that particular time. But I think that it will, once reclaimed, add another very important recreational facility to the heaviest concentration of people in our Province.
Another area which is presently being reclaimed is Ootsa Lake, another Liberal mistake being rectified. There's logging on Ootsa Lake at the present time and some of the flooded timber is economically being removed, and I hope that their endeavour is successful so that Ootsa Lake will become a great part of the Tweedsmuir Provincial Park.
I want to suggest to the Minister of Lands, Forests and Water Resources that he should do everything to encourage those individuals who are working on that project. In fact, if they find they are having financial hardships, I would have no hesitation, in fact, I have no hesitation in recommending that the Government subsidize these loggers if the need be.
Mr. Speaker, I believe that it can be safely said that, as far as the economy of British Columbia is concerned, the nicest thing about 1970 is that it's over. In this connection I would like to review some of the incidents that have ravaged the economy of our Province. In speaking about the labour situation in British Columbia, I don't stand here and I don't profess to be an expert in the field of labour. Although I've been a member of a labour union for many years, probably longer than any member in this Legislature - in fact, there are very few Members in this Legislature that can say that they have been a member of a labour union. In the statements and suggestions that I will be making today, I don't profess to speak for labour, I don't profess to be speaking for management, nor am I projecting the direction of Government in this serious matter, but I am speaking on behalf of concerned British Columbians. The majority of time-loss due to strikes and lockouts that took place in Canada, took place in our Province. We have lost approximately three million man-days in 1970, almost half the national total, more time-loss than in the preceding decade in this Province. Economically this has had a very severe effect on our ability to render services to people.
The Government was warned by labour that 1969 would be a picnic compared to 1970. They were correct in their prediction. Strikes have taken place in nearly every major industry, the docks, construction, towboats, pulp and paper, smelting - to mention a few of the bigger ones. The dock strike and the towboat strike, both of which had severe effects on our economy, were the responsibility of the Federal Labour Department, and the severity and the length of these strikes leave one to question the methods utilized by the Federal Government in settling labour disputes. There appeared to be a very limited degree of concern for the economy of the particular areas in the resolving of these strikes. I'm not suggesting that this was the case, but I am suggesting that the Federal system of labour dispute settlement is archaic and in need of revamping. The Federal Government in 1970 suggested voluntary wage guidelines to help combat inflation. They were immediately told by the Canadian Labour Congress that the guidelines were not necessary and, furthermore, they would not be respected. In fact, the voluntary guidelines established by the National Government were a fiasco. They weren't even able to impose their guidelines on their own civil servants, the postal workers. The average increase in wages in British Columbia
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was approximately 10 per cent in 1970, which is far removed from the suggested 6 per cent. With the downward trend in the economy in Canada, one would be inclined to believe that settlements would be less inflationary. The leader of the B.C. Liberal Party, this summer, in his great knowledge of labour-management problems, suggested that we should have a system of labour courts in British Columbia. I can't support that type of a suggestion because this, to me, leads to compulsory arbitration. We already have in British Columbia, a far superior method of resolving labour disputes with the Mediation Act. I'm rather surprised to hear these suggestions from that Member, in view of his position on the Mediation Act, which is binding only when the public interest and welfare of this state is in jeopardy.
This same Member had the opportunity this summer to act as a mediation officer in a pulp industry dispute. It is gratifying to see a Member of the Legislature offer himself in this role, especially when the union concerned had no alternative but to accept the settlement made by other pulp mills with the international membership. I'm sure the Member gained very little knowledge in the collective bargaining process; nevertheless, a useful purpose was served.
Collective bargaining is a means of negotiating between labour and management the value or the price of labour. This same bargaining takes place between employers and employees of the semiprofessional or the professional groups. But to those groups who are not bargaining from a power position - that is - by the withdrawal of their services - the results in many instances are not as satisfactory as those secured by labour unions. Labour unions have proved a very useful purpose in the fight against low wages for their membership. Many unions still act in a very responsible manner. There are, however, some that refuse to be responsible and fail to take into account suggestions by Government of the economic conditions of the country, or of the Province, or of the industry's ability to absorb the demands. Until such time as we're able to have responsible bargaining on both sides, we will continue to have labour strife in British Columbia. I am a great believer in free collective bargaining with no intervention. The Government should be the last resort for the settlement of the dispute. The tendency today is to rely more heavily on Government intervention. Increase in productivity, cost of living, wage disparity, should be the prime bargaining points in wage demands. These three points rarely enter into negotiations today.
In 1968, 1 voted in this Legislature for Bill 33, an Act Respecting Collective Bargaining and Mediation, because I believed the legislation to be an improvement over the makeshift methods of resolving work stoppages in essential industries. Prior to this legislation, to resolve a problem in essential industry, it was necessary to call a Session before it could be resolved and this, in many instances, can have very devastating effects. You people try to leave the implication that Bill 33 means compulsory arbitration. Certainly, I agree that there is one section, Section 18, that gives the Lieu tenant-Governor in Council authority to make a recommendation binding, to protect the public interest and welfare. There comes a time when governments must take action to protect the interest of the individuals or groups affected by lockouts and/or strikes. Unless governments are prepared to take this responsibility, who else should? The public should be able, at the appropriate time, to decide whether a government has abused that privilege. I'm sure that most Members here, along with myself, have taken a keener interest in labour-management problems in 1970, because of the great disruptive forces that have been cast upon this Province. I'm sure that many Members have looked at some of the disputes that have taken place, read some of the decisions, and are far more familiar with the problems that labour and management have had to deal with. But there has been a strong reluctance on the part of labour to co-operate with the Mediation Commission, in particular by the B.C. Federation of Labour. It has, in most instances, advised other affiliated unions to boycott the Commission. Despite what Mr. Haynes recently said, in a letter to the Vancouver Sun, in which he says that, ". . . these unions make this decision unilaterally, . . ." he has told us in assembly that they must defy the Mediation Commission. The B.C. Federation of Labour appears to accept compulsion only when it is in their interest.
In Canada today, in the majority of our industries, there is compulsory unionism, either through closed-shop, or union-shop clauses. There are groups and individuals who are today questioning this aspect of compulsion. Some unions fail to appreciate this tremendous concession. I'm not suggesting that it should be abolished, because without it unions would be greatly weakened. It is desirable that unions be strong, in order to protect the workers they represent, but governments can no longer tolerate unions that would attempt to coerce their will upon the electorate, regardless of the consequences.
We see here in British Columbia the B.C. Federation of Labour dictating policy to the NDP, of which I mentioned a little bit a few moments ago. This political party is making a feeble attempt to divorce itself from this influence but with very little success. This organization is not satisfied with dictating to its membership and to the NDP. It wants to dictate to the Government and, in turn, to the people, in its attitude to the Mediation Act.
Mr. Speaker, it wasn't too long ago that I was approached by a contractor, who wanted to know why, in most instances, the Government insists that they let contracts to unionized contractors only. This individual has a relatively large nonunionized contracting firm. He is of the opinion that the Government, with this approach, is discriminating against nonunion contractors in this Province. Mind you, he did state that he was not interested in Government contracts, but he is concerned because he believes that his company and his workers contribute as much to this Province, to the society in our Province, as do union members. I'm bringing up this point merely to point out that labour unions have been given preferential treatment in this Province, and not to suggest that the practice be done away with. I believe that the penalty clauses of the Mediation Act should be reviewed, that in every instance where the worker is made a party to the violation, this part should be deleted.
The union member in many instances is not aware of the actions being taken on his behalf by his union. Why should he be penalized for the actions of the union leaders? With this deletion, I believe that the penalty should be reviewed and changed to reflect a more realistic basis for the violation, because the maximum penalty under the Mediation Act, as far as unions are concerned, is even less than what the B. C. Federation of Labour spent for their demonstration here yesterday, and I think that if we're going to look at the improvement of this part of the Mediation Act I think we should do it in a very realistic way.
The Mediation Act has not proven to be the effective tool for labour peace that I had expected it would be. I am
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inclined to believe that its ineffectiveness is directly related to the political motivation of the B.C. Federation of Labour. Certain statements made by the Chairman of the Commission certainly lead me to question his credibility. Statements, such as: "There should be no collective bargaining for Civil Servants, " should never have been issued. You were out of the House, Mr. Member, when I said that I was not giving the direction of Government as far as improvement of labour legislation. With the mood of labour regarding the Act, more time is required to realize what it can become - the useful means of resolving collective bargaining disputes. I certainly support the principle of non-Government intervention in labour disputes excepting when the public welfare is at stake. There are other less desirable ways of settling labour disputes and as the Throne Speech mentioned, Section 18 was rarely used in 1970 and only when the public interest was at stake. In several instances, management has shown a reluctance to communicate with unions and in so doing forcing Mediation Commission involvement. Communication is vital to labour peace and unless there is more communication we can expect labour strikes to continue in this Province.
To every Member in this Legislature the public interest should be paramount and I believe for the benefit of some Members across the way that I am going to repeat that statement to every Member of this Legislature. The public interest should be paramount. The right of free collective bargaining should never be challenged and the only occasion in which Government should intervene is on behalf of the public welfare. The Mediation Act is a vehicle to help resolve deadlocked negotiations with the most modern and effective means available in this country.
Mr. Speaker, this afternoon I am going to say a few words about pollution, because this is no doubt one of the most controversial subjects on this continent at the present time. It is gratifying to see that in the Throne Speech there is heavy emphasis on our environment. The Government indicates that its number one priority for the '70's is that of the improvement of our environment. Pollution or environment is the subject on which many people profess to be experts, although those most closely associated with its prevention and control have no hesitation in stating that very little is known. Its control is a subject of massive research. There is a great deal of emotional reaction to the establishment of industries within our Province. The reaction rarely considers whether the industry will have an effect upon our environment. Few people are familiar with the Pollution Control Act. Fewer still are aware of the various steps being taken by the Government to control our air, water and land. I believe that, in this respect, the Government has a responsibility to let the people know what they are doing to avoid pollution in this Province, We're hearing a great deal about mercury pollution at the moment. It is really shocking to me to hear of the extremely high mercury content in the dogfish, which are all prepared ready to be exported to a market, which has today imperilled a potential market of 500,000 pounds of what is basically a scavenger fish. In this connection, in connection with the promotion of a market, I want to give credit to the Federal Minister of Fisheries for the initiative which he displayed in securing a market for this fish which most West Coast fishermen took upon as a curse. You know, mercury pollution is not only found in the oceans; many of our fresh waters, lakes and streams have a very high degree of pollution, and not too long ago it was stated that industry from North America is dumping 5,000 tons of mercury into the ocean annually. This certainly endangers our fish population and because of the great retention capacity of fish of being able to retain a heavy mercury content within their systems for at least 500 days, there is great danger of spreading this contamination to other areas. Mercury pollution is not only through indiscriminate dumping; there are hundreds of tons of mercury pollution being poured into the air through the vaporization of coal as well, and I think that we should look upon this situation, the contamination of our water systems, as a shocking situation. Some bodies of water will take decades to restore because of the degree of contamination. The mercury usage today has increased twenty-fold in the last fifty or so years. I think that research steps must be taken to control the use and abuse of this material.
As it is recognized that coal contains mercury, I would suggest that the Pollution Control Board undertake studies to establish the amount of mercury contained in the coal being mined in the East Kootenays. There have been certain groups advocating that we should not tolerate the export of our thermal coal from the East Kootenays but that we should use it instead for generation of power in the East Kootenays and the export of power to the United States. I certainly don't support this position as far as the Crowsnest area is concerned, because the utilization of such vast amounts of coal within the narrow confines of the Crowsnest Pass would create a serious mercury pollution problem.
I think the Pollution Control Board should also investigate the proposal of the 490-mile pipeline to transport coal from the East Kootenays to Roberts Bank. Such questions of whether oil will be used in their process must be answered in research. Will the water, after having been used in the transportation process, be dumped in the ocean and, if so, will the mercury content, or a portion of the mercury content, become separated and further pollute our fish population? I would suggest that these questions must be researched and information secured long before the pipeline becomes a reality.
The fishing industry in British Columbia warrants our concern and actions to alleviate this very serious problem. In the United States, for the first year in which it kept a record of fish mortality in 1969, 41 million fish died, of which 26 million died by indiscriminate dumping of industrial waste in the ocean. It has reached such an alarming degree as far as fish contamination and decrease of numbers through industrial pollution that last year there was a decrease in the catch of fish by 160 million dollars. I personally have always over the years imagined that we would be able to, and future generations would be able to, look to the oceans to help curb world hunger. I am now starting to question the validity of the thought when I see the abuse that is taking place. The ocean has a great ability of cleansing itself; this ability is being challenged at the present time. When one looks at what is happening in the Mediterranean, because that ocean has almost reached the point of no return, I think it is time for concern. I think that we all have a very direct interest in the ocean. The ocean can tolerate only so much abuse. We should be concerned about the Americans dumping radio-active materials in the ocean as well. We should be concerned about the Americans transporting oil from Alaska along the British Columbia coast to the American ports.
The problems of the ocean are our problems, although international in nature, nevertheless we should familiarize the National Government with our concern.
The United Nations should establish guidelines to preserve
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our oceans and not wait until it reaches the situation, such as Lake Erie, where it is proposed to spend over one billion dollars to reclaim. After all, 70 per cent of our oxygen originates from the ocean.
I was rather amused by the statement from the Leader of the Liberal Party, in which he stated we should have a law, in fact, I believe he stated he would introduce a Bill this Session. He is not here again, unfortunately, because I would like to hear his comments on what I have to say, but perhaps you accept this as standard procedure. We have very great difficulty in finding the Leader of the Liberal Party; he is either on the telephone or on a hot line instead of being here looking after the peoples' business. I would be inclined to suspect that the law, such as being proposed by the Liberals, would result in a rash of frivolous lawsuits. What is required are strict standards to protect our land, water-and air, and I think that these standards should be established through the co-ordination of all levels of Government.
British Columbia has taken the initiative through its Pollution Control Act to register all land and water pollution during 1970 and has set a December 31, 1971 deadline for the registration of all types of air pollution. This is the first step necessary to evaluate a problem. In this respect we are far ahead of the United States, far ahead of the United States, who are just today commencing a programme of registration of polluters and, let me assure you, the pollution problem in the United States cannot be compared with that in this Province. However, since the guidelines were established for the registration of air pollution within this Province, the Government has been presented with a study it commissioned to the B. C. Research Council. I understand that the report suggests the Government can either take remedial action now or face costly corrective measures at a later date. As the report suggests that air pollution in this Province does reach high degrees at certain times, I would hope that the Government will take immediate action by establishing standards to protect our air.
I was pleased to see that the Federal Government has created a Department of Environmental Management, with a Minister in charge. I hope that this Department, along with the various Provincial Governments, will work out the boundaries of jurisdiction so that responsibilities can be clearly defined. This new Department should promote sewage treatment through financial assistance in co-operation with Provincial Governments. The Federal Department should give financial support to Provincial research facilities based on Provincial initiative. The Provincial Government should have no hesitation in engaging scientists and ecologists with the necessary research facilities to keep ahead of the scientific problems and changes in our environment. This Government has proven to be a government of foresight and innovation because when it saw the need a few years ago to establish a Department of Recreation and Conservation, the first on this continent, what did they do? They established the Department, and I am sure that this Government can see today the need to co-ordinate the various pollution control measures that we have in this Province under a separate Department of Environmental Control.
Mr. Speaker, I am going to close here in just a moment, but I think that I must bring up one point which I was certainly remiss in not bringing up a little earlier, but I am amazed, when a Session is about to begin in British Columbia, at the type of scurrying that takes place amongst the leaders of the opposing political parties and their members. You know, one would think that once this House is prorogued they cast aside their responsibilities until just before the next election. They cast aside their responsibilities and then all of a sudden they get their official notice that we're going to have a Session and what do they do? They immediately start running their ads to get the Provincial Coat of Arms of British Columbia, Office of the Official Opposition. They start telling people, "Bring us briefs, we're desperate, we don't know what to do, but we want to criticize." They don't only do that, they also band together a little group and they call in a photographer. And they say, "Let's run down to Riverview, bring a reporter, too, it's important. We've got to take pictures, we've got to make the press, we've got to show the people we're doing something on their behalf." I have no objections to this type of approach, but at least do it on the year off, at least do it not just before a Session. Then after they leave Riverview and they've had their pictures taken, saying how deplorable the situation is at Riverview, they ask the photographer and the reporter, "Come on down to Oakalla, we'll tell you about the horse barns, maybe you can take a picture of those, too." Is that what they call facing up to their public responsibility?
The Liberal Party, not too long ago, the Leader of the Liberal Party, stated that, "We're going to have 23 days, all fire and action! We want your briefs, we want to know what to say as far as criticizing this Government. We're going to have real action; everyday we're going to have press releases and, we hope, pictures, too." Do you know what this reminds me of, Mr. Speaker? It reminds me of the 100 days of action of the Pearson Government. That was 100 days of sheer futility for the people of this country, that's what that was. I don't know, I think that these people have been put into this high office of responsibility of leaders of political parties within this Province, and they must face up to those responsibilities as well. They have failed to do so. It's unfortunate that the Leader of the Liberal Party is not here today because I'd like to question him as to how often he has come to Victoria to speak on behalf of concerned British Columbians? Has he come to Victoria once a week? Has he come twice? Twice a month? Has he come once a month? Has he come semiannually? Or has he come not at all?l think that the Leader of the Liberal Party has completely abdicated his responsibilities as a leader. He doesn't have time, it's unfortunate, because he's gone back to his university, I understand, and he doesn't have time. But I think that it's terrible that someone would take a position of responsibility and not devote the time that is necessary on behalf of British Columbians, because the people of British Columbia are asking questions today. They want to know, where these leaders are. They want to see the leaders out in the countryside, they don't only want to see them at election time or just a few days before a Session.
Mr. Speaker, in closing, in British Columbia we have experienced difficulties in the past year. But I am seriously convinced that we can be optimistic for the future. As we have the policies, we have the people, and we have the perseverance to continue to make this the greatest province in the Dominion of Canada.
MR. SPEAKER: The Honourable Member for Oak Bay.
MR. G.S. WALLACE (Oak Bay): Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure for me to second the motion of the Honourable Member for Columbia River. I doubt if I can match his histrionics, but I would suggest that if we have a Frenchman moving and a Scotsman seconding, then the matter of
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national unity is in good shape.
It must be admitted that when the Honourable Premier phoned me and asked me to fill this role, it would not be an exaggeration to say that I was taken aback. It should also be made plain that the Honourable Premier quickly told me, although he, as Leader of the Government, was asking me to make this speech, that this need not restrict my remarks. I would not wish to disappoint the Premier in this regard. That I have been asked to speak, however, in this role, should surely prove how wrong the contention frequently is that there is no room for differences of opinion in the Social Credit Party. No political party can survive, let alone flourish, unless there is some diversity of thinking among its members, if not on basic policy, at least on the methods by which the policy is implemented. I believe that out of diversity comes direction and out of direction develops action. And whatever the learned or less than learned members may think, the last 18 years have shown that this Government believes in action, and I like to think of the very apt statement that has been made to the effect that this Government has awakened the sleeping giant. At this point, briefly, I should say to those who have questioned my loyalty to the Social Credit Party, I would suggest that if I have been critical at times, the reason is very simple: that occasionally a change of direction is called for, or possibly one might feel that certain obligations remain unmet. But the primary function of the backbencher, in my view, is not to orate in flowery language about the achievements of the past, which are there for everyone to see, but to suggest different ways in which policies may be even better, by which our legislation might also be more productive than it has been in the past. I would state, however, that I feel that my loyalty to the people has precedence over my loyalty to any political party. Since my election, I have tried to keep the faith with the people of Oak Bay, and I don't propose to deviate from that policy. It is in this spirit, Mr. Speaker, that I wish to reply to the Throne Speech.
The Honourable Member from Columbia River has touched on many of the points in regard to pollution which I had planned to make. But I feel that we must recognize the three fundamentals that we are discussing, namely: ecology, economy and employment. Those three are most intimately related one to the other and I feel that, since politicians should influence public opinion and should most strongly be influenced by public opinion, we must take note of the fact that there is no subject, perhaps of any around the world, which has drawn more comment from the public in the last decade than the environment. It is a global problem as was pointed out, and it matters little in whose waters the contaminated fish are found. The result is the same, that people in this Province, or in this Nation, or in this world, will suffer. The people who eat the fish will suffer, the people who depend on the fishing for their employment will find themselves unemployed and the economy without a market will also suffer damage. But fortunately people in every corner of the globe are becoming aware of the environmental problem and are demanding that Governments and their policies for the development of industry and the utilization of natural resources, that these policies should include more strings and safeguards than have applied in the past. Mention is made in the Throne Speech of measures demanded of new industries and I would praise this recommendation. But I would suggest, also, that safeguards, as in any other sphere of our human activity, have to be applied with a balanced view of their effects on the economy and unemployment, and the decision should not be made amid hysteria and ignorance.
The definition of the required safeguards must rest upon valid reliable data, which have been obtained from appropriate study and research and which, if applied to the particular type of contamination, will control it at reasonable costs and with minimal disruption to the workers and the economy.
At this point, I would like to comment on the most recent controversial decision regarding Utah Mining, because in my personal view, this represents, on this day in 1971, the kind of decision with which we are faced within the limitations of our scientific knowledge. We have to face the fact that we have unemployment and that the creation of jobs is our number one problem. So, on the one hand, we have this grave situation where jobs are required and, on the other hand, we have a mine which is planning to go into production, where we have to balance the allowable degree of pollution. Now, we could tell the mine to close down and there would be no new jobs, or we could let the mine run wild and do what it wanted with its effluent, and we would be equally guilty of forgetting the true and overall needs of society. I personally feel that the decision of the Utah Mining was a very sensible, reasonable compromise. Let's face it, life is a compromise and this is the very kind of compromise which we will have to face again, again and again in trying to hit a balance between pollution and the needs of the economy and the needs of the unemployed. The important thing about the Utah decision is that Government can move in as a result of the monitoring findings at any time and demand that other methods be used. The monitoring will be done by an independent body and if, at any time, it is felt that that monitoring shows a point of safety which spells danger to the environment to a substantial degree, that the degree of pollution can be brought to a halt. On the other hand, I think both sides of the argument and even SPEC people have admitted that, in the present state of scientific knowledge, nobody, just nobody, really can completely know exactly what the dangers are and, therefore, I would submit that some such compromise situation helps the economy. Furthermore, it provides us with the very type of scientific information which will be useful in the future, and useful far beyond the boundaries of British Columbia.
Another example which I would like to consider is the question of the use of nuclear power to produce electricity. This is a controversial issue, which again I would plead with Government and with public to listen to in a rational, factual manner. It is true that there are dangers in nuclear power plants. 'Me dangers are two in number. You do have minimal amounts of radiation from these plants. Here, again, I would suggest that we listen and read the voice of those people who have had experience of plants over the last 10 years. Scientists of the Atomic Energy Commission in the United States admit there is minimal radiation but it is, in scientific fact, little more than the natural radiation of the earth around us.
The second danger is of the nuclear accident in the plant, which would be a very serious matter. But again, Mr. Speaker, we have to weigh the known advantages against the potential risk, and the most recent statement is from no less a person than Dr. Ralph Lapp, who is one of the world authorities on atomic energy. Dr. Lapp has said that - . . . the order of magnitude of the danger of nuclear accident is that it may occur once in 100 years if you have 100 plants in your country." I would submit that we do not try to deny that tile risk exists, but I would submit that we keep in mind the very substantial, well-known advantages which can flow from this
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type of generated power and set it against the minimal risk that I've tried to describe, and I've tried to quote authorities who know what they are talking about.
'Me other element of danger, which has been discussed at some lengths, is the thermal effluent, so-called, the water leaving the plant is at an elevated temperature and this is rather interesting. A columnist for the Toronto Telegram, by the name of Tiny Bennett - and with a name like Tiny, how could he be a friend of the Premier's? He has found that the best 100 yards of fishing in the whole of the Toronto region is just off the Lakeview Nuclear Power Plant in Toronto.
Some other examples I would just mention are that the Commonwealth Edison Cooling Lake, for the one million dollar kilowatt Kincaid Station, is being developed by the State of Illinois for recreation and the Montrose Lake in Missouri, which is a cooling water reservoir for the Kansas City Power and Light Company, has excellent fishing and duck shooting.
Again, to try to stick very much to what I consider are the kind of authorities we should listen to; at the recent meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Dr. Beall, Director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, outlined a method whereby heated effluent could be used to grow vegetables, and to raise poultry, fish and pigs, in controlled environments within a mile of the generating plants. Such a scheme, he stated, could provide these requirements for a city of just under 400,000 people. He also pointed out that other savings could be brought about by recycling the waste from the animals to the plant, and also the waste from the plant being used to sustain the development of the animals.
Another example is the Hinkley Point Power Station at Bridgewater in England. I would like to emphasize that I've read of examples from all comers of the world; there are nuclear plants in every industrial nation in the world. One of the reasons that Japan has come anywhere close to meeting its electrical needs, and we all know how its industry has flourished, is that Japan probably has the most per head of the population of the greatest amount of nuclear power generated electricity in the world. But I was quoting an example in England where, with the heated effluent, they are bringing shrimps to maturity in 18 months when, in the cold waters of the Bristol Channel nearby, the shrimps take four to five years to mature. And since Britain imports 12 million-dollars worth of shrimp annually, the use of power plant effluent is a very relevant point. And this, incidentally, revels in the name of "Aquaculture" and I understand that in the eastern countries of Europe, where more than two million tons of fish are produced annually, this is also being utilized.
The vital point, perhaps, which I'm labouring too long and too hard, is that consideration of the possibility of pollution must be viewed from a wide front, with all the available information and all the data of research at hand, and with an awareness that, although there are apparent snags, very often through scientific ingenuity and technological advances we can turn those disadvantages to very, very, substantial advantages. Scores of research projects into the thermal effects are underway in all the major countries and I would suggest that the Government, and I am sure it is doing this, is remaining up to date in being informed about the results of this research. But I would repeat that I think opposition to this particular asset, the nuclear power plant, let us have it based on facts, let us have it based on information which has been documented and, if there is to be debate, let us debate the facts, not the hysteria.
The Director of Atomic Energy of Canada recently visited British Columbia and I understand he offered the advice and guidance of his department in carrying out a feasibility study in relation to this proposal. If the Provincial Government should request the assistance of the Federal Government, the role of the Atomic Energy Commission would be purely advisory, with scientists and technical staff from British Columbia carrying out the actual investigative work. I would urge this Government to approach the Federal Government and with open arms ask for the assistance of the Atomic Energy Commission that we may reach a decision on this controversial point. For a fundamental reason, I've tried to make clear that research, facts and figures and scientific data are what we require most.
The need for an environmental research centre in British Columbia is urgent. I would strongly support the proposal first put forward, Mr. Speaker, by the Honourable Minister for Lands, Forests, and Water Resources, that the Provincial Government request that the Federal Government allocate a substantial sum of money from the B. C. Centennial Grant to set up the research centre. The essential purpose of the centre would be to conduct research into the differing natures, the differing forms of pollution, and to monitor degrees of pollution and their response to our attempts to control it. While we all desire to control pollution, it makes only sound common sense to institute the most effective means at the most economical cost. This, I say, can be achieved only if we start off with facts - facts and figures, obtained from sound research conducted by trained personnel.
Since the subject of preservation of the environment is so immense and enlarging so rapidly, the availability of information is crucial. For this reason, the proposal by a committee of 100 concerned citizens in Victoria for an Environment Information Centre I consider worthy of this Government's support and consideration. The purpose would be to maintain files on the sources of information and to publish lists of information sources, such as fact sheets of environmental data, up-to-date reports, such as the continuing information on thermal effluent and, in general, make the public aware of the environmental services offered by existing agencies.
The Citizens Committee, I think it should be made clear, would make no value judgements, but would be strictly objective in providing information whereby citizens might become better informed and better able to form their own opinions on the problems at hand.
The Committee has submitted a brief to the Federal Government requesting money be made available from the Centennial Grant to establish this centre. Mr. Speaker, at this time of anniversary in our history where, as has been pointed out, preservation of the very air we breathe is our major challenge, the Creation of these two centres - the research centre, and the information centre - would be a tremendous initial step towards understanding the precise nature of many forms of pollution and towards controlling them in an economical and scientific manner. If neither proposal is met with a favourable response by the Federal Government I would hope that the Provincial Government would proceed with the research centres on its own, by financing them and that it would make some financial subsidy to the Environment 100 Project at this crucial stage of its early development.
I must admit that I'm appalled, and I can't use any other word, I am appalled to read in press reports that the Federal Government is about to allocate 2.5 million dollars of the
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Centennial Grant to the museum at U.B.C. for the display of Indian artifacts and other anthropological exhibits. Such a dry as dust, useless, sterile expenditure of a large sum of money must give our native Indians cold comfort and it must depress still further their faint hope that Government is really aware of their plight and sympathetic to their betterment. With a standard of life far below that of the non-Indian, with deplorable morbidity and mortality figures for both infants and adults, and with inadequate housing, who can blame our native Indians if they feel disillusioned, utterly downcast, to learn that the legislators in Ottawa, consider the enlargement of a museum more desirable than some living, human project to a people in need? Bricks and mortar and the relics of the past - I consider that a pitiful and pathetic monument to our anniversary, when the real challenge is to commemorate in a very human way by offering help and hope to this minority, whose fate has hardly been a happy one in Confederation.
Finally, on pollution, I would like to repeat, and I'm afraid I will be repeating myself as the Session goes on, since many of the suggestions about which I have very strong convictions appear to be not included in the Throne Speech. And my first repetition is to repeat my opinion that the matter of pollution control is of such an expense and involves so many departments that I cannot be persuaded that the Land Use Committee will meet the need. I feel that if this Government is to meet its grave and urgent responsibility in pollution control, it can be done only in a co-ordinated, effective and economical manner if a separate Department of Environmental Control is created.
It is another obvious and undeniable fact that effective methods of pollution control will cost money, lots of money. Whether this be in controlling industrial pollution and thereby increasing the price of the product, or whether it be in building sewage treatment plants which will increase municipal taxes, or whether it consists of making pollution control devices mandatory on automobiles, I support this. And this Government has done this very thing. The point I'm hoping to make is that these are all valid aims of Government, but they will cost money. A simple enquiry regarding 1971 automobiles suggests that the cost of the pollution control device approaches $100. More interesting is the fact that the gasoline which no longer contains lead will be three cents a gallon more expensive than regular gasoline. These are financial facts of life and I think that politicians must be completely honest with the public in pointing out that effective pollution control will cost a great deal of money and will, in my opinion, inevitably lower our present material standard of living in order to gain a better environment.
Pollution cannot be considered apart from the problem of population, however, since the population explosion has created many of the pollution problems. One of the greatest scientific figures of the Western world is Sir Peter Medawar, Nobel Prize winner in medicine and a scientist-philosopher, who has some rare insight of the needs of the human race and, while he believes that acceptable methods of birth control will be found to control the problem, he makes the very pertinent point that we must learn to live a slightly different way from the manner to which we are now accustomed. He feels that the emphasis today on production, consumption and waste, which is something of a profligate nature and excessive and seems to be our entire goal, must be replaced by a more frugal approach which involves recycling of our resources and some forethought beyond the next year or two. Growth has been fundamental to our idea of human progress: growth in population, growth in production, growth in consumption. But the sad fact is that the earth is finite and fragile and to believe that the curve of economic growth can go on upwards forever at an accelerating rate is, in my view, the current equivalent of believing that the earth is flat. We must cease to worship the false god of Gross National Product and turn our immediate attention to the economical use and reuse of our resources.
With the world population increasing at the rate of 139 human beings per minute, or 72 million per year, the current population of the world will double in 30 years. The importance and urgency of controlling the population is enormous and I would suggest that to date we, as a Government, have been somewhat tardy in educating the public about the problem and in making birth control advice and methods of contraception readily available. The time is now to start on an energetic programme of education in the schools and continuing to direct a programme at the adults of child-bearing age. I would submit that the Public Health Branch of the Department of Health be given this task, along with the necessary financing, to hold regular clinics in every part of the Province, where advice as well as medication and appliances should be made available to the individual. Continuing education should be directed through the use of all the communication media.
A local clinic exists in Victoria, using voluntary personnel, and this is meeting with considerable success, inasmuch that those seeking advice are on the increase. And these same persons, I am told by one of the physicians, express the view that they feel able to attend such a clinic, when they would not feel able to attend at the doctor's office. Since effective contraception and the availability of sterilization operations decreases the need for such destructive and distasteful operations as abortion, I would hope that the Government will adopt a programme along the lines I have suggested.
I feel that in the Throne Speech, Mr. Speaker, there should be some discussion on the political philosophy of the Government, the political philosophy of the Government which offers the legislative programme, and the philosophy of the Opposition Parties criticizing the programme, because these basic principles, I submit, help the electorate to understand the direction in which Government is moving, and also help the electorate to determine the differences between the Government and the Opposition, as well as the stand of individual members.
My personal political philosophy is really very simple - to the effect that Government shall not do for the individual what the individual can readily do for himself. Conversely, Government has the over-riding responsibility to protect the rights of the individual and to provide assistance for the poor, the disadvantaged, the disabled and the deprived. But it is certainly no function of Government to provide financial assistance to people who do not require it.
The individual is the keystone of society and that individuality must never be suppressed or ignored by the State, unless there is some valid evidence that the greater good of the majority is threatened. And at all levels in this Government, in this country, we have too much government and we have too many laws and, as a result, the individual frequently has his freedom eroded and his independence stifled.
I would like to quote an example where the heavy hand of Government, under the nom de plume, Crown Corporation, can enter one's property without one's permission, and expropriate the individual's property at an unrealistic price, making a mockery of his freedom and abusing his civil rights.
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A man's home is no longer his castle under the expropriation procedures of this Province. Cases have been brought to my attention with reference to the actions of B. C. Hydro, where the customary procedure is for B.C. Hydro, the taker, to offer a price far below market value. In this situation, the individual owner not only endures the stress and strain of knowing that he is to be ejected from his home against his wishes but he faces considerable costs if he attempts, before a three-man arbitration committee, to obtain a fairer price for his property. The individual is inexperienced and has limited financial means, whereas he faces a powerful Crown Corporation, a creature of Government, with experience of expropriation and substantial financial and legal assets, with which to face arbitration. Is it any wonder that in this very unequal confrontation of adversaries, the little man, John Q. Public, decides reluctantly and bitterly to take the price that is offered, rather than contest the unequal battle fraught with the prospects of high legal costs? The individual in today's society must feel a little bit like David facing Goliath, except that in today's world the individual has no effective slingshot. When the city of Vancouver is on record as stating that the costs involved in a disputed compensation case are excessive, one can readily appreciate the apprehension of the small property owner faced with expropriation.
I think it is appropriate, Mr. Speaker, that we should recall that a Royal Commission, with Mr. J.V. Clyne as the sole Commissioner, was set up in 1961, and the purpose of the Commission was to examine existing legislation and procedures and to make recommendations.
After two years of deliberation and extensive research of similar laws in England and the United States, the recommendations were quite clear-cut and unequivocal. The Report emphasizes that expropriation of land raises the important question of civil rights and, while the American land owner has the written assurance in the Constitution, which entitles him to fair compensation and due process of law, the Canadian has no such written protection of his civil rights. The Legislative Assembly in each Canadian province, under the B.N.A. Act, decides what his civil rights are. The Clyne Report also points out that the expropriation law in British Columbia is based on the Land Clauses Act of England of 1845, and that, since that time, different pieces of legislation have been scattered through some 28 provincial public statutes. I would like to quote the pertinent paragraph from the Clyne Report: "In the public interest and to achieve uniformity and the elimination of injustices, I have come to the conclusion that it is desirable, subject to possible minor exceptions, to repeal all existing expropriation legislation in British Columbia and, in its place, enact a statute governing expropriation."
Several basic principles are incorporated in this new statute: that the compensation will be based on the market value of the land, with additional compensation for disturbance, severance and injurious affection; before land is entered upon for preliminary surveys, notice shall be given to the owner, and separate provision made for all damage caused by such entry; the two parties should be left free to negotiate a voluntary purchase, but should negotiations fail, the taker shall be required to inform the owners of their legal rights; and, the most important point of all, Mr. Speaker, where negotiations fad, the compensation will be decided by summary procedure in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, or in the County Courts, since only the Courts can assure the determination of compensation disputes by persons who are impartial, trained in the law and who enjoy full public confidence. The Courts will be given full discretion in the matter of costs.
It should be noted that, in the B.N.A. Act, Section 92, Subsection 14, power is given to this Province to create an additional superior court judgeship, if the volume of work makes this desirable. Now, I understand, Mr. Speaker, that at this time the Court is lacking several judges in number - I understand three or four - and, at the present time, any application to be heard in the Courts waits a minimum of nine months. I see the Attorney-General grinning, Mr. Speaker, perhaps he's questioning my figures. Judges, I may add, do not sit in the months of July and August, and this practice seems to me to be the relic of a by-gone era, a time when the tempo and needs of society followed a more leisurely pace. I am most happy that the Throne Speech mentioned the intent of Government to speed up the wheels of justice and I would assume that the intent is to appoint more judges. While you're at it, I hope, Mr. Speaker, that an ombudsman might also be appointed.
To return to the Clyne Report for just a moment, it is also recommended that before the expropriation is finalized a probable award from the takers should be made available to the owner, but not in any way prejudice the owner's subsequent right to question the probable amount. While there is no mention in the Throne Speech of the Government's intention to bring in expropriation legislation, it is my earnest plea that such legislation be introduced this Session. I am not a betting man, but I would hope that this does not fall on deaf cars. I feel that such progressive legislation would recognize and safeguard the civil rights of the individual. It is the suppression of such rights which serves to alienate many members of society from the established order, and it is the suppression of civil rights which stimulate protest movements, civil disobedience and worse. While the individual frequently has his freedom curtailed, there is also much evidence, in my opinion, to show . that his self-reliance is undermined by many of our political actions today. Excessive Federal taxation, used in large measure to finance social services which the individual, in many cases, should have the freedom and responsibility to finance for himself, dulls his initiative and corrodes his independence. The human creature, being of the nature he is, shows scant appreciation and even less respect or sense of value for benefits which have apparently been provided free by the State.
It is my sorry opinion, that Governments, including the Social Credit Government, have made the mistake of assuming that, because some individuals deservedly require help from the State, all individuals require help. This theory of universality is quite false and impractical. It often has the ludicrous effect of giving financial assistance to people who do not really require it, while denying adequate help to others who are in very great need. It has been so with the family allowances, where the same financial amount is paid to the parents of children; whether the parents earned $300 per month, or $3,000 per month, the financial payment is the same. The recent Federal decision to grade the family allowances according to income and to deny it to parents earning more than $10,000 per year to me makes sound common sense from both the fiscal and social point of view. Social justice will never be attained by assisting every member of society to the same degree. The same mistake has been made in this Province in regard to the financing of hospital costs, and I have to register my sad disappointment that the Throne Speech contains no mention of Government plans to review and redirect the financing of hospitals, when
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their soaring costs are a major problem to Governments all across Canada.
From a time some 20 years ago, when the iniquitous situation existed whereby hospital bills could bring financial ruin to a family or individual, we have moved to the equally undesirable situation where, despite soaring hospital costs, the individual need give little or no thought to the actual cost of hospital care and, as a result, he is a less responsible citizen. While wages on the average have tripled since 1952, hospital costs in a 12-year period, between'57 and '69, have more than quadrupled. The daily operating cost of a bed in the Royal Jubilee Hospital is $53 and yet the average working man who earns from four to five dollars per hour pays one dollar per day as his direct contribution. To me, this makes neither fiscal nor social common sense. It is my strong personal conviction, and I hope you'll listen carefully, Mr. Member, so that I won't be misunderstood as I was the last time, that, provided Government protects welfare and lowincome groups against increased payment, no, person would suffer significant financial hardship if, up to a maximum of 30 days, he were to pay five dollars per day for his hospital care. The original principle that every citizen should help to finance hospital costs so that the minority who actually require hospitalization should not suffer financial hardship, was eminently sound. I'm completely in agreement with that principle. The mistake has been made in pursuing this principle too far and removing a substantial measure of responsibility from the individual, by having the State pay for the individual costs which the individual could reasonably pay for himself and, while we must strive for the ultimate efficiency and economy in the operation of hospitals, there are many reasons why costs must inevitably continue to rise.
With a new approach to the matter of sterilization and abortion, there is need for increased facilities to perform these operations. I would like to quote some figures from the Royal Jubilee Hospital. In the year between January and November, 1970, some 602 male sterilizations were carried out and 337 female sterilizations. This is a very substantial increase in an operation which was done relatively rarely prior to 1970. With heart disease and blood vessel disease, a major killer in our society and a major cause of disability, and with increased availability of surgical techniques which were not available even two or three years ago, the need for more facilities and, alas, more expensive facilities, can only escalate. Hospital staffs have negotiated a sizable increase in income and nurses are now working a 371/2-hour week. You cannot do this in a service, such as a hospital, without meeting or facing inevitable rise of costs. The hospital is not a place like a factory, where you can increase productivity. You have X number of sick people requiring the care which modern science and technology can provide. If the patient is not made to contribute a more realistic fraction of the total cost, or if Government makes no increase in general taxation to cope with rising hospital costs, I think the people of British Columbia should be made well aware that there is only one alternative, and this must be a gradual deterioration in the quality and scope of hospital care, with little chance that hospitals will be able to provide the range of new and improved treatments which scientific and medical research continue to make possible.
I have previously suggested that a tax on cigarettes and tobacco would raise substantial revenue, and I repeat this very positive suggestion in the belief that it would work a hardship on no one, and might indeed improve the health of those who choose to give up smoking and limit their own personal pollution.
While the Government has gone too far in assisting acute and extended care patients by charging only one dollar per day, a tragic, crying need exists for financial help to those unfortunate sick, whose illness comes into neither category but who require what is called "intermediate care" provided in nursing homes and private hospitals. The monthly costs, including drugs, can easily come to $400 or $500 per month, and where a husband or wife requires such care, the healthy partner has the anxiety of seeing the family savings rapidly disappear, until both patient and partner have to turn to welfare for their survival. Is this the fate which should befall citizens late in life, when they require intermediate care? And this does not only apply, Mr. Speaker, to the elderly. I am well aware of a high school teacher with a family who is getting into more and more debt all the time, because of the unfortunate illness of his wife. Because of a lack of extended care beds in this and other communities, many patients who qualify for extended care have no choice but to seek care in a nursing home, where they have to meet the total financial expense themselves. It would seem only fair and I would request or submit to Government, it would seem only fair that, if they qualify for extended care, the Government should at least assist in the payment of their nursing home bills, while the extended care beds are being built.
While I am critical of the methods used, I wish to be fair and state that the Government has developed an excellent programme of hospital insurance and medicare coverage, which realizes, in large measure, the initial aim of saving patients from crippling hospital and medical costs. I am merely criticizing some of the methods which I think could be improved for the betterment of all, and I am merely saying that there does exist a serious gap in coverage in regard to intermediate care, which, really, when you are in practice, when you see this man to man, works a very severe and distressing hardship on many people.
Because of the expensive nature of all levels of hospital care and because of the need for some Government subsidy to the individual, and because of the deep human suffering involved, I do not feel that hospitals are either a suitable or desirable form of private investment, where the primary motive of operating a hospital is to make a financial gain. I would plead for the Government to provide at the earliest possible date some financial help to intermediate care patients and to provide some financial incentives to nonprofit organizations, and I think particularly of the Church. The churches have a golden opportunity to put into practice what we so often hear from the pulpit, that they're no longer just preaching, that they're acting, and that they're doing things, and I think that if there ever were an opportunity for the churches to step forward as nonprofit organizations and provide a much needed scope of facility, namely the intermediate care, the time to do that is now.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, I feel I have no alternative but to bring before the House the matter of the Provincial Government's difficulty in coping with the very unsatisfactory legislation regarding abortion.
The Federal legislation, incorporated in Section 237 of the Criminal Code, and I would wish to quote, states, " . . . that an abortion can be performed by a qualified medical practitioner in an accredited hospital if, in the view of the abortion committee of the hospital, continuation of the pregnancy would, or would be likely to, endanger the life or health of the patient." Now the words, "would" or "would be likely to endanger the life or health," allow such a wide
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interpretation of the patient's physical and mental condition and of the justification for abortion, that, within the meaning of these words, it is perfectly reasonable to submit that if a pregnant woman simply does not want the pregnancy, she will be mentally disturbed and her health will be endangered. In other words, by simply not wanting the pregnancy, she qualifies for abortion. In effect, we have in this country, abortion on demand (interruption). No, it's abortion on demand today, and I'll try and explain to you why this is so wrong. At least, if you want abortion on demand, say so, but don't hide it in a lot of window dressing and a lot of qualifying convictions which really mean nothing. Two serious consequences have developed as a result and I'll try to clarify the point which the Honourable Member has raised.
In the first place, the Government cannot. apply this law equitably to all women who apply for it across the Province because, in the first place, there have to be three doctors on the committee, and the law states that not any one of these doctors can perform the abortion. Therefore, right off the bat, in small towns with only three or four doctors, the patients cannot have the abortion, not at least in their hometown.
Secondly, there is no regulation which makes it mandatory for even larger hospitals to set up an abortion committee and, therefore, a patient, a female person, in a larger centre where there is no such abortion committee, is also denied access to something which is guaranteed by law, at least, not guaranteed, but something to which she is entitled, if she so wishes, and remain within the law. A great demand, of course, is being thrown on the facilities of those hospitals which do have abortion committees and, therefore, I submit that, because of the manner in which the Federal Government has chosen to write the legislation, the Provincial Government is unable to apply the law equally and fairly to all females who wish to use it. Furthermore, the legislation has failed to define any terms of reference for the abortion committee and, as a result, the doctors on the abortion committee are just a bunch of rubber stamps. And I'll try to clarify that point. If a doctor submits an application to the committee stating that he believes that the continuation of the pregnancy would, or would be likely to, endanger the life or health of the mother, what are the doctors on the committee supposed to do? They don't know the patient, they don't see the patient. Are they in any position to question the validity of the application? Of course not and, conversely, if the doctor felt that it would not endanger her health, he wouldn't have applied in the first place. So that it really is very foolish to have abortion committees, which would appear to give some degree of screening effect or some degree of clinical judgement by the doctors on the committee, when, in point of fact, the committee is a rubber stamp.
The second serious consequence of the legislation is that, whether it was intended or not, we do in fact have abortion on demand, and this has created a very sudden and substantial requirement for additional hospital beds and facilities, and at the Royal Jubilee Hospital, where I serve on the abortion committee, the number of abortions being requested and performed increases steadily. We had 67 abortions performed at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in December, including 14 on Christmas Eve. Even if the demand were to level off, the hospital cannot cope with this demand, unless additional beds and facilities are made available and, of course, this must inevitably involve additional financing. I have no reason to doubt that the same need exists at all hospitals which have set up abortion committees. It should be made clear, also, that because of the present demand on already existing facilities - again, I speak for the Royal Jubilee Hospital, not for it, but of my knowledge as to what goes on there - we have cancelled or postponed the surgery of patients waiting for elective surgery in order to cope with the demand for abortion. Already in this Province, we have an ever-increasing waiting list for patients with serious cardiac disease requiring cardiac surgery and, once again, the demand and the need to provide beds to carry out abortions seem to be given some greater consideration than the need of the cardiac patient. I would submit that it is a most urgent responsibility of the Provincial Government to provide these necessary facilities and financing to meet its obligation in the situation created by the changes to the Criminal Code, and I would make the request that we also set about immediately providing an extension of cardiac surgery facilities in order to reduce the waiting time to an accessible level of perhaps a few weeks.
In closing, Mr. Speaker, I would like to suggest that the Government of this Province make the following proposals to the Federal Government regarding abortion: (1) that abortion shall be retained in the Criminal Code as a criminal offense only when performed by a person other than a qualified medical practitioner; (2) that abortion committees in hospitals be abolished; and (3) that all legal abortions continue to be performed only in accredited hospitals. Under these proposals, the decision regarding the performing of an abortion would rest between the patient and her doctor, where it belongs, and standards of care would be preserved by continuing to perform all abortions in accredited hospitals.
Mr. Speaker, there are so many vital issues with which governments have to struggle. I hope I have not bored the audience by trying to put forward a few constructive suggestions.
On the motion of Mr. Barrett, the debate was adjourned to the next sitting of the House.
The House adjourned at 5.24 p.m.