1971 Legislative Session: 2nd Session, 29th Parliament
The following electronic version is for informational purposes only.
The printed version remains the official version.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 1971
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The House met at 2:00 p.m.
On the motion of Mr. A.B. Macdonald, Bill (No. 10) intituled An Act to Amend the Supreme Court Act was 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.
MR. SPEAKER: The Honourable the Minister of Agriculture.
MR. C.M. SHELFORD (Omineca): Mr. Speaker, it is once again my privilege to take my place in this House and speak for the people of Omineca. I would first of all like to draw the Members' attention to the lovely British Columbia Okanagan apple from Omineca (interruption). I don't want to start a fight between you two on where it came from but it is a British Columbia apple for the benefit of the Leader of the Opposition. I hope that the Members of this Assembly will eat an apple a day. I don't know whether an apple a day would keep the Opposition away but I would like to try it.
I would also like to point out that it's the 185th year of agriculture in British Columbia this year. I know I won't convince too many Members in this House, because most of your ideas are too fixed, anyway. I'm sure you are across the way but, however, I do hope I'll be able to convince at least the page boys who do have an open mind. One of the fathers of one of the page boys last year was telling me a story the other day when he was introducing me at a Kinsmen dinner and his young son came back and his dad said, "Well, now, after spending one Session in the Legislature, which Members do you think were the most outstanding of all the Members in the Legislature?" Do you know that he came up with? Mr. Black, Mrs. McCarthy, myself and Herb Capozzi. Then he said, "Now, how did you arrive at this decision of these four from all the rest of the Members that spoke in the Legislature?" This young fellow said, "Well, it's like this." He said, "Mr. Black, he gave us candy, Mrs. McCarthy gave us a shamrock, Mr. Shelford gave us a jar of honey and Mr. Capozzi, above all others, he gave us a hamburger." That, Mr. Speaker, is part of the reason why you have an apple on your desk today and the page boys will be receiving an apple, also (interruption). I wouldn't criticize too much because I'm going to speak again in the next debate and I might give you another apple if you're kind to me this afternoon.
AN HON. MEMBER: We're always kind.
MR. SHELFORD: You're always kind, are you?
One thing I want to touch on just for a second before I go on and that is the demonstration that took place here on Opening Day. I don't think anyone of us in this Legislature should condone in any way, shape or form a demonstration such as this on Opening Day. The leaders of this demonstration must accept the full responsibility because, in times like this, they know full well that some people, if you get a large enough crowd, will step out of line and cause problems. I would say that if those who died in Italy, Normandy or Dieppe could have seen the demonstration on Opening Day, if they could have stood up and said so, they would say that they died in vain for freedom when those that led the demonstration were trying to give it away.
As I said earlier, it's nice to be able to speak for the people of the Omineca riding, second largest in this Province. I'm afraid our friend from Atlin has us beat a little bit for size of his riding. Even though the Leader of the Opposition thinks that we, in the north, in Omineca, Atlin and other areas, live in shack towns, I would like to point out that the northerner is a very independent type of a person and even though their standards of housing are not up to what we would like to see, I must say they've come ahead an awful lot in the last fifteen or twenty years. I would point out that these people would rather live in what the Leader of the Opposition referred to as a "shack" in the north country to develop the northern half of his Province than they would live in a $30,000 home in a city.
AN. HON. MEMBER: The company owns the whole town, property and everything.
MR. SHELFORD: You'd better open your eyes when you go back up, because this is not true. I hope you come back up north, Mr. Leader (interruption).
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The Minister proceed.
MR. SHELFORD: In both Burns Lake and Fort St. James, new modem homes, right at the moment, are idle while people are living in homes that are not up to the standards that we would like to see. In looking into this, we find that it's not what the Leader of the Opposition was claiming the other day, but it's due to the Federal Government policy of high interest rates where a family can't move in unless he is making over $4 an hour. My friend from Vancouver East is laughing like he normally does. I hope he'll stand up and support the Federal high interest rate. He certainly won't be back here after the next election if he does. I was wondering yesterday as the Leader of the Liberal Party spoke on the Government not hiring people when he thought they should, whether he was aware of the fact that the Federal Government has reduced its agricultural research staff by 107 at a time when research is needed more than at any other time in our history. One hundred and seven less research people across Canada than before (interruption). Are we less? My friend, you don't apparently know that there are two separate jurisdictions of Government. The Federal Government does research and we do extension (interruption). We have some, but we have an awful lot less than we need, especially in the field of pesticides and others. We need far more (interruption).
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.
MR. SHELFORD: That's why I was protesting the closing down of Saanich Research because we do need more in that area (interruption). I think you'd better get back on your hot line to Ottawa (interruption).
AN HON. MEMBER: You're getting lots of help.
MR. SHELFORD: Yes, lots of help. I must say I listened with care to both the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the Liberal Party when they spoke early in this debate. I must say it burns me up that two very well educated people would tell this House such a lot of lovely theories but very little practical suggestions that could be put
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Let's take for instance the clearing of Ootsa Lake or the Williston Lake, very desirable projects, I'll admit, which were mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition. Without revolutionary changes in monetary policies at the National level, how could it be done? Both would cost, you never told us, both would cost over one billion dollars each. Where would this money come from? If we borrowed the two billion dollars over twenty years, the Province would finally pay approximately six billion dollars in interest charges. Now, I don't think that's your policy, I would hope. It is the Liberal policy, I know (interruption). This year I got elected on ... because I got the most votes. Hospital insurance was one. Another one was taking the merchantable timber out of Ootsa Lake, that's quite true. I hear the Liberals chit-chatting about Ootsa Lake. I wonder who flooded it.
AN HON. MEMBER: That's right.
MR. SHELFORD: That's right. I don't think this is a sound way of doing business, of borrowing money and paying it back with the high interest rates that we have today. The Federal Government is now paying over two billion dollars in debt charges each year before it gives any service to people at all. If either of you think that we have control over interest rates or the monetization of money you all have another think coming. I think all you have to do is review the history of the Bank of British Columbia. When we did try to get into the Bank of British Columbia without the support of the Liberals, we certainly didn't get very far. I think this is one of the best moves the Government attempted to do.
I was interested the other day when my friend the Liberal Leader told us about the bovine faecal going into the lake from a feed lot in the Okanagan. I only wish for the benefit of us country boys that he'd call a spade a spade and call it plain BS - like an awful lot of his speech the other day.
I wish to advise the House on World Disaster Aid this year under the Agricultural Aid to Developing Countries, and the purpose of my trip to Europe. Before I go on to say too much about the purpose of my trip, I would like to point out for the benefit of the Leader of the Opposition and the Honourable Member for Cowichan-Malahat that I didn't go over there to join the party. I only went and came back to tell things as they are, not only the way I want to see them. That's what I've attempted to do. I was quite surprised at the two Members, after Senator McCarthy has been dead for so many years, that they would take on his approach of trying to smear people in politics.
Before I start telling you about the projects and, during my next speech in the House I'll be speaking strictly on the Department of Agriculture but first I would ... I think it's quite safe to say that, the setting up of these funds by the Premier, is one of the best things that he has done as Premier of this Province, because all of these funds are working extremely well. I would say they are a good example on how Government projects should be financed, and I hope our friends, the Liberals, will take note. We have spent from this one fund of five million dollars that was invested nearly $3 00,000, without taxing people, and still have that much in reserve; in other words, we make from the interest about $29,000 a month without taxation. I hope to see the day when Departments of Government can be financed in the same manner, then we would have real Social Credit in this Nation, and we could carry out some of the dream projects as suggested by the Liberals and NDP.
You will find a list of the projects attached when you receive a copy of my speech. I know every Member would like to know how we've spent this money and how we intend to spend it.
The first, Korean Relief for canned milk, Unitarian Services, $5,000; Nigeria, Unicef, $25,000; Peruvian relief, $5,000 through the Canadian Red Cross; Turkish relief, this was an earthquake to help them out for housing, plywood through Unicef, $27,900; agricultural assistance to the Cameroons, this is to train people in their own country. They have a nice university, but no animals to train them in agriculture, so we bought $5,000 worth of farm animals, cattle, sheep, etc. and we're now going to buy a further $5,000 worth of machinery to give them further assistance, which I know all of you would support. We sent a further shipment of canned milk to the children of Korea, $5,000; egg powder to Peru, during their earthquake, $5,000. I'm just giving round figures. Egg powder, again to Peru and concentrated apple juice to Peru, and then we sent some electrical generating sets $10,000 worth, because of power shortages during the earthquake and they needed them for emergency services in their hospitals. Another shipment of concentrated apple juice to Save the Children Fund in Korea, $4,000; some more egg powder, $5,000; and then Philippine Relief, cash donation to the Red Cross, $5,000; and we started off with a cash donation to the Canadian Red Cross for assistance in Pakistan of $10,000, the day after the disaster struck, so that they could get in there and help out as quickly as possible.
AN HON. MEMBER: Anything more in Pakistan?
MR. SHELFORD: Yes, a further $75,000, that we sent in the form of plywood to build two buildings to house all the aid supplies. Aid was pouring in from every nation and it was getting damaged by rain and such like, and so we built two buildings, pre-fabs, 120' x 60', and they were moved to Pakistan and there will be a sign on these buildings, too: "Donated by the People of British Columbia." I thought you might be interested thinking that we might put: "Donated by Social Crediters," so breathe easily. We sent $7,500 worth of dried egg powder through the Canadian Arab Friendship Association for starving children in the Arab countries. The last one of canned milk to Korea, Dr. Hitschmanova seems to come to visit me quite regularly to try to get a little extra for the starving children in areas in which she serves. Now we've started a scholarship programme in the Asian Institute of Technology and we've made a grant of $20,565. This will be on a continuing basis so that students can take their training and serve the people of those areas.
The purpose of my trip to Europe was to get acquainted with those of other nations involved in the field of aid to the developing nations. This was only possible because my deputy, Alex Turner, knew most of the people involved on a first-name basis from his wide experience with FAO and other organizations around the world. Believe me, it was certainly helpful to have him along on this trip.
We first stopped in London to meet a number of British importers, arranged by Admiral Stirling, who I must say is doing an excellent job for us in Great Britain. About sixty people came to the reception which gave us a good chance to tell. them what we wanted to sell and, of course, they could tell us what they wanted to buy. I must say it was a little disappointing our stop in Great Britain, due to the
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uncertainty of Great Britain going into the Common Market. I found that the only thing they really wanted was Canadian salmon and, believe me, everyone that filed in the door to meet with us seemed to ask about the same question, "How can I buy more Canadian salmon?" (Interruption.)
About $4 a pound in some places. I will say that Canadian salmon has a tremendous reputation overseas and I only wish Canadian everything else was as easy to sell as Canadian salmon and Canadian Holsteins, because both have a tremendous reputation all through Europe.
From London we went on to Moscow and Minsk, where the International Agricultural Economists Conference was being held, for the first time including the Soviet Block powers. There were 800 delegates from 76 nations and the theme of the conference was "How to Help the Developing Nations." I would add that one of the things that was discussed and certainly one of the most important points that was discussed, was that there is no solution to aid in the developing countries without family planning. I met with a group from OXFAM this morning and that's agreed by pretty well all.
All delegates were either professors or doctors of economics and I might point out that I was the only farmer in the whole works. I must say it was a very interesting experience but it was quite a little like listening to the Honourable Leader of the Liberal Party when he is very heavy on desirable philosophy but light on practical application.
The conference lasted ten days with no serious arguments on political philosophy between East and West. I suppose this is the reason why the international press didn't attend, because no one got in a tight and I guess it wasn't news. I never met anyone from the press from the time I left British Columbia until I returned to British Columbia. I must say it was a very interesting conference and I got acquainted with an awful lot of interesting people who are very helpful contacts for either sales or other aids of progress.
Certainly, I found the Soviet Union a very interesting nation, with no unemployment, because everyone has to work there, and a tremendous enthusiasm by the people to build a better nation. One thing that is interesting to note is that they lost 40 million people killed during World War II and about half their agricultural livestock population was destroyed. If you would like to relate this to Canada, it is about equivalent to wiping out Ontario and Manitoba and then having to build Canada after that. They tell us that at least one person in every family in the whole of the Soviet Union was killed during World War 11. They openly admit they have made lots of mistakes, at which I was a little bit surprised. But they did, they openly admit that their greatest mistake was doing away with incentives. This changed about three years ago and they're moving in the other direction now, back to incentives in practically everything they do. There has, no doubt, been a very rapid change in their thinking.
I want to say, I certainly wouldn't want to live there after coming from a country like Canada but if you lived in one of the underdeveloped nations, of course, you would look at it in quite a different light. But the inefficiency in hotels, restaurants, airlines is practically unbelievable. I waited for three hours to get a room in a hotel at Minsk (interruption). I paid my bill before I left. One thing was quite interesting, even though we waited for three hours. There was a line-up of practically every nation in the world and the Ugandan delegates were ahead of me and a Polish group were behind, so you might say we held a little United Nations meeting while trying to check into the hotel. Telephone communications, as far as I was concerned, were hopeless, one of the reasons being that they don't have any telephone books. You're suppose to know your friend's number and if you don't know his number, you're not suppose to be ringing him, anyway.
AN HON. MEMBER: We know your number.
MR. SHELFORD: It's taking you a long time to get it, though. One thing, even though they're extremely inefficient in this area, they are highly efficient in other areas and I visited some of the most modern poultry and dairy units that you could find anywhere. All computer controlled lighting or. the windows of the units. They dial their ration; if they want 16 per cent protein, they can sit in a central office and dial 16 per cent. If they want 13 per cent for their growers, they can dial 13 per cent. The electronic equipment in some of these units is something I had never seen before.
AN HON. MEMBER: What are their chickens like?
MR. SHELFORD: They are our chickens, so they'd better be good. They bought their poultry from Canada in the first place and we found this all over Europe. In Yugoslavia, Canadian Holsteins; Italy, Canadian Holsteins. We have everything, really, going for us in this regard.
AN HON. MEMBER: How are the gasoline prices?
MR. SHELFORD: About twice as high as ours. I only found one gas station in Moscow, but maybe I missed some.
One of the problems that our delegates faced was our inability to solve high interest rates and unemployment, and the gap between the rich and the poor certainly placed the Western delegates at a disadvantage. That was something that was discussed at length all through the conference. I made a point of having either coffee or lunch or something with a different nation every time we broke and I was there for ten days. They would ask, "What could we supply on a twelve-month basis?" Talk about politicians getting their necks chopped off. I think I got mine chopped off as much as anyone because I would bravely stand up and say, "We can supply many things," and they would point back and say, "Mr. Minister, do you know that your ports were closed by strikes three times last year and you're not capable of continuity of supply?" This is something that we should be very concerned about, as a Nation, because unless we can supply on a twelve-month basis the best product we have to sell, then we're at a great disadvantage in sales.
I would say the Maple Leaf is a passport to anywhere in the European countries and I did manage to end up with invitations to sixteen nations, including Mongolia. I would say again that everything is going for us, excepting ourselves, because we have a good name. Certainly, all of the nations that I came in contact with like Canadians; they thought we were great people but they thought we were a little bit stupid as far as our aggressiveness in sales, and our strikes and lockouts, which closed our ports and upset our market.
One thing I found quite interesting during the conference was that our ideas on aid to students to train in their own countries was used as an example on how it should be done in one discussion group in which I sat. This was attended by 33 nations, and Russia and the United States were criticized
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for not following our lead, because they're inclined to bring students in who want to stay on in those countries. Now, we don't propose to do this and our little aid scheme was used as an example on how it should be done, because they found, in following what happened, that 85 per cent of those trained in the developed countries remained in the developed countries, which didn't help the underdeveloped ones one little bit. Of the 15 per cent that went back, they went back to sort of clear their conscience. At least half of them would return after only a year or so. So this is not a solution, and it was recognized by this Conference of Agricultural Economists that our type of a programme is a desirable type for all to aim for.
There's no question we will face some severe competition from some of these areas in the years ahead. When we look at desirable projects, for instance, in agriculture, forest and even apartment buildings, they are getting money at one half per cent and the highest percentage is one and one half per cent.
In Italy and Yugoslavia, with our trade representatives, we had a very nice visit, along with FAO in Rome. We have several trade possibilities in both countries, especially cattle, which I mentioned earlier - dairy and beef. In Yugoslavia, I was only there overnight but there were three companies contacted me that they wanted to buy Canadian pulp. It was small quantities, I'll admit, but here is quite some opportunity. There is a diary farm outside of Belgrade, 18,000 dairy cattle in one herd. That's the largest dairy herd in the world and a lot of these cattle are Canadian Holsteins. When I was in Italy I visited a Chianina farm, which is a new type of stock which will be coming into Canada in the near future ... The Honourable Minister of Mines might not agree with me but I do think there is quite a potential similar to the charolais (interruption). No, not yet, but there is a group that is trying to get a monopoly position on these animals, which they won't get. I can give you assurance of that. I visited a Holstein sale in Italy, along with my deputy, and one little Canadian bull, one year old, went for over a million lira. I told my Italian friend I like to see them bidding so high on a little Canadian bull because it was always good. The Italians loved it (interruption). I didn't say millifira, I said million lira. In Brussels, we were fortunate to get the co-operation of our trade officials and meet with two key ministers from the Common Market, whom I found extremely interesting to talk to. I was surprised to learn that, with the enlarged Common Market and their shirt-tail relations, 51 per cent of the total world trade is controlled in that area. Now, I didn't realize it was this high.
Last year, and this again is the competition we're facing, last year they paid out over three billion dollars in subsidies to agricultural protection, mainly for products they didn't need. Then, they paid a further billion to export these products they didn't need in the first place. I must say it's madness at the most. It was from this meeting that I was convinced that our producers cannot compete on this basis, especially when they are faced with the high cost of money where they will have to pay for three plants in order to build one. It was for this reason, on behalf of all farm organizations in this Province and the Department of Agriculture, that I asked the Federal Government to set up a billion dollar Producer Export Development Fund, funded directly from the Bank of Canada, so that our producers can co-operate with foreign companies and set up production units to move our products from year to year rather than try for one-shot sales, which we are doing at the present time. We have to find a completely new approach in the '70's from what we had in the '60's and, in my opinion, the Canadian so far is possibly the world's worst salesman and I would say that something that everyone of us has to do is to get out and sell. When I hear Members criticizing Ministers for going abroad and trying to put to people in other countries what we have for sale and to promote sales, and one of the best ways is for personal acquaintance with this kind of people, then I shake my head because I think we should be doing more of it, not less.
I would say to my friends in the Liberal Party that if their friends in Ottawa do not carry out such a scheme to get us into the export markets of the world then someone else will do it for them (interruption). There was no one with me, my friend. I had three offers of joint development while I was at this conference, two from India, one for a poultry unit, one for a dairy unit, and another one from Indonesia. Now I think if the producers of this Nation can get export development money, and some will stand up and say we already have that and that's not true, it doesn't cover what we're trying to do with this . . .
The Belgium Minister of Agriculture arranged a dinner for us and invited research directors from all over Belgium to attend. I must say they were greatly interested in our types of production and naturally we can pick up things from their research, also. I found they couldn't raise a good red apple, that's one thing we have going for us. They don't have the right sunlight and they're a dull-coloured apple.
It was quite odd, and I know the Opposition will appreciate this, but Dr. V.S. Vyas paid our Premier a tremendous compliment, I thought, at this conference when he called on me to explain the principle of not only the World Disaster and Agricultural Aid Fund but how this Province was able to establish such a fund in the first place. To start with I thought I would get off kind of easily and tell him, "Well, after all, I'm not an economist, " and he said, "Mr. Minister, it is your duty to tell us, when you come from the best governed Province in the world." This is something you hear a great deal of ... you won't believe it ... but this is something you hear a great deal of when you get away from British Columbia. You hear more compliments on the Government of British Columbia than you do right here at home.
AN HON. MEMBER: All across Canada.
MR. SHELFORD: Not just in Canada either, in other nations. One thing we did find was that many developing Nations are quite confused by the term "free world," which I suppose we use far too freely. When we consider countries that are quite often considered to be in the "free world" such as Greece, Spain, Formosa, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Uganda, and several others in Central and South America quite often are referred to as in the boundaries of the "free world." They ask what is so free about them and it does defeat our argument.
Many think that our system is good but that it is too complicated by laws stopping people from joining unions or professional groups, even if qualified to do the job. It not only confuses them but I would say it confuses quite a lot of people in Canada, too.
One of the discussion groups that I mentioned, the last one I was on with 33 nations, ended this way with a question from Dr. Benalcazar from Ecuador to myself, and these were the three questions he asked: "One - can you as a nation produce enough food for your nation?" My answer was, "Yes
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and we can produce six times as much as what we can use." His second question was, "Can you produce sufficient clothes, etc. to clothe your people?" Again the answer was, "yes." The third question was, "Have you the material and labour to build enough houses?" Naturally, my answer had to be yes and I pointed out that with our forest resources we could build twenty for each person and the meeting closed with these comments from him, "If your answers are true and they are," he gave me credit for that, "then the world problems are not as complicated as economists are trying to make them, except in that we have allowed money to be our masters instead of our servants." I thank you.
MR. SPEAKER: The Honourable Member for Kootenay.
MR. L.T. NIMSICK (Kootenay): Mr. Speaker, I was a little bit taken off guard with the honourable Member sitting down all of a sudden. He just seemed to be getting into gear and he quit. It gives me a great deal of pleasure once again to take my part in this debate and I do so with very deep concern about our ship of state and about the crew that's guiding that ship of state because ... (interruption). I wonder sometimes to what port they are going to take us. The last speaker that got up proved to me that no matter how much you change things, we still have no change. They have sure changed the honourable Member that just spoke, the Minister of Agriculture, from the time he first got in this House (interruption). . . . because I was sitting in the House at that time. He had tears in his eyes about the beavers and about the animals that were dying due to the blocking of Ootsa Lake, telling us about the trees that were standing in Ootsa Lake and how the Honourable the Premier got up and said, "Never, this was a black mark against the Liberal Party and never would the Social Credit Government allow any desecration to go on like went on at Ootsa Lake." This was the statement that was made in this House.
AN HON. MEMBER: Have you ever heard of the Bennett Dam?
MR. NIMSICK: Now we've got Duncan Lake, we've got the Bennett Dam, Williston Lake, we've got Mica coming up. All of them buried the trees with water. Maybe that's what they'll do, they'll call Mica the Shelford Lake. I admired the Honourable the Minister for years in this House because he had the courage to stand up and fight on behalf of the people of his area and the people of the Province. Yet all they needed to do to quieten that Minister was to put him in the Cabinet and he shut up from then on as far as the people went. And I don't think this is too good for the people and I don't think that the Honourable Minister who started out so well has proven himself to be able to carry through. A fat living has changed him considerably. The Speech from the Throne ... (interruption).
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.
MR. NIMSICK: . . . Mr. Speaker, the Speech from the Throne was very anaemic, I'd say. I had to admire the Lieutenant-Governor for the struggle that he had to go through to speak above the noise and the din that came from the gallery. It was nothing more nor less than what the Premier had stated, a State-of-the-Union message and it was a biased report of what's going on in British Columbia. It painted a glowing picture of the things that would give them credibility but said nothing about the things, the real problems, that are facing the people of British Columbia. The demonstration that took place at that time ... I listened to the Honourable Minister of Agriculture stating about these men who died on the battle front. I dare say that some of the people who were in that parade were men that had returned from the battle front and that's the treatment they're getting today. They can't get jobs, and to make a statement like that, I think, it's a ridiculous statement because it doesn't mean anything.
The violence that took place in the gallery that day was probably a small group of people that got out of hand but this should not deny the people the right to bring their problems to the attention of the Government by demonstration. The Members of this Government who have spoken since then have been trying to focus attention on what went on up in the gallery rather than focus the attention on the problems for which the parade was organized in the first place. We've had many parades since I've been in this House. We had the farmers with a cow out on the steps and banging on the doors of this Legislative Chamber. We had the friends of the Minister of Highways, or the Minister of Rehabilitation now, up in the gallery here shouting, hooting and hollering and they made as much noise as the group up here.
AN HON. MEMBER: They flew planes over this House.
MR. NIMSICK: We had the PTA throwing their scrolls all over the edge of the balcony. We have had many other demonstrations and you say that we shouldn't put up with any of these things. You're going to have to put up sometimes with some of these things getting out of hand. I don't agree with violence, at all, but I disagree with the idea of trying to stop people from demonstrating their problems before the people of the Government of British Columbia. They do this to impress the Government and why do they do it? People who are hungry will not wait. It's easy for us to live in here. We're all living fat, we're all living fat. We can go and get our three square meals a day but, when people haven't got enough to keep the proper food on the table and clothes on their back, they're not going to wait for a year or two years until you say you're going to solve this problem or the uptrend of the economic affairs of the country is going to solve it for you. People can't wait that long. Hunger won't allow it. These people are bringing it to the attention of the Government and although it probably did get a little out of hand, and these unemployed people in the Province they're a pretty lonely group, they haven't any bargaining power, they haven't any organization or money to deal with it. I think people who take them under their wing, and who else should take them under their wing but their fellow working people throughout the Province of British Columbia, to advance their cause because the trade union movement, most of all, knows full well that as the unemployment ranks get greater their power and their standard of living is in danger of going down and down ... Their standard of living will go down and let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, I think we should give people credit for assisting the unemployed to make this Government realize what is really going on in the Province of British Columbia.
There is nothing in the Speech about the unemployment situation, except a couple of words and they were innocuous. Our unemployment has gone to 12 per cent in British Columbia, but I'll deal more with unemployment later on. I just wanted, at this time, to make my position clear in
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regards to the right of people to demonstrate peacefully in a democratic country. This Government should focus their attention on why that parade was brought about rather than just on the small group that created the ruckus in the House here. I think this Government should take careful cognizance of their waste of public money while people go hungry. I think they should examine their conscience and, when I listen to the Honourable Minister of Agriculture state that there should be no limits, practically, the way he spoke on the traveling expenses of Cabinet Ministers, that they should be allowed to have a safari any place around the world and spend as much money as they like, I don't think as Cabinet Ministers you were elected to travel all over the world continuously, or to take a whole Cabinet over to Japan while people are going hungry. When the Honourable Minister of Trade and Industry can spend $10,000 or $11,000 on traveling expenses alone, I think it is time that the Premier should call a halt to some of this.
AN HON. MEMBER: He could get a steam bath on Hastings Street.
MR. NIMSICK: Even the Premier didn't spend quite as much as the Minister of Industry and he was a close second. When I first came to this House, the traveling expenses of the Government was a little modest in those days and they worried about these expenditures but today, "easy come, easy go," and the expenditures of the taxpayers' money goes along as if the Government were a drunken sailor or something. The Government spends money outside of British Columbia in other ways. The money that was spent in Japan for Expo, I doubt very much whether it was necessary, especially when there is so much needed to be done in British Columbia. Then at Christmas, or the first of January, we put a float in the Rose Bowl Parade, I want to say it was a beautiful float, a very beautiful float, but I don't think it gave too much work to British Columbians. It probably gave work to people in the United States. Cypress Bowl is another waste of money by this Government. These are the things that the Government should bring out in their Throne Speech. They said nothing about Cypress Bowl in the Throne Speech and about the mistake that they made. When the Honourable the Minister of Lands and Forests gets up and makes his announcement that Cypress Bowl is going to be a park operated by this Government and he does it quite openly as if it were something wonderful, I agree that it is high time. I think that the Government should hang their head in shame for what has gone on in Cypress Bowl. I can't speak any plainer than the editorial in the Vancouver Sun and I quote, "Nothing better illustrates the shambles the Provincial Government has made of its administration of Cypress Bowl than the widespread relief which greeted the news that it was taking over its development. Only a public whipped submissive by its seven incredible years of sell out, betrayal, deceit and bungling could see virtue in their public money being pledged to rest with public land."
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable Member cannot say indirectly what he cannot say directly and I ask him to withdraw the word, "deceit."
MR. NIMSICK: I'm reading, I'm not ...
MR. SPEAKER: I know what you're doing, but you are doing indirectly what you cannot do directly and you must not read items that are against the Parliamentary rules of this House and you know that quite well. I ask you to withdraw the word, "deceit."
MR. NIMSICK: All right, I delete the word, "deceit" ... "and bungling could see virtue in their public money being pledged direct to public land which their Government permitted to be privately raped and plundered." That's exactly what they did.
MR. SPEAKER: Now, the honourable Member is taking advantage of the rules. It's not possible to pick up any sort of reading material and read it when the parliamentary language in that material is wrong. The word, "rape," is also out of order and I ask you to withdraw it.
MR. NIMSICK: Well ...
MR. SPEAKER: The newspaper may impute all the improper motives that it cares to, but honourable Members may not impute improper motives to others in this Chamber. I ask you to withdraw the inference of imputation of improper motives.
MR. NIMSICK: But when was ...
MR. SPEAKER: I'm not asking for an argument. I'm asking for a withdrawal.
MR. NIMSICK: When was this word ruled out?
MR. SPEAKER: I'm asking the honourable Member to withdraw.
MR. NIMSICK: I've heard that word used over there many times.
MR. SPEAKER: For the final time, I'm asking the honourable Member to withdraw.
MR. NIMSICK: I'll withdraw the word, "rape," if that's the case ...
MR. SPEAKER: Very well, proceed.
MR. NIMSICK: Mr. Speaker, I think this Government should have hung its head in shame because this Government is guilty, guilty for five or six years that they knew about this going on in Cypress Bowl. If calling you guilty is unparliamentary, then you are guilty. I think that the Government should make a study of these unnecessary expenditures. The Government sets up a surplus and they rave about it year after year. They say it is a surplus for a rainy day, while people are crying for things to be done, hospitals to be built, housing to be built. This is the rainy day and why didn't the Government use the surplus last year to solve some of these problems?
Now, Mr. Speaker, I'm going to deal on some issues of my own riding. I'm sorry that some of the Ministers aren't in who I'm going to speak to, but they can read Hansard afterwards. My riding, Mr. Speaker, is quite a large riding. It's had some very unfortunate happenings there lately and I'm sure that all the Members of this House will sympathize with the people who lost their loved ones in the two accidents, the railroad accident and the steel mill accident in Kimberley and
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in the Crowsnest. The fire at the school in Kimberley was a sort of a tragedy to both the students and the people. It was fortunate that it was only a material loss, that there were no students in the school at the time that the fire happened. But these are the things that we cannot predict.
I was fortunate enough to tour through all the schools in the Fernie, Cranbrook and Kimberley areas last year and one of the finest schools I found was the one that was built back in, I believe, 1909 about fifty years old or sixty and, it's still in better looking shape than many of the schools that have been built since. I'm just wondering whether the people back in those days didn't look ahead with a greater permanency than we look ahead today, because many of our schools today are built out of frame materials and when it comes to a fire they can burn pretty easily. Now if we're going to use this material, I just wonder if it isn't time that we didn't think about having a sprinkler system in these schools to prevent them from burning, because it's definitely a tragedy when a school like that, the size of the Selkirk High School, goes up in flames. Yet these other older schools seem to stand. In the city of Rossland we've got a brick school there. We've got brick schools in Cranbrook and they seem to stand for any length of time. They don't seem to have the casualties among those schools that they have among the schools that were built later on.
Our area has been one of the fastest expanding areas, I would say if I were like the rest of the Members, I would say, in the world. From Fernie to the Alberta border if it had been a brand new area it would not have expanded to a greater extent. This Government has not recognized the fact that there has been an expansion taking place in that area (interruption). That's right. Kaiser and Cominco and different ones, but this Government hasn't considered the needs of an expanding area such as that and have not made any effort to assist the people up there to handle this fast expansion to keep on top of it. One of the questions that we've got to ... one of the problems that the people have got is in regards to hospitals. Hospitals are a crying need in this area and what is this Government doing about it? In 1967, there was a Minister at that time, who was the Honourable Member for Nelson-Creston, he sent in two key men from the B.C. Hospital Insurance Service to visit the area and to find out what they needed. This is what was told to the Chairman of the Hospital Board, at that time, Mr. Phillips, and I quote: "The Minister told me he had read a lot of pertinent material regarding our situation," said Board Chairman Phillips, "and assured me he would not give us the run around. We are most happy with the decision to send these men in." That was back in 1967. Here it is 1971 and the hospital isn't even off the ground yet. It hasn't even started to be built.
The Mayor of Fernie wrote to the Honourable the Minister sometime ago and this is what he said, and I quote: "The concern and welfare of our local area residents with regard to our hospital facilities demand that I do so. There is no point in elaborating on the fact that our need for a new facility is immediate and pressing and that a crisis situation exists, whereby our facilities are taxed beyond limit and we have no room should an unexpected emergency situation arise. The fact-finding team from BCHIS in their fact-finding report stated that Fernie's need is immediate. We have the necessary requirements as to land, financing and architect approval verbally. Our holdup is with the BCHIS officialdom over approval of the functional plan and formal architect approval." Following that letter, I sent a letter to the Minister: "The Fernie Hospital at the present time is overcrowded. They've got beds in the halls and all over to try and handle the situation." I explained this to the Honourable the Minister in the letter that I sent to him, and I quote: "Since Fernie has expanded so much during the last couple of years the availability of space in the hospital has become desperate. Maybe you have taken that old-time attitude that if they have got along so far they should be able to go on for a while yet. But I assure you that this is not the case. They have to put beds in every available space and if there were a bad accident in the mine, lives may be lost due to lack of space." The Minister acknowledged my letter, but that was all he did. I don't think that the Government should opt out of their responsibility in this area. The fact-finding committee that went in there made a statement that Fernie had the top priority, the top priority for hospital building. They recommended that the Invermere Hospital didn't need any more money than the Regional Hospital Board had recommended to them, and if any hospital were to get anything it should be Fernie, due to the fact that it had had a 30 per cent increase in its population since the previous year. To their consternation, we found that, and it was found out through the press, that the Invermere Hospital got an extra $350,000 for the hospital, contrary to the recommendation of either the fact-finding committee or the Regional Hospital Board. Now, how do you expect to get along with a Hospital Board, when you discriminate between one area of the hospital district and another? That is the truth, because I sent in a letter to the Minister and he said that, "Well, Fernie couldn't get any more." I hate like the dickens to think it was political discrimination in regards to this situation. I appeal to the Minister that the Fernie Hospital should be gone ahead with as quickly as possible and to have the construction commenced this year, otherwise we're just going from bad to worse and we've got another ... No, it's easy for the Government to sit on their fat majority.
We've got another problem in the same area and that's Sparwood. There's a hospital in Michel that has been there for many years. It hasn't been given much recognition but it has served the people of the Michel-Natal area for all these years and served them well. Now, there is a rumour that they're going to phase out the hospital at Michel and, in its place, they're going to put a diagnostic centre or a first aid centre. Now, I'm sure, that the Honourable the Minister doesn't quite understand the geographical situation in that area. Sparwood itself is 20 miles from Fernie. The Kaiser operations are about seven or eight miles from that to the top of the mine. Thirty-five miles beyond is Fording. There's a new townsite being built at Fording and beyond that again Scurry-Rainbow. There are all indications that their development will go ahead. Now I'm sure that any one of these Members will say that 55 miles or more is too far from the main centre of hospitalization because you're going to have, this year, around five thousand people in that area and they've got to be served by a hospital. I have a letter from a Mrs. Gwen Wright, who is still heading the move for a hospital in the Sparwood area and I must say she is doing a yeoman's job of it. A yeowoman's job, eh? She wrote to the Honourable the Minister of Health and Hospital Insurance and laid out before him the reasons why she thought there should be a hospital built at Sparwood, and I'd like to read you one of her letters. "Dear Sir." This is what she wrote the Honourable the Minister of Health. "As a citizen of Sparwood I am very concerned. Our small hospital at Michel is going to be phased out in the very near future. We in the district want and need a 75-bed hospital. Don't say I don't
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know what I'm talking about, as I do. Fernie is in the process of getting a hospital which they need but that will only cover their needs. We need a larger hospital. This is where the work and money are and also the population growth. With other companies such as Cominco coming into the Elk Valley, our population will increase even more." This is quite so, and they carried on quite a campaign. The local union sent this letter to the Honourable the Minister: "The proposed hospital in Fernie to replace the buildings in Michel and Fernie will increase the present accommodation by about 10 beds. This is not sufficient as they are largely overcrowded. If the present building cannot service our needs, a few extra beds will not suffice for the future. Complete consideration should be given to the expansion of this area and the distance involved. A new coal mine should become operational in 1971 in the Fording River. Scurry-Rainbow, about 40 miles north of Sparwood, has possibilities. Crowsnest Industries have been prospecting in Lime Creek. These areas are all north of Sparwood. A hospital is required in Sparwood, or something within this industrialized area, because it is too much to suggest that the new hospital in Fernie would give adequate service to the combined areas." The Minister replied to Mrs. Wright's letter, stating that there would be some kind of a diagnostic centre or a first aid centre in that area. Now we realize that a first aid centre may be all right, if you're in close proximity to a hospital but not in this case. Then an editorial came out. Word has been received this week that an organization has been set up to help Mrs. Wright in her campaign. They have organized a campaign and here's a letter to the editor and I quote: "In my estimation the Honourable Ralph Loftmark must think that we up here are a bunch of dum-dums regarding our hospital situation. This is not a laughing matter, you are going to read and hear hospital, hospital, hospital, for months to come."
Let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, that the people in that area are quite a group of determined people and there is no question about it but this Government is going to hear a great deal about the needs for a hospital in the Sparwood area. They are coal miners, most of them, in that area and they will not be satisfied with taking no for an answer. If we are going to operate, as a Government, for the common good of the people of British Columbia we have got to put a hospital in the Elk Valley to serve the Fording River development and the Kaiser development.
Now, dealing with B.C. Hydro, I sympathize with the Honourable Member for New Westminster when he speaks about the takeover of the electric distribution in New Westminster. We have had the same situation in our area, where the B.C. Hydro has taken over the distribution system in Kimberley, Cranbrook and Fernie. They have found out that they couldn't actually take it over yet, they only leased it. I understand that there's supposed to be some legislation coming before this House to give them the authority to take it over. Either that, or maybe they didn't have enough money, so, by leasing it, they wouldn't have to pay for the operation right away. When we took over the Peace River from Wenner-Gren, we paid them right away. But I'm afraid this Government is going to be slow in paying for the abrogation of the rights of the local government. All this is being done in the greed of this Government to get more money to pay for their Columbia give-away. In that greed, they even upped the charges to the Old Folks' Home in Cranbrook. The Senior Citizens' Home in Cranbrook was paying on a residential rate and I've got bills here that show the last bill they received from the city of Cranbrook was $63.60. The first bill they received from B.C. Hydro was $185.33. Now, when we're going to take it out of the Senior Citizens' Homes in order to try and get a little extra money to pay for the other dams, I think it is rather a serious situation. These Old Folks' Homes are nonprofit organizations and, according to the schedule of rates by the B.C. Hydro, even a motel that's got a central distribution centre can be held on a residential rate. I took this matter up with them at, I believe it was Kelowna, no Vernon, B.C., but they would not break down. I think all the Senior Citizens' Homes, if they can be given a little break by treating them on a residential rate by the B.C. Hydro, then that should be done. To take away this right after taking over the distribution centre, was highly unpleasant and unfair to these people. I want to urge the Honourable Minister of Recreation and Conservation, who is on that Board, to take a good look at his rate schedule to see if he cannot give the Senior Citizens' Homes a little break in this regard.
I'd like to deal with the Kootenay-Elk Railway. It is very amusing to me to hear Members of this Government speak out of both sides of their mouth at once. They talk about providing jobs to the people of British Columbia and, on the other hand, they do everything they can to give away the jobs of the people of British Columbia (interruption).
To give away the jobs of the people of British Columbia. You're a fine one, Mr. Speaker, the Honourable Member for Columbia is a fine one to talk. He puts me in mind of the fellow who was running for office down in the States. He was a Member of the Government and, when the election came up, they were passing a bill dealing with squirrel shooting. There was a lot of people for this bill and a lot of people against it. When he went before the hustings, his campaign manager was Worried about him, Mr. Speaker, but he said, "I'll handle it." When he was asked the question about the squirrel shooting bill, what did he say? He said, "Many of my friends are in favour of the bill and many of my friends are against it and, you know me, I stand with my friends." That's exactly how the Honourable Member for the Columbia River riding and the Honourable Member for Revelstoke-Slocan ...
Throughout the Kootenays there has been quite an active campaign in regards to this Kootenay and Elk Railway. There is the resolution from the Kootenay Boundary municipalities asking that the railway not go ahead. Certainly, it says here -the Kootenay and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District have a resolution in also - that, "My Board of Directors, therefore, has been more than a little dismayed by knowing there has been an application filed by the Burlington Northern and Kootenay and Elk Railways for a franchise to construct a branch line from the East Kootenay coalfields in order to transport Canadian coal to a Canadian seaport over an American route. My Board has passed the resolution which urges all Members of Parliament and all Members of the to firmly support the principle that Canadian coal should be transported on Canadian railway lines by Canadian train crews between the Kaiser coal operation and the East Kootenay and Roberts Bank superport." The Chamber of Commerce in Trail also supported the resolution not wanting them to be allowed to go ahead with the railroad. Our friend from Revelstoke-Slocan last year brought up in this House about the number of jobs that was going to be produced and this is what he said, "As Members are aware, the CPR is putting huge unitrains into service to haul coal. These trains will consist of 88 cars, each with a capacity of 105 tons. They will be both loaded and unloaded automatically while on the move, without the cars being
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uncoupled. By 1972, three trains will be in service delivering eight million tons of coal a year and taking only 72 hours to make the round trip . . ." and he goes on to tell about how many jobs are going to be provided.
I'm hopeful, Mr. Speaker, that all this coal will move over an all-Canadian route. Now, you can't have it both ways because, later on, I notice that in the Revelstoke Review they were reporting on a speech that was in the Grand Forks Gazette. The Grand Forks Gazette thinks and I quote, "The Grand Forks Gazette thinks M.L.A. Burt Campbell showed blatant arrogance when he refused to support the City Council, Chamber of Commerce and railway unions in their opposition to the Kootenay and Elk Lake rail application." Then you come along, later on, and you said that you wanted to take over the railroad. But you weren't going to take them over under public ownership. You were going to take them over and turn them over to some, I guess, some Social Credit group that you've got in the Province that wants a plum. You said you weren't going to take them over as public ownership. All these things ... (interruption). Well, here it is, "Take-over of Railway Lines Advocated by Social Credit M.L.A." Take-over of railway lines.
Now, Mr. Speaker, I don't know how we can have it every way. The honourable Member said, "Oh," he said, "'this Burlington Northern Railway application only deals with shipping coal to the United States," but he must never have read their application, because their application definitely states that they want to haul coal to Roberts Bank. I'd like to read here from this brochure that was sent to everybody in the House, Kootenay and Elk Railway. "The Kootenay and Elk Railway has made a binding commitment," it says, "to the Government of British Columbia to move all of its offshore coal exports to the port of Roberts Bank near Vancouver. The coal will originate in Canada and be shipped from a Canadian port. The Provincial Government controls the status of the Kootenay and Elk through the Railway Act and must approve all haulage contracts." That means shipments to Japan, shipments to any place outside of our coastline, but the honourable Member says that this isn't going to be so and that the Government had made an agreement with them that they would only haul coal for the United States.
AN HON. MEMBER: Who's he trying to kid?
MR. NIMSICK: This is to me a rather ridiculous situation. The Honourable Minister of Mines, too, comes out and says he's in favour of shipping coal down to the United States. It isn't only coal, it's going to be coal and lumber and other things that will go through that port. It's the thin edge of the wedge, because it will develop that we'll maybe ship our wheat down to the United States. For the honourable Member to state that we need competition from American railways when we start, as Canadians, to use an American private industry to beat our own industry over the head, there's something wrong with us. You wouldn't find that in the United States. "You're not a very good Canadian," Mr. Speaker, I'd like to say to him when he takes that attitude.
AN HON. MEMBER: What about the people in Revelstoke? You're against the people you represent.
MR. NIMSICK: He is selling jobs and he is jeopardizing the jobs of many Canadians by advocating the building of the Kootenay-Elk Railway. Even if the railway going through Revelstoke couldn't handle the total amount, we've got other alternatives. We can build the Kettle Valley Railway up again and if they got stuck there's always the outlet. If you want to take something down to ship to the United States they can go down through ... (interruption) yes, they've got railways down there. I'd like the honourable Member to go to Revelstoke and I would take him on in a debate in Revelstoke in regard to the Kootenay and Elk Railway. I'd take you on, too, Mr. Member for Columbia. I'll take you both on at the same time and right in Revelstoke and you can ... You come right to Fernie and do it. I'm not ... (interruption) right is right, but you'll have to let me go to Revelstoke, too, with you. You won't say anything about that or Invermere.
AN HON. MEMBER: They don't even know his name in Revelstoke. Who's the M.L.A. for Revelstoke? Stand up. Fight for the workers in Revelstoke .... Send them a flag they don't see the Member.
MR. NIMSICK: Mr. Speaker, I urge this Government to withdraw their support of the building of the Kootenay and Elk Railway. Fifteen hundred jobs - what are you going to make? Fifteen hundred jobs to build a railway. How long would that last? (Interruption.) Mr. Speaker, we can handle all the coal, if necessary. If we can't handle the coal and all our exports by Canadian carrier, there's something wrong with us. There's something wrong with Canadians if we've got to use the American railways to transport our raw materials for export. The United States has got exactly the same situation in shipping from one port to another, they've got the Jones Act. They won't allow a foreign carrier to carry their goods from one port in the United States to another.
AN HON. MEMBER: They're anti-Canadians.
MR. NIMSICK: Why should we allow it to be done?
AN HON. MEMBER: Americans are anti-Canadian with the Jones Act, you know that.
MR. NIMSICK: So, let's protect the jobs that we have got. We're suggesting that we pay big subsidies to encourage jobs throughout the Province. Now, here are jobs that are all ready set up. Let's not jeopardize them and throw them down the drain.
Mr. Speaker, now I'm going to get back to the problem that is worrying so many people throughout the Province and that is the unemployment situation in the Province of British Columbia and in Canada as a whole. It has reached 756,000 and this figure has been kept down on us for sometime now by the machinations of the Federal Government. The Federal Government sent a directive out to their manpower outfits or their unemployment outfits and this is what the directive said: "Ottawa sent out a directive to the regional departmental offices instructing them to keep quiet about unemployment figures." They're finding it impossible under pressure to hush them up and then put the best possible face on the unhappy jobless total. It sounds to me like the Throne Speech that we had here last Thursday. It sounds to me like ... and the news came out the other day that we had 12 per cent jobless in British Columbia, which to me is a Provincial disgrace. When I listened to the Honourable the Minister of Agriculture talking about assisting nations all around the world, he should have had one there, at least, to
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assist the unemployed or the people in need in Canada. That's what he should have had. Anybody can put on a good face by acting the big fellow outside of the country but, unless they look after their own people, as well, then they're failing in their duties as a Government.
AN HON. MEMBER: Haynes should resign for suppressing those figures.
MR. NIMSICK: Unemployment is not a problem that was with us just yesterday. Unemployment has been an almost perpetual problem, with its certain rise and falls. I'd like to quote ... because I think we've come around just about a complete circle. If it weren't for unemployment insurance, old age pensions and social welfare today, we'd be right back in the position we were in in the '30's. Right back into that position. Unemployment insurance and social welfare are big business today and while many people criticize it and many business people and Boards of Trade, nevertheless, in many of these communities if it weren't for that payroll coming in every month it would be a pretty tough time. When I say it's a complete circle, I'd like to read this letter that was in the Province on January 26: "Reading and hearing about high unemployment makes me feel as though I am watching an old movie, since I went through all of this in the '30's, when I was lucky if I worked six months a year. There was no unemployment insurance then. Politicians then said almost exactly what they are saying today. Those in opposition attack the Government and the Government assured everybody that steps were being taken, etc. Somebody said that prosperity was just around the corner, nobody ever found the comer. In point of fact neither the Conservative Government of R.B. Bennett nor the Liberal Government of MacKenzie King ever did solve unemployment. Strangely enough it was solved by a foreigner who never even saw Canada. His name was Adolf Hitler." When you listen on television and see our Honourable Minister of Rehabilitation quoting or talking down East at a Welfare Conference and trying to have welfare money tax free for income tax purposes, I just wonder how hypocritical we can be.
When anybody can say that the people on welfare today, with their welfare rates, when they're not getting sufficient to live on properly, that they should be paying income tax as well. I don't know what kind of a man he is and I'm sure that the Honourable the Premier and the rest of you wouldn't agree with him in this regard. In 1932, the old-line Party was talking exactly the same as you people are talking. The people were saying the same things as they are saying today. At that time, they said the unemployed were derelicts, lazy loafers, they wouldn't work and all the nasty things they could about them. Today, you are blaming it on the trade unions, you're blaming it on strikes. In that day, there were very few trade unions that had any real strength because bargaining rights were still a thing to be fought for. Some of you might remember those days when H.H. Stevens had his little booklet out about the sweatshop conditions in Canada, and how the business people who were making fancy profits were taking advantage of the workers. Why were they taking advantage of the workers? Because they weren't organized and that's why Franklin D. Roosevelt brought in and advocated organization among the workers to try and stop this sweatshop labour that was going on. Don't tell me that we have changed a bit from that day. The people that own and control the production of industry today would be just as useless as they were back in those days if it weren't for the organization and the bargaining power, the collective efforts, of the working people to try and hold their standard of living. It was the trade union movement that fought against child labour, that fought against those sweatshop conditions, that fought for holidays with pay, shorter hours, overtime pay, all the things that everyone of us here have benefited from and now you've got the crass arrogance to say the trade union movement is the cause of our unemployment. The crass arrogance.
To blame the trade union movement, to blame strikes for the unemployment situation, when you know yourselves that the unemployment situation goes far deeper than that. You've got to change your thinking completely if we're going to proceed at any time to solve the problems of unemployment. You still think that unemployed people should have no rights. It's easy to think that, when we live in a comfortable status, when we're sure of our meals every day, when we can enjoy all the good things that our society can give us. This happened back in the '30's, too; the people had little concern for the unemployed. I was always interested in politics from the time I was at school and when I saw the situation of the unemployed I jumped onto the political stage. There were only two parties at that time, one was the Liberal and the other Conservative and I studied them. I thought the Liberals were out to solve the problems of the people, I thought they wanted to solve them. So I joined the Liberals, sure I did, and I was vice president of the Liberal Party in Rossland and I was appointed as a delegate to the convention in Vancouver. At the first meeting I went to, I took a list of resolutions and I've still got them. They must have thought I was just a young punk because I'm telling you they were pretty revolutionary.
Mr. Speaker, before we went to that convention in Vancouver, we had a meeting in Trail and all the old Liberal heelers were there. They were going to the convention along with me. I was the only young one in the whole group and I said to them, "How about us drawing up some resolutions so that we will have something to bite our teeth into when we get to Vancouver?" One of the top men there, God bless him, he's dead now, Link Tyson, he said, "Oh, there'll be lots of resolutions there. We don't have to worry." I said, "How about more wages and shorter hours to get rid of these relief camps?" The men were out in relief camps by the hundreds working for 20 cents a day, 20 cents a day. Link Tyson said to me, "The trouble with the workers is they want too much today; they want a washing machine and a radio." This was from people I thought were going to try to solve the peoples' problems. He said, "We should be back to nine hours a day and a dollar a day like we used to be, we'd be better off." Skinner, the insurance man, said to me, "Why, I'd be glad to go out and work for 20 cents a day in the relief camp if I had nothing else to do." Now, this is exactly the thinking of the people of that time. The rest of the people were looking up to them to solve their problems and I immediately told him that I was shocked and I handed in my resignation. I announced to them that there'd be another party in the field by the next election and we went out and organized the first CCF Club, because during our organization, the CCF was formed in Regina. It set up the Regina Manifesto and we organized the first CCF Club in Rossland and, I suppose in all of Canada. My opinion hasn't changed since then because the situation is coming full circle, full circle.
Then we went on through the '30's. Roosevelt got a little spurt going, then it went down in '37. In '39, the War came and all these people that wouldn't work, who were derelicts
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and all the rest, we found jobs for them and we had full employment and we put price controls on. Then came '45 with a shortage of goods, and who wanted to take the price controls off? It was the business world in Canada that wanted to take the price controls off - the same people that wouldn't accept 5 per cent limitation on their profit for armament contracts. They went on strike. We never hear about that now. That was in 1939, when MacKenzie King said they'd only give them 5 per cent profit. They went on strike and they had to take the lid off. This was a National emergency; the workers were willing to freeze wages and they did. We went along into '45. Big business was able to force the Government to take off the price control. We went along to '52 and another crisis came up. Unemployment started to rise again. The only thing that took us out of that was the Korean War. Well, '51 and '52 there was another unemployment situation problem coming up, so the Korean War started and it took us out of it again for a while (interruption).
The only escape hatch the capitalist system has had over the years has been war. A war has been the escape hatch each time they came into a real tough situation. It's a little bit dangerous, today. In 1961, we had another unemployment crisis when Diefenbaker got thrown out. 1968, it started in again even with practically a full-scale war with Vietnam. That's what solved it in '61. We're still in trouble and serious trouble. In serious trouble at the present time. How long do we have to go through these periods of crisis? How long should the people put up with it in a country as rich and as wealthy as Canada? 756,000 unemployed in Canada, 99,000 in British Columbia, over 100,000 on welfare. This has to be carried by the people that are working, this load has to be carried by the producers. How long will they put up with it? I don't know. It's easy to have whipping boys such as the Federal Government and blame them for the unemployment situation and say that you're lily-white, but the Provincial Government has got to carry some responsibility, too, because the Honourable the Premier contributed to the unemployment situation last year when he stated that, at the beginning of this year, there were 1,100 vacancies in the Civil Service. Last summer, I had to write to the Department of Finance because the help situation in the Government office in Cranbrook was down to two people. Now, you can talk as you like but that's not contributing to employment.
It's easy, now, to come out just before the Session starts and say, "I've given orders to go ahead with the 1,100 vacancies to be filled." But on April 15, you'll probably come out with another directive telling Them no more vacancies are to be filled. So that we would keep quiet during the Session. He did it with the schools, he'll do it with the Civil Service. When you do such a thing as that you're contributing to the unemployment problem in the Province. It's not the good life that he went around preaching during 1968, when he showed the pictures in Cranbrook about the good life and took all the credit for the jobs that were made in British Columbia. As soon as there are no jobs he shifts the blame to Ottawa. Ships the blame to Ottawa and he opts out of his responsibility towards the people of British Columbia. This, to me, is not good enough, because we're creating a very serious problem. When we look at it in a mercenary way, 99,000 unemployed in British Columbia, 99,000 man-days production lost, every day that they are idle. I hear people worry about the people that are out on strike and about the man-days lost, but what about the man-days lost on the unemployed? When you carry it out into hospitals and schools, just think of what it is doing and that it is all going to waste. What is it doing in the moral sense, when 45 per cent of the unemployed are under 25 years of age? Many of them never had a job, probably all of them never had a steady job. What's it doing in human degradation and the waste of human values? We, in our Party, say that of all the people, young people should not be denied the right to make their contribution to society. If you deny the young people that right, it's a condemnation of the system that we operate under, because it's when those young people get out of school that they've got the initiative and the drive that they've pictured in their schools -- the great future ahead of them - and then we drive them from one place to the other to no jobs. What do we do to them? We crush the very initiative out of them and we destroy them. What are we going to do? We're going to build up a section of our society that will be no good for anyone if we continue this type of operating our economic system. We haven't got any room for drones in our society. There's plenty to be done and if there isn't sufficient, if there's too many men for what we've got to do, then we must cut back on the hours of labour. We must cut down the work week and we must cut back on the pension age. There's no reason in the world why miners should have to work down underground in a mine in the most dangerous job in the Province until they are 65 years old. No reason at all. Right now they should have the right to take their pension at 55. We've got men going to work at 65 and 70 years old while their young sons of 20 and 25 are lying at home in bed and can't find a job. Is this the kind of society that you people want? We, in the New Democratic Party, say it is not the type of society we want. If anybody is going to be idle in our society and enjoy the privileges of recreation and freedom from making their contribution to society, they should be the older people. As quickly as we can produce enough for everybody, the pension age should be cut back accordingly, so that people would be free then to look after themselves. Not free on a pittance of a pension or a pittance of a welfare grant, but free on a full standard of living to the full extent that the country can afford to give them. Not the type of income that our Honourable Minister of Rehabilitation would advocate under social welfare because the little pittance that he's giving to the welfare worker now, he wants to take some of it back in income tax. The gall some people have.
We've got plenty to do, though, in our country. We've got houses to build, people are crying for houses in the Province of British Columbia. Look up your public accounts and see, on housing and urban renewal, the amount of money that was left unspent at the end of the last fiscal year ... about a million and a half or two million dollars left unspent. And, Mr. Speaker, they say they can't do anything about the unemployment situation. When you're taking the bread out of these childrens' mouths to build up a surplus you are not doing the proper thing to the people of British Columbia. We've got schools, libraries, hospitals, parks, all these things, to be developed by the people that are unemployed today. We can do it, if we want to do it. It will never get done by you people, by the frying pan calling the kettle black. It will never be done by that method. By using the Federal Government as a whipping boy or by using the trade union as a whipping boy you'll not solve these problems. You've got to get down to it. The unemployment situation will not go away. You can't wish it away, you can't close your eyes and wake up and find it gone. No, it won't go away by focusing attention on the ruckus that went on up there in the
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legislative gallery. We've got to focus attention on the problem itself and get to the roots of the whole problem. We believe, in the New Democratic Party, that we will have to build a new social order where production, distribution and exchange will be the plan for the human needs rather than the making of profit. I thank you.
DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Honourable Member for South Peace River.
MR. D.A. MARSHALL (South Peace River): Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I can recall very vividly standing here just a short year ago, in the imposing dignity of this House, and feeling very prideful and with a feeling of humility in representing that great constituency of Peace River South, and I do so again today. It has been a year of experiences, some of success and some of frustration I must admit and, also, admittedly, some of failure. While they say that the world was created in six days, I'm finally realizing that in those days they didn't have red tape.
Mr. Speaker, this is a particularly auspicious occasion for me for in the gallery is not only my wife and my parents but they accompany a very fine lady, a lady I hold in high esteem. She's quick of mind and light of step, particularly in consideration of our Centennial Year. I want to point out that she's 94 years young, she's my grandmother.
Mr. Speaker, I stated last year and I'm going to state again, with confidence and very meaningfully, the seemingly utter lack of recognition given by the southern part of this population to the northern ridings in British Columbia. When those engaged in agriculture ask me why they seem to warrant so little consideration and when I notice the total absence of publicity in southern newspaper publications and even our Government magazine, Beautiful British Columbia, mentioning our great north, and when I see other Provinces' industrial trade offices endeavouring to assist marketing of our agricultural products, as I have preached before -something our Province should have been doing, 1, myself do not feel hurt but I do get slightly angry.
The Member from Fort George, in speaking in Dawson Creek, said that he had a plane companion who, after flying over the mountains, exclaimed with amazement, "My gosh, it's all prairie." This companion happened to be a prominent British Columbia newspaper publisher, who had never been to the Peace River country.
We have had many turning-on ceremonies in the Peace River country that do not seem to bring us much recognition, and I cannot help but wonder what recognition we might attain should we have a few turning-off ceremonies. This, of course, we would not do, but with our somewhat frequent power outages in Dawson Creek, one cannot help but envisage what publicity we could attain should the power from the Bennett Dam terminate or the oil flow cease and the natural gas supply expire. If the supply from the "breadbasket" of British Columbia were to dwindle, or a cessation of shipment of raw materials which contribute to making the southern major cities so prosperous were to occur, perhaps we would get the just reward we so richly deserve (interruption). You know, Mr. Member, I just want to comment that I can recall you earlier standing in the House and saying ... you know, your hands were waving and you said, "I don't want to call any Member in this House a liar because it is not parliamentary language, " but I would like to say that you, amongst all the Opposition, certainly are the user of terminological inexactitudes (interruption). I'm getting to that, Mr. Member.
We have had many visitors in our Peace country the past year and I would like to pass on a statement I made following a Dawson Creek Chamber of Commerce luncheon. In attendance was a very well-known B.C. hater, the Honourable Arthur Laing. We were both speaking at the same dinner and in his speech he made passing reference that with the Bennett Dam we had cut his water off. In speaking, following Mr. Laing, I apologized for cutting his water off, but pointed out that I was glad he realized we could.
During this past year, Mr. Speaker, we were very pleased to have the Member from Coquitlam visit us. He had arranged, which seems very strange to me in view of some of the innuendos cast in this House, criticizing people for their Chamber of Commerce attitude, for the Chamber of Commerce to host an open, public meeting. In any event, the meeting was duly organized and it was advertised on television and in the newspaper and I decided that I should go, too, because I remembered that quotation from Cato that wise men learn more from fools than fools from the wise. However, there were only seven people who showed up. I might point out that five of the seven happened to be members of the hosting Chamber of Commerce and only one of the remaining two was a socialist. However, it was a lovely luncheon and I am mentioning this, particularly, because in radio and on television, in his advertising, he stated that Premier Bennett considered this seat of South Peace River a safe seat and, consequently, that is why we got nothing (interruption). Well, I might partially have agreed with you, Mr. Member, if you had said we don't get enough, but to say we don't get anything at all is quite out of line.
Speaking of the Bennett Dam and the level of the Peace River, I want to state that I am sick and tired of listening to those negative-thinking people who accuse this Bennett Dam of causing so many problems. No one in this House is closer to the Peace River Dam than I am. Our house is situated 860 feet above the Peace River, overlooking the Clayhurst River Crossing. When I look out and see this river holding a full-flow, constant level without all the problems of flooding that we previously encountered, I am indeed grateful that this dam was built. The many thousands of additional crossings made by residents of the North Peace and the South Peace - businessmen, farmers hauling grain, transportation for the oil and gas industry - it is not only a great advantage to the north of the river citizens but to Dawson Creek and to the economy of the area generally. Prior to construction of this dam, no one knew when the ferry would be in operation, because of rapidly changing water levels, debris, etc., and it was a constant source of irritation. Those negative-thinking people, many of whom are also politicians, also forget the tremendous advantage of being able to construct a step dam to generate much needed power in Alberta.
Shortly after the first visit from the Member of the Opposition, we had an unfortunate happening with one of our teachers, which resulted in his dismissal. This situation arose from statements allegedly made concerning the FLQ situation. The same Member from Coquitlam, this professional political agitator, then criticized the decision of the Dawson Creek School Board, a group of people who are of various political philosophies, but a group that did not play partisan politics in arriving at this difficult decision. Quoting from the Province, Friday, October 23, 1970, the Member, the Leader of the Opposition, stated he hoped that this was not an act of hysteria and he considered this teacher's dismissal, "absolutely incredible." He then called on
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the Minister of Education to launch an immediate probe into the affair for, he said, "the serenity of the B.C. community." What kind of serenity do you think your constant agitation contributes to the Province of British Columbia, Mr. Member? Shortly thereafter, when this teacher's innermost thoughts were revealed at a rally in Vancouver, the Member from Burnaby-Edmonds gave support to the School Board's decision, when, at a rally, and I quote from the Vancouver Sun, Monday, November 2, 1970, he said how shocked he was at this teacher's statements. I give this Member credit for recognizing facts.
Then we heard again of the Leader of the Opposition following a midnight excursion through Chetwynd.
AN HON. MEMBER: Not midnight, my friend.
MR. MARSHALL: Oh, it wasn't midnight. You had your dark glasses on. He, at that time, made press statements criticizing the homes in Chetwynd, calling many of them shacks, and I heard him interject when the Honourable Minister of Agriculture was speaking. This did not hurt Chetwynd's pride, but it did make them very angry. Didn't it, Mr. Member? The very capable Mayor of Chetwynd, Mayor Frank Oberle, attacked these statements and pointed out their advanced planning and zoning restrictions. I think that this community should be cited as a criteria for all of us of this Province (interruption).
DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order.
MR. MARSHALL: I think they had seven votes for the NDP there, yes. The plans of Chetwynd, of course, are to encompass many acres of land within the city boundaries to assist them in building new homes. I'll agree with you, Mr. Member, that certainly many of the homes are not mansions but if you had seen it growing as I have, you'd be perhaps maybe a little bit more aware of how proud the people in Chetwynd are. I might mention, too, that if this Member wishes to be a snob, if he had taken the time to look, there are many homes in Chetwynd equal to his own, if he had taken the time to look. A socialist snob, I think that's a good twist. Mayor Oberle also sent a wire to Federal NDP Leader, Tommy Douglas, who was visiting the South Peace River country and stated that he need not bother visiting Chetwynd, for if he did, he must be ready to suffer the consequences (interruption).
DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order.
MR. MARSHALL: We didn't hear that. It must have been the Leader of the Liberals.
DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, please. Will the Member address the Chair?
MR. MARSHALL: I'm sorry, Mr. Speaker. Through you, I would like to say that I didn't hear very much from the Leader of the Liberals in Dawson Creek this year, but what else is new? He did support our desire to have a Courthouse built, along with demands that abortion clinics be built to solve the unemployment situation (interruption).
DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order.
MR. MARSHALL: This is akin to closing the barn door after the horse is out.
Mr. Speaker, I would feel most remiss at this point if I didn't extend my appreciation and thanks to the Members of our Cabinet for their visits to Peace River South.
The highlight during the past year was the visit of our Leader, the Member from South Okanagan. This man, the central and most vital head of our Government, does have the vision and the farsightedness in the development of the north, as he always has. Without further impediments placed in his way by the Opposition, he will develop the northern half of this Province, which offers challenges and imagination that, really, stagger the imagination. I can express to this Member, the solidarity felt by the constituents in Peace River South.
While mentioning dismissal of teachers, I want to express praise for the Cabinet and the Honourable the Attorney-General for the Cabinet Order passed October 21, which says that school boards, colleges and universities shall fire any teacher who advocates the policies of the FLQ or the overthrow of democratically elected Governments by violent means. It has shown me that our Government is not controlled by emotionalism and that they use politics to wage war against this new fanaticism. People must give support to their Governments in order that decisions can be based, not on politically astute decisions, but on decisions based on moral issues, illustrating that our Government has got the guts to stand and wage war on all those who threaten our very existence. When I see so many in this day and age standing up and so outrageously declaring that it is their right in our democratic society to speak out and cause dissent and, sometimes, destruction, under the guise of the freedom of speech, I'm wondering if, perhaps, we are not becoming so concerned with our freedom that, in fact, we are going to lose it. We have fought two World Wars over our freedom and our God-given free agency, but if those naive people believe that our freedom, in total, is free without any form of restriction, then I feel sorry for our country.
We are following trends, such as abandonment of capital punishment, forced through the Government by emotionalism, and we have witnessed the political blackmail of our Federal Government by the Province of Quebec. We have not evolved a just society but are nurturing an unjust society, because many of the political leaders lack the fortitude to take issue with all segments of our society that are threatening and breaking down our freedom.
I am appalled by the stand of the B.C. Teachers' Federation in calling for immediate repeal of the Provincial Cabinet ruling, and which promises full legal and financial support. This is irresponsibility of the highest degree in opposing the firing of teachers who support a group advocating destruction of orderly Government by violent means. I commend the Minister in his concern, by singling out those who have such a great influence by the instruction of our children. The Quebec Government has ordered an investigation of their teachers and I might suggest that, in their witch hunt, they are looking in the wrong corner.
Mr. Speaker, we should also be cautious, while I agree with this Cabinet ruling, of a spontaneous process that can take place to test us on how far we will go to give up our freedom. We are unconsciously developing a class snobbery, sometimes towards students and sometimes towards teachers, and we look on our students as those enjoying many of the benefits we did not enjoy. Many of the attitudes are becoming quite alien to us. A product of an affluent society, a colour culture, a drug culture, are all becoming quite alien
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to us. Dress styles and hair styles are also alien to the older adult. They cannot grasp the era of demonstration and of confrontation. We cannot deny that, in our country, we have high unemployment and abject poverty, we cannot deny that there is destruction of our environment and we cannot deny that there is racial discrimination and we cannot deny that there is a war going on that we all want to see ended. There seems to me to be no communication any more. Demands, confrontations, are not the means for change nor do they bring results. It is a very frustrating experience on both sides.
The Government, however, Mr. Speaker, can no longer remain the insular structure it seems to have become. We must open a line of communication through discussion and through transference of information and be more responsive to public appeal. I feel our Government, particularly in this Province, is doing a great deal towards alleviating the many glaring problems in this regard. We have a great responsibility to restrain radicals in the best interest of the public, and I am gratified, in one sense, to see how quickly people will give up their basic freedoms. I find it somewhat frightening, also, to see how quickly some people emotionally over-react. This over-reaction can escalate to a point where people will give up all their freedoms under a dictatorship. Governments should impose additional laws when they are absolutely necessary, sanely and rationally keeping the public duly informed to avoid the emotionalistic pressure placed on them by the public. In turn, I would caution the Opposition against the use of emotionalism to exploit the given situation causing upset and irreversible harm and damage to the people and to the country.
Peace River South was also accorded this year the honour and the privilege of a visit from the Prime Minister of Canada. I had an opportunity of speaking to him, along with a fellow group of farmers, for a considerable length of time.
AN HON. MEMBER: Was it an acting Prime Minister?
MR. MARSHALL: No, this was he, himself, the real one, dressed in khaki and running shoes. I found him very informal and easy to talk to. During the conversation, the subject of subsidies was brought up and, as the Task Force Report on Agriculture had recommended immediate removal of the Canadian Livestock Feed Board Subsidies, we discussed this at some length. 1, like the Prime Minister, do not support subsidy programmes but as this was one that we have nurtured for many years, and as its immediate removal would cause disaster to our farmers, I endeavoured to get his commitment that it would not be removed until a suitable alternative could be found. The Prime Minister did make this commitment and I give him credit for it.
While on the same subject, I pointed out that he did not hesitate to give a multimillion-dollar subsidy to the textile industry in the Province of Quebec and, as he does not support subsidies, I found this strange. "Oh, yes," he said, "but this is a different situation. Even if we subsidized this industry 100 per cent, we couldn't compete with textile imports from Hong Kong and Taiwan because of these countries' lower wage inputs." He said that the subsidy was to be used until such time as they phased out the textile industry in the Province of Quebec and absorbed the workers into other segments of society once again putting them on welfare, hiring social workers to take care of them and have the middle-class taxpayer pay the tab.
Mr. Speaker, I am appalled with this man's philosophy when he does not search out and endeavour to find other corrective means to retain an industry. His same policy applies to our agricultural problems. The farm problem, which like death and taxes, it seems we always have with us. The Federal Government up to last year had made many suggestions for preventing farm surpluses, except that they suggested that they plow every third farmer under. Now, however, they are suggesting that every two thirds of the farmers be plowed under. Once again, put them on welfare, hire more social workers to take care of them and have the middle-class taxpayer pay the tab. I truly wish this Eastern gentleman was a Liberal.
Speaking in the famed Mile 0 City of the Alaska Highway, he concluded by saying, and this is to his credit, that his knowledge of farm products and farm problems began at Mile 0. I gave him credit for this statement but I would like to have asked who in his Department really does understand the farm problems.
The only time the Prime Minister appeared to slightly lose his cool was when I told him that the Liberal Government's Operation Lift Programme was a complete failure. Under this so-called assistance to the agriculture industry, they were to pay $6 an acre to take wheat into summer fallow and $10 an acre to turn wheat into forage. To the ordinary layman this appears to be a costly pay-not-to-grow type of programme. In essence, Mr. Speaker, the Federal Government is contributing much less in support of the agricultural industry than they ever have. They have forced the producer to sell at depressed prices and have made money doing it. I'll tell you how -because of one small clause in this programme, which states that wheat deliveries in the new crop year, beginning August 1, will be based on the amount of acreage a farmer has in summer fallow or in forage, not on what he has seeded to wheat or as total acreage. Prior to this crop year, farmers had received $138 million in cash advances for stored grain, which this year has to be repaid on the basis of 50 per cent of the gross proceeds from all grain deliveries. This clever scheme they have for raising money works this way - they have increased sales of what have been mainly the lower grades, and much of which was traded at lower levels offering little hope of final payment. In other words, at depressed prices, they have given the farmer, the producer, enough quota to pay back the $138 million cash advance, and then they took approximately the interest from this advance and hope to return a portion of it back to the farmer through Operation Lift. In its conception, Operation Lift was the motivating factor, to get the producer to pay back the $138 million for the Federal coffers. A Government that resorts to this type of extortion, at a time when the industry requires interest and assistance in order to feed its own coffers, I'm sure it will not be put back in office next election, at least, by those engaged in agriculture.
Mr. Speaker, the 1970 wheat acreage of 12 million acres is far below the record seeding of 29.6 million acres seeded in 1967, and it is the smallest acreage seeded since 1914. Since 1914, it is the smallest wheat acreage we've had in production in Canada. At that time, there were 9.3 million acres seeded. Fortunately for Canadian grain producers, they ignored the Ottawa Liberals who advocated cutbacks in barley to 6 million acres, for if we had cut back below 9 million we couldn't have even met delivery commitments.
The Federal Government created an atmosphere of doom and gloom, a panic atmosphere, overburgeoning wheat surpluses, and hastily embarked on its Lift Programme to force through its quota system, the farmers to repay at depressed prices the amount of their cash advances. These
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cash advances, at the time they were given, were based on wheat at $1.60 per bushel and they have to be repaid back with wheat at $1.18 per bushel. Bad advice, short-term programmes, total ignorance of possible harvest setbacks and the good Lord's own method of controlling overproduction created a very poor cash position when the Government operated and brought in their "Rob Peter to pay Paul' syndrome, at a time when farming, really, could have appeared to be bright.
Mr. Speaker, another typical example of the "Rob Peter to pay Paul" syndrome of the Federal Government is their grain stabilization plan, a scheme which all farmers are expected to pay into every year in the hope that some farmers will benefit in some years. This, like crop insurance, does nothing to increase an admittedly inadequate net income.
The cost of producing an acre of grain, on the average farm in the Peace Country, is approximately $19 to $21 per acre, depending on the size of the farm. In production of barley, for example, even with higher rates of yield experienced in the South Peace, with Wheat Board prices of 57 cents per bushel, it is simple bookkeeping to know that, with final payment on grain apparently a thing of the past, a producer finds it impossible to show any net profit.
It is my request to our Government that, in the interests of the whole Province, we do nothing to let the Liberal corporate friends gain control of agriculture by furthering Federal policy aimed at getting rid of farmers. Further, Mr. Speaker, I would call on our Government to stop the misuses of the powers invested in the Canadian Wheat Board by the Federal Government. I want to deal with these misuses and restate part of what I presented to the Parliamentary Committee on the Canadian Constitution. I have already mentioned the blatant misuse of Federal authority by the implementation of the Federal Government's Operation Lift Programme, through control by the Canadian Wheat Board. In listening to Mr. Ronald Cheffins, a University of Victoria political science professor, who spoke at the Constitutional Conference here in Victoria, I want to agree with him when he stated that many of our problems are failing of political will. I have read many of the transcripts challenging the validity of the Canadian Wheat Board Act. The Supreme Court usually admits that the act is monopolistic, that it does infringe on one's civil rights and on one's property rights but, although it does, it always upholds it on the basis that it is good for the majority of Canadians. I would ask our Government to be concerned also for what might be considered to be for the good of the majority of farmers.
Mr. Speaker, I will endeavour to show that the failing of political will in administering Canada's Constitution with regard to agricultural policies as they now exist is not good for the majority of Canadians because, as we challenge the validity of the Canadian Wheat Board Act, we infringe on other aspects of the BNA Act.
The Supreme Court always gives citations of previous rulings in support of decisions, which is past history, a fact I am critical of as it lacks any farsighted approach to the future and eliminates innovation. The Supreme Court usually compares the Canadian Grain Act in the same category as railway and telegraph systems, bringing the Act under the exclusive jurisdiction of Parliament and impediments in the way of the use of railways, elevators, etc. can be statutorily placed by Government, such as a Transport Board or a Wheat Board.
The most recent of the cases challenging the validity of the Canadian Wheat Board was a case brought last February to the Manitoba Court of Appeal, after Winnipeg Magistrate John Enns dismissed a case against an elevator operator, who was charged with accepting overquotas of grain deliveries. Magistrate Enns ruled that a Section of the Wheat Board Act, placing grain elevators under Federal jurisdiction, was unconstitutional under the British North America Act. He said that the Crown Agency has no right, under present legislation, to specify the type, amount and timing of farmers' grain deliveries to country elevators. He stated further that Section 45 of the Wheat Board Act does contain such a declaration in the generality and, in its wide, unrestricted application, it fails to constitute a declaration properly and specifically framed under the Section of the BNA Act. The Supreme Court, however, reversed Magistrate Enns' decision as, once again, it was considered to be for the good of the majority of Canadians.
I would like to point out, Mr. Speaker, the dictatorial powers under the Canadian Wheat Board through the economic policy controls it can impose. A typical example is the Federal Government's Operation Lift Programme which I have just related but, in addition, they can dictate how much you can sell, they can dictate the price you are to receive, they can dictate when you will sell it and they can dictate the price you can pay. They can also dictate where in Canada you will sell your product. This is blatant exploitation of people. It is despotism and it is completely opposed to the principles of our Constitution.
Another reason why these misuses, under the powers of the Canadian Wheat Board, are not good for the majority of Canadians, let alone good for the majority of farmers, is that farmers are important taxpayers. They are important, both on personal and property income taxes. Property taxes paid by farmers in 1968 were estimated at $175 million and I'm using the 1968 figures as that was the last year that farmers showed a slight profit or, perhaps, even broke even. In addition, rentals, in cash or in kind, amounted to an estimated $130 million. Total personal income tax payable by farmers to all levels of Government was $60.6 million. Average tax paid by all farmers was $500, the same as the average tax paid by all taxpayers. To plow all but one third of these farmers under, put them in unfamiliar urban ghettos, hire social workers to take care of them and have the middle-class taxpayer pay the tab, is hardly in the best interests of the majority of Canadians. I think, though, it does reflect, in part, the Trudeau Administration policies in halting Canadian progress.
Other misuses, Mr. Speaker, are the Bank of Canada Act, which in its conception was to regulate credit and currency in the best interest of the economic life of the Nation. The Canadian Wheat Board, which, in its conception, was incorporated with the object of orderly marketing and, by the declaration therein, in the Canadian Grain Act, elevators, etc., were brought within the same category as railway and telegraph lines mentioned in Section 92 of the BNA Act. These are the Acts that are proving to be the agricultural industry's downfall, when we consider what has happened to orderly marketing and the disappearance of long-term, low-interest funds required.
Federally, I recommend restructuring of the Canadian Wheat Board, renaming it the National Agricultural Advisory Council, which, in turn, would provide necessary liaison with Government. Under this proposed Act, it should provide for Governor-in-Council appointment of farmer-elected representatives from each Federal riding in Canada. These
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representatives could then set policy and recommendations by delegate authority to a five-economic regional structure of the National Agricultural Advisory Council. Then, for once in Canada, in compliance with the true intent of the BNA Act, those engaged in agricultural production would be allowed to manage their own affairs. At present, we are like the impossible situation of a very thin cow that is being continuously milked.
Provincially, and I have preached this before, we must set up a Crown Corporation for those engaged in agriculture to work hand-in-hand with this National Agricultural Advisory Council. It is most germane to advocate this Corporation, with the threat posed by the Federal Task Force on Agriculture recommending the immediate removal of the Canadian Livestock Feed Board subsidy. Mr. Speaker, upon mentioning a Crown Corporation, one always asks where the money is to come from. We have preached before that this would be a self-liquidating expenditure. We have our own railway and, in the Province of Alberta, they have an Alberta Wheat Pool, which is our prime mover of grain in Fort St. John and Dawson Creek, British Columbia. I think B.C. should have its own Crown-owned B.C. Agency. I know the needs of our livestock producers within our Province, as well as the needs of our poultry producers. They must have inputs required for operation as competent and competitive as do their counterparts in other Provinces and, particularly, as it applies to grain, they must have continuity of supply.
Mr. Speaker, I am becoming increasingly annoyed at the seeming lack of concern by our Government; also, while I'm criticizing the Federal Government ... I'm increasingly annoyed at this lack of concern to use imagination and innovation to assist those engaged in agriculture, particularly in the Peace River country. We have preached the need for tax changes. The last four referendums in the Peace were defeated by a strong opposing campaign by the rural population. We have preached the need to aid our farmers in diversifying into other types of crop production. We have preached the need of dealing with the Pacific rim countries in contractual growing of forage crops, more specifically, dehydrated alfalfa. This is a crop that can be grown better in the Peace River country, providing exceptionally high nutritional value, high protein content and total digestible nutritional values. I would suggest that we can grow it better on a nonirrigated basis than any place else in North America. I have preached that we should have Pacific rim country offices established in Vancouver, an office through which to market and arrange these contractually growing agreements. Last year, in the Province of Saskatchewan, large dehydrating plants were constructed and are operating, providing increasing diversification to growers. And I cannot help but wonder why, when we preach and advocate these things, do we have to be last and late, instead of first and foremost.
To point out the feasibility of my suggestions, I should like to point out to my fellow colleagues in this House a few statistics about the Peace River country, as obviously many of them do not appear to be cognizant of that area. First of all, the climate of the Peace River country, briefly, is generally described as continental-moderate and is influenced by the Pacific current systems and the Rocky Mountains. Yearly precipitation, which is important to this point, is 18 inches and it is generally well distributed throughout the growing season. More specifically, to give support to my suggestion of dehydrating forage crops and the growing of them, is the fact that we can boast a long-term yearly average of 2,055 hours of bright sunshine, which are data exceeded only by one other area in this Province. The average summer temperature is 70 degrees.
It is my sincere hope, Mr. Speaker, that it can be demonstrated to what degree the agriculture industry should concern itself with the impact of beef stew that never saw a stockyard, and bacon that never heard an oink; in short, synthetic foods which even now are spreading into the United States' supermarkets and larders and which, this year, the Wall Street Journal recently estimated the value and volume of the analogues for the year would be $10 million and cited a market survey showing probable 1980 sales of about $2 billion.
Also, I myself should like to understand why butchers have, all of a sudden, become magicians producing $1,000 worth of meat from a $400 steer? Why fruit growers in order to get one cent a pound for apples, have to sell them at 16 cents a pound? Why a hog producer receives $35, after spending six months raising the animal, which price is multiplied several times in a matter of a few hours by food chain outlets?
While I seemingly criticize our Federal Government, I mean it as objective criticism; and no blind allegiance, at least, to my political philosophy will deter me or be an impediment in the way, to point out to our Government very constructively the very lack of concern demonstrated by them and their efforts in endeavouring to alleviate many of the ills in our agricultural industry.
For the past years, we have preached the needs of not only our agricultural industry but also the needs of further developing the northern part of our Province. The need to construct communication links to provide access to northern natural resources. We said last year there would be huge demands for our northern oil and natural gas. We said that the American demands would increase. We said that there would be a north-south gas pipeline across British Columbia and we pointed out the development that would take place in our north. We pointed out that the * e need was apparent for upgrading the Alaska Highway and construction of an all-weather highway from Fort Nelson to Fort Simpson. All that we have said, in the forecasts for American demands for our oil and natural gas, have all come to pass, and the lack of necessary prerequisites are not there, such as roads, and we are too late, perhaps not, necessarily, too late, but certainly not timely.
Finally, however, a glimmer of hope has appeared on the horizon. Alaska Senator Mike Gravel's bill, aimed at paving the Alaska Highway, has passed the United States Senate, the House of Representatives and has been given the President's signature. It gives President Nixon authorization to enter into negotiations with the Canadian Government to pave the Alaska Highway from Dawson Creek to the Alaska border at Mile 1202.
I wonder, in this House if you, my fellow colleagues, realize the immense benefits to Canada and to our Province with a communication link from Vancouver through to Dawson Creek right through to the Arctic Ocean? I doubt whether some of you really do. We talk about foreign ownership, yet it takes the United States to make the first demonstration of a firm interest in sharing the.upgrading of the Alaska Highway. Our Government and our Federal Government have sat on their behinds, without the intestinal fortitude demonstrated by our forebears at the time of this Province's Confederation. This is an equally important communication link, as was one of the great construction jobs of all times, when on May 14, 1880, dynamite blasts
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echoed through the Fraser Canyon heralding the driving force of the railway.
We talk about unemployment in our Province. Well, unlike that day of May 14, 1880, when manpower was so scarce that we had to import Chinese labour, we have many thousands of men ready, willing and able to work on a project of equal importance, in this our Centennial Year. I feel that development, such as I have just described, coupled with the oil and natural gas boom in our north, will singularly contribute more, new, additional jobs than will anything else in this Province. Already new pipeline orders are rapidly grabbing up the available manufacturing space in Canada's five big-inch diameter steel pipe mills, in diameters ranging from 20 to 42 inches. Orders for smaller diameter pipe for transmission and field gathering systems will more than match this total mileage of the big-inch orders.
I cannot help but think that we are out of touch with the times sitting down here with the insular atmosphere of this Island. Perhaps, we would be much better located with our Government, not in Victoria, but in the central part of our Province.
The Federal Government, which recognized the need for a road from Fort Nelson to Fort Simpson, began work last year on a portion of the Fort Simpson-Fort Laird Road in the Northwest Territories. They have announced, now, that this work will cease, to permit speeding up construction of the Yukon's Dempster Highway. I cannot help but wonder whether, if our Government had given a clear indication, through official channels to the Provincial Government of building a B.C. portion of this Highway, perhaps we may have been able to took for completion of this total road this year. Now, the eventual plans will be to have connections South from McPherson to Fort Simpson, Yellowknife and Edmonton.
This means transportation for the oil and the gas pipelines now being projected across the north of the Yukon. In South Peace River, traditionally the service centre for northern development, while we recognize the advantages for tourists, by the year 1975, by driving from Vancouver up the Alaska Highway, and on from Whitehorse to Dawson City, then over the Dempster to McPherson, connecting there to the Arctic Ocean, it suffices very little, really, to see the concentrated efforts of the oil and gas industry drawing on men, supplies and equipment from Edmonton. I pointed out to our Government last year that we must have orderly development of our north and, this year, I do so again and propose the following five-point plan: (1) A clear proposal through official channels to the Federal Government, the intention of the B.C. Government to offer to pay 25 per cent of the initial costs of upgrading the B.C. portion of the Alaska Highway. A further proposal that the B.C. Government assume all maintenance costs, upon completion. (2) 1 suggest that the Provincial B.C. Government should offer to negotiate with the Federal Government, once again through official channels, a cost-sharing programme for completion of the Fort Nelson-Fort Simpson all-weather highway. (3) 1 suggest that we extend the PGE to Laird to tap the immense timber reserves in that area. (4) We have to give the encouragement, by our Government, to the oil and gas industry in exploration and development and service by the corporate citizens of the north and further encouragement and assistance, if necessary, for construction of a petro-chemical plant at Taylor, British Columbia, where there is an abundance of on-site power for water, raw materials and competent labour. (5) Take the town of Mackenzie out of the Fort George riding and have it encompassed by Peace River South, where we can better serve it, to the general advantage of both areas.
Mr. Speaker, oil and natural gas exploration should be heartily endorsed by our Provincial Government and, as I have spent many of my working years in the natural gas industry, I feet I must take to task the narrow thinking of many people who condemn exports to the United States by our petroleum industry. I am amazed at the philosophy of the NDP, which opposes these additional gas sales. They want to maintain our resources under the guise of an independent, industrial Canadian economy. We could do this with all sectors of our Canadian industry. We could call a halt to increased exports of our wheat, we could sit back and hoard our supply, but we would be doing it in a state of splendid isolation and abject poverty. I should like to point out a few facts to the negative-thinking people who object to selling our natural resources. They are resources that are very vital to the National economy and I do not think it's necessary to delve deeply into the fact that, contrary to public opinion, the foreign-owned companies do not make all the profits from selling Canadian oil and natural gas. Because of the dollars spent to find, develop and produce oil and natural gas, coupled with the billions of dollars in sales, the royalties to Provincial and Federal Governments which lease them the mineral rights, the costs of extracting the wealth from the ground, the taxes on their earnings, have all turned a handsome dollar profit to Canada from foreign ownership. My main concern is not the misunderstood concept of foreign ownership of this industry, but the mistake we have already made in not having a more aggressive exploration and development plan of our own. To hoard reserves, to sit on them with selfishness like a child refusing to share candy, has already placed us in a position where we could well find ourselves with obsolete reserves of oil and natural gas that have been left in the ground undiscovered and not utilized.
I said last year that I was concerned that our trade relations be affected to the point, Mr. Speaker, where we had a preferential marketing position of oil and onesided demands for natural gas. Although with earlier cutbacks in oil deliveries, this, at this time, does not appear to be an area for concern with the open-door policy to Canadian oil, and, as long as we look at whether the kinds of agreements for foreign capital and technology have been the best kind of deal we could have had, there should be no area for concern.
The problem I mention is because of the emotionalism expressed over selling natural gas to the United States and the consequent Government delay tactics, for, even now, with concerted exploration efforts and development of gas supplies being made available from new sources, by 1980, we might not be able to find markets for these fuels. Fuel cells, coal gasification plants, solar and nuclear energy prove as great a threat to the future of our petroleum industry as do fake foods to the agriculture industry.
It is a well-known fact that only about 10 per cent of our reserves have been found. The United States gas shortage will become more severe before supplies can become available in adequate volume. So we could quite well lose additional, potential markets that will switch to other energy sources, such as fuel oil and coal gasification projects. We gain nothing at all by hoarding our supply, but we could lose billions of dollars worth of potential gas reserves and billions in development money. We have proved and uncovered potential reserves to last for many years and we only have to look at our coal reserves, which could be synthetically converted to gas, for many more centuries of production. Because of
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Government apathy and public emotion, resulting in insufficient means of meeting the increasing shortage of natural gas in the United States. They are already preparing to build several multimillion dollar commercial coal gasification plants in the United States.
The philosophy of the NDP to condemn economic growth, as they appear to do, and then turn around and criticize the existence of poverty, is hypocrisy. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce made this statement: "Growth alone will not cure poverty, but poverty will certainly not be cured without buoyant and sustained growth." I propose to our Government that we remove the cloak of lethargy that has encrusted us and, whether we are talking about our agricultural industry or petroleum industry or forest industry, or, for that matter, any business endeavour, we should remain steadfast in promoting the system that still best allows men to achieve progress and well-being through enterprise and effort. Thank you.
DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Honourable Member for West Vancouver-Howe Sound.
MR. L.A. WILLIAMS (West Vancouver-Howe Sound): Mr. Speaker, as I take my place in this debate, I would like to correct an omission which many Members on this side of the floor have committed and, that is, to congratulate the mover and seconder of the motion which we are now considering. To use an expression, which is not one of my favourite ones, it takes real guts to express thanks to His Honour for that.
I've always known the Honourable Member from Columbia to be a person of a good deal of fortitude, as he certainly was on Friday last. His address was interesting as was the address of the seconder. So far as worthwhile content, I think they varied about as far as Columbia River is from Oak Bay. But this is my year to be kind, because I notice there is a feeling of harmony and good accord in the House and everyone is being kind and I expect to be so today.
I first of all want to show this kindness by raising the matter of Cypress Bowl and to extend to the Honourable Leader of the Opposition my congratulations and the thanks of so many recreation-minded people of the lower mainland for the job that he's done. The price is pretty steep, Mr. Leader, but, at least, the Government is going to pay it, we think. I was intrigued by the announcement that was made by the Honourable the Minister of Lands, Forests, and Water Resources, one day, and followed by the Honourable the Minister of Recreation and Conservation, the following day. They have really come through in Cypress Bowl. But I have in my constituency another development that is of equal concern and it is known as Powder Mountain. This is an area which is certainly no stranger to the Minister of Lands, Forests, and Water Resources because this matter has also been before him for some period of time.
It is interesting, Mr. Speaker, when one examines the record, as I did just this morning, to make sure that my information was reasonably accurate, I went through the records of the Registrar of Companies to look at all the companies that were associated with Cypress Bowl: Mountain Timbers, O. & O. Logging, Ffyda Holdings, O. & O. Contractors and all the rest. I find a striking similarity between the directorships in those companies and the directorships of the companies which have become associated with the Powder Mountain development. You might say, "Well, why is this significant?"
It was said by some writer, during the early days of the Cypress Bowl controversy, "To worry about Cypress Bowl was to look after the petty cash drawer while the safe was wide open." That, in fact, is true, because the development at Powder Mountain could be the St. Moritz of British Columbia. It is an outstanding area with tremendous possibilities and one which requires very careful consideration and very careful development. Yet, what do we find? The same people who were involved in Cypress Bowl are or were involved in Powder Mountain. Are or were.
It's strange because, as the difficulties became severe with Cypress Bowl, Mr. Charles Eadie, who was also a director of the Powder Mountain Company suddenly resigned. All the individuals who were involved in Cypress Bowl and also involved in Powder Mountain, suddenly resigned. Today, Mr. Speaker, when you go to search the records of the Registrar of Companies and into a company called Lakeland Valley Development Limited, and this is the one which has the development rights for Powder Mountain, what do you find? You find that the company was incorporated on August 15, 1968, and this will be significant to anyone who has been engaged in any company - there has never been an annual report filed for this company. You cannot find, by searching the records of the Registrar of Companies, who the shareholders are of that company.
As a matter of fact, when you do search the file, you find a letter, dated January 12, this year, from the company's solicitors and it says, "Arrangements for the annual general meeting of shareholders are being made as soon as possible, when one of the principal shareholders returns to the country." I'm sure that we must wait with a great anticipation. I would ask the Attorney-General to examine this file, because this is the company that holds the development rights for the Minister of Lands, Forests, and Water Resources in Powder Mountain. No annual report filed since incorporation in 1968. But there is a list of two directors: Mr. Williamson and Mr. Barraclough. A Mr. Boyd was a director until December 5, 1969; he was also in the Cypress Bowl. C.M. Eadie was a director until November 18, 1969; he was also in Cypress Bowl. Mr. Wilson and Mr. Osborne, which is a name familiar to anybody connected with Cypress Bowl, was a director until October 15, 1969. So, I say to the Honourable the Minister of Lands, Forests, and Water Resources that having made the positive decision with regard to Cypress Bowl, let's have the same kind of decision with regard to Powder Mountain.
Your policy of lease-develop-purchase didn't work in Cypress Bowl and it's not going to work in Powder Mountain. I say to you, Mr. Speaker, what is required from the Minister of Lands, Forests, and Water Resources, in regard to Powder Mountain, because it is an important area, it can be properly developed, is that you put a stop to what's going on, now. You establish guidelines by a competent recreational consultant and you call for proposals. Let's see what we can have there, because it's a large operation, one capable of tremendous investment and one which could have a very great impact upon the tourist industry in this Province. As I said in the beginning of my remarks it could be the St. Moritz of British Columbia. We don't want it lost.
It is suggested that, in order to maintain the development rights which they have today, the present developers must provide some uphill facility and provide it before the end of this year. All the information that anyone who makes enquiries can obtain is that we are going to get a rope tow. That's the way they are going to continue to qualify and
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before we know it we'll have people with investments and investment rights in that area so that the hold-up that we witnessed with Benguet and Cypress Bowl will again go on. There will be a price tag added to Powder Mountain, which any proper developer will refuse to pay.
We need to have, Mr. Speaker, from the Minister of Lands, Forests, and Water Resources, a firm statement of policy with respect to the development of recreational areas, such as Powder Mountain. One, so that the legislators will know what the situation is so far as that Department is concerned and one that can be debated in this House, if need be. Not after the fact, but before the fact. Not after the trees are gone, but before they are gone.
It was interesting, Mr. Speaker, when the Honourable the Minister rose in this debate, to find him admitting that the pollution control structure he had established following the passing of the Act in 1967, just did not work. I give him credit for making that admission. I thought we would hear during that speech some further statement of policy with regard to our environment, but we didn't have a statement of policy, Mr. Speaker. All we had was a new organizational structure, which is to replace the one that didn't work before. We have just raised some of the responsibilities, which the director of the Pollution Branch and the Pollution Control Board couldn't fulfill, into some other committee, a committee of Cabinet Ministers, into the realm of politics.
I ask the Minister, what policies have you laid down? What will be the guidelines for this ministerial committee? The Minister said that the basic plan aspect was originally designed to be handled by the Board, but now this approach does not appear to accept the total environmental or development responsibilities or to meet the need. The total implications of such major decision-making appear to be far more important and should involve Government policy at Cabinet level. Well, what's the policy? If it comes to a conflict between the environment and the economy, how do you resolve the conflict? Everything on its merits, that's right. How long is a piece of string? How long can you stretch the elastic? Mr. Speaker, it's important that we have this policy and have the opportunity of debating whether this Government is establishing the correct policies, because the people of this Province are entitled to know. During the course of his remarks, he made reference to the situation of the Utah Mining and Smelting operation of Rupert Inlet, as an example of why they had changed the structure.
Mr. Speaker, I was interested in the Rupert Inlet matter. I took the trouble to go back in the records, which are in our library, to see just what the chronology had been. You find that this mining company has held the claims in Port Hardy since 1961. By 1965 they were drilling. Something like a total of 700 claims. By 1968, the Utah Company announced that it was considering investing 381/2 million dollars. By February, 1969, the company was expressing some concern about the reclamation principles which would be included in legislation being brought forward before this House and which was passed in that year. They were wondering, as a senior vice president said, "There was some uneasiness in regard to legislation with respect to land reclamation." By June 12, 1969, a new 75 million dollar open pit copper mine development was announced by Mines Minister, Dan Campbell. I assume that, at that time, by reason of the absence of the Mines Minister from the Province, the Honourable the Minister of Municipal Affairs was acting as Mines Minister. A simultaneous announcement was made in San Francisco. "It is a very significant development," said the Minister, "it will start this summer and they are ready to ship ore in the fall of 197 L" Now that was on June 12, 1969. Do you mean to tell me, Mr. Speaker, that what was going on was not known at the Cabinet level? Was there anything that the Cabinet was unaware of about the development at Rupert Inlet? Then, on October 21, 1969, the announcement of a massive contract to export copper concentrates from this mine was announced. Four hundred million dollars over ten years - was the Cabinet not aware of this? It was October, 1969. Then, in November 1969, they finally decided to make an application to discharge this 9.3 million gallons of mine concentrates into the inlet. Big surprise! How can we now expect this new structure, this new committee composed of Cabinet Ministers, which will make these policy decisions at the Cabinet level, to give us anything different from what we had before, because the same Cabinet Ministers who were on this committee were aware of what was going on in the case of Utah. They didn't stop it, they didn't make any policy at the Cabinet level. They didn't say, "Whoa, don't make a deal with the Japanese. Don't start planning a 381/2 million dollar development at Port Hardy until we have a look at it." We are now told this is to be the new technique.
Mr. Speaker, until we have some firm statement of policy from this Government as to the approach it will take, when there is a responsible conflict between the environment and the economy, this change is nothing more than a change in name alone. The people are entitled to have this kind of statement from the Government.
We have another matter, Mr. Speaker, which deals with the environment, which is current before us today. It's interesting to note, now that we have this new so-called policy statement from the Honourable the Minister, and it arises out of the case of the construction of the refinery at Cherry Point, a development which has been going on for more than a year. Any school child has known or knows that oil and water don't mix and the modern day school children, Mr. Speaker, are rapidly learning that the transportation of oil, particularly waterborne transportation, is an ecological time bomb. In the space of a few short years, we've witnessed the disaster of the Torrey Canyon in the English Channel, the sinking of the Arrow, off the coast of Nova Scotia, the sinking of the Irving Whale in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the recent tragedy in San Francisco Bay, plus the oil spills that occurred in Santa Barbara from the actions taken by the offshore drilling of oil. The extent of each of these disasters and the damage they have done staggers the intellect.
You know, it's almost beyond comprehension, Mr. Speaker, to image that something not much less than three million tons of oil a year are being discharged into the oceans of this world. Certainly, the consequences of these tragedies are recognizable and understandable. Whether the oil is washed ashore to remain as a constant danger to marine life and to our recreational areas, or whether it sinks to the bottom and destroys marine life and depletes the oxygen supply upon which marine life depends, and, indeed, Mr. Speaker, upon which our own oxygen supply, the replenishment of our oxygen supply, the replenishment of human oxygen supply, are consequences that leave no doubt as to the potential for ecological disaster.
The tremendous costs - four million dollars - to clean up the mess on the east coast of this country, spent by our own Government. The oil company grudgingly spent a million. The people of Canada had to spend the rest to clean up the mess. The four million dollar expenditure is nothing compared to the lethal effect on the ecosystem of these
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villages. Never. It can never be completely cleaned up. Yet, in spite of all this experience, indications are that the risks that are attendant upon production and transportation of oil will increase and will continue to increase. Mr. Speaker, I suggest that this madness must stop. We can't, we must not, we dare not, expose ourselves to a repetition of these elements.
I mention Cherry Point. We are told that Atlantic Richfield is constructing the largest refinery in the Pacific Northwest, with a deep-sea dock to handle tanks bigger than the Manhattan. Three of these tankers capable of carrying 45 times as much oil as was spilled in San Francisco Bay, have been ordered by this company and will be engaged in the transportation of oil from Alaska to this refinery. The refinery is 12 miles from the Canadian waters at Boundary Bay. The work has gone on, as I said, for a year. Security guards are all around this development and barbed wire. One hundred thousand barrels a day is the design capacity of that plant.
Now, Mr. Speaker, if we had a disaster of the kind of which I speak, at Cherry Point, there isn't an individual Member in this House who can't visualize the consequences. We are proud and we are justly proud of the inland waters of this Province. The Strait, the Gulf Islands, all those exciting waterways that are utilized by the people of this Province and by those tourists who come here. This is what makes us the beauty spot of the world. This is what makes us so attractive. But if we have this kind of disaster, in this area, the wind and the tide carrying that oil will take no account of any man-made boundary line. We can expect that White Rock and Boundary Bay, any of these areas, the Gulf of Georgia, will be gone and imagine trying to clean up that mess.
The time has come. I was really shocked when I read in the paper just the other day that the Honourable the Minister of Lands, Forests, and Water Resources, this man who is going to head up this Cabinet level committee concerned with this policy, said that he has so many things to worry about, "that I can do something about in the Provincial jurisdiction that I don't do too much worrying about something that I can't do anything about. As a concerned citizen, yes, but as an effective instrument for action, because it is not only National but international in scope."
Mr. Speaker, the problem is so serious that no Member of this Government should be heard to say those words. Certainly, it's a National problem, certainly, it's an international problem, but this is the Government of British Columbia, the major maritime Province of this Canada. I demand that the Ministers of this Government don't say what I have just read but that they get into an aeroplane, if need be, and go to Ottawa and demand that our National Government do something if it's their responsibility. Not sit back and wait for the disaster to occur, not sit back and say it's somebody else's fault. You know, in this debate, we've heard criticisms. "The blame is on Ottawa, that's why we have problems." That may be the case, that the blame is Ottawa's because we have problems. But here is a problem that affects us and it affects us very deeply. It's incumbent upon the Government to make sure that some action is taken and taken quickly. That's what we want, that's what the people of this Province want - action from their Government.
I suggest that the British Columbia Government ... you know, there's one good thing about this Honourable Minister, Mr. Speaker. I'm sure there must be one good thing about this Minister, it's just slipped my mind. It'll come to me, I'm sure.
I say, Mr. Speaker, that the British Columbia Government in co-operation with the Government of Canada, and I mean real co-operation, must move speedily for a solution to this problem. At the same time, these two Governments must end the senseless and even childish quarrel which continues in respect to any programme for underwater drilling in Georgia Strait. I would think that the Honourable the Minister of Recreation and Conservation would be ashamed of the remarks which he made in this regard just a few short weeks ago. How can we speak with pride of the beauties of our inland waters, the Gulf Islands, while, at the same time, contemplating and ignoring developments which may lead to repetition of the Santa Barbara incident. For the Minister to say, "Oh, of course, every time you take a deep breath you are perhaps, creating, endangering pollution." I suspect that he will be one of the Members who will take his place on the Land Use and Environment Committee, which will establish at a policy level the way in which this Government will deal with developments in this Province which might affect the environment.
I suggest that it is imperative that the Governments require all those who are engaged in waterborne transport of crude oil or refined products, to register the vessels used for that purpose with a central control administration and file, in advance of each voyage, complete information as to the time of departure, the route to be followed and the time of arrival, and to report daily to a central control facility their position and any anticipated change in the voyage. The voyage plan or any proposed change must be subject to the approval of this central agency and meaningful penalties must be established and enforced if there is any breach. At the same time, the condition of each of these vessels and the nature and quality of their navigational equipment must be rigidly inspected to ensure that there is no chance of an actual disaster, which modern technological advances can predict and forestall. Additionally, the skills and ability. of each vessel's master, officers and crew must meet the most stringent standards to ensure that each vessel will safely fulfill its proposed voyage. That's for starters, Mr. Speaker. Following the grounding of the Arrow and the massive oil spill which resulted from that disaster, Dr. Patrick McTaggart-Cowan, who headed the commission of enquiry, reported that there were doubts as to the ability of the ship's master and the question of the lack of navigational skills of the crew. Dr. McTaggart-Cowan said that too many ships' masters were still living in the days of sail and go blindly ahead at full speed with none of their navigational equipment working. He found reason to suspect that an important factor in this problem was the unreasonable pressures brought to bear on masters by ships' owners concerned only with profits.
Mr. Speaker, this kind of idiocy can no longer be permitted and, certainly, not in our inland or near-coastal waters. To get to Cherry Point, you either come down our inland waters or you come through this narrow strait. A disaster in this narrow strait is almost too much to contemplate.
As an indication of this Government's intention to provide us with the best ecological climate in the world we are entitled to have every assurance, an immediate assurance, of action. We are a major maritime area and the advantage of this position carries with it a heavy obligation of participating in the formation, the development and the enforcement of comprehensive policies, however new, however stringent, circumstances may require them to be. This would be a good
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place, a good starting point, for this Cabinet committee to stand forward now and show that it means what the Honourable Minister said it meant the other day.
There were some matters in the Throne Speech, Mr. Speaker, which have not heretofore been mentioned, I would like to address myself for a few moments to them now.
On page 3, His Honour read to us that the continuing expansion predicted for British Columbia's economy presents a major challenge for British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority. "Protection of the natural environment has become one of the most important challenges of the decade and British Columbia Hydro will continue to utilize sources of power which do not adversely affect the natural environment of our Province."
I thought it was most significant, Mr. Speaker, that the words were, - . . . the natural environment of our Province." I would think, as a second mover for this committee that they would take some cognizance of the effect of what is being done to the natural environment of places other than our Province - our sister Provinces, for example. This would also be an interesting and challenging task for this committee.
On the Opening Day of this Session, we heard shouts from the gallery of "Power for the People." I regret the outburst as much as any other Member in this Assembly. We reacted because we are conditioned to react to words such as those. But the words that I have just read from the Speech from the Throne indicate that power continues to be a matter with which the people of this Province must be intimately concerned.
British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority ... I trust, Mr. Speaker, that I am not interrupting the conversation of the Honourable the Premier. I'm sorry if I am. I extend my apologies to him. British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority is a creature of this Assembly, but like Dr. Frankenstein's monster, it seems destined to overpower its creator. Already, this Crown Corporation has enjoyed an overwhelming share of the financial resources of this Province. I note from its last annual report, which, of course, is almost a year out of date, that in this debt-free Province, this Crown Corporation has a long-term debt of one billion four hundred and forty three million dollars, plus some short-term indebtedness by way of parity bonds of two hundred and two million dollars. I also note from some reports filed in this House in this Session that, so far as the B.C. Teachers' Fund is concerned, $92 million out of $161 million has gone to Hydro. The Municipal Superannuation Fund, $105 million out of $174 million has gone to Hydro. Civil Service Superannuation, $104 million out of $171 million. So that British Columbia Hydro certainly has had the ability to share, in a very favourable way, in the fiscal resources of this Province.
In his remarks last Wednesday, the Honourable Minister of Lands, Forests, and Water Resources, who is a director of B.C. Hydro, made what I thought was a very significant statement. He said, "In the final analysis, democratic processes cannot be circumvented in the resolution of vital decisions which affect the social, economic and ecological development of the Province." Now, he was speaking about matters pertaining to pollution control. He indicated that the original design of basic planning aspects wasn't functioning very well and said that, now, this approach does not appear to accept the total environmental and development responsibilities or to address the need. He continued, "The total implications of such major decision-making appear to be far more important and should involve Government policy at the Cabinet level. Such a burden cannot be placed on the shoulders of one man or upon a group that does not speak with the authority of Government." I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that those same words, which the Minister was applying to the field of pollution control, can be applied with even greater impact to the future expansion of facilities under the design control of B.C. Hydro and Power Authority.
In June, 1970, the Cabinet, by Order-in-Council, gave specific directions to the B.C. Energy Board. They were asked to consider what main transmission lines could be constructed, what additions could be made to existing hydro-electric plants, what potential hydro-electric plants could be constructed, what potential thermal-fired electric plants could be constructed, what possible interchange arrangements, in the public interests of British Columbia, could be made with the Province of Alberta and the Pacific Northwest States and, also, and this is very significant, the form of organization required to ensure the operation of the electric plants and transmission facilities on a co-ordinated basis to provide maximum benefits for the people of British Columbia. We've heard for years, Mr. Speaker, estimates from Dr. Shrum, Chairman of B.C. Hydro, for the need of increasing power. On Friday last in this House, there was tabled the First Interim Report of the British Columbia Energy Board. In that they say, "It is expected that these rates of growth will continue through the present decade, with but slight diminution, thus doubling the amount of power required in the Province every ten years." Now, this is where I have some concern. If we have created a Crown Corporation, whose indebtedness is one billion four hundred and forty odd millions of dollars on a long-term basis, and if we are facing in the next ten years the possible need to double our generation of electric power, then are we to face a doubling of that indebtness? (Interruption.) Well, I'm glad that the Honourable the Minister has answered the question. Obviously, you have done it with dollars. Where do the dollars come from? I don't think the pension funds can take it. What I wonder, Mr. Speaker, and what the Honourable the Minister appears not to have had the time to consider, is whether or not we, in fact, need all this power. I would like to know, Mr. Speaker, whether this exponential power graph, that is being designed by someone ... it's possible in this Province that we could not produce enough paper to draw a graph line long enough to project our power needs to meet the forecasted growth in demand. Who's forecasting it? Who are the faceless, nameless persons or group of persons in this Province who are making this calculation? Is there any possibility, Mr. Speaker, that it could be the same person or persons who is also encouraging B.C. Hydro to promote the sale of electric energy for heating of homes and so on, which, certainly, has to be one of the most inefficient ways of doing it when we have other energy sources available as well (interruption).
Oh, it's not quite true, my friend. As a matter of fact, we have gas in this Province and to bring gas into this part of the world and convert it into heat is much more efficient than by transferring it first into electric power. I'm sure the Honourable Member, who has just taken his seat, from Vancouver Centre, would realize that the city of Vancouver's power is already being provided by the burning of gas at the thermal plant at Burrard, a power-generating installation which was designed originally only for peaking power. It's carrying the whole load and the reason that it's carrying the whole load, and this is part also of the secrecy of the Government, is that little is being said about the fact that all
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of the units in the Peace were shut down this year, while they replaced and remachined them because there were bearing failures in the various turbines. Nothing has been said about that. We never hear about these things. No, there was nothing in the Throne Speech of the shut-down of the Peace River productive capacity.
I suspect what we are going to face, Mr. Speaker, is a suggestion from these engineers that we have to have more power. Then, when we have built more power facilities, we'll say, "Oh, we have got to find a market, so what we'll do is sell it to the Americans so they can build up their industrial complexes down there." Having once committed it on a long-term basis to them, then we'll go on and we'll heat more homes with electric power. Then the engineers will come back and say, "We are using so much power we have to build more generating plants." My concern, Mr. Speaker, is, are we going to be encouraged to dam every river and flood every valley in this Province and turn British Columbia into a vast powerhouse, only to appease the insatiable enthusiasm of these forecasters in B.C. Hydro? Or are we going to be led into some new programme for power development through the use of nuclear energy? Are we going to become the unwitting victims of the battle which is raging between the Chairman of B.C. Hydro and the Honourable the Premier of this Province? You look through the rest of the things. One thing about Dr. Shrum is that he talks and talks lots, and that's the only reason why we know what's going on in Hydro. In June, it was being said, "B.C. Chairman hints switch to thermal power." Then in July, thermal pollution, he was talking about the nuclear problem. Dr. Shrum scoffed at that. Then in September, "The electrical producers are facing a crisis," says Dr. Shrum. You'll note, Mr. Speaker, that the Order-in-Council I read directing the Energy Board to make certain studies, talked about thermo-generating, hydro-electric sources which were existent today and new hydro-electric sources. There was no mention about nuclear power at all.
However, we find that, in November, nuclear power was being aired by Shrum, despite Bennett. That looks like a bit of a contest. The most startling of all is in December, 1970. Dr. Shrum said, talking about the studies of the B.C. Energy Board, "B.C. Hydro will not be waiting on the report entirely. There are some projects which may have to go ahead. I expect we will have to make a decision on one." So the report, of which we have the first interim one filed now, is, obviously, too slow for B.C. Hydro and we are going to press on.
Well, Mr. Speaker, I don't believe that we should become the victims of the battle between the Honourable the Premier and the Chairman of Hydro. I don't think that we should become the victims of forecasters who tell us how much power we have to have, not until the policies of the Government and its Crown corporation, B.C. Hydro, are clearly set before this Legislature and subjected to scrutiny and debate against the background of independent evaluation beyond the possibility of bias (interruption). Yes, Mr. Member, I thank you, and voted on it in this Legislature. I remind this Assembly of the words of the Honourable the Minister of Lands, Forests, and Water Resources, a director of Hydro, himself, who said, "Democratic processes cannot be circumvented in the resolution of vital decisions which affect the social, economic and ecological development of this Province." We don't want democratic processes circumvented here and there's no doubt in the minds of any person here or citizen of this Province that the future growth of B.C.
Hydro is a vital decision which affects the social, economic and ecological development of this Province. It takes the money that we need for schools, for hospitals, for highways, for you-name-it, and we pour it down the drain so that B.C. Hydro can use it.
When we are thinking about what B.C. Hydro might do, what the Energy Board might report, the indications in the press already are that serious consideration is being given to the Moran Dam and the Fraser. Surely, we can now took back at what happened at the Peace. The honourable Member, who just recently took his seat, spoke glowingly of what it was like above the Peace. Mr. Speaker, we also have to take a look at what happened below the Peace. What has been the effect on the downstream area. We know of the controversy that is raging today about the effect on the Athabaska system, as a result of what was done by this Government in the Peace. Are we going to face the same thing in the Fraser system? Those are the questions that need to be asked. The silting effect of the Fraser system, it is clearly known now, has an effect upon the marine ecology of the whole Strait of Georgia. When you dam the Fraser, you interfere with that. We have come to know little about the effects of damming our water courses but we do know this, that they have drastic and far-reaching consequences far greater than those which we ever envisaged.
We now know, from the examinations which are being made at the Fraser River, that, indeed, the engineers who were being consulted at the time the Bennett Dam was being considered also knew what the effect would be on the Athabaska. IPEC has in its possession a report from Swedish consultants telling them what the effect would be on the Athabaska when they dammed the Peace. This Government chose to ignore it (interruption). If it were the Federal Liberals, my friend, then they deserve to be castigated as well. But I am talking about a development, which is within this Province, when I speak about the damming of the Fraser and, therefore, it falls entirely on the shoulders of this Government to satisfy themselves that there will be no ecological disaster from any such development. The studies that are being made by their advisory ad hoc committee must be made and must be completed before any decision is made by B.C. Hydro. That information must be laid before this Assembly and we must debate it here and decide, as representatives of the people of British Columbia, whether we are prepared to make the commitments that need to be made to provide this generating capacity. It's not a question of dollars alone; it's the whole future of this Province.
A year ago, this Legislature debated a motion, proposed by the Honourable the First Member from Point-Grey, to enquire into the financial aspects of B.C. Hydro. That was defeated. Important as that subject was and is today, it is of even greater importance that this Assembly or committee of its Members be concerned with the entire power policy of this Government and the Crown Corporation it created and is expected to control. It's time that we started to control the Crown Corporation instead of the Crown Corporation controlling us.
Whether or not we can control the Crown Corporation, I suppose would be responded to by Dr. Shrum by saying, as he has said, and I quote, "A lot of people are wondering if we need all this power development. They wonder if a so-called brown-out would be so bad." I don't think they realize just what a brown-out would mean. Mr. Speaker, I wonder if a brown-out, in the electrical energy sense, is any more terrifying to the people of B.C. than to be bled white by this
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Crown Corporation and, thereby, to forego the fiscal needs of our municipalities and those peoples' projects which win directly improve the quality existence of our citizens.
We have, at the head of B.C. Hydro, Mr. Speaker, a man who believes that the best kind of life is when you can turn on a switch and get light or heat or what have you. Mr. Speaker, I suggest that, in this Province today, there are people who are prepared to say to this Government and to the head of B.C. Hydro that there are some other things we'd rather have. We'd rather have a few less lights and a few more of the other things which we believe are important to the quality of our life.
Now is the time ... (interruption) I accept the challenge of the Honourable Minister without Portfolio. We would like to see power in the rural areas. The rural areas in my constituency have just received power, in some instances, in the last two years. But B.C. Hydro, which develops this power, sells 37.5 per cent of its power to 15 consumers, and I'm sure the Honourable lady Minister didn't realize that. These are the people whose insatiable demands are being met by the money of this Province, not the rural users. The individual rural user is entitled to have the power and this Crown Corporation should be devoting itself to this responsibility. It's not. It's devoting itself to the large power users, not to the small, domestic users. It's the large power users, it's the 15 or so customers, not the 650,000, who are causing this Hydro decision to be made.
In September, 1970, Dr. Shrum said, "It would be our job to provide the information, including the economics. Then the alternatives are the people's to decide, not Hydro's." I repeat, Mr. Speaker, Dr. Shrum said, "Then the alternatives are the people's to decide, not Hydro's."
Mr. Speaker, now is the time to make this decision and it is the Members of this Assembly, as representatives of the people from all regions and areas of this Province, who must be permitted to have their say, who must have the information placed before them, and who must decide upon that alternative.
MR. SPEAKER: The Honourable Member for Shuswap.
MR. W.F. JEFCOAT (Shuswap): Mr. Speaker, the hour is rather late but, I guess, we have all night yet.
I'm glad to be able to stand up here today on behalf of the people of the Shuswap area, even though the hour is late. I will not go into any specific things tonight, because of this. I will bring it up in another debate, which will be quite appropriate.
As I come from an area which is diversified, logging, farming etc., there are good many items which I would like to speak on at some length, but at this time I will forego the main ones of them.
Forestry presents one of the most interesting and one of the largest economies in our area: Sawmilling, plywood plants, a particle plant is under construction and, of course, chips supplied to the pulp mills, etc. Forestry, I believe, would be the largest one sector of our economy, with, of course, tourism as the second largest industry in the Shuswap area. Tourism has increased by leaps and bounds and I think, would come second. Farming in the area would be our third industry, with dairying the largest part of the farming industry, probably, pure-bred stock-raising, second. Some of the cattle have gone from this area overseas to different parts of the world. I don't know whether the bull that the Honourable Minister of Agriculture was talking about came from our area or not, but we have some very fine cattle raised in that area.
Now, I think, that while I have a few words to say along this line, we heard this afternoon from the Honourable Member from the Peace River. The Marketing Boards are like unions. I believe we must have organized labour and I think that it has its place. I also think that we must have organized marketing, but it also has its place and limitations. Now, we in the interior, certainly object to having to buy grain for our cattle, for the dairy industry and hogs, and pay the Marketing Board some $18. Now, this varies, so don't quote me as $18 specifically, but we are paying approximately $18 a ton for any grain that goes through the Marketing Board. It doesn't have to go through the Board, but they claim this. All it is, is that it is entered as through the Marketing Board. They collect some $18 and this, certainly, hurts our industry in the interior. So, from this point of view, I've always taken the stand that farmers should be able to sell his produce at the door, whether it's a horse or a cow or a pig or whatever it is, to a buyer that comes to the door. But we can't go to outside markets and bring grain in. My next door neighbour has had to close his feed lot because - and he is a farmer on the prairie, raises all of his own grain - he can't haul it from Alberta into British Columbia and feed it. So he's had to close his feed lot because he cannot afford to pay $18 a ton for his own grain, haul it to the interior and feed it to stock (interruption). I'm sorry, could I just have a few minutes, Mr. Speaker?
MR. SPEAKER: Shall leave be granted?
HON. MEMBERS: Aye.
MR. JEFCOAT: Thank you. I will try and be as brief as I can.
Mr. Speaker, as we are now entering our Centennial Year it is most fitting that we should pause in our celebrations and deliberations and recognize all who have helped to make this occasion so important to the people of British Columbia. We should recognize, with pride, the many nationalities, traditions and cultures that are built into our society today. Out of these many traditions and cultures comes our present day society with, of course, our basic languages which all British Columbians are proud of. We are extremely proud of the good life that has been in evidence for many years and it is only as we work together in harmony and in co-operation that we can expect to continue and improve our standards. This will, of course, include full economic growth and employment of our people so that all may fully participate.
Many difficulties were experienced in the year of 1970. Labour-management problems very seriously affected the economy of British Columbia. The policies of the Federal Government in relation to their tight money and high interest rates, coupled with increased prices, resulted in increasing unemployment. This Federal tight money and high interest rates policy has also been a major factor in slowing down investment monies. I would hope that the coming year would experience a much improved economic position.
Mr. Speaker, the regulations to control the pollution in British Columbia have had far-reaching effects. People have become conscious of legislation brought in last Session by this Government and are accepting their responsibilities. Well-prepared pamphlets sent out by the Minister of Recreation and Conservation have done much in educating the public that cleanliness is everyone's responsibility.
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Industries are recognizing their responsibility and are installing better devices for pollution control. Sewage disposal is a major problem today. Treatment plants for sewage disposal must be installed, where necessary, to ensure that no untreated wastes be allowed in our rivers and lakes. As the costs to smaller communities may be too great, Mr. Speaker, I would recommend that the necessary financing be made available, especially to less populated communities, because we must control pollution. These smaller areas are going to experience grave difficulties in putting in proper treatment plants.
Now, Mr. Speaker, the number of snowmobiles are increasing at a very fast rate. I believe that regulations for their use should be laid down. A proper system of licensing would regulate the use of these machines and help to avoid accidents. I have met these machines at night, right on the highway. I think that drastic action should be taken to prevent this type of use. You don't have to be on a trans-Canada highway to get into difficulties when you meet one of these machines at night.
Another concern to the people is the ever-increasing tax load and man's ability to pay. Equalization of assessment is necessary to properly spread the tax load. The due date for farm taxes should be October or November to allow the farmer to dispose of his annual crop before meeting these obligations. The taxation of mobile homes is also becoming increasingly necessary in order to meet school costs and other requirements. So many people today are living with families in these mobile homes, from place to place, and this creates a hardship on any district that they may be moving into, without proper taxation. So I hope that a better system of levying and collecting taxes on mobile homes will be brought in.
The tourist trade is the second largest industry in the Shuswap area. More facilities, such as picnic grounds and roadside camps, are urgently required to accommodate this trade. As more and more trailers are being hauled and more people are tenting, accommodations must be made available to them. The maintenance of these campgrounds is of great importance. If these grounds are not maintained in a sanitary condition, it is worse than if there were no camping grounds at all. We get a very poor reputation if these grounds are not looked after properly. I would suggest that this could be done by caretakers in the local area. Perhaps someone in the area would appreciate earning some little bit of money on the side, on a part-time basis.
Steps are underway in the Salmon Arm area for an extensive lakeshore park development. A reclamation programme is underway and several acres of lakeshore frontage, which floods in the springtime but is otherwise bare or mudflats, could be reclaimed and built up and a lovely park made as it adjoins a treed area. So, we are looking forward to trying to improve the tourist situation as well as the local camping grounds and park sites, by reclaiming this foreshore property for this purpose.
Now, Mr. Speaker, the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges in my area is of grave concern. As I have said before, I had intended to go into some of these specifically I will not do so at this time. I will bring the specific roads in at a later date. A continuing programme of road construction into remote areas and upgrading of existing roads was launched. This programme has been neglected because of the lack of finances. The increasing tourist traffic, as well as local and industrial hauling, has far exceeded road construction. Many of the roads in the area are so dusty and rough that travel is hazardous. Homes and businesses are continuously enveloped in dust and I would respectfully request that a greatly increased programme of highway construction be undertaken. I do not think, in my own estimation, that we are even holding our own and keeping the present roads well maintained, let alone developing and extending roads in more rural and urban areas. So I would suggest that a much stepped-up programme be implemented this coming year or we are in dire trouble.
Mr. Speaker, at this time, I would just like to thank you for this opportunity of speaking very briefly tonight. I have many subjects here that I will bring up more specifically in the next debate.
The Hon. W.D. Black (Provincial Secretary) presented the Second Annual Report of the business done in pursuance of the School District and Regional Colleges (Pensions) Act for the year ended August 31, 1970.
The Hon. L.R. Peterson (Attorney-General) presented the Annual Report of the Director of Correction for the year ended March 31, 1970.
The Hon. L.R. Peterson (Attorney-General) presented the Annual Report of the Law Reform Commission of British Columbia as at December 31, 1970.
Pursuant to Order, the Honourable L.R. Peterson presented the Report of the Special Committee appointed on January 21, 1971, recommending the personnel of the Select Standing Committees of the House for the present Session.
The report was taken as read and received and, by leave of the House, the Rules were suspended and the report adopted.
The House adjourned at 6: 10 p.m.