1971 Legislative Session: 2nd Session, 29th Parliament
The following electronic version is for informational purposes only.
The printed version remains the official version.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 1971
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The House met at 2:00 p.m.
By leave of the House, the Honourable the Premier presented Conclusions of the Third Working Session of the Constitutional Conference held at Ottawa, February 8 and 9, 1971. Permission was granted for the published release, that was agreed upon and printed by the Secretariat, to be incorporated in printed form in the records (Hansard). (See Appendix).
MR. SPEAKER: The Honourable the Minister of Industrial Development, Trade, and Commerce.
HON. W. T. SKILLINGS (Victoria): Mr. Speaker, it is a distinct privilege and pleasure to stand in my place today to represent the great constituency of the capital city of Victoria.
Before I commence my formal remarks, I wish, at this time, to file with the House my Annual Report of my Department of Industrial Development, Trade, and Commerce up to December 31, 1970 and, at the same time, on each of your desks, you will find the Third Quarter Report of industrial expansion in British Columbia, broken down into census divisions. For the new Members of the House, I would advise you that the census divisions are the different areas broken down in the Province so that you can find your own area and then see what's been going on in that area (interruption).
No, they're not general census discs at all. They are just ... (interruption).
I'd like to explain to the House, today, because there has been a great deal of controversy as to the actual function of part of my department and I would like to explain, today, that we would like to have orderly and economic sound development within the Province and the record in British Columbia speaks for itself. During 1970, a year of business readjustment, $3 billion were invested within this Province. I don't want you to do too much laughing, my friend, the Leader of the Liberal Party. I've got something to say about you a little later on. You will not pass unnoticed. In the industrial sector alone, $500 million were spent in the modernization of plant and equipment and over $200 million were spent on secondary industry. Compare, and I say compare, the record of the three Prairie Provinces with British Columbia. During the past five years, 66 per cent more capital investment went into British Columbia than all of the three Prairie Provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. You can't make comparisons with oranges and apples. You've got to consider approximately the same number of people and that is the reason I made the comparison with the Prairie Provinces. That also includes the $90 million that was invested in The Pas - I think the Leader of the Opposition knows when I refer to The Pas in northern Manitoba.
Now the purpose and the basic duties of the Research Department are not unlike those of an intelligence organization in a military establishment. In both cases, they consist of collecting information from all available sources, evaluating it and, it is hoped, reaching the correct conclusion with respect to future capabilities and performance.
Now, it is not the purpose of this Government to just search for industry, at any cost. We must always remember the taxpayers pay in the end. I have only to remind you of the current experiences of Manitoba and Nova Scotia, to name two Provinces, that have blundered very tragically in trying to obtain industry at any cost. Ours is a pragmatic approach based on sound economic and statistical research and a level-headed approach to development. We seek out viable opportunities, ones that will benefit the people of this Province and not penalize them. There are few industrial and commercial firms of consequence in this Province that have not taken advantage of the services that the department has to offer. We are particularly solicitous of the small firm and individual.
Let me just digress for a moment about industrial development. It means many things to many people. Dr. J.J. Deutsch, in a speech to the Council of Resource Ministers in Ottawa, recently, when talking about industrial development said, "What is needed is hard-headed economic analysis, because you are dealing with realistic businessmen and sceptical investors."
Take, for example, the regional industrial economic studies prepared by this Province. Last year, we released three very outstanding reports: one, the Central Kootenay Region; another, the Bulkley-Nechako Region; and another, the Columbia-Shuswap Region. These reports analyzed the resource base of the areas and outlined the potential for future development. Are they useful? Let me quote from a letter my department received from an official of the Bulkley Valley Regional District: "It is a most comprehensive study and has created tremendous interest in this regional district and many of the other regional districts of the Province." An official of the Cariboo Region had this to say about the study: "This study contains a tremendous wealth of information." I must say our Department has done a superb job. We find we are constantly being asked for copies by people planning to move to this part of British Columbia (interruption). I know you would, Mr. Speaker, and I tell you what you should do, now. You should start and get a hold of the German motor company, now, too. It is doing a great deal of development within the Province.
We are continually seeking out new products and new markets for our manufacturing industry. Our statistical and market research facilities permit us to examine important inter-Provincial trade flows with a view to replacement through local manufacture. A special study of this nature is now under way, which will indicate products that might well be manufactured in British Columbia in the area of work in which we are developing a more sophisticated basis of approach. A more detailed examination is undertaken of specific industries, where opportunities appear to be particularly favourable, or where underutilization of existing facilities is apparent. Two such studies, one dealing with mobile homes and, the other, with metal-forming industry are nearing completion and they, I think, will be released by the middle of 1971.
I would like to refer, particularly, and I have a copy here, to a particular study we made on the Pacific rim. It has received ... anybody wishing to have one may ... This is the Pacific run study that has caused a great deal of interest. I may say we have had requests for this from Japan and California and a great many parts of the Pacific rim, because it's very factual and very, very informative.
During the past year, we have released studies on the pulp and paper and the mining industries and they've received very great appreciation from the B.C. Chamber of Mines and by
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the mining industry, because of a very, very deep in-depth study of that industry.
I should like to make one point very clear. We are not engaged in collecting routine statistics. Through our Statistics Act, we have access to many sources of information not available to any other parties. Through the use of magnetic tapes and the facilities of our highly developed data centre, we are able to record a vast body of economic and statistical data. Some segments of this material on wage rates, trade, etc. are published annually. The balance is used for departmental studies and, in a non-confidential way, it is made available to universities, industrials and research for market analysis, industry evaluation and the like.
I want to say something about our general economy. The year 1970 was a particularly difficult one, due in large measure, to misguided National policies of restraint and also due, in part, to extensive labour-management disputes. But, in spite of all these problems, the Gross National Product of British Columbia rose by 7.1 per cent and we will continue to outpace overall Canadian experience in 1971. My department has forecast that the Gross Product for British Columbia will be more than 9 per cent this year for growth and, in real terms, of about 6 per cent. The Government is very concerned about the current high levels of unemployment, which has been a great cause of comment within this Chamber. I was going, at some length, to review the pathetic results of our participation with the Federal Government but two of my colleagues have done it in great depth.
Let it suffice to say this. That, to date, after four months of waiting, I have not had a reply from Mr. Marchand. As I explained to the House only yesterday, my colleague the Minister of Municipal Affairs has wired for permission to release the correspondence between the different departments. I may say that we, in British Columbia, are not asking for any special treatment. This has been said before and I reiterate. We only say that, when the Federal Government is spending $200 million in other endeavours outside the Province of British Columbia and we are about 10 per cent of the National body, we should be getting advantage of about $20 million and we can't get permission for the expenditure of one dollar under this new Special Area Incentive Act that we discussed yesterday.
Now there's been a lot of talk by the Leader of the Opposition, making light of the Premier's Budget statement that we're going to have 25 additional jobs (laughter). I should say 25,000 additional jobs (interruption). It's all very well to go back and use statistics, but you must use them fairly. In other words ...
AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh, oh.
MR. SPEAKER: Order.
AN HON. MEMBER: Shame on you for causing it. You and the labour bosses caused it (interruption).
MR. SPEAKER: Order.
MR. SKILLINGS: Now, as I say, there is a very old adage, you know, that figures don't lie but sometimes certain people ... (interruption). As a matter of fact, you listen, my friend, you may learn something. It's rather doubtful, but you might. I want to make it abundantly clear that, last year, on the average yearly increases .... let me give you some figures that will be released very shortly by the National Government. In all of last year, the four Atlantic Provinces, on an average yearly increase, increased by 4,000 jobs. The Prairie Provinces, on an average yearly increase, had 8,000 jobs. The Province of Quebec and, as you know, that Mr. Bourassa, the new Premier of Quebec ... well, I'm not a linguist. I can't speak French, perhaps, as well as some of the people over there. The Province of Quebec, on an average yearly increase, had 12,000 new jobs and, as you know, the Premier of that Province came out with a great statement that he was going to have 100,000. The Province of British Columbia, during 1970, which was a Very trying year, had an average yearly increase of 15,000 jobs during 1970 (interruption). No, the 1970 statistics are not out yet, my friend, but they will be very shortly. As a matter of fact, I think that the Leader of the Opposition should be, perhaps, put in his place, because I was given, by one of the students at the University of Victoria, a little notice that was sent out. I must show it to the House because I get quite a laugh out of it. I know that he will, because, although he thinks he's pulling the wool over the people's eyes in this Legislature and of the general public, the University students are not fooled. Here is a notice that appeared just a week ago at the University of Victoria.
AN HON. MEMBER: Very humourous.
MR. SKILLINGS: Very humorous, I thought. I'll read it, Mr. Speaker, so the House will know exactly what they think, this is, the student body at the University of Victoria. "Marxist at large. Well-known godless Marxist, Dave Barrett, sometimes called Leader of the Opposition, will offend the sensibilities of decent Victorians next Tuesday. Come and be outraged. Free coffee." A typical Socialist gimmick. So there, my friend, is what some of the University of Victoria pupils think of you and ...
AN HON. MEMBER: Author, author.
MR. SKILLINGS: I don't know.
AN HON. MEMBER: Have you still got kids going to school?
MR. SKILLINGS: Yes, I certainly have. I'm very proud of the fact. I've got two, in the gallery, at the University of Victoria. What do you think of that'? (interruption). No, it was printed by the students themselves (interruption).
No, not my sons. My sons had nothing to do with it. I think they are going to be a little chagrined that I produced it, today, but I did, anyway.
Now, then, I must say a word or two about the Leader of the Liberal rump group. He presented his third budget, and I was talking to a very prominent Victoria businessman, and I said, "What did you think of the Leader of the Liberal Party's third budget?" lie said, "Third budget" I haven't read his first or second yet." I think that is just about ... (interruption).
Well, I want to say this, that as I listened to the Leader of the Liberal Party, I then realized why the Federal Government is in the mess it's in, because they've got three ... I would say they are very brilliant men in their own right. but they're not practical, they're Fabian Socialists and I could name the Prime Minister, Mr. Marchand and Mr. Pelletier. Now, my department prepared for me a long list of the accomplishments of all three of the distinguished gentlemen I
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mentioned and not one of them has ever done what I would say an honest day's work. They've all been either university professors, lawyers or people of that kind and I may say . . . (interruption). Yes, free the working man. They're going to free the working man and the trouble with these Liberals is they have the wrong priorities and the wrong roles and the wrong emphasis and the wrong administration and procedures. Now, if you don't think that the Prime Minister of Canada is just, really, a unique person, I am going to tell you something that is true. He is so far out that in 1960, in 1960, which is only 11 years ago, he was going to do a very practical thing. He was going to paddle a canoe from Florida to Cuba. Look it up, if you want to do some reading, my friend (interruption).
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please (interruption).
MR. SKILLINGS: Don't be attacking our civil servants. They're doing a very fine job. They just came across this in a periodical.
Well, to finish my story, of course, the Prime Minister ... (interruption). No, I want to tell you. This businessman I was talking to, said, "Well", he said, "if we listen to the Leader of the Liberal Party we'll all be up a creek and we'll have no paddle to get out with."
AN HON. MEMBER: Is that the end of the joke?
MR. SKILLINGS: No, that's not the end of the joke at all. That's only the start of the joke. The joke is on the Canadian people. That's who the joke is on. As you remember, when he ran for the leadership, he said, "Why, this is a joke." It certainly turned out to be some joke, didn't it?
Now, then, I want to say something else. The Leader of the NDP in our House has been very solicitous about new industry. I may say that in the early part of January I went back with a group of people to the capital of the Province of which his Party is the Government. I may say there are literally hundreds of industries in Manitoba that are looking for another place to reside. They're either going to come to British Columbia or to Ontario and I'm not fooling. This is true.
AN HON. MEMBER: We're strong in both Provinces.
MR. SKILLINGS: Yes, you certainly are strong in both Provinces. But I'm telling you, Mr. Leader, if you were to spend a little bit more time advising, perhaps, your colleagues in Manitoba you might be a little bit farther ahead. As a matter of fact, there is an old adage, "When you do a good day's work, you have certain satisfaction, irrespective of any of the wolves that go crying around the door outside." Particularly, that Second Member for Vancouver East who acts, I would say, in a very, very un-parliamentary manner because he attacks people outside the House who haven't got an opportunity to reply.
As a matter of fact, to get down to the specifics ... (interruption). Are you all finished, now? I would say this, Mr. Speaker, that the honourable Member has been throwing challenges about, "Anybody like to go down?" I'm talking now, about the Second Member for Vancouver East. He's talking about people challenging him. I challenge him to come across and substantiate his charges in the city of Victoria, the capital city, where people can see what the Government is doing every day. I challenge you to come over to my riding. Say yes or no. (interruption). I've got no intention of leaving the beautiful capital city where the daffodils are now six inches high. The Premier said that in Ottawa (interruption). Well, I'll tell you. The same thing happened to J. Donald Smith that is going to happen to you, next election, my friend. Don't forget about that. Now in the old days some of you ... (interruption). Well, you might lose it, too. You may lose it, too. You lost the leadership of the Party, so, if I were you, I wouldn't talk too much. I'm not talking too much. As a matter of fact, I won't speak as long as you spoke in this House. I've had a lot of interruptions but I have always kept ... (interruption). I know. With help like yours I need no enemies. In the old days, I used to have a crystal ball, perhaps some of you will remember, and I used to make some fantastic predictions. I'll make one prediction - that the Leader of the Liberal rump group will not contest the next general election as the Leader, because I have been advised that the Federal group are disenchanted with him, the Provincial group is disenchanted with him, and his own son and the young Liberals say he's only doing a 63 per cent job, or something like that, or 30 per cent job, or something. So, that's the only prediction I'm going to make this year and I haven't got a crystal ball at all.
Now let's get down to the Budget itself. I say this, that as far as the Budget presented last Friday is concerned ... (interruption) yes, I could be critical.
AN HON. MEMBER: You won't be critical about the Budget.
MR. SKILLINGS: No, not too critical, because I think it's the finest Budget British Columbia has ever had (interruption). Now, if you have anything else to say, my friend, go outside and have another press conference like the Leader of the Liberal Party does, will you?
Now, Mr. Speaker, they tell me now that the press boys said, "We're getting awfully sick you know of these Liberal prepared press releases. They are coming out just as fast as that mimeograph machine can get them out." He said, "We just hope that it bums a bearing one of these days because there's too many coming out."
Now, the only three increases in this Budget were the cigarette tax, gasoline ...
MR. SPEAKER: Order.
MR. SKILLINGS: Can I not discuss that, Mr. Speaker?
MR. SPEAKER: The Honourable the Minister may refer to them but not discuss them.
MR. SKILLINGS: No, I'm not going to discuss them in any depth at all. At the same time, for 19 years the Province of British Columbia has had a balanced Budget. Now, I would like any other Province in Canada, including the Federal Government, to come up with a record like that. At the same time, we have given a broad range of added advantages to the people of British Columbia that they have not got in any other Province. I'm telling you, now, that we are the first Legislature to sit ... and I would say this, that, as far as the other Legislatures go, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, across the country, there won't be one Province in all of Canada that can compare with the Budget that we had presented to us last Friday. Time is the only thing that will
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prove that. Just wait and see. As far as the basic increases of about $40 million in increased taxes - $25 million of that is going to go to alcohol, tobacco and drug addiction research and ... (interruption). No, no. Now, listen. As a matter of fact, I'm getting sick and tired of the Leader of the Liberal Party saying, "B.C. Hydro, B.C. Hydro." Just a moment. You're against Hydro, are you'! (Interruption.) In other words, Mr. Speaker, he made a great charge in the House when he spoke on Monday, in his famous budget, that the Hydro should go out on the public money market to raise their money. What better investment can the people of British Columbia make with their money than investing it in their own Hydro electric - the cities or the people? The other thing I would say is this, as we're talking about the charges to Hydro, the thing you've got to remember is this, Mr. Speaker, . . .
AN HON. MEMBER: I wasn't wired for shock.
MR. SKILLINGS: You couldn't be wired for shock. You've shocked so many people you're shockproof. The policy, Mr. Leader, of your Party, going back long before you sat in this House ... I can remember your predecessor, who is now sitting in the House in Ottawa. He said, "Don't go in for these large Hydro things, just put on a 100,000 kilowatts a year as we need it." We would have had brown-outs all through Vancouver and all through the Province of British Columbia, if we had listened to your stupid observations at that time. Candle power.
AN HON. MEMBER: Candle power politics.
MR. SKILLINGS: There's one thing I'm particularly happy about, Mr. Speaker, in this Budget. For the first time since I've been in the House, or the first time since the University of Victoria has been in competition with the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser, we now have $4 million of capital investment. It will be four, four and six, and before you know it, it's a million dollars more, and I see that the University is going to have to revamp its projected building programme. With $400 million for education and with a reduction in the municipal share of social assistance, I think the municipalities, although they'll never be happy because I myself for six years sat as an alderman and I know the problems of municipalities, but I think this Budget has been very, very fair to them. Twenty million dollars more for the Provincial home acquisition grant and, I think, perhaps, one of the great charges that I got out of the Budget was the $15 million for an accelerated parks development plan which, I think, will benefit all the people. The home-owner grant is increased from $160 to $170, which will, in a partial way, alleviate the increase in municipal taxes, but don't think for one minute that the home-owner grant was instituted in the first place to take up the slack of all municipal taxes. As you know, as people demand more and more services and the employees within the city demand more and more wages, there is no way that you can stop taxes going up because wages are going up. It's a vicious circle (interruption). Yes, and as a matter of fact, I hear all of these charges about how unfair the Government of British Columbia is, but my colleague, the Minister of Municipal Affairs, has offered to resign his seat if anybody in this House can find a better formula for municipalities than we have in the Province of British Columbia. Is that not so, Mr. Minister?
HON. D.R.J. CAMPBELL (Comox): Certainly.
MR. SKILLINGS: That's right.
This Government each and every year has also allocated certain increases for Civil Service wage increases and they will be adjudicated in the proper way through the Civil Service Commission. I think that is a just and proper way to ... (interruption). Well, I'll tell you, my friend, you're never going to live long enough to be that. Remember that (interruption). Well, as a matter of fact, you can't have it both the ways. They tell you to go out and attract industry and when you do go out, they criticise you for traveling.
I may say that I made a trip in that year to Japan to turn the sod for our Pavilion in Osaka and I may say that - you can say as you like - I think that it was among the first five pavilions and we had to compete not with Provinces or States but with world powers. I think that the reaction from both the Japanese people and the world at large is that the Canadian Pavilion was a terrific success. In that same year, I went to Czechoslovakia to sign the contract for our audiovisual performance or show within our Pavilion. I think the Member from Atlin will say that it was one of the best audiovisual presentations at the entire Fair. We had, literally, hundreds of thousands of people see it and we've had a great deal of very, very kind comments since.
As a matter of fact, I had several newspaper reports as to ... (interruption). I don't know what you're talking about. No, no. But my colleague from Columbia mentioned the fact that the general public, and I don't think you can consider the Sun, which is published by Stu Keate, is a great supporter of this Government ... but they said that they agreed with the very modest tax adjustments. The Daily Colonist was also referred to by the Member from Columbia and I want to say this, that I think the editorial is very, very favourable - it says, " . . . tailored to the times." I'm not against anybody smoking. I smoke, sometimes, and, sometimes, I don't. It's up to the individual.
But the last paragraph, the last paragraph in this editorial in the Colonist ... (laughter). No, I don't want my friend from Kootenay to get up and say, "You're opposed to poor people smoking." It's their own particular decision, but the last paragraph of the Colonist editorial on Saturday, February 6, about this Budget - and that's what we're discussing today - . . . "Indeed, if you stop smoking and buy a smaller car, the Budget could save you money." Now, don't say I said that. That's what the editorial said. It's up to the individual. As far as all the controversy regarding the 5 per cent sales tax ...
AN HON. MEMBER: If you stop smoking you save money and your health at the same time.
MR. SKILLINGS: That's right. The other tax about which there has been some criticism is the 5 per cent hotel and motel tax. I've had letters and telephone calls in the city of Victoria from responsible people saying, "Why hasn't this Government put this sales tax on long ago on hotels and motels?" Wherever you travel in the world today you will find a tax. As a matter of fact, in Japan it ~was 12 per cent. In parts of Europe, it's 10 and 15 per cent.
Another thing I want to make abundantly clear - I only brought it up in passing - is that it must be across the board. In other words, you can't have one municipality having it and another not having it, because that would cause unlimited problems when it came to conventions and that kind of
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thing. As far as I'm concerned, I told the Whip I'd be down at 10 minutes to 3. I've stayed within my prescribed time and I ask each and every Member of this House, not to vote on Party lines, but to vote your conscience, vote for this Budget.
MR. SPEAKER: The Honourable Member for New Westminster.
MR. D.G. COCKE (New Westminster): Mr. Speaker, thank you. Mr. Speaker, it gives me a great deal of pleasure to stand again in my place representing New Westminster. Mr. Speaker, I don't quite share the former Member's position with regard to the Budget. I can't quite understand what his position is, so, therefore, it's hard to share (interruption). Maybe that accounts for it.
Mr. Speaker, I think, however, that it's time that we discussed some ramifications or, at least, we have a discussion on what the Minister of Health said yesterday with regard to the rubella mess. Rubella, as most people know, is German measles. Yesterday, the Minister of Health provided us with a look at a new side of himself. Instead of his usually aggressive stance, he was the very essence of quiet concern with respect to that problem. The Minister was concerned about pregnant women being vaccinated, he was concerned about those with cancer or leukaemia being vaccinated, he was also concerned about those with gamma globulin deficiency being vaccinated, he was concerned about those who had fever or other illnesses and, then, he went on to say, that he was also concerned about people being vaccinated despite the fact that they had a religious antipathy towards vaccination.
What was he doing, Mr. Speaker? Either he was proving his lack of understanding or he was muddying up the water. To prevent or stop an epidemic, it's recommended that you immunize from the age of I to 12, Mr. Member, age I to 12. So let's review this group of people, the five groups that we were concerned about.
Pregnant women. Their doctors, of course, want them to not be vaccinated for rubella. Their doctors all know, they read medical journals, too, that they're not to be vaccinated because it could, in fact, create the same condition as would be created if, in fact, the pregnant woman contacted rubella.
Also, the concern about cancer and leukaemia. Again, this is a problem in the doctors' backyard.
Those with gamma globulin deficiency - there are probably two or three in the whole Province between the ages of 1 to 12 with this problem.
As far as those with fever or other illnesses, they're told, immediately they go to a clinic or a doctor, to wait a week or however long it takes to become well.
As far as the religious reasons, there is no compulsion in this Province, in any event, for anybody to be vaccinated. What we were asking for and what those who were really pressing for the mass immunization programme were pressing for was a kind of programme that would stop the normal carriers from infecting the community. The normal carriers of rubella are children from the age of I to 12. If, in fact, you can stop them from carrying it, they don't carry it to their mothers or their mothers' friends, who may become pregnant during the course of an epidemic.
The same points, however, with regard to all of these points could be used for other vaccines, which have been mighty effective. If we stop using polio, whooping cough, red measles, typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria, scarlet fever and all of these vaccines because of the fact that they might hurt somebody with gamma globulin and so on, we would never have had a vaccination programme in the first place. Let's just look at what happened in those cases. Virtually, all those diseases have been wiped out. Now, I think that's the thing that we have to concern ourselves with, is the fact that we wanted to wipe out, and still want to wipe out, rubella because of its very serious nature.
It is little wonder we were late in the crunch, Mr. Speaker, little wonder. One of those prominent virologists report, Dr. Enders and Dr. Horstman ... if you read on in the Enders Report, he advises mass immunization at the end of his report. Certainly, scientifically, he says that you've got to work on it and improve the vaccine, if in fact, you can. That's a scientist's normal attitude towards this sort of thing. But as to the degree of protection not being as high as it should be, and this was what Enders was talking about, why, then, did the Minister approve half shots during the epidemic? Half shots of the vaccine. Yesterday, the Minister said it was introduced in June. The actual vaccine, the first, was made available on May 1, 1970. That was the Belgium type. The second type was the American type and both of these were approved, both of them were approved. There was one American strain that was not approved and it did prove to be, certainly, not as valuable as these others and, probably, a little dangerous. But, in any event, these two strains were approved and were quite acceptable. I understand that, even right now, children are getting half shots. That started in September and has gone on. In October, I believe, the pre-schoolers began receiving half shots of the vaccine (interruption).
Well, the Minister said yesterday he was concerned about the fact that maybe it wasn't strong enough, thinking in terms of the Enders Report, or would you like me to repeat that portion of my speech?
Now, we go on from that report and we think of the Horstman situation. Now, Dr. Horstman talks about reinfection, but there's no proof of blood infection or contagiousness subsequent to the shot, subsequent to the vaccination. It could also happen that you could be reinfected with rubella. Back in July, July 22, 1 have a report here that the U.S. position in this whole matter was, "Here, in the United States, officials say a year-old programme to do just that is turning into the most successful vaccination programme in U.S. history." That's talking about rubella -to wipe out rubella, the same as they've wiped out other diseases. So they apparently saw no real problem with regard to Dr. Horstman's concern about possible reinfection and carried on with it. It's been immeasurably successful, as we will hear in just a moment.
Now, the Minister went on to produce his secret weapon. Now that secret weapon was HI testing. HI testing is the first line of defense. Now, this first line of defense prompted the Provincial Laboratory to send out a notice to a clinic last fall that I know of, "Don't send in any more tests, we can't keep up." Now, how many got that notice? Who knows? During that period, obviously, the facilities were overtaxed. Also it takes time and, if you rely on abortions to solve the problem after the fact, I say it's patently evident that this is backwards and wrong. The prevention of the infection, if possible, has to be the way. Now the HI has its place as a backup but its weaknesses are clear. The rash motivates the women to get the test. It's the rash that motivates them to go out and seek the test. Only one out of three women, however, get the rash with rubella, only one out of three; therefore, we are only dealing with a third of the group, in the first place, if we're relying on the HI test. The facilities
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would be overtaxed if you had to test all pregnant women. Here's a release, last June, where it says, "It isn't all pregnant women who get the test, says Dr. Homiman." Dr. Horniman is in the B.C. Medical Association. "It isn't all pregnant women who get the test," said Dr. Homiman. "We can't get this test done as a normal procedure. It is only the ones that do show some evidence of German measles that get the test." Dr. George Gibson said that the matter of screening pregnant women came up at the last meeting of the Association's Board of Directors and that the Board felt that the Province's ability to do mass screening was quite limited. "We certainly think that tests should be more available to the general public," said Dr. Gibson, "and we're concerned about the terrible risk to pregnant mothers. We feel that the screening programme should move ahead and become more widespread. However, I wouldn't want to say that the Provincial Laboratory isn't doing its job. It is probably doing as well as can be expected." Now, I think that pretty well answers the HI test position.
Are we going to rely on a National conference on immunization for a decision? The Minister indicated that we were; however, recently, there was a National conference held in the United States and its decision, Mr. Speaker, was mass immunization. I can't imagine anything much more coming out of our National conference.
The Minister pointed out that only one affected child has appeared so far. As I recall, it was forecast that we should start watching early this year and this is early this year. I hope against hope that we find no more. Rumour has it that there are one or two more, however, and many who are affected are deaf and it takes up to six months after birth to detect this defect. I hope we see no more affected children and, surely, in the future, we must insist on clear thinking and quick decision-making in crisis situations. Not dollars before decisions, Mr. Speaker. Decisions made as a response to confrontation is not good enough and yet so many of the decisions that we see made by the Government, Mr. Speaker, are made as a response to confrontation and it's not good enough.
Mr. Speaker, I'd like to move on. I'd like to move to the area of one of our tenants in British Columbia, B.C. Telephone. Mr. Speaker, they are at it, again. Those barons of free enterprise - the B.C. Telephone Company - want a bigger piece of the pie. Let's just examine this great free enterprise concern. General Telephone and Electronics of New York owns the controlling interest of Anglo-Canadian Telephone Company. That great telephone company deals in money, and - that's what it deals in, it deals in money, not phone service - has the controlling interest in B.C. Tel. OK? Now General Tel and its errand boy, Anglo-Canadian, also have other holdings, Mr. Speaker. Those other holdings are such as Automatic Electric, Canada Telephone and Supplies, Lenkurt Electric, Dominion Directories and many more. But those are just a good little representative group of free enterprises. Now, there are other companies involved in this outrageous monopoly but let's just see what the effect of this parent-child relationship is in the Province of British Columbia.
Papa Tel, you know Daddy Tel, Papa Tel, insists that its family of companies keep the faith. He insists that they keep the faith.
AN HON. MEMBER: Ma Bell.
MR. COCKE: Ma Bell, that's the other Tel. Papa Tel, that's General Telephone and Electronics, in case anybody has forgotten, of New York, calls the shots. If you don't think so, look over the set-up. B.C. Telephone is the company which has to answer to the Board of Transport Commissioners. All the other companies are in the clear. They don't answer to anybody. They don't answer to the Board of Transport Commissioners as to their profits, as to whether they're doing business in a sound or an unsound manner. They answer to Papa Tel, clearly to make profits at whatever rate the traffic will bear. That's where they are -clear as a bell. There's no protection for the traffic, neither the protection afforded by competition, nor the protection afforded by Government authority or public disclosure. But, certainly, there is no protection whatsoever afforded the people of this Province against the kind of thing that's going on. In 1965, for example, 90 per cent of the supplies required by B.C. Tel came from subsidiaries of GT and E direct subsidiaries and indirect subsidiaries. Automatic Electric was selling about $13 million a year worth of material and equipment to B.C. Tel. Compare, if you will, those great Prairie Provinces that the Minister of Industrial Development was talking about a few minutes ago, those great Prairie Provinces of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta. They are Government telephones and they're not locked into a giant like we're locked in. Our locked-in giant is something else again. Our locked-in giant is the place where the money is just sort of kept at a minimal rate of flow. It's outside our locked-in giant, where the action is.
All these systems put their requirements out to bid, these other Provinces. B.C. Tel puts its bids to bed. There's no question about that. There's an iron curtain around that B.C. Telephone and its purchasing department, the like of which would make the Soviet Union pale. They put the highly profitable portion of their business with those sister companies that I've named. The set-up in B.C. Tel's office in Burnaby is one of the most obvious aspects of this whole thing. It's really of great interest. Here you find B.C. Tel's purchasing department in Burnaby on 10th Avenue. In the same building 30 or 40 feet from the B.C. Tel's office, in the same building, is Automatic Electric's office and, also, you'll find Canada Telephone and Supply in the same office. All having coffee together, lunch together. I'm sure, they probably play golf at the same clubs together. Wouldn't be surprised. Some are dummies, some are not. The Automatic Electric is the one big supplier. Such arrogance, Mr. Speaker, such arrogance even rivals this Government. It rivals this Government. Who else is there in Canada who would try that? Bell Telephone doesn't. They have their connections, exactly the same, or very similar, but, at least, they stay out of the buildings. At least, they stay out of the buildings. But here you've got them all together.
Canada Telephone and Supply is not quite the same as Automatic Electric. It is an installer of major equipment but it is there, too, and I would think that they get all the contracts for installing major equipment. Something tells me that. If you see anybody else doing it, let us know.
Now, the end result, I think, Mr. Speaker, is obvious. If you look at your telephone, it has the Automatic Electric stamp marked right on it. Next time you go to your office, look at your telephone, and you'll notice the little Automatic Electric stamp on it. In Alberta, your phone could be a Northern phone, it could be ITT, or it could be Automatic Electric. The same in Saskatchewan. At least, there's some competition there.
Here is just one good example of what happens in British
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Columbia. A cord key for a key set in B.C. - B.C. Tel pays $15, Alberta pays $12. There are a lot of cords for key sets. These are just a few examples that you can sometimes pick out because most of this is done behind those three closed doors. It's a shame, Mr. Speaker. The Prairie systems buy four-conductor wire cheaper than the B.C. Tel buys three conductor wire. And on and on and on it goes. What do we get for our expensive phone service? Just about the poorest quality in the Nation, the poorest quality you can imagine. Order a phone in Alberta and you'll get that phone within three or four days, no more than four. Order a phone in Saskatchewan and you wait no more than four days. Order a phone in British Columbia and you can count on waiting 14 days. Fourteen days, Mr. Speaker, a lot of mountains (interruption). That's right. Now even when your house is wired, or even when your apartment is wired, for a telephone, Mr. Speaker, you still wait 14 days for this service. What quality? What right have they to go to the Board of Transport Commissioners and ask for an increase in rates? How about trying to get ... (interruption). Mr. Minister, as long as you're here, they'll stay there, those intelligent men (laughter). Thank you, but, anyway, let's get back to the telephones for a minute. Try to get a long distance line out of this Province, Mr. Speaker. You'll fail almost as often as you succeed. Any of you Cabinet Ministers, with the exception of the Cabinet Minister over there, knows that, because you're always having to get lines out of the Province. I'm sure you're having as much trouble as I am and many of the people I know are. The quality of the service for the price should be great. Yet, what is it? It's just awful. It's a poor quality of service.
Let's look at the publicly-owned telephone systems. Manitoba, it's $3.90 in Winnipeg; Saskatchewan, $4.15 in Regina; and Calgary, $4.25 in Alberta, the Alberta Government telephones. They're paying those kind of prices for better quality of service and everything else than we are.
Mr. Speaker, there's one other thought that I should bring to your attention and that is just what happens to this company? This company, that is asking for an increase, with all of their sister companies making huge profits, made $19,051,000 last year. They made $19,175,000, the year before, and having been in business for some time, like the Member across the way, I know how businessmen look at things like that. They say, "Well, we didn't make as much as last year, therefore, we lost a hundred thousand or whatever." Yes, that's the reasoning right there - $19,051,000 they made this year. Now, if they're having a little trouble with the salaries, Mr. Speaker, through you, to the Member over there who doesn't understand, I would suggest that maybe they should get Automatic Electric to cut their rates for some of the supplies.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.
MR. COCKE: Right. OK? Where do we go from here, Mr. Speaker? I say it's best that we buy the telephone company or at least ... now I'm talking about a Crown corporation, yes, buy the telephone company or, at least, insist that the Board of Transport Commissioners turn down the request for rate increases.
Mr. Speaker, my course would be the Crown corporation route. I make no apology for that. There is no competition. We're talking about a utility and that utility is a very sensitive utility. It is our communication medium in this Province and it's controlled, not only outside of the Province, it's controlled outside of the country. I think that's pretty bad news.
The tax savings, Mr. Speaker, alone, would cut the cost of service to the home-owner nearly in half. The present profits would pay for the utility in less than 15 years. The savings in operating and money normally used for expansion could provide for future expansion. Mr. Speaker, I see no other course but to head in the direction of making the B.C. Telephone a Crown corporation and using it as they do in those other Provinces.
Mr. Speaker, this Legislature could do nothing more appropriate, I think, in this our Centennial Year, than enact a programme of legislation to guarantee that all our senior citizens could enjoy the good life. On the other hand, our Centennial celebrations will have rather a hollow ring if we do nothing to improve the plight of thousands of elderly British Columbians. In view of the urgency of this matter, I do not believe it would do any harm to remind the Members of this House of the cruel facts of life for the majority of retired people in our Province. In my own constituency, I have been in tumbledown homes, whose shabby rooms have become home to many of our pensioners. Mr. Speaker, I can show Members squalid tenement blocks occupied primarily by elderly citizens. Worst of all, are the nursing homes and rest homes of substandard quality. I know that my constituency is not unique. In Vancouver's east end, in Kitsilano, on Richards and Hamilton, and on Cordova, similar conditions prevail. On a smaller scale, in every community in the Province, it's easy to pinpoint the slum areas and, in particular, the pensioners' slums, where so many are condemned to live simply because they're old. That, of course, is only one aspect.
We know something of rummage sales in our Party. For years, our members have held them as fund-raising activities. We don't have quite the access as other Parties have to money. We have seen many, many old people showing up at rummage sales, simply looking for decent wearable clothing which they can afford. The Salvation Army and the other secondhand stores see hundreds of retired British Columbians every day, certainly, as many as can be found shopping in those great department stores. For large numbers of retired people, appearance and style are, by necessity, irrelevant. The greatest expectation is to obtain clothing which is warm and comfortable. That, too, is rather a bleak prospect for people who have worked hard all their lives, contributing to the development of the good life.
Mr. Speaker, what about food - life's other essential? I suggest that any honourable Members, who have not done so, talk to people living on pensions about their diet. If the answers don't shock you, nothing will. For those who have cooking facilities, the weekly food budget is often so low that their diets are unhealthy, at worst, and unappetizing, at best. The others, those living in rooms, well, you can find them in any of the hundreds of greasy spoons throughout the Province, enduring meals that Members of this House would walk away from. Now, of course, there are many who can afford decent housing, food and clothing, even then, however, life is lacking much that we enjoy. Recreational opportunities, enough money to travel a bit, a chance to see a concert, a car to drive. For the majority of retired British Columbians, financial factors prevent some or all of these possibilities for making retirement years more enjoyable. As far as I'm concerned, and as far as my colleagues in the New Democratic Party are concerned, it's just not good enough to cast aside the people who built British Columbia and to
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condemn them to a dreary existence, living out their hard-earned retirement years in the continual struggle for even the necessities of life.
For no other reason than its failure to include sweeping provisions for improving the life of retired British Columbians, this Budget introduced by the Government would stand condemned, Mr. Speaker. In a year, supposedly devoted to recognizing British Columbia's history, it's a mockery to ignore in the Provincial Budget the people who shaped that history.
I propose, today, that, during this Session of the Legislature, we launch an imaginative and far-reaching programme to ensure the best possible life for British Columbia's senior citizens. I'll spend a few minutes outlining some of the measures which should be included in such a programme.
A reasonable guaranteed income, Mr. Speaker, should be embarked upon. In reply to critics who warn of the alleged dangers of large-scale influx of retired Canadians in British Columbia, I would suggest that we welcome any such increase in population. Pensioners are consumers and any significant increase in the number of consumers in B.C., with adequate purchasing power, would be a powerful stimulus to our economy and, by increasing the local market, would materially assist the healthy department of secondary industry in this Province. Even the provisions of a guaranteed income is not sufficient, in itself. In the first place, it's essential that we eliminate provisions in the Old Age Assistance Act, which denies old age assistance to retired people owning assets. Requiring people to give up their few hard-earned capital assets, in order to qualify for needed assistance, is a relic of the nineteenth century, more appropriate to British Columbia's first year of Confederation than to our hundredth year, Mr. Speaker. In addition to making our proposed guaranteed income available to all senior citizens, elimination of these provisions would make other pensioners eligible for supplementary benefits, such as free prescription drugs and bus passes.
Adequate income will not fully solve another great problem faced by many of our retired citizens. There would still remain a great shortage of appropriate low-cost housing and, as part of our Centennial objective, we should include the goal of ensuring that every British Columbian of retirement years, who does not own his or her own home, should have available suitable housing which does not put an undue strain on his or her income. There are some excellent examples of such housing for senior citizens, but thousands more units are urgently required. Some Federal funds are available. A substantial allocation of Provincial funds and direct leadership by a Provincial agency in undertaking low-cost housing developments for senior citizens throughout the Province is required, if we are to meet the change of providing adequate housing for all, Mr. Speaker. For those British Columbians, who have retired and who own and wish to maintain their own homes, the burden of property taxation is intolerable. We have long advocated removal of the burden of education costs from residential property taxes. At the very least, that could be done, initially, for senior citizens. At the very least, it could be done for them, exempt from payment the school cost portion of residential property taxes. Most pensioners who own their own homes could afford to maintain them without, as at present, suffering real hardship to do so.
Most of my remarks, so far, have referred to all retired British Columbians. One of the sad facts of life is that illness and chronic health problems in many cases are unavoidable during the retirement years. We've repeatedly advocated Government action to provide adequate chronic care facilities in British Columbia. That need still exists and it is still a top priority. In addition, however, in developing a large-scale programme of public low-cost housing for senior citizens, provision should be made for limited care facilities in such housing developments. A resident nurse, limited care clinic and available domestic assistance in all senior citizen housing complexes would provide economical and various necessary medical assistance to pensioners who are mobile but who suffer from a variety of chronic ailments. Combined with adequate chronic care and nursing home facilities, such provisions would ensure that all British Columbians have the opportunity for the health care necessary to enable them to enjoy their retirement years.
An area, the importance of which has been recognized only in recent years, is the area of social and recreational needs of the elderly. In June of last year, I had the opportunity to attend a conference on the problems of senior citizens, sponsored by that infamous B.C. Federation, by the way, of Labour. No, this was a conference sponsored by the B.C. Federation of Labour. The principle guest speaker was Dr. David Schoenfeld of the University of Calgary and he's an acknowledged expert in that field. His views on the importance of the subject of health and happiness of retired citizens were extremely interesting. Throughout his presentation, however, it was emphasized that a great deal of research is still required to determine the kind of social and recreational facilities that are required to meet the needs of the elderly. Accordingly, I would urge the Government to make provision for a thorough study into this question, with a view to determining the kind of social and recreational facilities which are most needed and with a view to the introduction of a Government programme to provide such facilities.
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, in this matter, I want to point out that we are wasting a great resource in British Columbia and, indeed, throughout Canada. Our thousands of retired citizens, collectively, represent a treasure chest of valuable knowledge, skills and experience. Lifetimes spent in an infinite variety of occupations have, in turn, provided an infinite Source of know-how. This experience is, at present, almost totally wasted, because life for most pensioners is, simply, a question of day-to-day existence. There is little time or incentive to make available skills and knowledge to the community. Those skills are not available to the community, because they are in their little hives. Nor have we, as a society, made any real effort to encourage use of the skills and knowledge which are going to waste. I suggest, therefore, Mr. Speaker, that a supplement to the kind of programme that I have proposed should be an organized effort, under Government initiative, to encourage retired people to voluntarily make their knowledge and skills available to the community, to whatever extent they wish, and to encourage all kinds of organizations and groups to take advantage of the talent and experience which are available. By making it possible for retired citizens to enjoy a better and fuller life, we would also be making it possible for the rest of the community to enjoy the real benefits from those people.
Finally, a word about costs. We've emphasized, repeatedly, that one of the sources of necessary social capital in this Province is to be found by ensuring that people of the Province receive an adequate return on the development of our natural resources. Nowhere is this more appropriate than
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in considering the needs of the elderly.
In addition, in evaluating proposed Government expenditure during the year, I find many areas of expenditure which, to me, are less important than the expenditure to provide a decent life for the builders of British Columbia. Our Centennial expenditures, for example, in themselves, are an excellent example of a place where we could do a little saving. I think that they're worthwhile but, certainly, they are less important than the well being of thousands of retired citizens. Furthermore, I'm firmly convinced that a comprehensive programme to ensure decent living standards and an opportunity to enjoy life for our senior citizens would have the full support of every working British Columbian. As a result, I'm equally sure that a fair and equitable division of additional costs resulting from such a programme would also be widely accepted, not only in this Legislature, but in every corner of the Province. Nothing that we could do in this Legislature would make me prouder to be a Member than a programme to bring the good life to people who have brought us up to our present level of development, Mr. Speaker. Nothing would be a better recognition of our first one hundred years. Nothing would be a better start for our second hundred years. I urge the Government to consider this matter seriously, and to act on it. I can assure you that meaningful steps in this direction will have the full support of my colleagues and myself, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, let's deal with another item on the agenda. When a government is committed to a course set by multinational corporations, that government is vulnerable. We all remember the off-hand comment of the president of General Motors, you know, "What's good for General Motors is good for the country." (Interruption.) You know, later, that same man, Charlie Wilson moved into Government. He moved into Government. Significant, isn't it, that the roles are interchangeable? We've seen similar situations of role changing in British Columbia, Mr. Speaker. There is no contradiction in the eyes of those men. There's no contradiction, whatsoever. Profit motive is omnipotent and these Governments are locked into the system which will sacrifice anything in the name of growth. What are we sacrificing, Mr. Speaker? I think I'll do a speech on insurance, after I've done this (interruption).
Anyway, Mr. Speaker, to get back to what's on my desk and not yours, the great sacrifice that we're making, and we are sacrificing, is the access to every opinion except those that adhere to the principle that what's good for the Mogul is good for the country. That's exactly what we're sacrificing in this Province. The decision-makers in our society are those mighty hunters, hunters of the buck, hunters of the buck. When the powers of Government and industry are interchangeable, we have only one opinion. On most Government appointed Boards, you will find the same names that appear on the boards of directors of large corporations. There is no voice of the housewives. There is no voice of labour. There is no voice of the students. Society is not composed of leaders in industry and Government. Society is people from all walks of life, Mr. Speaker. What a change it would be if, suddenly, we saw opportunities given to associations and unions, those great organizations representative of great numbers of people, incidentally, to provide members to boards, Mr. Speaker. Who speaks for the workers in this Province?
SOME HON. MEMBERS: We do.
MR. COCKE: Who speaks for the teachers in this Province?
SOME HON. MEMBERS: We do.
MR. COCKE: Who speaks for the housewives in this Province?
SOME HON. MEMBERS: We do.
MR. COCKE: On Hydro?
SOME HON. MEMBERS: We do.
MR. COCKE: Who speaks for the women on Hydro? Who speaks for the workers on Hydro? Who speaks for the teachers on the Hydro Board, or the University Board, or the Liquor Board, or all the other boards in this Province? There's a myth abroad, Mr. Speaker.... (interruption). That's right. Who speaks for the Indians?
There's a myth abroad, Mr. Speaker, that only those of great success, only those of ... I'm standing. Sure, I'll speak for anybody who is a good person in society. The kinds of things that he has done have been far more representative than the kinds of things that have been done over there. So don't make cracks.
MR. SPEAKER: Order.
MR. COCKE: OK, Mr. Speaker, to repeat. There is a myth abroad that only those who are a great success in the business world can come up with rational opinions and firm decisions. Mr. Speaker, that's a pretty weak myth, but it's there just the same. That's right. It's a dangerous myth, Mr. Speaker. My feeling is that these people are great conformists. They might be hard workers, but they're great conformists. In their conformity, lies the weakness of the whole method. If clarity of thought and concern for the needs of people were the criteria for the appointment of people to key board positions, I'd feel a great deal more confident in the future of Government institutions and utilities in this Province, a lot more confident.
As an aside, during the Budget Speech, the Premier mentioned, "This is a budget to benefit the people." If it is, how nice. But, who else should be considered, Mr. Speaker, who else should be considered in the Budget? This indicates to me that the needs of the people are an afterthought. The first consideration is to supply industry with a great resource of people to serve their needs and a Province rich in natural resources to fill their tills with huge profits, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, the Government has to be vulnerable if its only source of information is from the establishment. This is not to say that all the opinions that they are receiving are wrong. It is to say, however, that the establishment will not furnish information detrimental to its own objectives and goals. The future, of necessity, belongs to an informed public. Now, if we disregard the need for involvement of the broadest cross-section of the people, we will fail to meet their needs and the whole parliamentary system is in jeopardy. Once again, I repeat my appeal for working standing committees of this House, moving around the Province learning the needs of people. There is no excuse for a Government keeping the Members of the Legislature away from the total community. People are ready and informed sufficiently to provide us with an abundance of useful information. The Legislature, in order to become more
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relevant, must be in closer contact with the people and their problems. The fact that each constituency is represented by an M.L.A. is not enough, particularly in those constituencies represented by a Government Member.
It should not be the wish here in the Legislature of our Province to make ... (interruption). Enough to get elected, Mr. Member, enough to get elected. I had a lot more people voting for me than voted for you, Mr. Member (interruption).
MR. SPEAKER: Order.
MR. COCKE: Now, it should be the wish here in the Legislature, Mr. Speaker, to make democracy work more effectively. This objective can best be served by the involvement of people of every walk of life. Communication does not take place with those alienated, we all know that. Time and thought must be spent in involving the aged, youth, the poor and the professionals, working men and women and those unable to work, who seem to be so abhorrent to some Members of this Government. Surely, it's time for long distance Government to return to the people and represent their best interests. I submit that the Budgets of the future must not only benefit people, but they must serve people. Divine right decision-making may work, but it is unlikely to serve. A government may remain in power after it has ceased serving, but what a legacy it leaves! This old Government here, courtesy of public relation firms and an unlimited supply of election funds - that's where you are - should take note. The public needs are not being solved by corporate interests, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, I have here a book printed and distributed by the B.C. Hydro and Power Authority and in this book are figures, figures, figures, figures. No recourse, Mr. Speaker, as to why those figures are there. We know, for an example, that the Hydro paid some Sullivan so many thousands of dollars and we know that they paid Adam so many hundreds of dollars and so on. All of these things we know. But there is no back-up, no vouchers, no voucher system in this Province, no explanation of what's going on in Hydro. That's all we want to know - what's going on in Hydro and all of the other publicly-owned operations in this Province? Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Honourable Member from North Vancouver-Capilano that the motion that, "Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair for the House to go into Committee of Supply" be amended by adding the following words, "That this House regrets that the Budget Speech fails to disclose any assurances that the accounts of Crown corporations or agencies such as British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority, the Pacific Great Eastern Railway, Workmen's Compensation Board and British Columbia Liquor Control Board will be scrutinized or revealed to the Legislature or its Public Accounts Committee of the House and that the accounts, vouchers, receipts and documents relating to the said Crown agencies will be available to the Members of this House." Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
MR. SPEAKER: The Honourable Member for North Vancouver-Capilano.
MR. D.M. BROUSSON (North Vancouver-Capilano): Mr. Speaker, since the Second Member for Point Grey read last week the Liberal speech from the Throne, and since the First Member from Point Grey presented the Liberal budget, I find it very difficult to understand why the Government, or how the Government, can still be standing, especially, Mr. Speaker, after the first speech this afternoon by the Honourable Minister, I do sense a certain wobbling or leaning, I think, by some Members of the Government.
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Does the honourable Member second the amendment?
MR. BROUSSON: Yes, Mr. Speaker.
MR. SPEAKER: Then, would he sign the amendment, please?
MR. BROUSSON: When I spoke a few days ago, Mr. Speaker, I referred somewhat facetiously to my two honourable colleagues who practice law. Several Members on the other side, perhaps lacking a certain sense of humour, have commented a little unfavourably on this. So I want to clarify my position on this, Mr. Speaker, and to make very clear that I have the greatest confidence in my colleagues. In fact, I want to recommend them both to all Members of this House, especially, Mr. Speaker, to the Department of the Attorney-General. In fact, Mr. Speaker, if any department needs assistance in drawing up legislation, I consider my colleagues very well qualified and I'm sure they will give you very valuable advice at very reasonable rates laughter).
Mr. Speaker, there's been mention by several Members in this Debate of the proposed Burrard Inlet crossing. I want to mention it very briefly again today because I believe there are several points that are still badly misunderstood. The Leader of the Liberal Party explained on Monday how easily it might be financed by a co-operative effort by all levels of Government. It's unfortunate that no one, so far, on the Government side, has yet had the courage to raise and discuss this subject. I do believe that the Second Member for Vancouver Centre did agree with my proposal on a Vancouver Regional District Transportation Authority that would include the crossing, rapid transit, freeways, the major entrances to Vancouver and, most important, parking.
Confusion seems to lie in the tremendous importance of Burrard crossing, not just to the North Shore but to all of Vancouver, the lower mainland and, in fact, to British Columbia.
First of all, consider the necessity of the heavy traffic between many parts of Vancouver and the North Shore, traffic for Nanaimo and Vancouver Island through Horseshoe Bay, traffic for the growing industrial centre of Squamish and for Whistler and, soon, on to Lillooet, traffic taking freight to the PGE station for transport to the great north and central parts of our Province, traffic for the container terminal for sea transport to Prince Rupert and all the north coast, salesmen and students and many others, who live and work in many different parts of the lower mainland and must move from one part to the other, traffic seeking recreation along the beautiful Sunshine Coast, or Seymour, or Cypress Bowl or Grouse Or Whistler or just maybe, that future San Moritz of British Columbia - Powder Mountain. For all of these reasons, Mr. Speaker, this is not just a North Shore crossing, it is a lower mainland and a British Columbia crossing of Burrard Inlet.
Some people have suggested, "Let's build a rapid transit crossing only." Let me show you why this won't work and is, simply, not a practical solution. First, it will take at least ten years before the rapid transit system is functioning and going somewhere. Second, in 1985, the studies show that more than one half of the traffic will not want to go to, or start
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from, the Vancouver central business district. Third, if all the travelers going to the central business district were to use rapid transit, the two existing crossings would still be completely clogged, anyway, with the other traffic we've been talking about. Fourth, a separate rapid transit system would cost, by itself, nearly $100 million and would not provide the other advantages for Vancouver city that I want to explain again. This is the important point that everyone is missing - the crossing does not flash freeways through the downtown area, it does not dump heavy traffic in the central business district. Instead, it provides a route under the central business district for the through traffic and arranges for its distribution wherever it needs to go, to the east-west points, to False Creek, to Point Grey, to downtown, to the east end and so on. The fact is, that rather than greater downtown congestion, when the crossing opens, an average of 70,000 cars per day will disappear from Vancouver's downtown streets because of the by-pass tunnel and the new waterfront distributor.
As Paddy Sherman writes in the Vancouver Province, this is not a project to make life easier for the fat cats of the North Shore. Its main purpose is to save Vancouver from strangulation and make it a decent place in which to live. So, again, Mr. Speaker, let's quit politicking about the Burrard Crossing and rapid transit and get on with what has to be done. It will never cost us less. Mr. Speaker, I find I have something in common with the Member from Oak Bay, when he said last night, that he believed in hammering away at the same issues and problems until somebody listens. I very much believe in this same approach. The question is, "Is anyone listening?" For instance, I want to mention again, Mr. Speaker, some of the problems caused for the construction industry and its associated trades and subtrades by at least two departments of this Government.
For two years, now, I've been explaining to the House the very serious difficulties caused by the administration of the Fire Marshal's Act under the Attorney-General. The honourable Members will, perhaps, remember how I described the very major problems of safety, the danger to life and property, all over British Columbia, because propane gas and oil furnaces come under the jurisdiction of this department. Inspections are carried out by a great many completely unqualified, though well-meaning, people, such as RCMP constables, acting part-time fire chiefs and so on. At the same time, natural gas installations are inspected under a different set of rules by the well-qualified people of the Safety Services Division of the Department of Public Works. Last year, I detailed, at length, several instances of how dangerous to life and property this situation is. Since then there have been more examples come to light.
How much longer will the people of British Columbia be exposed to this danger by the insistence of the Attorney-General in maintaining this antiquated arrangement? The other part of the problem is the matter of building codes. To an extent, the fire marshall is responsible, here, also. The rules he enforces, albeit they are enforced very weakly, vary in different parts of the Province. In fact, they vary even in different parts of Greater Victoria. At the same time, the Minister of Municipal Affairs has been making loud noises about standardized codes across the Province so that each small community doesn't have its own set of rules for plumbing and all the other phases of construction. I know the plumbing industry has been working with the Minister and, hopefully, he will have some announcement or some legislation during this present Session. Many of us will eagerly await and support this.
I thought the House might be interested in a story about some of the very early problems of the building industry with respect to construction codes. This one goes back to a gentleman, in very ancient history, a well-known builder, who was seeking a building permit on a mountain in the Near East. "Well, Mr. Moah," said the building official, reading from the application form. The applicant corrected him. "Mr. Noah, then," said the official, "where were we? Oh, yes, you're the one who wants to build the Arch." "That's Ark," Noah corrected him. "All right, Ark," said the official. "Listen, do you realize the bottom of this thing is designed to be round? That's no good at all. A building with a round bottom isn't going to stand up. Besides it completely ignores the wind and sea as loading requirements." "It's not really a building," said Noah, "it's more like a refuge." "No matter what you call it, you must modify the plan in order to obtain clearance," said the official. "I'm not certain there's time to revise," protested Noah. "It can't be helped," shrugged the official, "but there's more yet. These dimensions, for instance, you've scored these in what-you-call-its." "Cubits," said Noah, "cubits were specified." "Very fancy," said the official, "very avant-garde. But we deal in good old feet and inches around here. Whoever did your specifications, will just have to convert everything to feet." "I'm not sure we can ask Him to do that," said Noah, "He really doesn't take to being told what to do." "Another thing I must ask," said the official, "what's all this space for at the lower levels?" "That's to serve as quarters for animals," Noah ventured cautiously. "Uh, huh, and how many pets do you have?" "Two." "Two of what?" "Two of, well, everything." "Good grief, you mean this is going to be some sort of boarding kennel?" "Not at all, " said Noah, "my family will be there, too." "My dear fellow, we can't possibly do a thing for you until you obtain clearance from the Health Department, the SPCA and the veterinary approval," the official advised. "Redesign the bottom, convert the cubits and obtain three preliminary permits." "There just isn't time," said Noah. "Nonsense," said the official, "you can do it as soon as this rain stops."
So you can see, Mr. Speaker, these problems aren't really very new. While the Minister of Municipal Affairs is, perhaps, making a little progress, he might get together with his colleagues and the Attorney -General's Department and Public Works and solve the other very dangerous situation as well.
One of the popular subjects in the debates in this House is always pollution. I want to explore, today, a phase of pollution about which not very much has been said or done - that of solid waste. Waste has become pollution. What goes into the air, water and the garbage cans rolls back to confront an economy ill-equipped to deal with it. At the same time, as waste increases, resources shrink. About 25 tons of minerals were taken from the earth and processed last year to support each North American citizen. Even the supply of regenerable resources, such as trees and natural fibres, is diminishing. Given present rates of consumption and replacement, the United States will be using more trees than it grows by 1980. The idea that waste is raw material, that it can be converted into new and useful products by recycling, is gaining support. It solves the converging dilemmas of pollution and disappearing resources. We might say, "We can no longer look at pollution as something to get rid of. We have to look rather at pollution as an unused resource."
Dr. Athelstan Spilhaus, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, speaking last
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October, in Toronto - "The Next Industrial Revolution" was the topic of the conference at which he was speaking. Dr. Spilhaus said that one of the oddest paradoxes is that the sophisticated technology which provides us with so many things is only allowed to do half its job." We use a thousand and one products, we discard them. Our municipalities and governments remind me of the lazy housewife, when asked what she did with the garbage, said "Oh, I just kick it around until it gets lost." They grind things up, they bum them, they conscientiously dilute them and hope no one will notice. Only relatively recently, have we begun to apply the logic of what I call closing the loop. Closing the loop means compressing garbage rather than burning it, then using it for land-fill. It means grinding up bottles and using the powder as a binder for highway surfacing. It means crushing old cars into neat cubes and melting them down into new cars. It is in a word, the systematic reuse of everything. Not only human wastes, but industrial and chemical products once used up can be recycled.
What is the situation in British Columbia? The Greater Vancouver Regional District recently received the Keller Report on solid waste management and it should be required reading for every legislator and for everyone interested in conservation. This report shows that the average solid waste production is 8 lbs. per person per day. In Greater Vancouver, this means that, in 1969, over 500,000 tons of waste were deposited in land-fills. It means that collection and disposal for about a million people cost $51/4 million, more than 7 per cent of the general tax levy in Greater Vancouver. The disturbing point is that this is growing at about 15 per cent per year. Already, the figure of 1969 is probably closer to $7 million for 1971. The present prime method of disposing of refuse by land-fill methods is available to us for a projected maximum of not more than 20 years. The important point to note, here, is that other factors, primarily ecological, can force the abandonment of this method very much sooner. Straight disposal must shift to other more sophisticated approaches, such as extracting from refuse, heat and electrical energy, better use of space and land-fill by compacting, consolidation and recycling, It's the last I want to discuss briefly now - the three R's of waste disposal, as Mr. Keller calls them, recovery, recycling and reuse. Many industries are recycling waste products and, to a lesser extent, recovered products. About 7 per cent of all paper manufactured in Canada is produced from secondary fibres extracted from reclaimed waste. This compares with 20 per cent in the United States, but there would be a much lower percentage in B.C. Most of the recycled paper in B.C. originates in paper manufacturing and converting operations Much of this is repulped at the primary mills. Some is sold to the Burnaby Paperboard Mill which uses waste paper collected in the community and converts it into roofing felts, gypsum board, corrugated box liner boards and so on. Some waste paper is always used in the manufacture of moulded paper products, such as egg cartons and excelsior. Generally, it appears unlikely that present manufacturing facilities would be capable of utilizing all of the waste paper developed in B.C. but it's clear that a great deal more could be recycled than is being done now.
At the present time, the Regional District generates over 100,000 tons of waste paper each year but only about half of this can presently be absorbed in the pulping process. If means can be found for an economically sound paper salvage industry, with the co-operation of the Provincial and regional levels of Government, theoretically, this 100,000 tons of paper per year removed for waste disposal could mean a saving of close to $1 million per year in the cost of these services. This would also save space in the refuse dumps, create work for a number of people and save many acres of forests. For example, this year's Regional Districts' telephone directories, 550,000, if repulped after salvaging, would save 35,000 trees.
I believe some of these problems might be overcome and a great deal more accomplished if research could come up with an efficient small-scale operation designed to use the type and amount of newspaper available in B.C., perhaps, integrated with a primary mill, and designed to produce a finished product acceptable by available markets. It might be necessary for Government to assist in this research and, perhaps, make grants or give tax incentives, to get the project under way.
One industry in B.C. that's been much affected by legislation in this field is the soft drink canning industry, which was dealt a major blow by the Litter Act, which we passed last year. I believe the reaction of this industry to the Litter Act is a great example of free enterprise - independent local industry meeting the challenge this Legislature gave them last year. The soft drink canners formed their own nonprofit organization to arrange for facilities to receive the returned soft drink cans and to make the two-cent refund to the public. Now, this is all the Litter Act requires. Nothing is said in the Act about disposing of the returned cans. This company proposes to gather the cans up, or it does gather the cans up, crushes and bales them and ships them to Seattle, where they are being treated, detinned and other chemical treatments and they are going to be, in Seattle, recycled into steel again. In the course of about five or six weeks, Mr. Speaker, from January 1 until February 15, nearly 500,000 tins will have been accumulated. These 500,000 cans will not go into any garbage dump, they will be recycled to conserve valuable land space, land-fill and to conserve resources of steel.
Mr. Speaker, I wonder what happens to all the beer cans that the brewing industry and the Liquor Control Board have returned to them. Are they being recycled? Unfortunately, not. Under the supervision of the Liquor Control Board vendor, these beer cans are burned or otherwise treated to render them unusable and then they're dumped. Surely, now that private enterprise has made it possible, we should see that a Provincial Government agency, such as the Liquor Control Board, takes steps to arrange for used beer cans to be reconverted into useful metal, not just sent to the garbage dump.
As a matter of fact, if the legislation were properly written and if other arrangements were made, many thousands of liquor and wine bottles could also be recycled and reused in British Columbia rather than being turned into garbage. I'd like to turn no-w to another waste disposal problem.
Last year, I remember very well driving down a winding road in Hawaii through a very green and luxuriant forest of trees, to one of those very beautiful beaches. Spoiling that island paradise, on the very edge of that beautiful white sand beach, were no less than 35 old wrecks of abandoned automobiles. Now, in British Columbia, in 1969, 112,000 passenger cars did not have their licenses renewed; 112,000 cars disappeared off the streets of British Columbia. In 1970, 63,000 autos and trucks will be retired in Greater Vancouver, alone. What will happen to these vehicles? About 5 per cent, 3,000 in Vancouver, roughly another 3,000 elsewhere in the
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Province, will be abandoned, illegally, to litter our highways and beauty spots, at places like Bowen Island, along the Fraser River and so on. Some of you, perhaps, have noticed an abandoned car lying in the silver Skagit River on the way to the Skagit Valley. There are even cars abandoned in the Skagit itself. Other cars will be acquired by junk dealers, scrap processors and still others will be acquired by backyard car strippers for the purpose of partial cannibalization. We've all seen the results and the collection of rusty auto hulks in many parts of our Province, usually in the country or on the outskirts of towns and villages. Sometimes, even, a legitimate junk dealer or scrap processor ends up with a huge pile of auto hulks much higher than any screen he might have built.
Quite apart from the visual pollution of our countryside, handling of illegally abandoned autos is expensive and it's often impossible to trace the person responsible for the abandonment. Keller, in his report, demonstrates that a total of at least $14 is the cost to identify, and, perhaps $7 for towing, or say $21 cost to the State, if you like, just to get the car to a scrapyard plus, probably, other hidden costs.
What happens next to these old cars, at the present time? Many of them, to date, have been used for the building of dykes and other forms of land-fill. But this is neither satisfactory nor economical and there's simply no place to put them all. The scrapyard, after dismantling, crushes the car and makes a small bundle about 2 ft. by 2 ft. which may then find a market at the steel mill in Vancouver, Western Canada Steel. The problem is that this kind of preparation of the scrap steel leaves so many impurities that it's unattractive to the steel mill and the price is low. The only way an automobile hulk can be processed in a way that the steel can properly be recycled is by the use of a machine called a hammer mill or, more commonly, a shredder. This machine, once the gas tanks and the tires and the seats are removed, literally tears the car apart into small fragments about the size of your fist. Then magnetic and other kinds of automatic separators complete the job by getting the ferrous metals out of the scrap. Then, the scrap processor and the mill can adequately use the steel. The only difficulty is that such a machine costs, at least, a million dollars, perhaps, one and a half million dollars to install and, therefore, it needs an assured supply of scrap of, perhaps, 35 thousand tons a year or, in other words, most of the available supply of cars being retired each year in the lower mainland. This supply, obviously, must be guaranteed to the mill, by some means, to make the mill an economic venture. Thus, it seems we have the technology to solve the problem and it would be possible to eliminate the unsightly abandoned autos and, at the same time, conserve our dwindling resources by recycling the scrap steel. To make this work, we'll need some help from Government. The Greater Vancouver Regional District is now applying for letters patent to take over the problem of solid waste disposal and I hope the Provincial Government will act faster in answering the district, in this case, than it did to its request to go into low-cost housing. The district is going to need a lot of help in this regard.
As we've said many times before, pollution knows no boundaries and the Vancouver Regional District cannot tackle the obsolete auto situation alone, since cars from other districts and all over the Province, in fact, are going to be involved, As we said earlier, there are considerable costs to be recovered and some means must be found to get the auto to a place where it can be properly recycled by the shredding machine and the steel mill.
An arrangement must be made so that, first, it is more attractive to the possessor of an obsolete or scrap car to get it to the processing plant than to abandon it or leave it lying in a yard elsewhere; second, that there are available funds to cover the cost of hauling and handling the cars that are abandoned. A contract needs to be arranged, at least, on a regional basis, perhaps, on a Provincial basis, for one processor to handle all the available junk cars, so that an assured source of supply would justify the considerable investment for the necessary plant.
There are several ways this plan might be funded. The State of Maryland has a system, which they started about two years ago, which adds one dollar to the cost of the annual license each year. One suggestion that I would put forward, would be that each new car, when registered for the first time, would be charged an extra $25, then, when that car was delivered to the contract scrap processor, at various designated spots all over the Province, a refund of, perhaps, $20 would be made. The $5 difference would help defray the cost of transportation of the auto hulk, after it's crushed, to the central plant and, thus, most parts, where there are any appreciable settlements, most parts of beautiful British Columbia could be kept clear of unsightly old automobiles.
What I've been trying to say is that there are many products and industries which, today, have the technology and the capacity to recover, recycle and reuse. But without incentive, without pressure or guidance or assistance, industry, alone, either cannot or will not do it. We need Government, then, to do these things, provide guidance and assist in research to develop a more practical recycling technology; second, to provide tax incentives to encourage industry in recycling projects; third, to develop educational programmes to persuade the public to waste less; fourth, provide assistance to municipalities to reduce waste disposal costs by co-ordinating their waste collection systems with recycling programmes; fifth, Government should make sure that its own agencies, such as the Liquor Control Board, participate in such programmes in every possible way; and sixth, ensure that legislation, such as the Litter Act, is designed not only to discourage litter but to encourage recycling.
Mr. Speaker, in thinking about this problem I have just been discussing, I've been wondering what department in the present Government might assume responsibility for these functions and, without a proper Department of Environmental Management, it's pretty hard to find a Minister who might be interested. It doesn't really seem like a job for the Cabinet Environmental and Land Use Committee, so, I suppose, it would have to end up with our old friend, the Provincial pollution czar, the Minister for Lands, Forests, and Water Resources.
I listened very closely to him during his recent speech and I carefully read the copy he so kindly made available to us. First, I want to congratulate the Government for having discovered that the system it was using, for environmental management wasn't working too well and did require some changes. Let me quote from the Ministers' speech: "It may seem strange, at this time in history, to state that this is the first time in Canada that an attempt has been made to bring together all of the responsible administrative agencies within the Provincial administration to assist in the development of co-ordinated Crown land-use policies."
Well, Mr. Speaker, throughout the last Session, the Opposition and many of the Government backbenchers pleaded with the Government to do just that, to bring together all of the required expertise from all departments
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and have them work as one co-ordinated unit for the management of the environment of British Columbia. I'm delighted that the Government says it's going to, at least, partially follow the advice it was given. From the speech, and from later press interviews with the Minister, it appears that situations, like that of Utah Mines will be avoided, in the future, by such decisions being made by this Cabinet committee. This is clearly spelled out to be made "after independent evaluation and public hearings, before any development takes place."
Mr. Speaker, this is a laudable objective but I just wonder if the Minister's colleagues on this committee realize what they're getting themselves in for, because there are going to be many, many requests for public hearings. I'm sure the public would not be satisfied with any less than a hearing where the full Cabinet Environment and Land Use Committee was there, including, of course, the very latest and newest recruit to this committee, the Minister of Health. We're glad that the Government has been honest enough to admit the errors of the Utah situation. I think this lesson is one that's worth while going over again very briefly to see what we can learn.
The press reports confirm that, in addition to his remarks in the House, the Minister had agreed that the hand of the Director of Pollution Control had been forced, in practical terms, in the commitment of large sums of money to the project. In fact, as we all know, Utah had spent over $30 million before any public hearings were held, before any public decision was made and even Government agencies, like B.C. Hydro, were involved with heavy commitments. Mr. Speaker, this was clearly a form of economic blackmail and it's the very thing that we've been suspicious of all along and which many of us have raised repeatedly in this House and elsewhere.
There's an ominous parallel between the Utah situation, so fresh in the minds of all the Members, and that raised by a number of people last week in this House - the transport of oil by tanker from Alaska down the B.C. coast to a refinery on Puget Sound, just 12 miles below the international border.
The Member for Alberni and all the Government side were very quick to piously call for help from the Federal Government to stop the flow of oil tankers and we, on this side, supported that call. But, in view of the circumstances, some of us were surprised at the quickness of the Social Credit Government's support for this position. As we know, Mr. Speaker, there's a refinery nearly completed at Cherry Point, where $150 million has already been spent. This refinery waits for its supplies of oil to come from Alaska by tanker. In Alaska, already, thousands of feet of pipe are ready for laying in place. Work camps are already built along the pipeline route. More pipes arrive every week and, yet, no permits have been given to this project and hearings are to start next week in Washington. Surely, this expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars by the developers before the environmental decisions are made is exactly the same kind of economic blackmail that this Government allowed to take place in 1970 in the Utah case. The Minister has publicly stated the result of that case.
Mr. Speaker, it's very easy to resist this kind of economic pressure when it's across the other side of the international boundary and it's very easy to support pious resolutions. My question, now, to the Government is this. Supposing that the Cherry Point refinery were 12 miles north on the Canadian side and still needed to get its supplies by oil tanker from its wells in Alaska, what decision would the Government make then? Would it, then, support the motion by the Member from Alberni quite so quickly? Or does it depend on whose ox is being gored?
Mr. Speaker, I'm delighted to second the motion of the Member from New Westminster. Last year, we debated for many days the B.C. Hydro rate increase in the most cynical sham of a debate that was possible, a political debate of wasted postures and frustrated questions, while the man with all the answers sat silent, hour after hour, in that far corner of the House. Dr. Shrum was muzzled, by the order of the Premier, and there was no way to find out the truth. This Government calls itself a Government of the people - the Government of the little people. If it were truly a Government of those little people, it would make itself accountable to the people in every way. It would tell the people, without hesitation, the things it was doing. Why are you so afraid of the light of day on B.C. Hydro? Why are you afraid of the sunshine coming in on the operations of the PGE? What goes on behind the closed doors of the Liquor Control Board? What skeletons are in those closets, Mr. Speaker? You've had some skeletons in the closets over the years. What are you hiding now?
Mr. Speaker, on this side, we believe in openness, frankness and honesty. We believe in letting the sunshine in. What are you afraid of?
DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Honourable Leader of the Opposition, on the amendment.
MR. D. BARRETT (Coquitlam): Speaking to the amendment, Mr. Speaker, I regret that the Premier is not in his place, but I assume that someone over there is running the House when the Premier is not present. Based on that assumption, I have a number of comments to make and some questions to ask and I will be very brief. Will the temporary leader please indicate who is in charge so I know to whom to address my remarks, through you, Mr. Speaker.
DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Member will address his remarks to the Chair.
MR. BARRETT: I understand that. I didn't see them all jumping. Some of the aspirants aren't available.
Mr. Speaker, we have been elected by the people of British Columbia to supervise the expenditure of their money. To properly do this, we must have before us every single account, every single record, every single book that deals with the fiscal or monetary matters in terms of the people of this Province, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, this Government ran a campaign, in 1952, against an Order-in-Council Government, claiming that the Government of the day, the Coalition at that time, was a secret Government. The Coalition, in 1949, had an overwhelming majority and its arrogance, up to 1952, allowed it to believe that it could hide public accounts, it could hide books, it could hide the true story of what was happening with the taxpayers' dollars, simply, because it had a majority.
The purpose of this motion is very clear, Mr. Speaker. We want the B.C. Hydro books. We want the PGE books. We want the Liquor Control Board books. We want the Workmen's Compensation Board books and we want to know more details about the B.C. Medical Plan, other than the Blue Book, published by the Provincial Secretary. I'll tell you this. This Government goes around this Province saying that they pride themselves on being a businessman's Government.
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know of no other business that hides its books the way this Government does, Mr. Speaker. This is a Government that goes around this Province saying that we like to keep the people informed. By keeping the books hidden, Mr. Speaker, is that how you keep them informed?
Mr. Speaker, this year, for the first time in years, I will not be a member of the Public Accounts Committee. I know the frustrations of that committee when we cannot call for vouchers in Public Accounts to deal with Government departments, in terms of these hidden books. You know, Mr. Speaker, I think if the true story of how this Government hides the truth, hides the facts and keeps the books secret from the people of British Columbia, if it were truly known throughout this Province you would be swept out of office - as you should be swept out of office (interruption).
DEPUTY SPEAKER: Just one moment. What is your point of order?
MR. G. MUSSALLEM (Dewdney): My point of order is that I'm chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, duly appointed, elected, and no books of any kind have ever been withheld, all the vouchers were presented, at all times. This is a complete untruth.
MR. BARRETT: What this displays, Mr. Speaker, is the complete ignorance, the complete ignorance of the Social Credit backbenchers. I challenge him in the Public Accounts tomorrow, Mr. Speaker, to produce to Public Accounts the complete books of B.C. Hydro, the PGE, the Liquor Control Board, the Workmen's Compensation Board and the B.C. Medical Plan. Produce them to our Members, tomorrow.
DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order. Just one moment.
MR. MUSSALLEM: When a statement of this kind is permitted on the floor of this House ... and I tell you again there have never been any accounts ... (interruption). I'm replying. All the accounts were presented (interruption).
AN HON. MEMBER: A point of order. The question of untruth.
DEPUTY SPEAKER: The honourable Member made his statement and the statement will be accepted by the honourable Member.
MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, I say, and I say it loudly and clearly, that it is a lie to say that the B.C. Hydro accounts, the PGE Railway accounts, the Liquor Board accounts, the Workmen's Compensation Board accounts and the B.C. Medical Plan accounts can and will be delivered to the Public Accounts Committee, unless this motion is passed. Now, I am not accusing any Member of stating a lie, Mr. Speaker. I am saying that it would be a lie to say that, under the present rules of this House, these following accounts would show up in detail to the Public Accounts Committee. Mr. Speaker....
AN HON. MEMBER: He won't produce it.
MR. BARRETT: ... the whole matter rests, Mr. Speaker, purely on the fact that, if that Member professes ignorance about the limits of what this House has been able to see, then, I can accept his excuse. But, for the Cabinet benches, who know full well that they have kept these accounts secret from the people of British Columbia, they bear the burden.
MR. MUSSALLEM: Just one moment. I will not permit, and I hope you will not permit, a speaker to allude ignorance when he doesn't know what he's talking about.
MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, I have the Floor and he is ignorant of the rules. Mr. Speaker, I suggest to you ...
DEPUTY SPEAKER: I think the Member could deal with the matter without the reflection of ...
MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, I have the Floor and I am making a statement and included in the statement I am saying that, if anybody in this House said that the Public Accounts Committee could examine fully the accounts of Hydro, the PGE, the Liquor Control Board, the Workmen's Compensation Board or the B.C. Medical Plan, I would say then, sir, that the Member would be telling a lie. Now, that's what it is. That's exactly what it is. I challenge this Government, through you, Mr. Speaker, to say who is responsible for keeping these books secret and when will the secrecy end, so that the taxpayers of this Province can expect this Government to live up to its simple, honestly-given statement that we keep the public informed, Mr. Speaker. They do not. Stand up.
DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Honourable the Attorney-General.
HON. L.R. PETERSON (Vancouver-Little Mountain): It must be apparent to all the Members of this House and, indeed, to the public of the Province that one thing that the honourable Members of the Opposition are most resentful of and that is successful Government enterprise. If you look at this amendment, Mr. Speaker, you will find that all of the enterprises referred to in the amendment, have one thing in common - they are successful and they reflect to the credit of this administration. It seems that the only way these Members feel they can change from that side of the House to this side of the House is if they can throw some sand in the gears, if they can keep the senior people of these enterprises marching over here with ferry loads of books and accounts and all the vouchers and everything else, every Workmen's Compensation claim.
AN HON. MEMBER: Why not?
MR. PETERSON: Where in Canada, I ask you. where in Canada are Workmen's Compensation Boards handled this way? Name one Province. Was it in Saskatchewan when the CCF were in power? No. Is it in Manitoba where the NDP is in power? No. This is plain politics (interruption).
DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order.
MR. PETERSON: But, Mr. Speaker, the most important aspect of this entire proposal presented as it is as in amendment, today, is that it is a motion of nonconfidence in Government. Regardless of the merits, or otherwise, of the actual contents of the resolution, it is still a motion of nonconfidence and, therefore, not acceptable.
DEPUTY SPEAKER: On the amendment, the
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Honourable First Member for Vancouver-Point Grey.
MR. P.L. McGEER (Vancouver-Point Grey): Mr. Speaker, I'm very disappointed to hear the Attorney-General state that, regardless of the merits of the particular amendment, they would be forced to vote against it, because I think that illustrates, better than any statements the Attorney-General has ever made in this House, the degree of arrogance that's grown up with the Government grown bloated with power.
DEPUTY SPEAKER: Just one moment.
MR. PETERSON: He misquoted me I said merits or otherwise."
MR. McGEER: I'll quote you, then, "merits or otherwise." I still think, Mr. Speaker, that one could never hear a clearer statement reflecting the bloated arrogance of a Government than its determination to vote a motion or resolution down, regardless of its merit.
The present chairman of the Public Accounts Committee stated, on a point of order, that the accounts in question had never been denied to members of the committee or Members of this House. I want to state, now, that last year I requested the accounts of the Liquor Control Board, I was refused them. I requested the accounts of the B.C. Hydro, I was refused them. I request them, again, now. I will request them again in the Public Accounts Committee and the chairman will have an opportunity, then, to correct the Leader of the Opposition by producing those accounts and permitting the witnesses to be called.
AN HON. MEMBER: But he said he would not do it. He said that in the committee.
MIL McGEER: This afternoon, in the House, he stated to us that those accounts and those statements had never been refused. I say they have been refused and I ask for them, again, now. I will continue to ask for them until we receive them or until we're the Government and produce them ourselves. Mr. Speaker, a state of complete hysteria ... (interruption). No, (interruption), it's not hysteria, Mr. Minister, it's responsibility, because taxation, without investigation, is simply a form of taxation without representation.
You are denying the people of British Columbia, because you deny us, the proper accounts and records of these shadowy operations, and I describe them as shadowy because their financial accounts are kept in secret, to the people, who have as much right to see them, because they are elected by the people, as you do. It isn't' enough, Mr. Speaker, to demand that Crown agencies and corporations have accountability to Members of the Cabinet, because Members of the Cabinet are not elected individuals, not to those posts as Cabinet Ministers. You are elected as individual representatives of a constituency the same as I am and the same as every other Member in this House. The electors give you no special privileges as Cabinet Ministers and, when we ask for these rights on the floor of the House, we ask for rights as equal Members to any of you who are hiding those accounts. Yet, Social Credit, in its younger and more responsible days, before it became bloated with arrogance, ran on the programme of ending the secret Orders-in-Council. They're all back again. Opening the files - they're all locked agaim Telling us about all the operations that had been kept underneath the bed for so many years and, yet, that's where they are again today.
Only in this afternoon's newspapers, do we see the reasons why we must look - the practical reasons - at the B.C. Hydro accounts this year. "Hydro Cuts Bus Service," blares the headlines. "Cutbacks in bus schedules in Victoria and Vancouver are expected to be announced later this week. Details of scheduled proposals are being withheld by B.C. Hydro until the Crown corporation advises municipal councils. Gordon Shrum, Hydro Chairman, said, Tuesday, the schedule alterations would involve a fundamental change in our philosophy about urban transportation. He said the transit system was losing $4.4 million, prior to wage increases for transit division workers who settled for an 18.7 per cent raise over 27 months after a 32-day strike."
AN HON. MEMBER: How can you check that?
MR. McGEER: The B.C. Government pays a $2 million subsidy to Hydro, that we can check. We vote that, in the House, every year. How do we know whether this $4.4 million is correct or incorrect? Because Chairman Shrum says so and, as long as this Government is in office, if Chairman Shrum says so, that's got to be good enough for the people of British Columbia.
It is not good enough for me and it's not good enough for responsible elected officials anywhere ...
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.
MR. McGEER: in any party, in any government. The reason, Mr. Speaker, is, simply, whatever utility or monopoly, whether Crown corporation or otherwise, wishes to justify rate increases, or any financial matter which affects the public as a whole, they produce complete and factual data relating to that. It's somewhat of an irony that, what used to be a public corporation, held by private individuals, gave complete and detailed records in a responsible fashion to the public as a whole, as the B.C. Electric did when it appeared before the Public Utilities Commission at a time when that party was not loaded with retired politicians and when it gave some service to the people of British Columbia. Those were in the days when the public had some rights, because the public, too, could appear before that body, question the responsible individuals in the B.C. Electric and satisfy themselves and other individuals that right was being done. But, now that the B.C. Hydro has become a Crown corporation, theoretically belonging to the public, now it hides behind the shrouds of secrecy. No accountability any longer. Massive amounts of tax money. This $2 million subsidy we give it each year, that's just a beginning, because hundreds of millions of dollars, each year, find their way into the B.C. Hydro accounts. The trust accounts, now, total almost a billion dollars and, I suppose, when the answers to questions on the Order Paper are produced, it will show over a billion dollars of the public's money held in trust by this Government, now, in the hands of B.C. Hydro. But never a meeting of the Board of Directors, where the public can be there who are the real owners of this Corporation. Never can the public or their elected representatives call the Members of this organization to their account to ask questions. That's all gone and if we're to have this secrecy and lack of accountability in a Crown corporation that's growing fat on public money, then, we'd be better off if it were in private hands because, then, we could find out something about the policy.
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What's happened here is the loss of rights of the elected and, because of that, the loss of rights of the electors. Mr. Speaker, this loss isn't accomplished by miles, it's accomplished by inches. It's accomplished by decrees, and not debates. The B.C. Hydro is only one of those organizations that must be held to account if it's to be a public corporation in the true sense of the word.
Last year, we were denied, as well, access to the accounts of the Liquor Control Board. I ask for these again. To show how times have changed, I remind you, Mr. Speaker, that, in the past, the Liquor Control Board has been before the Public Accounts Committee in the days when the objective was not to hide Public Accounts from the people of the Province but to shed light on Government methods and Government buying practices. Well, it was 1947, before the days of Social Credit, in the days of what the Premier describes as the bad old Coalition. Those were the days when it was possible to question the liquor practices of British Columbia, the purchasing practices of this shadowy Crown agency.
But that time has now gone and the question which must occur to every thinking British Columbian, today, is what -is the Government trying to hide. What better way to face down the critics of the Government, and we're amongst them, than to produce the information and show how wrong we were? What better way is there than that? What greater vindication of the policies of your Government than to do that? But when you're afraid, when you hide behind the Public Accounts Committee, and there are devices for closure, make no mistake about it ... Last year, the Public Accounts Committee had no debate about the Public Accounts of this Province. That wasn't because there was a refusal to produce the B.C. Hydro accounts, or the PGE, or the Liquor Control Board accounts, this was because there were irregularities in the vouchers themselves. What's the device, Mr. Speaker, when the Public Accounts Committee discovers wrongdoing? Look back at the Journals, year after year after year. What happens is that the Public Accounts Committee brings in a report which is read and received, never to be adopted - this would start a debate in the House and, by this method, the people who discover the irregularities in Public Accounts, are prevented from bringing these to the attention either of the Public Accounts Committee or the House itself through debate, what discoveries have been made. To make matters worse, when it comes to the larger issue - the amounts of money that really begin to count, the billion dollars that lie in the B.C. Hydro, the $150 million or so that are handled by the Liquor Control Board, the $100 million or so that are handled by the PGE, each year - when it comes to the really big amounts of money, that's when the curtain, the iron curtain, of the Government descends over public business in the Province.
This is what this motion is really about - the iron curtain surrounding public business when it comes to the public's money. What we are here to do, Mr. Speaker, and why this motion is on the Order Paper, is not that there be a publicity show, which the Government so often accuses us of, but so that the iron curtain can be rung up, because the very kinds of things that make us condemn those iron curtain countries are the kinds of things you're beginning to practice over on that side, denying the legitimate rights of the people through their elected representatives, hiding from the public ... (interruption). "Ridiculous," says the Member, who is just as afraid as the Cabinet Ministers of finding out what's going on in these corporations. But I say, if I'm wrong, prove it so, produce those accounts. If the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee wishes to prove me wrong, he can, simply, by saying, "We'll produce those accounts and we'll call those witnesses." It's very simple. Don't vote us down and then say you were right. Prove that we are wrong by producing those accounts and producing those witnesses.
DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Honourable the Minister of Recreation and Conservation.
HON. W.K. KIERNAN (Chilliwack): Mr. Chairman, I think we ought to get the records straight on the democratic process here. I think we ought to begin by understanding the role of the Opposition and a role that they play very well. Their role is nothing more nor less than the destruction of confidence in the Government for the purposes of themselves becoming the Government. So let's not wiffy-waffy around and try to pretend that this is other than a vote of nonconfidence.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh, oh.
DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order.
MR. KIERNAN: Obviously, the Government expects this sort of performance from the Opposition. But equally obviously, responsible Government ...
AN HON. MEMBER: Irresponsible.
DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order.
MR. KIERNAN: ... does not provide the opportunity for the Opposition to accept the role of Government, except by the due process of the ballot. Let's not have any illusions about that proposition.
Now, on this question of producing this book or that book, have we reached the point in this country where we have no confidence any longer in the due process of audit, in the due process of annual reports, in the due process of Cabinet responsibility? I know quite well you must fall back...
AN HON. MEMBER: Let's have the books in the open.
DEPUTY SPEAKER: Each Member will have his own opportunity to make his speech. Will you please give the honourable Member his opportunity.
MR. KIERNAN: You find so little in the Budget, itself, to attack that you must, of necessity, raise a phoney issue. I sympathize with you. I sympathize with the weakness of your position. But, simply because I sympathize with your weakness ... (interruption).
DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order'?
AN HON. MEMBER: Mr. Speaker, the honourable Member said it was a phoney issue. I ask him to withdraw that statement immediately. That's a disgraceful statement coming from a Minister of the Crown and a director of B.C. Hydro. You're a small man, Mr. Minister. I ask him to withdraw, Mr. Speaker. He said it's a phoney motion and that's quite contradictory to accepted parliamentary practice.
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He should know that.
DEPUTY SPEAKER: Will the Member be seated?
MR. KIERNAN: Since the honourable Member feels so strongly about the word, "phoney," I will withdraw the word, "Phoney." We will describe it as an unusual issue, an unusual issue. Unusual, in the sense that traditionally, traditionally, both the Power Commission and the Hydro Authority operated on the basis of due process of audit and responsibility of the Board. If we have reached the stage where Board responsibility is no longer acceptable to the people of this Province, then, let the electorate determine that and, certainly, the Government is not going to be dictated to by the Opposition. I think, Mr. Speaker, that I have made our point clear that we consider this to be nothing more or less than a vote of nonconfidence emanating from the Opposition benches, as well it might, and, certainly, we are going to vote against the amendment.
DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Honourable Member for Cowichan-Malahat.
MR. R.M. STRACHAN (Cowichan-Malahat): Mr. Speaker, the Minister just wound up by saying, "Certainly, this is a vote of nonconfidence in the Government." (Interruption.)
DEPUTY SPEAKER: Just one moment. We're getting far too many personal remarks across the Floor, from both sides. I wish that the Members would act in a manner becoming to their positions in the Legislature.
MR. STRACHAN: In view of the statement made by the Attorney-General and the Minister of Recreation and Conservation, I think it has to be a vote of nonconfidence in the Government, because, if I ever heard a speech that indicated that we should have no confidence in this Government, it was the speech made by the Minister who just sat down. Here was a speech made by a man who has sat on the Treasury benches for almost 19 years. It's obvious that he has forgotten his history, he has forgotten the battles that were fought over the development of a parliamentary democracy, it's obvious that he doesn't know the role of the Opposition, because the role of the Opposition is two-fold: one, to try to become the Government and two, to act as the Watchdog on behalf of the people.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.
MR. STRACHAN: We're going back a long way, Mr. Speaker, when any group of people will take unto themselves the right to decide how much Government business will be made public and how much will not be made public. That is what is called managing the news, managing the news. Surely, surely, in this day and age, we don't want, 'we musn't have, we can no longer put up with, a Government that more and more tends to manage the news.
Mr. Speaker, I had an experience, just a few years ago. I put a specific question on the Order Paper about one of these agencies asking for certain information. Do you know what reply I got? It was not in the public interest to give out this information. Who are they to decide what is in the public interest and to know what's not in the public interest? (Interruption.)
We are here to determine what is happening in this Province in everything that comes under the jurisdiction of this Government. They accepted that responsibility of governing, but they were not given the responsibility to control the news or to, bit by bit, remove from this House its responsibilities to the people.
Mr. Speaker, I'm not as much concerned with the destruction of this Government as I am with the destruction of the parliamentary system that's going on under this Government. That's what I'm concerned about. And when a Minister gets up and talks as that Minister did ... you said that the role of the Opposition was the destruction of the Government. You limit it to that?
AN HON. MEMBER: Is it true?
MR. STRACHAN: In essence, you said that we have no right to certain information (interruption). You did, that's what you said. You said that, because we're not in the Government, we have no right to that information. You said we're losing faith in auditors' statements, we're losing faith in civil servants. You know, Mr. Speaker, if we accept that as an argument, then the next thing we'll know is ... don't forget he accused us of, through this motion, giving no faith in top appointed officials, no faith in auditors' statements. The next step is no access to the Public Accounts of any department. If it's a valid argument for these agencies, then, there's no reason why you can't make a valid argument for the other. With your majority you can do just that anytime it happens to suit your purpose. Now, Mr. Speaker, we had an example in this House last Friday of how this Government will change the rules to suit their purpose.
AN HON. MEMBER: Standing Order 45.
MR. STRACHAN: That's what I'm afraid of. The destruction of our parliamentary system - more and more and more, bit by bit, chipping away at the very fabric of the whole governmental process.
Mr. Speaker, there are tax monies going into these agencies. In some of them, there are tax monies, extensive tax monies. We have no way of knowing whether or not value is received for these monies. I say, Mr. Speaker, that, as long as that condition exists, I don't think we, as elected Members in this House, should be asked, should be expected to, accept the polished story as presented by the Cabinet. We, as duly elected Members, have the right to question that. Yet, when you do try to get information on the Order Paper, you are told it's not in the public interest to make this information available. That is not good enough. That is not good enough. I say to you, Mr. Speaker, this is not a vote of confidence or nonconfidence in the Government. If you have confidence in the operation of the democratic process, if you intend to make it stronger, if you intend to keep it strong, if you intend to make it relevant, if you've got nothing to hide, then, you have no alternative but to support this motion.
DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Honourable Second Member for, Vancouver-Point Grey.
MR. G.B. GARDOM (Vancouver-Point Grey): Mr. Speaker, the Minister who spoke a few moments ago ... if you sum up his philosophy, it essentially means this: that democracy dies in the polling booth in this Province. He takes the attitude, as Government, that if you don't like what we do, if the people don't like what we do, that's just tough
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beans, and if we don't wish to account, we're not going to account. Now, that's the Government attitude and that's the Government philosophy and this amendment boils down to one thing and one thing only. It boils down to this: whether you believe in the system of parliamentary democracy that there should be accountability, or there should not be accountability. That's the purpose of this amendment. We believe very much in that fact and we also think the people do.
The Government takes every possible step that it can, throughout the sitting of the Legislature, to hide behind the rules of this Legislature. I should try to emphasize to them that the rules are the servants of the Legislature and not the other way around. The job that's got to be done by this Government is the best job in the best manner that it can possibly do and with all the available facts. That's what we're asking. We're asking for all the available facts. We desire accountability, we desire answerability and we feel that all public business should be subject to public review, as a matter of right, as a matter of right, not as a matter of governmental whim. You know, if you look at it from the business point of view, the shareholders of this Government are the people of B.C., the citizens in every walk of life. The directors of this enormous corporation of British Columbia are the Cabinet. It's not the backbenchers, it's the Cabinet, as the backbenchers themselves state, and as the Premier says himself the Government of B.C. is the Cabinet. So the shareholders are the people and the directors of British Columbia are the Cabinet. Yet, according to the rules of this House, they don't have to reply to any questions, they're not required either by law or by legislative process to answer anything about these corporations which we're talking about today - the Hydro, the PGE, the Liquor Control Board and so forth - and they are empowered, under the rules of this House, to sit, year after year, absolutely mum and peering behind the corporate veil. That's exactly what they're doing. They won't answer, they completely deny public scrutiny, there's no question and answer period. Now, we feel that, both by law and by the legislative process, that's absolutely wrong. Quite frankly, it is a denial of even the most basic principles of company law, a denial of full account to the shareholders. You know, the Government went ahead and appointed the Auto Insurance Board to watchdog the insurance companies, but there's absolutely no one to watchdog the Crown corporations. Those watchdogs should be the shareholders, who are the people of B.C., and they're the people who want the right to ask the questions which the Government is denying them.
Now, we've read in this afternoon's paper that the bus service is going to be cut, and the people of B.C. want to know how it's going to be cut, why it's going to be cut and if it's got to be cut. Just mere suave answers from Hydro, up in the ethereal towers,. that it's going to be done is not a satisfactory response to the Province of British Columbia or the people in it.
You have heard the maxim of law that justice must not only be done, but appear to be done, and I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, that that applies just as forcefully to Government and to Parliament as it does to a Court of Law. It's the responsibility of Government to govern, and appear to govern, at the same time, and I say you've got to go ahead and open up those books and end this hush-hush, this under-the-rug kind of stuff, which I consider to be fiscal, star-chamber tactics.
The amendment was negatived on the following division:-
YEAS - 16
NAYS - 36
|Kripps, Mrs.||Dawson, Mrs.||Chant|
The debate was resumed on the main motion.
MR. SPEAKER: The Honourable Second Member for Vancouver Centre.
MR. E. WOLFE (Vancouver Centre): Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It comes as a bit of a surprise to me that I would be allowed to take my place this afternoon. Nevertheless it is a pleasure to take this opportunity and represent the constituency of Vancouver Centre. Before we get too far away from the debate just concluded, regarding disclosure of accounts and suggestions of the cloak of secrecy, of pulling the veil or the blanket over the whole operation, and so on, I have here with me the Annual Report, Mr. Speaker, of the B.C. Hydro Authority, for the year ended March 31, 1970, which is signed by Price, Waterhouse and Company. If ever I saw a full disclosure, Mr. Speaker, it's here in this report. I think that what has been said here, this afternoon, in terms of lack of disclosure of information etc., is nothing, more nor less, than an insult to the auditors of this operation to take just this one example. Furthermore, Members have had access to all kinds of information by placing questions on the Order Paper, which they are doing in due process, as Members of this House. Right at the present moment, there are no less than 25 questions on the Order Paper, relating to B.C. Hydro, Columbia power, all of the information which, annually, Members ask about these operations and the answers are given. So, Mr. Speaker, I suggest to you it is, simply, not
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factual to suggest that this information is not available to the public and to the Members of this House.
Mr. Speaker, one thing we notice in speaking in the Budget Debate is that the speeches get longer than they do in the Throne Speech Debate. I think that the reason for this is that everyone who gets up feels that he must rebut some inaccuracy which has been made by another Member -which brings me to the Leader of the Liberal Opposition. Dr. Pat McMimeograph, who is out of his place, unfortunately, again, and I would only refer to his so-called play budget, which was given to us on Monday. I would like to compliment that Member, because I have followed his play budgets, during the past three years. Inasmuch as his budget for the year 1969-70 was within $50 million of being Correct, I want to compliment him, because that's only a margin of 5 per cent. His budget for the year 1970-71, although it is not concluded as yet, will be within $100 million of being correct and I think that's really not bad and very consistent.
Unfortunately, I don't agree with his method of budgeting. He would budget revenue to the limit, Mr. Speaker, and I don't agree with this principle, and I mean this seriously. One should always have some reserve in a sensible budget. If he had the responsibility to produce the budgets for this Province, and I mean the responsibility, we would just have one more bankruptcy than those that we now have, and that would be the Province of British Columbia. So, I say to my friend, who is out of his place, "Play on, my friend, we'll lend you the pencils." When it comes to financial management, I'll take the Premier any day. I would like to refer to the Leader of the Official Opposition, who is, also, not in his place, unfortunately, and I would like to refer to him as that walk-out Member, Mr. Speaker, because he holds the record in this House for having walked out of the most committee meetings of any other Member in this Legislature. No less, I calculate, than some 16 in the last four years that I've been in this Legislature. He makes a continual practice of showing his abuse and lack of respect for committees by demonstrating, waving his arms, running out of committee meetings and slamming the door. He runs to the end of the hall and, instead of turning to the right to go to the NDP caucus room, somehow or other, he goes to the left to the press room. Just as recently as last week, I passed him walking into the NDP caucus room after the committee meetings of last Wednesday, in which he carried out his annual charade, and I overheard him say, "Ha, ha, I walked out of another meeting." Anyway, it must be good exercise and I don't scold him on that (interruption). No, it doesn't, it doesn't seem to be helping him. By the way, and I do wish he were in the House, I understand that he is driving a Toyota automobile these days ...
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh. Oh.
MR. WOLFE: ... and I also understand that he has had reason to make certain complaints to the factory regarding this automobile. They have seen fit to send out some very high level representatives to discuss these complaints and I thought the House would like to be aware of this.
AN HON. MEMBER: ... sounds like a little bit of prejudice there.
MR. WOLFE: Yes, a little bit.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to associate myself with the remarks made last evening by the Member from Oak Bay, the doctor, in terms of his suggestion, made repeatedly in this House, that we should review the subject of the dollar per day medical care. I have mentioned in this House, previously, and I merely want to associate myself with his remarks in this connection.
Of course, I believe in talking in terms of raising the level of charges by hospitals for hospital care from the dollar, which has not been changed for many years, but that we should, of course, make exceptions for people in needy circumstances. Also, he made some very pertinent remarks yesterday with regard to the need for extended care facilities in this Province and I've spoken before in this House on the subject of the Alberta Old People's Home Plan. I think this is associated with the same plan the Member was referring to yesterday. I think, in Alberta, they have no less than 75 of these hostel-type senior citizens' homes, in various communities, accommodating some 3,500 people and they are certainly well received in that Province.
Mr. Speaker, no one would argue with the fact that this Government has adhered to good fiscal policies for some 19 years. For this reason, we are now in a good financial position to undertake projects necessary to stimulate the economy. This Budget, amounting to $1,300,000,000, is a bold Budget and forecasts an increase of 11.6 per cent over last year, at a time, Mr. Speaker, when many critics would have anticipated a reduction or, at least, a no-increase Budget. It indicates the confidence our Government has in the fact that our economy in this Province is on the upswing. The emphasis in this Budget is on the creation of jobs and this is illustrated, in my view, in four ways. First of all, the Premier's undertaking to immediately add 1,000 to the Civil Service. Secondly, $20 million added to the home acquisition fund. I say $20 million added to the home acquisition fund, Mr. Speaker, because new home construction is, obviously, a job-creating activity. Thirdly, $15 million for accelerated park development and we have the assurance that a great deal of this expenditure will be put into roads into parks, such as Cypress Park and Seymour Park. Fourthly, .
AN HON. MEMBER: And Wells.
MR. WOLFE: Yes, Wells. Fourthly, increased allocations are indicated for highway projects. But, Mr. Speaker, more important, the Budget expresses confidence in our economy. It is the return of consumer confidence and the resulting business and industrial expansion that really creates employment in large numbers. Opposition Members should support this Budget rather than criticize and make negative statements about it. As Members of this Legislature, we should be spreading the theme of confidence in our economy. Renewed consumer confidence will create more jobs than all the Government schemes put together.
Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased at the announcement of the increase in gasoline tax. I don't want to be out of place in referring to that, here, except to remind you that I have spoken before on the problem of the gap which appears between the revenues for our highway expenditures and the expenditures laid out for them. What I would like to emphasize, here, today, is that I look upon this tax increase as being needed in the long term and, when one looks at the great need for expenditures for urban transportation, I have said before and I wish to say again, that what is needed is to allocate certain of these funds to an urban transportation fund for our major municipalities, so, that, in the year% ahead, the massive amounts of monies required will have a
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source to look to.
Mr. Speaker, what effect does this Budget have on our municipalities? A matter of great concern to our municipalities. is the increasing costs of social assistance. The Budget announced the reduction in the municipal share in welfare costs from 20 to 15 per cent. As far as the Provincial Budget is concerned, the biggest single increase in one item lies in the Department of Rehabilitation and Social Improvement which, in itself, shows an increase over last year of $31 million, or 29.5 per cent. What is the effect of the change in the welfare share to the city of Vancouver? Although it is hard to predict welfare costs, the city's forecast or estimate for the calendar year 1971, based on the former welfare formula, was $7.3 million. So, projected on a 12-month basis, the savings, in reducing from 20 to 15 per cent sharing, should save the city $1.8 million for the year starting April 1, 1971. This saving is the equivalent of a $4 increase in Vancouver's per capita grant from the Provincial Government.
Mr. Speaker, I was very pleased to hear, yesterday, the Minister of Health announce that a new hospital has now been approved for alcoholics and drug addicts in Vancouver. This is extremely good news and I have spoken in this House before on the drastic need for a detoxication clinic, this new concept, including facilities both for alcoholic reception and drug problem cases. I do hope this will proceed without delay.
The Minister paid tribute yesterday to Dr. Dick, who has worked very hard on this project, and I would like to add the name today, of Alderman Halford Wilson. Mr. Speaker, he certainly deserves a great deal of credit for assisting in putting this project together (applause). It is badly needed and, further, I think that the new $25 million fund which we have created for this purpose should, somehow, assist in this new hospital.
Mr. Speaker, last year in this House I mentioned a subject which is almost a no-no, the Moran Dam. For some reason or other, the Moran Dam is a bad name. It's almost a no-no and I think we should change the name of it to the Beep-Beep. Last year, when I brought this subject up in the House, I was attacked by the Member from Dewdney, by the Member from Cariboo, viciously attacked, and the Member from Alberni. I even received one insulting letter signed by somebody called Bill Orang-outang. I would like to assure the Member from Dewdney that, given proper consideration, this project would not harm the beautiful Fraser, and assure the Member from Cariboo that this project would not put Quesnel under water, and assure the Member from Alberni that, given proper study and investment in salmon hatcheries etc., that this would not harm the life of the salmon in British Columbia.
Seriously, Mr. Speaker, the B.C. Energy Board is studying the future of hydro power in this Province and I know that they will include this, with many other possibilities, in their study. It should be considered, and it should be considered on a nonemotional and rational basis. I don't need to repeat here, today, the advantages - cheap power, guaranteed flood control, the elimination of the silting problem in the lower Fraser and the provision, through the backwaters of this facility, of 190,000 acres of agricultural land. Now, this project would not disrupt any communities in British Columbia. I think that's something which could not really be said about any previous power project. If one fears for the municipality of Quesnel, I don't think this, really, needs to be a concern, because the height of the dam, Mr. Speaker, determines the degree of the back-flow and, in no way, would the height of the dam be determined on a basis where the city of Quesnel would be harmed in any way. It would only relocate about 28 miles of highway. So the benefits of cheap power are obvious. The Members opposite don't agree that we have no debts in this Province. They prefer to say that all debt is in the Hydro and is represented in what we pay for power. They should be speaking out for cheap power, Mr. Speaker. There is only, really, one problem, of course, that is the salmon fishery and it's no small problem. There is something like 10 to 12 per cent that has been calculated as the number of our salmon output affected by this particular area. No less than $100 million of this project were suggested as being put into fish ladders of which, mind you, we're not sure will take care of the problem of allowing the salmon to return, but it's an indication of how much money was being devoted, out of the total project, to provide for this aspect. I would like to say, today, that, if we were to put a fraction of this money into spawning beds and other facilities and hatcheries to replenish and encourage our salmon output, we could overcome this with, maybe, a 200 per cent increase in our output of fish.
Mr. Speaker, a recent article in the Province November 24, the heading, "Salmon Egg Suited to Man-made Spawning Beds: Kootenay Lake Kokanee appear to be taking to their new man-made spawning beds in Meadow Creek. In 1967, when the channel was opened, about 200,000 of the fish were counted. There were 150,000 in 1968, and 250,000 last year. Under natural conditions, only about 10 per cent of the eggs survived. Studies by the Fish and Wildlife Branch show that survival in the channels is two to three times this amount."
Mr. Speaker, I believe there was a question on the Order Paper, early in this Session, which has since been answered, I don't have it in front of me, by one of the Members of the House, which asked how many fish had come out of a certain area in this season. No, not the Kokanee. The answer was over 21/2 million. So, Mr. Speaker, I only say that, if this project were feasible, it may be vital to the future of British Columbia. I trust that the Energy Board will give real consideration to this project, the Beep-Beep Dam.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a few comments about industrial development in British Columbia. I notice that the only department showing a decrease in this Budget is Industrial Development and, although I understand that this reduction is due to the inclusion of Expo Japan Exhibit in last year's figures, I still don't think that this is satisfactory, particularly so, when we want to encourage economic expansion and jobs.
I think that the Minister representing this Portfolio is doing a good job, Mr. Speaker. He is an excellent ambassador abroad for this Province. He does travel extensively. I'd like to see him travel more, because I think this is how the business is obtained. I believe that the Minister is doing a good job but with limited funds, and we should step up the funds available for industrial development considerably. I understand that most other Provinces have instituted industrial development measures and we should examine what other Provinces are doing. After all, it would not take very long to make such a study. For example, Quebec has a special programme designed to attract new industries to the Montreal area, with special incentives applying only to highly technological industries, such as electrical equipment, electronics, chemicals, industrial machinery, aerospace.
In British Columbia we should be providing incentives for
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similar types of industries. What we need is immediate incentives to encourage new industries to come to British Columbia and also to encourage increased employment at existing B.C. industries. These incentives could be applied on a temporary basis. I say, temporary, out of fairness to existing B.C. industries; however, they are necessary, now, in view of the unemployment situation here in British Columbia.
With this in mind, Mr. Speaker, I would like to suggest some of the following incentives: One, I suggest an accelerated depreciation programme covering new capital expansion and Provided for under the B.C. Income Tax Act. President Nixon has recently announced an accelerated depreciation programme in the United States, to the extent that capital assets can be accelerated by 20 per cent in their term of write-off.
Secondly, the Minister of Industrial Development should lead trade missions to eastern Canada and the United States and abroad.
Thirdly, perhaps we could reduce the interest rates for new home construction under our second mortgage plan. Nothing will create employment more effectively than new housing starts.
Fourthly, we should urge the Federal Government to reduce the NHA interest rate and remove the 11 per cent tax on building materials.
Five, we should consider some temporary income tax incentives for corporations to increase the numbers they employ as compared to last year. This might be done by a corporation income tax rebate related to a company's T4 slips. In other words, a modest incentive of corporation tax rebate could be provided if a company employed more people in 1971 than it did in 1970.
Six, more incentives for foreign industrialists to visit our Province; for example, free transportation to British Columbia or free accommodation while in British Columbia.
And, lastly, I believe there should also be a temporary financial incentive directed at new Canadian industries by means of direct capital grants aimed at new capital expansion, or forgivable loans based on developments which add to employment substantially.
Mr. Speaker, I don't advocate adopting all of these suggestions but, if we were able to consider adopting some of them, now would be a good time. It concerns me that most of the other Provinces have industrial development incentives of one kind or another and we have none, except to say the beauties of our Province and the fact that everyone wants to live here. I think we should step up our programme for industrial development. When I say that, I emphasize that the incentives I'm recommending are temporary ones in view of our present unemployment situation.
Mr. Speaker, dealing with one more subject, tonight, and having said what I've already said with regard to industrial development and having made suggestions with regard to incentives for new industries and for increasing numbers of those employed in existing industries, I am confident that our economy is on the upturn. Although we are all concerned about the need for employment, we should be, equally concerned about the obvious inflationary., cycle that will develop with the economic expansion in the next year or two.
One only has to read in the morning Province, in terms of the rate of increase of pay from this year over last year: "in the fourth quarter of last year, 75 new agreements monitored by the Department (this is the Department of Labour in Canada) showed an annual wage increase of 8.5 per cent. The average increase over the 12 months was 8.8 per cent, which means that, during the last quarter of the year, there was some moderation. Despite the late moderation, increases were almost one per cent higher than in 1969. This in the face of the warnings by Dr. John Young, chairman of the Prices and Incomes Commission, that sharp increases will eventually be reflected in high cost increases and more inflation."
Mr. Trudeau says we have licked inflation. Well, Mr. Speaker, we haven't licked inflation, yet. In fact, I predict that we are facing a new round of cost-of-living increases in the next two years, which will be unprecedented. Inflation is our number one problem in Canada today. It has cooled off, temporarily, in 1970, but this is only temporary. Inflation is bad because of its effect on people on fixed incomes, the elderly and the pensioners, Mr. Speaker, and also because we are pricing ourselves out of the international marketplace.
We have a responsibility to do something about it and to do something that will work. Everyone knows that we simply cannot afford to continue the present wage price spiral. So what do we do about it? We have now proven that voluntary price and wage guidelines will not work. John Young, chairman of the Prices and Incomes Commission, has told us that (interruption). Voluntary measures haven't worked in the USA and they won't work here. The only thing that will work is the system of price and wage controls, including rent controls, and they are not, exactly, a perfect solution. After all, price and wage controls are supported by the Member in Burnaby-Edmonds, so, obviously, they can't be a perfect solution. Therefore, I believe compulsory controls should be established right away, at least, for a temporary period of two or three years until things have levelled out. No one likes price and wage controls. We had them during wartime, in the Wartime Prices and Trade Board from 1941 to 1947, but there is no easy answer to this problem of runaway inflation, so, we had better stop looking for an easy way out.
Mr. Speaker, one of the main objections to price and wage control is that it takes a large staff or bureaucratic organization to administer. Mr. Speaker, this may not be completely necessary. If our National Government passed an order tomorrow, which froze all prices, wages and rents until further notice, then, the consumer himself would be the best watchdog against price and rent increases, and all that is required is some kind of machinery for him to make complaints. As far as wages are concerned, the best protection against wage increases is the employer himself. It would be a very unusual employer, who would, knowingly, increase wages when ordered by law not to do so. Naturally, it would only be fair to allow for a modest annual increment of say 4 per cent applying to wages, prices and rents.
The other main objection to mandatory controls is that it would change this into a regulated economy from a free economy. Well, Mr. Speaker, traditional monetary methods, such as tight money and high interest rates, just no longer work at least, not without an intolerable amount of unemployment.
So, maybe, we have to think of new methods to correct the economy. Some say Canadians won't accept a regulated economy. Well, how do we know they won't? I think Canadians will accept such a system as I have described. They did, during wartime, without many complaints, and they will, now, in the face of our rising cost of living.
The sooner our Federal administration faces up to the need for controls against inflation, and the sooner they stop
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kidding themselves that voluntary measures will work, then, the sooner Canada will get its economic house in order and put herself in a position where she can compete in the international marketplace. Price and wage controls are the only answer, right now, and I hope the Federal Government, in concert with the Province, will take some positive action right away.
Mr. Speaker, during the recent hearings in Vancouver by the Parliamentary Committee studying the Canadian Constitution, I presented a brief suggesting changes in the BNA Act, having to do with price and wage controls. I won't read the brief, Mr. Speaker, but it placed before the commission the possibility of amending the BNA Act, in terms of giving our Federal Government the powers over prices and wages, which would give them the power to implement such legislation.
Mr. Speaker, this may come as a shock to you, but I propose to vote in favour of this Budget. It is a sound Budget, with modest tax increases based on a long-range view. Mr. Speaker, I call on all Opposition Members to, really, have a good look at it because they should be honest with themselves. You know that we're right, deep down, and I foresee that this might be the first time that this Budget will pass unanimously. Thank you.
The House adjourned at 5:35 p.m.