1971 Legislative Session: 2nd Session, 29th Parliament
The following electronic version is for informational purposes only.
The printed version remains the official version.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 1971
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The House met at 2: 00 p.m.
MR. SPEAKER: The Honourable the Premier.
HON. W.A.C. BENNETT (South Okanagan): I rise to a point of personal privilege. I have now been a Member of this House for nearly thirty years. I have been Premier for approximately 19 years and this is the first time I ever rose in the House on a matter of personal privilege. I do so, today, because of this headline in the Vancouver Sun, caused by an honourable Member of this House. I show it here. I want to say this. In the nearly thirty years that I have been an M.L.A., I have bent backwards more than any other M.L.A. in the history of the Commonwealth to make sure that our stores would never supply any merchandise to the Government, directly, or to its Crown corporations. When my sons were mature men, 38 and 41 years of age, and took over the operation of the businesses, and their own businesses, they had full right to do in their own business as I would have had full right in the company, but, nevertheless, they followed the same point of view. This accusation and suggestion that the Bennett stores sold fencing to the Hydro for the Bennett Dam, at double the price, is completely false. It is untrue and a complete lie.
I want to say that the Bennett stores did not sell any fencing to the Hydro and the Peace River Dam, at any time, at any price, double price, half price, or any price. I want to say that this type of cowardly attack, Mr. Speaker, even if it were put in the form of a question, is what brings public life into disrespect in this country. I asked the Bennett stores to search their records and they did. They found no records of any sales. To be doubly sure, I phoned the Hydro to make sure, too, that they did not buy from us. Today, I have a statement from Gordon Shrum, chairman of Hydro. February 18, 1971. Release time, 9:28 a.m. this morning. I phoned him at eight o'clock this morning. "Message for the Canadian Press: re Wire Fencing for Hydro Projects. In reply to the charges made by Mr. Gordon Dowding in the Legislature yesterday afternoon, I wish to report that we have checked all British Columbia Hydro accounts back to April 1, 1963. No wire fencing of any kind has been purchased from Bennett's Hardware, at any price, either for the Peace River Project or for any other purpose in the Hydro system. All our orders go out to public tender and are ordered at competitive prices. I can make the above statement with authority, as we have a complete record of all transactions. Signed by G.M. Shrum." Then at 11 a.m., we got this further notice from Dr. Shrum. "Since sending the above message, we find that the chain link fence on the Peace project was under contract number 71, the Foundation Company, to supply and install 3,700 ft. at $6 per ft. The fencing material was supplied by the Dominion Bridge Company." Mr. Speaker, this is a very serious charge, indeed, and I'm not going to say any more about it at this particular time, because I'm advised that Court action is contemplated against the Honourable Member from Burnaby and the Vancouver Sun and others (applause).
MR. SPEAKER: The Honourable Member for Burnaby-Edmonds.
MR. G.H. DOWDING (Burnaby-Edmonds): Mr. Speaker, we accept, on this side, the assurances of the Premier.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh. Oh.
MR. DOWDING: Mr. Speaker, I understand that the matter is now before the Courts. So, I won't comment further, except to say this. As soon as I learned of the story that had gone abroad, I immediately took steps with the press and, very fortunately ... I discussed this with the committee chairman, this morning, who entirely bears out my statement that ... (interruption).
MR. SPEAKER: Order. Order.
MR. DOWDING: A statement made in the Public Accounts Committee came out in two different versions in the press. The chairman of the Public Accounts Committee has confirmed with me this morning his understanding, as is mine, that no implication was made against the Bennett Stores (interruption).
MR. SPEAKER: Order.
MR. DOWDING: I went on TV and reassured them.
MR. SPEAKER: The Honourable the Leader of the Opposition.
MR. D. BARRETT (Coquitlam): Mr. Speaker, I ask the Premier to withdraw that statement thrown across the floor in a moment of emotion. I am sure he didn't mean it. You called that Member yellow, Mr. Premier, and I ask you to withdraw it.
MR. BENNETT: Well, he's not yellow. I wouldn't lie.
MR. BARRETT: I asked for an unconditional withdrawal, Mr. Speaker.
MR. SPEAKER: Very well, I think the Premier. . . Heat is being generated in these matters and they are highly emotional. I'm sure that the Premier didn't wish to leave any impressions that the Member was cowardly or anything else. I would ask him to fully withdraw his statement.
MR. BENNETT: I withdraw. Thank you.
MR. SPEAKER: Very well.
MR. BENNETT: But this is a part of a campaign of the NDP Party!
MR. SPEAKER: The Honourable the Provincial Secretary and Minister of Highways.
HON. W.D. BLACK (Nelson-Creston): Mr. Speaker, I'm going to find out in a very few minutes whether I am a pro or an amateur. As you well know, somebody has got to tell some jokes here. I don't feel very funny this afternoon, after having been sick on top of that other thing. However, I do say this. This House is a wonderful place and everyone of us has a very deep feeling about being here and what we are supposed to do here. At the same time, as my honourable colleague Lacie Gracie said the other day, "We've got to laugh sometimes and we've got to tell stories sometimes." I
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can't think of a better time than now to add one. If I said that these last two debates have been as dull as dishwater ... Oh, they have, they have. I couldn't find anything really funny to say about them. There was only one big joke and that was the coup de grace. The only reason, Mr. Speaker, he said that was because I repeated it to him 12 times over the telephone. Now, just because you have obviously done went in your first lesson, here's your second lesson. You'll find it, in French on the back of the cornflakes box (laughter). Unfortunately, I think that's where most of us learn our French these days, at breakfast time. However, there is another one that sort of fitted in, today, and I got a real kick out of it in the debate when the little den mother for the NDP rose and told us what great little Cub Scouts she had over there. She got out her whitewash brush and started whitewashing them all. I'll tell you some of that crowd will never be in the wardrobe department for white wings. So, I got you something, dear. Oh yes, I did. I got you a little brush, but you'll have to buy your own whitewash so you can paint them all you like but they will just be the same to us. Would you take that over to the little den mother over there. If you don't want it, send it back as my wife wants me to paint the kitchen (interruption).
I beg your pardon. No, I'm not asking her to paint herself. Listen, my boy, listen. I've been very remiss ... (interruption). She's done that for several years but I've tried, though. Perhaps, today, is a day of confession. I made my wife stay home, today. However, Mr. Speaker, I'd be very remiss if I didn't say something about my constituency, but perhaps say something about it in a different sort of way than others do. I see my friend from Kootenay is absent this afternoon. Be that as it may, there are others here from the general Kootenays, who recognize that the Kootenays are one of the most beautiful places there are in British Columbia. Those who like big game hunting - why people like that I'm darned if I know, but some people do - and there are people who like fishing and certainly a lot like skiing. They couldn't get a better place than the Kootenays to develop skiing. I want to say, in relation to skiing, and I'm sure all of us here realize that the skiing population in British Columbia and, indeed, from other Provinces is becoming very transient, and they move from ski hill to ski hill and it has become a family sport, and that's a good thing. The more we can do to develop ski resorts the better.
Now, when one looks at the Kootenays, those of you who know anything about it, there is very little industry in the Kootenays, so to speak, with the possible exception of, say, Trail or Kimberley where CM & S is situated. But, broadly speaking, that is generally the case and . . . (interruption). Well, Celgar over in the Trail-Rossland area but, generally speaking, there isn't too much industry. So, we have to concern ourselves with the development of a broad assessment base within that area. It always amazes me that Members of this House don't support going down to Ottawa and asking for this or that area to be considered a designated area or a special area. Those figures were read out to you the other day and I'm not going to bore you with reading them out again. Some of those areas I have taken the time, personally, to visit them and find out why they should receive special assistance and parts of British Columbia didn't. I would be, as an M.L.A. ready and willing to let other areas worse off than ours have any Ottawa grants because one has to be unselfish about this sort of thing. But I cannot see why Members of the NDP do not support going to Ottawa and asking for only a fair share. Why is it that the Liberals are very chagrined about asking for monies from Ottawa out to British Columbia? We're not gouging Ottawa. All we're doing is asking for our fair share.
My dear friends, I want to tell you something, and I mean this quite honestly, because the gentlemen who used to sit opposite over there ... I'll tell you, if you want to get a fair shake and get around Ottawa, sell Ray Perrault. I mean that sincerely. I'm happy to say it because it's true. I'll say this, some of the NDP fellows ... Mr. Harding, who used to sit opposite here. I know him, personally, of course, and I want to tell you he has done what he could to support that point of view.
In the Kootenays apart from the one that the other gentlemen mentioned - the Celgar or CM & S-controlled industry, there's little or nothing. You can't eat grass and you can't eat scenery and we've got to have an industrial base in there. Believe me, as far as I'm concerned, all we want is our fair share - no more, no less.
We've had all kinds of Provincial incentive policies. Just let me carry on here and I'll show you some of the other avenues in which the Federal Government seems to forget all about British Columbia. You know, it's an amazing thing in this Centennial Year. Here, we are, on July 20, one hundred years in Confederation and, yet, we're having confrontations over the share of the wealth of this Province, for Canada, with Ottawa, which in my opinion is all wrong. Centennial should be a time when we are filling our citizens with encouragement rather than discouragement. If there is anything that ever catches the imagination of our people in British Columbia, it's a party or a fun time and Mr. Wallace, who has handled our celebrations over a number of years, has gone from success to success (applause).
AN HON. MEMBER: There he is.
MR. BLACK: Is that Lawrie Wallace? I see him so seldom I have to turn around twice to recognize him. He has done a tremendous job. They have 25,000 people involved in the development of Centennial projects and they go anywhere from blasting to recreational areas, parks, museums, swimming pools, libraries, community halls, flower planting, tree planting, you name it - the people of this Province have caught the imagination of the Centennial. Those of you who have not made yourself aware of when Her Majesty the Queen will be in your particular area, I don't have the schedule in front of me now, but you should make yourself aware of that (interruption). No, I'm sorry I don't know when she will be in Vancouver East. She will be in Vancouver. You are a Member for Vancouver, so I'm sure you'll find your way to see Her Majesty, if you so desire.
In any case, it's a big year. It's a time of big celebration and I think we are all going to enter into it with a will.
I want to say, and I don't intend to be long, a few words relative to highways. If you’ll forgive me, I'll speak from a prepared text for a few minutes. There will be placed on your desks, honourable Members, a copy of the Department of Highways' Branch Reports and Statistical Data up to the end of 1970. Those of you from rural areas will be able to ascertain what has been done almost up to date in your particular area and will be able to ascertain for yourselves what your priorities are. They deal with the research branch of our department, the reorganization that has taken place within the Highways Department. I should be quick to say that, in the next fiscal year, we will have an engineer whose primary responsibility will be liaison between municipal
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jurisdictions, that is municipalities, cities and so on. So that I am not, and they are not, always faced with differences of opinion, relative to this or that engineering report. Engineers are the same as lawyers or doctors or anybody else, they differ in opinion from time to time. We hope that this will end a lot of difficulties. You will notice, too, the programme that has been developed relative to highways - how much money has been spent and from the first of September last year, the Department of Highways has awarded some of the contracts. If you add them up, it spells nothing but jobs. Horseshoe Bay to Taylor Way, that's section one, that's $6,241,000; Wardner to Newgate, $497,000; Sand Creek to Bayness Lake, $350,000; Highway number 15 to Roberts Bank, $257,000. 1 could name a great list. I don't want to take your time in doing that but this is work that is on the way and being done and it totals somewhere in the neighbourhood of $21 to 22 million. On top of that - that's over and above the continuing programmes - on top of that, I am happy to announce, today, and I think the House will forgive me for this ... I think, Mr. Speaker, because you don't get the opportunity, as you are not in the Chair during estimates to ask questions as the others do ... I think you will discover that estimate-wise, you have nothing to be ashamed of, as far as the work in your constituency is concerned. I think there will be a goodly amount of work done there.
The attempt being made by the Highways Department, this year, is to try to get as much work done as is possible through contracts, through day labour and to put men back on the job and to put men to work. Up in the Peace River, we will be spending something in excess of a million dollars in the North Peace, something in excess of a million dollars, as an extra, over and above the estimates in the South Peace. Down in McBride to Tete Jaune, there are some 37.3 miles incomplete and we will start on two projects there, totalling 22 miles. Mr. Speaker, from Terrace to Rupert, you know that area well, where the road comes along, 16 comes along and is adjacent to the Skeena. There are several bridges there that have to be replaced. Those will have to be replaced and there will be some rerouting of the road, obviously, and I'm not going into a description of it. You know it even better than I do. Furthermore, there will be a survey done on the Skeena Bridge, the bridge going down from Terrace to Kitimat, that long, narrow two-lane bridge or one-lane bridge, where that light is going off and on (interruption). Yes, but we've got to do the survey first and that will be coming along. Williams Lake to ... (interruption). There's going to be an election?
Well, I want to tell you, I'll resist the temptation to answer that one. Spencer Hill on Highway 13, west of Grand Forks, going to bring that in. I'm sorry "Me, too" isn't here, because I'm sure he would take credit for this, because, yours truly, Cranbrook to Fort Steele Junction is included in next year's programme and on the Upper Island Highway there will be a contract let (interruption).
Well, we try to clean them up as quickly as we can. However, relative to highways, it's s ' o easy to lose capital sums anywhere, because of the immense cost of building highways these days. The wants of the people and the M.L.As is insatiable as far as their particular constituencies are concerned. As the estimates unfold, I am sure you'll discover that we try to be fair to all.
For the most part, this part of my address to the Assembly will be extemporaneous. I want to talk a few minutes to this Assembly about an extremely important subject called medicare. I'm not going to bore you with the history of medicare in this Province because you know it only too well. It appears to me that what British Columbia does, today, most of the rest of Canada does tomorrow and that we don't have the problems that exist in some of the other Provinces of Canada. You might be interested to know that we try to stay on the ball as far as medicare is concerned. When they had a confrontation in Quebec in relation to radiologists and pathologists, you will recall that, a year Or so ago, we were there in their galleries and heard the debate. When Saskatchewan had their debates relative to the deterrent fee, we were there. We heard the debate and talked to people on both sides of the argument. So we try to stay ahead. We are proud of what we have in B.C. and it would be so easy for any politician to stand up and take credit for the whole thing. I'm not going to do that because credit isn't due to any single person.
The greatest partner we have had has been the medical profession and, regardless of on what side of the House it takes place, I personally do not like to hear these broad generalizations. We have had a great partner in the medical profession. It would be the first to admit it is not and has not been perfect. I want to assure you, Mr. Speaker, that it has taken a very, very responsible position in respect to medicare. Doctors are, at present, reviewing their fee schedules. We are not interfering at all. They are reviewing. While it was so easy, perhaps, to play politics with the little blue book, or green book, or whatever colour it was, that outlined the earnings of various doctors, nevertheless it was good for the profession itself. They were one of the first to recognize that it was, because they could see errors, they could see inaccuracies, they could see places where improvements could be made. So they are reviewing the fee schedules. Likewise, they have done a very, very responsible thing in declaring a moratorium, relative to fees in the year 1971, for which we thank them.
However, there are some areas, in relation to medicare that cause us some concern. If I said to you this is the best piece of social legislation that has ever come into Canada in the last hundred years perhaps you could think of some other. I certainly cannot. I think it is and I think that the people of this Province expect all of us, regardless of our politics, to be conscious as far as this avenue of social legislation is concerned. It is so easy to believe and think that medicare, as it presently is, is here to stay. They keep forgetting this clause of the Medical Care Bill. I am going to read it. "At least six months before the 31st day of March, 1973," which is only two years away, "the Government of Canada will review the whole financial situation and will perhaps abolish any payments and include such payments in the specified tax or the transfer of tax credits."
So, when you talk about medicare, just don't you forget that. Too many people are forgetting about it and we're being cost conscious. Perhaps, at another time, in the estimates, I will be able to give you some facts and figures relative to some of the developments. We hear a good deal these days about paramedical services and I'm not going to single out one from the other. But, I am going to say this, that we are continually studying, and these things are a matter of continuous study as far as we are concerned, and, if and when we can make upward adjustments on some of these perhaps we will. I've already given a commitment that, as far as we're concerned, we are always prepared to take a second look and to reconsider some of these matters. I just want to say, remember that these paramedical services are non
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sharable. What is the matter with asking Ottawa to share those services'?
I am concerned about some of the services done outside the hospital which could well be done on the inside. Here, I want to be quick to say that this is no veiled threat to anybody. What I mean by that is this. I am concerned about services done on the outside that could readily be done on the inside. I am talking about some of these laboratories, be they x-ray, be they the normal blood-testing urinalysis, etc. I am concerned. I have a team, my advisory committee, which is looking into this kind of thing, because the public expects us to be cost conscious.
It seems a ridiculous thing to me that we have a laboratory in the Royal Jubilee Hospital, which cost something in the neighbourhood of half a million dollars and, yet, it is only about one third or 35 per cent occupied, as far as work is concerned. It seems to me a bit of a ridiculous situation. However, there may be answers of which I am not aware, at this moment. I want to be fair to everyone, except to say that we are worried about some of these private laboratories.
Have you ever thought, relative to medicare, of the new developments which are coming into medicine which either are now or will be, in the future, a great drain on the medicare facilities? First of all, abortions. You had are port, the other day, of abortions and I'm afraid I share the opinions of the two speakers, relative to them, that these committees, as presently constituted, are nothing more than a rubber stamp. I agree with that. I think we've got to have a look-see into the whole situation, and I'm not trying to express an opinion either for or against abortions. We have sterilization, which is on the uptrend. Renal failure, which is on the uptrend. Heart disease, operations and developments are taking place at a great pace in respect to heart disease. Coronary insufficiency, heart transplants - these are some of the new things or relatively new things that are coming into the whole medical picture. They are not going to be done for nothing, and we have to be cost conscious.
I told this House, on a previous occasion, don't accept my word for anything. Just look and see what's happened in Britain. I told you, last year, that prepaid medicine is beginning to rise, again, out of the ashes of what was their health care. That's a fact. Then I discover that Britain's health service faces drastic cutbacks. Why? Because in Britain, in days gone by, politicians, pressure groups of one variety or another, forced Britain to the situation it was in. And a good thing was so diluted that it became a meaningless nothing. Now it's to the point where it is almost nothing. We don't want that to happen in British Columbia. We don't want to, and I said it another time, and I was rather amazed ... I had the honour to go over and open the new building of CU & C, and I greatly appreciated being invited. At least two M.L.A.s, or three, I think it was, were present. I said to them, at that time, "Let's not kill the goose that laid the golden egg." Said by, I think, it was Aesop, to tell you the truth ... well read. I have colouring books, too. Anyway, I was greatly amazed to find out that those people, who are labour union leaders~ shared my opinion and admitted to me quite frankly that at the original outset they had not shared that opinion, but they are rapidly coming to the opinion that medicare, as it exists in British Columbia, is too valuable to the people of this Province to dilute it to the extent that it is no longer useful to anyone.
Mr. Speaker, there's a good deal more I could say but I know you will forgive me if I thank you and give way to someone else for a while. I look forward to discussing other subjects during the estimates.
MR. SPEAKER: The Honourable Member for Yale-Lillooet.
MR. W.L. HARTLEY (Yale-Lillooet): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to take my place in the Chamber this afternoon and follow the Minister of Highways, the Provincial Secretary. I was pleased to hear him speak on health care and I am pleased to see him back here in good health. We did hear that he was under the weather yesterday and, while we may disagree one with the other on different political issues, I am sure we never wish anyone poor health.
He made reference to the health plan and I intend to make reference to the health plan as I proceed. I think we all should ask questions because I believe the health plan in this Province is in trouble and it's going to be in far more serious trouble. Unless we adopt an entirely different approach, unless we can do something different than operate a bill-collecting agency for the medical profession, unless we can do something different than operate a plan of sickness insurance and unless we can develop a programme of preventative health care and pay our doctors to keep us well then, we, too, are going to be in ever- and ever-increasing trouble. When we realize that this year our health care costs went up by almost 150 per cent of the total cost of medicare, itself, in the first year ... at least $28 million for medicare in the first year, approximately. The overall increase of BCHIS and medicare, this year, is $40 million, which is almost 150 per cent. So, what the Minister said, we are cognizant of and, this year, as in previous years, we will hold out positive alternatives to help control this situation. I was pleased to hear what he had to say about the laboratories that private doctors are buying and exploiting the plan through. I think it is time that we expanded hospital laboratory facilities and provided these services as part of the plan.
I would like, Mr. Speaker, to mention, seeing that I had the Minister of Highways precede me, to draw to his attention that there have been some very bad winter break-ups on the Trans-Canada Highway up through the Fraser Canyon. That's a limited highway. It is our number one and because of the very, very heavy traffic and, at times, heavy frost it takes quite a beating. Again, it has taken a beating, this year, and I hope, before his estimates are finalized that he will have his engineers check out certain sections in and around Yale - Saddle Rock, Alexander Tunnel, which are going to have to be rebuilt, I believe.
There is a great need to upgrade and to blacktop the entire section of the Mamit Lake Road going up into the Highland Valley. The Highland Valley is, probably, the hottest mining area in the Province, if not in the Nation, today. This highway, the Mamit Lake Highland Valley-Ashcroft Highway, running from number 8 in the Nicola Valley, through to Ashcroft and number one, is in three different highway districts. I believe, for a matter of efficiency, snow ploughing and so on in the winter, it might be good for the Minister and his department to consider consolidating this into one highway district.
Two or three years ago some work was done, I believe some quarter of a million dollars were spent, on the highway between Squamish and Lillooet, running along Anderson Lake but it has been left sitting at that. Nothing more has been done and you get great rain there in the winter. It's become pretty badly eroded. I hope the Minister will review
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that and see that it is improved so that at least you can drive through with a standard vehicle.
There is considerable interest being shown in the development of the north and there is the shortest route to the north, up through Pemberton, up through the Hurley Pass and, then, on out into the Cariboo. There are very few miles that would have to be completed, here. True, some of it is logging roads but I believe, by improving this, it would take some of the pressure off some of the access roads going into Vancouver. People coming down from Prince George, Williams Lake and north, could cut down through the Hurley route and go into Squamish and then into Vancouver.
I have just mentioned one or two highway problems, but highways and access property on those highways have been mentioned in past Sessions of the Legislature and have been raised again here in this Session. I would like to say, for my part, that when these matters come up, it's the matter of the principle, the economics and the good business of this Government purchasing access lands, in the case of new highways, before the general public, even before the owner of those lands knows that a new road or access road or a complete new highway is going to go through there. Now, in the case of 401, it was laid out across the Fraser Valley. It would have been no problem for the agencies of this Government when they saw their 401 on the drawing boards to say, "All right, we are going to have an intersection here at Prest Road," and so on, and then pay the farther the going rate, pay him a good rate for so many acres that the Minister of Highways felt would be needed to service the traveling public, to service the people that live off Prest Road and so on, buy it at the going rate, at a fair price. Then, from there on in, the Provincial Government would own that property and they would lease it out to this oil company or that oil company, to that service industry, or to that service industry. As my friend, the Second Member from Vancouver East, pointed out, when he was first elected in 1966, the State of Pennsylvania makes millions of dollars out of this sort of thing, millions of dollars of revenue every year.
I am mentioning this because I believe that that is good sound principle. This is the thinking behind my colleague when he mentioned it. It's not the personalities. It's not the Gaglardi's, the Bennett's, the Bonner's, the Clynes - it's the principle that the Premier stood up here and enunciated, some three or four years ago, that he has welshed on. This is why we are concerned. This is why every Member of this House should be concerned and every taxpayer. When the farmers ask for a reduction of taxes on their land, they will never get it until they have a Government of principle, that will put principle above personalities and principle above politics. This Government isn't doing it on this issue.
I went through the Budget Speech, paragraph by paragraph. I numbered each paragraph and each page. Paragraph 14, on page 8. deals with the ambulance service. It states that we are going to spend approximately one and a quarter million dollars in ambulance service and this is correct. But some of the municipalities, villages, towns and cities that are receiving this grant are doing very little towards ambulance service. There are other communities that are providing very good ambulance service, which do not receive one penny out of this fund. Just yesterday, I picked up one of the local papers and it says, "Three Local Men Narrowly Miss Death." It goes on to praise the ambulance crews. Scarcely a week goes by, during the winter months, but what there is either a train gone off the highway and down into the Fraser Canyon, or a car, or a truck or some other kind of vehicle that has gone over. Some people get killed but many, many people get saved by the good services of the North Bend and Boston Bar search and rescue group that operates the ambulance. Both of these communities are in unorganized territory and they do not receive one penny out of this fund. We all, the Member from Cariboo, the Member from Peace River, even the Premier, and the Attorney-General and, I'm sure, the Minister of Highways, drive the Trans-Canada Highway and the Hope-Princeton Highway, from time to time. We could hit black ice, we could slide around and go over the bank and our very lives could depend on the efforts of a volunteer group of ambulance workers, of search and rescue, and they owe nothing to us and we, really, give nothing to them. I think the least we could do, Mr. Speaker, on the vote for ambulance service is that it should be extended so that even unorganized communities could apply and receive per capita grant commensurate with those in the organized communities.
Paragraph 47, page 18, has to do with health services. The Minister made reference to health services. I have commented in brief that in vote 104, in our estimates, we find, this year, that the cost of our hospitals has gone up by 16 2/3 per cent. We talk about wage guidelines, keeping them down to 6 or 7 per cent, but this has gone up by 16 2/3 per cent - from $176 million, to $206.7 million, an excess of $30 million in one year.
I'll go along and we'll take a look at B.C. medical care. The first year, as I mentioned, we just really had it for nine months ... it cost $21 million for nine months, I believe, but projecting that for 12 months, it's $28 million. Last year or, at least, March 31, 1971, we anticipated spending $60 million. Next year, $70 million or another 16 2/3 per cent increase there.
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Minister, Mr. Provincial Secretary, Mr. Minister of Health, what does this mean? Does it mean that, now, we are paying our doctors as much as they bill us, that they are running around looking for sick people? If it does, we have one sixth more sick people, today, than we had a year ago. We are planning on that? Looking back, comparing $70 million with $28 million, the first year, it means that we are paying out twice as much as we did the first year - the people of British Columbia are twice as sick now as before we had medicare.
I may be wrong in drawing that inference but I submit, and I hope one day this young lady will speak up on this because she has professional training - I understand in the public health field - but in the public health field, Mr. Speaker, they don't pay the public health doctors when you are sick, they pay them a salary to keep you well. That is health care, that is preventative medicine. But, no, our whole medicare plan is predicated on sickness. We pay our doctors so much, if we go see them in their office; if they have to come to your home, we pay them more; if they can get you into the hospital and put a knife into you, then we pay them a great deal more; or the sicker you are, the more we pay them. This, Mr. Speaker, to me, is Social Credit sickness insurance. I think it is time we got on the road and developed a programme of health care for the people.
As I said, at the outset, on this side of the House, during consideration of the Hall Commission Report, we spoke out for the implementation of the Hall Report. We did that, because as socialists, we believe in helping people. Going back to 1933, the early socialists in Canada, who drew up the Regina Manifesto, wrote in a plank, clause number 8, to do with health care: "To publicly organize health, hospital and
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medical services. With the advance of medical science, the maintenance of a healthy population has become a function for which every civilized community should undertake responsibility. Health services should be made at least as freely available as educational services. The properly Organized system of public health services, including medical and dental care, would stress prevention rather than cure." There it is, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Member from the North Okanagan. Prevention rather than cure should be extended to all our people, both rural and urban. This is an enterprise in which Dominion, Provincial and municipal authorities, as well as the medical and dental professions, can co-operate. I think that is a pretty fair basis for a programme of health in Canada. It's just too bad that it has to be 3 8 years old and we are still a long way off from what the early socialists envisaged, when it came to looking after our health, The Minister indicates that he's concerned about the ever-increasing health costs. We are concerned and we will, certainly, not only assist in any way we can when you make changes in your programme, but we will try to point out and give certain suggestions as to what can be done to direct a better pattern of health care in lieu of sickness insurance.
Now, there is a different approach. There are at least four different group health clinics in Canada that are practising a measure of preventative health care. There's one in the United States and that one, probably, has the best record, in that it has been operating for well over 20 years. Our group health clinics in Canada have been operating for a much shorter period of time. In B.C., a hospital patient day average runs about 1,700 hospital patient days per thousand people. In the group health clinic in Sault Ste. Marie it's about 600, or about one third the number of hospital patient days spread out over the population as we are racking up in British Columbia. In Seattle, in a group health clinic there, they have it down to 455 hospital patient days per thousand, or about a quarter of what we have. Now what would that mean, Mr. Speaker? We talk about this Budget. We look at the Budget. We know that the Minister of Finance has brought in new taxes despite, at last election, he said he wouldn't be bringing in any new taxes. He's brought them in. But, with the proper approach, using a preventative accent instead of a sickness accent in paying our doctors, the total of $70 million that we are going to spend in medicare and $206 million in hospitals, a total of approximately $280 million each year in health care, could be reduced by 63 per cent. The 455 hospital patient days racked up in Seattle compared to our almost 1,800 is 63 per cent - a 63 per cent reduction - which means, in this one avenue alone, Mr. Speaker, that we could save for the taxpayers of this Province $176 million. We could reduce the $280 million to $104 million.
With that, I would like to quote what Dr. Golden had to say. The headline is, "Dr. Golden Says Organized Medicine Is Geared to Oppose Reforms Needed in Health Education and Patient Care." Organized medicine is geared to oppose reforms needed. He says, "It is time the medical profession substituted deeds for words in bringing about controls in soaring medical costs."
The Minister, as he concluded, mentioned that he felt we were running into trouble in Canada. He pointed out clause 6, where, in a little better than two years, the Federal Government could take an entirely new look at our health care set-up. I think this is a good thing. I don't think we can just keep pouring an endless supply of dollars into, this fund. I don't think we should, particularly because of a letter that was sent out very recently by a group of doctors to their patients. I'll read this letter, Mr. Speaker, and it is available to the press and the Legislature, if anyone wishes it. "Dear Patient: My associates and I have decided to discontinue the billing arrangement with the Government of the Province of British Columbia. The reasons for this are numerous and briefly are that we object to the increasing interference by the Government in medical affairs." This is signed by Dr. P. Gareau, M.D.,F.R.C.S.(c); Dr. D.A. Baird, M.B; and John Wellman, M.D. They all have their Fellowship in Surgery, by the way.
I wonder, Mr. Speaker, is this correct? Is this correct that this Government and this Minister is interfering with the patterns of practice and with the medical affairs of the doctors of this Province? I have it here in writing. Who are these people? Are they just general practitioners? No, they are highly skilled plastic surgeons, some of the top paid men in our Province. Because of the nature of their work . . . well, they are GP's, not real estate men (interruption). Well, if you feel that the profession should be defended, then, get right in there and speak on it. If you feel that medicare can be improved in this Province, get up there and speak. You should be able to do that. So, if these men are specialists, particularly, if they are plastic surgeons, they have to depend a great deal more heavily on the public institutions that the taxpayers provide than does a general practitioner. A general practitioner can practice in your home, and in his house, and in his office. But a plastic surgeon has great trouble doing plastic surgery unless he has the access to the tools of his trade and all the facilities that are made available in the hospitals at a high cost to the taxpayer. Yet these people say they are going to withdraw. What's going to happen - if this group can get away with opting out in the hope that you will then bill the medical plan and pay them? It's going to mean a great deal more red tape than we already have. If they are opting out ... I'd like you to remember that this was the very issue that the strike in Quebec revolved around. The doctors there wanted to opt out. They went on strike and, to the credit of Premier Bourassa, he said, "If we're going to have a medical plan, you are all going to be in it, or that's it." And they are all in it, but that was the issue they tried to pull off in Quebec. They didn't get away with it. The Minister may know of other doctors who are trying to opt out. If they can get away with it, they can very definitely sabotage our medical care plan in this Province. I am just going to read a section of this letter again. The reasons ... (interruption).
If you agree with them, get up and say so. I say that this is why they went out on strike. They wanted to opt out in Quebec. I say it's to the credit of Premier Bourassa that he said, "Nothing doing, get back to work, call off the strike." They did that and there's no opting out in Quebec. I say there should be no opting out in British Columbia. They either send in their bills to the medical care plan, the B.C. medical plan and they get paid through that, or they opt out entirely. They can't be half in and half out, Mr. Speaker, they must be entirely in. This is the thin edge of sabotage by the medical profession of our B.C. medical plan. They should put up or shut up.
If there are particular examples of interfering by the Government in the patterns of practice, then, I think these men who have written to their patients should state before the Legislature, state before the B.C. medical plan, what that interference is. If there is interference, then, it's up to the Minister and those about him to see that it is corrected. For my part, I feel that this matter of opting out should stop forthwith. I'm going to conclude on Medicare by just
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repeating what Dr. Golden said. Dr. Golden says, "Organized medicine is geared to oppose reforms needed in health education and patient care. It is time the medical profession substituted deeds for words in bringing about controls in soaring medical costs."
It is time, Mr. Speaker, that we, in this Province, set up a group health practice with a panel of general practitioners and specialists of all fields, and hire those doctors on a salary and charge them with the responsibility of looking after the health of the people on a professional health care, public health, salaried basis so that when you and I wish to go to a doctor we don't have to go to the yellow pages of the phone book, we can go to our group clinic, appear before the diagnostician, let him refer you to his colleague who is salaried ... There will be no professional jealousy, saying, "I have to hold on to you because under the fee-for-service set-up, I must have lots of sick people to make lots of money." Under a group practice, they will be paid on a salary. The diagnostician will refer the sick patient to the doctor he feels best able to look after him. Where this has been done, and it is being done and it has been done for 20 years, the hospital patient day average is reduced to almost one quarter of what we are suffering from in this Province.
A word on the dentists. We all received, or I imagine all the M.L.A.s received, some P.R. material from James Lovick, sent out on behalf of the dentists, giving us, as the soft sell, a lot of malarkey on what they proposed as their method of preventative dental care. I was a little suspicious of it, so I wrote to Dr. S.J. Gallagher. I told him I was concerned about dental care because there are many, many children in the rural parts of this Province and many, many children in the less well-to-do urban areas of our Province who cannot afford health care. I wrote to Dr. Gallagher on December 4 and I stated, "In the rural area that I represent I find an ever-increasing segment of our society that claims it cannot afford anything more than the very minimal of dental checkups. These people are not on welfare. Some live on small holdings getting whatever seasonal work they can. Others work quite steadily but are in the lower-income sector of our economy. Has your association made any plans where this fairly large group of people will be able to afford regular trips to a dentist?" That was on December 4, almost four months ago. The dentists are so concerned they'd rather have James Lovick handle their P.R. than answer their mail. I suspect that one of the reasons they have James Lovick handling their P.R. work is that they know they are in trouble. They put out a new fee schedule and in that fee schedule, they talk about a 7 per cent increase, a 13 per cent increase. If you will examine the section that governs x-rays in your mouth, right there, there is a 100 per cent increase, from $2 to $4. Now, that isn't 13 per cent. In many cases, the increases are many times 13 per cent, in excess of 100 per cent. This is gouging the mouths of the children of this Province. It is most unfair. It is morally and professionally wrong (interruption). Well, if I were depending on you people, I'd sure be in trouble. Mind you, Mr. Speaker, my friends have done all they could to help me out ... (interruption) thanks, I sure do. Without their help, I'd probably never survive politically.
Now, we all got a copy of the Budget Speech, Pardon me, I got seven. How many did you get? Anyone who asked for them, all got them.
I would like to start by referring to "Economic Conditions and Outlook," on page 14. As I took this through, on page 14, they talk about financial proposals for the fiscal year 1970-1971. Mr. Speaker, we have opted for continuation of dynamic growth " . . . to increase the supply of jobs for our fast growing labour force." My friend applauds that and I'm sure we all applaud that. We look at paragraph 35, now, and what do they say? This is on mineral developments. "Commencement of coal shipments on long-term sales contracts to Japan and the steel industry assure us continued strength to this sector of the economy. The improved outlook for crude oil, natural gas, . . ." etc. "The commitment of a portion of our mineral output under long-term contracts will help stabilize the Provincial economy." Mr. Speaker, 90 per cent of our mineral and coal contracts are committed to those long-term agreements and they say this will stabilize our economy, so that 90 per cent of our mining has been stabilized - not expanding - not as they say, in section 44, "to expand to get more jobs." When we expect to export the copper, the coal, in the raw, the minerals in the raw, and send them to Japan and there have them made into the various utensils and manufactured goods, we have tied our economy to a stability in that area, in the coal and mineral mining area for many years to come. When this Government across there stands up and points their finger to Ottawa saying, "This unemployment is caused by Ottawa," it is caused by the economic and fiscal policies of this Government, in failing to develop secondary industry, in failing to do something with that copper and that coal and that iron - and you say so, right in your Budget Speech (interruption).
There he is. He's against progress. He's against jobs for the unemployed.
Mr. Speaker, there is something unique in this report -not just the picture, the picture is quite unique. I went to the library and checked it out and they said it was 24 years since that picture was taken. That's fine. It's a nice, bronzed, young man. But, in looking into that....
SOME HON. MEMBERS: He looks younger than you. He was, 24 years ago.
MR. HARTLEY: That's right. When I was looking it up, I happened to come across a newspaper of March 20, 1948. It says that W.A.C. Bennett, "Cec" as they called him in those days, says the sales tax will be the brick around the neck of the Government. "A slashing attack on British Columbia's proposed 3 per cent sales tax was delivered in the Legislature Friday, by Cec Bennett, Conservative Coalition Member for the South Okanagan. He called on the Government to take the unprecedented step of withdrawing the Budget for reconsideration by experts." Now, Mr. Speaker, if that were the good advice of 23 years ago, is it wrong today?
And what else did he say? He declared that the Government does not have to levy a sales tax to balance a Budget. We have shown you, today, and for the past two weeks, different areas that you could move in and have the revenues. You don't have to levy a sales tax to balance this Budget. What else did he say? "By putting a capital gains tax, cutting down administrative expenses and returning to former Premier John Hart's policy of setting aside only essential sinking funds, the Government could have overcome the gap between expenditure and revenue."
So, Mr. Speaker, not only is the picture way back in the Depression, but this type of sales tax taxation very often hits the. people who can very least afford to pay it. You take someone living up in the Fraser Valley, living up in the interior or up Island who has one of their loved ones
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hospitalized in one of our special care hospitals, possibly, has been there for several weeks. The loved one has to come down and stay in a hotel. This is bad enough, but we put a second tax on the sick. Now, my friends, long lost, long forgotten, anyway, second cousin R.B. Bennett, he brought in sales taxes in the Depression. Does the Minister of Finance admit, by bringing in this type of taxation at this time, that we are now moving into a Depression situation'?
Mr. Speaker, I guess I would be remiss if I didn't have a few comments for my friend across the Floor on the best insurance laws in the world. I think, maybe, at this time, we should just make a little review. You will remember how this Government set up the Wootton Commission to study automobile insurance in this Province. To this day, they haven't told the House what it cost to have Mr. Wootton make that study. Have they? Then, after they had the study done by Wootton, they had the first Member from Vancouver Centre chair a committee, a committee that had its hands and feet bound. They were supposed to look into insurance but, of course, all they were trying to do was try to get the Opposition to go along with their corporate no-fault car insurance. Thank goodness, we didn't. I say, thank goodness that, when we saw the high temper of dictatorship moving into that committee, some of us had enough gumption to get up and walk out. Of course, when it was over and the majority report was no-fault, the group over in this corner, we had our own minority report. It is fortunate ... (interruption). That's right. They wouldn't dare bring the committee report before the Legislature.
AN HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear.
MR. HARTLEY: On the day the draft legislation was placed before the House, Mr. Burns, representative of the All Canada Insurance Federation, said, "God bless the Government of British Columbia." A few days later, the Attorney-General said, "Yes, and the rates will go down by about $24 a year." I guess he said that simply because we said they were going to go up.
AN HON. MEMBER: No, I said it. You didn't say it at all.
MR. HARTLEY: Credit the author? Who is the author?
AN HON. MEMBER: Me. I'm the author.
MR. HARTLEY: Very good! What has happened now? The last time the Attorney-General spoke, he appointed an insurance board for British Columbia. Who has he put on the insurance board? The chairman of the PUC and the other two members and an actuary, by the name of Byron Straight. Yes, Mr. Speaker, I'd say a very good man to carry out the wishes of this Government's insurance committee and the thinking of these corporate car insurance entrepreneurs. I'd say a very good man for that. If you'll ...
AN HON. MEMBER: Smear, smear.
MR. HARTLEY: I don't have to smear, Mr. Speaker. Just read what this man said in the paper, as he was quoted as saying in the paper. We are standing up here to smear no one. We are standing up here on the principle of public insurance versus corporate insurance. This is the issue we are standing on. "New Order Boosts Insurance Rates." This is the headline in the Sun of Vancouver, the 27th, the day after the Attorney-General announced the board had been set up. It says here, "There will probably be another increase in B.C.'s automobile insurance premiums as a result of the Order-in-Council requiring automobile insurance to accept higher risks." This is by Mr. Straight. "The statement that a rise is likely because of the Order-in-Council came Tuesday from Vancouver actuary, Byron Straight." 'Me Sun, in that editorial, had this to say. "One interpretation was quickly suggested by the lone member of the public appointed board. Actuary Byron Straight declared that it is unfair to blame the insurance companies for high rates." This is the public defender who you have appointed. The first thing he does, the first statement he makes, is to get up and defend the insurance companies. "It's unfair to blame the insurance companies for increased rates." What can you expect? This is this man's business. This man makes his living advising insurance companies. He has been retained by the B.C. Motorists' Insurance Company, by the B.C. Mutual. He has .been retained by these companies. If he's going to be able to make his living in this Province, he cannot stand up in this committee and take a position for the people against the insurance companies. If this Government has any integrity in its spirit, it will accept the resignation of Byron Straight from this board.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh. Oh.
MR. HARTLEY: As a matter of fact, there is a very good cartoon in the Province. It is a cartoon of somebody wrestling. It shows the wrestling ring and they have one fellow with his head twisted between the ropes. It says there, "The auto driving public." There's a fellow, twisting one of his toes, and it's labelled, "The First Member for Vancouver Centre," and another fellow, that's the chairman of the car insurance committee. There is another fellow, twisting the other toe, and that says, "Car Insurance Corporations." Then, over here, it shows the referee, the Attorney-General, running interference with the NDP, who is trying to get in there and help the little fellow on the mat, while the new insurance board is a little old lady beating him over the head with an umbrella. I would like to send this across to the chairman of the insurance committee, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, whether it is health care, whether it is hospital insurance, whether it is car insurance, until this Government can separate itself from the people who pull the strings and put up the campaign funds, it will not be able to administer in the best interests of the people. I think that the most recent act, now that the Attorney-General is back, in appointing a man who makes his living working hand-in-glove with the insurance corporations - and this isn't a personality. I sat on the CU&C Board with Byron Straight and, as far as an individual is concerned, he is an honourable gentleman -but, if you don't ask for his resignation, Mr. Attorney-General, he should have the moral and professional integrity, as an actuary, to resign, because he knows he makes his living setting up rates, advising insurance companies. For him to stand there as a public defender, for him to be a policeman, and, Mr. Attorney-General he is no more of a policeman than my friend over here a cop out to lunch, while the corporate insurance industry is pilfering the pockets of the poor people in this Province and making them poorer. That is the situation.
DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Honourable the First Member for Vancouver Centre.
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MR. H.P. CAPOZZI (Vancouver Centre): It is always a great pleasure for me to rise in the Debate following the good Member from Yale-Lillooet because certainly by comparison of what one can say and certainly, in the quality of the material that is inclined to come out, he is a great act to follow.
I would point out that, in his usual unbelievably fallacious manner, he has pointed out that Mr. Byron Straight, shouldn't be entitled to sit on the insurance committee. He sat on the insurance committee, while he was selling insurance - the Member from Yale Lillooet. Did he at any time suggest, Mr. Speaker, at the time that he was on the committee, acting in good faith, he was actually selling automobile insurance. He talks about committees. You never walked out of a committee. You did not walk out of a committee and that is not true. You will recall that you did not walk out, you sat there (interruption). No, it's no Point of Order.
DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order. Just one moment. The Chair will decide whether or not there is a Point of Order. There is a Point of Order.
MR. HARTLEY: Mr. Speaker, I would just like to remind you how the Honourable Member of Vancouver ... The Point of Order is that he came into the House and asked to discuss the committee and why I had walked out. The Speaker refused him that right. He was protesting me walking out.
DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member has made his statement. Proceed.
MR. CAPOZZI: I would also point out one other wonderful part of the great philosophy that that side espouses. He referred to the insurance committee as though it were some sort of special committee and that, at that stage, a group of them had attempted to walk out. I would point out that recently the NDP Government in Manitoba appointed an insurance committee and do you know not one Opposition Member walked out? Not one - they didn't appoint one Opposition Member to the committee! The entire insurance committee, supposedly to investigate insurance for the Province of Manitoba, consisted entirely of NDP Members. A typical example of the wonderful co-operation and scrutiny that any committee should have. It's amazing.
Mr. Speaker, I didn't come here to start today by picking on that Member. He has enough problems. I did come here today to give out some kudos, and I said kudos, not Trudeaus, by the way - for the Members of the Liberal Party. I would particularly like to pick up the Member from Atlin and compliment him on his newest endeavour, which is the magnificent newspaper which is put out in regard to the Indian people. I think that the Native Voice is one of the finest new newspapers to come into the Province of British Columbia. It is available and I will give you a commercial -$3 for the annual subscription - and I would certainly hope that every citizen in the Province of British Columbia would take advantage of it. It is a great newspaper and you deserve a great deal of credit. I would point out by the way that, having read it, I think you are getting some of your material for the House out of the newspaper because you are using part of it here.
A second kudo, and I'm following in that vein, and I would hope, Mr. Speaker, that this House would agree and go on record as sending from the floor of this House, with unanimous consent, a telegram of commendation and congratulations to Chief Dan George. Certainly his example to the citizens of British Columbia and particularly the native Indians has been a magnificent contribution to the history of this Province. His recent performance in the movie and what he has attained and done for the citizens of this great Province is something to be recognized from the floor of this House. I would certainly hope that the floor of this House would support me in this endeavour.
I did have one other kudo. I did want to extend, of course, it hasn't been done, congratulations from the House to the American astronauts. I've often wondered whether we really appreciate the courage that the American astronaut has to have because, if you ever think about it, as he's getting ready to leave and sitting there and they start the countdown, the American has to appreciate the fact that everything underneath him was built by the lowest bidder. You have to appreciate some of the problems that that could create!
We are here today, Mr. Speaker, in the Budget Debate and we're dealing with a Budget of $1,300,000,000. We haven't heard, I think you will agree, Mr. Speaker, a great deal of criticism about the actual Budget. Nobody really has complained that the Budget isn't doing a job in roads, nor have they really made any outstanding complaints about the total amount of money that is being spent, for example, in education. I think, Mr. Speaker, that the Members on that side, if they were given the chance of a free vote, if they were given the opportunity to break the party line, I would have to think that even the Members of the NDP would probably support ... (interruption).
Every vote is a free vote? You are saying that every vote is a free vote'? Mr. Speaker, I would say some were freer. I heard a statement in this House, Mr. Member from New Westminster, that your good Leader got up one time after the Member from Atlin had spoken, and said that every Member in his Party was free to say what he wished without any criticism. You agree with that? Then let me read to you from an excerpt in a newspaper that says, "NDP Executive Rebukes Calder."
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh. Oh.
MR. CAPOZZI: "The New Democratic Party Provincial Executive has publicly rebuked NDP M.L.A. Frank Calder for his attack in the Legislature last week on the B.C. Federation of Labour." Now, I can appreciate that that is the NDP Executive. But, down at the end of the article, it says, "On the Executive, there are three M.L.A.s, who were in attendance at that particular meeting. There was Party Leader Dave Barrett, there was Gordon Dowding and Bob Williams." It says that Calder was not present at the meeting. He was tried in absentia. "Asked to specify the inaccurate statements mentioned in the resolution, Stupich said that Calder's charges that Haynes refused him campaign funds were untrue." He didn't say that it was untrue that there weren't funds but then he said he would not identify the person opposed, because only one person there was opposed to this particular rebuke. He did say this, "That not one of the three M.L.A.s, who are members of the Executive, were opposed to the resolution." Not one of them put up their hand. Tremendous loyalty of a free right to speak, supported
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by the Leader of the Opposition, when his own Members stand up and, later on, when he's asked, says, "Yes, there was a vote."
AN HON. MEMBER: There wasn't any vote.
MR. CAPOZZI: It says here, "That not one was opposed." There was only one ... (interruption).
DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order. Would the Members please address the Chair?
MR. CAPOZZI: If you didn't vote for it, then you voted against it. If you didn't vote for it, then you are against it. That's the type of freedom you have as a free vote. Same type of thing - the Alberni NDP fired their president because he didn't go along with them. Time after time, in the freedom of their so-called choice.
Mr. Speaker, we are really not here to go into this. I did feel that in most of the praise that they had on the discussion of the Budget, there hadn't been sufficient reason ... I was going to discuss the question of the Liberals on unemployment and their stand of how they have been on the Budget. I would have to believe that you are going to support the Budget, because the only criticism, basically, was that it was $100 million out from the budget that your Leader put out. Since it's only $100 million, which was the amount that he was out the year before, I would certainly feel that he should probably support it because it is only $100 million difference from what he had. I would say that, in some instances, the Leader of the Liberal Party, who has finally come into the House, does have some merit in the budget that he produced because, to my knowledge, it is the only Liberal Budget anywhere in Canada that will be completely balanced this year. It is the only one and I think that you are to be commended and perhaps be a type of example you could give to the rest of the party.
It always amazes me though that the Liberal Party has ... you know, they have such a capacity to get us into things and then tell us it is our problem to get out. They got us into the Skagit Valley and now stand up and say, "It is up to you to get us out." They got us into the Harbours Park Development and said that it is up to us to get out. They got us into the worst unemployment situation we've ever had in Canada and said it is up to us to get out. They have a fantastic relationship, Mr. Speaker. Do you know, Mr. Speaker, what the Liberal impression is? They have all the great capacities of a man, standing on the edge of a stream with somebody drowning 20 ft. out, and they throw you an 11 ft. rope and say they are meeting you half way. It's an amazing thing.
Mr. Speaker, when talking about half way, we can still talk about the Liberal philosophy about half way and unemployment. I sincerely believe, Mr. Speaker, that the key of this Budget still boils down to the question of unemployment and what the Budget will do for unemployment. The word that was used by the Premier was "jobs" and this Budget is to produce jobs. I say, and I know I speak for every other Member here, that we, too, want to make sure that it's jobs and that the money that is in the Budget has to be spent as quickly as possible to get the economy moving and back into force in the Province in British Columbia.
I would say, however, that when we talk about unemployment in Canada, today, the question of unemployment being a disgraceful figure ... but the attempt by the National Liberal Party to disguise the unemployment figures by phony formulas and complicated measures to show that they have been statistically adjusted has got to be a disgrace, and has to point out that they have, by this very fact, actually brought into complete disrepute every statistical figure that is put out by any department of statistics in Ottawa, today.
It is amazing that, in talking about inflation, the one issue that seems to have been missed over and over again and that we have seen in today's paper, how can we possibly be looking at controlling inflation when, year after year after year, the Federal Government insists on deficit financing? How can you be producing more money than you have goods, deliberately through your own policies in your Budget, and, at the same time, saying that we are going to fight inflation? You cannot, and I think every housewife that is here, today, and every housewife in this Province will agree that if she does not have enough money to buy the goods that she needs then she is going to go into debt. At the same time, if we do not have sufficient money, then the value of the money that we are putting out of our printing presses is going to go down in value and there we are at one of the root causes of inflation in Canada, today.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to go on to another subject. As you are well aware, we are in Centennial Year and certainly it is intriguing to look back at the fantastic growth of the Province of British Columbia in the hundred years. It's rather interesting even to try to follow the immigration pattern to see what happens, to see how, for example, Vancouver Island was developed by the Scottish immigrants coming out, in essence, to work in the coal mines, followed later, as I have pointed out many times, by the great Chinese development, followed by the Americans, who came up in the Gold Rush and stayed behind, followed by Italians, who worked for years on the railway, followed by Scandinavians, who helped to fish out fjords and did a great part in building up the complete coastline of Canada, and perhaps followed by even the Greeks, who kept opening up the restaurants, which kept following everybody else. Nevertheless, there is no doubt, Mr. Speaker, that the immigrants from all countries helped build the great Province of British Columbia and the great Nation of Canada. They built a great country. The reason they were able - and, with a scant two million people, we have developed this Province. I still believe this is a tribute to the courage and the initiative of the pioneers who came to this Province. Certainly, Mr. Speaker, after a hundred years, all these nationalities have earned the right of equal recognition.
We passed the Bill of Human Rights in this Legislature and I will quote a part of it, Mr. Speaker. It says here ... a question of the treatment, where a person " . . . should not, at any time, be discriminated against for race, colour and creed." Yet, Mr. Speaker, we have discriminated against certain parts of our population since we first joined Confederation. I am asking today, Mr. Speaker, for equal rights for all nationalities in this Province of British Columbia. At the present time, in municipal and Provincial voting, there is a definite discrimination between Canadians, other subjects and other nationalities. I am saying that voting rights should be divided on only one point and that is the question of Canadian citizenship. Certainly, up to a hundred years, we owe to all the other elements of our society, equal recognition when they go to the polling box. Certainly, Mr. Speaker, in the question of who should be able to vote in by-laws, the question should be that of Canadian citizenship, or everybody who owns property - one or the other. I am asking, Mr. Speaker, through you, to the Minister of
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Municipal Affairs, the Provincial Secretary, who I hope will be bringing in a new election act, that, as our Centennial gift to all the nationalities in the Province of British Columbia, we provide them this year with equal rights.
In the last debate, Mr. Speaker, I spoke briefly about the problems in the harbours of British Columbia and I am, certainly, not going to elaborate on the pilfering, etc. It was certainly rather intriguing that there was a denial by the Harbours Board and then, subsequently, three days later they came out with the statement to the effect that they have now put out a new screening and identification process that will stop the pilferage. I might point out that the union representative, here, who said that it was about $5,000 a year, he might be intrigued to know that the Liquor Control Board, in 12 months last year, lost close to $100,000, in between the departure and the arrival, once it had gone through the docks.
I wish to point out that the question of what they endeavour to do, however, in solving the problem is as typical as anything I can think of - in overkill. Instead of fencing it and putting in a computerized operation so that they could check what was coming in and going out, they mailed out a series of forms. These are the questions that are designed to stop pilfering in the harbour of Vancouver: "Have you ever been dismissed or asked to resign from any position?" "Give the dates, countries visited, purpose, travels made to any communist-dominated areas, since July 1, 1945, excepting only travel in the service of the Canadian Government."
I have to believe that the series of questions asked there, Mr. Speaker, has got to be a violation of the rights of individuals and a terrible example of the overkill of bureaucratic departments belonging to governments on all sides. I would hope that that form, wherever it comes from, and I would particularly ask the Liberal Members to contact and have that form removed from any part of any questionnaire put out by the Federal Government. That's the most prompt attention I have ever had to a request I have made on the floor of this House.
In the last debate, Mr. Speaker, I also referred to the harbour and I would like to put only two things on record. They are that in the harbour of Vancouver, today, we have one of the most potentially dangerous places with a combination of circumstances that could occur. There are approximately 150 aircraft that take off in the summer months from the harbour. These are on floats, and I will say this in this House, that if they do not clear the passageways, the areas that these have in cleared runways, it is only a matter of time until there is either a critical accident or a complete disaster and loss of life in the planes that take off from the harbour of the city of Vancouver. I would ask, again, one other thing to the Harbour Board, "Please give us back one part of the harbour for our own people." I ask, through you, Mr. Speaker, to them, through the House here today, that in the great harbour in Vancouver, there be one area, one dock, one spot, where the citizens of that area and the rest of the Province can go, fish if they wish, watch the boats come in and do any part of that. It isn't really suitable for launching boats but certainly the chance to go and utilize one portion of the harbour is the least the Harbour Board could do, today, as a return to the people of that great area.
Another point, and I am glad that, in essence, the Member from Yale-Lillooet did get onto the subject of car insurance, because I want to extend, not just into that, but into insurance in general. There is perhaps, Mr. Speaker, no single concept that has had greater acceptance than insurance. If you wanted to really mark the stage in our civilization, it, perhaps, has a great deal to do with the idea of banding together by groups of people to avoid a tragic loss to the individual by weighing it over the entire group. We have seen this in home insurance, fire insurance, theft, automobile, marine, shipping and liability and so on. You could say that we are in the insurance age.
Mr. Speaker, I am becoming more and more convinced that the basic concept of protection and aid to the individual in time of need that insurance is supposed to provide is not, in essence being provided by the insurance companies. More and more often the poor individual, who comes up with a claim against an insurance company, finds that he is being sunk in a morass created by both the companies and, in essence, by lawyers of the companies. Time after time and I can document it in cases, Mr. Speaker, there are delays in payment and, to paraphrase it in another expression, I would have to say that, in the case of insurance, aid delayed is no aid at all. What occurs, and I am not concerned with the question of whether someone should be legitimately covered by their insurance claim ... but if an individual has a loss and the loss is, we'll say, $25,000 for his home, and there is a dispute as to the value of the loss, whether it should be $25,000, or $20,000 as the insurance would claim and they go to litigation, there is no return to the individual for the money that he has tied up while that litigation is under way. The longer it can be brought out and dragged out, the more pressure there is on the individual to settle for the lesser claim. This, of course, is like going to play baseball with only the insurance company getting to go to bat. Time after time, Mr. Speaker ... this didn't have the same relevancy when interest rates were 3 or 4 per cent but, today, when interest rates are 8 or 10 per cent, the load and the pressure that is put on the individual to settle for a claim that he knows is not correct is unbelievable.
I can cite a particular case, Mr. Speaker, of a company which had a fire. The fire occurred and they made a claim for loss. The claim has now been delayed two years. The company is now in bankruptcy because they had no funds to carry on and the question of ... under this particular provision ... allows them no recourse. Eventually they will get the amount of the disputed claim, nothing more. I am saying, Mr. Speaker, that this is a complete injustice and it is using, in essence, our Courts as a barrier, Or almost as a threat, against the individual.
I am suggesting, Mr. Speaker, to the Attorney-General, that we bring in legislation that says that, after a claim has been submitted, and following the 60-day period in which they have a time to analyze it, after 60 days, that claim and the final settlement shall bear interest, not at the regular legal rate which is ridiculous, not at the bank rate which is not what many of them can borrow at, because the average individual, in this case, is caught by a lack of security, but at one and a half times the regular bank rate and this should continue from the period of 60 days until the final settlement is made. I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, through you to the Attorney-General, that such legislation would let both sides eventually go to bat under fairly equal terms.
Mr. Speaker, I would point out that we have had considerable discussion on the question of rapid transit and hydro transit. Mr. Speaker, to many people the question of transit is of concern, but to my riding it is the lifeblood of the, city. I would point out, and I am not sure whether you are aware ... but, Mr. Speaker, do you know what a gooney bird is? A gooney bird is a bird that used to rise from its nest
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and fly in rapidly diminishing circles until it disappeared in a most unusual fashion. Mr. Speaker, the B.C. Hydro Transit System in the city of Vancouver is a gooney bird, because they are rapidly diminishing their services and cutting down what is provided to the public and eventually it will disappear. The actual amount of equipment that is available now as compared to 1957 is 15 per cent less than they had then. How, possibly, can you say to anyone that, if you are trying to expand the service you are providing and make the thing profitable, you are going to cut things down and narrow things down and reduce the service and reduce the number of people? You've got a classic gooney bird. I'm not here to say, Mr. Speaker, that I don't have alternatives, because I believe the time has come to not say, "Just turn it over to the communities." I have here another suggestion, Mr. Speaker. It is a letter from one of the more prominent British Columbians, Mr. James Pattison of Neonex Corporation. I would like to read this letter. He says, "Regarding the possibility of private ownership of the B.C. Hydro Transit System, I would be prepared to lead a group of British Columbia businessmen in an investigation" . . . (interruption). Give whom a chance? I maintain that transit systems operated as such have not been successful in any part of the country that you can point out. I would point out that, at the present time, if you want to examine and if you want to look this up - because I took the trouble to look it up, I took the trouble of looking it up, Mr. Speaker - the most successful transit systems that are now operating in the United States are those which are being operated on a management contract by business people. I point out that within the areas of responsibility a corporation, a company or anything else, whose responsibility is fundamentally power, axe not the people who should be dealing with the people in regards to transit. I would also point out, if you would let me finish this letter, he said, "I would be prepared to lead a group of British Columbia businessmen in an investigation of the transit system, with a view to advising the Provincial Government as to the conditions under which it would be feasible for private enterprise to acquire the system outright or to operate it under a management contract. This would be possible only with the full support of B.C. Hydro and the appropriate Governmental authorities."
I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, that this is one of the few reasonable alternatives that we have had presented to this House in the last little while. I would hope that the Government would follow up on this and determine whether it isn't a more practical solution of the problem of transit to have it done in this particular fashion. I would suggest with the combination of those people, because, Mr. Speaker, you cannot point out to me, today, what the transit system has done in Vancouver to encourage people to ride. Show me one example where they have tested speed expressways into the downtown area, show me one example where they have got gathering areas, show me one example where they have gone, with the co-operation of the merchants, to try to encourage people to ride the transit system. That is why I say that if we are ever going to get this gooney bird off our back, through you, to the Cabinet benches, I think this is one of the possibilities.
Now, Mr. Speaker, I would like to go into one other subject, and I would hope that what we have seen and what has occurred in this House in the past weeks is not an example of the type of conduct one should expect in any Legislature in this country. We have seen, again and again, deliberate attempts to attack by innuendo, smear, false accusations, unfounded rumours. To me, Mr. Speaker, it is one of the worst examples of the abuse of the privileges of this particular Legislature. We heard today and we say yesterday in the paper by the peeper - because we have a peeper (interruption). I am going to go through that because, to me, I think that's a very significant thing. I would suggest that what we saw as listed out of one of our committees of a statement with no foundation, no truth, which was followed up by statements on television and two newspapers, is an abuse of the legislative rights that we give to people in this House. Certainly, if they had anyone who, at this time, has a record of assassination and must take over the clear and absolute title to it, I would suggest that the Member from Burnaby-Edmonds has earned it 100 per cent. We have seen, Mr. Speaker.... (interruption).
It isn't a question of what he said. It is the innuendo of nothing that was said. Mr. Speaker, anyone who would take and offer as an example ... I hope that you are roasting in your own conscience. We saw once before in this House, Mr. Speaker, the ability of that particular Member to thwart the rules of this House and I suggest that he has done this once again in his conduct in the House today (interruption). The words have been published enough. The innuendo is there. You've already had the ... You can always tell when they are bothered, because they yell louder, Mr. Speaker.
There have been other accusations that have been thrown from the House. There have been the accusations of speculation, speculators, people using privilege to obtain things, the question of people, who are rip-off artists. "Rip-off artists" - I could find no definition, Mr. Speaker, in any dictionary. The implication was that a rip-off artist was somebody who would use their privilege to obtain a favour, someone who would take advantage of a purchase, use their influence to obtain a favour to make a profit.
Mr. Speaker, there is a very beautiful little island that is located just in the district of North Vancouver - I'm sure that the Member from Vancouver - Seymour is aware of Grey Rocks Island. It is a small, little island, just off the mainland. It is rather interesting that this beautiful island ... and I have a picture of it. It is right in the middle of the most beautiful bay in the harbour, rounding across as you come through from the Deep Cove Marina - a view of the Indian Arm tranquil waters and the eye-filling vistas of towering mountains. Deep Cove, itself, is a delightful summer resort located in a protected bay on the north arm of Burrard Inlet at the eastern end of North Vancouver. Swim from smooth beaches, picnic, fish, hike or take to the water in a rental boat from this busy tourist centre, and that is Grey Rocks Island. It is a beautiful spot. I have been by there in boats. I might point out that if you are interested, the owner of the certificate of title for Grey Rocks Island, I'll give you the ... there is a mortgage held for Austin Carter and Jessie Irene for $20,500 at 7 per cent, that's $20,500. It's the mortgage on the property, this beautiful island.
AN HON. MEMBER: I drew up the mortgage.
MR. CAPOZZI: Oh, you drew up the mortgage. Isn't that intriguing? The owners, by the way, there are two owners, William Charles Boutillier and the other owner, Mr. Speaker, is a gentleman by the name of Robert Arthur Williams, 2158 Wall Street. I happen to be familiar with that because that's in my riding. It's a rather unusual building in my riding. I'd like to file it some day. But that part ... anyone is entitled to own land. I'm not here because anybody owns a particular
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piece of property that has a mortgage of $20,500 on it. Nothing wrong with that. I would hope that every individual in this House would pride himself in ownership in land in the Province of British Columbia. But let me read this letter to Mr. John Westwood, Western Pacific Projects, February 9, 1971, from Alpine Estates Ltd., which is handling the sale. "This is to advise you that Grey Rocks Island, 177 of the District of North Vancouver, is available for purchase and development." . . . and development - it's not going to be a tranquil little island anymore. "This island is comprised of approximately 3.1 acres and is situated approximately 600 ft. off of Strathcona Road. Zoning is RS2, single-family residential. The price is $115,000 . . . " Mr. Speaker, a mortgage of $20,500 and the asking ... but that, again, is a question of development of land. " . . . and as the owners recognize that any proposed development would require rezoning of the property, they are prepared to co-operate in securing the necessary approvals."
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Read it again.
MR. CAPOZZI: " . . . and as the owners recognize that any proposed development would require zoning of the property, they are prepared to co-operate in securing the necessary approvals." This is an M.L.A., Mr. Speaker, representing Vancouver East who says that he can secure a rezoning through a municipality because of the pressure of his position.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh. Oh.
MR. CAPOZZI: He is attempting to obtain ...
(interruption). What? It says that it is single-family residential. But it says that " . . . the owners recognize that any proposed development will require rezoning."
AN HON. MEMBER: You don't understand zoning by-laws.
MR. CAPOZZI: I don't understand zoning by-laws, but I do understand one thing, that, when they say they are prepared to co-operate in securing it, prior to the sale of it, that I find the development will change it from $20,500 ... I want to know, Mr. Member from Vancouver East, the Second Member, does your purchase, your bank and your land bank, is this going to involve the purchase of all islands? Are you going to purchase all waterfront, with your great new development fund that's going to buy land along the highways? Is that a part of it so that those Members of your own Party who are involved in ripping-off sections of the waterfront taking a profit through rezoning and extending it ...
AN HON. MEMBER: Where is he now?
MR. CAPOZZI: If I were he, I wouldn't be in the House, either.
DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order.
MR. CAPOZZI: It's along the main water highway that runs through the great harbour of Vancouver, and a most amazing development, I would point out, Mr. Speaker. You know, Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of questions that get answered and I certainly feel that perhaps I have gone a length of time today. I must feel that somehow the question of speculation in the Province of British Columbia, and I brought this up in the House because I felt that this is the type of thing that people are using. May I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that it is time that we truly understood that, when we take words like "speculate," which is a fairly legitimate word in the English language, and, through connotation, begin to twist it into something mean, we really are dealing with a fundamental part of. the development of the Province of British Columbia. I looked it up in the dictionary and "speculate" in the dictionary has no terrible connotation. It says, "to make a purchase or investment that involves a risk of loss but also offers a chance of considerable profit."
The good Member from Cowichan-Malahat quoted Baruch in this House. There is another quote by Baruch. He said, "During my life I have been called a gambler, a speculator, a developer, an investor, a banker, a financier. During that time, I was always doing the same thing. The difference was only in other people's opinion of me."
Mr. Speaker, I'm here because I make no bones when I say that both myself and my family have been involved in development and if you want to call that speculation ... If, in speculation, Mr. Speaker, you are talking about taking a piece of land and developing it into something then, without any bones, I say that we have been involved in this type of development. But so have people throughout the entire province and I say, Mr. Speaker, that the growth of the Province of British Columbia has been because we've had citizens who go into areas and take a chance. People who have risked in their lives everything they have had on the possibility that it may return something to them. Mr. Speaker, on eight separate occasions I have signed my house, my children's education, every cent I have owned, over to a bank as a part of a risk, and on three occasions, I can say, have been within a hair's breadth of losing it entirely. I am not ashamed of that and it isn't unusual.
There are people throughout this Province who have done it, time after time, and are doing it today, and instead of standing in this House and making "speculate" a dirty word, we should be proud of this type of people, we should be proud of this type of an individual. We should feel that we should be encouraging people to take the chance of doing something. I might say that, if it's possible to humbly boast about something then, out of the results of it, out of all ... yes, I say that purposely, humbly boast. I need to say that I am humbly boasting about it ...
As a result of it, there are now 500 positions that have been opened up because of the various so-called developments. Mr. Speaker, may I say that so often in the House we hear the words used and we hear people talk about this thing as though we were looking at something that was not the right and proper thing for people to be concerned with.
I feel too, Mr. Speaker, that, during the debates, we had one other comment raised on the floor of this House. It was a comment raised by the Member from Cowichan-Malahat and he, at that time, said that this Budget of $1,300,000,000 was a Budget produced from your rotten system - "your rotten system," those were the words he used, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, your rotten system is the system that made it possible for him to come to this Province as an uneducated immigrant, which he admits, and to sit for 17 years as a proud and representative member and as the Leader of the opposition. This was the rotten system that gave an individual the type of opportunity to reach one of the most honoured positions in the land, the opportunity, by this
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rotten system, to send his youngsters and obtain an education, through his help and his work, this rotten system. It was this rotten system that has enabled the two Members, who sit on each side of him to be in the top 10 per cent income in Canada and, perhaps, the top one per cent in the world. This rotten system. It is this rotten system that has produced more doctors, more schools, more hospitals, more development, the highest standard of living, this rotten system, Mr. Speaker, which has given this country the highest standard of living in the world. With all its problems, with all its concerns, this rotten system, if that's the case, Mr. Speaker, I say to you that, if we were to open our boundaries, we would probably be flooded by people from all over the world who would want to come and live in your rotten system.
DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Honourable Member for South Peace River.
MR. D.A. MARSHALL (South Peace River): Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think I can open with the same opening remarks as the previous speaker with, perhaps, a different inference, that that is a tough act to follow. Mr. Speaker, in listening to the debate on this great Budget of ours and commenting more particularly on the remarks of the Opposition, the farmers' definition of the political philosophy is brought to mind. I feel I can sum up this debate, to this point, by using the farmers' comparison of philosophies. Farmers are traditionally very realistic in putting philosophies to practical tests. With socialism, the farmer rationalizes that if you have two cows ...
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh. Oh.
MR. MARSHALL: You've heard it. I'm going to tell you, again. If you have two cows, you give one to your neighbour. In Liberalism, and this is a change in this particular philosophy, if you have two cows, you milk one and pour the milk down the drain. With Social Credit if you have two cows, you sell one and buy a bull.
It has been said that the toughest part of trying times is that people quit trying but people in this Province will never quit trying as long as our Minister of Finance keeps bringing in Budgets as progressive and as tailored to the times as this Budget.
Mr. Speaker, I want to discuss in this debate trends that we are nurturing, and some of this is repetitive. When I use the word, trend, I consider the word, "trend" akin to a rut. The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth. The trend I have noticed in this House, perhaps, even more so than last year, is that many Members, of all Parties, perhaps have forgotten that it is easier to be critical than to be correct. 1, personally, did not get into politics to get personal and make personal attacks over philosophy. There has been in my mind too much character tearing down of all Members, and it is easier to pull down than it is to build up. I look at my Liberal friends, to the right, and I sincerely believe them to be honourable Members. Although I believe them to be slightly confused in their politics, I cannot say that they do not have the right aim in life any more than myself when I ask myself the same question. I do not feel it fair to criticize the Provincial Liberals for everything wrong that the Federal Liberals do.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.
MR. MARSHALL: They have made their stand quite clear to me on this issue whether they are talking about Mr. Bonde or our unemployment problem. However, I do not feel it fair that, conversely, our Party should be continuously criticized for pointing out the errors of our Federal Government. I thank the good Lord there is somebody left who will take our Federal Government to task. It is good to have the right aim in life but I think we have to remember to pull the trigger.
There has been a little bantering back and forth between myself and the Leader of the Opposition regarding his statements over Chetwynd's homes and I firmly believe he knows he is wrong, but he is a speaker who likes to say things to please his audience. This is akin to the man who gave his wife a fur coat, not to keep her warm, but to keep her quiet. Seriously though, I'd like to see more in-depth discussions by all Parties towards solving our many problems rather than the expression of wrong aim on personal attacks and pulling the trigger on personalities rather than solutions.
Another trend that concerns me a great deal is our trend in the home-owner grant and what its continuation, unchecked and unchanged, might involve. I, by no means, want it understood that I do not approve of this grant for indeed I do support its application as an assistance to home-owners to make it easier to own a home and to ease the tax burden for those on fixed incomes, particularly those on fixed incomes. The trend, however, is one that involves disparities and if I may digress for just a moment, I want to give some supportive thoughts to this home-owner grant. I feel that if we continue these trends that it could defeat the principle of the grant's original concept. Farmers have, for many years, endeavoured to point out glaring disparities in taxation, and I firmly believe these do exist. Quite firmly also I cannot support any Government that bows to militancy to solve a problem. I'm thinking here of the case where our Government gave an answer. It was the right answer but it was done at the threat of Government by farmers who were threatening to dump grain on the steps of our Pouce Coupe Land Office in order to pay their taxes. I feel that our Government did act correctly, because I realize farmers only get a pay cheque once a year but, I believe, they should have acted sooner. Therefore, I want to support a government which, when the need for change is apparent, reacts before people have to resort to militancy.
With the defeat of four consecutive referendums in the Peace country by a massive campaign by the rural population, I have endeavoured to discount or substantiate some of the farmers' allegations. Bearing in mind that there are no farmers who get by with paying, at least in the Peace River country, $1 a year taxes, and they allege that many five-figure salary earners do enjoy the privilege even though they have several children, of just paying $1 a year taxes, I endeavoured to find out how serious this trend might become should we let it go unchecked. With over 2 1,000 tax folios in our land office in Pouce Coupe, it was too massive a job to take a complete, comprehensive survey, but I did take, at random, some 500 folios. I found 21 per cent of these enjoyed the privilege of paying only $1 a year taxes. It then became obvious to me that should this 21 per cent figure represent the total percentage of the total number of folios, it could involve a situation where, if 100 per cent of the $1 a year taxpayers voted, they could control the outcome of any referendum. I realize this is not necessarily always the case but it is, nevertheless, a trend, to me, that is alarming. I certainly do not advocate that we cancel payments of these
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home-owner grants but I would respectfully suggest to our Government that whether it is paid in part or in total should be dependent on the home-owner's ability to pay.
Another trend, Mr. Speaker, is disparities which are becoming more glaring in the assessment of farmland. I am most aware that farmland is classified and must be assessed on the basis of its value for farm purposes, without regard to its value for other purposes. In the Peace River district, the farmland use represents the highest and best use, in the majority of cases. Accordingly, the value for farm purposes and the actual value, that is, the probable selling price, are the same. But as they are using for the purposes of assessment the selling price, this is fictional for, in the past two years, the only major land sales have been based on purchases made by other than bona fide farmers. Assessments of farmland in the Fraser Valley, however, are quite different. They are arrived at by capitalizing the annual rent value of land used for farm purposes to arrive at the value for farm purposes. It seems quite obvious to me that land speculators, owners of land who are not bona fide farmers, those who do not receive the majority of income from farming, who do not own the land on the basis of its value for farm purposes - I'm thinking here of land that is valued for farm purposes at $150 an acre and it has been purchased by a speculator at a value 10 times that amount - this land should be taxed accordingly.
Mr. Speaker, I have a classic example of a farmer in the Peace River Country, who owns several thousand acres of land and he has rented this land for the highest possible rent that he could possibly receive. It is becoming more difficult, because of the lack of farm income, to rent land on a profitable basis. It used to be rented, prior to two years ago, on a one third to two third basis. It is now a 20 to 80 basis. This particular chap rented this land on the basis of the highest rent he could get, which was $10,000. His taxes on this same piece of ground, last year, were $6,500. In other words, 65 per cent of his income went to land taxes. If we applied the same basis of assessment as they do in the Fraser Valley, his taxes would have been but a fraction of that amount. I realize the costs of services are not the same, but I would respectfully suggest to our Government that the assessment equalization consider provision, at least some provision, for bona fide farmers greater than the 50 per cent present exemption for farm use. The Federation of Agriculture has presented to Cabinet its views on land taxation, and the Member from Delta has discussed it as it relates to providing for green belts. These suggestions would undoubtedly be accepted at this time in the Peace River country but I'm sure, in my case, they wouldn't be acceptable in the lower mainland. To argue about the comparative relation of farmland value to actual value and state that they are not relevant is indeed false thinking, if we are to retain to us what is known as a bona fide farmer.
I would hasten to point out that tax stands by farmers are not restricted to only British Columbia. In Ontario, the Minister for Municipal Affairs, early last October, stated that the Government would return to the farmers 25 per cent grant on their net property taxes. The farmers in Ontario are asking that the educational tax be removed from farmlands and just taxed on their dwellings. In Manitoba, the farmers are in favour of tax withholding and a farm committee is now studying the tax question to find some way to apply school taxes more fairly other than by increased tax to the landowner.
Mr. Speaker, I made reference before, in the Throne Debate, with regard to another trend. The removal of those engaged in agriculture from the farms and our seemingly reluctant attitude to bring immense pressure to bear on the Federal Government to change their attitude. I also have made mention of a new farm industry, alfalfa, and/or forage for export. I don't want to belabour this point but, the first time I mentioned this possible diversification in the House last year, I cited, Mr. Speaker, the growing market in Japan for food and livestock feeds. At that time, the Japanese imports of alfalfa pellets were some 300 tons annually. This figure has increased by some 20 per cent, now. In Saskatchewan, through the Department of Industry, a further three plants are now being built and I find it very strange to find they are dealing in Vancouver. They are dealing in Vancouver with the Japanese import-export company.
I have also mentioned in this House the Federal Government's attitude reflected by the Special Areas Act. I do not wish to belabour the point but it is interesting to point out that this production that I am speaking about in Saskatchewan began with an $85,000 grant from the Federal Government's Area Development Agency. Also, in Saskatchewan, they have a development corporation called Sedco and the Saskatchewan Economic Development Corporation loaned $350,000 this year to develop this project further. Their production in Saskatchewan, this year, will exceed 18,000 tons. When I speak about this, Mr. Speaker, I would like to think of our Province being first and foremost. I want our farmers to enjoy these diversification enterprises and I want to capture a larger slice of perhaps some of this Japanese market and the Pacific rim country markets, as well as the feed market within our own Province, which we are not even getting.
The remaining final trends I want to discuss, Mr. Speaker, are trends in welfare. As I look into our welfare system and in reading the White Paper on guaranteed annual income, I am more convinced than ever that British Columbia has had one of the most enlightened social assistance programmes in North America. Some of the goals outlined in President Nixon's new family assistance plan, such as providing a stronger link with manpower programmes, provisions for day care, job training, simplified eligibility for determination of final assistance, have all been part of British Columbia's programme for some time. I think it's important that my acceptance of British Columbia's programme, in stating that it is basically sound, is very important, when I do call on our Government to implement changes. The solid base need not be changed but simply added to.
In considering a guaranteed annual income, our Government must show a great deal of courage in stating, "Let's stop this universality that costs so much money, that diverts so much money to people who really in some circumstances do not need it. We must get more into antipoverty, for it is predicted that, over the span of the next three years, there will have to be an extra billion dollars, counting the Canada Pension Plan, diverted into income security." In reading the White Paper on guaranteed annual income, the thing that bothers me the most is that in this plan there is no incentive to work. I think that anyone who fully understands many of our welfare schemes knows full well that there is every incentive in many of them to not work. If a man is on welfare and he earns $1, for example, in many cases he loses a dollar and that's certainly no incentive to work. Even if a man is working, in many cases, his full employment earns him less than he could get on welfare and there is certainly no incentive to work there - at least, no incentive to
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I am not convinced that, in this country, we have any equitable, comprehensive system to finance a guaranteed annual income. By stating that, I'm not purporting to be a fiscal expert and I'm not trying to destroy the idea of the guaranteed annual income, but I am aware that we are dealing with the human element and that there are those people in our system who are perverse enough to really not want to work. I will agree that the guaranteed annual income, through tax credits and in negative income tax as proposed, does provide slightly greater incentive than does our present system. But I do not think that we should concern ourselves with the small handful of people who do not want to work, but concentrate our efforts on the many thousands of citizens who are out of work and who do want to work. I do not feel, when I search out public attitudes, that our country wants this guaranteed annual income plan. The middle groups, which are already complaining over heavy taxation, would have to again foot the bill and, regardless of how heavily we tax our higher-income groups, there would simply not be sufficient money in Canada to pay for this plan.
Corporations, through their many briefs to Mr. Benson, have well informed him of the problems they are encountering in staying solvent. In so many words, they have told him to keep his hands out of their pockets. The CLC has presented a very unrealistic brief and proposal to have corporations taxed in one fell swoop to pay for this plan. In getting constructive criticism in recommending changes on welfare, I should first like to see elimination of the popular and dangerous myth that welfare is responsible for handling all our social ills. This results because welfare is being criticized because of the ever-increasing costs. It is not justified that welfare should be the scapegoat and bear the brunt of failures of city planning, urban housing, education, failures in expanding the job market, and failures in the economy, in general because welfare cannot be all things to all people.
A welfare programme must have specific goals and objectives entirely its own but the success of its programme is dependent on the strength and policies of programmes and co-operation of other departments and groups, both in the public and the private sector. For example, and I know I intend this to be critical of another department, but let's take the example of the school system, which could not cope with the below-average learner. If business cannot provide him with an opportunity for employment, then the public, through its welfare system, will have to provide for him. The specific goals and objectives for Canada's welfare services have been set forth in the Canada Assistance Act. The preamble of the Act refers to the provision of adequate assistance to and in respect of persons in need and the provision and removal of the causes of poverty and dependence on public assistance. The emphasis, in this case, is on the provision of adequate assistance to persons in need and on prevention and removal of poverty and dependence.
There are three problem areas, with which the community and, I think also, the social worker are most concerned: they are increases in financial assistance, increases in family breakdown and the number of problem children and youth, with the most attention being placed by everyone on the financial assistance service.
There is no such thing as a simple solution to the problem of poverty and economic security, but I would take these areas and offer up some suggestions for alleviating the problems. Firstly, the most predominant problem which was attacked by this great Budget was the lack of job opportunities. Unlike so many other promises of political leaders across Canada, the promises of 25,000 minimum new jobs will be realized by the increase of the overall demand for labour, by the creation of new jobs and opportunities through a process of conscientious economic planning. I hope that all the work programmes, which are mentioned in the Canada Assistance Act, will also be utilized.
In the Department of Social Welfare's Annual Report, it was reported that, during last year, 94,000 social assistance cases were closed and there were 97,000 applications or reapplications for social assistance opened. Thus, persistent unemployment is a problem that must be alleviated. I would suggest, also, that we increase the overall demand for labour, by having employment agencies, which can do a hard selling job with prospective employers, and I think the Provincial Alliance of Businessmen is a useful agency in that it can find and create jobs, place people in them and make referrals to the social agency of unemployable people. Further, for those who are employable and cannot be placed in employment, there should be provision for temporary financial support from an agency other than the Department of Public Welfare. This would involve expansion of Federal insurance programme to all persons who have been employed or who are employable. I feel this latter is most important, as no longer can welfare be the scapegoat of Federal policies aimed at creating unemployment. The Federal unemployment should bear the costs of these imposed additional costs. For the category where job seekers fall into the group "lacking adequate skills, poor motivation," and several other personal attitudes, I suggest that we have re-education of the persistently unemployed by expansion of training facilities.
We need to have social workers from the department in the vocational schools to provide back-up and supportive services for those in training, to ensure that the goal of completing training will be achieved. We need to use more services of those engaged in the staff position referred to as the case aide, to free the social worker to cope with the more complex situations in the social assistance. Further, when we talk of education, I feel that this is not just provided in the school or the institutional setting. This can be provided on the job, whether we are talking of BA degrees or vocational school graduates. We should provide more home-job training programmes, where an employee or an employer enters into a contract for a specific length of time during which the Government pays part of the salary of the employee and at the end the employer provides full employment.
It is necessary to take action on both the job and the income maintenance area because you cannot separate the two. Therefore, along with more employment opportunities, training, counselling, etc., there must be provision for an adequate income for those who cannot work and for those awaiting employment. The department has a system of overages, which are grants over and above the basic social allowance rates to cover extraordinary expenses, such as high rent, clothing, repairs, replacements, etc. I feel that this system should be abolished and overages incorporated into one rate, dependent on the size of the family. This would be far more equitable and it would serve more than just the demanding client and it would be less costly from the administrative standpoint.
The rates for female head of families and male head of families, must remain the same to ensure that the incentive is there for families to stay together. It is dangerous to create a category of persons eligible for benefits because this creates
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an incentive for some persons to try to become a member of that category. Each Province in Canada should have the same social assistance rates. It has been said that many people move to British Columbia because of the higher social assistance rates and I find it quite difficult to determine whether this is fact or fiction, but the principle of equity is valid. The single person, in receipt of social assistance, accounts for over 51 per cent of the total load of the welfare. Some of these are transients and some are resident. I think the hostel system, while we have had problems with hostels, I think they should be reduced in size. Nevertheless, the hostel system is a valid system of handling a transient man. The only cash that should be provided is for the comforts' allowance and money to go for a confirmed job or to return home to a family. For the resident single person and, particularly, for those in the age group under 19, we must have more social work time freed to help parents assume the responsibility for finding a solution to. their child's difficulty.
if one accepts the axiom that it is necessary to spend money to save money, then, more funds will have to be allocated to help persons remain independent or achieve independence. This will and I realize it has placed a tremendous fiscal burden on the Provincial and local Governments. I think it is very important that the Federal Government assume more of this financial burden. Service to people is a vast and complex topic and it is my hope that the department will give some deliberation to my suggestions. Thank you.
DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Honourable Second Member for Vancouver South.
MRS. A. KRIPPS (Vancouver South): Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to take my place in this Budget Debate and to represent that great constituency of Vancouver South.
We, in British Columbia, are fortunate to have one of the best governments that any free people anywhere in the world have. The Government of British Columbia, under the very able and dynamic leadership of our Premier, is a government for all people, a sound government of genuine commitment, a forward-looking government with a heart as well as a head, a government that pays its way with careful budgeting and financing.
Mr. Speaker, I note in the Budget Speech that the emphasis is on the creation of additional jobs and the maintenance of the high standards in education, hospital and medical care, and social services established by the Social Credit Government. Mr. Speaker, one of the most crucial rights of all in our society is the right to a means of earning a decent livelihood, and I am so pleased that our Government is making provision for this right. Twenty-five thousand new jobs will be filled by October 1, with more job opportunities in the making.
Mr. Speaker, I was very pleased to note in the Budget an increase of $1,600,000, that is a 60 per cent increase over last year, towards senior citizens' housing grants. Mr. Speaker, this is an excellent programme, one of the most effective programmes of its kind in Canada and much appreciated by the people of this Province.
Operated by nonprofit organizations, such as churches and service clubs, for example, these homes serve as an inspiration for our elderly people to remain as a vital and necessary force within the mainstream of our society. The membership of the sponsoring organizations gives to these homes a real heart and soul. They create and maintain a real homelike atmosphere and everyone benefits from such worthwhile projects. Monies channeled into this field are monies well spent.
Mr. Speaker, I would also like to point out to the honourable Members of this House that, to date, the constituency of Vancouver South has the greatest number of senior citizens' homes of any other constituency in the Province and, Mr. Speaker, we are going to build more of these homes in the southeast section of the constituency known as Champlain Heights. Last year, we opened four new senior citizens' homes, namely, the Scottish Manor, the Ukrainian Manor, the German-Canadian Home, and the Kiwanis Manor. Mr. Speaker, our community-minded, public spirited citizens welcome this 60 per cent increase in the senior citizens' housing grants and we look forward to providing more of these homes for our elderly.
Mr. Speaker, I am opposed to the procedures used in hospitals regarding abortions. Although I realize that, from the medical point of view, the field of obstetrics and gynecology includes normal childbirth as well as abortions, and both types of patients are kept in the same ward and very often in the same room, 1, personally, am opposed to such a practice. I believe, Mr. Speaker, that abortion patients should be separated from those in maternity care, on the basis of human values, even though, gynecologically and obstetrically speaking, both fall within the same medical category. Let me tell you why. The attitudes of the life-giving mother, as compared to the abortion mother, are so different that they are not conducive to harmonious relations, particularly when placed in the same ward, and more so, in the same room. The life-giving mother comes to the hospital with an attitude of rejoicing, of expectation, of hope for a new life, while the abortion-mother comes into the hospital with a life-destroying attitude, an attitude of revolt and rebellion. The life-giving mother looks forward to rearing her child, providing a home, loving, and sharing herself with the newborn child. She even has a different attitude towards the hospital staff. She is anxious to be a "mother" in the true sense of the word. Mr. Speaker, there is no power greater than the potency of mother love.
On the other hand, the abortion-m others' attitude of revolt, of bitterness, and antagonism permeates the entire hospital ward making it rather difficult and, in particular, for the mother of a first child, to appreciate this resentful and rebellious attitude of the abortion-m other. It is for this reason, Mr. Speaker, that I would suggest that our hospitals separate abortion patients from those in maternity care in hospital wards.
Mr. Speaker, there has been much talk lately of the crying need for day care centres across the country and this topic is becoming, in more ways than one, a motherhood kind of issue. Mr. Speaker, I believe that day care is not a substitute for parents but, merely, a supplement for what parents do for children. Child care is a very real problem and we must be prepared to provide that necessary quality care for those children in need of such services.
Statistics show that 21 per cent of all Canadian mothers with children under 14 years of age work, and half of this 21 per cent has children of preschool age.
Mr. Speaker, I don't subscribe to the theory that Government should do everything for the people. I believe that the strongest force for good in the world is the free and responsible individual and, in our democratic, free enterprise society, our Government can stimulate, motivate, and initiate programmes, which can be operated by the community itself,
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as, for example, our very successful senior citizens' housing programme.
I think large business corporations and industries employing women should provide day care facilities within their premises. I also think that the community centres, which taxpayers have already built, should be available for day care services. The investment in these centres warrants all-year utilization of the building. All public housing projects should have day care facilities available within their community as, usually, these housing projects accommodate large numbers of children and the need for such a service is perhaps even greater than in other areas of the community.
In spite of the need for day cam services, Mr. Speaker, many people still cling to the idea that a working mother is an inferior mother, and that the father, who encourages or permits a mother to work, is an inferior human being. As responsible legislators, we cannot change social attitudes towards working mothers, nor can we legislate to keep the mothers at home, for such legislation would not be acceptable on the grounds that mothers, too, are human beings and should be able to choose, with responsibility, the road to greater happiness for themselves and their families.
Mr. Speaker, I don't think that it is a question of whether mothers should be working or not. The fact of the matter is, they are working and, Mr. Speaker, I am particularly concerned about the one-parent family and the provisions, made for the child of that parent. In the United States, for example, where there are 12.3 million children under 14 years of age. whose mothers work, large corporations are beginning to accept their share of what is commonly acknowledged to be a community responsibility.
Now that we have the franchise food outfits in Canada, I wonder whether franchise day care centres will become the order of the day? Such centres are already well established in the United States, where some firms, such as the company that owns the Minnie Pearl Chicken chain, operate a string of preschool centres. In Winnipeg, for example, a firm called Mini-Skool Ltd. opened late last year, the first of a planned series of preschool schools. This private enterprise is under the direction of former Manitoba Welfare Minister, John Christianson. The Winnipeg school, with accommodation for 225 children, is three times as large as the biggest day care centre in Vancouver.
A news item in the Financial Post of December 26 of last year, announced that the Mini-Skool Ltd. has already acquired property in three or four other cities and expects to establish itself next in Toronto and Vancouver. Mr. Speaker, I understand that Mr. Christianson has already made preliminary enquiries in Vancouver and I am concerned about the size of his operation and the kind of quality care children would be receiving in such a large setting.
I also understand, Mr. Speaker, that United States franchise entrepreneurs have been viewing British Columbia as fertile ground for expanding their commercial day care enterprises. The immense need for additional day and night care facilities for children, some of whom have parents on shift work, is playing into the hands of shrewd entrepreneurs. It is for this reason that I am particularly concerned that we have adequate safeguards for our children.
In British Columbia, day care facilities draw their legislative basis from the Provincial Statutes entitled An Act to Provide for the Regulation and Licensing of Community Day Care Facilities, April 2, 1969. Regulations, under the Act, are still in the draft stage, and I would hope, Mr. Speaker, that -this Session will see legislation extended, through regulations, to ensure that high standards for our children are maintained and adequate safeguards are provided to prevent the exploitation of children. Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, such regulations are urgently needed to ensure that sanctions are invoked by law against any operation that fails to meet certain basic standards relating to staffing, equipment, number of children permitted in any one centre, quality of programme and so forth.
Private enterprise may well be on the verge of meeting large-scale day care requirements but it is my hope that the best interest of the children are upheld in the face of high-powered, profit-making endeavours. I would therefore suggest, Mr. Speaker, that in this Session, legislation be enacted to safeguard the interests of our children.
In another area of child care, Mr. Speaker, British Columbia appears to be the leading Province in Canada in development and implementation of the family day care concept. Other Provinces recognize the great strides we have made in this field and are following our example. Since day care centres do not admit children under three years of age, family day care is the best plan for infants and toddlers. In this way, a parent may be freed for employment, vocational training or other pursuits that would strengthen him or her as a person and enhance family functioning, generally. In such a setting, the family-home mother gives an infant the continuous mothering by one familiar person, proven essential for healthy child development. These family-homes are also of great help to unwed mothers, who decide to keep the child. Oftentimes, the family-home mother will teach the young girls all the things they need to know about babies and mothering. Mr. Speaker, the Provincial Government pays all or part of the day care fee for parents in financial difficulties.
Mr. Speaker, I do not wish to be a prophet of gloom, but I don't believe in the Benson Boom, that is, the promised one, for 1971. If we take a look at what happened during the last so-called mild recession of 1958, we find that the unemployment rate in Canada had increased from a level of 4.6 per cent to 7 per cent, and in British Columbia, for that same period, from 5 per cent to 8.6 per cent. This unemployment rate remained at an approximate average level of 7 per cent for four consecutive years, 8 per cent for B.C.
However, in the year 1971, we find that we are faced with not only a higher rate of unemployment, currently reported at 91/2 per cent but also the gloomy shadow of the White Paper on taxation, which, incidentally, has already turned brown from Benson's pipe smoke, as well as the battle of inflation still hanging over our heads. Although our governments have started a number of worthy projects, it is quite obvious that governments alone cannot absorb all of the unemployed but must rely on the private sector to absorb the great majority of people now out of employment.
What is needed then, is a favourable climate of confidence within the business community and this confidence will not come about until the Federal Government discloses its final intentions on the Taxation Paper.
What private enterpriser would even consider plans for expansion, when there are so many uncertainties left unanswered? Uncertainties, such as: how does the Federal Government propose to handle foreign investment? What restrictions may be imposed on foreign ownership? What is going to be done about the high interest rates, tight money and the continuing escalation of wage rates and ' the rising costs of material, supplies and services? These and many more questions all bear a direct influence on the private sector's future plans for investment, expansion and develop
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Bearing all this in mind, Mr. Speaker, and, in spite of all the recent rumblings of priming and pumping the economy, I doubt whether the private sector will, really, respond with great enthusiasm to the Benson bugle. I'm inclined to believe that we may find the impending Benson boom promised for 1971, ending up as a sonic Benson bust.
Mr. Speaker, I do not propose to discuss the unemployment situation at this time, as I have already expressed my deep concern for immediate action on this very important issue, during the Throne Speech Debate. However, I do wish to direct my remarks, at this time, to another area of grave concern to me, an area that has a direct relationship to unemployment and inflation and that is the area of strikes and lockouts - a very important aspect of our labour management relations.
Mr. Speaker, during the year 1966, British Columbia lost 272,922 man-days due to strikes and lockouts. By 1970, according to the latest estimate received from the British Columbia Department of Labour, we managed to pile up our statistics to a staggering number of 1,684,463 man-days lost due to strikes and lockouts. That is six times more than the number of man-days lost in 1966. Mr. Speaker, there is every indication that the trend is continuing to increase and we may expect to pass the two million mark of man-days lost due to strikes and lockouts, this year. What a staggering loss of human resources! The cost to workers, industry, government, and the public is phenomenal.
Mr. Speaker, the patience of the public is wearing thin. Using the colloquial expressions, if I may, the public is fed up to its teeth. It is cheesed off. It is sick and tired of being pushed around and used as whipping boys, or as scapegoats, while labour and management work out their differences. The innocent public, caught in the middle, has no say, whatsoever, in labour-management disputes and, Mr. Speaker, it is time the public was heard. It is time the interests of the public were observed and considered.
Now, before I go any further, Mr. Speaker, I want to clearly state my position with regard to strikes and lockouts. I believe that labour must, at all times, maintain its hard-earned weapon, the strike, in order to get a better deal from management. At the same time, Mr. Speaker, I also believe that management must make a reasonable profit in order to be able to expand, develop and create more job opportunities and pay workers good wages. And here, Mr. Speaker, I wish to remind the honourable Members of this Assembly, that we, in British Columbia, enjoy the highest wages, the best working conditions, the shortest hours, the best fringe benefits and, in spite of the proposed tax increases, the lowest tax rates of any Province in Canada. Mr. Speaker, we will continue to maintain that high standard of living in the future by constantly adapting to the ever changing needs of our society. Mr. Speaker, I believe that strikes and lockouts are the result of the basic, selfish attitudes of both labour and management towards each other. Management wants all the profits it can get and workers, in many cases, want the highest wages for the least amount of work. I don't blame either party. Everyone is grabbing for his piece of pie. But have they stopped to ask who is providing the pie? All of us are. Every citizen must pay a high price to satisfy this "getting" attitude. Mr. Speaker, attitudes, as such, cannot be legislated. They must be changed voluntarily from within the hearts of both employee and employer. Both labour and management must be willing to co-operate in an atmosphere of harmony, arising out of mutual respect and understanding which they, themselves, must create within the framework of our democratic society. Naturally, harmonious relationships will eventually produce a healthier economy from which everyone will benefit.
Personally, I believe labour and management should consider themselves as partners, working together in a spirit of mutual respect, tolerance, trust and confidence, each one acting in a reasonable and responsible manner for the betterment of themselves and the good and welfare of the community.
After all, Mr. Speaker, the strongest force for good in the world is the free and responsible individual, personal liberty, guaranteed by responsibility on the part of those who enjoy it.
I believe, Mr. Speaker, that the area of strikes and lockouts has reached paralyzing proportions, as witnessed by last year's statistics. It is an area that could stand some progressive change for the good and welfare of all - labour, management and, especially, the public. If we are to maintain this high standard of living in British Columbia, I do not think we should continue, nor can we afford to, constantly wage war against ourselves by pursuing a programme of regular strikes and lockouts.
No man is an island unto himself and today this is particularly true. Our society is too interdependent upon each other to continue in this archaic manner. Surely there must be a new approach, a new concept, which labour and management can adopt in order to settle their disputes, a concept that would permit both parties to settle their disputes amongst themselves, without inflicting injury on the innocent public. Surely labour and management are mature and responsible enough to realize that the public is fed up with their shenanigans. Surely we can bring in legislation that would ensure a proper balance of rights and responsibilities of employers on the one hand, and of employees on the other, with due regard, at all times, for the public interest.
It is to this particular area, Mr. Speaker, that I now wish to direct my remarks, by suggesting that our Government bring in legislation that would enable labour or management to have at its disposal another available weapon as an alternative to the outdated traditional strike or lockout procedure now in use. In a traditional strike or lockout, each party inflicts an economic injury upon the other and, both, upon the public. Frequently the only question is, who can endure the suffering the longest. My proposal is a 40-day, strike-and-work plan. The theory of my concept is not only to maintain and preserve the established relative balance of economic bargaining power for both labour and management, but also to reduce the severity of inflicting injury on both sides, as well as to protect the interests of the public. My proposal is a three-in-one deal - strike -work-bargain. A deal from which everyone gains and no one loses.
The essentials of my proposed 40-day, strike-and-work plan would be as follows: When a dispute arises between management and labour and they fail to reach an agreement through the usual procedures and the situation has reached the point where, under the present law, the employees are privileged to strike, or management may decide on a lockout, either labour or management could make application to the Department of Labour for the issuance of a 40-day, strike-and-work order. Acting on this application, the Department, after determining it was a bona fide dispute, would issue an order for work to continue, with management and labour subject to agreed penalties, until a settlement of the dispute was effected.
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Under this proposed 40-day, strike-and-work plan, labour would be required to: (1) continue working for 40 days; (2) forfeit 25 per cent of gross wages, with this amount to be deposited for safekeeping for 40 days in a trust fund designated by the Department of Labour; (3) receive no strike benefits during the 40-day period of the strike-and work order; (4) continue negotiations while working; and (5) there would be no slowdown or work stoppage during the 40-day period.
By the same token, the company involved in a dispute would be required to: (1) continue operation of the plant for 40 days while carrying on negotiations with labour; (2) forfeit 25 per cent of all wages and salaries of management, from the president on down, such monies to be deposited for safekeeping for 40 days in a trust fund designated by the Department of Labour; (3) the company would forfeit net profit and deposit the amount weekly into a trust fund designated by the Department of Labour, which would have the power to examine the company's records in order to establish the net profit at the time of the dispute. (4) the company would pay no dividends and add nothing to its surplus during the period of the controversy; and (5) the Company may not reduce its labour force during the 40-day strike-and-work order.
Any violation of the 40-day strike-and-work Agreement, by either party, would constitute an unfair labour-management practice.
The benefits of 40-day strike-and-work plan would be that if settlement were reached within 40 days, then all monies deposited in the trust fund would be returned to its rightful owners.
There is a lot of merit in this plan. The reward for settlement is the return of all monies forfeited. This feature serves as a psychological motivator, an incentive to reach agreement before the end of the fortieth day. If, however, no settlement has been reached before the expiration of the fortieth day, then all the monies deposited in the trust fund would be forfeited and turned over to a neutral party, such as the Government of Canada, which would then use it for services to people.
It is the intent that the very threat of forfeiture shall cause both parties to exert every effort towards a settlement before the loss actually occurs. If an agreement is not reached by the end of the first 40-day plan, the 40-day plan could be renewed and repeated for another 40 days, until settlement is reached, or the parties involved could proceed with the traditional strike or lockout, depending on their previously agreed collective bargaining procedures.
The advantages of, my proposed 40-day plan to labour are: (1) instead of receiving no income, as during a regular strike, or of being required to fall back on a small strike-benefit payment from the union, all employees will receive 75 per cent of their regular pay; (2) the demoralization which comes from being idle, as required by the regular strike, is not present; (3) the bad feelings and dangers of the picket line are eliminated; (4) the risk of the company beating the strike by employing strikebreakers is avoided; (5) the bargaining power of the union, relative to that of the company, is as strong as it is in a regular strike because, unless the company comes to terms, not only are its net profits lost, but 25 per cent of the salaries of all persons representing the company is forfeited; (6) the failure of a company to pay its regular dividends will immediately generate strong pressure among all stockholders for an early strike settlement, especially among those who are heavy investors; and (7) the traditional strike weapon is not lost, since this new 40-day strike-and-work plan is available only if previously agreed to.
The advantages of the 40-day-plan to the company are: (1) the bad feeling of employees and damage to property, which sometimes results from a picket line, are eliminated; (2) all expenses, incidental to a shutdown, are avoided; (3) the disruption, which comes to the operation of the business, to its market position and to the satisfying of customers, is prevented; (4) the temptation to resort to unpopular methods for breaking the traditional strike is not present; (5) the bargaining power of the company is maintained since the employees will lose 25 per cent of their wages unless agreement is reached; and (6) the forfeiture of 25 per cent of salaries and all net profits, in the event of failure to agree, is not too severe. It is a smaller loss than would result from closing the shop because of a regular strike.
Mr. Speaker, the public would be spared many inconveniences because there would be no curtailment in the production of goods. Work would continue as usual. The employees of other such plants would not be forced to quit work. There would be an uninterrupted flow of goods to the public and full employment of the company would be maintained.
Such a proposed 40-day strike-and-work plan would constitute an economic saving over the present traditional strike or lockout to labour, to management, to stockholders, to other dependent companies and to the public, without calling upon a sacrifice by either management or labour of their relative economic bargaining power.
And so, Mr. Speaker, by implementing legislation that would sanction this new concept of settling labour-management disputes, I believe that the Government of British Columbia would provide a mechanism for the 40-day strike-and-work plan to be used as an alternative method of inflicting injury during a labour-management controversy. Such proposed legislation could become the breakthrough of the century towards more effective and responsible labour-management relations. All we need is the willingness to give it a try.
With these thoughts in mind, Mr. Speaker, let us draw nourishment and inspiration from our past and go forth into the future with deep faith, courage and determination to build a truly united Canadian Nation and an even greater and more prosperous British Columbia. Thank you.
On the motion of the Honourable R.G. Williston, the debate was adjourned to the next sitting of the House.
The House proceeded to the Order "Motions and Adjourned Debates on, Motions."
The Honourable D.R.J. Campbell moved, seconded by the Honourable D.L. Brothers that this House authorize the Select Standing Committee on Municipal Matters to examine the criteria and conditions which should be met either to incorporate by Statute an area as a municipality or to include an area in an existing municipality, and to report their findings and recommendations to the House.
MR. SPEAKER: The Honourable the Leader of the Opposition.
MR. D. BARRETT (Coquitlam): Mr. Speaker, since I am
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a member of the committee I will not go into any details of the motion, except to say that I welcome the motion. But I want to spend just a couple of moments, not in my role as Leader of the Opposition, but as the M.L.A. from Coquitlam.
The Minister knows that we have a very serious problem, related to this motion, in my constituency. I had a pledge from the Minister last year, that, under this motion, the problem that I have in my constituency would be solved. I have a question to ask the Minister ...
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please (interruption).
MR. BARRETT: The motion says that the House, ". . authorize the Select Standing Committee on Municipal Matters to examine the criteria and conditions which should be met either to incorporate by Statute an area as a municipality or to include an area in an existing municipality and to report its findings and recommendations to the House." The Minister has taken a position on this matter, publicly, before this motion appeared. What I'm trying to do is to define ... let's clarify it. I'm sorry to take up so much time in the House but it's more than a matter between myself and the Minister. I'll just ask you the one question. Will the committee's recommendation be acted upon this Session? Will there be enough time in your opinion ... (interruption).
You see, Mr. Speaker, that's my problem. It certainly is my problem because we waited for some action to take place and then we get the action that is deliberately designed to stall the action from taking place. I hope that the Minister, in closing the debate, will state exactly what municipality he's got in mind and what particular problem he's got on his mind that he needs the committee to solve. He can tell this House exactly the problem.
HON. D.RJ. CAMPBELL (Comox): Mr. Speaker, this motion has nothing whatsoever to do with amalgamation.
MR. BARRETT: Look, I am not talking about amalgamation. I'm talking about this motion. You are out of order. You're out of order even standing up. It says, " . . . what criteria and conditions should be met either to incorporate by Statute an area as a municipality or to include an area in an existing municipality." Now, look, not only did you interrupt me, and you were out of order when you interrupted me, but your answer was out of order because you are not even reading your own motion.
Mr. Speaker, my concern is that I do not want to see support of this motion interpreted any way that we're going to stall on some action resolving some of the basic problems of incorporating these areas into municipalities. I hope, when the Minister closes the debate, he will give us that assurance.
MR. SPEAKER: The Honourable the First Member for Vancouver-Point Grey.
MR. P.L. McGEER (Vancouver-Point Grey): Mr. Speaker, I don't want the Minister to pass away from shock but I would like to congratulate him on bringing this motion before the House and on referring this matter to the House Committee on Municipal Affairs. Just as a general observation, Mr. Speaker, we very much welcome any matters that can be referred to committees of the House, not just because it puts these committees to work and gets the Members in a position where they can make positive contributions to the legislation of this Province, but because it gives citizens'
groups, individuals, responsible people, who cannot take their place on the floor and debate the issues, it gives them an opportunity to appear before the M.L.A.s and to have their say. It is this kind of thing that I think this Legislature needs to emphasize. I congratulate the Minister and it is my hope that we will see more of this sort of thing in the future.
MR. SPEAKER: The Honourable Member for Burnaby-Willingdon.
MR. J.G. LORIMER (Burnaby-Willingdon): Mr. Speaker, likewise I like to see that the Municipal Affairs Committee is going to be called into action. I hope that the committee will be able to work effectively and bring in some recommendations on the questions referred to it. I hope, in due course, that other matters involving municipal problems will be referred to the committee for further study at that time.
MR. SPEAKER: The Honourable Member for Cowichan-Malahat.
MR. R.M. STRACHAN (Cowichan-Malahat): The Member referred to the rotten system - this business of introducing a motion of this kind into the House. I don't think it's a rotten system, introducing a motion of this kind. The Member from Vancouver Centre said it was, but that's his opinion. I think it's all right to bring in a motion of this kind; however, if you want to think this is a rotten system, that's your opinion and you are entitled to it (interruption). That's all right. I think our parliamentary system, although it is capable of improvement nevertheless does, on occasion, provide avenues and procedures for achieving the will of the people. In this past 12 months, not far from where I make my home, there was a vote taken of the people there with regard to amalgamation. The Member from Nanaimo is quite familiar with the situation that I am referring to. It was a disappointment to many people that that particular vote didn't pass in the way it was anticipated.
We know that in the existing legislation, there are procedures that can be used but the Minister is reluctant to use them and the Member of Nanaimo, as mayor of that community, said, well, he guessed that was the end of it. There was no way in which he wanted to be a part of forcing people into a municipality if they didn't wish to do so. I don't disagree with that. But as well as introducing this motion, there is a further procedure that is very often used in this Legislative Assembly. The Minister himself has spoken, up and down this Province, not once but a number of times on the situation regarding municipalities and the territory adjoining municipalities and the advantages that could accrue from rationalization of municipal boundaries.
Mr. Speaker, either that Minister has been sitting in his seat, sitting in his office, not giving any thought of any kind to what should be done, or he's reluctant to take the other procedure. The other procedure, that has been used by Ministers in the past, is that, when they have opinions, when they have ideas, when, through their staff, they come to a conclusion as to what is required in this Province, they prepare draft legislation and the draft legislation based on their thinking and attitudes is introduced into the House and, then that draft legislation is referred to the committee, so that they then have some idea from the specialists in the field as to what their thinking is. Now, this way merely referring a blanket motion to a committee, means the committee can go round in circles, as it very often does, because of the
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multiplicity of opinions that are presented to them, with the result that they are never really speaking directly to a definite proposal before them.
When the Minister closes, I would invite him to tell us why he didn't take this other route. Has he no ideas on it after all these years as Minister of Municipal Affairs? Certainly he has had no compunction about expressing opinions all over the Province and, if these are his opinions, why aren't they introduced in at least draft legislative form so that the committee has a proposed piece of legislation before it? Those who appear before the committee could then comment on these specific proposals. They would then know the impact these specific proposals would have and the attitudes and the opinions of the people with regard to these specific proposals before the committee. I think this would have been a better way of handling this very controversial subject. I know it is controversial and touchy but one that the Minister's asking the committee to face up to. I'm not on the committee but I hope the committee, under the limited opportunity they have under this resolution, will do the best possible job in the time remaining to them.
MR. SPEAKER: The Honourable Member for Burnaby-Edmonds.
MR. G.H. DOWDING (Burnaby-Edmonds): Mr. Speaker, I regret that the motion does not seem to be wide enough to include in it the question that has arisen and mentioned in this House and in the press of the changing of a municipal area to a city status. That is a vital matter as well. Unfortunately, I cannot, at this stage, make an amendment to the directions to the committee but, it seems to me, the Minister might well have considered what he is proposing in regard to an area as large and as important as the municipality of Burnaby. There, of course, the municipality has had some problems with the department and the Minister in regards to its municipal boundaries and some dispute as to those boundaries.
I would welcome the appointment of a committee, but I do feel that, if you are going to the trouble of calling a committee together to talk on this subject of authorization of status and boundaries and the criteria that should apply, then surely it would be no great trouble for the Minister to agree to extend that to the alteration of municipalities to cities and other alterations of status.
MR. SPEAKER: The Honourable the Second Member for Vancouver East.
MR. R.A. WILLIAMS (Vancouver East): Mr. Speaker, it is not just this question. I know that when the Minister was quizzed he said he referred to the Lions Bay Area and that it might well have been a mistake and the area should have been, possibly incorporated into the district of West Vancouver. That may be, in view of what he has said his policies have been in the past. But it does raise the question of the need for investigation of enclaves, such as Fraser Mills which, for decades and decades, have been arbitrary and obviously part of an adjacent municipality. They have avoided being a part and sharing the costs of the adjacent municipalities (interruption) No, I know. But I think, Mr. Speaker, there is a need, too, to consider the whole question of a boundaries commission. With all respect for the Municipal Affairs Committee and I have sat on it in the past, it faces the problems of other committees of this House and that is the pressure of time. It's clear that the committee really doesn't have the time to go into these matters thoroughly. Setting the criteria is not an easy job. Other Provinces have clearly found that it isn't an easy job and that's why they have set up, in effect, judicial commissions which deal with the question of municipal boundaries and extensions. It's a full-time, judicial job.
I suggest that, with all respect for the Standing Committee, that it won't be able to do the kind of job that the judicial commissions in Ontario and Alberta have, in fact, carried out in those Provinces and, in Manitoba, where they do have a similar commission which also deals with electoral boundaries and fair voting patterns and one-man-one-vote systems. So, with all due respect to the committee, it's clear that the job, in fact, will not be done that needs to be done -that of a judicial kind of enquiry with respect to every municipal area.
Motion agreed to.
The House adjourned at 5:42 p.m.
The House met at 8:00 p.m.
The Honourable L.R. Peterson presented to Mr. Speaker a Message from His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor. It was ordered that the Message, and the Bill accompanying the same (Bill No. 37) intituled Air Space Titles Act, be referred to a Committee of the Whole House. The Bill was introduced, read a first time and Ordered to be placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading at the next sitting after today.
MR. SPEAKER: The Honourable the Minister of Lands, Forests, and Water Resources.
HON. R.G. WILLISTON (Fort George): Mr. Speaker, it seems rather a coincidence tonight as I speak to this gathering that the Attorney-General should first introduce this Bill, The Air Space Titles Act. I can't speak to it but I want to tell you that some of my staff have been working on the Air Space Titles Act and the Survey or-General was trying to .show me how the surveyors surveyed a space lot in an Air Space Titles Act to get it into the Land Registry Office. I tell you I still don't understand it, but I'm glad that you have introduced it tonight (interruption).
I'm not worried either about the Attorney-General or anybody else, but I'm worried about the fellow who bought a space lot in the air and wonders what he's got. I think he's the only one that needs to worry.
Mr. Speaker, you will be happy to know that, as I start tonight, even though there are only myself and the Member from Vancouver-Burrard speaking to you, and this would be a great temptation on behalf of both of us to occupy the House for quite some time, I have a commitment in Vancouver, which is going to end this fairly soon, so the honourable Members may have some consolation from that fact.
First of all, before getting into the debate this evening, I can't but help say one or two things about what went on in the House this afternoon and what has been appearing in the
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press. Regardless of which way you look at it, the situation is pretty irresponsible. Some years ago, this Legislature passed a document and it was entitled The Public Bodies Financial Information Act. This puts out in a public document that anyone in the Province of British Columbia who desires it and pays a nominal fee - if they don't wish to go to a library and they wish to have it - that all public bodies, once a year, show all the salaries paid to all employees, all the expenses paid to all the employees and, insofar as B.C. Hydro is concerned, every bill that's paid by B.C. Hydro of $500 or more. The others are basically linked. It's a very simple documentation to go through, Mr. Speaker, everything is in alphabetical order. If someone has a wonder about specific documentations and expenditures in Hydro and brings them up, all they have to do is thumb through in alphabetical order, pick up the account in which they happen to be interested, place their request for information on that account on the Order Paper and that information is available to them. This is a well-known fact by all Members of the Legislature and, therefore, Mr. Speaker, I need say no more other than the fact that if people are so lazy that they won't even do this before making an accusation and they take people's names and make accusations such as this, or insinuations, or inflections, or whatever you will ... I'll go further, Mr. Member, because you really got suckered into this one and the information could have been there and you could have had the basic information.
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.
MR. WILLISTON: And you, Mr. Member, and I didn't know this until I spoke to some lawyers, insofar as a corporation entity is concerned, I find from lawyers - and I didn't know this before - that the right of a shareholder, regardless of his position in a company, the rights of a shareholder aren't such that that shareholder has the right to go through the documentation and see all of the billing. That's exactly the same as in this Crown corporation because the people who pay into the Crown corporation are the people who receive service from that Crown corporation. They are not each and every single individual in the Province in British Columbia. The people who pay the accounts in the corporation are the people who are billed there and, we, basically all British Columbians, then, are shareholders in the organization. That organization has to carry out its corporate affairs just the same as any other organization has to carry out its corporate affairs.
I'm not going to get into the wrangle, Mr. Speaker, but I'll say this. It's got to a sorry stage, in the Province of British Columbia, when we have one of our main metropolitan newspapers that can get an inflectionary interpretation from anyone that can be led to criticism of this Government, even by inflection or anything else, and the editorial policy and the whole setting of standards in that press are such that it will be used as black as it can be insofar as the Government is concerned. I've had this fun myself, and as the Premier said, when accusations come across the Vancouver Sun just looked under every piece of paper, because I am sure that, in some of my dealings in resources on Cypress Bowl, they were sure they were going to pick up a piece of paper somewhere which would indicate that Williston had done this or that insofar as his own private gain happened to be. They skated around, and if anyone could infer this or imply this that became a headline item, insofar as I was concerned. When it came back, Mr. Speaker, all I can say, as the Premier has said, "I just laughed." Anyone who is in public life and stays in public life as long as some of us have, and have been in public life before, if we are in it for something that you can cover in or cover out, and you are in it for that particular type of gain, then you wouldn't last in here very long. Your interest wouldn't stay here very long and you wouldn't be interested in what you were doing. To throw into disrepute, the one person who likely has given more to this Province than anyone else in the way of leadership is absolutely reprehensible.
Mr. Speaker, I don't wish to say anything else. As I said, I'll make my deadline. Every Member knows the Orders of the Day indicate very clearly that this happens to be the Budget Debate and I can only say that the attitude of the Opposition debaters would appear to be that the financial provisions cannot be successfully challenged. Therefore, they should be left alone so that people really will not be fully aware of the emphasis of expenditure that is being proposed by this Social Credit Government. I am proud of the Budget provisions, Mr. Speaker, and I am even more proud of the direction of change which has taken place in the pattern of expenditure, during the last decade.
I went back to the Budget Speech of 1960 to establish a basis for comparison with the one on which we are soon to vote. I do not think there is any better indication of the change in attitudes and priorities by Government than there is in this allocation of expenditure compared as the Province expanded into the 1960's and now as it advances full force into the 1970's.
In the period under review, as was pointed out by the Second Member from Vancouver-Point Grey, in his talk to you yesterday, the revenues have advanced about four times. Two of the more spectacular and costly new expenditures that we have now were not even mentioned in the 1960 Budget. I refer to the allocation for the medical plan, and for pollution control, which is now part of the expanded responsibilities of the Water Resources Service. The cost of the hospital insurance programmes in that decade has advanced six times and it has moved to second place behind education as being the most demanding of revenue of this Province.
It may seem strange, Mr. Speaker, but labour costs have advanced about six times. The allocation to education has increased more than five times until now it almost doubles the next highest budgeted item. A decade ago, it stood second to highways. Five departments, Mr. Speaker, kept their expenditures in ratio with the increase in revenues, that is, they increased spending estimates approximately four times. These were Public Health, Rehabilitation and Social Improvement, Superannuation, of all people, Recreation and Conservation, including travel, and Industrial Development. Another six departments have not quite maintained this ratio of expenditure as compared to 1960, and this is where I'm indicating our force of expenditures in the Province is going. These include the Attorney-General, Public Works, Mental Health, Forests, Agriculture and the Civil Service. Some of the rest cannot be directly compared because of the change in function. The most dramatic, of course, is the Department of Municipal Affairs which has assumed responsibility for paying the greatly increased home-owner grant, which went up three and one half times to the individual and four and one half times, insofar as the demand on the Treasury was concerned. In meeting the direct needs of people, Mr. Speaker, all the other departments held to an expansion of less than two times for this last decade.
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I am confident that no one who examines the Budget, from an unbiased point of view, can help but be favourably impressed by the way in which human needs are given a first priority by this Government, not only in the total expenditures but in the increase in expenditures, both for the decade and for the year in particular. In 1971, the first four increases in expenditure were for education, rehabilitation and social improvement, hospital insurance service and medical plan costs. If there have been many objections to these proposals, I have not heard them. Each one of these is bound to increase in the future. To meet such costs, the modest increases in taxation will ensure that such services can and will be maintained and increased as need directs.
I repeat, Mr. Speaker, I am proud of this Budget which is now being debated. I am confident that it will not only meet the basic needs of our people but will allow for planned expansion of services in new areas so that opportunities for permanent employment may be encouraged and increased.
Now, Mr. Speaker, I wasn't going to mention the Budget analysis by the Second Member from Vancouver-Point Grey because I didn't think anyone else was taking it very seriously. But, tonight, at supper I happened to pick up the Victoria Times. I'm sure the reporter got this all wrong likely because he got it the same way I did. When I read it and it was exactly the same, I thought, maybe, there were some other people that got the same inferences from what the honourable Member said to us yesterday. Remember, he went back to 1952? The things that worry me are these people that want to see the books. They don't realize that there is a balance sheet. I don't know very much about books and I'm the last one to get into this but, at least I know the thing somehow has to be a balancing situation. At least you have to compare apples with apples, or oranges with oranges. He went at it and it got produced in print, just the way he happened to say it yesterday. Remember, he started and he said, "In 1952, we had a per capita debt of $232 per person," and then he went on to show how that per capita debt had gone up. But, you know, he took the per capita debt at $232 and he just took the straight per capita debt of the Government at that day. He didn't take the per capita debt, including the Crown corporations. He left it out altogether, he left it out of the PGE, he left it out of the Power Commission, he just took it right off the books of this Government. That's where he started and then he went on and he said, "In four years this guaranteed debt is up about $500 million. We now have $2,431,000,000" and he says so much is the Hydro, and so much is the PGE. Then he said that the Provincial debt has increased nine and a half times since the Socreds won power. He said the Provincial fixed assets have increased only six and one half times. Then I went back and said, "Now is he comparing apples with apples, or oranges with oranges?" The funny part of it is, in 1952 he took the Government's fixed debt that we had in those days which is reduced to nothing. Then, when he gets up to 1970, he said it had been increased this many times. He just took the assets of Government, he took the debts of Hydro and the PGE, he didn't add the assets of Hydro and the PGE and he came up with ... (laughter). Mr. Speaker, I wouldn't worry. I'm not much of a bookkeeper, either, but at least anybody can see that in a few minutes. Then he went on, and this one really got me because I happen to be in Hydro fairly deeply and he said that, last year, if they had had a net profit of $10 million, and they wouldn't, it would take them 176 years to pay the debt. Well, Mr. Speaker, every bond issue that comes out in Hydro, whether it's 20'years or 25 years, the funding of that debt is a part of your operational cost as-you-go, and you do not pay your operational debt charges from the profit of the corporation. That appears on your balance sheet and you move on from there. So this kind of a bookkeeping business we had from the Liberals ... if that's why they want to see the books, Mr. Speaker, I want to tell you we will be really confused.
The Minister of Education told me that ... (interruption).
If we got all those books out, Mr. Speaker, we'd have the PGE books, mixed up with the Hydro books, mixed up with the Government books. I want to tell you that we'd never get out of here, because he's ... (interruption). I'll admit that I'm not very good at the books and I don't want to discourage lawyers from changing occupations but, for goodness sake, don't get into the bookkeeping business in the future.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Send them over. Send them over.
MR. WILLISTON: Mr. Speaker, I've got to go to Vancouver while these fellows are getting these things sent over.
There are one or two general items, Mr. Speaker, I want to talk about. One is flood control information because, at this time of year, we receive regulatory reports concerning the flood control situation. Regulated water use is becoming more important with the passage of time in this Province. Records are gradually being established in all parts of the Province, to enable those persons charged with the operation of control reservoirs to be able to plan storage with some precision. Proper flood control preparation also requires such information. Six issues of the Snow Surpey Bulletin are issued, each year, between the first of February and the first of June. Approximately thirty agencies in this Province and various departments combine to collect the basic data for the public use.
The first report issued for this year is of special interest. For the most part, snowpacks throughout the whole Province are slightly above average and, if conditions remain normal, the run-off will also be slightly above average this year. However, Arctic air blanketed much of the northern part of the Province right through January. As a consequence, the precipitation in this area has been well below normal and marks the third consecutive year that this condition has existed. Records have been kept for only a comparatively few years. In 1970, the recorded flows in the Peace River were the lowest they have been since 1953, and the second lowest figures were recorded in 1969. This year, the snowpack on February I was roughly the same as it has been in the two preceding years and, at this time, it would appear that there will be another low flow year in the Peace watershed in 1971. This is to be regretted for two reasons: One, it was hoped that the reservoir behind the W.A.C. Bennett Dam would fill this year. Although not a serious matter, it would appear that this condition will not be achieved unless there is a very heavy increase in precipitation for the balance of the winter and spring. Secondly, the Athabasca Delta has suffered from the low flows from the Peace, as well as from other rivers in the immediate vicinity which flow into the lake. This condition may not improve materially during the present year.
If honourable Members note, they will see that this matter is presently being debated in the Alberta Legislature
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at the present time and, if they follow the debate there, they will find the recorded evidence of this cyclical situation, which has existed on the Athabasca and of which we have evidence for many, many years.
In the main entrance hall outside the Chamber, Mr. Speaker, is a large photo mosaic of the Peace River Reservoir and this was taken last August, at the same time as the crew from the CBC spent four days preparing a picture story, which had, as one of its objectives, the pictorial portrayal to prove that no reservoir rehabilitation work was either planned or in progress.
The clean-up, Mr. Speaker, is proceeding so successfully that it is now estimated that work will be completed within three years of full pool being reached. The original planning did not anticipate that this would be finished for at least 10 years. Already, that will be three years ... we were anticipating that three years past this coming year we would be finished. I would think we will still meet that, although the reservoir would not likely be filled in this year. Already 140,180,000 cubic ft., and if you want to get that in board feet, multiply it by six and you will find it comes out to almost one billion board feet of timber, have been scaled for use and there is still an estimated 97 million cubic ft. in the reservoir to come out. This year it has been decided to chip the remaining buck-skinned debris, that is the logs that have stayed in. If you look at the pictures in the foyer, you will see where this smaller material has been collecting in bays and, as it turns, it buck-skins the logs until they have been freed of bark. So, it has been decided, this year, to chip the remaining debris for use rather than collect and bum such material as a total loss.
It is interesting to look back at the original estimate of salvage timber from the Peace because, before we started, we figured we'd get 174 million cubic ft. and, at the moment, it looks like we're going to get about 240 million cubic ft. out of that reservoir area. I commend those of you who have not taken a look at the reservoir ... it shows the ultimate flood line that's in there and gives you some kind of indication of the activity which is going on in what will be the largest storage reservoir behind a power dam with water in the world (interruption). I just reported that it was light, very light.
Mr. Speaker, before going on, I want to give an example in co-operation, which I think is worthy of note in this Legislature.
In 1968, the Fraser River Flood Control Agreement was signed. One of the prime requirements for agreement with the Federal Government was that the Province would undertake other flood control projects that were then under study on a joint basis. The most advanced and the most expensive was concerned with flood control at Squamish. The Province entered into agreement with the municipality to carry out the works under the supervision of the Water Rights engineers.
The reason for this procedure was that this small municipal area had a very limited tax base and found a direct taxation levy to cover the local share of the expenditure impossible to meet. On negotiation, annually, they agreed to have an engineering estimate prepared. They also agreed to meet their own cost share through the administration and actual physical placement of the control works to direct engineering specifications. Such engineering service was provided as I have said by the Water Rights Division. An overall preliminary estimate of the cost of the works required was set at $2 million by the Federal-Provincial engineers. Three years of work are now almost complete and the project has been extended, even beyond the original plan, because of a desire to protect potential wharf developments which are now occurring at Squamish.
In the first year, the programme cost $238,794 and they did two miles of bank protection. In the second year, the cost of the work was $192,200. This included two thirds of a mile of bank protection plus dyking.
This is the last year of the present project and, as indicated earlier, the bank protection programme was extended to include a part of the developing harbour. If this latter programme accelerates, and it appears that it will because of the action now taking place, a further project, to cost about $700,000, will have to be considered to ensure a safe and sufficiently large harbour facility. However, the cost for bank protection, dyking and channel-filling for this year has been estimated to be $200,000 and it's almost complete. The cost for the three year expanded programme has been approximately $530,994, against the $2 million estimate.
Some interesting statistics were developed this year. The cost for moving and placing gravel was 52.9 cents a cubic yd. The cost for rock averaged $2.09 a cubic yd. Those Members of the Legislature, who are knowledgeable in these matters, realize the import of these figures, when distance of haul and narrow, exact placement of material, is also considered. It's interesting to note that not one cent was paid for easements, and you have to live in Squamish to know how that was carried out.
Another interesting feature has been the problem-solving device, which provided for the appointment of an arbitration committee, consisting of two members from the local contractors and the municipal clerk. These three men have kept peace on the job. The success of this operation has been related to timing. Work is carried out in this season, when winter conditions have closed much of the logging activity. Men and equipment are both available. Many men can share credit for this accomplishment, but there has to be a key figure responsible for this first-class public achievement. His name is Pat Brennan, who is mayor, logger, trotting-horse owner and top harness driver - and one of the most colourful characters to live on the coast of British Columbia.
To live in Squamish, one must accept a degree of involvement, and I mean this, in projects with a community interest, particularly if he happens to have idle and suitable equipment, which is capable of top production. On this job they worked around the clock, at times, to overcome tidal conditions. The words of emphasis are - they worked! Anybody who can turn in that job, that quality job, $530,000 against a $2 million estimate is worthy of a great deal of public acknowledgement.
In my Throne Speech address, I indicated the present demand and price for lumber products and plywood was poor. Far from being gloomy, as the Member from Cowichan-Malahat reports, I gave statistics on the housing demand and went on to state our inventory was high and we were banking on an improved demand. I did say, if this did not materialize, that we would be in trouble and a moratorium on cut might have to be allowed until supply-demand restored a balance.
Within the last couple of days, I have taken time to check the current market prices and demand, practically throughout the interior. The increase in lumber prices from early January until February 12, on the average, was: northern spruce, up $15 per M; southern spruce, up $10 to $12 per M; fir, up $10 per M; hemlock, up $10 per M; cedar up, $6 per M.
Market demand is gradually improving in the interior.
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operators are beginning to be more optimistic; however, on the coast, there has not yet been a real increase in either demand or in price. Some firms have reached the limits of their storage capacity and, without orders to indicate movement, they have had to temporarily suspend their operations, There is general agreement that, within two months, a fair demand will be evident, even here in the coastal market.
One or two other matters on forestry, Mr. Speaker. The Forest Service has a goal to plant 75 million trees on 200,000 acres of forest land, each year onward from 1975, and tonight this is a brief progress report. In 1970, 33,931,100 trees were planted on 85,336 acres of land. This represents an increase of 32 per cent over 1969. This also amounts to one tenth of all the trees planted in the last 40 years. In 1960, 7 million trees were planted, so the increase for the decade was nearly 400 per cent. In 1971, 67,169,000 trees will be sown in nurseries for planting in 1973. As an aside, Mr. Speaker, this year, and as a part of the employment-increasing campaign, people will be used this year extensively on an expanded programme of site preparation, so these jobs can be placed. This is one of the very fertile areas where additional assistance and help can be used in the preparation of the forest area.
Container grown stock can be produced in half the time at half the cost. This is where the trees are actually placed in a small container and the container in toto is placed into the ground. Experiments have been under way for three years and from five to six million will be planted in 1972. Mass production awaits final evaluation of the survival and growth tests. The species put back are from seeds that are gathered at the same elevation, in the same area, from plus trees or high-grade trees, so that you perpetuate that basic type of growth - for nature, herself, has decided the best productive unit insofar as tree growth is concerned.
The subject of reforestation in British Columbia is sometimes misunderstood. The statement has been made that only one acre is planted for every seven acres that happen to be cut. This led many people to the incorrect assumption that the reforestation programme in our Province was in serious difficulties. Mother Nature, as a provider, was overlooked. However, nature's work can be speeded up and total reliability can be improved.
In future, with multiple use of forest lands and deletions for other demands of the public, every acre will have to be as productive as possible, if we are to maintain production to provide plants with the necessary raw material. About 30,000 acres of forest land are denuded each year by insects, disease and fire.
By 1975, we shall be meeting all current demands for replanting, plus just starting to catch up on not satisfactorily stocked areas. That is called "NSR land," when you look in the publications. Much of this is low site, that is land which provides for slow tree growth. Some of these lands have been in this condition since before the settling of the Province in its early historic days. In due course, nursery capacities will have to be raised still further to finally complete the task of making every acre of forest land productive.
The Women's Lib movement has finally reached the forest! Female workers are beginning to dominate many aspects of the reforestation programme. Many, many aspects.
During 1970, the management of our productive forests for recreational use was the basis of an intensive study. This was completed between January 9 and September 30, 1970, and provided a factual background to develop forest recreational policy. Funds have been requested in the Budget, now to be considered, to allow for a specific programme.
A feature article in a weekend paper, and I think it was the Colonist, Mr. Speaker, noted that such a broader use would have to be made of forest lands, and management would have to change accordingly. There is some satisfaction when one can report that the service is already better than one year into such an active programme.
It is also of significance to report that more than 2,200 recreational reserves have already been established and wait specific development when required for such use. When people talk about parklands, recreational areas, and so on, every day in the year, there are additional recreational areas set aside. This is a co-operative effort between the Forest Service, the Department of Lands and the Department of Recreation and Conservation. Every branch of the Forest Service is being required to focus attention on recreational aspects of forest land use. The compilation of such information will be concentrated at the forest ranger level for each area of control, so that the public will have ready access to the up-to-date data of most use. The plan is to have the forest rangers become the prime environmental officers right on the spot.
A rather exciting example of this programme in action is the negotiations taking place with the Timberline Trail Riders Association at Prince George, regarding a trail development scheme for horseback and snowmobile use. This is located in immature pine areas around Tabor Mountain, which was the scene of the 1961 Grove fire, one of the largest and most destructive of the last decade. Under the plan, the association is to construct a Forest Service-approved location, available for public use, and trails and stopping points. As an aside, Mr. Speaker, I may say that many of these basic trails were established, in the first instance, in fighting this fire, and much of the work has already been accomplished. This is a prime recreational area, close to the city of Prince George, where there will be no active logging in the immature stands for at least 50 years. Summer and winter recreational use can be successfully accommodated on the same land. This is the informational direction to this whole programme.
Mr. Speaker, the time is going on and I have one major topic to deal with before I sit down and that includes the general topic of northern development. I think, as most people know in this House, over the last 17 years or so it has not been often that someone strikes an exposed nerve in me, Mr. Speaker, and gets an immediate reaction. But the Leader of the Opposition did this a couple of weeks ago and, with the assistance of my friends in the press, it was almost blown into an international incident, wherein the troops might have had to be called out to restore order. Also, it is not often that I'd like to observe that something comes along about which the Member from Oak Bay is in some state of confusion. I think that we can all verify that he knows where he is going and what he is doing. Whether the rest of us are quite so sure I'm not prepared to say, but certainly he is. Apparently this situation that he found the Leader of the Opposition and myself in, stopped him cold, the other day. He really multi used himself, whether he was a trainer, a physician, a placater, or whatever he happened to be.
My anger was kindled, Mr. Speaker, by the lack of true understanding of the problems now being faced in northern development and attention to this fact could not have been better directed than through the disagreement which took place between the Leader and myself. This is the first time that I have been indebted to the Opposition for providing me
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with the main subject for my presentation in the Legislature. I am going to talk briefly about the problems of northern development. I do so realizing that I am likely the junior resident representative from that part of the Province, having only had an association there for twenty-seven years. I am the junior member. I am also disturbed by the fact that, through spectacular and exaggerated statements designed to tear down and not build up, statements based upon a superficial examination of the area, lasting all of one week, a false impression is created which can only increase the problems which now face those who must provide the answers. Socialists have a happy knack of being able to pose questions and then completely fan if they are required to supply the answers.
I am sure that this is one of the things that Mr. Schreyer has found out in Manitoba. He could not help climbing into bed with a resource project, which had been negotiated in advance of his election; however, he did not have to pull up the covers and settle down until he was sure of the reactions and responsibilities of his bedfellows. He had been their most violent critic when, suddenly, they became acceptable and were allowed to build plants with his money. Then they lost favour and he has decided to take over the capital works on behalf of the Government which provided the finances. His difficulties may only have started. The attitudes and' pronouncements of his colleagues in British Columbia certainly do nothing to help insofar as northern development is concerned. Incidentally, when Mr. Schreyer did find himself in trouble, it is of interest where he looked for assistance. It was to British Columbia. I am sure, Mr. Speaker, he didn't look to the Members of the Opposition to give him guidance.
From a physical standpoint, the northern areas are much the same as they always have been. Projects here have presented problems due to the fact that the environment is not easily mastered. Now, however, the requirements for resource development are completely different and it would appear that the only people who do not realize this fact are southern-based Socialists, who went to sleep in the world of yesterday and have not yet decided when they want to wake up and face the problems of tomorrow.
We are learning and have learned some of our lessons in association with the difficulties of others. A few years ago, a new pulp and paper plant opened in a remote area of Quebec. Despite the desire for jobs in that Province, it proved almost impossible to man this plant with the personnel required. The need for professionally trained people and topflight technologists in the new advanced integrated plants means that no one will work unless these very skilled people will accept employment in the more remote communities. Men think first of their families and, since any interested, job-accepting people in these situations are generally young, a first-class community situation with housing, schooling, hospitals and other amenities is an immediate demand or they will not come. In the north, these other amenities now include swimming pools, curling rinks, skating rinks and ski facilities, together with the normal theatre and community hall requirements. In the dreamy world of yesterday, in which the Opposition still basks, these capital needs were gradually accumulated by the combined efforts of the local inhabitants. Generally there was a tax base built up upon which loans could be based. Now they form an immediate double cost burden for an industrial project in an undeveloped area.
Good communication is a vital part of the physical demands for acceptable living. In British Columbia the problems of Ocean Falls emphasize this latter fact. Our present planning is designed to improve this situation through a regular ferry linkage. The key lies in the ability to attract at least one more major development to the general area and this we are trying to do at Bella Coola. If this happens Bella Bella, Ocean Falls and Bella Coola can all be linked with Vancouver Island on a viable basis, as well as provide ready access to the empty empire immediately east of the coast range. Strange as it may seem, Vancouver Island should have the most direct benefit from this midcoast development.
Let me return to the Bulkley Valley, and move from yesterday into tomorrow. Such a review will provide a good example of the evolution that is going on, complete with all of the problems.
In 1961, the decision was made to move toward the close utilization of the forest resource in the north-central region. The concept towards which policy was directed included: one, a pulp economy, based upon the use of waste residuals. At first, this only meant chips but, in the future, it will include the use of sawdust and other wood refuse as well. Secondly, it depended on a log sort base for processing, to ensure that the highest end use was obtained from each tree harvested. This has lead to the growth in veneer and plywood plants as well as to the development of specialty mills for small wood and cedar products. Our specialization in these fields has led to the demand for new and better types of machinery, much of which is now manufactured on the lower mainland, Mr. Speaker. This secondary industry is almost entirely due to the advances that have been made in this industry in the interior. A barked log use is the third thing that was introduced. In other words, everything was working on the clean log. It takes all trees from a butt diameter of 8 ins., at one foot off the ground, to a top diameter of 4 ins. Spruce, pine, balsam, fir and cedar are all now being used and experiments on the use of poplar and other hardwoods are proceeding at several different locations.
In the initial years, special encouragement had to be given for pulp manufacture, with the licensing of pulp harvesting areas. These ensured a back-up of round logs for the pulp plants, in case the residual chips did not meet the required supply of raw material. In future, the fibre guarantee will be handled on the basis of licensed performance. The practicability of such a method of wood supply had to be demonstrated in action, before it would be accepted by any investment dealers on the North American continent. People often argue about people buying in or taking over industry but in this particular situation, where the absolute control of the raw material ... and what I am going into is this, at some detail, tonight.
On the North American continent, as this was introduced, we could get no equity capitalization and the experience of Crestbrook in the East Kootenay serves as an example, for all of the initial equity financing had to be supplied from Japan.
With a start towards close utilization around Prince George and south into the Cariboo, it became apparent to the operators in the Bulkley Valley-Burns Lake region that they must move towards better utilization. Harry Hagman, the pioneer operator of Buck River Timber at Houston, organized a group of local operators into the Bulkley Valley Forest Industries and he commissioned the study which led them to apply for a pulp harvesting license. This was done and the license was subsequently granted; however, it proved impossible for this group of men to secure the necessary financing to fulfill the commitments they had undertaken. When people talk about Canadians, constantly, Mr. Speaker, investing in their own, in every opportunity that we have
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given on a first basis in the Province of British Columbia, it has been impossible for the local people to secure any equity financing on the North American continent to further their projects. People should remember this if industry is going ahead, negotiations with Provincially-based pulp companies did not provide a solution. Finally, an offer to purchase shares was received from a joint, venture, a Canadian-British group, Bathurst and Bowaters. The original shareholders were offered cash or shares in the new company and they were permitted to participate in ongoing developments on the same basis as the major partners. I will say, Mr. Speaker, that most of them took out their money, sold their shares and very few of them have stayed with the enterprise.
Bathurst is an eastern Canadian firm in which the Power Corporation of Canada has a substantial financial interest. For some reason, the backers of Bathurst found they could not meet commitments for capital funds and, to ensure this need, a merger was arranged with the American firm of Consolidated Paper. The majority of shares, and this I'd like the Leader of the Opposition to hear, because, if any Legislature has been subject to inference and idea that has been absolutely incorrect, it is this one, the majority of shares and the financial control of Bulkley Valley is Canadian-British, not American, as inferred by the Leader of the Opposition in his reference to the head office in New York. The head office of Consolidated is in New York but Bowaters, alone, owns 46 per cent of the shares of Bulkley Valley. There's private ownership, there, in the area and a large percentage of Bathurst is Canadian owned. To indicate it is American owned, Mr. Speaker, is just not fair, insofar as Canadian enterprise just happens to be concerned in this case. Bathurst, in the total, is around the 40 per cent area, there, and, then, Bathurst is divided between Consolidated Paper and the Canadian group (interruption). Well, Canadian and the other. It's a good portion. I haven't got the figure right here, but I can get it. But with 46 per cent British and the local share, it is already Canadian-British owned, right there. Canadians can't own it, Mr. Speaker, unless they put their money into it (interruption).
It could be, Mr. Speaker. It could be Canadian if the Power Corporation of Canada had been able to maintain their equity position in Bathurst, which they were unable to do. That's because of Canadians, that's not because of someone else. It is the investment of the Power Corporation group.
In the meantime, the bulk of the small operators in the region went through two consolidations which were organized by two well-known groups of businessmen in Vancouver. In nearly all cases, these mill men did not possess the finances to modify their mills to cut to close utilization specifications. A final merger took place through which the Cooper-Widman group undertook the sale of all lumber products which would be manufactured under the Bulkley Valley name. Trades in cutting areas were arranged, with Eurocan to consolidate operations for each major company where an overlap in cutting rights developed.
This brings us up to date and resulted in the announcement by the Leader of the Opposition concerning the cut situation within the sustained yield units contained within PHA no. 4. However, his inference as to effect was based upon the administrative situation of yesterday and not of today or of tomorrow.
As a consequence, it was not possible to give him a "yes or no, have you stopped beating your wife" answer when he demanded it, as he did in this Legislature. All he wanted to know was yes or no. I did promise to provide him with the actual statistics by the next morning, which I did. In turn, he presented to this House a part of my memorandum and a part of the statistics which were given to him. For anyone living in the world of yesterday that, Mr. Speaker, is not enough. If you intend being around tomorrow and interested in resource use and administration, it is vital that the information contained in that analysis be thoroughly understood, not only by the Leader of the Opposition, but by everybody in this Legislature.
I shall use the sheet given to the Leader of the Opposition and indicate the difference between quota cut and third-band cut and the related dependence upon performance. It is always of value, Mr. Speaker, to relate policy to a specific situation and I am glad to have had this opportunity in debate.
The point at issue is one of cut control, and whether the Leader of the Opposition knew it or not, he was furthering the cause of big companies when he made his speech in this Legislature. He was taking their position. Mr. Speaker, I am going to verify this situation tonight, because this is what he did. I gave him this statistical report. Mr. Speaker, I think it's important that the effect of the programme in this Province is known and the control factors are known by all Members in this House if they wish to debate it, and I would love them to debate it. He quoted here, "In the Babine public working circle, there is an annual allowable cut of 8,400 cubic ft. Of that, Bulkley" . . . and that's an IU specification. Now, I don't blame anybody for getting confused at the lettering, but IU is where we formerly carried out a saw log type of situation, which we no longer do. IU means that we only took into consideration the trees that were 11 ins. in diameter at breast height. We took those trees from that height to an 8 in. top. That is the basic quota figures that we have had and we have been moving steadily away from them now for several years.
Now, the Honourable Leader of the Opposition indicated that figure because of the 8,400 cubic ft. Bulkley Valley, in that type of timber, although we're not operating to that standard, had 95.2 per cent of the quota. All they are allowed, and everybody is in the same boat in the Province, is to take their IU cut. If they move on to close utilization, they can increase their basic quota by one third. So Bulkley Valley's quota position, in the Babine, moved up to 10,666. I'm just going to use one of these ... four of them ... I should use the bottom one, because it's far better. However, I'll just stay with one because you will be confused. There are four almost exactly the same.
We are operating, not to IU, Mr. Speaker, but we're operating to CU, which means close utilization. So, today, we are taking all trees, one foot off the ground, not diameter breast height, and we're taking them 8 ins. in diameter, one foot off the ground and we're taking all trees, then, up to a height of top diameter of 4 ins. That's our close utilization policy.
Now, listen, Mr. Speaker, this is the point that the Leader of the Opposition did not give to this House and I asked him to read the entire statistics. This is the key to the whole resource programme in the Province and if you have missed, you've missed it and apparently lie's missed it. The quota, now listen, the quota at IU is 8,400 cubic ft. and our quota base is worked on that basis. There is a total cut in the Babine unit of 35,600, that's four and one quarter times the IU in volume of wood use. That's four and one quarter times to the standards we're working today. That volume is above the IU, plus the 30 per cent. In other words, in this case,
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10,666, which is Bulkley Valley's position. There is an increased amount above that of 24,534 in use, that depends upon performance and it spills right into their timber sales contracts. If the honourable Member wants to figure it out and do his resource business, despite the fact he's talking 95 and all of these things and says, "Give me a yes or no answer, I don't need anything else but a yes or no answer." All he was trying to do was to get a yes answer for Bulkley Valley that they control that much of the cut. That's all he was doing. That's why my anger started up, because they would like that situation, the same as everybody else. But, in their own documentation on their IU and their sales in the same business, it shows that they have 37.3 per cent of the cut situation that happens to be there. The balance is there on the performance basis and tonight if I had more time, I would give you specific examples, Mr. Speaker, because there are many people in here tonight that can verify that distribution (interruption). But not allocated ... because they are allocated on the basis of the performance.
Bulkley Valley's problem, and everybody indicates this is a very simple kind of a thing, Mr. Speaker, Bulkley Valley's problem is that they only get, even here, wood, based upon the performance, and any of you that have been there and the honourable Member was there, realizes that the mill which was designed on a designed-performance basis is operating something better than 50 per cent of its designed performance base. Their criteria and the whole hold on this business ... and this inference that this timber has gone ... The timber has not gone. The timber is more firmly controlled in British Columbia than it is in any other forest area in the whole world. But, thank you for coming back, Mr. Leader. I'm almost finished and you've missed the whole proposition. I hope you will report that to him and he's got it.
Now, Mr. Speaker, just as an aside on this CU, to show you the impact of this insofar as chip waste is concerned, just in the last four years the import of this is so important insofar as British Columbians are concerned that people don't really realize the impact that has taken place very quickly. In the last four years, the Pacific Great Eastern Railway has moved 493.5 million cubic ft. of chips in their cars. Now I don't expect that means anything to you and I wouldn't ... so, let's take it back to last year. Last year, they moved 23,000 boxcars and they contained 137.9 million cubic ft. of chips. That is material, of which 100 per cent was going up in smoke. That's the same material, Mr. Speaker, that the Leader of the Opposition, which is sheer waste in the logging industry, goes out and lectures to people and says, "Today, we have too many pulp mills in the Province. Burn it and don't use it."
AN HON. MEMBER: Who said that?
MR. WILLISTON: The Leader of the Opposition, in argument, said, "We've got enough pulp mills now, we don't need any more."
In the last year, Mr. Speaker, the increase just in chip cars on the PGE alone was 4,000 additional chip cars in one year, and we're handling this traffic, for the Member of Cariboo, with 538 cars. We added 140 last year. We still haven't got enough to suit you yet, but we're coming.
Now, I intend to deal with the other matter raised by the Leader of the Opposition concerning northern community development about which we have heard so much criticism. This relates to the cost and the method by which the necessary community facilities are provided.
I have already mentioned the need to accommodate a new type of citizen in the north to ensure that development will proceed. This is only part of the problem. Once I facetiously remarked that what was needed were people who would wear long woollen underwear. Now we must also retrain and reorient the people who are already there. Substantial progress has already been made in this regard and my colleague, the Honourable Cyril Shelford, made reference to the integration of the native people in his recent speech in the House.
Statistics compiled for the use ... Mr. Speaker, these are some of the problems which are being superficially dealt with by people who don't know the problems of the North. I wish you would pay just a little bit of attention to these. Statistics compiled for the use of the Federal task force which came to view our problems firsthand, showed that in all of the new lumber manufacturing plants possessing complicated equipment, a man was required to take his head to work and use it for the entire shift. In the modern plants at Chetwynd and Fort St. James, the labour turnover in this last year has averaged between 350 and 400 per cent. Whole shifts have been lost because of the lack of personnel. When you couple this turnover with the need for individual plant training and skilled performance, you soon learn one of the difficulties of manufacture faced in these new northern plants. As a contrast, there are still some of the old-style bush mills, about which the Honourable Leader of the Opposition was eulogizing in this House, there are still some old-style bush mills in operation at these same locations. The turnover in these plants last year averaged between 40 and 60 per cent of staff turnover. The trained man demands the amenities and he will only go where these are to be found. He may go and, sometimes, you get him there and he might even wish to stay but when his wife comes along things can prove very, very difficult.
The Province has recognized this fact, as have the organizers of large new industrial complexes associated with resource use. Houston, and this is a real burr under the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Speaker . . . Houston, the base for the Bulkley Valley operation, serves as an example, as opposed to those already mentioned at Chetwynd and Fort St. James. At Houston, it would have been far simpler for the company to move a short distance away from the present town and construct a brand new community. This they were not allowed to do. Complete servicing of the present village had to be accepted as a commitment, so that all could share in the improved standards, which were being demanded. This has meant, Mr. Speaker, that the company has had to subsidize the costs of planning, the costs of providing needed services and the cost of the homes that are built for the employees and the service workers. As a matter of fact, in all of these new towns that have been built in British Columbia, in conjunction with an industrial establishment, the bottom subsidy that has gone into each home with a lot has been $2,000. 1 have several examples where it has reached $4,000 for lots and more of straight subsidation.
These facts were provided to the Federal task force which said they were unfair, they were unequalled in any other part of Canada, and something should be done about them, and to that we agreed. So far nothing has been done. In other parts of Canada, the companies pay the subsidy. In British Columbia that isn't the case. In other parts of Canada, assistance has been given with the so-called infrastructural costs of new towns by the Federal Government and we have
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been trying to get the same consideration for British Columbia. In the light of facts which can be easily verified, it helps little for people in the limelight to infer that the companies are concerned with making a profit on the land transactions at the expense of the employees. Right now, for example, this is one of the problems which must be resolved before Bella Coola can proceed with an integrated, woodbased complex.
Incidentally, the turnover of staff at the Bulkley Valley has been relatively low. Another interesting fact is that the native men are handling some of the most complicated operations in the plant and they earned these positions through competitive training and performance. On the positive side, I would have thought the Opposition Leader would have at least mentioned this fact when he was trying to condemn everything he happened to see in the area.
Chetwynd became the next point of critical call by the touring Opposition Leader. It would do well to review the brief history of this developing town. In 1949, when it was largely a native community and known as Little Prairie, I happened to inspect the school there. The homes were certainly not impressive but neither were the prospects for immediate economic betterment. It remained this way until the mid-1950's when the PGE Railway made it a junction point, where the line divided to serve both Dawson Creek and Fort St. John. Gordon Moore, one of the pioneer boosters of the area, constructed a sawmill and they say he didn't choose a very good site - a very poor one, as a matter of fact, but, be that as it may, he constructed it. This, in turn, acted as a catalyst to draw other businesses to this point. The Department of Lands and the PGE assisted by making land available and assisting with the provision of a water service. By trying to guarantee a power use which he could not justify, Mr. Moore succeeded in bringing Hydro to the community. He was also instrumental in establishing the first hotel and planned for a pulp mill at Taylor. His spirit and enthusiasm were not matched by his ability to either attract capital or to perform to that extent and he was obliged to sell his milling interest. Canadian Forest Products purchased the timber position, reconstructed the sawmill to close utilization standards and has since provided a steady payroll for that community. Within its limited financial capability the community is making progress. However, without low interest loans or some other financial support, it exemplifies the problems that we are trying to resolve in the north right now. The community grew from the local initiative of the pioneers who were there and the remarks of the Opposition Leader have neither helped the people nor have they helped the situation.
Mr. Speaker, Chetwynd was a part of the ways of yesterday which, now must be assisted into the tomorrow. There is no single, large industry to provide the capital thrust and other means must be found to assist. This is why we have been trying to make the point with the Federal Department of Regional and Economic Development, because the job-creating growth of northern British Columbia depends just upon such support.
North of the 52nd parallel of latitude in British Columbia is to be found the richest, untapped resource region in Canada. From what is known right now it has been estimated that in the next decade a permanent work force, and this is a work force for new jobs, of about 46,000 workers can be employed in new jobs and this, in turn, could support a new population of about 184,000 people. Besides this, employment would be provided for at least another 10,000 persons each and every year in the construction of facilities. New industries can look after themselves. The basic arteries of communication are being provided by this Government right now. Resource inventories and energy planning are being expedited. What is urgently needed is assistance with the provision of low-cost funds to make possible the building of the essential community infrastructure in advance of the tax base, so that people can live in these new areas and enjoy a fair standard of living, at a price which they can afford to pay on a comparable basis with other British Columbians.
We need the jobs for our people. In no other part of Canada could investment in the future be made with a surer promise of a return to the Canadian economy as a whole. This community job demands too much extra from an industry, which is just getting established. Extra non-pollution costs have already been demanded as an immediate investment, not related to production. The community costs cannot be made an immediate, high-interest rate, capital charge on the initial residents before there is a proper tax base. The Province is already saddled with the basic costs of communication and public services. The National Government receives an immediate benefit, without responsibility, from the day that work on any new project begins. We think that we should get assistance similar to that offered in other parts of Canada.
I can do no better than quote a Federal representative. Most recently, speaking in Prince George, Bruce Howard, Parliamentary Secretary to Trade Minister, Jean-luc Pepin, stated, "Good productive job-giving employment would bring $8 to $10 million a year in taxes to British Columbia and seven or eight times that much to the Federal Government. That's the kind of thing that free-swinging, optimistic northern B.C. needs. We need it and we had better work to get it."
Northern development cannot reach its proper potential without two other matters receiving immediate attention. Both involve the co-operation of the Federal Government and both have been subjected to discussions extending over a period of months and even years.
Proper deep-sea port facilities are required to enable the shipment of products from the north-central region with the least cost and greatest efficiency. In the last year, Eurocan at Kitimat, with a modern pulp mill and sawmill in operation, has worked to get assistance for the wharf facilities that the company, itself, has installed. It would now appear than an arrangement has been completed by which assistance will be given with the capital financing of the initial project by the Federal Government. This will enable ships to load pulp from a storage warehouse and for barges of lumber to be loaded and dispatched for final shipment from Vancouver. The rail line from Terrace to Kitimat would have to be rebuilt to higher standards if this town were to become a main shipping terminal, and the Canadian National has indicated that it is not willing to authorize such an expenditure. Much of the lumber from Terrace could be delivered to this point by truck, if the facilities for efficient shipment could be made available.
An even more important consideration is the need for an upgrading of the port facilities at Prince Rupert. For the last year, Federal authorities, at the highest level, have indicated that Rupert should be developed as a National harbour and British Columbia has offered complete co-operation. There is an immediate requirement for a general cargo wharf there now, and a potential need for a bulk handling facility at this location. At this time it is not possible to estimate the final
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ability of Roberts Bank to handle the bulk cargo. that has already been contracted for shipment. Some of that, which originates in northern Alberta or northern British Columbia, might better be handled through Prince Rupert.
In any event, the opening up of the north-central section of this Province promises to provide bulk cargo. Coal sales are under negotiation and mines are in production. Again, the Canadian National Railway must make a vital decision. This time, it is to provide a linkage with the PGE, which is now moving north to reach Dease Lake by 1974. Such a line might be built between Hazelton and Bear Lake. If the Canadian National does not intend to play a part in the northern development of British Columbia, and it has given no indication that it does, the sooner some arrangement is made with the Pacific Great Eastern to provide the necessary rail links, the sooner the job-creating potential, already mentioned, will be realized.
Within the last few days, an indication has been given by the Federal authorities that an additional 12 to 18 months of study are required before any decision can be made insofar as developments at Prince Rupert are concerned (interruption). That's right, but my time has run out. I have the telegrams here to prove it.
Tonight, we have wired again on this, Mr. Speaker. This recommendation is made despite the fact that the Bulkley Valley mill at Houston is gradually overcoming production problems and will have large volumes of lumber for export in the very near future. If we must wait up to another 18 months for an initial report then action could not be finalized in the form of a facility for at least three years or more. Without a firm commitment to provide for a terminal, developments now under way in the western part of the north-central region will surely be frustrated. A general cargo facility must be provided and this action could proceed now while a decision is being made on the timing and capacity of a bulk-handling installation. We are ready, willing and able to take over the Canadian National in that area right now. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
MR. SPEAKER: The Honourable the Second Member for Vancouver-Burrard.
MR. B. PRICE (Vancouver-Burrard): Mr. Speaker, I am very glad to be able to take my place in this Budget Debate. I think this is the seventeenth that I have spoken in. I can also say that I am very happy to back up and support the First Member from Vancouver-Burrard. There is one thing about the Budgets in British Columbia, ever since 1953 they have continued to go up. This, I think, is the only Province in Canada and probably the only place in North America where a jurisdiction can show a surplus. You just don't see it anywhere else. I think our Liberal friends alongside of me here are very fortunate in a way that they have a budget, such as we have in B.C., to shadow, because they certainly wouldn't dare to shadow a budget anywhere else in any other Liberal jurisdiction. We don't need a B.C. shadow budget in this Province. I can tell you that the worst thing the Federal Government ever did to this Province was to refuse participation of the Government in a British Columbia bank.
Another thing that happened in this Province which, I think, was a disgrace, and probably something that has done a greater disservice to the progress of this Province than any other one thing that I have heard in this Session, and that is the fact that the Leader of the Opposition referred to people living in shacks in the northern part of our Province. Mr. Speaker, I don't think anyone can appreciate the credit that is coming to these people who go into the northern part of the Province and live in a shack, or anything else, in order to help develop a place and make the country a better place for their children. That is probably the main reason they are there. They are building the Province and, if we didn't have these people willing to do this and go into the outskirts, we wouldn't have any cities. I can remember when Burnaby was full of shacks and it's only since the last war that Surrey was nothing but shacks, but look at it today.
Mr. Speaker, along with the very capable Minister who has just taken his seat, I agree that the progress of this Province is going to depend on development of the north. I think, no doubt, our Premier had this in mind when he suggested that perhaps we might be able to take in the Yukon.
During the past 18 years, we have had continued prosperity in this Province because of the expansion of the resources. There is, no doubt, great room for continued expansion. In the past, we have had 54 per cent ... 54 cents of every dollar in this Province has come out of timber. In spite of the fact that we have had a tremendous cut, there is a potential of about three times of what has been cut so far in this Province. We have just about 90 million acres under sustained yield, out of a total number of productive acres of 138,300,000.
There is one thing I would suggest, if it is of any value, Mr. Speaker, and that is that the balance of the area, which is not yet allocated, can be developed through the use of small public working circles. Whether this is possible or not, I am not in a position to say, but there's a general feeling in this Province, amongst small people who are not loggers, that it's of benefit to maintain what we know as the small logger. If it were possible to use public working circles in the remainder of our area in the far north, I only hope it can be done.
Undoubtedly, the markets for our timber are going to keep growing. The population is increasing and that, in itself, will mean an increased demand. I don't think that timber alone is going to be able to continuously increase our standard of living; however, in this Province we have a great deal in our favour. We have not only wood, but water, oil, and hydro-electric development.
I think, Mr. Speaker, that perhaps water is the future treasure of this Province if we can keep it clean. Water plays a great part in the manufacture of goods anywhere in the world. I think it should be the policy of our Government to tell industry if they dirty the water to clean it. I think, too, that water must always remain under public control. A little while ago our Cabinet, particularly, and the Government, as a whole, was called everything that people could get away with for going ahead with the two-river hydro-power policy. It is obvious that today this is one of the major things which has spelled security for the future of British Columbia. I note that our Member from Point Grey scoffed at the cost. Yet we know, today, without power, we would not get anywhere in this Province.
I can tell you further, Mr. Speaker, that a few years ago I attended a mining convention, purely as an observer, in this particular building. It came out in that convention that, during the previous year, five or six different companies had surveyed British Columbia as a place to set up their industry and everyone had turned it down. I was waiting for the answer because I felt sure it would be the high cost of labour. I was very surprised when I found out that they had turned down British Columbia as a place to manufacture because of the high cost of power.
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I don't think that we have commenced yet to develop our full potential of pulp production. We all recognize, I am sure, that America uses most of the pulp of the world. If only other areas were able to reach an economic position where they could buy more pulp for the use of newspapers, books and magazines, then our future in the pulp world would be enough in itself to give prosperity to every citizen of this Province.
I don't think yet that the by-products from oil have been scratched. The use of plastics seems unlimited, and this has a great future in British Columbia.
I think that precut homes, ready-formed homes, are going to form the basis of low-cost homes of the future. I think this is going to be one of the things that we can look forward to in the next 10 to 20 years. It is an unusual thing but, in the United Stated last year, 45 per cent of the new homes acquired from any source were mobile homes. It's easy to see that 15 years from now 75 per cent of the homes that are going to be built in America will be preformed or precut.
We have a wonderful market in the world and what we export will determine the standard of living of the people in this Province. There's no doubt that when it comes down to our sales to the Pacific rim, probably, the most important thing we will be able to sell is food, because this is the thing which normally they are shortest of. From a standpoint of manufactured goods, I say there is little possibility of getting into the Pacific rim, for the simple reason that their cost of labour is so low and so prolific that we have very little chance to compete with them.
I think it's fortunate that we have now nine vocational schools in British Columbia because, unless we have an educated labour force, we are not going to be able to step out into the world of secondary industry. That's pretty obvious from what happened in California where the late President Kennedy was asked a few years ago how was it that California was able to acquire so many large Federal contracts. He said the answer was that they had the trained people there to produce the goods.
The problem that we have in British Columbia is not local. We have a lack of capital for expansion of industry and the high cost of money. When you consider that if somebody buys a home and has a small mortgage of even $12,000 on it, one per cent difference in interest means a difference of $10 a month in their payments. The high wage level draws people here from all over Canada and I think perhaps the story of the future of British Columbia is said in the last paragraph on page 14 of the printed Budget in which the Premier said, "The long-run outlook for British Columbia's economic progress is excellent but, to a great degree, is dependent upon the Federal Government formulating policies more suitable to Nationwide economic growth." That tells a whole lot, Mr. Speaker.
Our problem is not B.C. people. There has been no great problem in continuing the high standard of living for the people who are resident in this Province. It is trying to take care of the rest of Canada. This is the problem which has been created here, and I only hope that the Federal Government won't bankrupt this Province.
I'd like to say a few words on unemployment. The unemployment that we have, today, and it has been recognized in the Budget, means that we are going to have to start work projects. I have never asked for roads in the city of Vancouver because I felt that the city of Vancouver was able to look after its own roads itself, but there is one problem that has been created through highway 401 and the Second Narrows Crossing. I would have no bones in saying, Mr. Speaker, that I think the Government should go ahead and build an overpass at Hastings and Cassiar without delay, because this is a very serious problem in that city and it's one I don't think the city of Vancouver should be asked to carry the cost of, entirely by itself.
I think we should start on a third crossing at Burrard Inlet as soon as possible. I feel that the Government should go ahead with a protective foreshore road from Spanish Banks around to the Fraser River. I think that we should speed up the Lulu Island Bridge at Knight Road. Highway 401 from the Agassiz Bridge to Hope, there's a bottleneck there that should be gone ahead with, I think, without any delay at all. It's a funny thing but the road from Agassiz to Hope has been under construction and they said it was going to go ahead at once - ten years ago. Today it's not possible to even make a start. I would suggest that a valuable addition to our highway system would be the completion of the road from Pemberton to Lillooet. I think, too, that before too long you should give earnest consideration to the road from Squamish to Gibson's Landing.
You know, the gas tax today we are paying is very much equal to a toll. I think that the more roads that we can develop, that are connecting roads between populated areas, I don't think it will take too long for us to recover sufficient to pay for them from the gas tax itself. If you take a trip from Vancouver to Squamish and return, it's at least 50 cents in the Government's pocket, just for gasoline tax alone. In 1971-72 it is proposed there will be a $931/2 million tax, $80 million for capital construction of roads, bridges and, I think, that includes ferries. Mr. Speaker, it's the roads that are within a hundred miles of Vancouver, or a hundred miles of the lower mainland. They are the ones that are going to help the lower mainland motorists. I only hope that we can go ahead with these things. From the standpoint of Vancouver, it is certainly good news to hear that the B.C. Government Building is going to go ahead without any delay. I hope that they will push it ahead.
Something that I would like to speak about, Mr. Speaker, is property taxes on residences. This is something that worries me. I believe, too, that it worries the Government and this is probably one reason why, in the first instance, this Province put through an Equalization Assessment Act. It put some equity into school taxes. The home-owner grant has been a great boon, copied now in many other parts of the world. At this late date, it is indicated that there may be some control over the increased assessment on homes. However, there is no control over the mill rate and, I believe, that when a person buys a home, and most people only buy one in a lifetime, I don't think the property tax should be able to confiscate that home. It is the low-wage earner, in this instance, who is the hardest hit. When a man, or a woman, or a family buys a home, or commences to buy a home, they do a lot of figuring before they purchase it. They may feel that, with the wages they are making, they are able to make a down payment with the help of the Government and carry the cost that they can see before them. But, five years later, the way property taxes have been going up in many municipalities, the home-owner finds out that the wages he is getting just doesn't permit him to carry on making those payments.
AN HON. MEMBER: In spite of the home-owner grant?
MR. PRICE: In spite of any grant. His wages have not
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increased to the point where he is able to keep up with taxes. It is a funny thing, you know, but areas that have socialistic councils are the worst offenders. Make no mistake about that. I think, Mr. Speaker, the residents need protection in this respect. The retired people are undoubtedly hardest hit, because it is often the case where people have spent their lives working and putting their money into buying a home, they retire. Then they find out that they just can't carry on paying the taxes out of their superannuation pay and they must leave their own home. I don't think this is fair to citizens. It's all very well to talk about the progress we're making in this Province. I don't think it should be one-sided. How we are going to get around this is going to be a big problem. Perhaps the Government should set up a commission to study municipal taxation. It's a long time since the Goldenberg report and it might be a good idea to have another study of this to see if there isn't some way in which the tax on residences can be stabilized so the people can buy their homes, live in their homes, and continue on and finish their lives in their homes without having to move out.
A little item which may not be too important, but I think it is somewhat unfair, Mr. Speaker, and that is the fact that in our universities today we have quite a large number of foreign students, that is, students that do not have their residence in B.C. A little while ago, I put a question on the Order Paper, number 81, "Mr. Price asked the Honourable Minister the following questions: 1. Are students attending universities in British Columbia who are nonresidents of British Columbia? 2. If the answer to number one is yes, what number of nonresidents in British Columbia are from other Canadian Provinces and how many from other countries? 3. Do students nonresident to British Columbia pay a higher student fee than resident students and, if so, what is the difference?" The answer to the question as to how many, indicates that there are 1,892 students from other Canadian Provinces and 1,751 students from other countries, out of a total of 30,269 students. The answer to the question as to whether they pay a higher fee is no.
Now, Mr. Speaker, if our students go from British Columbia to almost any other jurisdiction in the world, the foreign student has to pay a higher fee. I don't think this is a fair deal. I think that if a student is going to come into this Province and take advantage of the education which we offer here, and don't forget that every student in university costs this Government over $3,000 a year and the student at best only pays 18.7 per cent of the cost, it seems to me that it is not a fair thing to the B.C. taxpayer to load up 13 per cent of the total number of university students with those coming from outside of the Province or outside the country when they are not paying one cent extra towards getting this education. I don't think that's a fair deal.
Another item, Mr. Speaker, which I think has some importance. On November 27, there was a feature article in the Vancouver Province and the headline said, "A Threat to Mud Bay Habitat." Anybody around the lower mainland knows that Boundary Bay has been a great waterfowl resting place. It's a habitat for many, many thousands of birds and the need for conservation of this area has been recognized and it's been talked about. It was even talked about long before the Social Credit ever became Government. The article which appeared in the Province indicates that this area may be lost through the fact that a very small area, 145 acres, was Crown-granted in 1924. Although it has been lying idle and, for all intents and purposes, part of the mudflats ever since that time, evidently, now, it is being offered for sale. I'll read a little part of this article. It says, "If this land goes into commercial use it could mean the loss of a key habitat, the end of a major wintering waterfowl population numbering into the hundreds of thousands. On November 12, the Federal Wildlife Service Area Survey showed 32,000 ducks in Boundary Bay. A preceding count showed a count of 20,000 birds of different species."
I wrote to the Minister of Lands, Forests, and Water Resources, at the time this article appeared, and I had this reply. "My Department has no jurisdiction over the development of privately-owned lands within the corporate boundaries of a municipality and the responsibility for regional planning and zoning and the issuance of building permits rest entirely with the municipality." I talked to the Mayor of Surrey and told him I was quite concerned and I thought it would be a great loss if this area were zoned for any other purpose other than for wild life and the Mayor of Surrey agreed. He pointed out that, because there was no overall plan, his municipality might have a hard job turning down any development programmes. I can't help agreeing with him.
I do feel, Mr. Speaker, that this is something in which the Government should take an interest. I think that there should be a definite survey made and a decision made as to whether or not Boundary Bay is going to remain as a waterfowl habitat. Unless it is done very soon, it certainly will be too late. If even 145 acres of this area is allowed to be developed its value to wildlife from then on is almost entirely destroyed. I don't know what it would cost to buy up that 145 acres but I think it would be a drop in the bucket compared to what the value of that waterfowl area is. You don't need to expropriate it. There is nothing to stop you buying it and paying a fair price for it. But if you wait too long, the development will start and you will be too late. If you're going to do anything to conserve this area now is the time to do it. This is something which I very highly recommend to the Provincial Government. The municipality cannot do very much, in itself, because it can only work within its own boundaries and it is very difficult for these other municipalities to work with each other. Don't ask me why but it's a fact. The only source of authority lies with the Provincial Government. I only hope this is one thing that they will take a look at and do something about, before it's too late.
While I am speaking on this subject which concerns government and municipalities, I've spoken about this many times, I think there is a great need to conserve the food-growing areas of the Fraser Valley. This area is being urbanized very rapidly and we're told that between now and the year 2000, there's going to be perhaps 2 million people. If we do have 2 million people in that area, I'd like to know where you're going to grow food. If you think you can replace this area anywhere else within a hundred miles of Vancouver, it just can't be done because it's not available. They are not making any more ground like that. I don't think a study has been made of this. It's not a job for an individual, it's not a job for a municipality, but I think, again, it's something the Government could make a start on. A lot of these high-production areas have already gone and, if we're going to save any of it and, believe me, as the population increases, it's going to be needed, again, the time to start is right now.
Mr. Speaker, in British Columbia last year, there were 114,420 trailer licenses taken out. I don't know how many, but I would presume about 40,000 of these were trailers in
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which people can live. It's a fact that 45 per cent of the new homes acquired in the United States last year were mobile homes. If they are on the move, they are going to need a place to stop. This is a need that private enterprise can't fill. I would recommend that the Department of Parks try to make sure that we have more areas within a hundred miles of Vancouver where people can stop with trailers and spend some time. As it is, it is very difficult to get off the road within a hundred miles of Vancouver. If any of you are conversant with this area, you know that what I am saying is right. Trailers are going to be on the move and I think we should try to be prepared for them.
We have heard a great deal, even in the last little while, on the subject of rent control and I think the best solution to rent control is to have more homes for rent or more suites for rent. The two go together. This is the only way to overcome that problem. I have a clipping here from the Province, January 16, in which it says, "Landlords Put the Bite on Pension Hike," and this is to what I particularly wish my few words to apply at this time. It appears that landlords can be pretty ruthless when it comes down to taking away any increases that pensioners may have. I notice that this article points out, and this is datelined Ottawa, it says, "MP's and Federal welfare officials are sure the problem will get much worse after April 1, when the maximum $23.59 monthly increase in the old age pensions comes into effect for the neediest senior citizens."
I don't know what the B.C. Government can do but, if we ask ourselves the question, should the landlords be able to grab this increase from the pensioners, I think the answer is no. If the answer is no, why can't we do something about it? It may be a Federal problem, but none of the pensioners can prove that the rent increases are because of the announced rise in the old age pension, but Federal welfare officials say past experience suggests this is definitely the case. When John Munro, Minister of National Health and Welfare, was asked about this possibility he replied, "We can only hope they won't do it. Perhaps public reaction will force them not to." Well, it has been the experience of Government that public reaction does not stop landlords from doing this, I only hope, Mr. Speaker, that, somehow or other, our Government will step in, if necessary, and make sure that the few extra dollars that pensioners are going to get from the Government are not going to be stolen from them by ruthless landlords.
While I'm talking about older people, just a word on intermediate care. I have appealed, for a great many years in this House, for further action to take care of people who need chronic care. Many people have discussed this in the House. The need is there, whether they can afford it or not. I think the question is just one of where to get the money. Our suggestions have come in as to where to get the money. One of them is from advertising, which I think has some merits. I think perhaps the best place to get money for intermediate care would be from an addition to the succession duty. It is for people who are old and, for the greatest part, it is the elderly people who need this care. There is no reason why all the older people in this country can't share some of this cost. I feel, myself, that this would probably be the best place to place the tax burden.
Extended care has been a great boon in this Province and for those who are able to take advantage of it, they certainly thank this Government for what they have done. The trouble is there are just too few beds and the only way to get more beds is to have some source of more money with which to build them (interruption). Obviously the settlers wouldn't go anywhere with this problem, my friend. There is only one way that help can come and that's through further participation by the Federal Government.
While I'm talking about care, I think, too, Mr. Speaker, that, sooner or later, dental treatment must become part of the B.C. Medical Plan. I only hope that our Minister of Health Services will continue to press Ottawa to share in this very much needed service. We can't go it alone. We can't carry the rest of the Provinces but it is certainly needed and I think it's bound to come.
We've had considerable discussion in this House about inoculation for measles or rubella. The seriousness to a child from an afflicted mother is certainly well known. Unless the mother is protected, very often a physical or mental defect can occur. 1, personally, know of several very tragic cases of this kind. When this vaccine was first publicized, I wrote to the Premier and I wrote to the Minister, and I suggested that this was one thing which should be given attention, and, if possible, inoculate everybody. It would be advantageous to this Province. If it's safe and sure, I think every child in the Province should be treated. I don't think cost is a factor. It's a funny thing that when I hear some of our people discussing, as they have, whether or not a half unit, or a whole unit should be used ... I can remember this became a question during the 1969 election and I phoned the Deputy Minister of Health in Victoria and the information that he gave me, at that time, was that from their experience and their observations in other States and Provinces even one eighth of a dose was sufficient to inoculate a child satisfactorily. The only reason they didn't use such a small quantity was because the doctors were unable to successfully measure that small amount, so they used a half a unit. When you consider that the retail price of a unit is only $2, the price of whether a half unit or a whole unit is used is so infinitesimal it's not even worth talking about. This is one thing I think should be gone ahead with as quickly as possible to make sure that every child in the Province is properly protected against measles, or rubella.
We have had a lot of discussion in this House about an ombudsman. There has been a great many people advocating this, mostly from amongst Opposition Members. In Vancouver, a few months ago, they held a long discussion on this and they had people from all over the world discussing the value of an ombudsman. One of the things that I noticed from the speech made by the ombudsman, himself, in New Brunswick, was that he outlined the procedures which he used. He said that the most important thing that he had was access to documents of a government office. He said that if he found that something should be changed, some action of a government office should be changed, he was able to talk to them, discuss the matter and try to get it changed. If the office wouldn't do anything, he could go to the Minister. If the Minister couldn't do anything, or wouldn't do anything, he could go to the Cabinet. If the Cabinet couldn't do anything, he could go to the Legislature. This strikes me as a little bit strange because we've heard our Premier and other people say that, in this Province, we have 55 ombudsman and as a result of what I have read on the history of these ombudsman in other places where they are I think we're right back to where we stand in this House. There's very little difference. It looks to me as though we would be just setting up another legal office that wouldn't do anything but cost more money (interruption). Well, you read that report. You have a copy of it. Read it and use your own judgement.
Another item, Mr. Speaker, is the question of the use of
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drugs, which has been brought up as subject matter in this House. This $25 million fund, which will supply money to treat tobacco, drugs and alcohol abuse, I think is a most valuable thing. I certainly commend the Government for putting up $25 million so that the interest on this can be used continuously. One thing I would like to point out, and this is based from my own observations, and I can tell you frankly that I don't know anything about drugs, that is, narcotics, as are used by addicts ... I've met some of them. I've talked to parents of many, but from my own experience I don't know very much about it. But I do question trying to treat addicts with a million-dollar treatment. I think the Government might take a very serious lesson from what has happened at Matsqui, where they spent, I think, $7 or $8 million to build a building, and how many million dollars since, I don't know, but they have pretty well given up the idea of being able to successfully rehabilitate people at that institution.
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable Member will realize he is anticipating certain material that is on the Order Paper.
MR. PRICE: I don't think Matsqui and the treatment they have failed in becomes a part of the subject matter that's on the Order Paper. I'm going to go a little further and I am sure that this is actually not a point about anything that's on the Order Paper. Mr. Speaker, if I do encroach, I will very quickly stop.
There is an organization in British Columbia, that has been working with addicts. The Minister will recognize this little organization for he has helped them. Undoubtedly, there is a great need for this type of service. This little service is going to be lost unless more Government money is put into it, because we all recognize that the use of drugs is so prevalent and so serious that, in the United States, there are many thousands of people with private money who would be glad to take anybody who has had any degree of success in treating addicts and rehabilitating them, they will gladly take them away from here. I only hope that when this fund is used ...
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable Member is encroaching on the bill that's before the House. I would ask him now to change his subject.
MR. PRICE: There will be lots more time. That's quite all right.
I am going to move on to rapid transit. I think the Government, or somebody in Hydro, perhaps, should be recognized with a great deal of appreciation from the lower mainland, when they indicate they are going to permit a rapid transit authority, if they so wish, to take over the transit system. The question is whether or not a $2 million subsidy is going to be sufficient to enable a local transit authority to carry on. This is something that worries me because, undoubtedly, if rapid transit is going to be a success, it must spread out. If it's going to spread out, it's going to cost more money. It has been a fact, for a generation, that the transit system, within the city boundaries, has not been a loser and, if a loser, not a very big one. It's in the areas of North Vancouver and Richmond and the outside areas where the person who rides the bus puts into the box just half of what it costs. There is no doubt the Regional District Council has put in a great deal of effort to try to come up with some solution on rapid transit. I think that poor service has been a big factor in the transit system losing money. I'm inclined to think that the buses will never pay for their own cost of operation but on the other hand, unless we have public transit in the lower mainland, a lot of people are going to suffer.
It's a great credit that Hydro will open the door and let a local transit system have a look at it and see what they can do. I think the area will have to make up its mind that it is going to take a loss. If the public wants rapid transit, it's going to have to pay for it and, whether they pay for it through local taxes in the lower mainland area as a whole, or whether it's going to be paid through Hydro or whether it is going to be a subsidy from a Provincial Government, it really doesn't make too much difference. I think that it is going to cost a great deal of money in any case.
Just another little thing, Mr. Speaker, and I'm not too sure that this is something that should be discussed here but it does have some bearing on Government responsibility. I spoke a little while ago about the serious mistake that I think the Federal Government made when they refused to permit the B.C. Government to take part in putting up money in a British Columbia bank. When the Federal Government refused to allow the B.C. Bank, as such, to go into operation, a Bank of British Columbia was started by public subscription and there is no doubt that the Government has done its best to encourage people to put money into shares. I don't know how many small shareholders there would be in that bank, but I think there must be several thousand people that have less than ten shares. Many of them were older people and, of course, they put up their $25 a share. Since that time the banking business has been imminently successful. Banks have been able to make ... not one bank, but I think all banks, have been able to make more money than they ever have before in the history of banking.
The fact that is so disturbing to me is that shares which the little shareholders paid $25 for, they can only recover, today, around $19. This is something which I can't understand. The reason I worry about it is because I am quite sure that many of these people put money into it because they felt they were encouraging the Province of British Columbia.
I would advise anybody to hang on to them. Certainly. The problem though is that so many of these people are reaching a period in life when they can't hang on to them any longer. This is what worries me. I don't think it is a very satisfactory situation.
Mr. Speaker, I think I will reserve anything that I have for the estimates. Thank you very much.
The House adjourned at 10: 07 p.m.