1974 Legislative Session: 4th Session, 30th Parliament
The following electronic version is for informational purposes
The printed version remains the official version.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 1974
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Possible breach of conduct by ICBC official.
Mr. McClelland — 301
Mr. Speaker — 301
Inaccuracy of Ministerial statements.
Mr. D.A. Anderson — 301
Mr. Speaker — 302
British Columbia Public Trustee Act (Bill 34). Mr. Bennett.
Introduction and first reading — 302
ICBC negotiations with auto-body shops. Mr. Curtis — 303
ICBC rates for government vehicles. Mr. Bennett — 303
Remuneration to Paul Sabatino. Mr. McGeer — 303
Minister's advice to constituents re purchase of insurance from MVB. Mr. Phillips — 303
Changes in ICBC rates. Mrs. Jordan — 304
Closure of Squamish Highway. Mr. L.A. Williams — 304
Amalgamation of greater Victoria municipalities.
Mr. Wallace — 304
Government contribution to "Save the Orpheum Fund."
Mr. Gardom — 305
Agent Sharpe's hiring to ICBC. Mr. D.A. Anderson — 305
Reimbursement to committee chairmen. Mr. Phillips — 305
Agent Sharpe's hiring to ICBC. Mr. McGeer — 306
Mineral Royalties Act (Bill 31). Hon. Mr. Nimsick.
Introduction and first reading — 306
Budget debate (continued)
Hon. Mr. Cocke — 306
Mr. Schroeder — 314
Hon. Mr. Lauk — 322
Mr. Calder — 326
Possible breach of conduct by ICBC official.
Mr. Speaker's ruling — 336
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 1974
The House met at 2 p.m.
MR. R.H. McCLELLAND (Langley): Mr. Speaker, I'd like to raise a matter of personal privilege with regard to what I consider to be a breach of conduct by a highly paid official of a public corporation, a Crown corporation. In the matter of Mr. Gordon Root, Vice-President of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Your point of personal privilege, before you proceed, appears to have something to do with a matter outside this chamber. I think before you relate this further you must examine, I hope, whether what you're asking is to do with some matter that has taken place in this chamber in which your rights have been any way infringed.
MR. McCLELLAND: Mr. Speaker, I believe that it has; it had to do with something that happened in this chamber yesterday. And it has to do with a public official with a Crown corporation of the Province of British Columbia, who I believe is guilty of misconduct against a Member of this assembly.
Mr. Speaker, in this morning's Province newspaper, in quotes related to question period in this House yesterday, the vice-president in charge of public relations for the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia is quoted as calling a Member of this assembly "a cheap, two-bit politician." I feel that there's no cause by any member, particularly in such a highly placed position, of a public Crown corporation to malign any elected official who is only attempting to ensure that the public funds of this province are expended in a correct manner, and that there are no conflicts of interest among any member of a public body of this province.
Mr. Speaker, I believe that the very least I can ask is that the Minister responsible demand a public apology from the vice-president of that Crown corporation and, perhaps, because it's such a serious breach of conduct, such a serious misconduct, that vice-president should be asked to resign.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!
MR. McCLELLAND: Mr. Speaker, I think this has been a very serious breach of personal privilege.
MR. SPEAKER: First of all, before we go on to debate the matter in any way, I think it is the duty of the Speaker, as I understand it, to examine into the point that is raised by any Hon. Member, and after careful scrutiny of the point come to a determination whether it is in his view a matter of privilege that would require the intervention of the House without further delay. That is the purpose of the Speaker looking at the issue, because you can always put a motion on the order paper which in due course may or may not be called at some time in the future.
The purpose of the Speaker looking at this question is to determine whether it's of instant priority that should require it to be considered by the House. Naturally, when anybody raises a point of order of this kind, or point of privilege, I would like to determine it accurately in accordance with parliamentary rules and parliamentary law. So I would reserve the question for study and report back to the House as expeditiously as possible, if that will satisfy the House for the moment.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON (Victoria): Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point that did occur in this chamber, and I would like to explain the facts of this to the House. Mr. Speaker, I am rising on a point of personal privilege affecting all Members of this House. During the question period yesterday, in response to questions by me, two Ministers of the Crown made statements to this Legislature which are demonstrably inaccurate. I feel that provision of inaccurate material to this House by Ministers breaches the privileges of this House and each of its Members. To be specific, Mr. Speaker, in response to my question, the Minister of Transport and Communications (Hon. Mr. Strachan) said — and I apologize for the length:
Here are the facts with regard to the appointment of insurance agents: Approximately 45 agents for one reason or another have dropped out of Autoplan since obtaining designation last year, leaving a total of 830 private-agency firms and their staff supplemented by Motor Vehicle Branch and government agents personnel. While this is a relatively small attrition rate, nevertheless the Insurance Agents Association of B.C. did express concern to the ICBC board of directors about it. The board subsequently gave authority to Autoplan's management, not to the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles, to appoint new agents, but only if they were qualified to handle general or automobile insurance as licensed by E.T. Cantell, Superintendent of Insurance, on the basis of his examinations.
Mr. Speaker, I took this statement to mean the decision was taken upon recommendation of the Insurance Agents Association. This view was confirmed when the Hon. Minister of Health (Hon. Mr. Cocke) in answer to a question from me said:
When on the recommendations of the Agents Association, which said that there would not be enough of them to do the job, they came to us at the end of the year indicating quite clearly they just couldn't handle it, the ICBC at that time made a decision to expand the number of agents who would
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Mr. Speaker, there can be no question as to the meaning of these two statements. Both these statements, unfortunately, are not true. This morning on CJOR, the President of the Insurance Agents Association of British Columbia, Mr. Jack Hamilton, was asked by Mr. Webster whether representations to increase the number of agents had been made to ICBC by the association. Mr. Hamilton replied: "No, we did not, none whatsoever."
I subsequently contacted Mr. Hamilton by telephone to confirm this statement. He confirmed it without reservation. He told me that the Agents Association had expressed concern to ICBC that 46 agents had dropped out because they did not think they could handle the heavy ICBC paperwork load. But Mr. Hamilton said his association does not believe there are too few agents and had not recommended expanding the number of ICBC agents.
Mr. Speaker, it is clear that two Ministers have made inaccurate statements to this Legislature. I believe that unless these two Ministers are willing to withdraw immediately those statements and apologize to this House, they should be censured for breaching the privileges of every Member of this House. If they are not prepared to take that step, I propose to introduce a motion asking that a Select Committee on Privileges be established and that this question be referred to it.
MR. SPEAKER: I think one of the rules of the House is found at page 148 and is adopted both by the House in Ottawa and by this assembly, as it was from the original House of Parliament. It is shown in Beauchesne at page 148 that a Member must not impugn the accuracy of information conveyed to the House by a Minister.
If you wish to impugn the accuracy of the information supplied to you, under the rules of the House the proper course is to put a motion on the order paper where you state what you state to be a fact and which the House can deal with in proper form at the proper time — and not during question period.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Mr. Speaker, as I understand by the motion put last year by the Hon. Attorney-General (Hon. Mr. Macdonald), no notice of such a motion is required. I therefore move, seconded by the Hon. First Member for Vancouver–Point Grey (Mr. McGeer), that this House....
MR. SPEAKER: I quite disagree with your interpretation of the rule.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: In which case, Mr. Speaker, I'll be happy to put it on the order paper, but reading the statement made by the Hon. Attorney-General, I believe in I'm sorry I don't have the date of that exact statement, but reading that, it was clear that that motion of his was put on without notice.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Well, Mr. Speaker, I think that this is the type of matter that should be cleared up, as the Ministers apparently are unwilling to apologize for inaccurate statements.
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: I ask leave, Mr. Speaker, to make a motion.
Leave not granted.
MR. SPEAKER: There is some dispute on that, so the matter goes on the order paper if you wish to pursue it.
HON. D. BARRETT (Premier): Mr. Speaker, I ask the House to welcome three mayors from a lower mainland constituency.
AN HON. MEMBER: It's not question period yet. (Laughter.)
HON. MR. BARRETT: I would like to welcome that Member back to the House, along with Mayor Tonn of Coquitlam, Mayor Campbell of Port Coquitlam and Mayor Hall of Port Moody.
HON. A.B. MACDONALD (Attorney-General): Mr. Speaker, I notice in the gallery a former MLA of this House, Dr. McDiarmid, who is now a reformed character practising medicine, and we wish him a welcome to this House.
HON. W.S. KING (Minister of Labour): Mr. Speaker, we have in the gallery today two visitors from the City of Revelstoke, Mr. Fred Beruschi and his son-in-law, Jim Stewart. I would ask the House to join me in welcoming them.
MR. D.F. LOCKSTEAD (Mackenzie): We have with us today, Mr. Speaker, Mayor Jack Pinder of Powell River. I ask the House to join me in welcoming him.
Introduction of bills.
On a motion by Mr. Bennett, Bill 34, British Columbia Public Trustee Act, introduced, read a first
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time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
WITH AUTO-BODY SHOPS
MR. H.A. CURTIS (Saanich and the Islands): To the Minister of Transport and Communications in regard to ICBC: would the Minister tell the House what progress has been made to date, or if in fact settlement has been reached, with the majority of auto-body shops in the province, to take effect after March 1 this year?
HON. R.M. STRACHAN (Minister of Transport and Communications): I'd have to check on the current state. I told you the other day that a further meeting had taken place, but I've had no further information.
MR. CURTIS: Mr. Speaker, when are we going to get some straightforward answers to questions put to this Minister with respect to ICBC? Every day it's notice, notice, notice!
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! May I point out to the Hon. Members that several questions have been asked in this House that I find are on the order paper. You have to make your mind up whether the question is urgent and important, or not.
That is not a proper question. The Hon. Leader of the Opposition is next.
MR. CURTIS: It's sheer arrogance!
HON. MR. STRACHAN: Oh, don't be stupid. I told you I would check. I've had no report since the other day.
FOR GOVERNMENT VEHICLES
MR. W.R. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition): To the Hon. Minister of Transport and Communications: have the provincial government and the ICBC negotiated a rate for provincial government vehicles?
HON. MR. STRACHAN: It is my understanding that they have. It's a fleet rate for the whole group. I couldn't tell you what it is.
MR. BENNETT: A supplemental, Mr. Minister: has the provincial government then already paid for this insurance, as the public has been advised to do?
HON. MR. STRACHAN: I couldn't tell you that, either.
MR. BENNETT: Mr. Minister, do you have any figures on how many vehicles are to be insured from the provincial government to ICBC?
HON. MR. STRACHAN: All government vehicles, I understand.
MR. J.R. CHABOT (Columbia River): How many? Who told you that?
REMUNERATION TO PAUL SABATINO
MR. P.L. McGEER (Vancouver–Point Grey): To the Minister of Transport and Communications. Would the Minister tell us what will be the remuneration for the defeated NDP candidate for Point Grey, Mr. Paul Sabatino, in his newly appointed capacity with the Motor Transport Carriers' Commission?
HON. MR. STRACHAN: If the Member wants to check the order-in-council which was passed some time ago, it's whatever that rate was; I couldn't tell you what it is. It is a per diem, and it was set out in the order-in-council. I think it was last October.
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Questions that relate to matters of public record are not to be asked in question period. It is a well-known rule.
MR. McGEER: A supplementary question: could the Minister tell us if there are any defeated NDP candidates that haven't yet been looked after by the government? (Laughter.)
MINISTER'S ADVICE TO CONSTITUENTS
RE PURCHASE OF INSURANCE FROM MVB
MR. D.M. PHILLIPS (South Peace River): Another question has intervened in the meantime, so I'm unable to ask my supplemental question, so I'll go on with a question in the same vein to the Minister of Transport and Communications and ICBC. I'd like the Minister to tell me if it is true that he is advising NDP constituents to buy their insurance from the Motor Vehicle Branch to save the 9 per cent commission that has to be paid to the local private individual agents.
MR. SPEAKER: I am still puzzled how you can ask a question at large without being sure of the facts yourself that there is a question there. I think this is something the House has to consider.
MR. PHILLIPS: Well, if I was sure of the facts I
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wouldn't ask the question! I'm asking the Minister if he has advised these people to buy their insurance from the Motor Vehicle Branch rather than private agents. I'm seeking information. That's the purpose of question period.
HON. MR. STRACHAN: I have advised many people to go see their agent. I may have advised some to go to Motor Vehicles, but I don't make a practice of telling people. I may have told people to go to the Motor Vehicle Branch, but not in relation to the 9 per cent. I have also told people to go see their agents — hundreds of them.
MR. PHILLIPS: But you haven't advised people to buy from the Motor Vehicle Branch to save the 9 per cent commission that has to be paid to the private agents.
HON. MR. STRACHAN: I said I may have.
MR. PHILLIPS: Oh, you may have.
HON. MR. STRACHAN: I may have told some people, but I have also advised hundreds of them to go see their agents. It depends on the circumstances of the individual and the question he puts to me.
MR. PHILLIPS: Oh, I'm sorry. But you may have advised some to go to the Motor Vehicle Branch to save the commission. That's just what you said!
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!
MR. PHILLIPS: That's just what I'm trying to clarify, if I heard it properly!
HON. MR. STRACHAN: As usual, you didn't have your hearing aid turned up right.
MR. PHILLIPS: And I hope that Hansard isn't changed in the answer!
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I point out again the need for the questioner to know what he is talking about when he asks a question, so that it isn't at large and it is not, in effect, contradicted as a statement of fact. That's what it says in Beauchesne, and I presume it means something.
CHANGES IN ICBC RATES
MRS. P.J. JORDAN (North Okanagan): I hope I may have an answer from the same Minister, the Minister of Transport and Communications. I would ask him how many changes in rates have been made since ICBC first made its rate structure public?
MR. SPEAKER: Is that on the order paper?
HON. MR. STRACHAN: I'm not sure whether it is on the order paper or not, but I would have to take that as notice. If you've been reading the press reports, they have all been made public.
MRS. JORDAN: A supplementary to the Minister: do you anticipate any more rate changes before the March 1 deadline, and are you going to pay interest on the overpayments made to ICBC on those 48 rate changes?
HON. MR. STRACHAN: I don't contemplate any further changes. With regard to the question of interest, as I recollect I told someone the other day, I will take a look at it.
MR. SPEAKER: Does the Minister of Highways have something he wishes to report back to the House?
AN HON. MEMBER: No! It's question period.
MR. L.A. WILLIAMS (West Vancouver-Howe Sound): Maybe we could have a special question period just for ICBC.
CLOSURE OF SQUAMISH HIGHWAY
MR. L.A. WILLIAMS: A question for the Hon. Minister of Highways: could the Minister indicate whether or not a decision has been made with respect to scheduling the closure of the Squamish Highway for redecking?
HON. G.R. LEA (Minister of Highways): There has no decision been made so far.
GREATER VICTORIA MUNICIPALITIES
MR. G.S. WALLACE (Oak Bay): Has the Minister of Municipal Affairs or his staff met with elected municipal officials from Victoria, Oak Bay and Saanich to discuss amalgamation of these three municipalities?
HON. J.G. LORIMER (Minister of Municipal Affairs): We met in the fall, but it also included Sidney, North Saanich, Central Saanich, Langford, Colwood, View Royal and Esquimalt, discussing possibilities of future political alignment in the areas. There has been no meeting this year, and I guess that's about what you wanted to know.
MR. WALLACE: Could I ask a supplemental
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question? Will the Minister state whether the wishes of area residents will be determined by referendum or otherwise prior to such decisions?
HON. MR. LORIMER: No, there will be no referendum. When the decisions are reached, or suggestions made, there will be a vote of the people.
TO "SAVE THE ORPHEUM FUND"
MR. G.B. GARDOM (Vancouver–Point Grey): A question to the Premier, Mr. Speaker. I would ask the Hon. Premier if the government is intending to contribute to "Save the Orpheum Fund?" And if so, how much?
HON. MR. BARRETT: Mr. Member, I thank you for that question and I take it as notice.
MR. GARDOM: A supplemental, Mr. Speaker. Could I ask the same question to the Minister of Finance? Maybe we'll get a more clear answer.
HON. MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, I have just consulted with the Minister of Finance, and he informs me that he'll take it as notice as well. (Laughter.)
MR. GARDOM: You two fellows get along too well.
HON. MR. BARRETT: We've been sleeping together for a long time.
HIRING TO ICBC
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Mr. Speaker, may I ask the Minister of Health if he was aware that Mr. Don Sharpe's application for accreditation as an ICBC agent had been rejected when the Minister made representations on his behalf to the corporation?
HON. D.G. COCKE (Minister of Health): Mr. Speaker, I wasn't particularly aware of anything other than the fact that a good insurance agent that I'd known for 20 years came and asked me to recommend him.
What's all this about? What a nonsensical...
Mr. Speaker, that man was a licensed insurance agent for 20 years. And this man over here suggests that there's something bad about recommending a man with a good reputation in the business — one recommendation that I couldn't make for a number of people across the floor.
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I can't take any imputation from the question because if it were an imputation it would be out of order.
HON. MR. COCKE: I'm serious.
HON. L.T. NIMSICK (Minister of Mines and Petroleum Resources): Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a message....
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Would the Hon. Minister hold the message. I have just been informed that there's five minutes left on the question period and I wouldn't want the Members to be deprived of this.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: As I was on my feet when I was so rudely interrupted, may I ask the Minister of Health whether his previous answer was, no, he was unaware that Mr. Don Sharpe had been rejected by ICBC when he, the Minister, made representations on his behalf? Was the Minister unaware or aware of the rejection?
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Yes or no. Yes or no.
HON. MR. COCKE: Don't give me that "yes or no" stuff over there. You know, I'm so fed up with that opposition and their smear tactics, Mr. Speaker. I'll answer the question the way you ask it.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Well, go ahead.
HON. MR. COCKE: The fact of the matter is that I can't even remember whether I did or not.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!
HON. MR. COCKE: Just a minute! We were expanding the number and I would recommend him again and again, just like I told you yesterday, Mr. Member, and I'll tell that man over there, or anybody else that wants to jump up on this straw-man, phony issue.
MR. SPEAKER: The question period is only 15 minutes.
REIMBURSEMENT TO COMMITTEE CHAIRMEN
MR. PHILLIPS: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question to the Provincial Secretary. In so doing I would like to refer to order-in-council No. 523, constitution, which has to deal with special allowances re: reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses for the select standing committees of the Legislative Assembly.
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I understand from phoning your office, Mr. Provincial Secretary, that part of this was a $500 reimbursement for the chairman of the agricultural committee, sitting in between sessions. What I would like to know is: I was under the impression that...
MR. SPEAKER: Order.
MR. PHILLIPS: ...the chairmen of select standing committees were to get a $1,000 a year.
MR. PHILLIPS: I've been recognized; what's the matter?
HON. MS. YOUNG (Minister of Consumer Services): He has it. Why is he standing?
MR. SPEAKER: Is the Hon. Member standing on a point of order?
MR. PHILLIPS: I would like to know if this is a new policy.
HON. MR. KING: He's behind his microphone and the Speaker can't see him.
MR. SPEAKER: I've already recognized this Hon. Member. I can't have two of you being recognized at once.
I'm sorry, Hon. Members; there seems to be a question of who's holding the floor right now. Proceed with your question, please, and we'll recognize the Hon. Member for Point Grey following this question.
MR. PHILLIPS: Did the Provincial Secretary hear my question? Would the Provincial Secretary outline to me what the policy is?
HON. E. HALL (Provincial Secretary): Mr. Speaker, the order-in-council refers to the Constitution Act. If the Member reads the Constitution Act he'll find that he'll be able to satisfy himself.
MR. SPEAKER: Matters that are of public record can be studied in public record.
HIRING TO ICBC
MR. McGEER: I'll ask a different question of a different Minister related to the subject. I'd like to ask the Minister of Transport whether he was aware that his executive assistant had also made representations to the ICBC on behalf of Mr. Donald Sharpe.
HON. MR. STRACHAN: I was not aware that he made any recommendation to ICBC with regard to Mr. Sharpe. But I would like to answer a question that was asked yesterday by the Member for Saanich and the Islands (Mr. Curtis). I'm sorry I couldn't answer it earlier because it wasn't in my pinks.
MR. SPEAKER: Order. Was this a matter that...?
HON. MR. STRACHAN: I have notice, yes. The question wasn't in my pinks and I had to send down and get the question. It had to do with whether or not ICBC was having a survey to determine approximately how many motorists have not yet taken out their insurance for the forthcoming insurance year. I checked this morning and the answer is no.
MR. McGEER: Mr. Speaker, a supplementary question.
MR. SPEAKER: The timekeeper says he's on time.
Hon. Mr. Nimsick presents a message from His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor: a bill intituled Mineral Royalties Act.
Bill 31 introduced, read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
Orders of the day.
ON THE BUDGET
HON. D.G. COCKE (Minister of Health): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased and happy to rise in this debate to the budget, representing not only the Department of Health but also the constituency of New Westminster.
I am more than pleased in that I can stand in a House where I can be proud to be a Member of this side of the House supporting a budget, at long last, that's for people: no tax increases, Mr. Speaker, but resource grants for people; elderly citizens rental grants for people; housing for our citizens; municipal aid — and I think we can talk a little more about that later — farmers assistance; ferries assistance; education way up; health services improved as a result of the budget; more beds, more services and human resources. The really big aspect of this budget is that aspect that deals with people's problems.
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Sometimes one wonders when one sees some of the antics in this chamber. I was very proud to be elected to this House. Sometimes, watching some of the tactics, you wonder whether or not it was all in vain, until you get to review the things that have been going on since August, 1972 — where there have been priorities, real priorities.
You know there's a bunch of newcomers over there, Mr. Speaker, that don't really know what was happening in here. They have an idea. They got a little of the propaganda and it sold them on a party. But, Mr. Speaker, this isn't propaganda; this is real stuff that comes out of this budget. So I am proud that this side of the House recognizes where the priorities are. And we'll go on recognizing where the priorities are despite all that carping and rather frivolous things that come even from those beautiful Liberals from time to time.
MR. G.B. GARDOM (Vancouver–Point Grey): Give us one.
HON. MR. COCKE: And Ray Eddy, God love him, he was a great man.
HON. MR. COCKE: That's right, he still is.
Mr. Speaker, there's been a great deal of discussion of recent days, months and weeks about the Foulkes Report. Discussion, and I think that's the key word, discussion, has come out of the fact that there's been a Foulkes Report and some of the areas that the Foulkes Report discusses. That's exactly what we wanted to happen. That's why we called for the report, because people are more interested in health services, are given an opportunity to broaden their knowledge of health services — and there will be public discussion for some time to come.
Some people, certainly not many in this House, I'm sure, are inadvisedly throwing out the baby with the bath water. They see one particular recommendation that doesn't suit their fancy. They see one particular area where they feel there's a little bit of doubt, so they say: "Down with the Foulkes Report. Let's crucify Foulkes or the Health department or somebody else" — as a result of something that's in there.
I suggest to you that the Foulkes Report, used properly, can do a great deal for this province in not only informing but in giving us an opportunity to really get together at the professional level and at the community level and discuss questions of health. I think on that basis the report is to my liking because of the fact that it is stimulating the very kinds of things that I want to see happen in the Province of B.C.
Mr. Speaker, there have been a number of reports on the delivery of health care. Remember there was the Hall Commission report; there was the Castonguay report; and there was the Hastings report. Each of these reports had its own thrust and its own contribution. The Foulkes Report, or the Report on the Health Security for British Columbians, has provided us with a tremendous amount of important material. Research has been done and is available to assist us in the decision-making process. There are seven volumes of back-up material; seven volumes of material that has come in from professionals, from community boards, from community groups, from any number of sources — information that can be invaluable if used properly.
Doctor Foulkes and his staff at present are assembling the background research material. I believe that it will be a real treasure, a storehouse of material for the future — a storehouse of information for us on which to help us base our decisions.
Mr. Speaker, in 1948 a report was presented which finally saw the light of day in 1952 when it was tabled in the Legislature, this was the Elliot Report — "Health Services and Facilities in British Columbia" it was called. That's the last report we've had on delivery of health care in this province. Since then there have been no reports on delivery.
I notice as a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker — I'm very pleased and proud that he is in the gallery — the author of this report, one of my deputies, Dr. Elliot.
Let me tell you a little bit about the Elliot Report. Look at it today and you'll find it's relatively conservative. But this report was dubbed the "Mein Kampf"...yes, it was dubbed the "Mein Kampf" of medicine at that time by a large section of organized medicine.
HON. MR. COCKE: Well, if you were around, you would have dubbed it that. But you weren't, maybe, so therefore it was too early for you. But the Elliot Report or the "Mein Kampf" was a document that saw a number of areas and gave a number of recommendations. Some of the areas recommended for improvements were: an acceleration of tuberculosis and venereal disease control — shades of 1974; mental health out-patients clinics — that's developing; a division of industrial hygiene; psychiatric facilities in general hospitals; an expansion of certain types of medical-care insurance. That's this kind of a report.
As a matter of fact, it was recommended, way back then that pathology and radiology lab work be a provincial responsibility, and get on with it. But it didn't quite happen that way.
Mr. Speaker, we must handle this new report seriously and let it lead us to some areas of change. You'll notice we promised, and we delivered, that the
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report would be delivered as soon as it was read. It wasn't put in someone's safe or dealt with otherwise; it was released.
I think releasing it is in keeping with my pledge to get the people involved in decisions — get the public involved. I say to the public: it's your report; it's a public document. Let's get on with the job of improving health care in the Province of B.C. Change must come. There has to be more care and there has to be guaranteed quality care for all.
There's also another dimension that has to be very closely monitored — we must get hold of cost escalation. There are some areas here that I think are dealt with to some degree. But we, as people, have to discuss ways and means of doing this. I think that around this we can do it. To do this, in my view, there has to be a real emphasis on prevention — and prevention is also documented.
There'll be a real look at alternatives in this department, especially those alternatives to do with prevention. We've had a lot of co-operation in this area. Recall last fall I announced in the House — as a matter of fact I think I spoke about it briefly in the House — that we had a conference at the Hyatt in Vancouver, or at least in Richmond. That was a very successful conference. We had 300 people there from all walks of life — doctors, nurses, teachers — more teachers I think than any other class of people. But the recreational people and fitness people, they were all involved, and they were really involved. You know, if we had had room we could have had 600 or maybe 1,000 people because there was that much interest in that conference.
I was very pleased at the work that developed. We've set up Action B.C. At the present time we are considering turning over Action B.C. — that is the responsibility for Action B.C. — to the Provincial Secretary's department because that way we can bring in the others. If it's just totally health oriented and health disposed then it might tend to alienate those other people who are so much a part of preventive health care.
As well as that, Mr. Speaker, consulting now on medicare, we have an interprofessional advisory committee, and that profession that is multi-disciplinary...that committee will give us advice as to how we can go to enhance prevention, how we go at enhancing nutrition services, and how we go in enhancing fitness testing, fitness prescription, et cetera.
Probably some of you know that the Premier has already been through a programme of fitness testing. Look at him. He played rugby and despite the fact that Old 30 spent a little time on the ground, I understand it was one of his best games.
Now that I've lost my cabinet post, I can continue on. (Laughter.)
Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of exciting opportunities for us if we really want to take advantage of them. But those exciting opportunities can only come by having the kind of co-operative effort that can only be built up in confidence by working together with the people at the grass roots in the community, with the professions and with those people in the Health department and other government departments. So we're in a process, Mr. Speaker, of looking very closely at a number of areas.
One of the areas that's mentioned in the Foulkes Report is the whole question of the reorganization of the Health department.
We are considering the whole question of reorganization. Most of you know how I felt about reorganization as an opposition critic; most of you know that I have been discussing it. But just to make sure that everybody understands what's going on, we have set up a committee. We don't necessarily agree that you have to go out to the end of the world to find experts. We've set up a committee under Jim Mainguy, the Assistant Deputy in Hospital Insurance, and we have the second-in-charge of each of the departments — that is, the four departments of the Health Branch. We will be bringing in two or three other people to represent the wider range of overview. This committee will be taking a good look at how to reorganize the Health department to provide a better service to the people of the province.
Why are we looking? Well, we feel that we have to much more closely coordinate our activities. We do have, after all, those four separate departments that I've named on so many occasions. But there has to be this better coordination.
I will have doubts, however, and say very clearly that there has been much more co-operation and coordination of late, in that during the last year we have had regular meetings of all of the representatives of each of the groups, at the Deputy's level and at other levels so that we can discuss all the common concerns of health-care delivery. Now we want to go on and we want to find ways of serving even more efficiently — checking on overlapping service, checking on ways of providing our community facilities and services, and checking on ways that we can work more closely.
In the long run we wish to see to it that all health services are working in unison and, further, that they provide back-ups. Because there are very close relationships with other government departments, we want to provide back-ups for other government departments such as Human Resources, Education, Housing, et cetera. So health has a new thrust and a new impetus under this government.
I sense, Mr. Speaker, that people approve. That's what I sense when I get out there and talk to them.
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Well, Mr. Speaker, I'd like to discuss just for a moment or two the area of hospitals. In this area we have continued the priority we set last year. Last year, you will recall, we rescinded the silly 30 per cent reduction in government responsibility for wage increases. That sort of balanced the books; it gave hospitals a chance to actually budget for a change, and now we can get on with the serious business of delivering hospital care. I believe, after travelling around the province as I did, that that was probably one of the best moves we made last year as far as hospitals were concerned.
This year another serious situation developed out of the agreement. Do you remember the agreement that was imposed on the hospital employees union and the B.C. Hospital Association by the late, lamented, infamous mediation commission? That mediation commission imposed an agreement which said that anomalies — note that — could be negotiated during the life of the contract.
Well, Mr. Speaker, what's an anomaly? The anomaly chosen was male-female wage disparity — an excellent choice, but a tough one to deal with during the life of the contract. So what happens? Chaos.
So the disparities were growing between the hospitals after the grievance committees and the arbitration committees met from place to place; then, compounding the chaos, we got human rights complaints. They began to grow and grow. So finally I decided to help stave off complete chaos and so I helped to bring about an across-the-board reasonable increase for females, which we did, with the promise that parity would be reached within reasonable time and with studies of job evaluation procedures. Now, that will become a part of their negotiations in the future, and I understand that this year it was very much a part of their negotiations. So that was the reason that we went that course. I just wanted to make that clear.
The first step we made at that time cost $6 million of hospital insurance money that was paid to hospitals, but at least we were able then to certainly establish the thrust towards wage parity in the male-female situation. Surely, if nothing else, this government represents fair play and we had to go along with that and we were glad to.
Well, Mr. Speaker, presently negotiations of the BCHA and the RNABC are on rocky ground, I understand today from a press report. All I can say as Minister is that I hope this rocky ground will disappear and that the problems will resolve themselves in the near future.
I understand also that HEU (the Hospital Employees Union) and the BCHA have settled their negotiations. I'm not too sure about PARI, the residents' and interns' group. There is some question, I understand.
During the 1973 fall session we passed the Medical Centre of British Columbia Act. A board was appointed on November 8, 1973. Planning is proceeding at a rapid pace. Mr. Speaker, I'm proud of the job that the people that were appointed to that board and the people that they have appointed to their task committees have done.
The Shaughnessy site is to be used as a base for this centre. But don't forget that the centre is not just for the Shaughnessy site; the centre is Vancouver General, G.F. Strong and all of the other facilities that I talked about last fall. But I think that they're going along very, very well and I believe that by the time Jack Christensen gets the reports together we'll be in good shape, because I find that our negotiating teams are very close now to resolving the major issue with the federal government, and that's the takeover of Shaughnessy.
One of the stumbling blocks, as some of you know, was the Burnaby situation — that 198 acres in Burnaby that Burnaby felt should be given to them for the same price that they sold it for in 1945 or whenever it was. Well, I got a petition this morning, oddly enough, from Alderman Stusiak from Burnaby, and it indicated that we'd better help co-operate. Well, we did; we co-operated to the nth degree in that we told Ottawa to take the Burnaby deal out of the question and deal directly with Ottawa. And that's precisely what we did. This is what Burnaby asked us to do and that's precisely what we did.
So the only asset of the George Darby centre that we're negotiating for is the actual physical grounds that the George Darby centre sits on — not the rest of the 198 acres. So I wonder if Alderman Stusiak might get his mailing address straightened around and send this to Ottawa, because he's dealing directly with them. So is the Burnaby city council. This is on their behalf so that's all I wanted to say. But I thought since I got this petition this morning with 1,000 names on it that I'd just like to make that point clear.
Just to deal with hospitals a little bit longer, I'd like to suggest that in 1973 — that's fiscal '73 — payments to hospitals were at a record level. In the current fiscal year, ending March 31, 1974, we spent an estimated $268 million on behalf of hospitalized residents of the province. In the same year we spent $37,046,159 on hospital construction either underway or complete. So that will increase our acute bed numbers by 875 and add 526 extended care.
For any of you that think that to put a new bed on line it doesn't cost money, listen to this. The new service requires an increase of $24 million — not one shot, but each year. That's operating costs. So it does cost, Mr. Speaker.
I understand the Member for Oak Bay's (Mr. Wallace's) real concern over chronic care. He discusses the question intelligently. Mr. Speaker, let me say to the Member for Oak Bay that it takes time and it takes local planning as well. You'll notice that there
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are some areas where there's a great deal of chronic care, particularly in extended care — in other areas, very little.
The impetus has to come, we believe, from local initiative. Therefore, we would be arbitrary if we went over people's heads and suggested: "No, you don't need that; you need this." You know, one place where you have to do that is where it's leaning so hard in one direction, but we hope that we can get areas, districts and so on to go along in the direction of keeping balanced services. I think in that regard we're going at a great rate.
Let me give you an example, however. In the Capital Regional District, there's been real pressure over the last number of years for extended-care beds. There's been a feeling here that there are a lot of chronically ill people. I think this is probably right, so it has been a priority. Therefore, in the last few weeks, as you know, we purchased our second 75-bed private hospital and we've added another 75 beds, which means 225 altogether — 75 beds in Saanich. This brings our count in the Capital Regional District to 861 extended-care beds in this region.
So, Mr. Speaker, according to the forecast, we need exactly 860-odd beds for extended care. This will give us an idea; if we don't meet our needs then we know that our forecasters are forecasting too low. If we more than meet our needs, we know that our forecasters are forecasting too high. But in any event, it certainly will give us an idea as to whether or not the kinds of forecasts we're doing are correct.
Well, Mr. Speaker, as at February 1, 1974, we had 3,184 extended-care beds, compared to 2,773 at the same date last year. That's an increase of 400. Mr. Speaker, we have another 1,324 extended-care beds either under construction or in various stages of planning at the present time. Last year, we provided in extended care over one million days of patient care in extended care — over one million days. That was an increase — listen to this — an increase of 222,000 patient days over 1972. So, Mr. Speaker, I suggest and I contend very strongly that we're not sitting around fiddling; we're going full out.
Mr. Speaker, as you know, we were dealing with some intermediate-care pilot projects. Well, the responsibility for those three intermediate-care facilities has been turned over to BCHIS. We felt that it was the wrong place to have it in Health Services, by virtue of the fact that Health Services deals with community work and BCHIS on the other hand is far more involved in hospitals.
Now these facilities are in Vancouver, Burnaby and Kamloops, and it will create a number of beds for chronically ill; not extended care — intermediate care, the next level down — those who require nursing, but not those who are totally bedridden. BCHIS will manage these units until they're turned over to the communities.
They're setting up the screening process very similar to the extended-care screening procedure, so I think that it's going to be a good opportunity for us to really assess the way to go. Sometimes you're dealing in the dark. Reading over the old standing committee's work last year and sort of putting some of the figures that came out of that work up against some new work that we're doing and actual pilot projects indicates that we have a fair amount to know and a fair amount to learn about this whole question of delivering chronic care.
The one thing I've always said is that I don't think that you could be really successful in dealing with intermediate care until such time as you have a good, global, home-care situation in the province. We're working on that at the same time.
Well, Mr. Speaker, one other area in hospitals: you'll be interested to know that open-heart surgery is no longer a problem. A resident no longer needs to wait months to be treated. With the expansion of St. Paul's last year and VGH and the new facilities at the Royal Jubilee that have just come on stream, we have met the demand.
Mr. Speaker, recently we put together a cancer-control task committee. That cancer-control task committee is charged with the responsibility to establish and to advise on the formation of the B.C. Cancer Control Agency. This is something new. This agency will be responsible to administer a province-wide cancer-control programme. It's clear that we need to provide facilities and services that are necessary to prevent, detect and to treat all forms of cancer as effectively as modern knowledge, skill and technology makes possible.
Mr. Speaker, this is a dread disease. We feel that only such an agency can deal with it — with the people of this province backing them up.
MRS. P.J. JORDAN (North Okanagan): What about money for research?
HON. MR. COCKE: Mr. Speaker, the money for research will come out of this. The money for research, however, will go more toward the academic areas; although, you'll be interested to know that we're taking a real good look now at new research that's come out on cancer screening. One of the things that we have to be very careful of is this holus-bolus tendency to go down the research alley when a lot of the research is done, if we'll just get around the country and around the world looking for new and better ways of handling the situation. Research is being made available in this very important area and we're going to be doing some work ourselves right within the agency.
Mr. Speaker, again dealing with hospitals for a moment or two, the summer student programme was a real success. One of the things that I was very
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pleased to see, not only in the hospitals, but in Health Services — I'll be talking about that in a minute — was that the summer student programme in the hospitals employed 1,000 kids — employed 1,000 students. Their wages totalled $1,300,000. But do you know what it did, even more importantly? It put 1,000 young people in very close touch with health care. It might have helped them shape new careers as a result of getting closer to the delivery of health care. I feel that that was a very worthwhile programme and, Mr. Speaker, I look forward to it again and again.
Mr. Speaker, I reiterate this. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I was gratified with the relationship that the department has with the hospitals now. I'm specially delighted with the volunteer input that's going on out there: people working selflessly for others in their communities, doing work gratuitously, but work that's so important for themselves, their loved ones, their friends and their whole community. It's nice to visit with those kind of people because they have such refreshing attitudes. As long as we have that kind of volunteer effort out there, I'm sure prepared to co-operate.
Well, Mr. Speaker, another area is mental health. We have a mental health programme that I think is advancing significantly, and particularly significantly in 1973. In the metropolitan area of Vancouver, of greater Vancouver, the Metropolitan Board of Health of greater Vancouver assumed the responsibility to administer the Vancouver Mental Health Project.
Now the Vancouver Mental Health Project may not sound very important to some of you, but wait till I get to the figures on Riverview and some of the other areas of mental health. Then you might begin to realize just what's happening out there.
It's a community project. This is a project to support chronically disabled mentally ill people. During the year we've agreed to establish seven community-care teams in that area. These teams are basically 9 to 10 professional mental health people right out in the community, and they're supporting those chronically mentally ill people. There will be new dimensions that will be tagged on, but at the present time it's working very well and heading in a very much better direction as far as mental-health care. The purpose is to provide community care as opposed to institutional care.
At the same time we have three teams in Burnaby backed by a 25-bed in-patient facility; again, getting it out into the community.
In the Fraser Valley we have a variation where the Riverview psychiatrists are deployed to the local health centres to augment the services.
There are the three kinds of services. They're all community-centred, community-based, and we hope they will do the job in keeping the institutionalization down to a low.
Our objective, I say again, is, where possible, to provide support and treatment at the local level. What, Mr. Speaker, could be less alienating than that?
Our occupancy at the end of the year at Riverview was 2 002. That shows a drop of some 240. At the end of 1972 at the same time there were 2,240. We're in the direction and we have to keep going in that direction, but you can only do it through the community.
In the same year, last year, we added five mental-health centres. We now have a total of 30, and these are community centres. Just think about this; just take us back 10 or 15 or 20 years. What happened to a mentally-ill person in an institution? During this year, we admitted 8,000 to the community centres.
So, Mr. Speaker, we feel this is the dynamic direction: get it away from the institutions.
As a matter of fact, many of the hospitals are really co-operating with us and putting in their small psychiatric ward. What occurs then is that you have the support service for the acutely ill for the short time they need it and then you can get them back into the community setting where they have the community support.
We also have boarding home programmes. Last year we had 200 boarding homes and they looked after 1,456 persons under Mental Health Branch supervision. Two hundred homes; 1,456, Mr. Member for Oak Bay (Mr. Wallace). Under health services we're full speed ahead. I know everybody recognizes the seriousness of a diphtheria outbreak. It's not like the old days when there was a diphtheria outbreak, but it's certainly a serious enough situation that people should be sure they have their booster shots and so on. So we're going full speed ahead on diphtheria immunization. Last year, when the present outbreak first appeared, we asked people to make sure their immunization and reinforcing immunization were up-to-date.
MR. P.L. McGEER (Vancouver–Point Grey): What about the programme for the schools?
[Mr. Liden in the chair.]
HON. MR. COCKE: The programme for the schools has been ongoing. That programme is going full swing and we feel we can take care of the needs of the total community. So it's there and anybody who requires something outside the school programme we're just suggesting can come and get it, We know a few more cases have come to light in the last couple of days here on the Island.
Dealing in another area, I'd like to deal with home care for a second. Two levels of home care have been in the past. We're trying to now amalgamate them. We have our traditional home care which is home care for the chronically ill. Now, as you know, we're
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increasing throughout the province in another form of home care where we have post-acute home care.
We have a number of other areas that are in it now, but the only areas which have a full year of experience are Victoria, Kamloops, Coquitlam and New Westminster. They've had a full year.
During that time, 1,558 patients have been discharged from acute-care hospitals to this special home-care project. The cost to the health service for an average of 9.1 days of care for patients was $101.10 — $101.10 opposed to a hospital cost of $730 per patient. That's a significant drop, Mr. Speaker, and a significant programme. We want to continue on.
The $730, if anybody wants to get too technical, would be reduced because they've lowered the global budget of the hospital if they stay in, in the chronic stage or, that is, in the rehabilitation stage of an illness. But in any event, it is significantly reducing the cost of delivery of care.
We're doing other work in Public Health services. Preventive work encompasses geriatric clinics. We've got screening processes such as vision, hearing, blood pressure, glaucoma, urine tests, mobility tests, and we also provide counselling for nutrition and general health care. So again, Mr. Speaker, an emphasis on prevention, an emphasis that's so important.
Now, in health services, last year we employed 697 students. That 697 students, Mr. Speaker, made possible some fantastic projects, projects which wouldn't otherwise have been available. Again, as I visited around the province, one of the proudest aspects of each community health centre was their student programme.
In some areas they were doing one thing, in some areas they were providing children support, in some areas they were even trapping mice. That may sound strange to some of you, and I notice the Member for Peace River laughs. But do you know why they trapped the mice in Trail? They wanted to follow the food chain for trichinosis. There was a theory that maybe the bears did eat mice and that's where the trichinosis was coming from. And it worked out that that was exactly where it was coming from.
HON. MR. COCKE: Trichinosis in the bears, Mr. Speaker, through you to the Member.
So there were a number of very interesting programmes which went on, mostly support programmes and mostly programmes we want either to do again or certainly take a real good look at another time.
I'm sure a number of you would like to know where we're going on acupuncture. One of my committee members dealing in acupuncture is going to be one of those sent to China. He is the head of anesthesiology — I almost didn't make it — at UBC and he's also head of anesthesiology at VGH (Vancouver General Hospital). He will be going off one day, as soon as the trip is organized completely, to China to have a look at acupuncture. We've also had a pilot project clinic, supervised by doctors, and Dr. Saita is doing the clinical work or the actual administering of acupuncture. So we hope to be able to set standards in this area; we hope to be able to let acupuncture take its proper place in delivery of care in the Province of B.C. as soon as humanly possible.
Well, Mr. Speaker, we've had other areas I think the House would be interested in. One is air evacuation. Last year, the armed services co-operated with us again. In that year they provided 115 mercy flights. The staff — and I want to underline that word "staff" — are most co-operative, as I previously informed the House. But the Canadian government is asking an arm-and-a-leg fee for each of those services. I'm not particularly enamoured with this situation because I feel the armed services can do a far, far better job by providing these kind of services for Canadians at the same time as they're doing their practising in flying and delivering care, et cetera. So I just don't see any reason for this arm and a leg.
Over and above that 115 flights last year, remember we bought Citations. The Citations are rather small but they sure can get in and out of places. Those Citations last year — and I'm just saying now from October until the end of December, only three short months — were used 16 times when there was nothing else available. They saved 12 lives; 12 people in B.C. who will continue to survive. Since New Year's, we are still going on....
HON. A.B. MACDONALD (Attorney-General): All you get from that side is a "Lear."
HON. MR. COCKE: Yes, we get a "Lear" from them and a "Citation" from us.
Mr. Speaker, many of you will note that our jet just a couple of days ago landed in Terrace to save a two-day-old child. That's the kind of courage that our people have, that those pilots have. They went in there to save a two-day-old child and brought her back safely, and that landing strip is a disgrace — an absolute disgrace.
MR. J.R. CHABOT (Columbia River): There's lots of Ministerial joy-riding, and you know it.
HON. MR. MACDONALD: Phil has left. Phil has gone long ago.
HON. MR. COCKE: Mr. Speaker, the coverup that goes on over there! There's a shadow of the former Phil sitting in the end bench. You can't be Phil, so why don't you quit trying?
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HON. MR. MACDONALD: You're up the Columbia River.
HON. MR. COCKE: Well, Mr. Speaker, since the year's end, as I've said, we've continued to use it, we will go on using it, and we hope that ways and means are developed to improve this whole ambulance service in the province.
MR. CHABOT: Are you going to table the log?
HON. MR. COCKE: Yes, this log will be tabled as usual, Mr. Member. Why do you ask that question?
HON. MR. COCKE: Mr. Speaker, he wants the floor but he's not going to get it. The people of B.C. want to hear what I have to say, Mr. Member.
Speaking of ambulance service, Mr. Speaker, I'm in the process of putting together the machinery to implement an ambulance service for the whole of B.C. The service could not be included in the budget as it was part of a report, and the planning is just now complete. However, Dr. Randsford's planning has led us to a position now where I feel implementation could take place by July of this year. I hope we can go ahead on this. If there are any objections to it, I would like to hear them right now or in the immediate future.
Mr. Speaker, I would just like to go over with you some of the areas that I think you should understand about this. As I say, it is rather fresh, but we've got it, we think, taped right down and it is just a matter of putting the machinery together for implementation and we can go ahead.
Now the objectives for the two-year period are to establish the following — let's talk about operations first: 1) All ambulances in the province coordinated and operating in specified response areas — all ambulances; 2) A provincial control centre to coordinate intra- and extra-provincial medical air and long-range medical transportation by land; 3) all ambulances in major population areas operating under regional dispatch control; 4) a province-wide, single phone number for the reception of ambulance calls; 5) an integrated, province-wide radio communication system for all ambulances.
Now, Mr. Speaker, during this same two-year period we will have an interim provincial ambulance service headquarters, and we will have a province-wide supply and service organization for equipment, uniforms, supplies, vehicles, et cetera. We will also have an elimination of the practice of direct patient billing by individual ambulance services.
You wonder what it might cost. We will be proposing $5 for each ambulance call. It is going to be difficult, Madam Member, but we feel that it is absolutely imperative to get an ambulance service going in this province at the earliest date, and we do have screening devices, and we will be announcing as we go along. Part of the screening, of course, is the $5 deterrent fee. As to training, there will be an ongoing provincial training programme in effect in the Province of B.C.
Then we are going to be setting standards. All personnel will be qualified to a basic level of training — all personnel. All full-time ambulance personnel will be qualified to an advanced level. As part of the standards, as well, we will have part-time personnel in high-volume areas qualified to an advanced level. Even in the urban areas, if he's part-time he still has to be qualified up to the advanced level.
All ambulances will be equipped to the standard specified. Standards will be very definitely dealt with, and they will be equipped to those standards, and all vehicular standardization will be programmed during those two years. All ambulances will conform to a specified colour for identification and there will be other identification standards; and all personnel....
HON. MR. COCKE: What colour would you like? We'll have a contest.
All personnel will be in standard uniform dress.
MR. CHABOT: Green and white.
HON. MR. COCKE: Green and white? We'll take that under advisement.
HON. MR. COCKE: Unfortunate remark. I wouldn't say unkind; it's just unfortunate.
HON. MR. COCKE: They will be involved, very definitely involved. They've been co-operating with us on this background work and they will be involved in many, many areas of training.
Mr. Speaker, under planning we are going to co-operate in programmes formulated to ensure and extend appropriate levels of first-aid training as well. We hope to co-operate in this area with the police, fire and highway patrol people. We also hope to co-operate at the high school student and teacher level, We also hope to co-operate in helping to train public transport personnel or make it possible for St. John's and so on, and other appropriate persons. So this will cover all parts of the programme of emergency care.
We also will be planning during that period programmes to establish suitably equipped and
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staffed medical aid posts in small communities not served by local ambulance or physicians. I thought you'd like that. And planning is substantially complete for anything, so if we have a couple of snags along the way just remember that we did
Mr. Speaker, it augurs well for the future. We have to hope that we can get these programmes into force as soon as possible, and I would predict July, providing all goes well — providing there aren't too many objections from my colleagues and providing there aren't too many objections from those across the floor. We'll be listening closely in the next few days.
As I said, this is a new service. Do you know what happens to a new service, Mr. Speaker? Just like ICBC, it takes a little courage to do something new. You know, the way you can make sure that nothing goes wrong is not to do anything. They know. They were really experienced at that. You don't have anything go wrong when you don't do anything, so if we have a couple of snags along the way just remember that we did something. We did something.
Well, in any case, I hope that we have this going well in the two-year period. In any event I promise to get emergency service off the ground as soon as humanly possible.
We will have casualty officers, as there are now in emergency wards. These are doctors whose specialty is in that area. They are doing work now in New Westminster and other areas, training paramedical personnel to do the kind of job that we need done.
Mr. Speaker, it is an exciting prospect, and I hope that we can get it all across, as I said, by July. At present, municipalities are carrying part of this load, and this will be of service to the municipalities in eliminating their fiscal responsibility.
I'm sure that we have their support for this particular kind of programme.
It is wanted; people want it, municipalities want it and, Mr. Speaker, it is our policy.
We have done so much to reduce the tax load on municipalities, yet across the floor I hear those empty cries from that group who did so little. I just can't understand it. And every time something new comes along it's the same old howl.
There's more straw men been erected in this House in the last 18 months than occurred in the 18 previous years. I say straw men. Secession, Mr. Speaker — Cariboo will pull out, and so on, called for by the Socreds, the man sitting for the Cariboo constituency (Mr. Fraser).
HON. MR. COCKE: That's right. If they can't make the law, they want to break it. Mr. Speaker, it's unfortunate. Alienating people from the province is a big price, Mr. Member, to pay for political gain. It also indicates a lack of concern for the democratic process, Mr. Speaker.
HON. MR. MACDONALD: You're up the Columbia River without a paddle.
HON. MR. COCKE: Mind you, that lack of concern is nothing new. Well, Mr. Speaker, it's a great budget. It's a great budget.
HON. MR. COCKE: Do you want to talk?
MR. CHABOT: Why don't you call an election right now?
HON. D. BARRETT (Premier): You wouldn't even have a seat. (Laughter.)
MR. CHABOT: I'll tell my constituents — I'll tell them!
HON. MR. MACDONALD: You're up the Columbia River without a paddle.
HON. MR. COCKE: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to finalize this speech, but I'm going to stand up here until I can.
AN HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear!
HON. MR. COCKE: Thank you, Mr. Member, for your confidence. Mr. Speaker, it's a great budget, one I'm proud to support. It reflects the new government's concern — a government with courage and a government with will to serve the needs of the people of the Province of British Columbia. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
MR. H.W. SCHROEDER (Chilliwack): Greetings from Chilliwack! I bring you greetings from various kinds of people and I have listed them here, not in the order in which they have sent their greetings, but in the order in which I could remember them.
I bring you greetings from the lawyers and the judges. (By the way, each of these greetings is weighted.)
I bring you greetings from the loggers.
I bring you greetings from the municipal leaders and from the assessors.
I bring you greetings from the teachers and the school trustees, from the newscasters and the press.
I bring you greetings from the insurance agents and from the automotive retailers.
I bring you greetings from the drivers of
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Chilliwack and the prospectors and the dairy farmers and the fruit growers and the renters and the home builders and the borrowers and the camping people and the small businesses and the shopkeepers, the law enforcement officers, if you please, and the drug squads.
I bring you greetings from the food processors and the students, particularly post-secondary.
I bring you greetings from the Mincome recipients.
I bring you greetings from the intermediate-care patients and I bring you greetings from the retired folk.
Do you want to hear the greeting? It's one word — phrrrrp! (Laughter.)
HON. MR. BARRETT: Translate that for Hansard.
MR. SCHROEDER: It comes from the old song, "I'd have wrote you a letter but I couldn't spell phrrrrp! "
AN HON. MEMBER: Next time take your shoes off!
HON. G.V. LAUK (Minister of Industrial Development, Trade and Commerce): Now I know why you're not leader.
MR. SCHROEDER: I notice that you're quite a way from leader yourself, friend.
It's no wonder that the people around the province are talking about dropping out of the province. I almost hate to admit it, but the same thing is happening in Chilliwack. People are saying: "If it could happen in Golden, if it can happen in the Peace River country, if it can happen in Fernie and Cranbrook, why couldn't we, who have a common boundary with the State of Washington, just take our little group and move them out of the Province of British Columbia and join the State of Washington?" I'll tell you, I would discourage any kind of a move like that.
MR. R.T. CUMMINGS (Vancouver-Little Mountain): Now you want to sell the province.
MR. SCHROEDER: You just keep talking, friend, and we'll send you no milk for your Dairy Queens. (Laughter.)
I'd like to commend the speaker who just finished, the Minister of Health (Hon. Mr. Cocke). In my opinion he is one of the Ministers that is doing a good job. Where he lacks, he certainly can't be blamed for effort. I think he's putting out 100 per cent, and I think the whole House will stand together in commending the Minister of Health for a good job. That's sincere, that's serious.
There's only one problem and that is that I wish that in the budget he would have given us some indication of what he's going to do about intermediate care. I know that we've been talking about intermediate care for weeks and for months, and I know that it's been a problem. I know that it's been too slow. Let me tell you the truth — it was too slow under the Socreds.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!
MR. SCHROEDER: But let me tell you something else — it's even slower under the present administration. I would love to have seen some indication that we are going to get started on the business of intermediate care.
If every Member of this House had had the opportunity to travel with the committee on health around the province and to see the concern among the people who are what we call grass roots but I call them the people who are doing the job out there — the public health nurses and the people who are running the nursing homes. I wish we all could have seen the concern that they have concerning chronic care and intermediate care, I'm sure that our budget would have reflected some kind of a start, Mr. Member for Oak Bay (Mr. Wallace).
At least when we look at the budget and the budget indicates to us that there's going to be something like a $400 million surplus this year, certainly we could have had a token, we could have had an indication that this government who says they're concerned about people would be concerned about the sick people, and we could have had an indication that intermediate care at least was in the incubator,
Let's take a look at the budget. What is economically wrong with the budget? We could talk individually about priorities, and we'd be here for months and years talking about priorities, because every Member who is seated here has a different list of priorities as far as government expenditure is concerned. Therefore we could never seek or hope to agree. The priorities are not the question. These are left to what we call political decisions. They are questions of distribution.
But where is the problem in this budget? The problem is simply here: we're working on a taxation base of $2.6 billion, we're working on an expenditure forecast of $2.2 billion and that means there is a surplus of taxation over expenditure of $400 million, and it's too much.
Just go by the simple rule, and it's a physical rule, that you must return as much as you take out or you create a vacuum. Mr. Speaker, that's exactly what's happening in British Columbia today: we are creating a vacuum. The greatest economist of them all clearly indicated at one time that 10 per cent is the tolerable limit for surpluses. This administration has exceeded
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this by a multiple of two and the people of this province will rebel. I suggest to you that you're doing a foolish thing to continue on this kind of a programme.
Increased expenditures, yes. I listened to the Minister of Finance (Hon. Mr. Barrett) when he brought the budget to us and he hailed long and loudly how many extra dollars were being spent in this division, and in this division, and in this division. All of it is commendable, Mr. Minister. However, the difference between what you said and what is the fact is simply the difference between two words, and they are "allocation" and "allotment." In your allocation, yes, your dollars went up in each division, but in your allotment, the percentage went down.
This, I say, is where the people get caught in the bite, in logger's language. They are giving by taxation dollars more than they are receiving in services, and they are living in a vacuum, and they will rebel.
I listened to the Minister of Finance as he talked about the resources of our province, how they belong to the people and how all the people under this administration are going to benefit equitably under the socialist philosophy. This is their philosophy: "The resources belong to everybody and we're going to spread it around." There's only one problem with that philosophy — you've got to have something to spread around before you start spreading it.
MR. CUMMINGS: You spread it!
MR. SCHROEDER: I'm starting. You get out of the way, buddy! Wait till it hits the fan.
You've got to have something to spread before you start spreading it around. You've got to create something, and without having created anything you don't have anything to spread around. But in order to create it, you've got to have capital.
The socialist doesn't believe in capital, so under the socialist philosophy nothing is created to spread around. We have to wait until something is there before it's going to happen. The socialist doesn't live that way. He is like a leech, or as we called them — the people that were swimming in the little ponds out in the Prairies when I was out there — bloodsuckers. We called them bloodsuckers. They act like parasites.
As a matter of fact, the socialist philosophy is a parasite philosophy and only operates after capital has created something. They pounce on it, they cripple it, they suck the life out of it. Let me ask you, if you want to make a contribution to society and a contribution to our economy, why don't you go out there and build something? Why don't you create your own lumber mills and your own pulp mills? Why do you wait until someone has come in with risk capital after the losses. After the losses have been experienced, then you come in; you want to take over. Beautiful, beautiful!
Why don't you build your own pipelines, if you're interested in pipelines? Why do you wait until one is built — after the blood, sweat, and tears; after the risk has been taken; after there have been no guarantees, my friend? After it's operative, then you want to come and you want to take over.
Let me ask you, Mr. Insurance Man: why didn't you create your own insurance corporation? Why did you have to put out of business the ones that existed? If your system was so all-fired hot, it would have lasted in the competition, wouldn't it? Why didn't you, if you were going to make a contribution to society and to the economy, build your own insurance corporation?
If you want to get into the housing business, why don't you start your own construction firms? No, you wait until you see one that's productive; you wait until you see one that has some expertise; you wait until you see one that's got a good track record; and then you pounce on it and you cripple it, and you take over. That's the socialist philosophy. And that's the kind of philosophy that has caused the oldest of socialist countries to drag its feet, to be behind. Let me talk to you about housing a little later on.
Let me ask you, gentlemen, through you, Mr. Speaker, where you were in 1952 when British Columbia was nothing. Where were you when we were poorer than Nova Scotia?
MR. D.T. KELLY (Omineca): We were resource rich.
MR. SCHROEDER: Where were you when we were poorer than Nova Scotia? We didn't know we owned mineral and petroleum resources. We didn't know we were rich. As a matter of fact, we didn't even have the roads to go find out if we were rich. We didn't have them — now tell the truth. We didn't have them.
MR. D.M. PHILLIPS (South Peace River): And that's a fact.
MR. SCHROEDER: An indication of this is given in an incident that happened back when there were still steamships. A little old man had come to the new country, to the Americas, to make his million and it didn't happen, and all he had left was enough to buy a boat ticket back to Britain whence he had come. He bought his ticket and that's all the money he had. He didn't have two cents to rub together.
He got on the boat. He took with him a few sandwiches and a few baked things that someone had given him. He went all the way across on the boat; those were the days when it took 10 and 12 days to go. All the way over he'd be eating on the dry crumbs, on the dried bread, never realizing that when
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he bought his ticket he had already paid for the same things that they were eating in the dining room.
This is what was happening in 1952. Where were the socialists then? They weren't out there. I didn't see any cheques signed by a man named Strachan, who was ready to risk some capital to find out whether we had any resources in the north. What did we need? We needed some capitalist (that ugly word) to enter the search, and we had to offer him a fair return.
Now that we're rich, it's easy to say we're giving our resources away. Now you want to take over what you never knew you had. After the risks, after the losses, after the fact, you want to take over.
Your acquisition of businesses, by the way, is not too commendable. It's sort of a kill-the-goose programme. It's a packrat selection. You just take what you can get, whatever looks good at the time. And the grand-daddy of them all is the Minister of Lands and Forests (Hon. R. A. Williams). You'd better believe it.
You say 31 cents per unit for natural gas. That was the wellhead price. "It was a giveaway," they said. Fine and dandy to talk about giveaway now that there's something at the wellhead. But in 1952 how much was there at the wellhead, Mr. Member? Zilch. There was nothing there, my friend. You didn't even know it was under the ground. Who was going to dig the wells? I didn't see you out there.
Who was going to dig the wells? Who was going to spend the millions with no guarantee? I'll tell you who it was: private industry were the ones that risked their necks. And there had to be an equitable return guaranteed to the investors so that we could know that the resource was there. If we hadn't made the guarantee, we wouldn't know today that we owned any gas.
Today the very investment programme that built British Columbia is being curtailed, along with some of the other freedoms.
Let me ask what the prospect is for the freedoms of the working man in British Columbia. Under the free enterprise system he's got every freedom in the world. He's got the freedom to withhold his services if he wishes. He's got the freedom to organize; he's got the freedom not to organize if he chooses. You'd better believe it. Read your history, friend.
Under free enterprise he had all of these freedoms. Wait until the government is the employer. Wait until we've got over here what we have in some other socialist countries. Wait until you've taken over enough industries until the employer directly is the government; then what freedoms will the labouring man have? What kind of freedoms will he have? Will he have the freedom then to withhold his labour? It's not so in a socialist country. They say, "We want you to produce so many board feet of lumber in one day. If you don't produce you go to a place called Siberia." I wonder where we will have Siberia in British Columbia?
HON. L.T. NIMSICK (Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources): Chilliwack.
MR. SCHROEDER: Do you think that will be the northwest up there?
Let's look into the budget on some specifics — in the area of municipal affairs. It's an area where the Minister of Finance (Hon. Mr. Barrett) wanted us to pin a medal on him because he had given a per capita increase of $2 per head to the municipalities, when the whole world knew, including the Minister of Finance, that the increase in costs of operation, even if we were to underestimate them, would be at least 10 per cent higher than they were the year before.
Now 10 per cent of $32, which was the per capita grant as of last year, simply stated, is $3 per head. That's just the increase in the cost of doing the same thing. Somewhere between $3 and $4 is what the grant should have been just to keep pace. But the grant was only $2 per capita and now, lo and behold, the municipalities are going to have to find places to pull in the strings and offer fewer services rather than more.
This is from a government who says they are concerned about people, the individual people, the small people, the people in British Columbia who need transportation and who had a hope, under a proper allotment to the municipalities, of at least creating some kind of a transit system out there in the rural country.
Now I've had to come up with some kind of an idea whereby transportation could be provided. I'd like to ask this government whether they would do this:
We have in our area a number of school buses that are not being used for any other purpose but to transport children to school morning and evening. I would like the Minister of Municipal Affairs (Hon. Mr. Lorimer) to work together with the Minister of Education (Hon. Mrs. Dailly). Since the drivers are organized and you have to pay them a minimum of four hours for each shift that they come in, why not give them four hours of work at least?
Let's use the school buses in the morning to haul the school children. After they are finished, let's take one trip throughout the constituency for people who are aged, people who live more than three or four miles from the shops, who have no way of transportation and who are waiting for some kind of public transit.
Why not use those buses? Have them make one complete trip, come in before lunch, give the folk a chance to do their shopping, to go to the doctors, to pay their bills, make one more trip about 2 o'clock, one trip around the constituency, and then come and
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pick up the children from school.
It seems to me that there's a method here that might not cost too many dollars whereby we could have transit away out there on the floodplains. I think it's a good plan and I would like to suggest that the government consider this kind of a plan.
I know that the Minister of Education looks favourably upon this plan because she talked to us last session about a greater use of school buildings for public purposes and, certainly, school buses for public purposes.
I want to commend the Minister of Finance. He did a good thing. He took away 5 per cent of the cost that the municipalities formerly had to bear for diking, and he has placed the cost upon the provincial purse, where it belongs in the first place. But he had the courage to do it. My constituency is going to benefit from it, and I want to thank him publicly. When he does well, I think we ought to say he does well.
What has the budget done for agriculture? I wonder what the budget has done for agriculture.
[Mr. Speaker in the chair.]
MR. SCHROEDER: I'll get you for that.
There is a meeting at this very hour in the Evergreen Hall in
Chilliwack where the dairy farmers have come together to discuss this
farm credit assistance plan which the administration brought in last
They're concerned that they are asked to commit themselves, Mr. Member, for a five-year period of production with no guarantee of return. You're locked in for five years when you sign the little deal that says you want to get in on the premium-type, farm assistance plan. Five years — no guarantee.
You're also locked into this kind of a programme: you are responsible for the fulfilment of the five-year plan, and you are responsible even though you may wish to transfer the farm or the milk quota you possess to the next person. You have to be certain that the contract which you have signed originally is fulfilled in its full five-year term. It's ridiculous. It's ridiculous, and the farmers are up in arms.
There's another meeting in Abbotsford tonight, and if I can catch a plane sometime out of here, sometime after I have finished my speech, I want to be there and bring the House a first-hand report of what the farmers have to say regarding the farm credit assistance plan.
It seems like some kind of a deal, Mr. Minister of Water, some kind of a plan whereby the farmer, when he can afford it, puts something in to a fund whereby sometime a little later on, if his returns are not great enough, he can get back what he originally put in.
The government is going to be very, very gracious and they're going to make a contribution as well which, by and large, is only interest on the money that the farmer had to put in in the first place. This is the kind of an assistance plan for which he wants to get locked in for five years? It's another kind of one of these phony, phony subsidy things. I want to suggest to the Minister of Agriculture, who's not in the House, that what really needs to be done to the dairy industry is for the dairy industry to make milk production a desirable thing.
For the past many years we've had a milk production formula in the province. The milk production formula had in it a stabilizing factor whereby only a 10 per cent increase was allowable in any one given year. As long as we had a stable economy, the thing worked beautifully. It held up the price of the milk if the economy happened to sag. It held steady the price of milk if the economy tended to rise.
Over the past two years, Mr. Speaker, the economy has taken off like a helium balloon — straight up. The cost of production increase — rather than being 10 per cent or an understandable and a bearable amount — the increase has climbed to something like 89 per cent for the dairy farmer, and the formula doesn't work. The formula was brought in by the previous administration. Let's face it, under our present day economy the formula can't work. What's the logical thing to do, Mr. Member for Columbia River (Mr. Chabot)? We've got to repeal the formula, put together one that works, give the farmer a fair return for his product, and he'll be happy.
MR. A.V. FRASER (Cariboo): Won't the socialist cows produce more milk?
MR. SCHROEDER: Do socialist cows produce...? (Laughter.) All the socialist cows I saw were all seceding, and the last I saw they were heading for Lethbridge. (Laughter.)
What has the budget done for the cost of housing? The Premier smiled when he suggested that part of the answer of the cost of housing was going to be taken up in a $30-per-year renters' grant. Why didn't he say it over five years? It would have sounded more good. If you had multiplied $30 by five, it would have sounded like $150; at least it would have sounded like something was going to happen. But let's take it by the month, the way you and I pay our rent: $30 a year, $2.50 a month — not even enough to cover the increase of the cost of fuel. And this is supposed to help in the cost of housing? Big deal; big deal!
What about the assessments that are going to be passed on? I know, Mr. Speaker, that this is a motion that's on the order paper and I don't want to discuss
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the motion. Was it repealed?
What about the extra costs that the assessments are going to pass on? Do you suppose for one moment that the man who owns a home and who rents it out to another individual and who rents it out at a price which barely covers the cost of repairs and the cost of investment — are you trying to tell me that this man is going to absorb the additional costs of fuel and assessment increases? I beg to differ with anyone who believes that way. Of course, the socialist mind doesn't conceive of this because they don't have any houses to rent out. They don't even own the one they're in, by and large. As a result, they wouldn't understand.
There's one man who tried to get into it, and he's the Minister of Lands, Forest and Water Resources (Hon. R.A. Williams). He found out that the only way he could make a buck was to put his family to work in repairs. He had a granny painting a fence. He's a granny hater.
According to the budget, they say that the answer to the housing problem is to go into multiple housing or row housing or zero-line housing. I wish that the Minister of Housing (Hon. Mr. Nicolson) would just do a little short course in the study of humanities. He would know that the occurrence of neuroses in human beings varies directly as the proximity each to the other. The closer you put us together, the more we hate each other.
It's evident in this House. The closer we get together, the more problems we have with each other. I want you to know that the province of British Columbia needs all the sanity it can muster. Why add to the problem by asking people to live beside each other and on top of each other so that they hardly have room to breathe?
MR. L.A. WILLIAMS (West Vancouver-Howe Sound): I got as far away as I could, Harvey.
MR. SCHROEDER: You did, did you? (Laughter.) Good line. He says he got as far away as he could.
What has the budget to say about reduction in direct taxation? The first step was taken, and I think it's commendable: the removal of school taxes from property. Twenty per cent per year over a period of five years and we should have school taxes removed entirely from private and personal property.
But let me ask: in this first year what is the actual result of this action? The assessment increases, by and large, are 10 per cent, even if you're under the umbrella of protection. On a home with taxes of $500, which is a modest home — the mill rate stays the same — the tax increase is $50 for the year. If the reduction that is caused by removing school taxes is 20 per cent of the school tax portion, the reduction is only $30. That means that the net increase or decrease still hangs on the wrong side of the ledger and the poor homeowner is asked to pay an additional $20 of taxes this year.
So that which was lauded in this House as being of some assistance to the taxpayer, when you add A and B together, lo and behold, the taxpayer is left paying more again.
Indirect taxation: we haven't even talked about it. Who gets it in the head for the fuel increases? The renter does. Who gets it in the head for tax increases? The renter does. Tax increases on apartment buildings are always reflected in the amount of rent that is paid, whether it's a lease or a monthly rent. I want you to know that indirect taxation eats up all of the benefits that are given by this budget and it would have been better if it was left the way it was.
Mincome. Has the Minister of Human Resources (Hon. Mr. Levi) arrived in the House?
The minimum income for every person in British Columbia aged 65 or over is $213.85. They should be clapping on their desks; they sure did when it was announced. Let's take a look at how $213.85 actually developed.
We started with a base two years ago of $190....
AN HON. MEMBER: $139!
MR. SCHROEDER: It was $190 by the same means test, my friend.
AN HON. MEMBER: Come on now.
MR. SCHROEDER: Let's tell it like it is. Don't give me any of this shabby socialist stuff.
MR. SCHROEDER: It was $190 by the same criteria and this is what happened. In the two years since the $190 base we have had inflation, particularly in food costs and clothing costs which are the major two things these elderly people are concerned about. We have had increases on one year of 10 per cent and in the second year of 14 per cent.
Now take your pencils out: $190, add 10 per cent inflationary costs for the first year ($190 plus, roughly, $20) will give you $210. That is what it should have been just to cover inflation.
The second year inflation was even worse wonder who was responsible — 14 per cent. Add 14 per cent to the top of $210 and you have got to add $30, making the total which every old age pensioner should be receiving not one penny less than $240.
What are we actually giving them? $213.85.
I want you to know that we've got a province full of elderly people who once again, because of this budget, have been asked to try and grab the purse strings and pull them a little tighter again when there is nothing in the purse to try to hold. Nothing.
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I call on this government to again review Mincome. And why don't you do what was suggested in this House by some of our Members away back two years ago: why don't you, make it at least $250 and then give them an annual increase equal to the amount of inflation? These are the dear people who built this province; these are the dear people who deserve our help when they can't help themselves. I believe this is the least we can do because today we are farther behind than when we started.
I want to commend the Minister of Human Resources (Hon. Mr. Levi) on the Pharmacare thing. It's a good plan; it's a good plan. It was overdue and I'm glad he brought it here.
Let me ask him: where is the denticare plan? I'd like the Minister of Human Resources in collaboration with the Minister of Health to take a look at the denticare problem. I've had families who have called me and I've been to their homes to discuss the problem with them. Their dental bills are higher than their medical bills even if there were no medical plan. Something needs to be done.
Let me just use my own case as an instance. I have four people who live with me at my house. They have their dental checkups right on time. When the people call, they say it's time for Little Red and the little ones to come in for their checkup.
Here you go; here comes the checkup. The dentist has the cleaning; he has the X-rays which he says are necessary. Before a penny's worth of work is done on the teeth, we've got a $24 bill for every mouth. Since there are four mouths it is a total of $96 that old Harv has got to squeeze out of someplace before there is any dental work done.
I think the whole House will agree that the cost of dentistry has reached ridiculous proportions. You can't tell me that the dentist himself is to blame. He has got to put in equipment; he has got to put in the X-ray lab; he has to hire help; his costs are increasing. I know there is not a dentist in British Columbia who is hurting as far as income is concerned but I want to say this: we cannot lay the full blame at the doorstep of the dentist. We need to work out some kind of a plan whereby dentistry and dental care can be put under a plan similar to the health-care plan we have.
Another thing I would like this government to consider is assistance by way of income for widows who are under the age of 65. These are the dear souls, some of them young — 30, 35, any age — whose husbands or whose wives have left them. They become widows or widowers. In either case it's the same problem: left with a family, left with costs of operation that haven't decreased one iota just because one of the partners has gone. The house rent is still the same; the light bill is still as big; the heating bill is just as large; the automobile payment hasn't got any smaller. As a result, here is one wage earner where there used to two having to do the job of both father and mother because children are usually involved.
I want you to know that the federal government has not done its share in caring for these people. Since they haven't, why don't we, who are concerned about individuals like this, look into a programme or a plan whereby assistance can be given to these widows where they can stay with their families who need them. Give them the income that they need so at least they can keep the household together. The details could be worked out and there would be some politics involved. But at least let's give these widows a hope that their life can be fulfilled now that one of the members of the marriage has gone, not to return.
It's different from a divorce; these are gone never to return, needless to say. There's not a hope of them making up the income that has been lost. I think we as society owe them this.
I talked at length about education when I was on my feet last time. I think I'll just make a few statements in conclusion. I would like to call on this government to do these things:
I would like them to place enough funds in the education budget I speak on behalf of the Minister of Education now so that at least we can maintain the status quo in education expenditure.
Education spending has decreased from 30 per cent two years ago to 28 per cent and now to 25-plus per cent. Class sizes in some areas are as high as 35 students to one teacher. This is in Surrey. This is intolerable when you think in terms of a budget which allows for a $400 million surplus.
I know the Minister of Education (Hon. Mrs. Dailly) has done what she could when she was visiting the Treasury benches to be sure that her portfolio was amply cared for. I have enough confidence in her to believe this happened.
However, I would like to ask the government to reconsider the amount of money in the education budget. Make sure we can at least maintain the level of education we had before.
Stop playing games with the trustees. Don't say to the trustees, come to us with your hat in your hand. If you can prove to us that your expenditures are so-and-so, perhaps we can find a little money somewhere in the surplus funds so we can cover the cost of your operations.
I say, return authority to the teachers. I ask on behalf of dozens of teachers who have contacted me. Return the strap to the classroom.
The last thing I'd like to request is to stop dragging your feet on post-secondary education. Know enough to do what you know to do. Build the colleges which everybody knew we needed before. If the location didn't suit you just right, if the land or lot wasn't big enough, if it happened to have been on the flood plain and you don't like flood plains — the Lord will bless you anyhow — build the cotton-picking college so the kids can go to school.
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I wanted to talk a bit about insurance but the Minister is away. I'll hold off until I stand again. I'd like to ask the Minister of Highways (Hon. Mr. Lea) — he's not here either — what has happened to the Kilgard-Straiton highway? Long before this government came to power there was money designated for the restructure of the Kilgard-Straiton road. The road was falling into the crevices and into the holes left by the mining of clay by the Kilgard clay and brick factory. The whole road had to be relocated.
Money was allotted to the tune of something like $325,000 for the study. The new road was gazetted and surveyed. They were given assurance they were going to have their road. The old road was condemned. The school buses cannot go up there. These here people who live on the top cannot comfortably or safely even take their supplies to their area.
The problem was taken up with the then Minister of Highways (Hon. Mr. Strachan) who is now the Minister of Transport and Communications. He gave every assurance that the road was going to be constructed.
There was some haggling to do with a $5,000-a-year allotment for the maintenance of a service road at the bottom of the hill which was left as the responsibility of the municipality. For the sake of a little hassle about the maintenance of an access road, which automatically should belong to the Department of Highways, the road still does not exist. That means for two years these people — who have a provincial park at the top of the hill and whose visitors also use a condemned road — are still waiting for the Kilgard-Straiton Road. When I asked the Minister about this in the House he didn't even know where Kilgard-Straiton is. In other words, the dear man has never looked at the plan.
What has happened to the mail, the letters and the petitions? It's a sad case.
I've noticed, Mr. Speaker, some new words are emerging as the new government gets a little more comfortable in its chairs. The word we've noticed is this word "repatriation." Have you noticed it, Mr. Member? Repatriation. They say it with a fantastic smile on their face like they brought something brand new into the province.
As I understand the word "repatriation," unless there is some realignment as far as provincial boundaries are concerned, repatriation is an impossibility. But they talk about having brought more land, more parkland back into the province. Can you understand this? What are they repatriating?
AN HON. MEMBER: Cariboo.
MR. SCHROEDER: Cariboo. I've heard other words being used in this chamber, and some of these words, Mr. Minister of Health (Hon. Mr. Cocke) — I'm glad you have not resorted to using them — but these are the words: "irresponsibility," the word "misinterpreted," the word "error," the word "absconded," and the words "concealed" and "withholding." These are words used by a government which seems to be trying to protect itself from something.
It was the Minister of Education (Hon. Mrs. Dailly) who said, "The trustees are acting irresponsibly," when actually the word "irresponsibly" should more aptly be applied to the Minister of Education.
Now, by some strange coincidence, the Minister of Finance (Hon. Mr. Barrett) said the assessors had "misinterpreted" the regulations of Bill 71. "Misinterpreted." I have a problem. How come all the assessors misinterpreted it the same way?
MR. FRASER: Poor public service. Shame on you!
MR. SCHROEDER: I think rather than label the word "misinterpretation" on the assessors, it would aptly be placed upon the Minister of Finance who misinterpreted the bill for the assessors.
I wonder if the word "error," which the Minister of Lands, Forests and Water Resources (Hon. R.A. Williams) used to describe the actions of his department, shouldn't more aptly be pinned on the Minister himself.
I'm wondering if the word "absconded," which the Minister of Transport and Communications (Hon. Mr. Strachan) used to describe his ICBC.... I beg your pardon?
MR. SCHROEDER: He said "absconded." Of course, he withdrew.
AN HON. MEMBER: He took it back.
MR. SCHROEDER: He didn't mean it. But I'm wondering if it shouldn't be more aptly applied to that Minister for what he did to the insurance industry in British Columbia, because this is precisely what he did with it.
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.
MR. SCHROEDER: There is another word, Mr. Minister of Health, which I think is being heard the length and breadth of British Columbia — and it is a word I'd love to hear come from the Premier (Hon. Mr. Barrett) sooner than we expect. The word is "election."
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I tell you, call an election now and let the people speak. Then we'll know where these words just used should actually be applied — "irresponsibility," "misinterpretation," "absconded." Let's put the words where they belong.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
HON. G.V. LAUK (Minister of Industrial Development, Trade and Commerce): I want to thank the Hon. Member for Chilliwack for a very sensitive speech. His comments were certainly well thought out; they reveal an inquiring mind. He has become the Horatio Alger of this House; our own little resident Horatio Alger.
He said: "Where were we in 1973 when the province was underdeveloped, when there was nothing here, when there were no resources? What did we do to bring these things about? Where were we," he asked, "when other people were signing the cheques, paying the payrolls, hiring and firing?"
I'll tell you where we were, and I'll tell everyone in this House. We were the miners. We were the ones who built the railroads and drove the spikes. We were the ones who were just as much the backbone of the development of this province as the others were, Mr. Member. Just as much. Didn't we help build the province too?
I did not have the opportunity to drive any spikes for the CPR or the CNR, but my grandfather did.
AN HON. MEMBER: He's not here in the House.
HON. MR. LAUK: He worked on the railroad, and I worked in the mills as a young man and so did many Members on all sides of the House. We were all building this province together.
The Hon. Member for Chilliwack (Mr. Schroeder) mentions intermediate care. He said he had a fantastic discovery when he was on a committee going throughout the province: he found there was a need for intermediate care.
Where were the committees under the previous administration? What enabled that Member to find out about these things? The committees that discovered these problems were set up for the purpose of discovering these problems by this government. That's why he's in such a position today to know there is a need. And this government is working tirelessly, Mr. Speaker, to solve these problems.
He also mentioned density. He said there are more neurotics living closely together here than any other place. Well, I take exception to that, Mr. Speaker. I don't think I'm any more or less neurotic than the Hon. Member for Chilliwack.
HON. MR. LAUK: I know that because Dr. Ray Parkinson told me, and he's not biased.
The West End is one of the most highly densely populated areas in the world. People live there by and large because they choose to and because they like to, because it is a good way of life for them. I wouldn't pretend to come in this House and insult the members of Chilliwack for choosing a rural background; but I take exception to the Hon. Member when he insults the members of my constituency, who are good people and who have made a choice to live in a high-density situation in an urban surrounding.
Just one more comment on the Hon. Member's speech, Mr. Speaker, before getting into that short but great speech I have prepared for this House. (Laughter.)
The Hon. Member stands up and he buttons and unbuttons his coat and talks to us about Mincome. "It's only $213; that's all." Who forgets the headline that brought this government to power? Who forgets: "Socreds kill $200 for old-age pensioners." Neither he nor I were sitting in this House in those days, Mr. Speaker, but I'll tell you one thing: that's one of the reasons I chose this party and sat on this side. What's his responsibility and excuse for choosing that side?
AN HON. MEMBER: He thought they would win. (Laughter.)
HON. MR. LAUK: Probably little more than that.
I want to talk as the MLA for Vancouver Centre, the Second Member for Vancouver Centre. Yes, the Second, and proud of it. The Hon. First Member (Mr. Barnes) and myself have argued for many programmes, but there are some people sitting in this House older than I who remember Vancouver some many years ago when it was just a provincial town.
As a young boy living in Kitsilano, I remember that most of Kitsilano and the West End were dotted simply by houses. There were no apartment blocks — maybe two or three storeys high in certain selected patches. I can remember horse-drawn milk wagons and so on.
Pardon me for reminiscing. I'm not that old; I'm not as old as the Member for Columbia River (Mr. Chabot) to remember all of the horse-and-buggy days. Maybe that's one of the reasons I don't have horse-and-buggy ideas like the Hon. Members on the opposite side.
East Pender had all kinds of interesting shops. It was a quiet little provincial town. Streetcars clanged down the street and turned around at the Kitsilano turn-around to take people to work. It was a nice life.
When the new Member, the Hon. Member for North Vancouver–Capilano (Mr. Gibson), made some very sensitive and considerate remarks yesterday about growth, I recalled as I listened to him about
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those days, about the values of those days, the lifestyle, the time we had to adjust to change. It occurred to me that it was a very great pity that yesterday could not be today and tomorrow.
But yesterday is not today and it never will be again. We have different problems, we have different solutions to those problems and, thank God, a different government to meet those problems.
MR. PHILLIPS: Policy, we want to know your policy!
HON. MR. LAUK: I'll get to my policy in a moment, Mr. Member. I'm talking now about my riding of which I am very greatly proud, as I'm sure you are of yours. In a moment, we'll discuss economic development.
The highrises and so on which have developed in the West End which I've just described as high density. The skyscrapers over the years, whirring into the night, have built up great buildings and brought an increase in population which has caused many, many problems. Congestion, traffic problems requiring more services, more parking lots, more freeways.
What has happened to this city I remember as a boy? It's no longer a sleepy provincial town. A town has become a city with more people, a city that seemed for many years under the Social Credit administration and under the former city councils of the day to be a city built for automobiles and not for people.
MR. PHILLIPS: Are you against automobiles?
HON. MR. LAUK: The cries for relief from the city seem to have gone unheard in Victoria, Mr. Speaker, The cries for relief were never heard. The only thing the previous Premier (Hon. Mr. Bennett) wished to bring about for this city was a 55-storey monument to his own ego.
The Hon. First Member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Barnes) and myself used that as one of the major issues in our campaign in August, 1972, and the people of Vancouver spoke on that issue. They could not be bought by a 55-storey monument; they were not bought; and they won't be again.
The Hon. Minister of Public Works (Hon. Mr. Hartley) has worked tirelessly and in full co-operation with the city council to bring about a planned- and people-use for Blocks 5 1, 6 I and 71 in contrast to the high-handed, arrogant, dictatorial way in which the 55-storey tower was to be built, without consultation with the city, without any kind of consultation with the people living in the area, with no traffic-engineering studies and deliberately misleading the people as to what the cost of that tower was.
MR. PHILLIPS: You can't say that in the House.
HON. MR. LAUK: It took investigation on the part of the two candidates in that riding for the NDP to bring about the truth that it would cost over $120 million.
But anyway, those days are gone. Instead, this government is providing the City of Vancouver with one of the most beautiful showcase developments anywhere in the world.
MR. PHILLIPS: Trees on the roof tops.
HON. MR. LAUK: There will be open spaces for the people of the City of Vancouver, there will be facilities which can be used by all the citizens. There'll be something which even the Member for Columbia River (Mr. Chabot) could be justly proud of, for he can come down from his riding and use those facilities instead of this monolithic tower that has absolutely no significance to the people.
What about transit? For years we've been crying about transit and now finally this government is sitting down and working out a solution. Certainly it takes time and certainly there are problems preventing a solution, but the problem was apparent many, many years ago as Liberal and NDP Members of this House raised the issue time and again. The people of Vancouver were being choked by traffic congestion. It was clear public transit was an issue eight to nine years ago, but no answer from Victoria. There will be answers now.
The third crossing was a solution, but a bad solution. The third crossing is a mistake because the very thing we're trying to solve in terms of public transit will be created by a third crossing for automobile traffic.
I'm reminded, when the issue first came up, that Len Norris, the cartoonist for the Vancouver Sun, drew three bridges across the First Narrows. All of them were clogged with traffic. Two engineers were standing at the base of Lions Gate and said: "What will it be: a second storey to the Lions Gate or a tunnel?"
That is what has happened all over this continent. The freeway system, the extra crossing, the extra lane of traffic is congested as soon as the last foot is paved, creating more and more access for automobile users when, in fact, what is needed are different solutions to traffic problems lying within public transit. We can't escape that tremendous treadmill of the freeway system which the major cities of the United States are now abandoning.
It is interesting that the Hon. Member for North Vancouver–Capilano (Mr. Gibson) raised the issue of ferry traffic. I think that's a very interesting suggestion. It has been considered before. That suggestion about ferry traffic is interesting and has
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been used before. The ferry system in one of the cities of Australia uses it extensively and very successfully. It's Sydney. Sydney is the place where they built the $16 million-to-$150 million opera house. But in any event, it works there. An interesting suggestion, Mr. Member.
For many, many years, the members of the NDP have argued in the City of Vancouver for some form of social justice in the skid-road area of our city. We are now reaching the threshold of that situation. It must be faced and it will be faced. I have spoken with the Minister of Housing (Hon. Mr. Nicolson) and it is my understanding that this province will move to have the area specially designated under the new federal Act for some action there soon.
In False Creek we are making every effort to relocate industry from False Creek to other areas outside of the Burrard Peninsula so that the city in co-operation with the provincial and federal governments can develop a region that is liveable for the people of that city. They have a right to a good life too, Mr. Speaker, all of them. We propose that the development proceed and that the development with respect to the Chinatown area also proceed.
In that respect, Mr. Speaker, I'm referring to the Chinese cultural centre and other related developments in that corner of False Creek which would make it another showcase for the world to see: a giant pagoda dug out of the False Creek area with restaurants and Chinese junks, housing and commercial areas, to make it a people's city again, to reclaim it from the automobile. The government is committed to those concepts.
Finally, with respect to the riding, I look at the many, many years that renters have gone without any kind of recognition from the government in Victoria. If it wasn't for the work of another Vancouver MLA — and I give credit where credit is due. Herb Capozzi was one of the former Members in this House representing my riding who argued for renters' grants so they could share in this province, so they could be recognized as people who contributed to society but who were for 20 years shoved into the background and ignored.
All right, it's not enough perhaps, but it's a start and it's a darn good start. I'm proud we have achieved it.
The people of the City of Vancouver now have good reason to be proud of something other than just the mountains and the sea. They know that in Victoria they have a voice. They know their problems will receive a hearing. They know this government is open and ready, willing and able to help solve those problems.
As I said, Mr. Speaker, yesterday will never be today, but what I see about the City of Vancouver is a bright tomorrow. I think that tomorrow the City of Vancouver will become one of the capitals of the world, a city that will be a jewel among the cities of the world. And that's the dream I have for that beautiful city and the people in it.
Now in June, 1973, much to the delight of the opposition benches, I was appointed as Minister of Industrial Development, Trade and Commerce. I, of course, received accolades....
MR. PHILLIPS: And in June of 1974 you're going to start to work.
HON. MR. LAUK: I received accolades and praise from all kinds of Members. I even had a private complimentary chat with the good Member for South Peace River (Mr. Phillips). He knows deep in his heart that I'm the right man for the job, and that's why he's sitting here today, because he enjoys my speeches, Mr. Speaker. He delights in them. He knows that they're good speeches.
HON. MR. LAUK: Now I want you to start taking notes, Mr. Member.
The history of this province is a very interesting one in terms of economic development. Certainly there was individualism in entrepreneurship of which all of us can be justly proud and in which, I repeat, all of us were participants. It was a primary resource extraction industry and, again, giving credit where credit is due — although I don't agree with the way in which it is done — the power development on the Columbia and the Peace at the time they were made took vision and courage on the part of the previous administration.
I think their business practices were unfortunate, and I think the province is paying unduly for those mistakes now. But the Hydro development at that time was essential, as we can see by hindsight, and I will pay that tribute to the opposition.
We've arrived at a stage now, however, Mr. Speaker, where various important decisions must be made. We're coming to grips with some very fundamental problems in terms of economic growth. We have hydro-electric power, we have primary resources, we have wealth, and we have the fastest growing labour force in Canada. On the other hand we have our lifestyles, we have our environment, we have the very reason that a great many of us choose to live in this province; that is endangered.
There are two apparently conflicting interests within this province. What has to be done by this government is, by the way, not just the responsibility of this government, but of every Member of this House and of every British Columbian. What are the issues? They are between the environment — the preservation of that which is good — and that growth which is essential to maintain the standard of living
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that British Columbians have grown to accept and expect.
Originally, ecological groups were small but rather brave and courageous little groups fighting what they felt at the time to be an impossible battle. No one was listening 8 or 10 years ago when they started up, and now they have forced the issue. They constantly, and without faltering, brought the question of environment to all of our attention, so that even the former administration started taking cognizance of it. That is a tribute to their efforts.
However, in the meantime, there is an extreme position developing that most of us, of course, cannot subscribe to: that is "no growth." To have no growth will destroy all of the values that we have.
The issue of our time, Mr. Speaker, is not growth or no growth, but whether the essential growth or development of this province can be planned and implemented in a humane manner, taking into consideration social development, people services, and with a view to de-centralizing industrial development to regional areas in the province.
Although I felt that the remarks of the Member for North Vancouver–Capilano (Mr. Gibson) were considered, he did state that he was a champion of the individual, which is fine. So am I. Then he went on to say something that rather puzzled me, and I think it is an issue that should be considered in this House.
He wanted to regulate where people were to live. That was his word. I listened to it carefully because I was interested in hearing some solution that I didn't hear before, Mr. Member. You said there should be some regulation.
Well, I'm glad you are shaking your head now, because that would curtail freedom of choice. You agree with that now? I'm glad.
HON. MR. LAUK: Encouragement, yes. So you agree with the policy I am outlining here today. There should be encouragement. You can encourage, for those that have ears to hear with, Hon. Liberal leader (Mr. D.A. Anderson) ; listen and you will hear. Now the disincentives to living in the lower mainland are only twofold, and that is a negative approach. The disincentives would be unemployment on a massive scale, or complete control over our immigration into the province. Those two approaches are impossible. They are also what I would call elitist, and they are what I would call irresponsible.
We have no right to restrict the immigration into this province; and however much I think back to the days when I was living in a small provincial town called Vancouver, those days will never come again.
We have no right to control immigration, and I'm beginning to wonder whether the federal government has that kind of right to restrict the number of people that live in Canada to the extent of where they will locate, in what region, and so on. This country is a democratic country. Half of the description of this party is "democratic," and we will protect those rights no matter where we serve. People must have freedom of choice.
MR. PHILLIPS: Wait till they start forcing people.
HON. MR. LAUK: Mr. Speaker, the Members of this party do not glibly say that they protect freedom of choice. It is by their deeds that you can see that they protect individuals.
HON. MR. LAUK: Thank you for your kind support.
In terms of freedom of choice, we cannot dictate where people will live in regions. We have to make it an attractive proposition for them to live in regional areas, and that is what this government is committed to. It is committed to encouraging people to move to regional areas because of our approach to social development and people services in those regions.
Now anyone can see that the economic geography of this province leaves us very little land. As argued during the debate on the Land Commission Act, there is very little flat land available for development. Farmland is being developed, Industrial land was being developed at the loss of valuable farmland.
Now I think the question should come around about Tilbury Island, and I am glad the Hon. Member for Columbia River (Mr. Chabot) raised it. In connection with Tilbury Island we had a number of choices to make. We looked at the Burrard Peninsula. We saw that there was industry there. It had to be relocated. We could see that there was a growing problem of the high cost of industrial land. We looked at 700-odd acres at Tilbury, and we saw that it has been zoned since 1966 by Delta municipality as industrial land. Actually there were 2,000 or more acres in that area, I believe, that were zoned as industrial, but 726 is the total area which we plan to industrialize.
In addition to that, that area of Tilbury Island has been placed by the Greater Vancouver Regional District in what they call a secondary reserve with the concept in mind that it would eventually be industrialized, because there are already many industrial enterprises there.
We looked at that and we said to ourselves, we must relocate industry in the Burrard Peninsula area to make it a liveable city, because the environment in the city is just as important as outside of the city. Our responsibility is not just to farmland, not just to
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the cities, but to both in a planned and reasonable way.
The Land Commission was aware of the development at Tilbury. The Delta municipality and the provincial government are co-operating today and have been for some time in the plan for Tilbury, discussing the kind of industry, the rules, and the transportation problem. We have made it clear that the plan for Tilbury must be developed in such a way as to not affect the salmon fishery or the Fraser River estuary. There must be a thorough rationalization of transportation in the area, in keeping with the liveability of the area, the needs of the farmers in that region and the needs of the industrial site.
The highest industrial land prices in the entire country are in the lower mainland region. We had to do something to lower that speculative land pricing that was going on. At the same time when the decision was reached to acquire the site, it was agreed that the government would release and rededicate a great amount of acreage that is called the back-up land to Roberts Bank. This has been rededicated and it will be farmland for as long as this government is in power.
As a broad policy then, Mr. Speaker, economic development in this province will be to relocate and properly plan the lower mainland region in terms of industrial development, so that the environment for people within the city and rural people will be taken care of. We will try and engineer a social solution to the various apparently conflicting needs of that region.
At the same time, the primary emphasis will be on three regional areas: the great northwest of this province, the Peace River-Liard and the Kootenay regions. In those regions, every effort will be made to provide industrial growth on a planned and stable basis and to provide social development in terms of the kind of people services to which I referred earlier. This will be done and projects relating to those areas will be undertaken by the development corporation and by other agencies of government.
We are presently discussing federal involvement through their Department of Regional Economic Expansion, with respect to those three regions. They know of our tentative plans, they agree to them and they accept the proposition that we made to them with respect to regional development.
There will be a new Department of Regional Economic Expansion. There'll be a new approach to DREE — not the old hothouse affair that took place before, the sort of half-politicking, half-serious department that occurred before. Now they're taking it seriously. They know that to be responsible in government means to look at the whole plan of economic development and not just hothouse industry.
We must meet challenge of the future, and that challenge lies in those three regional areas for this province, with respect to secondary industry.
We must face up to the fact that we are a primary resource extraction economy. We cannot jump from that stage to a tertiary stage, which would be to manufacture electrical parts. We have to look at what the next step is in the development of the economy. The next step is refining, smelting and steel production. One of the great philosophical questions that must be decided soon is whether to opt for those kind of things in relation to the environment that we wish to preserve. If we do, where and how and who with? Those are some of the problems that we will be facing in the next few months.
I say to the business community that my department is open, that there are new rules for development in this province, that they must take the environment into consideration, that they must assist us with our social development in northern regions, and that they must take a critical look at what they can do in this province to add value to the things they produce to create jobs and wealth in this province. If they do that, I promise good service and co-operation from my department, and a fair return to responsible businessmen who take that proposition up.
To the environmentalists, I say that there must be essential growth. We must provide a standard of living to British Columbia; we cannot halt growth to a standstill that will reverse the economy. To them I promise planned and human growth — people services to preserve the lifestyle of this province — because we have a responsibility to the future generations.
This province has got to come to grips with its role as the gateway to the Pacific Rim and our responsibility to the rest of Canada. I say that the '70s and '80s will be the age of British Columbia in Canada, politically, economically and, to some extent, culturally. It is through us and through the people of British Columbia that the major part of Canada's future lies. The decisions that are to be made in the next few months, although awesome, will dictate whether or not British Columbia accepts that responsibility.
MR. F.A. CALDER (Atlin): Mr. Speaker, once again it is my pleasure to take my place in the budget debate on behalf of the people of the Atlin constituency. In the preparation of my talk I've got that sentence in quotation marks, because I have made that statement on very many occasions on the floor of this House since I was first elected to office in 1949. I just don't know how many times I've made that statement and other statements that are pertinent to that type of introduction. I do know that it has been a great many times. To me it has become a common statement.
In relation to that, I have also made many
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statements on the floor of this House concerning the many problems that exist in northern British Columbia, particularly in the northwest corner of the province. These problems that I have continually brought to the attention of the governments to me have also been very common.
I was going through the statements that I had prepared in the last 21 years this morning in my house. I was selecting the problems that I had presented on the floor of the House, and I found that they were very common. I find that all through the years that I've been on the floor of this House, I have continually advocated immediate attention and immediate solutions to these problems. I find today, Mr. Speaker, that I'm going to have to bring them all up again.
If you will bear with me, I would just like to relate all these matters to the government's plan on northern development. I must repeat again that I refer to the problems of northern British Columbia, and particularly to the problems that exist in the northwest corner of this province. In common with what I have said in my past contributions on the floor of this House, I find very little government action.
I must say that in the prior years of my participation on the floor of this House, I had experienced frustration, particularly when I was sitting on that side of the House. I had always thought that I had presented constructive presentations that may warrant prompt government action.
I will admit that there have been several investigations on matters I had brought to the attention of the government, but on the whole the main issues were not dealt with. These main issues that had existed in my term of office when I sat on that side of the House and these main issues since I have been sitting here in the last two years are still as common today as they were in 1949.
Now, I must say here, Mr. Speaker, that I have been a very patient man — how much longer I do not know — and I have been representing very patient constituents. How much longer they intend to remain patient I do not know.
In my travels throughout the north I have developed not only representation but I have developed a lot of friends, not only in my constituency but throughout the whole north. They read what I have said on the floor of this House; they hear what I say in meetings I hold in the north. Generally up north they would say to me, "Stay in there, partner. Keep up the good fight. One day we'll assume power, and when we do we'll see a lot of beneficial action, a lot of favourable action for the northern people and those of the northwest." They say to me, "Partner, these things are long overdue."
So in 1972 we won the election. I must say that after two years I find I'm still going to have to fight for these common problems which exist in the north. I still find insufficient government action. I say this in terms of public service returns to the northern people. I am a northerner first, Mr. Speaker, and a politician second. I think I speak on behalf of every northern Member on the floor of this House, irrespective of his political colour.
I think practically every Member who has been elected from the north has always talked about the money which has been derived from development of natural resources in the north, and there has not been enough money returned in terms of public services. I don't give a hoot on what side of the floor of the House I stand; I still maintain there must be returns to the people of the north.
This is a budget debate, Mr. Speaker, and I will recognize one thing before I deal with these common problems I have mentioned. I don't know what the capitalists have as a definition when it comes to profits or, by the same token, the socialist view. I will say I'm standing on the side of this budget in terms of this as the first socialist budget. It's supposed to be a budget for the little people.
I had talked prior to this about things in common, and this is my own view. A capitalist and a socialist have one thing in common: they're both profiteers. Where one provides returns to the few (and this we hear from almost time immemorial since the word was invented), the other is supposed to provide returns to the many.
My theme this afternoon, Mr. Speaker, is the government's statement that the natural resource is going to return to the people funds by which public services will be returned to them, particularly to the areas which I represent. My theme this afternoon, Mr. Speaker, is that there should be more government spending in British Columbia's north, particularly in the B.C. northwest, in terms of two things that we hear so much about: in public service returns and in northern development.
I want to talk about northern development in the next few minutes. I don't want to have to stand on my feet here the next two years and charge this government with lip service. We want action. If northern development means highways for public service, then highways mean northern development. There have to be returns of the social aspect and the public services.
We've been reading one heck of a lot about northern development. It's exciting. Gad, we hear it every day. The people of the north welcome these announcements. The announcements of taking over Columbia Cellulose. Great, I think this is one of the greatest moves the government has ever made and I am very happy about this.
One of the previous speakers mentioned that we're not in the take-over business and this I maintain. We
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are not in the take-over business. I really believe this. In all the years I've spent in the House and then being in the public service, I see things. I'm a fairly good observer. I think this is a great thing because these people were ready to put their ties and shirts in a suitcase and leave the country, and leave us high and dry in terms of employment. In my knowledge of what has taken place, we have taken over several things, and this is more to save the economy for the people of the province.
We hear about railway construction. Good! The northern people welcome this. Don't forget, I'm talking about northern development. We hear about port developments; we welcome these. We hear of federal-provincial joint co-operation. That is good. I think both parties should be there along with the third party, the people. This is very good. We hear about townsites. That's good.
But there's a big "but," Mr. Speaker. When is the government going to start announcing the extension to the north of public services? This is the back of all northern people. I know their feeling; I know what they think about. I am standing here before you as their representative. I am not going to stand here and speak out of turn. This I know is what the northern people feel.
The social aspects and these public services, Mr. Speaker, are definite priorities. I think every Member on the floor of the House, not only the northern Members, recognize that fact.
I'll make this very emphatic, Mr. Speaker. To the northern people, public services are part and parcel of northern development. And we'd better believe that.
What are some of these public services we're talking about? Another good thing that the government has done, and I commend the government very highly, is the establishment of the Department of Housing. I'm going to be short and sweet in this because the Minister (Hon. Mr. Nicolson) has announced that housing plans are going to be presented on the floor of this House so I'm not going to elaborate on that.
All I'm going to say is that I'm going to recommend to him right now that he start an immediate survey and planning for housing development in northern British Columbia and in the B.C. northwest. Let's not wait; this is a provincial responsibility.
Yes, you may need them in the congested areas; in the poverty-stricken areas housing is a priority. I say the Minister should immediately start forthwith in setting out these plans for housing in these areas.
(2) Medical attention. I'm sorry I was not in the House when the first speaker (Hon. Mr. Cocke) got on his feet, but I'm quite sure he's going to have some plans. But from where I'm standing right now and since I stood on the floor of this House in 1950 when I first made my maiden speech, I'll say that from here to there, medical attention has been an absolute disgrace in the north. If you're going to talk about northern development, medical attention is a must as part and parcel of that northern development.
(3) Air ambulance service. Time and time again, I think, a lot of Members here who have been with me for so long are a little tired of hearing about this. But we did have a start. We had a pilot project set up last session. Well, it is a foot in the door but that's all it is: a foot in the door. Don't forget, Hon. Members, when we talk about northern development as I know it, it's almost 70 per cent in the Atlin constituency. Where there is development there must be this medical attention, and this air ambulance service is part of this medical attention.
We welcome this pilot project, but it's only in Stewart. We have developments mentioned as far as Dease Lake and Atlin. We have helicopter centres in those two other places just like we have in Stewart, so why not the three. If you're going to have a pilot project, let's start in the whole B.C. northwest. This is where you lack this type of communication.
There's nothing wrong with having that start, and I don't want any Members here to accuse me of speaking for my own constituency. I think those of you who know the facts up north will agree that what I'm saying now is factual. We have a base in Prince Rupert; we have a base in Terrace. We've introduced a pilot project in Stewart. I'm most hopeful, Mr. Minister, through you Mr. Speaker, that consideration be given almost immediately to extend this pilot project to involve the whole B.C. northwest where this development is talked about.
(4) Education. How often have I talked about the introduction of modern facilities for students who are sons of the pioneers and frontier people? In nearly every place up north I think — maybe I stand corrected — we only go to grade 7. Then you have to dig into your pockets and find ways and means of transferring your child to a higher education, even just to complete high school or even just to go to grade 8, because you have to detach your student at grade 7 in a great many areas of this province. That costs money when you detach; you have to go and find boarding places for those students.
How often have we talked about equalization grants for students from remote areas who may wish to go to higher education? This is what we've been talking about. As a matter of fact, that was my No. 1 promise in the last election. I hope I don't have to wait another two years before this is considered. This is a must in northern development; this is part of the social aspect of the whole bag of northern development. I hope the government will consider at this session legislation to be introduced on the floor of this House which will cover equalization grants for students from remote areas who may wish to proceed to higher education.
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MR. PHILLIPS: Vote on my bill, then.
MR. CALDER: It's for all remote areas: west of the Rocky Mountains, northern British Columbia, the west coast of Vancouver Island. Gosh, I can remember when Jack Squires used to get up on his feet and talk and talk about this. Leo and Ron Harding and the Members up north. Well, let's give these areas a start. I don't want the Department of Education to feel they're going to have to expend millions of dollars for this; I don't really believe it's going to amount to that. At least in the really remote areas this is required, this type of legislation is required.
May I just say here with respect to development in terms of education that just the other day my tribe was in to see the Minister of Education (Hon. Mrs. Dailly). This is part of this whole northern development area in which my tribe has been fighting to secure a new school district which, if materialized, would be unique in the whole history of North America. Geographically speaking, I think this is one of the rare places in B.C. and Canada where this could take place. We're not trying to be parochial in demanding these things but we want to control our own school system. We have the money. The federal government is going to build the school complex and it's for all the people. Not only native people but everybody in that whole Nass Valley including Stewart would be part of the new school district. We're very thankful and hopeful that the cabinet will approve of this. It's already been press-released. They have approved of it in principle. When you say "in principle", I'm quite sure it will go through.
We intend to have our own board of school trustees comprised of native people. We have talented people up there who could take over the principalship of it. We're even more than hopeful that one of our more talented young people, who is already through university and has already been a principal, could easily be an inspector of that school. We're very highly proud of that.
This is it. This is action, isn't it? This is action and this is what I involve as northern development. This is, I think, the prime example of what I'm talking about.
(5) Highways. This is accessibility, and we require access roads. I think on two occasions on the floor of this House I have mentioned that, on the completion of the Stewart-Watson Lake Highway and with the completion of the Stewart-Terrace Highway, that highway system will eventually — and I will say in the very near future (and you'll have to pardon me, Mr. Member for North Peace River) — take 50 per cent of the business away from the Alaska Highway. There's no doubt in my mind about that. It's the shortest route by cutting off at least 1,000 miles, a shortcut between the State of Alaska and the State of Washington. We can expect this year one terrific amount of traffic on this highway. So we have to consider this great access road.
We have to consider the all-weather aspect of it. I'm going to say I'm disappointed. The present Minister of Highways (Hon. Mr. Lea) made an announcement about keeping the roads open all year round when there was publicity about the death of an Indian baby in the Babine territory. Then the announcement came that they were going to open up the roads. Why do we have to wait for deaths?
Development, Mr. Speaker. Access. We're talking about accessibility. Why wait for deaths? Similarly, we talk about the great port of Prince Rupert. Nobody has ever really defined the disaster area as Kwinitsa, when there are several slides that can hold up trains for days and the boats are waiting to be loaded at Prince Rupert. So if there's going to be a superport in Prince Rupert, we must keep the roads and the rails open and prevent slides by the same token. Why wait for deaths and then open up these roads?
Stewart is part of the regional district, the school district, the health district — and we have to fight to keep that Stewart-Terrace road open. Again, that was one of my election promises: if we get into power, we're going to keep that road open. The Premier was my guest speaker and he approved of this. So they better keep that road open and the Telegraph Creek and the Dease Lake 75-mile section.
I'm talking about things, Mr. Speaker, that are common; things I have been talking about for years. So just bear with me and keep that point clear: things I've been talking about and I'm still talking about them.
Bridge-building programmes. There are numerous bridges on the Stewart-Watson Lake Highway, a brand new road on this continent, and practically every one is a temporary bridge. The last time I made a trip through there, I was notified by truck drivers because of poor deckings and poor bridges. A lot of them are a little leery of crossing these bridges.
Some of the major bridges like the Bell-Irving No. 1 and No. 2 and even that big bridge on the highway, which is the Stikine Bridge, haven't got any deckings. I know that several truck drivers have been leery in going over. I know on my last trip last July over one of the Bell-Irving bridges a truck driver said he almost tipped over. Now the department keeps telling me, as a representative, "Well, we're waiting for these modern things."
In the meantime bridges have been built all over the continent, and they're decking them. Now where are they getting their decking and we couldn't get any? Now let's cut this jazz. There's decking available and let's put it there.
Along that highway system there are going to be new townsites. There are going to be areas selected
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for commercial use. I hope that the Highways Minister will see fit to exercise his knowledge and provide guidelines so that these townsites are placed in the proper areas where there's a water supply and everything else so that these towns can be properly placed.
Radio communications: in the north we have very little highway communications. I don't know what it is like in the Peace River area, but I know that on my side of the north there's very little, if any. We have been delayed in the summer months because of broken parts; repair parts are required. The local Highways foreman wants information passed through and there's very little communication with their own radio system. What a way to handle northern development if you haven't got that communication with the one department that's required in northern development — the Highways department.
Let's talk about paving. I can remember my good friend Art Laing hollering for paving. The Peace River Member was hollering for paving. Again I'm going to say for the second time on the floor of this House, if there's any road that requires paving it's the road, to me, that's going to be used most often in the north. I hate like heck to say this, boys, but it's the Stewart-Watson Lake highway on to Terrace.
They've already started paving; they've got about 34 miles paved. But let's pave the whole works. If any of you have been over that highway system, you're going to see that those boys who have the contract did a terrific job. And when you take one look at it, you'll know that paving is a must. Otherwise look at all the expenditure you're going to involve when you start maintaining gravel roads for the next 50 years. It's cheaper to pave it. It's cheaper to pave it in comparison to the high expense of looking after gravel roads.
Northern development in the area in which the government is talking about northern development: upgrade the Stewart-Meziadin highway section. You talk about northern development; a certain 75-mile road is involved in northern development and that is the Telegraph Creek to Dease Lake road. I wish a lot of you Members would recognize a lot of these names because if you're going to speak authentically about northern development, particularly people who sit on that side of the House, you're going to have to go up there and take a look at it. You're going to have to go up there and take a look at it if you're going to speak authentically as Members of the opposition, and you're going to know that I'm right.
MR. CHABOT: Curran knows the names.
MR. CALDER: Who's he? (Laughter.)
One of the top priorities I've presented to our Minister of Highways (Hon. Mr. Strachan) is this section, the 75-mile section between Telegraph Creek and Dease Lake, because this is in the northern part of the new park that we have established, Mr. Minister. It's a park. It's a 75-mile road, and it's a tourist road. It's a recreational road. It's a commercial road. And it's an access for the people in that area.
To keep it open, I'm requesting the Minister of Highways — and I'm sorry that he's not here – to reactivate the Telegraph Creek highways camp. It's a nice camp, sitting there and doing nothing.
Those of you who will eventually have to travel through that road will find that for 25 miles on the west part of this road it is a treacherous run, and yet most beautiful. This is where you go up and down these different canyons and it's very picturesque. But to keep that road as an all-weather road, the camp at Telegraph Creek must be reopened, and this is what I'm requesting as part and parcel of northern development.
Let's go to the Department of Recreation and Conservation: park development. You know that all these parks that have been developed in my constituency are just about complete and yet they have taken all the best spots along this beautiful highway; they've got it. They've even established the famous Edziza Park, which is going to be world-famous once people recognize it and see this.
But we talk about these park developments. Look, Mr. Speaker, were talking about the boundaries only. We're not talking about the development itself. We established, I think, a $20 million programme to provide jobs for students. Why couldn't we send these students in these areas and start building benches for these many parks in these remote areas. They're not so remote that the tourists.... Like I say, this road is going to be active.
When I was through there, I was queried time and time again: "Where are the benches? Where are the chairs? Where are the restrooms? Where are the fireplaces?" There aren't any, and when I write to the Minister, I don't get any favourable answers at all. That goes all the way down the line.
On this northern development, on these social aspects I must say, Mr. Speaker, that I don't get very favourable answers. I think the Ministers, if they want to take off from their offices here, my gad, they'd better go up north and find out what northern development is all about.
Fish and Wildlife. I must comment about my office-mate. He was pretty rough yesterday with the Minister, the Member for Omineca (Mr. Kelly) was. I share an office with him. If I'm critical today, I think we rub off on each other. The Hon. Member for Omineca, my God, was constructive. Don't let anybody on this side of the House say that this guy was nasty. He was speaking for his constituents and he was speaking for the people of the north. I support him 100 per cent. In our language, he was right on.
I'm very much concerned about Fish and Wildlife,
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Mr. Minister. It didn't take long after the road was complete from Terrace into the Nass River Valley.... We have a lake known as Trout Lake. There was no control, no game warden, very little police protection. On weekends the people as far east as Prince George streamed into that place. Just about two years ago, or prior to that, you could walk across that lake, there were so many trout. You try and get a trout there today. It's depleted. And already they're abusing the whole highway system.
Pollution! — you talk about tires and sprockets and everything else on the side of the road. My God, it's looking terrible. I go up there just prior to the opening of that highway and you see people shooting moose just at will. It's moose country. Mr. Speaker, if there is no control, Mr. Minister, depletion is just around the corner. That's why I support the Member who spoke yesterday, the Member for Omineca.
I'm going to speak about game wardens. The nearest warden we had was one time, I think, way over in Fort Nelson. I used to go to the department prior to your taking office, Mr. Minister and say, "Why are these game wardens way over in Siberia — Fort Nelson and these places?" It's a big country up north and, to us, your part of the country is in Siberia. Yet that's where the officers are placed that are supposed to be looking after details in my constituency. This is an uncalled-for situation. Game wardens, with the opening up of that country, said to me, "My God, Frank, you've won your point: we're going to place a game warden over at Watson Lake."
I said, "What, in another country?" I says, "You better bring him down in my constituency. Put him at Dease Lake or Cassiar. Put one in Atlin; put one in Stewart." This is what I'm asking you to do.
Boy, how you need help to protect fish and wildlife in that part of the country. Believe me, and I say this in all sincerity, we need more game wardens. We're supposed to have lots of money, so let's put it there. It's a real must, Mr. Speaker.
The Attorney-General's department. How often have I spoken about this public service of protection in that part of the country which I knew was opening up and which the government of the day is now realizing?
Police protection — we have a detachment in Atlin, we have a detachment in Cassiar, we have a detachment at Telegraph Creek, we have a detachment in Stewart. It's not enough — there's just one policeman.
There's so much paper work in today's business that the paper runs out of your ear. This poor guy has to do all the paper work and he doesn't spend enough time out in the field where there's a lot of abuse of game, and crime and everything else.
Time and time again I've stood, I've told Bob Bonner and Peterson about this, and they would say: "Oh, yeah, we're short of staff, you know. Eventually we're going to get at it." Boy, you better start looking for staff if you want protection in this new part of the country that's opening up. We talk about northern development, and part of northern development is protection. More staff is needed in these areas.
While I'm on this, Mr. Speaker, we need a detachment in the Nass River Valley. And I think this is highly required. As a matter of fact the previous administration was not only toying with the idea, but they were going to do it. Then we took office. But now it's wide open and I think there is another place where a detachment is required,
Forestry: we haven't any enterprisers. The people that I know are enterprisers in my constituency are not from the south; these are people from around the area. They've got the Klondike spirit. They were born and raised in these areas. They want to participate, and they want to take part in the building.
Boy, you want to build a house at Dease Lake? Where in the heck do you think you're going to go for lumber? You can go all the way down back to Siberia; you have to go down to Terrace. And yet the forestry department has been logging for many years in completing these SYU areas — logging in the inventory. Today they are not even ready to set up a bid for these people to bid upon timber so that they can supply local lumber. For house building? Boy, we better move!
I want to say, before I leave this section on forestry, that this is all within the area where the government took over the Columbia Colcel. The Minister has been talking about taking up the sawmills to take part in this whole development, I have about four applicants in the Stewart area, but they have all been sort of turned down because they are informed that certain surveys, certain inventories, have not been completed. Well, if the government is going to go right into this wholly, then I'll say to the Minister, who I am glad is in his seat, that we have a brand new sawmill in Stewart that has never been utilized. I would ask him to consider the advisability of taking over this sawmill and utilizing it in that area. I'm quite sure the people would be quite happy to hear such an announcement. This is what I ask in particular.
Let's talk about lands. Again I'm talking in terms of northern development and people who were born and raised here. I'm talking about the frontier people, and I'm talking about the pioneers. Lands had been made available to this chap. Good God, he built the north; he discovered it before we did. Actually all these people who are part of this whole Klondike spirit were the real founders of the province. You agree with me?
They should be given priority when it comes to properties. But when they do find and select lands, and they make applications, they've got to wait three,
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four, five, six months for the inspector from Fort St. John to come in and take a look at that area. Well, that's disgraceful; that's uncalled for. The government should be supplying land inspectors to go into these areas and take a look and see what the guy really wants. But with that type of laxity, it can only produce discouragement and frustration. And I say this is not northern development.
Let's talk about water resources in terms of northern development. I will agree with government policy that there must be a control of hydro-electrical distribution of this province and particularly in the north — electrical production and distribution.
We talk about townsites in this northern development area. The department should provide these townsites with planners of water supply particularly at Dease Lake. Talking about Dease Lake, that's one of the biggest highways camps on the Stewart-Watson Lake Highway. We have quite a number of people there now settled. We have a townsite there and nothing's been done too much about it. The only thing that we do not have there is a sufficient supply of water power.
I urge the Minister, if he's not satisfied with that site, for Heaven's sake to make a move pretty quick to another site. It wouldn't be too far south of the present one where there might be a supply of water. People who are living in this present site want to settle down. They even want a graveyard. We couldn't get a graveyard right now because the government says that they haven't finished with the survey. So they have to take their dead elsewhere for many miles. This is terrible, really.
I think the Minister, in co-operation with the Municipal Affairs Minister (Hon. Mr. Lorimer), should establish water supplies and sewage disposal systems in unorganized territories such as Telegraph Creek, Dease Lake, Lower Post, Atlin and Iskut, and that this should be accomplished unconditionally. Right now you have to be incorporated; you have to go through all the different regulations. But we're talking about northern development, and a lot of it is unorganized territory. To assist these people to develop they should be considered unconditionally. How they will go about it I don't know.
In other words the communities and unorganized territories must be provided with public services as part of the northern development. This is my point.
Mining and petroleum resources. I'm not leaving you out. By gad, I was travelling up in Watson Lake, which is the northern part of my section. I met a lot of my buddies up there, you know. My constituency is a mining constituency, and I met all my buddies, my faithful supporters, in a little bar one day when I landed in Watson Lake. They said, "Frank, we're glad to see you. By God, the next time we see you, maybe two years from now, we're going to go back to your area and kick you out of office."
That's not a very good thing to hear, you know. What's your problem, boys? I am hopeful now that the problems may be solved, with announcements to protect the prospectors in these areas, because these are the little guys who make the province. It's the mining industry that made British Columbia.
The Minister must provide encouragement in mining. Mining, I repeat, made the province. He should encourage exploration. For gosh sakes, the Minister better not try and get into the field of exploration or he'll run the coffers broke.
I say this in all sincerity: any government has to protect the mining industry. It has gone a long way. Certainly we can charge a lot of guys who became rich and left the country. We're trying to do something about that, but I am hopeful that what we do in lawmaking doesn't hurt the little guy. And right now the prospector says that he's the one that's hurt the most. I am seriously urging the Minister to make sure that he protects these people.
MR. PHILLIPS: Come on over!
MR. CALDER: Let's talk about northern development in terms of transportation and communications. Now, this is where I am going to stand for correction.
I know that the Premier is the president of the railway. I want to say a few words on the BCR, but I may have slipped up on my reading; but Transportation and Communications is the department.
I know that surveys are underway. The tentative surveys have been completed. As a matter of fact, I just got the maps from Terrace the other day; they're in my office. I'm very gratified to know that that railway is ending up in Groundhog. My God, if anybody wants to read about Groundhog, you come to my office. I've been studying this Groundhog case, and several times I've brought it before the House.
You know, they did survey the area for coking coal and found nothing there. But I was told by several mining companies two years ago that Europe is interested in the fuel coal. With the energy problem we have today, we may have to go back to considering coal as fuel, and Groundhog has a terrific bed.
When I read in the paper that the survey was going to end up at Groundhog, I really got to wondering. Gosh, if the government has been approached on this Groundhog deal, I wish it would tell the Members on the floor of this House, because we're most interested in this. I'm quite sure that eventually they may.
But the Groundhog is only 70 miles from the seaport of Stewart. I only bring this out because, if it is a fact that the connecting link is going to be from Groundhog, I would request the Premier of the government to consider surveying this 70-mile stretch
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into Stewart, At one time you'd stand on the height of land at Bear Pass and say there's no way you can go through that pass.
Today the glaciers are receding terrifically. As a matter of fact, the big one, the Bear Glacier, is practically half way up the mountain now. But the forest road now in use is at the bottom of the valley. I think it warrants a survey to the seaport of Stewart. I don't see anything wrong with the government saying, "Let's survey it." I'm requesting it at this time.
I was going to say one terrific lot about the Premier's office, particularly in terms of this assessment. My God, you should see the files I've got in my office. The pioneering people...let me tell you something: there's a penalty for being a northerner. You know that? There's a real penalty for being a northerner. There's a penalty for being frontier people, for being a pioneer.
Now I know there's a heck of lot of adjustment required in land assessment, but we never educated the poor guy up north about these things. When he's suddenly faced with these things, somebody's got to explain to him. Somebody's got to explain these things to him, and, by God, as a Member, I'm going to try and do my best. I say I'm not going to dwell too much on this because I am happy. Yesterday the committee was struck and they're going to have a hearing,
As a Member of the north, I'm going to be phoning and telegramming and writing letters to my constituents to try to find their way down so that they can appear before this committee and present their problems. I think this is justice. I commend the Premier for it.
MR. PHILLIPS: Hoist Bill 71.
MR. FRASER: Give it to him now.
MR. CALDER: There's one thing that I will say. I come from a stricken area. A lot of us in unorganized territories come from stricken areas. We haven't said too much about poverty-stricken areas. We talk about housing in relation to poverty-stricken areas. But I wouldn't mind seeing the government look into this. We have poverty in this province. I certainly would like to see the government set up a parliamentary committee to study it — I don't care how long it takes — but to look into this matter. When I say poverty, I also include everyone, every land, including the Indian reserves. I think this might be a step in the right direction.
I'd like to conclude on northern development, Mr. Speaker. I must say that in all these things I have brought up, I have brought them to the attention of the government — even last July when I made my 26-day trip. I wrote to quite a number of Ministers on these priorities and they have it in the files. The previous government also received these things. I said them verbally; I had them in writing. And so I don't think anybody should accuse me of saying, "Well, why bring it up now when you haven't said anything to anybody?"
Well, I have. I may have missed some, but I have done it constructively. I must say in this respect that I have been very disappointed in some of the letters I've been receiving from the Ministers, and I say that they should really look into these problems. Don't listen so much to the Deputy or the civil servant for information. Go up there yourselves and take a look. I ask you to do that.
I certainly don't want to see the government of the day fail the people of the north. We're supposed to be the government of the little people. My God, the little people are saying: "I want the returns. Naturally I welcome all these big fabulous enterprises you mentioned, but where are the services for me?"
So at the moment, to conclude, Mr. Speaker, I don't want anybody to tell me about northern development. As a representative of the north, I'll tell you. At the moment as well, you do not tell the constituents of Atlin or people of the north about northern development; they will tell you. Yes, indeed, they may even tell you about it in the ballot box.
Thus, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the people I represent, and I say this kindly and with all sincerity: in the next two years, Mr. Government, put up or shut up. Having said that, each time that you put up, I and the northern people will applaud most heartily.
Mr. Speaker, this was my speech from the throne speech but I never had a chance to give it. I was going to speak about northern affairs in the budget. How much time have I got? Is there a night sitting? I'll try and cut it short, but I have to say something about this.
Mr. Speaker, I must say....
MR. PHILLIPS: Throttling the throne speech.
MR. SPEAKER: Order, Would the Hon. Member withdraw that statement, which he knows is untrue?
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. That statement is untrue and is an attack upon a Member of the House, and the Hon. Member knows this.
MR. SPEAKER: I don't care. I am in charge of the proceedings of the House. It happens that I called upon the Members of the House to speak on that particular occasion and nobody stood up. To say that
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anyone throttled this House is actually an attack upon the Speaker.
MR. PHILLIPS: Mr. Speaker, I certainly didn't mean it as an attack upon you. I meant it as an attack upon the Premier, because he's the one who leads the House and he's the one who shut it down. And I say that he throttled the Member for Atlin by not giving him a chance to talk.
MR. SPEAKER: On the point of order that the Hon. Member has raised, I draw again to his attention that the Speaker will not permit anybody to throttle the proceedings of the House. I called upon the Hon. Members to speak and it's still an inference against the Speaker to suggest that I would permit any Member to throttle your right to speak. I ask you to withdraw it.
MR. PHILLIPS: Well, I'll certainly withdraw it, but the Member for....
MR. SPEAKER: Thank you very much. (Laughter.) Would the Hon. Member for Atlin proceed?
MR. CALDER: Mr. Speaker, I'll try and hold it within 15 minutes, but I have to speak on this.
MR. SPEAKER: Order.
MR. CALDER: I'd like to say, in a few words, my point of view on Indian affairs. Mr. Speaker, first of all, may I remind the House that this is the first speech since my dismissal from the office which I had held. I must say that I am not happy with the involvement in a certain incident that caused my dismissal.
If I owe anybody an apology, Mr. Speaker, it's to the whole House and to the public. I'm not going to elaborate on this. I know that there is respect and dignity in this House and, believe me, I'm one to uphold it. Having said that, if there's any other involvement, rest assured that to keep the dignity of this House I will be the first one to step to one side.
I'm going to stick to my notes on the account of time — I am not happy with the news that the services of Mr. Reginald Kelly who was my former executive assistant — will be terminated at the end of this month.
I must report to the House that I was one Minister who never went out to select anybody just because I knew that person. I didn't pick my buddy. On the assignment which I had it took me almost two months to carefully select Mr. Kelly because of his background, his knowledge and his know how.
Equally carefully I selected Mrs. Eleanor Beyer. They were the two people that would play a major role in the survey and in filing the report. If nothing had happened, and I suppose this is partly my fault, the report would have been filed at this session.
I must report to the House as well that last July I completed that survey following my trip meeting the different provincial governments and correspondence was stacked high with United States problems and everything else, and we were ready. I must say too that Mr. Kelly and Mrs. Beyer knew my recommendations, and in my dismissal it didn't have to be that their offices should be terminated. I think without me they could have written that report. As I say, they knew my recommendations and they were ready to proceed.
Because of these terminations I feel as an MLA that there's nothing to stop me from mentioning the things that the report embodied. I would still recommend this on the floor of the House as a private Member. They are very simple, there were not too many of them, and they were going to be highly elaborated on. I
Those of you who are interested in Indian affairs must hear this. I recommended recognition by the B.C. government of all communities as having municipal status on the strength of band council resolutions, rather than by plebiscite under the Municipal Act at the present time.
This unconditional recognition is already in operation, Mr. Member for Oak Bay (Mr. Wallace). This is already recognized by the government of the United States. And it's an unconditional recognition that reserves are municipalities. And I must say that in those two examples they are working fine.
This may hurt but I recommend that by this status native Indians can lease their lands and collect taxes from such leases. Read the Stanbury-Fields report; that is mentioned in there. This way is one source that they can use to provide for their own lot.
Secondly, all provincial public services should be extended to Indian reserves unconditionally. Now there is a beautiful situation in the Province of Ontario. A lot of you have seen Indian reserve resolutions, and this is where the Indians are consulted. They are part and parcel in the consultation. You don't have to force public services on them. If they want it, they can draft the Indians affairs resolution and present it to the government. This is how it's done in the Province of Ontario. If they don't want it they don't have to take it.
Such is the case in Quebec. Quebec is similar to British Columbia — non-treaty Indians. But the Quebec native Indians don't want public services; they just want to be left alone.
But in the Province of British Columbia you'll find a real wide scope on this. There's a lot of villages that want public services. They are talking about
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highways. In Ontario they built great highways by the resolutions handed in by the native people. This worked beautifully.
In matters of education, health, housing, grants, loans and mortgages, mining, forestry, recreation and conservation, agricultural, highways, industry, consumer services, employment, human resources, education, municipal affairs, lands, municipal distribution — why not? Indians are taxpayers. Why aren't they getting public service? I'm just about over.
Thirdly, restore mineral rights on Indian reserves, just as the native Indians would want it to be. Right now the federal government is setting up a plan from coast to coast. Right now practically every province believes that it should be under federal control. As yet there has been no commitment from the Province of B.C., but this is up to the Minister and the government to consider these things.
Fourthly, the B.C. government should have full participation with the federal government and the B.C. native Indians in B.C. Indian land settlement negotiations. The federal government cannot be left out of this negotiation, because this land deal has been going on prior to the introduction of the provincial system. By the same token the province cannot be left out of negotiations either, because since 1871 the BNA Act says that the land belongs to the province. A lot of lands that are claimed are outside the bounds of what we know as Indian reservations. Therefore the province has no way out, I sincerely ask that the B.C. government consider these things.
Fifthly, in land claims negotiations if the native Indians of British Columbia wish to retain their present communities and/or reserves as theirs, then I recommend that all cut-off lands which were taken without consultation with the Indian people in earlier years be returned to the native Indians. What do cut-offs involve? I'll give you the exact figures. They involve 36,783.59 acres.
You are already getting highly criticized. There are meetings everywhere and you are going to be confronted on the issue. My advice, for what it's worth, is that the cut-offs already utilized by the public should involve compensations to the native Indians. Secondly, those cut-offs which are not utilized should be returned in whole Jo the original reserve owners.
I've already mentioned housing. I'm going to skip that because I intend to say a few words on behalf of the non-status Indians in my area. God only knows how many times I've brought this up. I was accused of laxity in this but I don't want to enter into debate in that. My mail is there.
Lastly I would like to register my objections, Mr. Premier, through you, Mr. Speaker, to the provincial establishment of an Indian department. That's what it is. When I first spoke on the floor of this House I said you'll establish an Indian department over my dead body. Now, of late, the Indian people have stated that they don't want this. They have been placed under the Human Resources department. We may have changed the words to "Human Resources" but to a heck of a lot of people out there it's still "Social Welfare."
Why place the Indians under social welfare? It's bad connotation. If you think that the Indian is a welfare case, why rub it in by putting him under that department? Let me tell you, we talk about equality. If an Indian delegation was to come here because there are housing problems, they must go to that Minister over in that corner (Hon. Mr. Levi). If they want to talk about industry, they'll go to him. If they want to talk about recreation, they'll go to him — all the way down the line. I would urge the government to please reconsider. Because out there — you know, it's getting around. And I hope that the government will consider this.
Mr. Speaker, I was busy preparing my speech in my house. When I came in, the first speaker was already finished. I was met at the front steps by television and reporters and radio. "What's this we hear about you going to make an announcement that you're going to cross the floor?" I almost got floored. I don't know who started that rumour, really. I almost got stunned over this.
You know, it was this party — the old CCF — that first gave me my chance, and I will never forget this. I have developed friends ever since 1949 on all sides of the House, particularly the people with whom I am closely associated — Ran Harding, Leo and later on Dave and the rest of the gang.
I am not W.A.C. Bennett. He knew when to cross the floor and utilized it. Well, I'm just a little guy. I don't think I should be doing things like this. I'm not even going to threaten to do it. I suppose that if anything of that nature is going to be brought before me, it's going to have to be my constituents who do so.
This is not a threat, so we better do something about the north. But from where I'm standing, I have no intention of going anywhere expect to fulfil my duties as a Member on this side of the House.
Hon. Mrs. Dailly moves adjournment of the debate.
Hon. Mr. Lea files answers to question 14.
Mr. Morrison withdraws question 131 standing in his name on the order paper.
[ Page 336 ]
Hon. Mr. Cocke files answer to question 66.
Hon. Mr. Stupich files answer to question 104.
MR. SPEAKER: Hon. Members, the Hon. Member for Langley (Mr. McClelland) complains of words that were printed in this morning's Province. I feel I should deal with the matter as quickly as possible.
He did not produce on the table the newspaper, other than to state that the newspaper concerned refers to "a cheap two-bit politician." The House is therefore not provided with the prerequisites upon which it might consider the matter, or upon which the Speaker can proceed. He neither identifies the Member impugned, nor provides evidence against the person he attacks.
May's 18th edition, page 159, states:
"When complaint is made of something published in a newspaper...a copy of the newspaper...must be delivered in at the table by the Member who makes the complaint and, if they have not been read to the House by the Member, the passages complained of read aloud by the Clerk for the information of the House before any further proceedings are had in relation to the complaint."
May at the same page states:
"When it appeared that a Member who was complaining of the manner in which a speech of his was reported in a newspaper had no copy of the newspaper on which to found his complaint, he was stopped by the Speaker."
In the present complaint, there is nothing before the House, as required, for such a matter to be raised. There is no newspaper and no evidence of what Member it is who is entitled to raise a complaint on the ground that he is a person aggrieved, and no motion is proposed by which the House may take cognizance of it, should it consider it a prima facie matter for consideration.
In view of those circumstances, I would have to rule that there is no question of privilege that I can deal with at this stage.
Hon. Mr. Barrett moves adjournment of the House.
The House adjourned at 6:17 p.m.