1975 Legislative Session: 5th Session, 30th Parliament
The following electronic version is for informational purposes
The printed version remains the official version.
THURSDAY, MARCH 20, 1975
[ Page 817 ]
Minnekhada purchase. Mr. Bennett — 817
Compulsory arbitration in civic workers' dispute. Mr. Gardom — 817
Action on vigilante leader. Mr. Wallace — 817
Minnekhada purchase. Mr. Phillips — 818
Transferal of correctional centre inmates. Hon. Mr. Macdonald answers — 818
Purchase price of Surrey land. Mr. Curtis — 819
Future plans for land in City of North Vancouver. Mr. Gibson — 819
Housing dept. release on Vanderhoof landbank. Mr. Phillips — 819
Columbia River committee files. Mr. Gardom — 820
Sea Island evictions. Mr. Steves — 820
Insurance carrier for government aircraft. Mr. Morrison — 820
Committee of Supply: Premier's estimates
On vote 2.
Mr. Gibson — 820
Mr. Gardom — 823
Hon. Mr. Barrett — 825|
Mr. Phillips — 825
Mr. Gardom — 826
Division on Chairman's ruling — 826
Mr. Gardom — 826
Hon. Mr. Barrett — 827
Mrs. Webster — 828
Hon. Mr. Barrett — 828
Mr. Gardom — 829
Hon. Mr. Barrett — 829
Mr. Gardom — 829
Hon. Mr. Barrett — 829
Mr. Gardom — 830
Hon. Mr. Barrett — 830
Mr. Gardom — 831
Mr. Gibson — 831
Division on Chairman's ruling — 832
Timing of debate. Mr. Gibson — 832
Mr. Speaker — 832
Mr. D.A. Anderson — 832
Mr. Speaker — 833
Committee of Supply: Premier's estimates
On vote 2.
Mr. D.A. Anderson — 833
Hon. Mr. Barrett — 833
Mr. D.A. Anderson — 834
Mr. Gibson — 840
Hon. Mr. Barrett — 840
Mr. Gibson — 841
Hon. Mr. Barrett — 843
Mr. Gibson — 844
Hon. Mr. Barrett — 844
Mr. Gibson — 845
Hon. Mr. Barrett — 845
Mr. L.A. Williams — 846
Hon. Mr. Barrett — 852
Mr. L.A. Williams — 854
Hon. Mr. Barrett — 856
Mr. Gibson — 857
Speaker's knowledge of committee debate. Mr. Chabot — 858
Mr. Speaker — 859
Erratum — 860
The House met at 2 p.m.
Hon. W.S. King (Minister of Labour): Mr. Speaker, in the galleries today — I think both the Members' gallery and the Speaker's gallery — we have a group of about a dozen young people from south of the border. They are from the labour desk of the U.S. Youth Council and are visiting Victoria to familiarize themselves with labour matters in this province and also to study the structure of the government in this province and in this nation. I would ask the House to join with me in extending a warm welcome to our friends from south of the border.
Mrs. D. Webster (Vancouver South): Mr. Speaker, I would like this assembly to welcome 30 ladies from the Women's Canadian Club, Vancouver, who are visiting in the gallery today.
Mrs. P.J. Jordan (North Okanagan): Mr. Speaker, you will be pleased to know that in the Members' gallery we have a distinguished citizen from Campbell River, Mr. Peter Turner. I would ask the House to welcome him this afternoon while he views democracy in action.
Mr. C. Liden (Delta): Mr. Speaker, we have in the gallery today 60 students from the Earl Marriott School, South Surrey–White Rock area, with their teachers, Jim Taylor and Rick Harmon. I would ask the Members to make them welcome.
In addition we have three large busloads of senior citizens from the White Rock area, many of whom were able to get seats in the gallery today. I would ask the Members to make them welcome.
Hon. A.B. Macdonald (Attorney-General): Mr. Speaker, from the Association of Concerned Handicapped of B.C. we have Henry Apostoluk, John Holowanky and Ben Hogan. I want to make them welcome to our gallery.
Mr. W.R. Bennett (Leader of the Opposition): Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Housing with respect to the purchase of the Minnekhada Stock Farm by the Dunhill Development Corp. from Daon Development Ltd.: could the Minister advise the House whether Dunhill conducted discussions with Daon about the purchase of Minnekhada prior to Daon's purchase of Minnekhada from Clarence Wallace?
Hon. L. Nicolson (Minister of Housing): Yes.
Mr. Bennett: Could the Minister then advise the House why Dunhill did not enter into direct purchase negotiations with Mr. Wallace, and why they needed an intermediary?
Hon. Mr. Nicolson: Well, it's a very normal business practice, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Bennett: Would the Minister further advise the House, on a supplemental, whether you negotiated a normal commission or fee in advance with Daon to handle the transaction or whether they were paid in excess of the normal real estate commission fee?
Hon. Mr. Nicolson: There was no commission fee to Daon Development. There was a commission fee to another real estate firm that was handling the property.
IN CIVIC WORKERS' DISPUTE
Mr. G.B. Gardom (Vancouver–Point Grey): To the Minister of Labour, Mr. Speaker. In view of the fact that 100 maintenance employees and groundskeepers are keeping 30,000 pupils out of school in Vancouver and 278 custodians and trades people are keeping 30,000 pupils out of school in Victoria, and there's a daily pay rate for teachers of literally thousands and thousands of dollars for which the public are not getting proper value, is the Minister prepared to order compulsory arbitration to end these two strikes?
Hon. W.S. King (Minister of Labour): Mr. Speaker, I'm meeting with the parties to this dispute — at least, the management side — this afternoon at 2:30. The Minister of Education (Hon. Mrs. Dailly) and I have a meeting arranged and we will be discussing, hopefully, a formula for resolving the dispute.
Mr. Gardom: A supplemental, Mr. Speaker. Is the Hon. Minister taking the position that these strikes are contrary to the public interest?
Hon. Mr. King: Mr. Speaker, I would question whether or not a debate at this time would contribute anything to the public interest. I've indicated that we are arranging a meeting. The strike is one of long duration already. I think it's encouraging that the parties are prepared to come and discuss the matter and hopefully find a resolution, and I would expect
[ Page 818 ]
that all Members of the House would give their best wishes to this initiative by the Department of Labour.
ACTION ON VIGILANTE LEADER
Mr. G.S. Wallace (Oak Bay): Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Attorney-General a question with regard to the concern we all have over the racial violence which erupted in the lower mainland. In light of the revelation that the man proposing a vigilante group and the use of violence as an answer is a landed immigrant without Canadian citizenship, and since he is dedicated to the overthrow of the legal government in our country, has the Attorney-General been in touch with the federal Minister of Immigration?
Hon. Mr. MacDonald: The answer is no, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Wallace: A supplementary. Has the Minister given any consideration to suggesting to the federal Minister that perhaps this kind of person should be deported?
Hon. Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, the immigration and landed status and citizenship being a federal matter, I don't feel that there is any call for me to intervene in that respect.
Mr. Wallace: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker. This is of deep concern to all people in the province. The matter could lead to enough violence and perhaps loss of life. Does not the Minister feel that this is an area where federal jurisdiction and provincial jurisdiction overlap enough that we should take some initiative?
Hon. Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, I think our concern provincially in the administration of justice is the even enforcement of that justice in respect to violence or intimidation wherever it occurs. The question of somebody's citizenship, landed immigrant status and deportation, if any, is a federal matter, and I'm sure that the federal government are apprised of the situation. But I'd be very reluctant, as the chief law officer, to begin to enforce our laws by asking the federal government to intervene in an immigration way.
Mr. D.M. Phillips (South Peace River): I'd like to direct a question to the Minister of Housing. At the same time I'd like to welcome the Minister back from his travels abroad. Good to see you back in the House, Mr. Minister.
With regard to the purchase of the Minnekhada farm, could the Minister identify the firm who received a commission on the purchase?
Hon. Mr. Nicolson: Would you repeat the question, please?
Mr. Phillips: Would you identify the firm that received the commission involved with the purchase with Daon in the Minnekhada farm deal? Did another firm receive a commission? Would you advise who that firm is?
Hon. Mr. Nicolson: Mr. Speaker, I don't have the name of the firm readily at hand, but I'm informed that it was a firm that was acting for Mr. Wallace.
Mr. Phillips: Supplementary question then, Mr. Speaker. Would the Minister also advise the House if Daon made a profit or a commission or any form of remuneration for their involvement in the deal?
Hon. Mr. Nicolson: Mr. Speaker, I'd give a breakdown of the commission and charges ancillary thereto. I think it should be put on the order paper.
Mr. Phillips: You will? Will you table it in the House?
CORRECTIONAL CENTRE INMATES
Hon. Mr. MacDonald: The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Bennett) asked me the other day whether or not inmates from the community correctional centre would go off to organizations such as X-Kalay. The answer is yes, whether or not the community centre happens to be full. Sometimes that private organization with which we contract — which might be X-Kalay, or it might be the Salvation Army — has a special programme that meets the needs of the person concerned. So we do contract out. At the present time there are two at X-Kalay. I may say that an officer of the corrections branch visits the X-Kalay two or three times a day just as a regular routine checkup; nevertheless, there is a checkup.
In respect to the Marpole community correctional institution, yes, there is a female there at the present time and there have been more. We'd like to have a separate institution for females but at the moment they are segregated one from the other. We do have at the present time one female at the Marpole, on the first floor. The men inmates are upstairs.
Mr. Bennett: A supplementary to the Attorney-General. At Marpole, then, is there female staff to supervise the female inmates?
[ Page 819 ]
Hon. Mr. MacDonald: No, I don't think there is. This is a living-in and it's going out on an educational programme or, as most of them do, out to work at a regular job. They come back to the community centre at night and pay $4 towards the upkeep at the community centre. It isn't jail, and I don't think at the moment there's any female supervisor in the Marpole community correctional centre.
Mr. J.R. Chabot (Columbia River): A supplementary question on the Marpole correctional centre. Is there a serious overcrowding problem with Marpole?
Hon. Mr. MacDonald: No, I don't think so. But we are expanding our community correctional centres. I think we've got four that are actually operative now. Another one at Kamloops is coming on stream, and we need more throughout the province.
Mr. Chabot: It's overcrowded.
Hon. Mr. MacDonald: I don't think so.
Mr. Chabot: Of course it is.
OF SURREY LAND
Mr. H.A. Curtis (Saanich and the Islands): To the Minister of Municipal Affairs, who has been passed by in question period from time to time recently: with respect to acquisition of land in the district municipality of Surrey in what is known as the Newton Town Centre area, does the Minister know, offhand, the purchase price of land which has been recently acquired for a transit station or centre?
Hon. J.G. Lorimer (Minister of Municipal Affairs): I don't have the price on hand, but I can find that out for you.
FUTURE PLANS FOR LAND
IN CITY OF NORTH VANCOUVER
Mr. G.F. Gibson (North Vancouver-Capilano): To the same Minister of Municipal Affairs: is the Minister now in consultation with the City of North Vancouver with respect to the 17 acres of expropriated land right in the heart of that city? Is he soon going to be able to announce plans for the use of that land?
Hon. Mr. Lorimer: The transit planning staff have been working with the City of North Vancouver planning staff, and have been for some months. They will arrive at a decision shortly, I would suspect.
HOUSING DEPARTMENT RELEASE
ON VANDERHOOF LANDBANK
Mr. Phillips: Another short, quick question to the Minister of Housing with regard to a release on which was issued from his department — release number 7521 entitled "Landbank in Vanderhoof." Would the Minister advise me the purpose of his department putting out this fallacious and misleading press release where he states that the Department of Housing had purchased 30 acres of land in Vanderhoof for future housing development? Was the land actually purchased by the Department of Housing or by Dunhill Development Ltd.?
Hon. Mr. Nicolson: I think the question is argumentative, Mr. Speaker. (Laughter.)
Mr. Phillips: I think the Minister is argumentative because the information I have is that the majority of this land has been land banked for some time — about 90 per cent of it. I think this press release is completely misleading — that the Department of Housing didn't actually purchase the 30 acres of land. I'd like the Minister to explain this.
Hon. Mr. Nicolson: Mr. Speaker, I don't know if the Hon. Member is asking me to explain the press release put out by the Department of Housing, or the press release put out by Central Mortgage and Housing. But in keeping with the agreement between the two governments, a joint press release was issued on several communities in British Columbia where this province and the federal government is cooperating in landbanking for the housing needs of the people of British Columbia.
Mr. Phillips: I detect motherhood all over the Legislature this afternoon but....
Mr. Speaker: I detect a speech, too.
Mr. Phillips: Mr. Speaker, I identified the news release. I say to the Minister of Housing if he did purchase this land, 30 acres, for $4,059,000, would he explain why land would be purchased in Vanderhoof for the sum of $35,300 per acre?
An Hon. Member: That's a good question. Answer it.
Mr. Phillips: Mr. Minister, you've got to take the question as notice or answer it.
Mr. Chabot: Don't sit there like a dumb-bell.
[ Page 820 ]
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. You can ask a question, but you can't require an answer; otherwise we'd never have a question period finish. There are always questions on notice, as you know.
COLUMBIA RIVER COMMITTEE FILES
Mr. Gardom: To the Minister of Municipal Affairs: has the Minister in his capacity as director of B.C. Hydro ever received or perused the Columbia River cost allocation committee files and reports?
Hon. Mr. Lorimer: No, I haven't perused the files.
Mr. Gardom: Have you received a copy of that report, Mr. Minister?
Hon. Mr. Lorimer: I have not received a copy of the report.
SEA ISLAND EVICTIONS
Mr. H. Steves (Richmond): I have a question for the Minister of Housing. Last weekend I was present at the signing of a lease for a co-op made up of people from Sea Island who were being evicted from Sea Island for the airport. The government is providing about $600,000 towards this co-op.
I'm wondering, to start with, if the Minister is aware that the federal government is still proceeding with the evictions of these people; if he has been in contact with the MOT over this; and, if not, if he would be prepared to take some action to pressure the Ministry of Transport to postpone the evictions until the new homes for these people are ready.
Hon. Mr. Nicolson: Mr. Speaker, to the Hon. Member: we did get into this cooperative as a solution to the eviction. I have read the recent press release and I'll follow up on your suggestion. I will write to the Hon. Barnett Danson and ask him to prevail upon the Ministry of Transport.
FOR GOVERNMENT AIRCRAFT
Mr. N.R. Morrison (Victoria): My question is addressed to the Minister of Transport and Communications. Could he advise the House what insurance company carries the insurance on B.C. government aircraft, please?
Hon. R.M. Strachan (Minister of Transport and Communications): I'll have to take that as notice. I'm not sure.
Orders of the day.
The House in Committee of Supply; Mr. Dent in the chair.
ESTIMATES: PREMIER'S OFFICE
On vote 2: Premier's office, $286,290.
Mr. G.F. Gibson (North Vancouver-Capilano): Mr. Chairman, there's been a certain amount of miscellany as this debate has gone by and I want to continue with that....
HON. D. BARRETT (Premier): That's not my department.
Mr. Gibson: I think it is, Mr. Premier, covering several areas here, I want to start out by continuing with the remarks of the Hon. Member for West Vancouver–Howe Sound (Mr. L.A. Williams) made yesterday — his first-rate point on the subject of the sharing of natural gas revenues with municipalities.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Yes.
Mr. Gibson: The Hon. Member for West Vancouver–Howe Sound made the very proper point that natural gas revenues are a finite asset and a wasting asset in our province and that the needs of municipalities are continuing. He made the point that what should be done is that municipal assistance from the provincial government should be indexed to general revenue, not to natural gas revenue. The Premier stood up and pretty well agreed with that. He agreed with the logic, all along the line, then he disagreed with the conclusions at the end.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Because the conclusion was inconsistent with his logic.
Mr. Gibson: No, indeed. His conclusion was perfectly consistent.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. I would ask the Hon. Premier to wait until it is his turn to speak.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: I'm trying to avoid his making the same mistake as his colleague.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please.
Mr. Gibson: The Premier gets so excited during his estimates, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Premier.
Mr. G.S. Wallace (Oak Bay): It keeps us all awake, anyway.
[ Page 821 ]
Mr. Gibson: The Premier agreed with the thesis that these kinds of funds, which are essentially capital funds, part of the capital endowment of all British Columbians, should go in the capital projects; and he talked about creating jobs around British Columbia which would pay taxes to those municipalities for all time. That's the proper thing to do with that money; therefore he shouldn't be taking a third of it, as he is, and putting it into current expenditures. He should be keeping all of it in that very proper capital investment framework that he spoke of.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: You fellows don't listen.
Mr. Gibson: We listen very carefully, Mr. Premier. We agreed with your logic, all the way down the line until the point where you were going to use some of that capital revenue off the natural gas for current operating expenditures. That money should go to the municipalities from general revenues; it should be guaranteed from general revenues. You shouldn't be using them as a political pawn, as you are using them, in your contest with Ottawa.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Are you accusing me of playing politics?
Mr. Gibson: Yes, Mr. Premier. I'm accusing you of playing politics.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: That's going too far. (Laughter.)
Mr. Gibson: You're good at it, Mr. Premier, through you, Mr. Chairman, But when it squeezes the municipalities, it's not fair. It squeezes the municipalities.
Mr. Gibson: Giving them pie in the sky is squeezing them. You know, Mr. Minister of Health, through you, Mr. Chairman, that the municipalities aren't allowed to run a deficit by law. How can they budget on pie in the sky? They have to draw up their budgets now.
The Premier is a great friend of the municipalities. He's starving them. We were told an Irish joke yesterday. I am going to tell him an Irish joke about how he's treating the municipalities. It's like the Irish woman who said: "Just as I taught my pig to live without eating, he died."
That's what you're doing to the municipalities, Mr. Premier. They're starving, so I would hope you understand it this time around.
The Premier also said that these investments in municipalities would help pay taxes to those municipalities.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: The last time I heard that, I was called a chauvinist.
Mr. Gibson: I want to move on to the Premier in his capacity as president of British Columbia Railway. I know he wants the BCR debate basically to be undertaken at the time the loan legislation comes up, but this is just a simple little item, Mr. Premier. It has to do with the payment of taxes to municipalities by Crown corporations, particularly the British Columbia Railway. We've been through this so many times, Mr. Premier, and I had hoped that it was going to be in this budget.
I had a meeting with the council of the District of North Vancouver to discuss what messages they wanted brought to this House. One of the things they were concerned about was the fact that the British Columbia Railway does not pay something like $125,000 worth of taxes a year to the District of North Vancouver. I was naive, Mr. Chairman. I was naive enough to say to the councilors of the District of North Vancouver that I had real hopes that this time around it was going to be in the budget, that this time around the Premier was going to make provision by changing that Act of the Legislature to make it possible for the British Columbia Railway to pay taxes.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: You're a new boy; you don't know the rules. You can't talk about legislation under my estimates.
Mr. Gibson: Mr. Premier, I just want to talk about it briefly, just long enough to give you a chance to stand up and say that this inequity is going to be remedied, that the general policy of your government in every other area which has been stated by the Minister of Municipal Affairs (Hon. Mr. Lorimer) is going to be remedied, and soon. Do you want to answer that question now?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Do you have any more questions?
Mr. Gibson: I have a few more questions.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Any as embarrassing as that one?
Mr. Gibson: Who's going to be embarrassed, Mr. Premier?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: You are.
Mr. Gibson: All right, good. Stand up and embarrass me.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: No, I don't want to do
[ Page 822 ]
that in public.
Mr. Gibson: Now a couple of things the Premier said were going to be created by this natural gas money involved the question of a refinery and a steel mill. I point out to the Premier that both of these projects depend on imported raw materials to British Columbia: in the case of a steel mill, import of iron ore — we have the coal fortunately; in the case of a refinery, import of oil.
The Premier is very concerned — we know, because it was in the budget — about tanker traffic. But he has not moved, as he could have done, to guarantee this province an overland supply of oil that would not require an increase in tanker traffic of the order of magnitude that a new refinery will require. He could have done that. He could have done that. He could have assured that supply from the Province of Alberta by following out his own dogma, by following out his own announcement that he and some other western NDP premiers and Tommy Douglas, Grant Nottley and some others made in Winnipeg. I am quoting now from a clipping of The Vancouver Sun of February 14. Listen to this, Mr. Chairman. This is about Syncrude.
"Two of the Premiers, Dave Barrett of British Columbia and Alan Blakeney of Saskatchewan, told a press conference at the Manitoba legislative building that their governments would invest in the project providing it was publicly owned."
Hon. Mr. Barrett: That's right.
Mr. Gibson: That's what the Premier said.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: You're quoting a beautiful source.
Mr. Gibson: He agrees that's right. That's a good quote.
Mr. Gibson: As the Hon. Member for West Vancouver–Howe Sound (Mr. L.A. Williams) says: "How does it become publicly owned if you won't buy it?"
There's already 30 per cent government ownership in there now. You know, you could have led the way for this country. You could have pushed it over the top. You could have encouraged your colleague in Saskatchewan to go in for maybe 5 per cent. We could have gone in, in British Columbia, for maybe 10 per cent. We could afford that, Mr. Premier.
We could have convinced Ontario to go in for another 5 per cent, and that would have made it a publicly controlled company right there, Mr. Premier.
You could have done that job. You could have carried out your own dogma just by that prudent investment, because that would give us a claim on the oil output of that huge project.
Hon. A.B. Macdonald (Attorney-General): That's just the first installment you're talking about.
Mr. Gibson: Something in excess of 100,000 barrels a day. It's just the first installment, Mr. Attorney-General, that's correct. Are we going to get into another installment? Are the other governments going to be in that other installment or is this the chance to have a publicly owned installment, which is also going to be, as you well know, the first one on stream by far?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Why don't you quit while you're ahead? You're making a big mistake.
Mr. Gibson: Because these things are moving slowly.
Mr. Gibson: You're making a big mistake, Mr. Premier. You're making a big mistake in not guaranteeing British Columbia that supply of oil by investing in Syncrude.
An Hon. Member: You're ruining your leadership chances. He's destroying a whole career with his silly statement.
Mr. Gibson: A big mistake.
The next comment I would like to make to the Premier is to advise him — and I was surprised, astonished to see this — that the Social Credit Party now supports what has been Liberal policy for many, many years. They didn't support it when they were in government.
They didn't support it while they were in government, but now the leader of the Social Credit Party (Mr. Bennett) has agreed with us that there should be an auditor-general in this province. They didn't do it while they were in for 20 years. But now you've got a chance to do it, Mr. Premier; and on the estimates of the Minister of Finance I can think of nothing more appropriate than to suggest it's time to improve parliamentary control over the general estimates of this province by having an auditor-general who will let the light shine on the expenditures of government in a contemporary way, months in advance of the book of public accounts, which I see the Premier has just taken out.
He could report to this House things like the little $100 million misunderstanding. He could let us know the true facts on these cases in time to debate them
[ Page 823 ]
before they become ancient history. That's what we need, Mr. Premier — an auditor-general. I hope you'll answer that, especially now that the entire opposition seems to be behind that idea now. So it's just a matter of time until that system is put in in this province. You can make a good mark in your copy book by installing that yourself.
Again, briefly on the B.C. Railway, and not a major policy item which the Premier wants discussed on the legislation, could I ask him his plans for the new head office of the B.C. Railway? My understanding is that this head office would house several hundred people and would bring together elements now scattered in several buildings around the North Shore and Vancouver. What I am interested in knowing is whether the B.C. Railway has plans for putting that office in North Vancouver and, if so, whether they have entered into any discussions with the city and/or the district, depending on the location of the office?
I next ask the Premier when he is going to come through with his long-time stand on removing sales taxes from building materials. The Premier is on record that if the federal government did it, he'd do it. The federal government has done half of it. They took off, I think, six points out of the eleven. I would ask the Premier if he will now do as much in British Columbia to help his Minister of Housing (Hon. Mr. Nicolson), who, Lord knows, needs help.
The next question I have for the Premier is in his capacity of the general assigner of work to cabinet Ministers. I want to ask him about one of British Columbia's very fundamental problems, the problem of growth, which is how quickly people are coming to British Columbia and where they are living once they get here. Related to that, of course, there is the problem of immigration which, as the Premier knows, under the British North America Act is a shared federal/provincial jurisdiction and is one on which the federal government has asked for representations, which should certainly come from the province as well as from individuals. I would ask the Premier when he replies if he could say whether he has as yet assigned this responsibility of studying the impact of growth on British Columbia and its management and the making of representations to Ottawa with respect to immigration to any Minister or committee of Ministers. Could he tell us which Minister has the lead responsibility in that direction? I would hope that this House over this session will be debating growth to a considerable extent, and it will be helpful to know under which estimates and which salary vote to do that.
My next question for the Premier relates to something he mentioned in debate a couple of days ago. It is his attitude on foreign investment. We hear different things from that side of the House, Mr. Premier, through you, Mr. Chairman. We hear from some backbenchers that foreign money in an equity sense is not welcome in British Columbia. We hear from others — and, I think, the Premier himself — that foreign money is welcome in British Columbia on an equity basis for certain kinds of investments.
Because this is a question of great importance to the growth of British Columbia, and because this is something that the federal government is working on right now and receiving representations of provinces on it, I would be glad if the Premier would share with this House his general reaction to foreign equity investments in British Columbia and in what sectors of the economy. I will terminate my remarks at this point, but I may be back later.
Mr. G.B. Gardom (Vancouver–Point Grey):
Yesterday I questioned the Premier on the operation of ICBC and I didn't receive any answers from him. I asked him how much ICBC was in the red, and he did not reply. I asked him how much money was being pumped into ICBC from the gas tax, and he didn't reply to that. I asked him how much money was being transfused into ICBC from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, and he didn't answer that question. I asked him to give this House his undertaking and his solemn assurance that the financial statements of the Insurance Corp. of British Columbia would be filed in this House prior to the estimates of the Minister of Transport and Communications (Hon. Mr. Strachan), and he did not reply to that.
The Hon. Premier knows full well that at the end of the longest session in the history of this province there were about 17 unanswered questions by the Minister of Transport and Communications about the economics of the Insurance Corp. of British Columbia left on the order paper. The Hon. Premier knows full well that today there are some six, I believe it is, unanswered questions to the Minister of Transport and Communications on the Insurance Corp, of British Columbia.
The only response that I got yesterday to these questions was one of silence. I would very strongly say, Mr. Chairman, in the circumstances of the office and the circumstances of the right of the public to full, free and frank disclosure and accountability, the silence of the Hon. Premier amounted to nothing less than consummate arrogance. He has the responsibility, as the chief fiscal officer of this province, to level with the people, and he's not doing that, Now I informed the Hon. Premier yesterday that on the basis of....
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. I would ask the Hon. Member to choose his words more wisely. Would the Hon. Member continue, please?
Mr. Gardom: I informed the Hon. Premier
[ Page 824 ]
yesterday, Mr. Chairman, that by utilizing the very little information that was made available to us — "us" being the general public — it was possible to estimate a loss of about $35 million of ICBC.
You're pointing at the empty chair. There's been an empty chair insofar as answers for this insurance corporation are concerned, Mr. Premier, since the day he took over. It's an administrative boondoggle at ICBC....
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. I would ask the Hon. Member to confine his remarks to the administrative responsibilities of the Premier.
Mr. Gardom: I'm delighted to do that, and that's exactly what I am doing, Mr. Chairman. It is the administrative responsibility of the Premier as the chief fiscal agent of this province to inform the public of the fact. I'm asking him in that capacity to tell the general public of the financial situation of the Insurance Corp. of British Columbia. He has the responsibility and the duty laid upon him by this Legislature in the session of last year to transfuse the insurance corporation with funds from the consolidated revenue fund, which he has in his budget address and which he didn't say to the House when he gave his address in this House.
Something is being concealed, Mr. Chairman. I want to know what is being concealed and why it is being concealed.
On the basis of the information — that shallow, little, tiny bit of information that we got last year — it was possible to come up with an estimate of $233 million of revenue for that corporation. I'm not suggesting that those figures are correct, but on the basis of the tiny bit of information that you gave us, that is the closest we could come to the revenue. Its own estimation of revenue was $179 million; add the drivers' certificates of $28 million to that and we get to $207 million. Interest income of $20 million, bringing it up to $227 million. General insurance premiums of about $6 million brings the total estimated income up to $233 million.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. I believe what the Hon. Member is discussing is under the administrative responsibility of the Minister of Transport and Communications (Hon. Mr. Strachan). I don't believe that it is permissible to question the Premier on what is under the jurisdictional responsibility of other Ministers. Therefore I would ask him to confine his remarks to the Premier's estimates.
Mr. Gardom: Mr. Chairman, that is absolutely incorrect. The Premier has the responsibility as the fiscal agent to put money out of the consolidated revenue fund into the insurance corporation, and I intend to find out how much he is going to be putting into it. It is not in the estimates of the Minister of Transport and Communications, and you know that fact very well.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. I would again point out to the Hon. Member that the whole matter of ICBC is under the administrative responsibility of the Minister of Transport and Communications. I would ask him to put the questions at that time, rather than to the Premier.
Mr. Gardom: Is the Hon. Chairman suggesting that the Minister of Transport and Communications has the right to take money out of the consolidated revenue fund?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: I know my lawyer friend would like to stay in the confines....
Mr. Gardom: Well, at the present time I think I have the floor, but if you want to answer....
Hon. Mr. Barrett: I'm on a point of order. My point is that the Member is a good lawyer, but he's out of order.
An Hon. Member: He's not.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Well, naturally you have to agree with him. You're sitting next to him, but that's not reason enough. You've got to have logic. I'm the fiscal agent for the whole works. Are you going to do every cabinet Minister under me because I'm the fiscal agent for all of them? That's not right. You know that I can't possibly do that. That would be against the constitution. Now you don't want me to do that.
Mr. Gardom: Oh!
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. The point of order is well taken. I would point out to the Hon. Member that the fact that revenue may go to ICBC doesn't preclude the fact that this is still under the jurisdictional responsibility of the Minister of Transport and Communications.
I would ask the Hon. Member to proceed, but....
Mr. Gibson: May I speak to the same point of order, please?
Mr. Chairman, on that point of order, it is clearly the responsibility of the Minister of Finance to prepare the estimates and to present them to this House. I submit that nowhere in this estimates book is there provision for the deficit of the ICBC. The Minister of Finance has to respond to that question.
[ Page 825 ]
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Mr. Chairman, on the same point of order, of course I'm responsible for preparing the estimates. That's why we have an estimates debate. That's why each Minister gets up and defends his estimates, or sells his estimates. But to ask me, by device, through your seatmate's opinion, to start debating every single Minister is okay with me, but then let's make an agreement that you don't call any other Minister, that we do the whole estimates in my department.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please!
Mr. Gardom: There's absolutely no estimate dealing with this money, and you know it.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please!
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Well, then, what are you debating?
Mr. Chairman: Order, please!
Hon. Mr. Barrett: What are you debating?
Mr. Chairman: I would ask the Hon. Member to....
Hon. Mr. Barrett: You've got me all mixed up.
Mr. Chairman: On the point of order, the point of order is well taken. You must discuss those matters which relate to the direct administrative responsibility of the Premier. If they're under another Minister, then they must be brought up at that time.
Mr. Gardom: Mr. Chairman, it's the responsibility of the Premier, surely to goodness, to furnish this House with an estimate of the amount of money that's going to go out of the consolidated revenue fund, or out of the gas tax, into ICBC. I intend to talk about that unless you're going to order me to sit down. Make no mistake of it.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: I don't think you should threaten the Chair.
Mr. Gardom: I'm not threatening the Chair; I'm just stating facts.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: No, you're threatening.
Mr. Gardom: I'm stating facts, and I intend to do it. The Chairman has his remedy if he thinks he's correct. I think he's wrong.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: You're bigger than he is.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please!
Mr. Gardom: Totally wrong! Completely wrong!
Mr. Chairman: I'd like to draw to the attention of the Hon. Member again that if this would be true, your logic could be applied to every department. I would say, drawn to its logical conclusion, that we would consider all of the estimates under the Premier's vote. I would just ask him to wait until the matter comes up under Transport and Communications.
Mr. Gardom: No, no, no, no. It's not the responsibility of the Minister of Transport (Hon. Mr. Strachan) to inform the House of the amount of money the Premier's going to pay out of the consolidated revenue fund. He knows that figure today, Mr. Chairman. Instead of standing up and flannelling around, he should give us that figure. He's got it at his fingertips. He can ask Mr. Bryson, who's sitting beside him, if he doesn't know himself.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please! The Chair has made....
Mr. D.M. Phillips (South Peace River): I would like to know how it would be possible to discuss under the Minister of Transport and Communications' estimates a figure that is non-existent in these estimates, a figure which is the responsibility to be prepared by the Premier and Minister of Finance. You answer that, and ask the Premier that.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Mr. Chairman, I'd like to answer the questions asked by the Members. The year isn't over yet for ICBC. The Minister hasn't reported to me yet. He's got to report to this House. Are you asking me to violate the constitution by having me report instead of him? You know what lawyers say about that, Mr. Gardom: Come on, that has absolutely nothing to do with it.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: I still have the floor.
[ Page 826 ]
Mr. Chairman: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: I'm going to answer the other questions in order.
Mr. Gardom: There were five of them.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Yes. No. No. No. Yes. Yes. No. (Laughter.)
Mr. Gardom: The answer to the first question, he said, was "Yes." I asked him how much money ICBC was in the red, and he simply answers: "Yes." He knows he is in red ink up to his armpits. I'm glad that the people in this province are finally going to be aware of the fact that they've got a boondoggle on their hands.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please!
Mr. Gardom: You assured the people in B.C. that that organization could pay its way out of premiums. That was a false promise.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. I would rule the Hon. Member out of order on that.
Mr. Gardom: Absolutely!
Hon. Mr. Barrett: I beg your pardon?
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. Inasmuch as the matter he is now discussing I have already ruled out of order, I would ask him to return to vote 2.
Mr. Gardom: I challenge your ruling. This is another example of closure of this government. No opportunity to get to the facts!
Some Hon. Members: Order!
Mr. Gardom: No opportunity to find out the fiscal boondoggles that you're being involved with — intimidated by the Premier, intimidated by the Chair....
Some Hon. Members: Order!
Mr. Gardom: The poor little Member for Vancouver–Point Grey is trying to do his best for the people.
An Hon. Member: Shame!
Mr. Gardom: He's being shafted left, right and centre by that great socialistic government over there.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Is this my friendly group that you're attacking?
The House resumed; Mr. Speaker in the chair.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Speaker, while in consideration of vote 2, the Second Member for Vancouver–Point Grey (Mr. Gardom) began to discuss matters which, in my judgment, fell under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Transport and Communications (Hon. Mr. Strachan). I therefore ruled any further remarks out of order. He challenged my ruling.
Mr. Chairman's ruling sustained on the following division:
YEAS — 30
NAYS — 16
Division ordered to be recorded in the Journals of the House.
The House in Committee of Supply; Mr. Dent in the chair.
Mr. Gardom: I was just drawing to the attention of the House when I ran into the ruling — the buzz saw, as my friend referred to it, which prevented me from interrogating the Premier upon the dollars and cents of this province — that no longer can this be a matter of public account in B.C. I think it's a tragic situation. I'm not reflecting upon the vote because I gather I'm not permitted to do that, but it's certainly a vote that one should not have to spend too much time or ethical or moral consideration in reflecting upon.
I'd like to ask the Hon. Premier whether he's prepared to give the House his undertaking that the financial statement — the annual report of ICBC — is
[ Page 827 ]
going to be filed in this House prior to the estimates of the Minister of Transport and Communications coming on to hearing.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please! This is a matter not for the Hon. Premier but rather for the Minister of Transport and Communications.
Mr. Gardom: Well, I gather that the Premier is the Premier of the province and this Minister is just one of his Ministers. Surely to goodness it's not beyond the competence of the Premier to give that assurance. Can the Premier give us that assurance, yes or no? You're not prepared to answer that question, not prepared to tell the people that they will have the full facts of ICBC before the estimates of this Minister. And little wonder.
Mr. Chairman: One person on the floor at a time, please.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Mr. Member, the Minister informs me, through you, Mr. Chairman, to the Member and back through me to the Minister....
Mr. Gardom: I'm getting dizzy.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: I know you're dizzy because you're getting the constitution all mixed up. The Minister informs me, through you, Mr. Chairman, to the Member, that the annual report will be ready within a matter of weeks. As soon as he can get it.
Mr. Gardom: That's not a commitment. We want to have a firm commitment that this Minister's estimates will not come up on the floor of the House until such time as that report is filed.
Mr. Chairman: Order! One person at a time, please.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: You have a firm commitment that it will be delivered as soon as it's ready.
Mr. Gardom: That's not enough.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: That's not enough? Then I will try to have it delivered before it's ready. (Laughter.) If we're not able to do that, we'll wait until it's completed.
Mr. Gardom: That's bad humour.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: No. Let's examine your logic. You want me to guarantee that it's delivered immediately.
Mr. Gardom: Before his estimates. That's all I've said and you know it. It's nine months late now. Will he or won't he deliver it before his estimates?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Oh. The statute says it must be delivered before April 29. The way you're going, you're not going to get to his estimates until October.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Well, no matter what I answer, you're not satisfied.
Mr. Gardom: I'm asking you for an undertaking ....
Hon. Mr. Barrett: I'm not in that business; I'm a social worker.
Mr. Gardom: You've refused to give an undertaking.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: There you go. How can I give you an undertaking on something I can't give you an undertaking on?
Mr. Gardom: You certainly can give an undertaking.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please! The Hon. Second Member for Vancouver–Point Grey is out of order, Will he be seated?
Mr. Gardom: How can we deal with his estimates without an annual report?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Will you give an undertaking to the Whips that that can be worked out?
Mr. Gardom: I don't, unfortunately, have the capacity to produce the annual report of ICBC. If I did have that capacity, I would give that undertaking.
[Mr. Chairman rises]
Mr. Chairman: Will the Hon. Members be seated? The Hon. Second Member for Vancouver South, has the floor. Would the Hon. Second Member for Vancouver–Point Grey be seated?
[ Page 828 ]
Mr. Chairman: Order, please I would ask the Hon. Second Member for Vancouver–Point Grey to respect the Chair. Would the Hon. Second Member for Vancouver Point...?
Mr. Chairman: Would the Hon. Member be seated?
Mr. Chairman: Order, please! Would the Hon. Member be seated?
I think we will just take a moment to cool off.
[Mr. Chairman resumes his seat.]
Mr. Gardom: A point of order. Mr. Chairman, I would like the courtesy of an explanation from the Chair as to why I was denied the floor.
Mr. Chairman: I respond to the point of order by this: the Hon. Premier had the floor; the Hon. Second Member for Vancouver–Point Grey rose to his feet and refused to sit down when the Chair requested him to. I have not recognized the Hon. Member since.
Mr. Gardom: Oh boy!
Mr. Gibson: Just straight discrimination. Bring on one of your backbenchers now.
Mrs. D. Webster (Vancouver South): Mr. Chairman, I would like to get down to something a little bit simpler and more basic, something that involves every one of us regardless of age, regardless of race, regardless of sex, and that is in relation to....
Mr. Chairman: Order, please.
MRS. WEBSTER: It is in relation to the 5 per cent sales tax. I would like to say thank you to the Minister of Finance for last year having removed the sales tax from books, and enabling students who buy supplies for home economics and industrial arts to get their supplies tax free if they go through the process of filling out a form which they hand to the retailers.
But there are one or two things that still don't satisfy me. One that is the most basic of all is in relation to toilet tissue.
Mr. Chairman, paper products are going up in price and every time paper products go up in price, the tax for toilet tissue goes up. I know it is still possible to recycle the telephone book or the Eaton's catalogue, as we used to do in the past, but I don't think that should be something forced upon us. I think it is about time that we had the sales tax taken away from some of these very basic necessities. That is one of the things I would like to see sales tax removed from.
The other point is in relation to toothpaste and toothbrushes. We have our health Minister (Hon. Mr. Cocke) saying that one of the great problems is in getting enough dentists in this province, getting them to go into the outlying places, or even having dental assistants looking after people's teeth, but we still have to pay a sales tax for toothpaste, we still have to pay a sales tax on toothbrushes. I would like to see taxes removed from these basic commodities.
I wonder if the Minister of Finance would make a comment on it. Thank you.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Mr. Chairman, we have had a number of requests for removal of the 5 per cent sales tax in various areas and some of the items you mentioned are under consideration. But, of course, I can't give you a policy commitment at this point.
Mr. D.A. Anderson (Victoria): Under standing order 37 I'd like to move that the Hon. Second Member for Vancouver–Point Grey (Mr. Gardom) be now heard.
An Hon. Member: Hear, hear!
Mr. Chairman: The Hon. Second Member for Vancouver–Point Grey merely has to stand on his feet to be heard.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: Not with you in the chair. Not with you trying to break in.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. The Chair is making a ruling that the motion is unnecessary. The Hon. Second Member merely has to stand on his feet to be heard.
I recognize the Hon. Second Member for Vancouver–Point Grey.
Mr. Gardom: All in favour?
Some Hon. Members: Aye!
Mr. Gardom: Carried. (Laughter.)
Mr. Chairman: Order, please.
I recognized the Hon. Second Member for Vancouver–Point Grey.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: I already made the motion.
[ Page 829 ]
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. The motion is unnecessary. I recognized the....
Mr. Gardom: It was carried. You are reflecting on a vote, Mr. Chairman.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: You really are a city-slicker lawyer.
Mr. Gardom: Mr. Chairman, yesterday the Hon. Premier was canvassed by me through questions concerning two very seriously injured people, and they have not received their compensation from the Insurance Corp. of British Columbia. The Hon. Premier yesterday said that it was the first time it was brought to his attention. He's a compassionate man...
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Right!
Mr. Gardom: ...he appeared to be sympathetic. Today there are still no funds in ICBC to pay these sick and injured people, and why not? Why not?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: You want an answer?
Mr. Gardom: Yes, go ahead.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Well, don't make accusations if you want an answer.
Mr. Gardom: It's true.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: It's not true!
Mr. Gardom: It is true!
Hon. Mr. Barrett: It's not true!
Mr. Gardom: Phone ICBC this afternoon and find out.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Mr. Chairman, I have asked the Minister to give me a report. Prior to that I asked him clearly: "Is it a question of money?" He said: "That's not it at all." As soon as I get the report I'll give you the answer. But I don't know.
Mr. Gardom: Yes, but....
Hon. Mr. Barrett: I still have the floor, and I know what a stickler you are for rules and recognition. You wouldn't try to barge in on me while I've got the floor. That's why you sat down.
Now look, I don't know everything. I know it is difficult for some people to recognize that, being the genius that I am, but it's true. There are a few things I don't know. That's one of them and I'm trying to find out.
Mr. Wallace: What's the other one? (Laughter.)
Mr. Gardom: Since the Hon. Premier is not prepared...
Hon. Mr. Barrett: I'm going to get the answer.
Mr. Gardom: ...to give this House his undertaking that we're going to have the financial statement of the Insurance Corp. of B.C. filed before the Minister of Transport and Communications' (Hon. Mr. Strachan's) estimates come up, I consider this to be a very serious situation. I think it's very serious that these people have not received their funds. It only takes a telephone call. I'll give you the dime if you'd mind going out of the room and doing it.
I remember you talking all through the night — good stuff.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Give me the dime.
Mr. Gardom: Here. Okay, the dime Is coming. Where's the page?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Pass my estimates so I can get on with the work.
Mr. Gardom: I'll even give you 15 cents if you like.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: No tips.
Mr. Gardom: Since the Premier's not prepared to give an undertaking that his Ministers will file reports before estimates come up, is he prepared to give an undertaking that these claims will be paid forthwith?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Mr. Chairman, there's no way I can give such an undertaking. I don't even know the validity of the claims. I don't know. You've given me cases yesterday and you want me to say, "Yes, you're right." I don't know if you've got the correct information, incorrect information or anything. You can make mistakes too. If I can, you can too. Now I've asked the Minister to give me a report, and as soon as I get the report I'll give you the information. I haven't got the report yet. I would have got it last night but I had an important event to attend to. (Laughter.)
Mr. Gardom: Now about that event....
[ Page 830 ]
Mr. Gardom: Would everyone please be quiet? There are a lot of very shaky people around here today.
I'm glad to hear the remarks of the Premier. It has been a tragic situation; it has not been properly attended to. It has been bungled, purely and simply. The legislation came in in the fall session. It enabled ICBC to do it, and they take the position that they haven't got the money. It's that simple.
Mr. Gardom: I'm happy to hear that you've managed to crank up your Minister. I have the floor, you suggested a few minutes ago.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: But you're making an incorrect statement. It has nothing to do with money.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please.
Mr. Gardom: Oh, yes, it does. If you would phone to ICBC this afternoon, you would find that out, that's why I'm suggesting you do that. It has a lot to do with money, and that's why I'm talking about it. These are your estimates and you're the money man in the province, make no mistake about that.
While we're talking about money, I'd like to talk about a group of people who received, I think, very discriminatory treatment at the hands of this administration. Unfortunately, they received similar discriminatory treatment at the hands of the former administration. I'm talking about the 23,000-odd pupils who attend independent schools in the Province of B.C. I think it's about time, Mr. Premier, that you adopted it as the policy of your government that these people be given a fair break.
I always try to make the analogy between that situation and a hospital. One really doesn't care too much who runs the hospital as long as it's being effectively run in accordance with the law of the land and that they're doing a proper job and fulfilling a function. Such tests should be put to the independent schools. The independent schools should be entitled to teachers' aides; they should be entitled to financial assistance for their operation and even some share of their capital costs.
True, it's a form of selective education; it's a form, in the view of the people who subscribe to it, of enriched education. I suppose it's not unreasonable to suggest that they should be prepared to pay a portion of that cost. But these people are all taxpayers. They're all forced, by law, to pay school taxes, so it's a double impost upon them. Why, in the sense of all decency, should they not be entitled to assistance with their programmes, which this government is denying them? It's wrong. If you took those 23,000 pupils out of the private system and put them into the public system, they would be a terrific burden upon it, Mr. Wallace: On the buses.
Mr. Gardom: I'm not talking about buses.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: No, no, no, Mr. Member. I'm embarrassed for you because you're getting a bad habit from the official opposition: you're not doing research.
Now, I refer you to page 13 of my excellent budget speech. A complimentary copy, with my autograph, is on its way to your office right now. On page 13, under "Education," with a beautiful picture of these premises, it says:
"It is our belief that it is the government's responsibility to provide basic services to all children regardless of where these children are being educated."
Now you were here that day. You missed the words. I don't want to say you were asleep, but you weren't paying attention. Now can I read as follows?
"Therefore, I have asked the Ministers of Education, Human Resources, Health, Recreation and Conservation, Municipal Affairs, the Attorney-General and the Provincial Secretary to establish a committee to decide what these basic services should be and how they could be provided."
Exactly what you're asking for.
"This committee will include representatives from those groups which are directly affected by or involved in the provision of such services. The committee will be instructed to report to the government by August 1, 1975."
Mr. Gardom: Not enough.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: It continues:
"One of the committee's responsibilities will be to consider the expansion, where possible, of bus service to all school children...
Some Hon. Members: Oh, oh!
Hon. Mr. Barrett: ...which is beyond the other special, basic services. Now, Mr. Member, there is a frank statement of policy and you refuse to refer to what is already a matter of record, and you launch an appeal on a victory won. Now I think that either you've run out of things to say, or you haven't been doing your homework.
I'm going to put on here, with my best wishes: "To the Member (and I mean that sincerely — my
[ Page 831 ]
best wishes. I hope you make it as a judge) for Vancouver–Point Grey. Read page 13, as marked." (Laughter.)
Would you take that over to the Member, please? Thank you very much.
Mr. Gardom: A very interesting dialogue, but we want more than that. We want an absolute, firm commitment for these people.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Oh! August 1.
Mr. Gardom: A firm commitment! Establishing a committee is one thing. You have been in government, Mr. Premier, since 1972, and the only thing you've done to advance anything along this line.... I don't think I should censor any of this, should I? No. The only thing you've really done is to form a committee. We need more than a committee formed. We need firm assurances that they are going to receive comparable assistance to what is received in the public school sector.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Mr. Chairman, that committee is to report to government on August 1. It has been a matter of great concern to me about having equal services, basic services to children throughout this province. That's why the committee is set up. When the committee reports on August 1, then we will know just exactly what direction we should go in. But you should not second-guess the committee. You should be the first to applaud the government moving in this direction after all these years.
Mr. Gardom: Well, as I say, I'm very glad to see that some direction is being taken. But it's still not an assurance to the people, as you wouldn't give us assurance this afternoon....
Hon. Mr. Barrett: You want perfection overnight.
Mr. Gardom: That would be impossible to come from you. Impossible!
I'd like to ask the Premier an additional question as to whether or not — since we've been unable to find out this information from the Minister of Transport (Hon. Mr. Strachan) - he's aware of the differences in management philosophy between Mr. Bortnick and Mr. Adams which resulted in Mr. Adams receiving about $50,000 of the public money without having to turn a finger for it.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. I believe this is directly under the responsibility of the Minister of Transport and Communications.
Mr. Gardom: He never answers the question, so I was....
Mr. Chairman: Order, please! That doesn't make it right. Would the Hon. Member confine his remarks to vote 2 and try to ask a relevant question?
Mr. Gardom: I don't think it's an irrelevant question when it deals with money which is under the control of the Minister of Finance, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. I will point out to the Hon. Member that we're in Committee of Supply.
Mr. Gardom: It's the most expensive welfare in the province.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. We're in Committee of Supply. All departments are under, and supplied with funds from, the Minister of Finance. I would ask the Hon. Member to confine his remarks to vote 2.
Mr. Gardom: Well, the whole point of the earlier discussion today, Mr. Chairman, is that by virtue of his having that responsibility, he also has the responsibility to answer questions about the finances.
Mr. Chairman: Well, taken to its logical conclusion, he would have to answer questions about every department.
Mr. Gibson: Mr. Chairman, I'd just like to know a simple answer from the Premier on something that was brought up a moment ago. Do basic services include classroom instruction — yes or no? Is the government now firmly committed to pay for classroom instruction...?
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. I rule that question entirely out of order. It's under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Education (Hon. Mrs. Dailly). I would ask the Hon. Member....
Mr. Gibson: Mr. Chairman, that's a lot of horse feathers, and you know it! The Premier put it in his budget and he just sent it over here and marked that passage. What do you mean, it's not under his jurisdiction?
Mr. Chairman: Order, please! The Hon. Member is asking a question under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Education. Would you confine your questioning to the Premier's estimates?
Mr. Gibson: Mr. Chairman, surely the Premier's estimates cover...
[ Page 832 ]
Hon. Mr. Barrett: I'd like to answer that question.
Mr. Gibson: ...his words in the budget address. Surely you can get that through your head.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please!
Hon. Mr. Barrett: I'd like to answer that question.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please! I would rule the question and the answer out of order.
The House resumed; Mr. Speaker in the chair.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Speaker, while in the Committee of Supply, under consideration of vote 2, the Hon. Member for North Vancouver–Capilano (Mr. Gibson) began to discuss a matter which, in my judgment, fell under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Education (Hon. Mrs. Dailly). I ruled it out of order. He challenged my ruling.
Mr. Speaker: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Shall the ruling of the Chair be sustained?
Mr. Chairman's ruling sustained on the following division:
YEAS — 29
NAYS — 16
Mr. Gibson: On a point of order, I wonder if Your Honour could confirm to the House that the time taken for this proceeding is not deducted from the time allotted to the Committee of Supply.
Mr. Speaker: There is no provision to deduct it, as I understand.
May I also point out to the Hon. Members, so that there won't be these lengthy proceedings if possible, that this is not a debate on the budget speech which does range by all Members over all the ranges of expenditures and revenues proposed. It is confined strictly to Committee of Supply, not Committee of Ways and Means. Other proposals for other departments would not be properly within the range of debate.
Mr. Speaker: Does anyone suppose that the Speaker is not present and can hear what is said in Committee of Supply? (Laughter.)
Some Hon. Members: Oh, oh!
Mr. Speaker: Does someone suppose that that is incorrect? Would you kindly give me the authorities, because I have ears. Does someone suppose that it is not correct?
Mr. Speaker: I've been listening.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Gibson: Mr. Speaker, if I could continue on the point of order....
Mr. Speaker: Well, you asked a point of order and I'm trying to help you.
Mr. Gibson: Well, I am trying to understand, Mr. Speaker, how we can be in committee, and the time marching in committee, when the Speaker is in he chair and the mace is on the table.
An Hon. Member: That's a good question.
Mr. Speaker: The question is answered by this, as I understand it: a report is made without the committee rising. It's not as if the committee rose and reported progress to the Speaker and asked leave to sit again. We are still here, as it were, and simply export in committee to the Speaker.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: As we have now established a new ruling that the Speaker of the House is aware of what goes on in committee, can we ask you, Sir, whether you intend to partake in debates of committee, because that would be a
[ Page 833 ]
Mr. Speaker: Quit tempting me. No, I'm not. I am not tempted at the moment to take part, but I am....
Mr. D.A. Anderson: You're reserving your right to take part at some future date.
Mr. Speaker: Well, according to May, the Speaker could take part. But I have always considered that as a self-denying ordinance as far as Speakers are concerned.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: The reference is to just about a century ago.
Mr. Speaker: The last time, I think, was 1878. But you are getting close to a century. (Laughter.)
The House in Committee of Supply; Mr. Dent in the chair.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: A few days ago I asked a question of the Premier, which was not answered, concerning the borrowings that are taking place and the general and increasing disquiet about the use of petrodollars as a political weapon for the purposes of harming the friends of Israel and, indeed, banking houses which have Jewish principals.
The prospectus for the B.C. Hydro and Power Authority $100 million bond issue — 10.25 per cent bonds, series DN, due 1999, prospectus dated September 26, 1974 — gives a good number of details about that particular issue in borrowing. Unfortunately, we have had no information whatsoever. This prospectus runs to many, many pages — 61 pages — and gives a fair amount of information. However, the subsequent two loans of $100 million each have not been followed by any prospectus; they have not been anticipated by any prospectus. We understand that, because they are private placements, no prospectus will be forthcoming.
I am curious about this and I am worried about this. I repeat what I said earlier that the government has a perfect right to borrow money wherever it can at the best rate possible, and it should do so in the interests of British Columbia. I believe that the government should not concern itself with the nationality of money unless you get into the areas of public policy such as tainted money, Mafia money — things of that nature — or money which is being used as part of an economic blockade to affect banking houses and industrial firms in the western world.
The prospectus in question has listed as underwriters The First Boston Corp.; Salomon Bros.; Kuhn, Loeb; and A.E. Ames and Co. All that we've learned of the second and third borrowings, or I should say the Arab borrowings, are that The First Boston Corp. arranged them.
Now I am concerned about this and I would like the Premier to seriously consider providing this House with some information.
We know full well there is a campaign against certain banking houses which underwrite major loans. We know for a fact that these houses are being discriminated against on the international market, in the United States market and in European markets. We know for a fact that this is deliberate policy. I am concerned that the enormous borrowings required by B.C. Hydro and the possible source of Arab funds has led us into a situation where we might, indeed, be aiding the blacklist and aiding the boycott.
I checked out A.E. Ames and Co., a Canadian outfit which I can check out. I understand they are not the company referred to on the blacklist under the heading "Ames International." I also understand they were not the Ames Co. referred to in Elkhart, Indiana. But I cannot check out the others.
Obviously The First Boston Corp., as it arranged the loan, must be off the blacklist, or not on it, but the other two I cannot check out at the present time with any certainty. Obviously I don't have a copy.
I would hope that the Premier and Minister of Finance, in recognition of the seriousness of this problem — in recognition of the fact that we are now, apparently, dealing with only one as opposed to the four underwriters that we dealt with the time before — would assure us that, indeed, there are no subsidiary agreements, and that we are at perfect liberty, as previously, to choose what underwriters we wish regardless of whether they be on anyone's blacklist or otherwise.
Mr. Chairman, I again repeat that normal financial practice is to put forward a prospectus. And there should be some public control over and public information on the hundreds of millions of dollars that the public of British Columbia is getting into debt for through the B.C. Hydro borrowings. I again repeat that there is an organized, discriminatory campaign in the international banking and underwriting market to discriminate against certain banking houses and certain underwriting houses.
I would like to know whether we, indeed, have the same liberty that we've always had, or whether or not there are any subsidiary agreements. We understand that three of the four underwriters — three of the four that were on the prospectus dated September 26, 1974 — had nothing to do with the Arab borrowings. The wonder is why: why are we now just dealing with The First Boston?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: There are no subsidiary agreements. All details of the loan are public information. There was an excellent write-up in one
[ Page 834 ]
of the leading newspapers in Vancouver with all the details, if you care to have that or any other.... The details are already public. There are no subsidiary agreements; it's all public information.
The only thing that isn't public information is the country that loaned us the money. They made that request in a private borrowing and I respect that request. Everything else is public: no subsidiary agreements, no sinister aspects or anything in the areas you're concerned about. Although we do have one advantage — we're allowed to call them anytime. They can't do that on us. We wrote that in the agreement.
Everything you asked is public knowledge. Now the rest.... I don't know if you're being mischievous or what, but certainly you should know. Have you done any research? Have you gone and found out all the information that's been published everywhere and is available? If you want further copies of what's already available, I'll get them for you, too.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: We're now getting some answer to the earlier question, because this is the first time we've had any information about a blacklist or the....
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Oh! It's public. It's been in the newspapers — everything.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: You've had information on the blacklist made public, before. Is that a commitment of yours, or just a...?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: It has nothing to do with that and you know it.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: Well, it certainly is....
Hon. Mr. Barrett: There are no subsidiary agreements.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: Thank you for assuring us. It's taken days to get that assurance from you. You sit there refusing to answer.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: So arrogant — how do you work it?
Mr. Chairman: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: You really work at that, don't you?
Mr. D.A. Anderson: If we're going to get on to the subject of arrogance, I wonder whether...
Mr. Chairman: Order!
Mr. D.A. Anderson: ...the Premier, under the circumstances, might consider an apology. It's not an apology to me, it's not an apology to any Member of this House. But in our proceedings last year, two gentlemen — Mr. Brunsdon and Mr. Unger — swore affidavits which were denied by the Premier.
Some Hon. Members: Oh, no!
Mr. D.A. Anderson: Since then there's been a lawsuit; since then the judge has accepted testimony of defendants which substantiate the two affidavits in question. An apology is due these two men, Mr. Chairman, because, in all honesty, they swore affidavits as to what took place. This was denied, and the assumption was that they had sworn false affidavits. We called for an inquiry. No inquiry was forthcoming. No inquiry at all was forthcoming to clear the names of these two men.
We feel that the judicial decision, which supported the defendants on the issue in question, namely the discussions that took place within the Premier's office, indicates now that an apology is due to Messrs. Unger and Brunsdon.
They are ordinary citizens; they acted in good faith. They gave the facts as they knew them. The facts corresponded exactly with what the judge found to be his assessment of the evidence of Savo Kovachich and a number of other people.
Now I feel that if it's a question of arrogance the Premier wishes to raise, an apology should be due from an arrogant Premier to the two men in question. They're not the most important men in our community; they don't hold public office; they're not major financial figures. They're ordinary citizens and they deserve protection in this House, and they deserve protection from every Member, in particular from the Premier, who accused them of perjury when he stated that their affidavits were false. Now what I feel we should have is an apology to these two men.
The lawsuit to which I referred, the Egg Marketing Board versus Kovachich et al, or versus Veekens et al, made it perfectly clear that the testimony of the defendants which was accepted by this judge fully corroborated the affidavits of Brunsdon and Unger. I would ask the Premier at this time, in the light of that testimony, in the light of that judgment, if he would apologize to the men concerned.
An apology would be sufficient. If I have to spend some time going after this, I will. I fully intend to.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Take all the time you want. I'm going to have a cup of coffee.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: Right, the man who is concerned about arrogance, of course, leaves at this time for coffee.
[ Page 835 ]
Mr. Chairman, the NDP which stands up, or pretends to stand up, for little people has got to realize that these two egg producers are not individuals that they can ignore. It may be that the Premier feels that he is too high and mighty to try and protect the good reputation of these men, but the time has come for an apology, because last year we got no judicial inquiry.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: I'm on this because it's an important issue of principle. We got no inquiry, but we did get later in the year and early this year a court case on the facts essentially as brought forward in the House in February and March.
The court case, Mr. Chairman, was heard and witnesses were called. Kovachich was called, others were called, and they gave information as to what took place in the Premier's office. The information they gave coincided with the affidavits that had been sworn earlier. The information they gave was accepted by the judge in question.
The judge said on page 6: "At the trial Mr. Stupich did not recall the direction of Mr. Barrett in the terms in which it was stated by the defendants."
The judge said: "I accept the testimony of the defendants that it occurred as described by them." Later on he said: "It was as the result of the intervention of the Premier that the board entered into an agreement on November 1, 1972, with Kovachich."
It's very clear that the Brunsdon and Unger affidavits were factually accurate. It is very clear that these men are owed an apology. It's very clear that even the highest elected public officials in British Columbia cannot or should not continue to assert that Unger and Brunsdon swore false testimony, committed perjury in their affidavits, when indeed they did not.
It's a simple thing. Mr. Chairman, I believe you were present at the meeting. I believe you were present, Mr. Chairman, at the time that Kovachich met with the Premier. I believe that you too could then, and indeed could now, substantiate that Unger and Brunsdon were falsely accused of perjury. The witness Kovachich described at the trial what happened in the Premier's office. He was there, Mr. Barrett was there, Mr. McLatchie was there, Mr. Arnold Link, Nick Samson, Mr. Alf Nunweiler, Mr. Dent, Mr. Stupich, and I'm not sure about Doug Kelly from Omineca at that meeting. The information that came out of the testimony in the trial, which the judge accepted as factual, clears the names of Unger and Brunsdon, and they deserve an apology.
If indeed the Premier still believes that he was right and all the evidence of that court case was wrong, that the affidavits of Brunsdon and Unger were wrong and false, then clearly there's a travesty of justice here, because the judge accepted that testimony as to what happened in that court case.
Hon. Mr. MacDonald: The affidavits were not before the courts at all.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: Does the Attorney-General have something to say?
Hon. Mr. MacDonald: The affidavits were not before the courts.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: The Attorney-General says that the affidavits were not before the court. Of course they were not. What was before the court were witnesses who were also present at that meeting, the meeting on October 26, and who talked about what happened at the meeting the day before. That is the factual information that came out of that lawsuit, and the Attorney-General knows it, because quite clearly he's had a few weeks to prepare his defence, which he will have to provide in this House despite his obligation as chief law officer of the Crown to make sure that justice is done. He has prepared his defence of the Premier and Minister of Agriculture (Hon. Mr. Stupich), you can be sure of that.
But justice has not been done in this case. An injustice, Mr. Attorney-General, has been done to Messrs. Unger and Brunsdon. They have been accused of swearing to false affidavits, and they are entitled to an apology. You, as chief law officer of the Crown, Mr. Attorney-General, should feel some shame that you have done absolutely nothing to get justice in this matter. Nothing. Indeed, you have done the reverse.
You assisted all last year in making sure that justice was not done. The court report — and I think, as the Premier has left us, perhaps a few words about it are in order — is interesting. He talks of going to Victoria. He talks of meeting with Mr. Barrett. The questioner was Mr. Jenkins, and it was in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. I'll quote from page 2 of the notes that I have here. These are verbatim transcripts of what took place:
"I think so. I was in Victoria before that with my lawyer." - this is Mr. Kovachich speaking — "before meeting Mr. Barrett, but I am not sure. But anyway, my lawyer called me, if I recall right, October 26, 1972."
Q. "Who was your lawyer?"
A. "Ted McLatchie. He asked me — he told me — he got phone call from Premier and Premier wanted me and him and other people to be in Victoria on the day, 7 o'clock in the morning, at his office."
Q. "What time?"
[ Page 836 ]
A. "Seven o'clock on the 27th. We were right at 7 o'clock in his office waiting there. There is no Premier. There was a guard, of course, there and we ask what time Premier is coming to his office, and he said 9 o'clock.
"I said: 'How come the appointment was 7 o'clock when he never come before 9? Anyway, he showed up at 9 o'clock. The secretary opened the door. Of course he was in hallway. Quite a few MLAs noticed myself, Nick Samson, Arnold Link, and many other MLAs. The secretary opened the door and we went into the room of the secretary. If I am not guessing, there are three rooms there. We went in and within a few minutes Mr. Barrett showed up and said: 'I want you and Mr. McLatchie to be in my office.' We went in."
Q. "How many went into his office?"
A. "Myself, Mr. McLatchie, and Mr. Barrett. He said to me: 'Yesterday the board was in my office. I chew their ass off. I told them they had to give increased quota to the north.' "
This is Mr. Kovachich's recollection of the meeting in the Premier's office and what the Premier said. I ask the Attorney-General whether this contradicts the previously-sworn statements of Unger and Brunsdon.
"But he said to me: 'The board told me yesterday that Nick Samson settled his case for $25,000.' Nick Samson wasn't sued that year, but I guess he was presented the bill for the $64,000 at that time and he said to me: 'They want $15,000 from you.' And he said" — this is the Premier again talking in these quotes — "'What is it worth to you to save the face of the board?' I said: 'Not one penny.' Then he gave me a piece of paper which he called at that time 'guidelines.' "
Q. "What kind of guidelines?"
A. "He called it 'guidelines.' I guess it was recommendations."
Mr. Jenkins: "Just a second. Page 52, there is a document called 'Representation."'
A. "That is the document."
Q. "That's the document?"
A. "That's the document."
Mr. Jenkins: "Exhibit No. V"
We will just get into this area, Mr. Chairman, because you were present at that meeting, according to Mr. Kovachich, and you would recollect this. You would know that a severe injustice has been done to two ordinary citizens of British Columbia who have no rights in the courts to have their names cleared — who have rights, however, in this House to have their case heard.
Mr. Kovachich: "He said to me: 'What is this worth to you? I was fed up with the fights and everything else and I was very glad to accept. I said: 'Dave, it is worth to me $5,000.'
"He said: 'You know, the board made agreement with Nick Samson for $25,000.'
"'I think though,' he said, 'It will be pretty fair if you offer the $7,500.'
"I was thinking for awhile. I said: 'Okay, I'll pay them $7,500, but I haven't got $7,000 cash to pay.'
"He said to me at that time: 'I don't care how long it is going to take you to pay, as long as you agree to pay that kind of money.'
"I told him: 'I could manage pretty easy $125 a month, but no interest.'
"He said: 'Okay.'
"And, of course, we chat there a little bit and it was all over and he was in a rush. He opened the door and called other people in. I hope I am recalling exactly who was there. Maybe I miss somebody. There was myself, Mr. Barrett, Mr. McLatchie, Mr. Arnold Link, Mr. Nick Samson, Mr. Alf Nunweiler, Mr. Omineca — not Omineca — Skeena Tiding, Dent, Mr. Stupich, and I am not sure about Doug Kelly from Omineca at that meeting, you know."
Now why I quoted that section was we have heard, Mr. Chairman, in this House, that the Premier did not discuss figures in that way. On March 8, he told us something differently.
The Premier told us on March 8:
I wanted them to effect a solution. I did not order a solution. I did not give figures or suggest figures. I suggested that they work out the negotiations between their lawyers.
Now here we have a statement in the House from the Premier stating that he did not discuss figures, he did not say these things. Here we have the testimony of a witness, accepted by the judge, on which a judicial decision is based, where he says that he accepts the testimony of the defendants — and the testimony talks about that $7,500 figure.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. I have allowed the Hon. Member enough latitude to determine the direction in which his remarks were going, but I would ask him at this point whether he is alleging an impropriety or a misconduct on the part of another Hon. Member.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: No, Mr. Chairman. I made it perfectly clear. I believe there is no question any more about the impropriety of the Member. I simply have nothing more to say on that aspect at all.
What I am saying is that an apology is due to ordinary citizens of British Columbia, who have no rights in the courts, who have no rights except in this House when we in the opposition get up and speak for them. That's the only right they have, and that's the right that we are exercising under the Premier's estimates.
[ Page 837 ]
We feel, Mr. Chairman — and I am sure you agree because you were present and you know what took place at that meeting, and you were also present in this House when much of the denials of what went on in that meeting — that you cannot leave members of the public under the cloud of having committed perjury, sworn false testimony, the way Mr. Unger and Mr. Brunsdon have been left for this past year. We feel it's only fair and just that an apology is due to them and an apology comes. It is clear that the inquiry that we wanted last year did not take place, an inquiry which might have cleared the names of these two men. It is clear that the lawsuit that took place was exactly on the question of accuracy of the affidavit....
An Hon. Member: Oh, oh!
Mr. D.A. Anderson: Mr. Attorney-General (Hon. Mr. Macdonald), the evidence presented in that court case, the evidence that I've read out here, supports the affidavits. If it is of any interest to you, I will again read something which you apparently have forgotten — namely, the decision of the judge: "It was the result of the intervention of the Premier that the board entered into the agreement of November 1, 1972, with Kovachich." And he also said: "I accept the testimony of the defendants that it (the direction of Mr. Barrett) occurred as described by them."
The Attorney-General can make these fine legal distinctions if he likes. But if he wishes to do that, perhaps he should retire to the practice of law and give up the job of chief law officer of the Crown where he is responsible for justice.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. I would draw to the attention of the Hon. Member a decision quoted in the Journals of the House, or at least in Votes and Proceedings, March 17. I quote from a decision made by Mr. Speaker Michener when he was Speaker of the House of Commons. He is referring to a case brought up by the Hon. Member for Peel:
"Did the learned judge, in commenting on the evidence, say or imply that the Member for Peel had been guilty of a criminal offence — perjury, for example? Certainly not. And if he had, it would have been his responsibility to bring the matter to the attention of the Crown for prosecution.
"Did he intend to imply that the Hon. Member's conduct was an offence against the independence or dignity of the House of Commons, about which, as a former Member of the House, he would be cognizant and alert? He does not say so. There is no direct charge of this kind in the judge's observations about the Hon. Member for Peel."
It would appear that we have a similar situation, and I would offer these remarks from this decision for his.... The Hon. Member may certainly state his opinion, but I would just draw to his attention this matter.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: Well, Mr. Chairman, I would be happy if you would read further in that judgment because I think there are other aspects of it which are also of bearing. But the aspects you raised puzzle me somewhat. We are asking here for an apology — a straight apology to two members of the public who were wronged. We fail to see that it deals with some of the aspects you mentioned in your recent quotation. It is not a question to these people of rehashing the lawsuit. The supreme court judge has come to his decision that events occurred as described by the defendants. The events that occurred, according to the defendants, were the same as the events that occurred according to the two affidavits. The question is whether or not under the circumstances.... You remember because you were there, and you also heard later, Mr. Chairman, what took place in this House. We know it must have caused you a great deal of grief, you perhaps more than the rest of us, as a former member of the cloth. It must have caused you a great deal of grief.
The question right now is a question of an apology, We want the Premier to apologize to ordinary citizens. He talked earlier about arrogance. It's the arrogance of office that he can do what he pleases, regardless of the rights, regardless of the reputations of other citizens, not here in this House but outside. You have no right of recourse. They've got no right of recourse; they've got no opportunity of the law; they've got nothing except the opposition's limited....
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. I would mention again to the Hon. Member that it would appear, from the direction of his remarks in requesting or insisting upon an apology from an Hon. Member, that he is implying that in some way the Hon. Member has been guilty of misconduct or of impropriety. I would again remind the Hon. Member that the proper method for dealing with a matter of this nature is by substantive motion.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: Mr. Chairman, you have heard time after time the fact that substantive motions are no longer an avenue open to us to have such a matter discussed. When there is no redress by way of substantive motions...you know and we all know that the rules of this House are simply flouted and there is no opportunity for a substantive motion to be heard. Now under those circumstances there is no way that I can follow the course of action you suggest because it is clearly a blind alley.
[ Page 838 ]
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. It still doesn't alter the case that if the Hon. Member in any way, either directly or indirectly, is imputing to another Hon. Member an impropriety or misconduct, the proper method to do this — the only method — is by a substantive motion. I ask the Hon. Member to follow that course.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: Mr. Chairman, we have had discussion in this House about money received by members of cabinet, We've had the discussion of a number of things without a substantive motion. A substantive motion is the most convenient way the government knows of making sure that something never comes up for discussion again.
There's an opportunity here for redress. This is, after all, in this respect, the highest court in the land and the two members of the public are entitled to an apology because their word has been doubted to the point where they've been essentially accused of perjury. They swore affidavits. They swore that what they knew was true, and it's been doubted.
Now we have subsidiary evidence from this lawsuit and a judgment of a supreme court judge to the effect that, indeed, their affidavits were accurate. Therefore it appears to me perfectly clear that an apology is due these two members of the public. I'm sure, Mr. Chairman, that you would agree. I am sure you would not want to be party by suggesting that I follow up what you know to be a course of action which cannot bring them redress. I'm sure you would like to see them apologized to and this wrong righted because I'm sure you're an honest man at heart, and fair.
The fact is that if we had followed the course of action you are proposing to me, injustice continues. If we continue to discuss this in the House at this time we hope that the Attorney-General (Hon. Mr. Macdonald) will advise the Premier — as he's doing now, whispering to him — that there are times when justice should prevail, and that the Attorney-General should cease being simply a legal gunslinger for the government Ministers.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. Again I would point out that any indirect or direct imputation of misconduct or impropriety of another Hon. Member should be done by substantive motion. I'm not making this ruling because of any prejudice of any kind; it's simply that these are the rules of the House. I would draw them to the attention of the Hon. Member.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: Certainly, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate your drawing them to my attention. I have no wish to repeat what I said before, but surely in a case where new evidence comes to light, where it's perfectly clear that the affidavits in question were accurate, where it's perfectly clear that if this judgment is allowed to stand, we have very serious doubts about what was said in this House. Surely this is the type of occasion where, without the substantive motion, an apology is due, which might end the whole case.
Mr. Gibson: It is injustice.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: As my Member for North Vancouver–Capilano (Mr. Gibson) points out, it's injustice, not impropriety, and the injustice is to two individuals, Unger and Brunsdon.
I'm quoting from March 4, page 757 of Hansard, and I'm quoting the Premier:
...I told them they were acting like children.
Apparently they heard other things or seemed to have heard other things in their affidavits.
A suggestion that some of this material that wound up in their affidavits did not, indeed, take place — now we have subsidiary evidence that it did take place. It's good evidence — a judicial decision by the British Columbia Supreme Court being enforced. If all these people — Unger, Brunsdon, Kovachich, Sutherland, Veekens — and indeed if you yourself remember differently.... You, after all, were there, according to the testimony of the witness. If you recall differently, you have a responsibility as an ordinary, decent human being to make sure that the injustice done to these people is corrected. You have that responsibility; we all have it. If anybody was present at that meeting and heard what went on and realized that a different story was being given, surely they have that duty. When they took their oath of office to uphold the laws of British Columbia and work for the good of the people of British Columbia, they have a duty.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. Again I would point out it would appear to me that the direction the Hon. Member is taking leaves me with no other conclusion than that he is making some form of charge against the Hon. Member for misconduct. I would draw to his attention May, 18th edition, chapter 18, page 400, part 1: "...for the same reason no charge of a personal character can be raised, save upon a direct and substantive motion to that effect."
Mr. D.A. Anderson: Mr. Chairman, I think perhaps instead of quoting May you are simply recalling yourself what took place at the hearing of the meeting and your realization that perhaps there was impropriety. You may realize that now, but I'm not saying that; I'm simply saying that on the face of it an apology is due. Statements were made. They were denied. We asked for an inquiry. Finally we got one — not exactly the type of inquiry we would have liked, but an inquiry which we mentioned last spring
[ Page 839 ]
might well take place if there was a lawsuit.
This lawsuit corroborates the affidavit. The acceptance of this testimony, the cross-examination — which I read out to you to make sure you realized that there was not just simply something taken without examination, or something taken without question — all this indicates that the judge had good reason, excellent reason, to accept the testimony of the defendants on this aspect of the case.
He refers to the amnesia — not in those terms — of the Minister of Agriculture (Hon. Mr. Stupich). He refers to the Minister of Agriculture's inability to recall. At this trial Mr. Stupich could not recall the direction of Mr. Barrett — the direction of Mr. Barrett — in the terms in which it was stated by the defendants. I accept the testimony of the defendants that it occurred as described by them.
Now the Minister of Agriculture, the Minister of Amnesia, was obviously unable to assist the judge. But the defendants' testimony, Mr. Chairman, was accepted. They talked about the direction given. It was the result of the intervention of the Premier. Yet we had case after case last year — March 4, 1974, page 757: "Hon. Mr. Barrett: 'They were not ordered to solve...with my orders or anything else."'
Hon. Mr. Barrett: What did the judge say? Was there an order in my office?
Mr. D.A. Anderson: The judge stated it was a....
Hon. D. Barrett: There was no order given, and the judge said so. You conveniently avoid that, don't you?
Mr. D.A. Anderson: The Premier was out of the room. He was not here to listen when I went through the aspect.... So he comes in here and plays these semantic games.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Gutter politics!
Mr. Chairman: Order, please.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: I'm interested in justice for two members of the public who are accused of perjury by you, Mr. Premier, and it's time you got off your high horse and apologized to them for falsely accusing them.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please! I would ask the Hon. Member to no longer insist upon an apology unless he's prepared to make a substantive motion of misconduct.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: We know what happens to substantive motions.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please!
Mr. D.A. Anderson: You know that he's said, time after time that they won't come forward.
Mr. Chairman: Is the Hon. Member questioning the rules of the House?
Mr. D.A. Anderson: You said it, on cases of this nature. He furthermore....
Mr. Chairman: Order, please!
Mr. D.A. Anderson: When we ask for an apology for people who have been wronged, he calls it gutter politics.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: It is gutter politics.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: To ask for an apology?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Yes.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: Yes!
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Sure, gutter politics! That's all you want out of this thing; and you haven't shown a single bit of responsibility.
[Mr. Chairman rises.]
Mr. Chairman: Would the Hon. Member be seated until I complete my comments, please? I just want to make further comments. I would ask the Hon. Member, as I have allowed him considerable latitude and I've drawn it to his attention a number of times.... The Chair is assuming that an insistence upon a request for an apology suggests some form of misconduct. Therefore I am making the ruling that any further request of this nature would be out of order and should be done by a substantive motion.
[Mr. Chairman resumes his seat.]
Mr. D.A. Anderson: Mr. Chairman, may I ask, in view of your close involvement in this matter, and the fact that you were present at one of the meetings involved...
Mr. Chairman: Order, please.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: ...a fact which did not come to light until later, that you surrender the chair to someone else? You're clearly partisan and prejudiced in this case.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please! I would ask the Hon. Member to withdraw any imputation that the
[ Page 840 ]
Chair is being partial.
Mr. Chairman: I would ask the Hon. Member if he wishes to challenge the Chair or if he wishes to question a ruling of the Chair, that he do it by referring to authorities.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: Mr. Chairman, I will withdraw the statement that you are prejudiced, but I will say that you have every reason to leave the chair because of your involvement at one of these meetings, involvement which did not come to light until much later, involvement which did not come to light until the testimony which was received in court. And I feel, under the circumstances, that it would be wrong for you to continue to insist upon my following an impossible course of action....
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. There is no reason for the Chairman to leave the chair as long as the rules of the House are being followed. If the Hon. Member wishes to question the ruling of the Chair, he may do so.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: Mr. Chairman, I only ask you as an individual who was involved in this matter: do you really think you can be the impartial Chairman under those circumstances?
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. I think that this is out of order, and I would ask the Hon. Member to direct his remarks to vote 2, the Premier's estimates.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: Well, Mr. Chairman, in vote 2 the estimates take in the whole question of truth and veracity and integrity of the government. This is why I raise it at this time. An apology is due.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. Would the Hon. Member discontinue his speech, please. Would the Hon. Member be seated until such time as I recognize him again?
Would the Hon. Member be seated?
Would the Hon. Member remain seated?
I will recognize the Hon. Member again, providing he does not pursue the particular point that I ruled out of order. Would the Hon. Member...?
Mr. D.A. Anderson: Mr. Chairman, under these circumstances can we get justice for two people accused of perjury? It's easy for him to keep on yelling insults, as he's done on a number of occasions for two days.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please! Would the Hon. Member be seated? I would invite the Hon. Member to challenge the ruling of the Chair if he doesn't agree with it. Otherwise, I would expect, and must demand, that he obey the Chair. If the Hon. Member wishes to continue in another vein, he may do so.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: I have a number of problems: I am not sure whether you wish me to appeal the ruling that I must now sit down or whether you wish me to appeal the ruling that I should now cease questioning on the question of the apology. Which of the two would you like me to appeal?
Mr. Chairman: The Chair has ruled that insistence upon an apology implies or suggests wrongdoing on the part of an Hon. Member. Therefore I've ruled that this should not be pursued in this manner but rather should be done on a substantive motion. As long as the Hon. Member does not do that, he may continue with his remarks.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: Mr. Chairman, I find it curious that you should insist that there has to have been wrongdoing. There is perhaps the most remote chance, slight though it is, that there was some honest mistake on the Premier's part. Now you insist that there is no possibility of an honest mistake which would lead him now to apologize. I say there is still that slim, slim possibility — very, very slim, but still it exists. Therefore the idea that I would have to lay a charge when there is still that slight possibility does not attract me at all.
Mr. Chairman: The Chair's ruling is that the remarks of the Hon. Member do imply a charge, and you cannot do indirectly that which is out of order directly. Therefore the proper method, if in any way you are implying or imputing any kind of charge against another Hon. Member, is by substantive motion.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: The charge that you keep talking about is something that I am not bringing up. You are. You were present at those meetings. You know, perhaps, that there needs to be a charge. I don't; I was not present. I am simply saying, on the strength of the judicial decision and on the strength of the affidavits, that there is no question here but there needs to be an apology. Apology, perhaps, for an honest mistake but an apology nevertheless....
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. I would ask the Hon. Member to be seated. Now, again, I would give the Hon. Member a chance, if he wishes to speak again. But he must not go contrary to the ruling which I have made.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: Mr. Chairman, I accept the ruling. I will resume my seat and take part in this
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debate at a later time. But please search your own heart and soul for a method whereby I can get redress for citizens if I cannot use the chamber of the Legislature of British Columbia.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. I would request that the Hon. Member not lecture the Chair.
Mr. Gibson: I might say that the Chair is pretty good at lecturing Hon. Members and shouldn't object quite so much if he gets a little bit back.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. The Chair will give advice where it is required. Would the Hon. Member continue?
Mr. Gibson: And sometimes when it's not, too.
Mr. Chairman, I asked the Premier a number of questions earlier on today, and he stood up and answered: yes, no, yes, yes, no, or something like that, without identifying to which questions he was directing his replies. I wonder if he would be kind enough, for greater certainty, to stand up and indicate which areas he was discussing.
To refresh his memory, I'll just recap quickly and say that I suggested that he should have put money into Syncrude, a couple of hundred million dollars, and encouraged other provinces to provide for public ownership of that company.
I suggested that, really, under his responsibility, he had to have an auditor-general.
I asked for his views on foreign investment in this province.
I asked for an undertaking of the British Columbia Railway to start to pay taxes to municipalities along its route and, in particular, the district and city of North Vancouver. I asked him about plans for the BCR headquarters on the North Shore.
I asked him if he would now fulfill his commitment on removing a portion of the sales tax from building materials in the wake of the federal government's removal of a portion of those building materials taxes which was to trigger the Premier's action, according to the things he has said in this House and elsewhere.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: The taxation of the railway goes back to legislation in the early 1920s passed by a Liberal administration. We are reviewing all legislation, even Liberal legislation.
The headquarters decision has not yet been made.
The removal of all federal taxation on building materials will bring the removal of the 5 per cent sales tax on building materials privately bought for homes.
Mr. Gibson: But you won't go half way?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Look, I made my position clear. My position still stands.
In terms of Syncrude, Mr. Member, the "Syncrude deal, " as we commonly refer to it, is one particular project of approximately 10 that have to be launched. I will repeat what I said again because you don't seem to be able either philosophically or for other reasons to grasp the position outlined by me in a speech in Montreal approximately 18 months ago. I said then that the question of public ownership and control of all non-renewable energy resources was no longer able to be considered in the luxury category of a philosophical debate between free enterprisers and socialists. I said then, and I repeat now, that it is my firm belief that public ownership should take place and public control should take place over all oil and gas reserves, producing wells and all oil machinery in this country. I do not believe that any country in the same situation as Canada is in the western world has allowed itself to have control of 90 per cent of all its oil and gas fall under the hands of foreign governments.
There has been some concern expressed about Arab loans. Those are loans, not equity. In the case of gas and oil, it is 90 per cent equity by foreign owners.
Mr. Member, my position is, was then and is now, that if a federal government would take the position that for Canada's economic security — and planning that continuing security, growth and development — we must have control over natural gas and oil in this country through public ownership, then we in British Columbia would go along with that policy and share in an equitable basis for the development of those resources. It is ironic that the research material being used by the private corporation developing the first Syncrude project was financed by the Canadian taxpayers.
It is not a question of research — it is not a question of technology. It is a question of very bad policy by the federal government to be financing multinational corporations through subsidies to allow them into the oil sands.
I repeat again, Mr. Member: it is no longer a luxurious argument between socialists and free enterprisers. It's simply a matter of survival of this nation through control of its own non-renewable energy sources.
My error was made 18 months ago. I said on television, on returning to British Columbia, that if such a decision were made by the federal government, we in British Columbia would accept and then I would go to the British Columbia people and ask them to endorse the position. I would ask the British Columbia people to vote on the issue: are you willing to share with all Canadians our gas and our oil in this province if its under public control? We would certainly let the people of British Columbia decide.
I, for one, am on the record. I believe in Canada. I think we have an obligation in every way possible to keep this country together. One way of keeping this
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country together is to ensure rational, planned economic growth from coast to coast based on our non-renewable energy sources. We cannot have that unless we have public ownership and control of those non-renewable resources. When the federal government is prepared to move in that direction, I say we will go, too.
You say you take 5 per cent of Syncrude with the multinationals in. No, Mr. Member, the tax concessions....
Mr. Gibson: Fifty per cent public.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Not 50 per cent public. The tax concessions to Syncrude are greater gifts and concessions to foreign oil companies than what the Crown corporation in the Province of British Columbia, publicly owned by the taxpayers of this province, could get. It is the deliberate policy of the federal government to ensure and guarantee better tax concessions to multinational corporations than it is to be a publicly owned corporation such as the B.C. Petroleum Corp.
You yourself said in this House that statements by the federal government about our corporation were made, if I may quote your words, "to scare us."
Mr. Gibson: And you got scared.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Well, Mr. Member, when I see private multinational corporations being favoured by the Liberal government when a publicly-owned corporation can't get the same concession, then I know whose side the federal Liberals are on. Certainly they are not on the side of the taxpayers or the ordinary people of this country.
I say again: public ownership and we'll share; giveaway we want no part of.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. Just before the Hon. Member proceeds, I want to make one point by way of guidance. This is May, page 739 — the middle of the page:
"The administrative action of the department is open to debate in Committee of Supply, but the necessity for legislation and matters involving legislation cannot be discussed in Committee of Supply."
I offer this for the guidance of the Hon. Members.
Mr. Gibson: Mr. Chairman, I'm a little bit puzzled by the position the Premier has just taken. He hasn't really been consistent.
He said that he wants public ownership in the oil and gas industry.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Right.
Mr. Gibson: But here's exactly a chance to get it, Mr. Premier. Here's the one deal in this country where governments are taking a substantial share of it. Here is the deal where we see down the road both Alberta and Ontario and the federal governments speculating on continued involvement in more and more tar sands plants. This is the deal that the Premier can have. If he can't get all of his cake right now, he can get at least a substantial part of it.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: That deal gives major concessions to the oil companies.
Mr. Gibson: Mr. Chairman, there's the other thing. The Premier says that deal gives major concessions to the oil companies. If it's that good why aren't we in for 100 per cent of it — if it's that good a deal?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Give us the concessions and we'll go in.
Mr. Gibson: Go in and you'd have the concessions. Sure. It's right there in black and white. It's been offered to whoever's in that deal.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: I'll be no part of forcing money down the throats of oil companies.
Mr. Gibson: Oh, boy! Mr. Premier, what you are a part of is not giving the people of British Columbia a chance to invest in that project to assure ourselves of a supply of overland oil.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Oh, oh!
Mr. Gibson: What you're not doing is letting the people of British Columbia get in on the beginning of the action of 300 billion barrels of recoverable oil that's worth at least $3 trillion. I think that's shocking.
Now switching to other subjects, Mr. Chairman, the revenue and expenditure estimates tabled by the Minister of Finance are about $600,000 or so apart. And he called it a surplus budget. I just have a simple question here. Since, as he tells us, the revenues and expenditures are accurately assessed in this budget, just $600,000 error one way or another would throw this from a surplus budget into a deficit budget. So it seems to me that a little thing like.... Just suppose there could be an important deficit in the ICBC. Just suppose that for a minute without debating the ICBC estimates at all. Then the budget wouldn't be in surplus any more. That was a very important part of the presentation of the Minister of Finance to this House.
Now, the Premier told us today that he can't guarantee the provision of that report on ICBC before
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the Minister's estimates. He said that by statute it has to be in sometime before the end of April, but the guillotine may have fallen on all the estimates by then, Mr. Chairman. You know, there's only about 121 hours left and the clock is ticking.
Mrs. Webster: That's right.
Mr. Gibson: "That's right." says the Hon. Second Member for Vancouver South who stood up earlier on in this debate. That's right; the clock is ticking. You don't want to be squeezed out of a chance to make good comments do you, Madam Member? I wouldn't think so. I don't think any Member of this House does, and the clock is ticking.
But the point is there; we couldn't get that guarantee, and it could very easily change that budget from a surplus to a deficit.
The Premier was able in his presentation to table nine-month figures for a number of things: for all the departments of government and for B.C. Hydro. B.C. Hydro is a Crown corporation that is at least as elaborate in scope as the Insurance Corp. of British Columbia. So I want to ask the Premier this simple question: if he could table nine-month figures for B.C. Hydro, why could he not table nine-month figures for ICBC?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Mr. Member, there are 300 billion barrels, it is estimated, in the tar sands. Why do we need the private oil companies there at all?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Well, Mr. Member, if you will only recall that I made that proposition not only public but at federal-provincial conference meetings.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Mr. Member, there was never anybody saying: "Yes, we'll go along with the deal." What do you think I do: take the cheques down in my pocket?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Well, certainly, the position of the government has been clear for 18 months. There is no way, Mr. Member — and I don't know how many times I have to say this. The people out there understand me, but you don't. There is no way that we will go into that development with multinational oil companies. That oil belongs to the Canadian people and there is no need for multinational corporations coming in.
Now if there is the argument, the argument that comes back is that we need outside capital. Let me use the figures you've given to destroy that very argument. That oil in the ground is money in the bank, and we don't need any oil company to come in here and help us to take our money out of the bank. I don't know what kind of economic school you went to, but obviously it's a little bit different to the one I went to. If I've got a bank account and it's mine and it belongs to the Canadian people, I don't invite in American oil companies, British oil companies, Dutch oil companies to make a withdrawal from our bank account. But Liberals have done things like that all along. Why I don't know. They hire high-class economists from eastern boarding schools to give them those crazy ideas. But in the Midwest, they are far more conservative and practical. In the Midwest they say what you've got in the bank you hang onto.
That's our money. It's our oil. It belongs to the Canadian people. We should be developing it. As soon as the federal government takes up their request, a humble request, a simple request, that we Canadians have enough courage, enough foresight, enough determination to be masters in our own house and withdraw some of our own money from our own bank, which you estimated to be $3 trillion worth.... Now that's money in the bank, and we don't need any international oil company to come along and help us withdraw it.
You have such a dependency orientation. You belong to the old school of Canadian politicians who believe that we don't have the competence, the will, the capacity or the desire to do things for ourselves.
I tell you that one of the greatest things that could happen to unify this country, including the Province of Quebec, would be to have some central national policy saying: "Brothers and sisters, all Canadians together, let us develop this country together, where we can, without outside interference or outside ownership." And that is available in the oil and gas fields.
It's like every other idea that socialists propound — 40 years ahead of the times. My party in 1933 asked for public ownership of all oil and gas. They had to wait 40 years for practicality — to catch up to what was right.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Pattullo tried it too and they're still attacking Pattullo.
Mr. Member, every other government, including Venezuela, has moved to public ownership and control of those resources.
We have a high education standard. We are able to compete technically with almost any nation in the world. We can put up an Alouette satellite around the earth, yet we still run cap-in-hand to the multinational oil companies. I say it is stupid and it is brought about, not by a callous disregard for
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Canadians, but blind commitment to political dogma that belongs to the 18th century. You, Sir, and your party are subscribers to liberalism of 18th century.
When you have money in the bank you don't call in an outsider to help you withdraw. We've got money in the bank. Let's take it out bit by bit as we need it. And if that is socialism then I equate it with common sense. You are not prepared to listen on the basis of common sense because you are locked in with blinders that leave one with nothing but a concern for your comforts in the world that no longer exists. We are Canadians, let's be masters in our house — 100 per cent ownership by Canadians.
Mr. Gibson: There was a curious omission in the Premier's speech which perhaps he might like to remedy...
Hon. Mr. Barrett: J. Paul Getty.
Mr. Gibson:...in view of all his attacks on the federal government. I presume, then, that he is a down-the-line supporter of the federal government's national petroleum corporation, and I presume his party in the House of Commons will be going along that line, too.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: If the national petroleum corporation moved into the same position, as a first step, to follow the lead that we've given, the same as the petroleum corporation, and said to the private producers: "All right, fellows, you can stay in there, you can continue to produce, but we will regulate the price of gas and we will regulate the profits." — if they do that for all oil and gas in Canada, it's a first step forward.
Now Mr. Member — I hate to do this to you — I don't like doing it to you because you weren't here at the time, but your five colleagues voted in this House, fought tooth and nail in this House, against the very concept that you're now asking us to endorse at the federal level. Those Members are on record as voting against the B.C. Petroleum Corp.
Mr. Gardom: Sweeping arbitrary powers.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Arbitrary powers? There it is: "We want it, but we don't want it; we'd like it but not necessarily; on the other hand, if you ask us to make a decision let's postpone it." That is your attitude.
When you are faced with making a decision you attack this government — page after page after page in Hansard saying it was terrible; it was wrong; it shouldn't be done. And you have the nerve to not even check.
No, I should give you salvation. You should be free to separate yourself from those other four because at least your name is not on the record as being against it. So when you come in advocating that, at least you've got some room to manoeuvre.
Now I say once more: clearly and obviously it separates this party from you free-enterprise people over there, you give-away-gang people. It separates us and why we have struggled for 40 years to come to power in this province, and what the purpose is behind democratic socialism. What we want is public ownership of those resources that are non-renewable, and control by the people of this country so that we can all benefit from the God-given riches of this country which do not belong to Shell, Imperial Oil, J. Paul Getty or the heirs of that estate, or any of H.L. Hunt's heirs. Just as a lawyer.... Look at the mess H.L. Hunt left in his estate. You wouldn't want that confusion, would you?
Mr. Gibson: Don't call me a lawyer.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: No, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to insult you.
No, Mr. Member, you're wrong. What I say in this House I say publicly. I say to people who don't believe in this point of view, don't vote for me. But those people who believe that the international oil companies should not be in a position to dominate the Canadian economy, I say: vote for us. And it's got nothing to do with capes at football games; it's got nothing to do with images, fancy dancing, public relations men or anything else — it's straight-issue politics.
The Liberals stand for the giveaway of our resources; the NDP is against it. Pick the side you're on. If you want to go with the giveaway gang, go ahead. If you want to have confidence in the potential of Canadians, come with us. We're not afraid to move.
Mr. Gibson: I just wanted to check, Mr. Chairman, and get it on the record as to whether the federal government had done something more or less right in the last few weeks. I take it that the national petroleum corporation is considered not a bad idea by the Premier.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Well, your party voted against it in this House.
Mr. Gibson: I'm talking about the national petroleum corporation.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: They are slowly moving in the right direction.
Mr. Gibson: A grudging admission, but I'm glad to get it on the record, Mr. Chairman. But the
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Premier's logic still confuses me. He is for public ownership of the oil-producing companies. Now I don't know what that excellent mid-western institution the Premier attended told him about percentages.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: It wasn't Harvard like someone else. You Harvard people...your logic....
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. The Hon. Member for North Vancouver–Capilano has the floor.
Mr. Gibson: It wasn't a serious attack, Mr. Chairman. He wasn't bothering me.
I wonder what they told the Premier about percentages.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Never to wear a vest.
Mr. Gibson: Keeps you warm in winter.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: You need it in the Ivy League.
Mr. Gibson: You need it down in St. Louis, too.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Well, it's very hot in the summer.
Mr. Gibson: Helps to hold it in. (Laughter.)
I don't know what they told you about percentages but when I went to school, 70 per cent was more than 49 per cent. Now the Premier's against foreign oil companies investing in British Columbia oil production facilities in the tar sands.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: But 100 per cent is better than 70 per cent.
Mr. Gibson: The current one provides for foreign oil companies to own 70 per cent of that. What I was suggesting to the Premier in this House is that he could have, on behalf of the people of British Columbia, arranged for those foreign oil companies to only own 49 per cent; so there'd be full public control. That's better than 70 per cent, Mr. Premier. Your own logic spelled it all out, but you won't go that extra step of taking the practical means to do something about it. That's what I'm concerned about. I think it's quite clear.
What you didn't answer was this: if you can produce a nine-month report over something as complex as British Columbia Hydro, why can't you produce a nine-month report for the Insurance Corp. of British Columbia? It seems an easier task. I'd like an answer to that, Mr. Premier.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: It was the prospectus, Mr. Member. The effort was made for the prospectus, and the normal practice of ICBC will be carried through. If we start doing that in every other government department, we'll be violating our own statutes. The annual report is available. But let me come back to one comment you made on the oil. What do you need them in for for 30 per cent? Why? Take them out entirely. That's what my point is.
Mr. Gibson: You could have done that, Hon. Mr. Barrett: Now look, overnight we'll give the Sergeant-at-Arms the notice that you're leaving that group; you sit in limbo for a few days and then join us. My argument has finally got to you.
[Mr. G.H. Anderson in the chair.]
Mr. Gibson: Mr. Chairman, I couldn't believe my ears when the Premier just said to us: "We couldn't do this for every department." You do do it for every department, Mr. Premier. You give us a nine-month report for every department in government.
An Hon. Member: That's right.
Mr. Gibson: You don't for ICBC.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Financial review. It's there.
Mr. Gibson: We want the ICBC figures so we can debate them...
Hon. Mr. Barrett: You'll get them.
Mr. Gibson: ...so we can see whether or not your budget is surplus or deficit. I think it's going to be a big deficit. Why can't you give us that nine-month report? Why won't you answer that question?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: I've already made a commitment that we'll give you the information a year earlier than required by the statutes. We're proud of this public enterprise. We don't believe in those multinational insurance companies ripping off the British Columbia car driver. That's why we set up the company. It's known again as democratic socialism. Will you stand up and say that now you want to destroy ICBC? I wouldn't interpret any of your questions to be critical to that point because, politically, anybody who said to this province, "Vote for me and we'll destroy ICBC," will go down to ruin.
All you want to do, Mr. Member, is ask questions about ICBC. I don't question your motivation. The
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information will be made available as soon as possible. I am terrific, I am sensational, but I admit some flaws. I don't know everything. That's why I have cabinet Ministers to help me. They don't know everything either, but they're responsible for their department and they'll answer your questions.
Mr. A.V. Fraser (Cariboo): Where are they all today?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Well, they know how competent I am; they're busy doing other work right now. That's a great compliment to me, but I've got to re-emphasize my modesty.
Mr. L.A. Williams (West Vancouver–Howe Sound): The Hon. Premier is an educated man, as he's told us several times this afternoon.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Your leader said that the only people with university degrees in the House were the Liberals.
An Hon. Member: That's untrue.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Well, you were quoted that way in the paper. Oh, are you going to swear an affidavit against the Sun?
Mr. L.A. Williams: The Premier went to university in St. Louis...
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Seattle and St. Louis: two good American institutions.
Mr. L.A. Williams: ...and he got a BSW. My only question is: what does the "W" stand for? (Laughter.)
Hon. Mr. Barrett: No, it's a BA and an MSW. You see, you don't do any research.
Mr. L.A. Williams: Well, you mentioned in your speech the other day that you got a BSW.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: No, I never said that. I got an MSW.
Mr. L.A. Williams: I see. Well, then, what does the "W" stand for — Waffle?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Hard work.
Mr. L.A. Williams: Work?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Hard work.
Mr. L.A. Williams: The Minister also excited us a few moments ago with the suggestion that they believed in the use of corporations, none of this multinational business.
I just hope that the Premier will remember those words when finally we have tabled in this House the annual report for ICBC and we see the item as to how much the reinsurance segment is for ICBC and how much ICBC is reinsuring through the centre of the insurance industry of the world in London, England, contracts which were negotiated by the Hon. Minister of Transport and Communications (Hon. Mr. Strachan).
Hon. Mr. Barrett: We control it.
Mr. L.A. Williams: Oh, they control you. You're in the hands of the multinational insurers just as much as the former private companies that were carrying on business in this province.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Don't be silly.
Mr. L.A. Williams: They all had reinsurance contracts, and you're got reinsurance contracts. ICBC is not in control of its own destiny so far as insurance is concerned.
No wonder you have such difficulty when you go down to Ottawa. I thought it was because the press didn't give you a fair break or you didn't understand the rules in Ottawa.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Please don't attack the press. (Laughter.)
Mr. L.A. Williams: Now I understand why you have this difficulty. Not only are you a socialist, but you are illogical.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: I'm a logical socialist.
Mr. L.A. Williams: That's why you have these difficulties.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Ohhh!
Mr. L.A. Williams: Eighteen months ago we all read with interest the Premier's speech with regard to non-renewable resources. We hung on every word, and what he was saying to the Government of Canada and to the other provinces of Canada was: "If you'll do it the way B.C. wants to have it done, then we'll go along with you."
Hon. Mr. Barrett: The way we've done it.
Mr. L.A. Williams: "If you will turn over the entire history of the industry in Canada, then we'll go
[ Page 847 ]
along with you." But when the opportunity was presented a few months ago for this government to join with the federal government and other provincial governments to encourage the other two socialist provinces in the west to do something about the Syncrude deal, dead silence.
An Hon. Member: Shame!
Mr. L.A. Williams: We were missing in those negotiations. We had gone to the negotiations and had been rejected. Maybe I can understand what he was saying, but we weren't even there, in exactly the same way as we weren't even there on budget night last November when the federal budget was brought down after six months' warning. The Premier was then in China, and who did he leave minding the shop? The Minister of Economic Development (Hon. Mr. Lauk). And he didn't even take the trouble to open the pre-released copies of the federal budget that were available to British Columbia so that he could find out what was going on.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: You should see the Chinese oil fields.
Mr. L.A. Williams: He never even took the opportunity of reading the advance confidential copies which were available to that Minister.
The Premier spoke yesterday about the Liberal government in Ottawa — about the Liberal Party.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Critically.
Mr. L.A. Williams: An "alliance for power," he called it.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: That's right. No political philosophy, just a Ouija board and a hope and a prayer. (Laughter.)
Mr. L.A. Williams: Mr. Chairman, if you think back on the Government of Canada since the early '60s, except for one four-year period we've had a minority government in Ottawa. All during the Pearson years who did the NDP support? Those nasty Liberals.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: We've made mistakes.
Mr. L.A. Williams: Then we had a four-year period when the Liberals had a majority government, and they went back into their role as opposition Members. When the people in 1972 saw fit to put that government in its place and we had again a minority government, which party in Ottawa sustained that government in power?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: We did.
Mr. L.A. Williams: The NDP.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: You bet!
Mr. L.A. Williams: Under David Lewis.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: We never give up hope.
Mr. L.A. Williams: Now what happened during those years of NDP support of the Liberals in Ottawa?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: We never give up hope.
Mr. L.A. Williams: What happened to the west in those days? Did the NDP get a change in National Energy Board policy? No, they didn't. The NDP national government took the same establishment position....
Hon. Mr. Barrett: National government?
Mr. L.A. Williams: That's right. The NDP national party took the same establishment position on the part of big labour, controlled in the central provinces, as the Liberal government did with the management establishment controlled by the central provinces.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: You have trouble with the federal Libs, we've got trouble with the federal NDP.
Mr. L.A. Williams: That's right, and that is, I suppose, the reason why the Hon. Premier went down during the recent federal election and made certain that the NDP were going to get wiped out in the east. That's the contribution he made to his party nationally.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: The guy won where I spoke.
Mr. L.A. Williams: That's right. He did a good job, too. And what was the result of that NDP support of the Liberals during those minority years?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Three more senators for Liberals, that's what the result was.
Mr. L.A. Williams: The result was that when the people saw what would happen once the NDP had any say in the affairs of the national government, they put the Liberals back in again. What happened to the NDP in British Columbia? They went down from their traditional 30 per cent of the popular vote to 18 per cent. That's what the people in Canada and
[ Page 848 ]
the people in British Columbia think of the New Democratic Party and their abilities with regard to the national government.
Mr. Chairman, I hope for the last time we'll hear the Premier speak no more of this alliance for power, because the real alliance for power that has existed in the national government over the last 10 or 15 years has been the alliance between the federal Liberals and the federal NDP. It only came to an end before the last federal election. When? When they had finally had enough time put in so that they got their pensions.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Oh!
Mr. L.A. Williams: Then it was safe to defeat the national Liberals and say: "We are going to go back to the people because we are tired of all these corporate rip-offs."
An Hon. Member: They were political rip-offs.
Mr. L.A. Williams: They were political rip-offs; they all got their pensions. All those defeated NDP MPs got their pensions. Imagine it! Say it isn't true, Mr. Premier.
Mr. Gardom: Frank Howard, too?
Mr. L.A. Williams: Old Frank Howard got a double pension. He got a pension from the national government as a Member of Parliament, then he got another pension from the British Columbia government, too. That's right. But we shouldn't talk about this because it is not fair to talk about consultants, you see. We don't do it the same in British Columbia as they do in Ottawa. Ottawa has all those terrible consultants....
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Right — $1 billion worth.
Mr. L.A. Williams: One billion dollars. It is a shame on that national government that they could spend that kind of money.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: You bet your life, and we don't have 10 per cent of that.
Mr. L.A. Williams: You're about one-tenth the size of the national government, so what you're saying is that in British Columbia we have consultants in proportion to what Ottawa has, that terrible national government.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: We don't even have 10 per cent!
Mr. L.A. Williams: As a matter of fact, Mr. Chairman, you know, Air West reminds me...
Hon. Mr. Barrett: The city-slicker lawyer is going again.
Mr. L.A. Williams: ...of what the B.C. Lions used to do in those tough years when the NFL football cuts were on — they used to be whistling in recruits on every airplane. In B.C., we whistle in consultants on every Air West flight.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: How can we when McGeer is on every Air West flight?
Mr. L.A. Williams: It has got so that the young people of British Columbia can't come to Victoria wearing their jeans and the long hair and the beards without being taken as consultants. They get taken as consultants! They come off the ferry and there is somebody there saying: "Which office are you from? Where do you report?"
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Are you attacking us for hiring young people with long hair?
Mr. L.A. Williams: No, I sure am not — only the numbers that you hire, Mr. Premier.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Stuffed shirt Liberal vest! If you fell down, you would break your suit! (Laughter.)
Mr. L.A. Williams: That was a very funny joke. It was even funnier when Allan Fotheringham told it the first time.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Plastic! Plastic! Plastic!
Mr. L.A. Williams: Now he calls me "plastic."
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Plastic!
Mr. L.A. Williams: That is the speech he made in this House one night during estimates a year ago.
An Hon. Member: It was a good one.
Mr. L.A. Williams: It was a good speech. You got really excited that night.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Rarely excited.
Mr. L.A. Williams: But I remember sitting at home watching television one night of the NDP convention in Kamloops. There was the Premier standing in all his glory telling the people that he wasn't plastic. "I'm just fat Dave, " he said.
[ Page 849 ]
Hon. Mr. Barrett: That's right. I have a problem, but I'm working on it.
Mr. L.A. Williams: That's right. And you are working on it. I think you should talk to the Hon. Provincial Secretary (Hon. Mr. Hall) because he's got the answer. It's working.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: He's not playing rugby on April 26. I am.
Mr. L.A. Williams: Where are you playing April 26?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: I'm playing in Vancouver. If you'd like a ticket, I'll sell you some.
Mr. L.A. Williams: Thank you very much.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: And May 3 against the Japanese team, I hope to star again. But I am being modest.
Mr. L.A. Williams: Terrific. You'll never be the same.
But you know, Mr. Chairman, it's not only consultants.... We shouldn't attack the consultants because, heaven knows, I don't know of a government that needs more advice than this one. But if you look in the estimates you find that they are so interested in consultants that now they have got a special office of a consultant to the entire cabinet. It is going to cost the people of British Columbia more than a quarter of a million dollars just to advise that distinguished group on the Treasury benches.
They can't advise the Minister of Economic Development (Hon. Mr. Lauk) because he said he doesn't want any more consultants. He is tired of studies. The Minister of Mines...no, just ignore that, that's impossible. Anyway, one office, over a quarter of a million dollars, just for consultants to that cabinet. The man of mystery — Marcus Eliesen — a quarter of a million dollars for one man and his office.
An Hon. Member: Is he related to Marcus Welby?
Mr. L.A. Williams: I don't think he is related to Marcus Welby.
But, in addition to consultants, the Premier told us the other night about how it happens in Ottawa. He went down there, he told us, with his little duffel bag, his little hand bag. He had a pair of socks, a jar of his mother's matzo ball soup and his teddy bear.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: I need that because it is cold back there.
MR. L.A. WILLIAMS: I know. That's right.
So he arrived down there and he was astounded at the number of civil servants. They've got civil servants there that they haven't even counted.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: That's right.
Mr. L.A. Williams: That's the impression he left with us. But he certainly learned because in this province he has increased the civil service by 29,000.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Oh!
Mr. L.A. Williams: Yes, 29,000.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Oh!
Mr. L.A. Williams: Isn't that an increase of almost 100 per cent in the civil service in 30 months?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Oh!
Mr. L.A. Williams: As a matter of fact, he got so concerned about it that he had to go on an austerity drive.
Mr. L.A. Williams: That's right; he had to go on an austerity drive. The distinguished Deputy Minister of Finance (Mr. Bryson) who advises him had to send out an admonition. Terms of reference. He had to admonish the civil service for the way in which they were spending the money. It had to be pointed out in those memoranda to all these new civil servants that, somehow or other, government finance was cyclical in nature and that they were on the top of the cycle. He put all the civil servants on bicycles — this is the point he was trying to get across.
He wanted those civil servants to realize that it hadn't always been this good and wasn't always going to be that good. They had to cut back.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Good advice.
Mr. L.A. Williams: Good advice. But we still don't have any auditor-general coming out of this government. We're still not going to have anybody who is going to go into each one of the departments and into each of their branches to determine whether or not moneys are being spent in accordance with these terms of reference.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: The comptroller-general does that.
Mr. L.A. Williams: Oh, no, he doesn't.
[ Page 850 ]
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Yes, he does.
Mr. L.A. Williams: You look at the Audit Act and the comptroller-general does nothing of what an auditor-general does.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Mr. Minty does a good job.
Mr. L.A. Williams: One man — fantastic!
Hon. Mr. Barrett: He's got staff.
Mr. L.A. Williams: Fantastic. You need to have somebody into every department so that you don't have to admonish your civil servants that there will no longer be any mileage paid for private cars....
Hon. G.V. Lauk (Minister of Economic Development): Do you want to increase the civil service again?
Mr. L.A. Williams: No more mileage for private cars. I would suspect that if we had an auditor-general in this province, properly staffed, we could cut the civil service by a third. We would start with the Department of Economic Development; that's right where we would start. (Laughter.)
I'll tell you this. This auditor-general would be a man with real nerve. He'd start at the top and he'd slice the Minister off right away.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: I could give him a plate.
Mr. L.A. Williams: In the course of the Premier's remarks the other evening when he told about his experience in Ottawa, I think we really learned something that the Premier has never disclosed to the people of British Columbia before. I think the people in Ottawa knew what was going on but the Premier never told us. Instead, he went down there; he went to these closed meetings. The press wasn't allowed to go in — he didn't like that. But he went to the meetings.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Yes.
Mr. L.A. Williams: You should have said, Mr. Premier: "I'm not going to go to that meeting unless you open it up so that everybody can hear what's being said."
Hon. Mr. Barrett: I did leave one meeting...the first time I was down there and I got attacked for it.
Mr. L.A. Williams: You should have stuck in and done it again. I happen to agree with you that in that respect they're wrong. Those meetings should be open.
But then he found that he was being faced by reports from high sources....
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Unofficial.
Mr. L.A. Williams: Unofficial official sources, reliable sources. When the meetings were over, he told us that the thing that distressed him most was that the Minister of Finance (Hon. Mr. Turner) of the national government whisked past with all the press following him, and there were the provincial Premiers — ignored.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: Poor boy — His pride was hurt.
Mr. L.A. Williams: His pride was hurt, that's what
was the matter. His pride was hurt. The press didn't pay
attention to him back in Ottawa. Then he attacked the press at
Ottawa by saying that they're massaged in a certain way by the
Liberal organization. Well, who massages them this side of the
When he comes back from such a meeting, he doesn't tell us that he was ignored, he doesn't tell us that he was undercut by the national government; what he tells us when he comes back is that he has won a victory. That's what he tells us. He proclaims that victory to the press and he proclaims it through his own office newsletter. All the flacks that he has in his organization trumpet this with all their might.
Something else is happening, Mr. Chairman. To overcome this particular problem, to make sure that the Premier's feelings aren't hurt when he goes to these national meetings, when he comes back he's going to have his own news service, his own controlled news service.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Well, Peter has to do something. Are you doing it?
Mr. L.A. Williams: Because we learn after the last federal election that the Government of British Columbia was disturbed about the serious drop in the public support. So what do they do? The cabinet hustles off to a secret meeting out in the bush — a forestry camp, guards at the gates and so on.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Oh, guards at the gate!
Mr. L.A. Williams: Mind you, a couple of mayors managed to get through, but it was supposed to keep you out. Private meeting. But anyway, a couple of mayors of municipalities up in the north who had a real problem got through.
They had this special meeting, and the purpose of that was to decide what they had to do to overcome
[ Page 851 ]
this electoral disaster. The Minister of Economic Development (Hon. Mr. Lauk) was there and he participated in this discussion. They came to the conclusion that they weren't telling the people of British Columbia what good guys they were and how fantastic they were.
Now we see the results of the decisions back in the bush. The decisions back in the bush have now resulted in the establishment of the government's own news service. We've cranked up that government newspaper, that terrible government newspaper that the former Social Credit administration abused.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: It's not so bad; we've cleaned it up.
Mr. L.A. Williams: Sure, we cleaned it up. Instead of telling what used to be, what great things the Social Credit government did, now it's the great things the NDP government does.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: I told you we cleaned it up.
Mr. L.A. Williams: You look in the estimates, and you'll find now that there are tens of thousands of dollars to be made available for the government newspaper and publications. A former distinguished Member of the press gallery is going to be in that group, and somebody from the department of the Minister of Transport and Communications is going to be in the group. It happens to be an ex-newspaperman.
Mr. L.A. Williams: Well, he's not as distinguished as the one that was in the press gallery. The trouble is that the one in the press gallery got nervous. He got nervous and he took a soft job with the Premier's Department of Finance. He's a good man — a little bit confused, but he's still a good man. At any rate, we're now going to have this news service controlled by the government so they can make sure that the Premier's feelings aren't hurt, that what the Premier says is distributed to the people of British Columbia in case the press isn't prepared to be massaged in B.C. the way the press is massaged in Ottawa by the government there. So what he is doing is starting his own massage parlour, (laughter) home-grown and home-controlled.
Won't it be great, Mr. Chairman, when we have this new.... Is it any wonder that the national government refused to entertain a request from the Government of British Columbia that they turn over a television channel to them? Whew! Imagine what we could do! You know, you could put ads on there. I saw an ad last night.... We could see the Premier sitting in his chair, and we'd say: "What are you doing?" He'd say: "I'm disinfecting my toilet." (Laughter.)
I'm sorry, you don't get the ad. You don't watch television like I watch television. They've got a product now where you can sit on your chair and disinfect your toilet at the same time. I tell you, it works. It's blue in colour.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Is it American or Canadian?
Mr. L.A. Williams: I won't tell you. It's patented. It's blue in colour. At any rate, we will now be treated through the newspaper and, I assume, through the radio with a special brand of news — something that we have never enjoyed in British Columbia before. We'll get the socialist line right from Victoria. And the beauty of it all is that we won't have to worry about those nasty newspaper barons, whether they're controlled outside this province or not, because we can all rest assured that this government publication is going to be home-grown and paid for by the taxpayers of British Columbia.
You know, The Vancouver Sun never had it so good, never had it as good as the Premier is going to have with his news service: paid employees, paid distribution, paid production — paid by the taxpayers of British Columbia, sent to every taxpayer by your friendly government. And it's going to give us all the news, I'm sure.
I'm glad the Minister of Transport and Communications has come back into the room, because I hope, in the first issue of your newspaper, that the Premier will see fit to print an excerpt from Hansard, the excerpt whereby the Minister of Transport and Communications gave his firm commitment to this House, his guarantee to the Province of British Columbia, that the Insurance Corp. of British Columbia would be carried on as an insurance company without any public moneys. I hope he puts that on the centre of the front page of the first issue of this newspaper.
Then, I think, below that in a box he could have a quote from this year's budget address, the part the Premier left out when he spoke here on budget day, the part that says that the ICBC now has access to consolidated revenue in order to meet its obligations. I hope that he'll put the quote from Hansard together with the quote from his budget speech so the people can see that they can really rely on this government. Not like that national government; don't rely on them. But on us you can rely. You can rely on us to tell you one thing when we're putting forward a political promise and tell you a different thing 30 months later when the promise is not working out.
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Hon. Mr. Barrett: You guys get it all mixed up.
Mr. L.A. Williams: I hope that's what the first issue of the new publication will provide.
That's the socialist way, I guess: depend upon those promises, but when we don't live up to them, just forget about them. Just go away; don't bother about them. And don't worry about what you hear in the news about what happens in Ottawa when the Premier goes down there. Wait until he comes this side of the mountains again so he can get back in the area of the friendly press. (Laughter.)
No, no, no, oh, no, not the friendly press that sits in the press gallery. They're not friendly. The friendly press is the one staffed by the members of the Premier's own department. They're the friendly ones. Editorial policy care of yours truly. Advertising policy care of yours truly. Expenditure policy care of yours truly. D. Barrett: publisher, editor, copy boy, advertising manager....
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. I would caution the Hon. Member that he is on the green light now.
Mr. L.A. Williams: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I was just getting into my opening remarks. When I get up again, when I have the opportunity, I'll continue my remarks. At that time I intend to deal with the Premier and the problems that he is having with some of his cabinet Ministers — one in particular. Thank you.
Hon. Mr. Lauk: Point of order. Just to correct the previous speaker, I and the Hon. Minister of Lands, Forests and Water Resources (Hon. Mr. R.A. Williams) held a press conference on the day that the national budget was presented, and condemned the budget for what it was. No Liberal backbencher, no Liberal Member in this House said a word — except the Member for North Vancouver–Capilano (Mr. Gibson) was heard to say that he thought it was a good budget.
Mr. L.A. Williams: On that same point of order, I thank the Minister for correcting a statement I did not make. I didn't make that statement. I know the Minister of Economic Development (Hon. Mr. Lauk) commented on the budget. What I said was: "He didn't read the budget before he spoke." (Laughter.)
Mr. Chairman: The Hon. Minister of Economic Development on a further point of order.
Hon. Mr. Lauk: The budget was there. The man is totally incorrect and he knows it.
Mr. L.A. Williams: It was there. It was there.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. The Hon. Members have made their point.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: I don't want to do this, but I am going to have to answer some of the statements made by the Hon. Member for West Vancouver–Howe Sound — waterfront, rich constituency property which houses my in-laws. My own mother-in-law doesn't even deserve that.
Now, Mr. Chairman, we have lawyer talk, city-slicker lawyers coming in here, trying to confuse the issue — unbroken suits with vests and everything, making jokes about what my mother attached to me before I went to Ottawa and the problems I have with my weight. I hope my mom doesn't hear what he said today. She's a nice lady but she gets tough once in a while. It's not a question of my weight; it's her soup. She would never allow me to carry it in a valise. That stuff is carried in a velvet-covered closet. It's more precious than oil. Ask any Jewish mother. (Laughter.) So you gotta be careful about that.
Next point: information services. Taxpayers' money. We've got the B.C. Government News put out by a couple of staff members compared to what in Ottawa? It's known as IC. They've taken UIC and dropped the first letter. It's not unemployment insurance; it's IC — Information Canada. Last year Information Canada spent $50 million on federal government propaganda.
[Mr. Dent in the chair.]
Hon. G.R. Lea (Minister of Highways): I don't believe that.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: It spent $50 million! One billion dollars on consultants and $50 million in propaganda, and it's known as Information Canada.
The only reason I want to discuss this any further is that it may raise demand that we can't cope with to try and match the Liberals when it comes to propaganda. How can they stand up here in this House and attack us, when they have one billion bucks worth of consultants who report on the reports of the report of the report on the report of the report, filed by the committee on the committee of the report on the report by the committee, on the other hand, by the other assistant, is beyond me!
But that's Liberalism. When it comes to the taxpayers' money, be liberal with it.
Note, for those who don't make it to Information Canada and those who don't make it to consultants, there's always the Senate and the bench. Do you want to be a senator? Well, what are the qualifications of some of the senators? Well, you check them all out and see who's on the Senate list.
[ Page 853 ]
He said that we hire longhairs and jeans. Yes he did. He said you get on the Air West plane and you see wall-to-wall young people with long hair and jeans, and you know they're consultants for the government. You know, that Member is so out of touch with the world that that was a good line 10 years ago, You go into any hospital today and you walk down a corridor, and you see some young person with long hair and a white coat on and jeans sticking out from underneath the white coat, and you find out that young person is an intern or a medical student.
Mr. D.A. Anderson: They're all on strike.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: They're all on strike! You see what you've done with your liberal education? You've taken them that far. I've even seen some lawyers with long hair!
Some Hon. Members: Oh, oh!
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Some of them even comb it nice to match the Grecian Formula. (Laughter.) Don't give me that jazz about long hair and jeans. That is an old idea. We hire brains, not clothes or appearance. We've even hired Tories; we've hired liberals. Mr. Pearse — the forest task force — he's a Liberal. And I said once before and I say it again, we'd even hire a Socred if we could find one with any brains. (Laughter.)
Mr. Gibson: Keep us out of it.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Right. I intend to keep you out of it. You are your own best burier. When the Member for North Peace River (Mr. Smith) was called the Duke of Cant, he said "Who's he?"
Now, back to the essence of the warm-up before the Member got interrupted. He says that I am massaging the media in British Columbia. Well, I don't think Paddy Sherman would buy that. I don't think Stu Keate would buy that. I can't even get to the editor of The Democrat. (Laughter.) So I don't know where you get all this nonsense from.
We hire some consultants. If we want to get some skilled people, we've even hired capitalists on the board of Can-Cel. What's wrong with that? I haven't even met half of those capitalists. They're making us a lot of money. Well, you know, there's nothing wrong with a capitalist as long as he's tame and he's in your corral. There's nothing like using the system against itself. If the capitalists can make us 50 million bucks in a year, who's going to knock it? At least we're making the loot.
An Hon. Member: What's it take to make them tame?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Tame? Nothing at all. Well, certainly. They're working for the people, not for themselves or for greed. They're working for the people. What's wrong with them working for the people?
Mr. R.H. McClelland (Langley): They're living in New York, that's why.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: New York? My friend, someone asked me why we hire some American consultants or European consultants. I give this analogy. If I have broken a leg and the best advice available for my broken leg is at the Mayo Clinic, I'll buy the advice from the Mayo Clinic. I'll buy advice and help and consultation wherever the best is available, as long as it's in the service of the people of this province. And there's nothing wrong with that.
Some Hon. Members: Hear, hear!
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Now, I don't know what else the Member said, other than to attack B.C. Government News. What are we going to do with the B.C. Government News? It was a great tradition, started by the former government. Like I said, we cleaned it up. And we're continuing what was a good idea.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Are you on the mailing list? Put him on the mailing list. Yes, put him on the mailing list. Put all the Members of the House on the mailing list of the B.C. Government News. I don't want any of them to miss an issue.
Mr. J.R. Chabot (Columbia River): You just want to make us sick!
Hon. Mr. Barrett: I don't have to do anything to make you sick, Mr. Member. All you have to do is think of your party's history, and that's enough to throw up.
Now look, I'm telling you that this government has an obligation in a most moderate, cautious way to make information available to the people of this province — of programmes. People still write in and they don't know about some of the services that are available. Do you know that I still receive some letters in my office from elderly people saying that they don't want to apply for Mincome because it's welfare?
Mincome is not welfare. Mincome is a guaranteed income programme to everybody over the age of 60. That's the least we can do for the pioneers of this province.
Pharmacare. After speeches made in this House,
[ Page 854 ]
we actually had two people send their cards back in on Pharmacare because they thought they were getting welfare. That's not right. We shouldn't scare old people. Politics is for those of us in here. So we have to get information out to the people and let them know that, no matter what, those programmes are going to be available to them.
We can't match the federal Liberals in political maneuvering.
The last item I want to bring up is your question about our weekend conference. We went to an existing forest camp. It wasn't very luxurious. But I remember that the federal Liberal cabinet have a meeting for one weekend in that resort where they spend close to $100,000 to clean up just so the federal Liberal cabinet can go in and spend a weekend there. Do you remember that one? What was the name of it? You were still on the Prime Minister's staff then, weren't you? Or you'd been canned by then. (Laughter.) You know, what pains me about it is that they didn't tell us how much they paid to clean it up after the cabinet left. (Laughter.)
Now I don't know really what the Member was getting at. If you're against us telling the people what's available for them, okay, be against it. I'm proud of what these fellows accomplish. I'm only their humble instrument. Never would I club this group into line. Never would I ask them to do anything they wouldn't want to do. Never would I give them political leadership unless it was consensus. Is that not right, group? (Laughter.)
An Hon. Member: Right, boss!
Hon. Mr. Barrett: So there it is. Great democrat that I am I'm only following the advice of my group, trying to serve the people, and they're critical of us. Now that's wrong. I have a right and a responsibility to go on television, to talk to the press, to share with people what we're trying to do, what we have done and what we hope to do. You have the right and the responsibility to speak to the press and go on television and tell people what you disagree with and what you agree with. That's what it's all about.
But one thing, Mr. Member: when you go into closed meetings in Ottawa, it is a fact that the system is structured in a way that the provinces are left aside when we come out of those meetings, and the federal position is the one that is (a) leaked before the meeting is over and (b) emphasized after the meeting through high official sources. And it's a game skillfully played by the federal government. Tories complain about it and, yes, even Liberal Premiers complain about it. You go check with some of them. There are even a few Liberal Premiers left: one in Nova Scotia, one in Quebec who borrows money from Arabs, and there's one somewhere else. Is there another Liberal
Premier? Oh yes, in the 100,000-people province of Prince Edward Island. How many senators does Prince Edward Island have?
An Hon. Member: Four.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Four senators. With 100,000 people — less than the City of New Westminster — four senators. How many MPs?
An Hon. Member: Four.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Four MPs for 100,000 people. Now we in the west don't want to feel that we're hard done by, but the numbers indicate something's wrong.
These are the problems I'm talking about. If you think that I don't like the federal, Liberal government's politics — well, you're right. They don't like mine. But that shouldn't stop us from doing what's right. It comes back to the simple point that I made when that Member first raised our relationship.
My predecessor, the Hon. W.A.C. Bennett, asked for a ferry subsidy that other provinces got. The Liberals never gave it to him. They never gave it to me. And the implication was that if they voted Liberal in B.C., we might get it. I say shame.
My predecessor, W.A.C. Bennett, asked for grants for the railroad. He never got them. He was Social Credit. I asked for it and didn't get it because I was NDP. The implication was that if you voted Liberal, you'd get it. I say that's wrong. That's short-changing the people of British Columbia purely on a political basis. For that, and that alone, you should hang your head in shame as a Liberal Party.
Mr. Gibson: Nonsense!
Hon. Mr. Barrett: It's nonsense? Then what is the excuse, Mr. Member? The logic, the reasons, the arguments were the same by Social Credit, duly elected. The logic, the reasons, the arguments were the same by the NDP, duly elected, and why isn't it granted? It's because we're not Liberals in office.
You five Members over there, representing waterfront constituencies, make remarks about long hair and jeans. I think you are wrong, and that's why the people have rejected you for a generation and a half and why they will go on rejecting you. You are too political. I'm political, but not all the time. You're political all the time, you Liberals. You're almost as bad as the Socreds.
Mr. L.A. Williams: I'm glad that the Premier has taken the opportunity of descending to personal attack on me and my colleagues.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: How about the
[ Page 855 ]
An Hon. Member: Oh, oh!
Mr. Chairman: Order, please.
Mr. L.A. Williams: That's not a personal attack. Not at all.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: It's just because I have good humour that it isn't.
Mr. L.A. Williams: Well, I'm sorry that the Premier's skin is so thin.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Oh, no, no, no.
Mr. L.A. Williams: If anything I have said in that regard is offensive to the Premier, then, Mr. Chairman, I wish to have it understood that it's withdrawn, because nothing was said by me in that respect.
But I do wish to correct the Premier on one very glaring mis-statement concerning my remarks. At no time did I suggest that the length of a person's hair or the quality or nature of his dress had anything whatsoever to do with his abilities. He misquoted me, and I trust that it was not deliberate. I simply said that the young people who come to Victoria wearing jeans and with long hair and beards could be confused as consultants and met and asked which department they were heading for, to indicate the numbers — nothing to do with their character or qualifications.
I'm glad we got down to what really is the nub of this matter, and that is the Premier's treatment in Ottawa. Now that he has recognized the nature of the contest in which he is involved with the national government, perhaps the next time that he gets an opportunity to go back he will exercise on behalf of British Columbia the role which it is his responsibility to discharge.
He doesn't go down there as a buffoon. He doesn't go down there and attempt to personally aggrandize himself or his party. He goes down there as the First Minister of this province with the responsibility to do in the national capital the business of this province. If he doesn't like the rules the way they are played in Ottawa, because they won't play his rules, then it is his responsibility to adapt himself to those rules and still do the best possible job he can for the people of this province.
If he feels it is against the interests of British Columbia to attend closed meetings, then it is his responsibility to advise the national government and to act accordingly. If he gets pressured, along with the other Premiers, then he must use pressure in return. It's no good for him to come back here and say: "We're doing what is best for the people and if we can't do it with reason and logic, then Ottawa is so terrible." The fact of the matter is, if those are the rules by which they wish to play, then, Mr. Premier, you better adapt yourself to those rules as well.
We know, Mr. Chairman, that when it comes the turn of the Hon. Premier to deal with people who are in a subordinate position to him, he has no objection in playing exactly the same kind of rules. Muscle — that's what he uses when he's dealing with people who are in a position subordinate to that of the provincial government. Muscle in the back room — and deals — the same thing he would complain about the national government.
He had better change his ways, or he is going to find that the people of British Columbia, at the hands of that national government, are again going to come off the loser. We want him to play, whatever rules there may be, but we want him to win for British Columbia and not come away wringing his hands, saying: "What a bad deal I got from those terrible national people, those Liberals in Ottawa." Shame on them if they deal with government affairs in that way, but that doesn't deter one inch from what your responsibility is, Mr. Premier, and that's to get the best deal.
The trouble is, Mr. Chairman — and the Premier well knows — the national government made two attempts since 1968 to do something with respect to constitutional change in Canada without success. The last attempt was in this chamber in June of 1971. The Premier remembers that, and the Premier remembers what happened at that conference that produced what was called the Victoria Charter — a shocking document. But he also recognizes, having sat, as he was, in the opposition and now in government, that the danger we face in Canada is that the national government with its power, and in particular its taxing power, is attempting to change the constitution of Canada and to relegate the provinces to an even more subordinate position by the use of that very taxing power.
It is a challenge that the national government has thrown out. They indicated it clearly last May. They made it certain in November. To my regret, the only government that attempted to stand up to that national government was the Province of Alberta, and they were defeated. The press reported the defeat. But the socialist Premiers of British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba contributed to that defeat by refusing to stand firm with the Province of Alberta against improper demands of the national government.
Inside of a month the Premier is going to face the same challenge all over again when he goes to Ottawa to meet with the First Ministers on the subject of energy in Canada. I think we should be assured by the Premier before he goes on that visit that he has learned the rules — he may regret what they are, but
[ Page 856 ]
he knows what the rules are — and that he is prepared to play on those rules and win for British Columbia and preserve our position in Confederation. If necessary, he's got to put the threat right back to the national government.
You can do it very simply. If the national government is not prepared to give you what is rightfully British Columbia's, then ask them how they would like it if you turned off the taps. Ask them how they would like it. I'm not suggesting that is a course of action you can take, but ask them....
Some Hon. Members: Oh, oh!
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Don't threaten unless you are going to carry it through. Don't carry the load for nothing.
Mr. L.A. Williams: That is your decision. All I am saying, Mr. Chairman, is that those are the kinds of weapons that the Premier must take back in his arsenal when dealing with those people, because there is no question as to the direction in which they are going to go. They made it quite clear.
If your Minister of Economic Development (Hon. Mr. Lauk) had had the wits to read the budget in November he would have recognized that the national government was not attempting to attack Premier Lougheed. The national government had its guns trained clearly on the Province of British Columbia because of this province's use of the Crown corporation technique. That is what they were after.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Are you suggesting any rumour of a threat to turn off the tap? If you are going to suggest that, you've got to be prepared to do it.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please.
Mr. L.A. Williams: You are the Premier; you have to go to the meeting. I am suggesting the nature of the arsenal that you have to take with you when you go to these debates.
Hon. Mr. Lauk: Talk is cheap, but it's not enough.
Mr. L.A. Williams: The Hon. Minister of Economic Development, who has spoken more from his seat since he has come to this House than he has while standing on his feet, says that talk is cheap. But it is the responsibility of this government....
An Hon. Member: He is standing up.
Hon. Mr. Lauk: It just looks like I'm sitting down.
An Hon. Member: Sit down, Gary.
Mr. L.A. Williams: Oh, you are standing up.
Hon. Mr. Lauk: Yes!
Mr. L.A. Williams: Oh, I apologize, Mr. Chairman. I thought he was seated.
Hon. Mr. Lauk: I make more sense from my seat than you do standing up.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: It is a lawyers' fight.
Mr. L.A. Williams: It is the government's responsibility to make these decisions; they have to carry this responsibility. If I were sitting on the government benches, it would then be mine to determine what I need to do in negotiations with the national government.
I will tell you, Mr. Chairman, I am convinced as I stand here that the Government of British Columbia must be prepared to go as far as their ability will carry them in order to retain for British Columbia in this current struggle that which is properly British Columbia's.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Look, Mr. Member, you have touched on a very, very serious matter. I am hopeful that I understand where you're at when you make the statement "consider turning off the tap." You cannot make a statement like that in this House — since you brought up that definition of the ultimate — unless you clearly state to this House whether it is a position you would take or support. I'm not saying that's my threat, but I'm working on your words.
It is not proper, in my opinion, for any Member of this House to use words like those, which are serious threats on existing legal contracts, on international negotiations, on Confederation regulations that exist under the NEB. Anyone who took that position has got to say that they're prepared to pull British Columbia out of Confederation. Because with that kind of statement....
Okay, I want to hear from you whether or not that is the Liberal position. If you were the government and you didn't get what you want in Ottawa, you'd be prepared to turn off the taps to the Americans. Yes or no? I don't think you can make that statement in this House, leaving it in the air. Where do you stand? Is that what you'd do?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: You wouldn't answer, huh? Not even your estimates.
[ Page 857 ]
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Oh, I know what you said.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please! Would the Hon. Member continue?
Mr. Gibson: I haven't started yet. (Laughter.)
Mr. Chairman: Order, please! The Hon. Member did take the first step. He stood up, so I'm asking him to continue with what he was doing.
Mr. Gibson: Mr. Chairman, when the Premier was answering some of the charges with respect to B.C. Government News, he made an analogy that wasn't, I think, with all respect, quite fair.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: If I've never been fair to you, I apologize.
Mr. Gibson: You can do that in a moment, Mr. Premier. I just want to explain where I think the difficulty lies.
Now, Mr. Chairman, the Premier suggested that Members from all parties in this House can go out and explain to the press and the television their views. He's right. But we can't do that with B.C. Government News.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: You've got The Vancouver Sun and Stu Keate.
Mr. Gibson: That's a government propaganda rag paid for by people's money. I've never seen a single word critical of your government in that sheet.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Look the editorial page of The Vancouver Sun is Liberal, the editorial page of the Vancouver Province is Socred cum Tory. We don't have an editorial page.
Mr. Gibson: Mr. Chairman, the difficulties of the government in attracting editorial support are surely not the problems of this chamber and it's surely not required of the taxpayers of British Columbia that just because that government has difficulty attracting editorial support, the taxpayers of British Columbia should furnish it. I say that's wrong.
Mr. G.H. Anderson (Kamloops): They've got to hear the truth somehow.
Mr. Gibson: "They've got to hear the truth somehow," says the Hon. Member for Kamloops, Mr. Chairman. Does he think they're going to hear it in B.C. Government News? They're going to hear a version, but they're not going to hear any other version than the official, embossed, NDP version of the way the world is.
An Hon. Member: The Victoria Times?
Mr. Gibson: That's not good enough. If the Premier really wants to draw a fair analogy, Mr. Chairman, he'll give the opposition half the front page of every issue. Is that fair enough, Mr. Chairman?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: Do you guarantee half a page of the editorial page in The Vancouver Sun with Stu Keate?
Mr. Gibson: Oh, Mr. Premier, we don't own The Vancouver Sun.
Some Hon. Members: Oh, oh!
Mr. Gibson: And they don't own us.
Some Hon. Members: Oh, oh!
Mr. Gibson: And furthermore, they take shots at us all the time.
Some Hon. Members: Oh, oh!
Mr. Gibson: Yes. But that's fair. That's fair comment; I don't disagree with that. I'd just like B.C. Government News to take a shot at you now and again. I'd like to see an editorial signed by somebody over on this side of the House every once in a while. Wouldn't that be fair?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: You'd be critical of us. We don't put editorials in the government news — just hard facts.
Mr. Gibson: You can't stand criticism, Mr. Premier. I don't think that's right. I think you're a fair man and I think you'll come around to that kind of feeling.
Mr. Gibson: Now, Mr. Chairman, I'd like to follow along a little bit on this question of B.C. Hydro financing. The prospectus that the Premier filed with the House — I'm just looking for the numbers here — but just from memory, here we are: "The cash requirements to B.C. Hydro by 1979 are
[ Page 858 ]$3,385,000,000."
B.C. Hydro has, I think, so far raised about $375 million by current issues. What I'd like to know from the Premier right now is whether as fiscal agent for B.C. Hydro he is working on a further issue for Hydro right now. If so, where and for how much? Are you working on a further issue of bonds for Hydro right now? Could you give us some details, Mr. Premier, of how much this next issue is likely to be?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: The prospectus is available, and we're at $125 million. We hope to go shortly.
Mr. Gibson: Well, thank you, Mr. Premier, that's useful information.
Now I want to continue on with the subject of B.C. Hydro financing.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: We're ready to go. The prospectus is done.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. The Hon. Member for North Vancouver-Capilano has the floor.
Mr. Gibson: Is the Premier able to say at this time whether or not this financing will be through petrodollars at all, or will it be restricted to the North American market?
Hon. Mr. Barrett: The New York market; that's what I just said.
Mr. Gibson: But, of course, you can go through New York brokers to absorb petrodollars.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: That's in Economics 1 at Harvard. Did you skip that part?
Mr. Gibson: No, I didn't take Economics 1.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: You skipped that course?
Mr. Gibson: No, but sometimes I have a lot of difficulty figuring out what the Premier is doing economically, so I just like to nail down all the little odds and ends.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: When you do private borrowing, you don't need a prospectus. Now you go home and memorize that and I'll give you a lesson....
Mr. Gibson: I think the Premier knows, Mr. Chairman, that a lot of Arab money comes through the large New York banks and merchant banks. But we'll leave that aside for a moment. We have some information here now. The other day the Premier was asking — and I'd just like to put this on the record — I think it was the Hon. Member for Saanich and the Islands (Mr. Curtis) whether he thought the PLO was connected with Arab countries. Am I right there, Mr. Member? He was asking that because he seemed quite concerned about the PLO.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: I asked him for his list of....
Mr. Chairman: Order, please.
Mr. Gibson: The Premier seemed quite concerned about the possibility that the PLO might be connected.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: He was.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. The Hon. Member for North Vancouver–Capilano.
Mr. Gibson: I just want to put on the record that the PLO is financed by Arab states and is formally recognized by Arab states. I just want that to be on the record.
I want to get then at this question of secrecy. We know that the money came from a country that recognizes, endorses and finances the PLO. We know that, Mr. Premier, because all Arab countries do, unless perhaps you are confusing Iran with being an Arab country. But apart from that, they all finance and recognize the PLO.
Hon. Mr. Barrett: You're the one who's confused. Where did Quebec borrow their...?
Mr. Gibson: Mr. Premier, I'm not talking about Quebec. I don't sit in the Quebec Legislature. I'm asking you about the loan you made, and I am asking you to state publicly where it came from.
The House resumed; Mr. Speaker in the chair.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Speaker, the committee reports progress and asks leave to sit again.
Mr. Chabot: Mr. Speaker, a point of order. This afternoon, when the committee reported to you in the House, you commented on the proceedings in committee as well as recommendations on debates regarding the issues before the committee. You stated at the time that you can see and you can hear....
Mr. Speaker: You mean in response to the
[ Page 859 ]
Hon. Member for North Vancouver–Capilano (Mr. Gibson)?
Mr. Chabot: Yes.
Mr. Speaker: I was invited to comment, which I did.
Mr. Chabot: Mr. Speaker, you commented on the issues before the committee, and you suggested at the time that you could see and you could hear, and you got directly involved in the matters that were being discussed before the committee in making certain recommendations. I would like to point out that on September 24, 1973, in response to the Member for North Okanagan (Mrs. Jordan), you had this to say:
Excuse me, Hon. Member, I think you are aware that the matters that are before a committee are for the committee itself and not for the House. We only have knowledge of what transpires in committee from the report returned to the House. How the committee conducts its business is the concern of the committee and not of the House. Therefore, I would draw your attention to the fact that it is actually out of order to, in effect, give your own report of those matters that occur in committee.
Mr. Speaker: May I point out to the Hon. Member...
Mr. Chabot: "If matters occur in committee that are important to that committee...."
Mr. Speaker: ...that you are really in substantial error, because I was not listening to a report from the committee to the House. I was in the committee taking the chair on an appeal that had been raised in the committee, and we did not return to the House. Surely the Hon. Member understands that.
Mr. Chabot: Mr. Speaker, I am suggesting that this afternoon — unfortunately I don't have the transcript of the Blues, as you call them — you did reflect upon the debate that was taking place in committee. And on numerous other occasions, Mr. Speaker, you have suggested that you know not what goes on in committee.
Also there's another example in reply to the Hon. Member for Columbia River (Mr. Chabot) on November 7, 1973, and I'm not going to read the citation you made there on page 1381 of Hansard. But again, Mr. Speaker, and I could go on with more research; I could show you a considerable number of....
Mr. Speaker: I'm delighted to see your interest in the rules.
Mr. Chabot: Mr. Speaker, I wish you would stop interrupting. You can have your say after. Is that okay? Mr. Speaker, all I'm suggesting to you is that on numerous occasions you have indicated that you're not aware of what goes on in committee. This afternoon you reflected directly upon the matters under debate in committee.
Mr. Speaker, I suggest to you that there is a serious contradiction in the kind of rulings you bring down in this assembly.
Mr. Speaker: Oh, I'm sorry. I....
Mr. Chabot: Mr. Speaker, I suggest that once and for all you be consistent, that once and for all you bring down a ruling as to whether you know what goes on in committee or not. Let's get away from all these contradictions in rulings that come down from the Chair.
Mr. Speaker: I didn't think I'd made any rulings to anybody. I was asked for my advice while I had been called into the Committee of the Whole House....
Mr. Chabot: Your advice has nothing to do with the matter under debate.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order!
Some Hon. Members: Oh, oh!
[Mr. Speaker rises.]
Mr. Speaker: Order!
I want the Hon. Member to realize that he has had his say. He asked me not to interrupt him. I stopped interrupting him. Now he wants to interrupt me when I'm trying to explain to the Hon. Member what I explained to him earlier this afternoon.
I was called into the Committee of the Whole House. It was not a return to the House itself. That, I think, was made clear on a question asked of me. When I was called back to the Committee of the Whole House, on a ruling to a challenge to the Chair, I was asked for some advice on the question.
Mr. Speaker: I was asked by the Hon. Member for North Vancouver–Capilano (Mr. Gibson). I explained to him and to the House that what occurs in the Committee of the Whole House is not generally known by the House except by report. Now surely that is clear to the Hon. Member for Columbia River. It's quite different for something that happens later in the House.
I also point out to the Hon. Member that if he wants further research on it, I'd be glad to explain it all to him at any time in the future without
[ Page 860 ]
occupying the House at this time.
Mr. Speaker: That's hardly what I said to the Hon. Member. I said I'd be glad to explain it in detail to the Hon. Member.
[Mr. Speaker resumes his seat.]
Hon. Mrs. Dailly moves adjournment of the House.
The House adjourned at 5:59 p.m.
Page 651, lines 19-26 should read:
Mr. Curtis: ...be discussed in this House. In the Premier's own terms, from Hansard: I took the matter most seriously. You know of the incident to which I refer. That is precisely the position that we took then and that we take today. We take very seriously the possibility that we may have here a manufactured defence.