1973 Legislative Session: 3rd Session, 30th
The following electronic version is for informational
The printed version remains the official version.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 1973
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Oil spill in Vancouver harbour. Hon. Mr. Barrett — 207
Mr. Richter — 208
Mr. D.A. Anderson — 208
Mr. Wallace — 208
Release of message bills to the press. Mr. D.A. Anderson — 209
Supplementary Municipal Assistance Act (Bill 26). Mr. Smith.
Introduction and first reading — 210
Senior Citizens Home Repair Act (Bill 27). Mrs. Jordan.
Introduction and first reading — 210
An Act to Amend the Municipalities Aid Act (Bill 28). Mr. Curtis.
Introduction and first reading — 210
Recovery of oil spill costs. Mr. Morrison — 210
Proposed new truck ferry. Mr. D.A. Anderson — 210
Mincome. Mr. McClelland — 212
Report on natural gas distribution in B.C. Mr. Wallace — 213
Throne Speech debate
Mr. Nunweiler — 214
Mr. Bennett — 221
Mr. Kelly — 223
Mr. Barnes — 226
An Act to Amend the Corporation Capital Tax Act (Bill 21).
Hon. Mr. Barrett. Introduction and first reading — 233
An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (Bill 23)
Hon. Mr. Barrett. Introduction and first reading — 233
An Act to Amend the Coloured Gasoline Tax Act (Bill 25)
Hon. Mr. Barrett. Introduction and first reading — 233
An Act to Amend the Pacific Great Eastern Settlement Act (Bill 22).
Hon. Mr. Barrett. Introduction and first reading — 233
Select Standing Committees reports:
Social Welfare and Education — 234
Agriculture — 249
Municipal Matters — 255
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 1973
The House met at 2:05 p.m.
HON. D. BARRETT (Premier): Mr. Speaker, I would ask the House to extend a very warm welcome today to a group of residents of one of the finest areas of British Columbia, the District of Coquitlam.
HON. R.M. STRACHAN (Minister of Transport and Communications): As many of you know, my wife is a regular visitor to the gallery, and she's here today. About 16 years ago, my daughter visited the House for the first time — she was dubbed premier for the day by the then Premier, and she's here today. I would like to welcome the third generation, my granddaughter, Sharon, who is also in the gallery today.
HON. E. HALL (Provincial Secretary): Mr. Speaker, I want to draw the attention of the House to a distinguished visitor, sitting on the floor of the chamber today, Mr. Barry Mather, the MP for Surrey-White Rock.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON (Victoria): Mr. Speaker, I would like the House to welcome a group of 35 students from Hamilton Junior Secondary School, who are here in the charge of Mr. Cameron, here to see the Legislature in action.
MR. H. STEVES (Richmond): Mr. Speaker, I would like to take the privilege today of welcoming a group of representatives representing tenants throughout the Province of B.C.: Bruce Yorke, president; Frank Izzard, secretary; Mary Anderson, full-time worker for the B.C. Tenants' Council; Dick Werlin, president of Tenants' Council in my own riding, Richmond; Barry Dean, Burnaby; Chris Miles, Campbell River; Marylyn Leyshon. North Vancouver; Leonard Black, West Vancouver; Jack Campbell, president of the Coquitlam Mobile Homeowners' Association; Elaine Bennett, Surrey Mobile Homeowners' Association president; and the delegation here today who are representing the growing number of tenants throughout the province. I think we share their concern, as a government, for the plight of the tenants, and I'd like to welcome them here.
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. No speeches.
HON. W.L. HARTLEY (Minister of Public Works): Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask you and the House to welcome the town clerk from the Village of Lytton and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Karl Model.
HON. MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, I would ask leave of the House to make a statement related to the oil spill in the Vancouver harbour.
HON. MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, we are receiving reports by the hour, and I'd like to inform the House of what we know at this point. In accordance with an interim arrangement established between the Province of British Columbia and the federal government, the pollution control branch has dispatched a representative this morning to observe containment and clean-up action being taken by the Ministry of Transport. Subject to confirmation from our on-scene observer, Mr. Paul Griffin, the most recent telephone report from the Ministry of Transport is as follows — and I have some additional information after I read this statement, so a little bit of this written statement has been brought up to date:
"A collision occurred at 3 a.m., Tuesday, September 25, between two freighters off Point Atkinson. The Erawan, 9,000 tons, of London registry was struck amidships by the bow of the Sun Diamond, 10,000 tons, of Japanese registry A 30-ft. hole in the Erawan ruptured the fuel tanks containing 500 tons of bunker C oil. An estimated 250 tons of oil escaped from the tanks into the open sea and is not contained. No injury or deaths were reported.
"The vessels, still locked together, are surrounded by a 4-ft. oil boom to contain any further spill. Oil remaining in the ruptured tanks is being pumped into barges. Booms are being used to prevent oil entering the small marinas."
And at the time this report was filed it stated: "There appears to be no chance of oil entering Vancouver Harbour at this time."
"The Vancouver-based contractor, Clean Seas (Canada), is retained by the Ministry of Transport for the clean-up. This company is experienced and fully equipped; there is no lack of materials at the site. At 12:40 p.m., Mr. H. Buchanan, Regional Director of the Ministry of Transport, had just surveyed the area, and gave us the following report:
" 'Most of the oil is broken into slicks. A slick extends from Fisherman's Cove to Ambleside, from 5- to 30-ft. wide, and has hit the rocky beach at Dunderave and Ambleside. The City of West Vancouver is being supplied with straw, et cetera, to clean up beached oil and is supplying manpower for this job. Ministry of Transport and Clean Seas will supply manpower for shore clean-up as required. No chemicals are being used. Slicks still on the water are under observation and will be headed off and contained with booms wherever possible.'
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That's from Mr. R. Rocchini, the Pollution Control Branch, and Mr. Paul Giffen, on-the-spot observer.
I'm also in receipt of two telephone calls from the Hon. Member for West Vancouver–Howe Sound (Mr. Williams), who this morning flew over the oil spill and was kind enough to report directly his observations to my office in two phone calls, one at 11 o'clock and one at 11:40. The Member phoned at 11:40 and said that the oil appears to be reaching the beaches — the three-mile stretch from Sandy Cove and Ambleside will be heavily affected. All they are doing is preparing for a mop-up, and it is like trying to hold the tide out.
Mr. Al Richards of Surrey is on the way to West Vancouver to advise best possible methods of clean-up. He will direct the crew that is standing by.
Mr. Williams informed me through this phone call, and I'd like to inform the House, that he will not return to the House this afternoon, and that's quite understandable.
Then I received a message at 1:50 this afternoon as follows:
"The situation has further changed. We've been in contact with Mr. Herb Buchanan, Regional Director of the Ministry of Transport; there is fear that the oil will possibly drift from off-shore Ambleside, under the Lions Gate Bridge and touch in there as well. The Ministry of Transport has informed the north shore municipalities."
We have offered, that is the Province of British Columbia, have offered our assistance to the Ministry of Transport, but no request has been made to the present moment. We will be in contact through the Minister of Lands and Forests' office constantly.
I appreciate the Members giving me this opportunity of reporting to them on this matter at this time.
MR. F.X. RICHTER (Boundary-Similkameen): Mr. Speaker, the official opposition want to thank the Premier for his concern and the efforts that are being made to keep the House aware of the dangers that could be, and the measures that are being taken to prevent further damage from the oil spill. It's hoped by this group that this oil slick and spill will be cleaned up at the earliest possible moment and with the least amount of damage.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Mr. Speaker, the spill of a relatively small amount of oil in good weather, in daylight and in an area which has many ships available for assistance in cleaning up, points out the real importance of taking steps to prevent spills of perhaps many hundred times that magnitude in waters more remote and more difficult.
At this stage, I find it curious that in the second time we discuss such a situation by way of a statement by the Premier, no mention was made of the previous mechanism which had been set up with the State of Washington or of the other things of which he was pretty proud at that time. I think it is clear that they have not succeeded. That is, of course, why funding has been cut off by the Government of the State of Washington.
I think it is important for us to realize at this time that this small spill which is being well contained by the work being done by the City of Vancouver and the Department of Transport makes inexplicable the approach of the provincial government in failing to support....
MR. SPEAKER: Order! I want to point out that the Hon. Member has many times mistaken the purpose of statements. They are to state a party position in regard to assisting in the particular emergency but not, thereby, to launch a debate on a subject that can only be done by a motion on the order paper. I would ask him to confine himself to any helpful suggestions that do not include starting a partisan debate in the House.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Mr. Speaker, I would have thought the protection of the coast was not a partisan subject, but perhaps you do.
I point out, however, that the spill is an indication of the problems we may well face due to the failure of this government, among other people, to properly understand and appreciate the difficulties we have had for the past two years in opposing a far more dangerous, far more difficult problem: that of the Alaskan shipment of oil from Valdez to Cherry Point.
MR. SPEAKER: Statements of that kind evoke counter-statements in reply and, in fairness to the House, other points of view on your statement are obviously invited. I don't propose to launch a debate in this fashion.
MR. G.S. WALLACE (Oak Bay): I assure you, I have no intention of provoking a debate. I think it does point up the fact, however, that spills can come very close to home and that if we learn from the serious nature of even a so-called small spill, then, indeed, we are making progress.
On the other hand, as I have said in this House before, we have reached a stage of non-partisanship where at least we get a statement from the Premier very promptly and very complete. I, on behalf of our party, would also like to recognize the effort of the Hon. Member for West Vancouver–Howe Sound (Mr. Williams) and the degree of cooperation which shows that we are all concerned about spills and it crosses party lines. Thank you.
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MR. D. A. ANDERSON: Mr. Speaker, on a question of privilege for which I was attempting to get your eye prior to the statement of the Premier — a question of privilege that is required to be brought to your attention at the earliest opportunity — I would like to ask for a ruling at some future date, because it is a complicated question, on the propriety or otherwise of releasing message bills to the press and public prior to having these bills released in this House.
Mr. Speaker, we have discussed this in terms of reports of the Energy Commission and other matters, but in the case of a message bill, which is a direct communication from the Crown to her legislators here in the assembly, the position is somewhat different. It is a position which is different from the two cases upon which you gave your grounds on Friday, February 23 of this year....
MR. SPEAKER: On a point of order, would the Hon. Member be seated for a moment?
HON. MR. BARRETT: On a point of order, it is my understanding that before a motion of privilege can be debated, the prima facie case with evidence must be presented to the House. Otherwise, we will be debating suppositions.
MR. SPEAKER: I do point out for the benefit of the Hon. Members that we got launched on numerous occasions in the past on points of privilege without adequate evidence being submitted first that the Chair can examine with a view to determining whether a point of privilege exists.
The only thing I really want to know at this moment is if there is any satisfactory evidence as to the facts that the Hon. Member is raising so that we can determine from there what, if anything, arises from it and, indeed, whether it is a point of privilege.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Mr. Speaker, this is why I raised it at this time; I must bring it to your attention at the first opportunity. I can, if you wish, get the tapes of the radio stations which were discussing this particular measure prior to it being released in this House. Of course, it will take time to do that.
HON. MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, I would appreciate the Member making the case the basis of evidence, and I would be more than pleased to have the Speaker receive the evidence so that it could be ruled on accordingly.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: That, Mr. Speaker, is precisely why I raised it at this time.
MR. SPEAKER: If there is some evidence available upon which the matter can be studied, I would appreciate your opinion and material that would assist in the study. The fact that you produce it at a later date will not, in any sense, be held against you if you have raised the matter of privilege at this time — and you have.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Well, Mr. Speaker, certainly.
MR. SPEAKER: The only question, then, is: is there some evidence which I can examine?
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Yes, Mr. Speaker, there is. My Hon. friend from West Vancouver (Mr. Williams), who is not in the House as the moment, came in yesterday prior to that legislation being introduced, stating that he had heard it on the radio. Had it been presented by the Minister of Agriculture? Obviously, I had to say no, he is not in the House today. My Hon. friend from Oak Bay (Mr. Wallace) supports that statement.
I can, as I said, take the time and trouble to get the tapes — the usual fob-off of this government in an attempt to raise a serious question.
HON. MR. BARRETT: Order, Mr. Speaker. I find it an offence to the Chair. We are launching the House into a debate on hearsay evidence. The House rules must be obeyed. I'm suggesting, Mr. Speaker, that without evidence before the Speaker we cannot debate this matter.
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I don't propose to indulge in speculation on a very important question. As far as I am concerned, my mind is entirely available to a study of your evidence. If you will submit something to me, I can deal with the matter and report back to the House.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Mr. Speaker, I have to reserve my right to speak. You know full well the other rule governing this Legislature: I must raise the issue at the first opportunity.
Now, I can get sworn depositions from that press gallery. I have the Minister of Agriculture....
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: What is the point of this type of legalisms when we are in this Legislature...?
HON. MR. BARRETT: Surely, we are not going to do it on hearsay. Let's have the evidence....
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I think the obvious answer is if you give me a written statement
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buttressed by some personal facts upon which I can base certain conclusions, I'll certainly look at it. You will not be prejudiced in any way so far as the question of time is concerned. You've raised the point but you haven't submitted, as this stage, the evidence....
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: True. But, Mr. Speaker, I point out to you that in the previous case of this nature, raised on February 23, there was none of this rigamarole of sworn declarations. A word of a Member was accepted in this regard.
MR. SPEAKER: It is not the word of yourself at all that is in question. You, obviously, are not aware of the facts yourself and the Member who may be aware of the facts is in West Vancouver. I would ask you, therefore, either to get something from him, await his return, or produce some evidence that I can look at before I consult and decide upon this question.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: We can vary, then, previous procedure, Mr. Speaker, to do it the way you suggest. But I would like to reserve my position to raise this point at a future date.
Introduction of bills.
Mr. Smith moves introduction and first reading of Bill 26, intituled Supplementary Municipal Assistance Act.
Bill 26 read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
HOME REPAIR ACT
Mrs. Jordan moves introduction and first reading of Bill 27, intituled Senior Citizens Home Repair Assistance Act.
Bill 27 read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
AN ACT TO AMEND THE
MUNICIPALITIES AID ACT
Mr. Curtis moves introduction and first reading of Bill 28, intituled An Act to Amend the Municipalities Aid Act.
Bill 28 read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
RECOVERY OF OIL
MR. N.R. MORRISON (Victoria): Mr. Speaker, I would like to address my question to the Minister of Recreation and Conservation. I would like to say how much I appreciate the statement that the Premier has given us, but my question is concerning the oil spill. What action, if any, has the provincial government taken to recover any costs of correcting any damage to the recreational waterfront values as a result of the oil spill this morning?
HON. J. RADFORD (Minister of Recreation and Conservation): Mr. Speaker, we're looking into that matter. As you know, it just happened this morning, and we are considering taking action on that.
MR. MORRISON: You don't have the policy?
A supplemental then, Mr. Speaker. Is the government prepared to assist the City of Vancouver, the City of West Vancouver and any non-municipal area, in meeting the cost of any damage, or in seeking damages through any legal action which might follow?
HON. J. RADFORD (Minister of Recreation and Conservation): Yes, we'll be considering that.
PROPOSED NEW TRUCK FERRY
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: To the Minister of Communications, following up yesterday's exchange on ferry construction, may I ask him whether a Canadian firm was requested to present cost estimates to the provincial government, or to the provincial government ferry authority, on a brief for submission and subsequent presentation to the federal Canada Steamship Inspection service on design changes and particularly safety design changes for the proposed new truck ferry?
HON. MR. STRACHAN: No, for the very good reason that there was a particular firm that had already constructed ships of a design that, upon close
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examination, was very close to that which, in the opinion of the ferry authority, would best serve the needs of the people of British Columbia. Much work has already been done by this firm. The ships are in operation, and we asked that firm to prepare this submission based on their past experience.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Mr. Speaker, then supplementary to the Minister, again subsequent to yesterday's statement by him where he talked of competitive estimates being obtained in a report dated May 24, 1973, some from a Victoria naval architect and some from outside of the province. May I ask in what area, if any, there was competition, in the light of the Minister's reply to my earlier question today?
HON. MR. STRACHAN: I would ask the Member to re-read Hansard for yesterday, where he will find I described in succinct, easily-understood terms, the fact that there are three phases involved in the whole matter of drawings related to ferries. I have explained to you the reason why we went to the firm we did, to prepare the conceptual design — I will speak very slowly — to prepare the conceptual design for submission to the Canadian steamship inspection group. We went to them because that particular company already have ships in the water which we can examine, determine, look at, ride in, drive on, drive off, measure, survey, picture and experience. (Laughter.) The firm which is doing the complaining, to you and to me, has no ship of any comparable size afloat anywhere. They are building one now for the federal government for service on the Great Lakes. Because of the fact that this design was particularly appropriate to the objectives of the B.C. ferry system, we asked them to make this preparation and make the submission to Ottawa along with the members of the B.C. ferry management.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: I think that...
HON. MR. STRACHAN: That's step one. (Laughter.) That's step one.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Mr. Speaker, the question I asked was: why is yesterday's statement in total contradiction to today's statement?
AN HON. MEMBER: Oh!
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Yesterday's statement said flatly that competitive estimates were obtained...
HON. MR. STRACHAN: Just a minute, just a minute!
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: ...at the bottom of page 1045.
HON. MR. STRACHAN: Mr. Speaker, I want to read into the record, in reply to my friend, yesterday's Hansard.
MR. SPEAKER: I don't know why we have to repeat answers.
HON. MR. STRACHAN: Well, he is a slow learner. (Laughter.)
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. May I point out that if a question has been answered on a previous day, it is irregular to ask the question again. I would therefore, in fairness to the other Members.... The Member for Oak Bay is next, followed by....
MR. SPEAKER: Oh, on the same...on the ferries? So long as we don 't go over the questions and answers of yesterday again.
MR. D.M. PHILLIPS (South Peace River): No, no, it's on the same subject.
MR. SPEAKER: Is the Member for Oak Bay on the same subject?
MR. WALLACE: Yes.
MR. SPEAKER: Then the Member for Oak Bay followed by the Member for South Peace River.
MR. WALLACE: It's rather an important question in the light of the Minister's answer, always referring to the special type of design. Could I ask the Minister if in fact the type of design involved a reduction in safety standards and that when the first brief to the Canadian Steamship Inspection Authority...they said "no way," and turned down the request? Would the Minister care to answer that?
HON. MR. STRACHAN: That is an absolute falsehood which was related to me yesterday and which I checked on. There is absolutely no validity to that statement at all.
MR. WALLACE: Well, Mr. Speaker, this is rather important because, of course, I have a statement from an individual of respect who says that he, as late as this morning, checked out the same fact and was told by the Canadian Steamship Inspection Authority that they did in fact reject the proposal from the company which the government had asked to design a single bottomed ship instead of a double hull, and with different safety precautions and that in fact they
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were having no davits on the ship. If the Minister and I are to give this the public exposure that it demands, could I ask the Minister, Mr. Speaker, if he would consider tabling with the House a copy of the specifications and proposals outlining the kind of vessel that was required — this special design that's referred to — so that the public can know whether or not the proposal design was to have reduced safety standards?
HON. MR. STRACHAN: At no time was the proposed design going to have reduced safety standards. The specific designs we are looking at will have double hulls, exactly the same as the present ferries have. They will be even more safe than the present ferries, because some of our ferries have only one compartment below water while the later ones have two; these new models will in actual fact have three compartments as well as the double hull.
MR. WALLACE: Mr. Speaker, it is rather important to know what was in the original proposal for the original design that was requested, not the design which CSI have finally accepted. I would suggest that the Minister table with the House, and I would ask him to consider this, the original specifications which were sent by this ferry authority....
MR. SPEAKER: There is no provision in question period for this course of action. It is merely a question-and-answer session.
HON. MR. STRACHAN: I don't mind answering his questions, Mr. Speaker. The designs were taken down there for discussion and, on the basis of discussions with the federal authority, the design was arrived at...
MR. WALLACE: Changes were....
HON. MR. STRACHAN: ...with double hull. At no time was there any intention of leaving a double hull off the ship. At no time.
MR. PHILLIPS: I would like to ask the Minister if he has applied to Ottawa for the usual shipbuilding subsidy so that the people of British Columbia can take advantage of this. If so, what is the amount of the subsidy? And, if there is no subsidy, do these have to be built in Quebec in order to get the subsidy?
HON. MR. STRACHAN: I wish I knew the answer to that, my friend. Just last week in a general way, in relating to my position as Minister of Transport, I wrote a letter to a consultant that the federal government has retained to examine — I think the wording is — the transportation requirements of the coastal areas, of this province. I wrote a letter to that consultant pointing out the lack of assistance that the federal government has been giving to the Province of British Columbia, the discrimination against the Province of British Columbia, and wanting him to convey to the federal government the feelings of this government on this continued discrimination against the transport needs of this province.
MR. PHILLIPS: A supplementary question, Mr. Speaker. Does the Minister tell me that the federal government subsidizes ships to be built for Greece and other countries in the world, and doesn't subsidize shipbuilding for the Province of Quebec?
MR. SPEAKER: The question is not relevant....
MR. PHILLIPS: With regard to government subsidies....
HON. MR. STRACHAN: In all probability we will be able to get the 17 per cent, but we won't get any more than that unless we fight like the devil for it. I would ask my good friend, as these ships are going to be built in British Columbia, to please get on the phone. Phone Ottawa.
MR. R.H. McCLELLAND (Langley): I would like to direct my question to the Minister of Human Resources, Mr. Speaker. It's interesting that we have on our desks today, a memorandum from that Minister with regard to the new thrusts of Mincome in the province. Some of the old thrusts have some of the people confused in this province, and I would like to ask the Minister, since he stated at the last session, I believe, that it wasn't fundamental — I think his words were — for people to fill out the so-called "blue form" Mincome. I would like to ask the Minister if it is now considered compulsory to fill out those forms and what action is taken if the recipient refuses or doesn't wish to fill out those forms?
HON. N. LEVI (Minister of Human Resources): The question, Mr. Speaker, is on the order paper. Is it in order for me to make a response?
MR. SPEAKER: Oh, well, then. If it's on the order paper, it will have to be answered in due course.
MR. McCLELLAND: Well, Mr. Speaker, I don't think the question is quite in that form. I would like to ask the Minister what action is taken against the recipient, if there is any action taken against a recipient, if he does not wish, because he feels it is an invasion of privacy, to fill out those forms?
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HON. MR. LEVI: We have made an attempt to reach people on a personal basis. There have only been, to my knowledge, three outright refusals of this. Payments are continuing.
MR. McCLELLAND: Well, Mr. Speaker, the term "we have reached people, attempted to reach people on a personal basis" has taken a little different form in some people's minds. They feel that they are being harassed on this matter. The question is why are they being called into welfare offices if there are going to be no alteration in payments? What is the reason for that?
HON. MR. LEVI: Well if you recall at the end of last session, I pointed out to you that this procedure was not a procedure that we as a government wanted to conduct. The only procedure that we as a government wanted to conduct is a procedure that is demanded by the federal government.
MR. McCLELLAND: Because you didn't know how to get cost-sharing.
HON. MR. LEVI: We mailed out some 100,000 blue forms; we got back over 80,000. We found that 20,000 people had not replied. During the employment programme over the summer we hired a number of people to go out and reach these people. That's exactly what we did. We have now almost completed to within a couple of hundred this total survey of some 100,000 people, which is a pretty fine effort, and I can assure you that where there has been the odd problem in dealing with an individual, by and large it's been a very successful operation.
MR. McCLELLAND: Mr. Speaker, the question remains, though, that many of those people have been cooperative under pressure from the provincial government. I don't know whether my question's been answered or not. Is there any action being taken against the people who do not wish? You're indicating that there is action of some kind being taken against these people.
MR. SPEAKER: On the point made by the Hon. Member, you have to be responsible for your statements in question period, if you are saying that that is the case.
MR. McCLELLAND: Well, so does the Minister, Mr. Speaker.
MR. SPEAKER: The Minister has answered the question, as far as I can see, and you're asking a repeat of the question.
MR. McCLELLAND: I'm asking a supplementary,
MR. SPEAKER: I think it's the same question that you asked in the beginning.
MR. McCLELLAND: It would be nice to get an answer.
MRS. P.J. JORDAN (North Okanagan): To the Minister of Human Resources on the same point. If the people reached by this application form do not fill in the application form, will they receive the benefits of the programme?
HON. MR. LEVI: They have been receiving the benefits of the programme all the way along. We're trying to conform with the request by the federal government to see that they fill out the needs application form. And that's it. It's quite that simple. We're not going out to punish anybody; we're trying to conform with the law, and that's it.
REPORT ON NATURAL GAS DISTRIBUTION
IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
MR. WALLACE: I'd like to ask the Attorney General, in the light of the very important report on natural gas distribution in the province and the fact that throughout the report there is frequent mention made of one very important solution as through federal action, and since it would appear from public statements that the government has decided to go the other route of taking provincial control of the asset in the ground, would he give us some idea, (1) if he is in fact approaching the federal government directly and, if so, by what mechanism will he travel to Ottawa; (2) or has it been decided without question that the provincial route as described by a Crown agency has been decided without even going to Ottawa and asking them to invoke regulation 11(a), which clearly, in the Energy Act, gives the federal government power to raise the price as is outlined in the report?
HON. A.B. MACDONALD (Attorney General): In answer to the Hon. Member, about a month ago Donald Macdonald, the national Energy Minister, was out here and in my office, and we discussed in a general way this problem. Prior to the issue of the Energy Board report, I sent a copy to the Hon. Donald Macdonald and invited his comments. I'm waiting for those comments. I'm giving him time to read the report and, if any area of cooperation requires a visit, that visit will be made either by myself or some other Minister of this government.
Orders of the day.
SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
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MR. A.A. NUNWEILER (Fort George): It's again a real pleasure to be here with each and every one of you, the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. I congratulate you again, Mr. Speaker, for the very excellent and competent manner in which you maintain the procedural order in this House. I think you've done a very fine job. I enjoy very much the occasional attempts made....
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Are you reading that speech? (Laughter.) I didn't write it.
MR. NUNWEILER: I assure you, you didn't write it, Mr. Speaker.
MR. J.R. CHABOT (Columbia River): Williams did though.
MR. NUNWEILER: But I do appreciate the efforts made by some Members across the floor to try and help you keep order. If we can maintain that cooperation, I'm sure that we'll all be able to have our say when we get up on our feet.
I'd like to digress a bit into my constituency, Fort George. It's quite a widespread and far-flung riding. It's got very many exciting features to it, and we have probably every type of community that you would find anywhere, from the remotest rural area to the denser urban areas. We have places like McBride and Valemont to the east end of the riding towards Jasper. They're very old communities in many respects, and they do have a very interesting type of people who have a real rural culture among them.
Sometimes there is a great feeling there that it is a part of the province that has been almost forgotten at times. We were successful recently in drawing attention to a difficulty involving Hydro. Hydro policy in that area was such that it was almost impossible for people to continue their normal activities, whether it was industry or another aspect of their lives. I did draw that to the attention of our government, and recently the policy has been altered to bring the hydro rate from what was considered a skyrocketing level to a level that's equal to diesel-generating areas throughout the province.
This includes not only this area; it includes other areas such as Fort Nelson and Atlin. I'm sure that people in those areas appreciate that very much, and I'd like to congratulate the government for that change of policy. This, to me, is a clear indication that our new government is indeed interested in a small community and can move very quickly when the urgency demands it.
It is a major achievement because I might mention that my predecessor the former Member (Mr. R. Williston) had been telling the people that it just wasn't possible. We in fact proved that it was possible, and we have done it. This has resulted in these communities getting a clean, fresh breath of air among themselves. As a result now, a number of sawmills and plywood mills will be able to expand, will be able to get chippers in their operations to be able to conform with forest policy and such other things. They found that they were required to conform with certain things, but they didn't have the means, the energy with which to do it.
Mackenzie is another community which is an instant town. It is probably going to be the next city in British Columbia. It's a very exciting and interesting town. Being an instant town, it's much different than other communities in the province — and some of you may know what instant towns are like. It is on the Williston Dam — or the Williston Lake. It's entirely dependent on forest products industries. It has two pulp mills, four major sawmills, and with newly-announced plans for a major sawmill complex, another $10 million sawmill is about to go under construction.
As a consequence, the pressure on this community is tremendous when it comes to providing housing. Municipalities there are trying to do their best, but they have a very serious shortage of housing, a very serious shortage of building sites, of building lots. They just can't keep up with it, so I would like to ask the departments involved, that communities like this be given absolute priority when it comes to departmental approval, whether Lands or Municipal Affairs or wherever. These communities, being in cold-winter climatic conditions, time is always very important when it comes to giving government approvals.
There's also tremendous pressure certainly on other facilities in filling the needs for medical and educational services. Recently, there was a new public health unit opened there, which was very urgently needed. These types of things are a continuous concern to these communities, and I anticipate that more attention will be given from now on to try to fill the needs in the social services. It's very difficult sometimes to keep medical doctors in communities like this. Some communities are more fortunate than others, but there's always a continuous pressure on them.
The recreational grant Act was of considerable help to communities like this. I know that Mackenzie is one that has benefited from this grant already, and they are well on their way to constructing a major recreational centre.
The rapid growth in areas like this and the entire northern part of British Columbia is also affecting places like the city of Prince George. That city has continuous growing pressures and, of course, has continuous pressures on keeping up with land assembly for building sites as well.
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The city council of Prince George is the biggest developer in the region, because it develops its own building sites, its own subdivisions. They do not have to rely on private developers to fill this need. And here again it is the cold winter conditions that many times make city and subdivision planning very difficult. Delays in land acquisitions and subdivision approvals can result in — and have in the past few years — housing being delayed an extra year or an extra winter just because of delays in approval.
So here again I would suggest, when our departments get applications from regions like that, that they do try to remember that we do have cold winter conditions, and delay can often be very, very consequential.
Another matter that seems to be becoming a matter of progressive concern is air pollution. Recently air pollution from our pulp mills has been reported to have increased. The reports that I have been receiving in recent months are that the mills are operating at such maximum capacity that the pollution control devices are having difficulty in keeping up with the high production output. Now I would suggest that closer scrutiny by our Pollution Control Board be made and every attempt made to try and keep it within reason.
We also have experienced a pollution problem involving an oil spill in the Cottonwood River area. This is near Summit Lake, about 30-some miles north of Prince George, where late last year the West Coast Transmission line had a pipeline rupture and spilled considerable oil — approximately 120,000 gallons. The oil was immediately confined on the scene and it was dammed up; so it was land-locked and supposedly not able to get into a stream.
However, later on, some months later, earlier this spring, seepage developed through the soil. It's a gravel soil condition in the area. The oil appeared in the stream, at Cottonwood creek, about a quarter-mile or a half-mile away. The company quickly set up an oil-capturing device to skim the oil and try to keep the stream clean to prevent the oil from entering downstream waters. This condition still exists today.
As a matter of fact, I was by there the other day, and you can actually smell the oil as you drive by on the highway. They are keeping a constant watch on this, and I think it will take quite a while, from all reports, before this is cleaned up.
It would seem that much better precautions should be taken to protect against these types of oil spills. First, there should be a much more secure method of making sure everything is done to not permit the pipe itself to rupture. Pipeline construction should have a much more rigid inspection by the federal Department of Transport, which has jurisdiction over it.
Secondly, whenever oil spills or leaks occur, similar to what happened in this case, the oil should be removed entirely from the spill scene and should not be left to find its own way back to nature.
As a matter of interest, I am told that our Fisheries and Wildlife people cannot convict anyone involved in oil spills until they actually prove that fish have been killed from that particular oil spill. So our Fish and Wildlife people are actually paralyzed in trying to exercise any of their jurisdiction.
Furthermore, the pipeline is subject to federal regulation; it is questionable as to whether any provincial department like the Pollution Control Board does have jurisdiction over it. That is something that I think should get some attention. If there is a conflict of jurisdiction or if there is a lack of concern by the federal Department of Transport, then perhaps they should extend their responsibilities and make sure that pollution is protected whenever accidents or emergencies occur.
I would like to thank the Municipal Affairs committee for the work they have done this past season. The members on the committee were very helpful. They worked very hard, and I think they ought to be complimented for the work that they have done. They were very helpful and dedicated and hardworking in investigating and looking over the Gulf Islands. I think that it was an excellent job they did. I don't think that they were able to devote as much time as they would have liked to, but in any event I think they did the best they could.
It has been a tremendous experience. The observations that were made were quite revealing and, in many cases, rather disturbing. The general public in the islands themselves expressed a great deal of interest, and I would like to congratulate them all for the special efforts they made in trying to help the committee, and the manner in which they did so. Public meetings were held throughout many of the islands. The committee was pleased and impressed with the interest and turnout by the local people, who expressed a vital concern about the future of their islands.
It is very apparent to the committee that the islands are very important to the Province of British Columbia and to Canada as a whole. Their location is very crucial. They are between the two largest cities in British Columbia. It was generally felt among the committee that people are entitled to use these islands and enjoy them to the capacity that the islands are able to serve.
It is very interesting to note that each island is different. They have a number of different classifications so far as interests are concerned. There are the local residents, many of them retired people, others being permanent residents who try to make their living from activity on the island itself. There are others who are summer residents — and this is a large sector — visitors, you could possibly call some of them. As well, a lot of the land is owned by large
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landowners, usually absentee and corporate landowners. Of course, there is a lot of foreign land ownership that exists on the islands themselves and, from all reports, there is more scouting around going on right at this time to try and acquire more land by corporations and by people from other countries. Then there is the larger provincial interest, which is the general public. Since the islands are very important to the people of British Columbia, it is of provincial interest and there is a major provincial responsibility attached to them.
We have, of course, also the land developers and the land speculators, who are very active in their own way to try and gain whatever they possibly can from whatever is to be made possible from their activities — and tree farm licence holders.
It is also interesting to note the regional districts.... There are seven regional districts involved, I believe — each of them with an island or two or three or four. They each have a small share of the islands, and there are difficulties involved there with regional districts, some of them not having the financial capability to do what they would like to do. A lot of their jurisdiction, a lot of their machinery as such, is not oriented in some cases to the best interests of the public on the islands. There even seems to be the occasional regional district director — with all due respect to the regional districts themselves, I think they are doing a wonderful job — who considers the islands as some sort of a liability...that it just costs money, and you don't want to throw money away after something that is not going to give that much return to the regional district. So there is that problem involved, too.
Jurisdiction also with Indian lands on Kuper — where local jurisdiction and provincial jurisdiction just do not exist. The only jurisdiction on Indian lands is the federal government. It is also recognized that the 10-acre freeze which has been in effect on practically all of them has served a purpose in limiting subdivisions to certain sizes, but it is just not enough in the long term to cope with the future development of the islands. There is a need for more sophisticated and imaginative planning techniques....
There is a need for more sophisticated and imaginative planning techniques such as cluster developments, leaving greenbelts and so forth. I also nave noticed that a lot of the beach accesses, the beach areas, are privately owned, which in effect alienates a large part of the public who would like to use them.
There's one other thing that we noticed — that's the Howe Sound islands having large log booms in just about all their bays. It's very unfortunate to observe this condition; they're being used largely for log storage and booming grounds, and recreation, of course, is cut out to a large degree from this part of the island.
We feel also that transportation is the key to the future of the islands. It was felt that water transportation should provide the emphasis on pedestrian water transit rather than transit for vehicles — ferries to carry pedestrians instead of ferries to carry cars. The planning of all the islands should thus be planned accordingly.
We felt that regional districts are not being geared to carry out all their responsibilities for the long term in the future. They're quite well adapted to carry on the usual functions such as hospitals, local improvements, special projects, et cetera....
MR. SPEAKER: Excuse me, Hon. Member, there is a point of order.
MR. CHABOT: Point of order, Mr. Speaker. You've made the observation on a couple of occasions in recent days that Members are not allowed, during the throne debate, to read their speech. I was wondering if you could tell me, Mr. Speaker, from what document the Member for Fort George (Mr. Nunweiler) is reading?
MR. SPEAKER: I think that you are entitled to look at notes, but the practice of reading it....
MR. NUNWEILER: Yes. I have notes, Mr. Speaker, if I may use them.
MR. SPEAKER: I certainly don't object to difficult extracts that one may wish to quote, being read. But, as a general practice, although we reserve a certain tenderness towards maiden speeches, we are ceasing to become maidens around here, and I think it's time that everybody began to speak in accordance with how they feel rather than what they see on the printed page. The reason I mention it is that there is a maiden speech coming next, which may be read, and undoubtedly we will all reserve respect for the maiden speech, but I do hope that Members will get away from the practice of too copious notes.
MR. SPEAKER: Yes, entirely.
MR. NUNWEILER: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I want to point out that the future emphasis is such that it should be placed on recreation, on moderate residential use, and preservation of rural atmosphere. The committee felt that there needs to be another vehicle to be able to achieve these things. For this reason, it is recommended that an island commission or an island trust be set up. In all sincerity, I do hope that the House will give this very serious consideration.
Further, in dealing with municipal affairs, Mr.
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Speaker, I just wanted to draw attention to a convention of the UBCM that we had a week or two ago in Prince George. It was a very interesting event. There were many interesting resolutions presented. It certainly became quite apparent that there is a variety of many municipal needs throughout the province of British Columbia. Many have demonstrated a real need and interest for municipalities developing building sites and getting into the housing and mobile home activity.
Mobile homes have become a lifestyle for many people for various reasons, and accordingly, it has created a tremendous demand in many regions for mobile home sites or subdivisions, if you like. Many throughout the Interior and northern areas are aware of this need, and large proportions accordingly are encouraged to recognize and do their part to cope with it. It should be noted that next year all mobile homes will be taxable just like a conventional home, and certainly will qualify for the homeowner grant. The municipalities will generate their revenue from mobile homes the way they always have done from conventional homes in the past. This now will make it much easier, I'm sure, for municipalities to in effect develop mobile home subdivisions, if they are so inclined. I think there is a great need for this, and I would hope that municipalities will get into this activity if they find that the need exists in their area. They can look at this as a profitable venture, I'm sure, and could look at other areas for additional revenue as well.
The city of Prince George has been a model for developing Crown land, developing subdivisions, and consequently, because they don't develop building sites for profit, they develop them for need. It's one reason why building sites in the Prince George area have been kept down to a level that is not comparable with the lower mainland. This is being done for conventional housing, and certainly it can be done for mobile housing as well.
The UBCM has agreed that the government should also take another look at the Public Officials' Disclosure Act. I think that most agree that there is a great need for new provincial legislation on this, to prevent civic and elected officials from having conflicts of interest, or interesting conflicts. I think it is important that local government standards remain high. If the standards drop in one community, it does damage to them all.
A number of reports have erupted throughout the province where elected officials, or appointed officials, or consultants have vested holdings, interests in certain parts of the community; or you may find individuals who have partners who happen to be on the city council, or who happen to be involved in the city administration, who have been using confidential information, such as sitting in on in-camera meetings, and acquiring information for possible financial gains.
MR. D.M. PHILLIPS (South Peace River): Name names.
MR. NUNWEILER: We know of a certain activity going on in Surrey right now, and there is indeed a very great need for disclosure legislation. I would strongly urge that not too many restrictions be placed on this type of legislation; when it comes, we don't want to see it wind up being ineffective.
Disclosure information is a very simple question, I feel. If you don't want to disclose what you hold, then don't run for public office. In regard to local government elections, I would also suggest that corporation agents be restricted to the concept of one man, one vote. I can remember one person having 14 votes in one civic election because of multiple directorships in local corporations.
Getting back to the growth of northern regions, my friendly neighbour, the Hon. Member for Cariboo (Mr. Fraser), apparently is opposed to northern British Columbia in some respects. I notice he complains about the railway plan in the north; he doesn't want this. Apparently, he's against orderly development. He says it costs too much money to serve the industrial activity in the area. He complained about sawmill chips moving 600 miles from his area and from my area to Prince Rupert.
MR. D.E. SMITH (North Peace River): You should be complaining about it too.
MR. NUNWEILER: I would suggest that he check his facts. No chips have ever been directed from that area to Prince Rupert. In fact, one would have to go all the way to Houston to find any chips moving west. Even then, there's only 50 per cent that moves west from Houston; the other 50 per cent moves east to Prince George. I would point out that there is a commitment between Ottawa and this government to construct a rail link between Ashcroft and Clinton, and this is also going to be of great benefit to the Cariboo.
MR. NUNWEILER: The Lillooet-Clinton area over to Ashcroft to tie in the British Columbia Railway with the trans-Canada railways, and this is going to be a big factor in assisting the transportation of chips from southern British Columbia, where there is a surplus, and be of major help to the Cariboo. I think this government has taken a very progressive step in that direction.
Some parts of the province are starving for wood chips, while others are burning wood chips or maybe even exporting them. The northern areas are all short of sawmill chips to feed all those pulp mills. Some of the southern areas seem to have a surplus, and there's got to be a reason for that, I'm sure. The timber is
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there, but the sawmill activity is not.
Merely because of the planning and coordination that just wasn't done a few years back when it should have been, sufficient sawmills were not developed, and pulp mills were thus encouraged to chip round logs instead of waste from sawmills. A sawmill programme to produce enough chips to feed the sawmills was never set up. Stumpage was also reduced to make it easier for pulp mills to chip good logs.
Chipping good logs gives the poorest and lowest return of the resource, so real value of the resource has been diminished as a result. When you talk to the forest industry...they've explained on occasion to me that the best value out of a log is for plywood. A log that earns $100 worth of plywood will earn about $80 worth of lumber and will only, if you chip that log into chips for pulp, earn $40 for pulp.
But if you can make lumber out of that log and get your $80 out of it and if you can chip the waste, which could be about a quarter of it, it would give you another $10 or $15 for chips out of that log. You would then almost get $100 out of that log for a combined use of lumber and for pulp. But if you just chip that log for pulp, all you'll ever get out of it is $40.
So that's good evidence for me to realize that you must get the best value out of a log. If the companies can't get the best value out of a log, they're certainly not going to be able to pay the stumpage. So I think resource planning is a key to getting the value out of the timber resource.
MR. CHABOT: Are you suggesting that Can-Cel should be closed?
MR. NUNWEILER: Well, I would suggest that the old government kept Columbia Cellulose alive with giveaway stumpage rates. That's why Columbia Cellulose couldn't make money; they never got the earnings out of the resource. They were getting giveaway stumpage rates. They failed to get the company to provide sawmills to generate enough chips to get the real value out of the resource.
When the railway gets completed, you'll find access to the timber and sawmill potential to get the real value out of the resource for the people of British Columbia.
What the Hon. Member, I feel, should have been complaining about is the former Social Credit practice of shipping chips from the Kootenays to the United States.
MR. NUNWEILER: There's a surplus of chips in that region, which again means poor planning and poor coordination in the past. The Hon. Minister is trying to rectify that.
MR. CHABOT: Nonsense.
MR. NUNWEILER: I'm sure that the new rail link from Ashcroft to Lillooet can move some of these chips into the Interior, where they're starving for the product.
MR. NUNWEILER: Of course, this link is going to serve the Cariboo better than anything else that's happened there, as far as your lumber, your pulp and your mineral activity are concerned. You need to get the product out to the eastern markets rather than funnelling it through to the Vancouver terminals and losing about three or four days in transportation.
Another thing that I wanted to touch on, Mr. Speaker, is energy. People in northern regions are, generally speaking, prepared to accept some inconvenience and expense due to their geographical location. Living in the northern region, there are many of these. There are higher freight rates because of climatic conditions, higher fuel consumption because of climatic conditions, and the like.
In accepting the disadvantages, we often feel that we should be able to take advantage of any good things we may happen to have, to enjoy the occasional advantage of living in that area. We should experience some of those benefits. We feel that if we accept the minuses, we'd like to accept a few pluses as well.
In the case of natural gas, our consumers are paying a price that seems to ignore the shorter distance and lower transportation cost on the resource. This energy resource comes from our northern regions — Fort Nelson, Fort St. John and Monkman Pass — and should be of some advantage and should reflect that advantage in the rates for fuel used during our long winters.
It's also regrettable to note that industry in our region is actually paying more for the natural gas which is on our doorstep then their counterparts in the United States are for the same gas.
Natural gas is a very essential fuel to make plywood production viable in that region. There's a strong feeling among many in our communities that the resource belongs to the people. Many even feel it belongs to the people close to the source of that resource. But certainly there should be no mistake: no subsidy to the users in the United States should be prolonged — which I see is now happening.
According to the energy report, users in the U.S. pay almost half of what the U.S. energy market value is; they're paying 32 cents at the border, 26 cents below the market energy price.
These feelings are reflected by the larger and the smaller communities in our region and also by the smaller industries and the larger industries in our
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region. To illustrate this, I would like to draw attention to several briefs that were presented to the hearings in Prince George early last month, one of them from Northwood Pulp and Timber Ltd. I'll make some quotes here:
Northwood Pulp and Timber Ltd. owns and operates a kraft mill and a sawmill near the City of Prince George and consumes significant volumes of natural gas, which is supplied through the system owned and operated by Inland Natural Gas — which, in turn, is supplied from the nearby pipeline of West Coast Transmission.
Northwood proposes only to make submissions in respect of general policy and does not propose to examine witnesses. Northwood agrees and urges the desirability of establishing a minimum reserve of British Columbia natural gas requirements as a prerequisite to any increase in the amount of B.C. natural gas exported from the province, and suggests that the amount of such reserves be determined from time to time on the basis of estimated B.C. requirements.
Such estimates could be undertaken by the government of B.C. from time to time for such a purpose. Subsequent sales to export customers should be virtually eliminated and the availability of natural gas to consumers in B.C., except on a firm basis, should be considered.
Northwood agrees and supports the desirability of a commission in cooperation with the National Energy Board in regulating the wholesale price of natural gas within Canada so that Canadian natural gas is available to consumers in Canada at prices significantly lower than the price for export natural gas, particularly to regulate the price of what West Coast sells to Inland within the province.
Northwood supports and urges the commission to confirm and declare as a matter of policy that the assurance of the supply of natural gas to consumers within B.C. will take priority over any applications for export volumes, and in particular will take priority over the proposed agreements between West Coast and El Paso. This conclusion is supported by reference to past export sales, which were the prime cause of the incongruous result of Northwood and, presumably, other B.C. consumers having to pay more for natural gas than others more distant in eastern Canada and in the United States.
Northwood urges the commission to accept and declare as a matter of policy that the price to consumers of natural gas should take into account the geographical location of the consumer and, in particular, the price of natural gases in the province. To consumers located in northern parts of the province it should also reflect the geographical proximity of the consumer to the source of B.C. natural gas.
MR. PHILLIPS: Who wrote that speech?
MR. NUNWEILER: I'm quoting from the hearings. It's not a speech; it's a quote, I might add.
The principle of one general area rate for industry in all British Columbia should be disapproved. The distance of the consumer from the gas field should be an influencing factor determining the price and should be to the benefit of those consumers located near to the source.
I'll also mention one other brief that's made by a smaller industry, a plywood plant, which depends heavily on natural gas for their operation. I quote from North Central Plywood Ltd. of Prince George:
Our company is based in Prince George and is owned 100 per cent by local residents. The company was started about four years ago. One of the determining factors in our decision to locate in Prince George was the availability of a good source of economical natural gas. We now find that the rates and supplies available to us as a Canadian-owned industry are greatly affected by the exports to the U.S. markets. We strongly feel that the Canadian consumer's needs should be fully satisfied before exports are allowed, and that the Canadian consumer should also be given preference within the pricing structure.
The area north-central British Columbia has far greater fluctuations in temperature which require great differences in consumption. The possibility of a guaranteed volume of delivery is far more difficult in this area than in the U.S. We feel we are penalized by the guaranteed volume per diem rate as we require large volumes in the winter months and considerably smaller volumes in the summer months. We find that if we calculate the requirements for the summer volume we are forced to reduce operations in the winter, and if we calculate the winter volume we pay for unused gas all summer. It is our feeling that gas should be supplied as required to manufacturers as a local resource, and only excesses should be exported. Also we should not be compelled to have an average daily volume based on a year's usage as this is impractical with the winter conditions that prevail in this area.
The present rate structure also includes a requirement
for an alternate standby fuel supply which is extremely expensive. If
alternate standby fuel requirements are essential to the natural gas
distribution companies, then we feel that the standby arrangements
should be made by the U.S. customers rather than by the Canadian
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This will allow the Canadian customer to have natural gas fuel available when required and not befaced with either curtailed production or having to have an expensive alternate system installed to use other fuel.
If we are forced to curtail production under such a system, such curtailment comes at a time when the country's unemployment is already high and when we should be taking every possible step to see that all possible jobs are available during the winter months. Providing the necessary natural gas at an economical price is one method of seeing that we do not add to the unemployment rolls.
I should like to make a few quotes from the City of Prince George's brief. It points out:
The stubline from the Westcoast Transmission Company to Prince George was 4.5 miles, but our rates were structured to help subsidize the 400-mi. line from Savona to Nelson. The present rates differ somewhat, and we haven't had time to compile them. The old rates are noted to prove that the natural gas industry and the different decisions of the various provincial and federal commissions and governments have combined to discriminate against northern communities. Most of those closest to the resource pay the most, which is in direct contradiction to most other goods and services. A substantial amount of the wealth of this province is in the north, produced by a relatively few people. The majority of the consumers are in the south, beyond our boundaries, and thus use their wealth and influence to ensure that they will receive the most preferential treatment possible. This must be continued. People must be encouraged to live in the north, not discouraged.
On the Trans-Canada Pipeline system the costs gradually become more expensive as it flows to the eastern markets. This is why we believe the wholesale price at Prince George should be much cheaper than at Bellingham. Likewise, the theory produced by the oil industry that those who use the most natural gas should pay the least is not totally defensible. The larger users are the very ones which make it necessary to go further afield at an earlier date and at a higher cost to discover more gas. Since the northern residential users consume more natural gas per capita to keep warm, then they are again paying more money into the provincial treasury to be spent elsewhere in the province. Likewise, industrial gas prices are increased, and this could discourage industry to locate in British Columbia in the northern areas, particularly by reducing the opportunity for new jobs.
However, there certainly should be a fair return to the province on natural gas which is exported to another country. Exports of gas should be subjected to higher field prices, higher transportation costs and higher royalties, not only as good business practice but in the interests of conservation.
The next item is from Fort Nelson. The community of Fort Nelson, through the municipal council, also presented a brief:
Fort Nelson, being in the extreme northeast portion of the province, is the centre of natural gas production in British Columbia. Accordingly, that industry has a relevance and significance to our community which is far greater than that which the industry has to other municipalities.
The gas literally lies beneath Fort Nelson. It is pumped from the countryside around Fort Nelson, and transported to Westcoast at Fort Nelson where it is cleaned and processed and then transmitted to the southern portion of the province.
There is an extremely strong feeling in the community that the resource belongs to the people of British Columbia but that it especially belongs to the people of the north. Obviously this resource and its production affects everyone in the northeast portion of the province to a much greater extent than it affects those in other areas of the province, and not only in terms of employment. Our climate is not a hospitable one; we experience winters of long duration and extreme severity. The furnaces which heat our houses are powered by natural gas, and they seldom cease running. In addition, our hydro is provided by generators which are operated on natural gas.
In these circumstances described it is a matter of great concern to our village that we in Fort Nelson have the highest gas rate structure in British Columbia. If for any reason wellhead price increases, will the community of Fort Nelson be obliged to pay even more for its gas? Specifically, the council wishes to be reassured that a royalty increase will not be passed on automatically to the consumer. Likewise, council wishes to ensure that a gas shortage in the U.S., whether imagined or whether real, is not used as a justification for higher prices being charged to the consumers of British Columbia and specifically Fort Nelson. Council feels that under no circumstances should the cost of British Columbia resources increase to the consumers of British Columbia because of the conditions existing in a foreign country.
Mr. Speaker, I think the Energy Commission should be complimented for their work so far, determining that our gas is being exported to the U.S. at a price of about half of its value on the U.S. energy market. Consequently the people of this province are losing $100 million a year.
Mr. Speaker, also I would like to point out that this government should be congratulated for creating the Energy Act last spring, setting up the commission to try and come to grips with the issues on energy in
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British Columbia, to protect consumers of B.C., whether they're domestic or whether they're industrial, and also to protect us from the energy thirst of the United States and from the escalating energy prices in the U.S. market.
Also, I would like to urge the commission to recognize the severe conditions, the highest consumption per capita in the northern regions and the shorter transportation involved, when making their final recommendations to this government and ultimately to the federal government through the National Energy Board.
Furthermore, Westcoast has indicated its intent to reduce its supplies by 10 per cent this winter, and I also urge that steps be taken to ensure that this supply in the Province of B.C. is maintained so that our furnaces and our industries are not affected, but if such must be done the cut of supplies must be confined to U.S. Industries only and not to the people of British Columbia.
MR. W.R. BENNETT (South Okanagan): Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and a privilege to be seated among such illustrious company to deliberate the future of British Columbia. As the newly-elected Member for South Okanagan, I bring you all greetings from my constituency and especially to those MLAs and cabinet Ministers who found time to vacation there or found business there during the month of August. Some of them were so eager to get to our sunny skies and sandy beaches they even had to use a government jet. (Laughter.) However, I might point out that a healthy Okanagan tourist industry is based on continuity, and so I would welcome you all back next year. While I can guarantee that the sandy beaches and sunny skies will be there, I can't guarantee the same degree of heat. (Laughter.)
Having just come through an election, I've had the privilege of continuous contact with the citizens of South Okanagan who, I believe, represent all of the people of British Columbia. They've expressed concern over a number of things of both a constituency and a provincial nature, and I would like to pass these concerns along to the Members of this assembly.
The first concern of the citizens of South Okanagan is the implementation of the Okanagan Basin Study, of which the final draft of task force 7 is now available and the completed version will be available by March of 1974. This study has taken almost five years to complete and cost almost $2 million. It's interesting to note what it set out to do:
"The Canada-British Columbia Okanagan Basin Agreement was signed on the 29th of October, 1969. The objective of this agreement was the creation of the framework of a comprehensive plan for the development and management of water resources for the social betterment and economic growth of the Okanagan Basin."
This agreement, Mr. Speaker, recognized the major significance of the Okanagan Basin in British Columbia and in Canada. The terms of reference included: water demand and supply studies, including quality and quantity; public involvement; water re-use and waste treatment; ecological and aesthetic studies; economic studies; and studies of a financial and organizational structure, And we might come to the recommendations of this committee because I think they're most appropriate at this time:
We recommend that, upon conclusion of the Canada–British Columbia Okanagan Basin Agreement, an Okanagan Basin authority be established by the provincial and federal governments with the responsibility for management of water and other resources in this valley; that such an authority be given real powers in the field of water management and the responsibilities arising therefrom — these responsibilities to include implementation of the recommendations of the Okanagan Water Basin Study and the recommendations of the public involvement programme.
Further in that report, Mr. Speaker, they established a timetable of necessary things to be done if the Okanagan environment is to be preserved and protected — if we can achieve this. This report is a blueprint for the preservation and the orderly development of the whole Okanagan region and it is a credit to the cooperative planning of the federal and provincial governments of 1969, I would urge that the Hon. Minister of Municipal Affairs (Hon. Mr. Lorimer) initiate immediate discussion with the federal, municipal and regional governments to create this authority as soon as possible, with the necessary financial contributions of both a capital and an operative nature spelled out along with the necessary powers and direction to bring the recommendations of this study into being.
Secondly, Mr. Speaker, the people of South Okanagan have told me they are concerned about congested and unsafe traffic movement within and through the Okanagan. Increased local movement, plus the peaks of tourist and commercial traffic through the Okanagan, is now at an unsafe level and is getting worse daily.
Use of Highways department surveys taken in the past would suggest that the solution is twofold. The Highways department should immediately continue the four-laning of Highway 97 throughout the whole of the Okanagan, not because we want a freeway or a super-freeway, but because those of us who live there recognize the multiple use of this road and, recognizing the agricultural nature of the valley — and I wish to preserve it — we know that farm-related vehicles use Highway 97 continuously. These vehicles move slowly and require that extra lane for both
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safety and so as to not impede the regular flow of traffic.
With part of this four-laning, specific communities in the Okanagan where the highway runs through their built-up areas — and I would use the community of Westbank as just one example — should have the road rerouted around them for safety and for even traffic flow. Simultaneously with this four-laning, Mr. Speaker, I would recommend to the Hon. Minister of Highways (Hon. Mr. Lea) that his department should continue and make use of such preliminary surveys as are available to construct a complete Okanagan bypass. This road could link to the Hope-Princeton and Fraser Canyon Highways to the lower mainland, and also to the proposed new Coquihalla route, connecting north to the Cariboo Highway and east to the Rogers Pass and Yellowhead routes.
The people of South Okanagan are also concerned with the economics of agriculture. I'm pleased to see the introduction of the Farm Income Assurance Act, but I am concerned about the specific details, as farm stabilization was a major part of my election programme.
My constituents, Mr. Speaker, also showed a concern about housing, a problem not just unique to the Okanagan but to all of British Columbia. I would urge, through you, Mr. Speaker, to the Hon. Minister for housing (Hon. Mr. Nicolson) to look beyond just the subsidization for leasing of building lots but to also consider subsidization for the sale of lots.
I believe that most British Columbians prefer ownership to leasing and that ownership of land on which a house is built is one of the few hedges against inflation available to the average citizen. I would also urge the Minister that, beyond continuing the homebuyers' grants and second mortgages provided by previous governments, he should further look to lowering the price of housing at source.
I've noticed that this government appears to announce many new federal-provincial plans in advance of actual discussion with the federal government, as witnessed yesterday by the Hon. Minister of Agriculture (Hon. Mr. Stupich) hoping that the federal government will contribute to the new Farm Income Assurance Act when he tells them about it sometime later this week; or the apparent lack of discussion with the federal Minister over the new Mincome benefits so hurriedly announced during the South Okanagan by-election. So I would urge the Hon. Minister for housing to initiate another federal-provincial action to lower home prices by the simultaneous removal of the federal 12 per cent sales tax on building materials for housing only, and the provincial removal of the 5 per cent sales tax on all building materials for housing only. This, Minister, would greatly reduce the price of new housing and, by advocating removal of these tax burdens, would being the price of new housing to the reach of many more people.
I found great concern, Mr. Speaker, about the creation of new jobs, and, while I commend the Hon. Minister of Industrial Development (Hon. Mr. Lauk) in setting up the British Columbia Development Corporation, I disagree with investment of public money in common shares of private corporations.
Having the government as a partner will stifle the initiative of these industries. On one hand, they may feel a false sense of security. Surely the government would never let them go broke now that it is a partner — and it's hardly an atmosphere conducive to those ingredients of drive and initiative needed to launch a new enterprise. Or they may feel, why succeed? If it gets too good, this government will only want to take their interest away anyhow. How can the government dispassionately administer the laws over companies they have an interest in and bring them to public accountability? It's not very likely.
A better way would be a B.C. development fund for secured loans at subsidized low-interest rates during the early formative years, when most new endeavours require help, with incentives to pay the money back quickly. I would point out now that we wouldn't want to see an incentive programme similar to the federal incentives Act that forced industry into the Okanagan without proper safeguards for the Canadian taxpayer so that his money would be protected.
We have the unusual circumstances of Canadian Fibreform receiving a federal grant, selling out to an American company, burning down, and it was beyond the accountability of the federal government to recover that grant. The company has not rebuilt in the Okanagan, and they're seeking a further federal grant to relocate somewhere else in this country.
I don't advocate that; I advocate, as I say, subsidized interest rates. It is our party's policy that such a fund would bear interest at 1 per cent the first year, 2 per cent the second, increasing until such a time as the industry can pay it off either with profits or conventional financing.
There are many other areas of concern, such as health services, social legislation, possible integration of the public and private educational systems, the heavy administrative cost of the multitude of social benefits, and a general feeling that the federal and provincial governments should get together with a re-alignment of their financial jurisdictions to bring about the implementation of the guaranteed annual income, a programme long advocated by our party. I urge this government to work towards this end.
As a new Member, I recognize that in a healthy democratic system it is not just the right but the duty of the opposition to criticize those policies of the government which deserve criticism. I intend to exercise very fully this right and duty, but I hope to do so always in a constructive manner and in a way that offers good alternatives to bad policies. Certainly
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there can be some areas of agreement among us, because I am sure that every Member of this assembly genuinely seeks, as an individual, to serve the best interests of the people of British Columbia.
Often there is a difference between individual goals and party philosophy. Any party which claims an exclusive franchise to righteousness is deluding its own members and performing a disservice to the people of British Columbia. Any party which claims to represent one segment of society to the exclusion of others does a disservice to all segments of society. Any party which consciously singles out one so-called economic class for threats and ridicule and harassment will surely repeat that same ridicule 10 times over.
I have said that no one party has a mandate on righteousness. In that support I think it is fair to say that both the government and official opposition share a social conscience and the desire for social reform. We differ only in our viewpoints and the means of accomplishing this goal and achieving it.
My party believes, quite obviously, that the correct course is through a vigorous, disciplined and healthy economy based on the principle of private initiative. We believe that such an economy, responsive as it must be to the public interest and rooted firmly in the atmosphere of confidence of government and the private sector, offers the one best hope of financing the continuing process of social reform.
My party does not believe that the proper role of government is more government. We believe the proper role of government is that of an arbitrator, a guardian of the public interest. We believe that a government should always be flexible, always willing to innovate and never tied to a political doctrine that sees only the blacks and whites but never the greys of life. We believe in the freedom of the individual to build his own life in his own responsible way. We believe it is the most precious freedom that we have, and one well worth fighting for.
We believe that in this time of need we are our brother's keeper, but we believe that neither in his time of need nor in his time of plenty are we ever our brother's master.
Further, Mr. Speaker, I hope to offer to this House as its newest Member some contribution in support of what might be called cooperative opposition — to support those measures which I believe to be good legislation and to offer amendments to those measures which I cannot. In doing so, I hope to serve properly the best interests of this assembly, my constituents in South Okanagan and all the people of British Columbia. Thank you.
MR. D.T. KELLY (Omineca): Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to be here today to represent the constituents of Omineca, and I bring you greetings from them. I bring all Members of this House greetings from my constituents.
I would like at this time to congratulate the previous speaker, the new Member for South Okanagan, on his very fine speech. I welcome him to this House.
I was very pleased, Mr. Speaker, with the Lieutenant-Governor's Speech from the Throne.
MR. G.B. GARDOM (Vancouver–Point Grey): Why? (Laughter.)
MR. KELLY: Do you know that two of my major towns, one Vanderhoof and the other one Fort St. James, have excellent economies? Building permits in each of those towns are in the several hundreds of thousands of dollars. For example, in Fort St. James 40 new homes are being built. When you look at the size of these communities, those are considerable numbers. The demand for housing throughout the riding is ever-demanding in terms of the number of units needed.
We, of course, have been informed by the government of the plan in the northwest — this includes my riding — and of the great expansion that is going to take place in the forest industry. I know that many of my constituents, even some of those that were a little dubious before, are very pleased with what is going on. I expect that when the plan does get functional we can expect great things for that part of the country.
I would also like to read a little quote here, Mr. Speaker, from the Vancouver Sun of Thursday, September 13, referring to the amount of work that is available in the north. It's datelined Prince George, by Canadian Press, and it says:
It has been a particularly good year for construction workers in northern British Columbia, and the region's construction workers will probably enjoy their busiest winter ever.
That's really something when you consider that it is traditional in the north to have a lot of unemployment during the winter season.
Leaders of building trade unions in northern B.C. say that most unions have all members at work and some are even short of men to fill jobs in Prince George and other regional centres.
Bud Owens of the International Union of Operating Engineers said, "Next year...looks to be just as good for us."
Bill Flowers of the Painters Union said: "Everybody is working" and "it looks like we'll be keeping everyone at work through the winter, something unusual for painters."
Again, Mr. Scholtz of the International Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners agreed that there will be more work this winter for construction trades than in any recent year.
So, Mr. Speaker, just to answer those who would bring doom and gloom to our government's policies, I think these words have done more than anything to
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obliterate any attempts to belittle our government s attempts.
I will admit, though, that inflation has affected us, as it has affected everybody. Because it is in the north, it hurts us even a little more. It costs more to get these commodities into the north, and the wages, basically, for the work force there are not as good as they are in the more southern regions of the province, at least in the main centres. Also, with regard to purchasing power, there is very little competition in the northern centres because there is usually only one store of that particular type, so when you go to buy a commodity there is only one. It might be poor quality or it might be an excellent-quality article, but you have to pay, in most cases, top prices for these commodities.
The wages that the earner gets are burned up. By the end of his pay period he has no money left because it requires all you make and sometimes even a little more to live from payday to payday.
The oil industry have been increasing their costs to us by several cents per gallon in the gasoline trade and also in the fuel oil trade. Last spring I went home from the Legislature here to find that propane had been increased by over 10 percent per gallon. You know, Mr. Speaker, they don't even tell you of the increase by letter or by the news. All you find is an increase on your bill after they have filled your tank up.
MR. KELLY: I don't believe he did. These people are not unionized, and they negotiate a contract once every five years. They get a little increase here and there, but they are very poorly paid in that industry up in that region.
I have made representations to the energy board about this, but of course, at the time they were unable to proceed with it. I demand that they have hearings to see if the amounts by which they increased it were justified. Companies have been using the fuel shortage thing as a scare tactic and are able to increase their prices by intimidating people: "You pay or else." Well, if you have a propane tank in, it's pretty hard to say, "Well, I'll convert to oil," especially in the north. It is just literally impossible.
Many of the food costs have spiralled, and because we live a long way from the main distribution centre, they use the excuse that freight is the reason it costs so much. There are commodities — for example, cherries and tomatoes — which, if you go to your local supermarket, are 20 cents and 30 cents per pound more than in the large store in the main centres. Yet we know that the actual charge for trading this commodity into that area is only 2 cents per pound, or even less in some instances. How they are able to charge these extra amounts, Mr. Speaker, I do not understand.
Clothes. Of course, anybody who comes from the north would understand that clothing is an important commodity up there because of the severe temperatures. If you want to buy good clothing you must expect to pay a high price. For example, the northern worker must, in the course of one winter, wear out three or four pairs of heavy mitts. He'll buy extra warm boots, pants, underwear and headwear, and this in itself, compared to his southern counterpart, is many, many dollars more than what the gentleman from the south would wear. I find that these extra costs are very taxing on this northern citizen.
I believe the government should help these people, the people who are responsible for the large contributions that are made to the profits of our province, which help run it. We should in fact try to help them in terms of their income tax. We should have a rebate or some percentage that could be allowed for our northern cost of living. Certainly this would be a very nice thing as far as my constituents are concerned, and, I am certain, all northern members in this House would want that for their constituents.
I believe, also, that there should be an equalization of gasoline prices throughout the province to ease the burden for all these people in the north in trying to meet their monthly payments. Gasoline is of major importance up there because it's absolutely necessary for people to get back and forth to work. There is no bus system up there to take people from work and to their homes, or even to the major centres. If I were to go to Prince George I would either have to leave at twenty minutes to five in the morning, or at I o'clock in the morning. It is very unreasonable. You can't expect a person to go there to shop. It's 105 miles from my home to Prince George, so when you are referring to these long distances, Mr. Speaker, it is a very costly item to our citizens.
I would like the government to plan and build trailer parks for our citizens in the north. It just seems to be that nobody is doing it, that it is almost a nasty thing to talk about. I think that there are many lovely locations in the north where people should be able to live and work, and even retire if necessary, in the northern part of our province. At least somebody should have the initiative to go in and create these parks and then charge, of course, what would be reasonable rates to live in them. The ones that are there are usually very inadequate with poor sewer systems for water. In many instances they are in areas that were poor locations in the first place.
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[Mr. Dent in the chair]
MR. KELLY: I would like to speak about some of my constituents, and when I refer to "some of them," I refer mostly to the native Indians. These Indians have been affected indirectly, and in some cases directly, by our present logging methods.
They have also been affected by the building of dams. Although there haven't been any dams built in my area recently, it was only three or four years ago that a dam was built in the northern area of the province, and in these areas were many traplines. The traplines belonged to the Indians, or so they thought. But, when a logging company comes in and denudes the forest of all the timber, or if the dam is closed off and the water rises and drowns his trapline, the Indian gets not one cent for his trapline which was drowned or damaged by logging.
I can't understand that, Mr. Speaker, because in fact these people were making a part of their living at this trade of trapping, something that they have done for hundreds of years. And then all of a sudden there has been this damage. In many cases the damage is related to burning of cabins, the pushing down of cabins for making way for powerlines, and certainly, when you remove the habitat for the fur-bearing animals, then of course that also is a form of damage.
In no way have the native Indians of this province ever been rebated, or given any allowance, for the damage to these traplines. I would like to see our government recognize this situation, to recognize for the first time and to continue to recognize the damage that has been done to the traplines of our native Indians, so that they can continue to try to make a living on their own, with some respect; to make a decent living, and a normal one.
AN HON. MEMBER: What about leg-hold traps?
MR. KELLY: Just a minute, Mr. Hon. Member, I will tell you about that. I had a letter delivered to me just a couple of days ago, Mr. Speaker. This letter was by the Indian information centre in Burns Lake, and it referred to an Indian who lives 115 miles north of Fort St. James, on the Wolverine Lake. The families of these Indians have lived on this lake since before Confederation.
One day this summer they had been away to town. When they returned home, their cabin and smokehouse had burned down. I believe the Department of Mines had put in some camp tables and they were clearing the ground off where this cabin was to make a little campground for trailers. I find this absolutely sickening that our citizens — our first citizens — who have and their families before them lived in an area long before white man was even here — come home and find that their house has been burned down because it is in the road. I find this an absolute disgrace. And this is going on in many spots through this province. The forest branch is going through the northern regions of our province and, because they find a cabin that they think might contribute a little trouble sometime in the future, they will burn that cabin down. And many of my constituents' cabins have been burned down in recent years.
MR. GARDOM: Don't you think those people have the right to seek legal redress?
MR. KELLY: I really believe they do, Mr. Member. I am hoping that this will be looked into. I am leaning to all departments to ask their support in delving into this and to finding out who is responsible and who should be compensated.
Well, I have another problem, Mr. Speaker, and it is a major problem in my area. I refer to the game situation in Game Management Area 22. This incorporates some of southern sections of my riding. There is more than one management area in Omineca, but the one I refer to specifically is GMA 22.
The farmers on the prairies, Mr. Speaker, speak of wheat and refer to it in a term daily and hourly; so do the orchardists in the Okanagan refer to fruit, because that is the main commodity; it's their very lifeline. Their life blood practically is the commodity that they grow, and they refer to it on a daily basis. And so it is in Omineca, especially in GMA 22, which is the area that I reside in. Our wild ungulates are certainly on the tip of everybody's tongue. We are referring mainly to the shortage of these animals.
We refer to it because it's a way of life with these residents in Omineca. They depend on moose and deer for food. I do have a considerable number of natives in Omineca, and they also require moose and deer meat for food.
Two years ago we had the heaviest snowfall in living memory. During that snowfall there was considered to be the greatest moose and deer die-off — or kill, as you would want to call it — because of this amount of snow in recent years. In fact, I don't believe that there's ever been recorded a worse year.
Concerned citizens in the riding — and I include conservation clubs, guides, farmers, native Indians — have been voicing their objections to the present season as it is on the antlerless animals in GMA 22. I have made representations to the Minister of Recreation and Conservation (Hon. Mr. Radford) in attempting to have this antlerless season closed right
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down. I admit that the hunting season has been shortened, but in some cases even just shortening it, Mr. Speaker, isn't good enough.
The fact is that I'm afraid that the seed stock required to bring our herds of animals back to reasonable levels will be taken by these hunters before they have a chance to multiply. The hunting season, which has been opened for two weeks now in GMA 22, has every logging road and back road in the country just smothered with hunters.
The fact is that meat prices are high. You can hardly blame the individuals for going out to try to get an animal, something to chew on for this winter, especially in the era of high meat prices.
I can't understand the Minister in this particular case. After all, he's being guided — or I think that he is — by knowledgeable citizens who really know a bad situation when they see one. Even I.... I consider myself an expert on game; but no, he'll listen to this single biologist in Prince George. This man decides the path that the Game Branch will take on game management in the whole northern section of British Columbia.
If we are to continue on this path, I would suggest that within a short time the only way our children will ever get to see moose and deer will be in parks and in zoos. They are definitely on the way out, just the same as the buffalo were in the last century, and that will be a sad, sad day. I refer to one other instance in this game management: if the animals are in short supply, Mr. Speaker, I think that these animals should be reserved for Canadians — in fact, if not for Canadians, for British Columbians. I think that this is the way we should be looking now.
I have one more item that I would like to speak on, Mr. Speaker. For many months now I have been receiving a considerable amount of mail concerning the leg-hold trap. I know that all Members of this House have been receiving that same kind of mail. This mail has been forwarded by, I think, some of the most responsible people in this province, and I commend them for what they've been doing.
I was a trapper at one time, Mr. Speaker. I don't suppose I was a very good one, because I was a very callous trapper. I was totally blind to what I was doing. In fact, it took all this literature from these trapper-organization people who are trying to conserve animals or who were looking for humane methods of trapping, and it made me feel very guilty for what I had done in my younger days.
I had trapped animals, and you know, in many, many cases, I found the claws or the paw of some small animal that had finally got away by twisting and turning and had finally managed to get out of that trap. Either that or it had been taken by some other animal and the animal was, in fact, lost anyway for all value.
Would you excuse me just a minute, Mr. Speaker? I didn't really mean to.... Well, Mr. Speaker, this is a leg-hold trap. It's a terrible looking thing, Mr. Speaker, but I should tell the House that this trap is not legal any more. This is a bear trap, but it's still a leg-hold trap, big enough to catch a human being or a bear. Finally, even in those days, they decided that it was so horrible and gruesome that it was to be banned.
The thing was, you see, they had this huge chain and you used to chain it or wire it to a big log. After you caught your bear, the bear would pull it through until it finally got snagged or hooked up between two trees. What happened was that many people were mauled and some killed because these animals.... After all, if you caught a bear in a trap, what were you going to do? You couldn't kill it with a stick like you do a small animal. These bears had waylaid and mauled many, many people. Finally, because of the big teeth that you can see in the trap, it was barred, or outlawed, and to this day you cannot use one of these traps.
What I suggest, Mr. Speaker, is that even though this is a big trap, and that trap was outlawed, the small animal with the small trap is no different. Just because the small animal isn't attacking the human being is the only thing that's different between this trap and that small trap, or the bear and the small animal. In fact, it's the only excuse we've got to compare the two traps.
You know, it did take a lot of prodding for myself; my conscience was bothered. I did see the show, It Took Them So Long to Die, and it's taken me up until now to really come forth and make an effort on behalf of these small animals.
There are many crucial problems facing our government today, but I don't believe any of them are any greater than the importance of banning all leg-hold traps in this province. There has been some work done in other parts of Canada, in the other provinces; Ontario and Manitoba have educational programmes going on. But when you look at the situation today and the effort that has been made to ban the leg-hold trap, I think that we can look at many, many years before anything will really ever have been done.
So I'm urging our government to be the leaders in Canada to do away with and outlaw the leg-hold trap. There have been several people who have individually and without any financial help designed humane traps, but for some reason or other it has never seemed important enough to support these people.
I am sure that with any amount of help whatsoever, and especially with the facilities that we have available, we could design and exchange all leg-hold traps in this province with a humane trap. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
MR. E.O. BARNES (Vancouver Centre): I'm just
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looking over a note I received from somebody. I can't read the initials, but they are asking me to deputize somebody to go and find my fellow colleagues. As you know, I am the government Whip, and I guess since I'm stuck taking my turn as the final windup speaker for the day, everybody has taken off — and I can't do anything about it because I'm stuck here.
Maybe one of the first things I should request from my long list of concerns is to ask the Speaker to arrange in future for me to have an extra long mike stem, because I can't be bending over with my back problem.
Let me also take leave for a moment, Mr. Speaker, and welcome a couple of friends of mine who are in the gallery. These are two people I have known for quite some time and who have been very active in the welfare of the province and particularly in helping me work in youth programmes — Tom and Jenny Simons.
I'd also like to congratulate the Member for Omineca (Mr. Kelly) who, I thought, presented a very visual and effective presentation in describing the problems that we face in trying to make some humane decision about catching animals for commercial purposes for livelihood as compared to other responsibilities from the humanitarian standpoint. For the first time I was able to see the impact of this leg-hold trap. It is really a frightening thing to think we are still using that. He said you could even catch a human being; I'd hate to see that — especially one candidate trying to get away from his constituents. (Laughter.)
I have a long list of things, and I'm not quite sure where to begin except to say to you that this is the throne debate and, as such, we are permitted to speak at random about all kinds of things. I'm going to spend a bit of time on a couple of points, but I hope to mention quite a few, because the concerns are immense in my riding of Vancouver Centre.
Just today we have a fairly large contingent of tenants who are presently visiting the Legislature in the hopes of presenting their case, and, of course, their case is not unknown. It is one that those of us in the main metropolitan areas are very cognizant of, but certainly people all over the province in the various aspects of housing know some of the difficulties that tenants face. I don't intend to elaborate on the details of their many briefs, except to say that we can't keep dilly-dallying around forever because the cost of living is reaching such proportions that the desperate nature of living competitively is beyond the economic capacity to keep up. I think I would like to see tenants looked upon as citizens with a right to survive in this society in a non-competitive way, not having to struggle for shelter the same as we are apparently having to do for food, the same as we are apparently having to do for the basic essentials in life.
When I say "competitive," perhaps this doesn't sink in too well with some people. But just stop and think that if it was not for a whole lot of fighting by a lot of people we would be paying for hospital beds, for certain medicines — which we are still doing but we are hoping to improve in this area — and we would be paying for everything that we receive, for our very basic existence.
One other item that the Minister, perhaps in the Attorney General's department, will consider. These are, Mr. Speaker, some random things that I'm sort of warming up to, but I want to get them on the record and just make a comment or two about them. One is in the area of anti-litter.
I've driven in the countryside in this province — and as a matter of fact, in downtown Vancouver — and I find far too many abandoned vehicles all over the place, even in people's yards. I guess because automobiles are privately-owned there is some notion that there is nothing we can do, that they can abandon these things any place as long as they are on private property and not on public thoroughfares.
I think we can take another look at this. If we are going to give a licence then a licence should be supervised; licences for vehicles should not be something that is allowed to die. In other words, it should either be revoked or turned in or transferred or something, but it shouldn't be allowed to die, which apparently is often the case now.
There are too many cars that are not being renewed with a new licence plate and therefore abandoned. I don't think that should happen. I think the onus should be on the owners of motor vehicles and any other vehicle requiring a licence to be dealt with so that we can clean up. What is happening now is that an automobile that fails to return a profit or is no longer of use to an owner is simply abandoned because it costs them too much money to have it hauled away. You find these cars all over the place, in vacant lots, in backyards, over the banks on highways.
I would like to see some legislation in this area: if you have to get tough about it, maybe we should have a tax; if you don't want to apply for a licence maybe it should be taxed. But there's no leaving automobiles in an abandoned state.
Now in the case of antiques — something so old that you just want to keep it — maybe you should apply for a special permit to keep that without having to pay for it.
But in any event I think we should do something in that area.
MR. BARNES: Fine, as long as we organize it.
One other beginning thing that we are doing is the rehabilitation of old housing. The United Housing Foundation in Vancouver recently purchased a
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number of old, broken-down hotels. One was the Central Hotel at which I and the Minister without Portfolio responsible for housing (Hon. Mr. Nicolson) attended, and I was quite pleased with the approach. Instead of tearing down — especially with the cost of construction and so forth — they are beginning to recognize the advantage in reclaiming and recovering some of these structures that, by their very natures, have value to the community in terms of a mosaic. The United Housing Foundation is one of the organizations that is carrying out this kind of project.
I should add that they are doing this in the Central Hotel down on Cordova Street in the Gastown area. The present tenants are being accommodated elsewhere while the renovations take place. They don't have the same options as you would under this strata-title situation where you may ask them if they would like to purchase, if they can, in several months. What they have is a built-in rent control. In other words, they are suggesting that the rents will be somewhere between $45 and $65 per month, and that is a fixed price. This is beginning to have an effect on the spiralling cost of living, especially for rental purposes.
So I am pleased to see that approach in this complex problem of providing housing for our citizens.
[Mr. Speaker in the chair]
Here is one other little feature that perhaps the Minister of Highways (Hon. Mr. Lea) and maybe the Minister of Recreation and Conservation (Hon. Mr. Radford) might be interested in. It is more on the health and welfare side, or the sports and recreational side. I would like to see us pay more attention to other modes of transportation. It is incongruous, for us on the one hand to talk about the need for better transportation, for more massive movement of people, and trying to eliminate the private automobile and this kind of thing — rapid transit and so forth — and not recognize the role that the bicycle has to play in this whole matter.
As a matter of fact, we could sponsor the use of the bicycle, go so far as to build in a strip along the highway, say 18 inches or 2 feet, on all future highways. You'd cut down the hazard of people getting run over or being threatened or intimidated by reckless drivers.
I would like to see that. I ride my bike quite a bit, and I don't like to dodge the cars that much; I like to relax and feel that there is a place for me on the highway. I think that this would go a long way to encourage people to keep in good shape, to keep healthy. I think maybe the Minister of Health and Welfare (Hon. Mr. Cocke) would agree with that. But we'll have to include that in the budget — do something about it.
MR. GARDOM: Highways are too old-fashioned.
MR. BARNES: In connection with transportation — as I say, I've got all these shorts that I'm throwing in — but in connection with the transportation problem we'd better start taking a look at this, especially in my riding. I realize that you can't go holus bolus and do it all over the province — perhaps you can — but I would like to see us start out with a free transportation system or a free bus ride system downtown.
We've done a bit of work in this area with the park-and-ride, which is a similar kind of idea, and I think it's very good. We should have more park-and-rides. I think people are realizing that by the time they go through this carbon monoxide threat downtown, getting to buildings in this high-congested area, they would be more than willing to get on a bus and ride for 20 minutes or so to some area where park-and-ride is out of the city centre. They can get in their cars, after having had a chance to relax and not having to fight that traffic. People need a little time to unwind when they leave downtown, so I would like to see more of that.
Also I think it would be economically advantageous to make it easy for people to get downtown without having to take their car and then find a place to park; in fact it is impossible to find a place to park. Some of those places charge you a buck an hour to park. It's ridiculous.
So there is a real point to consider: free transportation, at least in certain areas. Experiment for a while. Try for six months in downtown Vancouver and see what happens. Include West Vancouver, especially coming across the First Narrows bridge. But we've got to start experimenting and stop talking. We're doing too much theorizing and not taking enough action in these areas. Sure, we're into virgin territory, we're doing things for the first time; but I would like to see us try a few.
Now again this is to the Attorney General (Hon. Mr. Macdonald). The Liquor Control Board, I think, is going to have to buckle down on certain of the operators who have licences. In the Gastown area particularly there are hotels that no longer bother to throw people out who come in with hard alcohol, hard liquor. They have a licence to serve beer, but everything is coming in now. Bottle clubs is what they are. They've turned them into cabarets. This is happening right downtown everyday.
There are fights galore, people are carrying knives, they're smoking opium pipes and having a real good time and this is happening on the licensed premises in Vancouver centre, right downtown today. I could take you and show you this is happening.
The thing is, we're in a position to stop this from happening. I don't think it's giving us a very good chance to demonstrate some of the other things that
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we would like to do, in terms of neighbourhood pubs and other concepts, if we can't control these places where people have licences and are abusing them in this way. In my opinion they're enemies of the people and to me this is a deliberate attempt to show that we can't do anything but get more rigid. Instead I think we're going to have to do it in the right areas because these are not friends of the people, those who are permitting all kinds of things that go on in these pubs. It is really deplorable. It's a sickening situation. I wish I had some film to show, the same as the Member for Omineca (Mr. Kelly) did with the leg-hold trap.
If you could just see the kinds of things that happen. If you could see the vanilla extract bottles for instance, in that riding, where those people are getting high on it. This is another area I think that the Liquor Control Board should look into, the handling of substances that contain a portion of alcohol, because apparently on the vanilla extract certain of the labels carry with them an alcoholic content that is quite popular among certain people. You can see boxes of these things in the alleys and lanes and, when we find that operators are carrying large stocks of these commodities in their stores, I think we should be concerned. I understand that the Vancouver City Police have, at the request of a special welfare committee in the City of Vancouver, been investigating in this area, but I couldn't get them to give me any details on their investigations, for obvious reasons. I'm pleased that they are concerned, but this isn't a new problem. This is a problem that has been going on, and it should be taken out of the hands of political bandying-about and something should be done.
[Mr. Dent in the chair.]
One other area, the field of public housing. For instance Nicolson Towers or MacLean Park and some of these public housing projects that we have in the past gleefully announced that we were participating in, these are some of the concrete monsters, the bastions or jails, or gaols or whatever you want to call them, that people are living in. In fact they're worse than jails because in jails, in their concrete enclosures, you have guards who look after your best interests and you can tell on somebody and get some help, but I understand that in Nicolson Towers some of our senior citizens are being robbed right at the door. Purse-snatching and all kinds of activities are going on.
In some of the family housing projects the same kinds of things are happening. It is not a happy, neighbourly atmosphere that we have in some of these housing projects. In fact we can find testimony to the error of our ways, particularly the past administration — because we haven't had a chance to really build any. But I'm very worried about our slipping into a role of expediency and allowing any further development in this way. These concepts have got to stop.
We're going to have to face it sooner or later because our social problems are manifold, compounded by the time we finish one of these housing projects. They call on the police to come and help, but how can the city police come into a housing project and supervise families and social problems? It's just a very awkward situation.
I receive calls, and I listen. I don't know what I can do, but it's bad. Probably what we should do, if we were bold enough to forget about the dollar for a moment, is move all these people out and put them in private environments where they can live and they can choose their neighbours and not be thrown together. We can't confuse the private type of accommodation, that is, the private rental accommodation where a person goes to a hotel or to an apartment block and applies for an apartment and gets it, because this is a built-in kind of system where you can choose the amount that you want to pay and that's fine if you can afford to pay.
But where we're trying to subsidize or assist people who are not able to compete successfully, then we're going to find another formula. That formula has its own build-in protection, by the very nature of the competitiveness of it. People can choose to stay at the Bayshore Inn if they want to, or they can go to the Central. If you're paying, you go where you want to. But people who have a fixed income, who are limited in their scope, need us, as legislators, to recognize the other factors that are involved in the locked-in situation in which they find themselves. They should not expect that they're going to be able to resolve these problems, because they're out of their hands. This is what sociology is supposed to be all about, the social scientists, the people with some insight into how the dynamics in the society really works — especially in a competitive one where the casualty rate is so high for those who don't make it. Well, so much for a warm-up. (Laughter.) I didn't have an opportunity to get it on the record, but I also would like to congratulate the Member for South Okanagan (Mr. Bennett) on his recent victory.
For the record, there are two very important issues in my riding and I would like to bring this assembly up to date on the matter. One deals with the site referred to as the Four Seasons site. This isn't new; in fact it's old hat. It's been going on for 10 years or more; everybody has been kicking this thing around.
But I think that too many of us are uninformed about what is happening. I think we're going to have to become a true public government, a government that really cares about the public, and we're going to have to inform the public. We're going to have to take the time to see that everyone has proper information
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in order to make decisions and not make assumptions. I think we've done that far too long.
In my opinion, the worst enemies of a democratic society, a society — that attempts to utilize democratic processes, are those individuals who become so concerned about succeeding in their various, varied and separate goals and objectives as to circumvent the processes involved in a truly democratic society. This involves the use of the plebiscite, of the referendum, it involves consultation, and it involves listening. As a matter of fact, one of the most difficult things about it is being able to sit and listen to everyone and have everybody trying to put their two-bits in, because it's a time-consuming thing. Too often we want to forget that and get on with making the decision. But I think that we find that we have to back up on too many decisions and we're having to reverse our position. It's no longer acceptable to be circumventing this process, not if we are going to make it a legitimate process.
Mind you, there are many of us who no longer have any idealism left. I can understand that because, as I said, the battle is difficult. But let's perhaps try once again to revitalize our enthusiasm and confidence in the system under which we live and attempt to inform the electorate and to have some confidence in their ability to make their own decisions.
Okay, I'm going to outline for you, then, a bit of the history and the aspects leading up to the present dilemma, the situation we find ourselves in with the Four Seasons site.
Any plan for urban development in a water-oriented city must take into consideration the proper use of that vital waterfront asset. In Vancouver, the water bodies fall under several different authorities, but the National Harbours Board controls Burrard Inlet, and it's here that controversy rages over the disposition of an area on Coal Harbour at the entrance to Stanley Park.
In 1930 the original Bartholomew plan recommended that the city acquire the waterfront area from Stanley Park past the present site of the Bayshore Inn for public purposes. And in 1946, the updated Bartholomew Report, the Board of Park and Public Recreation reaffirmed this recommendation re the Coal Harbour waterfront. In 1948 almost the entire site of the present Bayshore Inn was Crown-granted to Mrs. Isobel Gertrude Spencer for the sum of $1 and other due and valuable considerations, "Whereas said lands are not required for public purposes." Now it seems to me that they are required for public purposes right now.
Successive rezoning took place in order to allow for the present Bayshore Inn development. Fill was added and the actual Bayshore Inn site was originally under 15 feet of water at low tide. Having optioned the three-block area, that is 28 acres of land strip and water lots between the Bayshore site and Stanley Park, Webb and Knapp submitted a plan to public hearing in the Playhouse Theatre. Despite noisy opposition from the large gathering, council passed the developers' plan. Webb and Knapp subsequently went bankrupt, and no development took place.
In 1964, Harbour Park Developments Limited, a consortium of Peter Paul Saunders and John Saxon, Harold Foley and Interurban Properties acquired the privately held landstrip of approximately 7 acres plus a 63-year lease on the approximately 18 acres of federally-owned water lots between the Bayshore site and Stanley Park. The water lots are water-covered area under the control of the National Harbours Board and are supposedly protected for water-oriented harbour use. In this case, however, they were leased to Harbour Park Development Ltd. for non-harbour uses at the rate of 6 cents per square foot per year until 1985 and 14 cents thereafter. Due to a later outcry over the Four Seasons, the rate was raised to 16⅔ cents per square foot per year, which is still only a minute fraction of the effective rental rate paid by other developers with inferior locations.
Harbour Parks Development Limited came to public hearing with a proposed project, which the council passed. West End ratepayers, among others, opposed the plan and charged that Harbour Parks would not develop, but would build a publicly-owned water lot, that is, make them wider, thereby manufacturing real estate simply for private speculation. To understand what a water lot is in this particular area, you have a lot, say approximately 100 feet, maybe 150 feet which would be the foreshore. But at low tide or high tide you go out to a mythical line and you have another 100 feet or so. Now Bayshore Inn, if you look at it from an aerial view, sits far out beyond any other development in that area, which clearly points out that either they are on a natural peninsula or they've done some backfilling. The problem is that a backfill or a landfill will take place right along the other three remaining lots, causing the harbour to disappear or to be constricted to the point that it's virtually non-usable for water-oriented purposes. So this is one of the problems, that you buy a small piece of land, do a little manufacturing and you create three times the size you wanted at a steal — keeping in mind at all times that this land was originally donated for $1, provided it had no further use for public purposes.
[Mr. Speaker in the chair]
In 1969, Harbour Park Developments again came to public hearing and in a sense were given permission to turn over the remainder of their holdings to Four Seasons Hotels Ltd. This bore out the charge made by the West End ratepayers that Harbour Park Developments Limited were merely speculators and did not plan any actual development.
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The Four Seasons site totals 14.5 acres made up as follows: Harbour Park Developments, who own 4.03 acres; Harbour Park Developments, again the owner who purchased from the city .17 acres, again Harbour Park Developments that have a lease for 9.7 acres from the National Harbours Board, and the National Harbours Board itself, which owns 0.6 per cent totalling 14.5 acres. Prompted by public outcry, various community groups attempted to prevent sub-lease of water lots by the federal government from Harbour Park Developments Limited to Four Seasons Hotels Ltd.
On March 30, 25 briefs petitioned city council support. These briefs were from such widely diversified groups as the Board of Parks and Public Recreation, Vancouver, and the District Labour Council, Vancouver, Council of Women and the Community Arts Association. However, city council refused action and the following day, March 31, the sub-lease was signed. The Save the Entrance to Stanley Park Committee was then formed by citizens opposed to the Four Seasons Development.
In June, a city-wide plebiscite was held on the subject and 51.2 per cent of Vancouver ratepayers voted in favour of purchasing the Four Seasons site at the inflated price of $9 million. Although 60 per cent was needed it was readily admitted that, had the tenants had the right, as they now do, to vote, it would have passed.
In 1972, aware of the desire of many citizens to prevent the developers from proceeding, the federal government withheld signing the uncommitted water lot leases at the foot of Guildford Street, thereby frustrating the Four Seasons developers. The developers, unable to find a satisfactory alternative, withdrew, and the site reverted to Harbour Park Developments Limited.
In 1973, Dawson Developments Ltd. bought out the interest of its chairman, Graham Dawson, and his associates in Harbour Park Developments, for the sum of $6 million. Stating their intention to proceed with development plans, they requested guidelines from the city waterfront committee.
The city waterfront committee called a public hearing on August 2, and it suggested that the block between Chilco and Guildford Street next to Stanley Park be acquired by the city and used as public open space and/or park space. Council authorized the mayor and the chairman of this committee to negotiate with the federal government and owners of the property in question to implement the above recommendation. Development would be allowed on the second block and guidelines for such developments were set out.
I would just like to interject and say that at no point in all of these events have I heard any outcries from any other politicians. In fact, it even seems to be lost among its private citizens who are concerned enough about public land to say: what about going back and finding out how we gave this land away in the first place? As you can see, it is getting very expensive to start off at $1.
There were 17 briefs submitted by citizens' groups, of which 15 were in favour of the city requiring blocks, both blocks, for public use. An offer was put forward simultaneously by ex-mayor Rathie, now a Federal Harbours Board official, whereby the developer would gain ownership of the leased water lots in the second block in return for surrendering his leased water lot leases in the first block.
The city would then be offered the first block between Chilco and Guildford for $1,500,000 and Dawson Developments Limited would develop the block between Chilco and Denman. However, it was brought to the attention of the waterfront committee that a better offer had been turned down previously by the former civic leaders, NPA and council, and it was hoped that this proposal would die.
The Save the Entrance to Stanley Park Committee opposes any private development on this 14.5-acre site and, of course, I agree with them that 10 acres, which already belong to the people of Canada and such land that's in excess of harbour use should be used for the public interest and not for the benefit of the private few.
I know that these are old-hat words, but this is the whole issue. This is the idea of the land reform legislation that we have been talking about. This is the concern that we have when we take a look at our housing problem, because obviously land itself is the most important resource — often referred to erroneously, I am sure — by some people as a commodity to be bartered and to be traded.
In fact, it is a resource, contrary perhaps to some of the things that the Premier has said about resources not being renewable — that we have to keep them on or in the ground. Well, this is the ground.
These 99-year leases are not that renewable, as far as we are concerned — in our lifetime, that's for sure. They may be renewable in due course. But we have to be careful about letting public land go for any purpose other than for public use.
To continue, it further contends that an open waterfront approach should enhance the entrance to world-famous Stanley Park and that private residential development of this shoreline would repudiate the 60-year objective of Vancouver citizens of acquiring back waterfront property. Harbourland is a precious and irreplaceable resource both to the economy and to the amenity of people living in coastal cities. And marine basins, such as at Coal Harbour, should not be filled to extend residential, hotel and office buildings out into the harbour.
Converging traffic along Georgia Street, leading to the North Shore and into Stanley Park, creates a
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traffic bottleneck and inhibits park access. Development on the Coal Harbour waterfront, with no egress except onto this overburdened artery, would create an impossible situation. I would submit, from the point of view of the provincial government, that the Four Seasons site has a special role that we should all be aware of.
Proper use of land, in summary, is not just farmland or harbourland, but it is all land — residential and otherwise. That should be an example of our attitude in the Four Seasons site area.
Traffic bound for the North Shore, Squamish and the Sunshine Coast uses Georgia Street as access to Lions Gate Bridge. The proposed use of this site, as has been suggested, would cause traffic chaos on this already restricted route, to say the least.
Apparently some of the history of Stanley Park before the First Narrows Bridge was that people driving down Georgia Street would go into Stanley Park because they weren't going any farther. Now that was a different situation than we have today where they are bypassing Stanley Park. When we put that bridge up in that particular location, as I think we can see now, it may have been the best economical location from the standpoint of a construction problem; but it certainly has caused some problems for the quality of life.
Dawson Developments is making strong efforts to keep the property and to be allowed to develop it. The public announcement of the provincial government's willingness to participate in securing the area, perhaps not in terms of ownership but securing it for the right purposes — which means participation.... I am not suggesting that we buy, or whatever. But I am suggesting that we participate, that we take the leadership and speak out on behalf of the importance of the concept of use of public land for public purposes. So much for the record.
The records have to be used and I am hoping, as Hansard is distributed among the schools and the communities, that people will concern themselves with the kinds of things that are going on.
I am afraid, in looking at this Four Seasons situation, that there are a lot of unanswered questions. I can't see how something can go from $1 to anywhere from $10 million to $15 million in value. I think that that deserves an explanation. I think that we should all understand that — certainly the voters. Because the value had to be set when they held that plebiscite and ended up with 51.2 per cent of the voters being in favour of buying at $9 million. But that is $9 million from zero. Mind you, it took a few years. But I think that we should take a look and find out who is doing the assessing and what is going on when it comes to public money.
This raises the issue — the other point I wanted to talk about — the Dawson School site. As you know Dawson School, in the West End on Burrard and Nelson Street, is presently a subject of contention with the Vancouver School Board. They apparently were committed to a resolution in principle by the previous board under the old administration that it would be okay to sell the Dawson School site or, at least, lease it for 99 years to a Vancouver development corporation. I think it is also known as Concordia Enterprises of Toronto.
Now, they were talking about this as a means of generating revenue for educational purposes and that the Minister of Education had been consulted and someone else, and that we weren't interested in it. What I think is that we are interested — but that isn't the point. The point is that we are not under the old administration.
I have a friend.... Pardon me, Mr. Speaker, I must comment.... I should say a colleague...outside — the Second Member for Vancouver-Burrard (Ms. Brown) — who is gesturing at me, and I just had to comment on that. I know it is a little irregular — please don't rule me out of order — but she's saying that it is now after 5 p.m. and I am carrying on pretty well. I think she is suggesting that I am longwinded.
MR. BARNES: But I don't think so. I think what I am trying to do is give her some food for thought. I am trying to do my part as a Member of this assembly to let all the people know that, although we can't play the role as Minister, we can certainly lay the cards on the table and let the Ministers do the shuffling. Now mind you, if they don't lay them down right, we'll have the deck cut. We'll ask for a new deck. (Laughter.)
The Dawson School site has been put up and is really, in my view, a smokescreen for other things to come if the wrong decision is made. If we think that we are going to make money by renting out that site, leasing that site, for $150,000 — which, incidentally is $51,000 less than the possible earnings on a similar piece of property elsewhere, because they operate on an 8.5 per cent per annum basis.... This would be $51,000 less on the basis of the present assessed value of that site. In any event, I understand that it takes services to all of these properties, and it takes tax dollars to support them. So the illusion that we are generating revenue is offset by the subtle, behind-the-scenes supportive funds that have to go into supporting any kind of development.
So unless it is of essential value to that community, unless it has some relevance to the social planning and the organization of the people, and with input there, we could very well be subject to a game of manipulation and we are again being ripped off, to use a well-used phrase. I suggest that we return to the people of this province, particularly the local citizens,
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and have them understand what is happening with land that appears to be publicly owned but is always subject to someone who is trying to finagle a way of getting it off us.
You can bet all kinds of dollars that three, four or five years from now, if we find that our educational needs have changed and that we require a site in the West End for educational purposes, cultural or adult education, or even for a day-care centre, we are going to pay for that property. And it will be a lot more than what we think we are selling it or leasing it for now.
I am suggesting unequivocally that if we are going to survive under the democratic system and if the public is to have any protection at all, public land simply cannot be available for use for private purpose unless absolutely no other source or needs are required at any level — local, provincial or federal — for public purposes.
Together we can maintain the value and the interest on the public side. That is something we have got to begin to exercise, to carry out. I hope that on this Dawson site the public really understands what is happening.
To give you an example of how ridiculous the idea really is, you have the St. Paul's Hospital right down the street on Burrard. In the first place, you don't want a whole lot of noise in the area; you don't want a hotel or the type of activity that may happen in there a block away from the hospital. So that is certainly against that concept.
When you put in a commercial operation it would probably be at least a 5-1 floor-space rate, and they could, I understand, go as high as 12-1 because that's the present bylaw. As you know, the city has new guidelines recommending 1-1, which is still sane and at least reasonable. This would be a tremendously large operation on a very small area.
It is in a residential area, and that would change the value of land. Residents living in the West End face the constant problem of values going up on land because of commercial potential. The value of the land is seen by owners as having a commercial importance in it, so that landlords are always jogging around looking to come up with some kind of new deal to make more money out of the land because, let's face it, they can get it.
We have allowed development to get to the point where it is uneconomical, if not impossible, for ordinary people to live in the West End. If they do live there many are put in public housing or thrown into some place that has no amenities or is not properly protected, as the case would be in Nicholson Towers, where senior citizens are really subjected to a great deal of intimidation.
Well, I could go on, Mr. Speaker, with my views. I heard one of my colleagues say, "Don't bother." But I tell you, you do need to have a sense of humour in this House because it gets the best of all of us. (Laughter.)
I must say one thing in closing: I'm very pleased to say that the Minister of Municipal Affairs (Hon. Mr. Lorimer) has remained awake throughout the whole thing. (Laughter.) Thank you.
Mr. Gardom moves adjournment of the debate on behalf of the First Member for Vancouver–Point Grey (Mr. McGeer).
Introduction of bills.
AN ACT TO AMEND
THE CORPORATION CAPITAL TAX ACT
Hon. Mr. Barrett presents a message from His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor: a bill intituled An Act to Amend the Corporation Capital Tax Act.
Bill 21 read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
AN ACT TO AMEND
THE INCOME TAX ACT
Hon. Mr. Barrett presents a message from His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor: a bill intituled An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act.
Bill 23 read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
AN ACT TO AMEND
THE COLOURED GASOLINE TAX ACT
Hon. Mr. Barrett presents a message from His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor: a bill intituled An Act to Amend the Coloured Gasoline Tax Act.
Bill 25 read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
AN ACT TO AMEND THE PACIFIC
GREAT EASTERN SETTLEMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Barrett presents a message from His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor: a bill intituled An Act to Amend the Pacific Great Eastern Settlement Act.
Bill 22 read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
The House adjourned at 5:14 p.m.
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The following report is referred to on page 74 of the daily Hansard:
Your Select Standing Committee on Social Welfare and Education begs leave to report as follows:
The Standing Committee on Social Welfare and Education was called together on May 8 to study:
1. The present system of delivery of home care and related health services in this Province as follows:
(a) To ascertain the relationship of reduced acute-care hospitalization and home care; and
(b) to ascertain the relationship of need for extended care or special care where home care is provided.
2. Home care with a view to co-coordinating activities of the voluntary sector, the Health Department, and activities of the Department of Rehabilitation and Social Improvement.
3. Consider financing of all levels of home care.
4. Complete, as may be deemed necessary, the Consideration of any matters referred to the said Committee during the present session of the Legislative Assembly.
The Committee sat a total of 14 days, from May 8 to 31, 1973. It visited eight towns and heard 150 presentations and briefs. As a result of these hearings the Committee has established that a properly integrated home care service can bring about the more orderly use of hospital beds at all levels of care. The key to the success of any programme, however, lies in the concept of "proper integration." No one programme or indeed number of programmes developed in isolation will achieve the desired goals. Consequently, "proper integration" must include co-ordination of all services, equitable coverage for all levels of care, expanded health care facilities, the training and the better use of available as well as additional personnel, in the delivery of the service.
This report has been divided into the five sections which represent the areas in which this Committee has decided to make its major recommendations. In addition, the Committee recognized that certain presentations made were outside its venue, accepted these presentations, and would like to submit some additional recommendations for the consideration of this House.
The five major recommendations are:
1. Home-care programmes should be developed, particularly in the urban areas of British Columbia so that patients who can be treated efficiently at home will not be admitted to acute-care hospitals unnecessarily and so that patients in acute care hospitals can be discharged sooner to complete treatment at home.
2. The provision of intermediate care must be given highest priority by the Provincial Government.
3. The per diem coverage of all patients in acute care, extended care, or intermediate care (regardless of whether they are in an institution or at home) should be equitable. As well, patients treated, at home should not be penalized
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and the necessary professional care of nurses, physio therapists, technicians, and doctors together with drugs and appliances must be provided at the same cost to the patient as would apply if the patient were in an acute-care hospital.
4. The Government should provide a pilot cost-free training programme for those students An medical, paramedical, and related fields, who upon graduation would be willing to accept assignments to one of the under- or unserviced areas of the Province.
5. The proper and continued co-ordination of all health education and human resource services must be undertaken.
Throughout the hearings of the Health Committee one prominent gap in the existing scope of hospital facilities was mentioned again and again in every community visited. That gap is the lack of appropriate facilities for the provision of intermediate care and the lack of any Provincial Government financial assistance to the patients receiving intermediate care, unless they are in receipt of social assistance, Until recent years it was traditional that almost all patients requiring any type of hospital care were admitted and treated in an acute general hospital, so called. The patient remained there from the onset of the acute illness through all phases including convalescence. With the tremendous increase in the costs of building and operating acute-care hospitals, it has become clear that in order to make efficient and economical use of such expensive facilities, and in order to utilize taxpayers' dollars wisely, only patients in need of acute care should be treated there. When the truly acute phase of the illness has passed, the patients should be treated in some other appropriate facility where the care provided and the costs of that care are commensurate with the need of the patient.
With this realization has come the clearer awareness that patients suffer from differing levels or intensities of illness which, accordingly, require differing levels or intensities of care, in differing types of hospital. In brief, the challenge to planners of health services is to provide the appropriate level of care required by the patient, in the appropriate type of hospital or facility for the appropriate length of time, no more, no less.
As a result of this concept differing levels of care have been defined as follows:
A. Acute care — For patients requiring continuous physician and professional nursing care in an environment providing special diagnostic and treatment. facilities.
B. Activation and rehabilitation — For patients who can benefit from a planned and intensive programme or physical rehabilitation.
C. Extended care — For patients requiring prolonged skilled nursing service 24 hours a day.
D. Intermediate care — For patients requiring 24-hour a day personal care but not 24-hour a day skilled nursing service.
E. Boarding home — For individuals requiring a protected environment without any medical services other than those usually provided for the general population.
It can well be argued that the levels of care as defined are artificial and that the condition of patients cannot be placed into-such clearcut compartments. This
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kind of bureaucratic approach, however, has been forced upon provincial governments for the very powerful reason that the Federal Government shares the costs of acute and extended care fifty-fifty with the provincial governments. In order to decide the cases in which the costs will be shared by the Federal Government, some kind of classification and definition (however imperfect), of the care needed, has to be used. The resulting injustice which exists today is that patients receiving acute care or extended care pay $1 per day (the remainder per diem cost ranging from $20 to $75 is paid by B.C. Hospital Insurance Service from tax-collected dollars). Patients requiring intermediate care receive no financial assistance whatever from the B.C. Hospital Insurance Service, unless they are in receipt of Social Assistance, in which case the Department of Human Resources pays the cost. The patient in the middle income group is severely penalized by having to pay the total cost, ranging from $400 per month upwards.
At every town where hearings were held, it was made abundantly clear that there is a shortage of facilities for the provision of intermediate care and that very few patients can afford, for any length of time, to pay the costs involved of several hundred dollars per month. Time and time again the inequitable financing arrangements, elements which now exist to favour the acute or extended care patients as compared to the intermediate care patients were emphasized. The outstanding inequity lies in the fact that the wealthy and the welfare recipient can receive the kind of care they require without serious financial difficulty, but patients in the middle income group requiring intermediate care are compelled to use up their life's savings. Spouses are often compelled to sell the family home to meet the cost of the required care.
The Committee was unanimous in its opinion that such an inequitable situation must end and that of all the proposals for improved health services to be brought forward by the Committee, the recommendations regarding intermediate care must be given the highest priority by the Provincial Government.
The Committee learned of the importance of locating different levels of care reasonably close to one another and where possible in the same building complex, since patients, as their condition changes, require to move from one facility to another. More specifically, this means that facilities should be located close to one another and in the ideal situation, the complex should provide a combination of self-care accommodation with some minimal super-vision, intermediate care and extended care, the total complex being located in a fairly central part of the community, with proximity to shops, services, bus routes, and recreational facilities. This kind of desirable complex is exemplified by the project presently being developed in Penticton. When the patient proceeds with the passage of time to require a greater degree of care and supervision be or she can move from one facility to another within that complex, but still retain the companionship and support of friends living nearby. Easy access of friends and relatives to the elderly is a most important human consideration- in the planning of appropriate facilities for all our senior citizens, whether or not they require some measure of nursing care.
Where nonprofit organizations take initiatives by building intermediate care facilities, great care should be taken to prevent unreasonably high debt charges, as was demonstrated very clearly to the Committee in the example of the Tom Uphill Home in Fernie.
Nursing homes require priority consideration. It is clear to the Committee from its hearings that the patient who has no choice but to seek care in a nursing
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home is a victim of discrimination in comparison to the patient receiving care in an acute care or extended care hospital. Not only is the financial burden severe, but in general (there are exceptions) these institutions are not accredited by any supervisory body as to the standard of care provided.
The ratio of R.N.'s to patients is less than that in acute and extended care hospitals, while non-R.N. staff are generally less welt trained and have less experience. This is because, in general, the minimum wage only is paid to the nursing aides, a fact which in turn leads to a frequent turnover in staff in these nursing homes. The frequent turnover of staff has a severe effect on the elderly, who not only need and depend upon the support of familiar faces but also require continuity and consistency in the pattern of their care.
A nursing home programme has been in effect in Alberta for several years, which provides high quality care and financial assistance to patients to meet the costs. Several citizens appearing before the Committee commented upon and praised the obvious merits of the Alberta Nursing Home Programme. Its operation by non-profit organizations within a regionalized setting will be mentioned in the recommendations of this Committee.
In the field of intermediate care it is difficult to measure the existing amount of unmet need, or to project the steadily increasing need which results from an ever increasing survival of the elderly citizens, due to medical and scientific advances.
Some existing data is on record, however, and some estimates can be projected for the additional annual cost to the Provincial Government, if intermediate care coverage were to be provided (see Appendix I).
A flaw, in trying to calculate costs, relates to the unmet need in our Province today. During Committee hearings it became clear many persons really requiring some measure of nursing care in an intermediate care facility are presently being looked after in various residential facilities and boarding homes, usually because these elderly persons cannot afford the cost of a nursing home. They really do need the level of nursing care and supervision provided in a nursing home. If Government insurance coverage were made available for intermediate care, there would undoubtedly emerge a number of elderly persons who require that level of care but are presently subsisting as best they can, in other types of accommodation where their general level of care does not meet their needs. The number probably equals the number presently receiving intermediate care in the nursing homes and private hospitals in the Province, that is 1,200. It is impossible, however, to define this figure accurately, but some such approximate figure should be considered when attempting to calculate the cost of providing intermediate care for all citizens who genuinely require it. Useful data could be obtained from the experience of the Alberta Nursing Home Programme.
Present Methods of Financing
The Committee heard various comments around the Province regarding the present method of financing extended care, in which the patient pays $1 per day, when the actual cost averages $21 per day.
Extended care provides for all the essential needs of the patient, with the exception of personal expenses such as clothes, toothpaste, shampoos, telephone calls, reading materials and the like. The essentials such as food, shelter, heat, light, drugs, nursing, and medical care are provided for $1 per day. This certainly would seem to give the extended care patient a great financial advantage, for example, over an elderly husband and wife, trying to meet all their needs on $400 per month, while living in their own home and paying all the bills for food, shelter, heat and light.
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Some persons appearing before the Committee felt that the $1 per day charge to the patient for extended care couldn't be increased without hardship to the patient. However, the Committee is aware that this would apply only where the patient and spouse (or dependent) each receive $200 per month. If extended care patients in this category were to pay a larger fraction of the actual cost of their care, this increased contribution would be available to finance the cost of providing intermediate care coverage in nursing homes.
In attempting to bring about fair, equitable financing of all levels of hospital care, the Provincial Government should also review the present patient contribution per day for acute care.
1. The Provincial Government should provide financial coverage for intermediate care presently being provided in nursing homes and private hospitals.
2. The Alberta Nursing Home Programme, having been in successful operation for several years, should be studied closely. Members of the Select Standing Committee should visit Alberta, and with the ready cooperation of the Alberta Government, assess the programme as a basic model for a similar programme in British Columbia.
3. Hospital care facilities should not be operated for private financial gain. To this end, the Provincial Government in cooperation with non-profit bodies should be responsible for the provision of intermediate care facilities. The capital costs could be provided on the same formula as exists for acute and extended care units, namely Provincial Government pays 60 per cent and local sources 40 per cent.
These facilities could be operated on the same basis as existing acute and extended care facilities, by local boards of management composed of some members elected locally and some appointed by local bodies and municipalities.
These facilities would come under the same system on inspection and subdivision of standards as acute and extended care hospitals.
Planning and integration of such facilities for each region should be under the direction of regional hospital boards, since planning and creation of such facilities is but an integral part of the effective planning and creation of all the required hospital facilities for each region.
The whole purpose of hospital insurance is to ensure that high quality care is available to all who need it, and that no patient shall suffer financial hardship as a result.
The Committee proposes that extended care and intermediate care coverage be made available to qualifying patients at an equitable cost per day to the patient.
Nursing and medical care provided in the home setting is an integral part of the total range of services which should be available to patients in our present society. Home care represents but one level of care in the total number of levels of care, as already defined.
It is an important level of care for two specific reasons. One, it is often the most appropriate place for the treatment, inasmuch that the patient is most contented and most comfortable in his or her own home and thus is most likely to respond well, and secondly, in attempting to spend the health care dollar in the most judicious
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and economical fashion, if we make home care available, it means that either the patient may avoid the disrupting and expensive experience of being admitted to hospital or, once in hospital, may be able to be discharged sooner than otherwise, thus making the acute care bed available for another patient who really needs it.
In recent years patients have been led to believe that they can only be treated property and efficiently within the confines of an acute care hospital. This is true only if they are acutely ill, but all illnesses are not acute, and acute illness in the course of treatment becomes less acute and later convalescent, at which times it becomes reasonable and economically sound to treat the patient in the home, provided the appropriate nursing, medical and paramedical support services are made available to the patient and family. As stated earlier, modern health care programmes must provide the appropriate level of care, in the appropriate facility, for the appropriate length of time.
When it becomes appropriate for the patient to leave the acute care hospital, acute care no longer being needed, the patient should not be penalized financially be receiving the substitute of convalescent care in the home. It is not equitable if the patient, paying $1 per day in the hospital is faced with the cost of nursing, physiotherapist and paramedical services amounting to about $25 per day in the home.
Present pilot programmes providing home care in certain parts of British Columbia have proved conclusively that patients can be discharged earlier from acute hospitals if the appropriate nursing, medical and paramedical services are made available in the home.
The deficiency of the pilot programmes is that they apply only to patients who are leaving hospital. The programmes do not apply to patients who really do not need to be admitted to hospital if the required home care services were available to them in the first place.
Evidence provided to the committee in its hearings in several centres made it very clear that if home care services were available two worthwhile results would follow. One, many patients who might otherwise be admitted to an acute care bed would be treated comfortably, efficiently at home, and secondly, patients who really did require an acute care bed could be discharged sooner to complete their treatment at home.
Both of these results are entirely contingent upon the necessary nursing, medical and paramedical services being made available in the home, at no financial penalty to the patient, compared to the patient's expense while in hospital.
It was made clear to the committee repeatedly that the existing situation in which the hospital patient pays $1 per day for total care does not encourage, in fact discourages, the patient from completing treatment at home, where the cost of nursing, physiotherapy and medications may be at least $25 per day. This figure is well below the daily cost of acute care, which in the cities of Vancouver and Victoria is now around $75 per day.
In rural areas where the personnel required to provide the skilled home services may have to travel long distances, the net cost, if the registered nurse, the physiotherapist, the family physician and homemaker are all involved, may well exceed the daily cost of care in the acute hospital. Experience shows that in such rural areas it would not only be more difficult to provide the required personnel, but the cost, depending on the range of home services required, might exceed the cost of acute hospital care.
In the urban areas, however, an integrated home care programme would undoubtedly enable more patients to be treated effectively and comfortably enable
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more patients to be treated effectively and comfortably in their homes. These costs of home care must be met by Government financing in the same way that the patient's costs while in the acute care hospital are covered, If home care programmes are adopted widely, one important consequence to the acute hospitals must be recognized. Patients when they are no longer acutely ill would be discharged to home care. Consequently, all or almost all of the patients in the acute care hospital would indeed be acutely ill and would require a great deal of care from nurses and paramedical personnel. There would thus be a need to increase the number of trained personnel, nurses, technicians, physiotherapists and related professionals to cope with the needs of the patients, all of whom would be in the acute phase of their illness. This would clearly result in an increase in the cost of operating acute care hospitals. However, such hospitals are the most expensive to build and the most expensive to equip, but if all the patients in acute care hospitals were in fact acutely ill, then this would represent the most efficient use of such expensive facilities and equipment. Furthermore, communities would not proceed as they have done in the past to construct more and more acute care facilities when the real need is to expand home care programmes as well as provide facilities for other levels of care, such as intermediate and extended care.
And so while the cost of acute care would increase, the overall per patient cost of providing the total range of levels of care would decrease. Most important of all, patients would be receiving the appropriate length of time, which must be the goal of all modern health care planning.
1. Home care programmes should be developed, particularly in the urban areas of British Columbia, so that patients who can be treated efficiently at home will not be admitted to acute care hospitals unnecessarily and so that patients in acute care hospitals can be discharged sooner to complete treatment at home.
2. Patients treated at home must not be penalized financially. The necessary professional care of nurses, physiotherapists, technicians and doctors, together with drugs and appliances, must be provided at the same cost to the patient as would apply if the patient were in an acute care hospital.
Persons on extended care in private hospitals or nursing homes (who are not receiving welfare) are responsible for the entire cost themselves. This is also true for patients requiring intermediate care, sent home after surgery, or having recovered sufficiently to leave hospital but still in need of daily nursing care. Private hospital costs can be prohibitive, but so can ancillary costs of home care. They may include any or all of the following — nursing, homemaker service, occupational, speech- or physiotherapy, dietary counselling, meals-on-wheels. It may also include self-financing of dressings, supplies and drugs otherwise obtainable in the hospital.
It has been pointed out over and over that the use of acute care beds for intermediate and extended care is one of the things that tends to increase the cost of health services. However, it has alternately been suggested by doctors and paramedics that the exclusive use of acute care beds for acute care alone would not necessarily decrease the cost of the service, but it would release more acute beds for the purpose for which they are intended.
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The cost of service of acute care patients is at its peak during the first three or four days, after which time it drops sharply. Thus, if the stay in acute care beds is shortened, it will mean more intensive usage by acute care patients, thus increasing the daily cost of these beds.
1. Where the patient does not require an acute care bed but must attend the hospital for tests and/or treatment, e.g., laboratory, X-ray, E.C.G., physiotherapy, etc., this level of care could be accommodated in a hotel- or motel-type unit, with the costs of such accommodation being borne by BCHIS.
2. That the per diem premium of all patients in acute, care, extended care or intermediate care (regardless of whether in an institution or at home) be made equitable.
3. That annual check-ups be included under medicare.
4. That ambulance costs should be equalized throughout the Province, regardless of distance; and that ambulance service between hospitals be paid for under BCHIS.
Co-ordination of Services
The members of the Committee accept the fact that much of medicine is related to social needs. Yet everywhere that we travelled we found a proliferation and duplication of services, each operating with very little regard for, and in many instances very little knowledge of, each other or the clients whom they were serving. We found the liaison between the health services and the Department of Human Resources in all areas, although improving, to be at best fragile and tenuous, and as a consequence it was not unusual to find some persons being overserviced while others received no services at all. In all instances it seemed that the level of paramedical or social service which a patient received was directly related to the patient's or to his or her doctor's knowledge of and ability to use existing resources. In the large urban centres where duplication of services was the most acute, this factor did not work in the best interest of the patient, but indeed the greater fragmentation resulted in more people falling between the cracks of services offered. Many of these "cracks" are being identified by LIP groups in the community, but their uncertain funding serves only to aggravate rather than improve the situation which they are attempting to alleviate, e.g., community transportation services, King Edward Project.
1. That there should be the co-ordination of social and health services on a local, regional and Provincial basis. And, that integration of services should be undertaken in those instances where there is clear evidence of duplication. Services requiring mutual co-ordination include: Homemaker service, meals-on-wheels, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, LIP and other volunteer services to the aged and handicapped, dental services, nutritional counselling services, hospital equipment loan, drug subsidy and transportation.
2. That attempts be made to standardize the training and provision of all medical, paramedical and related services on a Province-wide basis.
3. That a co-coordinator be attached to all hospitals whose responsibility it would be to design a co-coordinated plan of services for each patient leaving the hospital.
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The Committee witnessed great discrepancies in the levels of organization, training, pay and care offered by homemaker services throughout the Province. It recognized that the quality and calibre of the service offered was determined by the degree of cooperation maintained by the doctors, social workers and their respective departments with the homemaker director as well as on the source and degree of funding which the service received. The Committee was very impressed by the variety of types of work which homemakers were being called upon to do — ranging from mother's helper to practical nurse and mental health aide. The Committee was also made aware that although there was Government financial aid for low-income families needing this service, this aid was not extended to middle-income families even in those instances where this support would mean the difference between having the service or not. All the members of the Committee acknowledge that homemaker service is an indispensable component of any successful home care programme and would like to recommend:
1. Standardization of training for all homemakers — based on a curriculum designed on a continuum ranging from minimum training for those homemakers acting primarily as mother's helpers to maximum training for those homemakers administering basic nursing care. All homemakers should be registered, their training and experience taken into account, and their salaries adjusted accordingly.
2. In a case where the services of the homemaker are required, such costs should be accepted as part of the medical treatment plan and consequently should receive coverage under BCHIS.
Services to the Physically Handicapped
Handicapped persons find that personal disabilities incur a great financial and emotional drain on their families as well as on themselves. It is the feeling of the Committee that society at large must share to a greater extent in the support and development of these children and adults. It therefore recommends that in providing home care, the Government take into consideration the delivery of (a) drugs and appliances (braces for children, etc.) and (b) vacation and transportation costs, in whole or in part, as part of its responsibility.
Recognizing that there are many handicapped persons who cannot live at home, the Committee also recommends the development of greatly expanded residential and hospital facilities to meet the growing needs in this area.
Licensing of Home-Care Facilities
In the interest of brevity, this segment of the report shall be submitted in outline form. It will list several observations first, then several improvements and finally the conclusive recommendation of the Committee.
1. There is an urgent need for licensed homes for home-care facilities.
2. The need is apparent in every facet of medical care but is most obvious in the field of care for the retarded and the mentally disturbed.
3. Private homes are available.
4. It is more desirable to place the convalescent patient into a "home" atmosphere than to place him in an institutionalized atmosphere.
5. Very few homes operate as a single-placement or one-patient home.
6. Some homes (non-institutional) are enrolling as many as nine patients.
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7. Licence procedures are taking as long as three years to complete.
8. A few homes are operating on interim permits.
9. Present licensing prerequisites are creating institutions out of otherwise desirable homes.
10. Some homes, otherwise ideal, do not qualify for licensing because of prohibitive cost of conforming to the code in areas such as: (a) window size; (b) exit lights, (c) extra doorways, (d) stair widths, (e) extra bathroom facilities, and (f) fire gongs.
11. Private homes, normally accommodating a family of seven or eight members are deemed inadequate for home care if more than two patients wish to receive care at that location.
12. Licence procedures require reports from several different officials: e.g., public health, fire inspector, electrical inspector, building inspector, human resources, municipal zoning, etc. Some of these officials reside in distant areas, and coordination is a severe problem.
13. A home for four persons is judged by the same criteria as a residence for 300.
14. There is presently no provision under BCHIS for compensation for this level of care.
15. There is a lack of information on the receiving family.
1. A faster, more efficient system of licensing needs to be developed.
2. In determining suitability of a home, equal attention should be given to the suitability of the receiving family as well as to the facility itself.
3. Since the per diem operating expense of a licensed home care facility can work a hardship on smaller homes, the method of payments should be reviewed.
4. The per diem rate should be provided through the Health Department, preferably under the BCHIS.
5. Each home should enrol only as many patients as the facility or the family can endure, whichever is the lesser number.
6. Determining of the suitability should be accomplished by one or two persons, preferably an inspector of community services in conjunction with the local representative of the Human Resources Department.
7. Permits should be issued at the time of inspection or within a few days in order to help area representatives with their heavy load of referrals.
8. Prevailing local conditions should be considered in determining
suitability of a family.
In conclusion, it is the consensus of this Committee that home care can and will provide a much needed level of medical care, and that home care will free five per cent to 10 per cent of the acute care beds presently being occupied by the patients who could better be cared for in a designated home.
Further, it is agreed that the licensing procedure for designating home-care units needs proper revision. The present backlog of licence applications needs to be processed forthwith.
Finally, the committee would suggest that great consideration be given to placing home care under the financial responsibility of the BCHIS.
Pooling and Lending of Hospital Equipment and Drugs
The purpose of the hospital lending equipment would be the promoting of even better and faster patient care back in the home. Continuity, familiarity, a positive and congenial home atmosphere are crucial for healing.
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To ease this transition from hospital to home, the hospital could ensure that its patients, when released, have the same essential medications, drugs and equipment in their home until healed.
Hospitals' outpatient services are central to a community and already enjoy community recognition and support. A good deal of this is volunteer support through the Red Cross, Cancer Society, CARS, hospital societies, etc.
1. Existing hospital equipment needed for home care should be augmented, and a manager hired to keep inventory and co-ordinate a lending service in all hospital districts (the Prince George and other large hospitals already have a central supply depot that promotes the control, repair and movement of equipment between hospital departments). Homes, private rest homes/hospitals and nursing homes within a hospital district should be eligible for this equipment lending service. A small fee or deposit by the patient could be included as part of the service — but the fee should not hinder the home-care option. If BCHIS could underwrite the capital costs, especially for the permanently handicapped, then parents of children with polio, cerebral palsy and other handicaps could be relieved of the burden of canvassing for braces, shoes and other equipment. There should be Federal cost sharing of such a hospital-centred and -initiated home-care equipment lending scheme.
2. Hospital districts should be more involved in pooling and sharing ambulance services as well as other types of service transportation which would be of value to handicapped, OAP and low-income groups in the community.
3. The hospital pharmacy should become more vital in the home-care service. The British Columbia Purchasing Commission could make bulk purchases of generic drugs and keep a master "drug bank" in Victoria, Vancouver and Prince George. The hospital pharmacy could then be in a position to resupply dressings and drugs to authorized patients.
4. The practice of cancer patients receiving dressings from the Cancer Society stations in most hospitals should be continued and encouraged.
The Committee recognizes that the implementing of a wise, comprehensive home-care service in this Province will take time and will necessitate the expenditure of large sums of money. It also recognizes that the most fundamental barrier to this implementation lies in the present Federal and Provincial cost-sharing system. It accepts that the real responsibility of the Province is to design and supervise the delivery of a total health-care service, and accepts that it is often impossible to do so satisfactorily because of the present funding system. Therefore, the Committee recommends that a first step in the delivery of a comprehensive home-care service be the review and restructuring of the present Federal/Provincial cost-sharing formula.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
Rosemary Brown, Chairwoman
As of December 31, 1972, there were 2,979 patients in private
hospitals and nursing homes. For ease of calculation a round figure of
3,000 will be assumed. Government studies show that the condition of
approximately 60 per cent of these patients qualified them for care in
an extended care hospital, if such extended care beds were available,
i.e., 1,800 patients.
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At present, 305 extended care beds are under construction; 948 are being planned. The average daily cost of care in an extended care hospital is $21. Thus, the projected annual cost of care for those 1,800 patients now in private hospitals but qualified for extended care coverage would be: 1,800 × 365 × $21 = $13,797,000.
However, 42 per cent of these patients are presently on welfare, with the Provincial Government paying $11.95 per day to the private hospitals for their care: i.e. 42% of 1,800) × 365 × $11.95 = $3,311,280.
Hence the net increase in annual costs of providing extended care coverage to these 1,800 patients will be: $13,797,000 – $3,311,280 = $10,485,720. This is the sum the Government is committed to, once the required extended care beds are built.
Of the 1,200 patients in private hospitals who do not qualify for extended care coverage, approximately 42 per cent (504) are on welfare. The present annual cost to the Government is, therefore, 504 × 365 × $11.95 = $2,207,502.
If ALL intermediate care patients were covered at the rate of $11.95 per day, the additional annual cost to Government would be for 696 patients (1,200 – 504), i.e., 696 × 365 × $11.95 = $3,048,480.
One serious flaw in these calculations lies in the fact that $11.95 is not a realistic figure for the daily cost of intermediate care, if good quality care is to be provided. This present minimal figure encourages the employment of low-paid, poorly trained staff, resulting in a low standard of care.
The average daily cost of extended care is $21, and while the intensity of care required by intermediate care patients is less than for extended care, it is doubtful if good-quality intermediate care can be provided for $11.95 per day.
PROJECTED PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT COSTS OF INTERMEDIATE CARE
|For patients now paying privately............................||$3,048,480||
|For probable 1,200 persons who might qualify........||$5,256,000||
|Total........................................ ........................ .||$8,304,480||
Thus in round figures, the increased costs which would be incurred by providing intermediate care coverage would approximate $10,000,000 per year.
As of July 30, 1973, the number of extended care beds available in the Province totals 3,029.
If the contribution by the patient were raised from $1 per day to $3 or $5 per day, certain additional sums of money would be available for the financing of intermediate care.
PATIENT CONTRIBUTIONS FROM EXTENDED CARE BEDS, ANNUALLY
|Present contribution at $1 per day||3,029 × 365 × $1 = $1,105,585|
|Projected contribution at $3 per day||3,029 × 365 × $3 = $3,316,755|
|Projected Increase of Contributions = $2,211,170|
|Projected contribution at $5 per day||3,029 × 365 × $5 = $5,527,925|
|Projected Increase of Contribution = $4,422,340|
If the probable total number of intermediate care patients also paid $5 per day, their contribution would total:
|1,896 × 365 × $5 = $3,460,200|
Therefore, if extended care and intermediate care patients paid $5 per day, the annual sum of money contributed by these patients would be:
|$4,422,340 + $3,460,200 = $7,882,540|
One-half of this ($3,941,270) would be offset revenue since Federal contributions of 50 per cent are calculated AFTER patient contributions have been deducted from total costs.
The NET increase in cost to the Provincial Government would be:
|$10,380,600 – $3,941,270 = $6,439,330|
Pilot projects in home care are being experimented with in Vancouver and Victoria. Home care appears to be used to a greater extent than ever before and looked upon with favour
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as a suitable alternative to hospital care (whether private or public). Doctors and nurses seem to agree that most patients, under normal circumstances, are happier and recover more rapidly at home.
In Victoria, 50 per cent of all surgery is dune on a day care basis.
Home care for diabetics is now being used in Victoria and through Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver.
Simon Fraser Health Unit (Vancouver) has worked on a pilot project of home care. This home care project is restricted to patients who can save hospital days. Time limits set for home care are equivalent to the approximate number of hospital days that would be saved. Extension of time for care can be given on recommendation of the doctor or co-coordinating nurse. Seven hundred and fifty-four (754) patients have participated in the programme over a six-month period; the cost average approximately $9.86 per diem (Hansard — Vancouver Hearing p. 16). Compared to this, the cost of an acute care bed in Royal Columbian Hospital was quoted between $71 and $75 per diem. The services for the home care project include nursing, homemaker, meals-on-wheels, physiotherapy, drugs, dressings, transportation. All patients receive these services as needed, but not all were needed by each patient.
It was suggested that a programme of this type could reduce pressure on hospital beds by as much as 10–20 per cent.
This type of programme could be expanded to take people before they are admitted to hospital. This is particularly applicable to extended care patients not requiring intensive treatment and wishing to remain in their own homes.
If home care were underwritten and the volume increased, the programme of ancillary service teams would have to be stepped up. It is fair to say that if home care were provided to give quality intermediate care, there would necessarily be a financial outlay. It would be unjust if it were to be borne by the family involved.
Members of the Standing Committee on Social Welfare and Education — Ms. Rosemary Brown, Chairperson; Mr. Peter Rolston, Secretary; Mr. Emery Barnes; Mr. Colin Gabelmann; Hon. Gary Lauk; Mrs. Daisy Webster; Hon. Dennis Cocke; Hon. Eileen Dailly; Hon. Norman Levi; Mrs. Pat Jordan; Mr. Robert McClelland; Mr. Harvey Schroeder; Mr. David Brousson; and Mr. G. Scott Wallace.
The Standing Committee on Social Welfare and Education would like to acknowledge receipt of the following briefs and heartily thank all those individuals who helped to make the tour such a success.
Cariboo Memorial Hospital, Williams Lake; G. R. Baker Memorial Hospital, Quesnel; Home Care Delivery Systems, Prince George and District Hospital Society; Northern Interior Health Unit, Facility for Handicapped Children, Home Care Projects, Meals on Wheels, Nursing Care Programme; 100 Mile House District Hospital; Mrs. Janet Wilson.
Advice Service Kelowna, Committee of the Central Okanagan Social Planning; Boarding Home Management; Community Services, Meals on Wheels; cooperative Community Services, Penticton and District Health and Welfare Association; Curriculum Model for Family Life Education, South Okanagan Health Unit; Family Life Education in Kelowna; Geriatric Care, South Okanagan Union Board of Health; Home Care Pilot Project, Kamloops; Homemakers Service Association of the Kootenays, Mrs. P. Orton; Intermediate Care Demonstration Project, Kelowna; Intermediate Care Facilities in the Vernon Area, Registered Nurses Association of B.C.; Kelowna Homemaker Service; Kootenay Society for Handicapped Children; Mental Health Centre, A. I. Holmes; Mental Health Centre, Model for Family Life Education in Kelowna, Dr. Barnes; Penticton Regional Hospital; Penticton and District Retirement Service; Penticton and District Health and Welfare Association; Project Integration; Royal Inland Hospital, Utilization Team Report; South Okanagan Health Unit, Annual Report; South Okanagan Nursing Care Programme; South Okanagan Health Unit Licensing of Community Care Facilities; Stillwaters Private Hospital, Kelowna; The Community Resources Model vs. The Medical Resources Centre Model, Department of Human Resources.
Creston Valley Homemaker Services; East Kootenay Health Unit; Home Care, Cranbrook Homemaker Service; Kimberley and District Homemakers Society.
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Boarding Home Care, Maple Ridge Mental Health Centre; Boarding Home Programme, Mental Health Branch; Central Fraser Valley Homemaker Service Society; Community Health Needs Inventory, Chilliwack Medical Society; Community Services, Matsqui and District of Abbotsford; Home Care and Related Health Services, Mr. A. E. Bingham, Department of Human Resources; Home Care and Related Health Services, Maple Ridge Hospital Association; "Home Care," Chilliwack Community Services; Introduction of the Integrated Complex, Mennonite Benevolent Society; Maple Ridge–Pitt Meadows Homemakers Service; Matsqui–Sumas–Abbotsford General Hospital; Meals on Wheels, Ms. C. P. Bell; Medical Staff, Mission Memorial Hospital; MSA Community Services, Mission Community Services, Volunteer Bureau's Home Care Programme; Mount Cheam Senior Citizens Association; Proposal for a Home Aide Programme Utilizing the Presently Existing Homemaker Service Programme, Central Fraser Valley Mental Health Centre; Public Health Nurses of Central Fraser Valley Health Unit; Public Health Nurses of the Upper Fraser Valley Health Unit; Upper and Central Fraser Valley Health Units; Upper Fraser Valley Health Unit Anual Report; Volunteer Instruction Programme.
Adult Day Care Centre, North Shore; A. R. Edwards, Priest of St. Catherine's Anglican Church Council, Port Coquitlam; Association of B.C. Homemaker Services; Association of Physiotherapists and Massage Practitioners, Home-visiting Mental Patients Association; B.C. Homemakers' Manual, Suggested Guide; Canadian Arthritis and Rheumatism Society, Home Care; Canadian Red Cross Society, Homemaker Service; Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood Services, Community Care Programme for Elderly; Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood Services, Provision of In-Home Care for Sick Children; Central Vancouver Island Health Unit, Home Care; CELDIC Report to British Columbia; Cerebral Palsy Association of B.C. Home-Based Programme for Physically Handicapped; Charles Grierson, Director of Hospital Planning, Greater Vancouver Regional Hospital; Child Care Occupation Forces; Coast Foundation Society, Annual Report; Coast Foundation Society, Field of Mental Health Care; Department of Homemaker Services, Family Service Centres of Greater Vancouver Area; Department of Human Resources, Mission, Fraser Valley; Family Planning Association of British Columbia; Home Care Service for Greater Vancouver; Homemaker Training Course at Vancouver Vocational Institute; Langley Homemaker Service Society; Legislative Committee on Social Welfare and Education, Travel; Lower Mainland Society for Residences for Physically Handicapped; Medox, Medical; Mental Patients Association, Vancouver; Milton Weber; New Westminster–Coquitlam Home Care Project; New Westminster Red Cross Homemaker Service; Neighbourhood Services Association of Greater Vancouver, West End Senior Citizens; Pastoral Institute of British Columbia; Port Coquitlam City Council; Public Hearings, Health Unit 5; REACH Geriatric Nutrition; Social Planning and Review Council of British Columbia, Home Care; Social Planning and Review Council of British Columbia, Community Service Board; Status of Women Council; UBC, Programmes for Elderly Citizens of British Columbia; UBC School of Physical Education and Recreation; United Community Services of Greater Vancouver Area, North Shore Division, Home Care; United Community Services of Greater Vancouver Area, North Shore, Human Resources; United Housing Foundation; Vancouver General Hospital, Community Health Programme; Vancouver General Hospital Social Service Department, Home Care; Vancouver Women's Health Collective; Vancouver General Hospital, Department of Occupational Therapy, Community Health; Victorian Order of Nurses, Surrey–White Rock Branch, Homemaker Services; Vancouver General Hospital, Home Care; Victorian Order of Nurses, North Shore Branch, Home Care; VON Homemaker Service, Homemaker's Manual; Welfare and Rehabilitation Department, Intermediate Care; Women's Christian Temperance Union Vancouver District, Alcoholism and Drugs.
Charles Hughes, Red Cross Loan Cupboard; Comox Valley Friendly Visitors Service; Comox Valley Homemaker Service, Past, Present, and Future Development; Comox Valley Meals on Wheels; Comox Valley Medical Society, Dr. W. O. C. Young; Delivery of Home Nursing Care, Mrs. L. Hammett, R.N.; Family Counselling Service, Campbell River; Home Nursing Care Programme, Courtenay; Mrs. Jeanie Harder, Consultant Physiotherapist; Old Age Pensioners' Organization.
Adult Group Living Homes for the Retarded, Nanaimo Association for the Mentally Retarded; Children's Treatment Centre, Nanaimo Neurological Association; Forward Housing Project, Faye Griffith; Home Care, Central Vancouver Island Health Unit; Homemaker Service,
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Red Cross Nanaimo Branch; HOPE Centre for the Handicapped, Nanaimo; Meals on Wheels, Pearl Griffin; Nanaimo Council of Churches, Mr. Art Griffin; Port Alberni and District Labour Council; Public Health Nursing Services; Registered Nurses for Home Care, Nanaimo Local Council of Women; Request for Assistance to Improve Care for Incapacitated Persons in School District No. 69, District No. 69 Society of Organized Services; Mr. Oliver Travers.
A Multi-Service Centre Devoted to the Needs of the Elderly, Silver Threads Service; B.C. Federation of Labour; B.C. Voice of Women; Citizens Association to Save the Environment; Coast Foundation Society; Community Care Facilities Licensing Programme, Mental Health Branch; Crisis Intervention and Public Information Society of Greater Victoria; Delivery of Home Care in Greater Victoria Area, Greater Victorian Metropolitan Board of Health; Delivery of Retardation Services, Victoria Mental Health Centre; Greater Victoria Citizens Counselling Centre; G. R. Pearkes Clinic for Handicapped Children; Health Care and Aging Unit, Vancouver Welfare and Rehabilitation Department; Home Care Services, Department of Health Services and Hospital Insurance; Private Agency Committee; Scientific Research on Transcendental Meditation; St. John Ambulance, Patient Care Course in Nursing and First Aid; The Financial Potential of Our Students, M. W. Scott; The Victoria Home Care Project; Victorian Order of Nurses.
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The following report is referred to on page 140 of the daily Hansard:
Your Select Standing Committee on Agriculture begs leave to report as follows:
The Select Standing Committee on Agriculture, in accordance with the following resolution passed by the 1973 Spring Session of the Legislature, held five weeks of hearings in the Province:
That this House authorize the Select Standing Committee on Agriculture, upon prorogation of the House, to examine into and study the following matters, namely:
(1) Complete its investigation of tree-fruit marketing in British Columbia;
(2) Investigate vegetable growing and marketing practices in Interior and Coast regions with a view to improving economic return;
(3) Investigate range use with regard to wildlife, domestic animals, and the forest industry;
(4) Consider such facets of the agricultural potential of the Peace River area as the Committee may deem appropriate;
(5) Investigate availability of pension plans for those employed in the farming industry.
The chairman of the said Committee shall, between sessions, file with Mr. Speaker a monthly report setting forth particulars of the meetings and a general statement of the activities and expenses of the Committee during the preceding month.
During the week of June 11 to June 15, the Committee held public hearings in Cranbrook, Creston, Grand Forks and Oliver. The week of June 18 to June 22 hearings and orientation tours were held in Kelowna, Salmon Arm and Kamloops. During the period of July 3 to July 19 hearings and tours were held in Williams Lake, Vanderhoof, Smithers, Fort St. John and Dawson Creek. During the visit to Dawson Creek the Committee visited the Vocational School Farm, community pastures, operating ranches, and had a most informative trip to Beaverlodge, Alberta, to visit the Federal Experimental Farm and received valuable information on all facets of work being done with regard to agriculture in the Peace River area. In all cases extensive field trips were made by the Committee to view farms, ranches and food handling plants in company with Department of Agriculture personnel and local people engaged in one branch or another of the agriculture industry. This format was followed throughout the tour with transportation being supplied for the most part by District Agriculturalists and Forestry Agrologists.
The Committee wishes to express appreciation to these Government employees for their long hours of work and helpful information offered whenever needed.
Approximately 70 briefs were received from persons engaged in one phase or another of the fruit growing and marketing industry. Thirty-one briefs were received on multi-range use, 14 briefs were received on the vegetable production and marketing, and 15 briefs received on the agricultural potential of the Peace River area.
The week of August 27 to August 31 saw the Committee hold hearings in the City of Penticton in connection with our investigation into British Columbia
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tree-fruit marketing. Appearing before the Committee was a cross-section of the wholesale and retail segment of tree-fruit marketing, representatives of United Fruit Growers, Allied Fruit Growers, British Columbia Tree Fruits Ltd., British Columbia Fruit Growers' Association, and the British Columbia Fruit Board.
Throughout the Committee's study, a matter of paramount concern was the fact that the larger percentage of the agriculture industry has limited means of increasing returns to meet rising costs. All costs for equipment, labour, fertilizers, transportation, interest on both operating capital and money for capital investment, etc., have risen to the extent that many farmers have found it impossible to operate a viable enterprise. Some owners were supplementing their farm incomes by outside employment, while a few were forced to have entered employment elsewhere while their lands lay idle.
It was observed by the Committee that the average age of farmers in British Columbia is over 50 years. In answer to questioning as to why more young people were not entering agriculture, many reasons were given; the most common were:
(1) not sufficient return for invested capital and labour;
(2) the high cost of land and equipment;
(3) the high interest rate for money to finance a farm, orchard or ranch, or to convert to a higher return operation.
Some farmers volunteered their own interest costs and total annual debt load, which so often made the difference in whether an operation returned the costs of production. The Committee is convinced that this is one of the most serious impediments to a successful agricultural industry in the Province.
The Committee found that with regard to the multi-use of rangeland, there were many complaints from ranchers that the Forestry Department, who are responsible for grazing permits for cattle, were not sympathetic to the cattle industry and were more oriented to growing trees rather than grass. In the Kamloops area, the Committee found an excellent beginning of combined tree reforestation and the seeding of grass in clear-cut areas and a good relationship between the Forestry Agrology Department and the ranchers. Unfortunately, these instances were too few.
All ranchers and their associations expressed concern about the lack of guaranteed tenure in the grazing permits that are issued for a one-year period. They felt that the ranching community would spend time and money in cooperation with Government to fertilize, seed and generally improve rangeland to accommodate more stock if they could be assured in some way that their grazing rights would be of longer duration.
Briefs were heard from Fish and Wildlife personnel in Williams Lake and Fort St. John expressing their concern about grazing for wild ungulates. Ranchers, Fish and Wildlife people, Forestry personnel and Forestry Agrologists all agreed that there was room for stock, wildlife, recreation and trees on Crown land with proper management and more cooperation among the departments concerned.
1. The Ministers of the Environmental and Land Use Committee should meet as frequently as necessary to decide the best use of Crown land in each area of the Province. Where a decision is made for single use, the appropriate department should administer that particular region of land.
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2. Where a decision is made for multiple use, the management of the grazing lands and allocation of grazing permits in these instances should be administered by the Department of Agriculture. Every effort should be made to involve the local stockmen and their associations.
The Committee recommends that the present lease system for grazing should be phased out and replaced by an annual permit system, including a right of renewal written into the permit, providing the permittee lives up to the terms and conditions established by the Department of Agriculture. No permit areas should be transferred between permittees on herd readjustments. In the case of herd reductions, the animal unit months shall revert to the Department of Agriculture for reissue.
Proposed Sheep-Killing Plant
The Select Standing Committee on Agriculture was made aware of the desire of sheep ranchers to have a centrally located lamb-slaughtering plant. It was pointed out that if such a plant were not built the sheep ranching industry in Canada could disappear. At the present time, only one company carries out this work, as the equipment needed is different from the usual plant in order to have an economic operation. The Committee was informed that the Federal Government and the Government of Alberta have agreed to assist in the funding of such a plant at Innisfail, Alberta, and studies have been carried out in England on a modern plant specializing in this operation.
It is recommended that the British Columbia Government give consideration to participating with the Alberta Government and Federal Government in funding this proposed plant if it is found to be more practical than locating one in British Columbia. Any arrangement must ensure that British Columbia producers have continued access to the facilities.
Pensions for Farmers
The Committee found that in a general way there was not much interest in additional pensions for farmers. Many farmers testified they were unable to make full contributions allowed to the Canada Pension Plan and in some cases none at all. Those few who showed interest indicated they would prefer to have the terms of a pension plan to study before they could decide whether they would be interested or not. In general terms, farmers and ranchers stated they would prefer to have an adequate return for their investment and labour, and would take care of their own retirement and use present plans available.
The Committee is aware that a study of the matter has been undertaken by the British Columbia Federation of Agriculture with funds provided by the Provincial Government, and recommend consideration be deferred until that study is completed.
Agricultural Potential of Peace River
In the opinion of the Committee, the Peace River area has great potential to be a much larger producing area than it is. This was one of the last areas to be homesteaded in Canada, and land is still being taken up by the method known as "lease-purchase" with certain performance qualifications leading to purchase of land. This means that the area was settled and is still being settled by people who,
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in a majority of cases, do not have enough investment and operating capital. In the opinion of the Committee and many people engaged in agriculture, this has led to many farmers growing crops that are not necessarily suited to the area but have the potential of the greatest cash return to repay operating loans at the end of the growing season.
The Committee believes that there is a great potential for the raising of beef, lamb and pork in the Peace River area, and that every effort should be made to encourage farmers to take up stock-raising as opposed to 100-per-cent grain growing. It is felt that the Peace River District could raise stock to a finished animal for slaughter by feeding grain grown in the area. The animals could be processed at the slaughter-house in Dawson Creek, which is at present operating in short supply of stock. This would create increased employment in the area, and no waste would be shipped out as is the case with shipping live animals.
Recommended that the Government of British Columbia establish an agricultural loan programme funded under and administered by the Minister of Agriculture.
The objectives of this loan programme should be
(a) to provide assistance to farmers in establishing, developing, and operating economic farm units;
(b) to assist in the transfer of farms from father to son or daughter;
(c) to establish young farmers in economic farm units;
(d) to make possible diversification and production of marketable agricultural commodities.
The purposes of the loan programme should be
(a) the purchase of livestock;
(b) the construction and improvement of buildings, making improvements or additions to such things as fences and water supplies, and purchasing equipment to establish or expand livestock facilities, including dairy, poultry and beekeeping;
(c) the clearing, breaking, draining of land, or installing irrigation;
(d) the purchase of agricultural implements and farm machinery;
(e) the consolidation of outstanding liabilities;
(f) the paying off and discharging of mortgages, encumbrances, and other charges or liens on land owned or purchased;
(g) the purchase of land;
(h) such other purposes related to the establishment, development and operation of a family or family company farm approved by the Minister and his staff.
(1) Applicant must be a resident of British Columbia;
(2) Applicant must be a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant. In the second instance, the applicant must not have landed immigrant status of more than six years;
(3) The farm must have the potential to contribute in a meaningful way to the agricultural industry;
(4) The applicant must have adequate farm resources, a registered interest in the land or a full lease development purchase agreement or the written approval and consent of the registered owner;
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(5) A ceiling for off-farm income should be established beyond which loans would not be authorized;
(6) Family farm corporations shall be eligible to apply.
(1) There should be provision for short-, intermediate- and long-term loans with a maximum of 30 years;
(2) The interests should be at a reasonably low rate;
(3) It should be possible, where considered appropriate, that payments on principal could be deferred for up to the first three years;
(4) All loans should be life-insured.
The Committee recommends that companion legislation should be enacted to guarantee farmers' loans from the private lending sector.
Recommendation — Vocational School Ranch
(a) That the Department of Education add an operating ranch to the farm they presently operate at the Dawson Creek Vocational Institute;
(b) That a veterinary clinic be established in conjunction with the ranch to assist operations and be of service to Peace River ranchers.
Predator Control as Concerned With Stock-Grazing
Predatory animals, including the wolf, are becoming more of a problem with the passing of time in our northern areas. Many instances were related to the Committee of wolf and bear killing calves and colts, as well as young wild ungulates and birds. While your Committee is concerned with all wildlife, it is felt that the wolf has more than enough room to exist in unsettled lands and should be rigidly controlled in areas used for agriculture. The bear problem is not extreme, and the occasional offender can be tracked down and dealt with.
(1) Stock Losses — There should be compensation from public funds for cattle and sheep losses, not only in the Peace River District but throughout the Province. These losses may be from predators, hunters or rustlers, with claims to be approved initially by the nearest stockmen's association.
(2) (a) Predator control in agricultural areas should be transferred to the Department of Agriculture.
(b) The Minister of Agriculture be charged with the development of an effective programme of control in those areas.
(c) The Committee recommends more severe penalties and strict enforcement of the law with regard to human predators such as hunters and rustlers.
(d) Forest Rangers and district RCMP personnel should be deputized as game wardens to check hunting licences and vehicles to enforce the game regulations and check for rustling.
Agricultural Department Staff
The Committee found the field staff of the Department to be highly dedicated, well-qualified people who were of great assistance to the Committee, but we feel this staff is insufficient in numbers and in some instances have unreasonably large areas to render the assistance required to those engaged in agriculture. Therefore, we recommend this staff be enlarged to the extent necessary to carry out their responsibilities.
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Remote areas are badly in need of veterinary service and laboratory facilities. The Government should increase its efforts to encourage veterinarians to establish themselves in these areas to provide this essential service.
The Select Standing Committee on Agriculture unfortunately did not have sufficient time to carry out all of its tasks in a thorough manner. Tree-fruit marketing in British Columbia is a more complicated matter than could be handled in the time available.
Also, it was not possible to hold hearings in the Fraser Valley or Vancouver Island with reference to vegetable growing and marketing practices in the time available.
Therefore, the Committee respectfully requests that the House authorize the Select Standing Committee on Agriculture, when it is reconstituted, to continue its investigations into these two matters until a comprehensive report can be filed at the next sitting of the Legislature.
G. H. Anderson, Chairman
Schedule of Public Hearings and Debates
Cranbrook, June 11, 1973; Creston, June 12, 1973; Grand Forks (lunch meeting), June 13, 1973; Oliver, June 14 and 15, 1973; Kelowna, June 18 and 19, 1973; Salmon Arm, June 20, 1973; Kamloops, June 21 and 22, 1973; Williams Lake, July 3 and 4, 1973; Vanderhoof, July 5, 1973; Smithers, July 6, 1973; Fort St. John, July 8 and 9, 1973; Dawson Creek, July 10–12, 1973; Penticton, August 27–31, 1973.
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The following report is referred to on page 205 of the daily Hansard:
Your Select Standing Committee on Municipal Matters beg leave to report as follows:
The Select Standing Committee on Municipal Matters examined the matters affecting islands in the Strait of Georgia and the adjacent waters. It visited and viewed the following islands: May 2, 3, 4, North Pender, South Pender, Saltspring, Galiano, Mayne, Saturna; July 23-27, Bowen, Gambier, Keats, Denman, Hornby, Lasqueti, Gabriola, Kuper, Thetis.
On July 23 the Committee experienced a most meaningful day at the UBC Resource Science Centre under the direction of Dr. Crawford Holling, who presented a computer simulation that demonstrated the relationships between speculation thrust, people's satisfaction, land prices, land values, environmental quality, etc. In its context, environmental quality was related to ease of transportation, water availability, nearness to a lake or ocean, slope of land, type of land, i.e., agriculture vs. rock, and the amount of open land and finally the diversity of tree cover.
Public meetings were held on the islands, and the Committee was pleased and impressed with the interest and turnout by the local people, who expressed a vital concern about the future of the islands.
It is apparent to the Committee that the islands are of extreme importance to the Province of British Columbia; they are fragile; their location is crucial, being between the two largest cities in the Province; it is felt that people are entitled to use them and enjoy them to the capacity which they are able to serve.
For the purpose of this report the Gulf Islands shall mean all islands in the Strait of Georgia and adjacent waters.
1. These islands are different from each other and from the Mainland. However, some Mainland areas, especially the Sunshine Coast, because of difficult access, probably have some similar problems.
2. Apart from their natural insularity, isolation and uniqueness, the islands have the problem of these "special interests":
(a) Local residents, many of whom are retired, and others who have to make their living locally;
(b) Large numbers of summer residents and (or) visitors;
(c) Large landowners, usually absentee, often corporate and foreign;
(d) A larger or "provincial" interest of the general public;
(e) Land developers and speculators;
(f) Tree-farm licence holders (TFL).
3. Existing boundaries of regional districts and means of representation and communication to land from some regional districts are causing considerable frustration. (Seven regional districts each have a portion of the islands within their boundaries).
4. A complete lack of jurisdiction by Provincial, regional or municipal bodies over Indian lands because of exclusive Federal jurisdiction may cause increasing difficulty.
5. There are some existing subdivisions which appear attractive and rural in character but this is only due to the fact that many are as little as 15 per cent developed. Of all the problems, the Committee identifies large subdivisions and over-development as the priority concern.
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6. Requirements such as a 10-acre freeze or limiting subdivisions to larger parcels of similar size will not be sufficient in the long term, nor will such rules be as effective as other more sophisticated and imaginative planning techniques such as clusters, green belts, etc.
7. There is a need for an increase of supervised public space, beach access, hiking trails, picnic and (or) campgrounds, etc., on virtually every island. Most land adjoining the best beaches is privately owned. It is unfortunate that many of the Howe Sound islands' most attractive bays and coves are spoiled for recreational use by log storage and booming grounds.
8. Water transportation to the islands is a key to the entire situation and needs careful control and co-ordination (but this is not within regional district jurisdiction). It is also evident that no one island or regional district can control the frequency, cost and type of transportation. Transportation on the islands is also an important related factor. Emphasis should be placed on pedestrian transit rather than vehicle transit, and the use of the islands should thus be planned accordingly.
9. One of the major problems encountered by the Committee in its tours, hearings and public meetings is the fact that there has been, and remains, a very serious lack of co-ordination and communication. In many respects, the islands have fallen victim to ad hoc or "band-aid" activity. There is a need for a co-ordinated jurisdiction to be responsible for planning, zoning, control of land use, transportation and related matters for all the islands, and this jurisdiction would require sufficient funding over and above the current revenue source from local taxation.
10. Although regional districts are not geared to carry out all the responsibilities expected of them relative to the future of the Coastal islands of British Columbia, they can well serve the islands for many administrative purposes including hospitals, schools, local improvements, special projects, health, building inspection, etc. Boundaries of regional districts need to be reviewed for possible transfer of some islands, based on natural lines of communication. Further, the means of representation and communication between some islands and its regional district needs to be studied.
11. Recognizing the need to ensure continued employment opportunities for some residents of the islands, strictly controlled limited commercial development, light industry, and agricultural activity compatible with the life style of the islands can continue, nonetheless, emphasis for the future development of the islands should be placed on recreation, moderate residential use, and preservation of a rural atmosphere. The Committee was impressed with some instances of desirable land use (by residences, summer camps, a few parks, endowments) but was alarmed at the possession or hoarding of land by resident and absentee owners for high capital gains purposes. It was also distressed by the evidence of considerable subdivision activity in the past, which was undertaken without full determination of its impact on the future of each island. Our belief is that the islands are too important to the people of Canada to be left open to exploitation by real-estate developers and speculators.
12. Virtually without exception, shortage or potential shortage of potable water is of major concern to practically all islands and to this Committee.
13. Waste and garbage disposal is another serious matter of major concern to this Committee.
14. A potential exists for conserving many archæological sites on the islands.
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1. The Committee recommends that the regional district boundaries be reviewed and adjusted to assure that the respective islands are in the most appropriate regional district.
2. The Committee also recommends that the Provincial Government establish an "Islands Trust" (or commission), as the most appropriate body to be responsible for and to co-ordinate the future of each island within our terms of reference. It must be emphasized most strongly that the trust is to assume the primary responsibility for all Gulf Islands' affairs within Government jurisdiction, including land use, future growth patterns, control of development, industrial, recreational and commercial activity, as well as parks and open space designations. It is essential that the trust be fully representative of all interests, not only on the islands, but throughout the Province as a whole. While recognizing the rights of the islanders, the Committee suggests that this section of British Columbia is dramatically affected by private and public activity which does not have the same impact in other parts of the Province. The Committee again refers to the fragile nature of these coastal units. Because it is recognized that a variety of Government departments and agencies: Highways, Health, Ferries, Lands and Forests, Parks, etc, as well as regional districts and citizen groups on the islands, all have an important role to play in this respect, we emphasize that the proposed trust or commission must not be a separate and (or) remote agency, but rather a fully representative co-coordinating body, whose task it is to bring together each group, agency or department of Government and to act in the best interests of the islands and their residents with due regard for the broader and Province-wide interest.
3. The Committee also recommends that until the trust or commission is established, no subdivisions be permitted on any islands south of and including Denman, Hornby, and Lasqueti Islands, i.e., on any of the Gulf Islands in the Strait of Georgia and any adjacent waters.
4. The Committee recommends the 10-acre freeze be continued on the northern Gulf Islands that have not yet been studied by the Committee.
The Committee appreciates that many months of hard work have gone into the planning process on some of the islands, and the Committee hopes that if the Government accepts these recommendations, that the trust be established and operative as soon as possible, so as not to prolong unduly the wait on these islands.
A. A. Nunweiler, Chairman