Hon. H. H. STEVENS (Vancouver Centre):
Some weeks ago I placed a question on the order paper regarding the leasing of No. 1 elevator in Vancouver. The answer I received conveyed the idea that nothing was under direct consideration. I desire to bring the matter again to 'the attention of the government and must do so with some considerable force because of a distinct conflict of information emanating from government sources. To make my point clear I would like to read an editorial appearing in the Morning Star of Vancouver, under date of June 4:
According to an Ottawa despatch the conference in progress over the proposal that the wheat pool lease No. 1 elevator here have ended in a "settlement agreeable to both sides". If the terms of the settlement are those contained in the telegram there need be no doubt that they are satisfactory to the wheat pool. "The elevator", it is stated, "will continue to be operated this summer by the harbour commissioners, but it is agreed that by the end of October the commission will notify the pool whether or not the elevator will then be leased to it. If it is to be retained under the harbour commission the pool will then be free to go ahead and provide such facilities of its own as are required."
This is simply so much camouflage. Beneath the smooth phraseology which implies that the disposition of the elevator is still an open question may be discerned the intention to hand it over to the wheat pool next fall. The commissioners will continue to operate during the siunmer-when the elevator is doing little or no business-but before the end of October the pool is either to step in or "be free to go ahead and provide such facilities of its own as are required". The pool, however, as everybody knows, is perfectly free to go ahead at once and provide its
own facilities in Vancouver. Moreover, it cannot wait until October before it makes its arrangements for handling the new crop through this port. It follows that it would not delay beginning building operations a single day were it not very sure that the government would provide it with facilities by surrendering No. 1 elevator through the harbour board.
There can be no reasonable doubt, if the despatch is authoritative, that when Colonel Kirkpatrick returns to Vancouver he will have a very clear idea of the decision the harbour board is to render four months hence-when protest will be futile in the face of the accomplished fact.
I wish most respectfully but urgently to request a clear, definite statement from the government on this important matter, and I also wish to direct attention to the fact that every large representative business group, the board of trade, the shipping interests, the merchants' exchange and others in Vancouver are deeply concerned and interested in this question. I am not expressing an opinion; I merely draw these facts to the attention of the government and in justice to those interests I think before a decision is finally arrived at a definite statement should be given by the government officially. If the government are not prepared to make this statement to-day I would ask that a statement be given as soon as possible, and that the agreements or correspondence be laid on the table of the House in order that we may know exactly what is in the mind of the government and what proposals are under consideration.
Subtopic: VANCOUVER HARBOUR COMMISSION
Sub-subtopic: LEASE OF ELEVATOR No. 1 TO WHEAT POOL