April 11, 1930

CON

John Anderson Fraser

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FRASER:

What further extensions of telephonic communication has the department undertaken in northern British Columbia since 1928?

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

My information is that

there are two small branches. I shall be very glad to furnish my hon. friend with the particulars.

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CON

James Charles Brady

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADY:

From Fraser lake? The

government has done some very good work there. I would like to know what further work has been done in the past year in extending telephone communication in northern British Columbia.

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

There were repairs and

reconstruction in that district last year, but no new lines.

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CON

John Anderson Fraser

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FRASER:

Are any new lines under

contemplation for the present year?

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

None except what has

been mentioned.

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CON

James Charles Brady

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADY:

Except what I asked the

minister about last night?

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LIB
CON

John Anderson Fraser

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FRASER:

Has the minister received

a request for extension of lines in this district during the coming year?

,6 COMMONS

Supply-Public Works-Telegraph Lines

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

From a territory such as

that, there are always requests. There have been requests this year. I have not a list of them here, but I shall be pleased to furnish it to my hon. friend if he wishes it. Of course, he will understand that I have before me only the details of such items as are in the estimates.

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CON

John Anderson Fraser

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FRASER:

I would point out that since 1925 there has been before the Department of Public Works a request for the construction of a line from the One Hundred Mile House to Green lake. There is a complete report in the department on that proposed line, and I should like to impress upon the minister the necessity of giving that section of the country telephone communication. It is an isolated section, with quite a number of people in it, and I am quite sure that if the minister were only aware of the conditions he would not hesitate a minute to extend the service into that district. The people are from fifteen to twenty miles from the main line of travel, a long way from doctors, and so forth. They are entirely cut off from communication with the outside world except by road. I believe for two or three years the department refused to consider the requests because there were no permanent roads in that section. The provincial government has now completed the roads, and I think it is up to the minister to give serious consideration to the request. They have been asking for the service for a number of years, and I think they are entitled to it. I should be very pleased indeed if the minister would bear this in mind and give it his special consideration.

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CON

James J. Donnelly

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DONNELLY:

I should like to know why this policy of the government building telephone lines in remote districts is confined to British Columbia. Many outlying districts in different parts of Saskatchewan are without telephone communication, and we have to build connecting lines ourselves or get the provincial government to do so. Why should the federal government build telephone lines in the outlying districts of British Columbia; what is the policy of the government in that regard?

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

The distinction between

British Columbia and Saskatchewan is that Saskatchewan has a government telephone system and British Columbia at the present time has a privately owned system. The policy of the government in regard to the lines to which we have been referring is, as soon as it is at all practicable from the fi-

TMr. Fraser.]

nancial standpoint, to provide these settlers, who are largely pioneers, with reasonable facilities for keeping in touch with the more settled portions of the country and with civilization generally.

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CON

James Charles Brady

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADY:

Is it the intention of the

government to hand over its present telephone lines in the province to the British Columbia Telephone Company? I find that from Kamloops right through to Vanderhoof that company is taking over the government lines. I believe the federal government, realizing the importance of opening up the country, take a larger view of the situation than would a private corporation. What is the policy of the government in this regard? Are they ready to hand over to the British Columbia Telephone Company all their lines and leave the company to continue the development of necessary extension lines through northern British Columbia.

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

The policy of the government is to sell our lines to the company when we are able to get from them a reasonable offer. As my hon. friend very well knows, these are pioneer lines to a large extent.

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CON
LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

These lines are liabilities to a very great extent so long as they remain in our hands, and as soon as W'e can get commercial concerns to take them over at anything like an equitable price we are glad to transfer them.

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CON

James Charles Brady

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADY:

Before doing so, surely you

will admit the desirability of laying down certain conditions to be carried out by the company regarding further development of the system. Do you have a definite understanding before you hand over your telephone communications to a private company that that company will continue the development in these very important areas where hundreds of people expect telephone communication?

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

That is the policy. My

hon. friend will understand that in selling one of these lines to which additions will have to be made in the future it is very difficult to get the purchasing company to agree to undertake all the extensions that might be required within a period of say, five or ten years. We do not go so far as that. We do provide, however, that they shall take care of all the subscribers who are receiving service at the time the line is handed over. We look after future subscribers either by making extensions to the line or by some other arrangement as the necessity arises.

Supply-Public Works-Telegraph Lines

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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

We discussed this matter last session, Mr. Chairman, and I do not think the minister went as far then as he does now. All I can say is, I think the policy a rotten one.

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April 11, 1930