June 17, 1943

LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Order. I should like to know whether the hon. member is still replying to the question which the minister asked, because I fail to see how the development of the St. Lawrence can have any bearing on the item before the committee. I cannot see any connection whatever.

[The Chairman.]

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

If I might speak to the point of order, the minister asked the hon. member to state specifically how the Aluminum company was involved in the blocking of the St. Lawrence project. In the second place, perhaps I might call the attention of the committee to Hansard at page 3555, in which the minister, in the very able statement he gave on Friday last, referring to the subject, made this observation:

Our great resources of electrical power provide one of the basic reasons why Canada now holds fourth place among the united nations as a war producer.

And so on. The minister himself pointed out the importance of power in connection with the munitions programme in the war effort, and it seems to me that from both points of view the hon. member is in order.

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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. CHEVRIER:

The item under discussion is, "1. Additions and extensions to

plants."

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Is that

quite so? Are we not on a general discussion?

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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. CHEVRIER:

If the hon. member

will allow me to raise a point of order, the item under discussion is additions and extensions to plants. There is no provision in this item for any money being advanced to Shipshaw or Aluminum or any power company. Therefore under standing order 58, any discussion is out of order as that in which, the hon. member is now engaged. My submission is that the discussion should be ruled out of order.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

If the point which the minister is making-pardon me, not quite so soon; I meant, the parliamentary assistant.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Later on.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

If the major premise of the under-secretary is correct, then of course his conclusion is correct, but his major premise is wrong. The minister made a general statement on this and all other items; and in that situation the membership of this house are entitled as of right, not as of grace from the government benches, to deal with that statement. Then when that discussion is exhausted I submit we get down to the particular items in question. We have not yet reached that stage, much as I should like to see that happen. Furthermore the minister himself invited this very discussion, foolishly I thought; but he brought it on his own head under the general order of business covering all items relating to this huge sum of more than three and a half

War Appropriation-Supplies

billion dollars. I want to reserve the rights of hon. members though at times they may be carried to extremes. I suggest to my hon. friend on my left, however, that going back to the McDougald report is referring to ancient history. Perhaps he will come down to earth and be a little more modern.

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SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. HANSELL:

I think it is generally conceded that the little programme we have been given, setting out nine points, pretty well covers the minister's department. I believe it is generally understood by all that, as in connection with the regular estimates, on the first item anything not included in the others may be discussed. I appreciate, Mr. Chairman, that you have allowed a fairly free discussion of the minister's department under the first item, as I think you should, and I suggest that the hon. member be permitted to conclude his speech.

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CCF

Joseph William Noseworthy

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. NOSEWORTHY:

I repeat my major

contention, that this discussion has arisen because of the aid given by the government to the aluminum interests-

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, this government has never given one dollar of government aid to the Aluminum company or any of its subsidiaries.

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CCF

Joseph William Noseworthy

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. NOSEWORTHY:

To my mind the

accelerated depreciation given this .company is a form of financial assistance. Furthermore, Canada is interested in the assistance that other members of the united nations have given this company, inasmuch as that assistance enables the company to be a competitor of our publicly-owned enterprises in this country.

At the time I was interrupted I was speaking of the Beauharnois contract. I need not remind the committee that this was a very significant contract as far as Ontario was concerned; that the contract the Ontario hydro entered into with that company figured largely in the flotation of the bonds of that corporation. There we had an instance of a publicly-owned enterprise thwarted in its efforts to secure the development of its own resources and placed in a position where it was forced to underwrite the private development of power resources in the Quebec section of the St. Lawrence. My contention is that this reversal of policy was due in part at least to the effective work done by the counsel for the Aluminum company in Canada, engaged for that purpose. I have one item which I think will illustrate that, from the accounts I was quoting yesterday covering the years 1921 to 1926:

Fee on interview with Messrs. Davis, Bishop and others in New York, Pittsburgh and. Toronto discussing, considering and advising; interviews and attendances in connection with the appointment of Mr. Charles A. Magrath as chairman for the hydro electric power commission; fee in preparation for and on special, interview with Mr. Charles A. Magrath and Mr. Bishop in Toronto on March 29, 1926. . . . fee covering interviews with Prime Minister of Canada and other members of the government discussing developments of St. Lawrence river and reporting thereon. . . .

Incidentally the bill rendered for fees during these five years amounted to $26,678, and I have no doubt the Aluminum company received good value for this money.

Coming down to a later incident I should like to direct attention to an agreement signed by the governments of Canada and the United States in 1932. After that international agreement had been signed it was discovered by the power authority of New York state that it contained a clause calling for the expenditure of over a million dollars to provide a dam and gates at the entrance of the Aluminum company's canal at Lachine. That clause had escaped public notice until after the signing of the agreement. The matter was so serious that it necessitated a revision of that agreement by the governments of both countries. Had that clause remained in the agreement it would have meant that the aluminum company could have diverted one-quarter of the United States share of that water, which would have amounted to a free gift to the Aluminum company of two and a half million dollars.

The Aluminum company has figured in every application that has come before this-house for the exploitation of power. The Prime Minister himself recognized that when discussing bill N-o. 21, to amend the Electricity and Fluid Exportation Act, which was given third reading on March 27, 1938. A white paper which the Prime Minister tabled on that occasion contains an admission that the exportation was required solely for the use of the Aluminum company. .

I shall not give numerous other instances which I had intended to mention, since the government does not want this discussion carried on and apparently there is some-dispute as to whether it is in order. To me-, however, these are clear indications that, throughout the years the Aluminum company has carried on a campaign to defeat the public development of that great waterway system. And I am not so sure as the minister seems to be that when the war is over we shall be free to go on with that great enterprise which, in the natural course of events, should provide much employment in that post-war period. For twenty-five years the Aluminum company-

War Appropriation-Supplies

has succeeded in persuading the government, either on the other side or this side, that it was not in the interests of this or that country to proceed with the development. With the strategic position they now hold by reason of the assistance they have received in the development of their new plant I am not so sure that they will not still, and for a long time, be able to block that publicly-owned enterprise.

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SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. HANSELL:

Mr. Chairman, may I return to yesterday's discussion of the rubber situation. I shall not take a great deal of time in discussing the matter generally, but shall ask the minister a question in respect of one matter which does not seem to have been touched upon. I refer to reclaimed rubber. What is being done in respect of this commodity? I ask the question because in several communities people have spoken to me about their supply of reclaimed rubber, and I have seen huge piles of old rubber tires. I remember one particular pile which must have amounted to many tons, and that pile to my knowledge has been lying there for at least two years. The salvage committee in that community are asking why it is that they cannot dispose of this pile of old tires, because it is an eyesore in the community.

Most of us found on our desks this morning a little booklet called "Canada at War". It is published, I believe, by the king's printer, and issued by the wartime information board. At page 31 of this June issue I find this paragraph:

Salvage material most urgently needed now is fats and bones to produce glycerine, old tires and tubes, scrap brass, bronze, and copper and rags.

If these old tires are needed, why is it that these piles are allowed to accumulate and to lie for a number of years? The pile I have in mind has been there to my knowledge for at least tjvo years, and there must be a good many tons in it. This is not an isolated incident; I think we would find the same condition throughout the country. Could the minister throw some light on what is being done in respect of reclaimed rubber?

Mr. HOWE; The supply of reclaimed rubber is very good indeed. In fact, collections of old tires have exceeded the capacity to reclaim their rubber content. Reclaiming plants have a limited capacity, and we had a tremendous response to our campaign for the collection of old rubber in the form of tires and other goods. Our stocks of reclaim are high. It is true that we have a considerable stock of old tires waiting to be processed, but I can say that the reclaimed rubber situation is in a very satisfactory condition.

I Mr. Noseworthy.]

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River); Are we getting any raw rubber from outside Canada- from Russia, or any other place?

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Only a trickle. Most of our crude rubber comes from the united nations' stock pile. We are allocated our war needs from that pile. That is sufficient to make up the deficit in our own stocks, which have been spread over a period sufficiently long so that artificial rubber may take the place of the crude.

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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

The minister is referring to that which is already on this continent?

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LIB
SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

Are any imports of crude rubber coming from Russia or Great Britain?

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

There are trickles, but I do not know how much. All imports are pooled and go into the stock pile.which is held in the United States. A certain amount comes in from South America, a little from India and Ceylon, and a certain amount from South Africa. Whether any comes from Russia at the moment I cannot say.

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NAT

Ernest Edward Perley

National Government

Mr. PERLEY:

What is the percentage of rubber in old tires which can be reclaimed?

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

I think a very large percentage of the rubber that is left. The amount reclaimed would depend of course on how badly the tread is worn. But I believe the reclaiming process takes practically all the rubber that is left in an old tire.

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June 17, 1943