Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)
Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)
Especially if the government is in danger.
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Especially if the government is in danger.
That is right.
He has to choose.
A trans-Canada highway is a necessity; it is a "has to be", and the Minister of Mines and Resources (Mr. Glen), under whose department it would come, in co-operation with the different provinces, should immediately get plans prepared for a highway from coast to coast. Let us have a highway of which we shall be proud.
Will they co-operate?
Yes, all the provinces will co-operate. The provinces want a fair deal, and the provinces of Quebec and Ontario demand a fair deal. Eventually they will get it.
Give it to us in writing.
Mr. ROSS (Souris):
Who are you?
That is the trouble. The Prime Minister will not give them anything in writing.
Why didn't the Tories build one when they were in?
A highway such as I have suggested should have picnic tables and parking camps spaced every twenty-five or fifty miles along it for the tourists. That is one thing we lack in this country.
In Ontario we are getting these things very fast, but we do not have them in other parts of Canada. The United States tourists who come over here miss the picnic tables and parking places along the highways and always mention that when they talk to you about their trips to Canada. Along the highway we should have also proper eating places and hotels. They should be under the supervision of a commission or 5849-103J
board. In Ontario all the tourist hotels, resorts, cabins and so on are inspected each year, and sometimes many times a year. If they do not live up to specifications they must close; they are ordered closed by the health authorities.
I should like to say a word about veterans who are buying and have bought houses under the government plan. This is very important, Mr. Speaker. They are now asking that they be given some kind of protection in case they take sick or there is sickness in the family, or that work does not continue or that wages go down, or that we might get a "bust", as the hon. member for Muskoka-Ontario (Mr. Macdonnell) mentioned the other day. We can never tell how times will be, and these veterans want to be protected. I shall read a little excerpt from the Peterborough Examiner of February 16, regarding this question. Perhaps it lays it out a little clearer than I can do it. It reads as follows:
That some form of protection be given to veterans, buying or building under today's high cost that any reasonable equity they may have will not be taken from them unjustly. In the case of sickness, lower wages or work stoppage they should have their equity in the home applied as rent for a period of time equal to half their equity and not lose possession of all they have tried so hard to achieve.
The report showed that the total number of applications for homes, by returned veterans in the Canadian Legion was 585 (that is in Peterborough), and of this number 124 wished to buy and 461 to rent. The average value placed on a home by those who wished to buy was $4,000. while the average rent that the veteran felt was fair was between $30' and $35 per month.
I might say that in Peterborough at the present time plans are under way for the building of 200 houses under the Central Housing and Mortgage Corporation. Hon. members can rest assured, Mr. Speaker, that * these houses will be well built. They will not be shot up as the houses were in the Sarnia district, houses that were unfit for man or beast, let alone a veteran. These veterans protected us during the war years. It is up to us to protect their interests now. I do hope that the Minister of Reconstruction and Supply and the Minister of Veterans Affairs will consider the veterans' plea that their interests be looked after and that they be protected.
I am sorry that the Minister of National Revenue (Mr. McCann) is not in his seat because I have something to say about one of his departments. When I spoke on the budget address last year I called the national film board a white elephant. It was only a few days after that I received many let-
The Address-Mr. Fraser
ters condemning me for saying a word against the film board. I had members of the film board or of their staff, employees, come to me and ask me to keep my mouth shut about the film board unless I had something good to say. One of their employees who travels around the country, who is paid over $2,000 a year and who gets travelling expenses of nearly $3,000 a year criticized me. He sat in on one of the local film boards, and that local outfit wrote me a letter giving me Sam Hill because I had spoken against the film board. The secretary of my own home film board in Peterborough wrote me a letter. I believe it originated with a man, who was employed by the film board, and it condemned me for what I had said. For every letter of this kind I have received twenty letters condemning the board. At that time I said that the film board was doing some good in an educational way and perhaps in advertising Canada, but that it was extravagant, that the books of the board should be examined, that they should have a thorough investigation from top to bottom that all non-essentials should be thrown out and the other part jacked up.
We are starting a new session now and I feel it is right for me at this time to say that I was entirely wrong when I called the film board a white elephant. I did not know last year the facts I know now. I did not know that this film board started off in 1939 with a modest $80,000 and that it has now grown and is eating up almost $3,000,000 a year. Last year I should have called it, not a white elephant but a herd of white elephants, because that is what it is, and the the sooner that outfit is cleaned up and checked on the better it will be for the whole country.
The Minister of National Revenue is supposed) to be guiding the national film board, and when I call the national film board a herd of white elephants I can picture him sitting on the lead white elephant's head like a mahout, with one of those sticks with a prong on it but not using it, or perhaps using it from the wrong direction. The sooner direction is given the film board the better off we shall be.
Everyone in Canada, Mr. Speaker, I do not care who he is, is saying today, "We want lower taxes; we must have lower taxes in view of the high cost of living". But we cannot have lower taxes when extravagances are going on in the departments of government. I am bringing up this matter now before the budget comes down so that the ministers of the crown will have an oppor-
tunity to check this outfit and clean out some of the unnecessary stuff. I will come to some of it in a few minutes.
In 1947, $1,442,656.95 was paid to the national film board employees in salaries, according to this return. We have here the annual report of the national film board1, financial summary, and what do we find in this summary? There are only two spots in it where salaries are mentioned. In one place it says, salaries, $319,426 and some odd cents, and under production of films there is another spot where it says, technical department, salaries, $62,135. There are other things besides salaries that are eating up all this money, and this annual report put out in book form must have been brought out by a very clever bookkeeper or accountant because it does not give the picture as it is.
It is. It is very cleverly done. We have, besides this figure of $1,442,656 in salaries, $57,825.06 paid in salaries to employees of the film board employed outside Canada. Most of this money is paid in United States funds. The Minister of Finance brings in a bill to save United States funds while one department of government is handing out those funds like water.
That is only one part of it, that $57,825 paid out in salaries outside Canada. That gives us a total of $1,500,481 paid out in salaries over a million and1 a half. But on the financial sheet which they print and send' out here, there and the next place, they show only $381,561. In the grand total of expenditures in this financial report they show that they spent last year $2,290,148, and when you take from that salaries alone amounting to a million and a half you have left $789,720 for production of films and so on, which shows that the salaries are eating up a great part of that money.
The film board also had a long mailing list of publications such as this piece of-I was going to say tripe, but I do not think that is parliamentary, so I will not say that. I always like to be parliamentary. I will read a part of one little sheet that the film board sent out. They must have a printing bureau or a staff just to do this work. This is in regard to the making of a film on weekly newspapers:
From the national film board Ottawa Cat, dead fish heckle director.
This is the kind of stuff they send out, and we, the foolish taxpayers, pay for it.
Two other characters, innocently but definitely in the nuisance class, were fish
The Address-Mr. Fraser
fish.! Because of the time of year and various other circumstances, the waters in the Vernon area refused to produce fish of the type required in the script, so the NFB people had to import them, frozen, from Vancouver. The shot was set up, with the fisherman just back from a trip ready to display his prizes to everybody and to tell the editor about it. Then, when shooting was ready, the fish were thawed out, the man held them up, the camera got the signal to "shoot." Then the sun went under a cloud!
They froze the fish again and stored them away. Two days later the sun came out again; they thawed out the fish, set everything up again and got ready to shoot. Then the sun went under again! A third time the fish -were frozen. By the time the sun decided to cooperate, the piscatorial characters^ were in pretty bad shape, practically falling apart and producing an aroma that fell like waves of nausea over their human fellow actors.
One member says that the whole thing smells, and he is absolutely right. The national film board sent out, thousands of miles, actors and cameramen and others to the Pacific coast to take pictures when they should have known, if they had consulted some of the government officials out there, that it was not the proper time to take these pictures. The situation here is similar to that which we witnessed when the national film board sent actors and film men to the university of Toronto to take pictures of the university men and girls and boys around the campus. When they arrived there, what did they discover? They discovered that examinations were on and that no one was out on the campus. So they had to take all these extras and film men and women out of their hotels, put them into coaches, parlour cars and sleepers and send them back to Ottawa at the taxpayers' expense. I say that there should be an examination of this outfit. I do not think the taxpayers should pay for this kind of stuff.
The average taxpayer does not know that here in Ottawa the national film board has some 132 telephones. In their financial summary the national film board do not show those telephones. In fact they do not pay for them. Those telephones are not charged up to the national film board; the Department of Public Works pays for them. That cost should be added on. If that were a company doing a legitimate business, it would be in their statement; but it is not here. Why should the Minister of Public Works be charged with that? The same thing happens with other departments. The Minister of Labour laughs, but he knows I am absolutely right.
The hon. member is taking too much for granted.
In 1947 the cost of all these telephones was $6,760 and some cents. Long distance calls were also made on those telephones to the extent of $7,665.65, according to a return I have here. On top of this, over $5,000 was paid for telephones and long distance calls outside of Ottawa. The average taxpayer does not know that. In certain cities throughout Canada in private homes, there are telephones which are listed in the-telephone book as national film board telephones. Is that right? Should you, or I, even if we were working for the national film board, have in our home a telephone which we do not pay for but which is listed as a national film board telephone which they pay for? I do not think it is right. The film board do not include their salary list in their report or in any other report I have seen. As to financial officers of the outfit, there is a chief treasury officer, chief accountant, assistant auditors, a salary officer-that is the man who pays salaries of these film board employees; 760 I think it is- travel officers, revenue officers and assistants. These are not charged to the national film board but to the department of the Minister of Finance. Last year the travel expenses for this outfit were $242,814.14. Those are travel expenses in Canada. On top of that we have travel expenses outside of Canada- these people get around-of $20,464.10. In order to get these figures I had reams and reams of stuff run through the adding machine, and the figures are the closest we can get. These travelling expenses are not mentioned in the financial report, but on travelling expenses we find under administration and general expenses only $7,500. I do not see any other place where travelling expenses are covered. There is over $262,200 in travelling expenses and only $7,500 shown. The rest is covered up in films they produced. As I said, they must have had a clever accountant.
Another thing that the average taxpayer does not know-in fact perhaps not many members of the House of Commons know it -is that the national film board here in Ottawa occupy space in ten rented buildings. The rent of those buildings is paid by the department of the Minister of Public Works. On top of that, the film board are in two buildings which are owned by the government. These offices cost the Minister of Public Works and his department over $100,000 a year. That includes maintenance of janitor service but it does not include the office work which the Department of Public Works have
The Address-Mr. Fraser
to put into this. Besides this, we have the cost of offices maintained by the national film board outside of Canada, which amounts to $138,959. Most of this cost must be paid in United States dollars which the Minister of Finance, through his Bill No. 3, is telling us that it is the policy of the government to save. Yet they are spending that amount. I think it is about time that the government practised what they preach, or tried to.
A little while ago, Mr. Speaker, I gave you the figure of $789,720 as being all that was left of the total expenditures shown in this financial summary after paying salaries and what not. But when you deduct travelling expenses in Canada of $242,814 and $20,464 outsiide of Canada, plus the cost of furnishing offices outside of Canada of $138,959, this leaves only $387,493 for what might be called the production of films. On top of that you would have to take out the cost of the telephones and you would have to take out $100,000 for offices, which would leave less than $287,000. The people do not get value for their money; and the sooner this situation is rectified the better films we will have.
As I said last year, the national film board are doing good work in some fields, but they are certainly running riot in others. Some of their educational films are good and some are not. Some of the films they have put out for various departments are good and some are not. They make pictures for rural schools, for educational purposes. But what they have here in their financial summary was an eye-opener. I may tell you that I was dumfounded when I saw their figures: films for rural audiences, $26,664, out of over a $2,200,000 expenditure-or more than that; because in that figure is not included all these extras which the Department of Public Works pay for. The film board makes a great play about films produced for school audiences, and they say that the films are produced for the use of school audiences. The amount there is $25,245, and this makes only about $50,000 in films for education. In those films is included salaries, travelling expenses and everything else. So one can imagine what the poor public has got. They are stuck, as usual.
I have mentioned that in some instances the film board is doing unessential work. According to this financial statement there is in the national film board a branch in which stills are made. The board will send out one, two or more men to your town or city, Mr. Speaker, or to mine. Those men will take pictures of some special event. It takes them a day by train to reach their destination- and I believe they go by pullman. It takes
them a day to get back, and they will stay about four days in your riding, if possible. While there they will take pictures of some special event. But those are not motion pictures; they are just ordinary stills, camera pictures. The commercial photographers throughout Canada have learned their trade the hard way; they have worked at it from their childhood. They have made it their profession. They have studied it and they have tried to make better pictures. Then the government comes along and says, "We are stepping into your field. You are not to take pictures of this special event; we do it". The government is getting more socialized and more like the C.C.F. party every day.
Oh, don't say that!
This is socialization of the worst kind.
We have the best kind.