John Horne Blackmore
Why does the hon. member not put it on the record?
Why does the hon. member not put it on the record?
I believe the members of the house received copies of it, at least I have spoken to many people who did. I know it was sent to the Prime Minister.
Why not let the readers of Hansard know about it? The people in British Columbia and Alberta know nothing about it.
If the hon. member for Lethbridge (Mr. Blackmore) wants this information on the record, I am quite prepared to read it. If he wants it put on the record without me reading it, I am satisfied with that.
I am anxious that everyone should read it.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Beaudoin):
Order. Is it the pleasure of the house to have the document put on Hansard?
The memorandum reads as
United Mine Workers of America District 26
P.O. Box 110-Glace Bay, Nova Scotia
October 16, 1951
Dear Sirs and Brothers:
At the last convention of district 26, United Mine Workers of America, a resolution was presented protesting the construction of the St. Lawrence seaway and power project. The delegates, at that convention, voted unanimously to refer said resolution back to the district executive board for further study and comment.
After a thorough review of the St. Lawrence seaway and power development project, your district executive board is of the opinion that this project, created with or without the help of the United States, will have a most adverse effect on the economy of the maritime provinces particularly in the realm of steel and coal. This opinion is based on the following facts:
1. That the construction of this project will tend to create a further concentration of industry in the central provinces of Quebec and Ontario. This will come about in two ways. First any new industry that is contemplated will be lured to the central provinces by the promise of cheap hydro electric power and cheap water transport and secondly existing industry in the maritimes would be induced to move to the central provinces to take advantage of these two facts.
2. That markets for maritime coal in Ontario and Quebec would be seriously jeopardized in the resulting change over from steam to hydro electric power.
3. The further concentration of industry in Ontario and Quebec would seriously curtail railway traffic in the maritimes thus reducing an important local market for maritime coal.
4. The construction of the seaway could conceivably create a dumping market in central Canada for United States and overseas coal.
5. The huge deposits of iron ore in Labrador would be enabled to reach the central markets very cheaply thus curtailing the expansion of the steel industry in the maritime provinces.
6. There is the possibility of an ever-increasing flow of oil transported by ships under registry of other nations, delivering petroleum products into the heart of the Canadian industrial region to displace maritime mined coal.
7. The taxpayers in the maritime provinces would be obliged to pay their just share of this project thus helping to expedite the process of committing industrial suicide in the maritime provinces.
Your district executive board therefore takes the stand that we are unalterably opposed to the construction of the St. Lawrence seaway and power project because of the dire effects which the project will have on our economy in the maritime provinces.
On behalf of the District Executive Board
Freeman Jenkins, President. Stephen Dolhanty, Acting Secretary-Treasurer.
This document represents the opinion of
13,000 mine workers living in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. As I said before, there are no ifs, ands and buts. Through the research department they have studied the project and set forth seven very definite reasons for thinking it will militate against them. Before I conclude I may summarize those reasons.
I have another document from one of the local organizations of the mine workers, and local 4529 of the united mine workers is unalterably opposed to the scheme. There are 1,600 members of that local, and they are concerned about this. Another section in Pictou county, local 8672 of the united mine workers, forwards a resolution to the same effect. The development of the navigation project will militate against them in marketing their coal in central Canada, particularly in Montreal. From another local union of the mineworkers I have a lengthy letter; it is from the secretary of the mechanics' local. I may say there are about 800 members in this local union. They are machinists and mechanics who are employed in the coal industry. They are unalterably opposed to this project. I want to emphasize again that this is not guesswork. These people have studied this matter. I want to clear up the point that in my opposition to this seaway project I am stating my own policy. I have never spoken in this house on any subject without being certain of what people thought about it. I figure it is my job to do that. The mine workers as an organized body have studied this question over the years. On a previous occasion I said in this house that twenty-six years ago I wrote a resolution
opposing this particular project. There is therefore no guesswork about the matter on the part of that mine workers' union.
The Minister of Transport worked extremely hard this evening, in my opinion, and he did a good job for the average person who will read Hansard and also for the average person in this house who has never studied this problem. But as far as I am concerned I want to say that he did not offer one new argument tonight, or one that I had not heard many years ago; and I was not impressed. I am not questioning his honesty. He is the last man in the world whose honesty I would question. I should like to be on his side; I hate to oppose him. But in this particular instance he just proved this to me. First, he proved that the resolution we are discussing to set up an authority is merely window dressing for the resolution that is still on the order paper and that is to make provision for the development of the power project for the province of Ontario. It will be noted that the resolution on the order paper does not say anything about developing power in the province of Quebec. It is a straight Ontario-federal government agreement for the development of power in this province. I believe the resolution we are now discussing-and we are discussing it first-is merely window dressing for the purpose of putting through that agreement to develop that power in the province of Ontario.
In support of what I have just said, I am reminded of a statement made by the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Pearson) to the press in September. In a press interview he stated that the seaway might be delayed for three years because they had run into some political snags. In my opinion the political snags they ran into were in the province of Quebec. If Quebec is reluctant to go ahead with this project at the present time, in my opinion the judgment of those in that province who may be doubtful of it is absolutely correct.
I am not objecting to this project, nor are the people in the maritime provinces to whom I have talked and who have submitted documents to me objecting to it, because of the good it will do to any other part of the country. We are not objecting to it on that ground. If Ontario needs power and the federal government wants to develop that power, we are not objecting because some benefit is going to accrue to this province. But we are objecting to the whole project, the power project and the navigation channel because of the injury it is going to do to the part of the country from which I come. That is why we are objecting to it, and we are objecting to it on legitimate grounds.
St. Lawrence Waterway
We are objecting to it first on the ground that it will militate against the coal mining industry in Nova Scotia. That industry at the present time is threatened from three different directions. First, it has the competition of oil. Second, it is now threatened by a pipeline development to bring natural gas from the province of Alberta into Montreal and Quebec city, the main market for Nova Scotia coal. In addition, if this channel is opened up it means that the Americans have a straight, cheap water route into that main Montreal market where about half the total production of Nova Scotia is marketed at the present time. Today we cannot compete in that Montreal market, even with our water route, without substantial subsidies from the federal government. We are assisted in that market now despite the fact that the Americans have a rail route in there and we have a water route. Despite that fact we still cannot compete. If the development visualized by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Drew), by the leader of this group and by the hon. member for Beauharnois (Mr. Cauchon) takes place, it means that we are going to provide a water route into that market, with the result that whatever market we have left is going to be pushed away from the Nova Scotia product. I want to point out seriously to the members of this house that the coal industry is the basic industry of Nova Scotia. If it is crippled it means that province goes down with it. That is what we fear, and we have legitimate fears unless we have reasonable guarantees from the government that what we anticipate is not going to take place. But in this world of free enterprise, competition, and get what you can for yourself, the logical thing to happen is that the Americans will be able to undersell us in that market.
Will the hon. member permit a question before he goes into another aspect of the matter?
Has he given some thought to the nature of the guarantees that he feels should be given?
Would he care to mention those guarantees now, or does he propose to do so later on?
In summing up I will mention
the guarantees. I have in my hand a file containing representations from some influential bodies; for example, from the city of Sydney, where the basic steel industry on that coast is located. The committee for industrial expansion in Nova Scotia, headed
1596 HOUSE OF
St. Lawrence Waterway by the Nova Scotia federation of labour, presented a brief to the cabinet of Nova Scotia on April 20 of this year, urging the provincial government to get in touch with the federal government for the purpose of expanding the basic steel industry in Sydney, Nova Scotia, the logical place for them to expand. They see the threat to the coal industry. They realize that there is maybe a necessary shift in their basic industry, and that it should be based on steel, in view of the threat of natural gas and oil competition and so forth from other sources. I am sure the province of Nova Scotia must have got in touch with the Minister of Trade and Commerce and must have brought to the attention of the department all the facts and figures on steel expansion in that area. I am not going to go into it, but I have reams of it. We calculated that there would be some steel expansion on that coast. I am afraid that the navigation end of this project is designed to do just the reverse; and I do not say that idly, because I hold in my hand a clipping of a speech made by the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe), who generally knows what he is talking about. It was made in the United States, and in urging this project he did not leave any doubt in anyone's mind as to why he was anxious about it. An extract from that speech reads as follows:
The St. Lawrence seaway must be built. Without it the steel industry now on the great lakes would have to migrate to the Atlantic coast.
That would be an awful thing. But that is his reason for it, and all of the arguments advanced this afternoon by the minister merely confirm my opinion on that point. He pointed out the great iron ore deposits in Ungava and Labrador. The leader of the opposition (Mr. Drew) stressed the future of this country, and rightly so, based on steel. He said that was basic to our whole economy and our whole defence effort. That is true, but there was no suggestion from the government that any expansion at all should occur where it naturally should take place, where the Lord placed the iron ore, or as close to that spot as could be utilized. There was no suggestion of that at all. While the leader of the opposition made a reference to the necessity of some such program, at the same time he backs the channel that prevents it. I say that with some assurance, because the minister convinced me of that all through his speech today. According to him there were the two musts: First of all power is necessary. I am not doubting that. Perhaps it is. But if it is necessary, that is because of too great concentration of industry in Ontario. That is
the reason for it. Making the iron ore available was said to be a must. To whom are we making the iron ore available?
I do not want to interrupt the hon. member, but I would not want the record to leave the impression, which I think his words unintentionally conveyed, that I had merely made a passing reference to the possibility of steel being produced in the maritimes.' On the contrary, I said positively that it should be and that there were great advantages in seeing that it was done there; that I thought at a time when we were planning to create facilities for moving the ore elsewhere we should by contractual arrangements assure the increased production of steel in the maritime provinces as well.
I listened to the leader of the opposition very carefully tonight. I agree that he did make those suggestions, but he did not suggest for one minute that he was going to oppose the navigation channel which would prevent the hopes he had expressed from coming to fruition. That is the point I am making.
I am a Canadian, and I believe in developing Canadian resources for Canadians. I do not believe there should be any doubt in anybody's mind about that. Let us have a look at who is going to use this iron ore if that navigation channel is deepened. First of all, who owns that ore at the present time? Have the Canadian government or the Newfoundland government any control over that iron ore? I say they have not. That iron ore has been leased for the next ten years by the Newfoundland government and the Quebec government. A franchise was passed in this house permitting the development of railroad lines up through northern Quebec, the development of hotels and bus lines and all that kind of thing for the next ten years. The Americans have the franchise to operate the iron ore deposits in Ungava. Someone will say they are leased to the Hollinger Exploration Company. That is correct, but that is a front company in Canada for United States interests. Actually the people who control it, through their financing, are the M. A. Hanna Company of the United States. That is number one. They have the franchise now. Well, we are not satisfied to give them a franchise to exploit that ore for the next ten years. We are now going to dig the channel all by ourselves to make it more available to them. That certainly does not mean the development of any steel on the Atlantic seaboard as far as I am concerned, and I like to be fair to the minister and I try to be charitable in my thinking. I am convinced, anil the people whom I represent
here-and I have gone to the trouble to provoke their thoughts and get them to restudy this matter in the light of 1951 conditions- are convinced that the channel end of that development ends any possible chance of expansion on the Atlantic seaboard. The Americans own it; we are going to go it alone in order to make it more available to them.
This afternoon when the minister was talking he said it was going to benefit every section of Canada. It was like Santa Claus's bag; there was something for everybody. I listened to him very carefully and hopefully when he was making his statement to see what was in that stocking for the maritime provinces. He started at Newfoundland, and rightly so. He said Newfoundland will get a great stimulus in employment. The Newfoundlander is going to be permitted to go underground, to dig the iron ore and to ship it up the Canadian-paid-for channel to the steel mills at Duluth or somewhere along the lakes to be fabricated and what have you by United States interests. That is something for him to look forward to. He is going to be the hewer of wood and the drawer of water. He is getting a lot out of that. Well, I will say this to the credit of the present Newfoundland premier. He at least has said that he is going to develop a basic steel industry in Newfoundland. He is going to do it with European capital. It is on paper yet. I hope it is not a dream. I hope he will do that, but it means he is going to have a lot of opposition. He is running into some pretty big stuff when he bucks the North American steel interests. He has said he is going to do it, so the Newfoundlander at least has this to look forward to. There may be a chance of him getting out from underground, from lifting heavy iron ore, into a steel plant that the premier of Newfoundland is going to establish.
But not from Labrador ore.
The minister promised that the Newfoundlander will have more work, but that product which means so much to the future of the world is going to be taken up to the head of the lakes further to concentrate the steel industry and perpetuate it there for all time. Then he came to Quebec. There are potential power possibilities there, but I think Quebec is hesitating at this time. I believe Quebec expected, when they gave the franchise to the Hollinger Exploration Company, being the M. A. Hanna Company of the United States, a great development in the north country. There was no talk about a seaway at that time. I think they are smart enough to see now that we are not going to get all these railroads built and
St. Lawrence Waterway these bus lines and hotels and all that made available in northern Quebec. They are just going to develop the mines in there, take the ore down to the coast and drag that iron up past Montreal, by-passing it altogether, and take all the wealth that belongs to northern Quebec or Ungava and Labrador and centralize it in the United States. If I were in Quebec I would be doing a lot of thinking about that project, despite the advice of the hon. member for Beauharnois (Mr. Cauchon).
So much for Quebec. There was something in the stocking for the prairies, of course. I have been in this house for approximately twelve years, Mr. Speaker. I have listened to that grain debate two or three times every year, and I have not yet once heard any complaint in the house that there has been a lack of ships. The great complaint was about box cars: "The grain is lying out; we need box cars from the C.P.R. We want the transport commission to see that we get box cars." But there did not seem to be any shortage of ships.
I hope those who anticipate that this project may do something to stimulate the movement of wheat from the prairies will not be misled. I would say this also, that if that is true, then we wasted a lot of money in developing the port of Churchill. I was led to believe that was the logical and natural outlet for western grain, that it was the closest point to Europe. But that has all gone by the board. The arguments I heard in favour of Churchill were perhaps no more valid than the ones we were hearing in favour of this seaway, so far as doing something to help in the shipment of wheat is concerned. It is just an "if" and a "but" and a hope; there is nothing concrete.
There is before the house now a motion to get more box cars. One hon. member actually proposed that we should nationalize the C.P.R. in order to get more box cars to move wheat; but I have never heard any talk about any shortage of ships.
I hope that if this goes through they realize their hope, because it is only a hope. There is nothing concrete to support any contention that this project is going to benefit anybody or anything, except the power project in Ontario. British Columbia-
He was pretty weak on that
They just got the go-by. When the project is fully developed British Columbia will be away back in behind the mountains, pushed farther and farther toward the Pacific coast. So British Columbia had better line up with me, and give a little opposition to this.
St. Lawrence Waterway
I suggest again to the minister that he pay some attention to the maritime provinces. Over the years the Halifax Chronicle-Herald has done a good research job on practically every project affecting the maritimes. I hold in my hand some up to date editorials from that newspaper concerning this project. One of them, dated Hay 7, 1951, bears the caption "It Gets Beyond My Understanding." I am sure no one will accuse the editorial staff of the Halifax Chronicle-Herald of being just oppositionists or wild-eyed radicals or straight maritimers. They have always taken a pretty broad view of everything. I' am not going to read these editorials, but their contention is this: Where would the materials come from? Provided the authority the minister is setting up were instructed to go ahead and to develop this power project in Ontario, provided it was told to get busy and put the seaway through, where would that body go to find the materials and the labour and all those things necessary for such a project?
The editorial is very thoughtful on that point. These are practical things. It is all right to be a visionary and to give long orations. I could do that, too, if I wanted to. But when we get down to concrete cases and have to find the men, the materials and the steel, it is a different matter. And as an hon. member points out to me there is also the matter of finding the concrete. Where is all this to be found? These are practical questions. This is not pie in the sky. A report on the great lakes-St. Lawrence deep waterways issued in June of 1949 sets out some pretty definite figures on this question. The Halifax Chronicle-Herald, again in its own practical way, directs our thoughts along other lines, that of shipbuilding. In years gone by the maritime provinces were looked upon as the logical place for shipbuilding, and shipbuilding was recognized as one of their industries. Even if this channel were built the maritimes would continue to be the logical place for shipbuilding. But that is not to continue. This afternoon the minister elaborated upon how
the building of this project would stimulate the shipbuilding industry, and said that ships would be built at inland ports. No mention was made of any place east of Montreal. It was all going to be concentrated along the great lakes. Of course I do not blame the minister for that, because it is pretty generally recognized in Ottawa that Canada ends at Montreal. Survey beyond that? Oh, no one ever thinks about doing that. The minister's remarks this afternoon with respect to shipbuilding simply reflected the attitude of the ivory tower, the Ottawa approach: Canada ends at Montreal.
The Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe)-and, poor fellow, he is getting a beating these days-