Mr. Clarence Gillis (Cape Breton South):
Mr. Speaker, after the members who are apparently making up their minds whether they will stay or go have settled down, I shall proceed with my discussion from the point at which I left off when this debate was adjourned. The first thing I want to make clear is that a proper analysis of the subject matter before the house would take more time than is allowed a private member or than could comfortably be occupied by a cabinet minister at one session.
When I concluded my remarks I was documenting the fears that exist in the maritime provinces of the repercussions that the final completion of this seaway project may have on the economy of the maritimes. I
believe that the evidence I submitted from organizations that have studied the matter expressed legitimate fears. For example, I was pointing out that if any of the statements made by the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) in the house, or by any of the other speakers outside the house, had contained a suggestion that some consideration would be given to future development in the mard-times, those fears might have been eased. But the reverse is true. Every statement at which I have looked seems to indicate that, instead of expanding or retaining the organizations that belong in the maritimes, these organizations were going to be further centralized.
I was dealing with the shipping industry. The Minister of Transport and the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) made statements outside the house clearly indicating that, so far as the future of the shipping industry was concerned, the hopes were that it would be centred in the head of the lakes so far as the Minister of Trade and Commerce was concerned, but the Minister of Transport was a little more general. If a statement had been made that there was a possibility that completion of this seaway would stimulate or add to the shipbuilding industry of the maritime provinces, the feeling would have been different. At present the Canadian shipbuilding industry is centred in the maritimes; that is where it got its start. Through confederation these industries over the years have been siphoned off. It would have at least given us the impression that there is some thinking of the final stages of this development assisting or bringing some benefits to the maritime provinces. I suggest that the miners of Nova Scotia have a legitimate fear. They have presented their case, and I have put it on the record here. A few days ago the hon. member for Cape Breton North and Victoria (Mr. MacLean) received a return with respect to a question as to what progress, if any, had been made in research in taking oil from coal. The answer he received was rather discouraging. There were not any figures. Apparently there was not any interest in the matter. Then I pick up a statement like this in the press. This again is from the Halifax Chronicle-Herald. They do a good research job for the maritimes, and they have this to say:
In the matter of utilization of coal, this coal-producing province usually can sympathize with the lady who is "always a bridesmaid, but never a bride." And so we have this little dispatch from North Sydney: "South America took it away again today. The freighter Shan Trader sailed for Brazil with a cargo of 10,000 tons of specially selected coal from Dosco's old Sydney collieries, which will be processed into nylons. Princess colliery coal was selected for the nylon trade after a series of tests."
St. Lawrence Waterway
That is rather disconcerting and I think it reflects on the thinking of our research people -and we have a great many of them- centred in this city. If it is possible to establish in Brazil an industry manufacturing nylons-and there is a great demand for nylon-and if it is economic to transport coal from Nova Scotia to Brazil and to process that coal into a product that is easily marketed, it clearly shows that what I have said about the thinking of those in the ivory towers in Ottawa is correct. Why have we not done enough thinking to establish the utilization of the product of an industry that is losing its place in our economy because of the advance of natural gas, oil and other commodities? I merely use that as an illustration to show that, as to the maritimes, our thinking leaves much to be desired.
All of the evidence I have put on the record so far has been from organizations that have expressed legitimate fears that the ultimate development of this St. Lawrence seaway means that they are going to lose their means of livelihood. I hope that is not true.