May 12, 1953

?

An hon. Member:

No rum in it.

Supply-Transport

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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. Johnston:

I beg your pardon. Do you know the recipe which they use in making coffee on the railways? I am told that they start out with very good brands of coffee but then they add a little tea and then they throw a little salt in it.

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?

An hon. Member:

Mixing their drinks.

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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. Johnston:

Mixing their drinks is right. When they get that mixture, which is a terrific concoction, to make sure that you cannot drink it they throw some mustard in on top. No wonder people cannot drink coffee on the train. If you want that coffee a la carte they charge you 30 cents for it.

If you order poached eggs on toast, a la carte, for one egg you pay 40 cents, and if you want two eggs, the second egg costs another 35 cents.

Well, Mr. Chairman, who among the ordinary people can eat meals on the train at these prices?

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PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fraser:

They can eat them but they cannot pay for them.

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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. Johnston:

Well, my hon. friend has something there. People just cannot pay $3 a meal-and when they do they cannot drink the coffee. I do not think I have ever seen anybody drink all of the coffee offered them on the railway and then walk out of the dining car.

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PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fraser:

It is strong enough.

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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. Johnston:

While I was on the train, Mr. Chairman, I was looking through some magazines in the observation car and I saw a picture of a dining car which was being experimented with by the railways. It was called a restaurant car and I thought it was a pretty good idea. The interior of the car was fixed up with a counter and stools similar to those that you would see in a cafe or restaurant. It seems to me that the purpose of having a dining car on a train is to accommodate the public, and when you find that very few of the people who travel on trains can afford to eat in the dining cars something must be done. If we are going to put on these dining cars to serve the favoured few, then it is no wonder the dining car service is going in the hole. If we would put on a service car which would accommodate the public at prices that people could afford to pay, then I think the dining cars might become a paying proposition.

I recognize immediately that you could not expect to have a meal served on the train at as cheap a price as you could obtain a meal in a city restaurant. Surely, however, there is no comparison with the price of ordinary

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meals that can be obtained in restaurants when you go into the dining car and are soaked $3 for a piece of beef. I may say to you that I took particular notice of the size of the portions given out on that train. They were exceedingly small. I cannot complain about that in my case because the portions I received were more than twice the size of the others. I do not know why that was, unless I had been making a few notes on the menu.

I do not think that should be allowed, either. I do not think there should be any favouritism exercised on these trains, whether for members of parliament, the president of the railway or even the Minister of Transport himself. I think he should be served the same as anyone else. Certainly, something should be done to see that the travelling public is accommodated on these dining cars. It may be necessary to renovate them and put on a different system, but I believe it is worthy of consideration.

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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

I wonder if I could interrupt the discussion for just a moment to make an announcement that has been brought to my attention from my office. It has to do with the development of the St. Lawrence seaway, and it is to the effect that the examiner of the federal power commission, Mr. Law, has completed his report today and has recommended the granting of a licence for the power development in New York state to the New York state power authority.

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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

May I ask the minister a question arising out of that announcement? What is the next step? Will there not have to be a hearing now by the federal power commission?

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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

The next step is that this matter will come before the federal power commission, as a body, and they will have to determine whether they shall accept, reject or modify this recommendation by the examiner. It is our hope, and I am sure that is what will happen, that they will accept the recommendation in due course.

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PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fraser:

In the newspaper the other day mention was made of the fact that if this decision were taken and a certain organization were picked, a court action would be taken in order to restrain that organization from going ahead. What effect would that have?

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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

The Prime Minister dealt with both those alternatives, that is, injunction or appeal from the judgment. I think what should be done now is to await the judgment of the federal power commission to ascertain whether or not it will accept this recommendation from the examiner. If it does, then I think we can deal with the hon. member's

question, whether there will be an appeal or whether there will be an injunction. The Prime Minister said that if there were an injunction taken, consideration might well be given to an action for damages by the other authority because it was held up. In so far as the appeal is concerned it seems to be the general opinion, even in Washington, that it would not be successful.

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PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fraser:

Even at that, it might take months and months before the way would be clear.

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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

The question of whether or not we should move immediately is under consideration, too.

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PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fraser:

Good enough.

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PC

Gordon Francis Higgins

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Higgins:

Having listened to the minister just now, Mr. Chairman, I understand that he feels happy to be in a position to make that announcement. I am certain that we all feel happy that the seaway is going to become a reality. As the hon. member for Vancouver-Quadra said today, we are entering a new era in transportation in Canada. In St. John's, Newfoundland, about six weeks ago, the minister said that the transportation system of Canada is the lifeblood of Canada. Those may not be his words, but I think that is the thought. Of course, the construction of the seaway will definitely mean entering a new era in Canadian transportation. The members of all parties hope that such will be the case, and wish the project well. We congratulate the minister on what he has done so far in making it possible.

I want to mention one subject, but I want to talk as quickly as I can because we are all getting a little bit weary of listening to ourselves talk. Without causing annoyance, I want to devote as short a time as possible to the subject of the coastguard. I have referred to this as a hardy perennial since I have come up here in 1949. The hon. member for Annapolis-Kings talked about it today. If the minister will not mind, I want to correct something he said to the hon. member today. I believe that inadvertently the minister gave the hon. member the wrong advice. He said it was not his job any longer to handle the coastguard, but it was the job of the Minister of National Defence.

Before the minister says anything about it, I should like to refer him to a directive I had the pleasure of reading with the compliments and good wishes of his parliamentary assistant. This arises out of the report of the subcommittee set up in 1950, and is signed by N. A. Robertson, secretary to the cabinet. It is described as a directive, and is dated July 12, 1951. I am not going to read it all, but I should like to read a small portion of

it. It is headed "Search and Rescue Service" and gives a directive to all the services about search and rescue services. Paragraph (c) reads:

AH departments concerned will co-operate fully with the R.C.A.F. rescue co-ordination centres and keep them informed of the movements and state of readiness of their ships (for reasons of security the R.C.M. Police may not be able to provide detailed movements for their vessels).

A press release dated July 21 states:

Government-operated ships numbering more than 200, are being co-ordinated into a general marine search and rescue system in Canada, it was announced jointly today by the Hon. Brooke Clax-ton, Minister of National Defence, and the Hon. Lionel Chevrier, Minister of Transport.

There is no suggestion, so far as I can find out, Mr. Chairman, and I tried to go through Hansard and through the P.C. orders, of any transfer from the Minister of Transport to the Minister of National Defence. I am not criticizing him for the statement he made today, but if by any chance I am wrong, then I still say it should not be transferred to national defence. The coastguard should be under the Minister of Transport because one of the vital services of the coastguard, as we know, is the search and rescue service.

I want to read two more paragraphs of this directive, because to me they do not make sense. Paragraph (e) of the same directive reads:

Necessary publicity will be given to this proposed marine search and rescue organization so that all interested agencies and the public will be aware of the action to be taken in the event of an emergency and of the necessity of notifying the appropriate R.C.A.F. rescue co-ordination centre of any casualty.

Then, paragraph (f), subparagraph (i) reads:

The immediate action required is that necessary to ensure safety of life and, if possible, prevention of damage to or loss of any ship or its cargo until such time as private or commercial salvage is available for this purpose;

To me that seems like a lot of nonsense because if you pick up the report of the Department of Transport for 1951-52, at page 74, you will find this paragraph headed "Lifesaving Stations". It reads as follows:

A wartime voluntary lifesaving service, approved by order in council P.C. 156/9150, dated October 7, 1942, was extended by order in council P.C. 133/5500 dated November 16, 1950. By this means, and on a voluntary basis, the co-operation of fishermen and owners of vessels is encouraged for the saving of life from vessels which may fall into distress in Canadian waters.

What a lot of nonsense that is. In other words, as I view it-and I am trying to be fair in this matter

the minister has passed the buck to the department of defence, and at the same time he is asking the vessel 68108-328

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owners on a voluntary basis to assist in the saving of life at sea.

As the minister will realize, Canada has the longest coast line of any country in the world. Not only has it coast line on both oceans but it has it on the great inland waters. Only today I pick up the Globe and'Mail and I read this headline:

Gale Sinks Ore Ship, Fear 16 of 31 Lost.

The thing that I draw to your attention is this:

Compiling its report from radio messages, the Grand Marais coastguard station-

Meaning the Americans.

-said 15 crew members had been rescued and 8 bodies found.

Then further down we read:

Radio reports intercepted by Grand Marais coastguard station. . . .

Then again:

The coastguard at Cleveland reported . . .

As a new Canadian, if you will, but as a person who has lived on the sea and close to the sea all his life, the thing I object to is this lack of a coastguard. Canada should be big enough and proud enough now to have its own coastguard. It is all very well to say-I have discussed this matter with various members of the minister's staff and this is the story that I get-"Oh, we cannot afford it; it is too costly to have a coastguard." To my way of thinking that is absolute nonsense. It would be much cheaper to have a coastguard and certainly it would be much more in keeping with the pride that Canada should have in herself in these days.

All I wish to say, Mr. Chairman, is this in conclusion. We are proud of the search and rescue service. A few days ago I paid a tribute to the search and rescue unit stationed at Torbay, Newfoundland. The chief pilot of the Newfoundland unit is Flight Lieutenant Carl Ensom of Toronto. He is doing work that is wonderful, and he has done a creditable job right through the piece. But Canada should have a coastguard. With all due respect to the minister, may I say that in the United States-and I am not going into the matter further-in war the coastguard is with the navy and in peace it is with the treasury. In Canada I think it should be under the Minister of Transport. I believe that we should have a coastguard.

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles;

Mr. Chairman, I shall skip any general remarks I might have made on this first item and come directly to the two or three points that I should like once again to draw to the minister's attention.

First of all, I wish to express my keen disappointment that we are coming near to

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the end of another session of this parliament -and apparently near to the end of this parliament itself-without anything being done by the government to augment the pensions of retired Canadian National Railways employees who have nothing else but the $25 & month basic pension.

I have discussed this question so often that it is not necessary to go into details now. On former occasions the minister has asked us to let this question wait until the C.N.R. pension itself had been revised. As he knows, that revision has been effected and quite a number of men who were already retired have had their pensions improved. The figures in respect of those men can be found in Hansard of March 16, at page 2954, where there are answers to certain questions that I had placed on the order paper. I am sure that we all welcome the fact that some 2,728 retired employees have had the pensions they were already drawing improved as a result of the revision of the plan.

I note, of course, that it is the old story; those in the lower brackets have had a much smaller increase than have those in the upper brackets. However, despite the improvement that those employees have enjoyed, the fact remains that there are still 3,206 retired employees of the C.N.R. whose only pension from the railway is the $25 a month basic pension. In addition to that there are still 17 who, under an earlier plan, receive pensions of actually less than $25 a month.

When the minister answered the questions to which I have already referred-the answers were given on March 16, 1953-he replied orally to that set of my questions which dealt with the matter of these men who are still drawing only the $25 a month basic pension, and he said this:

The subject matter of this question was fully discussed last year in this house and in the railway committee. I would like to say to the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles), who placed this question on the order paper, that no further consideration has been given by the government to increasing the basic pension of $25 per month to former employees of the Canadian National Railways who are in receipt of only this basic pension.

As I say, I am deeply disappointed that the minister found himself in the position of having to give that answer, of having to say that this matter had not been further considered. On that same day he went on to say this:

The reasons were given in the discussion which took place and no representations were received from the management of the Canadian National Railway's on this question.

I am sorry to hear that the management of the Canadian National Railways did not make

representations to the government that something be done on behalf of these employees. But even if the management of the C.N.R. has omitted doing that, the minister I am sure will be the first to recognize the fact that representations have been made to him and to the government by associations representing these retired employees themselves. I have no doubt that those representations are still being made directly to the minister by those associations. It is not many months since a delegation representing them was here in Ottawa and met the Minister of Transport, the Minister of Labour and perhaps other ministers in the cabinet.

It seems to me, Mr. Chairman, that this matter should yet be dealt with by the government more favourably than has been the case thus far. When we get along into the detailed estimates of the department that is now before us, we will come eventually- and I hope the time is not too far off-to an item that provides a supplement to the small pension that was first voted years ago to employees of the Intercolonial railway or one of the railways down in the maritime provinces. That item has been in the estimates every year now for perhaps 30 years, it having been recognized that long ago that the amount of pension being paid to those retired persons was not sufficient and that it should be augmented by an item in the estimates. The Minister of Finance said to me the other day, in respect of superannuated civil servants, that in his view their plight could not be dealt with by drawing on the superannuation fund but that it could be dealt with by an item in the estimates. I submit that just as we have an item in these estimates today for the Intercolonial employees of long ago, there should be put into the estimates an item to provide for a supplement to the pensions of these C.N.R. employees who are still drawing only that $25 a month.

I have already referred to the questions and answers that appeared on Hansard of March 16, 1953, at pages 2953 and 2954. The information given there spells out not only the large numbers that are receiving only $25 a month but further numbers of employees whose pensions, although a little bit more than $25 a month, are still in extremely low brackets.

Mr. Chairman, this is unfinished business. I think that the government should be ashamed of the fact that it is unfinished. In my view, this parliament should be ashamed of the fact that we have not been able to get the government to deal with this matter

before the end of this session and of this parliament.

I place the matter before the minister again, as strongly as I can. If I may say so, I note that the hon. member for Lake Centre, who has frequently spoken on this matter as well, seems to be getting ready to say something again. I hope that is true; and in view of the support of this proposal by other hon. members in the house, I would hope the minister would soon realize that he cannot go on forever leaving this as an item of unfinished business.

Before I give the hon. member for Lake Centre the chance to make the speech I have invited him to make, I have a couple of other matters to refer to. As the minister will recall, on one or two former occasions I have drawn to his attention the desire of a certain group of employees of the Canadian National Railways to be accorded union recognition and the right of collective bargaining. I refer to the men who are organized in what is known as the railway supervisors association. These are men whose work is that of foremen in a number of the shops and plants of the Canadian National Railways.

These men have certain supervisory functions; but they have pointed out to me on a number of occasions that they are not in as complete control of the shops in which they are foremen as are the railway conductors of the trains of which they are in charge. Nevertheless the railway conductors are accorded the right of trade-union recognition and collective bargaining, while these foremen or supervisors are denied that right.

It is true that they have the right individually to go to their superiors with grievances. But most if not all of these men are workers who have come up through the ranks, and through their own trade unions. Many of them are still members of the trade unions to which they originally belonged. They believe they should have the right of collective bargaining which is so important in labour-management relations.

This is a subject on which I could speak at length, but I am not going to do so at this time. What I am going to do is to make a new suggestion to the minister in respect of this matter. We discussed it before on April 13, 1951, as appears in Hansard of that date. He will also find in his files an exchange of letters between us, including in particular his letter to me of August 1, 1951, in reply to an earlier letter of mine. In going over the previous discussion and correspondence he will see that there were a number of angles to the question. One of them was as to whether or not the Industrial Relations and Disputes Investigation Act contemplated men 68108-328i

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in this type of work being accorded the right of collective bargaining.

I argued before that permission for them to have that right was in the act, although it was not automatic. The new point I would bring to the minister's attention is this: I

think it is fair to say that in the committee on industrial relations this year we were informed that the Industrial Relations and Disputes Investigation Act is to be reviewed by the Department of Labour. As a matter of fact, not many days ago the house passed the second report of the industrial relations committee, which instructs that a certain matter I have had before the house be included in the review of the Industrial Relations and Disputes Investigations Act which, it is understood, the government will shortly undertake.

I would ask the minister-and let me say that if he will agree to do this I will not have to press the matter further from the floor of the house today-to have this matter studied again by his officials, and then refer it to the Department of Labour, asking them to give it consideration along with their review of the provisions of what is known as the federal labour code.

Just one other specific matter, and it, too, is something that has been discussed on the floor of the house on a number of occasions, including a number of times this year. I refer now to what appears to be a mere handful of employees in the former radio licence division of the Department of Transport. As the minister knows, there were a number of people whose positions were abolished when the government got around to doing away with the radio licence. That was a step which was heartily approved by the house.

My information is that the government has done quite well by practically all of these employees who were formerly engaged fulltime in this work. That is all to the good. But I understand that there are still seven of these persons who are somewhat concerned as to what may happen to them. They are the persons who are doing the mopping up work and, as yet, they have not been given any assurance that they will have other work in some other department of government.

Another matter which concerns some of these people-and some of them are personnel of high standing-is that they have seen others who have had to take positions at lower rates of pay, thus making for a reduction in their superannuation rights. As a matter of fact I have a few details concerning these people in a memorandum

Supply-Transport

now before me, but I need not take the time of the committee to go into it. I do express the hope, however, that the fairly good job being done on behalf of these people be carried forward so that these remaining seven may be taken care of in the best possible way. I would ask in particular that consideration be given to their superannuation position so as to make sure that it is not hurt by their being placed in positions involving reductions in their rates of pay.

There are one or two other matters which occur to me, but I shall not discuss them until we reach the specific items. For the moment I bring these three matters to the minister's attention, namely the matter to which I have just referred, also the question of the Canadian National supervisors who are anxious to have their trade-union and collective bargaining rights recognized, and the hardy perennial concerning those retired C.N.R. employees who are still being asked, so far as the railway is concerned, to get by on only $25 a month.

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PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fraser:

Mr. Chairman, on March 18, 1952, I put a question on the order paper, in these words:

1. Has the dominion government or any agency thereof instructed any firm or individual to prepare plans, take soundings or do any engineering or surveying work on the St. Lawrence river in connection with the proposed St. Lawrence seaway and power plan?

2. If so, what are the names of party or parties engaged to do this work?

An amount of $75,000 was voted in the estimates last year. This year there is the sum of $300,000 in the main estimates and $270,000 in the supplementaries as a further amount required to provide for expenses in connection with the St. Lawrence ship canal surveys and investigations. Who is doing this work? First of all, is the department doing it? Has the department engaged engineers and, if so, who are they?

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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

The general engineering

branch of the Department of Transport is doing all borings by contract. They have let one contract to the Parco company, a Montreal firm.

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May 12, 1953