Howard Russell MacEwan
Mr. Chairman, I cannot let this opportunity go by without referring to the hon. member for Westmorland, who has just spoken and has twice complimented me on the resolution which I placed on the order paper of this house. It is very fine of him to do so, and in this regard I would say that as far as this and other Atlantic resolutions are concerned, I am sure I can speak for the other members from that area and say that we will certainly go ahead, put them on the order paper and see that they are carried out to the best of our ability. Furthermore, at a meeting of the Atlantic candidates in Moncton we certainly enjoyed the great hospitality of that city, although I do not think my hon. friend had anything to do with that.
However, I would just like to refer to some of the remarks made by the hon. member for Macleod with respect to the coal mining industry. I would point out that in the area which I represent, the constituency of Pictou, a great deal of the economy is bound up in the coal mining industry. I will just briefly describe the history of that industry, which began with the old companies such as the General Mining Company, Acadia Coal Company and the Intercolonial Coal Company. It is easy to appreciate from what has happened in recent years that the coal mining industry has certainly been going down in that area. We have seen the closing down of mines in the town of Stellarton, the closing of the Alla shaft, Albion, MacGregor and also No. 79. There has also been a considerable reduction in the working force of the Intercolonial Coal Mining Company in
Westville. Many delegations were sent to Halifax, to the provincial government of the time, and to the federal government in Ottawa without any help whatsoever being received.
As far as the town of Westville is concerned, which is an heroic town of some 4,200 people and which might be compared with Springhill in the neighbouring Cumberland county, it has for some years now faced a very bleak existence. The finances of the town are poor, as they have been for the last six or eight years, and this also applies to the town of Stellarton. In Westville there is what is known as the black diamond seam, a seam of coal which contains approximately 15 million tons of the best coal available. In this connection I would suggest that the subventions on coal which have been announced by this government will indeed have the effect desired in helping these mines, and I will certainly press for such a mine to be opened up before too long in order to assist that town.
These subventions announced by the government should, as I say, be of great assistance to the area, but my hon. friend from Macleod has stated that one way this government could help the coal mining industry throughout the country would, of course, be to encourage new industries. In this regard I would point out that these subventions will also help in the expansion of power plants in the province of Nova Scotia. There are, as many hon. members will know, some very active organizations in the maritime provinces, including one known as the Atlantic provinces economic council. This is made up of members from all over the Atlantic provinces under a very energetic president. The last place this organization met was, I believe, in the city of Charlottetown. APEC, as this organization is known, is not limited by political partisanship at all, but includes representatives from business, labour, educational authorities, and the various governments within these provinces. Certainly this organization is establishing a solid front in the maritimes.
I would just like to refer to an article in the Financial Post of September 28th last, as follows:
Maritimers are finding out through their Atlantic provinces economic council or APEC how much they can do by their own efforts to expand business and raise living standards. At a meeting just held in Charlottetown APEC studied trade promotion. Numerous constructive ideas were brought forward.
For example, the four provinces in APEC plan to establish an Atlantic House in London, England, very soon. Through this agency, as the experience of other parts of Canada shows, they might expect to attract immigrants, capital and orders for their goods.
The Financial Post goes on to say:
In these current APEC reports there is a strong emphasis on local markets which may reflect the maritime sense of isolation. For instance, the Atlantic makers of footwear and apparel held a very successful show of their goods this year-but they held it in Halifax. They plan another for 1958-in Moncton or Saint John.
Why not Montreal or Toronto? It's by selling an exportable surplus outside their own borders, by competing in the Canadian market as a whole, and on overseas and foreign markets that the maritimes will ultimately share to the full a national prosperity.
An "operation bootstrap" of this kind is far better than wringing of hands, appeals to Ottawa or nostalgic longing for good old days.
What has been going on in the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick is what we might call "operation coaldust" or "operation kilowatt", or whatever you wish, but now the maritime provinces, through APEC, are showing that they are going ahead. I would like to refer briefly to a company which has been set up by the government of Nova Scotia known as Industrial Estates Limited. The purpose of this company is to attract new industry to the province of Nova Scotia, and I was happy to note from the issue of the Halifax Chronicle Herald yesterday that the first estate will be set up between the two towns I have mentioned, namely Stellarton and Westville, comprising 150 acres which have already been purchased. An option has been taken on a further 600 acres; and I believe that Industrial Estates Limited, which has many good and energetic men on its board of directors, will help to ensure a bright future for the province of Nova Scotia and the maritimes generally. I certainly hope that industry will be attracted to my own area.
Finally, I would like to refer the remarks of the hon. member for Macleod this morning to the effect that this government would not be here long if it did not do something. In my opinion this government has done more during this short period for my area and for the maritimes in general than has been done for many, many years. I might say that in the proud constituency which I have the honour to represent the future looks good, and I believe the whole of the maritimes are now looking forward to a prosperity which they have not known heretofore.