June 28, 1948 (20th Parliament, 4th Session)

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister) moved:

That whereas the requirements of a national capital involve, from time to time, developments of a character beyond the municipal improvements ordinarily required in other cities;
And whereas the development of a national capital is at least in part a national responsibility;
And whereas the capital of Canada is designated by the British North America Act to be Ottawa;
And whereas the carrying out of planned improvements requires a clear expression of intention to proceed with necessary developments in a manner which will ensure continuity; Therefore this house is of opinion:
1. That it is desirable that all developments of the capital should be in accordance 'with an approved plan which has regard to the position of the city of Ottawa as a national capital in the present, and to its probable needs as the capital of Canada in years to come.
2. That a special account in the consolidated revenue fund, to be known as the national capital fund, should be created to which appropriation may be made annually by parliament over a period of years of the amounts required from time to time to meet the costs of such projects as may lie recommended by the federal district commission and approved by the governor in

Development of National Capital
council for the development of the national capital and the surrounding area, in accordance with the plan;
3. That it is desirable that the work necessary to this end be under the supervision of the federal district commission, distinct from its ordinary operations;
4. That the expenditure of moneys for these purposes should be conditional on the effective co-operation of the city of Ottawa and other municipalities within the national capital district.
He said: I know hon. members are anxious that the session should be concluded with as little delay as possible; therefore I promise I shall not take up much time with this resolution. I believe the resolution in the form in which it appears on the order paper will commend itself to hon. members without extended discussion. Most of the objectives set forth have been approved in past years, and the general conception I believe has met with acceptance not only in parliament but throughout the country.
As hon. members know, there are items in t'be estimates in relation to the work of the federal district commission. For that reason I shall not in my present remarks go into detail about specific projects. Questions on that particular phase of the matter may be asked when we reach those estimates.
The resolution, in a word, seeks to ensure the continuous development of Ottawa and surrounding areas in a manner which will help to meet its needs as the capital of Canada both at the present time and in years to come. I would link together, as setting forth the essentials of the resolution, certain clauses which appear in it. For this purpose I shall quote from the resolution, but in an order different from that in which these clauses appear.
The resolution states:
That it is desirable that all developments of the capital should be in accordance with an approved plan which has regard to the position of the city of Ottawa as a national capital in the present, and to its probable needs as the capital of Canada in years to come.
The requirements of a national capital involve from time to time developments of a character beyond the municipal improvements ordinarily required in other cities.
The carrying out of planned improvements requires a clear expression of intention to proceed with necessary developments in a manner which will ensure continuity.
A special account in the consolidated revenue fund, to be knowm as the national capital fund, should be created, to which appropriation may be made annually by parliament over a period of years of the amounts required from time to time to meet the costs of such projects as may be recommended by the federal district commission and approved by the governor in council
for the development of the national capital and the surrounding area, in accordance with the plan.
I believe those four paragraphs, which I have rearranged in this order, will give to hon. members the essentials of the resolution.
May I now for a moment enlarge upon the statements therein set forth. It is 6tated first that-
It is desirable that all developments of the capital should be in accordance with an approved plan which has regard to the position of the city of Ottawa as a national capital in the present, and to its probable needs as the capital of Canada in years to come.
What was known as the Ottawa improvement commission was appointed during the administration of Sir Wilfrid Laurier within one year of fifty" years ago in order, as a federal government responsibility, to assist in, making in this city such necessary improvements as at that time seemed advisable, having regard to the fact that Ottawa was the capital of Canada. Those improvements have continued over the years, and hon. members now know the effect they have had upon Ottawa as the capital city of our country.
I need not go into details as to what has been accomplished over those years; the vast improvements, so apparent on all sides, speak for themselves. I would ask hon. members, however, to ask themselves what would have been the position in this capital today if those improvements had not been made during the last fifty years. It is in this light that I now present to the house this resolution, one which I hope will lead to essential developments which the city of Ottawa could not be expected to undertake as a municipal obligation, if the capital is to meet the needs which will be expected of it in the course of another fifty years, to say nothing of the years which will follow thereafter.
Unless these essential developments are made at the present time they will be extremely costly to make within another few years, if indeed it might not become next to impossible to make them later on. It is to anticipate a situation of that kind that I am bringing forward this resolution today.
As hon. members are aware, for some years past members of the federal district commission and others who are members of the capital planning committee, including several experts, have been working on a plan for the development of the capital. A master plan is being prepared setting out on broad lines the developments which should be followed from
59:4

Development oj National Capital
year to year by the different authorities and organizations having to do with the development of the capital. Here may I 'point, out that the municipality of Ottawa has its obliga-gations; the provinces of Ontario and Quebec each have also to do with matters which pertain to Ottawa and Hull and which affect the development of the capital. .Adjoining municipalities have to be brought into consideration in connection with developments affecting their areas. Finally in association with these authorities there are developments which the government itself, which has a special responsibility for the development of the national capital, will wish to make.
These several bodies cannot be brought together in harmonious relationship unless *there is some broad and general plan to be followed. For that reason, for some years past the government, as I haive said, has had experts at work under the direction of the federal district commission, preparing a master plan; in that work it has had the benefit of the best advice obtainable.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL CAPITAL
Full View