Gordon Francis HIGGINS

HIGGINS, Gordon Francis, Q.C., O.B.E.

Personal Data

Party
Progressive Conservative
Constituency
St. John's East (Newfoundland and Labrador)
Birth Date
October 8, 1905
Deceased Date
October 13, 1957
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_Higgins
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=54481bbe-cafa-4aa9-823c-1bacb309f25f&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
barrister

Parliamentary Career

June 27, 1949 - June 13, 1953
PC
  St. John's East (Newfoundland and Labrador)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 4 of 256)


May 12, 1953

Mr. Higgins:

I thank the minister for his explanation. It looked a little bit odd to me. It came down from $1,196,000. I wondered whether it would be a sweepstake ticket, to come down to a dollar.

Topic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF APPOINTMENT OF THE CHIEF JUSTICE OF CANADA, THE SPEAKER OF THE SENATE, THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS AND THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
Full View Permalink

May 12, 1953

Mr. Higgins:

May I ask the minister to explain this item?

Topic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF APPOINTMENT OF THE CHIEF JUSTICE OF CANADA, THE SPEAKER OF THE SENATE, THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS AND THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
Full View Permalink

May 12, 1953

Mr. G. F. Higgins (St. John's East):

I should like to direct a question to the Minister of Transport. Is he presently negotiating for new commercial air line routes in the United States?

Topic:   CIVIL AVIATION
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO NEW COMMERCIAL ROUTES IN UNITED STATES
Full View Permalink

May 12, 1953

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

Supply-Transport

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.

Topic:   CIVIL AVIATION
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO NEW COMMERCIAL ROUTES IN UNITED STATES
Full View Permalink

May 12, 1953

Mr. Higgins:

Before we finish, I want to go on record with my confrere from St. John's West with respect to the proposition he put before the minister about half an hour ago. It is in connection with term 39 of the terms of union of Newfoundland with Canada. I do not think the minister was quite correct in his answer which he gave a short time ago. Purely for the purpose of the record I want to put on Hansard, first, part of term 39 and the answer which I got in 1949 from the clerk of the privy council. Term 39 says:

Employees of the government of Newfoundland in the services taken over by Canada pursuant to these terms will be offered employment in these services or in similar Canadian services under the terms and conditions from time to time governing employment in those services, but without reduction in salary or loss of pension rights acquired by reason of service in Newfoundland.

If hon. members will agree, so that I shall not delay them too long, I should like the

privilege of putting on the record paragraphs (2) and (3) of term 39.

Topic:   CIVIL AVIATION
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO NEW COMMERCIAL ROUTES IN UNITED STATES
Full View Permalink