Robert Henry MCGREGOR

MCGREGOR, The Hon. Robert Henry, P.C.

Personal Data

Party
Progressive Conservative
Constituency
York East (Ontario)
Birth Date
March 1, 1886
Deceased Date
October 25, 1965
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Henry_McGregor
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=84b55602-3be7-4f1f-bb26-c4fdcb3bdd11&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
contractor, gardener

Parliamentary Career

September 14, 1926 - May 30, 1930
CON
  York South (Ontario)
July 28, 1930 - August 14, 1935
CON
  York South (Ontario)
October 14, 1935 - January 25, 1940
CON
  York East (Ontario)
March 26, 1940 - April 16, 1945
NAT
  York East (Ontario)
June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
PC
  York East (Ontario)
June 27, 1949 - June 13, 1953
PC
  York East (Ontario)
August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
PC
  York East (Ontario)
June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
PC
  York East (Ontario)
March 31, 1958 - April 19, 1962
PC
  York East (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 76)


February 21, 1964

Mr. McGregor:

The fact is that C.P.A. does not put out a financial statement. Their financial statement is included in a paragraph in the annual report of the C.P.R.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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February 21, 1964

Mr. McGregor:

It is not detailed at all. This is a ^report in respect of the over-all operation of

During those hearings, which went on for four days, an official of the C.P.A. air line sat in attendance in the visitors' section of the committee room, and the full disclosure of T.C.A.'s position was placed before that committee for the information of its chief competitor.

There is also the question of political pressures brought to bear on management; for example, the political pressure brought to bear to keep the T.C.A. overhaul base in Winnipeg, which admittedly will cost T.C.A. a substantial amount of money, and the controversy that swirled throughout the House of Commons over the selection of short range jets, the DC-9 or the Caravelle. When these

The Address-Mr. Addison things happen it becomes increasingly difficult for a member of operating management to divorce himself completely from the political implications.

I suggest that when the air lines are in a healthy position, then this is the time to arrange for a merger. This should be a marriage of convenience and not of necessity. Nineteen sixty three was one of the best years international air lines ever enjoyed, and both Canadian air lines operated at a profit. Air lines in the United States operated at record earnings. Such a merger must be carried through in a spirit of co-operation. It is necessary so that an air line can operate as a business, and an air line must be conducted as a business with the minimum of interference from the government.

I do not think we should operate our flag line as an instrument of national prestige. I do not think it is unrealistic to look into the future when there may possibly be only 10 or 12 international flag carriers servicing all the nations of the world. As trade barriers are reduced competition will become more severe among competing air lines, and now is the time to lay our long range plans for an international flag line representing this country.

One may ask how a merger may be brought about. The heads of the two air lines have been competing against each other for some time and it is only natural that, as competitors, they would not advocate such a step. But I suggest it has worked successfully in other countries, and that it can work successfully here with the government and private industry in a fifty-fifty partnership in a national project. This would give the private enterprise approach with the aid of government financing.

I do not intend to go into a great deal of detail in connection with the merger of

S.A.S., but I think it is important that we look at part of it. S.A.S. is a company which represents Norway, Denmark and Sweden. Norway and Denmark each own two sevenths and Sweden owns the other three sevenths. The Swedish portion of this partnership is owned by a company called A.B.A., which company is controlled 50 per cent by private industry and 50 per cent by the Swedish government.

Each of these groups elects an equal number of directors to the board and the chairman of the board is appointed by the directors voting the government shares, but the operating executive committee is made up of four directors, two from private industry and two representing the government. The chairman of this operating executive committee is elected by the private interests.

The Address-Mr. Nielsen If a dividend is to be paid at the end of the fiscal year, it is determined by the group recommending the lowest figure.

I suggest that with co-operation between private and public financing a transportation company of this type could be a very valuable instrument for Canada, because with such a company as this Canada can utilize it in order to form her own merchant fleet. Today Canada has virtually no international merchant marine, and I think we have all accepted the fact that the country is not going to be in a position to manufacture highly sophisticated, large, supersonic transport aircraft. But we could build a merchant marine using Canadian shipyards, using Canadian personnel and material to build the ships, using Canadian men to man and sail them, and employ these vessels for the purpose of transporting Canadian agricultural products and manufactured goods originating here.

Any policy dealing with transportation is complicated because of regional interests involved. I suggest we accept that we must be united in order to compete internationally. I suggest we adopt a policy of co-operation between private industry and government whereby this company would be allowed to operate as a private company on a free enterprise basis.

This is a house of minorities, and some have accused us of timidity. I do not think this has been the case. Policies have been introduced into the house and pursued with vigour and courage. Courage will be needed to merge the air lines structure so as to form an over-all transportation complex. But for the good of the country and for the sake of competing internationally in the future I feel the approach must be one of full cooperation between government and private industry so as to develop one integral transportation company.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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June 2, 1960

Mr. McGregor:

Yes, per year. It is a figure which will have a tendency to be cut in half by the pooling.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
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June 2, 1960

Mr. McGregor:

We estimated that, Mr. Chevrier, but, as I say, it is difficult to say that because a passenger is carried on that non-stop operation he necessarily would have travelled on T.C.A. had that operation not existed. We have an estimated figure, but I must say it is no better than that. We can give you that, included in our report.

Later there was added as an appendix to the report the amount which I mentioned earlier, namely appendix E, "Trans-Canada Air Lines, forecast impact on T.C.A. of recent bilateral route awards" as affected by Air France and Lufthansa on the Montreal-Chicago route of $200,000 per year. The anxieties which were expressed at the time by those of us who took part in this debate have now been confirmed by the president of Trans-Canada Air Lines. So much so have they been confirmed that the president has

found it necessary to enter into a pooling arrangement with B.O.A.C. in connection with the north Atlantic services performed by T.C.A. The loss to T.C.A. from the granting of these onward rights is substantial. I think that consideration ought to be given at once by the minister to a renegotiation of these bilateral agreements or, in the alternative, to a renegotiation of the bilateral agreement with the United States which would give the T.C.A. and other Canadian carriers the right to operate into certain lucrative airports of the United States and would offset the losses that have been caused by the negotiation of these recent bilateral agreements.

It seems to me that all of this has been done in the name of competition. No one was more anxious that there should be competition than was my friend the Minister of Transport when he sat on this side of the house. However, when he moved over to the other side of the house he had an expert look into this whole field of transportation and there was produced the Wheatcroft report. I have no fault to find with the Wheatcroft report. On the contrary; I think the Wheatcroft report is excellent in many respects. Unfortunately, however, the minister has not seen fit to follow that report. The competition to which Trans-Canada Air Lines is being subjected is going to mean financial loss to the company.

But I believe this position of competition also applies in the field of domestic air services. I think it is unfortunate that the minister did not see fit to indicate to the committee what the government policy was with reference to those services. I think it can also be said that in this field of domestic air services there is on the part of the government, through the initiation of the minister, a tendency to allow far too much competition. That tendency was indicated by the decontrol of groups C and B, the one on July 18, 1958 and the other on December 21, 1958. The opening up of these two categories of air services to competition was a serious matter. The result has been a tremendous number of bankruptcies. Certainly there have been a larger number of bankruptcies than anyone would have expected would occur.

I placed on the order paper a starred question in connection with this matter. The answer the minister gave was that six aviation companies had gone into bankruptcy since July 18, 1958, the date of the announcement of the decontrol of group C; that 38 air companies had applied for suspension of services; that 15 companies had applied for cancellation of their permits; and that 15 companies had had their permits cancelled. It seems to me that this is cleanly indicative

of this new policy of competition in every field which has meant that many of these companies have been unable to carry on. They had difficulties previously but those difficulties became insurmountable and it was not possible for them to carry on; hence these bankruptcies and these suspensions of services.

This is exactly what the air industries and transport association foreshadowed in their brief to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Transport at the annual association meeting which they held in Montreal in October of last year and again in a subsequent meeting which they held in Victoria some short time ago.

There is also an extremely unsatisfactory situation with regard to Autair Helicopter Services. Surely the minister has not given the house a satisfactory answer in so far as this company is concerned. I have no intention of repeating what I said on an earlier occasion dealing with the subject of Autair Helicopter Services. However, I want to say one thing, namely that there is in existence an air transport board which functions in accordance with the terms of the Aeronautics Act. I am sorry to tell the minister that he has not allowed the air transport board to function in accordance with the terms of this act but has interfered with the functions of the air transport board on at least two occasions. The first occasion is that of Autair Helicopter Services and the other is that of Georgian Bay Airways Limited.

In the case of Autair Helicopter Services, an application was made by that company before the air transport board. A public hearing was held by the board in Montreal and after careful consideration by the members of the air transport board they declined to grant the application. However, upon appeal the minister overruled the board. I say now, as I said before, that the minister should not have interfered in a judicial matter. Had it been purely a question of fact, that would have been an entirely different matter. However, it was not purely a question of fact; it was a matter of a judicial nature. When the Aeronautics Act was passed by this parliament I think the intention clearly was that while an appeal lay to the minister in certain circumstances, in so far as the legal aspect was concerned the matter was for the air transport board to determine.

The result has been extremely unfortunate in so far as this company is concerned and in so far as the air transport board is concerned. With the overruling of the board by the minister we have no proof of financial responsibility. A number of accidents have taken place. I believe there have been seven, four in 1959 and three already in 1960, in connection with Autair Services Limited.

Supply-Transport

A letter written by the air transport board to Autair Helicopter Services has gone unanswered. No attention has been paid to this regulating and governing body by an air services corporation which exists and which is subject to the jurisdiction of the board.

I would like to put this letter on Hansard. It is dated February 4, 1959 and was obtained in answer to a notice of motion tabled in this house. It is addressed by the secretary of the air transport board to Autair Helicopter Services and reads:

Dear Sir,

This is further to our letter of January 7th in connection with the removal of the restriction limiting your company to the use of certain helicopters under board decision No. 1111.

Our audit section finds that it cannot make a proper study of your application because it ha* no up to date financial information other than operating reports for the period from commencement of operations to December 31, 1958. The following information should be provided:

(1) A balance sheet of Autair Helicopter Services Ltd. as at December 31, 1958.

(2) A consolidated balance sheet of Autair Helicopter Services Ltd. and subsidiaries as at December 31, 1958.

(3) Full information regarding all helicopters acquired or to be acquired since the date of the above balance sheet, including type or types, estimated cost and proposed method of financing purchase.

(4) Full information regarding terms of repayment of any long term debts which may be included in the above suggested balance sheets.

As soon as the above has been received, your application will be further processed.

As far as I know there has not only been no reply to that letter, but there has been an utter and total disregard by an aircraft company operating in this country under the jurisdiction of the air transport board of that governing body. If I am wrong in that assumption I hope the minister will correct me, but I gathered from the information which was obtained earlier that Autair Helicopter Services paid no attention whatsoever and carried on as if the air transport board had never existed at all. In fact, not only did they carry on; they had been operating in the province of Quebec without a licence for a period of several months. I made that statement on an earlier occasion and I repeat it now. The minister said that they did not operate with his knowledge and that may well be; but the point is that the air transport board has in its possession information which would indicate that they did operate without a licence and that the owner of that corporation operated with a private licence only. That certainly is contrary to the rules and regulations established under the Aeronautics Act and applicable to other aircraft companies in Canada.

Supply-Transport

I think the minister should not have interfered with the decision of the board, because if he had not interfered with the decision of the board this company would have either had to abide by the regulations of the air transport board and its procedures or it would not have been able to operate at all.

There is a great deal more than that in connection with this matter. This company has had its insurance cancelled twice. It has also obtained from the government, through the Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys, a very important contract on the polar shelf involving several hundred thousand dollars. What about these professional men, these workers skilled and otherwise, who are being transported by this company in the north, that not only has had its insurance cancelled but which presently is insured by an unrecognized company in the United States? From the information I have indications are that this company may also cancel the insurance of the company as they have been unable to find any insurance adjuster to handle the accidents which were listed by the minister which took place in 1960.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
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June 2, 1960

Mr. McGregor:

Yes, also as of March 1.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
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