Newfoundland National Convention, 9 January 1947, Debates on Confederation with Canada


January 9, 1947

Mr. Chairman Orders of the day. Mr. Smallwood to move that the Commissioner for Public Utilities be invited to appear before the Convention, in public or private session as he shall prefer, to present an account of the facts of the financing of Gander, and to be interrogated thereon.
Mr. Smallwood Mr. Chairman, I feel that the motion is self-explanatory and it does not need any Verbal defence whatever. I think we all are agreed that we are not satisfied that we have the complete story of Gander. We do not know who is responsible for the debt to be incurred, and for that reason I move the motion.
Mr. Fowler I feel very much in favour of Mr. Smallwood's motion and take pleasure in seconding it.
Mr. Job Mr. Chairman, I support the resolution proposed by Mr. Smallwood, and take the opportunity to make a few remarks on the subject which I think is allied to the resolution. My view for some time has been that we shall not make serious progress in helping to remedy certain existing defects in the economic position of Newfoundland until we, as Newfoundlanders, are able to sit down at a round table conference with appointed representatives of Great Britain, Canada and the United States of America, to discuss not only the question of operation of airports, and the concessions already given and asked for in connection with defence bases, but also our general economic position. As you are probably aware by this time, I am of the opinion that we should on every possible occasion stress the fact that our valuable strategic position is being utilised by Canada, the USA and Great Britain for defence and other purposes, without any material return to Newfoundland for its use, and without any consultation with the people of Newfoundland.
At a round table conference, at which real representatives of Newfoundland should be present, these questions could be thrashed out and the case for Newfoundland could be properly presented. Our position is such a strong one, that if properly impressed it could not fail to appeal to our American and Canadian friends, who are anxious to continue to utilise to the utmost for their own important purposes, the valuable facilities arising from our strategic position.
The ace card we hold for negotiations in connection with the future prosperity of Newfoundland consists of her strategic position. Our problem is in my opinion an economic one, and not as some people seem to imagine, mainly a political one. The sooner an attempt is made to secure such a joint conference the better, and its object should be to discuss the degree of assistance, by tariff concessions or otherwise, to which Newfoundland is entitled, in exchange for utilisation of her strategic position for the benefit mainly of Canada, USA and Great Britain. I make no apology for repeatedly stressing this viewpoint, and on some suitable occasion hope to place before the Convention some definite plan of action to secure such a conference as that proposed.
Mr. Ashbourne I am in favour of this motion and I support it, but it has occurred to me that there may be other matters which the members might want to take up with the Commissioner for Public Utilities. According to the motion as worded this interview would relate to Gander airport and would, unless amended, debar the consideration of other matters; possibly Mr. Smallwood could enlarge the motion to include any other matters of public concern any member might wish to bring before him at this time.
Mr. Smallwood I am prepared to accede to Mr. Ashboume's suggestion. The only thing is we ought to be specific. We ask the Commissioner to come and give a certain explanation about one particular thing; we cannot add "such other matters as we would wish to discuss." We would have to be specific so that he could bring along other data on the matters to be discussed. If the house wants to add any other topic to be discussed with the Commissioner, I am agreeable to that.
Mr. Chairman If Mr. Ashbourne wishes to make an amendment, that would be in order, but as Mr. Smallwood has pointed out, we cannot obviously invite the Commissioner here and 230 NATIONAL CONVENTION January 1947 adopt the attitude of a roving commission to go into any subject under the sun, and deal with things he was not prepared to deal with.
Mr. Ashbourne We know that the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Wild, appeared before the Convention before he left and seemed quite ready to answer any questions put to him by the members. If the Commissioner did not have all the information available at the time, he could submit it at a later date. That would do away with the necessity of having him appear a second time. Personally I would not want to bring in an amendment unless I feel other members might wish to ask for certain other information. Since no other members have spoken, I do not feel like amending the motion.
Mr. Hickman I am inclined to agree with Mr. Ashbourne, but as Mr. Smallwood says, we should be specific. He is responsible only for his department; perhaps if we add the words "public works, roads and railway." I make that as an amendment.
Mr. Chairman I do not wish to dictate to the Convention, but may I suggest to the mover and seconderthat we add these words: "and to discuss any other public matter with which the Commissioner may be prepared to deal." That in itself leaves open the possibility and probability should the occasion arise that you may have another session with the Commissioner.
Mr. Jackman Would that take in our strategic position as well?
Mr. Chairman If he is not prepared to deal with any matter, we have no authority to compel him.
Mr. Jackman About two years ago in New York a prominent member of the Republican party said, "We should turn our eyes towards Newfoundland, and if we cannot get it by peaceful means, we will have to do it by other means." Since then, six months ago, a very prominent member of the Quebec legislature said they were going in and take Labrador regardless of who is going to try and stop them. Probably Mr. Neill might be able to tell us something about that.[1]

Report of the on Transportation and Communications Committee:[2] Committee of the Whole

Mr. Smallwood I would suggest that this afternoon we deal with the section on roads and bridges.[3] I would ask the Secretary to read that section.
[The Secretary read the report]
Mr. Smallwood There is only one appendix to this report,[4] and that was prepared bythe department dealing with local roads and bridges, describing the system the government has of helping the maintaining of local roads. In view of the fact that we are on the air it ought to be read, not at the present moment, but the information in it is so important to the whole country, it ought to be read before the debate is over.
Mr. Hollett What is intended by the comparison of Newfoundland (1943) with Prince Edward Island? It looks to me, as far as road revenue is concerned, we received much more revenue from fewer cars.
Mr. Smallwood That is an important point. The table is given to show the possibilities that exist, in Newfoundland, at least in theory, of getting revenue from roads. We have therefore shown what the actual revenue is in such nearby places as Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Road revenue in Canada and the United States is a clearly defined thing. In Newfoundland it is not. You cannot say exactly how much revenue Newfoundland is now getting from roads. You can only add up what they get from motor car and drivers' licenses. That revenue would not exist if there were no roads, What we have done is add in the customs duties received on gasoline. Unfortunately, there is no separation made between the revenue received from gasoline used by motor cars on the one hand, and customs duties received on gasoline used by fishermen, mills, farms, on the other hand. We took the total amount received on all gasoline; added that to what was received on January 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 231 motor car and drivers' licenses. That is where we get the total for 1945-46 of $634,000. We took the year 1943 as a basis of comparison. The amount in Newfoundland for 1943 was $664,492. We did not actually get that from roads; we got it from gasoline duties collected and also motor car and drivers' licenses.
Mr. Hollett Why call it "road revenue"? It is out of place there.
Mr. Smallwood It is not.... In 1943 we had 6,700 motor vehicles and only 5,100 miles of road. Nova Scotia had 59,000 vehicles and 15,000 miles of road. If we had had 15,000 miles of road then our revenue would have been the same as Nova Scotia. It is aimed at showing that the construction of roads in Newfoundland can be used as a means of bringing revenue into the govemment, and to prove it we have given the cases of these other countries.
Mr. Hollett It says here that gasoline was stringently rationed in Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia; you must remember you cannot run without tires either.
Mr. Smallwood In 1943, their revenue was below normal. If they had been able to get all the gasoline they wanted, the gasoline tax would have brought in more money. If they had been able to get more cars and trucks, their revenue instead of being $4.5 million would have been $55 million as compared with Newfoundland's $600,000. And not even $600,000, actually, because that includes gasoline to fishermen and sawmills
Mr. Butt 1 cannot remember if we made this up on a basis of comparable rates against other places or whether we took into account the actual duty collected as between one country and another.
Mr. Smallwood Road revenue in Canada does not include customs duties. No province in Canada collects customs duties; these are collected by the federal government. The $4.5 million collected does not include customs duties. That includes the gasoline tax ... and the money collected from licences on vehicles and licences paid by drivers. The bulk of the revenue in Canada and United States is received from gasoline tax and not...
Mr. Crosbie What is the licence fee?
Mr. Smallwood That varies in the provinces and in the states. I do not know what a driver has to pay for a licence in Canada or in the United States. I do know the bulk of the road revenue is obtained through gasoline tax.
Mr. Hollett This is misleading. You added vehicular licences and customs duties; yet you fail to mention what the gasoline tax is in Canada.
Mr. Smallwood The gasoline tax in Nova Scotia is, I think, 10 cents a gallon That is a direct tax collected by the provincial government.
Mr. Hollett What is the duty in this country?
Mr. Smallwood 14 cents.
Mr. Butt 16 cents on the Avalon Peninsula. That takes care of something extra spent on the roads.
Mr. Smallwood If the duty on gasoline coming into this country is 14 cents, I do not think the 2 cents extra paid on the Avalon Peninsula takes care of the extra government money spent on roads in the Avalon Peninsula.
Mr. Butt I did not say that. It takes care of something extra being spent on roads. We do collect something extra, and I say that in view of the fact that others are saying the Avalon Peninsula is getting more than it should get.
Mr. Bailey For years the fishermen got a rebate on gas of 13 cents; in the Avalon Peninsula they got 11 cents. That was on Acto. We have to remember the price the Imperial Oil Co. charges — in 1929, in Newfoundland, the price was $98 for ten barrels of gasoline to the consumer; the price for the same barrels in Nova Scotia was $57; the price to the fishermen, and we paid tax or duties, was $35. These are three different prices. In Bermuda they paid the same price as in Newfoundland. The freight on crude oil was $2.40 a ton. Yet you could not buy a gallon of gas here under 18 cents. The Newfoundland fishermen have been bringing into the coffers of the Imperial Oil Co. $400,000 a year on gasoline.
Mr. Northcott As a member of the Transportation Committee, I think the time is opportune when I should make a few remarks regarding roads and transportation, and what they can and will do for this country, if we go at it the right way. So, sir, in rising to offer a suggestion, I want it to be distinctly understood that ideals are not attained at a single bound, but only through hard work and perseverance.
Mr. Chairman, some of the delegates mentioned about getting three square meals a day. I, too, pray that each and every member will see to it that we get for our people three square meals a 232 NATIONAL CONVENTION January 1947 day and also for our children's children. But in order to be sure of getting three meals a day, we must first put forward some form of constructive or workable plan or plans; and, further we must try and bring into being some kind of insurance scheme whereby, when the labourer can no longer work, there will be a little nest-egg to tide him or her over when nearing the eventide of life. Therefore, we must, of necessity, have some definite fixed plan or plans so that our people can earn their daily bread.
We must have economic security and resources, in order to ensure security for our people, and we have that security on land and sea, especially in the sea and around our coastline; but so far we have not as yet developed or exploited our resources. Why? Because we have no highway running across our country! Mr. Chairman, when east has met west by highway then, as follows night the day, so will follow in large quantities from the various harbours, bays or districts of this country, great quantities of live lobster, fresh salmon, fillets, smelts and blueberries, etc. to the Gander airport to be flown to the great, unlimited western markets of the world in a matter of only hours, not days. All we want is to give that great republic, America, the products they ask for and in the way they should be delivered — strictly fresh quality stock guaranteed number 1. Then it will not be a matter of price, but, "How much can you sell us?"
Therein lies a great deal of prosperity. When once a highroad through this country is completed and the important settlements connected to it, there will be sold by the thousands, cars and trucks and the like, not to mention the extra millions of barrels of gas; all of which will turn into this country a tremendous amount of revenue. Then will follow machine shops, garages, restaurants, hotels, log cabins, fuelling stations, farms and many other unknown things and the Industrial Development Board and Tourist Board will more than be repaid and have its hands full catering to the many and various requests and demands made upon it.
So this is a step in the right direction, and we should give it very careful consideration, as roads are the life of any country. Let us go forward together to build a new Newfoundland that can, and will stand up against the many, many storms that will beat against and around our shores, and may it be further said of this Convention and of our children, that we have built a firm and solid foundation; and may it bring lasting peace, contentment and prosperity to our shores for all time.
Mr. Jackman I refer to page 4,[1] "The Department estimates that some proportion between 70% and 80% of the annual road maintenance expenditure consists of wages paid to highroads employees." I ask the Committee if the department has a minimum wage rate?
Mr. Smallwood I think the smartest thing I could do is to ask Mr. Fudge — he is the president of the West Coast Labourers' Union and was involved in the wage rates. I think labourers' rates were brought up, and maybe Mr. Fudge can give us the rates in pay on highroads during last year?
Mr. Fudge I might say I am not here to give away any secrets from the organisation which I represent. This is not a secret now, but it may be valuable information to someone seeking further increases for labour. Last year, the organisation I represent took up the matter of low rates paid to workmen, which was 40 cents an hour. Our union secured 58 cents an hour for labourers, and 61 cents or 64 cents for truck drivers. The labour rate is 58 cents in the Humber district. Of course we have good men over there, who may be worth a little more.
Mr. Jackman That is not answering my question. Has the government a minimum basic rate for labourers throughout Newfoundland?
Mr. Smallwood No statutory minimum.
Mr. Jackman Are they paying an equal rate throughout the country? I happen to know some of the men are getting only 20 cents an hour. A highroads labourer in Bell Island gets 40 cents. The government issues a cost of living index for a family of five at $34.80 a week. How can a man earning $24 a week live, when the government itself says it costs $34.80 a week? There is discrimination. I do not see why in one section common labour should be given preference over another part. I congratulate Mr. Fudge in getting this increase for labourers in his section. Why should any government discriminate against its own employees? That is not government, it is mis-government. There should be equal privileges for all.
[There followed a brief discussion of snow clear January 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 233ing expenses]
Mr. Smallwood I am disappointed. Here is a report which deals with the Spending of many millions of dollars. The Committee felt it wanted this information to help the Convention determine the status of the country economically and financially. So far the report has not been debated from that standpoint. We have not said one word on what the future is likely to be.
Mr. Newell In order to alleviate Mr. Smallwood's disappointment, I would like to say I find the report very interesting and instructive, particularly to those of us who can hardly remember when we saw a road last. The question of communication is an important one. It is a fine thing to open up this country by a transinsular road; but we should also give thought to opening up the country inside Newfoundland as well. There are vast stretches being impaired economically due to the lack of communications. There are parts of this country where fishermen are impaired in getting bait because on a day that is too stormy to go in a boat, there is no other way to get it. Large sections have practically no roads. The section I know best has nothing but barely community roads, you have to stretch the imagination to call some of them roads. There are no inter-community connections.... I would like for us to give some thought to that. Another thing is the miles of road privately owned, but yet used by the public. For instance the Bowater company has built a considerable number of miles of road and done a great deal to open up the remoter parts of the country. They deserve a great deal of credit for it. Our road policy should dovetail into the policy of these companies in such a way that one might augment the other. It does not come within the scope of this Convention to discuss these things. But the economic policy of the future of roads whether public or private is a very important consideration.
Mr. Hollett On page 2[1] — "It will thus be seen that there are 1,063.3 miles of motorable road on the Avalon Peninsula, and 978.8 miles in the remainder of the Island." I can understand why my friends across the way should hang their heads. When I think of the millions of dollars spent on the Avalon Peninsula, I should have expected the Commission of Government, since they started road building, would have built more outside. I come from the beating heart of the country. We have very few roads — 42 miles to Botwood; four miles of paved road to the golf course, a few other miles to Badger; that is all apart from the track leading to Halls Bay. I am thinking of that part of the country. The government did think of it. They actually started out to build a road, four miles to the golf course — they left off there. The next year they decided to pave the road from Grand Falls to Botwood. They spent one whole year renovating and reconditioning, spent thousands of dollars making it ready to pave next year. The next year they forgot about it. If they did start now, they would have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to recondition it again. That is the kind of treatment we got. Not that by talking about it I expect it is going to mean anything. I think if the $20,000 spent on roads were spent on the welfare of the country generally, it would have been better. Speaking of roads (and I am going to be called a heretic for saying this) I am wondering if we are not barking up the wrong tree when we prate about roads. For the last 40 years we have heard what would happen if we had a system of roads throughout. I am beginning to doubt it, because if there was any truth in it, surely the people by now would have had the roads. What do we get if we do get transinsular roads? I was wondering if it would help any if we put the road there, although it is bound to come some day. Who will use it? Where will they go? What shall they carry? Would it be much cheaper to use the railway? When I think of the waste of public money on roads — money just dug into the earth! If half the money used on roads had been used to help the fishermen catch their fish, then we would have been much better off. I do say the report is, factually, an excellent one; but as to the future, it is in the air. They plan on putting a road to Port-aux-Basques; all I can say is, God help the surplus if they do it by the method they are spending now.
Mr. Higgins We have to admit that there has been a lot of money spent around the Avalon Peninsula, and I see every justification for it. We say, as far as the island is concerned, "Avalon first; the rest of the country afterwards." I have to admit that the money might have been better spent if the amount spent on paving roads, particularly this year, had been employed joining up 234 NATIONAL CONVENTION January 1947 smaller sections outside St. John's, with the idea of a transinsular highway. I disagree with the defeatest ideas of Mr. Hollett. I am convinced we have to have a cross-country road. Whatever the cost it will be well spent. We know the cost to maintain it will be high, but while we will not have it open in winter, we will have a road across the country in summer when produce would be made available throughout the country, and when people would be able to move more freely.
I notice Governor Macdonald in his year-end talk, spoke of the transinsular highway. The plans have been delayed too long. If it is going to take from the railway, then that is just too bad. The only way a country can be developed is by roads. As far as St. John's is concerned, we do not apologise for the money spent; our population is greater and the roads were here before the rest of the country was heard of. I recommend to any future form of government that roads, and particularly transinsular roads, should have a very prominent part in their programme.
Mr. Smallwood What has surprised me most is the complete silence of members who do' not come from the Avalon Peninsula. There is one paragraph of three lines:[1] "Included in this is an amount of $529,464.61 spent in the past two years on the 9.2 miles between St. John's and Topsail, to reconstruct, recondition and pave the Conception Bay highroad." Perhaps the districts the other members represent have not got conditions such as they have in the parts I represent. In Gambo, the cemetery is a mile from the settlement. I have walked over that mile — it is bog to your ankles. There are places where you have to leave the road altogether. I wonder what the people of Gambo will think when they hear that in the past two years $500,000 has been spent from St. John's to Woodstock?[2] What for? I do not know a great deal aboutthe area, butmy guess is that that was done for a few people who have country houses out around Topsail, so that they can get in their cars and get out there easier. I cannot imagine what other reason there could be. And the rest of the country is up to its shins in bog. I am thinking of the islands down there also — Silver Hare Island[3] — where there is a cove on one side where there is a school, and in order to get to that school the children have to climb over a cliff of some 30 to 40 feet in heightbecause the road is broken. There was a bridge there and it gave way. Yet the government spends $500,000 to recondition and pave nine miles of road from here to Woodstock, $60,000 a mile. And in the future they intend to spend "in Conception Bay, to re-pave a section of the highroad west of Topsail," $420,000. When they have spent that $420,000, plus $529,000, that is $1 million to re-pave roughly 15 miles of road.
Mr. Hollett That is what I meant by waste.
Mr. Smallwood A certain proportion is wasted, but it is surprising to me — this report is full of dynamite, and we are passing it over talking about details. Does the House agree with the Committee's report?
Mr. Roberts Before any of the St. John's members reply, I would like to refer to page 9 in connection with the transinsular highway, a nice scheme, providing we have the money to build it. I am very disappointed that no money is to be spent on the Northern Peninsula. For 40 years we have been wanting roads. We are very isolated. Instead of a transinsular road they should link up the isolated places. In the Bonne Bay area we have fared fairly well. During the past ten years we have been linked up with Deer Lake and Corner Brook. The distance from Bonne Bay north is 125 miles, and 75 miles of that is without a harbour. I sent freight out of St. John's the first week in November and where is it? At Corner Brook. In Clarenville there is a lot of freight for that part of the northeast Coast. What are the people going to do this winter? We are 40 years asking for a road. Do they want the people to starve? I have been asked, "What have you got there?" We have some of the best salmon rivers. I was interested in the tourist trade. One tourist came down to Lomond[4] to do some fishing and had to wait a day to get to the rivers. He was paying $25 a day besides other expenses. We have some of the best lobster fishing grounds on that coast, but there is no way of getting out to it.
Last year there were 6,000 pounds of beef waiting in Clarenville to be taken out. People were waiting for their money to get supplies for the winter. When I look at the money spent on the Avalon, it gets under my skin. Instead of a transinsular road, give us the roads to isolated places so that the people can live.
Mr. Hillier The section of the country I represent has received no attention. I would like to take you all over the road from Burin to St. Lawrence. One thing I would advise is that you have your life insured, another thing is to bring a nice, soft cushion. The roads are very narrow and very little money has been spent in that area. I agree that vast sums of money are necessary for roads throughout the country, but I do not think it is in order for so much money to be spent on one section. In the Lamaline area the roads are eight feet wide and the soil is soft. There has been nothing done in that area, apart from a man going over it with a horse and scraper. You can imagine what he can accomplish. These places should have closer attention. Mr. Reddy of Burin East could tell a similar story of the road problem in his section.
Mr. Ballam I think every district in the country has a road problem, and people throughout the country will hear of this ridiculous expenditure of $500,000 on this road de luxe. But talking of it for weeks will not bring back that $500,000. It is not our duty to define government policy on roads. It is something we can recommend to whatever form of government we might have in future. Iknow we have very poor road conditions in the Humber area. We are trying to do something about it ourselves. That is the only thing we can do at the moment. That is why I have not spoken about this report. We are all aware that the only thing we can do is recommend.
Mr. Reddy I am a firm believer in the building of roads, but the Avalon Peninsula has been very well favoured in road expenditure over the last few years. I note with satisfaction from the report that the Burin Peninsula road is to be undertaken next year. I assure you the people of Burin Peninsula will be very interested in this road, which will touch four districts; so I am not speaking for my district alone. It is essential to the fisheries, especially to the fresh fish industry carried on in Burin by Fishery Products.... As to the local roads in St. Lawrence, they are in a desperate condition.
Children, in many cases. cannot get to school because the roads are too bad. I hope the government will do more than they have done in the past to make better local roads for the people in the outports.
Mr. Harrington I feel just as strongly as Mr. Hollett does about the expenditure on the Avalon Peninsula, but as a member of St. John's West, I do not feel like hanging my head. After all, we are not here as part of a House of Assembly which is responsible for the outlay. I think if we were, we would be re-elected. One thing that has occurred to me as I read the report is that since 1934 the average mileage of roads constructed has been something in the neighbourhood of 22 miles a year. Before we get on to the future aspects, I would like to take a look at the past. From 1832 to 1934, the average has been 50 miles a year. In the very beginning, in the day of Sir Thomas Cochrane, 1835, the first roads were built around Conception Bay. 1 do not imagine a great deal of roads were built in the first 20 years of representative government, so the annual average would be 50 or 60 miles. If we consider that was done by pick and shovel, it stands up very well in contrast with the last 14 years with all types of modern machinery. The amount of money spent in these recent years did not get maximum results — the paving of Topsail Road at $60,000 a mile is proof of that. That point should be brought to light. I would like to hear the other inhabitants of the Avalon Peninsula — Mr. Penney, Mr. Crummey and Mr. Jackman on that point.
Mr. Jackman Mr. Harrington referred to me as an inhabitant of the Avalon Peninsula. I do not know if I am or not; the fact remains that as far as Bell Island is concerned very little was spent on roads there.... We have on Bell Island one public road leading from the upper level of the island to the beach. We have 9,000 people. We have not a hospital. We have had many emergency cases during the last 35 or 40 years. It is through luck and God's help that these people reached a hospital. There have been cases where lives were lost.... This road has been neglected for years. It is a deliberate action on the part of the Commission of Government, because the people are urging for it and the government does not want it to be rammed down their throats.
Mr. Chairman It does not come within the purview of this Convention to make any attack upon 236 NATIONAL CONVENTION January 1947 Commission of Government or upon its motives. You can only refer to its suitability as a system, but not in such a way as to make reference to individuals.
Mr. Jackman The point I want to make is that it is important the road to the beach be attended to, and for quite a number of years it has not been kept open. If the report shows $529,000 spent on nine miles of road, I fail to see how we can have a transinsular road if it is going to cost $60,000 a mile.
Mr. Burry I have not spoken in this debate, not because I am not interested, but because Labrador was not mentioned in it. I do not feel that there has been discrimination against Labrador. We do not want to claim any money to be spent on opening up the various communities. We have no roads in Labrador. There are at least 35 miles of good motorable roads in the area of Goose Bay — Canadian and American — but apart from that, no roads, as such. We should spend money to open up the country, but we should be careful how we apportion the money. For so small a country to spend a lot of money on roads, that will not mean very much in opening up the country, would seem an unwise expenditure, when we need it so much to develop our resources and bring prosperity. I am wondering, when we have spent all those millions of dollars on roads, how is it going to compare with the amount the government has spent on fisheries which are so important to Newfoundland and Labrador....
Mr. Vardy I do not think Mr. Smallwood or anyone else on the Transportation Committee need worry because there has been so little criticism. The report is so complete that there is little room for criticism. I read it during the Christmas recess, and on the whole their work has been really excellent.... 0n the question of roads, I am sure we all agree that we should offer criticism on the amount spent on Avalon Peninsula; it is out of proportion to the amount spent in other parts of the country. I am thinking of a funeral I attended at Ireland's Eye[1] during the summer, when Mr. Toope was buried; they had to rest the casket on seven different occasions in order to get across holes where bridges once were. There has not been a cent spent there in 14 years, If they can spend $500,000 on nine miles, they should spend money on isolated parts of the country. Local road committees have done a great deal, and I agree that the department, on the whole, has been reasonably liberal to those on the various committees who are prepared, to some extent, to help themselves. It is not easy to become so public-spirited, to take such a community interest as to neglect the fishing and logging in orderto get work done on a 50-50 basis on the roads. When the government brought in that policy of spending the money through road committees, they were thinking in terms of town councils. They put the cart before the horse. They should continue to pay the people the rate of $4 a day. I am not complaining because our friend here says the rate is 58 cents an hour; we have not been dissatisfied. The people are willing to work for 40 cents an hour.... I do not think Trinity has been mentioned. We have been petitioning the government for the past 25 or 30 years to put a bridge across the Sound so that Random Island will become part of Newfoundland also. With regard to this $6 million for a transinsular road, I think it will cost at least $10 to $12 million at die lowest....
[The committee rose and reported progress, and the Convention adjourned]


Newfoundland. The Newfoundland National Convention, 1946-1948 Vol 1: Debates. Edited by J.K. Hiller and M.F. Harrington Montreal: Memorial University of Newfoundland by McGill-Queen's University Press, 1995).



Selection of input documents and completion of metadata: Gordon Lyall.

Notes de bas de page:

  • The Commissioner never appeared before the Convention, though he did meet with the Committee on Transportation and Communications.
  • [2] Volume II:75. [Volume II is not in The Confederation Debates Collection]
  • [3] Volume II:85. [Volume II is not in The Confederation Debates Collection]
  • [4] Volume II:91. [Volume II is not in The Confederation Debates Collection]
  • [1] Volume II:87. [Volume II is not in The Confederation Debates Collection]
  • [1] Volume II:85. [Volume II is not in The Confederation Debates Collection]
  • [1] Volume II:89. [Volume II is not in The Confederation Debates Collection]
  • [2] A small community near Topsail, Conception Bay.
  • [3] Bonavista Bay.
  • [4] A logging settlement in Bonne Bay.
  • [1] In Trinity Bay.

Personnes participantes: