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February 10, 1975 ALBERTA HANSARD 491


Title: Monday, February 10, 1975 2:30 p.m.

[The House met at 2:30 p.m. ]


[Mr. Speaker in the Chair]


Bill 22 The Universities Amendment Act, 1975

MR. FOSTER:Mr. Speaker, I move first reading of Bill No. 22, The
Universities Amendment Act,
1975.The purpose of this bill is to enable the universities, in particular
The University
of Alberta, to carry on as a utility.

[Leave being granted, Bill 22 was introduced and read a first time.]

Bill 23 The Public Utilities Board Amendment Act, 1975

Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to introduce a bill, being The Public Utilities
Amendment Act, 1975.
The purpose of this bill is to give parallel powers in The Public
Utilities Board Act
to those contained in The Gas Utilities Act, whereby the board can exempt
utilities from some aspects of full regulation.

[Leave being granted, Bill 23 was introduced and read a first time.]

Bill 224 The Alberta Investors Incentive Act

Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to introduce a bill, being Bill 224, The Alberta
Incentive Act.
This proposed legislation would permit Albertans or Alberta-based
resident in Alberta to deduct any amount up to $1,000 in dividends
received from an
Alberta-based company prior to the calculation of Alberta income tax.

[Leave being granted, Bill 224 was introduced and read a first time.]


Mr. Speaker, it's my pleasure to introduce to you and through you to the
members of

492 ALBERTA HANSARD February 10, 1975

this Legislative Assembly, the Hon. William R. Withers, member of the
Legislative Council
for the State of Western Australia. The Hon. Mr. Withers represents the
electoral district of Western Australia, a district that covers some 378,
000 square miles,
with some 50,000 people, one-fifth of whom are aborigines.
The Hon. Mr. Withers is presently on a world study tour investigating
remote area
development and. Mr. Speaker, the Hon. Mr. Withers is in your gallery. I
would ask him
now to rise and be recognized and welcomed to Alberta.

Mr. Speaker, it gives me pleasure to introduce to you and to the members
of the
Legislative Assembly, through you, some 60 Grade 9 students from Two Hills
in my
constituency. They are accompanied by their teachers, Mr. Horbasenko and
Mr. Kozmak and
bus operator, Mrs. Lepka.
I would ask the students, the teachers and the bus operator to rise and be

Mr. Speaker, it's my pleasure to introduce to you and through you to this
Assembly, 60
Grade 5 students from the Glengarry School in Edmonton Belmont,
accompanied by their
teacher, Mr. Spivak.
I'm pleased to ask them to rise and be recognized by this Assembly.

Mr. Speaker, it's my pleasure this afternoon to introduce to you and to
members of the
Assembly, three representatives of Local No. 718 of the National Farmers
Union in the
Athabasca constituency. We have with us this afternoon, Mr. Bonar Wilt,
the vicepresident,
and two executive members, Mr. Gordon Fleming and Mr. Bill Swarin.
They are in the members gallery. I would ask them now to stand and be
recognized by
the House.

Mr. Speaker, it also gives me pleasure to introduce to you and through you
to the
members of this Legislative Assembly, a group from the National Farmers
Union Local 701.
They were in for a meeting this morning. They are in your gallery. They
are Mrs. Kully,
Mr. and Mrs. Zeleny, Mr. Brevig, Mr. Hennig and Mr. Sawchuk.
I would ask that they rise and be recognized by the House.


Mr. Speaker, I should like to table reports required under the following
Acts: The Gas
Resources Preservation Act; The Coal Mines Regulation Act; The Alberta Gas
Trunk Line
Company Act; The Oil sands Technology and Research Authority Act.


Department of Education

Mr. Speaker, I wish to announce new declining enrolment grants to 57
Alberta school
systems, for the purpose of helping them to offset increased costs faced
by school boards
having a declining enrolment which is above average.
The formula for payments is based on the fact that when a school board has
a dropping
enrolment and fewer students, revenues from the province decline but
educational operating
costs may not decline. The greatest percentage enrolment drops are in
small districts
where budget implications are also the greatest.
Payments on the interim formula for this year will be in four categories,
from $140 up
to $560 per pupil decrease in enrolment averaged over the past two years.
This reflects
the fact that the greater the drop in enrolments, the more severe the
problem because of
relatively fixed overhead costs. The plan will focus on the 57 school
systems that
experienced above average pupil enrolment drops over the past two years.
Host payments to school boards will range between $5,000 and $30,000. The
total cost
to the government is estimated at about three-quarters of a million
These grants should assist many school boards, especially the smaller
systems, to
better accommodate the lag between recent pupil loss and the opportunity
to adjust
operations to reduce unit costs.

February 10, 1975 ALBERTA HANSARD 493

The formula has been developed on an interim basis and may be revised or
into the new multi-year general finance plan which will be announced this
Qualifying boards are being informed of the basis of the formula and the
calculation of amounts payable. Payments will be made directly to school
boards in the
near future.


Alberta Heritage Trust FundNext Hit

Mr. Speaker, I'd like to direct a question to the Provincial Treasurer. It
deals with
comments on page 19 of his Budget Address. He talked about the Alberta
Previous Hitheritage trust
Next Hit, a term which many of us on this side of the House have talked about
for some time.
I would like to ask the Provincial Treasurer, Mr. Speaker, if he plans to
legislation, or if the government plans to bring legislation through to
make in fact the
Alberta Previous Hitheritage trust fundNext Hit a reality during this session?

Mr. Speaker, legislation would be passed in due course. The comment in the
Address was to let hon. members know the tremendous additional revenues
that we have in
Alberta which we intend setting aside, and not utilizing for normal
ongoing budgetary
requirements, for the future of the province of Alberta and the benefit of
present and
future generations of Albertans.

Mr. Speaker, a supplementary question to the minister. Is the minister in
a position
to give the members of the Assembly an indication as to whether the
government will make
any commitments regarding the future use of this $1.5 billion prior to
legislation being
introduced by the Assembly?

Mr. Speaker, in reply to the hon. leader, I have found that Albertans
expect their
government to give this matter - in terms of assuring that the long-term
benefits to the
province of Alberta are maximized - a great deal of thought before we
generate specifics
at this particular time, certainly in terms of the devotion of this
magnitude of funds for
the future of this province, based upon making the best possible decisions
as to which
kind of use will result in the maximum benefit to the people of the

Further supplementary question, Mr. Speaker, to the minister. In the
course of your
discussion with the people, have the people of Alberta indicated to you
they felt the
Legislature in fact should be making the decision as to where these funds
should be

Well I'm sure, Mr. Speaker, the people of Alberta expect that their
government will
make the decision after considerable thought and considerable examination,
a decision
that, as I have indicated, Mr. Speaker, will be one which will result in
the maximum
benefits for the people of Alberta.

Mr. Speaker, I'd like to direct a question to the hon. minister. Could the
Treasurer advise the Assembly or give an assurance to the Assembly that
the introduction
of the legislation will be preceded by a comprehensive position paper
which would outline
the guidelines the government proposes for this trust fund?

Mr. Speaker, no I can't make any such assurance. In due course, when we
have made the
examination we intend making, the government will make that position known
to the people
of Alberta.

Further supplementary question to the minister. Does the government at
this time have
Legislative Counsel working on legislation dealing with the Alberta
Previous Hitheritage trust fundNext Hit,
or has he not even started to draft the legislation yet?

Mr. Speaker, the hon. leader obviously does not place the importance upon
spending ...

494 ALBERTA HANSARD February 10, 1975

Order please. Order.

The answer is no.

You're right.

Mr. Speaker, I think I indicated to the hon. leader, but I will say it
again: it is
our intention to spend the time that is necessary to ensure that the
utilization of these
funds results in maximum benefit to the people of this province. That time
is then the
proper time to pass legislation, not before.

Mr. Speaker, a supplementary to the minister. Is it the intention of the
to set aside $1.5 billion in reserve, without any strings attached, until
such time as the
legislation is presented to this Assembly?

Mr. Speaker, I'm not sure I totally understand the question, but the funds
are there
and as I've indicated in the Budget Address, we estimate the amount that
will be available
by December 31, 1975 will be $1.5 billion.

Mr. Speaker, supplementary to the minister. Have any commitments been made
to date
with regard to those funds that are there?

Mr. Speaker, there have not been any commitments. I've indicated in the
Address that I estimate $1.5 billion will be available for the Previous Hitheritage
trust fund
Next Hit at
December 31, 1975.

Supplementary, Mr. Speaker, to the hon. minister. Does the minister
envision that the
funds that have been talked about for the Toronto urban transportation
study or the power
plant in Newfoundland or a petrochemical plant in Quebec would fall under
his definition
of a category of the Previous Hitheritage trust fundNext Hit?

Mr. Speaker, I think I have already indicated that we have not made
specific decisions
as to the utilization of the trust fund. The magnitude of the revenues of
the Province of
Alberta - if the hon. member will study the Budget Address as well as the
Estimates, he
will find that in fact we can set aside these substantial revenues for the
future of
Alberta and we still have flexibility as to the utilization of our current
Mr. Speaker, if I might, I think he related to certain specifics. As I
indicated on
Friday, not during the Budget Address but during the news conference, as
an example.
Syncrude itself will be an investment which will be made over four years
and may result in
only about $50 million a year ...


... So obviously, Mr. Speaker, we have a great deal of flexibility in how
we handle this.

Mr. Speaker, supplementary to the minister. Has the minister made any
statement with regard to the fact that the convertible debenture of $200
million that will
be provided for Gulf Oil and Canada-Cities Service would come from the
trust fund?

Mr. Speaker, we have made no specific decision on that; although I think
in terms of a
trust fund that the debenture, the final details of which may be
negotiated, which will
provide the citizens of Alberta with an interest rate return which is to
our benefit in
the longer term as well as a conversion option, will certainly be
something which you
could class as beneficial to the future of this province.

Mr. Speaker, a supplementary question. Prior to the introduction of
setting up the Previous Hitheritage trust fundNext Hit, how will this money be held?

Mr. Speaker, the legislation would clarify that.

February 10, 1975 ALBERTA HANSARD 495

When are we going to get it?

Mr. Speaker, a supplementary question. Prior to the legislation setting up
the trust
fund, under what terms will it be held - under the cash investment fund of
government at the present time, or how will it be held?

Mr. Speaker, I think I also indicated in the Budget Address that as a
matter of fact
the total funds that are held, the combined income and capital account
surplus excluding
just the general revenue fund surplus of the province, we estimate will be $
1.3 to $1.4
billion at the end of March, 1975.
Obviously that means that there are more funds now in the surplus of the
province than
the amount that may be specifically related to a Previous Hitheritage trust fundNext Hit in
the future. So I
think the hon. member's question in that context has no real meaning until
the legislation
comes in.

Supplementary, Mr. Speaker, to the hon. minister. Would the minister
advise if it is
intended that the Syncrude-related facilities, such as the pipeline and
the power plant,
would come out of the Previous Hitheritage trust fundNext Hit?

Mr. Speaker, I'm glad the hon. member has raised that question because I
think it has
not been well understood that the power plant and the utility plant which
are intended
ultimately for the Alberta Energy Company, if the board of directors makes
that decision,
would be financed as normal pipelines and utilities are, on a 10 per cent
equity basis and
a 90 per cent debt basis.
The reason it is done that way, Mr. Speaker, is because both of those have
guaranteed rate of return - in the case of the utility a guaranteed rate
of return upon
the capital cost, whatever that cost may be; in the case of the pipeline a
through-put rate of return. Only 10 per cent of it is equity so obviously
a very small
part would be equity.

Supplementary, Mr. Speaker, to the hon. minister. Is it envisioned then
that Alberta
government loans to the Alberta Energy Company would form part of the
Previous Hitheritage trust fundNext Hit?

Mr. Speaker, I hope I haven't ruled out that all of the specifics
mentioned are
possibilities, but we have not made definite decisions as to whether or
not they would be
held in the Previous Hitheritage trust fundNext Hit or whether or not they would be held as
general assets of
the province.
I think the important thing again, Mr. Speaker, is not where they're held
but that
they are held for the future of the province of Alberta for the long-term

MR. TAYLOR:Supplementary, Mr. Speaker, to the hon. ...

MR. SPEAKER:Might this be the last supplementary on this topic.

MR. TAYLOR:Is the interest coming from this fund at the present time going
into the fund or into
general revenue?

Mr. Speaker, the interest - I think in the fall I indicated we're
averaging a return
of about 10.5 per cent on these funds. I think that's slightly under 10
per cent now, but
certainly it's a substantial interest. The Budget indicates we estimate
about $127
million interest. Those are at the present time, until we introduce
legislation, part of
the general revenue fund of the province.

Oil Resources Preservation Act

MR. NOTLEY:Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct this question either to the
hon. Premier or to the
hon. Minister of Federal and Intergovernmental Affairs.
In the light of reports yesterday that the Minister of Federal and
Affairs indicated that Alberta would be in a position to control exports,
my question to
either the Premier or the minister is: does the government propose to
introduce an oil
resources preservation act to make that possible?

496 ALBERTA HANSARD February 10, 1975

MR. GETTY:Mr. Speaker, perhaps the hon. member could advise me as to what
particular comment I
had made regarding that matter.

Mr. Speaker, to follow through, this is a report I was given of a
contribution the
hon. minister made to a CBC national radio program dealing with the
Syncrude project.
According to the report the minister made the point that Alberta would be
in a position to
control the export of oil.
My question comes right back to: are we going to introduce legislation
which would put
oil in the same category as natural gas?

Mr. Speaker, that's a matter my colleague, the hon. Minister of Mines and
has dealt with several times in the House.
The point I was referring to was that the Alberta Energy Resources
Conservation Board
naturally will assure that the interests of the people of Alberta are
taken care of before
any export can go out of the province. Be have the Alberta Petroleum
Marketing Commission
doing the same thing, and certainly it's possible that consideration could
be given to
some legislation that would also control export of oil from the province.

Supplementary question to the hon. minister, Mr. Speaker. In the light of
from the same program dealing with the control of pricing, my question to
the minister is:
has the government discussed with federal officials the possibility of
achieving agreement
for Alberta to invoke PART 4 of The Petroleum Administration Act?
Just to refresh the minister's memory, this is the part that allows the
outside the province of Alberta. Have there been any specific discussions
with federal
officials on that matter?

MR. GETTY:Not recently, Mr. Speaker.

Arable and Grazing Land

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the hon.Minister of Agriculture. Has the
minister had an opportunity to follow up my inquiry with respect to the
ratio assessment
between arable land and grazing land which I raised about 10 days ago?

DR. HORNER:Mr. Speaker, I've inquired of the Western Stock Growers, who
have a proprietary
interest in the study, and asked them for their permission to table it. As
soon as I get
that I will be tabling it.
The hon. member might also be interested that we've set up a continuing
committee of
the stock growers, and the representation of the Department of Municipal
Affairs as well
as my own department, to continue to look at this matter of the ratio
between arable and
grazing land. I can assure the hon. member that as soon as I hear from the
stock growers,
I'll be tabling that document in the House.

Mr. Speaker, will the Alberta Cattle Commission be having additional input
into this
matter too?

Mr. Speaker, I should have cleared that up. The contribution of our
department has
gone through the Alberta Cattle Commission and then to the stock growers.

Irrigation Program

MR. MANDEVILLE:Mr. Speaker, my question is to the hon. Minister of the
Environment and is in regard
to the $28 million approved by the federal government for irrigation works.
With the estimates being almost double the $28 million, have any
arrangements been
made with the federal government, or who is going to pick up the extra

Mr. Speaker, I don't have the details of the agreement in front of me but
the agreement involved the construction of various main structures which
were to be done
by the federal government, and the transfer of land and cash.

February 10, 1975 ALBERTA HANSARD

As far as I am aware at this time, the federal government hasn't
approached us in
regard to any problem with respect to the increasing costs of the major
structures they
have undertaken to build.

A supplementary question, Mr. Speaker. In light of increased costs on the
Dam, are they going to go ahead with the rehabilitation of the Bassano Dam,
with the
increase in the estimated cost in the rehabilitation of the dam?

Mr. Speaker, my understanding is that the federal government has
undertaken a
commitment to rebuild the Bassano Dam at an estimated cost of a
certainfigure. Because
of inflation that cost has risen, I imagine fairly substantively, but
their undertaking is
to rebuild the Bassano Dam.

Medical Fees

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the hon. Solicitor General in her role in
charge of the
Health Care Commission. What was the final percentage increase that will
be granted to
the medical profession in their fees?

Mr. Speaker, the initial agreement I believe was 6.5 effective January 1.
But it's
impossible to put that into effect and make it retroactive, so it will
begin on March 1
and as a result of that I believe it's 7.5 or 7.2 - the total dollars.
That's the way
the percentages worked out to give us the total dollars.

Declining Enrolments - Grant

Mr. Speaker, this question is to the hon. Minister of Education. The
question is:
does the pupil-deficiency grant include St. Michael's in Pincher Creek
because of the
difficulty they are having, and if so, for how much?

I would like to have those figures at my finger tips, Mr. Speaker, but
regrettably I
don't. If the hon. member could send me over those specific questions I
will endeavor to
get him the answer very shortly.

A supplementary question to the minister. Maybe he would send the figures
to us all
so we don't have to send him separate notes.

Mr. Speaker, I think certainly an estimate, at least within the next few
days, of the
moneys accruing to the various school districts in the province could be
prepared and made
available to all members insofar as there seems to be a demonstrated

Civil Servants' Salaries

MR. BUCKWELL:Mr. Speaker, my question is to the hon. Provincial Treasurer.
Is there a fourth
volume of Public Accounts dealing with the salaries paid to civil servants?

Mr. Speaker, I think I have indicated to the House that the format of the
accounts had been changed. I thought I tabled on Friday the three volumes
of Public
Accounts. I thought that comprised all the volumes of Public Accounts,
although I believe
there is a section in volume 3 which indicates payments to individuals
which would include
civil servants as well as other individuals.

A supplementary, Mr. Speaker, to the hon. Provincial Treasurer, and a word
explanation. There was a book published dealing with every department and
the names of
every civil servant and his salary. Is it still being published?

498 ALBERTA HANSARD February 10, 1975

Mr. Speaker, I would have to check on that because the hon. member had
indicated as
a part of the public accounts or as a separate book? I'm not sure what the
hon. member
is referring to.

Supplementary, Mr. Speaker. There was what we have known in the past as
the Public
Accounts in one volume. There was another one about this size with the
salaries paid to
civil servants. I was wondering if it was still published.

I think, Mr. Speaker, I now understand the hon. member. I think he is
referring to in
past years there was a separate publication but I don't believe it formed
part of the
formal Public Accounts. I'll check into the publication he is referring to.

Supplementary, Mr. Speaker. If it is published, could the MLAs receive a

Certainly, Mr. Speaker.

PM-Premier Meeting

Mr. Speaker, I'd like to direct a question to the hon. the Premier. Could
the hon.
Premier advise if the agenda for tomorrow's meeting between the Premier
and the Prime
Minister of Canada has been established or not? If so, would the Premier
briefly outline
the topics on the agenda?

Mr. Speaker, the nature of our discussions does not normally involve a
formal agenda
and always leaves open for either the Prime Minister or myself an
opportunity to raise any
additional subjects. Certainly we will be discussing questions of energy,
and petrochemicals. But there may be others discussed.

Supplementary, Mr. Speaker, to the hon. the Premier. Would the Premier
expect that
the Syncrude agreement would be ready to sign at tomorrow's meeting?

Mr. Speaker, I think the matter is proceeding, as I've answered the hon.
Leader of the
Opposition, in a normal course. I think it would be some time before an
agreement of that
nature is concluded. I would doubt that would be a subject with regard to
energy that
would be discussed except in a passing way. We certainly will be dealing
with the
question of the double taxation of the conventional oil and gas industry
in this province.

Dow-Dome Project

Mr. Speaker, I'd like to address my question either to the Premier or the
Minister of
Industry and Commerce.
Mr. Speaker, last week the Minister of Industry and Commerce indicated
that he would
signify to the House if there would be a report on the Dow-Dome project in
Saskatchewan. I'd like to know from the Premier or the minister if that
report is

Mr. Speaker, negotiations are going along favorably, but I have nothing to
report to
the House at this time.

Mr. Speaker, can the hon. minister indicate to the House when there will
be a decision
on the Dow-Dome project at Fort Saskatchewan?

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member appreciates, it's a very complex problem
existing in
regard to the negotiations between Dow-Dome and Alberta Gas Ethylene.
We'll be ready to
report to the House just as soon as those negotiations are completed.

February 10, 1975 ALBERTA HANSARD 499

Petrochemical Industry

Mr. Speaker, a supplementary question to the hon. minister. Can the
minister advise
whether it's true that a comprehensive investigation or study is now under
way concerning
the feasibility of the petrochemical industry in Alberta, also reviewing
perhaps subsidies
that might be necessary to make it operable in the province of Alberta?

Mr. Speaker, since taking office we have reviewed and had some economic
research going
forward to determine the viability of bringing the petrochemical industry
here on a worldscale
basis because that was the purpose of the government's desire to upgrade
its natural
resources. So that is continuously being undertaken both by industry and
by ourselves.

Consolidated Cash Investment Trust Fund

Mr. Speaker, I'd like to direct this question to the hon. Provincial
Treasurer. It's
really a follow-up question to the first one asked today by the leader of
the Opposition.
Can the Provincial Treasurer advise the Assembly whether or not the
windfall, if I can
use that expression, is going to be vested in the Consolidated Cash
Investment Trust Fund?

Mr. Speaker, first, as far as Albertans are concerned, it is not a
windfall ...

You're darned right.

... on the return of our natural resources.
Secondly again, Mr. Speaker ...

Under an NDP government, you'd never get it.

... Secondly again, Mr. Speaker, I have to advise the hon. Member for
Spirit RiverFairview
that that decision has not been made and will be clarified in due course

MR. NOTLEY:Mr. Speaker, a further supplementary question for clarification.
Has any of the money
which has accrued to date been placed in the Consolidated Cash Investment
Trust Fund? I
am talking about prior to the introduction of legislation.

Well, Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should be aware that all of the
province's surplus
funds are combined and invested in a vehicle called the Consolidated Cash
Investment Trust

A further supplementary question then, Mr. Speaker. Can the Provincial
assure the House that there will be a freeze on any expenditures under the
Cash Investment Trust Fund, as a result of The Financial Administration
Act and the orders
in council thereto, until such time as the Alberta Previous Hitheritage trust fundNext Hit act
is proposed in
this Legislature?

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member didn't understand my earlier reply. I
indicated there
certainly will not be a freeze on public funds which may be necessary to
meet priorities.
But in terms of the Previous Hitheritage trust fundNext Hit, we are not concerned in any way
that the Previous Hitheritage
trust fund
Next Hit, in the estimates of the figures I presented in the Budget
Address, will be
encroached upon.

Women's Emergency Shelter

My question, Mr. Speaker, is to the hon. Minister of Health and Social
Development. I
am asking if the government is currently providing funds for the operation
of a women's
emergency shelter in the city of Edmonton?

500 ALBERTA HANSARD February 10, 1975

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's question relates to an organization which
had a long
negotiation with the government last spring because of differing opinions
on how women's
shelter facilities should be furnished to the city of Edmonton.
I am happy to say that in the late summer period a suitable arrangement
was negotiated
under which a new body took over, in new premises, that sort of work. It
seems to have
worked out quite well.

A supplementary, Mr. Speaker. Is the fund as it now stands a permanent
arrangement or
is it only temporary?

Mr. Speaker, it was the government's intention, because of the necessity
of bringing
together opposing views, to fund the City Centre Churches Corporation's
activities in this
respect for one year, on the understanding that it was the type of
undertaking which
should be kept in the volunteer sector and that, hopefully within the year,
a citizen
board of some sort would emerge from what had previously been diverse
opinions, but which
had since come together under this agency.

Syncrude - Provincial Participation

Mr. Speaker, I'd like to direct my question to the hon. the Premier. I am
Mr. Speaker, of the Premier, which Canadian provinces were directly
invited to participate
in the Syncrude plant, other than the ones which have been announced?

MR. LOUGHEED:Mr. Speaker, my understanding is that there is a motion for a
return outstanding on
that exact question. We've answered it before, saying all of the provinces
were given an
opportunity to come in, under commercial terms, under Alberta's agreement
of 50 per cent
profit sharing.
Perhaps the Minister of Mines and Minerals could elaborate if there is
further we can say.

I wonder if I could ask a supplementary question in order to help the hon.
minister to
answer. What actual replies did we get back from the provinces, or was it
just a sort of
broad invitation with no actual correspondence?

Mr. Speaker, the invitation arose out of a Telex to the Hon. Don Macdonald.
We sent a
copy of that Telex to all the mines ministers. We've subsequently received
replies and
they varied; we will in due course be tabling those in the Legislature.

Fertilizer Industry - Phosphate Supply

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Agriculture. Have
there been
any recent developments in the finding of additional supplies of phosphate
for use in the
manufacture of fertilizer?

That's an ongoing thing the people interested in the fertilizer industry
continuing to look at. My understanding is - and this is not in any
official way
that the companies which are now manufacturing fertilizer in Alberta are
looking at
alternate sources and the deposits in Idaho are being looked at.
We would hope that we would have continuing discussions with the Mexican
with regard to their recent, at least announced, find of fertilizer in the
Baja California
area of Mexico. There have been some preliminary discussions with people
who have a
source of phosphate in Africa.
These are all ongoing and indeed are important in that we have requested
from the
fertilizer companies that they have a commitment for phosphate rock prior
to export of
nitrogen fertilizer from this province.

A supplementary question to the minister. What division of your department,
or other
department of government, deals with this?

Well, my department of course, Mr. Speaker, is primarily concerned about
availability and supply and pricing of fertilizer to Alberta farmers and
has been involved

February 10, 1975 ALBERTA HANSARD 501

in that matter. In other matters the Department of Industry and Commerce
of course has
been involved.

GCOS - Oil Prices

Mr. Speaker, I'd like to direct a question to the Premier and it's
regarding a
question I asked last Friday. The hon. Premier said he was going to
indicate to the House
whether GCOS had been given any assurance from the federal government that
their prices
would be similar to those offered for Syncrude.
The reason I'm asking this question, Mr. Speaker, is that there was an
announcement by
a past official of Great Canadian Oil Sands telling people that the stock
is going to
double because this agreement had been reached. I just wondered if there
was any
substance to that?

MR. LOUGHEED:Mr. Speaker, my understanding of the situation, again subject
to final checking, is
that the arrangements on international world prices by the federal
government relate
solely at the moment to the Syncrude project.
I would imagine that what is in the minds of Great Canadian Oil Sands is
that having
established that base situation, so that we can get closer to fair value
for the citizens
of Alberta with the remaining production, be it synthetic or conventional,
there is some
prospect of improving that position over the course of time by the time
the Syncrude plant
comes on stream.

Real Estate Agents' Licensing Act

Mr. Speaker, I'd like to direct a question to the hon. Minister of
Consumer Affairs.
Would the minister advise if it is the intention of the Minister of
Consumer Affairs to
introduce a new real estate agents' licensing act this session or, failing
that, to
introduce major amendments to the existing Real Estate Agents' Licensing
Act this session?

MR. DOWLING:Mr. Speaker, I think notice will appear on the Order Paper
indicating that we propose
to introduce amendments to the present Real Estate Agents' Licensing Act
in this spring
session.I should mention too, Mr. Speaker, that we are meeting with
representatives of that
organization, with the deputy minister, the real estate branch head and
the members of the
consumers affairs committee this evening and will be discussing their
proposal for a new
act which we've discussed a number of times already.

Consolidated Cash Investment Trust Fund (continued)

Mr. Speaker, I'd like to address my question to the hon. Provincial
Treasurer and it
is to do with the consolidated trust fund.
I'd like to know, Mr. Speaker, if the minister can indicate in ballpark
figures the
amount of money the government anticipates having in this fund by the end
of this year?

Mr. Speaker, I don't like to deal in ballpark figures, but I would
indicate to the
hon. member that as the Budget Address indicated,the combined income and
capital surplus
we anticipate, which forms part of the Consolidated CashInvestment Trust
Fund, will
amount to $1.3 billion or $1.4 billion.
In addition to that we have, as you know, theConsolidated Cash Investment
Trust Fund,
a vehicle to centralize the cash management of a variety of government
funds, Workers' Compensation Board investment funds, surplus funds in
Crown boards and
agencies in order to maximize the interest return that the province would
We estimate that as a result of the Consolidated Cash Investment Trust
Fund we're
probably improving the yield on all our funds by about 1 to 1.5 per cent
because we have
larger amounts to invest.
I could get the exact figure for the hon. member if he would like me to.

Urban Municipalities Fund

MR. DIXON:Mr. Speaker, I'd like to direct a question to the hon. Minister
of Consumer Affairs.

502 ALBERTA HANSARD February 10, 1975

It also relates to a letter that the hon. Premier received from the
president of the urban
municipalities in December.
My question is: a special warrant was passed for $500,000 additional funds
for people
who are intervenors - groups - when power rates or utility rates are
struck. I just
wondered if the government is going to tighten up on those loans, or are
they going to
leave it fairly broad as it was prior to the passing of this order in

MR. DOWLING:Mr. Speaker, our proposal is to have, through the Department
of Telephones and
Utilities and eventually perhaps the Department of Consumer Affairs, a
intervenor's fund which will in fact recoup itself as it's used for
interventions and
really remain the same at all times.
We think that there has to be some selectivity relative to interventions
and therefore
have met on a number of occasions with the Public Utilities Board to
determine what in
fact they require by way of interventions. It now appears that, much like
the consumer
affairs department intervention on the milk hearings, we should be perhaps
heading in this
direction. That decision will be taken down the road, Mr. Speaker. In the
interim the
Intervenor's Fund which we now have will be in fact used in a rotating way
so it will
pretty well stay at the same amount at all times.

Syncrude - Power Plant

Mr. Speaker, a supplementary question to the Minister of Telephones and
With the building of the power plant at Fort McMurray, is any
consideration being given by
government to supplying power into the grid for the REAs at cost?

Mr. Speaker, that is also one of the options that is open and will be
under study.



2. Mr. Miniely moved:

Be it resolved that this Assembly approves in general the fiscal policies
of the

[Adjourned debate: Mr. R. Speaker]

Mr. Speaker, in reviewing the Budget Address for 1975, I came to the
conclusion that
this is certainly a budget of distraction. I make two points with regard
to that; first
of all, a distraction from the needs of the people of Alberta - a
distraction to the
political needs of the Conservative party. Secondly, I see a distraction
from the present
and future economic problems that face us in the next two or three years,
and I'd like to
deal with those in a little more detail in my remarks this afternoon, Mr.
I have three major criticisms that I would like to place before the
Assembly today
with regard to the Budget. The first criticism that I wish to make refers
to the style of
the Budget and the tone in which the Budget was presented to this Assembly
and to the
people of Alberta. The other two criticisms that I have, Mr. Speaker, are
substantive and ...

They'd better be.

... relate to the responsibilities of this government - responsibilities
they have
omitted - omitted in not recognizing they are very important to the people
of Alberta.
Let us have a look at style. In examining the Budget, Mr. Speaker, we note
that the
Provincial Treasurer uses the possessive pronoun "our" referring to
himself and his
colleagues no less than 65 times in approximately 17 pages of text.

February 10, 1975 ALBERTA HANSARD 503

Shame, shame.

I'd like to give just one or two examples with regard to that. He says: "
government in Alberta" on page 3. He says: "our success in achieving" -
page 3; "our
government's energy and royalty policies" - page 6; "four budgets
presented by our
government", Mr. Speaker, page 8 ...

Sour grapes, Ray.

... "Our four year record" - page 9; "expenditures since we formed our
government" and
"the benefits of our policies" on page 19. And there are many many more,
Mr. Speaker,
which I can enumerate and place before you.
May I simply suggest, Mr. Speaker, that this is not the language of a
public servant,
a person who is the steward of the affairs of the people of the province
of Alberta. It
is the language of a person who thinks he is the owner of those affairs
and they are his,
"ours". Mr. Speaker, I feel that certainly is a shortcoming of the
presentation of this
particular Budget.
I think we have to ask, what have the people of Alberta been doing? I
think we all
recognize they have been doing a lot to bring us to where we are today.
They are the ones
who have built Alberta, and make it go as it has gone.
I think that in three and a half years, Mr. Speaker, this government has
created a
situation where the government feel they are the master and the people of
Alberta are just
their servants.

Shame, shame.

The people of Alberta feel they are nothing more than just the benefactors
of all
these returns we have.

Ours ... [inaudible] ... all the opportunity we need.

The hon. Member for Red Deer continually makes speeches when everybody
else speaks,
but, Mr. Speaker, if we look at the record in this House of three and a
half years, we
have not seen one formal debate or presentation of that hon. member. If he
wishes to
speak ...

Nothing to say.

... please stand because there is lots of opportunity in this Assembly to
put his words


Mr. Speaker, paternalism is most evident. Picking out the overuse of the
word "ours",
as I have, may be rather a small type of thing to do. But I think what it
does, Mr.
Speaker, is loudly speak about the personality of this government ...

... the attitude ...

... and the attitude of this particular government.
Throughout the Budget this paternalistic attitude is enhanced. They talk
about giving
grants to municipalities, funds to municipalities. You know, Mr. Speaker,
isn't it about
time that we give the municipalities of Alberta a little more autonomy, a
little more
recognition, a little more involvement in the decision-making of this
province. I think
we have reached a point where they should be able to sit in on budget
planning, where the
cities, the rural municipalities should be able to sit down in a very
objective and mature
manner with government and say, look, we are equal partners; we should be
able to sit at
the table and say, these are our priorities, we will need this muchfunds,
how can we work
out our arrangement of government together.
But, Mr. Speaker, this Budget doesn't give us that story. It says that
here in
Alberta we have a government that gives to the local government in a
benevolent manner,
and the local government is to come back and say, thank you verymuch,
you're very fine
people, it is from our government. But let's remember the affairs of this
province are
done for the people in an active involvement.

504 R HANSARD February 10, 1975

Let's look at some other areas. Farmers are subsidized, senior citizens in
Budget are challenged to bow in thankfulness to the great white government.
I think we
should recall who really built this province and [who] has brought us to
the point in
economy and social development we are at today. No, that would be unfair
if we saidt
because there are many leaders and many communities who have given of
their time, have
never sat in this Assembly, who have made Alberta what it is today.
Mr. Speaker, we look at low income people in Alberta and the Budget says
we are going
to really help them. The low-income people should stand on the streets and
stand in their
homes in awe and say, thank you, you're a very fine giver.
I think the government sort of sums it upwhen they find it necessary in
particular Budget - they sum up their position withregard to paternalism
when theysay
that it is time now in our life in Alberta and our growth in this province
that we take a
partnership involvement with the private sector; that that is the only way
we can now
sustain and diversify the Alberta economy. That's what it says in the
Budget. That only
means that people in Alberta can't do it alone. Individuals can't do it.
Groups of
individuals can't do it unless government sits in their hip pocket. That's
what this
particular document says, Mr. Speaker. I think it's time we ought to be
concerned about:
one, the paternalistic attitude; two, the fact that they want to distract
us from what is
really going on in Alberta; and three, that government feels so important
that it has to
have a partnership in the involvement of our affairs. As members of the
whether we sit over there in the back benches, whether we sit over here,
or you sit in
your chair. Mr. Speaker, I think we had better examine that particular
goal that has been
established by the government, the Provincial Treasurer, the Premier, and
a few of his
cabinet ministers.

That's right.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to turn to the substantive criticism I have of
particular Budget. I think there are two major omissions, omissions so
fundamental that
they render this budget document a misrepresentation of fact. If these
omissions were
made in the financial reports or the prospectus of a public company, the
officers of that
particular company would be liable to prosecution for deliberate
misrepresentation and
failure to disclose. I would submit that if we put this budget report
through the
disclosure test of the Securities Commission, we would have some grounds
for legal action.
Mr. Speaker. I think that's how bad it is.
Let's look at the first omission and the misrepresentation of facts. In
referring to
the additional natural resource revenue which makes tax cuts and expanded
possible, we read on page [6] of this Budget the astounding assertion that
these revenues
have accrued, and I quote: " ... as a direct result of our Government's
energy and royalty
policies ... ."

They started the war in the Middle East.

You're right.
We look again on page 19 and we're told more. I quote:

Due to our Government's oil and natural gas policies, combined oil and
natural gas
returns to Albertans have increased from $270 million in 1971-72, when we
office, to an amount of $1.4 billion ... in ... 1974-75 ... .

Fantastic, I'll tell you. Sure the numbers are beautiful, but Ithink we
should examine
some of the facts. The fact is of course, as we all recognize, that the
increase in
Alberta's natural resource revenue is due primarily to an international
event over which
the Alberta government, the federal government, or any other western
government had no
control. I think we should recognize that fact.
We can all refer to the decision of the Organization of Petroleum
Exporting Countries
whereby they imposed a partial embargo on petroleum shipments and
instituted an enormous
increase in world petroleum prices. We all recognize it was this event
which made
possible windfall gains in all petroleum exporting regions, particularly
here in the
province of Alberta.
The other area we should look at is the area of change with regards to the
and international petroleum market. It has changed from a buyer's market
to a seller's
market. Again we have to recognize that the actions of this government
here had no effect
on what actually happened, or no effect to make that occur so that we
changed from a
buyer's market to a seller's market. It didn't matter who was in power,
whether Social
Credit, NDP, Conservatives; that would have happened anyway. To think that
government can take credit for that fact is certainly not a fact. For the
government of
Canada's major petroleum producing province to produce a budget and fail
to make any
mention whatsoever of the primary causes of Alberta's present prosperity
is not only
irresponsible and negligent, it can also create embarrassment to this
Assembly and I'm
sure to the Provincial Treasurer.

February 10, 1975 ALBERTA HANSARD 505

I think the Provincial Treasurer should recognize this and be aware that
copies of
this particular Budget at this particular time, when times are unsettled,
will be spread
across all the provinces of Canada, into the international area. People
who are very very
knowledgeable about the situation will read it. I wonder what kind of
impression we are
going to make.
I think when we read this Budget and see no reference at all to the real
cause of
Alberta's resource windfall and no recognition of our dependence on
international events,
surely these readers will think us naive and foolish, selfish in our
outlook, concerned
only for our own political security and self-aggrandizement - to me, Mr.
Speaker, a
rather bush-league participant in the world energy drama.
Mr. Speaker, because of the naivete of the presentation, I could say this
does not read like a $2.5 billion government budget - that's a lot of
money - it reads
something like it was prepared for a very misinformed audience, an
audience that really
doesn't know all of the details, and it's most likely performed and
written by some junior
partner in a 2-man accounting firm. I think that is the way the Budget has
approached.This irresponsible attitude reaches its peak on page 6 of the
Budget where this
statement can be read: " ... improvements in financial management and
expenditure policies have controlled growth in expenditures to a lower
rate than growth in
revenues."I guess, Mr. Speaker, we should hope so. It would be very sad if
the expenditures of
this province could not be kept below the growth of revenue at this
particular time. This
last year we have had an increase of some $300 million in revenue, an
increase of 34 per
cent. t o think that a government even makes the statement that they did
all kinds of
things to keep it under 34 per cent! Unbelieveable. I think the statement
was put in
there to try to distract us from the fact and try to make an impression
that they are
really responsible in the administration of the province's affairs. This,
Mr. Speaker, I
cannot buy to any extent.
Let's look at the second omission in this Budget. The second omission, Mr.
is related to the first. There is no recognition in this Budget, in the
text or in the
future financial projections, of the negative impact of the so-called
energy and royalty
policies of the Alberta Conservative government. The unpleasant reality,
which this
Budget attempts to avoid, is that the ill-advised actions of both the
Alberta government
and the federal government to secure the maximum short-run return from
windfall resource
earnings for the respective treasuries has succeeded in strangling the
exploration and
development efforts of the private sector ...


... whether through inexperience, ineptitude or a desire to get all the
traffic could
bear, we don't know. Only they can answer that particular question. This
government, together with the federal government, has become a party to
the creation of a
potential future energy shortfall in Canada.
Mr. Speaker, I think we have to be concerned. Why isn't it in the Budget?
Why isn't
it admitted as a fact and a possibility that some plan is outlined in this
Uncertainties have been created with respect to the wisdom of investing
increased amounts
of private capital in the oil and gas developments of Alberta. That, Mr.
Speaker, is
going to take many many years to remove and it isn't going to be an easy
step that we face
ahead.The consequences of the energy shortfall, which must inevitably
result from inadequate
exploration and development activity, will be eventually reflected in
increases in the
cost or price of petroleum products in Alberta and throughout Canada.
Again I think we
should be concerned.
Mr. Speaker, to me this is a classic case of mismanagement in public
affairs. If the
same attitude and the same policies and the same actions had taken place
back in 1947, we
could ask ourselves whether we would really have any kind of oil or gas
industry in
Alberta today; whether we would have any kind of base from which we could
gain the returns
we are gaining this year, last year and potentially next year. That's the
real question,
because we have frightened investor confidence in this province. I'm sure.
Mr. Speaker,
we recognize that it's going to take a long time to rebuild that fact.
We could have killed that confidence a number of years ago. At this point,
Speaker, I make the point that this Conservative government has not faced
the fact that
they have shaken that confidence and are not ready to live with the
implications in the
next year or two.
Mr. Speaker, Albertans will need the personal income tax reductions
provided, and
more, to pay for the higher cost of energy and goods produced through
processes. The meagre $140 per year average tax reduction to the Alberta
taxpayer will do
very little. We can already understand this when we look at the $200
million that has
been put into Syncrude. That investment, to Albertans, is already $130 per
capita. If we
look at the potential commitment, the responsibility of $1.2 billion
committed to
Syncrude, we look at some $800 per capita. I think, Mr. Speaker, we are in
a situation
where we have committed a lot of dollars and there could be problems ahead
which this
government does not seem ready to face.

506 ALBERTA HANSARD February 10, 1975

Revenues derived from the heavy taxation and the royalty assessments on
the petroleum
sectors today will have to be reinvested in energy resource development
reinvestment simply to try to offset the energy policy mistakes of the
federal and
provincial governments in the last 18 months and really with no net
benefit or effect on
the province of Alberta or Canada.
For example, this Conservative budget speaks of an Alberta Previous Hitheritage trust
Next Hit and we
raised it in question period today. But maybe this government knows they
have made
mistakes and are going to try to get ready for what is coming up in the
future. They
won't tell us what the guidelines to the heritage fund are. There is no
indication as to
how the money is going to be used. There was an indication today, however,
Mr. Speaker,
that some of the money that is required for Syncrude may come out of the
trust fund. But
really, Mr. Speaker, there are no guidelines, no plans that seem to be
coming forward. I
think it's time that this government came to grips with that kind of
problem and
recognized the responsibility they have.
In a Journal article on Saturday, the Provincial Treasurer was asked about
He was asked whether money committed to Syncrude would come from the trust
fund. At that
time, and from the article, he indicated that $200 million would. But
today we have
received a different answer.
But, Mr. Speaker, there are some real challenges ahead as to how we invest
this money
and prepare ourselves for an energy shortfall; how we prepare ourselves
for a higher
energy cost in Alberta. I think those kinds of problems are the ones that
this government
should be looking at and facing at this time, not when they happen, so
they can make
decisions after the fact like they normally do in this particular province.

Hear, hear.

Mr. Speaker, I feel those two items are very very serious and are
challenges that this
government should face and certainly should not have omitted from this
I'd like to conclude, Mr. speaker, and say just a few things very directly
to the
Conservative government. I think they should have a look at the way their
is going. I think it's time - and we have said this on this side before
and I say this
in the most nonpolitical manner possible - it's time that they reassess
their approaches
to the public, to public administration; that they present before the
people the most
frank, direct and honest facts about each and every situation.
To do things for political gain is going to get them into difficulty and
get this
province, the affairs of the people of Alberta, into difficulty in the
years ahead. It's
one thing to write a glowing political document, but it's another thing to
face the
responsibilities which you have. That's my first suggestion. I think the
government here
should not get too carried away with their political footwork but place
before Albertans
the actual facts as they are, so the people of Alberta can help to make
proper and good
decisions in the management of Alberta's affairs.
Secondly, I feel it's time this government recognized that it is a servant
of the
people and certainly not the benevolent or the paternal master. Maybe we
can excuse the
cabinet ministers in the government because they only have three and a
half years of
experience. Whether successful or not after the upcoming election, I think
that's one
attitude you should review very very carefully because it is the people of
Alberta you are
serving; it's not the needs of yourselves and your close associates.
Mr. Speaker, I feel that the two substantive omissions I have recognized
in this
particular Budget for 1975 and 1976 should gain more recognition from this
The people of Alberta should, first, know the truth about the sources of
Secondly, they should know about a future plan that can recapture investor
confidence in
Alberta. And we should know about a concrete plan for future resource
development and how
we are going to face the problems that are before us in the next year or
In summary, this Budget elaborates on the benefits which the energy policy
of the
Alberta government had little to do with. This Budget completely ignores
the cost in
energy shortfalls and increased energy prices which government energy
policy is going to
impose on every man, woman and child in Canada in the near future. Mr.
Speaker, when this
Budget is stripped of the image-building gobbledegook and the
misrepresentation is taken
away, we recognize that what it is is a maintenance budget, a rehash of
government efforts
in the past, and that's about it.
If we count the number of programs that are referred to, we can count
around sixty.
We recognize that about four out of those sixty, or around 7 per cent, are
really anything
that look a bit new.
But let's look at two of them: the personal income tax reduction and the
fund. As was earlier said in this Assembly, those were things that the
Social Credit
party has been recognizing and talking about and urging the government to
do in the last
year. We appreciate that that recognition has been taken. But it isn't new.
It's just a
rehash.I only hope the estimates of this Budget are somewhat more accurate
than those of 1974
and 1975. That Budget was miscalculated by some $250 million to $300
million - a
quarter of a billion dollars out of what was estimated. That's over 20 per
cent, Mr.
Speaker. I really don't think in an accounting system that that is a
percentage to be
proud of.

February 10, 1975 ALBERTA HANSARD 507

Mr. Speaker, with all the faults and the strengths of the Budget, it is an
exercise in
futility if, as was the case last year, it turns out that we only can
guess what the
budget really is.
I would also suggest to this government that it is time they examine their
objectives, their principles and their practices. The people of Alberta
expect good
management of their affairs. Characteristic of government and good
government with good
management in Alberta should be the following things:
1. Fair and equitable taxation.
2. Minimal cost of government.
3. Quality programs and services.
4. An encouragement of an environment for individual private enterprise.
5. A provision ofdividends to Albertans, which means leaving in the hands
Albertans a maximum of their earnings so they can spend the money as they
see fit.
6. I think there should be a low priority on public image building. To do
straight and honest action will certainly reach the goals any political
party wants to
reach. To do things to create a halo effect doesn't do anything for the
people of
Alberta. What we need is honest action. All the rewards, the publicity,
the accolades or
whatever will fall on that government that does a good and straightforward
Mr. Speaker, portrayal of a paternal smug master interested only in power
and selfaggrandizement
is not the direction that any government should go. I think this Budget,
whether it is a true representation - I'd certainly like to hear from the
members as to
whether it is or not - a budget should not be the place where self-
aggrandizement and
self-armed back-patting is done. It is to report to the people of Alberta
how their
affairs are carried on as to the present and in the future. All we in
opposition ask, and
all the people of Alberta ask, is that a responsible approach be taken to
budgeting; that
the people of Alberta know the facts and that we can make good judgments
and work together
to build this province as great as it is and even greater than it can be
in the future.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The hon. Minister of Industry and Commerce followed by the hon. Member for

MR. PEACOCK:Mr. Speaker, in rising to take part in this debate, I would
like to congratulate the
Provincial Treasurer. During the Budget Address on Friday night, he
instilled in me an
increased pride in being an Albertan - the lowest taxed citizens in Canada,
still no
sales tax, the lowest property and gasoline taxes ...

Hear, hear.

... plus all the other benefits.
I suppose some of those opposite who have not fully reviewed the Budget
will say, oh
that's easy, we did it. You just have to spend all the oil revenue. Well,
Mr. Speaker,
that is not the philosophy of this government. We recognize our
hydrocarbon deposits are
a depleting resource and must be developed to ensure the prosperity of
future Albertans as
well as present Albertans.
I think it's important to re-emphasize that only the royalty received up
to S4.40 per
barrel is included in the Budget as spendable operating revenue. Any
additional royalty
over and above that $4.40 per barrel will fund the Alberta heritage trust
to ensure the
prosperity of future Albertans, and will not be available to finance
ongoing and normal
budgetary expenditures.
The Provincial Treasurer has skilfully moulded, as only a chartered
accountant can,
the supply and demands of every government department, Crown corporation
and the agencies
to present his balanced budget. It is indeed a credit to the Provincial
Treasurer, and
incidentally, the youngest Provincial Treasurer in Canada. As all the
budgets ... [interjections] ... of all departments are combined to form
the government
Budget, so the efforts of each department contribute to the progress of a
Mr. Speaker, I would like to spend a few moments covering our department
and then a
few minutes on the strength of the Alberta economy, and to comment on one
or two concerns
we may have as Albertans. First, I think it would be appropriate to
acquaint this House
as to what the department has attempted to do since, as an MLA for Calgary
Currie, I was
appointed Minister of Industry and Commerce in 1971.
One of these areas of concern to me as a businessman has always been and
still is
transportation, because of our landlocked position, our lack of market,
and the position
we hold in the confederation of provinces in the Dominion of Canada. These
inequities that I as a small businessman experienced in this area are
still with us.
Because of the complexity of the problem, it was always difficult to come
to grips with
this issue. I am sure many people in this House are familiar with the
efforts which have
been made over the years. Because, when we came into office in 1971, we
were dedicated to
taking this complex problem and reducing it to simple terms so that the
people of western
Canada might understand; and because it is under federal jurisdiction so
that the federal
government might understand and respond to those inequities, it became a
charge on the
part of the Department of Industry to look at this complex problem.

508 ALBERTA HANSARD February 10, 1975

And so, for the information of the House, I would just like to review very
what the problem is all about as far as transportation [is concerned].
Under the national
Transportation Act of 1967, the rate setting mechanism and formula were
predicated on
competition. Now this was fine between Toronto and Montreal where you had
highways, competitive railroads, airways. But out here in the west where
you wanted to
ship a commodity called sulphur to the Pacific coast out of Calgary to
Edmonton, you had
only one way and one system, and the same in Edmonton. So the competition
didn't hold for
western Canada. This is the reason the rate mechanism of competition does
not apply to
the West.
Over the years, not as a fault of a deliberate attempt of the East to work
against the
West but because of a situation, anomalies grew. Those anomalies which
grew up were such
things that are ridiculous for us to comprehend as westerners - you could
ship from
Toronto to Vancouver and back to Calgary cheaper than you could from
Toronto to Calgary.
That's called a long and short haul. And such things as raw and finished
products - the
famous rapeseed case we are all familiar with where we can take rapeseed
and send it from
Calgary to Toronto cheaper than we can by crushing that rapeseed and
getting the protein
feed and the oil, and conversely the other way back. This of course is
what has created
the problem in the agricultural business of being able to ship cattle on
the hoof cheaper
than you can in the packaged program or through the packer, packaged meats.
Then of course the big thing which really created the problem for us in
Alberta was
what we call rate groupings. That is where we want to diversify industry
and make an
equal opportunity for the town of Brooks or the town of Lacombe to
Edmonton or to Calgary.
We find we had to pay transportation from Calgary to Brooks and tack, or
from Edmonton to
Lacombe and back before we could ship our products to the East.
Consequently we were
disadvantaged if we lived in those smaller communities. Conversely in
Toronto, the whole
area of Hamilton, Kingston, Belleville, et cetera had the same rate
grouping and rates as
Toronto.Consequently, in attacking these anomalies and getting at the root
cause, it led the
Province of Alberta and the Department of Industry and Commerce to set up
mechanisms which
could identify this and give alternatives and programs which the federal
government and
the people who were responsible for transportation in Canada could
understand and react
to. With it came such issues as rail disbandment and rail relocation.
Consequently, out of this, out of all these problems, has developed what
we call a
federal-provincial committee on western transporation. This is a direct
emergence from
the presentation in Calgary at WEOC. There has been a number of studies
undertaken by the
federal government. We feel today we are making headway and we see signs
of a
breakthrough for the discontinuance of these anomalies and a new approach
to freight rates
for western Canadians.
In referring to that landlocked position of Alberta and referring to the
fact that in
the diversification of our objectives of industry and secondary industry
in Alberta, we
have to look into the 21st century. Consequently we looked forward to
moving into the
21st century in transportation and that set up the basis for moving into
I don't think we've ever heard it in this House but I will say it now. One
of the
reasons for looking at PWA was basically in determining in its future the
necessity of the
high degree of funds that it's going to require to carry out programs for
a landlocked
province like Alberta to carry on and move its products into the market.
I'd like to touch just for a moment on what our department is all about,
strategies, its programs and its policies. Simply put, we're charged with
responsibility of looking at an economic environment that can move
products into the
province on an economic basis, competitive to the market place; can move
products out of
the province into the market place at a competitive price, and thirdly, to
look at the
circulation of product within the province itself, and that's called
In order to determine how this economic environment could be established,
it was
necessary to define what the problems were. In bringing product into the
province and
moving out of the province within the context of the state of a federation
of provinces
called Canada, we found that we were disadvantaged in the following areas:
by capital - capital organizations that were established in eastern areas
insensitive to the needs of western Canada, in the debt, the equity and
the risk areas;
fiscal policies of the federal government that were insensitive to the
needs of western
Canada, particularly Alberta. We refer here which is obvious to all of us
now - to
the federal government's lack of sensitivity to that personal income tax
that would allow
the investment and development of our resources into such areas as
drilling funds that we
found have dried up since the United States, which was our source for
those kind of risk
funds, have not become available to us.
So what did we do about these things? In the debt area we looked at AOC.
He looked
at an expansion of a vehicle that was in place to identify and emphasize
the necessity of
relating the need of capital debt to the person rather than physical
assets that he had.
The institutions we have in Alberta that train people, that give meaning
to life - why
you go to university, why you get an engineering degree, why you go to a
institute, why you go to NAIT, why you go to SAIT, why you use your hands,
why you use
your mind - to give purpose and reason to live in Alberta and afford that
diversification of opportunity: these were the things we were finding in
the capital
market place that precluded Albertans from getting a start.
So, coming back, in the debt area we looked at AOC, we expanded that. The
of the Alberta Energy Company, as it moves along, will afford Albertans to
get an

February 10, 1975 ALBERTA HANSARD 509

investment and take an equity where the necessity is related to changing
from a debt to an
equity position because of cash flow and allowing the companies to grow
and expand.
This government has a lot to do in the risk area at this time, but we have
made two
very substantial strides. One you heard in the Budget on Friday night of
course; the
reduction of the provincial tax by some 10 points. The other is the white
paper on small
business and its relationship to what can be done as an incentive program
for Albertans in
small business in the future.
The other problem we were faced with in relating and making a strong
climate here in Alberta, with 1,700,000 people some 2,500 miles away from
market, laboring
with a 49th parallel, a tariff and a commercial policy that was predicated
on a political
system that elects a government before the polls even close west of the
Great Lakes,
imposed on us a problem of better understanding of how we could get our
goods east and
west, and north and south, not only because of transportation problems but
now because of
commercial and tariff problems. So we in this government addressed
ourselves to looking
at the complex problems of multilateral as well as bilateral trade
agreements by which we
could circumvent to some degree those problems that were artificial
Further than that, through the Department of Federal and Intergovernmental
Affairs, we
have set up a liaison, a better understanding with the federal government
of what the
problem is in western Canada in regard to tariff and commercial policies.
I give as an
example to the House methanol which carries duty basically somewhere
around 80 per cent to
go into the United States. The United States is crying for certain
resources that we
have, yet it has put up a tariff on something that we, as Albertans, wish
to move in there
in a processed way because of a lack of understanding and definition of
what methanol and
single cell protein is all about.
And so, to review very briefly, we looked at the interprovincial problems
of allowing
Alberta, with its 1,700,000 people, to expand and diversify its economy.
Then we had to
address ourselves to correcting transportation problems, commercial
problems, tariff
problems and capital shortage problems both in the risk equity and debt
Your government, in three and a half short years, has made remarkable
strides on all
these issues.
Now let's look at the province and identify what we were attempting to do
here within
the province so we didn't disadvantage somebody who lived in Oyen, in
Brooks or Lacombe.
It was then necessary to determine what the problems were there; why they
generated into
two great big metropolitan areas [whereas] people basically, because of
aesthetics or
other reasons, would like to be diversified throughout the province and
live in that
community that was comfortable to them. They wanted an economic
environment that would
permit them to do that.
In the search for quality of life as well as quantity of life, we had to
ourselves as a government to what we had inherited in 1971. He found that
we were short
of mortgage funds and that Alberta Housing had to expand its programs so
that the project
people could move into the small communities and afford mortgage funds and
make them
available.He looked at the energy resources such as rural gas. Under the
Minister of Telephones
we have rural gas. He looked at sewage and water, which are basic to the
development and
equity of industry to move into rural Alberta. We're very pleased to say
that, under the
auspices of the Minister of the Environment, there are some 160
communities that now have
sewage and water or the capability of receiving same so that they can
stand up and be
counted in this area of search for meaning and purpose and the reason for
staying in
business.Then of course we looked at transportation. Needless to say,
you're familiar with the
paving programs, curbing and guttering of small communities and the
highway programs that
the Minister of Highways has taken forth. All these things had to be in
place before we
could go to work. The reason we haven't been speaking in the House too
much in this
regard is the fact that much of this had to be done and much of this takes
time before it
can become a fact.
I'm pleased to say that in those basic objectives we have accomplished and
throughout, a strategy. The strategy in our department was to develop, as
the Premier has
stated on many occasions, those things which are Caesar's - to process the
resources we have here. Agricultural products was a natural, the first we
looked at. The
Minister of Agriculture can enlarge on what has happened in that to a far
greater extent
than I can, but I might just point out that in agriculture we have moved,
whether it be in
feeds, rapeseeds or single cell proteins or frozen foods, on and on you go.
The increases
in that have been outstanding.
The second sector we had to look at because we cannot build a diversified
industry without having steel sufficiency - we didn't have to have a steel
mill but we
had to have steel sufficiency. He had to have a definition of price and
definition of
supply. He searched and moved on that. The reason we moved into IPSCO was
because, while
the mill was a scrap mill and was situated in western Canada, it afforded
at least
corporate decision in regard to where the supplies would go and at what
price. And if we
had lost the position because IPSCO was into that same position that I
related a little
earlier - that they had to move out of a debt position into an equity
position - and
if that hadn't been taken up in western Canada, the next thing we would
have known we
wouldn't have had decision of IPSCO out here, and it would have been
another branch of a
national operation in which we would have been at the mercy of price and
supply to the
eastern mills.

510 ALBERTA HANSARD February 10, 1975

Through that venture forth in steel have been created some extensive
benefits to
Alberta in that STELCO has recognized that Alberta is identifiable with
its potential
market and the growth of the MacKenzie and our northern energy quarters.
It has expanded.
IPSCO is committed to [a] cold roll and [a] galvanized mill in Alberta.
Dresser Clarke
has moved into southern Alberta and we're looking at more sophisticated
fabrications of
steel at this time.
Then we come into the other sector called petrochemicals. In the question
today, I didn't have the opportunity to enlarge on it, but I will just for
a moment. When
you're landlocked and you're 2,500 miles away from market and you try to
bring a world
scale plant into Alberta and you bring all the attendant derivative plants,
whether they
be the first, second or third generation in order to spring out and allow
this to be
diversified in Alberta and used in Alberta, you have some dislocation
But further than that, this House and so do we as Albertans, has to face
up to and to
recognize one thing: petrochemicals around the world have been the most
protected industry
of any industry, including agriculture - by custom, by taxes, by
prohibition. As a
result, in order to have the petrochemical industry on a world scale basis
so that it
wasn't tokenism, it had to be in consortium with the government and
industry. That which
was government's responsibility is in the tax and in the tariff and in the
economics and
in the supply areas. Government has to work very closely with industry in
order to bring
this world scale petrochemical [industry] about.
I don't want to spend much time on the others, but I would say that we
have related to
forest products through the minister and through his department; to
recreation through the
minister and his department; and into the sophisticated areas that are
offshoots - such
things as what PWA has done for and is doing for Alberta. I relate this
because when the
decision was made to take Alberta into the 21st century with its own
vehicle - and I
don't have to waste time and tell you that transportation is regulatory,
there is nothing
free about it. There's no free enterprise about transportation in Canada.

Oh, oh.

No there isn't. It's subsidized, it's regulatory ...

Is Greyhound subsidized?

It's regulatory. And I would say this: in moving into this area Wardair,
which was
and had made and was committed ...

Are they next?

... to move into Toronto, and take with it 1,700 people and, incidentally,
one of the
outstanding charter airlines in the world ...

How about CPA?

... reconsidered its position - reconsidered its position with Air Canada
and elected to
stay in Alberta.
With it of course come other areas, both in the airfoil and fabrication
and electronic
field and even to avionics and engines. I'll just say something about
electronics for a
moment in passing. We in the department, and the environment as it is in
Alberta now,
have for a long time recognized Alberta as being an ideal location for the
area of electronics as far as Canada is concerned. And we're pleased to
say at this time
that there's been a great deal of headway made here. Because of the great
in flow meters and the system of extracting oil and gas from the ground,
what we see in
the future here affords us a real opportunity in this field and we're
looking forward to
moving on.
Well, these are some of the programs which your government, along with the
sector, has undertaken in order to make and afford a diversified base for
Albertans to
move in. As a result of these policies and programs, the economy of
Alberta grew at a
strong and steady pace in '74. Manufacturing shipments increased 25 per
cent in '74 and
are expected to increase a further 15 to 20 per cent in '75. Total farm
cash receipts you're
familiar with that - are up 47 per cent in ...

How about livestock?

... in '74, compared to a national average of 38 per cent. The value of
production in Alberta increased 62 per cent in '74, compared to 40 per
cent in the

February 10, 1975 ALBERTA HANSARD 511

previous year. For the first eight months of '74, the value of sales of
crude oil,
synthetic crude condensates and pentanes plus increased 61 per cent. The
total sales in
value of Alberta natural gas increased 37 per cent, and I don't have to go
through the
program that brought that about.
Retail trade for the first eight months of '74 was over $387 million
greater than '73,
a 19.6 per cent increase, whereas the Canadian average was 15 per cent.
Areas of
substantial capital investment in '74, including primary industries and
construction, are
estimated to have increased 35 per cent in '74 over '73. Utilities are
estimated to have
increased 23 per cent. Trade, financial and commercial services are
estimated to have
increased 19 per cent.
Now there are two areas that I would touch on which have tended to
stagnate in the
last quarter of '74 and have received special attention by the government.
The cyclical
downturn in Alberta's lumber industry has been significantly reversed, we
believe, through
our Inventory Support Program. Dr. Horner can speak more aggressively on
the Cow-calf
Program and what it has produced through the Inventory Support Program.
The foregoing has indicated Alberta's economy is sound, strong and stable
and as was
noted in the February 4 edition of The Edmonton Journal, I quote: "Despite
some major
uncertainties and the worst North American recession since the second
world war, Alberta
appears headed for another banner year in 1975."
I mentioned that we cannot overlook the effect of economic developments
elsewhere in
the world. I repeat that we cannot overlook the effect of economic
developments elsewhere
in the world because they will surely be felt in Alberta. To emphasize
this point, I
would like now to quote briefly from the Economist of December 7, 1974:

The money left over to the oil barons of the Organization of Petroleum
Countries after they had paid for all their imports, and for the harbours,
refineries and other baubles being built in their countries for them by
foreigners, is
running about $60 billion a year. That is about $7 million an hour, or $
115,000 a
second. The world now has multi-billionaires who every year could buy the
wealth of the oil-created Rockefeller family sixty times over or buy all
securities on the London Stock Exchange every nine months.

They could purchase with surplus cash the Bank of America in ten days or
all the
companies on all the world's major stock exchanges in 15.6 years. The
ramifications of their cash surplus are indeed staggering.
I would find it more appropriate to maybe enlarge on the implication of
that kind of
resource and capital at a later time, but I would like to sum up and
finally state that
the outcome of the current world monetary situation which will affect the
U.S. dollar will
doubtlessly have an effect on the Canadian economy. You have heard that
our economy is
performing strongly, that our strategies are providing- results which can
be directly
related to our goals and objectives and that the government's policies and
programs are
providing strong support for economic development in the province.
In closing I must point out that while we have achieved much in the last
year and
while our expectations for the future are optimistic, much remains to be
done and much
hard work lies ahead if we are fully to achieve our objectives. It is a
team game
management, labor and government.
Our efforts in '75 will be aimed at making every effort to insulate the
economy of
Alberta from the cyclical extremes that are characteristic of resource-
based economies.
The key to achieving this aim is the industrial investment under way and
proposed for
Alberta in '75 and the future years. If the proposed projects forge ahead,
our economic
well-being will be that much less dependent on the sale of resources and
therefore less
subject to the economic variations of other economies. Further
diversification of the
economy of Alberta [will be achieved] by promoting more secondary
industries and finally,
sustaining the present high level of economic activity and employment.
We are indeed fortunate in Alberta to enjoy an amicable and responsible
among management, labor and government. Through this understanding and
communication, all
Albertans have benefited. We look forward to continuing the frank and open
dialogue we
maintain with management and labor throughout the coming year. With this
cooperation, Alberta will prosper.

Very good.

The hon. Member for Calgary McCall followed by the hon. Member for Spirit

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. After listening to the 1975 Budget Address and
studying the
Estimates of Expenditure for 1975 and 1976, the most compelling question
left in my mind
was this: whatever happened to the old idea that a budget presentation
should reflect an
actual and simple account of the true financial position of a province,
without the
interjection of statements of latent and undisguised partisan politics?
What we have been presented with, Mr. Speaker, reads more like the
Conservative party manifesto, if indeed they have a defined policy, than
an actual

512 ALBERTA HANSARD February 10, 1975

responsible accounting to the Legislative Assembly of the financial status
of this
province.The address was so impregnated with partisan chaff, that it was
hard to separate the
few kernels of grain that may possibly have been contained in the document.
If one were
to accept all the political insinuations contained in the Budget Address,
Mr. Speaker, he
would have to come to the conclusion that the government ministers were
directly and
personally responsible for the enviable financial position we find our
province in today.
Quite obviously, according to the well-orchestrated applause emanating
from the
opposite side during the reading of the speech, Mr. Speaker, the present
government would
like us to believe that they have injected all the oil and gas into the
ground ...

Put a lot of gas ...

... and that they provided our climate and soil for the agricultural
industry, and that
they planted and grew our forests and collectively provided us with the
sun, the rain and
the four seasons. I'm quite surprised, Mr. Speaker, that they have left so
much to the
God Almighty.
As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, if the present trend continues, we may
have to
arrange to put the God Almightly on the welfare rolls. We then of course
could appoint a
minister of divine providence to look after the day to day incidentals. In
that way of
course they could even have someone to blame for mixing all that sand in
the oil at Fort

They have got sand in their gears.

Let us not have any doubt, Mr. Speaker, as to where the credit really lies
for our
present fortunate financial position. It is because of an unprecedented
world demand for
the resources we have in this province. This government had no more to do
with creating
our financial strength than they had with creating our resources to begin
with. We are
where we are in spite of, not because of, present government policy. For
any government
today to claim all the credit is an insult not only to this Assembly, but
to all the
people of this province.

Hear, hear.

The government has been charged with the responsibility of being
custodians of these
resources and, to be perfectly truthful - a little honesty and
truthfulness doesn't hurt
they have not had a record to be all that proud of.
I am dismayed today, Mr. Speaker, that the Budget provided so little
information on the things which are uppermost in the minds of Albertans.
For instance
there was no indication of the extent of the commitment made to Syncrude
on behalf of the
people of Alberta. We must always keep in mind that this is a public
resource and public
funds are being used to develop this resource. We can only conclude that
at the present
time, the government really does not have any idea of the total amount of
money they will
have to spend in this project.
If this is a rat hole of undetermined depth, it must follow [that] the
people have a
right to know, and as custodians of the public funds, the government has
an obligation to
supply the information as to the extent of the commitment made on their

Hear, hear.

I regret to report today that our government seems to have lost sight of
responsibility to the people of our province.
The people are also concerned, Mr. Speaker, about the general economic
outlook for
this province. True, the Budget did provide them with a good mixture of
rice and honey
and political bragging. But it does nothing, absolutely nothing, to
reassure the
individual as to what may be in store for them around the corner.
Our people are certainly not so naive, Mr. Speaker, as to believe that a
multitude of
partisan political proclamations contained in the Budget Speech are going
to supply them
with security when they can clearly see what is happening in other
provinces and
countries. We are not an island to ourselves. As someone once noted, Mr.
Speaker, when
we keep our optimism when all about are losing theirs, it may be that we
are not aware of
the situation. Albertans are rightfully concerned about the deteriorating
outlook, and I believe this government has an obligation to tell it to us
as it is.
Nothing less will do.
Another concern. Mr. Speaker, which is probably the biggest concern, the
single major
concern of Albertans at the present time is our rapidly deteriorating
control of law and

February 10, 1975 ALBERTA HANSARD 513

order. People today arealarmed and afraid, and they have good reasons to
be alarmed and
afraid. Crime in all itsforms is on an unprecedented increase.
When I look back a few years ago, prior to 1971, it was reassuring to know
that we did
not have the same problems of crime that were being experienced by other
cities like
Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto. Today we can no longer be assured of this
because we
find now that we're in the same league. Inother words we've reached the
big time.
People are afraid to walk the streets at night, and for good reason. It
has now become
unthinkable to leavea house or car unlocked, even for a little while. The
rapes and
muggings and murders that are committed in Alberta are increasing at a
rate that indicates
that people are more than justified in their fear and alarm.
What then do we do, Mr. Speaker, to reassure us, to alleviate our fears,
to provide
for a climate and glimmer of hope? What do we do, Mr. Speaker, in response
to the number
of concerns in this province on this problem today? So we get a sum of $2.
6 million. I
can tell you, Mr. Speaker, that the profits made by the criminals peddling
drugs on the
streets to the kids are probably several times more than that amount. We
need a crash
program to combat the rising crime rate in this province.
All the enjoyment of our affluence can be and is being lost because of
this serious
problem. If we can lead the way in other areas, as has been claimed by the
perhaps we can also lead the way in the area of crime control. Let me say
this: we are
not going to do it by providing only for an additional 62 RCMP constables.
This is a
trivial contribution and will not even begin to keep pace with the
increasing crime rate.
We are losing ground in this area. We are going backwards at a time when
we should be
declaring an all-out war against crime. It needs more attention and more
priority than is
indicated in the Budget. I believe we have to get serious, Mr. Speaker,
and do something
concrete. Remember, there is no other issue, no other concern facing the
Albertan that is greater at this time than the matter of crime control. It
must have an
immediate priority, and we need to develop an urgent program to combat
this problem now.
And now, Mr. Speaker, on another subject, I would think that while
throwing around all
these billions of dollars we could have found a few extra pennies at least
to start a
dental program for the province. For some unknown reason which I have
never been able to
track down, denticare has always taken the back seat in the government
health assistance
programs. Yet in the overall picture of health care, it is an important
integral part.
While it is expensive, at the same time it is expensive for individuals.
It is necessary
for good health. Why then, I ask, this obvious gap in our health services?
It is entirely possible, Mr. Speaker, that we can expect an important and
welcome side
benefit to denticare. Perhaps the government would be able to bring down a
budget with
some teeth in it. Furthermore it might even help to put a bite into the
government when the Syncrude bills start coming in.

How about some filling?

In all seriousness, Mr. Speaker, a number of other provinces are now
providing some
form of help to their citizens in the field of denticare, and I feel it is
about time that
Alberta made a start on this program as well.
Mr. Speaker, according to page 18 of the Budget Address, the increase in
new civil
servants' positions is shown as 855. I took the liberty, Mr. Speaker, of
adding the
number of positions shown in eachdepartment for the last year and then
totalled the
positions for the coming year, as shown in the Estimates of Expenditure. I
find that the
positions have increased not by 855, as indicated, but by something like 1,
590. This is
close to double the number the government says it is adding to the red
tape brigade.
It must be these kinds of calculations, Mr. Speaker, that we use to
justify $13 for $8
air line stock. On the other hand, Mr. Speaker, it is entirely possible
that the
individual ministers were too busy calculatingtheir own chances of
survival in their
respective portfolios that their head counting suffered accordingly. We
will probably be
better off once the axe has fallen and the sweating-out period is over. On
the humorous
side, Mr. Speaker, it was observed by some that some of the ministers are
getting so
jittery that when they walk down the halls in this building it is new
referred to as the
"cabinet shuffle".
Now, Mr. Speaker, I would like to comment on the area of assistance to our
municipalities. They have been in financial difficulties ever since this
government came
to power. Our major cities are suffering from the problems of rapid growth.
Their costs,
like everything else, are escalating. Yes, we help them out a little each
year, a mighty
little, and I must say I was happy to see an increase this year in our
grants. But, Mr.
Speaker, we have done virtually nothing to get at the basic problem. The
cities and towns
are still living a hand-to-mouth existence. In fact if the truth were told,
it would be
accurate to say they are getting poorer each year. The government must be
called upon to
develop a policy that will provide them with some measure of long-term
stability, to
enable them to plan for the future with a reasonable assurance that these
plans can be
carried cut. Forcing our municipalities to continually come hat in hand,
and sometimes on
their very knees to the government is simply not fair to them and to the
people who live
in the urban centres.
Mr. Speaker, it has been encouraging to see agricultural growth in this
province. All
of us I'm sure can feel happy and proud of the advances that have been
made in that basic

514 ALBERTA HANSARD February 10, 1975

industry. If anyone anywhere deserves an increase in the standard of
living, our farmers
are certainly entitled to it.
I am concerned, however, over the possibility that our government's policy
will have a
long-term effect of backing them into the corner, of making them more
dependent upon
government for their well-being and continued prosperity. Farmers are, and
have always
been, an independent lot. I doubt very much if making them mere and more
continuing to make them more and more obligated to the government is doing
them a favor.
When, as we have seen, the price of cattle or wheat suddenly falls, it
becomes necessary
to saddle them with more and more government control, regulations and
intervention. The
agricultural community has always been a proud and hard working
independent community.
Let's keep them that way.
The same might be said, Mr. Speaker, about the forest industry. We are
spending more on government controls and red tape than we are getting from
stumpage fees.
Some guidelines of course are needed. However, when an industry is as
depressed as the
forest industry is right now, the last thing they need is more government
control and
regulations. To me it is difficult to get a good sound two-by-four out of
a bundle of red

What control are you talking about?

[Mr. Diachuk in the Chair]

In fact ... I'm glad I'm getting a reaction. In fact, Mr. Speaker, right
now might be
a good time once again to read a few lines from the 1972 Throne Speech: "
It is a major
goal of my government to reduce bureaucractic routine and red tape ... and
expansion of
the private sector will be emphasized."

That was their program.

Somehow, Mr. Speaker, I'm unable to relate this Budget to that lofty
neither can hospital workers, neither can the teachers of this province
and indeed neither
can the civil servants nor the citizens of Alberta.

Mr. Speaker ...

The hon. Member for Spirit River-Fairview has been recognized.

Mr. Speaker, shortly before the spring session opened, the hon. Government
Leader was interviewed about the upcoming session. He indicated that
people shouldn't
look for too much in the Throne Speech itself because the government's
program, its
objectives, its outline of where we are going would be contained in the
Budget. So, Mr.
Speaker, most of us, when we saw virtually nothing but a rehash of old
press releases in
the Throne Speech, took the position, we'll wait and see. He'll wait for
the Budget in
hopes that we are going to be shown where this government proposes to go
in the next
period of time.
Mr. Speaker, when I read over the Budget and I see a rehash of all the
cliches that we've heard from theother sid e for the last three and a half
years, and I
don't see any vision, I don't seeany forward thinking, Idon't see any
commitment ...


Yes, the Member for Clover Baruses the term "thrust". We used to hear that.
We don't
have that to deal with in the Budget, Mr. Speaker, because the Budget
really doesn't give
us any idea of where the government proposes to go.
Mr. Speaker, I don't like to quote one of Edmonton's great newspapers or
one of
Canada's great newspapers, but I thought their editorial on Saturday last
summed up the
defects of this government's Budget and indeed this government's smug
complacency very
well. I just quote the last paragraph:

But there is an underlying smugness to Mr. Miniely's message that is
disturbing. It
indicates a self-satisfied administration devoid of fresh ideas and
unwilling to do serious battle with our problems. There is nothing very
after all, about cutting taxes and increasing expenditures on government
programs when
you have more money around than you know what to do with.

And in a Conservative paper that's something.

February 10, 1975 ALBERT A HANSARD 515

All I can say to the editors of The EdmontonJournal is, right on.
Whenone reads the Budget, and we have the government flattering themselves
patting themselves on the back for the change in the financial position of
the party, one
can only conclude, as several other members on this side already have,
that the province
owes far more to the machinations of OPEC than the business sense of the
hon. Provincial


Mr. Speaker, for the government to come in here and try to take credit in
Assembly for what has occurred on the international stage is indeed
pushing the
credibility gap a little too far. No doubt that's the move for the
Then when I look over the Budget speech, Mr. Speaker, I can only conclude
that it is
essentially a public relations document which various Tory candidates in
the next few
weeks or few months can summarize and use as an election speech at the
various public
forums. Mr. Speaker, this is fine for speakers' notes for the Tory cause
but I don't
think we should expect speakers' notes to become the Budget for the people
of Alberta in
the Legislative Assembly of this province.
Mr. Speaker, there are a number of points that are made, of course the
strongest argument in the Budget, and the thing which brought the applause
on the other
side of the House, was the decision to cut income taxes by 10 per cent,
from 36 per cent
down to 26 per cent.
I would have to stand in my place, Mr. Speaker, and make it very clear
that at a time
of recession in most of the western world I approve of tax reduction. I
think it's
important to get money back into the hands of consumers so they begin to
use that money to
purchase goods and services and quicken the pace of the economy. No
question about the
principle then of getting money back into the hands of the people. But I
have some
concern about the method used. A tax reduction is a very attractive
vehicle politically
but is it the fairest mechanism to in fact refund purchasing power to the
people of
Alberta?I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that if we read over the tables at
the end of the
Budget speech we find that perhaps it isn't the fairest method. I refer to
Table B1 on
page 42 of the Budget speech, Mr. Speaker. Here we are looking at the
provincial tax
savings to different groups of people including the selective tax
reduction which the
Provincial Treasurer over and over again told us was going to be a plus
for the little
guy. We were going to help the little guy. Let's look at how they are
going to help the
little guy.
For a person with a taxable income of $500, their total saving under this
scheme will
be $16. For a person with a taxable income of $8,000, their saving will be $
160. But for
a person with a taxable income of $25,000 or more, the saving in tax goes
up to $696, Mr.
Speaker. I had my research staff today check with the federal taxation
department and we
find that the highest category is $63,960. We've calculated that people in
that category
of taxable income will have a saving of some $3,000 under this scheme.
Well, Mr. Speaker,
when you see the difference - $12 to the senior citizen with a taxable
income of $500 a
year or less and $3,000 for the big fat cats in our society - one can only
see, Mr.
Speaker, that we have a long way to go before we reach the objective of
equitable taxation
in the province of Alberta.
I would suggest that if the government had wanted to achieve this
proposition of
getting money back into the hands of the people who need it most, the best
approach would
have been to adopt the tax credit concept. This is a sound principle in
taxation, Mr.
Speaker, which was first advanced and discussed as a result of the
recommendations of the
Carter report during the mid-sixties.
That's what concerns me, Mr. Speaker, as I read through the document. I
don't really
see any serious commitment to changes that improve the lot of the little
man. We know
perfectly well there are a lot of Albertans, high-income Albertans, who
are doing very
well. But what about the little people of this province; what about the
people working
for the minimum wage, what about the people who are handicapped, what
about the Native
community in the province of Alberta? Over and over again we see at best
tokenism, a
million dollars here or perhaps half a million dollars for a school lunch
program, but not
the kind of ongoing systematic well thought out program which is going to
increase the
standard of living of the lower-income people of our province.
That leads me to the second concern I would like to express about the
Budget, Mr.
Speaker. Where does this government stand on human resource development in
anyway? One of the first moves they made when they took office in 1971 was
to get rid of
the Human Resources Research Council. Now, Mr. Speaker, I don't believe
that every report
commissioned or that came out as a result of the work of the human
research council was a
good one. Nevertheless it at least examined the question of human resource
development in
Alberta. It gave us an ongoing base. With its demise, there seems to be a
lack of any
perspective in human resource programs.
We have for example, as the Member for Calgary McCall pointed out, no
commitment in
this Budget to do anything about denticare. A universal denticare program
in Alberta
would cost in the neighborhood of $50 million. Even a start of a program,
dental care for
children 12 years of age or under could well have been put in this Budget.
But no, Mr.

516 ALBERTA HANSARD February 10, 1975

Speaker, not a word about denticare. Surely for a province which has the
huge wealth
accruing to us that we have today, the least we could do is undertake a
denticare program.
But not a word of mention.
We have no commitment to eliminate the medicare premiums. This is the kind
of thing
that affects the low-income people, the working poor. Yes, Mr. Speaker,
people on social
development have their medicare looked after. But what about the man who
is working for
the minimum wage, who has just a high enough taxable income that he
doesn't come under the
subsidy provisions of the Alberta health care plan? That's the individual
who has to pay
an unfair share of the cost of providing health care services in this
With the windfall we have today, we could have eliminated medicare
eliminated the administrative cost of collecting those premiums and at the
same time, Mr.
Speaker, done a great deal to make life better for the working poor, for
the people who
want to stand on their own feet but who for one reason or another don't
have high paying
jobs, or live in a region of Alberta where they don't have access to
higher paying jobs,
or perhaps they are restricted because of handicaps or disabilities to low
paying jobs.
These are the people who could have been helped, Mr. Speaker, by this
Budget if this
government had cared.
There is another thing that concerns me too: the Educational Opportunity
Fund, one of
the important features of any modern education system. I note here that
the increase is
only 15 per cent. All that increase will do, Mr. Speaker, is allow us to
carry on the
same level of support for these programs we had last year. Surely with the
money we have,
Mr. Speaker, our objectives should be to improve funding under the
Educational Opportunity
Fund. Surely our objectives should be to strive for better programs, not
simply put
ourselves into a rut where all we can do is maintain existing programs.
Mr. Speaker, we have the total question of education in Alberta. I have to
say that
I'm pleased to see, both in the Speech from the Throne and this Budget,
the commitment of
$11 million to deal with three things: small schools, those areas of
Alberta that have a
low assessment ratio and as a consequence it's difficult to raise
requisition money to provide equality of educational opportunity, and
those divisions with
declining enrolments.
However, in discussing the details of the plan, I find we are still not
going to
bridge the gap. It's an improvement admittedly. As a rural member in this
House, I have
to say that it is an improvement. Both divisions in my constituency which
are exclusively
in the Spirit River constituency will benefit as a result of the
announcement. But, Mr.
Speaker, with the money that we have available we could have gone all the
way to have
eliminated the disparity, not the kind of sliding-scale concept which will
still leave
rural divisions at a disadvantage compared to divisions with higher
assessment. Mr.
Speaker, we missed the golden opportunity to bridge that gap of
educational opportunity
when we had the money to do it.
Mr. Speaker, that's the second point that concerns me - no commitment in
this Budget
to imaginative human resource-based programs. One can criticize the old
government, but
in the last four or five years of the former administration, we had a
number of innovative
programs launched. When one looks back at the last three and a half years,
one has to be
indeed a partisan of the Tory cause to be able to see any innovative
program undertaken
during this period of time.
The third thing that concerns me, Mr. Speaker, is the total lack of any
commitment to deal with input costs for our rural people, especially our
farmers. I note
on page 12 - and I found this very interesting - the comment on Fuel Oil
Allowance. The 1974 - it talks about the program last year, Mr. Speaker,
then goes on:
" ... this budget includes $10.5 million to continue the rebate of 5 cents
per gallon on
the purchase of farm fuels and domestic heating fuel."
Well, Mr. Speaker, I certainly concur with that. But there is not a rural
person who
isn't aware that after the agreement that comes out of the April 9 meeting
of the Prime
Minister and the premiers the price of oil will go up. Whether it goes up $
1 a barrel, $2
a barrel or $5.20 a barrel, we know it's going to go up.
Now, Mr. Speaker, what concerns me is that there is no commitment in the
Budget to say
that once that price goes up we will commit ourselves to a rebate system
which would make
sure that farm fuel prices remain at the present level. But, Mr. Speaker,
no guarantee of
that at all. If the price goes up by $5 a barrel, by the time it works its
way through to
the ultimate consumer, he's going to be looking at a minimum of 15 cents a
gallon more and
perhaps 20 cents a gallon more without any commitment at all that the
government is going to even defray that cost, let alone stop it from
taking place.
Mr. Speaker, we hear about all the things we're doing for the farmers. I
can tell
you, as I travel around Alberta one of the concerns they have is the price
of fuel.
They're not as enthused as some of the urban members are about getting a
rural price for
oil unless they have some clear-cut commitment that their costs are going
to be kept down.
Mr. Speaker, the Budget was a golden opportunity to make that commitment
clearly - and
they didn't.
I would just have to say to the farmers of this province: if you can beg,
borrow or
steal your spring fuel requirements before April 9, do it by all means; do
it before the
price goes up because there isn't any guarantee here that you're going to
have one iota of
protection after April 9.
That would only lead some perhaps who are a little more cynical than me to
that the objective might be to have the election out of the way before the
increase takes

February 10, 1975 ALBERTA HANSARD 517

We will.

I would hope that that sort of cynicism is not well founded. But, Mr.
Speaker, unless
we get some commitment in this Budget or from one of the government
members, the Minister
of Agriculture during the budget debate, farmers are going to be very
dubious indeed.
Then we've got the question of fertilizer price increases, Mr. Speaker.
Now the
minister tells us we're getting a good deal and that the price is lower
here than it is
elsewhere in Canada and the world. That may be true. But thepoint is, are
the increases
which have occurred justified by the facts of the situation? In the last
16 months,
between September of 1973 and January 3, 1975, the price of fertilizer in
this province
has increased by an average of 80 per cent. Now the concern I would
express at this time
is, are we going to get still further increases? Officials of the
fertilizer companies
have suggested that in fact we may well get still more increases in the
price of
fertilizer before spring seeding is completed.
The arguments that at least one of the officials used were three in total.
One was
that if you increase the price of fertilizer in Canada that is going to
stop the
bootlegging to the United States. Well, Mr. Speaker, paying the
bootlegger's price is
hardly satisfactory to thefarmer. It may indeed stop the bootlegging to
the United
States but it's not a very acceptable proposition for Alberta farmers.
The second proposition was that because the price of natural gas is going
therefore the price of fertilizer should rise. That may be a fair and
legitimate argument
except that when you are looking at Imperial Oil, you are looking at an
integrated company
which is also in the natural gas business. So when they increase the price
they pay to
themselves for natural gas, they can use that increase as an excuse to
turn around and
charge the farmer more for fertilizer. All within the family so to speak,
except that the
Alberta farmer is the one member who isn't in the family. He is on the
paying end of it.
Then we had the argument on phosphate. I asked the hon. Minister of
questions on this matter several weeks ago in the Legislature because it
is my
understanding from one of the agents of Imperial Oil whose opinion I
notwithstanding his political inclinations which are on the other side of
the fence, that
nevertheless Imperial Oil still has some time to run on their phosphate
agreement at the
old price structure. Mr. Speaker, if in fact that isn't true, I would be
glad to hear it
and I think the farmers in Alberta would be glad to hear it.

Not true.

Well, I'm pleased to hear that then. Nevertheless, Mr. Speaker, we have
this huge
increase in price. And what farmers in Alberta are asking - and they have
a right to be
told clearly - is on what basis is the price increase taking place? Is it
in fact a
reasonable increase or are they being gouged by the fertilizer producers?
Mr. Speaker, there is still another aspect of the rural question which
wasn't dealt
with in the Budget either. That is the exploding land values, especially
around our major
centres. On Thursday of last week, I was phoned by one of the directors of
Unifarm who
advised me of the concern of Unifarm members in District 10 which takes in
the area from
Red Deer south to Calgary and slightly east. There, land values have risen
by $100 an
acre in the last several months. Now that is good for the fellow who is
selling land,
but, Mr. Speaker, when land is going for $500 an acre plus south of
Carstairs to Calgary,
when land is going for that kind of price, we are going to have to have
pretty good prices
for all products produced on the land. Mr. Speaker, we know perfectly well
that there is
just no historical evidence at all to indicate that the prices we have had
for grains over
the last few months will in fact hold up. Indeed the evidence now
indicates those prices
are dropping. And we all know the plight of the cow-calf operator.
Mr. Speaker, my concern is that no matter how much money you loan through
Agricultural Development Corporation or for that matter from the federal
through federal farm credit, when a person pays $500 an acre for land,
you've got to make
about $50 an acre just to pay the interest. Mr. Speaker, unless we have
some sense of
proportion between the value of the land, the productive value of the land,
and the price
people are paying, we are going to be in real trouble.
I note, Mr. Speaker, this argument is made very strongly in the annual
submission of
Unifarm to the provincial cabinet. I would just say, let's watch very very
closely. I am
concerned about some of the land purchases which are taking place. I
believe Unifarm is
making a good case. So is the National Farmers' Union. Some of the the
people who are
coming into this province and buying land, where is that money coming from
to finance the
operation? We had thinly disguised European syndicates based in
Switzerland or West
Germany. Well, thinly disguised because I suspect they are front groups
for Arab oil
money. And I don't blame the Arabs for wanting to invest in good
agricultural land in
Alberta. That is a wise investment for them. But if as a result of that
kind of flood of
investment we push up the price of land so that it bears no relation to
its productive
value, what we do, Mr. Speaker, is put our younger Alberta farmers in an
position no matter how much money you loan them because they have to pay
that money back.
Now I realize that the government answer is that the Land Use Forum is
studying this
problem and they will be making recommendations. I respect the work of the
Land Use Forum

518 ALBERTA HANSARD February 10, 1975

and think they are doing an exceptionally fine job. But I would say at
this point, Mr.
Speaker, that we might well be advised to freeze the purchases by foreign
companies until
we get the findings of the Land Use Forum. Now I know there are going to
be some farmers
who want to sell out who will be mad at that. But you've got to put this
thing in
perspective. Are we going to keep young Canadian farmers on the land in
this country?
Are we going to make agriculture a viable proposition for them or are we
going to shift
the balance totally over to those who want to sell? Mr. Speaker, I think
if we are
concerned about maintaining the family farm - and that has been the
rhetoric of all
three parties represented in this Legislature - we have to do something
controlling the exploding values of land.
Mr. Speaker, still another subject which has been given a good deal of
discussion of
late is the plight of the municipalities; the tendency of this government
to look upon
municipalities not as full partners but indeed as creatures of the
province. We've had
various municipal politicians asking for a better deal. They are not
talking about grants
which are given with strings attached. What they are talking about is a
commitment to
some form of revenue sharing. That's what they want. So that they have
access not to
room which the Minister of Municipal Affairs says we make available to the
when we vacate the property tax field. They are not asking for the right
to levy a tax
which we all realize is a retrogressive tax, which is not a progressive
tax, which is an
unfair type of taxation. What they want is some commitment from the
political parties in
this province to revenue sharing from taxes which are more clearly related
to the ability
to pay, whether those represent corporation taxes or personal income taxes.
The Mayor of
Edmonton suggested even a share of the liquor taxes - or natural resource
revenue. I
just quote from The Edmonton Journal where Mr. Hawrelak, the Mayor of
Edmonton, makes the
comment; "Municipalities should not have to go 'with their hats in their
hands' to senior
governments ... ." Well, Mr. Speaker, I don't think they should have to go
with their
hats in their hands any more when we have the kind of revenue that the
Province of Alberta
has today.Surely this is the time when we can work out an acceptable
formula with the
municipalities to share someof the personal income tax receipts, to share
some of the
natural resource receipts, to share some of the corporation tax receipts
so that local
government can go ahead with the projects which can be undertaken best at
the local level
without always having to rely on the property tax to fund their programs.
Mr. Speaker, there are still two other points I want to make briefly
before my time
lapses. One is housing. The province of Alberta has made some progress
through the Alberta housing program and the assisted home ownership scheme
where interests
range between 9 per cent and 11 per cent. But I would say again that the
money we have in
the treasury offered this government an unique opportunity to provide
Albertans with the
best deal in Canada to purchase homes. Why didn't we have a commitment
through AHC for 6
per cent mortgages? Why didn't we really have an incentive to encourage
people to buy and
own their own homes?
We talked about the lumber industry. I realize the vast majority of the
from the lumber industry in thiscountry is exported to the United States
and must be
because our market is not big enough. But you know, if we got the housing
rolling again in this province, and we can do that through 6 per cent
mortgages, at least
it would - it wouldn't solve the problem for the lumber industry, but it
would at least
help to a marginal degree. So why didn't we have some commitment on a
meaningful mortgage
subsidy program? Instead, Mr. Speaker, we have the existing program and
instead of moving
forward, we get the government patting themselves on the back for the work
already done by
AHC and the programs in place.
The final point I want to make, Mr. Speaker, concerns the Alberta heritage
fund. Mr.
Speaker, I believe the ground rules for this Alberta heritage fund should
be discussed in
this Legislature. I believe that before we have a discussion of the
legislation there
should be a position paper tabled well enough ahead of the legislation so
the people of
Alberta can have their say as well. I believe that position paper should
set down the
guidelines on the types of investments which are going to be made from
this Previous Hitheritage trust
Next Hit.I believe at the same time, Mr. Speaker, that the trustees of the
Previous Hitheritage trust fundNext Hit
should be all the members of the Legislature, not the cabinet, not a
committee of the
cabinet, not the Provincial Treasurer and two or three other ministers as
we now have
under the terms of the Consolidated Cash Investment Fund. Let's not make
this a giant
$1.5 billion shopping bag that the Provincial Treasurer can spend at will.
I'm not
talking about accountability after the fact, Mr. Speaker. I'm not talking
expenditures which are made and then reported back in a hasty way to the
Legislature so
that perhaps we can discuss it in Public Accounts, or perhaps discuss it
in the
legislative subcommittees. I'm talking about the kind of scrutiny which is
basic to our
parliamentary system, and that is that the people's representatives decide
how the public
money should be spent. Mr. Speaker, that principle should apply to the
Previous Hitheritage trust
Next Document just as much as it should apply to the ongoing expenditures of this

Hear, hear.

Mr. Speaker, my concern to date is that we haven't got that commitment.
Today, when I
asked the Provincial Treasurer whether there was going to be a position
paper, he said he

February 10, 1975 ALBERTA HANSARD 519

couldn't make the assurance. When we asked him today about the kinds of
expenditures that
are going to be made, whether there will be any freeze as far as
expenditures under the
Consolidated Cash Investment Trust Fund - again, no commitment. But the
ground rules,
Mr. Speaker, of this fund which could be, and I'm saying this advisedly,
something which
all of us in this Assembly could be proud of, we have to make sure that
the ground rules
are consistent with our parliamentary tradition, that the members of the
decide the priorities and pass on the expenditures.
So, Mr. Speaker, the concern I express I want to underline as being that
of making
sure it is the Legislature, not the cabinet, that decides how this money
is going to be
spent in the years ahead.
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I can only suggest that the government, with
this great
windfall, missed the opportunity to show the people of Alberta where
they're going.

Hear, hear.

We know they're skilful when it comes to public relations. We know they're
when it comes to getting their side of the story across. But Albertans are
beginning to
realize after three and a half years that what we've had instead of long-
term planning and
measured development is government by drift, complacent government,
government that is
aimless, that is directionless.
Mr. Speaker, at this point in the history of our province, the people of
our province
deserve more than that kind of administration.

The hon. Member for Ponoka followed by the hon. Member for Wainwright.

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate this opportunity to speak on the Budget Address.
I would
like to give my congratulations to the Provincial Treasurer on this
excellent document.
I would like to speak for a few moments, not only on the broader aspects
of the speech
as it affects all Albertans, but it gives some of us an opportunity to
bring before the
House some specifics from this broad statement that directly affect the
constituencies we

[Mr. Speaker resumed the Chair.]

The first part is of particular interest to me in the additional support
for senior
citizens. It is of interest that the towns of Ponoka and Rimbey and, I am
sure, many
other towns of similar size and nature within the province have a much
higher percentage
of their citizens as senior citizens than do the main urban centres. I
don't know all of
the reasons for this, but I rather suspect it's probably because of lower
rental rates,
lower property rates and lower taxation rates in many cases. Also they are
close to
access to downtown. They get away from the hustle and bustle and the noise
of major
centres. We have retired farmers, retired civilservants, and these people
tend to stay
in the area where they have been for many years. On top of that we've had
an influx too
from urban centres to enjoy the less costly living in the smaller towns as
well as the
advantages they have. So the basic assured income of $235 a month to a
good many of these
citizens is a very very welcome addition to our economy.
I would also, in this same vein, speak on the support for the drop-in
centres. As I
mentioned before, we have a great many in Ponoka and Rimbey. We have a
very very active
drop-in centre in Rimbey. The town has gone along way towards supplying
them with an
excellent spot. They've rented it to them for a dollar a year. They have a
building. They've been working very hard in developing the facilities for
this building
and any additional support the government gives will be thoroughly
welcomed by 200 or 300
people in my town.
I particularly want to speak for a few moments on the recreational complex
Ponoka has a swimming pool, a curling rink and an arena. The swimming pool
was built
about 20 years ago and it's on its last legs. If we can get it through
this summer, we'll
be very fortunate. The same applies to the curling rink. The arena was
built in 1945, 30
years ago. It's still functional but it has just a few more years to
survive, then it
will have to be removed.
At present, that arena is servicing some 30 to 35 minor hockey teams. It's
150 figure skaters. It's servicing a league of 10 to 15 of the business
people around
town, the young farmers' commercial league. It's going from 7 o'clock in
the morning till
12 o'clock every night.
The interest shown for a complex is shown up in the fact that in the last
five or six
years, the service clubs, the stampede association, the lodges and so on
around town and
individual citizens have raised through their own efforts a quarter of a
million dollars
to put towards this complex. The town is prepared to back it, the county
is prepared to
back it, but the cost at present to put it in was just too high for the
combined town,
county and groups in the town until this program came in.
Mr. Speaker, we believe that we have an excellent chance of developing
this complex
within the town. To show you the activity just among the young people in
these 15
commercial hockey leagues - nobody has to be a Bobby Orr to join them. In
fact we have

520 ALBERTA HANSARD February 10, 1975

one chap who came over from Britain just two years ago. He's a goalie and
he can hardly
stand up on skates, but he's out there for every game. I don't think his
team has won any
games yet, but they've had a lot of fun, they're out there trying and
that's the purpose
and basic principle behind this complex, so that we can keep our people
busy, healthy and
occupied in a good venture.
When you figure the number of people and the high percentage of the
population that a
complex of this nature will service in 12 months of the year, there's no
question in my
mind that the money spent locally and by government will be well spent. If
you stop and
think about it, it's far better that we bend our efforts in this direction,
to spend the
time and the money, than in rehabilitation programs for the same people if
we can't keep
them occupied properly, physically and mentally.
Mr. Speaker, I'd like to speak for a moment on the decentralization
program of this
government. About two years ago, Ponoka was the first town to be affected
by the
decentralization program and I feel very happy and very proud of this. It
was when the
Opportunity Company was moved from Edmonton down to Ponoka and temporary
offices were
installed in the town. Quite frankly, it's been a great boost to the town.
The people
who work for the Opportunity Company have settled into the town and become
a real asset to
the town. They're happy. They're raising their families there and I'm sure
they wouldn't
want to move back to the city. Of course that's what they've told me and I
believe them
because it's a great place to raise kids, out in the small towns.
This has worked well over the past two years. Many other moves have been
carried out
in this decentralization program - in the Department of Agriculture, some
in Telephones
and Utilities. But I was very happy to hear from the minister, from the
Throne Speech and
the Budget speech that the Department of Lands and Forests is going to
make a move this
year, and by the recent announcement that the towns of Valleyview, Vulcan
and Rimbey would
be acting as service centres for the parks of Alberta for northern,
southern and central
Alberta. This move alone will bring new life and hope and vitality to
three towns in this
province.Many times during the past two years, we've heard the Premier and
the Minister of
Industry and Commerce point out the difficulties of getting industry to
smaller towns.
There are areas in this province where it won't be too difficult to get
Calgary-Edmonton corridor, the energy corridor, in the area of the major
cities - but
the towns that are off the beaten track, off this Edmonton-Calgary
corridor and the
corridor south to the border, they have difficulty attracting industry.
When we can move
a segment of government to these smaller towns it gives a completely
different outlook to
the town.
I might add as an example of that, as was mentioned by the minister in his
speech the
other day, the public who will be affected by this move, the Chamber of
Commerce and the
town of Rimbey wrote to the government and to the Department of landsand
Forests a letter
of welcome saying that if they were coming to the town would they letthem
know ahead of
time so that they could give them a proper welcome when they arrived. They
gave a list of
people whose homes would be open to show that a welcome would be prepared
and received.
It just gives a different atmosphere altogether to someone moving to a
strange town under
different conditions to know that the people there want you and welcome
We have heard the Premier and the Minister of Industry and Commerce point
out the
patterns of the petrochemical industry in Alberta. Phase 1 will be the
major plants.
Phases 2 and 3 of that industry can be spread throughout the province in
the form of small
manufacturing units to the towns and villages of this province to assist
in a balanced
growth.I would like now, Mr. Speaker, to move to the road program. We've
had an excellent
highways program. We all know the major thrusts this year - Fort McMurray,
Thompson. Other difficult areas of roads have to be built if we're going
to progress as a
province in industry and development of the outlying areas and in tourism.
We've had a
good follow through on the secondary road program and it's coming along in
most of the
constituencies. But of particular interest to me has been the program
initiated this year
whereby the constituencies, rural constituencies, received a grant and
help from the
Department of Highways for a road oiling program. Now this has gone over
very well in my
constituency. They have about 20 miles of oiled roads; they have to buy
some oiling
equipment. But it is also particularly pleasing to me to see that this is
to be carried
on and enlarged in the Budget as presented because last year, and I know
the year before,
the road program in some instances had to be curtailed due to lack of
equipment, men,
supplies and so on. But under this program, every rural municipality in
Alberta has its
own set of equipment and can go ahead, develop its own program, develop
the roads they
feel necessary for their local bus services, school bus services, and
those roads which
are busiest in the province.
Now, Mr. Speaker, in my area, Ponoka-Rimbey, the cattle industry has had
some problems
in the past year. Ponoka is probably the centre of the cattle industry in
Alberta. I
have roughly 15,000 to 16,000 people living in my constituency and for
every person in the
constituency I have seven cattle. So this gives you an idea of the number
and intensity
of the cattle industry in the province. Now this has been hurt a certain
amount by low
prices in the cattle industry and high cost of feed grain in the past year.
The ones of
course who are affected most directly are the big feedlot operators. Some
of them have
been dangerously hurt; however, some of those same operators made a great
deal of money in
the years before so that when you get into a gamble of that proportion
where you are
handling 5,000 to 10,000 head of cattle, you can make a lot, you can lose
a lot. Most of
the cattle in my area are held basically by the smaller farmers, the
normal farmers who

February 10, 1975 ALBERTA HANSARD 521

carry 20, 30, 40 or 50 head. They raise their own feed; they feed them
through. These
haven't been hurt as much. They haven't made as much money from their
cattle, of course,
but they are not hurt like the big operators are.
I would like to speak for a moment on the reduction in income tax brought
in by the
Budget. This, to me, is going to be quite an asset to wage earners in my
area. He have a
lot of civil servants in Ponoka - the mental hospital is there. This, on
the average,
will bring in another $100 to $200 into every pocket in that group.
I got quite a charge out of the hon. member for Spirit River-Fairview
pointing out
that only $12 was going to be removed from the - that's all that the
person who was
earning $500 a year taxable income was going to save. However, all he paid
into the
provincial government was $12. And the one who earns $1,000 taxable income,
he gets $33
back and he only paid in $33; and $1,400 taxable income, he gets $52 back
but he only paid
in $52. In other words, all provincial taxable income from provincial
income tax for
those earning $4,000 and under is removed. He quotes $600 which some
people are getting
back; this may be true. But that man has also paid in several thousand
dollars, in the
neighborhood of $2,000 to $3,000. How can you get back an income tax that
you don't pay?
It is only a portion of the story which he is telling.
Another item on his speech is regarding the price of farm fuel. He wants a
reduction before we know what the price is going to be. I don't know what
the price is
going to be after the meeting in April. This will be hammered out between
representative of the Premier, the representatives of our government and
the federal
representatives at the meeting in April. But how do you make a deal,
promise the people
something, say we're going to give you so much back, before you know
whether we're going
to get any or not, or whether there's going to be a deal? It's usual in
NDP policy: put
the cart before the horse.

Agreed, agreed.

On top of that, listening to the remarks of the hon. Member for Spirit
how he can quote, this is the way it should be done. Yet when we look to
our good
neighbors to the west and we look at the mining industry that's been
practically destroyed
- every mine that's of a smaller nature in the whole province is
practically out of
business. The oil industry is at a standstill. Look at the drilling
statistics - they
are down. Talk to the farmers in B.C. and ask them how happy they are with
their land
freeze, their stoppage of property sales and their restrictions on their
actions. I'll be
surprised, because a farmer is a businessman. The business community in
British Columbia
is anything but happy with the policies. This is what Alberta is built on:
enterprise and business freedoms.
Mr. Speaker, I've been happy to bring to this Legislature some of the
points of
concern, of interest, and of appreciation that this Budget has brought
down. I appreciate
the fact that I have been able to present it to the House.
Thank you.

The hon. Member for Wainwright, followed by the hon. Member for Camrose.

Mr. Speaker, in view of the time, may I adjourn the debate?


It appears the hon. member has leave to call it 5:30.


The Assembly stands adjourned until 8 o'clock this evening.

[Mr. Speaker left the Chair at 5:28 p.m.]