After many vicissitudes, a bill to authorize the pipeline and provide a loan for part of its construction was introduced in May 1956. Social Credit supported it, but the CCF and the Progressive Conservatives attacked the bill from every angle. The CCF preferred public ownership; the Conservatives objected to what they saw as American control. But these substantive concerns were overshadowed by the procedural issue of CLOSURE, by which the Liberals placed a strict time limit on debate. As they and the Opposition knew, laying the pipe had to begin by early June or nothing could be done until the next year. The government charged obstruction and the Opposition charged dictatorship, but the bill passed. A 3700 km pipeline was completed from Burstall, Saskatchewan, to Montréal by October 1958, and TransCanada became a principally Canadian-owned company. The debate, however, discredited Howe and the Liberals, and contributed to their defeat in the 1957 general election.
Author ROBERT BOTHWELL
Links to Other Sites
Louis S. St. Laurent National Historic Site of Canada
This Parks Canada site commemorating the childhood home of Louis S. St. Laurent features a profile of the life and political career of the former Prime Minister. Also includes an extensive overview of the prominent domestic and international political issues during his tenure.