March 25, 1901

INLAND WATERS SEAMEN'S ACT.


The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES (Hon. Sir Louis Davies) moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 91) to amend the Inland Waters Seamen's Act. He said : The existing Act defining the inland waters of Canada is very uncertain, and doubts have arisen as to what it really means. It says : ' All the waters of Canada above the city of Quebec.' The question was whether that was confined to the River St. Lawrence or whether it embraced the lakes, or whether it could embrace the waters of the great North-west Territories. I have brought in a Bill to define that the inland waters of Canada shall embrace all the rivers and lakes whose waters are navigable, excepting the sea-coasts, bays and harbours, from a line above Point des Monts and Cape Chat on the shores of the St. Lawrence ; and conferring upon the judge of the Supreme Court in the Yukon territory, and upon the judge of the territorial court in the North-west Territories, the same jurisdiction for the punishment of offences as is given to the judges of the Superior Court of Lower Canada, and to the judges of the 62+ sessions of the peace in the lower provinces, with regard to offences committed upon the high seas, within Canadian jurisdiction. Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


THE SAFETY OF SHIPS.


The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES (Hon. Sir Louis Davies) moved for leave to introduce a Bill (No. 92) to amend the Act respecting the safety of ships. He said: When the Dominion Act was originally passed, many years ago, it then conformed to the British law. Since then the British mercantile law has been amended in very slight particulars, and owing to the construction of modern ships the spaces that are covered in and are not counted in the tonnage are not allowed by our law to be filled up with a cargo except by deals to the height of three feet, and I propose to amend our law so as to make it conform exactly with the Imperial statute in that respect.


CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Is that in respect to deck loads ?

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The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES.

I may say to my hon. friend that the Bill does not provide for any compulsory inspection of deck loads. It simply amends our existing law so as to provide that the vacant space, which is now compelled by law to be vacant, the spaces covered in in steamers above the three feet of deals, may be filled up with such articles as hay or other light material. It does not otherwise touch the question of deck loads at all.

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Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time. .


INVESTIGATIONS INTO SHIPPING CASUALTIES.


The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES (Hon. Sir Louis Davies) moved for leave to introduce a Bill (No. 93) respecting inquiries and investigations into shipping casualties. He said : The Bill is the result of many communications which have passed between the Board of Trade in England and the Marine Department in Canada. Under the law as it now stands, we have power to investigate into the causes of any casualty which occurs in Canadian waters, even if the ship is commanded by an officer holding a British certificate, a British officer. The officers holding British certificates complained that the manner in which our investigations were held did not ensure to them that perfect fair-play which is ensured to them by investigations held under the British system. The Board of Trade, after several cases had taken place, and the evidence been



sent to them, intimated as their opinion that the investigation should partake more of a judicial character, and that the judge who heard the case and decided whether the officer should lose his certificate for carelessness, should have the advantage in all cases of competent nautical assessors to sit with him, and that the presiding judge should be a legal gentleman. The Bill has been drafted in accordance with the suggestions of the British Board of Trade, inasmuch as grave doubts exist, and there is a difference of opinion between the law officers of the Crown on this side of the water and the law officers of the Crown in Great Britain, as to whether the Minister of Marine and Fisheries had appellate jurisdiction to amend, or alter, or modify the findings of the court, the present law removes that doubt, and declares that he shall not have that jurisdiction ; so that, if a judicial court, under this statute, finds that an officer has been guilty of neglect of duty, the finding and the evidence are forwarded to Great Britain, to the authority from which he receives the certificate, to be dealt with by them, and cannot be altered or amended by us.


CON

Charles Hibbert Tupper

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir CHARLES HIBBERT TUPPER.

It is to British certificates that it relates ?

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The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES.

Entirely to British certificates. These are the two main amendments to enable me to appoint county court judges at Halifax, St. John and some other places and to associate with them nautical officers so as to bring our law into unison and harmony with the spirit of the British law and to make it uniform.

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CON

Charles Hibbert Tupper

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir CHARLES HIBBERT TUPPER.

I understand the hon. gentleman proposes this change only in regard to certificates issued under the British Board of Trade in England ?

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The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES.

Precisely.

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CON

Charles Hibbert Tupper

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir CHARLES HIBBERT TUPPER.

Our law as to men holding certificates issued by the Department of Marine here, remains as it is.

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The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES.

The Minister of Marine and Fisheries retains the same power as he had before.

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CON

Charles Hibbert Tupper

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir CHARLES HIBBERT TUPPER.

Yes, but in regard to the court of first instance, are the general legal requirements necessary to the hearing of this case the same ; for instance, supposing the hon. gentleman were to take Capt. Smith, or some other officer, and appoint him to hold a preliminary inquiry ?

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The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES.

Not necessarily to hold the Sir LOUIS DAVIES.

preliminary inquiry, but to hold an inquiry dealing with the certificate. We follow the same procedure as in England. The Bill provides for the appointment of a county judge, or a judge of some kind ta act. An assessor would proceed with the court and Capt. Smith could act as the assessor to the judge.

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Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.

March 25, 1901