April 18, 1901

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The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES.

That was the time of which I spoke, and that was the only detention this winter. And I presume the hon. gentleman does not hold me or the government responsible for the fact that the steamers were not able to break through the ice for ten days.

Topic:   SUPPLY-MAIL SERVICE. PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.
Subtopic:   MAIL SERVICE, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.
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L-C

Edward Hackett

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HACKETT.

Mr. Speaker, I desire to say a word

Topic:   SUPPLY-MAIL SERVICE. PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.
Subtopic:   MAIL SERVICE, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.
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Some hon. MEMBERS

Order.

Topic:   SUPPLY-MAIL SERVICE. PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.
Subtopic:   MAIL SERVICE, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.
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CON

Nathaniel Clarke Wallace

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALLACE.

I am not holding the minister responsible. I was asking for information.

Topic:   SUPPLY-MAIL SERVICE. PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.
Subtopic:   MAIL SERVICE, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.
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The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES.

With the exception that I have spoken of. the mail service has been maintained daily. Now, on the main question before tlie House-

Topic:   SUPPLY-MAIL SERVICE. PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.
Subtopic:   MAIL SERVICE, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.
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L-C

Edward Hackett

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HACKETT.

Mr. Speaker, I desire to say a word upon the question brought up by my hon. friend (Mr. Lefurgey)

Topic:   SUPPLY-MAIL SERVICE. PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.
Subtopic:   MAIL SERVICE, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.
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LIB

Lawrence Geoffrey Power (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

The hon. member (Mr. Hackett) will be allowed to speak after the hon. member (Hon. Sir Louis Davies) who lias the floor lias finished.

Topic:   SUPPLY-MAIL SERVICE. PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.
Subtopic:   MAIL SERVICE, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.
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The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES.

The hon. member for East Prince was allowed, as a matter of favour to take precedence over the few remarks I have to make on tlie transportation question. He has made his complaint, and I have explained the matter to him. If the hon. member for West Prince (Mr. Hackett) has further complaints to make, he can make them when this debate is finished.

Topic:   SUPPLY-MAIL SERVICE. PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.
Subtopic:   MAIL SERVICE, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.
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L-C

Edward Hackett

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HACKETT.

Mr. Speaker, I desire to say only a word

Topic:   SUPPLY-MAIL SERVICE. PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.
Subtopic:   MAIL SERVICE, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.
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IS, 1901


Some lion. MEMBERS. Order.


LIB

Lawrence Geoffrey Power (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

Order.

Topic:   SUPPLY-MAIL SERVICE. PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.
Subtopic:   IS, 1901
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SUPPLY-THE TRAN SPORT ATION QUESTION.


The MINISTER OF MARINE ANI) FISHERIES. On this question of transportation, 1 ruay say that I am not going to make a lengthy speech, nor am I going to make any remarks upon the main or general transportation question. As to whether tlip canal system or the railway system is the better one, I do not intend to speak. 1 recognize fully the importance of this question. but 1 am not satisfied that we have sufficient data before us either to discuss it intelligently or to come to a conclusion upon it. Nor am I going to say anything about the rival claims of the cities of Montreal and Quebec. I could not help but be struck by and appreciate the statements made by some hon. gentlemen yesterday as to the magnificent natural advantages which the harbour of Quebec possesses; and I do think that those natural advantages have not yet had that fair play in the carrying trade of the country which I believe they will have in a short time to come. But, as between the two cities, I dare say the question will be discussed with better knowledge and information by other hon. gentlemen. 1 propose rather to say a few words in reply to my hon. friend from the St. Lawrence division of Montreal (Mr. Bicker-dike). Now, I do not think, if that hon. gentleman will permit me to Say so, that he strengthened his case very much by the repeated assertions-in' which he was followed by some other hon. gentlemen-that not a dollar has been spent by this country on the harbour of Montreal. The inference that a reader of the speech would draw is that the enormous expenditure which has taken place for many years back in the River St. Lawrence between Montreal and Quebec has been borne by the city of Montreal. As a matter of fact-and we may as well deal with the facts as they are-a sum of nearly $6,000,000, the exact sum being $5,019,320, has been spent by this country In deepening the channel between Montreal and Quebec. I am not complaining of it in the least, I have not a word of criticism to offer upon that expenditure: I merely desire'that the facts should remain upon record. and that we should not becloud the question by assuming that this very large expenditure has either been borne in whole or in part by the city of . Montreal. As a matter of fact, it has been borne almost entirely by the Dominion of Canada. Now, I do not think my hon. friend has strengthened his case either by the extreme manner in which he placed it before the House. If his statements are literally true, if the lighthouse service and the buoy service of this Dominion in the River St. Lawrence and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are the old, antiquated, worn-out systems that !he says they are, then I think he has fully justified the claim of the underwriters to charge these ruinous prices for insurance to the city of Montreal. The hon. gentleman says, Hear, hear ; therefore, I assume he still adheres to the extreme statements he made. Now let me call his attention to, the fact that I think he has accepted many of these statements without proper consideration or research. For instance, he mentions a matter about which I have personal knowledge. He stated among other things that the lighthouse service in Prince Edward Island is essentially bad, in fact, that all the lights, to use his own language, 'All the lighthouses there were no good.' Now, I know the lighthouses of Prince Edward Island, I have known them very well for thirty or forty years ; I have gone in and out. of the harbours by day and by night; I have seen all the lighthouses there, I have witnessed them, sailed past them, sailed into the harbour and sailed out of the harbour, conversed with the captains who were daily leaving these harbours by night ; I know the captains of the ferry boats that travel between Pictou and Charlottetown and between Summerside and Point Du Chene, who travel that route every day and night, who pass these lighthouses at ten or twelve o'clock at night, and I never heard a sea captain in my life complain of the lights in Prince Edward Island. There has never been a single complaint filed in the office of the Marine and Fisheries Department against one Prince Edward Island light. I know the lights are good, I know there is no foundation for the charge ; therefore I simply say to my hon. friend that if the other statements he has made are so utterly wide of the mark as those he lias quoted from this book with reference to the lights in Prince Edward Island, I would be inclined to discount his statements very largely. Now, the hon. gentleman has alleged that the lighthouse system which we have in operation is old and antiquated


CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Would the hon. gentleman permit me a question ? Is it correct, as stated by the hon. member for St. Lawrence division, that the lights in Prince Edward Island are all fixed and are red lights ? *

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE TRAN SPORT ATION QUESTION.
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The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES.

No, it is not. The lights in Prince Edward Island are not red lights, not at all. The light at Point Prim is not a red light ; the light at Charlottetown is not a red light ; the light at Sea Cow Head is not a red light. I could go over every one of the lights, I know they are not red. The hon. gentleman is entirely mistaken ; and I repeat again, so that there may be no misunderstanding, that there has never been a complaint filed in the department against

one of the lights ill that island ; and I know of my own knowledge that the lights are effective and good, and up-to-date. Although I have gone in and out, and talked to all the captains of the steamboats and sailing vessels time and again, I never heard one of them hint that I should devote myself to the improvement of these lights. Therefore, I say that these statements, so far as Prince Edward Island is concerned, and according to my own knowledge, are not correct.

Now, the hon. gentleman has made a very serious charge, and if it is true it deserves the prompt and immediate attention of my department, that is, that the lighthouse system of this Dominion, so far as the St. Lawrence route is concerned, is old and antiquated. Now, I propose to ask the question whether that is true or not. Before I do that let me call the attention of the House to the fact that we may very well divide the St. Lawrence river and gulf into two parts, that is the navigation between Montreal and Quebec, and the navigation between Quebec and Belle Isle. Now, with regard to the portion between Montreal and Quebec, there were many complaints made. Complaints were made when I took charge of the Department of Marine and Fisheries that the pilotage system was in a very bad state, that there was no method by which a bad pilot could be punished, that the antiquated system of bringing them before tlm Harbour Commissioners of Montreal or the Pilot Commissioners of Montreal was no good, because the courts of Montreal intervened in every case, and removed the proceedings by certiorari into tlie courts to prevent any punishments being awarded to the pilots, Well, Sir, I issued a commission to make full inquiry into that subject; that commission was presided over by the Hon. Judge Lavergue. of the Superior Court. The report of the commission was to the effect that, while there were defects in the pilotage system, they could be obviated if a competent tribunal were established for the purpose of trying these bad pilots. I introduced a Bill last session to meet the difficulty ; that Bill, for some reason or another which I never could understand, received a great deal of opposition in this Chamber. Why the opposition was offered I never could tell, but the Bill eventually passed and is now being carried out. I have no hesitation in saying that if the commissioner of that court who has been appointed by the Governor in Council, receives that assistance at the hands of the pilot commissioners and of the harbour commissioners that I hope he will receive, and is entitled to, the evils which have been existing will be to a large extent removed. There are good pilots and there are bad pilots, there are some of the best pilots, or as good pilots, as you will find in the world, in the city of Montreal. But there are a number of bad pilots, and the object ought to be to punish those bad pilots

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE TRAN SPORT ATION QUESTION.
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LIB

Louis Henry Davies (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Sir LOUIS DAVIES.

when they do wrong, and in providing an effective and efficient tribunal who will punish them and punish them speedily, T thiulc we have gone some distance towards removing some of the evils of which the hon. gentleman complains.

Now. with regard to the lights and the buoys between Montreal and Quebec. Shortly after I came into office, there was a strong complaint made against the efficiency of the buoys and lights. I had the matter thoroughly inquired into, and I found that the buoys were placed and maintained there by the contract system. I cancelled that contract, I bought a very efficient steamer called the Shamrock, and since that time we have carried out that service under the direct control of the department itself. I am bound to say that so far as my information goes, it is now giving very good satisfaction. The chief engineer whom I sent to report upon that buoy service, in January last, made a report of which I will read a portion, and I wish to call the attention of my hon. friend especially to this, because I want to clear up the fact that there is no ground of complaint between Montreal and Quebec city. The chief engineer says :

The year before last I met the representatives of all the interests in the harbour of Montreal. We went together over the whole river between Quebec and Montreal and discussed the details of the buoy system on the spot. Every suggestion they made was considered at the time and argued out; every buoy they finally asked for was granted: every improvement thev suggested was adopted; and the whole buoy system between Quebec, and Montreal has since been remodelled and made to conform to their ideas.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I had the honour, with several of my colleagues, of receiving two veiy Important deputations a short time ago from the city of Montreal; and I beg to repeat in this House the statement I then made, which went then unchallenged, and which I am sure will go unchallenged now. that so far as the service between Montreal and Quebec is concerned, no fault whatever can now be found, no fault whatever is now being found. The service having been remodelled and made to conform with the ideas of the shippers themselves and of the insurance agents themselves, I do not see what they have to complain of. I do not mean to say that we have reached perfection. That would be too much. I am bound to say that if there are any means that can be suggested to improve the service, I would be only too happy to carry them out. A few little beacons here and there will have to be put up, but, speaking generally, I may say that the shipping interest, the insurance interest, and all the interests represented by the delegation to which I have referred, agreed that so far as the service between Montreal and Quebec was concerned, it Is now as good as they could desire. I make that statement and my bon. friend (Mr. Bickerdike) will not find, either in the report which he quoted,

or anywhere else, ground for any statement to the contrary.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE TRAN SPORT ATION QUESTION.
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LIB

Aaron Abel Wright

Liberal

Mr. WRIGHT.

I would like to ask the hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries if Mr. Bond, speaking in the Railway Committee the other day on behalf of the underwriters, did not say that there was nothing wanting at all between Montreal and Quebec ?

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE TRAN SPORT ATION QUESTION.
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The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES.

Yes, I am very much obliged to my hon. friend (Mr. Wright) for recalling my attention to the fact that in the Railway Committee, when this question was brought up, Mr. Bond made some general statements on the buoying and lighting service, and when I called his attention to the fact that so far as the service between Montreal and Quebec is concerned, it was admitted to be in first-class condition,' he at once replied, that he wished it to be understood that he made no complaint as to the lights between Montreal and Quebec.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE TRAN SPORT ATION QUESTION.
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April 18, 1901