For improvements to aids to navigation and the construction of lights and fog alarm stations, steam sirens, to provide for additional gas buoys in the Gulf and River St. Lawrence, and to improve the light at Baccaro, N.S., $78,000.
I promised the committee when I spoke of this before, that I would give a statement of the details. .They are ] as follows :
1. Fame Point, GaspS coast, to improve
light and establish steam siren $ 7,000
2. Low Point, Sydney Harbour, to improve
light and remove fog horn from Cranberry Head to this station 5,000
3. Bellechasse, River St. Lawrence, to
change light to an occulating light... 2,000
4. River St. Lawrence generally, to provide four additional gas buoys 12,000
5. Bird Rocks, to change light from fixed
to flashing and to improve fog alarm. 5,000
6. Baccaro, N.S., to improve light
5,0007. Gulf of St. Lawrence, to procure modern illuminating apparatus for two or three stations, Metis and Matane suggested, but may be changed after inspection
10,0008. Gulf of St. Lawrence, to provide a fogsiren at one station to be selected after inspection
7,0009. 'North end of Belle Isle, to establish alight and fog alarm station
25,000For lights and fog alarms
'Note.-The light asked for on the west end of the Island of Orleans, to cost $1,000 and some buoys asked for by ship masters, will be provided out of this year's vote.
When the chief engineer makes his spring inspection of the different stations he will select the place where this fog siren is to be established. On the north end of Belle Isle there is to be a fog station costing $25,000. That is the one there has been so much difference of opinion about for so many years back. The chief engineer insisted that it ought not to be built, and the shipping interest insisted that it ought to be built. The chief engineer has waived his objection in view of the opinion of the owners of the ships, backed up by a number of sea captains, and now we will have two fog alarms on Belle Isle, one on the south-eastern coast and one on the north. It is expected that the ships making the grand circuit from Liverpool will be largely aided in making the land fall by this light to be erected on the north end. There is a dangerous shoal of rocks there and the chief engineer thought that there ought not to be a light because it might induce ships to go near these shoals, but he gave way to the wishes of the captains and ship-owners. That would make the total of $78,000.
There is: a subject, having some bearing on this, about which I wish to say a word and to ask the minister to give it a little consideration. It'is well known to all persons who have had anything to do with marine matters that there is a very substantial difference between the pilot rules of the United States and our navigation rules as embodied in our statutes. I have considered the matter and it seems to me most desirable that there should be uniformity in these rules. In many respects the rules are the same, but in very many respects they are entirely different. That desirable uniformity can only be secured by correspondence with the United States authorities, or by commission to consider the matter, or by some action taken by one or other of the two countries. Without going into the details to-night, I would ask the minister if the matter has ever been brought under his consideration, and if anything is likely to be done in the direction I have indicated ?
This is a very important question, and it has had a great deal of consideration from the department. It is not so simple to bring about uniformity as my hon. friend (Mr. Britton) may at first sight think. The British Marine law provides that the Admiralty shall make these regulations as to the number of blasts a steamer must blow in a fog, and so on, and these British regulations are adopted by us. Our rules are uniform with the British rules, so that a certified British captain or a certified Canadian captain understands exactly what the regulations are. If a vessel leaves Great Britain and comes up the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Montreal, and beyond Montreal to the great lakes, the Brit-163*
ish regulations govern her. Unfortunately the American regulations are different. I see the very great advantage that would be derived from uniformity, but if we make our regulations conform to the American regulations we are all at sea with regard to the British regulations. I have never yet been able to find a solution of the difficulty. I have talked it over with my officers and with the captains on the lakes, most of whom desired to have the American regulations, but I have never seen my way clear to make our regulations conform to the American regulations and to differentiate them from the British. So far as sea-going ships are concerned, our rules must be the British rules up to Montreal, and to make a different set of rules above Montreal seems to present difficulties which at present I am not able to overcome.
They wanted modern lights and they indicated the places where they wanted them put.
The MINISTER OF MARINE AND
FISHERIES. Yes, and I have read a list of those that we propose to establish this summer.
Mr, MONK. Does it leave out many 7
The MINISTER OF MARINE AND
FISHERIES. A few.
Steamer to replace the Bayfield, $50,000.
The MINISTER OF MARINE AND
FISHERIES. The Bayfield was built in 1837 and she has been engaged on the survey of Lake Huron for many years. She is utterly unfit to go to Lake Superior and encounter the stormy weather there. It would not be fair to ask human beings to risk their lives in the Bayfield for another season. She has been condemned two seasons, and this year she is just patched up to enable us to finish the survey on the east coast of Lake Huron. That will conclude the Lake Huron survey. Next year we begin on Lake Superior, and I hope the new vessel will be ready for the work.
I should have referred to the Poison Company, of Toronto, as a successful firm for the construction of vessels navigating the great lakes. Is this the proper place to ask whether any conclusion has been reached by the government with regard to granting substantial aid to Captain Bernier to enable him to construct a vessel for an Arctic research expedition ?
That has hardly any connection with the subject of hydrographic surveys. Captaifi Bernier is, I believe, appealing for contributions from those throughout Canada who are interested in his proposed North Pole expedition, and in a conversation which I had with him a short time ago, he told me that he has been fairly successful. I think it is his intention, if he receives a fair amount of contributions from the general public, to ask the government of Canada to supplement the amount. There has been no decision reached at all on the matter. We are not in a position to reach a decision yet.
Since my bon. friend from West Toronto (Mr. Clarke) has brought this matter up, I think it is a very opportune time to discuss it, because the session is coming to a close. I think it is very desirable that we should do something in the direction of satisfying the aspirations of Captain Bernier. What Captain Bernier asks from the government-he is very highly recommended in that-is, I believe, the cost of the vessel. He is pretty nearly certain of getting, in the shape of contributions from the citizens of Canada and from scientific societies, sufficient, or very nearly sufficient money, to equip the vessel. The cost of the vessel would be $60,000, if it were built at Montreal, at Quebec, or in the maritime provinces. If built in British Columbia, it would cost some $80,000, although it would be nearer the point to .which he intends to sail in the first instance, that is to say, Behring Straits. I suppose the hon. minister is aware that Captain Bernier has received very great encouragement from Europe ?
asks nothing whatever for himself. He does not ask the ship for himself ; it will belong to the government. He is ready to give two or three or more years of his time, provided he gets the ship, and provided the citizens of Canada and the subscribers generally furnish him with sufficient to equip it. He is ready to go and devote all that time to his country for nothing. Under these circumstances, and as we have perfect proof that he is not an enthusiast, but a navigator of very great experience, and with a most commendable record, I think it is fair to consider whether we should not give him that much encouragement. We may say that it will not cost us so much, because, unless the vessel is wrecked, it will belong to Canada after his return. I wanted to mention the matter, but I had hoped to do so after giving notice to the hon. minister. I see that the hon. Minister of Public Works has come in. I think he will appreciate the appeal I am making. Captain Bernier is, I think, preeminently qualified to go in search of the North Pole; and if he does not get the necessary encouragement from us, I believe he will get it from the American people. I believe he has already been approached by enterprising American newspapers, with the object of securing his services for that purpose. Under these circumstances, I think this country is interested more than any other country at the present moment in advancing the project which Captain Bernier undertakes. I think we can gain a great deal by discovering the North Pole, if it is to be discovered ; and such an expedition, at a cost of some $80,000, would, I think, be very beneficial indeed. As hon. members are aware, Nansen got within about 300 miles of the pole, and the Italian duke who went afterwards got 60 or 70 or 100 miles nearer. Captain Bernier has the benefit of their experience ; he has given the subject a great deal of study ; and any one who has heard his demonstrations must believe that he will get nearer still-that he will probably reach the pole.