The government can get a new vessel constructed in Canada nearly if not quite as cheaply as it can be built anywhere else. Our fleets on Lake Superior have been built at our own ports by Canadian labour and they are the best vessels on the lakes to-day. And I am Canadian enough to say that, even if it costs a thousand or two more the government should get the vessel built in Canada by our own labourers rather than go outside. But when the government are proposing an expenditure like this, which, speaking for myself, I regard as a proper expenditure, I think they ought to have a new vessel and not run any risks involved in buying an old one, no matter how favourable the conditions may apparently be. It should be a modern vessel, built for the purpose proposed, and built in Canada.
I am ready to say that I will secure a new vessel. It may be that the vessel will be purchased, one that is a year or two old, but I can assure my hon. friend that I will not purchase any old vessel for this work. If I cannot find a suitable vessel that is not more than a year or two old, and perfectly sound in every respect, I shall certainly give instructions for the building of a new vessel for this service, and I shall exhaust all efforts to get it constructed in Canada.
I do not think the minister can purchase an old second-hand vessel for the particular purpose he has in view, that will be as suitable as a new vessel would be, he cannot buy an old vessel that , will answer the purpose.
I think myself it is desirable we should get a new vessel for this purpose. I am also satisfied it should be a vessel constructed in Canada. Tenders should be asked for a vessel to be built in Canada. Then we will have a good vessel and one that will be worthy the government. I think if the minister would assure ns that he will have a new vessel constructed in sieel and constructed in Canada, he will meet with the entire approval of the committee.
* Mr. FISHER. My hon. friend from Victoria (Mr. Earle) knows very well that the vessel now in use there is an old vessel, and has been the subject of a good deal of repairing for several years back. I do not think it will pay to go on repairing her. I am satisfied from the reports I have received from the representatives of the Department of Marine and Fisheries and from the officer of this department, that she is too old to be worth repairing much longer. I therefore ask for a sum of money to purchase a new steamer which will be suitable for the work there-to build or purchase one, as the case may be. I do not think there is any steamer in British Columbia that we can purchase for this service, and if so, we shall have to make arrangements for building one in those waters.
I will act on the advice of those who are familiar with the conditions as to whether it shall be a wooden or a steel vessel. I am not prepared myself to give an opinion on that point. I do not know whether there are facilities in British Columbia for building a steel vessel, at the same time, I think such a vessel ought to be built in British Columbia. A vessel of this kind could not easily be taken around the Horn. I would like to see her built in British Columbia, but I will leave it to those who are experts in such matters to decide as to the character of the vessel. I may say this to my hon. friend from Victoria, Mr. FISHER.
that when I put $20,000 in the estimates I thought it would be sufficient to obtain such a vessel as is needed there ; but since these estimates were prepared, representations have been made to me by my officers at that station that a larger vessel would be required, one that it would not be possible to purchase for $20,000, and suggesting tnat this item be largely increased. On these representations I think it is quite likely that 1 should ask for a larger-sum in the supplementary estimates. The service there requires a very staunch vessel. Frequently she has to go out in very stormy weather to meet ships, and the passage from Victoria is exposed to heavy winds. The suggestion is made that a vessel fully suitable for that work cannot be obtained for $20,000 on the British Columbia coast. If that Is the case, I should have to ask for a supplementary estimate ; but in the meantime I ask that this item be granted to me, and I assure the committee that I will carefully look into the matter and get the best advice I can from ship building experts as to what the cost of such a vessel is likely to be.
I quite agree with the minister in his remarks about the old steamer that has been in use at the quarantine station at Victoria. I think I am safe in saying that at the present time the government have spent upon her four or five times her original cost. She has never been thoroughly fitted for that service.
Quite so. I may explain that she was bought under peculiar circumstances, at a time when she was the only boat that could be procured in order to introduce the system they have now of fumigating and so forth. I am quite satisfied that $20,000 is not sufficient to procure such a boat ns is required. But independently of that service, I may mention another to which it could be put. The hon. gentleman is aware of the terrible calamity that occurred in the harbour of Victoria a few months ago by which 50 or 60 lives were lost. It was claimed by the citizens of Victoria that had a proper vessel been available to go to their assistance every life might have been saved. It has been suggested to the Marine and Fisheries Department that in building a boat for the quarantine service, she should be fitted up with life-saving apparatus so that she might be utilized in case of need for that purpose. A society has been organized there now for the purpose of establishing a life-saving station, and it has been suggested I think, to the Marine Department, by my colleague (Mr. Riley) and also I think by Senator Templeman, that with a somewhat greater expense the steamer doing quarantine service might be made available for the purpose of saving life in any accident that might occur in the im-, mediate neighbourhood. As I understand it,
the quarantine steamer is always under steam ; if not, it could be kept continuously under steam at very little cost, and would always be available in case of accidents occurring upon the coast. 1 would suggest to the hon. gentleman that he consult with the Minister of Marine and Fisheries .with a view to co-operating in securing a boat that would serve as a life-saving boat as well as doing the quarantine service.
I would be very glad indeed to consult with my colleague about the matter, and 1 think it would be quite within the possibilities to manage the service of a quarantine boat at Williams Head in such a way that she would be available, as my hon. friend suggests, for any emergency in the way of a wreck or anything of that kind. The quarantine service to-day is pretty exacting. The vessel has to keep up steam all the time, but at the same time in an emergency I think she might be spared for the quarantine station for a few hours or half a day to give assistance to vessels in distress without interfering witli her work-in connection with quarantine. It may be more expensive to get such a vessel as the hon. gentleman speaks of, but I have no doubt it will be quite admissible, and while it may not be correctly or properly charged to ^he quarantine service, still, in the interest of humanity and of the people generally, I think it would be quite justifiable to increase the expenditure, and I should be very glad to consider it carefully. For such a purpose I would have to get a larger vote than the ordinary quarantine service calls for, but such an increased expenditure might be well entered upon.