August 9, 1904

LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

We have 680 men engaged on the cruisers and in the fishery protection, and the idea was* to form the nucleus of a naval militia by engaging them for three years and paying them the whole year round instead of during the summer months. This money would be necessary to make preparation.

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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAGGART.

The minister cannot spend that money legally without having his Bill.

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

If he goes on with this vote I will require a detailed statement of all the plans in relation with this militia.

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CON
LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

I will let it stand for the present. If it is not used it will not be spent.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Let it drop.

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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAGGART.

I ask that the report of the departmental officer with reference to the change in the workshops from Morris-burg to Prescott be laid on the table.

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CON
LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

If the report is in writing I will bring it down.

Repairs to lighthouses, $75,000. '

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

We want a full statement as to the installation of acetylene gas in these lighthouses.

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

The departmental engineers recommended this change, and several experiments were made in 1902. which proved satisfactory. The Sunlight machine, however, had not sufficient power, but alterations have been made, and it is now in perfect condition. At first we had some difficulty with the gas in cold weather, but Mr. J. F. Fraser, after experimenting, with the assistance of others, succeeded iu producing a perfect automatic machine which is proof against cold. The report on this matter Is very voluminous, and I will merely read the following extract:

In the fall of 1902, Mr. J. P. Fraser, then engineer in charge of aids to navigation between Montreal and Kingston, was instructed by the department to carry out a series-of experiments to determine whether acetylene was suitable for the gas buoy and lighthouse service.

A report on the experiments carried out by Mr. Fraser appears in the annual report of the department, page 94. The result of these experiments demonstrated that acetylene was suitable for gas buoys and for automatic lights on shore where the gas could he supplied through a gas hose from a steamer, and experiments are being carried out with reference to designing a generator which will be suitable for independent lights where a keeper is employed. . This work is well under way and results are expected very shortly.

The machines mentioned in the early part of this memorandum were patented and purchased by the department from the makers. The apparatus in use on the steamer ' Scout,' which is entirely new and original, was designed by Mr. Fraser for the department, and no royalties or any other charges were paid for its use. The plant -employed on the steamer ' Scout ' is the largest generating acetylene plant in the Dominion or probably in America, and has given great satisfaction.

The next independent lighthouse installation undertaken by the department was at Maug-her's Beach, Halifax harbour, on the recommendation of the commissioner of lights, and v^as carried out on the compression system.

The candle power of the gas buoys now in use throughout the Dominion is, at least, five times as great as' that of the oil gas buoys employed heretofore, and on the basis of cost per candle, the acetylene is cheaper than oil gas.

The one great difficulty in the lighthouses of the Dominion is the fact that so many of them are fixed lights, which is the most unsatisfactory class of lights that can he installed, inasmuch as they have no character and are often misleading.

It is the aim of the department to render the lights throughout the Dominion as powerful and as characteristic as possible. The use of acetylene in the light service will enable this to be done, at a comparatively cheap cost, inasmuch as the gas light may be occulted and so give a flashing light, and with oil, this could

only be accomplished by expensive mechanism and close attention on the part of the keeper, while the gas occulting mechanisms employed by the department have operated for years with no attention and no repairs.

The improvement of the lights and fog alarms of the Dominion have recently been entrusted by the department to the branch of the commissioner of lights which was organized for this purpose, while the construction of lights and other aids remains' with the chief engineer as heretofore, and every effort is being made by the department to provide a complete and up-to-date system of lighting for the Dominion.

As regards the cost of acetylene, Pintsch gas which was formerly used, cost 56 cents per 7 1-5-candle power. Acetylene gas now used costs 65 cents for 46-candle power, thus giving over six times the light for about the same money. City gas at $1 per thousand, which is considered cheap in Canada, costs for a 16-candle power light J cent an hour. Acetylene will give 23-candle power for an hour for 3-10 cent, therefore giving more light for less money. The penetration of the light in fog is more than double : that was ascertained by the chief engineer himself. It is the intention of the department as the means are placed at our disposal, to change the lights and substitute acetylene, which we consider a good deal cheaper than any other illuminant. To give the committee an idea of its power, I may mention that on Lake St. Louis there were four lights, for which the illuminant was coal Oil. For three of them the commissioner of lights substituted acetylene, and in the fourth left the old system. A few days afterwards one of the boat captains reported that at five miles distant he could see three of the lights, but not the fourth. He thought it was burned out, but it was the light in which coal oil was used.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

How many lights have you changed now ? Would the minister give us any idea of what will be the cost of each light as well as the cost of changing all the lighthouses of the Dominion to this system ?

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

There are about thirty-five in which acetylene has been substituted. We shall save $5,000 a year on the upper part of the St. Lawrence. The cost differs according to the importance of the light. It amounts to from $300 to $2,500 per light.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I understand that you contemplate introducing this system in all the lighthouses of the Dominion. Before doing so I suppose you have gone into some kind of calculation as to the cost.

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

We are changing them gradually, at the rate of twenty-five or thirty lights a year.

IMr. SPROULE. How many lights have you in all ?

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

About 1,000.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I imagine that a good business man would not commit the country to a change like this without first ascertaining what it will cost the country, and whether the new system can be run more cheaply than the system we have at present.

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

We are looking to efficiency rather than to the question of the actual expenditure every year. That will depend on parliament. In some years, if parliament votes the money, we shall probably replace 100. This year we propose to replace about 100; but this is all done systematically, according to the money we have at our disposal. We save the cost of the lightkeeper. There are differences in the lights, of course. Some may require special machinery, and the cost of the installation in some places will be more than in others. In starting to make the change we are not bound to go on and change the whole system. We will do it gradually, according to the success we have. There are some places where the old lights may not be replaced. With the boats carrying the gas holders and supplying the ,gas and the tanks, such places will be left as they are, in others where it is cheaper to run the acetylene gas and more advantageous, we will make the change.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

How much will these thirty-five cost?

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

About $1,000 each.

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August 9, 1904