There is no surplus, I mean to say that though the government has collected more than it has expended in that service, the surplus does not appear in the books of the Finance Department, because it has gone into the general fund.
Then to put the matter in another way, it is more a matter of bookkeeping than anything else. The minister states in his own report at page 19 that every year a considerably larger sum has been received than expended. For example, in 1904 about $50,000 were expended and $61,778 were received. The previous year, $48,000 were expended and $64,800 received. Now the minister says, that it is difficult at the present time to bring in legislation such as has been asked for by the Shipping Federation and by the Montreal Board of Trade, in reference to the sick mariners' dues. But is there any difficulty in reducing the amount of the dues ?-because every year he collects about 25 per cent more than is needed.
But in Montreal there are difficulties in the way of abolition, and no difficulties in the way of reducing the fees. If you collect $65,000 a year and only need $50,000, there can be no difficulty in reducing the rate of fees so that you will only collect about $50,000.
I agree that the reduction by 25 per cent would make a great difference, but that is not what the Shipping Federation are asking for, they are asking for complete abolition. That is a serious matter to be decided off-hand.
in England used to send out claims against ship-owners in this country for moneys advanced to seamen left behind or shipwrecked in foreign countries; and I suppose we have the same practice in recovering from ship-owners in Great Britain and other countries ?