It purports to be a report from Captain Salmon or some other officer of the department. It refers to the method of mooring this vessel, and I want to know if any consideration was given to it. Has the minister the duplicate of this report in the department, sent by Mr. Salmon ?
The hon. gentleman had better ask the hon. member for St. Antoine, who seems to be very well posted in regard to Captain Salmon, who for about a month has been a very important individual. If the hon. gentleman leaves the case in the hands of the hon. member for St. Antoine, he will be in a better position to get the information or to explain it in such a way that I can understand it.
This is not a matter of trifling importance. The minister has simply to turn to his own report to find on page 33 that no sooner had he made this expenditure of $90,000 than the lightship had such a disastrous voyage through the ice that her bows were smashed and she had to be repaired at Halifax. Then she was taken to the Lurcher reef, and the report says : ' a few days later she broke from her moorings and put into Yarmouth.' Then a little further down : * On the 1st of October the lightship again broke from her moorings, and she was consequently sent to the dockyard for overhauling before resuming her station for the winter. Up to the date of writing this report she has not been replaced on her station.' There we have, in the first place, the vessel tom from her moorings and taken back again ; and, in the second place, three months later, torn from her moorings again and sent to be repaired. The country is not only put to the expense of the repairs, but this dangerous shoal is for three months without protection. The point is whether she was properly moored. I have endeavoured for the last eleven days to have placed upon this table a document signed by an officer who at that time was high in honour iu the department-a document which calls the attention of the department over and over again to the unseamanlike way in which that vessel was moored, and which practically says that unless a different method is adopted, disaster will result; and, bearing out exactly the prophecy of that report, we have the vessel three months out of service because of her being moored in an improper manner. If Mr. Hutchins or any one else is responsible for this improper mooring, we want to know it; and it is on that point that the hon. member for Prince (Mr. Le-furgey) is endeavouring to give the House information, because we have been trying to get this return, and have not yet succeeded in doing so.
I desire again to supplement tiie demand made by the hon. member for St. Antoine (Mr. Ames) for an investigation as to the conduct of certain officers of the department at Halifax. Yesterday the bon. gentleman called attention to the conduct of an officer of this department in the city of Halifax. I desire again that the department should take steps to look into this matter and to prevent a repetition of such occurrences as have taken place. My hon. friend from Montreal has again called the attention of the House to the conduct of another officer in the city of Halifax. I desire to add my demands to his, and to ask the Minister of Marine and Fisheries to look into the conduct of the various officers of the department at Halifax, and to see whether they are advising the department properly. 1 understand that certain officers of the Marine Department at Halifax have given instructions to the department here, and I understand that then-advice has been accepted. That advice is not acceptable to the hon. member for St. Antoine; perhaps it is acceptable to the country. All I desire is that the minister should take steps to ascertain once for all whether the advice received from his officers at Halifax is such as has been indicated by my hon. friend from Montreal. If it is not desirable that the department of Marine and Fisheries should receive that advice, let the department take steps to put in charge of the agency at Halifax men whose opinions will be endorsed by the hon. member for St. Antome and the people of this country.
While hon. gentlemen opposite have a very laudible desire to see that the officers of the department are efficient, they seem at the same time to be much troubled because this side of the House is endeavouring to get information from the Minister of Marine and Fisheries as to where the blame lies.
But the minister must know that he had advice from other officers of the department as to those moorings, and it was after he had this advice that the vessel broke away for the second time. All we ask from the department is to give us some information as to where the blame does lie. The minister informs us that he does not know anything about it, nor has he ascertained anything from his deputy. Has he not had time since the 1st of October, 1904, to ascertain where the blame lies ? Is it only now that he has to get instructions from the back benches to inquire as to whether his officers are suitable for the positions allotted to them or not. We want to know from the minister why he has been negligent of his duty in not finding this out.
I want to give the minister an opportunity to know something of the report which comes into the department before this vessel broke away the second time, and I think, from this report, which I have in my hand, and from the fact that they did not follow this report, that the department are more to blame than Mr. Hutchins or any other official down there. This report, which is file No. 20198 C, and is dated Ottawa, 2Gth March, 1904, says :
The method adopted by Mr. Hutchins of mooring this vessel with three heavy stones is, in my opinion, a very poor substitute for the mushroom anchors provided, but my principal objection to the arrangement of mooring is not in the anchors, but in the method of supporting the cable with a submerged buoy. The safety of a vessel, when riding out a gale of wind, lies in her never being able to put a heavy strain on the anchor or cable, as owing to the long scope and weight of the cable, it forms what is called a ' catehery,' that is to say, on account of the length and weight of the cable out. the vessel can never tighten it ; if she could the cable would snap or the anchor drag.
The second time this vessel was moored, did the department use the method of a buoy attached to a cable ? Can I find- that out from the minister ?