March 17, 1905

CON

Alfred Alexander Lefurgey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LEFURGEY.

The House will understand that I am trying to get information as to why this steamer broke from her moorings. I am not dealing with any particular individual in the department. It is the minister who is responsible to the House, and we want the information from him. We want to know why this report was not acted upon, and why we have the unfortunate circumstance of a boat a few months on the service breaking away from her moorings on two occasions, and the

minister not being able to supply any Information.

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L-C

Andrew Archibald MacDonald

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. MACDONALD.

Does the hon. gentleman wish the committee to understand that he has any information that would indicate that the boat was improperly moored, or that her slipping away was not due solely to an accident ?

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CON

Alfred Alexander Lefurgey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LEFURGEY.

I do not pretend to be a critic of the proper method of mooring lightships. I am here to get information from the minister as to whether there was any. The minister should know as to whether there was any fault in the first mooring of the vessel, and as to why some other method was not used in mooring her the second time. Apparently the minister does not know anything about mooring lightships, and we can get no information from his department. This report is a comprehensive one, and we would like to know whether the department took cognizance of it, or whether, because the gentleman was in bad odour with the department on account of another circumstance where they could not have their own way, they threw his report aside and persisted in using the old method, the submerged buoy and stones.

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LIB

Alexander Johnston

Liberal

Mr. ALEX. JOHNSTON.

Both my hon. friend from Prince Edward Island (Mr. Le-furgey) and my hon. friend from Montreal (Mr. Ames) have brought forcibly to the notice of the department the fact' that certain officials of the_ Marine and Fisheries Department in the city of Halifax have not advised the department properly. Reports were made to the department by the then officer of the department, Captain Salmon, and the services of that officer have been dispensed with since then. Whether the department did right or wrong in dispensing with his services, I do not know, my own judgment is that they did the proper thing. It would perhaps suit my hon. friend from Montreal and my hon. friend from Prince Edward Island to have retained the services of Captain Salmon and to have dispensed with the services of the officers of the department in Halifax. Perhaps that would have been the better course. The request I have now to make of the department is that they shall look into the request made by my hon. friends opposite and ascertain whether it is in the interest of the department, not only to dispense with the services of Captain Salmon, but with the services of the officers of the department at Halifax as well ; and if the department reach the conclusion arrived at by our hon. friends opposite, then no doubt the department will do its duty.

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CON

Alfred Alexander Lefurgey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LEFURGEY.

The hon. gentleman (Mr. Alex. Johnston) apparently has reached n conclusion. [DOT]

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CON
LIB

Alexander Johnston

Liberal

Mr. ALEX. JOHNSTON.

I have not reached any conclusion. There is no use wasting time over this question. Again let me impress upon the minister the importance of looking carefully into this matter. The truth or falsity of the charge made in regard to the mooring of this ship can be easily arrived at. Now that the hon. member for Montreal and the hon. member for Prince Edward Island have asked this committee to put our little hands in theirs and pass on, of course we will sit down and wait the result.

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CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AMES.

We would not have it understood that we are endeavouring to find a scapegoat for the department, or that we believe that this, that or the other officer is to blame. The point we make is this, that the ship was improperly moored, that the deputy minister was told that it was improperly moored, that no heed whatsoever was paid to the memorandum served upon him and that the very result which was prophesied came true, that the vessel, moored as she was, broke loose and as a result there was loss. That is the way it seems to us. We want to find out whether the department was properly warned, and until the papers we are asking for are here, we cannot tell whether the department was warned that this method of mooring was improper, and if it was warned, whether it took heed.

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LIB

Alexander Johnston

Liberal

Mr. ALEX. JOHNSTON.

I still continue to believe that no matter how this ship was moored, even if she was moored according to the directions of Captain Salmon, she would have drifted away. Is the hon. gentleman in a position to assert that if the ship was moored in the manner represented by Captain Salmon she would not have broken away under the conditions in which she did break away ?

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CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AMES.

Of course I cannot say what might have happened under hypothetical conditions. I can only say that the method recommended was apparently not adopted, and#that the results foreseen came true.

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LIB

Alexander Johnston

Liberal

Mr. ALEX. JOHNSTON.

I may agree with the hon. gentleman that the instructions issued by the officers of the department at Halifax directed the vessel to be moored in an improper manner. But that is a question I desire to be investigated, and if the investigation shows that the member for St. Antoine (Montreal) is right I will be then able to agree with him.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I suppose the method of mooring was submitted to some one who had technical knowledge. We do not know that Mr. Hutchins was an authority. But there was a technical official,

I understood the minister to say ?

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

The first mooring was done according to the best method in

use in the United States, by submersion. As I stated, tbe station is a very difficult one to maintain, and that is the reason why such an expensive lightship was put there. She was moored according to the best method known, and she broke her moorings. Another method had to be adopted which showed clearly that the first mooring under the circumstances was not a proper one. It was decided afterwards to moor her as before. After being there six or seven months, she broke away again. It was simply an accident due to stress of weather, and really nobody was directly responsible. There was no fault or neglect. Since then she has been put back and is rendering the service for which she was intended. Of course, accidents cannot wholly be prevented. Buoys will be driven away, and you cannot always prevent it, any more than you can always prevent a lighthouse being set afire by lightening and burned down. I do not see what object there is in discussing these accidents.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I have not followed the details of this discussion, but I understand the point of criticism to be that Captain Salmon made some suggestions with regard to the mooring that were not carried out.

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

1 told the gentleman who brought up the question that I had not the papers here, and this provision for the ' Lurcher ' is part of an item which was carried last night. I offered to bring down all the papers on the subject. X think that was a reasonable offer. So, what was the use of cross-examining me as to whether the anchors had been put out at a certain distance or a certain other distance ? Trying to show that I know nothing about these things. Well, I do not know anything about them, and I am not supposed to know.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

Of course, the minister cannot have technical knowledge about these things. Possibly if we are to have the papers laid upon the table and if we are to be at liberty to discuss the matter on some other item, I should think that would answer the purpose of my hon. friends who are discussing the matter.

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CON

Alfred Alexander Lefurgey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LEFURGEY.

1 had no intention of criticising or worrying the minister as he seems to think. But I had a report here and wished to get some information as to the methods followed by the department in regard to this lightship. I am glad that the minister acknowledged that no one is to blame. My hon. friend from Cape Breton (Mr. A. Johnston) who has been worrying about the conduct of the officers at Halifax, having now received this assurance from the minister, can go home and rest quietly.

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Mr. PREFONT AINE@

I did not say that no one was to blame ; I said that it might be shown that no one was to blame.

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CON

Alfred Alexander Lefurgey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LEFURGEY.

I certainly understood the minister to say so in answer to the leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden) a few minutes ago. And. if he will look at ' Hansard ' to-morrow I think he will find that he said no blame attached to any one.

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

Personally, I do not think there is. But the attitude of the hon. member for St. Antoine (Mr. Ames) and the hon. member for Prince Edward Island (Mr. Lefurgey) creates suspicion.

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March 17, 1905