May 22, 1905

LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

No, to-day.

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CON
LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Yes, but they are not supposed to take very long.

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CON
LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

My hon.friend (Mr. Foster) knows that it is very irregular to bring up matters of this kind on the Orders of the Day, and that the regular and proper way is on a motion for Committee of Supply. My hon. friend from Charlotte (Mr. Ganong) will have every opportunity to speak when the motion for Committee of Supply is moved.

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L-C
CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

We were pretty staunch upholders of the doctrine the Prime Minister advocates before 1896, but we did not make much progress with it. As it is uncertain when we shall go into supply, perhaps my right hon. friend (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) will not press his objection.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I am powerless in the matter. My hon. friend (Mr. Ganong) is within his technical rights-not his constitutional rights-in moving the adjournment of the House to discuss the matter. But it is contrary to all parliamentary, rules as we understand them. If it is a matter of urgency, one which cannot wait, of course, that is different. But, if it is a matter of ordinary business, it should be brought up on motion for Committee of Supply.

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CON
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Gilbert White Ganong

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. GANONG.

I think the matter I wish to bring to the attention of the House is one of urgency. And I think the ministers who have charge of it should lose no time in looking into it. I bring the subject up because of some recent newspaper correspondence and also because of the presence of the steamer ' Constance ' in Charlotte county waters-I believe, under the control of the customs-and because of

the recommendations made by the landsmen who were appointed as commissioners to investigate the fishery business. Unfortunately there never has been a Minister of Marine and Fisheries, so far as I know, who has taken enough interest in the Atlantic fisheries to go around there and make a personal investigation of the conditions under which they are carried on. These fisheries form one of the greatest industries we have in Canada. The total receipts from our fisheries are no less than $23,000,000 a year. Still, they have not received anything like the attention they should have received from the minister in charge of the department. However, after considerable discussion it was decided in 1903 to appoint a commission on the subject. We might reasonably presume that the members of that commission would have some qualifications for the business for which they were appointed, that they would be gentlemen who would be able to form intelligent ideas of the fisheries and the conditions surrounding them, and would take ample time to make such inquiries as were necessary in the interest of the fishing community. The duties of this commission, as I understand it, covered the dog-fish problem, the sardine business and the lobster business-at least it was so stated in this House by one of the commission. The fishermen began to hope that they might have their business properly looked into. But when the personnel of the commission was announced, they gave up all hope of such a thing. What [DOT]was the personnel of the commission ? Colonel Tucker, a retired military man, who unfortunately, is quite deaf, was the chairman, Mr. A. ,T. S. Copp, M.P., representing Digby county, N.iS., and a lawyer, was one member. Later on, I believe) through some considerable stress, the department put upon it Mr. Armstrong, of St. Andrews, a newspaper man, and Mr. Bowers, of Nova Scotia, with Mr. Yenning, an official of the department, completed the commission. Thus, we had on this commission two M.P.'s, one ex-M.P., and out would be M.P.-the gentleman I had the pleasure of defeating in 1896. This *was the personnel of the commission. Now, I have nothing to say against the ability, of these gentlemen. They have great ability in cetrain lines. Colonel Tucker, besides his genial qualities, proved in 1896 that he had an excellent bank account. Mr. Copp also has proved his ability. In the last election he proved his ability to down the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) who had put up a candidate in opposition to him. Mr. Armstrong has proved his ability, because he has had no difficulty, as a newspaper man in a political way, in following all the turnings and twistings of the Liberal party since 1896, going back on all the pledges and promises they gave prior to that date. These are the qualifications possessed by

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REVISED


this commission that was to decide on questions involving the interest of 40,000 or more fishermen, a business yielding $23,000,000 yearly. Now, as I say, I do not question the fitness of these gentlemen for. some other business. But I do question., aud question very greatly, the fitness o£ any one of these gentlemen for the position to which he was appointed ; and I thinld their report, if carefully read, will satisfy any one that the recommendations they made show that they were wholly unfitted for the duties they were appointed to perform. Why, Mr. Speaker, fishermen along the shores have considered it one of the greatest farces on record that these gen-, tlemen should come down there to carry on this investigation. And I can give evidence from their own report, a little further on, to show how farcical it has been. They looked upon it as what it was ; the appointments Were made simply to help out a gentleman or two in connection with the coming elections which were anticipated after the session of 1903. If we look in ' Hansard ' of 1903 at page 13653, we will find that Colonel Kaulbach pressed very strongly for this commission and gave good reasons why it should be appointed, but at that time we had the member for Digby making some statements-some mis-statements I should say-statements that were not borne out in fact and statements that he has not had the grace or decency to retract since, statements maligning the fishermen of the county of Charlotte, which I have the honour to represent, and to which 1 propose to refer categorically a little later on. What were the conditions that led to the outburst of my bon. friend from Digby (Mr. Copp) ? The fishermen of the county of Digby have been in the habit of coming to Charlotte county harbours for bait; they have endeavoured to do just as they pleased in Charlotte county waters, and if a Charlotte county fisherman had fish in his weir they would offer any price they chose for the fish. They would go around the mouths of the rivers as I have seen them at the mouth of the IMagaguadavic and with dip-nets take little fish two or four inches long and carry them away in millions to Nova Scotia to use them for bait. They did more ; they came over to Charlotte county waters and ploughed up the beaches in every way, robbed the beaches of the clams, robbed them to such an extent that in one of the islands in Passamaquoddy bay, you can at a distance see what looks like chalk cliffs, almost as large as the cliffs of Dover, simply from the clam shells that these gentlemen have left there. To such an extent was this done that the people of Charlotte had to petition the local government of New Brunswick, and that government had to pass a law to prevent them stealing all the clams there were in Charlotte, and to-day they cannot


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do this simply because they must have a government license to take clams. But they must have some revenge, and they chose apparently their representative to wreak it on the fishermen of Charlotte. Now just look at the conditions. In 1903 this lion, gentleman made the statements which I propose to refer to maligning the fishermen of Charlotte, prejudging the case and making mis-statements and still lie is appointed on a commission that is supposed to be impartial. That is actually the condition. It reminds me of a man named Welsh who years ago lived in my county. A murder had been committed and he walked all tihe way to the shire town, some 20 miles, to get on the jury. He said he knew the man deserved to be hanged but he wished incidentally to draw the $1.50 a day for jury fees. This hon. gentleman says they are a dishonest people there, iffe does not ask for a fee but he caters for votes in his own county in the next election, and he goes on talking without any knowledge of what he is talking about. In one case he says that all the sardines are caught at Grand Manan when any one who knows anything of fishing in that district is aware that they are not caught there, but in the inner waters of Passamaquoady bay. There are other mis-statements to which I shall also refer. I need not apologize for referring * so frequently to the hon. gentleman (Mr. Copp) because he was the dominant influence all through with the commission. Anyone who reads the report will find this to be so, and it is done simply to make himself popular at home irrespective of the actual rights of the case in the county of Charlotte. I would not like you to take my opinion alone, and 1 shall quote you the opinion of another gentleman. We had some discussion on this subject in this House in 1901 and on page 6991 of ' Hansard ' Mr. William Ross, then member for Victoria, Cape Breton, made some remarks. When referring to the qualifications necessary for the commissioners he said : Do not suppose, Mr. Speaker, that I aspire to be placed on the commission myself. I have a sufficient sense of my own ability to lead me to decline the offer if it were made to me. If the Minister of Railways and Canals wished to appoint a commission to deal with a difficult railway question he would appoint eminent engineers for that purpose.


LIB

Albert James Smith Copp

Liberal

Mr. COPP.

Do I understand the hon. member to say that he wished to serve on that commission ?

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LIB

William Ross

Liberal

Mr. WM. ROSS (Victoria).

I said that I had sense enough of my own inability to fill that position, and that I would not accept it if it were offered to me ; and that, I think, would have been the proper course for my hon. friend to pursue. . . . My idea of a commission would he one composed of men trained all their lifetime to the business of fishermen.

tatives from his own province, of his lack of qualification to be on that commission. There is another incident to which I wish to refer in connection with Col. Tucker to show the ability of that lion, gentleman and the great interest he has taken in the fishermen. Down at Grand harbour, Grand Manan, where they made a flying visit-in fact they came in one afternoon, called some of the citizens together and said they were going to leave that evening, and the citizens advised them that if that was the way they were doing business, they had better go at once, whereupon they decided to remain over a day- one of the most profound questions he asked, one that he said should be embalmed in ' Hansard ' or in his report was as to how many scales there were on a herring. It Is a most remarkable thing that no one had ever determined this number or put it on record, and this gallant colonel at last inquires for that information, which would be of so much advantage to the public.

But, Sir, this commission was appointed in 1903 and they showed exceeding activity that fall-it is perfectly marvellous what activity they showed There was some little reason for it, if you will remember that the first meetings of this commission were almost coincident with an expected election. If the Grand Trunk Pacific had not held up the government in 1903 for a better bargain we would certainly have had an election that year, but there seemed to be some trouble, some hitch, they did not put the money into it, I believe the first time. The commission made some few excursions down around the islands, but they suddenly called them off as soon as they found there was to be no election. I shall take their report and look it over. The Order in Council was passed on November 14, 1903. The scope of the inquiry as stated was to look into the dog-fish question and the lobster and sardine fisheries. They starteS out at once for the Magdalen islands, but on ithat trip Mr. A. C. Copp, was not with them as the report says. He was probably preparing for the election at home. Having completed their investigations at the Magdalen islands, they proceeded to North Head, Grand Manan, in the

county of Charlotte. They reached that point on December 8th and held a meeting. The next meeting was at Grand Harbour on the 9th. Just fancy going over all the fishing interests there and not even having an opportunity of going over to examine the fisheries at all in these great tidal waters, inquiring of the fishermen here and there their opinion in regard to the fisheries.

On the evening of the 9th

And that is rather peculiar.

-a delegation came over from Campobello

And not lawyers. This is the opinion of And they were supposed to go to Campo-

Mr. William Ross then one of the represen- hello

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L-C

Gilbert White Ganong

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. GANONG.

And thereby hangs a tale. This was a delegation representing Yankee canners who wanted licenses to can lobsters in Canadian territory. On the 10th they held a second meeting at Grand Harbour and they then completed their investigation. They lind not commenced to deal with the question that was assigned to them, but the election had gone by and it could not work particularly to their advantage to go to other points. I think Captain Pratt let them out a little, because he said that the weather was very rough and these landsmen perhaps could not stand the swell of the sea. It was all the better for them, because, if they wanted to interview the fishermen, rough weather was the time to do it in. If the weather is fine the fishermen are around the coast attending to their business. They did not go over to Campo-bello. They were not allured by what Senator Byron would describe as the sun kissed waves of Passamaquoddy bay. They would have had a delightful trip in the government steamer but they did not cross the bay. They did not go over to Campobello, or Deer island, the home of the sardine fishery. If they had published this report they would not have secured a vote from one of those islands. They did not go to Seal Cove, or to White Head, two other very important fishing stations on the island of Grand Manan. Then, on page 3, they say that they resumed the inquiry in the following September just before another election was due to come on- September 3. I will not weary the House by going over the whole of the material they have here, but I may mention that on September 23 they reached Seal Cove, Grand Manan. They got through there very rapidly and then they proceeded to Cord's Cove where they held a meeting on September 24. See how rapidly they got through there. They were hustling. On the same day they held a meeting at Welch Pool, and then they went to Back bay on the mainland and held a meeting on the 2titli. On the same day they held a meeting at Wilson's Beach. Next day, September 27, they were at Beaver Harbour. Then they took a little excursion to Eastport to be entertained by the Sea Coast Packing Company, and on the following day, September 29, they finished at St. Andrews. This completed their inquiry as far as the sardine business alone is concerned which represents an annual business, according to their report, of $454,000 and a total business to the Charlotte county fishing interests running well up to $1,000,000. In this cursory way these gentlemen finished up and decided what was best in the interests of the fishermen in that section. I do not want to deal with this whole report. But, they make one statement which I have here and which I shall read. The report tries to

prove that the catch of sardines is depleting and ruining the fisheries. But strange to say there are at the present time more young fish in Passamaquoddy bay than ever before in the history of the country. That fact is the basis of one conclusion at which they arrive. See what a wise one it is :

In the face of the enormous catches of small fish for the manufacture of sardines, which have been annually made for the past twenty or thirty years, it is difficult to believe that the adult fish do not exist in relative Quantities in outside waters.

I should think it would. I do not know how they expected to get these young fish in myriads in the inside waters, but this is one conclusion they have come to and if there are such immense quantities of young fish in the inside waters there must be a few old fish in the outside waters. I want to give the House a few calculations that these gentlemen have put on record, and which are well worthy of consideration, but before doing that I wish to take up a matter in connection with the speech of the hon. member for Digby (Mr. Copp) and that I may do him justice I shall read from his speech which is to be found at page 13.G53 of * Hansard,' 1903. He states one very evident fact, I should think, to almost any one when he said that fishermen in order to fish must have bait. Then he makes another statement that-

The fishermen of Nova Scotia, particularly of St. Mary's bay

That is his own little barn-yard over there in Digby

-and the Bay of Fundy, secure the most of their bait from Grand Manan, Campobello and Passamaquoddy bay.

That is probably quite true. Then the next statement he makes is that the-

Sardine industry . . . should be worth millions of dollars to the Dominion.

Well, we only wish it were worth more millions of dollars, but if you read the report and the figures that I propose to give you presently you will see the manner in which this hon. gentleman proposes to make it worth millions of dollars. The next statement he makes, and it is one which I think it would be difficult for him to prove, Is that:

The herring industry of the United States is wholly in Canadian waters.

He had not then been down along the coast. A gentleman, was not very well prepared to go on this commission if he knew no more about the herring industry of the United States than to make a statement like that on the floor of this House. Then, he referred to Lubec as being the head centre of the sardine industry. Lu-bec and Eastport are the two great towns manufacturing sardines. The capital stock of the companies, he says, engaged in that

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Mr. J.@

'Sutton Clark, of L'Etang ; Messrs. Connors Brothers, of Black's Harbour, and Mr. Henry Lord, of Deer Island. What could the American canners do if they came over here and established factories in Canada ? They "could not find a market in Canada and they could not take the product over to the United States against the duty of $2.50 a case. A statement appeared in the papers that Mr. Pike, of Lubec, Maine, had said that he would come over here if the export duty was imposed. Well, I have here a copy of a St. John paper, in which appears a letter from Mr. Pike himself refuting that. That letter is as follows:

LUBEC, Me., May 11, 1905.

To the Editor of the 1 Sun ':

Sir-My attention has just been called to an alleged interview with me published in your paper of March 30. The statements credited to me are so different from the opinions which I hold that in justice to myself I feel it necessary to reply to them in as public a manner as they have been circulated. I remember the occasion of my visit to St. John in the latter part of March, aud a conversation I had there with a gentleman whose name I do not know, in which * the recommendations of the fishery commission were briefly discussed, and I emphatically stated, as I believe, that the sardine or herring business of the counties of Charlotte and St. John would he ruined by carrying into effect the recommendations of the commission ; a*d I did not suggest that the situation

could be relieved by the extension of the Canadian canning business, or that I would build a factory in St. John. Being fairly familiar with the business both in the United States and Canada, I would have been very foolish to do so, as the Canadian market is fully supplied with canned sardines by the excellent factories now in operation there, and our experience in the United States, where, with a population of seventy or eighty millions of people, we have been unable in thirty years to increase the annual sale beyond about one million two hundred thousand cases, together with the fact that a large portion of our output is consumed by the foreign element among the working people of the larger cities and by the poorer neoole in the Southern States- classes as yet almost unknown in Canada-

Except by the Minister of the Interior, I fancy.

convinces me that it will be very many years before there is a demand in your country which cannot be supplied by the canners now doing business there; and I was not likely to say that the erection of factories in Canada would have any effect in relieving the situation in which the fishermen of the two counties would find themselves should the recommendations of the fishery commission be carried into effect, or that I had any intention of building a factory in St. John.

While I am, sincerely yours,

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J. C. PIKE.

May 22, 1905