May 22, 1905


It may be sakl that this gentleman has every Interest in fighting the report of this commission. But we need to look at the question from our own standpoint. We have fish to sell, and we have no market for them. Until that market develops through the efforts of the government, which are suggested by the commission further ou in the report, I believe the people of Charlotte have a right to sell the product which the Almighty has placed withiu their reach, as they have been doing for the last fifty years -or thirty years, to my own knowledge. Now, I am aware that a small section of our county-1 want to do justice to all parts of it-has petitioned, as I understand, though the petition was not sent through me, for an export duty. In 1897 we formed a fishery association in Charlotte county, and at that time it was strongly advocated to have an export duty put on large herring -say herring of 10 inches and upwards. I believe some petitions from the island of Grand Manan have been sent in in favour of an export duty on fish. There may be some who hold the opinion that such a duty would be a benefit. But the great majority of the people of Charlotte county are absolutely against such a measure applying to sardine herring. And, had this fishery commission report been published in West Isles and Campobello before the last election, the government would never have known that there was such a thing as a Liberal alive. Now, recommendation No. 3 is as follows : 3. That every legitimate effort should at once be made by the government to secure for Canada the manufacture of raw material from the Mr. GANONG. sardine fishery, and with a view of the general development of the fisheries of Canada, that a bureau be established in connection with the Department of Marine and Fisheries, and that agents be appointed to such populous foreign centres as may be deemed admissible, the special duties of whom to he the ascertaining and securing of outside markets for the product of the Canadian fisheries and the dissemination of information regarding the trade possibilities of Canada in respect thereto. I think that is a most excellent recommendation, and I hope that the government will take it up. And when the time comes when we can handle our own product, there is no man in Canada who will rejoice more than I shall. Because if there are protectionists under heaven, I believe that I can claim to be one of them. I have no sympathy with our friends in the United States. I have lived alongside of them for the last thirty or forty years. They are good neighbours in many respects, but they are lookiug after their own interests all the time. Do not let us, by any foolish or inconsiderate action, cause tlie ruin of our own industry. To put an export duty on these fish would be just as sensible a thing as for the United States to put an export duty ou corn coming into Canada. Some people in the United States might argue : You fellows in Canada now buy our corn, but we will make you buy your starch and your glucose from us. They have the corn which -we have not. We have the herring which they have not. It would be just as sensible for them to have put an export duty on corn to force the manufacture of starch and glucose there as for us to put an export duty on fish to force the canning of sardines to be done in Canada. Recommendation No. 4 declares that the present fee of $5 on weir licenses is too low. Well, I would like to hear the argument by which that statement is supported. If the license fee were imposed for revenue, there might be something in that idea. But it has never been so considered. I do not.think there has ever been sucb a suggestion, except as emanating from the minds of these gentlemen. And what did they say this license should be ? They recommend that the fee should be from $20 to $60. And why $20 to $60 ? Why not $500 to $1,000 ? One would be just as sensible as the other. And how would you regulate it ? A weir this year will yield $5,000 and next year not a dollar according as the fish may run. Would you base the tax on the amount the weir yields ? It is a senseless suggestion, and I am satisfied it is no use discussing, because I am confident that no wise government would think of adopting it, and discussion of it would be a mere waste of time. Recommendation No. 6 is as follows : 6. That in view of the disputes arising in connection with the measuring of sardine herring when being offered for sale at the w'eirs, it is desirable that a standard measure should he adopted and they would recommend that (6329 MAY 22. 1905 6330 the Inspector of Fisheries be instructed to furnish the department with such measure. I can very well support that, because in 1897. 1898 and 1899 I advocated the same thing with the Minister of Inland Revenue. and=at one time had him so far convinced that I anticipated that he was going to prescribe a standard measure. The difficulty was that many of our fishermen had their fish measured in baskets. Well, a basket is rather an indefinite thing, it may contain half a - barrel or it may contain a barrel. Lately, I believe, they are measured in tubs, whicli are supposed to contain half a barrel. The fish are so plentiful that the fishermen are not particular. Rut the man buying the fish is looking for the largest measure, because the more fish he gets the better credit he has at the factory for which he obtains his fish. We should have a standard measure. I very strongly support this recommendation. Now, those are the chief recommendations upon which I have touched. But. Sir, I do not want the House to think that I am the only one who seems to be interested in this affair in New Brunswick. It has been brought up in this House, but I wish to show you how much Interest has been taken in it in that province. No less a body than the New Brunswick legislature, composed of 46 members passed a unanimous resolution against these recommendations. I propose to read that resolution as I want it to be on ' Hansard.' It cannot be said that this is a political affair, so far as New Brunswick is concerned, because the government there is in sympathy with this government and besides that the lion, gentleman who moved it is one of our most staunch Liberals, the Hon. Geo. F. Hill, one of the Tepresentatives' of Charlotte, moved the following resolution : Whereas, it has been brought to the attention [DOT]of this legislature that the fisheries commission recently appointed by the government of Canada have submitted to the government the following recommendation : la) That an export duty be placed upon sardine herring. (b) That the customs laws with regard to the entering and clearing of vessels be strictly enforced against the sardine boats. (c) That the present weir license fee of to he increased -to a minimum figure of $„0, with a maximum of $60. -(d) That no new weir licenses be granted. And whereas, this legislature is satisfied that the enactment of these recommendations would practically destroy the sardine herring fishery of Passamaquoddy bay, upon which the fishing and trade population of Charlotte county, it the province, largely depend, that until tu ample market has been secured for the produc' of this fishery to take the place of the market the fishermen of said county now enjoy in the United States, it would he unwise to impose an *exoort duty or take any action to disturb exWins conditions ; chat the only immediate effect of such a duty would be to divert the fishery and the profits of the same from New 3runswick and its people to the state^ of Maine mcl the fishermen of said state ; that in respect o the entering and clearing of boats engaged n the sardine carrying trade, this business ean-lot be successfully carried on if a strict inter-iretation of the customs laws in that regard he nsisted on ; that any increase in the weir icense fee would prove a burden which, owing 0 the erratic movements of the fish, would prevent many of the poorer fishermen from continuing their licenses, and that the non-issu-mce of new weir licenses would shut out many young men from the shore fisheries of the province and compel them to leave the country^ or resort to illegal fishing, and that the condition of the fisheries does not warrant any such restrictions , . Therefore he it resolved, that this legislatuie place on record its disapproval of the recommendation of the fishery commission above set forth, and respectfully urge upon the government of Canada that, under the conditions existing in the sardine fishery, the enactment of the said recommendation is not advisable, end that such enactment would be attended with incalculable injury to a large portion of the population of the county of Charlotte, one of the most important sections of the province of New Brunswick. \nd be it further resolved, that a copy of this resolution, signed by the clerk of this house, be forwarded to the Minister of Marine and Fisheries, and that a copy he likewise sent to the Secretary of State, with a request that the same be submitted to the Governor in Council. On this resolution Hon. Mr. Hill spoke as follows: I would like to add a few words to what is contained in the resolution but I do 1"'e"d to go into details, as my colleagues from Char lotte have a better knowledge of the facts than 1 have. I shall therefore confine myself to a general result of these recommendations 1- irst, as regards the export duty, it is expected that it will amount to three-quarters "£ * " pound, or seven dollars a hogshead. The aver age price of sardines delivered to the factory people at the weirs is four dollars and somo-times when they are plentiful it goes down as low as two dollars. That being fo. !t would destroy the sardine business m OhailO'.,e u this export duty should be 'mP°sed &That would also Injure St. John. All the weirs that have been erected for this fishery would become of To value. Tens of thousands of dollars have been expended on these weirs, and they would become useless, for the Dominion ma is not large enough to justify the erection of large sardine factories in Charlotte county. Then as regards the strict enforcement of customs regulations against sardine boats ine sardine is a fish that is easily injured and which keeps hut a short time so that to requi e these boats to report at the custom-house which might be miles away, ,^°"ldficiaU®?lue much delay as to impair or destroy their value. As these reports are made merely tor stausu cal purposes9 U ought to be sufficient if they renorted once a week. Few people have any idea of the extent of the sardine industry in Charlotte or of the amount of capital invested in it The fisheries of Charlotte have an annual value of about a million and a quarter dollars I,id probably one-half of this comes from the sardine fishery. This large business would be destroyed if either of these recommendations were carried out, and wre wmuld he driving away



our young men to foreign lands. Already too many of our young men go away to better their condition and this would drive them out in larger numbers. St. John county is interested in this matter, and about two years ago a large number of sardines made their appearance in the harbour of St. John. Our fishermen followed them and although they were each fined *1° .by the St. John police magistrate for not taking out a license, it paid them well, for they took $25,000 worth of fish. All these boats took back from St. John large stocks of goods which they purchased there, so that their presence was not unwelcome. The islands of Charlotte contain as intelligent class of people as you can find anywhere. A people whom we can not afford to lose. They are a healthy and hardy race, and the day may come when the mother country may need their services for the navy. As Kipling says in one of his poems, * And you called on the younger people, the men who can ride and shoot.' We all know that the control ot the sea is what makes a world power, and ?v?e bundred of these hardy men are worth all the Russian Jews that have come into this country for years. As to the policy of imposing an export duty, the same thing has been proposed with reference to Manitoba wheat in the interest of the millers, that the people of Manitoba are not in favour of it. ,f,his law if enforced would cause a great deal of illegal fishing for to enforce a law you must have public sentiment behind you. But when regulations are obnoxious to the whole body of the people they are certain to be evaded, and illegal fishing could not be prevented. It would not be well to bring about such a state of affairs. These people feel that as their fathers settled on the rocky shores of these islands a century ago for the sake of the fishing, and built their homes there, it would be unjust for the government ,t;.hat they sha11 be forbidden to enter into the heritage of their fathers. .rIr* ?artT said in bringing up this matter the day 1 dld 80 with the idea that it was a subject of grea); imoortanee, which affected all °/Ah.e P.rovince- I feel that all the members of this house should have an opportunity of considering this matter well, and I think there should be no opposition to this resolution. We do not wish to find fault with the Sen onrSth°e c.omm*S3i;>n. but when we have [DOT] .ou lslands who are so much interested havehlSbeenUSt,ry' lthink that one ofThem should reDor^nfQ placed on the commission. If the re. commissioners should be acted on ln the death o£ the weir Ashing. * (it y proposed would be from 100 to fish ro„m °Athe c,ost of the so that the foreemeit nf\he S°ld t0 advantaSe. The en-eauaHv nh?f J 6 cdst3ms regulations would be equally objectionable, for custom-houses ere only open during the day, and where fish are taken after four o'clock it before they.could be got to the factories. °The fish taken in Canadian waters belong to the same school as the fish taken in American waters, and the catch in the American weirs could not 1DC?alinS- I£ the Eastport canneries could buv flet tbeir flsh from Canadians they business^fro™ American fishermen. This peop^ and Itin TPloym3at to a great many fs one thit ^o'^38 every other industry. It with h h 1 DOt be rashIy interfered . Halt knows "well wbnf ilfl j._n . Of because be is a large dealer In groS


L-C

Gilbert White Ganong

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. GANONG.

and sundries in the town of St. Andrews and is well aware just how valuable the proceeds of that industry are to the town in which he resides.

Mr. Osman also expressed his approval.

Mr. Clarke said : To one familiar with the sardine fishery the justice of this resolution must be very apparent, and I trust it will commend itself to the good sense of this house. The sardine fishery employs large numbers of people on the islands, and I have no doubt that from three to five thousand persons depend upon it for their means of livelihood. There is no other source from which these people can seek support. The evidence submitted to the commission gave absolutely no warrant for the recommendation made. The fishermen of Nova Scotia say that the catch of sardine interferes with the large herring fishery, but there was no evidence to support this statement. It is well known that schools of fish are very erratic in their movements, and the variation in the catch is due to this cause. The winter herring which were once very plentiful disappeared for fifteen years and then turned up again just about the time the commissioners were making on their report. The fisheries of Charlotte have not been injured by the sardine fisheries, and the catch is larger now than it was ten years ago. There is no large market for sardines in Canada; indeed the only large market is the hnited States. The imposition of these regulations would ruin the fisheries of Charlotte county, and the people of Charlotte almost to a man are opposed to them. There is no more reason for an export duty on sardines than there is to any other natural product of Canada.

unanfmonSs?y theD PUt and carrieti

So that you will see. Sir, that there is a very large body in New Brunswick opposed to the findings of this Fishery Commission, and not the least the local 'legislature, from whose proceedings !I have quot-

opened again. There are not enough ten and

a half inch lobsters to run the factories and if there were they are worth more as live lobsters than as canned lobsters. You cannot take lobsters into the United States less than ten and a half inches in length. The factories with a nine inch limit can get everything below ten and a half inches and in this way get a sufficient supply. The St. Mary's bay lobster catchers carry a great many of their lobsters over to the Grand Manan factories. They recommend in the first section of this report that the limit of St. Mary's bay and Charlotte county be nine inches. This report was not published before the election. But here, is the last clause and I will read it so that you may be able to see how it coincides with the first one :

Your commissioners would urge the advisability of raising the size limit in all the waters from Halifax west to the international boundary 'line

Including St. Mary's and the Bay of Fundy.

-to ten and a half inches so as to secure uniformity of size in all that district, with a view to the preservation of the lobster industry.

What is the recommendation for St. ''Mary's bay and the Bay of Fundiy ?- (Nine inches.

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CON
L-C

Gilbert White Ganong

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. GANONG.

There is no exception made ; as far as this suggestion is concerned it is a recommendation. But, if you read the whole of the report here you will see that they stultify themselves, because there is no reason given for the first recommendation at all. I put an inquiry on the order paper on February Gth, 1905 as follows :

1. What is the present legal limit of length for lobster that may be caught in the waters of the Bay of Fundy, between Point Lepreaux and the United States boundary ?

What was the answer ?

1. 9 inches.

2. What was the legal limit of length of lobsters on October 1st, 1904, in these waters?

Answer :

101 inches.

3. If any change in the limit has been made, on what date was the change made, and on what date were the local fishery officers in that district notified of said change ?

Answer :

October 24th, 1904.

Just before the elections. I need not read further. What was the reason given in a conversation that I had with the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Pr6-fontaine) in the corridor before another gentleman who witnessed it ? I said to the minister during the session : Do you suppose to allow a limit of nine inches as reported in Charlotte county waters ? He said : I will leave it to the commission. I would be a fool to take it out of the hands of the commission. Armstrong claims that if I made it nine inches he would beat you in the election. These are Rhe statements' which he made. It was not a private conversation, because there were other parties present. Well, was this report sent in ? No, the report had not got in. He was going to leave it to the commission. The report was not in when this change was made October 24th because, on November 2S, 1904, I had this letter from the minister :

November 28, 1904.

Dear Sir,-I have your letter of the 21st instant, remarking upon rumour in connection with the finding of the fisheries commission, which has recently been engaged in investigating conditions of the fisheries in the Bay of Fundy and contiguous waters, and in reply I may say that the commission has not yet submitted this report to me.

Yours faithfully,

(Signed) R. PREFONTAINE.

G. W. GANONG, Esq., M.P.,

St. Stephen, N.B.

They had not submitted their report, but he had report enough in regard to the lobsters to change the limit. They became alarmed notwithstanding the assistance given by the lion. Minister of Railways and Canals- (Mr. Emmerson) and they telegraph to the minister that if they wanted to get any votes on the islands they must have a nine inch limit for lobsters. Why ? Because they wanted the Yankee canners to help them out in their election, the most important lobster canners being Yankees. They had a ten and a half inch limit previously, but as a result of the representations which were made telegrams signed by the minister, or by his orders, were carried all over the county of Charlotte stating how good the government were going to be to the lobster" fishermen there. It was simply a political move. There can be no question about that at all. No man can gainsay that. Then, let us have a look at the canners. _ I asked a question as to .who had applied for and received licenses to can lobsters. Here is the reply :

None were issued in 1904.

Why ? Because there was a ten and a half inch limit. In 1905, the following applied for licenses :

J. Ingersoll, E. A. Holmes, Connors Brothers, Burnham and Morrell, J. W. Wooster, Frank Macdonald, P. P. Russell, L. C. Guptill, D. 5. Gaskill.

And the following were granted :

3. J. Ingersoll, E. A. Holmes, Connors Brothers, Burnham & Morrell.

Well, that looks well enough to you, Mr. Speaker, and to hon. gentlemen in this House, but who are these people ? Burnham & Morrell have one of the biggest

canning factories in Portland, Maine. They are American citizens. Mr. B. A. Holmes is one of the largest sardine canners in Eastport and is an American citizen. Our own citizens are turned down while Yankees are granted licenses to can lobsters. I know at least three of these gentlemen that were turned down ; they had plants to do the business but they did not have the pull. The government wanted to use the American canners for their money and their influence to carry the election which was held there last year. Our genial friend Colonel Tucker is somewhat opposed to this, and although he signs the general report I read this concluding remark from his protest:

With all this accumulated evidence before you I trust that you will see your way clear to establish a ten and a half inch limit in the Bay of Fundy for lobsters, and thereby check the destruction of immature fish which has caused such a serious decline in recent years in this valuable industry.

Colonel Tucker bases, this statement largely upon the fact that a small lobster that produces eggs at all will not produce over 20,000 or 25,000 eggs, while a mature lobster will produce from 80,000 to 85,000 eggs. But outside of that there is the common sense view. If you were to capitalize the lobster business of the Bay of Fundy and put sensible men as directors to run it, how long do you think they would continue to sell, anything below ten and a half inch lobsters ? It would be considered absolutely folly to do so ; you would send them to a lunatic asylum if they did. We know that anything below ten and a half inches brings an average of three or four cents while a lobster above ten and a half inches-to which some grow ini one year and some in two years-will bring from eighteen to thirty-five cents, according to the statement of Colonel Tucker. Not only that, but because we are differently situated from Prince Edward Island the law perhaps would not be as satisfactory over there, for we are right within easy touch of the United States market where there is an absolutely unlimited demand for large lobsters of ten aud a half inches aud upwards. So far as this change to uiue inches is concerned, it is absolutelj ridiculous and as a matter of fact it re suits iu a great injury to the lobster industrj of Canada. Where are the lobster fishermen to-day ? They have their traps ready but they cannot tell but that the Minister of Marine may say to-morrow : shut up boys ; it is ten and a half inches. They only had the ten and a half inch regulation in Charlotte county for I think about two years at most when for political reasons the government shifted it to nine inches. When is it coming back to ten and a half inches? If the Yankee canners do not dominate the government I should not be surprised to see it come back to ten and a half inches inside of the next twelve months. The urgent cry just before Mr. GANOXG.

the elections was for a change, but the question not only interested the gentleman running in the county of Charlotte ; it interested the gentleman who ran for the county of Digby as well, and if somebody knew about this lobster limit, don't you think somebody knew about the recommendations in the sardine business also ? I think there were a few people travelling around the county of Digby who were saying : Oh, Copp is going to get at them ; they are going to put an export duty on sardines. And so the government did not dare to bring down the report of the commission until after the election, although I think the dodge was worked pretty well in Digby. It was not worked in the county of Charlotte for while the question came up as to the limit of lobsters there was no talk around Deer island and Campo-bello about the export duty on sardines ; they did not let the fishermen there know they would make this recommendation : which could force them to abandon their homes there and go to the United States iu order to get a living. It seems clear that the whole question is now up to the Minister of Marine and our friend the Minister of Customs, so far as the sardine industry is concerned. The people down there want to know what these ministers propose to do and they want to know at once. The fishing season is on down there to-day, and the people do not know the moment the steamer ' Constance ' is liable to come thei'e with a special officer on board and prevent them from taking the fish they have caught to be handled iu the factories in Eastport. If the government would take a little advice from me they will never waste money to print that report ; they will tear it into shreds. The idea of putting a report like that upon the archives of this country as a reference for the future is perpetrating an absolute insult on the fishermen of this country. If the government want to have a commission let them have a proper one and we will forgive them for the money they have wasted already ; at best it was only a little pap to these members of parliament and ex-members of parliament. Put men on a commission who have some expert knowledge ; men who know the conditions, and the conditions are peculiar as every oue knows who ever travelled around these tidal waters. Put men on the commission whose judgment is worth something, whose experience will tell them what it is best to do in the interest of the fishermen and let such men formulate a plan. Do not put men on a commission who will be influenced because of a coming election. Let these fishermen who toil by the sea have justice and right dealt out to them ; let them be treated fairly as the other citizens of this country are treated, and further I say, that we do not want any more of these rush orders to change regulations ; we want more stability so that the fishermen who have to prepare ahead will know from year to year what they may

633S

prepare for. Every man who builds a weir bits to invest his money in the purchase of material before the time comes for him to erect his weir, and if the government tells him no license will be issued then that man has his material a loss on his hands. Let the people know whether licenses are to be issued and the conditions on which they are to be issued ; let the fishermen know whether lobster traps are necessary for next year or not, and if they are necessary let the fishermen have a chance to prepare them. In my count}' there are at least 7,000 souls directly depending on the fishermen, and I am sure nearly as many more indirectly dependent on them, so that it is a matter of great moment as to what action is to be taken by these two ministers who have control of the business. I would not like to see our native born citizens driven out of Canada. The county of Charlotte is largely settled by United Empire Loyalists, men who love the old flag and love it well, and who are willing to stand by it, but they cannot sit down and see their families starve. They must follow business wherever business goes whether it be in the county of Charlotte or in the state of Maine. The movement to the United States has begun already and you cannot tell to what extent it will go. I have had letters within two weeks from a man who with his son left for Machiasport, Maine, they went from Grand Manan to enter into fishing on the American side and to catch sardines along that coast, because they anticipated that the government would carry out the recommendations of this commission. If these recommendations are carried out you can go among our island homes and you will find half of them closed up simply because the people cannot possibly obtain a living in Canada. It is up to the Minister of Marine and the Minister of Customs to say what they propose to do. To-day these fishermen have a club hanging over them by each of these ministers, not knowing from day to day what orders may come from the Department of Fisheries or the Department of Customs. These two ministers cannot take action too soon, and the people of this country, and the members of this House, and the constituents I have the honour to represent believe that the Minister of Customs and the Minister of Marine should take action to-day. I move the adjournment of the House.

Sir WILFRID LAURIER, Lost.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. GEO. E. FOSTER.

Mr. Speaker, is there no one amongst the ministers to make any reply at all to this ? Certainly the allegations that are made and the inconsistencies of the report of the commission itself demand some answer. To spend the country's money with the idea of having a well qualified commission to obtain information on the question and to give the government information upon which it may base an action, to the advantage of the

fisheries themselves, and then to appoint men nearly all of them without proper qualification for the special work for which they were appointed, demands an explanation. These men make recommendations which traverse each other, comparing their first recommendations with their concluding one. The recommendations themselves are traversed by men of knowledge and experience living amongst the very conditions which these gentlemen were investigating. The legislature of the province of Xew Brunswick, which has; jurisdiction over the counties very largely interested in these fisheries, unanimously passed a resolution not only deprecating, but voiding the recommendations that were made by the commissioners in at least two important points. A fact comes out late in the day- that not only do the two recommendations as to the length of lobsters that ought to be the legal limit, traverse each other, but that there has been some communication between the Fisheries Department and interested parties whereby in a certain season, and continuing up to the present time, and for reasons which I think can be easily seen on both sides of the House, the low limit for the lobster catch, which I think every discerning man, who has studied the question and understands the conditions and knows the history of the question, would consider to be a very damaging and bad limit, was actually allowed, and that the decimation of the industry went on under that low limit, against the recommendation of the whole commission and the view of men who understand the question, that ten and a half inches should be arranged as the lowest legal limit. It seems to me that when this is brought to the attention of the House, some of the members of the cabinet who have to do with these particular branches of administration ought to make some reply in the way of explanation, so as to mitigate the circumstances as they have been set forth to-day. My right lion, friend will say that the minister who has the particular charge of this matter is not in his seat ; but I have no doubt that it will be brought to his attention, so that he can make a defence and show what he is doing with reference to the department which he administers. But one thing is shown pretty clearly, that this making of commissions for the mere sake of giving jobs to certain people, has really gone far enough. We have had commissions under almost every government in Canada since confederation , but I think I am safe in saying that no government in the same number of yeais has appointed so many commissions and appointed them so badly as the present administration. To take a newspaper editor and several others such as have been taken and appoint them as a commission to examine into and give expert testimony and light and guidance with reference to our shore fisheries, I think, was going a long distance. The mysteries of the return and

<3339

haunts of the fish are enough to tax the most expert. It is very difficult to show certainty and definiteness with reference to the coming and going of these denizens of the seas ; it certainly taxes the intelligence of the very best men ; and it would seem to me that when commissions, are appointed, if they are meant to do any good, to really get at proper conclusions, so that the government and the country will be benefited by them, the greatest care should be taken to put the best of men upon them. My right lion, friend may say that he got good men ; but I think the country is quite of opinion that he could have got a great deal better men than he did get for the purpose for which they were appointed-a fishery commission involving so much not only in a financial way, but with reference to the whole future of our country so far as it depends on fish food.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I did not understand from my hon. friend from Charlotte (Mr. Ganong) that he expected an immediate answer to the subject to which he has called the attention of the House. I rather understood from him that he wanted to make a general complaint, and then call for the information and advice of the Department of Marine and Fisheries. I may say at once, in answer to something which he said himself, and which has just been repeated by my hon. friend from North Toronto (Mr. Foster), that I do not think for my part that any fault can be found with the character of the commission which was entrusted with the important work to which this commission has given its attention ; and I think I am warranted in coming to that conclusion by the very remarks of my hon. friend from Charlotte. The commission was composed, if I remember rightly, of one of the technical officers of the Department of Marine and Fisheries, and -so far as I have heard no exception taken to the appointment of that gentleman -Mr. Yenning I think a very competent man. Another member of the commission was Mr. Bowers, of Digby, who I believe has been engaged in the fishery business all his life. I do not think any exception was taken to him either and I think he is a very competent man. True, at one time he was engaged in politics ; but I do not think that should disqualify him for exercising the functions entrusted to him if he was otherwise competent. Exception has been taken to Mr. Armstrong because he was a journalist. We all know that journalists are bound to have a wide range of information, and I judge that a gentleman who is a journalist on the seacoast of Charlotte county, from the very nature of his calling obtains information which ought to make him a competent man for the business with which Mr. Armstrong was entrusted.

I am further warranted in saying that from the fact that the recommendations made by Mr. Armstrong have met with the ap-Mr. FOSTER.

proval of my hon. friend from Charlotte. Mr. Armstrong dissented from the majority of the commission, and judging from the remarks of my hon. friend from Charlotte, that was the best evidence that he knew the subject which he had been charged to inquire into. I might say of the late member for St. John, Colonel Tucker, that though he may not be an expert, when this commission was appointed we thought it well to have him and the hon. member for -Digby (Mr. iCopp) on it, inasmuch as their constituents were deeply interested in the matter and it was to be expected that these gentlemen would put some diligence into the work. There was no job given to anybody. Mr. Venning is in the employ of the department. Mr. Bowers was formerly a member of this parliament, and so I think was Mr. Armstrong. And as regards Colonel Tucker and the hon. member for Digby, they had no emoluments or remuneration and could have none. There-' fore the charge of the hon. member for [DOT]North Toronto (Mr. Foster) is absolutely without foundation. Coming to the crucial point, namely, the recommendations made by the commission, these are for the benefit of the government and parliament. I do not agree with my hon. friend from Charlotte that this report ought not to he printed. I think, on the contrary, there is a good deal of valuable information in it, but it is not surprising that the recommendations should not be unanimous or meet with everybodys approval. The hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) knows -that we have had this question before us during the last twenty years again and again and that the matters which this commission were investigating, with the single exception of the dog-fish, are old friends both to him and myself. The size of the lobsters we have had debated again and again during the past twenty years, and on that point opinions seem to vary according to geography, with regard to the proposal to put an export duty on fish, I would hesitate very much before agreeing to any such policy. At first blush I would not be disposed to agree to it; and unless there are very strong reasons in support of it, we should be very cautious about adopting it. There is another recommendation of the commission which has met with the approval of my hon. friend from Charlotte (Mr. Ganong) and that is with regard to the disposal of the refuse in the canneries. That, I think, would commend itself to everybody. But if the recommendations of the commission are not to be accepted blindly, some good may still come from them. There is one thing as to which there is much controversy and that is the size of the lobsters. At what degree of maturity should they have been handed over to commerce ? Some suggest ten and a half inches and my hon. colleague the Minister of Marine and Fisheries, I see has allowed nine

inches. I am not competent to pronounce any judgment in the matter, but the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) will agree with me-for he has had the experience when he held office-that as soon as some restriction is imposed upon some parties, the government are assailed for having injured some particular interest. Then if the complaints are acceded to, the government are assailed on the other hand for having done an injustice to some rival interest. Should we have lobster canneries in the county of Charlotte or not ? I understood from my hon. friend that if we were to restore the regulation to ten and a half inches, we would send away from the county of Charlotte an industry now carried on there by American canneries, !and if we keep on the regulation of nine inches, these American canneries will remain with us and our people have the benefit of that industry. I do not kno'w that the government could have done better than appoint a commission ; even though the commission is not unanimous. The selection was not a bad one and the report, though not accepted in all particulars, may give valuable information.

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CON

Alfred Augustus Stockton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STOCKTON.

X was not aware that my hon. friend from Charlotte intended bringing this question up to-day. This question was discussed when I was running my election. My constituency adjoins the county of Charlotte, and the difficulty with the fishermen in the city and county of St. John was why there should be a discrimination between the county of Charlotte and that constituency. I am not going into a discussion of the question to-day. I want to read that report carefully, but I am glad to hear the leader of the government say that he personally, as at present advised, is not in favour of putting an export duty on fresh fish going to the United 'States. Should that be done, it would destroy the fishery industry in the county of Charlotte and along the shores of the city and county t. John. With respect to the lobster question, I know that there is some difference of opinion regarding the size of the lobsters to be caught-whether nine inch or ten inch or ten and a half All I ask is that the government before acting should seriously consider the situation and as soon as possible make known to the fishermen along the coast 'what the government intend to do. il am convinced that if the restrictions suggested in this report should [DOT]be carried out, we will lose a large section of the population of the county of 'Charlotte and along the shores of the city and county of St. John who are engaged in the fishery business. I do not know that this is a political question ; I hope not. Jt is a commercial question. It is a question as to what is in the best interest of the fish industry of the city and county of St. John and the county of Charlotte and to that extent of the whole Dominion. All I ask is that the right hon. gentleman and his government will seriously pause and consider before carrying out ail the recommendations in that report, and that whatever be done will be done within a reasonable limit so that those hardy men engaged in that industry may know what to expect and we may not lose any of them from our midst.

Hon. ft. LEMIEUX (Gaspe). I am not very familiar with the problems of our fisheries, yet, as the county of Gasp6, which I have the honour to represent, is deeply interested in these matters, I desire to say a word. I am strongly convinced that the remarks made by my hon. friend from Charlotte (Mr. Ganong) with regard to the commission are too severe. I have followed the work of that commission during its sessions, and I must say that it has rendered valuable service not only to the fishermen of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the province of Quebec, hut to the Dominion at large. First of all, as to the composition of the commission, every one must admit that Mr. Venning, who is the moving spirit of the commission, is a gentleman whose name must carry weight in these matters. Mr. Yenning was not looking for a job, as the right hon. Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) said a moment ago. He was already one of the officers, one of the most worthy officers, of the Department of Marine and Fisheries, a gentleman whose evidence has been given before international tribunals and whose opinion upon any great question of the fisheries is certainly very weighty. I know that Mr. Venning has followed that commission and has instructed it, and lias gathered most valuable evidence, perhaps, especially in the county I represent, the county of Gaspe. For instance, I am sure that the hon. members of Charlotte (Mr. Ganong) and St. John city and county (Mr. Stockton) are aware that the Magdalen islands, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence form one of the most favoured spots in this Dominion for the prosecution of the lobster fishery. Until the commission was appointed, there were difficulties there, not only as regards the size of lobsters to be taken but as regards the seasons for fishing. My hon. friend (Mr. Ganong) says that in certain counties the minimum size of lobsters allowed to be taken is 9 inches and in others It) or 10J inches. Well, as regards the season, it was contended on the part of the fishermen of Gaspe county that the season in the Magdalen islands should be extended because the lobster would appear in the waters of Pleasant bay about fifteen or twenty days after they bad appeared at Prince Edward Island. Well, it was a question for the commission to know at what time the season should begin and up to what time it should extend-a most important question. And it was complicated by another fact. As my bon. friend knows, in the Magdalen islands-and I speak of the Magdalen islands

because, as every one knows they ai'e a great centre of the lobster fishery, there being large and important canneries there, including those of a number of America! firms who have settled there and who carry on an immense trade not only w-itli Canada but with England and France-I say, in the Magdalen islands there is a series of lagoons.

' It is a remarkable fact that sand bars encircle the islands, so completely that at certain hours of the day you can drive around the islands. Between these sand bars and the islands there are what are called lagoons, and in these lagoons are spawning beds of the lobsters. In these lagoons-I suppose because of defect in the regulations on the subject-and event during the prohibited season, the fishermen would ply their trade, not only destroying uselessly immense numbers of lobsters but putting upon the market a very inferior product. When the commission was appointed I directed the attention of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. PrSfontaine) to the importance of having the commission visit the Magdalen islands, and also St. Paul's island near Cape Breton, and study the special conditions of these places as affecting the lobster fishery. The commission visited these places and collected most important information. When my hon. friend from St. John (Mr. Stockton) and my hon. friend from Charlotte (Mr. Ganong) shall have read the report of the commissioners, especially the report of the investigation that took place at the Magdalen islands, I think they will agree with me that this commission has rendered great service not only to the fishermen of the martime provinces but to the fishing industry of this Dominion.

Another thing which was studied most particularly by this commission rvas the presence of the dog-fish in Canadian waters. As a representative of the county of Gaspe I have received not merely scores and hundreds, but, in all, probably two thousand letters from my electors within the last two years on this subject. I do not know whether the dog-fisli formerly frequented the shores of St. John county and Charlotte county, but it is only within the last two of three years that they have appeared in the waters bordering upon Gaspe. The dogfish destroys immense quantities of commercial fish, being the special enemy of the cod, and the cod fishery is the great industry of the Gaspe fishermen. As I say, I received many inquiries from my electors to know what the government could do to help them against this pest. We know .that in Australia the government authorities have paid bounties to secure the destruction of the rabbit and of other animals that menaced the success of the agriculturist. On the same principle, a system was proposed for the destruction of the dog-fish in Canadian waters. The commission have studied that question most carefully, and I am sure that when their report is published it will result Mr. L.EMIEUX.

in great advantage to the fishermen of this Dominion. The Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Frefontaine) has spoken to me about this matter many times since the commission reported, and he has under consideration a scheme which, I am sure, will receive the earnest support of both sides of this House and which when carried into effect, I believe will cause the disappearance of the dog-fish from our shores.

All this I say in order to defend the policy-followed by the Minister of Marine and Fisheries. That hon. gentleman is not in his place in the House this afternoon, for he is attending a most important meeting of the Harbour Commission in Montreal. If he were here I am sure he would corroborate the explanations I have just given. I am not able to speak of the personal qualifications of the other members of the commission. But I am sure I shall be upheld by my hon. friend from North Toronto (Mr. Foster), when I say that the fact of Mr. Venning, the expert officer of the Department of Marine and Fisheries, being connected with the commission is a guarantee of the earnest efforts which must have been made by the commission to promote the best interests of the Canadian fishing industry.

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CON
LIB

Henry Robert Emmerson (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Hon. H. R. BMMERSON (Minister of Railways and Canals).

One word with respect to the question of uniformity. The original limit for lobsters in the Bay of Fundy was 9} inches. That limit prevailed until about a year and a-half ago, when, at the solicitation of the gentleman to whom my hon. friend who has just spoken (Mr. Daniel) has referred, Mr. Tucker, who was 202

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REVISED


then representing the constituency of St. John, a change was made and an order was passed enlarging the limit on lobsters on the New Brunswick shore of the Bay of Fundy. That created a want of uniformity. It was' contended by the people of Grand Manan and St. Mary's bay, where the water is shallow, that if you were to enlarge the limit to 10} inches it would absolutely destroy their fishery, and at the solicitation of the member for St. John the limit was changed against the protest of the fishermen of the county of Charlotte. Their contention, and particularly that of those on the island of Grand Manan, was that as the waters contiguous to the shore of the county of Charlotte were of a shallow character, the smaller lobsters only came there and that a limit of 10} inches would destroy their fishery. Farther up the bay, along the shores of the county of St. John, where the water was deeper, that objection did not prevail, and they wished to be placed in the same category with the lobster fishermen of St. Mary's bay across the Bay of Fundy, on the Nova Scotia shore. Their representations were very loud, they were very persistent, and they continued to be so during the last session. They had delegations here, they made representations and sent memorials, and finally, before the fishing season opened last fall, the Charlotte county fisheries were separated from those of St. John and the limit was dropped to its original length-9} inches. That, of course, has caused a want of uniformity. The fishermen of Charlotte county did not ask to have the limit changed, the fishermen of Grand Manan were opposed to it, arid they said it was St. John influences which brought about the change. It was not agreeable to them, and they wanted it put hack to their original limit, pending the final determination of the question by the commission and this was done. Motion (Mr. Ganong) to adjourn, negatived.


REPORT OF RAILWAY COMMISSION.

LIB

Henry Robert Emmerson (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Hon. H. R. BMMERSON (Minister of Railways and Canals).

Before the Orders of the Day are called, I would ask leave to' submit the report of the Board of Railway Commissioners for Canada. The report is in two parts, a report of proceedings from February 1 to June 30, 1904 ; and part 2nd, a report of proceedings from July 1 to December 31, 1904.

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PRIVATE BILLS.

NORTHWEST TELEPHONE COMPANY.

?

Mr. J. G.@

TURRIFF moved the third reading of Bill (No. 28) to incorporate the Northwest Telephone Company.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Subtopic:   NORTHWEST TELEPHONE COMPANY.
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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN.

I thought we were to have a declaration from the hon. Postmaster General (Sir William Mulock)

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Subtopic:   NORTHWEST TELEPHONE COMPANY.
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EDITION


in regard to this Bill. I have no objection to the Bill going through because therq are one or two good provisions in it, but probably these provisions will be embodied in a general Act.


May 22, 1905