May 26, 1905

LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. P RE FONTAINE.

It is found that $85,000 for salaries is not adequate to meet the expenditure. In 1896 and 1897 the appropriation was reduced from $100,000 to $85,000. At the time negotiations were between the provinces of Ontario and Quebec and the Dominion government as to certain jurisdiction an amount was placed in the estimates without being in a position to determine as to the amount required. Last year a similar amount of $20,000 was placed in the supplementary estimates, bringing the total up to $105,000. Since 1896 it has been the practice to vote in the main estimates only $85,000 leaving always a further sum to be voted in the supplementary estimates. I think that is bad policy. We should ask for what is necessary and my intention in future is to ask for exactly the amount that is necessary and not leave any back account. We will place the right amount in the main estimates in the next financial year.

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Mr. I@

I should like to make an observation as to the work done by many of these overseers, although as I am informed, a great many of them do no work at all. These men are supposed to prevent poaching, but in a great many cases, as men who are familiar with the facts inform me, they really do nothing. They do not pretend to do anything. It is a mere sinecure from which they enjoy a small salary and travelling expenses. One of these overseers, for instance, simply takes his own horse and wagon, drives around and charges up his alleged travelling expenses. That is the explanation which was given to me in this House about three years ago. That is not desirable. There is work that these men ought to be doing throughout the country. The laws regarding the observance of the fishery regulations are not observed. Public opinion is against their observance in some localities.

The men who ought to he protecting the fisheries and enforcing the observance of the law are looking on, practically conniving and paying no attention to their duties, taking good care never to be on hand when the laws are being broken. Representations have been made to me from various parts of the maritime provinces in regard to this, and I think the minister should take the matter up and see that men are appointed who will, whether it be popular or not, enforce the law. One man in my late constituency of Halifax, a most excellent officer, who went about on all occasions in the performance of his duty and did his duty fearlessly and well was dismissed and after his dismissal offered to continue in office without any salary, travelling expenses or indemnity whatever, Simply because he took an interest in the preservation of the fish. I am sure he was supported in the position he took by every one who knew him in the country and who had any interest whatever in the preservation of the law. However, he happened to be in the habit of voting for the Conservative candidate, and it was thought better to put him to one side, although he was an excellent and fearless officer and to appoint some one who simply shut his eyes and winked at violations of the law. In some localities in the maritime provinces, the law is being violated by the friends and neighbours of the Officers, they know it is being violated and take no steps to prevent it. Public money paid out under these circumstances for this purpose is worse than absolutely wasted and I would like to know from the minister whether or not he has heard anything of these circumstances, whether he is cognizant of them. There is no doubt about the accuracy of the information. The whole administration of this law seems to be a farce. Men are paid a small salary and very considerable sums for supposed travelling expenses which simply means remuneration to them for the employment of their own horse and carriage. Then they wink at the violation of the law. I have not time for sport of this kind myself and I do not know these things personally, but I am told by men who take an interest in the matter that the law is openly violated. We should not proceed in that way, but either give up any appearance of attempting to enforce the law or put men in these positions at a reasonable salary who will see that the law is carried out. One or the other course ought to be adopted. I am sure the minister will agree.

Mr. PitF.FONTAINE. I agree as to the breach of the law and regulation but we have such a vast territory that with all the good will in the world it is almost impossible under the present circumstances to have these regulations and laws followed up to the letter. I have had complaints and have tried as much as possible to remedy the complaints in every case. As regards the 211

special case mentioned by the hon. gentle-| man I may tell him he may rest assured that 1 I would never discharge a good officer for such a reason as he has mentioned.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

1 hope not ; this was long before the hon. gentleman's time. [DOT]

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

Good officers are too difficult to secure and maintain in office. When they do their duty I certainly would not countenance any complaint made against officers who would follow the letter of the law and be rather severe. If the hon. gentleman were in my place he would find it very difficult to have the regulations followed as they should be followed. People will try to evade the regulations. We have the lobster regulations vrhich provide that lobsters of a certain size must not be taken. Well, unless we had an overseer or inspector on .every fishing boat it is almost impossible to detect frauds or the offences that are committed. In order to avoid the taking of seed lobsters what had we to do last year ? We made an experiment which has proved very satisfactory. We offered to establish ponds where the seed lobsters would be deposited and we would purchase them. We succeeded in that wray last year in saving over 500,000 seed lobsters. Probably out of this 500,000, 250,000, a Quarter of a million, would have been sacrificed. This goes to show' howr difficult it is to have these laws followed, but I am sure that the service is not worse, than it wras before and I should think that it was better. We have tried to organize it on the best footing possible and I am not going to give up the work until I am satisfied that proper protection is given to such a great industry as our fisheries. If any suggestions are made as regards improvements in inspecting and better protecting the fisheries I am ready to accept them from whatever side they come ; it makes no difference to me, I am ready to do what is in the public interest in this matter because I think there is no politics w'hatever, it is purely and simply a question of public interest that is at stake.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

One association in the maritime provinces, I think, has made a suggestion to the minister that if he would accept their recommendation with respect to the appointment of an overseer they would undertake to assist iu every way in the enforcement of the law, and they believe the law can be enforced. The difficulty is that men are appointed in that particular locality who do not pretend to attempt to enforce the law but simply regard the appointment as a mere sinecure bringing them $25, $50 or $100 a year and who make no effort whatever, as every one knows, to enforce the law. These people who are interested in the presenva-tion of the fish say that if the minister will accept their recommendation they will endeavour to secure and recommend a

fearless man who could be expected to *carry out what he undertakes and if such a man is selected all the members of this association interested as they are in the preservation of the fisheries will join and give their support to that man and in that 'way certainly enforce the law very much better than it is enforced at present.

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

I do not know of *the organization to which the hon. gentleman alludes, but I know of an organization in New Brunswick from whom X have accepted all suggestions of that kind willingly and *with the greatest pleasure and I have acted *upon them. There is a great complaint of some people who do not want these rules to be applied as they should be applied, and if such an association puts itself into communication with the department I am quite sure they will accept the suggestion. I think they have already done so. If not, X shall be glad to give the name of the president or some of the officers to the hon. gentleman or some of his officials.

Further amount required for the building and maintenance of fish-breeding establishments,

110,000.

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CON

William James Roche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. J. ROCHE.

I believe the hon. minister Informed the House some time ago that it was his intention to establish more fish hatcheries on lake Winnipeg. The hon. gentleman, I believe, was in receipt of a board of trade resolution or a series of resolutions from the town of Selkirk some time in the early part of this year, in which they complained of the manner in which the hatchery at the town of Selkirk was being operated, and also made some suggestions in regard to increasing the hatcheries on that lake. One of the clauses of the resolution reads :

The said hatchery has never hitherto been made use of to more than a small fraction of its capacity, due chiefly to the imperfect means used for procuring the whitefish ova, past experience having shown that attempts to procure ova for this hatchery by means of gill nets have been almost if not absolutely failures, and it is desirable >to make use of some better and more certain method of procuring the said ova.

They go on to make further suggestions : First, that tile hatchery at Selkirk be operated to its full capacity, secondly, that additional hatcheries be established' at Be-rin's river or Big Black river or at some other convenient location on the east shore of Lake Winnipeg ; and, third, that a full equipment of pound-nets be provided to procure an ample quantity of whitefish was to supply the hatcheries to their fullest capacity. I would ask the hon. minister if he has responded to this resolution by establishing additional hatcheries, improving the method of securing the ova, and making arrangements to operate the hatchery at Selkirk at its fullest capacity ?

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CON
LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

I may say that X sent out Mr. Cunningham, the inspector, to Manitoba and British Columbia during the last few months, tie returned about a month ago, and has made certain recommendations in the sense which the hon. gentleman has mentioned. He has recommended the establishment of another hatchery in the lakes of Manitoba, besides the enlargement of the one at Selkirk. I think all these matters will he settled in time. Of course, I cannot go faster than the money is voted. I have exceeded the vote of last year by $10,000 owing to some pressing work in British Columbia, which was done so quickly that the money is due before the 1st of July, and it gives my officer a chance of going elsewhere. I am perfectly alive to the situation in the west as regards improvements in hatcheries, and if I had the money available, I would give speedy satisfaction to the people there.

Further amount required to pay persons employed in the Department of Marine and Fisheries fob services in connection with the distribution of the fishing bounty, notwithstanding anything in the Civil Service Act, $600.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

What is the meaning of this ?

Mr. PREI'ONTAINE. Every year there is a certain amount voted to pay those who make out the cheques for the distribution of the fishing bounty. It is never certain whether the expenditure will exceed the amount voted. This year it exceeded the amount by $600. There are about thirty girls employed doing this work in the winter.

Lighthouse and coast service-further amount required for maintenance and repairs to lighthouses, $7-5,000.

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

I need not say that it is the desire of the department to efficiently maintain these aids to navigation. The appropriations which have been granted in the past have not been entirely sufficient, owing to the fact of the rapid increase in the number of aids to navigation, and the further fact that many of the lighthouses were without the required repairs. An additional amount is asked to place the system in an efficient state of repair, and when granted the ordinary vote should be sufficient to maintain it in proper shape. The department has never been able to catch up with the repairs which have been required, and it is deemed in the interests of the service to take steps at once to carry these out and to bring the different lighthouses up to a state of efficiency. In order to avoid as much as possible the heavy repairs which have been necessitated in the past, the department is more and more building permanent piers of steel and concrete rather than structures of wood as formerly. The first cost of

these is of course larger, but money is saved in the greater length of life. It is desired to minimize as much as possible the maintenance vote, and, as intimated above, the department is taking every possible step to carry this out. The introduction of steel skeleton towers has been a feature in recent construction by the department and the substitution of concrete piers for aids formerly built of timber. The total number of light stations, lightships, and fog alarms in the Dominion on June 30. 1904, was 790 and lights shown 9,996 ; the number of steam whistles, fog horns, bells and guns, 99 ; the number of lighthouses, 783. The increase in the number of aids to navigation in recent years rendered it desirable to increase the facilities for their proper inspection and operation. The large increase in the tonnage and size of the vessels on the great lakes necessitates a closer supervision and more frequent inspection than has obtained heretofore. Also the extended coast line of Canada, rivers, harbours and other navigable waters, require a large number of buoys. Annually the number of buoys have been increased, but in the past year the increase has been larger than in any previous year, causing a correspondingly larger expenditure. The cost of the buoy service alone last year, w'hich was charged to maintenance, was $125,000. I beg to refer you to the report of the department, page 3, which gives an interesting report of the lighthouse service. A large number of lighthouses were built soon after confederation and extensive repairs are now required in order to put them in good condition. A number are in such shape that practically new towers will require to be built, and, as it is important that the lighthouses should be kept up to the highest standard, this cannot be accomplished without the expenditure of money. I am per-sonnally aware of the representations that were made in years gone by as regards this service. I remember that when I belonged to the Board of Harbour Commissioners of Montreal, delegations came year after year asking for improvements in this respect. At that time the steamers navigating the St. Lawrence were not at all what they are now ; the aids to navigation which were sufficient ten years ago have now become obsolete ; and not only have they to be replaced as rapidly as possible but more quickly than we can do it, because the steamers are increasing in size in greater proportion than our improvements. Under these circumstances, I think this is money well spent in the interests of the country, and it will yield its return in proper time. I think everybody is convinced of the necessity of these improvements.

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CON

Samuel Barker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARKER.

The minister has been addressing himself, I think, to several of the sub-items. As regards the vote for the maintenance and repairs of lighthouses, will he tell us what the previous amount was that was voted for that purpose for the year 1904-5.

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LIB
CON

Samuel Barker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARKER.

It would be convenient if the amount voted in the main estimates for a particular service were put in a separate column alongside each supplementary item. It is most extraordinary that in a well managed department there should be $75,000 out in the estimate of money required for a year's repairs. This is not a question of building additional lighthouses; it is simply to repair existing structures.

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

It is impossible to say in advance how much it will cost to keep these aids to navigation in proper condition for you never can know what damage will be done by ice and so on. If we were to allow three months of line weather to elapse without doing necessary repairs the steamship companies would complain bitterly and with reason that the country was not doing its duty in this respect. We have decided to maintain these aids to navigation in the best possible condition in order to satisfy the shipping federation. It might be interesting to give the committee information as regards the beneficial effect of these improvements on the commerce and navigation of the St. Lawrence route. I have information here which it is just as well should not be made public with reference to that matter, but people generally do not know that the St. Lawrence route is a more expensive route than the route to the Atlantic ports of the United States. I have a letter from Sir George E. Dx-ummond, who imports large cargoes of raw sugar every year. Every one admits the patriotism of Sir George Drummond, and we know that he would rather take his trade to the St. Lawrence than elsewhere, but sometimes as a matter of business and under certain circumstances he is obliged to import via Boston and Portland where the cost is from 25 to 30 per cent lower than via the St. Lawrence. I do not wish to dwell on this or to go into exact details which might be detrimental to the St. Lawrence route, but it is well known to all business men that the insurance rates to the St. Lawrence are from 25 to 50 per cent higher than to Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Newport News, Norfolk and other United States ports. Even with the comparatively small work we have done in the last few years, I am glad to say that last year the insurance rates were reduced by 20 per cent on first-class risks and that reduction is of great advantage to Canadian trade. Mr. R. Wil-son-Smith, of Montreal, who publishes a

financial journal estimates that the total amount of marine insurance on the St. Lawrence route per year is $400,000,000, hull and cargo included, and the premium paid on that is $3,500,000 no difference being made lie tween Montreal and Quebec. The rates on the St. Lawrence are from 35 to 50 per cent higher according to the season than the rates to United States Atlantic ports. The Allan Line, Dominion Line, Reford steamers, and Canadan Pacific Railway line are all rated as first class ; the Manchester and Furness lines, second class, and tramp and outside steamers are included in the third class. The reduction of 20 per cent in the rate made in 1904 is quite a gain to the trade of the country as you will see by estimating it on the total premium paid. If we had the St. Lawrence route in such condition that it would compare with any of these United States ports I have mentioned in the rarity of accidents, and if the rates were reduced 30 per cent of 50 per cent in all-the 50 per cent excess rate only applies to tramp boats and steamers of the third class-the fifty per cent reduction would mean for one season of navigation $1,500,000 according to these figures given to me by this expert, and thus the saving effected in five years after the improved system had been completed would represent a very enormous sum of money indeed.

The boards of trade of Quebec, Montreal, Halifax and St. John have all been making representations to the department, and not only have they been making representations, but they have approved of what we have done. I will not repeat here the resolutions of congratulation to the department and the government that have been passed by these bodies. This is certainly the most important question that comes before parliament. If we spend a great deal of money'in establishing these Marconi stations, in putting in sub-marine bells and fog alarm systems, in trebling or quadrupling the capacity of the lights and adding to their number-if we do all we can to make accidents impossible, unless pilots or masters will run their boats ashore for the fun of it or through gross negligence, it stands to reason that the whole country will benefit. This is not a question of politics or of government policy, as between one party or another, for everybody agrees on this subject. The conditions must be met, and met as rapidly as possible. And even with our greatest progress, we shall not be able to keep up with the increased size of the steamers on the route. We have already two immense steamers, the ' Virginian ' and the ' Victorian.' The Canadian Pacific Railway has given a contract for two others of even larger size. The tendency is constantly to increase the size of vessels. Let us give the greatest protection to them that we jjan. Money spent in that way will receive the approbation of every one, even of those who are not in-Mr. PREFONTAINE.

terested in navigation. This is not a new idea by any means. Before I had the honour of occupying my present position I was connected with navigation in an indirect way as harbour commissioner of Montreal for four years. I took a great interest in those matters and mixed with people connected with navigation, and I knew that whatever was wisely done to improve the navigation on this route would receive the approval ot business men. whether they are directly connected with navigation or not.

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CON

Samuel Barker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARKER.

I did not raise any question as to additional aids to navigation. I was not discussing that, nor did" I expect the minister to explain it. The item concerning which I asked an explanation was tile first item-'maintenance and repairs of existing lighthouses. The hon. gentleman received last year a grant of $500,000 for the year's repairs. Apparently he has expended $575,000. That was money required to repair existing structures. With any proper care on the part of the officers he ought to have been able to judge more closely than he seems able to do what he needed for repairs, for $575,000 is a considerable sum to expend in one year for repairs beyond what he called for originally.

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

This is for maintenance also.

Mr. BARKER, Maintenance is a part of repairs. This is for maintaining existing buildings, I take it.

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

No ; maintenance includes supplies for the different services.

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CON
LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

Yes.

Mr. BARKER, Then that seems to be rather worse. I suppose the department ought to know very closely how much will he required for supplies for existing lighthouses for the year. There seems less excuse for being- $75,000 out than if repairs were the only item. I simply point out that there must be a great deal of looseness in the estimates, when the hon. minister is $75,000 out in an item of this kind. I think it requires some explanation of how the error was made. There would have been no objection, I take it, last year to grant the hon. gentleman $575,000 or $600,000 if he had said he needed it. But he told us he only wanted $500,000, and that was given. Now, he has spent $75,000 more than the House authorized.

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May 26, 1905