Clerk Legislative Assembly, Prince Edward Island.
The resolution referred to in that letter reads as follows:
Resolution passed unanimously by the legislative assembly, Prince Edward Island, March, 1908.
Resolved, that this legislature, recognizing the difficulties and loss entailed to the owners and charterers of sailing, vessels, also to the consumers of coal in this province on account of the preference habitually given to steam tonnage as distinguished from sailing vessels, at the piers of the leading collieries in Nova Scotia, in the matter of'loading coal caiwes, respectfully request the government ot Nova. Scotia to exercise such powers as may be within its rights, to secure fair and equitable treatment for the sailing vessels at.such piers, and if those powers be inadequate to the end proposed, recommend that said government shall have recourse to the federal authorities, with a view to securing the rights and privileges in question.
Further resolved, that this legislative assembly respectfully request the federal government to pass such legislation, if necessary, as will give to sailing and steam tonnage equal rights iij their, proper loading turns at the coal ports in Nova Scotia.
I understand that a copy of these resolutions has been sent to the government at Ottawa, and is now in the hands of the Mr. McLEAN.
Minister of Marine and Fisheries. I understand that it is a moot question whether the federal authorities have power to deal with this matter or whether the power rests with the legislature of the province of Nova Scotia. But I think this matter is one which peculiarly lies within the powers of the parliament of Canada to deal with. This is not a matter of purely local importance, because vessels from various provinces of Canada habitually load at these piers. It is true, these companies, or most of them, are chartered by the legislature of the province of Nova Scotia; but notwithstanding that fact, I think this parliament has power to regulate the manner in which vessels shall be loaded and unloaded at these piers. Under the shipping laws of the Dominion of Canada all the regulations for the unloading of vessels are subject to the parliament of Canada. If this parliament has power to regulate the unloading of vessels, I do not see why it should not equally have power to regulate the loading of vessels. It has power under the federal shipping law to say what space shall be allotted for cattle on vessels, how many bushels of grain a vessel may carry, how much draft it may draw, etc. Why, then, should it not have power to regulate the manner in which vessels from Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec shall be loaded at these piers? It may be and probably will be said that these concerns are private concerns, and can make contracts to load as they please. Vessels from all parts of Canada come to these places for coal. Under the circumstances, this is a matter of federal importance which may come under the head of regulation of trade and commerce, subsection 2 of section 91 British North America Act. Why should not this parliament have the power, under that section, to regulate the manner in which vessels shall be loaded, the same as they regulate, under subsection 10, which deals with navigation and shipping, the manner in which vessels shall lie in the harbour or conduct themselves at a pier. Under these regulations, no vessel is permitted to carry any spars clear of her hull because that might interfere with other vessels coming in.