May 4, 1908

CON

Angus Alexander McLean

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. A. McLEAN.

So far as I am concerned, I want to tell the hon. gentleman that no representations were made to me except those which come from the legislature of Prince Edward Island and from the captains whose petition I read to the House.

Topic:   SUPPLY-SHIPPING AT COLLIERIES.
Subtopic:   R. H. MONTGOMERY,
Permalink
CON

Alexander Martin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. MARTIN.

I can say the same thing, and I would like to know now what representations the hon. gentleman refers to.

Topic:   SUPPLY-SHIPPING AT COLLIERIES.
Subtopic:   R. H. MONTGOMERY,
Permalink
LIB

Alexander Johnston

Liberal

Mr. JOHNSTON.

I understood that my hon. friends from Prince Edward Island were speaking this afternoon as a result of certain representations which had been made to them. If no representations have been made to them, I can quite understand their position. I take it, then, that the fact that no representations have been made to them accounts for the extraordinary position they take.

Topic:   SUPPLY-SHIPPING AT COLLIERIES.
Subtopic:   R. H. MONTGOMERY,
Permalink
CON

Alexander Martin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. MARTIN.

I do not want the hon. gentleman to put words into my mouth. I told him distinctly that no representations were made to me except what I referred to when I spoke.

Topic:   SUPPLY-SHIPPING AT COLLIERIES.
Subtopic:   R. H. MONTGOMERY,
Permalink
LIB

Alexander Johnston

Liberal

Mr. JOHNSTON.

Then I am to assume that representations were made to my hon. friend in regard to this matter. If representations had been made to my hon. friend, as I am bound to assume they were

Topic:   SUPPLY-SHIPPING AT COLLIERIES.
Subtopic:   R. H. MONTGOMERY,
Permalink
CON

Alexander Martin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. MARTIN.

Your representations don't fit.

Topic:   SUPPLY-SHIPPING AT COLLIERIES.
Subtopic:   R. H. MONTGOMERY,
Permalink
LIB

Alexander Johnston

Liberal

Mr. JOHNSTON.

I was right, it is evident, when I assumed earlier that the facts were the last thing my hon. friend from Prince Edward Island (Mr. Martin) desired with regard to this question. It was not a remedy for this alleged grievance that my hon. friend desired.

Topic:   SUPPLY-SHIPPING AT COLLIERIES.
Subtopic:   R. H. MONTGOMERY,
Permalink
CON

Angus Alexander McLean

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. A. McLEAN.

What representations does the hon. gentleman refer to ? I do not know what he means.

Topic:   SUPPLY-SHIPPING AT COLLIERIES.
Subtopic:   R. H. MONTGOMERY,
Permalink
LIB

Alexander Johnston

Liberal

Mr. JOHNSTON.

I am satisfied now none were made to my hon. friend. Alter he had finished his operations a little while ago, I came to the conclusion that none had been made to him. His remarks showed such an absolute want of knowledge on the question, that I cannot imagine he had received any representations. As my hon. friend from Pictou (Mr. Macdonald) has pointed out, the immediate question arose in connection with the difficulty at Port Hastings last fall. As my hon. friend has pointed out, the Dominion Coal Company have made special provisions for attending to the class of shipping referred to this afternoon. Some years ago a question arose of alleged discrimination against sailing vessels, but steps were taken by those interested to provide a remedy. Representations, for instance, had been made to myself, but when they were, I did not take the course followed by my hon. friend. I did not conceal the representations in my pocket, but went with them to the people who could remedy the grievance. I went to the operators of the mines in Nova Scotia and Cape Bretou, who are reasonable people ; and I may tell my hon. friend something perhaps he does not know, and that is that every coal operator in Nova Scotia is anxious to accommodate this particular trade of which he speaks. It is a profitable trade for them. There is not a coal operator who would not be pleased to be in a position to deal with it. I made representations some three or four years ago to the Dominion) Coal Company, and that company took steps to provide specially for the accommodation of this particular class of traffic about which my hon. friend is so much concerned. I can tell him that the Dominion Coal Company all last year were advertising in the newspapers for schooners to come to the coal pier which the company had constructed specially for the accommodation of this class of shipping, and a large number of these schooners did come. The company were prepared to accommodate more than they were able to get. At the other piers of the company there were from time to time people who represented that they had not been properly treated. I made representations to the company, and they assured me that during the coming season they will, at least three days in the week, give preference to the particular class of craft referred to. If my hon. friend had been interested in this question in any other respect than as a grievance, he -would have sought some information from the people engaged in the trade, and he would have found out that they are making provision to the best of their ability for the accommodation of this traffic. My hon. friend ought to know that the coal companies in Nova Scotia have, in order to keep their men about them, to go into the markets in advance and sell their coal. They

go out months in advance in order to find a market and enter into contracts for the supply of coal, and if they fail to deliver according to contract they are under a forfeit. And it might well happen that when a schooner arrives on a certain day, there is no coal available on that particular day because the company has already sold that day's supply and is under contract to deliver it to a buyer who bought it perhaps months in advance. These are some of the difficulties. They were correctly outlined by my hon. friend from Halifax (Mr. Roche) a short time ago, when he pointed out that it is somewhat difficult to say to any company engaged in coal mining that it cannot make provision for the sale and transportation of its own coal. The coal companies charter their own fleets of steamers, sell their own coal, and carry it on those steamers. In no other way can they successfully conduct their operations. The St. Lawrence market is the one upon which, in the main, the collieries of Nova Scotia depend, and the main portion of the coal mined in Nova Scotia must be marketed in the St. Lawrence, and marketed not by the particular class of craft referred to, but by large steamers. So far as the grievances of the schooners are concerned, they have been removed as far as possible. I have consulted not alone the Dominion Coal Company but other proprietors in Nova Scotia, and they all assure me that they were willing to go to the extent to accommodate this particular class of vessels.' During the coming season they are going to lay themselves out still further to meet the demands made upon them. I would say to my hon. friend, the Postmaster General, who wrote me a short time ago, that I have directed the attention of the Dominion Coal Company in my county to the representations made by him. The general sales agent of the company assured me not later than last night, that if schooners from the constituency of the Postmaster General were in need of coal, he would be prepared to accommodate them during the coming season. Any impartial observer who takes the trouble to ascertain the facts, must admit that reasonable efforts are being made by the coal companies to meet the demands upon them.

Topic:   SUPPLY-SHIPPING AT COLLIERIES.
Subtopic:   R. H. MONTGOMERY,
Permalink
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Hon. RODOLPHE LEMIEUX (Postmaster General).

I do not wish to interfere in the debate except to say that a few days ago I received a letter from the local member for the Magdalen Islands complaining of the trouble experienced in the last few years in getting coal from the collieries in Cape Breton, and he wanted me to see my hon. friend who represents Cape Breton (Mr. Johnston) and endeavour to have satisfactory provisions made for the future. After talking the matter over with my hon. friend from Cape Breton (Mr. Johnston) and my hon. friend from Pictou (Mr. Macdonald), I was glad to learn that they will Mr. JOHNSTON.

do their best with the collieries so as to have the people from Magdalen Island accommodated. I have the fullest confidence in my hon. friend's judgment and good intentions, and the electors of Magdalen Island will be glad to know that in the future they will get their coal at the earliest opportunity.

Topic:   SUPPLY-SHIPPING AT COLLIERIES.
Subtopic:   R. H. MONTGOMERY,
Permalink
LIB

James Joseph Hughes

Liberal

Mr. J. J. HUGHES (Kings, P. E. I.).

There is no doubt that the owners and masters of small sailing vessels who were detained for weeks last autumn at Port Hastings and some other places where they were accustomed to get coal, and finally had to leave without cargoes, while they saw steamers arriving long after they had arrived, get cargoes and leave-there is no doubt that these men were subjected to loss and hardship and annoyance. They lost a trip of their vessels ; they had to disappoint the customers to whom they expected to supply coal ; and they had the annoyance of waiting there for some weeks and leaving, in many cases, without coal. This is a somewhat difficult thing to remedy. It appears that the demand for coal last year, at some of the coal ports was unusually large. This is one of the signs of the ' growing time.' I suppose that, in a growing country like this, where the demand for coal is increasing rapidly every year, some inconvenience will be experienced, particularly when vessels leave it somewhat late in the year before applying for their usual coal supply. The masters of these vessels did a reasonable thing, a natural thing, in applying where they thought they might find a remedy, in making their grievances known, in applying to the legislatures, and to the members of parliament. And the knowledge obtained in that way has perhaps resulted, or will result, in bringing about a remedy. For my own part, I have received several representations from captains on this subject. I have also received a resolution passed by the legislature of Prince Edward Island, and a resolution passed by the Board of Trade of Charlottetown. I have brought these resolutions to the notice of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries and to the notice of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding), because he is one of the ministers from the maritime provinces. But it appears to me that there was great difficulty in the government interfering in private business of that kind, and saying when and how and to whom the coal mine owners should sell coal, and in what way they should sell it. I am not learned in the law, but still I could see a difficulty in any government interfering in private business. Of course, I can imagine a condition of things arising that would be so important to the country that the government would be obliged to interfere for the greatest good of the people. But that condition, I am satisfied, has not yet arisen.

Now, in order to arrive at something practical in the way of a settlement of this difficulty during the present year, I made it my business to meet some of the directers of the coal companies from which the people of Prince Edward Island get their supplies. Mr. McLean, a director of the Port Hood mines was one of the directors I met. I represented this matter to him, and found that he had been considering it himself and with his co-directors. He told me that he was very much impressed with the representations that I and others made on the subject. He said that he believed his company in the future, would pay more attention to the supply of domestic consumers. They were looking at it from a business standpoint, and realizing that the domestic consumption of coal was increasing every year and would continue to increase, and that it would be a permanent demand, whereas by industrial concerns consumption of coal at Montreal or some of the other great points might be large one year and might fall off another year for causes, perhaps, general in their operations, he considered that it would be better for his company, which was supplying a good quality of coal, to cater first to the local domestic consumption, and then give the surplus, whatever it might be, to the industrial corporations in the large centres. He told me that, so far as his company was concerned, he believed it would pursue that course next year, and probably in the years to come. I also had occasion to speak to Mr. Mann, of the firm of Mackenzie & Mann, the owners of the Inverness mines. The Inverness coal, I may say, has an excellent reputation as a coal for domestic consumption; the people like to get it wherever it is possible to do so. And this was the colliery that caused the greatest congestion of sailing vessels last year. I pointed out the case to Mr. Mann. He told me that the company had had large orders for coal from the great consuming centres, such as Montreal and others; but he, too, recognized the importance of the domestic demand, and informed me that his company were taking steps to meet this domestic demand during the coming season. He thought that all reasonable objections would he removed, and intimated that, as far as possible, the local men should apply for their coal as early as possible in the season. Now, I think this was a practical way of going to work and a practical way of finding a remedy. I do not, of course, object to lion, gentlemen bringing up the matter in their own way and taking up a good deal of the time of parliament, but I really think the good work was all done before this afternoon and before the matter was brought up in the House. I am convinced that the grievance-a real grievance -that we complained of last year will be largely removed this year by the action of the coalmine owners themselves. And, if

that can be brought about, that is a practical way and the best way of doing it. If that cannot be brought about, and if there is great hardship inflicted upon the people for the want of coal, I presume that parliament would have to interfere. But I hope and trust-and I believe-that such a condition will not arise.

Topic:   SUPPLY-SHIPPING AT COLLIERIES.
Subtopic:   R. H. MONTGOMERY,
Permalink
LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN (Lunenburg).

I have heard complaints in my constituency similar to that made by the two hon. members for Prince Edward Island this afternoon. But, whatever be the justification for these complaints, I submit that it is not a fair matter for discussion in this House [DOT] and I suspect very strongly that the hon. gentlemen opposite who have spoken regarding the alleged discrimination, against sailing vessels are rather interested in votes than in coal. I cannot imagine what authority this parliament would have to deal with the subject. It is clearly a case which would come within the jurisdiction of the provincial legislature. I assume that this might very easily be done by an amendment of the charter of the various coal companies operating in Nova Scotia.

Now, this matter was discussed in the Nova Scotia provincial assembly just a few weeks ago. One of the chief promoters of the agitation against certain of the collieries of Nova Scotia was Mr. Moses H. Nickerson, who moved a resolution asking the Nova Scotia legislature to inquire into this grievance and as to the facts alleged against the collieries. In moving his resolution, he expressly stated that, upon investigation, the charges related only to the Inverness Coal and Railway Company. That resolution was supported by the legislature of Nova Scotia unanimously. It was accepted bv the premier of Nova Scotia. The resolution asked that the government take steps to ascertain the facts, and then, after learning all the facts, to deal with it if the facts seemed to justify intervention. The Premier of Nova Scotia, in closing his remarks, states :

However the situation might he in that particular, he was personally only too pleased to endorse the resolution calling upon the government to take steps to ascertain the facts, and after they obtained the facts they could determine the remedy, if any there was, under the powers of the provincial government.

Now, I submit that it is the provincial government of Nova Scotia alone which can deal with an issue of this kind, and that seems to be the opinion of the members of the legislature of that province, on both sides. In looking at the discussion upon this question I was impressed with a statement made by the member for Inverness, who I think put the matter very well, and 1 along the same lines as was done this after-

noon by tlie member for Inverness (Mr. McLennan) :

Hon. Mr. Macdonald said he was in full sympathy with the owners of schooners employed in carrying; coal, and when this agitation was coming on he thought the coal companies were at fault, and in order to satisfy himself he made a private investigation into the matter. One thing he found wa= that owing to the lateness of the spring last year the coal companies-he referred particularly to the Inverness and Richmond Company-notified their customers in the maritime provinces that they were prepared to load anv class of vessels with' despatch in the month of .May and up to the time that navigation opened in the St. Lawrence, but they met with no response. As a matter of fact, up to the middle of June, very little shipping was done. It must be remembered that in order to keep their mines in operation they had to make contracts for the delivery of coal np the St. Lawrence, as had all the companies in the island of Cape Breton, and they sent that notification out for the purpose of relieving the pressure when navigation opened in the St. Lawrence so that they would be that much ahead. But there was no response to the notice, and the schooners did not appear in any numbers, and as the result when the St. Lawrence cleared, they at once went to work filling there contracts for shipment up the St. Lawrence with as much despatch as possible. It must be remembered that as the result of the operation of these mines our people enjoyed good markets and steady employment, but the mines could not be operated if the company were prevented from filling their contracts.

Further on he says:

There had been accusations made against this particular company, but he maintained they were not well founded. He knew how this crusade started, and he could give some explanation of the motives behind it, but he would omit that for the present. Referring to the matter of the refusal of the company to supply a schooner with a barrel of coal-

Which alleged charge was referred to by the hon. member for Queens (Mr. A. Martin) this afternoon. The speaker said:

-he had investigated that, and the manager explained that he considered the request a joke. He was explaining the matter to the captains and trying to show them how impossible dt was for him at that time to do any better than lie was doing. He was up against a large contract that he was bound to fulfil or pay the penalty. If he had any choice in the matter he, would prefer the market in the maritime provinces, for one reason because the prices were better and it was in the interests of the company to sell as .much coal in the maritime provinces as possible, but the contracts for delivery up the St. Lawrence were necessary to keep the mine in operation and they had to be filled.

Now, I think that statement is a clear explanation on beliaif of the Inverness Coal and Railway Company, which seems to have been the only colliery complained of dur-Mr. A. K. MACLEAN.

ing tlie last season. Since this matter has been brought to the attention of tne Nova Scotia legislature, the only body authorized or competent to deal with it, I think we had better leave it with them, and because it is a matter with which this House has nothing to do either one way or the other.

Topic:   SUPPLY-SHIPPING AT COLLIERIES.
Subtopic:   R. H. MONTGOMERY,
Permalink
LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Hon. L. P. BRODEUR (Minister of Marine and Fisheries).

This question was brought some time ago to the attention of the department. I believe it was in the beginning of February that complaints reached the department to the effect that sailing vessels were discriminated against in loading coal at the collieries. At first we thought it was not possible for us to deal with this question except in cases where the wharfs or piers at which these vessels were loading, were under the control of the department. I caused some inquiries to be made from one of the complainants, who informed the department that the piers where they had been delayed belonged to the Dominion Coal Company, the Nova Scotia Steel Company, and also the Inverness Coal Company and the Acadian Coal Company at Plctou. He did not give, however, a statement of the dates when me delays occurred, he only mentioned those collieries as being those at which some delays occurred, without giving those other particulars. I thought it proper to communicate with our agent in Halifax, Mr. Parsons, in order to ascertain the nature of the complaints and whether it was possible to do anything in the matter. I received an answer from Mr. Parsons to the effect that these piers were all private property, that they were in no sense under the control of this government. If these piers at which sailing vessels were calling were government property, of course we might adopt some regulation that would meet the situation. But they all belong to the coal companies, and consequently the owners can do as they like. Now my hon. friend wants this government to regulate the way in which these mine owners shall sell and deliver their coal. That would be a very serious step to take; I do not know whether my hon. friend has given the matter all the consideration it deserves, I suppose he has done so. But once we undertake to interfere with the civil rights of any citizen in this country under the pretext of regulating trade, we enter upon a very serious undertaking. A citizen of the hon. gentleman's province is raising wheat, or oats, or potatoes, and he is certainly free to sell his produce in any way he likes; and what would my hon. friend think if this government were to frame a law by which a citizen of that province was obliged to deliver his grain or vegetables in such manner as this government thought best?

Topic:   SUPPLY-SHIPPING AT COLLIERIES.
Subtopic:   R. H. MONTGOMERY,
Permalink
CON

Angus Alexander McLean

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. A. McLEAN.

Does not this government undertake to regulate trade in canned meats, for instance hogs and pork?

Topic:   SUPPLY-SHIPPING AT COLLIERIES.
Subtopic:   R. H. MONTGOMERY,
Permalink
LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. BRODEUR.

It is true that we are regulating the sale of these things, we are regulating what should constitute the weight of a bushel of corn, or a bushel of potatoes, and what shall constitute a ton of coal. But what would he think of a law by which farmers were obliged to deliver their oats or potatoes in the quantity or to the person designated by this government. I am afraid that would be a dangerous step to take.

Topic:   SUPPLY-SHIPPING AT COLLIERIES.
Subtopic:   R. H. MONTGOMERY,
Permalink
CON

Alexander Martin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. MARTIN.

Is it not a fact that at Fort William and Port Arthur where the Canadian Pacific Railway and other private companies have elevators, the steamers have the privilege of loading in their regular turn, under a regulation of this government?

Topic:   SUPPLY-SHIPPING AT COLLIERIES.
Subtopic:   R. H. MONTGOMERY,
Permalink
LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. BRODEUR.

Tnose harbours are public property.

Topic:   SUPPLY-SHIPPING AT COLLIERIES.
Subtopic:   R. H. MONTGOMERY,
Permalink
CON

Alexander Martin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. MARTIN.

Are not the elevators public property?

Topic:   SUPPLY-SHIPPING AT COLLIERIES.
Subtopic:   R. H. MONTGOMERY,
Permalink
LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. BRODEUR.

No, the elevators are not public property.

Topic:   SUPPLY-SHIPPING AT COLLIERIES.
Subtopic:   R. H. MONTGOMERY,
Permalink
CON

Alexander Martin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. MARTIN.

Has not the Governor in Council power to regulate the way in which business is done at these harbours?

Topic:   SUPPLY-SHIPPING AT COLLIERIES.
Subtopic:   R. H. MONTGOMERY,
Permalink

May 4, 1908