December 5, 1910

LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

It is true that plans and detailed drawings for the construction of a dry-dock at Levis have been filed, such dock to be of the dimensions stated in the question. The company's application for subsidy is, however, not in accordance with the provisions of the statute, and it has been informed that the government is ready at any time to enter into a contract with the company under the terms of the said Dry-Dock Subsidy Act.

Topic:   LEVIS DRY-DOCK.
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THE QUEBEC BRIDGE.


Mr. LENNOX-by Mr. Roche-moved: For a copy of the last advertisement for tenders, and the specification and contract or proposed contract for the erection of the Quebec bridge?


LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

I think there are reasons in the public interest why my hon. friend should not press this motion at this time. A little later I shall be glad to give him this information.

Motion allowed to stand.

Topic:   THE QUEBEC BRIDGE.
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VANCOUVER CUSTOM ENTRIES.


Mr. BARNARD-by Mr. Burrell-moved: For a copy of all Customs entries made at Vancouver, British Columbia, for goods entered free of duty by each of the following parties during each of the years 1901, 1902, 1903, 1901, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909 and 1910: -Robert Kelly, by himself, agent, or broker for him; Kelly, Douglas & Company, or agent, or broker, for them; and by any or all of the Departments of the Dominion Government; also by any other person, firm or firms, or broker having been allowed to make free entry at Vancouver, British Columbia, during above years, declared as for Supply to the Dominion Government.


LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

I am afraid the hon. member is asking for something that I would not be able to give him. He had perhaps better let the motion stand, and I will talk the matter over with him.

Motion allowed to stand.

Topic:   VANCOUVER CUSTOM ENTRIES.
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RAILWAY ACCIDENTS.

LIB

Ralph Smith

Liberal

Mr. SMITH (Nanaimo) moved:

For a return showing the total number of accidents on Railways in Canada since April 1, 1909, and up to date the number of fatal accidents; the number on each railway, and the causes of the same. Also, the number of accidents on construction work, fatal or otherwise, on the Canadian Northern and the Grand Trunk Pacific railways, and the causes of the same.

Topic:   RAILWAY ACCIDENTS.
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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

I suppose my hon. friend will not have any objection to amend the motion so as to confine it to accidents injurious to property or to life. There are-thousands of minor accidents such as derailments, which happen every day. While they are really accidents, they cannot be said to be injurious to property or life.

Motion amended accordingly, and agreed to.

Topic:   RAILWAY ACCIDENTS.
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THE OYSTER INDUSTRY.

LIB

Alexander Bannerman Warburton

Liberal

Mr. A. B. WARBURTON (Queen's, P.E. I.) moved:

For a copy of all correspondence, reports, memorials, surveys and other papers in the possession of the government, and not already brought down, regarding the oyster industry of Canada; also a copy of all correspondence, reports and other papers regarding the ownership and control of oyster beds and of barren bottoms suitable for oyster culture, and regarding the consolidating of the ownership with the control and regulation of such beds and barren bottoms, and vesting the same in the hands of the Dominion government; also a copy of all correspondence, reports, recommendations and other papers relating to the leasing or sale of such beds or barren bottoms, or of portions of them, for the purpose of oyster culture or cultivation. Also a copy of all correspondence and reports relating to the culture, cultivation and conservation of oysters and other mollusks.

He, said: Before you put that motion, Mr. Speaker, I will ask your indulgence, and that of the House while for a short time I call your attention to and invoke your sympathy on behalf of our vanishinig oyster industry. The maritime provinces, and to a lesser extent the Pacific province, have an almost inexhaustible potential wealth in the shell fish industries along their coasts. Efforts have been made to conserve the various industries, the various natural resources which we have on the land and in the sea; but up to the present, nothing of any account has been done with regard to our very valuable oyster fisheries and oyster industries on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. I have deemed it my duty, as representing a part of the country which is famed for its oysters, to bring this matter as forcibly as I can before parliament, hoping, not only to interest the government, but also to interest those hon. members who do not reside on, or near the coast, as I do, in this very important matter. We have, Sir, beyond possible contradiction, not only some of the very best oysters in the world, but we have the most productive oysters. I do not mean to say that every oyster grown in Canada is a good oyster, but I say that a very large portion of them excel in quality. I know that the best English oyster does not compare

with it, I know the best American oyster does not compare with it; and if there is any oyster on the face of the earth, or under the waters of the earth, which can compare with it, I do not know where it is.

Let me premise the few words I propose to say with a statement as to the nature of the oyster itself. The oyster is a fish, or an animal, or a living organism, whichever you choose to call it, which flourishes in brackish water. It will not grow or propagate itself in sea water, because there is too much salinity in it; it will not propagate itself in fresh water because there is too little salinity. It must have conditions suitable to its growth, such as a certain temperature of the water, which is not to be found on all coasts, and also a certain salinity of water, which is found in many places where the sea ebbs and flows, and where there is an inflow of fresh water. I may say that there are many species of oysters known in the world. We h'.ve on the Atlantic coast to-day to deal with one kind, on the Pacific coast we have to deal with another kind; and in Europe, outside of Portugal, they have to deal with another and those of Europe and elsewhere,It is not necessary here to weary the House by pointing out the biological differences which exist between the various kinds of oysters on the Atlantic coasts of America and those of Europe and elsewhere,but there are several marked differences. As far as the taste is concerned, I do not think that much difference can be fouhd except in this respect, that the oyster takes its flavour very largely or entirely from the water in which it is grown, and it is for that reason that our oystersare better than others, because they

have better bottoms from which to draw a wholesome supply of food. It is owing to, that fact that our oysters are so much better. If you take oysters from southern latitudes and plant them in our beds, inside of a year or two you get an oyster of exactly the same flavour as the native oyster. You can plant them on Bedeque or Malpeque beds, and in a year or two you should have Bedeque or Malpeque oysters all right, because they have acquired the peculiar flavour which makes them so desirable.

I hardly think it necessary for me to point out the importance of oysters not only as a luxury but as a food. We are accustomed to look upon oysters, on account of their cost, as a luxury; there is no reason why oysters should not be treated as a food, for. with proper cultivation, when the oyster is afforded a proper habitat, and the industr.v is afforded proper opportunities, the oyster becomes not only a luxury but a most excellent and cheap article of food. There is no reason in the world why it should not become an article of food. Some 18 or 19 Mr. WARBURTON.

years ago when-I used to buy oysters by the barrel to put in my house, they kept well from November till March, and I found them the cheapest article of food that came into my house, as well as being the most delicious. We know that the government have taken the very commendable step of appointing a commission to consider the best means of conserving our natural resources, the commission has held meetings in Ottawa and elsewhere, and are making very vigorous efforts to carry out the object for which it was appointed. I do not think Sir. that there is an hon. member on either side of this House who does not applaud the efforts of the government in this direction. Efforts have been made to propagate and increase the swimming fish. We have hatcheries on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and I suppose on the lake coasts of Ontario as welh where the ova of swimming fish is collected, and you have fish hatcheries established from which to distribute the ova in the waters where it is most likely to become fruitful, and to replenish waters which have become depleted. The same remark applies to the lobster industry. We have on the Atlantic coast of the maritime provinces a number of lobster hatcheries which are doing a most excellent work. There is no question that those lobster hatcheries have added very largely to the supply of lobsters which are now produced along our coasts.

But so far no effort, to my knowledge, except a tentative one, by private individuals has been made towards the culture and cultivation of the oyster. Here let me explain why I use those two terms ' culture ' and ' cultivation,' which may seem to some synonymous. In oyster parlance, those two words have very different meanings. The cultivation of the oyster means the bringing of the small seed oysters from their original habitat and planting them upon beds where they grow and improve, after two or three years, or until such time as may be necessary to bring them to the required size for commerce. By that system you do not increase the number of oysters, but owing to the greatly increased growth, you increase the bulk and the quantity of food. It is estimated that the quantity or bulk of the oysters produced in that way is, roughly speaking, about ten to one; that is, if you put down a hundred barrels of seed you get a thousand barrels of oysters. That is the system of cultivation. Oyster culture is another matter altogether. In this case you do not gather the seed oyster, but you gather the spat, and the spat grows to be the seed oysters. By so doing you prevent the loss of countless millions of oyster eggs which otherwise would go to destruction.

I wish to call your attention to the extraordinary fertility of the oyster. The fer-tilitv of the oyster, as reported by the United States Bureau of Fisheries and by scien-

tific men in the United States and elsewhere, is almost incredible. In England and France it is not so great as it is here, but still it goes into millions. With us, a fair sized oyster is capable of producing fifteen or sixteen millions of ova, and a large specimen has been estimated by United States experts to produce as high as sixty millions.

Our American friends calculate that it is only about one in every 1,100,000 that ever comes to maturity. It is just as well, perhaps, that they do not come to maturity, because if they were to come to maturity the sea would soon not be big enough to hold them. The ova or spat swims about for a few days and it is fertilized by contact with the water. Enormous quantities of the ova are lost. If it touches a spft or slimy place it is bound to peTish. Millions and millions are used for the food of other fishes and even the mother oyster has no objection to sucking up the ova as she is gathering her food from the waters. The young oyster has a slim chance of existence, only one in 1,100,000 surviving. But, they are so prolific that even in that way there will be no difficulty in keeping up the natural beds if they had not the further enemy-man-to contend against. I wish, in connection with this matter of the conservation of oysters, along with other natural resources, to read an extract from a paper on ' The Wholesomeness of Oysters as Food,' by Henry C. Rowe, president of the Connecticut OysteT Growers' Association, and New York and New England Oyster Shippers' Association, New Haven, Conn., presented before the Fourth International Fish Congress, held at Washington, United States, from the 22nd to the 26th of September, 1908. Mr. Rowe, in that paper, says:-

The necessity for the conservation of the resources of the nation has recently been brought emphatically before the public. The increase of our population in the past and its greater prospective increase emphasize the importance of not only conserving our resources but of encouraging the creation and development of productive industries. During the past thirty-five years such an industry has been created and developed in the propagation and growing of oysters. This industry produces already annually a great amount of valuable food, its yearly value in the states of Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and California amounting to $9,316,252. Other states are developing the industry, but these named have taken the lead. A large population is supported directly by it, and perhaps still more by contributory industries.

That, however, I may say, is only for a portion of the United States. The returns I have, show that it is something like $18,000,000 or $20,000,000 for the whole country.

During the same period, while a large portion of our forests have been destroyed, the oyster farmers and cultivators have purchased from the different states permission to cultivate the hitherto barren ground covered by the waters of our bays and sounds to a depth of 25, 50, or even 100 feet, and have, by expensive and hazardous experiments, caused this unproductive ground to yield annually 10,235,566 bushels of oysters, a valuable and nutritious food, and furnished employment and livelihood to thousands.

I may say, parenthetically, that they produce more oysters in one year than we have produced on the best beds in the world since confederation.

While the United States and the various states have at public expense propagated millions of swimming fish, to be caught by those who are engaged in these fisheries, the oyster grower and planter has at his own cost propagated his own crops and worked out his own results by patient labour, costly experiments, and large investment. Instead of having his crops produced and protected for him, as has been done for the fishers of swimming fish, he has paid large sums to the states for the' use of the ground on which he might create and prosecute this industry.

I wish, also, to draw your attention to our own output of oysters. Our own output has been falling off year in and year out for the last thirty-five or forty years, and this falling off is going on with such Tapidity that,

I think, the time is very close when we will have no oysters at all. I wish to call your attention, Mr. Speaker, and that of the House to a very important consequence that will follow should we allow our northern oyster beds to be fished out, and that is that you cannot reproduce them. If once our northern oyster beds are gone they are gone to stay gone. You may get a quantity of oysters there, but you cannot propagate and renew these beds so as to bring them back to the condition in which they formerly were. Our oysters are in northern waters and that means that the oyster beds are in colder water than the southern oysters. Oysters brought up from the southern natural beds will thrive in the northern beds, but they will not propagate in colder water. The reverse happens in the case of northern oysters taken south; they will propagate, but that is not the ease with oysters brought from the warmer water of the south to the colder water of the north. So that, if our beds are, by any chance, allowed to be destroyed-and many of them have been destroyed in the last forty years , -you will have to say good-bye to the oyster for ever and the words Malpeque and Bedeque will be names that will only live in tradition.

Topic:   THE OYSTER INDUSTRY.
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CON

Clarence Jameson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. JAMESON.

How were the beds to which you have alluded destroyed?

Topic:   THE OYSTER INDUSTRY.
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LIB

Alexander Bannerman Warburton

Liberal

Mr. WARBURTON.

They were mainly fished out. Now, I have m my hand the

evidence given in the first session of this parliament by Capt. Kemp, oyster expert, and, I think, a veTy good man. He gives, at the end of his evidence, a table of the oyster returns by provinces, the total showing the actual quantities and value of the oysters taken in the Dominion ever since 1875 and compiled from the annual reports of the department of fisheries. I am going to ask that I be allowed to hand this statement to the reporter. It might be of use to those who take an interest in the matter, but I am perfectly aware that no one could hear me read these figures and remember anything about them. But I wish, before placing them in * Hansard,' to quote the figures for five year periods to show how our oyster supply has been falling off. This return comes down to 1907-8. I see by the report of the Department of Marine and Fisheries -fisheries branch-placed upon the table of the House the other day, that the returns have been brought down to the last season. I have not taken these figures in. But, taking, for instance, the year 1882, I find that the quantity of oysters taken in Prince Edward Island was 57,042 barrels. I am only taking Prince Edward Island as an illustration. I might also take New Brunswick. In New Brunswick, for that same year, there was a catch of 5,859 barrels; in 1887 there were caught in New Brunswick 23,196 barrels, and in Prince Edward Island 36,448 barrels. In 1892, five years later, New Brunswick, 17,840 barrels; Prince Edward Island, 32,937 barrels. In 1897, five years later again, there were caught in New Brunswick 19,835 barrels, and in Prince Edward Island 20,915. In 1902 there were caught in New Brunswick 12,795 barrels; in Prince Edward Island, 20,334 barrels, and in 1907, 15,435 barrels in New Brunswick, and in Prince Edward Island, 9,672 barrels. The total catch up to the year 1907-8 in the whole Dominion was as follows :-

Barrels;

New Brunswick 502,149

Prince Edward Island 831,012

Nova Scotia 64,119

British Columbia 37,927

1,435,207

The value is $1,515,250. We have only returns from British Columbia since 1884. The table is as follows:-

Topic:   THE OYSTER INDUSTRY.
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LIB

OYSTER RETURN (BY PROVINCES.)


Table showing the Aggregate Quantities and Value of Oysters caught in the Dominion since 1876, compiled from Annual Reports of the Department of Fisheries. Ykab. New Brunswick. Prince Edward Island. Nova Scotia. British Columbia. Totals. Quantity. Value. Quantity. Value. Quantity. Value. Quantity. Value. Quantity. Value.Brls. S Brls. $ Brls. [DOT]$ Brls. $ Brls. $1875 10,020 30,000 41 82 1,655 4,965 11,716 35,1071876 7,911 23,733 7,905 23,715 1,040 3)120 16,856 50,5681877 7,738 23,214 20,850 62,550 '980 2)940 29,568 88,7041878 11,170 33,810 17,902 53'706 912 2)754 30,090 90,2701879. .. 9,420 28,260 18,145 54,435 1,067 3^201 28)632 85,8961880 12,280 36,840 20,297 60,891 l'861 5)583 34,438 103,3141881.. 8,413 25,239 20,815 62,445 2,270 6', 810 31,498 94,4941882 5,859 17,577 57,042 171^126 l'745 5)235 64,646 193,9381883 10,317 30,951 38,880 116'640 1^343 4,029 50,540 151,6201884 11,851 35,553 28/290 84)870 1)595 4,785 220 1,250 41)956 126,4581885 27,368 82,104 28,204 84,612 1,310 3,930 250 1,250 57,132 171,8961886 23,083 84,249 33,125 99,375 1,397 4,191 300 2,100 62,905 189,9151887 23,196 69,588 36,448 109,344 1,716 5,148 3,500 61,360 187,5801888 161384 49| 152 35; 861 107)588 1)589 4,767 1,200 2,400 55,034 163,9071889 17,760 53,280 41,257 123,771 2,532 7,596 1,500 5,250 63,049 189,8971890 16,710 50,130 35,203 105,609 3,013 9,039 1,750 7,000 56,676 171,7781891 14,934 44,802 41,030 123,090 4,318 12,954 750 3,000 61,032 183,8461892 17,840 53,520 32,937 98,811 3,776 11,328 1,000 4,000 55,553 167,6591893 16,365 49,095 29,627 88,881 3,488 10,464 1,600 8,000 51,080 156,1401894 16,960 67,940 24,055 96,220 2,512 10,048 1,600 S,000 45,127 182,1081895 18,070 72,280 25,463 101,852 2,540 10,160 1,600 8,000 47,673 192,2921896 14,700 58,800 30,214 120,856 2,460 9,840 1,200 4,800 48,574 194,2961897 19,835 79,340 20,915 83,660 2,372 9,4S8 1,000 8,000 44,722 180,4881898 22,675 IK),700 26,484 105,936 2.097 8,388 2,400 12,000 53,656 217,0241899 17,250 69,000 18,236 72,944 2,027 8,108 2,000 12,000 40,513 162,0521900 19,240 76,960 17,825 71,300 1.855 7,420 3,000 12,00u 41,920 167,6801901 14,460 57,840 24,972 99,888 1,690 6,760 3,000 15,000 44,122 179,4881902 12,795 51,180 20,334 81,336 1,663 6,652 2,500 16,000 37,292 155,1681903 12,470 62,350 18,333 91,665 1,354 6,770 3,600 18,000 35,757 178,7851904 15,320 76,600 18,006 90,030 1,411 7,055 3,250 13,000 37,987 186,6851905 14,300 71,500 17,656 88,280 1,466 7,330 1,02? 7,190 34,449 174,3001906 14,920 89,520 14,988 89 928 1,722 10,332 725 5,075 32,355 194,8551907-8 15,435 92,610 9,672 77,376 1,337 8,022 855 5,985 27,299 183,993Total 502,149 1,837,677 831,012 2,902,812 64,119 229,212 37,927 182,800 1,435,207 5,152,501 to to



In the same connection I would like to show you how some of the famous beds are being depleted. This also is a table that I will ask to he allowed to place in the hands of the reporters, but I will make one or two extracts from the returns. These returns are up to the year 1907. I will take Malpeque, for instance. In 1896 there were 4,200 barrels credited to Malpeque ; 1901, 2,000 barrels ; 1906, 2,450 barrels ; 1907, 400 barrels. Then, we have Richmond bay. I may say that the Richmond bay oyster is commonly shipped under the name of Malpeque. It is just about the same kind of oyster. In 1896 there were 6,000 barrels shipped ; 1901, 4,050 ; 1906, 2,155 ; 1907, 700. The table is as follows : Year. Grand River. Malpeque. Richmond Bay. S. Side. Traveller's Rest. Remarks.Bbls. Bbls. Bbls. Bbls. Bbls. 1907.... 130 400 700 75 483 1906.... 1,700 2,450 2,155 140 1,000 1905.... 2,000 2,600 2,500 400 2,000 1904.... 1,660 2,220 3,800 400 2,025 1903... 950 2,225 2'800 250 3,150 1902.... 2,025 2,250 2,450 200 6,000 1901.... 2,000 2,000 4,050 200 5,500 1900... 1,500 900 4,500 122 5,200 1899.... 1,440 1,500 4 000 80 3,750 1898.... 2,875 1,800 5,000 160 3,400 1897.... 1,725 1,060 3,900 40 5,000 1896.... 2,540 5,000 4,517 4,200 *746 6,000 3,700 1895.... *Carleton, 9,113. t Richmond Bay and S. Side from now on.1894.... 1,200 1-10,500 1893.... 5,800 1,869 16,651 1892.... 3,800 5.400 1.400 20,900 Malpeque and Richmond Bay.1891.... J25,000 24,120 1890. . 380 1889.... 2,250 4,606 21,930 1888.. . 4,000 1,100 20,950 1887.... 3,470 2,511 23,514 1886.... 3,600 3,000 20,000 1885.... 2,750 1885.. .. 1884.. .. 2,750 3,600 6781 200/ Richmond Bay. 17* 080 } Bedeque Bay. Bedeque bay is practically a thing of the past. Malpeque bay, I am glad to say, is now closed, and Bedeque bay is also. Bedeque has been for a long time practically devoid of oysters, the supply being practically depleted. They get a few barrels- very few-there each year but it is practically a thing of the past to-day. It was a better oyster than the Malpeque ; it was the best oyster beyond any question that we ever had. I wish to call your attention further to this matter of the falling off of the supply of oysters and I shall do so to some extent at least from my own personal knowledge. The figures which I have given regarding the falling off in the supply of oysters show that in Prince Edward Island in 19078 only about one-sixth of the quantity of oysters was caught as compared with the number caught in 1882. I should tell you also that the barrel of 1882 was a much larger barrel than that of 1907, the one being the old flour barrel and the other a two and a half bushel barrel, so that you will see that the falling off was even greater than the figures would indicate. I might speak for a moment about Bedeque. Bedeque -bay is the bay that you pass through going into Summersrde harbour. It was long famous for this oyster. The Bedeque oyster was the oyster that gave Prince Edward Island its fame as the home of good oysters ; it was a superior oyster to the Malpeque. It was found on the southern side of the coast while the Malpeque was found three or four miles across on the northern side, but, it was fished and fished and fished until finally there was nothing left worth fishing for. Of late years we have been getting a few, but very few. I speak about the Bedeque bed in order to show you how rich it formerly was. Fifty or sixty years ago they


LIB

Alexander Bannerman Warburton

Liberal

Mr. WARBURTON.

used to load vessels with oysters there. They were so extremely numerous that the farmers used to bring them ashore by thousands of bushels and burn them for lime. At that time there was no market for them. I cannot say that I criticise or find fault with the farmers for what they did, because if. they had not done this at that time the oysters would have remained there and died. But I only point this out to show you how enormous was the oyster yield at the bottom of that bay. I had never had any personal knowledge of the Bedeque bay oyster fisheries, but in my boyhood I remember the fisheries in the Narrows, North river and Malpeque bay.

I remember as a boy going down with some people to the Narrows, and for three or four miles you could see oysters absolutely covering the ground, the same as ripe apples under a tree when shaken, and you could get seven or eight barrels in a short time without difficulty. Go to the same place now in many of these bays and you cannot get an oyster. If a man gets half a barrel in the course of a day he is doing remarkably well. The North river is only three miles from Charlottetown. It was formerly rich with oysters, but to-day it is practically fished out. I was talking with a friend the other day about the subject and he told me that thirty or thirty-five years ago he went out to get some oysters and that in the course of the day he got eight barrels. You cannot get eight barrels now in a fortnight. North river, has now been closed and, I am gliad to say, now promises to come up again all right naturally. Give the oyster a year and he will come to the front ; he will look for these beds and he will plant them himself. You cannot always have them closed, and whenever they are opened every man has the right to fish in the natural beds, and that river will be swept as clean as a floor inside of a fortnight.

Topic:   OYSTER RETURN (BY PROVINCES.)
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

How long does it take an oyster to come up to maturity?

Topic:   OYSTER RETURN (BY PROVINCES.)
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December 5, 1910