There is an age limit of
sixty-five and while there are men over sixty-five who are quite as good as they were at forty-five, yet a hard and fast rule must be laid down in these matters, even though it should work hardship in individual cases. There are only three of the Quebec pilots in active work who are over sixty-five years of age. The objection taken by the pilots to the report of the commission was submitted to the department and considered by myself and my officials. We are not interfering at present with the pilots pooling their earnings. Their system is to pool all their earnings and divide them into equal shares amongst themselves. There is a misapprehension in some quarters, to the effects that if a pilot is suspended for a certain length of time it is no punishment to him because he gets his share of the earnings just the same as if he were at work. That is not the case. If he is suspended he does not share in the earnings during the period of his suspension. If the pilots are disposed to pool their earnings it is difficult to see how it could be prevented even though we thought it desirable to do so.
If they choose to enter into an agreement that they will pool the earnings and divide them amongst themselves, as is certainly done in other ports in the world, I do not see how you can make legislation that will prevent them from doing so. We do not think that we can do so for the present year at least, and we thought it better to wait for further developments before acting on the report of the commission so far as that feature of it was concerned. We hope that the changes made will have the effect of improving the pilot system on the St. Lawrence below Quebec, and that there will
be fewer wrecks than there have been in the past. There is no doubt that there have been too many wrecks. For two or three years there were very few wrecks, but these things seem to come in a rush. Misfortunes come not singly, but in battalions. For a few years there were so few wrecks on the St. Lawrence that Mr. George Davey, who had a bonus from the Government for conducting a wrecking plant, threw up the contract because he was making practically no money. The only earnings he was getting were the bonus he was receiving from the Government.