Mr. BOULAY (Translation):
Mr. Chairman, as the hon. member for Rouville (Mr. Lemieux) said, the pilots have had distributed to the members of this House a memorandum in which they bitterly complain of having been treated unduly by the investigating commission at Quebec last year. Here is, among other things, what I find in this memorandum:
What we desire is that any one who can suggest anything which may further the interests of the pilots, or of the shipping interests, or of the trade on the St. Lawrence will be welcomed before us, and we will be glad to hear the views they may wish to express.
To which the pilots replied:
We, pilots, were not long deceived by those honeyed words of the chairman of the commission, because we soon perceived the aim of this investigation which caused us so much trouble and expenses.
The very first evidences taken were sufficient to show that the end sought was not to discuss the dangers of the river St. Lawrence, and the aids to the navigation of the said river. The only danger seemed to be the Corporation of Pilots, and the way they manage their money so well earned. The real dangers of the St. Lawrence, lights, buoys, etc., went in the second place.
Were this assertion of the pilots true, it would constitute a most serious charge indeed against the commission entrusted, last year, with making an inquiry on their account.
As regards the management of their funds, I see that section 3 of the present law seems to give them justice-I mean the management of the pilots' chest. I notice, a little further, in this memorandum, the following remark:
Apprentices are required at present to be examined in both English and French. If the commissioners are of opinion that a man speak-229 -
ing and writing one language is superior to another speaking and writing both languages, let them cherish that idea, this will not surely increase nor diminish the rates of insurance on the St. Lawrence.
I understand that, according to the new legislation, the apprentices are required to be examined in both English and French. I do not agree with the commissioners on this point, since they seem to have ruled that one language is enough. Any man who is called upon to hold public office in the province of Quebec, whether in the Marine, Public Works or Customs Departments, should certainly be able to speak both languages. This is a drawback which is very often found with a good many public servants and, of course, .most serious inconvenience is derived therefrom. I would like to know whether the hon. minister has inserted a provision to that effect, and whether the apprentices who are preparing at Quebec or at other places below Quebec to become pilots, and who are all French-Cana-dians, shall be required, henceforth, to know both languages.