May 17, 1916

CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOGEBS:

How would it do to make the commissioners a little flexible?

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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GBAHAM:

They have no power to

go beyond the Act unless they violate the law. They are not like the Government, because the Government can introduce an Act in violation of the law, but the commissioners cannot. Many universities have in cases of this kind given their students the advantage of unusual privileges in the matter of taking examinations. For instance, in connection with the Boer war I know several cases where young men who were taking part in the war were allowed to take their examinations under special conditions. I would suggest to the Government that they either repeal the Civil Service Act or sail a little closer to it. If the staff of the House of Commons is not to come under it-and it does not come under it very much-the law had better be amended to provide that that staff shall not come under it. In the next place, I think that some amendment ought to be made to give the commissioners power to act in such cases as I have mentioned. It is absolutely ridiculous that w e should have a law on the statute-book by which a young man who wants to pass the Civil Service examination before he goes to fight for his country is not allowed to do so, simply because he is a few weeks under age, even though

he does not want a certificate until he does attain the proper age.

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LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TUBBIFF:

There is a matter which I desire to bring to the attention of the Government in connection with the shipping of goods from any part of Canada to British Columbia via the Panama canal. This matter has been brought to the attention of the Government on several occasions by the people of British Columbia, more particularly by the business interests of Vancouver, Prince Bupert and Victoria. All that these people are asking for is that the Minister of Customs appoint a customs officer to assist in the bonding of goods going from any part of Canada to British Columbia via the Panama canal. It appears that, under the present regulations, it is almost impossible to handle the trade unless an officer of the Canadian customs is located at New York for the purpose of seeing to the transhipping of the goods to the steamers that will go via the canal. This matter was first taken up by the business interests of British Columbia, and I think I could not do better than to read to the minister the resolutions passed there. On the 4th of November, 1914, at a meeting held at Vancouver of men representing financial interests and investments in British Columbia, on behalf of principals and clients in Canada, Great Britain, France and other countries, a resolution to the following effect was passed:

Appreciating the facts that-

The development of the resources of this province, especially the coast cities,

The exportation of products of this and adjoining provinces,

The importation of raw materials for factories now established and to be established here,

As well as the importation of goods necessary to be brought here for consumption, are largely dependent upon our water facilities ;

Realizing the great possibilities for the people of this province, to be derived as a result of the Panama canal route,

Realizing that these possibilities can only be converted into realities by placing ourselves in a position to utilize the water facilities offered, Are resolved that we put forth the most vigorous effort to encourage shipping to come to this coast, particularly at this time when the Dominion Government are nearing completion of the dock and grain elevator at this port, and the prospect so bright for moving the prairie grain through the coast ports in the near future, We further resolve that we heartily endorse the request of the British Columbia Boards of Trade to the Government at Ottawa, for the appointment of a customs offic-r at New York, firmly believing that the opening of this new channel of trade will bring to British Columbia unlimited benefits.

This is a question affecting not British Columbia alone, but more particularly Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime Provinces. The people at the coast ask that they should be allowed to import their goods by the cheapest possible route, and if that is not done the loss will fall not upon the people of British Columbia alone, but on the manufacturer's of the eastern provinces as well. We must all recognize that Canada is a great stretch of country extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific and that many classes of goods manufactured in Ontario and Quebec could not possibly be shipped to Vancouver by rail. Canned goods of all descriptions and heavy hardware and many otheT classes of goods cannot possibly be shipped by rail to British Columbia. Unless they can be taken by water from eastern Canada to Vancouver, their use on the Pacific coast of Canada will be impossible.

The result is a direct loss to the 4 p.m. people of the eastern provinces, as well as to the people of British Columbia. Not only is this route via the Panama canal necessary for the goods that are manufactured here and consumed in British Columbia, but it will put our merchants in the coast cities in a very much better position than they are now for exporting to China and Japan and many other foreign countries. At all events, the people of British Columbia, the merchants, manufacturers and financial institutions, and everybody interested in that province, are demanding the right to bring in goods by water freight instead, of by railway freight, especially classes of goods that cannot stand the 3,000 mile railway haul. I ask the Minister of Customs on what ground the people of this part of Canada should dictate to the people of British Columbia as to how they shall bring in their goods. If the people of British Columbia can get goods in by water freight at from 30 per cent to 50 per cent less than they can get them in over the railways, why should we interfere with their doing that? 1 wonder what the people of Ontario and the Prairie Provinces would think if this Government undertook to say that they would not be allowed to use water carriage on the Great Lakes because we have built railroads that can carry this freight and we have got to keep the traffic in the hands of the railroads because we have put a lot of money into their construction. The people of the Bast and of the prairies would not stand that for one moment. It would be too absurd. Well, it is not more absurd 256

than the aotion of my hon. friend the Minister of Customs who, for the last couple of years, has deliberately and emphatically denied to the merchants of British Columbia the privilege of bringing in their freight by water instead of by land. All that is necessary to accomplish this is to have a Canadian customs officer in the port of New York; and one of the steamship companies, British company at that, which intends to put on a line of steamers from New York to Vancouver via the Panama canal, has undertaken to pay the salary of a Canadian customs officer; so that this plan will not cost this Government anything, while it will accomplish a great deal to help out the merchants at the coast, and also the manufacturers in the eastern provinces. My friend the Minister of Customs has stated in the correspondence that has taken place on this matter that a country cannot send custotms officials into foreign countries. But let me point out to my hon. friend the minister that a great deal of transcontinental trade carried over the Canadian Pacific railway has been American through freight, and in order'to enable the Canadian Pacific railway to carry the freight, the American Customs Department have placed American customs officers in Vancouver for the purpose of facilitating the transfer of that freight. What has been the result? The Canadian railways have reaped a rich harvest by carrying American goods over the Canadian Pacific Railway line, and that has been brought about by the Americans doing exactly what the people of Vancouver and Victoria are asking the Minister of Customs to do, and what he has so far persistently refused to do. To my mind the reasons that have been given in the past have not been sufficient reasons. At first it was 'Stated that the railways were against this proposition. Well, I am not sure that the railways are against the proposition. The railroads are not going to lose anything in connection with this proposition for the simple reason that they are not now getting the freight. Take a carload of canned goods put up in the province of Ontario. You have to ship that cargo of goods over one of the transcontinental railways and land it in Vancouver. One man attempts to bring in a carload of goods in that way. Another man buys a carload of the same class of goods manufactured in the. United States, ships them to New York, gets a rate by the Panama canal so low in com-

parison with the railway rate that he is enabled to pay the duty on the American manufactured goods and to land them in the city of Vancouver at a very considerably lower rate than it would take him to Land the same class of goods manufactured in the province of Ontario. My hon. friend, the Minister of Customs, in his endeavour to prevent goods manufactured in Canada from going by water to the people of Vancouver, is cutting the Canadian manufacturer out of his own market, and he is not benefiting the railways in any degree, because the railways cannot get the freight as the people of Vancouver can buy American goods cheaper.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

Do I understand my

lion, friend to say that the Minister of Customs would refuse to allow goods which are being shipped say from Montreal, Quebec, or St. John or Halifax to Vancouver, to pass through American waters to the Panama canal to be landed in Vancouver or Victoria?

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LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

Yes. What I understand from the correspondence I have here and from the statements made by members of the Boards of Trade of Vancouver and other cities on the coast is that the Minister of Customs has given instructions to the collectors of customs in these coast cities that they are not to take entry of any goods shipped in that way, that is, goods which have passed over a short haul on American railroads to get to New York.

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CON
LIB
CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

In the case of a vessel loaded at St. John and going through the Panama canal and discharging its cargo at Vancouver-there is no objection.

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LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

There is no objection to that; the objection is that there is no service either from Montreal or from Quebec in summer or from St. John or from Halifax in winter to Vancouver by the Panama canal, and that in order to take advantage of the water rate by the Panama canal you have to ship goods at the present time from New York. It is pointed out that it is very much further from Montreal or from St. John to Vancouver, taking the summer and winter ports, the difference being some

1,400 miles, than from New York. It is very much further from the manufacturing establishments of Ontario and Quebec to the Canadian ports by rail in many cases than it is to New York. In the meantime we have no steamship company that will undertake to make a trip from Montreal or St. John, summer and winter, to Vancouver by the Panama canal. Therefore, there is no method by which the Canadian manufacturer can ship his goods by water from a Canadian port at the present time. No doubt he may be able to do so later, but in the meantime if he wants to take advantage of the low water rate by the Panama route he has to ship from New York. The difficulty, they claim, is that you cannot send your goods to New York and have them transhipped in bond without a Canadian customs officer being there to look after the shipping. All they ask is that a Canadian customs officer be placed there. The Maple Leaf Steamship Company of Great Britain has offered to pay the salary of a customs official, if appointed, in order to get this trade. They would make regular sailings; the merchants of British Columbia would get their goods cheaper, and they would get them from Canadian manufacturers, whereas in the meantime they have to buy American made goods in order to get them cheaper. At one time it was thought that the Canadian Manufacturers' Association was opposed to this proposition, but I notice from the correspondence that that body is not against it. The railway companies "are not opposed to it and, so far as I can find out, the only pefson that stands in the way of the wishes of the people of British Columbia is the hon. the Minister of Customs. It is a little thing to ask for. The carrying of freight does not belong to the railway companies any more than to the steamship companies. We have spent, and are spending tens of millions of dollars in providing dockage and harbour facilities in those British Columbia cities, while at the same time my hon. friend is refusing to allow the people of British Columbia to take advantage of a condition that would be to the betterment of British Columbia and the people of eastern Canada.

I desire to give the British Columbia view of the matter in order to make the situation clear, and I shall quote from an article published in The Sun of Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, February 9, 1916:

Many moons have waxed and waned since this port was offered a service by the Maple Leaf line from New York to Vancouver, sailing out-

bound from here to the United Kingdom and Prance. It was just such a service as Vancouver was absolutely in need of. It would have provided cheap water transportation for Canadian goods to be used in this province, besides furnishing tonnage for our exports.

As a condition of securing this valuable service it was necessary that the ships of the line should call at New York rather than at Halifax or any Canadian port. The distance from Vancouver to Halifax is 1,450 miles greater than from Vancouver to New York.

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LIB
LIB
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LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

I have a statement here from the Board of Trade of Vancouver, dated September 10, 1915, and this is what it states:

Vancouver to New York, 6,000 miles; Vancouver to Montreal, 7,450 miles.

So that the difference from Vancouver to Montreal is 1.450 miles. The other statement apparently is not correct.

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CON
LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

That is what those people say, but there are no steamers sailing, and there is nothing in view. Meantime the people of British Columbia suffer, and they ask this Government to appoint an official.

All they have to do is to name an official and it will not cost them a dollar. Let him be stationed in New York in the meantime and the moment you have a service, from St. John in the winter and Montreal in the summer, to Vancouver, then withdraw your man from there and see that the freight goes from Canadian ports to Canadian ports. But, in the meantime, are the manufacturers of Ontario to be punished because there are no facilities to ship by water either from Montreal or St. John to Vancouver? That is the position.

I am not asking, when you are able to ship from Montreal or St. John that you should then help trade to go by way of New York, but in the meantime, if you cannot get a service from St. John or Montreal to Vancouver, why not take advantage of the water route? It is not as if you were hurting anybody. You are not hurting the railways, which do not get the freight in any case, and you are giving an advantage to the people of British Columbia, who, irrespective of every other consideration, are a unit in demanding that they should have-the privilege of taking 2581

advantage of the cheap freight rates. Is there any argument, any reason, against it? The reasons which have been put up by the Government are two in number. The first is that it would throw the trade largely into the hands of another country. While it is true that, we are not getting this trade, we would have this trade carried by a British line of steamers, not an American line. But rather than allow a line of British steamers to carry this trade, apparently, my hon. friend the Minister of Customs absolutely refuses to pay the slightest heed to the demands of his own friends from British Columbia that he should simply name a customs officer, have him sent down there and allow these goods to be carried by a British steamship company, lhat is all the people of British Columbia are asking.

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LIB
LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

My hon. friend from St. John is quite right in asking: why not have them come to St. John? But my hon. friend should address that inquiry not to me, as I have no power in this matter, but to my hon. friend the Minister of Customs.

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LIB

May 17, 1916