April 2, 1918

L LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp

Laurier Liberal

Mr. COPP:

So much with respeot to that. I have on previous occasions drawn the attention of ithe department to what I believe to be an absolutely irregular, unnecessary, and unbusinesslike way of engaging and paying the overseers and wardens. It is a different matter with the inspectors. There is a certain number of these officials who have prescribed areas over which they exercise control.

There are a number of inspectors, each in charge of a zone or area and each in receipt of a fairly good salary. One of the inspectors in New Brunswick gets $2,000, besides travelling expenses, $787; allowance for stenographer, and so on. The overseers and wrardens are also paid salaries. For instance, Mr. Prescott, of Baie Verte, gets the magnificent salary of $150 a year, but for travelling outlay he received last year $752.70. I know the location; I know what has taken place in that office during the last number of years. These men are paid practically no salary, but they send in a report as to mileage and that is the way they make up their salaries.

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UNION
L LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp

Laurier Liberal

Mr. COPP:

No, they cannot live on that amount. In the same locality there is an inspector at Barachois, Mr. Vinneau, whose salary is only $120 a year. He does the same work as Mr. Prescott, but strange to say his travelling outlay last year was $1,022.30. This is an indication of what has been taking place in the department for some years.

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UNION

Charles Colquhoun Ballantyne (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

These guardians are allowed ten cents a mile when they travel. Apparently these two men have done considerable travelling; I have no way of checking that up just now.

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L LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp

Laurier Liberal

Mr. COPP:

The department should have some check on these matters. They should pay these men a reasonable salary and require them to make proper returns and give full value for what they receive, or be subject to dismissal. What is true of these two cases is true of the other overseers and wardens. I hope the minister will see that his department is placed on a business basis and operated along business lines, irrespective of political favours.

I wish also to bring to the attention of the minister a matter that was referred to in the House early last session. Along the shores of New Brunswick, not far from my own county, illegal lobster fishing has been

going on. The inspector sent his patrol boat out, caught the men fishing lobsters out of season, seized the boats, and, I think destroyed one. When it was found that boats belonged to some person friendly to the Government, close to the department, a commissioner was appointed to investigate the matter, and I have a copy of the return that was brought down containing all the evidence. I notice that an amount for legal expenses is charged up in connection with this investigation. If the minister will look at the commissioner's report he may readily draw a conclusion whether there was illegal lobster fishing in this case and whether the person whose boats were seized was properly dealt with toy the inspector. The inspector tried to do his work in a proper manner, but as soon as it interfered with some who had pull, the inspector's jurisdiction was set aside, the matter taken out of his hands and a commissioner appointed to investigate. I draw the minister's attention to these facts simply to point out to him that he has a great gulf or chasm to bridge in order to get away from what has been going on in his department during the last few years.

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L LIB

William Duff

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

I have listened with a great deal of interest to the explanation of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries with reference to this item. I am pleased, indeed, to hear that he is going to make a change in the appointment of fishery guardians. The minister should toe congratulated that at last he has taken hold of this part of his department in a tousinesslike manner. The county from which I come is, perhaps, the largest fishing county in Canada-and I have in mind other counties in Nova Scotia where these guardians have been appointed during the last twenty years and where there was really no necessity for them at all. I suggest that great care toe exercised with reference to those who appoint these guardians. I think the minister said that the appointments were to be made toy the Civil Service Commission.,

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UNION

Charles Colquhoun Ballantyne (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

The appointments are in the hands of the Civil Service Commission, tout if that body needs any advice -and I assume it will-the inspector of the district in question would toe the man from whom we should seek advice. If we find that he is not giving us the kind of advice that we would expect to get from a business man then we will put another inspector in charge of that district.

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L LIB

William Duff

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

I conclude my remarks to the minister toy merely saying that the House

would like him to give instructions to those inspectors to toe sure to -employ men who are not partisans, but who will do their duty.

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L LIB

Thomas Vien

Laurier Liberal

Mr. VIEN:

In regard to the minister's explanation as to the decrease of $101,000, I understand that the decrease in the number of overseers will account for some portion of it, but I would like to know what portion of the decrease is accounted for by the decrease in the staff and what portion by the decrease in other expenses.

Mr. BAXiLANTYlNE : I do not agree with the cut in the estimates of $101,000 that has been made here, and I think I shall be forced a little later on to insert it in my supplementary estimates. I really do not think the cut should have been made at all, but economy is the watchword now, and the cut was rather forced on me.

Mr. McMAiS'TER: We were going to congratulate the minister on the decrease.

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L LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Shall the item carry?

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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

Wait a minute. We are not talking for talk's sake; we want to get some practical result out of this inquiry. Before the commissioner came in, I was asking the minister about the inspectors of pickled fish, quite a number of whom were appointed under the Act that was passed in this House two or three years ago. The Opposition very severely criticised that Act at the time it went through, objecting that no benefit to the people would result 'from the appointment of a number of officials. In the part of the country from which I come, which is largely a fishing district, those inspectors are of no practical value or utility to the district at all. They are di awing salaries for which they give no real return. In the island of Cape Breton there are one or two of those inspectors receiving large salaries, and, I suppose, large travelling expenses, and I would like to know from the minister what quantity of pickled fish they have examined and of what practical utility they are to the country generally, and particularly to the fishing industry. If he finds they are not turning out to be of benefit to the fishing industry and to the people generally, I think, even if they have been appointed under the Act, it would be proper economy to dispense with their services and to use the money for some more necessary purposes.

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UNION

Charles Colquhoun Ballantyne (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

Will the hon. member be good enough to wait until we come to that appropriation? I shall be very glad to give the information then.

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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

We are now on an item relating to inspectors. I do not want to be talking in too partisan a fashion, but we must bring matters to the notice of the minister. I do not know whether the minister likes this or not, or whether it suits him or not, and- I am not going to say; but it is all very well to drop patronage at this stage when every crevice, every corner, every conceivable office is filled with Tories. The minister says: I will not do anything; I will not exercise any patronage; I will pass it on to another man. Let us inquire who he is. He is a Tory of the Tories, and if any latitude is left to him, he is going to swing the old axe in the old way, and the old' patronage will continue. That is human nature. I am afraid the minister will find that he and some of his brethren are in the position of the old gentleman who was passing away into the eternal bliss that awaited him and who said to his spiritual adviser: "I am willing to forgive everybody and I do forgive everybody; but there is one man whom I will forgive, but you, John,"-(pointing to his boy)-"look after him after I am away." The minister may say: I will not exercise any patronage; I will do nothing of that kind, but I will hand it down to the inspectors. Who, pray, is the inspector? A very strong partisan, and if he is given latitude to select men, he will naturally-and I do not blame him for doing so-select -his own friends. That is what will happen, at least, in our part of the country. It has often been thrown at me from across the floor by members from British Columbia, that they are not as partisan as- we are, but I speak from observation in my own little province by the sea. I hope this thing will pass off and appointments made, not because of partisanship but because of fitness for the duties of the position.

Last year, I brought a matter to the notice of the department. In my county we have an official who was charged by one of his neighbours with destroying property without justification. This neighbour sent letters to the department, tout he was told by this official: You need not make any reports about me; you can save your breath; you oan save your paper; this is a Tory Government; there are Tory officials, and they will simply laugh at you. I sent these letters to the minister's department, and I received a letter from some official- I forget his name now-stating that inquiry would be made into the matter. I believe this official who scorned the idea of toeing brought to time because he was a Tory is

still in office, and I have not heard that anything has been done about the matter. I do not want to mention any names. This man is in the district of Little Bras d'Or, in the county of Cape Breton. It is very easy to find out who he is. The letters are on file. I hope that official of the Government will not (be permitted to sling lip-so to speak-at his neighbours and say: I can ride roughshod over you; you have no remedy because I belong to the Tory party, and you can whistle for your porridge for any good it will do you.

Mr. BALLAN-TYNE: I am too old in

year9 to learn any of the political tricks to which my hon. friend refers. I am, as he knows, nn amateur politician, and rather proud of that fact, but I do claim to be somewhat of a trained business man. I do not know of any other way to rid the department of the influence the hon. member has referred to except to place responsibility where it properly belongs. I have already placed, the responsibility on the inspector of the district. If the hon. member finds that the inspector of the particular district that he represents is not acting fairly and is making appointments on a political basis and not on an efficiency basis, and he brings that to my notice, I will guarantee him instant dismissal of that inspector, I do not care how long he -may have been in the service. With such a large department as that over which I have the honour to preside, reaching from one ocean to the other, I could not possibly adopt any other course. I do not know, of course, all the particulars of every division and constituency throughout the country. I cannot do any more than emphasize what I have already stated, namely, that it is the only business -way to put the matter into the hands of the inspector that is in charge-of the district. I will see that he carries out his orders in the way he should. If he does not, 'I will discharge him.

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L LIB

Joseph Read

Laurier Liberal

Mr. JOSEPH READ:

Until the minister made the statement that he was thinking of re-inserting the item of $101,000 in the supplementary estimates, I felt like congratulating him. I quite agree with his suggestion that a -good many of those overseers could be eliminated without any injury being done to the service. I would advise the Government as a whole to take into consideration whether it is not in the public interest to have the Department of Fisheries a separate department altogether from Marine and Naval. There is plenty of room for such a department in the Government, because I think some of the new

ministers have not too much to do. The fishing industry is one of the -most important industries in the Dominion; it is to-day second only to the industry of agriculture, and it is not half exploited-. Now that meat is scarce, the people are 'beginning to ask for more fish, and evidently that means more brains. You cannot do better than to make the Department of Fisheries an entirely separate department.

With regard to the falling off in the production of oy-sters, that has perhaps resulted from -the importation of American oysters. As far as the Malpeq-ue beds are concerned, I think our local government is perhaps more largely to blame than the Federal Government. They began to encourage the importation of a large number of American oysters, and from all we can find out, it would appear that they have introduced a disease which has decimated the native oyster almost entirely. Either that is the cause, o-r it is one of those freaks of nature where it sometimes occurs that these luscious bivalves have periods of increase and periods of decrease, or it may be because in the great Richmond bay, which produces Malpeque oysters, they have permitted indiscriminate lobster fishing and perhaps induced the starfish to comae in there and destroy our oysters. There is no question, however, that the oyster industry of Malpeque, or Richmond hay, Prince Edward Island, the great field of that fine bivalve, misnamed- Malpeq-ue-I think it should be called the Richmond Bay-oyster is becoming almost extinct. It would foe well f-or the department to look info that matter and see if they can if possible discover the real cause and remedy it.

If the minister expects to have nonpartisan appointments, he will not have them by giving the inspectors power to make them, because the inspectors, as a rule, are far more partisan than the men who appoint them. That is true as far as my county is concerned. It is true of our province that the man who is appointed is appointed because of his extreme partisanship. If the Union Government is ito warrant its existence at all, it should warrant its existence on the basis of nonpartisanship and no patronage.

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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

May I suggest to the minister that at a convenient time-I shall not say he should do it now, because it is rather an important matter-he should give the House some authoritative information as to what has been or is being done by a rather important commission which has recently held sittings to inqnire into

fisheries matters? It is a commission of an international character. According to the reports in the public press, some very important changes are being made in our fisheries, but I am not taking exception to any action of the commission. I am inclined to think some of the recommendations I would cordially approve, and I am not sure I would oppose any of them. I am aware, however, there is some discontent in Nova Scotia as to what is regarded as the insufficiency of the opportunity given to people who wish to be heard on the subject. The commission came to the conclusion that they ought to have a public hearing in Canada, and they selected one point in the Maritime Provinces, the city of St. John. If only one point could be chosen, I would find no fault with the city of St. John, which is central. It seems to me-and I know it is the impression in the fishing communities-that in a matter of such great importance, opportunity should be given by the commission for hearings at other points.

There may have been good reasons why this could not be done. I am not making my suggestions to my hon. friend in any critical spirit, but this is a large question; very much has been said in the press about it, and I only take advantage of this occasion 'to say that at a convenient time when he has had the opportunity of studying the matter he might give the House official information as to what has been done or is being done at this moment, by the important commission which has been charged with the duties of investigating the fishery affairs not only of Canada but of the United States.

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UNION

Charles Colquhoun Ballantyne (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

I shall be very glad to give the hon. gentleman the information he asks for. The commission have not yet finished- their sittings, and in the course of a week or two will be going out to British Columbia. As hon. gentlemen know, this is an international commission, the American representatives being Hon. Wm. C. Red-field, Hon. E. C. Sweet, and Dr. H. M. Smith; and the Canadian representatives Chief Justice Hon. J. D. Hazen, Mr. G. J. Desbarats, and Mr. W. A. Found, Superintendent of Canadian Fisheries. Without going into detail, what this commission have accomplished with regard to eastern Canada is simply this: In the past Canadian vessels were not allowed to land or dispose of their catch at American ports, nor were American vessels allowed to land and dispose of their catch at Canadian ports, but arrangements have recently been ar-

18J

rived at whereby this will be possible in future for the fishermen- of both countries. This agreement was readily agreed to by the American representatives, and it is highly appreciated not only by the Government of Canada but by the people as well. In addition to that, in the past we have had a close season for lobster fishing, and during ouf close season, American smacks used to fish for Canadian lobsters outside the three-mile limit; but now an agreement has been reached wheTeby the American Government will not allow American smacks to fish outside the three-mile limit during our close season for lobster fishing. I am sure hon. members will agree that these concessions are of the greatest importance not only to the fishermen of Canada but to the country itself. Of course I cannot foretell what decisions will be arrived at when the commission hold their sittings in British Columbia. There are many important- problems for them to solve, particularly the question of the conservation of salmon.

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L LIB

William Frederic Kay

Laurier Liberal

Mr. KAY:

I am very glad to hear the minister say that the commission has not finally closed its sittings, because I would suggest to him that he take up with the Canadian representatives of that commission the question of fishing in Missisquoi bay.

Mr. BALLANTYNE; It was an error on my part not to mention that. At the request of the Canadian Government, during the sittings of the commission that have recently been held, it was mutually agreed between the two countries that there should be no commercial or seine-net fishing in Missisquoi bay. The hon. member knows of course, that Missisquoi bay forms a very small part of lake Champlain, and the United States Government have been urging the Canadian Government for a great many years to prohibit commercial fishing in Missisquoi [DOT] bay, as that -was the chief place where the fish from American waters came up to spawn.

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L LIB

William Frederic Kay

Laurier Liberal

Mr. KAY:

destroys the pike that infest lake Champlain, (but as a matter of fact, only 34,000 pounds, out of this 164,000 pounds, are pike, the balance being what fishermen call " rough fish," largely made up of perch and fish which are not game fish. I may say that bass fishing is very good in lake Champlain and Missisquoi bay, but the fish cannot be retained by the fishermen. They catch very few, and those are returned to the lake unhurt. It would appear to me that, especially at this time when we are urged to consume as much fish as possible to save meat for the Allies, the commissioners should have considered the matter very seriously before they prohibited the catching of this large quantity of fish so near to Montreal, which, I presume, is the largest fish-consuming city in Canada. The Government can hardly expect the people to take their propaganda for eating fish and saving meat very seriously when they prohibit the catching of a large quantity of fish, for the purpose of allowing pleasure fishermen with rod and line to catch fish in lake Champlain. The department says: That the United States Government, in conjunction with the authorities of the States of New York and Vermont, are trying to build up the fisheries of lake Champlain, with the purpose of making the lake a favourite summer resort, commercially the fisheries could never attain much importance. It is a question of whether, in normal times, this is a perfectly true statement of the facts, but surely even the United States Government, who are at present our allies, would not wish to deprive this country of a large amount of fish, simply with the object of making an attractive summer resort of the villages on the border of lake Champlain. As the hon. minister has said, this has been a question which has been debated between the two countries for a great number of years. There have, apparently, always been very good reasons which have compelled, or impelled, our Government to refuse the request of the United States to prohibit seining. I personally am quite convinced that during this period of six weeks, which is before the fish are spawning, more pike will be destroyed by the large number of perch left in the lake than are taken out by the seine. The perch abound there in great numbers, and they live on the newly-hatched spawn of the pike and bass. So that I think this prohibition of seining will really result in a large increase of perch, and, therefore, in

a large decrease in the number of sporting fish. However, at the present time, I base my request to the Government largely on the importance of securing all the fish possible for consumption in this country.

There is another matter which is worthy of attention. These fishermen have been fishing in this lake under license from the Government, as I said before, for some forty or fifty years. The season commences on the first of March, and the Government passed an Order in Council on the 18th day of February. This was not published in the press until about the 23rd of February. I know that the fishermen have quite large investments in their seines and ropes, and several of them who fish in this lake purchased new equipment this year. It would hardly seem fair to these men that they should be deprived without some notice, of what they have regarded for so many years as a right from the Government to fish. I would urge the hon. minister to take this question up with our Canadian commissioners, and procure evidence from local people as to the truth of the assertion of the United States commissioner, in order that, for another year, the rights of fishing in lake Champlain may be restored.

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L LIB

Marie Joseph Demers

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DEMERS:

I am glad that the hon. gentleman from Missisquoi (Mr. Kay) has brought this matter to the attention of the hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries, because we, in that part of the country, are interested in this question, which is a very important one for us. I believe the Government has misjudged the true situation, and that this question was not fully considered. Apparently this Order in Council was the result of mutual concessions between the United States and Canada, but I believe that the only concession was on our side. I submit that there can be no comparison between the action of the United States Government in prohibiting the importation of lobster taken outside of our territorial waters and the action of the Canadian Government in prohibiting at any time fishing by means of nets in Missisquoi bay and the Canadian waters of lake Champlain. Our close season for lobster fishing is as beneficial to the United States as to Canada. With our protective legislation as to lobster fishing, lobster is more plentiful not only in Canadian waters, but outside, and even in American territorial waters. But in this case it is not the same thing at all. Here we have an Order in Council passed by the Canadian Government which will be beneficial only to the United States. Pike perch is not lobster and lobster is not pike

perch. Lobster is not a migrating fish as pike perch and bass are and the consequence of this difference is that as pike perch and bass resort to Missisquoi bay in springtime for spawning purposes only, as soon as the spawning time is through these fish migrate to American waters and never come .back. By their nature they always tend to go upstream; and they go into American waters and do not come (back. I submit that by this Order in Council we will be deprived of this kind of fishing at all times and the only result will be to givie the benefit of that kind of fishing to the Americans, particularly American sportsmen.

But there is another aspect of this question which should be considered by this House. There are a good number of families of fishermen who for two or three generations have been partially engaged in this occupation. During the winter time they go to large expense in order to be ready for the season and they rely very largely on fishing for their living. Just at the opening of the season, without any notice, and although this question has been studied for many years, there comes an Order in Council which says that all this expense to which they have gone shall be a complete loss and that they must look elsewhere for their living. I do not think that is fair or reasonable, and I blame the Government for having acted in this'matter by Order in Council. If this Government, or the minister, wished to imitate the Americans, for whom some of them seem, now to have so much admiration, they had excellent occasion to do so. They could have introduced a Bill, into this House as the Americans have done with regard to the question of the lobster fishery, and as we can see by the letter which my hon. friend received from the department. We see that with regard to the question of the lobster fishery the United States have not yet made a concession, but they have introduced a Bill into Congress. They did not pass any Order in Council. I think this Government would have done better to have imitated the action of the United States Government and introduced a Bill into this House. That would have been more democratic, more constitutional, and in that way the Government would not have hurt these poor fishermen.

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UNION

Charles Colquhoun Ballantyne (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

I am sorry that 1

cannot agree with the hon. members who have spoken. As hon. gentlemen are quite aware, lake Champlain, which is owned by the United States, is fifty miles long and seven miles wide. I am sure that hon.

gentlemen are also aware that for many years the United States Government have not permitted any nets to be used in lake Champlain. Our great ally is standing shoulder to shoulder with Canada to-day, not only with her men at the front but also giving us freely of her money. Our American friends also have granted to Canada the vast privileges that I mentioned a moment ago by allowing our fishing vessels to clear for American ports and to dispose of their catches there. They own lake Champlain, fifty miles long and

11 p.m. seven miles wide, and we own Missisquoi Bay, which is only from three to five miles wide: They are

anxious to preserve the fish of lake Champlain and have been pressing upon us, a friendly nation, for years, to prohibit net fishing for perch at the time of the year when the fish are spawning. What attitude should we have taken? It has been clearly proved that this is the time of the year when the perch spawn. It also has been clearly proved that Missisquoi bay is the spawning ground of the perch. Hon. gentlemen have said that probably this action was taken very hurriedly. I wish tc assure them that it was not done hurriedly at all. We have on the international commission,, men who understand thoroughly the fisheries of Canada and the Ignited States. When representations were made from the 'States of Vermont and New York before this international commission when it was sitting in the city of Boston as to the effect of this net fishing, when it was asked to prohibit net fishing of perch in this small Missisquoi bay, was it not the logical, the businesslike course for Canada to say to her cousins, that Canada would agree to the fair proposition that our allies made? I think the House will take this broad view of the question. We cannot take a local view of a question like this, and even if we did, I do not see any ground that would cause the commission to refuse to give to our American friends the very fair concession that the Canadian Government has just granted.

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April 2, 1918