In an indirect way, but the local pilotage commission exercised very great authority. Now that the local, pilotage system has been abolished, as minister I am assuming the responsibility and control of the pilotage system there.
Since the terrible Halifax catastrophe a court of inquiry was instituted by the Department of Marine and Fisheries. That court rendered its judgment, and I understand that all those who were held by this court of inquiry to be in any way blameable for the catastrophe are being dealt with at the present time before the court.
I read in the papers at the time the investigation was held that some people thought that the calamity might have been avoided if the pilot on the Mont Blanc had been able to speak with the crew on board the ship. I understand that the ship is a French ship, that the crew was French, that the pilot was English, that he could not speak any other language than English, and that there was therefore absolutely no possibility of communication between the captain and pilot of the ship as to the direction of the ship. I do not know if these are the facts, but if they are I might suggest that the minister send down to Halifax some French-speaking pilots who would take charge of French ships, in the hope that catastrophies like that might be avoided in the future.
I come from a sea-faring country, and I know a little bit about it.. If you send down from the St. Lawrence river French-speaking pilots to navigate the waters of Nova Scotia or the gulf of St. Lawrence, or any other place along the Nova Scotia coast, it would be suicidal-it would be out of the question altogether. You men from the St. Lawrence do not know anything about Atlantic navigation; you do not know anything about the game of seamanship. I am not saying this in a carping or critical spirit, but simply by way of suggestion, but I wish that you would withhold your hand from anything affecting Sydney or its pilotage system until you can get men accustomed to conditions in Sydney harbour to investigate the system that has prevailed there. Perhaps 1 am wrong in criticising. You may have used your very best judgment, but you have never steered a boat against a sou' west wind in Halifax harbour like I have done.
I know some little thing about navigation in Sydney harbour and the Cape Breton coast, and I am giving it to you now in the very best spirit and asking 'you to take the advice of some of the Cape Breton mariners as to how they would navigate that coast before you lay sacriligious hands upon the pilotage system there.
I can assure the hon. member (Mr. Butts) that every consideration will be given to the suggestion which he hais made. One who has had the experience that he has informed us he has had, is at all times worth listening to, and everything that he has stated will be given very careful consideration. In answer to the suggestion of the hon. member (Mr. Cannon) about French pilots at Halifax, I am not in a position to know whether there are any there or not. But we all know, especially we of the English-speaking race, that the French people ispeak one language equally as well as the other, and if there are any qualified French Canadian pilots down there, and I can find them, 1 certainly shall see that they are sent.
Where are these repairs to be made to wharves, because I see on another page of the estimates, under the heading of " Public Works Chargeable to Income," a great many appropriations made for different wharves and' (breakwaters, and repairs to wharves and breakwaters, in the different provinces.
This vote is asked particularly for Thunder bay. There is an area of 27 miles of ice which has to be broken up every spring and that will explain why the vote is as large as $40,000. If there are any other nearby points that require the services of an icebreaker this vote will apply to them. That is what we mean by " other points "-points adjacent or close to Thunder bay.
Is that in connection with the ship channel? I understand there was a telephone system between Montreal, Quebec, and, perhaps, points lower down the St. Lawrence.
Mr. BALLANTYNE.: This vote is asked in case there may be some isolated station where we would need to install a telephone. As a matter of fact, we have never spent any money during the last three years under this vote, but it is just by way of precaution that we are asking that the amount be voted.
If, without any additional cost, the department could at isolated points like the Magdalen islands, allow the public to connect with the main line, would the department object to that? I have received many letters of late from the islanders, and as they have not telegraphic communication, and as they have to travel quite a distance, sometimes at considerable loss of time and sometimes at considerable danger crossing the lagoons on the islands, they say that if they had the privilege of a telephone line it would give them moTe comfort in carrying on their business, and would be of more convenience for the community at large.
telephone lines belongs to the Department of Public Works, -and when the estimates of that department are up I am sure that the minister (Mr. Carvell) will give the matter consideration if the hon. member will bring it to his attention.
with the condition of things on the Magdalen islands. The Marine Department has a station on each of these islands, and it is true that there is a telephone line on the Magdalen islands. I -am not sure whether it is controlled by the Public Works or the Marine Department.