November 5, 1919

L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

I think that when the [DOT]minister looks around and sees so few members of the committee present he will agTee with me that this is not the occasion for considering so important a subject as he suggests to the committee at the present time.

Topic:   CANADA SHIPPING ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

My only purpose in asking the House to allow this resolution to pass is that the Bill may be printed. Every opportunity will be given for the discussion of the Bill when it is printed, but I desire' to have it on the Order Paper when we conclude the discussion on the report which is at present before the House.

_Mr. McKENZIE: I have only to say to my hon. friend that I could not at any stage agree to this resolution. It may not be so startling to a man who lives in Manitoba or Saskatchewan, or somewhere where they are not so acclimatized to this very thing as a man who lives on the coast like my6elf. It w'ould be just as reasonable for the hon. gentleman to say that if in the city of Winnipeg, for instance, there was a scarcity of doctors a particular member of the Cabinet should have authority to appoint any number of doctors to start out on surgical operations and everything that pertains to the profession of a duly-qualified medical man. The sea-captain takes charge of the ship. He has under his control a certain number of men, not necessarily passengers, that put their lives in his hands, and he sets out to sea with his thousands of dollars worth of property and precious lives. The property in his charge, and the lives of those men, depend upon his skill as a navigator and as a man who knows the theory and practice of navigation. I cannot possibly be a consenting party to putting the lives of those men and that property into the hands of a man who is not qualified under the Act. Everybody knows that the qualifications required under the Act are very simple. It is a simple thing to pass the examination and even if it is necessary to lower the standard of that examination that is another matter; but I cannot by any possibility agree to opening the door and giving such favour to .a minister who may

know nothing at all about the requirements of seamanship-

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L LIB
L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

Possibly a paint manufacturer; at any rate he is called upon to know whether a man is a qualified seaman. A man may be aloft on a ship and a person down below who is ignorant about seamanship may swing a yard or a boom in such a way as to throw the man aloft perhaps a hundred feet away from the vessel by not knowing how to pull the right rope-in fact not understanding his business. Our whole salvation in matters of this kind is that the law requires certain experience and certain training in seamanship before a man can take charge of a vessel. Now as far as I am concerned -although the legislation may be passed over my head-I wish the minister would distinctly understand this: That I would not put the lives of the men in these ships in the hands of a man who was not a competent navigator. Speaking personally I would not go to sea with a man that I knew had not the proper training and the proper qualifications for the trust that is reposed in him.

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UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

There are two sides to the question involved in this resolution. The hon. gentleman has taken one side, but there is another aspect to be considered. It is not proposed that the minister should exercise the authority, if such power is granted him, of -putting a ship under the control of an incompetent man. The purpose of this legislation is primarily to enable sailing ships to depart from a port with out a certificated master or mate. I would like to tell my hon. friend that in the United States sailing ships up to 700 tons can sail anywhere the world over without certificated masters, or mates. In Great Britain where they have had a century of experience in such matters, they do not require masters and mates to be certificated in sailing ships in the coasting trade-

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L LIB
UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

-and I do not think they require certificated masters and mates in ships of a certain size sailing coastwise in Great Britain. I was discussing this matter only yesterday with the officers of the Department of Marine and we were seriously contemplating bringing forward at this stage a Bill to enable Canadian sailing ships to sail anywhere without certificated masters and mates. No owner will

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allow his ship to depart from port in the hands of an inexperienced man. This, of course, does not relate to passenger boats. I think myself we might very well abandon the idea of requiring certificated masters and mates for sailing ships, particularly up to a certain tonnage. I really think we will have to do that, otherwise the sailing marine in this country will not be able to get the men. They have not been able to do so during the war fand frequently the department, in order that a ship could depart from a port, has been obliged to exercise the power given the minister under the War Measures Act, but which we wish to perpetuate for another year. Only to-day I was in receipt of a telegram from Halifax with respect to two sailing ships that were ready to depart but were unable to obtain certificated officers. They could not get them and they were advised that if the Customs officer at the port would certify that they had made diligent efforts to secure certificated officers, they would be permitted to depart upon furnishing an experienced man. I appreciate that there is something in the argument of my hon. friend. The only thing I ask of him is to permit the resolution to pass in order that the Bill may be printed, subject to the understanding that it will not in the slightest degree prejudice him in the matter of the right of discussion.

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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

I would suggest to my hon. friend that if he is doing this with a view of hastening the passage of this legislation through the House, he is not wise. I realize the full force of what he has said as to the difficulty of obtaining certificated officers, and I can quite understand there may be circumstances in which it may be necessary to sanction these exceptional cases in order to carry on the trade and commerce of the country. But I think we ought to let the public know that this Bill is proposed, and possibly we would discover that there is not as much difficulty in some quarters in getting competent men as is alleged. It may be that there are many shipmasters who are willing to give their services, but possibly the conditions offered to them are not satisfactory. I am rather in sympathy with the objects of the Bill but I would strongly advise my hon. friend not to rush it through but to allow full opportunity for the discussion of the measure.

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UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

I do not propose to rush the Bill through, I simply wanted to advance it a stage so that it can be

printed. We cannot reach it, in any event, for two days.

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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

But two days is a very limited time to allow for a measure which affects so many people. I think the maritime population of our country ought to be made aware that there is such a Bill and if there are any certificated officers around who are unemployed, but who, for some reason or other, do-not seem to suit the owners, they should have an opportunity of making their position known. It is true that of late years there have been very few young men coming up for examination. Nevertheless there are a good many veteran shipmasters still around our coasts and before agreeing to the Bill-I do not object to the hon. gentleman's motion-I should like to be satisfied that all these people will have the opportunity of getting employment, and it is only in case such qualified men are not available that the provisions of the Bill will be carried out.

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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 resolution

carry?

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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

I am sure the minister knows as well as I do that one of the proudest and most honoured professions in our province is that of shipmaster, and those who have reached a high position in that calling and take pride in their profession, are men to whom we look up. I cannot understand therefore why we are now proposing to cut that education down and say to the shipmaster, or to the man who wants to qualify himself, " Oh, your position is a picayune one. Anybody can sail a ship; what are you talking about? I am going to put this boy in charge of a vessel; he can take her to Newfoundland and across to Liverpool; it is all camouflage'to say that it is necessary to have a qualified man on this job." That may be said, but it is not the fact. It requires education, practice and skill to fulfil such duties, and to pass this Bill is to belittle the importance that we have hitherto attached to the profession of seamanship. I should be very much surprised to learn that the law in England is as my hon. friend says it is. The last Shipping Act passed in England, the Act of 1894, is also in force here. Our own Shipping Act is more or less supplementary to it, and when our Act conflicts with the English Act of 1894, in many cases the English Act prevails. I shall be surprised if my hon. friend can show me a provision in the Shipping Act of 1894 to the effect that shipmasters require no certificates. It has been the

boast of our men in Nova Scotia that they had to pass the British Board. A man might get a Canadian certificate, but he was not half as proud of that as he would be of a certificate received from the British Board of Trade, which is the creme de la creme of qualification as a seaman. Ilf that is all gone, I have not been aware of it.

Resolution reported and concurred in.

On the motion of Hon. A. K. Maclean for the adjournment of the House:

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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE :

I suppose the report of the Special Committee on Soldiers' Re-establishment will be the first order to-morrow morning?

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UNION

Motion agreed to, and the House adjourned at 11 p.m. Thursday, November 6, 1919.


November 5, 1919