November 8, 1919

UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

These proceedings are

most irregular. I looked towards the hon. member (Mr. A. K. Maclean) to recognize him when the motion for the second reading was made and he did not then avail himself of his right to speak. Now I take it, under the circumstances, the House will give its unanimous consent to the hon. member for Halifax to make his remarks at this stage.

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Mr. A. K. MAOLEAN@

I do not wish

to preclude any discussion upon this matter but I do expect that when any objection is raised it shall be based upon a sound and fundamental ground. For in-

stance, the assertion that I had made a promise that this Bill would not be introduced this session is not correct. The Government is not insisting that this legislation shall be passed this session. If there was any reasonable opposition to it I would drop the Bill very quickly; but I do not like dropping a bill unless I find there is some reasonable ground for it, and the reasons which my hon. friend from Quebec East (Mr. E. Lapointe) have given do not impress me at all.

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L LIB
UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

I am sure, if

my hon. friend had only given a moment's consideration to the Bill, he would not have made the remarks he did. I do not know of any reason why he should not be aware of what the Bill contains, notwithstanding that the first reading only took place yesterday. Every hon. gentleman knows that in the concluding days of the session certain business-usually not very important business-must be accelerated in some form or other and the House invariably assents to that course. I rather resent the idea that I am attempting to force this legislation on Parliament when there is no intention to do anything of the kind.

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L LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ERNEST LAPOINTE:

Will my hon. friend tell me his reason for , waiting until the last days of the session before introducing this Bill?

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UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

I moved the resolution upon which this Bill is founded four or five days ago.

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L LIB
UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

That is sufficient notice to the House. In fact, the suggestion for the legislation came before me from the Department of Marine and Fisheries only a few days ago.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this Bill is to empower the Minister of Marine to permit ships to leave Canadian ports without certificated masters and mates and notwithstanding the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act. If the Bill is acceptable to the House, I purpose to amend it by providing that it shall he restricted to sailing ships and shall be operative only for the next six months. During the war an Order in Council was passed under the War Measures Act empowering the Minister of Marine to permit vessels to depart from Canadian ports without certificated masters and mates, if it were shown to him that it was not possible to get certificated officers and that the men for whom the permits were required were competent. These permits were always issued upon the representation of the Collector of Customs at the ship's port. As hon. gentlemen are aware, the War Measures Act and all Orders in Council passed under it may very quickly become inoperative, and upon the proclamation of peace there is some doubt as to the validity of Orders in Council which were stipulated to be in force during the period of the war and six months thereafter. It is a fact that in Canada to-day it is impossible to get the required number of certificated masters and mates to command ships on transatlantic voyages, there being a great many more Canadian ships, particularly sailing ships, at present engaged in the transatlantic business than at any time during the last twenty-five years. Many men have coasting certificates which under the statute are not acceptable for transatlantic voyages; but those men are to all intents and purposes just as competent to take ships across the Atlantic as men who have ocean-going certificates. During the last three years quite a number of permits of this nature were issued; for instance, from Nova Scotia ports 111 permits; from New Brunswick ports 41; from British Columbia ports 6, and from Quebec ports 2.

In the United States, as I pointed out the other day, sailing ships up to 700 tons gross can depart from any American port to any other port in the world without certificated officers. In Great Britain any freight ship may engage in coast-wise business without a certificated officer. The difficulties of navigating a ship around the waters of the United Kingdom are infinitely greater than those involved in the taking of a ship from a Canadian port across the Atlantic. I think there is a great deal of fallacy in the idea that a ship cannot be commanded except by a certificated person. I have no doubt that some day we will have enough sense to allow the man who owns a ship other than a passenger ship to send her anywhere he chooses, provided he is satisfied that the officers in charge are competent men.

As I said before, Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this Bill is to enable the minister for the next six months to do what he has been doing during the last two years, namely, to permit ships to depart from Canadian ports without certificated officers. A great many wooden ships have been built in Canada during the war, and war conditions prevented many of our seafaring men taking

the examination for masters' and mates' certificates. Consequently we are confronted with the practical question of whether or not Canadian ships shall be refused departure from our ports if they are unable to procure certificated officers. If there is any substantial objection I shall withdraw the motion.

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L LIB

François Jean Pelletier

Laurier Liberal

Mr. F. J. PELLETIER (Matane):

This Bill provides by paragraph (b):

Canadian registered vessels carrying passengers not exceeding one hundred registered tons, which ply exclusively within what the Minister of Marine and Fisheries may deem to be sheltered waters within the inland waters or on the sea coasts of Canada.

Therefore this Bill deals with vessels plying on the sea coast of Canada as well as within inland waters.

Referring to what my hon. friend said in answer to the hon. member from Quebec East (Mr. Lapointe) as to the interview that certain members had with the Minister of Marine and Fisheries, he will remember that I, together with some of my colleagues and representatives from the Quebec and Montreal pilots, saw him while he was Acting Minister of Marine and Fisheries, and he agreed with us that the matter should be postponed.

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UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

Surely my hon. friend does not mean to say that I discussed with him or any one else this particular Bill? I remember the occasion he refers to, but we were then discussing a matter which had reference solely to Quebec pilotage.

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L LIB
UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

This Bill does not refer to that matter.

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L LIB

François Jean Pelletier

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PELLETIER:

We were discussing the question of Quebec and Montreal pilotage, together with the question of masters and mates, and at that time my hon. friend agreed to wait until the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Ballantyne) could personally consider the question. Later on we interviewed the Minister of Marine and Fisheries, and as I stated last night on resolution No. 15 relating to Bill No. 48, it was agreed that so far as pilotage was concerned, nothing would be done until the session of 1920.

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UNION
L LIB

François Jean Pelletier

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PELLETIER:

I am not suggesting that my hon. friend himself said -so; I am speaking of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries,

[Mr. A. K. Maclean.!

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UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

I was not even present at that meeting.

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L LIB

François Jean Pelletier

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PELLETIER:

If my hon. friend denies that, let us postpone this question until he has had an opportunity of seeing the Minister of Marine and Fisheries personally; he is in the city.

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UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

I certainly shall not agree to postpone this Bill upon the ground my hon. friend suggests.

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L LIB

François Jean Pelletier

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PELLETIER:

Mr. Speaker, I consider that this measure is without doubt a dangerous one, because it will allow unscrupulous ship-owners to employ incompetent men in certain waters.

The lives of the public, even of the men manning the vessels, would thereby be in danger, especially at this time of year. The men manning the vessels will be compelled to work with incompetent -masters and mates. The certificate of master can be obtained at any time, with few exceptions. It is true that there are some conditions and circumstances under which a master's certificate cannot be obtained, but very seldom would that be the case.

As I understand it, this legislation will apply to vessels of 100 tons. Suppose you had fifteen or twenty of these small vessels coming up or going down the St. Lawrence river and they met one or more of the big liners at -Isle au Grues on the north side of Beaujeu Bank or at lower traverse, St. Rochs, where the channel is very narrow. If a number of these small vessels are manned by men who are incompetent the lives of passengers may be endangered. This Bill is a bad one unless it is amended to apply to vessels plying only in certain waters.

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UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

What has that to do with this Bill?

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November 8, 1919