April 12, 1921

L LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Laurier Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR (Guysborough) :

For a copy of all telegrams, correspondence, petitions or other documents exchanged between the Government of Prinoe Edward Island and the Federal Government relative to the taking over and operating of the Dalton Sani-

torium by the Federal Government and the handing back of the same to the Government of Prince Edward Island.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
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SULLY, QUEBEC, PROPOSED STATION


On the notice of Motion:


L LIB

Charles Arthur Gauvreau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. GAUVREAU:

For a copy of all letters, correspondence, petitions, financial statements and all other documents, exchanged between the settlers of Sully and along the National Transcontinental in the county of Temiscouata, and the Superintendent of the Government railways in connection with the erection of a station at Sully, Quebec.

Topic:   SULLY, QUEBEC, PROPOSED STATION
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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Right Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN:

It occurs to me that as the mover of this motion is here, he would probably consent to the motion being transferred to the committee which was ordered by the House on Friday.

Topic:   SULLY, QUEBEC, PROPOSED STATION
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L LIB

MURRAY BAY-TADOUSSAC-PROPOSED STEAMSHIP SERVICE

L LIB

Pierre-François Casgrain

Laurier Liberal

Mr. P. F. CASGRAIN (Charlevoix-Mont-morency) moved:

which were very doubtful. I said that the Government surely ought to be able to spare a few hundred thousand dollars to provide a boat service for the people in that part of the country. I blamed the Government at that time for not taking proper steps to provide a service, and I again, this year, make the same complaint, and would urge upon the Government that a subsidy be granted as was done a few years ago, or that a regular boat service be provided by the Government for the people in that part of the country which I represent. I think the merchant marine in this way would be performing better service than by doing what it is now, sailing the seven seas. A boat of 100 tons could perform this service and call at the different ports, and I am sure that if the merchant marine performed service of this kind instead of what it is now doing the deficit on the merchant marine would not be so big as it was last year.

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L LIB

Edmond Savard

Laurier Liberal

Mr. SAVARD (Chicoutimi-Saguenay) :

(Translation.) The subject of my hon. friend's resolution (Mr. Casgrain) would perhaps concern my constituency more than his own. I therefore heartily endorse this resolution. The facts of the case have been so ably put forward by the hon. member that I have very little to add to what he has already said. However, with your permission, Mr. Speaker, I will make a few remarks on the subject. The population of the whole county of Saguenay and of the Northern Coast, which includes a great number of parishes and some very important industries, has been since two or three years, absolutely isolated from the rest of this country, on account of the niggardliness of this Government.

Some years ago the firm of Price, one of the largest business concerns in the province of Quebec, had an important mill at St. Catherine's. As it was necessary to communicate with the North Shore, the firm maintained a ferry service between St. Catherine and Tadoussac, thus benefiting the North Shore's population from Tadoussac to Labrador by giving it the means of communication. This company maintained its ferry service during many years, but haying finally shut down its plant at St. Catherine, had no further interest in continuing the ferry. It was then that the Saguenay people asked the Government, at that time under the leadership of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, for the necessary assistance to maintain the ferry between St. Catherine and Tadoussac. The Government hav-

ing understood the importance of the request and the necessity for the people of the Northern Shore to communicate with the rest of the country, immediately granted about three thousand dollars. With the aid of this subsidy those interested hired a fine boat and organized a daily service between St. Catherine and Tadoussac, which continued without interruption during the winter. I did not expect to speak upon this question so I have not the exact dates at hand, but it was some years ago before I had the honour to sit in this House, that the right hon. Minister of Commerce, as my hon. friend the member from Charlevoix has just stated, cut off this subsidy, claiming that as a ferry-boat this service should be subsidized by the Provincial Government of Quebec. In consequence that part of the country is isolated. I do not know whether the member then representing these people made any effort to prevent this crying injustice, perhaps one of the greatest committed by the Government. I do not mention these facts simply because it is a part of the population of my county that suffers from this state of affairs; I cannot believe that the right hon. Minister of Commerce has understood the importance of keeping the population of the North Shore in touch with the rest of the country, and the injustice these people are suffering through his department. I refuse to believe that, to save a few hundreds or thousands of dollars, this service has been cut off, depriving of communication an intelligent population that has given soldiers to the country, many of whom sleep their last sleep in Flanders. Even while admitting that the Government was not absolutely obliged to maintain this steamboat service, due consideration should have been taken of the great inconvenience caused by its suppression, especially at a time when millions of d'ollars are being thrown to the four winds and when twenties and even hundreds of millions are being talked about for ships that we claim are absolutely useless. To deprive this population of a service which is absolutely necessary in order to save a few thousand dollars, as a serious mistake, and I to not believe that the right hon. Minister of Commerce has realized the injustice committed by his department, for if he had, he would not have cut off-this subsidy. I do not know whether the member who represented this county before me endeavoured to prevent this injustice being committed, but I am inclined to think not; for I imagine that the

then member had influence enough with the Government to prevent it. I will further say that there was laid upon the table on September 19th, or October 19th, 1918, a letter from Mr. Girard, former member for Chicoutimi, addressed to the Hon. Postmaster General, in which he said, referring to the assistance asked for by the Priest of Tadoussac and also myself, to permit a gasoline launch service to carry the mail between St. Catherine and Tadoussac, that it was useless. I can, then, only conclude, since he had the courage, not to call it the cowardice, to affirm that this little ferry service was useless, that he did not do his duty towards his electors when the right hon. Minister of Commerce cut off this subsidy in 1916.

I have had occasion to talk with the right hon. Minister of Commerce on this subject, and he told me, as I have just said, that it was a ferry service, and should be looked after by the province of Quebec. He added, "the province of Quebec is so flourishing, its coffers are so full of money, that it would be easy for it to give some thousands of dollars to this population to permit it to communicate with the rest of the country." I did not contest his statement concerning the finances of the province of Quebec, because if ever there was a true statement, it is that one.

I had the occasion, at the time, to meet Sir Lomer Gouin, the Prime Minister of the province of Quebec, whom I apprized of the opinion of the right hon Minister of Trade and Commerce. The latter had told me: "consult Sir Lomer Gouin on this matter and let me know what he thinks about it." This I did, in the course of a pretty long conservation I had with him; Sir Lomer Gouin stated that the right hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce was certainly mistaken, and that he would endeavour to show him so when he next came to Ottawa.

Sir Lomer Gouin came up to Ottawa a few days later, but he did not meet the right hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce, as the latter had left the Capital to go to Europe. The hon. member for Halifax (Mr. Maclean), the then acting minister, would not intervene, although he was fully convinced of the justice of the case, nor would he alter the decision which the right hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce had taken. The Question remained as it stood. These people were deprived of all means of communication during the long winter months. Deprived of every means of communication, I stated, but let there be no mistake : They had a mail service every eighth day, but at times they would be without it for a fortnight.

A population as that which inhabits that immense territory extending from Tadoussac to Labrador, a territory composed of from fifteen to twenty parishes, numbering from twelve to fifteen thousand inhabitants and in which important industries are established, is deprived of a postal service during whole weeks. To my mind, any intelligent people would but need a knowledge of such conditions to be unanimous in calling it an indignity, an infamy perpetrated on that population. I must say that I did all I could to obtain from the Government some relief for these citizens, and that we have succeeded to some extent, not through the Rt. Hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce, but through the Postmaster General. The hon. member for Charlevoix is now proposing a resolution which I fully approve, and I would be very glad if it were readily accepted by the Government.

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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Hon. RODOLPHE LEMIEUX (Maison-neuve-Gaspe):

As a summer resident

of the district under consideration, I desire to support the motion made by the hon. member for Charlevoix (Mr. Casgrain). There is a very large population at the mouth of the river Saguenay in the county of Charlevoix, and as my hon. friend the member for Chicoutimi-Saguenay (Mr. Savard) has said, there is also a large population on the other side of the river from Tadoussac to Belle Isle. There are at least twenty or twenty-five large fishing posts besides the Hudson's Bay posts in that district, and trade has been improving of late years, especially in view of the establishment of a large pulp industry. I might mention the Clarke establishment at Seven Islands, for instance, and several others. The district is certainly going to prosper, and the mouth of the river Saguenay ought not to be considered as a minor outlet. Considering its expanse, I should be inclined to compare it to an arm of the sea; and I might mention to the right hon. gentleman (Sir George Foster), that it is navigable in all seasons. For many years the department over which I presided, the Post Office Department and the Department of Trade and Commerce, I think, subsidized the steamer service between Fraserville and Baie Ste. Catherine; and, much to the surprise of the navigators in the Quebec district, a tug-boat could even in winter perform the service between Fraserville, on the south shore, and Baie Ste. Catherine on the north shore. That

little service gave excellent satisfaction for many years. I do not know whether it is still maintained; but I claim, at all events, that between the extremity of the county of Charlevoix and the beginning of the north shore settlements, there should be maintained a ferry service subsidized by the Government. The right hon. gentleman says that it ought to be subsidized by the province of Quebec. Technically he may be right; but I will remind him that in those far-away districts, where the habitations are scanty, and the posts are widely scattered, the Federal Government is usually somewhat generous towards the population. As we know, the Federal Government is not obliged to subsidize roads and highways. It is true that some years ago we passed a statute granting to the various provinces some subsidies which have to be spent according to certain fixed rules. Since Confederation, however, in the county of Gaspe, which I have the honour to represent, the Marine Department has maintained, on the northern portion of the peninsula, what is, known as the Maritime Road. That road in the county of Gaspe covers a considerable distance from Ste. Anne des Monts to Fame Point. Until very recently that highway has been maintained by the Federal Government because it was necessary to have it in good order for the repairs of the various lighthouses. I do not know whether the Marine Department has ceased subsidizing that road. At all events I know that since Confederation it has been maintained by the Dominion Government because around all these light houses and in all these little coves there are fishing posts. I claim, Mr. Speaker, that the case is analogous to that which has been presented to the House this afternoon by my hon. friend from Charlevoix. The county of Charlevoix is a large county, and the county of Chicoutimi still larger. Indeed it runs from Tadoussac, the oldest settlement in Canada, up to Belle Isle and away beyond up to Labrador; it is without railway communication and, as I said a moment ago the lumber industry -not to speak of the fur industry, or the fishing industry-is at the present moment undergoing such a development that the Government would be justified in maintaining that service on that arm of the sea, the Baie Ste. Catherine, the outlet of the Saguenay River. It is unfair that those far-away settlements should be deprived of their mail service during so many days of the months. It seems to me that when we pay such a large subsidy for the main-

tenance of a mail service in the Yukon District, which is comparitively new, we should not begrudge a small amount which would maintain this particular service in the oldest section of Canada all the year round.

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?

Right Hon. S@

I have to thank my hon. friend from Charlevoix-Montmorency (Mr. Casgrain) for his courtesy in deferring the discussion of this question from last Monday until to-day to suit my personal convenience. I have listened to his remarks, which have been ably supported by the hon. gentleman (Mr. Savard) who sits behind him, and as is usual in all cases which concern Quebec, by my hon. friend from Maisonneuve (Mr. Lemieux); but I am afraid that the premises upon which they found their arguments are scarcely correct and maintainable in comparison with services which we carry on in other parts of the Dominion. No amount of good-will or sympathy can convert the mouth of the Saguenay River into an arm of the sea if you take into consideration where the Saguenay River enters the St. Lawrence, and the long expanse of the latter river, before it goes out to the sea. So that the good-will of my hon. friend from Maisonneuve rather played havoc with logic and with geographical definitions when he tried to argue that the Saguenay was equivalent at least to an arm of the sea.

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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

Our people down below Quebec, past Fraserville, when they speak of the River St. Lawrence, always say, " C'est la mer."

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CON

George Green Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

But

4 p.m. the facts of the case are that the service from the county of Charlevoix to the county on the other side -that is between Ste. Catherine and Tadoussac-is really a service across the river Saguenay, and that river is an internal river within the province of Quebec. There is not an instance that I know of in all the Dominion where public money is voted from the federal treasury for the maintenance of any service between two banks of a river that flows within that province. My colleague (Mr. Calder) who was listening to the discussion that was taking place, brought to my attention this fact-that the province of Saskatchewan itself pays out over $150,000 a year for maintaining ferry services from one bank of a river to another bank, both banks being within its

own territory; and in all the provinces such ferries are kept up and maintained by the province itself. It is difficult to establish any difference, in point of administration, between the river Saguenay itself and any other river in a province where the convenience of the people makes it necessary to have a ferry service between the two banks of a river, or between towns and villages situated on either bank of that river. That is the view which has commended itself to the Department of Trade and Commerce and to the Government as well, and one can see no good reason for spending the money of the Dominion on a ferry service on that river, and declining to do it on other rivers in other provinces of Canada. It is a service which belongs, practically and primarily, to the province itself, and I am happy to know-as I believe my hon. friends opposite also are,-that the province of Quebec is in such a good financial condition at the present time as to enable it to take care of all these ferry services without being in the least incommoded thereby. I am glad also to know that I have the approbation of my hon. friend from Brome (Mr. McMaster) when I make that statement.

Topic:   MURRAY BAY-TADOUSSAC-PROPOSED STEAMSHIP SERVICE
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Mr. McM ASTER@

Silent approbation.

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CON

George Green Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

Silent at times but still my hon. friend's countenance speaks on such occasions. With reference to the postal service, that comes within entirely a different category. The postal service must be carried on by the Federal Government no matter whether it crosses provincial rivers or over provincial highways -that is the duty of the federal Government alone. I noticed what my hon. friend from Charlevoix-Montmorency said with reference to the contract made in this case by the Post Office Department with the man who carries the mail. I will call the attention of the Postmaster General to my hon. friend's statements, and if the contract is not lived up to I think the Postmaster General will give his personal attention to the matter. When the old ferry service was done away with by the federal Government, it then fell to the duty of the Postmaster General to get his mail carried across at the point in question, and he had to enter into another contract with whomsoever he could to have that service performed, and in part that particular ferry service has been aided to that extent. When the Dominion Government subsidized the service the mails were carried by virtue of that

subsidy and no extra drain was made upon the Post Office Department, but when the subsidy was withdrawn, of course it became the duty of the Postmaster General to make other arrangements.

My hon. friend from Charlevoix-Montmorency advanced the argument that as navigable rivers fall under the jurisdiction of the Dominion Government, therefore it followed that the Dominion Government should subsidize services upon such rivers. I do not think he will find that in the constitution, and if he revises his argument I think he will come to a different conclusion, because I know that once he gets his premises right he is pretty sound and logical in building up his argument. Because the Dominion Government has jurisdiction over navigable rivers as to obstructions to navigation and other cognate matters that therefore it is bound to undertake all the provincial services which may be required on those rivers is, in my opinion, an argument that cannot be maintained.

With reference to the north shore generally, the Dominion Government has carefully and uniformly done the best it could towards serving the segregated settlements along that shore clear down to the straits of Belle Isle, and this year we are putting on at large expense what I hope will be the best service that we have yet attempted to furnish there. That will provide for the necessities of all the population from Quebec down to the furthest settlements, along that coast. We consider it the duty of the Dominion Government to do that, not because the trade warrants the expense, for up to the present time the trade has been small and the expense has been steadily growing, but because they are widely separated settlements and it is the part of the Dominion Government to be generous in providing services along such a coast line. I do not think that my hon. friend's constituents living along that coast will have any cause for complaint when the service which we are providing for the present year is inaugurated. It is in responsible hands and the vessels will be of a good class, and I hope there will be a decided improvement in that service.

I am afraid, therefore, that I cannot speak very hopefully to my hon. friend as to putting on a second service for a certain portion of that coast, or a ferry service on that portion of the river Saguenay on the opposite sides of which the two towns referred to are situated. It must be the duty of the local government to look after

a proper ferry service under conditions such as obtain there.

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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

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

Before the hon. member (Mr. Casgrain) rises, it is my duty to advise the House that he will exercise his right to close the debate, and therefore if any other hon. member desires to speak he should do so now.

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L LIB

Pierre-François Casgrain

Laurier Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

Mr. Speaker, I have listened with considerable interest to the remarks of the right hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster), but without being convinced. I am personally familiar with one case, as the hon. member for Gaspe (Mr. Lemieux) has pointed out. These are the facts. The people of these two counties bordering on the river Saguenay are not at all in the position of people living on each side of a river, for this is not a river service, it is a sea service. The boats crossing from Murray Bay to Tadoussac or in returning have to go right out to sea. The circumstances here are of a special character and necessitate special treatment. This is not simply a service across a river as instanced by the hon. minister. As to the granting of the service I am asking for establishing a bad precedent, I would direct the attention of my right hon. friend to the fact that on the very same river St. Lawrence, right in the open sea, the Government has for fifteen years subsidized the steamer Champlain to make connection between the Intercolonial at Riviere Ouelle over to Murray Bay. We are only asking for the continuance of this service down below from Murray Bay as fay as Tadoussac in order to afford a link with the other portions of the county as far as Belle Isle and to be a feeder to the Quebec and Saguenay railway which is now being operated by the Government. As the hon. member for Gaspe has pointed out, these people are in a very peculiar situation. The settlements along the north shore were established in the early days of Canada, and the people living there have had to bear the burden of taxation that went towards improved railway and other facilities for the rest of the Dominion, and now that they ask this House to vote a few thousand dollars to help them keep their scattered communities in communication with one another the answer is that to grant such a request would be creating a bad precedent. As a matter of fact, we have already created similar precedents by contributing to improvements in other provinces, and I think this part of the country which I represent ought to be better [Sir George Foster.!

treated than the hon. minister is prepared to treat it now.

Motion negatived.

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SITTINGS OF THE HOUSE

WEDNESDAY SITTING. REGULAR ADJOURNMENT AT ELEVEN O'CLOCK

UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Hon. W. S. FIELDING (Shelburne and Queen's) moved:

That, in the opinion of this House, it is desirable that the rules of the House be so amended as to provide (a) that the hour of meeting on Wednesday be 3 o'clock instead of 2 o'clock, as at present, and (b) that the House adjourn at eleven p.m. unless exceptional circumstances recognized by the House generally, require a later sitting.

He said:

Mr. Speaker, the object I have in view in putting this resolution on the Order Paper, I need hardly say, is, not to divide the House, but to afford an opportunity, which I think is desirable, for the members on both sides to express their views on one or two points which it seems to me have an important bearing both on the comfort of members and on the efficiency of our work.

The resolution touches two things: First, the rule respecting Wednesday sittings, and, second, the hour of adjournment at night. In regard to the Wednesday recess, I think I may be accused of being the father of that particular baby, because I believe it was at my own suggestion that the Wednesday recess was at first adopted. I am not responsible, however, for the attachment thereto which requires the House to meet at two o'clock. I think the idea of an evening when the members shall be free to avail themselves of any opportunities that may offer for social engagements, is a very desirable thing. It makes for the efficiency of the House. There are members, of course, who take their duties somewhat lightly, and those may not attach much importance to an evening recess because they will take that recess whenever they want it irrespective of rules. But there are other members who give close and earnest attention to public business, and many of them, although they do not take a very active part in the debates, nevertheless feel it their duty to be present and listen with close attention in order that they may be fully informed of the public business of the country. To men of that class it is a burden to be here night after night without any recess at all. Men have a natural desire to be entertained, or to entertain, and they need opportunities for social engagements in one form or an-

other. I believe it is not unreasonable that there should be one such evening during the week, and if we so provide by rule,

I do not think that the efficiency of the House will be diminished. On the contrary, hon. members would adapt themselves to the rule and say: Well, since we can make engagements for Wednesday evening we shall feel it our duty to be present on other evenings. I think, therefore, that the Wednesday evening recess is a very desirable thing; I regret that the Government, in the pressure of business, as they think, have already cancelled it for the present session; I would hope that even yet they might see the wisdom of changing that. However, we are dealing now with the general principle.

With regard to the meeting at two o'clock on Wednesday, I never approved of that;

I think it is a mistake. With the engagements that members have in various ways during the forenoon-attending committees or possibly fulfilling private engagements -it is not easy for them to get to the House at two o'clock. I am sure that every hon. gentleman who has endeavoured to comply with that rule has found difficulty in doing so. I remember that not long ago one of the Cabinet ministers came in at three o'clock on Wednesday and expressed surprise that the House had been sitting for an hour. More than once I have known that to occur in the case of private members. I think it is well that we should have a regular and established hour of meeting for each day in the week, so that hon. members will not find it necessary to charge their memories as to what is the hour of meeting. Therefore, while I support the idea of the Wednesday evening recess, I strongly advise the meeting at three instead of at two.

As to the question of the hour of adjournment in the evening, it is found that little or no business of importance is ever done after eleven o'clock at night. Of course, under exceptional circumstances the House might sit until a later hour, and for that I am providing in my resolution. But as a rule, after the House has been sitting from three o'clock in the afternoon, and having regard to various engagements of hon. members and their committee meetings in the mornings, I think that until eleven o'clock is quite late enough to sit. If we adopt automatically the eleven o'clock rule, subject to exceptions in urgent cases, when the House generally would agree, members will adapt themselves to that rule

and will arrange their business accordingly. I do not believe that we should lose any time as a result. As it is, the House quite frequently sits until a very late hour; one or two cases have occurred recently when adjournment did not take place until well on into the morning. On one occasion during this session we sat until about five o'clock in the morning. I think that is a foolish thing to do. In my long parliamentary experience I have had to do with a good many late night sittings. I have participated in some, possibly I have been responsible for some; but I have never looked back on one of those occasions without thinking how foolish it was that we did not close up our business at eleven o'clock and go home. Little or nothing is done when you have members sitting here after eleven o'clock at night; those who give close and careful attention to the business of the House are tired and weary and not in good condition to do business when the House meets the next day. I do not want to dwell on the question; I think these reasons are strong and will commend themselves to hon. gentlemen on both sides. My chief purpose in introducing the resolution is to afford an opportunity for a free and open expression of opinion on the part of hon. members, and I shall be glad if those who feel interested will tell the House frankly how they view the matter. -

Topic:   SITTINGS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   WEDNESDAY SITTING. REGULAR ADJOURNMENT AT ELEVEN O'CLOCK
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April 12, 1921