April 10, 1922

LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

We cannot do more than accept the resolution.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   ST. JOHN TERMINAL FACILITIES
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PRO

Thomas Wakem Caldwell

Progressive

Mr. CALDWELL:

I think I can depend on the good faith of the minister to go ahead. I know that if he inquires into the matter he will find it necessary to establish a warehouse at the port of St. John, so I have much pleasure in withdrawing the motion. .

Motion withdrawn.

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BRITISH COLUMBIA FISHERIES

CON

William Garland McQuarrie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. G. McQUARRIE (New Westminster) moved:

That, in the opinion of this House, it is advisable that the Standing Committee on Marine and Fisheries be and the said Standing Committee is hereby authorized and empowered to investigate and consider fisheries conditions in British Columbia, and more particularly, but not so as to restrict the generality of the foregoing, the depletion of the salmon fisheries of the Fraser River district, and to make suggestions for the restoration and conservation of the same; also to investigate and consider fish hatcheries, including the proper system to be adopted, their value as a means of propagation, the methods of operation and the results obtained therefrom; with power as to all the hereinbefore mentioned matters to call for persons, papers and records, to examine witnesses under oath and to report from time to time.

He said: Having disposed of the potatoes, I presume it is now in order for us to start on the fish. I am told they go very well together. One of the principal reasons why I am a member of Parliament to-day is# the condition of the fishing industry in British Columbia. While I cannot claim to be a fisherman, or even an expert on fisheries, I have had the privilege of living in New Westminster, on the banks of that once great salmon stream the Fraser river, for upwards of thirty years, and during that time I have studied very carefully fisheries conditions. I think I may safely say that I at least know the fisher-

54 i

men; I know their work and the difficulties they have to contend with. I know the importance of the fisheries industry to the community as well as to the country at large. I also have had something to do with the canning industry, having worked in a cannery for a short time. I have seen the salmon industry at its best. I have seen the big runs when the canneries, although large and numerous, were unable to handle the fish that was supplied to them. Those were the good old days when everybody was happy. The fishermen, the cannery men, and merchants were all prosperous and contented.

I have also unfortunately seen the dark side of the picture which presents itself to-day in most alarming form, when the canneries are practically all closed down, when pessimism is rife, and when the fishermen are cold and hungry. The big salmon run on the Fraser river is practically a thing of the past, and if conditions get any worse, it is evident that in a comparatively short time king salmon will be as scarce in the waters of the Fraser river as is the buffalo on the prairies, and the sockeye, that great canning fish, will be a curiosity entitled to a place in the Victoria Museum. If I can do anything to assist even in a small way in restoring this great industry, I shall consider that I have done something worth while.

In rising to propose this resolution, I do not do so with the object of securing an opportunity to make a speech, but with the sole and only purpose of getting action. I intend to make my remarks as brief as possible, but hon. gentlemen will no doubt agree that it is advisable, indeed necessary, that I should at least outline some matters which I think should be taken up by the committee if this resolution should pass.

To put myself right, I might be permitted to explain that in moving this resolution I have no intention of embarrassing the Government in any way. I do not wish to attack the administration or its officials, or, for that matter, any person or corporation. I believe the officials have been doing their best and that there are in the department capable and conscientious men who have been doing good work. What I complain about is that we have not been getting results. I am not looking for political advantage or trying to make party capital. While I am a party man, I am firmly convinced that when we come to consider matters of national importance we

British Columbia Fisheries

should put aside party ideals, party standards, and party differences and all work together for the common good of the Dominion of Canada as a whole. I can frankly say that if the hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Lapointe) will take up this subject with the intention of investigating it fully, and will do something to improve conditions and clear up the situation, as I believe he will, I shall cooperate with him to the best of my ability. While this is a question which primarily affects the Pacific coast it also materially concerns the whole Dominion. If there are similar problems on the Atlantic coast, or elsewhere in Canada, I shall be most anxious and willing to co-operate with the members from those districts who bring any such matter before the House. I am asking for the co-operation of hon. members in this most important matter. We have a committee on Marine and Fisheries which is composed of men who presumably have some knowledge of fisheries, and it is my object to invoke the aid of the hon. members, on that committee, and I am hopeful that good results will follow. Let us study the question from all angles and see if we cannot do something to improve conditions. Let us hear all sides with open minds, and let us devise some solution of this difficult and complicated situation. I am not one of those who desire to attack the canners. It is true that I am much interested in the fishermen, or I should say the white fishermen, and one of my most prized possessions is a membership card in the British Columbia Fishermen's Protective Association, but at the same time I appreciate the fact that the canners have a large amount of capital involved in this industry, and I think they should receive every reasonable consideration. Let us treat all the interests fairly and equitably and do the best we can in dealing with this problem.

Now the British Columbia fisheries despite all drawbacks, impediments and mismanagement-or I should say lack of control-constitute to-day nearly one-half in value of the fishery resources of the Dominion. In 1920 those resources amounted to $49,241,339 and the British Columbia fisheries to $22,329,161. You will see from that how important the fisheries of the Pacific coast are, and I would say without any hesitation that it is quite possible, with proper encouragement, to increase the amount derived from the British Columbia fisheries-I would say it could be doubled, or trebled or perhaps

quadrupled. Now the revenue that we receive from British Columbia also constitutes a very important part of the whole amount derived throughout the Dominion. The revenue for 1920-21 for the Dominion was $318,455.73, and for British Columbia it was $233,282.04. Therefore, if conditions are improved and the fisheries become more profitable, then, of course more revenue will be obtained for the Government. I have pointed out that the expenditures in connection with the operation of our fisheries are very heavy and that the disbursements in British Columbia constitute an important part of this outlay. The expenditures for 1920-21 for the whole Dominion, including fisheries protection, were approximately $1,758,925.06 of which about $250,000 was for fisheries protection. The expenditures in British Columbia were $710,412.14 of which $176,770 was on account of fisheries protection. Now I think that is one matter which might be taken up by the Marine and Fisheries Committee. Where there is a great expenditure of that kind it seems to me the committee might very well consider whether the money is being properly expended or whether it could be devoted to a more useful purpose.

Now with regard to the Fraser river. I do not wish to worry the House with a lot of figures. I have here the complete returns for a number of years, showing the packs on the Fraser river and elsewhere, but I intend to refer only to a few of them. I might point out to hon. members that every fourth year we have, or are supposed to have, a large run of fish. That condition has existed for a great many years. The explanation of this I am unable to furnish nor do I think anybody else is. It has so happened, however, that for a great many years every fourth year has witnessed a big run while the runs of the intermediate years are smaller. Some people are inclined to think that this fact is due to some artificial cause, but in looking through one of the reports I have here and will later refer to I find that Simon Fraser, the discoverer of the Fraser river, and after whom it is named, in ,a report which he made in 1806-11 refers to the fact that at that time they had these large runs every four years, so that condition has prevailed for a great many years.

I will now refer briefly to the big runs every four years, and I will start with twenty years ago. In 1901 the pack on the Fraser river was 990,252 cases, and I would say that the great proportion of that

British Columbia Fisheries

pack was made up of sockeyes which are the best grade of fish for canning. In 1905 the pack was 877,136 cases; in 1909, 567,-' 203 cases; in 1913, 732,059 cases; in 1917, 377,988 cases; and in 1921, 103,918 cases. Now you will note that the difference between the pack in 1901 and that in 1921 amounts to 886,334 cases. I might also point out that in 1921 there

were only 35,900 cases of sockeye. Now what does that amount to in money. Taking the value of a case at $15, which I think is a conservative figure, we find that this country has lost $13,295,010, representing the difference in the value of the packs in these years. That I think is a matter that might very well be considered. The question, of course, is whether the fisheries on the Fraser river can be restored or not. As to that I would simply point out that a few years ago on the Columbia river in the United States they had pretty nearly the same condition that we have to-day. However, they went into the matter thoroughly and to-day the yield of the Columbia river has been restored. Last year we were fortunate in having one of the men responsible for bringing back the Columbia river fisheries make an investigation of our fisheries on the Fraser river-I refer to Mr. Camsell, one of the greatest authorities in the United States. Mr. Camsell, in his report, which I have here, says that it is quite possible, quite feasible, and not at all difficult to restore the Fraser river fisheries. I simply quote a short extract where he says:

Unlike those of the Upper Columbia River Basin where the development of the industrial projects has tended towards their destruction, the immense spawning beds of the Fraser River watershed are still unimpaired, being practically in the same condition as formerly. All those who have studied the matter agree that, up till a few years ago, the spawning beds were abundantly seeded at least during the "big" years. Hordes of parent sockeyes then visited the upper river and to-day the conditions are as favourable for their reception as they ever were.

Again he says:

It is apparent that in the past many of those sincerely anxious to restore the Fraser River sockeye fishery have been working more or less at cross purposes. In my judgment, if success is to be assured, all past differences must be set aside and all join whole-heartedly in finding a means for overcoming the present conditions. It is the desire of everyone concerned to rehabilitate the fishery. The only difference lies in the method by which this can be brought about.

He advises co-operation between the Dominion, the provincial, and the state authorities, and he says that if we have that

co-operation we will bring the Fraser river fisheries back to what they were in 1901, without the expenditure of a great deal of money. He goes on to point out the millions of dollars that have been spent in reclaiming the arid lands of the United States, and he says that it is just as profitable an investment for the country to restore the fisheries as it is to reclaim lands of that kind.

Now the resolution calls for an investigation as to the methods of propagation, including hatcheries. I had the privilege last year of making some remarks along these lines, and I am not going to repeat them. I simply say that there is a great difference of opinion as to whether we should have any artificial propagation, or whether we should rely upon and encourage only natural propagation. That is a matter that this committee might take up. Then we have the enemies of the salmon. I have made a list of some of the enemies of the Pacific Coast salmon, and at the head of the list I have put down "the United States Senate." Hon. gentlemen may consider that that is a rather rash statement, but possibly when I explain myself hon. members will agree with me. We have a peculiar conditions on the Pacific coast, in the southern part, where the Fraser river runs out to sea, inasmuch as we are situated very close to the international boundary line. The waters of the Fraser river permeate some of the waters of Puget sound, which is in American territory. As a matter of fact, the Americans should never have had the boundary line placed where it is. Of course, that was not our fault. Other people were doing the negotiating for us. When our business was handled by other people we always seemed to get the worst of it. However the boundary line was placed where it is, and the result is some of the fish which are hatched out in the hatcheries on the Fraser river come back to Puget sound. We have regulations of all kinds on our side, close seasons and all that kind of thing. We have hatcheries and other means of propagation. We have fishery protection and so on. They have nothing of that kind on the other side of the line, and they simply catch fish. That is what they have been doing for a long time, and that is one reason why the run has become depleted, as it is to-day. That is recognized by the authorities of the state of Washington and by other United States authorities. In 1919 a treaty was liego-

British Columbia Fisheries

tiated between Canada and the United States, or between Great Britain and the United States, to meet the situation, to provide for an appointment of an international committee which would study and investigate conditions and provide means for bettering those conditions, and also to provide certain restrictions and prohibitions which would tend to the correction of the unfortunate situation. That treaty was signed on the 2nd September, 1919, by the various authorities, by the Hon. R. C. Lindsay, charge d'affaires of his Britannic Majesty, the Hon. Sir John Douglas Hazen, Chief Justice of New Brunswick, and a member of the Privy Council for Canada, the President of the United States, and by the Hon. Robert Lansing, Secretary of State for United States. I have that treaty in my hands. It is my opinion, and the opinion of a great many others, that if that treaty had passed it would have gone a long way to help the situation. It went up to the United States Senate where it suffered the fate of a great many other treaties and agreements, and it was thrown out. It was thrown out by the Senate because of a lobby which had been put up by selfish interests, by men who were so small, mean and contemptible that they would place their own interests before the interests of their country, men who thought only of the present and cared nothing about the future. It is just possible that we did not do everything that we could have done on that occasion to have that treaty ratified by the United States Senate, I do not believe that the Senate understood conditions at that time, and, so far as I know, we had no one there. We made no effort to see that the facts were placed properly before that body.

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Subtopic:   BRITISH COLUMBIA FISHERIES
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PRO

Thomas Wakem Caldwell

Progressive

Mr. CALDWELL:

Did anybody represent Canada before that committee.

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Subtopic:   BRITISH COLUMBIA FISHERIES
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CON

William Garland McQuarrie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McQUARRIE:

Not so far as I am aware. That is a matter which might be taken up, and it might perhaps be considered advisable to re-open negotiations with the United States. They tell me that since that time there have been many changes in the United States Senate, if not in policy possibly in personnel, and it is just possible that if negotiations were renewed that treaty might be put through. If we cannot negotiate with the United States, then I say we can play with them at their own game, if it is possible to do so. The question is how can we do that? A way out has been suggested to me. Whether it is feas-

ible or not I do not know; I would not care to express an opinion. But the proposition is this: The Fraser

river has three channels. The North arm, the main channel, and the South arm, otherwise known as Woodward's Slough. The waters of the main channel and the North Arm go out into the Gulf of Georgia, directly in front of our own territory. The waters which pass through Woodward's Slough go down in a southerly direction and permeate the waters of Puget sound. As it is, the waters from the Fraser river go about three-quarters of the way over to Vancouver island. The line of demarcation is very clear, the colouration is distinct, and anyone who goes across can see where the Fraser river waters end. Now, the salmon is a peculiar fish. He goes out to sea when he is a fingerling or smaller and stays away four years, after which he comes back to the place where he was spawned. If not hampered he will come back to the precise spawning ground from whence he came. I do not know how he does it. Of course, the salmon have no compasses or other instruments such as navigators have to assist them.

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Subtopic:   BRITISH COLUMBIA FISHERIES
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Have they a chart?

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Subtopic:   BRITISH COLUMBIA FISHERIES
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CON

William Garland McQuarrie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McQUARRIE:

No, but they have what is just as good, an infallible instinct that leads them back home, and our salmon if not interfered with would come back to the Fraser river to their own spawning grounds. The first obstruction they encounter is Vancouver Island, which is about 280 miles long. They proceed down along the shores of the island looking all the time for fresh water. When they reach the southerly end of the island they separate, some going north and others continuing south but all looking for the Fraser river. Those that go south strike fresh water that leads them cn to Puget sound where they are caught in the traps that are set there. The Minister of Public Works (Mr. King) will know what I am talking about. There are miles of traps built at Puget sound and our fish are caught by the Americans, our fisheries being depleted to that extent. If we block up the south channel of the Fraser river-Woodward's Slough-it is said that the volume of water would be sufficient to carry the waters of the Fraser river right over to Vancouver Island, and when the salmon comes back he would strike that fresh water leading him directly to the Fraser river. Thus the Americans would get practically no fish at all. Now, that

British Columbia Fisheries

sounds like a fairy tale, but I am told that there is something in it, and if we cannot negotiate with the Americans we might at least try to beat them at their own game.

Another enemy of the salmon is the seal. This is another fish story. The seals are good for nothing. At any rate, we do not make use of them, although the Japanese do; they carry on an industry and make leather out of the hides of the seals. One seal will eat between four and five salmon a day, and salmon are worth 60 cents each. It is estimated that one seal destroys some $500 worth of salmon per year. It is estimated that in the Fraser river there are to-day between 5,000 and 10,000 seals. Taking the minimum, 5,000, in the Fraser river alone, the seals destroy $2,500,000 worth of fish a year. We will take it for granted that the average life of the seal is ten years, and I believe some of them attain a very ripe old age. However, put it at ten years, which is a conservative figure, and in that period the seals in the Fraser river will destroy $25,000,000 worth of fish. Now, what is being done to combat that menace? Practically nothing. Ever since I came to the House, and even before that, I have endeavoured to get something done; I have tried to have bounties placed on the seals. If cattle were being destroyed in this way on the prairies, certainly no expenditure would be too great to eradicate the evil. This is a matter that should be considered by the House.

The trout also is an enemy of the salmon and is very destructive in British Columbia. The most attractive bait for a trout is salmon eggs, and the trout kill millions of prospective fish every year. Yet nothing is being done in this direction either. On the contrary, we have encouraged the propagation of trout, for in the streams and lakes which are connected with the sea trout eggs have actually been placed, and there is a close season in connection with the catching of trout there. Now, I am a sportsman and believe in sport. I have no objection to creating a sportsman's paradise, but I am opposed to doing this where it will interfere with a commercial enterprise such as this.

Then there is the question of orientals. I will not say much on this subject, but in British Columbia to-day the Japanese practically control the fisheries. I have the figures given me by the department the other day and I will quote from them. In 1919, in district No. 1, which is the Fraser river, there were 837 Japanese gill net

licenses issued, as against 55 licenses issued to Indians and 409 to others. In district No. 2 there were 1,139 licenses issued to the Japanese, 630 to the Indians, and 721 to others. In district No. 3 there were 267 licenses to the Japanese, 279 to Indians and 226 to others. The figures are similar for the other years. I will give those for 1921:

Japanese Indians Others

District No. 1.. . . 873 68 490" No. 2. . . . 1,110 967 968*' No. 3.. . . 107 46 132It will be seen therefore that the Japanese are pretty much in possession of the fisheries of British Columbia. I understand that they are absolutely in control of the fisheries of the Hawaiian Islands, and if we allowed them to do so they would take complete possession of the fisheries of this country. Now, you will ask: How do these men get licenses if they are Japanese, because only British subjects are eligible for licenses? Well, as a matter of fact, the Japanese who get licenses are naturalized citizens of this country. Most of them were naturalized many years ago, and the peculiarity is that a naturalized Jap never dies-at least, one has never been known to die. I am told that when a Japanese fisherman is about to give up the ghost there is standing beside him on the boat, ready to take over the tiller, another Jap who steps into his place and takes possession of his naturalization papers. Fortunately, I am thankful to say, it is not so easy now for the Japanese to secure naturalization; in fact, the naturalization judge in the city of Vancouver has absolutely refused to naturalize any Japanese. He states that they are not entitled to naturalization, because they cannot be expatriated, for notwithstanding their naturalization they must still acknowledge allegiance to their emperor, and in case of war, if they fail to respond to the order to serve their native country, they will be shot as traitors. It has been suggested that it would be a good thing to take finger prints of the men to whom licenses are granted, so that there would be no question of identity. I submitted that suggestion to the department last session, but unfortunately the then Minister of Marine and Fisheries did not think it advisable to take action along that line.

There are other enemies of the salmon but I am not going to mention them tonight. They could, however, be referred to the consideration of this committee.

British Columbia Fishereis

At one time we had a very profitable sturgeon fishing industry, but it is practically of no account to-day. In this connection I could relate a real fish story-but as newspapers never tell anything but the -truth, I will read to this House this extract from the Vancouver Province of April 22nd, 1921.

The old saying that there are as good fish in the sea as ever came out of it is apparently equally applicable to fresh water, judging by the specimen that was displayed on Monk's wharf, New Westminster, yesterday afternoon.

''It's a whale," more than one visitor asserted, hut they were wrong. It was a sturgeon. Prom the tip of its tail to its snout it measured just thirteen feet, and it weighed 988 pounds. This monster fish was taken with a drift neft in the Pitt River hy Coquitlam William, an Indian fishing for Monk & Company.

At ten cents a pound that fish would be worth $98.80. At one time there were a great many sturgeon in the Fraser and Pitt rivers and Pitt lake. Only a few of them are left, but if we could re-establish the sturgeon it would be worth while.

Then we come to the regulations. It is claimed by the fishermen that the regulations are unfair, and I think that that remark applies to some of the regulations. For instance, if a fisherman is found guilty of a trivial offence such as throwing out his net a few minutes before the appointed time, he is not only fined but his net and boat are confiscated. That seems to be too drastic. If a motorist breaks the speed law, his automobile is not confiscated. The fishermen say: Fine us; the first time make it a small fine, for the second offence increase the fine, and ultimately make it so heavy that it will be an effective deterrent; but do not confiscate our nets and gear. I think there is something to be said in favour of their view.

Then with regard to cannery licenses, for which a large fee is charged, of course the big companies can well afford to pay those fees, but some fishermen would like to can their own fish. This is impossible to them so long as they have to pay such a large sum for the privilege, and they suggest they should be given the opportunity of canning their own catch if they wish to do so. That is a matter that might well be considered.

Then I come to the dual license fees. In British Columbia the provincial government exercises certain rights over the fisheries. Recently I asked the hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries if he had received a request from the provincial government as to taking over the fisheries,

and he answered in the negative. I think if he will look up the records of his department he will find that some years ago a proposition was made by the Hon. William Sloan, Minister of Fisheries for British Columbia, that the province should take over the fisheries. If that is so, is it not worth while considering the advisability of meeting the desire of the province? Being on the spot, might not the provincial authorities be better able to administer and control the local fisheries than the federal government can from Ottawa?

In my opinion the subject matter of this resolution is of national importance and worthy of concerted effort on the part of this House. The Fisheries Committee as far as my experience has gone-and I was a member of the last Parliament-has never considered the question of the Pacific coast fisheries. All I am asking is that that committee get to work and study the question so that it may be ascertained if anything can be done to improve the fisheries conditions in British Columbia.

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PRO

Thomas Wakem Caldwell

Progressive

Mr. T. W. CALDWELL (Victoria and Carleton) :

Mr. Speaker, this is a matter that I am also interested in, in view of the fact that possibly the second largest river in Canada flows through the province from which I come, and it is fairly well stocked with salmon. I was a little disappointed to find that this resolution was not made broad enough by the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. McQuarrie) to take in all our fisheries, as I think it is a subject that might very well engage the attention of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Lapointe).

We have a small fish hatchery on the St. John river. We have a very good run of salmon on that river, but of course not developed to anything like the extent that obtains on the Fraser river. Nor have we any canning factories. However, it might be made a very paying industry on the St. John river. And in supporting the resolution before the House, I would urge the Minister of Marine and Fisheries not to confine his attention solely to the Fraser river. In fact, as the hon. member proceeded with his argument I was under some doubt as to just how we were going to get over the anomaly there that we supply the fish and the Yankees catch them. But we will not be in that unfortunate position on the St. John river, because while the river is at no very great distance from the international line, it is bounded by Canadian territory on both sides until it reaches the

British Columbia Fisheries

northern end of New Brunswick, and although it rises in the United States, the very high falls prevent the salmon from leaving our waters. I hope the Minister of Marine and Fisheries will take this particular matter into consideration while he is dealing with the British Columbia situation.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Minister of Marine and Fisheries) :

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. McQuarrie) has pointed out, the condition of the salmon fisheries on the Fraser river is rather serious. But the causes of the decline in the run of salmon are rather international in their character, and therefore cannot be affected by anything which Canada can do alone. The salmon makinjj for the Fraser river have to run the gauntlet of American fishing equipment before emerging into Canadian waters just below the entrance to the Fraser river. The result is that of the total quantity of fish 'caught when making for the Fraser river, sixty-six to seventy per cent goes to the Americans. Anything that can be done must be done by both countries, although the future of the fisheries in the Fraser river depends exclusively on the extent to which the spawning grounds in that river are properly sealed. This question has been dealt with by both countries at various times. A treaty was agreed to in 1908 but was not ratified by the United States Senate-one of the enemies of the salmon, as my hon. friend says. Another treaty was entered into in 1920, but it also failed of ratification by the Senate, and the United States government last year informed the department at Ottawa that it would not be possible for the Senate to ratify that treaty. Negotiations, however, are still in progress with a view of inducing the Senate to ratify it.

As my hon. friend has said, there is the peculiar phenomenon in connection with the salmon in the Fraser river that there is a big run every four years, the run in the other three years being not so good. It is surmised that in former days there was a slide from the mountain which blocked the river and prevented the salmon from getting to the spawing beds, and that it was three years before the obstruction was washed out. The Fraser river fish is what is called a four-year fish: it takes four years to mature; then it goes on to spawn, and dies. The last big year was in 1913. In that year the Canadian Northern was

constructing a line in the vicinity of the river and the works there caused a slide which blocked the way to the salmon; the fourth year afterwards, 1917, was a very poor year on that account, and 1921 was also a bad year. Generally speaking, in the other British Columbia waters the salmon industry is improving. The years 1919 and 1920 were very good years, though last year was a poor year. The extent of the run depends largely on causes and influences exerting themselves in the sea, and of which we can know nothing.

I do not know whether the work of the committee as suggested will bring about an improvement of conditions, but I have no objection to such work being undertaken. The only possible objection would be that rather large expenditure in witness fees might be involved. However, the committee can start to work, hear the experts of the department at Ottawa, and be the judge whether other witnesses from British Columbia should be summoned. I have no objection to the resolution of my hon. friend.

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LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. WILLIAM DUFF (Lunenburg) :

Mr. Speaker, the resolution as introduced by the member for New Westminster (Mr. McQuarrie) is, in my opinion, one of the most important resolutions which will be considered at this session of Parliament. Like my hon. friend from Victoria and Carleton (Mr. Caldwell), however, I regret that the hon. gentleman did not make his resolution broader. But in my opinion the hon. member for Victoria and Carleton should not have criticised the hon. member for New Westminster; he should have taken the beam out of his own eye before he sought to get the mote in the eye of the hon. member for New Westminster. You will notice, sir, that my hon. friend's potato resolution related only to terminal facilities at St. John, although it is just as important that we should have terminal facilities at other ports in this country. However, in regard to the resolution of the hon. member for New Westminster, I may say that I do not think it is in the interests of the fisheries-though my hon. friend may deem it his privilege, and his duty, perhaps, to put the proposal in its present form-to bring before Parliament a resolution which confines itself to one of the fisheries of this country. I had the honour and the privilege a few years ago to speak before the members of this House on matters pertaining to the fisheries, and although I come from Nova Scotia, in the

British Columbia Fisheries

few remarks which I made at that time I did not confine myself to the fisheries of my own province, or even of the maritime provinces; I dealt with the inland fisheries and those of the Pacific as well as those of the Atlantic coast. There is no question about it Sir, that the fisheries of the Pacific are very important indeed. In my opinion, the fishing industry has never had a fair show, whether on the Atlantic coast or on the Pacific coast, and if there has been one sinner greater than another, it was the government that was in power from 1911 to 1921. They did nothing for the fisheries of this country, and nobody knows that better than the hon. member for New Westminster.

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CON

William Garland McQuarrie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McQUARRIE:

I would not exactly agree to that. As a matter of fact, the late Minister of Fisheries did more for the fisheries of the Pacific coast than any minister who preceded him.

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LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

The hon. member has a perfect right to support his minister, but if I had been called down and asked to withdraw a resolution which I had placed on the Order Paper, I would not think much of the minister who asked me to do it. The hon. member was in the House for four years, supporting the government of the day, but did not propose any resolution of this kind, and it is rather strange that he now asks this Government and our present Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Lapointe) to give this matter the attention it deserves. I am proud indeed, Sir, to hear the Minister of Marine and Fisheries say that he is quite willing to place this matter in the hands of the committee on Marine and Fisheries; that is more than was done by the other minister who, the hon. member for New Westminster tries to make out, was the best Minister of Fisheries we ever had. Why, two years ago, after the people on the Pacific coast had been crying out for perhaps two years for refrigerator cars to move their halibut, they could do nothing with the then Minister of Marine and Fisheries or the Minister of Railways, and though there were thirteen hon. members interested in the subject who supported the then Tory government, not one of them rose in his place in the House and endeavoured to get the Minister of Marine and Fisheries or the Minister of Railways to better the conditions prevailing in connection with this industry. It fell to me, Sir, a very humble member from a Nova Scotia constituency, to show the Minister of Railways and the Minister of Fisheries

the importance of the halibut fisheries of Prince Rupert, with the result that the refrigerator cars were put on and the fish were moved to the eastern cities of Canada and of the United States.

The member for New Westminster as well as the Minister of Marine and Fisheries referred to the large catch of salmon every four years. Well, that is nothing strange to those of us who have some slight knowledge of the fisheries. It is well known that not only in the salmon industry but also in the other fisheries, the fish come on the coast in greater quantities some years than they do others. The hon. leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen) referred to the fish having no chart. It is quite true that the fish have no chart or

The hon. member for New Westminster also referred to the revenue which was obtained from the fisheries of this country and told us that out of a total fisheries revenue of $380,000 for the whole Dominion the large sum of $233,000 came from British Columbia. I want to say that I am opposed to collecting any revenue from the fisheries of this country. The fisheries of this country are carried on by men who cannot afford to pay for licenses except in British Columbia where the great canners are able to pay a fee and prevent the poorer man from packing salmon. In my opinion we should derive no revenue from the fisheries of this country and furthermore, I think a larger expenditure should be made by this Government to develop the fisheries. I repeat I am opposed to gathering revenue from this source; I think it is a penny-wise and pound-foolish policy, and I say to the minister that one of the first things he should do is to reduce the license to the minimum both in the salmon and every other fishery or else cut it out altogether. As I said a moment ago the greater part of the men who are engaged in this great industry are poor men, not capitalists who can invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in the busi-

British Columbia Fishereies

ness, but men who own their fishing boats outright or co-operate and own a vessel on shares, and if we ever expect any real development in this great industry, and I have a good deal of faith in this Government's desire to develop the fisheries, one of the things we should do is to cut out the canneries' license, because under the present system the rich man can pay $500, while the poor man, who is not able to afford the fee, is not allowed to pack fish.

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PRO

Thomas George McBride

Progressive

Mr. McBRIDE:

Would you cut out

the licenses for orientals in British Columbia?

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LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

If I had my way, I would

not give the orientals a license at all. It is a strange thing but if you look at the statistics you will notice, as the hon. member for New Westminster has pointed out, that most of the people who fish in Brit-' ish Columbia are orientals. If there were no orientals fishing, there would not be nearly as many fish caught. I do not believe in oriental fishermen. I believe that we should have white fishermen, and if the late government and perhaps other governments before it had taken the proper steps, we would not now have so many orientals fishing in British Columbia. We do not have orientals fishing on the Atlantic coast, but white men, and from the Atlantic coast we usually return sixteen Liberals to represent the province of Nova Scotia. Perhaps if the people of British Columbia would send Liberals to this Parliament instead of Tories, as they have been doing the last few years, there might not be as many orientals fishing on the western coast as there are at the present time.

The hon. member for New Westminster gave some very good reasons why this question should be referred to the Standing Committee on Marine and Fisheries. He pointed out that there were certain reasons why the fisheries in British Columbia did not yield as high a return last year and for the last two years as they had done in former years, in 1911 and 1901, I think he said. It must not be forgotten, however, that perhaps the main reason why the fisheries were not prosperous last year to the same extent as before was that during the war or shortly afterwards it was impossible to sell the great catch of salmon which the packers had on hand. There are other reasons why the fisheries are not as productive as they were before, and I am very glad that the hon. member for New Westminster mentioned some of them.

He spoke of the destruction caused to the salmon by the seals. There is no question that the seals which come into the rivers and bays of the Pacific coast destroy a great many salmon, and I would suggest to the minister that steps be taken to do away with this pest. I think that the people on the Atlantic coast also have sent petitions to the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Lapointe) asking him to take steps to do away with the seal menace on the Atlantic coast. We have the same trouble from seals in connection with our mackerel. The seals follow the mackerel into the nets and make holes in the twine, and the mackerel escape. I hope that something will be done to combat this menace both to salmon and mackerel.

I also agree with the hon. member for New Westminster in his remarks as to the unnatural-shall I say?-propagation of fish which has been carried on in this country. I am opposed to that practice. I do not think it is any good to take the spawn from the female fish, because there can be only one result; most of the spawn die. I think the only proper way is for the fish to propagate naturally. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been wasted in the last number of years in this country in an endeavour to keep up hatcheries, which in my opinion do not do a very great deal of good.

In conclusion, I do not believe it would be a wise policy to pass over the control of the fisheries to the provinces. I believe the federal government is able to look after the fisheries a good deal better than the provincial governments, and it is more the business of the federal government, because the fisheries do not relate to any one province alone but to the whole of Canada. The whole country is interested in this industry, and the federal authorities, in my opinion, are far better able to look after it than the different small provinces. The small provinces have enough to do already and I would be very much afraid if the control of the fisheries passed into their hands that very little would be done to make this industry what it should be.

I have great faith in the fishing industry in this country, and I would like to see this Government in the next two or three or four years do everything possible to encourage people to go into this business. As the hon. member for New Westminster has said, and I want to repeat it myself, the fisheries of this country have not advanced in the last twenty years. We have either stood still or gone back. That is

British Columbia Fisheries

not because there are not lots of fish in the sea; there are mere than ever there were. Nor is it because there are less salmon coming into the harbours and rivers of British Columbia that salmon are scarce. It is because the federal government, not this Government or its predecessor, but the governments of this country for the last twenty-five or thirty years have never taken the interest in fisheries that they have in farming and other industries. I do not object to millions of dollars being spent on the encouragement and development of agriculture, but I do say that the fisheries, if not to the same degree, are just as important as agriculture, and this Government should take every step to encourage people to go into this great industry.

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PRO

Alan Webster Neill

Progressive

Mr. A. W. NEILL (Comox-Alberni) :

I only wish to speak a few words on this subject, because it is getting late. Whenever a subject comes up in connection with ithe maritime provinces the discussion has not gone on for more than three minutes before it gets down to the sins of the late government. The discussion may begin with any subject under the sun but it always ends up with the sins of the late government, and I notice that when anything comes up in connection with British Columbia it always ends up with the Japanese question. This evening the debate began with the fisheries and we very soon drifted off to a discussion on our Japanese wrongs. I will not deal with this question now because I understand there is a resolution coming up on the subject, and will therefore keep to the question of fisheries in the few remarks I want to make.

My hon. friend from New Westminster (Mr. McQuarrie) spoke about the penalty. He said the penalty was too'drastic, that if a man committed some trifling offence the only penalty provided was the entire loss of his gear and boat, a tremendous penalty for possibly a trifling offence. One of the fishery guardians brought that to my attention. He said, "You cannot owing to a trifling offence take a man's whole property from him." I took the matter up with the fishery officials down here and they told me it was necessary to have that provision in extreme cases of deliberate poaching by American boats. It therefore was necessary to impose such a penalty but they gave instructions to their fishery officers and in the case of minor offences such as I have indicated provision has been made by which, on a fisherman giving security that his boat would be forthcoming when it

was required, he would he allowed to go on fishing and in the meantime he can put in an appeal, which will always be granted, for cancellation of the confiscation. That put the fear of the law upon him without actually subjecting him to the extreme penalty; and they claim it is necessary for the reasons which I have indicated, that the extreme penalty should be there.

The hon. member for New Westminster also mentioned the subject of taking over the British Columbia fisheries. That is a question that has engaged the attention of fishermen in British Columbia, but when we heard the Minister of Marine and Fisheries tell us the other day he was agreeable to our taking over the fisheries provided we assume the cost of running them which amounts to something like $400,000 a year, that rather dampened our enthusiasm for taking these 'fisheries over. I think our idea in British Columbia was to take over the issuance of licenses and let the Dominion government finance the other end of the bill.. Possibly the minister will not see the matter in that light. The idea in British Columbia was this-that if the issuing of licenses was put in the hands of British Columbia officials they would be easier-I will not use the term "got at," because that is a nasty suggestion-but they would be easier of approach and we would get quicker action when quick action was necessary. If the proposition means the taking over of the whole of the British Columbia fisheries and the expenditures attendant thereupon I am afraid it is beyond our powers. We have got a little project called the P. and G. E. railway which will engage our financial attention almost exclusively for some time to cottne.

The hon. member for New Westminster also talked about the question of small licenses. He said it was not fair that a man should pay $500 for a canner's license if he only wanted to put up a small quantity of fish. That question has already arisen and has been dealt with. Last year in my district there were one or two dozen, perhaps, gill net fishermen who combined together, and they got some kind of a domestic cannery outfit that would put up three dozen tins possibly at a time. They asked permission of the fishery officials in Vancouver to get a license, without having to pay $500, and to allow them to operate in this small way. The superintendent there very liberally met their wishes and gave them a license for a very small sum. The officers here tell me that if that occurs.

British Columbia Fisheries

again this year they will also get consideration; that where a few fishermen want to put up fish in a small way they will not be compelled to put up such a large amount.

In connection with the subject of hatcheries I can endorse a great deal of what the hon. member for New Westminster has said. At one time they were regarded in British Columbia as being almost a failure; it was believed they were not doing any practical good. Various reasons were given for that. One was what the hon. member for New Westminster has alleged: They propagated trout; they protected the young trout in the very same lakes where the hatcheries were situated, the consequence being that they were breeding salmon on the one hand and propagating trout to eat them on the other. I have also heard it stated-I do not know what truth there is in the statement-that the hatchery had this effect-they made the young salmon too tame. The man who told me-and he is a man of experience-told me that if you go into any water where salmon are developed under natural conditions before you can even get a glimpse of them almost they are out of sight because nature or instinct has taught them to be wary. On the other hand, the young salmon that are brought up in hatcheries become almost as tame as cats, and do not show any fear of the attendants when they move around. When they are turned into the creeks to shift for themselves and the trout come along they stand, so to speak, with their mouths open and let themselves be destroyed. I do not know what truth there is in this story, there may be some basis for it in the same way as hand raised pheasants are less alert than wild ones. There is no doubt however that when propagated under these artificial conditions they are not so alert as they are under natural conditions. I understand the department now has a new system which they employed last year for the first time and which they claim does give very satisfactory results. They keep the young salmon a great deal longer than they used to and they find the percentage which escapes from their natural enemies is far greater. They put the young salmon into sort of natural ponds where they are perfectly free from enemies and keep them there six or eight weeks longer than heretofore, and they claim that in time this system is going to give very good results.

As regards the fishery protection service of British Columbia, I again endorse what

my hon. friend from New Westminster has said. There is a large sum now spent on this service and I think a good deal of it might be saved. The money at least might be spent in a much more economical way. There is a protection boat which costs $45,000 or $46,000 with mahogany fittings, plate glass mirrors and a large crew. There is no necessity for boats of that kind in the district which I represent. When I canvassed the district in the middle of winter I did it in a launch which cost only $1,100. I got around without being seriously incommoded and I did not have a $45,000 or $46,000 dollar boat with a crew of eight.

When my hon. friend from New Westminster was talking about the enemies of the salmon he did not mention one that is very prevalent, on the west coast at all events and that is the sea lion. My hon. friend talked about how many salmon the hair seal will eat. Why the sea lion will eat more salmon in ten minutes than a seal will eat in a week. By the way an expert was sent out from somewhere some years ago to investigate the sea lion. He came back and wrote his report. That report said the sea lion was perfectly in-ocuous, and declared that the sea lion lived on seaweed. The expert had operated on a sea lion and found some seaweed in his insides, and therefore he declared they lived on seaweed. I suppose if he had found a horse collar inside he would have said they lived on horses. I expect the truth is that the seaweed had been covered with herring roe and had been eaten by the sea lion for that reason. I have seen sea lions gamboling with salmon in the water; one animal would playfully toss a fish in the air and another sea lion would catch it. There is no doubt they live very largely on the salmon. I took the question up with the Department of Marine and Fisheries and they promised to take the necessary steps to deal with the sea lion; they promised somebody would be sent to the rookeries where they breed to kill off the young ones. If that was done for three or four years it would soon put an end to the depredations of the sea lion. The only way to kill them off is by shooting or clubbing the young at their rookeries, There are certain islands where they are known to exist and if the patrol boats visit those islands they could destroy large quantities of them. The objection to offering a bounty is that if an adult is shot in the water it immediately sinks and there is nothing to produce to claim the bounty.

British Columbia Fisheries

As regards the subject of negotiations with the Americans over the Fraser river fishery, I understand that Canadian and American fishery officers held a conference last year and they came to an agreement on the basis of limiting the fishing and totally closing the traps and nets in the Fraser river for a period of years, hut the negotiations fell down on this subject: The Americans said: "We will close the river for five years." But when it came to the point of opening up again the American canners wanted to hog the whole thing and would make no provision for allowing the British Columbia fishermen engaged in the Fraser river to get any fair proportion of the results. They would agree to a long closed season but at the end of the closed period the Americans proposed to go in, put out their traps and deplete the run as they did in the past. It was on account of that fact that the negotiations fell down. I suggest it might be well to take the matter up again and see if a treaty could not be negotiated along those lines.

A great many people in British Columbia are of the opinion that the appointment of an Advisory Control Board for the fisheries in our province would be highly advisable. Many have expressed that view, both canners and fishermen. The board would be composed of local men and it would be a great advantage, even if they only acted in an advisory capacity. I see the same thing has been done in the state of Washington. They have appointed a board with compulsory powers, and in a short time they brought about a marked change. They understood the local conditions, and they were not in any way hampered by lobbies or regulations made at Washington and they will do a great deal to re-establish the Washington state fisheries. They closed up a lot of creeks, and prohibited fishing less than three miles from the mouth of any river, whereas we have a provision which says that you cannot fish within half a mile of the mouth of a river.

There was one thing that my hon. friend did not mention, which surprised me. I am afraid he was thinking too much of his own district, and perhaps the question does not arise in his district. He talked about the enemies of the salmon. What is eliminating the salmon, and what will in a very few years entirely exterminate them in the British Columbia waters, is the use of traps and seine nets. I know I will be talking heresy in the view of many people,

because they believe otherwise. The cannery man has not a great deal of conscience regarding salmon. It has been said that the canning men will not kill their own industry, but experience has told us that many times they will. They will skin the fish supply, clean them out, let their cannery go to pieces and move somewhere else. You can trust a canneryman's word in many things, but you cannot trust him not to tackle salmon whenever and wherever he can get them.

For the information of members who may not understand the difference, I may say that the gill-net is a small net operated from a gas or row-boat and trailed more or less behind the boat. Two or three fishermen would be employed, and they might take 30 or 40 or 50, perhaps 60 salmon in a night. But the seine net is so many fathoms long, it takes in a large area and they scoop around an eighth-of-a-mile or something like that and have been known to take 6,000 salmon in one haul. They can repeat the operation three times in the course of 24 hours, or perhaps in 12 hours, and you can imagine the rate of progress you will make in eliminating your fish if you are taking 30 or 40 or 50 in a gillnet on one hand, or if you are taking 6,000 with one scoop of the seine-net on the other. That is why the seine-net is so beloved by cannery-men, and they operate in places most fatal to the salmon industry. They operate at the mouths of the creeks and rivers, they cannot operate anywhere else to the same advantage, because that is where the fish gather together preparatory to going up the creek. The salmon bunches up about that time, they lie there in the bay, and the fishermen come along with the seine-net. The regulations say they must not use it within half-a-mile of the mouth of the river, but the man who mapped out the mouth of the river is a hundred miles away, people's memories are perhaps short and these men go in after the fish and get them. They leave no tracks behind them, and you cannot see them. They have gone in at the mouth of the river, and grabbed every salmon in sight. They go back again every 24 hours, and that is the sort of thing that is going to destroy the fisheries of British Columbia.

I know this is not the case in the Fraser river where they do not use the seine-nets and never did, but the conditions there are different. The muddy water allows gill-nets to be used. The American traps and

British Columbia Fishereies

our own traps off the coast of British Columbia have depleted the run. The member for New Westminster told you about the American traps, but he did not tell you that we have a large number of traps, which we should not have, off the coast of Vancouver island, where cannery-men take heavy toll of the fish, and although we have this fishery committee to investigate the matter, if this state of affairs continues, and until the seining of salmon is done away with we will never have a solution of the situation. If they keep on using seine-nets for a few years more you will not require to bother about a committee to discuss the subject because there will be no subject to discuss.

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PRO

William John Ward

Progressive

Mr. W. J. WARD (Dauphin) :

This is

a question in which I am also interested. Listening to the discussion to-'day one would think that salmon was the only kind of fish produced in Canada. I come from a district in which one lake has produced in the last 20 years 5,000 carloads of fish, and these fish are just as great a delicacy as the salmon or any other fish in Canada- I refer to the whitefish. Lake Winni-pegosis produces a very fine quality of whitefish, pickerel, goldeyes and many other good varieties of fish. In that district, Mr. Speaker, I desire to inform hon. members, the fishermen, after producing 5,000 carloads of fish in 20 years, find themselves almost destitute. In my judgment the reason that they are in this position to-day is because our inland fishing industries of Canada are entirely in the control of American capitalists. The fish industry, both on lake Winnipeg and lake Winnipegosis-a district with which I am thoroughly well acquainted-are absolutely in the control of two large American fishing concerns. The Canadian fishermen who fish in these lakes have no say whatever in the setting of the price or in the sale of the fish. They simply do the fishing, place the fish on the market, and are at the mercy of these American capitalists who control the entire inland fish industry and will not make them any bids on their fish. They have to ship the fish to Chicago or some other market and rely on the grace of God or the goodness of luck to get enough to pay freight, and I might say in this regard-that the same thing applies here as applied in the case of the potatoes, to which I referred a few minutes ago- these fish are shipped in probably ten, fifteen, or twenty carload lots direct to

Chicago, and when they get to Chicago they are simply sold to the highest bidder. The company that is handling the fish, for whom the fishermen are fishing, is the same company who buy the fish at the other end. The fishermen is fleeced at the point of production and he is again fleeced when his product reaches the great markets. I think this matter should receive the serious consideration of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Lapointe). Last winter the jackfish from lake Winnipegosis were selling on the lake for lj cents a pound. Any fisherman knows that fish cannot be taken out of the lakes and put in boxes at 1J cents a pound. At the same time jack-fish was selling in Winnipeg at 10 cents a pound. Whitefish was selling at lake Winnipegosis at 5 cents a pound and in Winnipeg at 15 cents a pound. Whitefish is about as great a delicacy in the form of fish as we have in Canada, and I think it has not received the consideration in the past from the Department of Marine and Fisheries that it deserves. I would like to draw attention to another fish known as the goldeye. I am convinced-in fact one gentleman who is very familiar with the fishing industry said that he believed- that the national debt of Canada might be paid off in the course of ten years by developing the goldeye industry of Canada. They are just as great a delicacy as the speckled trout of eastern Canada ever was, and I believe we might develop a remarkable trade in the United States and probably other countries if we were to develop the goldeye industry of Canada and put this fish on the market as a delicacy. We could get a very remarkable price for it. I make these remarks for the benefit of the minister.

Motion (Mr. McQuarrie) agreed to.

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GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY EMPLOYEES-PENSION RIGHTS AND STATUS.


On the notice of motion of Mr. Boys: That in the opinion of this House, immediate steps should be taken by the Government to restore the pension rights and status of all employees and ex-employees of the Grand Trunk Railway who were deprived thereof owing to participation In a strike on the system in the year 1910, to the end that all such may secure their just rights pursuant to the terms and true intent of the settlement made between the parties.


LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister) :

The hon. member in whose

Immigration Act

name the resolution stands (Mr. Boys) is not in the House. I regret his absence, because I desire to make a statement on the subject of the resolution.. However, he will be able to read my remarks in Hansard and that will perhaps serve the same purpose. There is no need for this resolution inasmuch as the Government has already taken steps in the direction proposed. The Government has been negotiating with a view to seeing that a long standing injustice should be remedied without further delay: If it is not possible to

effect by negotiation what we hope and believe will be attained by negotiation, then the Government will bring in the necessary legislation to see that the injustice that was done to employees of the Grand Trunk Railway involved in the strike of 1910, in virtue of the terms and conditions of its settlement not having been complied with, is duly remedied.

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Subtopic:   GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY EMPLOYEES-PENSION RIGHTS AND STATUS.
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April 10, 1922