I think Scatarie island, more than any other island on the Atlantic coast with perhaps the exception of 78594-211
Sable island, is entitled to a life-saving station. I certainly agree with the hon. member for Cape Breton South and the hon. member for Richmond-West Cape Breton that the government should do something at once to provide means there of protecting the lives of the sailors. The sum need not necessarily be a large one. Disasters of all kinds are happening every year and have been happening for many years around that island.
minister said there was a life-saving station at Scatarie island. If he calls the present equipment that the government has placed on Scatarie island a life-saving station, it is a disgrace to the government and the country. Scatarie island is in my constituency and I have visited it on more than one occasion. The island is situated nine miles from the mainland of Main a Dieu and I would not for a minute go into a pool the size of this parliament building in the lifeboat that is now at Scatarie island. You can see daylight through the bottom of the lifeboat. We have no life-saving crew on Scatarie island. The government supplied a boat there some years ago and that is as far as the government has gone in that regard. The only time the lifeboat was ever used- was when volunteers went out in it and the government pays them the paltry sum of a dollar or two when they go out. I do not believe there is a man on the island who would risk his life by going out in that boat. It is up to the government to give the matter some consideration. The minister cannot understand the seriousness of the situation when he stands up in this house and makes the statements he does. It would pay the minister if he or his deputy or one of his officials were to visit that spot and see the wrecks that are strewn around that coast, and let him ask any of the men in the vicinity as to the number of human lives that have been lost there in the last five years. If the minister would only look into the situation, I am sure he would not make the statements he does.
I wonder if the minister has ever been down by the Atlantic ocean when there was a storm. I recall being on the Atlantic coast when one of those fierce storms came in from the sea, and when you observe what takes place around any of these small islands, and especially if there happens to be a fog, as there frequently is-well, I should not like to be the Minister of Marine and Fisheries and feel that I had not utilized the public exchequer to provide facilities there for life-saving. I say that to the minister very seriously. I travelled along that coast last
Supply-Marine and Fisheries
year by motor. Part of the time it was very foggy, and once there was a very heavy storm. There are wrecks of ships along that Nova Scotia shore and skeletons are sometimes washed up of men who have lost their lives. Seatarie island has been responsible for the loss of a good many vessels and many lives, and I suggest to the minister that he could provide at least reasonably decent life-saving facilities out of the miscellaneous vote. To carry into effect the suggestions that have been made would not cost I should think more than S2,500 at the moment. I think you could get a lifeboat and small station with that much money, or with $5,000, say, you could provide a gun and a decent boat. I made some inquiries about what these things cost; I am only speaking from memory that is now eight or ten months old, but I think $5,000 would defray the cost of a gun and a decent lifeboat. Now I put this to the minister: Can he rest quietly with the thought that we are voting $100,000 for advertising, $150,000 to do this and $50,000 for something else, when for $5,000 he could provide facilities which might save the lives of half a dozen people, or even only one life? I cannot think that Canada is doing its duty in leaving that island in its present condition, and I do press the minister to say now that he will provide these lifesaving facilities out of the miscellaneous vote. I am sure that the Prime Minister would not baulk at a governor general's warrant, if it became necessary, to provide a few thousand doHars for a cause such as that. I do press the minister not to leave this over for another year. I remember the head of a great shipping corporation telling me that when there were storms and his ships were passing along a certain dangerous shore, he could not sleep at night. That was before the days of wireless. Here we have that condition intensified, and I do press the minister to provide these life-saving facilities.
The lives which have been lost in that vicinity are not due to the lack of what may be called proper life-saving appliances. They are due to accidents which the ships have met with, and nobody can contend that the lives that were lost would have been saved if instead of having one life boat we had two or three.
not been needed. I would not like to be taken as minimizing the importance of the lifesaving service. I quite agree with the hon. member for Richmond-West Cape Breton and the hon. leader of the opposition that it is important to have life-saving facilities even if they are not used, because of the greater confidence and the greater sense of security they give to navigators and the crews of vessels. They feel that there is something there to take care of them if an accident does come.