May 29, 1930

LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

My understanding is that it has been made applicable to all the departments. It applies to civil servants generally.

CHIGNECTO CANAL On the orders of the day:

Topic:   CONFERENCE ON UNEMPLOYMENT
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition):

I wish to ask the Minister of

Railways and Canals (Mr. Crerar) a question. As he is not in his place at present, perhaps if I put the question on Hansard, he can answer it later. Speaking at the Liberal convention at Amherst, Nova Scotia, May 21, Senator H. J. Logan spoke as follows re the proposed Chignecto canal, as reported in Amherst Daily News of May 22:

"The Chignecto canal survey is nearly completed, and a commission, of whom I know the names, is to be appointed to consider the commercial feasibility of the canal."

Senator Logan intimated that he did not desire to make the canal a political issue, but remarked that a Liberal candidate might find it possible -to do more for Cumberland county.

I was going to ask the minister if it is proposed to appoint such a commission, and if so, have the names of such commissioners been given to Senator Logan, and has Senator Logan been authorized to speak on behalf of the administration in the remarks that he made?

APPOINTMENT OF WILLIAM NEVILLE On the orders of the day:

Topic:   CONFERENCE ON UNEMPLOYMENT
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CON

Eccles James Gott

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. E. J. GOTT (South Essex):

May I obtain from the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) the assurance that the informa-iton asked for in question No. 1 on to-day's order paper will be brought down forthwith? Very little clerical work is involved in it.

Topic:   CONFERENCE ON UNEMPLOYMENT
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LIB

Louis Édouard Fernand Rinfret (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. FERNAND RINFRET (Secretary of State):

I must remind my hon. friend that this question is directed to the Chief Electoral Officer, and the only thing the government can do is to bring my hon, friend's question to the attention of that officer, who is responsible to the house and not to the government.

Topic:   CONFERENCE ON UNEMPLOYMENT
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CON

SOCKEYE SALMON FISHERIES

TREATY BETWEEN CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES


Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister) moved the second reading of Bill No. 344, respecting a certain convention signed the 26th day of May, 1930, between His Majesty in respect of Canada and the United States of America for the preservation and extension of the sockeye salmon fisheries in the Fraser river system. Motion agreed to, bill read the second time, and the house went into committee thereon, Mr. Johnston in the chair. On section 1-Convention confirmed.


CON

Alexander Duncan McRae

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McRAE:

Mr. Chairman, the natural resource which it is hoped that this treaty will restore, the sockeye salmon of the Fraser river, together with the industry resulting therefrom, is a major issue in the province of British Columbia and a very important question for the Dominion as a whole. It is hoped that under this treaty the Fraser river, a river which for many years was the greatest salmon stream in the world, a river the maximum catch of which at to-day's salmon value would probably exceed $30,000,000 or more annually, the finest salmon stream without question I think on the Pacific ocean, will be restored to its former greatness. That is the expectation of the people of my province. They have been somewhat disappointed with the long negotiations which have been carried on in connection with this problem. Last year I took a rather active part when the treaty came before the committee on marine and fisheries. The long experience which I had in the salmon business on our coast I felt rather qualified me to put my views before the committee at that time. I do not intend to delay the house very long, but I think it is opportune to refer to the present treaty, which I believe is a material improvement on the treaty that was submitted to the house last session.

In the first place, I think that the criticism offered last year as to loose draftsmanship is, in this treaty as I view it, entirely eliminated. This year's treaty appears to be more like the finished article.

The first important alteration in the treaty this year is the addition of section 1 of article I, which includes a very considerable addition to the territory placed under the direction of the commission. If time permitted I could explain to the committee the importance of this addition. Suffice it to say that I believe that this addition is absolutely essential if the efforts of the Salmon

Sockeye Salmon Fisheries

Fisheries Commission are to be effective. Without this additional territory I believe their efforts would have been largely, if not entirely, nullified.

There is one other matter in article I, which I would like to have seen somewhat altered. It has to do with the extension of the northern boundary to Lasqueti island, which involves in the jurisdiction of the commission the fishermen who catch the northern run in that section. That is a matter in which the hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Neil'l), who I regret is not in his seat is equally concerned. However, I make no serious objection because, after all, the boundaries as set must be very general. I have no doubt that in some cases it will be found when investigated that our sockeye salmon reaching the Fraser by the American route are not included in the present boundaries, and here I think will be found one section that should be omitted from the regulations of the commission being outside the area reached by such sockeyes. It is a matter affecting only the fishermen of the two constituencies I have mentioned, and I am prepared to leave it to the good intentions of the commission to deal with this matter fairly when it comes up. I am quite satisfied that the regulations they may prescribe based on their subsequent investigations will respect the interests of the fishermen in this particular section of the territory allotted to the commission.

Article 2. There is a change in this article which provides that the members of the commission shall be appointed at the pleasure of the respective governments. I think that is important. In the former treaty there was no such provision, and it was felt by some of us that the appointments would necessarily be for life. This change greatly improves this article.

Article 3. The third article in the treaty as submitted to the house last session received probably the most consideration. We contended that this article as then drawn involved, to some extent at least, the question of territorial or sovereign rights and would conflict with the power development of the Fraser river. I am pleased indeed to see that in its present form article 3 has been materially changed in both respects. As previously drawn we objected to the fact that the commission was empowered to "acquire" spawning grounds. I am pleased to see that this word does not appear in the new treaty. In this connection I wish to refer to the last paragraph of article 8 in the treaty of this year:

Each high contracting party shall acquire and place at the disposition of the commission any land within its territory required for the construction and maintenance of hatcheries, rearing ponds and other such facilities as set forth in article 3.

It might have been advisable to have made the matter a little clearer by providing that the improvements at the expiration of the treaty should belong to the high contracting party in whose territory they were located.

I might add that the Fraser river is the only fresh water included in the treaty, and consequently is the only section that is affected by this paragraph. However, the present paragraph is very good indeed and pretty well clears up the question. I notice that the paragraph refers to each high contracting party, and thereby the United States accepts the principle as well as Canada.

In article 4 it will be noted that the period within which the commission is empowered to limit or prohibit fishing is not limited this year. In last year's treaty it read:

That the commission is hereby empowered from June 1st, to August 20th, to limit and prohibit fishing, etc.

I think it highly desirable that the commission should be given unlimited power in that regard, particularly having regard to the division of the catch.

Article 6. There is a very important change here. In the treaty of 1929 this section read: That no action taken by the commission under the authority of articles 4 and 5 of this convention shall be effective unless affirmatively voted for by at least two of the commissioners from each country.

This omitted section three in last year's treaty.

In the treaty this year it will be observed that the approval of two out of three of the commissioners of each country is necessary before anything can be affirmatively voted on. This is a safeguard to both countries, and I think it is an assurance that the commission will be conducted along lines satisfactory both to Canada and the United States.

Article 7 has to do with the division of the catch. This has caused much concern among those interested in the industry. They have grave doubts as to the ability of the commission to divide the catch equally between the two countries. I think, this matter will have to be left to the good faith of the commission. It is about the only way I see of dealing with it. I am sure it will not be possible for any commission to make an exact division each and every year. I assume that in all fairness they will take the current year with the preceding year and endeavour

Sockeye Salmon Fisheries

to the best of their ability to divide up the catch equitably between the fishermen of the two countries over the period.

Article 10, I presume, is necessary on account of the inclusion in the treaty of the territory covered by section one of article 1. I think that will be found to agree almost, if not entirely, with the provision in the halibut treaty, and as such presumably it is acceptable to all interests. It is a marine matter that I do not feel competent to pass upon.

Now, from the practical standpoint, I take it that in negotiating treaties there must be give and take between both countries. Neither one high contracting party nor the other can get all it wants. We have had long drawn out negotiations in connection with a treaty for the great Fraser river, and it is my considered opinion that this treaty is now about as satisfactory as we can expect. Of course, the success of this or any similar treaty will depend almost entirely on the good faith of the high contracting parties. In any event we cannot be any worse off under this treaty than we are at the present time.

As I said at the beginning of my remarks the Fraser river has in the past been a wonderful stream. It has produced millions of cases of salmon. In fact, as described by a gentleman whom I met a few days ago, about forty-five years ago when he knew it, it seemed as though one could walk across the river on the fish, and I may tell hon. members that the river is a mile wide. What is the situation today? Through the lack of proper protection the fish in that stream have been almost exterminated. I refer to neither one political party nor another, but I wish to say in all kindness that the failure of the fishing industry on the British Columbia coast has been due largely to the fact that for the last quarter of a century it has been used as a political football. I make that statement advisedly, because for many years I was engaged in the business. I am quite sure there is nobody in our province and I hope there is no member in this committee who expects that this treaty can be put into effect without inconveniencing and discommoding certain interests. If we are going to bring about the restoration of the run of fish in the Fraser river we must have conditions different from what they have been in the past. I notice in this treaty a slight alteration from last year's treaty which is no doubt a proper one; I refer to the omission of the appointment of the commissioner of fisheries in the United States, as one of the United States commissioners. At the present time that position is held by Mr. O'Malley. I would like to say a

word about Mr. O'Malley, because I think members of the committee ought to know something about him. I have no doubt that he will be one of the American commissioners on this treaty, and undoubtedly he is the best qualified man on this continent to deal with the restoration of salmon fisheries.

Topic:   SOCKEYE SALMON FISHERIES
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?

John Warwick King

Mr. KING (Kootenay):

Who says that?

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CON

Alexander Duncan McRae

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McRAE:

He has been responsible for the restoration of the fisheries in Alaska, and he has accomplished wonders. He had great difficulties the first few years because the changes he instituted in connection with the Alaskan fisheries were greatly resented by those engaged in the business. After a few years however when it became apparent that the life of the industry depended on the regulations he had put into effect, and when it became further apparent that the industry was going to be restored, the complaints ceased. To-day the fishing industry in those waters is practically restored to its former greatness, and Mr. O'Malley is accepted by the fishing interests, both men and corporations, as the necessary governor of that great industry. With Mr. O'Malley on the commission and with other Americans who will thoroughly know the business, I suggest to the government that in this particular case they make use of some of the many men in British Columbia who are familiar with the fishing industry, who know the business thoroughly and who are willing and anxious to give their time to assist in restoring this great natural wealth to the people of British Columbia.

In closing may I say that there will be many difficulties ahead of this commission; their task is a difficult one. As I have already said the business is of great importance to the people of my province, and to the whole Dominion. Complaints will arise without number, but I hope that both parties in this house regardless of which party is successful in the coming election will undertake to give to the sockeye salmon commission that assistance and support during the next sixteen years, which is essential to the success of this treaty.

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CON

William Garland McQuarrie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McQUARRIE:

I also was on the

special committee last session to which the original treaty was referred, and I presume I was placed on that committee because I have lived on the banks of the Fraser river for some forty years, and particularly during recent years I have been closely in touch with the fishermen on that river. It is true that there are not as many men engaged in the industry as there were some years ago; however, last year 1,473 licences were issued in

Sockeye Salmon Fisheries

the Fraser river district; that means that there were twice as many, or over 2,800 men engaged in fishing on the Fraser river, because there are two men to each boat. About 400 of those licences were issued to Japanese. The number of Japanese engaged in the fishing industry has been greatly decreased and at the present time the large majority of fishermen in British Columbia waters are of the white race. That is a condition which no doubt all hon. members will agree should prevail. Last year I was somewhat critical of the treaty which was submitted to us, and in that respect I think I had the support of the fishermen of the Fraser river, because after I returned to New Westminster they held a meeting of their organization and at its conclusion by standing vote they unanimously approved of the stand I had taken. I am pleased to say that this year we have a treaty which is quite different in many important particulars from the one which was first submitted; I think there has been a great deal of improvement, and for that reason I do not think I am called upon to oppose the treaty. On the contrary, I think it represents a step in the right direction; I hope it will work out to the advantage of Canada and result more particularly in the restoration of the sockeye salmon run on the Fraser river. There was a time when that run was very extensive. In the year 1913 there was a pack of sockeye salmon on the Fraser river amounting to about 900.000 cases. The largest pack we have had since that time has been only about 60,000 cases. From those figures it is very easy to judge the extent of depletion, and what that depletion has meant to Canada and to those engaged in the industry. I do not wish the committee to understand that there is any real conflict between the fishermen and those engaged in the canning industry; I think they are both imbued with the same ideas and are both interested in the restoration of the run of sockeye salmon; it means a livelihood to the fishermen. Without the sockeye fishing I am afraid it would be very difficult for the fishermen on the Fraser river to eke out an existence.

Now, what is going to happen? I fear that this treaty will have a very injurious effect on the men who are engaged in the industry at the present time. It may be that as a result of this treaty, at the end of sixteen years, or later or perhaps earlier, there will be a partial or perhaps an entire restoration of the run that we previously had, but in the meantime these men have to carry on their work. They all have their boats, and these are not 2419-177

ordinary row boats; they are quite expensive gasoline boats which have expensive gear. The investment of each of these 1,473 men amounts to a great deal. I am afraid it is just possible that these men who are engaged in the industry at the present time are going to suffer to a great extent. The hon. member for North Vancouver has spoken of the division of the fish. That is covered by article 7, which reads as follows:

Inasmuch as the purpose of this convention is to establish for the high contracting parties, by their joint effort and expense, a fishery that is now largely non-existent, it is agreed by the high contracting parties that they should share equally in the fishery. The commission shall, consequently, regulate the fishery with a view to allowing, as nearly as may be practicable, an equal portion of the fish that may be caught each year to be taken by the fishermen of each high contracting party.

The great difficulty in that connection, as I see it, is that fishing is carried on in United States waters by means of traps. I am not going to take the time of the house to explain what these traps are like; suffice it to say that by the use of traps they carry on in American waters wholesale fishing. On our side of the line we have practically no traps; all the fishing is carried on by nets operated by the fisherman, and you might say on the Canadian side we have retail fishing. Under this treaty the difficulty is going to be for the commission to see that the Canadians will catch as many fish as the Americans. I am afraid that by the use of traps it will be much easier for the Americans to get their allowance, and I am afraid that the Canadians will not be able to get their share with the present methods in use.

Let me say just here that I would strongly deprecate the abolition of the gill net fishing on the Canadian side and the adoption of traps as the proper method of fishing. It would put out of employment a great many men and I think that is something we should not try to encourage. It may be said that there will not be so much difficulty in connection with the division of fish, but in that connection I should like to refer to some remarks made by the deputy minister of Fisheries last year before the committee. I would refer first to page 85 of the proceedings of Tuesday, May 28, 1929, and Wednesday, May 29, 1929, as follows:

By Mr. McQuarrie:

Q. The idea is that, in order to regulate and bring about this 50-50 division, the fisheries will be alternately closed on one side or the other, as the case may be? I want to submit to you-we will say, the Canadians are getting behind, as they usually do in matters of this kind, having in view the geography and the

nEVISED EDITION

Sockeye Salmon Fisheries

question of the priority of the American fishermen-it would require the Americans to close down their traps and seines, and in that event, could not the Americans say: "The escapement of fish is ample in the Fraser river for propagating purposes; we object to closing down because the Canadians have not enough equipment to catoh their 50 per cent"? Is that not one of the things which might come up?

A. That may be one of the main difficulties with which the commission will have to deal, but the federal government of the United States undertakes by this treaty to see that the regulations provided by the commission are carried out.

Then at page 95 there is another question by myself, as follows:

Q. What will happen if the Americans get more fish than the Canadians?

A. Well, Mr. Chairman, the duty of the commission will be to see that they do not. As I said a little while ago, the commission will have my sympathy. It will be quite impossible to say that we will get 50 fish on the one side and 50 on the other. It must be as near as possible that that be done.

Of course it will be difficult; I do not see how it is going to be done in any reasonable way. I am afraid our fishermen are going to suffer by this treaty. I am afraid this matter will work out in such a way that it will cause the adoption of traps in Canadian waters for the purpose of enabling Canada to catch its proper proportion of the fish. In that event what is going to happen, to our fishermen?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Would my hon. friend like us to drop the treaty?

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CON

William Garland McQuarrie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McQUARRIE:

No, not at all; I am just coming to a point which I think the Prime Minister will appreciate. What is going to happen to the fishermen who are now engaged in that occupation? There is no doubt it will assist other fisheremen who may be there in years to come, but as to the men engaged in that industry I am afraid they will suffer by reason of the fact that they are going to be prohibited for a certain number of years from catching sockeye salmon at all, or they are going to be prohibited for a certain period every year during sixteen years or longer from catching sockeye salmon, which is prehaps one of the most profitable branches of their business. As I say, I am interested in these fishermen and I am afraid they will suffer also in connection with other vari-ties of salmon, because when the catching of sockeye salmon is prohibited it may be necessary also to prohibit the catching of other varieties of fish which may be running at the same time. The sockeye salmon is not the only class of salmon that we have on the Fraser river, as of course is well known.

That matter was discussed in the committee with Mr. Found, and I would refer the house to page 92 of the evidence of the same proceedings of the committee. The following are the questions asked by myself and the answers given by Mr. Found:

Q. What about other varieties of fish during the close season for sockeye? There will be other fish running?

A. Not to any considerable extent; and that is the reason why the time is limited during which the commission is to take full control.

Q. Well, does not the cohoe season overlap the sockeye salmon?

A. To some extent; but not during this

period.

Q. That is, there would be no cohoes?

A. I would not say there would be no cohoes; but there would not be a large run.

Q. Cohoe fishing also will be prevented during that period?

A. To the extent that may be necessary to protect the sockeye.

0- When sockeye fishing is prevented, cohoe fishing will also be prevented?

A. To the extent that it will be necessary to carry out the regulations provided bv the commission for the protection of the sockeye.

Q. If sockeye fishing is prevented then, naturally, and necessarily, cohoe fishing will also be prevented?

A. That is why other fishing is prohibited.

Q. Yes?

A. Quite so.

Then on page 93:

Q. As to other varieties of fish-the pinks, for instance-will they be covered by the size of the mesh? Or will fish like chums and pinks be also prohibited when the fishing for sockeye is prohibited?

A. If the prohibition in the fishing of sockeye necessitates the removal of nets from the water, then, of course, the catch of other kinds of fish will be affected to that extent.

Q. So, it may be that all fishing-all salmon fishing will be prevented during those prohibited times?

A. That was the reason for limiting the control of the commission to the period that is mainly affected by this run.

Q. So you would have the chums and the pinks and the cohoes in the same class as the sockeye so far as prohibition is concerned during the period that the commission decides shall be a close season for sockeyes?

A. But the fact is that they are not there at that time in any considerable number.

Q. It will be so with those fish which are there?

A. Oh, yes.

It will be noticed by reference to the treaty that no fixed period is given as to when prohibition shall be effective. Under the terms of the previous treaty I believe that time was fixed as being from June 1 to August 20. Under the present treaty it is left wide open to the commission, and if it sees fit the commission may prohibit and prevent the fishermen from catching fish during the profitable season. The point I wish to make, and one

Sockeye Salmon Fisheries

I think which will appeal to the Prime Minister, is that although this treaty may be of great advantage to Canada as a whole, it is possible that it may injuriously affect the men engaged in the fishing industry. I would suggest that the Prime Minister make a declaration that if such proves to be the case and it is shown later on that the fishermen have been injuriously affected by this treaty, then some fair and reasonable compensation will be made to the men. That is my only object in rising to-day. I think that proposal is a reasonable one, I think it is a fair and just one, because if any class is to be injured by a treaty of this kind entered into for the advantage of Canada as a whole, then I think they should receive some kind of consideration.

I have in my hand sessional papers No. 79, dated February 9, 1916, brought down upon the motion of the late Sir Wilfrid Laurier, who took this same stand regarding the men engaged in the sealing industry and who were prevented from carrying on their occupation by reason of the Washington treaty of 1911 and the Paris regulations of 1893. This return contains the report of Mr. Justice Audette, who was then a judge of the Exchequer Court of Canada, and certain amounts were allowed as compensation to the men engaged in the sealing industry. It may be said that the salmon fishermen have no legal right to compensation. I will admit that, and I will admit also that this parliament can enter into a treaty which may effectively obliterate the occupation of any man and no legal claim for compensation could be made. This was the case in connection with the sealing treaty, but I would like to read a short statement which appears on page 25 of this return, as follows:

These claims, as has already been said, do not rest upon legal right; they originate from the benevolence, grace and bounty of the crown.

I submit that our salmon fishermen will be in a similar position and will be entitled to the benevolence, grace and bounty of the crown. I should like the Prime Minister to make two statements: first, that this country is not going to encourage or permit the catching of salmon by means of traps and, secondly, that if the fishermen should be injuriously affected by this treaty they will receive consideration.

Mr. ICING' (Kootenay): Mr. Speaker, I have been keenly interested in listening to the speeches of the two hon. members opposite, the hon. member for Vancouver North (Mr. McRae) and the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. McQuarrie). It takes me back 2419-177i

to last year when both of these hon. gentlemen intensely opposed this treaty being entered into with the United States. If I remember rightly, there was a desire at that time on the part of some members in this house to create throughout Canada an anti-American spirit, and for the purpose of creating such a feeling in this country our friends opposite were prepared to sacrifice the treaty in order that they could accomplish some political effect.

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CON

William Garland McQuarrie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McQUARRIE:

I must take exception to that statement, and I do not think it should be allowed to pass.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

There is no evidence for it.

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CON

William Garland McQuarrie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McQUARRIE:

It is absolutely untrue.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Absolutely.

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CON

William Garland McQuarrie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McQUARRIE:

And unfounded.

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?

John Warwick King

Mr. KING (ICooenay):

I will complete my statement; my hon. friends have had almost an hour.

Topic:   SOCKEYE SALMON FISHERIES
Subtopic:   TREATY BETWEEN CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES
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May 29, 1930