RAILWAYS AND SHIPPING
Mr. R. B. HANSON (York-Sanbury) presented the second report of the select standing committee on railways and shipping owned, operated and controlled by the government and moved that the estimates referred to in the said report be referred to the committee of supply. Motion agreed to.
CANADA GRAIN ACT AMENDMENT
Hon. H. H. STEVENS (Minister of Trade and Commerce) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 79, to amend the Canada Grain Act.
This bill deals with one or two matters in connection with the general administration of the act which it is desired to correct. One amendment arises out of a decision of the courts in regard to the insufficiency as to title to the grain of the 'bills of lading on the great lakes where the trip is broken and the grain unloaded into a transfer elevator. The other amendment deals with the practice in the port of Montreal and other ports of using grain for the loading of ships which may not be quite correctly documented under the present system. It is to correct these two matters that the bill is being introduced.
Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.
ADVANCES TO PROVINCES
Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Prime Minister):
Mr. Speaker, I wish to table correspondence with the provincial authorities and to give a copy to the right hon. leader of the opposition.
PENSION ACT AMENDMENT
Hon. MURRAY MacLAREN (Minister of Pensions and National Health) moved the second reading of Bill No. 78, to amend the Pension Act. He said: Mr. Speaker, it has been decided to refer this bill to a small special committee. This will meet the requests which were made in the house yesterday. Motion agreed to and bill read the second time. Supply-M arine
I beg to move, seconded by the hon. member for North Oxford (Mr. Sutherland) that the said bill be referred to a special committee to be hereafter named, with power to report from time to time.
Motion agreed to.
I thought the whips might be able to agree on the personnel of the committee between now and Monday, and then on Monday the committee could be named.
Mr. MACKENZIE KING:
What number is it proposed to have?
It is proposed to have a committee of twelve. That number has been found to work out satisfactorily having regard to the membership of the various parties in the house.
DEPARTMENT OP MARINE
The house in committee of supply, Mr. Gobeil in the chair. Marine- Salaries, $301,932; contingencies, $57,500.
Mr. Chairman, I suppose this is the only item in the minister's estimates under which we will have the opportunity of discussing matters of a general character. With that in mind I should like to discuss the matter of the appointment of port surveyors. Owing to the changing of the Canada Shipping Act in its application to load lines, it became necessary to facilitate the operations of shipping, to appoint surveyors. Particularly was that so in those ports where lumber was the chief export. I suggest the port of Port Alberni has not been treated fairly.
and I understand they are capable men-have been appointed in Vancouver, and one in Victoria. The man in Victoria is authorized to carry out the supervision of ships loading lumber not only at Victoria but at points such as Nanaimo and Ladysmith. However the work in connection with the port of Alberni is being done by the man from Vancouver. I wish to emphasize that I have no complaint to make against the ability of that man. But the situation is such that shippers of lumber from the port of Port Alberni are operating under a very heavy handicap. In one sense that port is somewhat remote from Vancouver. That is to say a full day's time is required to get there, and another day to get back. The work is of such a character that a local man should be on hand to do it. It is not merely a matter of looking at a ship and saying, "All right, you can take the boat out." Constant
or at ltast intermittent supervision is required while the boat is being loaded, and that attention cannot be given by a man whose residence is a day's journey away.
The port of Port Alberni is deserving of careful consideration, because it is the third largest shipping port in the province of British Columbia. Hon. members may be surprised to learn that we out-rate Victoria, the capital city. We ship more lumber from the port of Port Alberni than is shipped from Victoria. Yet, when there is a man stationed at Vancouver we have not one at Port Alberni, with the result that there are several forms of injustice. The fee for inspecting a boat is ten dollars. I do not know who is supposed to pay it, but in the last analysis no doubt it is the shipper of the lumber. If the man has to come from a distance the shipper has to pay expenses both going and coming and living expenses. That, to begin with is an unfair charge, because it handicaps the shippers at Port Alberni who are in competition with other shippers.
Yet that is not the most important feature. This is a technical matter with which I am not thoroughly familiar; to decide where a load line shall be is an extremely complicated problem, under the new regulations. A man thoroughly versed in loading lumber, a marine man and one who has to have quite a good education, must do the work. The particular spot where the load line is to be placed is not so much his concern; that is ascertained by a preliminary surveyor. The chief duty of the port surveyor is to ascertain the amount of lumber that shall be put on the deck load. To those who do not understand marine matters I should explain that the surveyor could come along and say, " Well, take a thousand feet off that deck load." It would be easily done. However that is not the way it works out. A man may have a million and a half feet of lumber to ship. He knows where it is going. Some of it may be of a specific kind, or of a type most adapted to be shipped on the deck. Perhaps because it is too long, or for some other reason it cannot be put below deck. Under those circumstances the shipper would have half a million feet to place on the deck. After he has completed loading and placed the half million feet on the deck the surveyor, who has not been in attendance when the work was in progress, may come along and say, " You will have to take two hundred thousand feet off." In that way the order is broken. It means that not only will he have to take off two hundred thousand feet, but he will have to take the whole deck load off, take out a certain portion of the lumber
below deck and replace it with some* of the deck load which had to be taken off under the direction of the surveyor. The shipper must have the top load go on the ship somewhere, so he has to take the whole half million deck load off, then take some out of the hold and replace it.
That is only one illustration. I am trying to indicate the necessity of the surveyor being in the immediate vicinity, so that he may be called or consulted during the progress of the loading. He may come down and say, " That ship is sinking too fast by the head; I do not think I will allow any more in the forward hold"-or on the deck load, as the case may be. Under those circumstances the shipper guides himself accordingly, and makes appropriate arrangements. But when the surveyor is a day's journey away, he cannot give that supervision. He would not be paid if he came between times. These facts illustrate the necessity of always having a local man on hand. Of course he would not have to stand and watch the ship being loaded. The S10 would not be sufficient for him to do that, but he can glance at it from time to time.
Although I have discussed the most important feature, there is another one worthy of consideration. Very often 'the ships are running strictly on schedule time. If in loading they are detained more than a certain number of hours there are heavy demurrage charges. They do not know exactly when the boat will be completely loaded; possibly they cannot tell within forty-eight hours. If a surveyor is sent from Vancouver to be on hand at the time the shipper anticipates the boat will be loaded, and upon his arrival it is not loaded, there are all binds of trouble. If on the other hand when they send for him they find he has gone north of Powell River or some other comparatively remote port then the boat is tied up and someone has to bear heavy demurrage, perhaps $500 a day. For all these reasons and others which I could indicate I would impress upon the minister the necessity of appointing a local man, even if he is only an acting port inspector. Sudh men can be got at the port of Alberni, thoroughly competent to do the work. It is going to create a quite unnecessary handicap on this industry, which as we all know is struggling desperately at the present time. There are two or three mills that have been shut down most of the winter and they are just beginning work on a very meagre basis now, and should not be subject to any avoidable 'handicap. If I were asking the government to spend money it would be different,
but I am not; I am simply asking them to appoint a competent man in Port Albemi to do this work, as they have done in Vancouver. The Vancouver man is too far away, and the expense and time to bring him is too great. I do ask the minister to look very thoroughly into this phase of the situation. Perhaps he can give me some information now.
No, it is not carried.