In the course of his remarks on this subject my hon. friend who has just resumed his seat (Mir. Coote) said that the bill was asked for by the shipping combine or the Lake Shippers' Association. Personally, I have no brief for the Lake Shippers' Association or the shipping combine either, but I have a brief to some extent at least for the many thousands of Canadian working men who are engaged in the shipping business at the head of the lakes or at ports in Canada or the United States for that matter. For fifty years we have been spending enormous sums of money on harbours, lake ports, wharves, and various facilities for shipping. We are spending annually large sums for lighthouse services, pilotage
service and all this sort of thing for the purpose of making inland shipping safe and providing ample facilities by which traffic from the west can be moved to the east in the easiest and cheapest manner possible. Now, the question here arises: Whom are we doing this for? Judging from the statements of my hon. friend and others in relation to this matter, notwithstanding that we have spent all this money on the services I have mentioned, we are to turn over the whole busineiss to United States shipping and United States working men, while in every port, from Fort William to Montreal, there are hundreds of Canadians who have been trained in the lake service captains, engineers, firemen, dock-hands and so on idle while American ships are carrying the traffic.
W'ould my hon. friend permit an interruption for the sake of accuracy? He said that we had suggested that all this business would be turned over to American shipping interests. I ask him to withdraw that statement as no one has suggested any such thing.
I hesitate to withdraw that statement. If my hon. friend did not mean that and I am doing him an injustice, I will withdraw it, but that is really what has been advocated. Anyone who knows anything about the conditions on the great lakes and the St. Lawrence knows that if present conditions continue, Canadian shipping will be driven off the lakes. The circumstances are such that it is impossible for them to compete.^ In the first place, American ships are provided with return cargoes not available to Canadian ships.
No, they cannot take back coal or anything else that goes to an American port. That is why. The proof of this statement can be found in the records. If my hon. friend will go back to 1920 he will find out what took place when American shipping was in control, not only with regard to rates on coal but with regard to rates on grain. The rates in 1932 were the lowest that have prevailed since 1920. I am virtually certain that lower rates have never prevailed.
In s-peaking of the competition provided by American ships my hon. friend stated that the rates are controlled by this competition. Let us see how it works out. When Canadian shipping on the great lakes had a capacity of 165,000,000 bushels, the average rate was 10-78 cents. When the capacity of Canadian shipping had been increased to
287,000,000 bushels, the rate was reduced to 5-07 cents. I should like to give my hon. friend one illustration of the position in which Canadian shipping will be placed should the monopoly and control be given to United States shipping, as will be the case unless the provisions of this bill are made applicable. During one of the years when the United States ships were in complete control and the rate on grain was 11-64 cents instead of 5-07 cents, I came into direct connection with some United States shippers.
The year 1920. One of the firms which had been busily engaged in the transport of grain from the head of the lakes through Buffalo and on to Montreal entered into a contract with a Canadian shipper to carry some 3,000 tons of freight from one lake port to another. This contract was entered into during the fall of t'he year, the goods to be carried in the following summer. In the meantime the rates rose, and what happened? The American company put themselves into liquidation. They sold their ships to the clerks in their own office and raised rates just 150 per cent on the Canadian commodity that was to be carried. That is the position in which hon. friends want to put Canadian shippers; they want to drive Canadian ships off the lakes. My hon. friend as well as the hon. member for Weyburn has inquired why Canadian ships could not compete. I should like to show them the tonnage that Canadian ships cannot handle. During a period of ten years there was an average tonnage of 45,000,000 tons in the form of coal, ore and stone handled on the great lakes by American ships. Not one single ounce of this tonnage could be carried by Canadian ships. Let us see what has happened with regard to grain. The hon. member who has just left the chamber stated that the American ships carried a very small percentage of Canadian grain. For the ten year period ending 1932, American ships carried on an average 126,000,000 bushels of grain from Canadian ports to United States ports, while Canadian ships carried on an average 11,000,000 bushels. The position has become so accentuated that Canadian seamen and Canadian workingmen are idle while American ships are carrying Canadian^ trade and Canadian ships are not able to participate in American trade.
I am not anxious that there should be any difficulties or controversies between the two countries. If hon. gentlemen can make an arrangement by which Canadian shipping will
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be permitted to participate in the coastwise trade of the United States on the great lakes and the St. Lawrence river, I would be in favour of withdrawing this bill. Is it fair that this country to the south of us with its large volume of trade should have its shipping tied up in a castiron box and reserved for its own people while Canadian shipping companies are forced to meet competition which is absolutely impossible. I do not think there is an hon. member in the house who will suggest that the rates in effect last June and July were such as made it possible for a shipping company to continue to operate and pay the Canadian workingman a wage upon which he could live.
There is another point to be considered. Facilities have been provided at the head of the lakes, at Collingwood, Midland, and other points for the repairing of ships. Large sums of money have been invested and large numbers of Canadian workingmen are dependent upon this industry. You never hear of a United States ship coming across to one of these shipyards and giving employment to Canadian workingmen. But it is suggested that the Canadian ships which do make use of these facilities should be driven off the lakes. Such a procedure would force the closing up of these shipyards and throw Canadian workmen out of employment and Canadian investments into the discard.
The Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Manion) gave some evidence to show that there is no combine existing. I personally know that there is no such thing as a combine. It may be true that the Canada Steamship Lines, Limited, own the largest tonnage on the lakes but-
Certainly, they compete. There are other companies which operate ships. I know two captains who live in Sault Ste. Marie. They have sailed the lakes all their lives and they formed a small company and purchased three ships. They are operating them from the head of the lakes to Port Colborne and Montreal and they compete with everybody in order to get traffic for their vessels. Is it a crime that Canadians should do that sort of thing? Is it a crime that Canadian workingmen should desire to work in their own country when they are not allowed to compete in the country alongside of us? Have we reached the stage where the only person who is to be considered as being entitled to the rights of Canadian citizenship is the man who grows wheat on the western
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prairies? That has been indicated by the discussion which has taken place.
The question of the protection of the producer has 'been raised, but an attempt is being made to penalize the producer. After all, who is the producer of wheat? Wheat is grown on the western prairies but it would noit be worth anything if a market could not be found. Where is this market to be found? It will be found at the place where there is someone who wants to buy the wheat and in the main that is in Europe. How are you going to get it there? The railroad man who operates the wheat train from the fields of the west to the head of the lakes is just as much a producer of wheat as is 'the man who drives the plough over the prairies. The sea -captain, the engineer, the deck hand and the other .men who go out in all kinds of weather and risk their lives to carry that grain across the lakes and down the river are just as much producers and just as much entitled to be protected by this parliament as is the man who actually works on the farm, the so-called producer of the grain itself. Instead of thi's bill being introduced too early, I say that the -men interested, the men who have been lying idle in the ports of this country waiting for the possibility of getting an odd job here and there on a Canadian Ship, have waited too dong and this bill should be put through and made effective during the present shipping season.
I do not wish to delay the house by giving further figures, as to what has taken place. But during the period when the United States had control of the situation, that is during the war and the early period after it, Canadian wheat producers had to pay the highest rates .they have ever paid, and the reduction has been from 11-64 cents in 1920 to 5-09 cents solely because of the competition that is provided by Canadians who put their ships on the great lakes.
Mr. Speaker, the aim of this bill is to give to Canadian ships a monopoly of the carrying of Canadian grain on the great lakes. The minister himself put the situation last night in the statement that "Canadian boats should parry Canadian grain." The effect of this bill, if it becomes law, will be to deprive Canadian grain of the use of Buffalo as a transfer or a storage point. To understand the full effect of that on the transportation of grain, one must have in -mind the picture of the whole grain transportation business. When the first trainload of wheat leaves .the west for .the head of the lakes, those who ship it
have no idea where it will ultimately land. When that wheat arrives at the terminals, those who own it do not know where it is going to go; it may be sold in any one of a dozen different countries. But one thing .they do know is that that wheat must be kept moving; they know there are millions and hundreds of millions of bushels to follow. They know if it is delayed in the terminals they will fill up, and if they do, the railway yards will be congested, the blockade will go right out to the farms and the wheat will not move. The whole strategy in .moving wheat consists in constantly moving it eastward, but always moving it to a point from which it may be shipped out in the greatest number of directions. That point is Buffalo. It is the .most strategically located point in Canada or the United States for the transfer and storage of grain. From that city you can ship down the St. iLawrence and out through Canadian ports or you can ship down the barge canal or by rail to New York, Boston, Portland or several other United States ports. I ask you, Mr. Speaker, for a moment to picture yourself as an exporter of grain. You discover on a certain morning that you can sell some wheat in Liverpool, some in Bordeaux, Antwerp, Rotterdam or Hamburg. What do you do? The first thing is to see what ocean space you can get. You discover that coming into the port of Montreal is a ship that will load for Liverpool; coming into the port of Portland is a ship that will load, we will say, for Hamburg; coming into the port of Boston there is one that will load for Antwerp and coming into the port of New York is one that will load for Rotterdam and another that will load for Bordeaux. On every one of those ships you can get space. What do you do? If you have your grain at Buffalo you secure the apace and you sell the grain. If your grain is at any other point .than Buffalo you will not be able to deliver at all those ports and you will lose the sale. If you could not get your grain on to any ship loading for Antwerp or Amsterdam or Rotterdam or Hamburg or any other port, you would not be able to make the sale and the result would be that you would sell less grain. If this legislation takes effect, Canadian grain will not be able to go to Buffalo and use that as a transfer or a storage point.
The hon. member for Macleod (Mr. Coote) points out that Canadian boats will not take grain to Buffalo because they can get higher rates for taking it to Canadian ports. That precludes the grain from going down the St. Lawrence. In addition to that, the conference agreements passed last fall make it impossible for Canadian grain going through Buffalo to receive the preference.