Well, perhaps the minister has read it; I must take his word for it. But I have spent a week since last Wednesday and so far have read only 74 pages out of the 497. The minister must have better knowledge than I because he has been to college and I have not, but I say that the people interested in this bill have never seen it and in the interests of the shipping and business people of this country, of the seamen and the fishermen and everyone else, I protest. It is not fair that the minister should ask that this bill be passed without due consideration.
Last Friday when this bill was before the house certain of us from the maritime provinces on both sides of the house made representations asking that for certain reasons which we considered important this bill should not be proceeded with. It was then suggested, I think by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Rhodes), that in order to get the bill moving, one section or subsection should be adopted, and then the government would take time to consider whether they should proceed with the bill or on the request of representatives from the maritime provinces withdraw it till next session. Evidently the government has now decided to proceed. In order to justify that action t'he minister tells this committee that since last Friday he has received from various sources telegrams
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asking that this bill be proceeded with immediately. I gather that he has received a telegram from the National Association of Marine Engineers of Canada, Levis section. Assume that it be from all the marine engineers of Canada, I do not care what section it comes from or the number, can the minister point out anything in this bill protecting the marine engineers that was not in the old act? He cannot do it. Therefore why should the marine engineers be in such a hurry to have this bill go through? The marine engineers' association of Canada looks after the interests of marine engineers, but we find in this bill section upon section that affects one of the largest industries in Canada, the fishing industry. Has the minister any representations from the fishermen's associations in the maritime provinces asking him to put the bill through in its present form? He cannot produce one line. Let me go further, and I am very earnest in this because I see the danger of almost absolute ruin to certain branches of our fishing industry if this bill goes through.
There are many sections. If we are forced to go on with this bill I will endeavour to have those sections amended, but what is the position of any representative of the fishing districts of the maritime provinces to-day, when we have not had an opportunity of consulting with our people, of laying this bill before them, of discussing the dangers they may see and their opinions as to the remedies .to be proposed? We are not in a position to consider the bill. If you force us to go on with this bill you force us to attempt to carry out what we believe is in the best interests of the fishing industry, but even with the knowledge we have of that industry we may do an injustice to our people. That is why I feci so strongly in the matter.
The other reason mentioned by the minister had to do with a telegram received from the Shipping Federation of Canada, who, the minister told the committee, represent all interests. They do not. The interests represented by that association from whom the minister received his information are principally the deep water interests, those
concerned with communication between Canada and foreign countries and those engaged on the lakes, which are international waters to some extent. They have no authority to represent or speak for the men engaged in the fishing industry in this country, and that is another reason why we do not desire to proceed with this bill. The minister also says the Senate has considered the bill and that all interests were represented before the Senate committee. He read a telegram something to this effect, "In view of the fact that all interests were represented before tha Senate this bill should go through." I say that telegram is a lie. It states that all interests were represented before the Senate, but neither the minister nor anyone else can show that one single interest connected with the fishing industry was represented before the committee of the Senate. Therefore why force us to go on with this bill this session when I am convinced that no interest will suffer if it is put off? I am firmly of the opinion, however, that if it is put through in its present form very large interests will be detrimentally affected, and the Lord only knows what the end may be.
Mr. Chairman, I was before the Senate committee for a number of days following this bill while the hearings were going on. I shall not attempt to enumerate the interests represented! there, but many interests were represented and many witnesses were heard. During the time I was there, which included the better part of a week, I thought the bill received very careful attention, especially from a large body of men from the eastern provinces.
from the east. To the onlooker they gave the impression that they were not only deeply interested in the work which has been going on there for some three years, I think, but that they were intimately acquainted with it. Furthermore I noticed that the great majority of the sections are non^controversial. A great many of them deal with treaties; a great many of them are lifted out of the old act, and a large portion of the time spent on these sections was devoted to their arrangement, deciding the sequence in which they should appear, rather than in dealing with the purport of any particular sections.
I thought the house might be interested to know the impression obtained by one who followed the proceedings of that committee very carefully. In the heated state of mind in which some hon. gentlemen seem to be
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I do not know whether they would care to proceed with the consideration of the bill, but I think if they attempt that course they will find that the controversial sections are very few and a long way apart.
The government proposes to proceed with this bill. It has been twice before the Senate, it has received more consideration than any bill that has come before parliament for a very long time. It has been given more attention in detail than any measure that has been in either house for a very long period. It is the result of much effort in which the former Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) participated in 1929 in London, in directing the general principles that should govern this legislation. The bill was drafted, considered by experts, redrafted and considered in committee.
They were the gentlemen responsible for its legal provisions. The representatives of the various interests concerned made their statement before the committee. If there are very controversial sections in the bill they can stand as we proceed, and if the amendments suggested by hon. gentlemen opposite are such as appear to be in the public interest we shall be very glad indeed to adopt them. I trust that the hon. member for Gloucester (Mr. Veniot) will recall the observations made by his distinguished leader a few days ago with respect to the duties of a member of parliament. In the light of that statement I am sure he will find some difficulty in accommodating his views as expressed this afternoon to those of his honoured leader.
We desire to proceed with the bill for the reasons I have given. We believe it is in the public interest, which is the paramount interest. If individuals find it inconvenient to particular interests we will always consider the public interest and the particular private interest affected, but the public interest must prevail. With that principle in mind we will proceed with the discussion of the bill.
I did not intend to speak again, but since the (Prime Minister has lectured me on my duties as a member I feel that I should make some reply to his remarks. It is true my right hon. leader did refer to the duties a member owes not only to himself but to the country as a whole. I do not need either my right hon. leader or the right hon. leader of the government to teach me any lessons in that regard. I have been long enough in public life to know the duty I owe to my constituents and to the pu' r:i at large.
This afternoon I am not pleading for my constituents, but I am pleading on behalf of one of the largest industries in Canada. I am speaking for the fishing industry on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and I am backed by representatives from those districts of our dominion. That industry, to my mind, is paramount to any protection this law may afford in connection with deep sea sailing, or the protection of engineers and captains of deep sea vessels. Therefore my opposition to the bill is not parochial. I have in mind the duty which, as a member of the House of Commons, I owe to all sections of Canada. As the principle has been laid down that the lesser must give in, for the benefit of the larger, may I say that to-day I am pleading on behalf of the larger. I am pleading on behalf of the fishing industry of Canada, as compared with the lesser interests of engineers and captains of vessels running from one country to the other. Under this legislation they are fully protected, and they were fully protected under the old legislation. There is no amendment in the new bill which affords protection contrary to that which was given them under the British act, the measure under which we have been operating since 1867. But in the adoption of the present measure as it stands an injustice would be perpetrated against one of the greatest industries in Canada, and as a member of the House of Commons with a full knowledge of my duty to my country and to myself I am pleading on behalf of that great industry, and against the smaller interests connected with marine engineers and deep sea captains.
I regret that this very voluminous document which is of such great importance should be placed before the house at this time, and that at this late hour of the session we should be asked to study it. Hon. members know that we cannot stay here all summer. If, as the hon. member for Stan-stead (Mir. Hackett) has said, the other chamber studied the measure for three years, surely that is sufficient indication as to the importance of and the difficulties in connection with the measure. I agree entirely with the Prime Minister (Mr, Bennett) as to the advisability of a revision of the shipping act; it must be done. So far as the constitutional point raised by the hon. member for Char-levoix-Saguenay (Mr. Casgrain) is concerned, I must say that I am of the opinion his fears are not well founded. I think however it is not fair at this late hour of the session to ask hon. members of the House of Commons to consider the bill. It is the result
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of much work, as the Prime Minister and Minister of Marine have said. Undoubtedly it is a good thing that public business should originate in the Senate, but the fact remains that the country is not used to that procedure, and as a result the proceedings of the Senate are not followed as closely or as attentively as those of the House of Commons. With the exception of those hon. members who have been peculiarly interested in the measure, the country as a whole has certainly not become familiar with it.
On the whole I must agree with hon. members who have said it would be better to give the people of Canada an opportunity to become better acquainted with the bill before we undertake to proceed with it.