February 4, 1935

CON

Harry Bernard Short

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. H. B. SHORT (Digby-Annapolis):

Being deeply interested in everything connected with the welfare of the fishermen, and of the fishing industry, I am thoroughly in accord with many of the remarks made by my hon. friend from Antigonish-Guysborough (Mr. Duff) and I am fully in accord with the resolution which the hon. member for Gloucester (Mr. Veniot) has brought forward. I think the time has arrived when we should

Deep Sea Fisheries

do everything possible to assist the fishing industry, which during the past four years has experienced conditions which it has not known for many years previously. Less has been done for the fishing industry than for any other industry, though it is one of the greatest natural resources we have in the maritimes and capable of the greatest expansion. Off the coast of Nova Scotia we have one of the greatest fisheries in the world, but the trouble is, we need a market. That is what we need more than anything else. There is no question about production; we can produce all the fish the country requires. Unfortunately however we are up against it for a market. I have brought up in this house a number of times, being on the Canadian Fisheries Association, the advisability of a grant through the government for the purpose of advertising our fish. We are not selling the quantity of fish in Canada which we should; the people are not buying the quantity they should buy.

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LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

Why?

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CON

Harry Bernard Short

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SHORT:

Because they are not

educated up to it.

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LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

They have not the money.

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CON

Harry Bernard Short

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SHORT:

The people in the interior

of our country do not know anything about fish. If we spent a sufficient amount of money in advertising our product and educating the people up to eating fish; if we increased the sale of fish in this country by but ten pounds per capita, it would mean an additional

100,000,000 pounds, which would be of great assistance to our fishermen in the maritime provinces.

The resolution before the house is, I believe, a good one, and to carry out its terms would not cost the country a great deal of money. Every facility should be given to our fishermen to prosecute their industry in the best possible manner. I do not know that this government has spent very much, but previous governments spent quite large amounts of money in erecting throughout the dominion bait freezers which, as was explained by two hon. gentlemen opposite, were not a success. If modem freezers can be built at the prices mentioned by the hon. member for Gloucester, this is something to which the Department of Fisheries could give very serious consideration, and I believe if the matter is taken up in the committee on fisheries, there discussed and recommendations made to the department, every attention will be given to them. That is what I understand my hon. friend is asking for and

I believe the government would be well advised to carry out the recommendations in reference to freezers.

But in connection with the fishing industry there are many other matters that are much more important than the freezers. As the hon. member for Antigonish-Guysborough has stated, every assistance has been given to the farming industry but very little has been given to the fishermen. I think some scheme can be worked out whereby loans can be made to the fishermen on easy terms so as to enable them to equip themselves with better facilities for operating the industry. The fishermen today are up against it for new equipment. Their old equipment is worn out; they have no money with which to replace it. Some arrangement can I am sure, be arrived at for making loans to our fishermen in order to enable them to supply themselves with modern equipment. I believe the Department of Fisheries will do everything possible to assist the fishermen if this matter is brought before them in the proper manner, and the proper place to discuss it is before the committee on fisheries. Therefore I suggest that the question be taken up by that committee and a report presented to the house, when we can discuss the problem further.

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CON

John Howard Myers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. H. MYERS (Queens):

Mr. Speaker,-

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Another fisherman.

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CON

John Howard Myers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MYERS:

Yes, another fisherman. I

was just going to remark that some hon. members may think it rather peculiar that a farmer, one who is always proud to declare himself a farmer, should rise on this occasion to say a few words with reference to the resolution now before the house. I wish however to remind hon. members of what to my mind are two very important facts. The first is that on the Atlantic seaboard, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick do not wholly comprise the maritime provinces. I come from Prince Edward Island, the smallest province it is true of the three, but I did not make it; it was made by a higher power than I, and the reason it was made so small is that it was made so good. Another reason I have for raising my voice on behalf of the resolution moved by the hon. member for Gloucester (Mr. Veniot) is the fact that fully twenty-five per cent of the people in the riding of Queens, which I have the honour to represent, earn their living on the sea.

I can assure the house that I am most heartily in accord with the resolution. I was just glancing over it and at first I thought I

Deep Sea Fisheries

would commend it for the modesty of its contents. I notice in the first place it acknowledges, as the hon. member for North Winnipeg (Mr. Heaps) has so very nicely pointed out, that private initiative is not sufficient to cope with the present needs of the fishing industry. I quite readily admit that. As to the last paragraph, I commend the hon. member for Gloucester for his modesty, a quality that he rarely displays in the house. He says he is willing to leave the dimensions and the cost of such plants to the good judgment of the Department of Fisheries, but I feel rather inclined to agree with the hon. member for Cape Breton South (Mr. MacDonald) and the hon. member for Digby-Annapolis (Mr. Short) that this resolution does not go far enough.

I am quite in earnest when I rise to speak on a motion of this kind. This government had gone a long way to aid the farmers of the dominion, both east and west, in carrying on the operations of agriculture. We have been bonused with reference to the price of wheat; we have been assisted on many occasions to secure seed and feed, and the federal government is operating at great expense to this country but, I believe, very wisely, experimental farms in every province. The government is giving a great deal of assistance to the farmers with reference to live stock. On two occasions in my province the federal government sent down inspectors from the department here who tested all our cattle for tuberculosis, and I understand a similar test is to be made during the coming year. I am not saying that the farmers of Canada are receiving any too much attention. This is good. It is true that farming is the basic industry of the dominion, yet at the same time I am quite in earnest when I say that similar or at least suitable assistance should be given to the fishermen on our sea coast who earn their living in such a hazardous manner. With the establishment of centres for the collection and preservation of bait around the shores of the maritime provinces I am in hearty accord. I live near a fishing village and when I go to the village I often say to the boys, "How are the fish this morning? How are you getting along to-day?" Very often the reply is, " There are lots of fish, but we are out of bait." I suppose hon. gentlemen who live inland and do not understand so much about the fishing industry as hon. gentlemen who have preceded me-and let me say they know very much more about it than I do-

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LIB

Peter John Veniot

Liberal

Mr. VENIOT:

Or the hon. member for

North Winnipeg, who knows nothing about it.

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CON

John Howard Myers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MYERS:

Well, he was getting a little dig at you, and I do not blame him for that.

I was going on to say that at certain times in the season they have what we call a run, of herring or other fish suitable for bait. If they put the nets out they can catch great quantities in a short time, a few hours, or half a day perhaps. But then the question arises, how are they going to preserve them? After a while the school passes and perhaps for weeks there will not be another run. It seems to me that, as the hon. member for Gloucester and the hon. member for Antigo-nish-Guysborough (Mr. Duff) have so well pointed out, if some means were adopted whereby this periodical run of bait could be cared for in a proper manner so as to be available for the use of the fishermen at all times, it would help them greatly. I heartily agree with what has been said by the hon. member for Antigonish-Guysborough that a number of smaller plants suitable for this work widely scattered along the shores of the maritime provinces, would serve the fishermen best at much lower cost. Suppose for instance a large bait collecting and storing plant were established at some centre to serve a great mileage of sea coast; you can see the expense the fishermen would be put to to get the bait from that plant to their little ports and stages along the shores where they want to use it. It does not matter whether it be shipped by train or motor truck or whether they have to go for it themselves in their gasoline boats; gasoline costs money, and when they have to go a number of miles for it you can see how it adds to the cost of their operations. So I heartily agree that a number of smaller plants would meet the needs of the fishermen better than a few larger ones.

The marketing of fish is a large question, the most important and most vital question of all. It is the same as with agriculture. You can leave agriculture to us; don't worry about production

we are here, Johnny-on-the-spot all the time, and all you have to do is give us the price and we will look after the production. So with the fishermen around the sea coast; if you can assure them a reasonable price for the product of their toil you can leave the production to them. I agree with everything that has been said, especially by the hon. member for Digby-Annapolis (Mr. Short), with regard to the desirability of the government or the Depart-

Deep Sea Fisheries

ment of Fisheries spending some money to advertise the fish of the maritime provinces, and British Columbia as well, in the central parts of Canada. You know I am very human; I am very kind-hearted, and often when I sit down at home to a magnificent dinner of fresh cod or mackerel-

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LIB

Peter John Veniot

Liberal

Mr. VENIOT:

That's the stuff!

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CON

John Howard Myers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MYERS:

Doesn't he know it? Fresh codfish and new praties-can you beat it?

Mr, DUFF: Yes, and salt herring and potatoes is a good deal better.

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CON

John Howard Myers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MYERS:

Well, you see the difference between you and me is that your're a herring choker and I am not. But what I want to say is that rvhen I sit down to that fine dinner of new potatoes and fresh codfish right out of the sea, how I wish you people living in central Canada, in Ontario, that grand old province-how I wish you too could enjoy the luxury that we enjoy so plentifully-

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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LIB

Charles Murphy

Liberal

Mr. MURPHY:

Maritime rights.

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CON

John Howard Myers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MYERS:

Well, that I shall not enter into, but-

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LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

And maritime brains.

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CON

John Howard Myers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MYERS:

Oh, I was just coming to that -something that is universally so highly valued and that can be obtained only by eating fish out of the Atlantic ocean. So I am in hearty accord with every move that may be made to advertise our fish not only through central Canada but in every part of the world.

One more thing I wish to say. The hon. member for Antigonish-Guysborough made some observations about the selling of fish. The hon. member for Northumberland (Mr. Mc-Dade) said something for which the hon. member for Antigonish-Guysborough took him to task. Well, that is part of the game. While I am not a smelt fisherman, yet I live right by a river where smelts are caught in great quantities, and I have often talked with the fishermen. It is true, as the hon. member for Antigonish-Guysborough said, that they sell this fish very readily themselves. I have seen our men pack the finest smelts in nice clean white boxes, iced, everything done as well as it could be done, and then ship them on consignment to the Boston market and often get good returns. But many times they get back scarcely enough to pay the expenses, and I have seen a bill come back for the express and duty and consignment charges. That has happened time and again. It seems to me a great pity that such an industry, carried on

fMr. Myers.]

by the best and hardiest of our race, could not by some cooperative means, whether under the marketing act or by cooperation among themselves, be organized so that they might secure a price in keeping with such arduous toil. I have seen in my own riding the finest codfish that ever came out of the water selling at the boatside or on the stage for three-quarters of a cent a pound, yet I have seen that same fish selling at the markets right in our own province at eight or nine cents a pound. It does not seem fair that the men who bear the burden and the heat of the day iand toil in the chilly night should have to sell their fish at such a starvation price.

Then around the shores of my province we need, besides bait freezers, accommodation for the protection of our boats. The north shore of Prince Edward Island faces right out into the gulf of St. Lawrence, and a north wind there kicks up a terrible sea. In some places we have harbours, in others there are none. In many places the fishermen have to haul their boats out at every tide and launch them again when they get out to sea. It seems to me that the Department of Public Works, if they want to spend a little money, could very well spend it around the shores of Prince Edward Island, and I presume-I am more charitable than my hon. friends on the other side of the house-around the shores of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick as well, to see to it that the fishermen of the maritime provinces are accommodated as well as the finances of the country will permit with breakwaters and wharves at which they can land their boats.

I have just one other thought in mind. We are doing a great deal for the labouring men and for the farmers, but I think I am correct when I say that the unemployment insurance bill does not provide for fishermen. Well, I suppose we must creep before we walk. The unemployment insurance measure is a new departure; I have no doubt it is right and I intend to give it my hearty support, but if it works well for the labouring man who is engaged in industry I can see no reason why, with a little more light on the subject, a little later on the benefits of this bill might not also be extended to those who go down to the sea in ships and labour on the great deep. At the same time let me put in a word for the farm labourer-

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?

Charles Eusèbe Casgrain

Mr. OASGRAIN:

Bring in a new bill.

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CON

John Howard Myers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MYERS:

I am a free lance; I speak my mind when occasion arises. I see no reason why a labourer who works on the same farm for many years should not come

Deep Sea Fisheries

under this measure. I have had men working for me for seven and eight years at a stretch, and I cannot see why, in a short time, we could not extend the provisions of this bill to include the farm labourer and the fishermen as well. I hope that with these remarks the gentlemen in the far corner will not consider that I am going over to their ideas.

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February 4, 1935