February 6, 1935

CON

Harry Bernard Short

Conservative (1867-1942)

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

This trawler question is one that has been before the house a number of times When it was last discussed on July 15, 1931, I thought it would be practically settled for some time because the government at that time announced their policy in connection with it. The present Minister of Finance (Mr. Rhodes), who was then Minister of Fisheries, made this statement as reported in Hansard of July 15, 1931, page 3790:

I am satisfied, and I wish to state very clearly that I accept it as beyond reasonable doubt at least, that if we are to enlarge our production of fish in Canada to cover this market, and to supply large quantities to the United States, we must have the trawler as an adjunct to our industry in order to take up the slack of which I have spoken.

That was the policy of the government in July, 1931, and I do not think it has changed since. As the hon. member for Antigonish-Guysborough (Mr. Duff) stated, a recommendation was made by the fisheries committee to the last parliament in June, 1929, that the matter of licensing these trawlers be left to the discretion of the Minister of Fisheries. At that time they decided that six trawlers were necessary to give us a sufficient supply of fish for our Canadian market. Since then the number has been reduced. Two years ago four licences were issued; last year there were only three and part of the time only two of those three trawlers were fishing. It is ridiculous to think this country is going to prohibit the use of trawlers when the country to the south of us have 115 large and 137 medium ones and their medium ones

are about the class of the three that are fishing in this country. They fish practically the same grounds as we do and we are not allowed to fish with three, as the hon. member for Antigonish-Guysborough stated. As to the number of trawlers that other countries are using, I have the same figures as my hon. friend has given so I will not repeat them. But during the summer months and late into the fall we have on our grounds some forty to fifty French trawlers three times the size of the ones that we use' and they are allowed to fish on the same ground that we do. We cannot prevent them because the ground is international Moreover, they can come in and fish within three miles of the shore while there is a restriction on Canadian trawlers that they cannot fish within twelve miles of the shore.

I presume the only reason why this matter is being brought up again is that it is suggested that the trawling companies have a monopoly of the fishing industry of this country. The hon. member for Inverness (Mr. Macdougall) made that statement to-day. The trawling companies have no monopoly whatever of our fishing industry; there are many other large concerns besides them. The Maritime National Fish Company is the only company operating trawlers in Nova Scotia but there are many other large concerns operating there as well. The total catch of fish during the season 1933-34 was 212,000,000 pounds and the Maritime National Fish Company handled 32,000,000 pounds. Is that a monopoly? My hon. friend speaks about this interfering with their fishing in Cape Breton. It does not do so in any way, shape or form. The island of Cape Breton could not in the winter time supply the markets of this country if they had them all to themselves. They have not the fish there at this season. They are now bringing in fresh cod from Newfoundland; these are coming into the island of Cape Breton right along. Only last week 55,000 pounds of fresh cod were brought in to North Sydney, Cape Breton, processed and shipped from there to other parts of Canada. That interferes with the markets much more than the trawler The company that operates trawlers never would have gone into the trawler business if they could have secured sufficient supplies from the boats and sailing vessels, because catching fish by trawler is a more expensive operation than catching them by vessel or hand line boat. That was proven in 1931 I think it was, when a conference was held by the department with the vessel owners and boat fishermen and those interested in the trawlers; it wras shown that trawler-caught

Beam Trawlers

fish cost considerably more. We had no market for our fresh fish in this country prior to 1910 when the first trawler was operated in the fresh fish business. The hon. member for Antigonish-Guysborough speaks of trawlers coming in in 1905, but they were brought here by a salt fish concern, Robin, Jones and Whitman of Halifax and Gaspe; I think they were the first who brought an English trawler out. I do not know just the date, but a company in which I was interested afterwards bought that trawler in 1910. We bought it because we found we could not get from the boat fishermen a continuous supply of fish for the markets of the west. Prior to 1910 our fish markets in Montreal, Toronto, and the large centres in Canada were supplied from Boston, Gloucester and other United States fishing centres; not a carload of fresh fish came from the maritime provinces, because we could not supply the markets with fish on the days they required it. In the old days Friday was the only day in the week on which people ate fresh fish, and if you could not get your fish there for the Friday market it was a loss. They tried to get the producers in the mari-times to supply them, but sometimes they missed getting them there for the Friday and the dealers said, "We cannot depend upon you"; the result was they got their supplies from the United States.

Furthermore, that company is the largest purchaser of fish from the boat fishermen. The trawlers do not begin to catch all the fish they sell. I have figures here that were supplied to me the other day, showing the purchases of fish by this octopus of which the hon. gentleman speaks, this great American concern that monopolizes the fishing industry of Nova Scotia. During the year from April 1, 1933, to March 31, 1934, they purchased from the trawlers 18,617,000 pounds and they bought from the hook and line fishermen 14,365,000 pounds. That is, they purchased outside nearly as much fish as they caught themselves. For the nine months ended December 1, 1934, they purchased from the trawlers 11,984,000 pounds and purchased from the hook and line fishermen 14,242,000 pounds; that is they purchased from outside fishermen nearly 3,000,000 pounds more than they caught themselves. Therefore I say they are the biggest help that the boat and vessel fishermen have. In addition to their three trawlers they have had under charter this winter ten of the large Lunenburg schooners, so they have given employment not only to their own men but to outsiders. In their plant in Halifax they employ 150 to 200 men processing these fish. Most of these men are married and have 92582-35

families, so that a great deal of money is disbursed in labour.

Then as to their purchases. I have figures showing what this octopus has done for the province of Nova Scotia during the past five years. Their expenditures for the five year period from 1928-29 to 1932-33 were as follows:

Fish purchases $4,386,754

Packing materials 1,093,884

Freight and express paid 866,883

Refrigeration and storage 364'213

Payrolls including salaries 1,831,079

General expenses, including taxes. 475,710

In addition to the amount here shown as freight and express paid, probably three times that amount is paid to the railroads for goods sold f.o.b. I wonder if these figures are of interest to the fishermen of Nova Scotia. I wonder if that expenditure is any benefit to the country. There is not another industry I know of in which the money is so well distributed as in the fishing industry.

I am not actively in the fish business now and have not been for the past three years, but I still have the interests of the industry at heart, and I think I have done as much for the fishing industry and the boat fishermen of Nova Scotia as anyone in the industry. One section of the county which I represent is interested largely in fishing, and I feel that I have as many friends in that section of my constituency as in any other. I am certainly considered not as an enemy of the fishermen in any way, but as one of their best friends. If we are to continue to hold our Canadian market, I feel that it is absolutely necessary to have a certain number of trawlers, in order to ensure continuity of supply. This matter has been dealt with pretty fully before the price spreads and mass buying committee; as the hon. member for Inverness (Mr. Macdougall) said, they have not yet made their report, and I think this is an inopportune time to discuss the matter here. It should have been left until the commission's report is received and we see what conclusions they come to concerning it.

Before I close I should like to put on record the attitude of the government in connection with the trawler situation in 1931. On July 15 of that year the then Minister of Fisheries (Mr. Rhodes) made this statement in regard to compensation as reported at page 3791 of Hansard:

If we pass a regulation to provide that all trawlers shall be built in Canada, and those now here be disposed of, the government will

Beam Trawlers

have to compensate. A fairer method would be to license the trawlers we now have, deciding that hereafter any trawler to be licensed must be built and owned in Canada.

I may say to my hon. friend that, with that reservation, I am prepared to recommend to my colleagues in the government that as a matter of policy this be adopted with regard to the trawler question.

If their trawlers are to be put out of business there is no question but that the company will be entitled to compensation, and if this government is prepared to compensate I feel sure that the company operating these trawlers would be only too glad to hand them over to the government and take their chance of getting their supplies of fish from other sources. They went into this business when conditions were different from the conditions of to-day. At that time we had not the heavy motors in the fishing vessels that we have to-day. Then in the winter season we * could not get our supplies except by steam trawlers, and that was why this company went into the trawler business. We now have sailing vessels with heavy motors, and under ordinary conditions we could get a fairly good supply of fish. So if the government are prepared to compensate the company for the trawlers they now have I believe they would be glad to go out of the trawler business, because it would be cheaper to get their supplies from the other vessels. But while they have this investment in these trawlers which they brought out from the old country in good faith, and for which they were given Canadian registry, I see no reason in the world why the trawlers should not be operated.

I understand that my hon. friend wants this matter referred to the committee; I presume it will come up for discussion later on, so I do not propose to say anything further at present.

Topic:   BEAM TRAWLERS
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL THAT PERMITS BE NOT GRANTED OR RENEWED IN NOVA SCOTIA
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LIB

James Layton Ralston

Liberal

Hon. J. L. RALSTON (Shelburne-Yar-mouth):

Mr. Speaker, I shall take up the

time of the house for only a few moments in connection with this resolution. My own views with regard to the matter are on record in Hansard for 1932. I appreciate, as all hon. members do, the amount of controversy which has been waged in connection with this vexed question, and I know that regardless of the arguments which may be made in favour of the trawlers by the trawler companies there is a deep rooted conviction in the minds of the fishermen that the trawlers are damaging their business and their livelihood. There may be a difference of opinion as to whether that belief is well founded. The commission, to which the hon. member for Inverness (Mr. Macdougall) has referred,

recommended by four to one that the trawlers should be abolished. The fifth member, the chairman, recommended in effect that trawlers should be maintained only so long as they were necessary reasonably to supply the market. Mr. Justice Maclean, in the report of the royal commission investigating the fisheries of the maritime provinces, at page 115 said:

The number of trawlers in use should not exceed that number which will produce from time to time, the market requirements in excess of boat and vessel production.

That seems to be the question most discussed to-day and the real question of fact at issue. The fishermen say the trawlers glut the market, or in other words that they put too many fish on the market and thereby reduce the price. The trawler people say that the trawlers are absolutely necessary to maintain a continuity of supply, to preserve the market and the demand for fish. I suppose that -question of fact will exist as long as these two methods of fishing prevail. Two years ago I submitted to this house that, on the information I had before me, it would seem that the condition laid down by the minister, which was read by the hon. member for Digby-Annapolis (Mr. Short), namely that the trawlers would be licensed only so long as they were required to take up the slack, had been complied with, and that the time had come when the shore fishennen could supply the market.

My suggestion at that time was not accepted. I put on record then certain evidence which I had with regard to the conditions of the fishermen, and I suggested that the best thing this government could do in the interests of the fishermen, as I understood their position, was either to refuse licences to trawlers entirely or to reduce the number of licences to the point where boat fishermen would have the first chance to supply the market. Nothing was done at that time, but in another year, as the hon. member for Digby-Annapolis said, one trawler less was licensed, and in a subsequent year still another licence was dropped so that now there are only three licensed trawlers with only two in operation.

Now we come to the situation to-day, and I should like to put on record the history of trawler regulation, which is very short. In 1928, I think, four members of the Maclean commission reported in favour of the abolition of trawlers, with the chairman making a qualified recommendation to the effect that trawlers should be maintained only as long as they were necessary in order to supply the market. Following that, in the fall of

Beam Trawlers

1929, the then Minister of Fisheries (Mr. Cardin) made a tour of the province of Nova Scotia, particularly; he visited every fishing community and heard the representations of the fishermen and the fishing companies with regard to trawlers and other phases of that industry. After mature consideration a regulation was passed by order in council, by which it was provided that a tax of one cent per pound would be imposed on fish landed from foreign built trawlers, and a tax of three-quarters of a cent per pound on fish landed from Canadian built trawlers, with the further proviso that no licences would be issued to foreign built trawlers after April 1, 1932. That was regarded by the trawler companies as a very drastic step; I know my hon. friend from Digby-Annapolis felt it very keenly, as did the company with w'hich he was connected.

Topic:   BEAM TRAWLERS
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL THAT PERMITS BE NOT GRANTED OR RENEWED IN NOVA SCOTIA
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LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

It was provided in the 1929 regulation that no vessels other than those of Canadian registry should operate.

Topic:   BEAM TRAWLERS
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL THAT PERMITS BE NOT GRANTED OR RENEWED IN NOVA SCOTIA
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LIB

James Layton Ralston

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

I did not give a date, but my hon. friend is right; the order in council was passed late in 1929, after the visit of the then Minister of Fisheries to the province of Nova Scotia.

As I say, Mr. Speaker, there was a good deal of feeling about that regulation. The trawler companies thought it was exceedingly severe. They claimed, as the hon. member for Digby-Annapolis has said, that the trawlers were already operating at an expense greater than that to which boat fishermen were put in the matter of the cost of production, and this regulation imposed a further expense by way of a licence fee of one cent per pound, which they said practically put them out of business so far as operating trawlers was concerned. The reply was that they could use Canadian built trawlers and thus save at least a quarter of a cent a pound. Instead of going out of business, however, as they threatened, they preferred to resort to the courts, and the order in council was set aside by the Exchequer Court of Canada on the ground that it exceeded the provisions of the statute on which it was founded.

No action was taken by the present government to reinstate that order in council; the act was not amended in order to validate it. Instead the policy to which my hon. friend from Digby-Annapolis has referred this afternoon was laid down by the succeeding Minister of Fisheries (Mr. Rhodes). That policy was this: We are not going to impose a licence fee on trawlers by way of a poundage charge. We are going to impose a flat licence fee of S500 a boat. That is one thing. Then we are going to licence as many trawlers as 92582-35i

we think fit; but we lay down the principle that the number of trawlers to be licensed is the number necessary to make up for any deficiency in the supply of fish by the shore fishermen. We are also going to see that the trawlers shall be marked in such a way as to make it more certain that they can be recognized and identified in case damage is done to the gear of the fishermen. The other provision to which the hon. member referred was probably set out by the minister in his speech; I do not remember that it was included in the order in council, but it was to the effect that no new licences would be granted except to Canadian built trawlers.

That is the regulation which has been in effect, to which my hon. friend from Inverness is directing his remarks this afternoon. I say that the question to-day is which way that condition of fact, raised in Mr. Justice Maclean's report and mentioned in the present order in council, is to be decided. If the shore fishermen are gettiilg sufficient quantities of fish to supply the market, then there is no need for trawlers. If the shore fishermen are hurt in their business and their prices reduced on account of a glut on the market produced by trawlers, then no licences should be granted. If on the other hand to maintain the fishing industry and to maintain the market it is necessary to have trawlers to supplement the supply of shore caught fish, then there is ground for maintaining a certain number of trawlers.

Instead of putting this matter to the house this afternoon my hon. friend has very wisely, I think, proposed referring it to a committee for the purpose of having the point considered. But let me say now that if I had been asked to vote on the question this afternoon I would have voted for his resolution on the assumption that the shore fisherman can handle the situation.

Let me point out to the house however that this matter has been referred to the Maclean commission, it has been referred to the Jones commission, it has been discussed from time to .time by the government, as the government has been dealing with licences; it is now before the price spreads commission and the hon. member now proposes to refer it again to the fisheries committee. I would say that at that rate we are not making much progress in connection with this matter of trawlers. However if my hon. friend wishes it I am quite willing to support the motion sending the matter to a committee for purposes of consideration of all the facts. That will give no immediate relief. But I should

Beam Trawlers

like to urge something which can and will be of immediate benefit and which is a matter of immediate urgency.

These men who are fishing in opposition to the trawlers and who claim to 'be affected by them are fishermen of the province of Nova Scotia. At certain seasons of the year they engage in catching cod, pollock, haddock, hake, etc., and in the other seasons they are lobster fishing. I have made representations to the Minister of Fisheries and I have no doubt other hon. members have made similar representations with regard to the great losses which have been recently suffered by those men through loss of lobster fishing gear due to the extraordinary storms which have lately prevailed upon the Nova Scotia coast. I wish to take this opportunity to urge upon the Minister of Fisheries that which I have already urged upon him by way of letters, and to urge upon this house the immediate consideration of the claims of those men for loss of boats, traps and equipment due to the storms which prevailed upon the Atlantic coast only a short time ago.

I have before me newspaper clippings showing that in many cases from 50 per cent to 80 per cent of lobstermen's gear has been lost. As I said these lobstermen are the same men we are dealing with in the present resolution; they catch ground fish through tthe summer and lobsters in the winter and spring. Fifty per cent to 80 per cent of their rgear has been lost. Those men put their gear in the water in December, and then a storm comes along and destroys it. They have prospects of going out fishing again as soon as the rough winter weather subsides, probably about the middle of March. A great many of them will find themselves not only without gear but without credit, and I submit no more helpful action could be taken on behalf of the fishing industry. This is the way to prevent unemployment: it solves the relief problem. These men want to be self dependent they do not want relief if they can get some sort of grant to help them fit out and pay their own way.

I could mention that long ago, in 1882 I think it was, a grant was made to fishermen of the province of Nova Scotia for the purpose of assisting them in the restoration of their gear which had been lost by reason of an unprecedented storm. I have under my hand a letter referring to the loss of two .boats at the Hawk, Cape Sable island, not only the gear but the boats themselves. At Wedgeport besides loss of quantities of gear eight boats went to the bottom, and worse than that, four men were lost from that one

little town. That was a storm which will be long remembered by the fishermen in that part of the country.

I want to urge upon the minister as strongly as possible not the protracted but the immediate consideration of the claims of all these men, because he gives twice who gives quickly. In this same connection I received a telegram this morning, and I believe the minister received one similar to it. It came from the secretary of the Yarmouth board of trade. That body has considered the matter serious enough to bring it to the attention of the authorities. It is addressed to myself and is as follows:

Following is copy of telegram to Premier Macdonald and Minister of Fisheries. Please use influence carry recommendation into effect. Representatives five fishery communities on behalf two hundred fishermen in dire need direct relief to-night petitioned Yarmouth board of trade for financial assistance. Extreme stormy weather destroyed lobster equipment and fishermen unable provide replacement. To prosecute industry necessity for fishermen to obtain financial assistance. On behalf these two hundred fishermen and some three hundred others whose petitions coming in daily urgently request governmental assistance as whole communities dependent on welfare of industry. Yarmouth board of trade unanimously passed resolution to-night favouring direct relief for fishermen by proper governmental authority. Kindly place matter before department to end that investigation may be made and relief available and fishermen thus assured of credit to further prosecute lobster industry earliest possible moment.

I do not think one could add much to that businesslike telegram except to say that those of us who represent fishing communities know well the hardships which are experienced in connection with it. I believe every hon. member representing a fishing district will have some knowledge of incidents such as this, where a fisherman goes out into the Atlantic eighteen miles from Cape Sable island to Seal island, locates there with his family and puts out in his little boat day after day in the wintry winds and storms which blow around that bleak and isolated spot in December and January weather. Those men have lost practically all of that which they call capital. To operate in the cod and lobster industry they have to have from S600 to $900 a year in cash in order to prosecute their calling, and they are asking this country for assistance to stake them to a new outfit to replace what the unprecedented storm has taken. Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that assistance is given to others engaged in primary industries, the very insignificant

Beam Trawlers

amount which would be needed for the purposes I have mentioned ought to be readily granted.

Topic:   BEAM TRAWLERS
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL THAT PERMITS BE NOT GRANTED OR RENEWED IN NOVA SCOTIA
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CON

Grote Stirling (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of National Defence)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. GROTE STIRLING (Acting Minister of Fisheries):

Mr. Speaker, in some ways I

regret that the hon. member for Inverness should have brought this matter to the attention of the house at the present time. This has been a most contentious question, but as has been pointed out by some hon. members who have taken part in the debate there are indications that those who were extremely opposed to each other are showing some signs of nearing an agreement.

When one remembers that 50 or 60 years ago steam was first applied to the fishing industry and steam trawlers first came into existence in Europe, and that at that time this same sort of controversy raged for many years it makes one wonder whether or not this may be a problem similar to that which existed when the internal combustion engine was applied to vehicular traffic. It was not until 1910 that the first steam trawler appeared in Canada. By 1912 there were two, and in the next year there were five. Had it not been for the intervention of the war undoubtedly there would have been a greater number of trawlers operating on the Atlantic coast. In 1926, however, the number had increased to eleven. Then in the post-war depression the agitation against the trawler method of catching fish became extremely violent, and it was necessary for the government to give close attention to the question. It was brought to its attention with such force in 1927 that a commission was appointed to take into consideration the matter under dispute. As the hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth (Mr. Ralston) pointed out, the majority were in favour of the abolition of steam trawling, and the chairman held the view that it should be permitted under certain circumstances. That report was submitted to the select standing committee on fisheries, and as a result of the consideration given to it the Fisheries Act was amended in 1929, and certain regulations were passed under those amendments which were subsequently put into operation. Those regulations contained the proviso that the trawlers should pay a fee of one cent a pound but when in the subsequent season, with five of them operating, four refused to pay that licence fee, the case came before the court and the court ruled that the regulations were ultra vires, and the regulations had again to be amended. They were so amended in 1931, and instead of the licence fee being collected

on the poundage of fish taken, a licence fee of $500 was imposed on the trawler. In the order in council authorizing that regulation appeal's the following clause:

That the applicant for such licence shall furnish the Minister of Fisheries with evidence that will satisfy the said minister that he cannot obtain an adequate supply of suitable fish to enable him properly to conduct and develop his business from the hook and line fishermen, and that if the licence is granted, the extent of his purchase of fresh fish from the said fishermen will not be adversely affected.

Following that, four licences were granted. One of the companies, however, which had. a licence went out of existence, and consequently only three were operating. Again market conditions had not improved and the question had to be reconsidered. A very strong agitation came from boards of trade and associations as referred to by the hon. member for Inverness (Mr. Macdougall), and their representations were opposed as strongly by the board of trade of Halifax and the mayor of Halifax who desired this small number of licences to be retained. The matter was again reviewed, and I should like to draw the attention of the house to some of the points which it was necessary to consider.

The trawlers were procured when there was no law restricting their number or regulating their use. Hence, refusal of licences would be largely tantamount to their confiscation.

It is generally conceded that it costs more to land fish with trawlers than by hook and line. Hence their need is to maintain a continuous supply and also because they catch much larger quantities of haddock proportionately than do the hook and line fishermen, which fish are mainly desired on the-fresh fish markets, and particularly in the United States markets.

Because the fish cost more, it is not the trawler-caught fish that fix the price on the markets, but rather the hook and line caught fish.

If the trawler licences were refused there is no assurance that the place that their catches now take on the markets would be filled by the inshore fishermen. Apart from sales to the United States, whenever it would be more convenient for the Montreal and Toronto wholesalers to obtain their supplies from the nearby United States ports, there would be nothing to prevent their doing so. The much smaller transportation charge from these nearby ports would in a measure offset the import duties.

The schooner has become more competent in recent years owing to the installation of the diesel engine, and the plain fact seems to be

Beam Trawlers

that it is doubtful, if conditions keep on as they are, whether trawlers can very long stand their competition.

The trawler operators are amongst the largest purchasers of fish from the hook and line fishermen, and they maintain that this is possible only because of having the trawlers and keeping a continuous supply on the market.

The main landings by the trawlers are during the late winter months when the hook and line fishing is reduced to a minimum. If it were not for the necessity of holding trained crews together, trawlers would probably be laid up during the summer months.

Then to emphasize what I said at the beginning with regard to the introduction of steam in the fishing industry, I would draw the attention of the house to the fact that no other country is restricting trawler operations. Out of European ports about 5,000 trawlers are operating, while out of United States ports usually there are about 300. These latter trawlers as well as a large number from France and sometimes from other European ports fish on the banks adjacent to our coasts, so that even if our trawlers were withdrawn it would decrease the amount of trawling on these banks by a very small proportion only, and so far at least as the United States markets are concerned it would make competition therein more difficult.

After the consideration given to the whole matter it was decided to limit the number of licences to the Maritime-National Fish Company to three, and that the licence to the Leonard Fisheries would be renewed, but as the latter company ceased to operate there have been only three trawler licences issued, and they are still in operation.

Owing to the fact that this question, contentious as it is, has been before the price spreads commission and in that sense is sub-judice, the government at present awaiting the report of that committee, it seems to me not undesirable that this resolution should pass to the select standing committee on fisheries where it could be held pending the receipt of the report of the price spreads commission and for such longer time as is necessary for the government to consider the report so brought in.

Topic:   BEAM TRAWLERS
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL THAT PERMITS BE NOT GRANTED OR RENEWED IN NOVA SCOTIA
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CON

Lewis Wilkieson Johnstone

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. L. W. JOHNSTONE (Cape Breton North-Victoria):

Mr. Speaker, in regard to

the motion introduced by the hon. member for Inverness (Mr. Macdougall) I have very little to say. It does not affect my riding to any very great degree. We have a number of fishermen in my constituency and yet I have never had a complaint from any one of

them with regard to the trawlers, which do not interfere with them to any great degree so far as I have been able to judge. The trawlers come into our ports and get their supplies and coal in the port of North Sydney.

I agree with the hon. member for Shel-burne-Yarmouth (Mr. Ralston) that something should be done to relieve the conditions now existing among the fishermen. I was sorry I was not able to take part yesterday in the discussion that was held recently in regard to the establishment of refrigerator plants and bait warehouses for looking after the curing of fish and the supplying of bait. Those are two very important questions, but to my mind they are of minor importance in comparison with the larger question of relief for the fishermen. Only to-day I have a letter from some fishermen in my constituency asking me to do something in the way of a breakwater so that after they come in from a hard day's fishing they would not have to jump out of their boats and stand waist high in the cold water in the month of October to haul their boats ashore. Through the kindness of the Minister of Public Works I have succeeded in getting four or five hauling engines installed in different places along the coast of Victoria county and they have been a great boon to the fishermen. One can imagine what a hardship it is for fishermen to have to drag in their boats standing in cold water after coming in from a long fishing trip, but with one of these hauling engines all they do is to step ashore and start the engine and the boats are hauled ashore. That is one of the few things we have been able to do. I had a letter last year from a merchant asking me whether it was possible for the government to provide a sum of money for the purpose of helping the fishermen in the spring or in the fall when they go fishing, because, he said, they were destitute; they had no proper equipment, neither rubber boots nor boats. Their lines were crippled and their boats destroyed. This all happened after a very heavy storm in Victoria county. Now, I think that there should be something in the form of a government loan to those engaged in the fishing industry, which is a very important occupation in this country. The farmers of Canada, judging from the bills which are before the house to-day, are largely protected, but apparently the fishermen are excluded from these loans which are being given to the farmers. I think it is up to the government and the members of this house to see that fishing, which is an industry second almost to none in this country, should receive proper care and attention.

Beam Trawlers

I am sorry that this subject did not come up before. I do hope however that before this house gets through we shall be able to go to the fishermen and say that we have done something for them and that this talk has not been all useless. I hope that we shall be able to tell them that we have evolved a practical method by which the fishermen can be assisted, not only in connection with bait and refrigerator plants, but by means of a loan which will enable them to obtain boats and to get whatever equipment is necessary. This is a serious matter with them, because I know that to-day there are people who cannot go fishing because they have not the materials-lines, proper clothing and often boats. I am very glad that the subject has been brought up. I feel responsible for not having introduced it before but I am glad of this opportunity to say something on behalf of our fishermen.

Topic:   BEAM TRAWLERS
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL THAT PERMITS BE NOT GRANTED OR RENEWED IN NOVA SCOTIA
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CON

Finlay MacDonald

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FINLAY MacDONALD (Cape Breton South):

I have a perfectly open mind on

this question, not being particularly interested from a sectional point of view, as to the desirability of continuing trawlers. On this as on the other question which we have already discussed, I think the matter must be approached on a wider basis. If we have to deal with this question at all, and if it is to be referred to the committee on fisheries, no doubt it will receive proper attention there. But in my opinion if we are to discuss the fisheries in the way they should be discussed, and if we are to give the industry that assistance to which it is entitled, we shall have to deal with the matter in a larger way than is contemplated either by this resolution or by the one that preceded it.

I may be mistaken-and in this I have the misfortune to differ from my friend from Antigonish-Guysborough (Mr. Duff), who I confess knows very much more about the fishing industry than I do, and who is more deeply interested in it-but I must say that the little consideration I have been able to give the matter convinces me that the future of this industry lies along the fresh fish business. My own ideal would be that for every car of fresh meat that goes from Ontario down to Nova Scotia there should be sent back a car of fresh fish, or more than one car if necessary. I believe that there is a market in Canada sufficient to absorb all the fresh fish that we can catch in the maritimes. But two or three things are necessary. As has been said, we must make the people of upper Canada fish conscious. There ought to be some way of putting before them

the desirability of this food. Those of us who live in the maritime provinces and who have eaten fish caught fresh from the salt water, and who have also had opportunities to eat the choicest meats that come from the other provinces, know that as a palatable article of diet a fresh fish caught from the ocean is far superior to any choice piece of meat that can be obtained from any animal.

It is of course a matter of regret -that the present condition of our fisheries is so deplorable. The fishermen are destitute. One would hardly believe that in the short space of twenty-five or thirty years there could be such a lowering of the standard of living among our fishing population as has taken place in the maritime provinces. At that time there were numerous little fishing villages scattered all along the shores, and the men engaged in that business, although they worked only in the summer, could live through the winter and enjoy all the comforts of the home. To-day some of these villages which were most prosperous in the early days, are living on relief, and if one were to believe the stories that come in during the winter months, it is almost inconceivable that such conditions could exist.

In addition to educating -the people of upper Canada to the value of this food, very many other things are necessary. The fishermen of the maritimes must be lifted out of the condition in which they now find themselves. This government can be very generous to the farmers of the west, and with that we have no quarrel. We in the east realize that the great wealth of Canada comes from the western plains and that the large exports from that territory furnish -the chief source of wealth in this country. A very considerable and laudable effort is being made to help the destitute farmers of the west, but I venture to say that their destitution is not more severe, nor are their conditions more serious than those in which the farmers and the fishermen of the east are placed to-day. And if we are to treat those farmers in the west so generously-and we are all heartily in favour of that-we should certainly extend equal generosity to those hardy men who go down to the sea in ships. Further, those fishermen must be fitted out with equipment and plant because they are engaged in a very hazardous occupation. As the hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth (Mr. Ralston) has pointed out, this year the winter has been a particularly severe one on the fishermen, the result being that many of them have lost their entire plant, boats, ne-ts, lobster traps,

Beam Trawlers

all of which have gone, and they have no resources left with which to set themselves up in business again.

In addition to the fishermen being equipped to catch fish there must be the secondary stage of equipping them with the necessary facilities for processing their fish, keeping them fresh, thus enabling them to put their fish in a proper condition on the Canadian market because that is the one to which I look for the efficient development of Canadian fisheries. There must also be given to them cheap transportation as is now given to the Toronto packers who are supplying us with meat products. Transportation cost might very easily be lowered, for example if a car that came east with meat went back loaded with fish.

We have first the catching of the fish, the processing of it, the creation of a market through education and lastly the transportation and the placing of that fish on the market in the best possible condition. How are we going to do this? What is the best method of doing it? For my own part I am satisfied that there is only one method that will ever be successful in dealing with the whole question of fisheries, and that is the creation by the government of a commission that will handle the entire problem. A large amount of money may be necessary, but it is available. The commission should consist of a number of persons who would have full charge of the production, processing and transportation of the fish, and the education of the people of the west in the eating of it. That I am convinced is the solution of our troubles and it is the one idea I have in mind, feeling as I do the great necessity for doing something. Looking over our past history and seeing that we have done nothing all these years while the fishing industry has been steadily deteriorating, I think it would be very well if when we come to consider this question in committee-and I presume it will be referred to a committee- we consider the much wider and more important question of dealing with this problem in the way I have indicated through a commission composed of experts who can deal with the matter of the fish from the time they leave the sea until they reach the tables of our friends in western Canada.

Topic:   BEAM TRAWLERS
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL THAT PERMITS BE NOT GRANTED OR RENEWED IN NOVA SCOTIA
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CON

Felix Patrick Quinn

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. F. P. QUINN (Halifax):

As previous contributors to the debate have already stated, this question of the competition of the beam or otter trawler with the shore fishermen has been a contentious one for many years. Perhaps a useful purpose will have been served by the hon. member for Inverness (Mr. Mac-dougall) in bringing the resolution before the

house this afternoon; if no other advantage can be gained he will have at least the satisfaction of bringing to the attention of hon. members some of the deplorable conditions of the maritime provinces.

To give the house an idea of how difficult it is for hon. gentlemen to arrive at a conclusion as to what is best in dealing with the resolution now under consideration, may I point out my particular situation? Just a few minutes ago we had read to the house by the Acting Minister of Fisheries (Mr. Stirling) a statement that only a few years ago this government or the preceding one was petitioned by the Halifax board of trade and also by the mayor and council of that city to permit a certain number of trawlers to operate. That is the expressed opinion of those in control of the city of Halifax, but the constituency which I represent includes the city and county of Halifax, and the inhabitants of the county of Halifax, east and west along a shore line of 142 miles, are chiefly engaged in the pursuit of fishing, being called, as has already been stated, shore fishermen, those who fish in small boats out of the different harbours and coves along the shore. All of those fishermen are opposed to the beam trawler competition which they have to meet. I need not elaborate or try to explain the operation of the beam trawler as against that of the shore fishermen because the matter has been very clearly defined by previous speakers and particularly by the hon. member for Antigonish-Guys-borough (Mr. Duff). But this is the position we are in; the question is a contentious one and it is very difficult for parliament to decide just what to do.

I was particularly interested in the statements of the hon. member for Digby-An-napolis (Mr. Short) who knows as much about the fishing industry as does any other hon. member. I paid especial attention to his remarks in refutation of the statement that the companies operating these otter trawlers held a monopoly of the fishing business in Nova Scotia. He quoted figures to disprove that statement. I was not aware of them and they were very interesting to me. Another statement made by the same hon. member which was rather interesting-and I thought perhaps that statement should settle this question and prove that there was no necessity for any further discussion in the matter-was that the company in which he had been interested or is interested and which operates these two steam trawlers was willing to discontinue its operations provided it was recompensed for the capital invested in these trawlers. I thought that was a fair state-

Bearn Trawlers

ment, and I think if that suggestion were carried out it would settle the argument once for all. But since it seems to be the general opinion that the whole matter should be left in the hands of the special committee on fisheries I concur in that suggestion. I think it is the proper body to deal with the question. I hope the committee will give it the consideration to which it is entitled and will bring in a recommendation as to the operation of beam trawlers, and, if they are to be discontinued, as to how the companies who own and operate them should be recompensed for the capital invested in these trawlers.

Topic:   BEAM TRAWLERS
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL THAT PERMITS BE NOT GRANTED OR RENEWED IN NOVA SCOTIA
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LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Hon. CHARLES MARCIL (Bonaventure):

The fisheries question is often referred to as something of interest primarily to the maritime provinces, and sometimes British Columbia. But there is a part of the province of Quebec which is also interested, that is the three counties of Gaspe, Bonaventure and Matane. I am glad my colleague from Gaspe (Mr. Brasset) said a few words the other night on the motion of the hon. member for Gloucester (Mr. Veniot) in regard to bait. I was much interested in the suggestion made to-day by the hon. member for Cape Breton South (Mr. MacDonald) that there is a broader view to be taken of this fishery question, not confined to beam trawlers but extending to the condition of the industry and the fishermen as a whole. The position in which the fishermen of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick find themselves to-day applies equally, or to a greater degree, to the fishermen of Quebec, because our fishing season in Quebec is much shorter than in those provinces, especially Nova Scotia where they have winter fishing. Our winter fishing is practically confined to the upper ranges of the baie des Chaleurs and to smelt fishing. There is no doubt there has been a great deterioration in the fishing industry of eastern Canada, and that something should be done to restore it. I heartily support the suggestion made by the hon. member for Inverness (Mr. Macdougall) that this matter be referred to the select standing committee on marine and fisheries. I hope that the question raised by the hon. member for Gloucester will be again taken up by that committee. Some twenty-five or thirty years ago I voted for and upheld the proposition made by Sir Louis Davies, who was then one of the outstanding representatives of the maritime provinces, to establish a system of bait freezers throughout Canada. That became law and we had experience of that not only in Quebec but I understand in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick as well. Unfortunately the system was based upon the

cooperative idea, but the fishermen did not seem able to agree about the operation of the freezers, they gradually disappeared and the whole scheme fell down. Now the hon. member for Gloucester (Mr. Veniot) suggests that the government should start over again and re-introduce the system. Without bait the fisherman is of course handicapped at every turn. In Quebec at present the local government have undertaken to establish a number of bait freezers in the counties of Gaspe and Bonaventure, and I suppose Matane as well, for the purpose of furnishing the fishermen with the bait which is indispensable.

It is unfortunate that in that maritime part of Quebec province there is any conflict of jurisdiction, but there always has been. Away back in 1897 when I had the honour of being a candidate for the legislature of Quebec against the then premier of the province that was a burning issue. The provincial government contended that the fisheries of the province, especially the salmon fisheries, were under the jurisdiction of the province; the federal government took the opposite view. The privy council on one occasion gave authority to the province as regards the issue of licences for salmon fishing, which as the house knows is one of the important industries of Bonaventure and Gaspe counties from which come the famed Gaspe salmon, second to none in the world. To-day the fisheries of Quebec are under provincial jurisdiction, but there has been a steady appeal made during the last three or four years by the fishermen of Gaspe, who take a very active interest in this matter, that there should be more cooperation between the federal and the provincial governments concerning fisheries. Public sentiment in those two constituencies is very strong that some of the federal benefits which are extended to British Columbia and the maritime provinces should also be extended to the maritime parts of Quebec; that we should have biological stations and other means of helping the fisherman to carry on his calling. The fishermen of Quebec, although under provincial control except as regards seasons and other regulations, contribute their part towards supplying the fishermen of the maritime provinces and British Columbia with the assistance which the federal government gives them. I was glad to hear the former Minister of Fisheries (Mr. Rhodes) declare that he is prepared to give all the federal assistance that can be given to the fishermen of Quebec. I hope the minister now in charge of that department (Mr. Stirling) will take that same view, because after all

Beam Trawlers

this is a national industry, and the prosperity of one part of Canada affects all parts. If one great national industry is stagnant in one province it reacts upon the whole body.

I think the suggestion of having this matter referred to the select standing committee on marine and fisheries is a good one, but I hope it will not be confined merely to looking into the matters of beam trawlers and bait, but will take into consideration the whole industry. Ever since I have been in this house we have been helping the west. When I came first there was practically nothing in the west. We have been developing it. I voted for all the transcontinental railways and every other railway built in the west. We looked on the west as the great granary of the world. Sir Charles Tupper and Sir George Foster and those other great leaders that the maritime provinces sent to the parliament of Canada laid before us an entrancing view of the future of that western country. We created two or three new provinces out there; we gave them all they wanted, all they asked, and now when they are being tried sorely we are willing to come to their assistance. But we must not forget that the fishermen of Canada were the pioneers of this country. Our first fishermen came from Brittany and the channel islands and they settled in the maritime provinces and in Quebec. We have in Paspebiac, in my constituency, the old firm of Robin, Colas et Cie, which is now controlled by Robin, Jones and Whitman of Nova Scotia. This was the first company in British North America to obtain a British charter to go into the fishing business after Canada came under British jurisdiction. A few years ago, in company with Sir Henry Thornton, I had the pleasure of visiting their old office in Paspebiac where I was shown the original documents of incorporation, which indicates that this industry was started when the west and Ontario were wildernesses, and when the province of Quebec was inhabited merely along the rivers. At that time Canada was only in its inception; the province of Quebec and the provinces by the sea constituted Canada.

We must not overlook the fact that something is coming to the fishermen of the maritime provinces. After this question has been considered by the fisheries committee and the government, this or any other government, I hope the suggestion that has been advanced this afternoon will be accepted and a body of competent men appointed to develop this industry as it should be developed. Our fisheries, along with farming, mining and lumbering, constitute the basic industries of the

country. When our fishermen and our farmers are prosperous our railways will be prosperous, our factories will be busy, our workingmen will be employed and everything in the country will boom. I believe we have overlooked the fisheries; they have not received the attention or the consideration they deserve, and I think the hon. member for Inverness (Mr. Mac-dougall) and the hon. member for Gloucester (Mr. Veniot) should receive the thanks of this house for having directed attention to this question. I want to assure our colleagues from the provinces by the sea that the members from Quebec are prepared at all times to aid any efforts they may put forth to restore the fisheries to a sound position. To-day the situation of these fishermen is preoarious and very alarming. In my own constituency the catch has been poor, the prices low and transportation costs high, and the industry has suffered a very great deal. Anything that can be done by the fisheries committee, by the government or by a permanent commission to aid that industry will meet with my hearty support, and, I hope, the general support of all members.

Topic:   BEAM TRAWLERS
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL THAT PERMITS BE NOT GRANTED OR RENEWED IN NOVA SCOTIA
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CON

Isaac Duncan MacDougall

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MACDOUGALL:

I do not intend to speak at any great length after the discussion we have had this afternoon. I should like to tell hon. members, however, that when I placed this resolution on the order paper I did so because I considered it one part of a general scheme for the improvement of the fisheries of the maritime provinces.

I listened to the remarks of the acting minister, who suggested that this resolution be referred to the fisheries committee. I am quite in accord with that suggestion, because it will give an opportunity to certain people who are particularly interested in the primary producers to appear and give their views in regard to the operation of beam trawlers and their effect on the fishing industry.

This afternoon the old argument has been repeated, that in asking for the abolition of beam trawlers you might as well ask people to return to the old spinning wheel. Well, in some parts of the country it might be a good thing to return to the old spinning wheel. I might point out, however, that the underlying principle in regard to the installation of machinery in industry since the industrial revolution has been that it would better the conditions of mankind. When we come to the point where the man-made machine is putting the God-made man out of work, as the beam trawler is doing in the province of Nova Scotia to-day, I say we must curtail and curb the activities of that machine.

Income Tax Exemptions

Hon. members have said that the abolition of these trawlers would not help the fishermen. Let me tell my hon. friends that last .year 18,000,000 pounds of fish caught by beam trawlers were landed and sold in the province of Nova Scotia. What would that have meant to the fishermen if there had been no beam trawlers? To furnish this quantity of fish would have required ten Nova Scotia-built power vessels during the winter months and a total of 250 fishermen, with a fleet of several hundred small vessels during the summer months. It would have required a bait supply of from 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 pounds, which would have furnished employment for scores of net fishermen along the shores.

As 1 have said this is only one part of a general scheme to improve the condition of the fishermen in the province of Nova Scotia. I want to say to hon. members of this house, irrespective of their party politics, that the people of Nova Scotia are wholly in earnest about this matter, and that constructive steps must be taken by the Department of Fisheries here, who have control over the fishing industry of our province. If they cannot control that industry then in the name of God let them hand it back to the province of Nova Scotia, and we will find men who can control it.

I accept the suggestion of the minister, and accordingly I move that this resolution be referred to the fisheries committee.

By leave of the house, motion (Mr. Mac-dougall) referred to the standing committee on marine and fisheries.

Topic:   BEAM TRAWLERS
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL THAT PERMITS BE NOT GRANTED OR RENEWED IN NOVA SCOTIA
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INCOME TAX

PROPOSED RESTRICTION OF CERTAIN EXEMPTIONS TO CANADIANS OR BRITISH SUBJECTS

LIB

Albert Edward Munn

Liberal

Mr. A. E. MUNN (Vancouver North) moved:

That, in the opinion of this house, it is expedient that the government should consider the advisability of amending the income tax exemption clause to read as follows:

That in all cases income tax exemptions as applied to married and single persons should not apply to others than Canadians or British subjects.

He said: Mr. Speaker, my ambition is to help the Minister of Finance (Mr. Rhodes) secure more revenue. During the 1933 session I introduced a resolution which the minister gallantly accepted, and I do not think he has regretted that step because I feel sure it has brought in quite a large amount of revenue.

Before proceeding, Mr. Speaker, I should like to amend my resolution by adding the

words "resident in Canada for five years" after the words "Canadians or British subjects." If people from foreign countries after living here five years have not shown any intention of becoming naturalized I do not see why they should be allowed tax exemption similar to that given Canadians and British subjects. I am of course referring to the ordinary tax exemptions whereby a man in receipt of an annual income of $2,000 or $3,000 is permitted a certain exemption, and the remainder is taxed.

In my view this suggestion should be put into effect. Through its operation I believe a greatly increased amount of taxation would be collected from people who can well afford to contribute. I should have mentioned in the resolution that the persons indicated should not be allowed tax exemption after five years' residence in Canada and under the conditions I have outlined. With this amendment I shall be content to let the matter stand without entering into a lengthy discussion. I simply offer the matter for consideration.

Topic:   INCOME TAX
Subtopic:   PROPOSED RESTRICTION OF CERTAIN EXEMPTIONS TO CANADIANS OR BRITISH SUBJECTS
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CON

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. E. N. RHODES (Minister of Finance):

Mr. Speaker, I had an appointment this afternoon which occupied my time until only a very few moments ago. I had not anticipated this resolution would be moved to-day, in view of the fact that there are on the order paper a number of resolutions which in the oi dinary course of events would have been considered before it was called. Had I known it would be reached to-day I should have been better prepared to make a complete statement of my views.

Had the hon. member supported his resolution with argument and presented facts which would warrant the acceptance of the resolution by the house, I should have been better pleased.

Topic:   INCOME TAX
Subtopic:   PROPOSED RESTRICTION OF CERTAIN EXEMPTIONS TO CANADIANS OR BRITISH SUBJECTS
Permalink
LIB

Albert Edward Munn

Liberal

Mr. MUNN:

We do not need any argument.

Topic:   INCOME TAX
Subtopic:   PROPOSED RESTRICTION OF CERTAIN EXEMPTIONS TO CANADIANS OR BRITISH SUBJECTS
Permalink
CON

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. RHODES:

The hon. member has contented himself with moving the resolution, and nothing which he has said so far as I am concerned calls for a reply. However, having regard to the circumstance which I mentioned, namely that I had not anticipated a discussion of the subject this afternoon, I shall proceed to make some general observations.

Topic:   INCOME TAX
Subtopic:   PROPOSED RESTRICTION OF CERTAIN EXEMPTIONS TO CANADIANS OR BRITISH SUBJECTS
Permalink
LIB

Albert Edward Munn

Liberal

Mr. MUNN:

May I tell the minister that I did not expect the resolution to be reached this afternoon.

Topic:   INCOME TAX
Subtopic:   PROPOSED RESTRICTION OF CERTAIN EXEMPTIONS TO CANADIANS OR BRITISH SUBJECTS
Permalink
CON

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. RHODES:

My answer would be that there is only one minister of finance but there are numerous hon. members each of whom may move his resolution when he

55b

Income Tax Exemptions

chooses and each of whom has plenty of time in which to prepare any statement he may wish to make.

There is a very grave objection to the acceptance of the principle contained in the resolution, namely that it would invite retaliation on the part of other countries. The whole tendency in taxation matters has been that there should be reciprocal arrangements between the different countries so that credit may be given in one country when in fact income tax has 'been paid in another, an arrangement which exists between Canada and many other countries. If we were to put into effect the resolution before the house we might expect retaliation from the United States.

Topic:   INCOME TAX
Subtopic:   PROPOSED RESTRICTION OF CERTAIN EXEMPTIONS TO CANADIANS OR BRITISH SUBJECTS
Permalink
LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG:

Do not provoke them.

Topic:   INCOME TAX
Subtopic:   PROPOSED RESTRICTION OF CERTAIN EXEMPTIONS TO CANADIANS OR BRITISH SUBJECTS
Permalink
CON

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. RHODES:

It is but fair to point out that beyond question there are many more Canadians resident in the United States than citizens of the United States resident in Canada. I make special reference to the United States because of the fact that this resolution applies only to foreign countries; it does not apply to British countries. In effect its application would be confined to the United States.

Topic:   INCOME TAX
Subtopic:   PROPOSED RESTRICTION OF CERTAIN EXEMPTIONS TO CANADIANS OR BRITISH SUBJECTS
Permalink

February 6, 1935