Mr. F. W. TURNBULL (Regina) presented the fourth report of the select standing committee on industrial and international relations, as follows:
Your committe has considered the following resolution as amended which has been referred to it and which is in the following terms:
"Resolved, whereas great numbers of Canadian seamen on the Pacific coast of British Columbia are out of employment and in many cases destitute; and whereas owners of ships and vessels of Canadian registry on the Pacific coast of British Columbia give employment in large measure to seamen, cooks and engineers of Oriental origin; and whereas other countries give greater consideration to the employment of their own nationals on ships and vessels belonging to their own country; and whereas the Canadian government grant large sums of money to the owners of ships and vessels by way of subsidies; and whereas it is desirable that every encouragement be given for the employment of officers, seamen, cooks and
Pacific Coast Shipping
engineers of white Canadian citizenship in preference to those of Oriental origin on all Canadian owned and registered ships and vessels; therefore be it resolved that the question of employment of greater numbers of white Canadian citizens on all ships and vessels of Canadian ownership and registry, the owners of which receive grants of money from the public treasury of Canada, be referred to the standing committee on industrial and international relations."
No evidence was submitted to the committee to indicate the numbers of Canadian seamen on the Pacific coast of British Columbia who were out of employment or destitute nor with respect to the consideration given by other countries to the employment of their own nationals on ships and vessels belonging to their own country.
According to the evidence submitted to the committee, money is paid from the public treasury of Canada to owners of ships of Canadian ownership and registry in two ways -one by direct subsidy or grant and, second, for carriage of mails. Your committee is of opinion that the latter form of payment is pursuant to a contract for service and is not a grant and is therefore not within the terms of the reference.
Again, according to the evidence, there are ships engaged in coastwise trade and others plying between Canadian and Oriental ports, some carrying freight and some carrying passengers as well. Some of these ships carry mail for the Post Office Department as a condition of receiving a subsidy from the Department of Trade and Commerce and some receive a subsidy from the latter department and are paid an additional amount for their services to the post office.
With respect to subsidized trans-Pacific trade it appears from the evidence that there is no contract between any department of the government and the steamship lines engaged in such trade requiring the employment of any proportion of white Canadian citizens. It was represented by witnesses from the departments of government concerned that with respect to freight traffic, Canadian lumber is being carried into a highly competitive market in competition with subsidized American ships carrying American lumber, and that any change that might result in increased cost might endanger that portion of Canadian export trade; and that with respect to the passenger trade there is the additional difficulty in employment of white Canadian citizens where a substantial portion of the passengers are oriental.
The evidence submitted establishes that the ships engaged in the coastwise trade, the owners of which receive subsidies, are required by contract to employ British subjects to the extent of two-thirds of their full personnel but these British subjects are not required by the contract to be white Canadian citizens. This term of the contract is being fully carried out in all cases and as a matter of fact it appears that more than the required two-thirds are white as well as British. The evidence established to the committee that no change in the contracts with respect to employees has been made in recent years.
Your committee are of the opinion that while in view of economic conditions and the keen competition existing for international trade the carriage of freight and pasengers should
not be unduly hampered and while it appears from the evidence that owners of ships referred to are making reasonable efforts to comply not only with their contracts but with the spirit of the resolution referred to the committee, nevertheless the departments of government concerned should be urged to continue to keep close check on the operations of such ships so as to secure the employment of as many white Canadian citizens as is reasonably possible.
A copy of the minutes of proceedings and evidence is tabled herewith.