February 3, 1937

LIB

Cameron Ross McIntosh

Liberal

Mr. McINTOSH:

All those matters were discussed fully in the committee.

Topic:   PACIFIC COAST SHIPPING
Subtopic:   PROPOSED CESSATION OF SUBSIDY TO CANADIAN
Sub-subtopic:   PACIFIC PENDING REPLACEMENT OF ORIENTALS BY WHITE SEAMEN
Permalink
LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

That is quite true. We have this difference of opinion, however. The hon. member for New Westminster pointed out this afternoon that evidence was submitted to the committee last year that some eleven hundred seamen of all classes were

available for employment-I believe that was in British Columbia. He also stated this afternoon that he had discovered by inquiry of the relief department of British Columbia that there are 300 men now on relief in Vancouver who give their occupation as seamen. We have also had it stated that the shipping master of Vancouver reported eighty-five seamen as available. In other words, there is a marked discrepancy in the figures as to seamen who conceivably would be available to replace Chinese deck-hands in the service in question. It has been suggested by the hon. member for North Battleford (Mr. McIntosh) -and I believe his suggestion was approved by the hon. member for Davenport (Mr. Mac-Nicol)-that where such a difference of opinion exists there should be a most thorough investigation to ascertain the facts. It does appear to me that before we are entitled to go further with this matter v^e should make such an investigation in regard to the availability of a sufficient number of suitable seamen in Vancouver as might be conducted, for example, by a representative of the Department of Trade and Commerce and a representative of the Department of Labour acting with the shipping master of Vancouver. I am bound to say that at first glance it does not seem reasonable that you could not find two or three hundred suitable seamen in Vancouver or along the coast of British Columbia. On the other hand it should be said in fairness to the Canadian Pacific Railway Company that they have indicated that it would not be wise or in the interests of safety at sea to take on inexperienced seamen. They also draw a distinction between seamen engaged in the coastwise trade and seamen accustomed to deep sea navigation.

Topic:   PACIFIC COAST SHIPPING
Subtopic:   PROPOSED CESSATION OF SUBSIDY TO CANADIAN
Sub-subtopic:   PACIFIC PENDING REPLACEMENT OF ORIENTALS BY WHITE SEAMEN
Permalink
CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

If Canadian seamen are not available, according to the Canadian Pacific, might they not find some British seamen whom we could bring over as immigrants?

Topic:   PACIFIC COAST SHIPPING
Subtopic:   PROPOSED CESSATION OF SUBSIDY TO CANADIAN
Sub-subtopic:   PACIFIC PENDING REPLACEMENT OF ORIENTALS BY WHITE SEAMEN
Permalink
CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

There are British seamen employed now. There is no doubt that they are British.

Topic:   PACIFIC COAST SHIPPING
Subtopic:   PROPOSED CESSATION OF SUBSIDY TO CANADIAN
Sub-subtopic:   PACIFIC PENDING REPLACEMENT OF ORIENTALS BY WHITE SEAMEN
Permalink
LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

I believe as a matter of fact that the Atlantic services of the Canadian Pacific are now staffed almost exclusively in that way.

Topic:   PACIFIC COAST SHIPPING
Subtopic:   PROPOSED CESSATION OF SUBSIDY TO CANADIAN
Sub-subtopic:   PACIFIC PENDING REPLACEMENT OF ORIENTALS BY WHITE SEAMEN
Permalink
CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I mean for the Pacific services.

Topic:   PACIFIC COAST SHIPPING
Subtopic:   PROPOSED CESSATION OF SUBSIDY TO CANADIAN
Sub-subtopic:   PACIFIC PENDING REPLACEMENT OF ORIENTALS BY WHITE SEAMEN
Permalink
CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

The seamen employed on the oriental service to Hong Kong and Manila are British subjects.

Pacific Coast Shipping-Mr. Cahan

Topic:   PACIFIC COAST SHIPPING
Subtopic:   PROPOSED CESSATION OF SUBSIDY TO CANADIAN
Sub-subtopic:   PACIFIC PENDING REPLACEMENT OF ORIENTALS BY WHITE SEAMEN
Permalink
LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

These seamen are British subjects; that has been put forward as part of the contention of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company.

I should say one further word in regard to the suggestion made by the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. Reid) and supported by the hon. member for Halifax (Mr. Isnor). It does seem unsatisfactory that this country, with a Pacific and an Atlantic coast line, should have done so little to develop employment in shipping services. I agree entirely that an effort in that direction is overdue. I have never been able to understand clearly why shipping companies operating Canadian services do not seem able to take on Canadians as apprentices. There was a time in Nova Scotia when Joseph Howe made the prediction that this little province one day would maintain half a million men upon the sea. Even in that day it seemed perhaps an extravagant prediction, but that was in the days of sailing vessels, and the sails of Nova Scotian vessels could be found in the far harbours of the world. To-day that prediction seems fantastic. I have not the figures before me, but I doubt very much whether more than a very few thousand inhabitants of Nova Scotia follow permanently the calling of the sea.

In many fishing ports of the maritime provinces undoubtedly there are young men who, if given the opportunity, I am sure would be willing to follow that calling, and I have no doubt that the same is true on the Pacific coast. The Canadian Pacific Railway Company, through its officials, has informed me that it now employs Canadian cadets on the Pacific ships. That, I think, is decidedly a move in the right direction, but I feel that much more could be done in order to train some of our Canadian young men for the mercantile marine. Just how we might proceed in that direction is perhaps not a matter which we need discuss at the present time, but I am inclined to think that corporations which receive substantial assistance through subsidies from the Canadian government have an obligation, in addition to that which they would have without subsidies, to do what can reasonably be done in order to provide such training and such opportunities as might assist us in this country in going further in developing a mercantile marine and in affording maritime employment, particularly to some of our younger men.

I need say no more on this question. At the beginning of my remarks I said I hoped the mover of the resolution would feel that his object had been served very largely by this

discussion. I do not think we can go the length of adopting the resolution in its present form, so I would ask the mover if he would withdraw it, on the distinct understanding that the Department of Trade and Commerce, I think I may say acting in conjunction with the Department of Labour, will look into this question of the availability of Canadian seamen for oriental service in Vancouver and in British Columbia generally, and will continue efforts already undertaken to induce the Canadian Pacific Railway Company to do what reasonably may be done to afford a larger degree of employment to Canadian seamen on these vessels.

Topic:   PACIFIC COAST SHIPPING
Subtopic:   PROPOSED CESSATION OF SUBSIDY TO CANADIAN
Sub-subtopic:   PACIFIC PENDING REPLACEMENT OF ORIENTALS BY WHITE SEAMEN
Permalink
CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. C. H. CAHAN (St. Lawrence-St. George):

Mr. Speaker, I have just a few

words to say. In the first place, the ships that are employed by the Canadian Pacific Steamship Company in the oriental trade are not Canadian, ships; that is, they are not registered in Canada.

Topic:   PACIFIC COAST SHIPPING
Subtopic:   PROPOSED CESSATION OF SUBSIDY TO CANADIAN
Sub-subtopic:   PACIFIC PENDING REPLACEMENT OF ORIENTALS BY WHITE SEAMEN
Permalink
LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

Are they not of Canadian registry?

Topic:   PACIFIC COAST SHIPPING
Subtopic:   PROPOSED CESSATION OF SUBSIDY TO CANADIAN
Sub-subtopic:   PACIFIC PENDING REPLACEMENT OF ORIENTALS BY WHITE SEAMEN
Permalink
CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

No, I believe they are registered in London; at least that was so a short time ago, and they are really owned in London. They come under the Merchant Shipping Act of England and are controlled not only by that statute but by the regulations drawn up under it.

Topic:   PACIFIC COAST SHIPPING
Subtopic:   PROPOSED CESSATION OF SUBSIDY TO CANADIAN
Sub-subtopic:   PACIFIC PENDING REPLACEMENT OF ORIENTALS BY WHITE SEAMEN
Permalink
LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

I speak subject to correction, but I always understood that the Pacific ships were of Canadian registry and the others were of British registry.

Topic:   PACIFIC COAST SHIPPING
Subtopic:   PROPOSED CESSATION OF SUBSIDY TO CANADIAN
Sub-subtopic:   PACIFIC PENDING REPLACEMENT OF ORIENTALS BY WHITE SEAMEN
Permalink
LIB

Daniel (Dan) McIvor

Liberal

Mr. McIVOR:

Subsidized by Canada.

Topic:   PACIFIC COAST SHIPPING
Subtopic:   PROPOSED CESSATION OF SUBSIDY TO CANADIAN
Sub-subtopic:   PACIFIC PENDING REPLACEMENT OF ORIENTALS BY WHITE SEAMEN
Permalink
CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

Well, Canada gets full

value for what she pays for the transmission of mails over those lines. I have been over the Canadian Pacific line through to Yokohama, to Kobe, down to Shanghai and Hong Kong, on to Manila and return, and I have seen the operation of those ships. From my observations I would have been surprised at the statement contained in the report of the special committee which has been quoted by the hon. member for St. Boniface (Mr. How-den) and which no doubt, as he states, gives a fair synopsis of the evidence presented before that committee, that sixty-seven per 'cent of the through and local passenger traffic is oriental. I notice that in the evidence presented and summarized by the consul general of China and attached to the report as an exhibit it is stated that from September 7, 1935, to November 16, 1935, an accurate computation showed that 61-57 per cent of the through passengers of all classes were orientals

524 COMMONS

Pacific Coast Shipping-Mr. Cahan

and 72-53 per cent of the inter-port passengers of all classes were oriental. I should have thought, from my observation, that the percentage would be larger than that, but probably that is an accurate computation, which is better evidence than my observations.

But, Mr. Speaker, those ships are operated under peculiar circumstances. For instance, from the time the ships enter the port of Shanghai until they return and leave the port of Shanghai-that is, during the voyage from Shanghai to Hong Kong and on to Manila and back, touching at intermediate ports- those ships are veritable ships of war, and carry a contingent of sepoys of the Indian army for protection. That is absolutely necessary. They are the only safe ships for Chinese passengers operating on that Chinese coast which are adequately protected against raids of pirates. From my observation I doubt very much whether you will find Canadian seamen prepared to accept even the rates of wages suggested by my hon. friend from New Westminster for service as deck-hands on those ships. From memory it seems to me that the officers and cadets were largely Canadians. The commander of the Empress of Japan was a Canadian, and I think the cadets on that ship included a number of Canadians also.

I doubt very much whether the ordinary Canadian sailor is prepared to mingle with and be part of a crew of Chinese seamen. I doubt if he would be willing to submit to supervision for weeks at a time on a ship sailing south and north by a contingent of Indian sepoys. It may well be that there are sixty or more unemployed seamen registered with the shipping officials of the government at Vancouver, but I doubt whether that number are available for this particular service.

So far as the other services on board ship are concerned, three-fourths of these stewards would be employed in the preparation and serving of food for Japanese and Chinese passengers. Chinese are required for the preparation and service of this food, because most of them understand sufficient Japanese to communicate with passengers of that race. Therefore a great deal is to be said in favour of the employment of so-called oriental seamen and oriental servitors.

Topic:   PACIFIC COAST SHIPPING
Subtopic:   PROPOSED CESSATION OF SUBSIDY TO CANADIAN
Sub-subtopic:   PACIFIC PENDING REPLACEMENT OF ORIENTALS BY WHITE SEAMEN
Permalink
LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

I do not think the question of stewards has arisen; it is solely a question of the deck hands.

Topic:   PACIFIC COAST SHIPPING
Subtopic:   PROPOSED CESSATION OF SUBSIDY TO CANADIAN
Sub-subtopic:   PACIFIC PENDING REPLACEMENT OF ORIENTALS BY WHITE SEAMEN
Permalink
CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

Some complaint is made as to the number employed in the other services. The hon. member for St. Boniface (Mr. How-den) quoted the report of the committee

in this connection. I understood that emphasis was placed on the fact that Chinese were employed in the engine room and as victuallers. These ships purchase a large part of their supplies at Hong Kong. This is natural, in that the necessary supplies can be obtained more readily at that port. I noticed that some supplies were taken on at Vancouver, and also some fruit at Honolulu, but that was all. When seventy-five per cent of those on board are accustomed to Chinese or Japanese food as prepared by orientals, it is useless to talk of employing Canadians to perform this service. I doubt very much whether Canadian boys could be found who would be prepared to undertake such menial service as attending upon these oriental passengers.

A good deal has been said about shipping in Nova Scotia. The young men in Nova Scotia, who are prepared to start at the bottom to learn the marine engineering trade or the work of manning and operating a steamship, are now able to secure employment, but the fact is that the great body of young men who come out of school to-day believe they are fitted for some higher occupation in the educational and social scale. Very few of them are offering for this sort of marine service.

I had not looked into this resolution before, as no one had ever called it to my attention. However, the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. Reid) told me the other day that he was bringing up this matter again. I am sure that the resolution cannot pass in its present form. The committee made a request; in their report they recited certain facts and then recommended that the Canadian Pacific Railway Company be requested to replace orientals now so employed with Canadian seamen, and that this change be made at the company's earliest opportunity. I think it would be improper to regard those words as an order from this house. I do not know whether the house would be competent to make an order under the circumstances. We would be ordering a British ship registered under the Merchant Shipping Act of England to replace British subjects who are orientals with Canadian seamen simply because, first, the ship touches at the ports of Vancouver and Victoria, and, second, because it receives a certain amount under a contract for carrying mails. This is not a subsidy; it is a mail contract under which the company receives $50,000 per month, if I remember correctly. There is a contract outstanding. The question may arise as to the

Pacific Coast Shipping-Mr. Cahan

renewal of the contract when it is terminated. The present contract was made on June 26, 1936, and upon its termination a new contract must be drawn up and executed. [DOT]

What is the government prepared to do? Is it prepared to do what is suggested, namely, to refuse to pay for the carriage of their mails to oriental ports by British shipping when the only competitors for this service, which is important to Canada and important to the whole empire, is American shipping sailing out of the port of San Francisco? That shipping is most heavily subsidized by the post office department of the United States.

Topic:   PACIFIC COAST SHIPPING
Subtopic:   PROPOSED CESSATION OF SUBSIDY TO CANADIAN
Sub-subtopic:   PACIFIC PENDING REPLACEMENT OF ORIENTALS BY WHITE SEAMEN
Permalink
LIB

John James Kinley

Liberal

Mr. KINLEY:

And employing American

citizens.

Topic:   PACIFIC COAST SHIPPING
Subtopic:   PROPOSED CESSATION OF SUBSIDY TO CANADIAN
Sub-subtopic:   PACIFIC PENDING REPLACEMENT OF ORIENTALS BY WHITE SEAMEN
Permalink
CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

The subsidy is so heavy

that they can afford to hire A.merican citizens and pay them twice the wages paid to British subjects. They are not British ships and are not operating under the Merchant Shipping Act of England. True, they are employing American citizens, but it must be remembered that the sailors on these ships, who are hired at Hong Kong, are British subjects. Furthermore, if we sever that contract, refuse to extend it or attempt to make a new contract at the end of the current year, where will Canada obtain the service? I recall that when I served as a member of the privy council the question of this service came up for consideration. We went into it thoroughly and were convinced that it could not be maintained except through the payment of a proper compensation for the carrying of mails. I have not discussed the matter with the Canadian Pacific Railway officials, but I have read, and from statements made in public and the financial statements put out by the Canadian Pacific Steamship Company I have reason to believe, that this service is now being operated at a loss. That fact has been recognized by officials of the British Board of Trade in England. Only recently in the press I read a statement to the effect that the British Board of Trade is recommending that subsidies, in addition to those paid by Canada, be paid by the British government for the purpose of securing the maintenance of this service.

Therefore I believe the government would be wise indeed, as the Minister of Labour suggests, to take some further time to consider the whole matter. I went into the matter pretty thoroughly with my colleagues in the late government, when the question of subsidy was before us in 1933 and 1934. I acquired information which, although it may

not be quite accurate at this time, leads me to the belief'that it would be a gross neglect of national duty if at this date the government were to attempt to sever the contract or to refuse to extend it without first ascertaining all the real, basic, underlying facts- and those facts cannot be obtained in shipping offices in New Westminster or Vancouver. Grave international considerations would have to be discussed and weighed by the government. Therefore I trust the house will not adopt the resolution and that the hon. member for New Westminster, whose pertinacity and assiduity we all admire, will realize that there are graver interests concerned, especially in view of the relations among competing countries on the Pacific and other grave issues which may arise in that quarter. I believe he will admit that full and complete inquiry is required, and that that inquiry should be made before any decision is taken to cancel the present contract, or before the government decides it will not rene-w the contract except upon conditions mentioned in the resolution.

Topic:   PACIFIC COAST SHIPPING
Subtopic:   PROPOSED CESSATION OF SUBSIDY TO CANADIAN
Sub-subtopic:   PACIFIC PENDING REPLACEMENT OF ORIENTALS BY WHITE SEAMEN
Permalink
LIB

John Power Howden

Liberal

Mr. HOWDEN:

In the hon. member's

opinion is it reasonable to expect the railway company to consider the replacement by white labour of the 277 oriental labourers who man the decks?

Topic:   PACIFIC COAST SHIPPING
Subtopic:   PROPOSED CESSATION OF SUBSIDY TO CANADIAN
Sub-subtopic:   PACIFIC PENDING REPLACEMENT OF ORIENTALS BY WHITE SEAMEN
Permalink
CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

Under the circumstances I

doubt whether it is reasonable to state that a ship operating under the British Merchant Shipping Act should in all cases employ Canadian rather than British seamen. I believe the committee are to be commended in setting forth in their report the case as they understood it, and as indicated in the passage read by the hon. member for St. Boniface. They were acting within their legitimate jurisdiction in making the recommendations they did make. It is another matter, however, to decide whether their recommendations could be carried out without serious loss to the company and without grave repercussions in quarters other than New Westminster and Vancouver.

Topic:   PACIFIC COAST SHIPPING
Subtopic:   PROPOSED CESSATION OF SUBSIDY TO CANADIAN
Sub-subtopic:   PACIFIC PENDING REPLACEMENT OF ORIENTALS BY WHITE SEAMEN
Permalink

February 3, 1937