April 9, 1937

CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

What was the price?

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

I do not seem to have that information here, but I can say that the 1936 price was slightly higher, by about three-twentieths of a cent per gallon, than the 1935 price, but it was lower than the 1934 price by about two-fifths of a cent per gallon.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I should like to have the tender prices.

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

I have not that information at the moment, but I shall be glad to give it under some other item that may come up after six o'clock. For the information of my right hon. friend I may say that the delivery of this oil was made through the Imperial Oil Company.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

That was to be my next question, through what producing company

the delivery was made. The minister has answered it; it was the Imperial Oil Company. The next question I wanted to ask was whether that covered supplies for all the roads in all the parks of western Canada.

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

Yes, the tender was a total tender for 480,000 gallons.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Then perhaps the minister can give me the particulars a little later as to the tenders.

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

Yes, I can give that. All I have here is the difference.

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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

This item deals, I think, with the establishment of open seasons and that sort of thing. There has been a good deal of difficulty about that in British Columbia. I suppose it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, with the different seasons that prevail, to draw up regulations governing the whole of Canada, that will satisfy everyone, but I have had a number of complaints from the district I represent. Apparently they do not object so much to the season being cut down to two months for geese and ducks, but they object to the dates set. As far as I can make out, on Vancouver island the most acceptable period, if the season is to be cut down to two months, would be December and January. In some districts it is claimed that the ducks have not arrived during the present open period, and that the people there are practically prevented from getting any ducks at all. In some of these remote places, where steamers call only once or twice a month, deer in season and wild ducks and geese are about the only sources of fresh meat, and it is really an important matter. I am sure the minister must have had representations from gun clubs and similar organizations in British Columbia. Is it intended to have the same period as last year, which ran from the middle of October to December?

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

Naturally there are some

differences of opinion among individuals, gun clubs and other organizations as to just what period should constitute the open season. The practice of the officials of the department is to get in touch with the officials of the provincial government having to do with the preservation of wild life in each province, and the open season is arrived at in consultation with them and after taking into consideration the representations made by bodies such as those to which my hon. friend has referred. In the administration of many matters, of course it is impossible to define the regulations in such a way as to please everybody, but in this matter the broad principle guiding the setting of open seasons is what will best help preserve the wild fowl of the country.

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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

I do not blame the minister,

because he is trying to do an impossible thing; he is trying to set dates that will be satisfactory all over the country, which is impossible, because in some districts the ducks or geese have not arrived by the time the open season is ended. I find that last year the open season was from October 17 to December 15. In many places on the west coast of Vancouver island the ducks have not arrived by December 15, so what is the use of an open season that is over before the ducks and geese have arrived?

The remedy I suggest is that the minister take power to do what has been done in many other cases, fix a season which is appropriate to the particular province or the particular district. In connection with fishing, for instance, we have twenty or thirty different dates in British Columbia, so why not leave the matter subject to the control of the provincial government, or at least why not act on the advice of the provincial government? I am quite sure that the province of British Columbia, if left to itself, could fix a couple of seasons, one for the interior and one for the coast, that would be acceptable. The period from October to December is not acceptable. I have under my hand a petition from the gun club centering around Alberni, and also representations from the west coast, wherein they say that if the season must be curtailed for two months, let it be the months of December and January. I hope the minister will look into the matter because, as I have already said, the solution is to have it regulated according to the district.

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

I find that there are different periods for different districts in British Columbia, and the representations made by the hon. member so far as the west coast of Vancouver island are concerned, will be considered. I promise that. I think possibly to some degree we may be able to meet his suggestion.

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LIB

Donald Elmer Black

Liberal

Mrs. BLACK:

Mr. Chairman, as the minister knows, we in the Yukon have considerable fault to find with the opening date of the shooting season in the north. We also realize that because of the number of years which it has taken finally to have not only the state governments but the federal government of the United States to sign a treaty with Canada, we have to go slowly in the matter.

The opening of the duck shooting season in the Yukon is August 15. By that time in the large majority of cases our ducks have left the Yukon, as they begin to go south very early in August. The law in the Yukon is administered by the mounted police, and I

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must say that they do their very best to make everything comfortable for the few people in the country who bear guns. It took many years of consideration before the United States and Canada could reach the treaty arrangement which was signed in 1916. I believe that later, in 1929, another treaty for a period of ten years was signed.

I deeply regret the fact that the minister feels it incumbent upon him in any way to reduce the amount of money to be allowed for the conservation of game. I do not think any person could imagine anything more horrible than to go through a country denuded of its forests and its game. Canada has kept her treaty to the letter, but I can state truthfully that that has not always been so with respect to many of the states in the union. Our law makers and those who enforce the law have followed hunters closely. We miss a great deal, but at the same time we realize that on the north American continent the conservation of game is necessary.

I well remember hearing my grandfather tell stories about the clouds of passenger pigeons which flew through the air in his day, and about the horrible murder-it could not be described otherwise-of the pigeons which were netted, shot, packed in barrels, and sent to the larger cities in the United States and Canada. In many cases hundreds of thousands of those birds were allowed to rot on the ground or in the barrels.

In the early days, before a treaty had been signed, the birds went to California and were there slaughtered. Ducks and geese were slaughtered by the thousands, and our sportsmen in the north had very little chance of getting game. There was the general idea that from the breeding grounds there would always be millions of birds to fly south, but there came a time when the birds became scarce. It was only the treaty which saved the trumpeter swan, the whooping crane, the eider duck and the wood duck. The treaty saved many of those breeds, and I would urge that the minister do all he can to continue the conservation and to see that the men charged with the enforcement of the law carry it out to the very last word.

As hon. members are aware, there are in Canada a number of sanctuaries. Any person who establishes one should be praised. We need our bird life, both the migratory and the insectivorous birds. Men and women who enjoy being out of doors, who enjoy fishing and a short shooting period, realize that if we are to have such enjoyment for ourselves and for those who will follow us, the law must be enforced. I ask the minister on all opportunities to do all he can to

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persuade the minister who sits beside him (Mr. Dunning) to set aside more money for the enforcement of the treaty.

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CON

Simon Fraser Tolmie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TOLMIE:

The statement of the last speaker to the effect that August 15 is the opening day for duck shooting in the Yukon is an indication that a variety of dates should be set to suit different districts. The brant is one of our best game birds on the Pacific coast. Sportsmen out there would like to have the season open on January 1, if possible, and particularly would like to have February an open month. The brant, a small variety of goose, is not found inland, but is found on the eastern and western coasts. The people interested in the brant would like to have the dates set from January 1 to March 1, and would like to have the dates for ducks set at November 15 to January 31.

May I point out further that the birds are bred in Canada, in very much the same manner as are the sockeye salmon with which the hon, member for Comox-Alberni is so familiar. They travel down into the United States and to a great extent are shot there. I believe we ought always to see to it that we get our reasonable share of game birds.

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LIB

John James Kinley

Liberal

Mr. KINLEY:

With regard to the migratory birds treaty and the protection of game birds may I say that the impression on the Atlantic coast is that the duck season is too early. In September the birds are covered with pin feathers, and are not as satisfactory for food as they would be later. Our fishermen would like to have the season extended. I have discussed the matter with departmental officials, and I believe they agree that it should be later. It is my expectation that in the near future the season will be somewhat later.

There are two elements interested in game birds, namely sportsmen and fishermen. The sportsmen are interested for purposes of sport, and the fishermen use the birds for food. It is my view that the interests of the fishermen on the Atlantic coast should have first consideration, because these birds form an important part of their food. If they can hunt ducks at Christmas time rather than earlier, they are of more value to them.

In the last year or two we in Nova Scotia have been disturbed by the mounted police using decoys who would circulate among the fishermen. When a fisherman would shoot a duck for food, possibly not being aware that the season was closed, or possibly a day before it opened, the stool pigeon would lay for him, report to the police, and bring him into court and have a heavy fine imposed. A fine of that kind destroys a fisherman,

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absolutely, because he cannot pay it and must go to gaol. He may have a family at home for whom he is attempting to get food, but if he shoots a duck he finds himself in trouble.

I believe in the enforcement of the law and I believe, too, that fishermen are anxious to obey it; but we are told that the letter of the law killeth and the spirit giveth life. However, when there are stool pigeons in addition to the police along our coast laying for fishermen, and being paid for it, it seems to me the enforcement is too drastic.

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LIB

John Power Howden

Liberal

Mr. HOWDEN:

I should like to supplement the remarks of the last speaker (Mr. Kinley) with regard to the duck shooting season. I do not know anything about duck shooting in Nova Scotia, but I know in Manitoba our season opens on September 20. At this time the birds are still covered with pin feathers, and many are not fully grown. If the season were moved back fifteen days I think it would do a lot towards the conservation of the ducks, as well as bringing the ducks to the bag in much better shape.

The prairie chicken is not a migratory bird but I think it is the best game bird in Canada, if not in north America. On several occasions it has been necessary to have closed seasons in Manitoba for a number of years. Perhaps this matter does not come under the vote for the committee, but I think it is worth while being mentioned. Because of the poverty of the province during the last several years, they have not been able to keep on a sufficient number of game wardens to protect the game. I can realize that a farmer might feel it his privilege to kill a few birds out of season, and probably it is; but it is an entirely different thing when hunting parties leave the city of Winnipeg during the out of season period. Hundreds of birds are destroyed before they are grown, and it seems to me that something ought to be done. I have been a hunter for many years, and I would rather never shoot another prairie chicken than see them become extinct. They are a wonderful bird, but under present conditions they are in serious danger of being killed off and completely destroyed in our part of the country.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

That is regulated by the provinces.

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LIB

John Power Howden

Liberal

Mr. HOWTDEN:

I understand that is the business of the province, but it does not seem that the province of Manitoba is able to keep on enough game wardens to protect the game. Perhaps the federal government will come to our assistance.

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LIB

Vincent-Joseph Pottier

Liberal

Mr. POTTIER:

Up to last year the season in western Nova Scotia extended from October

Supply-Mines-Indian Affairs

1 to January 15. Last year it was cut down to October and November. We have two kinds of birds in that part of Nova Scotia, the home bird and the migratory bird. They do not reach the shore before the month of December, so I ask the minister to consider changing the season in western Nova Scotia to November and December.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

There are game wardens in Kamouraska and Rimouski county, but none in Temiscouata. Many birds are to be found at Isle Verte and on Hare island and White island and I submit a game warden should be appointed for Temiscouata.

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April 9, 1937