The fishermen and the fishing interests in my part of the country had considerable correspondence with and advice from Doctor Finn. Last year an extensive plant was built there. Doctor Finn gave valuable services in just the kind of work which the leader of the opposition said would be necessary on the Caraquet shore. The result was that a fine plant was built out of private funds, without assistance from the government. In view of Doctor Finn's experience on the Pacific coast and at the experimental station at Halifax, and having regard to his academic attainments, we thought the minister did a very good job in the selection of the deputy minister. The Department of Fisheries has always been a kind of Cinderella of the government. No government seemed willing to spend money to get the
officials who are needed. I was very much pleased to see Major Sutherland, who was supervisor of fisheries in Nova Scotia, a competent official and a gentleman highly regarded in that part of the dominion, brought to Ottawa as assistant to the deputy minister. He has done valuable work. That is a splendid thing. The minister has supplemented his staff so that he can render better service, and the minister can be assured that he is receiving the advice of one who not only is intelligent but has the interests of the fishing industry at heart.
With regard to the fish board, it was first provided that the board should be constituted of fish dealers and fishermen. The senate amended the bill, advantageously perhaps. Their view was that the board should be composed of a chairman who was an official of the Department of Fisheries, and fishermen producers. Accordingly Doctor Finn, who was in charge of the experimental station at Halifax, was appointed chairman, the members of the board being Mr. Mclnerney, secretary of the cooperative association in eastern Nova Scotia, and Captain William Deal, a skipper from Lunenburg. This board had to deal with the estimates granted by parliament last year to provide deficiency payments in the industry. The leader of the opposition said they did nothing for marketing, and he added that we had lost markets in Europe. That is true, but it only means that Newfoundland, which usually markets fish in Europe, invaded the markets we had in the West Indies and South America, and to that extent our marketing situation was much worse.
The idea of the deficiency payment was that the merchant would buy fish from the fishermen at a certain price and perhaps invade the market at a low price. He would buy the fish, and the fisheries board would give the fishermen enough to bring it up to the set price which they had pegged for the salt fish of the maritime provinces. The board's action saved the cod fish industry in Nova Scotia last year. It saved the salt fish industiy in my county and we were grateful to the government for what it had done. There was a little delay owing to the innovation, and there was some impatience; but it was the first year. This must be remembered. The mackerel fishermen also received a deficiency payment, and the only criticism I would offer, if I offered any at all, would be that the herring fisheries should have been included in the payment. On the whole the board did a good job. We have $400,000 in the estimates this year for the same purpose.
The board will function again and if fish do not yield a price to give the fishermen a decent living, the board must make a deficiency payment to take up the slack.
that on account of international entanglements. Let me tell my hon friend that Newfoundland and other fish exporting countries are doing the same thing. The salt fish business is after all the back-log of the whole situation, because the fresh fish industry is carried on by the same people at different times of the year. Their business is increasing. and if you can keep the salt fish industry' going by means of a little stimulation, I submit that is a proper thing to do. Where we have a tariff, I think it is only proper to stimulate a primary industry, because it is the start of everything. We deserve some stimulation. The money was paid on production of fish, and a large part of the money came to my county, because we produced the greatest quantity of salted fish.
With regard to New Brunswick, my hon. friend says that the minister subsidized a plant in that province. He says that a United States company was subsidized, a concern that came there and, in conjunction with the province of New Brunswick, built a plant. The people who came there were, I believe, the Gorton Pew Company. Much of our fish are marketed in the United States and the Gorton Pew Company have command of a large part of the business in that country. So far as my own riding is concerned, we do not like subsidized plants there, but no one will say that it is not advantageous for New Brunswick. It was a help in that province, because the fishermen of New Brunswick had poor facilities to market their fish, and there was provided for them, in their midst, a company that commanded the markets of the United States. One thing I would say is that the government should see to it that the company pays a fair price to the fishermen for their fish and does not compete unfairly with Canadian firms at the fishermen's expense.