Mr. G. R. Pearkes (Nanaimo):
like to accept the invitation extended by the hon. member for Gloucester (Mr. Robichaud), Mr. Speaker, to those members representing constituencies in which the fishing industry plays a prominent part to add their voice to the plea that he and the hon. member for Charlotte (Mr. Stuart) have made today for further aid to maintain the great fishing industry of our country. I would therefore like to add a few words to the many arguments which have already been advanced today, speaking from the point of view of a member representing a constituency on the Pacific coast in which quite a percentage of the population are employed in the important fishing industry.
In 1951 we had almost a record catch of salmon. This salmon was taken to the
cannery, but unfortunately owing to the acute market crisis which arose a very large proportion of that 1951 catch was held over. When the fishing boats put out to sea in 1952 the storehouses and the canneries were already filled. This difficulty of marketing the canned salmon, which is the predominant branch of the fishing industry on the Pacific
coast, threatened the industry. The loss of the export market in the United Kingdom also affected the disposal of the carryover of canned salmon.
In addition to that we have been threatened with increasing competition from Japan. The Japanese tuna fleet has been putting into the Pacific ocean, and has been sending canned and frozen tuna to this continent. In fact the Japanese canned tuna or tuna caught by Japanese is also beginning to appear on the shelves of stores in British Columbia, and thus to threaten the domestic market for canned salmon.
We realize that the government, in order to help the hog industry in this country, took certain measures in connection with canned pork. Canned pork has been definitely in competition with canned salmon from the Pacific coast. The Japanese fleet has also been putting into the north Pacific ocean, and according to a dispatch from the United States embassy dated August 18, 1952, that Japanese salmon fleet had already caught over 2 million fish. This is the same species of salmon that is caught by our fishermen. It is for these reasons that the Pacific coast fisherman is facing difficult times.
There is the Fisheries Prices Support Act which was introduced in 1944. We are told in the report of the fisheries prices support board for this year of the various ways in which that Fisheries Prices Support Act could assist the fishermen. The program, as given at the end of the report, indicates that in two small instances, during the year under review, the Labrador salted codfish and the Newfoundland shore-caught salted codfish, some assistance has been given. The fishermen on the Pacific coast do feel that the time has now come when some practical means of assistance must be worked out in order to maintain the standards of living which those fishermen on the Pacific coast and elsewhere have a right to obtain.
I cannot help noting that in the main estimates, which were tabled this afternoon, there is a decrease of $1,700,000 in the fisheries estimates. I hope the fishing industry and the fishermen of this country will not be the forgotten industry and the forgotten men of Canada.
I am, therefore, pleased to add these few words in support of the resolution which was proposed by the hon. member for Charlotte (Mr. Stuart). I do not want to take up any more time because the house is anxious to hear the Minister of Fisheries (Mr. Sinclair) conclude this debate.
Subtopic: SUGGESTED INVESTIGATION OF ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN FISHING INDUSTRY