January 28, 1953

PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. G. R. Pearkes (Nanaimo):

I should

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

[Mi. MacDougall.l

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.

Fisheries

Topic:   FISHERIES
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED INVESTIGATION OF ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN FISHING INDUSTRY
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LIB

Thomas Gordon William Ashbourne

Liberal

Mr. T. G. W. Ashbourne (Grand Falls-While Bay):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to avail myself of this opportunity to add my voice in support of this admirable resolution which has been proposed by the hon. member for Charlotte (Mr. Stuart). I believe that fishermen throughout the length and breadth of Canada will realize that in the hon. member for Charlotte, since he brought this resolution forward last year and again this year, they have a spokesman of whom they can well be proud.

I should like also publicly to congratulate the Minister of Fisheries (Mr. Sinclair) on his appointment to that important post. This is an extremely important position, and he faces heavy responsibilities. He has large numbers of fishermen throughout the length and breadth of Canada looking to him. We hope he will be able to satisfy their many wishes and desires. Living as we do in an economic world we realize that oftentimes we do not have as much reward as we think we are entitled to for our labours. But in the present Minister of Fisheries I feel we have a man of resolute action who will help to build, on .a sound and firm foundation, a structure for the benefit of the fishermen of Canada and of this important fishing industry to which this resolution refers.

I do not think any hon. member will question the need for federal aid to agriculture, to a lesser or a larger degree depending upon the state of the industry and its ability to return to the primary producer an adequate return for his labours. As to the fisheries and other fields of industry, assistance should also be forthcoming when it is required. As to agriculture, we find that aids have been given and floor prices have been granted in many cases for commodities which are produced by our farmers. We are all in accord with and sympathetic toward help which has been given in that way. When $65 million were voted by this house to help the farmers, we felt that it was a good move. On the other hand, when the fishermen need assistance we who represent fishing constituencies are not remiss in our duty in rising to press their urgent claims.

Coming as I do from Newfoundland, which is now the tenth province of Canada, may I say we realize that in Newfoundland we have a tremendous source of food production. God in his bountiful beneficence has blessed our shores on the Atlantic ocean with countless numbers of fish of various kinds, and other foods such as birds. Of course the birds feed upon the fish, but they are a source of food for our people. As we think of the top soil of the world being gradually used up in order to supply the

needs of the growing population, we realize what a tremendous reservoir of wealth is contained in the sea. We also realize the need for conservation in order that these God-given blessings will be used to the greatest benefit, and also for the needs of the people from time to time.

As to Newfoundland, I am afraid that the benefits accruing to agriculture are something from which we are unable to profit to any very great extent. But we can and do supply our share of fish, minerals, pulp and paper and other products, which are today taking, to a considerable extent, the paramount place which in the past was occupied by the fisheries in the province of Newfoundland.

Assistance to the fishermen can be given by the Department of Fisheries in a good many ways. These have already been enumerated this afternoon by various members who have spoken, and I do not want to repeat what has been said. Hon. members have pointed out how the department has helped in the past in Newfoundland, and what assistance the department has given.

We have these bountiful banks but we notice that, coming from the other side, the trawlers from France, Spain and Portugal are fishing these banks and taking back for their people this important food. Fish which we had often in the past supplied to such important customers as Portugal, Spain and Italy is to a great extent being produced by their own people at the present time. While we cannot blame them for that fact, we realize the great distress this has caused among people who have taken up the way of life of fishermen and who now have to lay down their nets and go off in search of work as carpenters or in other avenues of employment. These people who come over from the other side and fish on our banks are sometimes encroaching, we think, upon the territory which should be reserved for our fishermen. There may be a need for the department concerned to investigate and to decide whether or not the territorial limits of Canada should not be extended coastwise.

As I represent the important riding of Labrador, I should like to say that down there we have a tremendous coast line. Unfortunately, since confederation the Labrador fishery has declined to a greater degree than previously, although that decline was apparent before we entered into confederation.

As to the long-liners with which experiments are now being made, I hope some day they will become high-liners, because the investigation carried out by the Department

Fisheries

of Fisheries has been the means of exploring further fishing grounds and of opening up other banks to which fishermen can proceed and catch a larger type of codfish; and it seems to me it is the larger fish that is in demand. We can readily understand that.

Unfortunately, on the whole, on Labrador the run of fish is of small size. It was my pleasure this year to catch some myself when I was down there. In fact, one morning before breakfast I got up and threw a jigger overboard; after a few jigs I pulled in a codfish. One of the United States tourists who was also on this ship was fortunate enough to get a codfish weighing 31 pounds. He has its head mounted. That shows what the United States tourist thinks of this fish. There is no lack of fish on the Labrador. These fish come in. It is only a matter of getting traps and fishermen and being able to take them. They come in in search of food. This year and the year before the fishery in Newfoundland was fairly good, brought about I believe to quite an extent by the inshore winds which prevailed before the fish left their feeding grounds and came to the shore. When you take into account the winds, the tides, the storms and the other hazards which the fishermen have to face, it is a calling beset, as has already been said, by great danger and also by much hard work.

I had prepared quite a speech on this resolution but I see that time is going on, and no doubt the minister wants to make a few remarks. I shall take the opportunity on another occasion to resume my remarks, but in the meantime I should like to say that since the minister is going to Newfoundland in a few days to address the board of trade down there, I wish him bon voyage. I believe he will hear from the people of Newfoundland, and since he will be there he will be able to see things firsthand and get their reaction.

The hon. member for St. John's West (Mr. Browne) has already mentioned the Walsh report. We are all looking forward to it. It will soon be put into the hands of the government. As has been said before, the fisherman is an independent type of man. Sometimes when he is just moving along in his boat he is not looking to be rescued, but he is not moving at great speed. Then some of his friends come along and they think he should be moving a little faster, and because they have a more powerful boat they take him in tow. I think the fishing industry needs to be taken in tow by the federal government and given the assistance that it requires by research, by science and in every other possible way so that as a result the efforts of the fishermen may be brought to

fruition and their produce accrue to the greatest benefit of the Canadian nation.

Topic:   FISHERIES
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED INVESTIGATION OF ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN FISHING INDUSTRY
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LIB

Raymond Elmer Anderson

Liberal

Mr. R. E. Anderson (Norfolk):

Since we are considering this resolution, I would not want the minister to overlook the fact that the fresh water fish business of Canada is big business, too. Port Dover on lake Erie in Norfolk county is said to have the largest fresh water fishing industry in the world. It produces roughly $1J million worth annually. I should like the minister to keep the fresh water fishermen of Norfolk county, and of all Canada, in mind; and I am in favour of this resolution.

Topic:   FISHERIES
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED INVESTIGATION OF ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN FISHING INDUSTRY
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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. Cruickshank:

Before the minister

speaks, may I say a word?

Topic:   FISHERIES
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED INVESTIGATION OF ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN FISHING INDUSTRY
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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

I think the hon. member has already spoken.

Topic:   FISHERIES
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED INVESTIGATION OF ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN FISHING INDUSTRY
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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. Cruickshank:

On a question of privilege, I understand that my name was mentioned, and I should like to reply before the minister speaks.

Topic:   FISHERIES
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED INVESTIGATION OF ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN FISHING INDUSTRY
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?

Some hon. Members:

Question.

Topic:   FISHERIES
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED INVESTIGATION OF ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN FISHING INDUSTRY
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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. Cruickshank:

May I move the adjournment of the debate?

Topic:   FISHERIES
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED INVESTIGATION OF ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN FISHING INDUSTRY
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?

Some hon. Members:

No.

Topic:   FISHERIES
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED INVESTIGATION OF ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN FISHING INDUSTRY
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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Did the hon. member rise on a question of privilege?

Topic:   FISHERIES
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED INVESTIGATION OF ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN FISHING INDUSTRY
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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. Cruickshank:

Yes.

Topic:   FISHERIES
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED INVESTIGATION OF ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN FISHING INDUSTRY
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LIB

James Sinclair (Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. Sinclair:

The hon. member can scarcely move the adjournment of the debate on a question of privilege.

Topic:   FISHERIES
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED INVESTIGATION OF ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN FISHING INDUSTRY
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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

No. He does not propose to move the adjournment of the debate. I understood he had a question of privilege he wanted to put.

Topic:   FISHERIES
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED INVESTIGATION OF ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN FISHING INDUSTRY
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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. Cruickshank:

Mr. Speaker, as I understand it we adjourn at six o'clock. I am informed by some of my friends that my name was mentioned by an hon. member, and I should like to answer him if I am not permitted to move the adjournment of the debate.

Topic:   FISHERIES
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED INVESTIGATION OF ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN FISHING INDUSTRY
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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Under the rules of the house the hon. member can speak only once in this debate. Is it the wish of the house that I should call it six o'clock?

Topic:   FISHERIES
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED INVESTIGATION OF ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN FISHING INDUSTRY
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?

Some hon. Members:

No.

Topic:   FISHERIES
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED INVESTIGATION OF ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN FISHING INDUSTRY
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LIB

Samuel Rosborough Balcom

Liberal

Mr. Balcom:

May I adjourn the debate?

Topic:   FISHERIES
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED INVESTIGATION OF ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN FISHING INDUSTRY
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?

Some hon. Members:

No.

Topic:   FISHERIES
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED INVESTIGATION OF ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN FISHING INDUSTRY
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LIB

James Sinclair (Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Hon. James Sinclair (Minister of Fisheries):

Mr. Speaker, it was suggested during the course of the debate that if I did well in this department, at some time or other I would be cast in bronze. If I could answer

all the points raised during the afternoon, and particularly in the last few minutes, perhaps I would merit that.

I am very happy because of the course the debate took this afternoon. My only regret is that it is not Monday so that we could have the whole day on it, because it has given the members from the fishery ridings a very good opportunity to raise points in connection with the industry. I do regret that any dollar comparison should be made with the help given to agriculture, because the help should not be given on that basis. Both agriculture and fishery are extremely important primary industries, and help is given on the basis of need rather than on a comparative dollar value.

As hon. members noticed, I have taken voluminous notes of what has been said, and I would suggest that on the opening item of my estimates I might answer the points made, and thereby give members from fishing sections a chance to speak again when the actual items are called.

During the course of the afternoon very many aspects of fishing have been discussed and discussed well, and I look forward to having an opportunity to return to them on the first item of my estimates. I do thank not only the members from the fishing ridings but those members whose ridings which are not fishing ridings for the interest and the support they have displayed in the development of the fishing industry. With that understanding perhaps the hon. member would withdraw his motion, the understanding being that I will reply on the estimates.

Topic:   FISHERIES
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED INVESTIGATION OF ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN FISHING INDUSTRY
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LIB

Andrew Wesley Stuart

Liberal

Mr. Siuari (Charlotte):

Yes.

Motion withdrawn.

Topic:   FISHERIES
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED INVESTIGATION OF ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN FISHING INDUSTRY
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January 28, 1953