Mr. Stuart (Charlotte):
There are no large cargo vessels in that area. I would point out that 90 per cent of the boats that ply these waters are equipped with radiotelephones. Another great advantage in the use of this type of equipment is that anyone can operate a radiotelephone whereas it takes a trained operator to operate the telegraphic equipment. For that reason I would submit that radiotelephone equipment is necessary in the bay of Fundy area. I would think that the installation of telegraphic equipment in the boats I have mentioned would be a step
Canada Shipping Act
backward rather than a step forward. There would be much more protection afforded by the use of radiotelephones because of the greater number of boats that could pick up a message. It would take an enormous amount of the responsibility off the shoulders of thflse who operate these boats if they knew that they could get in touch with their home offices or with other boats.
I would suggest also that criticism with regard to the equipment on passenger boats is always justified. I feel that these boats should have every type of equipment necessary for their proper protection. I do not want to give the impression that I am opposed to that, because I believe it is right. As has been pointed out by hon. members who have spoken previously, there have been a number of marine disasters in this country in the last few years, which fact clearly indicates that perhaps we should be more severe in enforcing the regulations.
There is one other matter I should like to bring to the attention of the parliamentary assistant. There seems to be some misunderstanding between the customs officials in some of the ports in Saint John and Charlotte counties and the officials of the Department of Justice. When this bill was in committee I was given to understand that no effort would be made to force small cargo boats to comply with all these regulations. The particular type of boat I have in mind is one on which there would be a master or skipper or captain and an engineer. These men realize the dangers that may be encountered and they have made provision for their own safety.
Recently a boat from Grand Manan island, whose skipper I know very well, came into Saint John, but when the captain went to get his clearance papers to return to Grand Manan he was told by the customs that they were unable to give them to him until he had got in touch with the steamboat inspector. As I said before, I believe that there is a very definite place for steamboat inspection, but I cannot think of any argument in favour of enforcing steamboat inspection in connection with fishing craft and small cargo boats that do not carry passengers. I would ask the parliamentary assistant and the officials of the department to give this matter their serious thought.
I have received a number of letters and telegrams about this matter, and I sent the minister a copy of one particular letter. So far as the equipment on his boat is concerned, he had fire extinguishers, he had a dory, which is considered to be a lifeboat, and he had covers for the dory to keep out
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the winter weather. He had all the equipment that was necessary. When the inspector looked over the boat he suggested that he should have rails and wire cables tor his protection. In the particular type of work that this man carries on it would be utterly impossible to have rails on the bdtit. It would be helpful in some cases but in the sardine industry it would be impossible to have rails and guards of the type that would satisfy the steamboat inspection service.
I ask the parliamentary assistant to go into this matter very carefully because I feel it would impose a hardship upon these men, who are finding it difficult to get along at this time. If they were forced to purchase, for their own protection, expensive equipment which they feel is not necessary, I believe it would be a step in the wrong direction. I support 100 per cent any regulation to protect the travelling public, but I really believe that fishing vessels and small cargo ships should be exempt from steamboat inspection.
Subtopic: AMENDMENTS RESPECTING STEAM AND MOTOR ENGINEER CERTIFICATES, RADIOTELEGRAPH INSTALLATIONS, ETC.