January 11, 1958

LIB

Hédard-J. Robichaud

Liberal

Mr. Robichaud:

Would the hon. member permit a question? Does the hon. member who pretends to know so much about fishing know that in the winter months there is only about 10 to 20 per cent of the fleet fishing and the prices for ground fish always go up?

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PC

Edmund Leverett Morris

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Morris:

That is unquestionably and undeniably a sizeable factor. I am not denying that. We are not taking all the credit for this situation. I am quoting facts. I am quoting from page 5, column 6, of the Halifax Chronicle Herald for January 9, 1958 and from page 14, column 2, of the same newspaper for June 8, 1957. The hon. member for Bonavista-Twillingate says that everything was fine in the fishing industry under the previous government.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Where does the hon. gentleman find that statement?

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PC

Edmund Leverett Morris

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Morris:

In the 1955 tax year, in Nova Scotia there were only 330 fishermen out of our total force of fishermen who had taxable incomes. They paid to the treasury of Canada an average tax of $4.11 per week. Prosperity. In this report the province of the hon. member for Bonavista-Twillingate, which deserves a much better fisheries policy, is marked with a hairline. This report is the Department of National Revenue, taxation

division, taxation statistics for 1955, page 63. An asterisk indicates less than $100, but for Newfoundland there is a stroke line, which indicates even less than that. Apparently no fisherman in Newfoundland had taxable income in 1955.

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PC

Robert Jardine McCleave

Progressive Conservative

Mr. McCleave:

Except the hon. member for Bonavista-Twillingate.

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PC

Edmund Leverett Morris

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Morris:

I do not mean to suggest, Mr. Chairman, that the problems of the fishing industry are easy of solution. I am not blaming the former minister of fisheries for all the things that are wrong with the fishing industry. I am not going to say that everything can be fixed overnight. I am not a fisherman, but I have a good fishing constituency and I have gone fishing with the fishermen and I know some of their problems. I know, for instance, that since June 10 we have taken out three rotted Liberal wharves in my constituency; we have barricaded three others as being unfit for human travel. A few days before the election somebody tore out the last piles under the wharf at Lower Prospect, which used to be one of our finest fishing communities. On the 1957 voters' list there were 91 people listed, compared with 200 to 300 in former years. Of the 91, only three fishermen under the age of 60 were fishing out of Lower Prospect last June.

Since June 10 we have made repairs of one sort or another to fishermen's wharves, breakwaters or facilities at Indian Harbour, Sambro, Sandy Cove, Portuguese Cove, Herring Cove, MacNab's Island, Three Fathom Harbour, Turner's Island and Ecum Secum. We propose improvements or surveys for Carter's Point, Cooper's Point, Ecum Secum, Port Dufferin, West Quoddy, Boutilier's Point, Bayside and Lower Prospect.

Mr. Chairman, without attempting to bring forth derision, because I know what the hon. member will say about these things, I want to say that we have set up a royal commission to examine, among other things, the prices of food products including fisheries prices. I know something about how that came to be done. That at least will establish some basic factual material of benefit to the fisheries. In the Liberal administration the fisheries were supervised by a group of well-padded snoopers. I found in my constituency that fishing licences were being granted only after consultation with the local Liberal chairman. That has stopped in my constituency.

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LIB
PC

Edmund Leverett Morris

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Morris:

They do not consult anybody now. Now they are hired civil servants, free of political domination. I have seen

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fisheries inspectors or fisheries officers throw traps back into the water with only one button secured so that the fisherman, if he caught anything, would lose it. That has stopped too.

Things were not very grand for the fishing industry under the Liberal administration. I have a letter here which would show you just how bad they were. It reads:

Dear Mr. Morris:

I understand that some funds from the government have now been authorized for the construction of an outhouse on the wharf at Sheet harbour east.

Mr. Chairman, under the Liberal administration the fishermen were denied even that elementary facility.

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IND

Donald Cameron

Independent Liberal

Mr. Cameron:

It would appear that the fish in the Atlantic ocean are extremely political animals, much more political than our undeveloped fish on the Pacific coast which, I imagine, would view the prospect of being caught under the auspices of either a Liberal or Conservative government with distaste. However, it has been interesting to note the way in which the codfish of the Atlantic ocean have been wooed by the former government and by the present government and we can only hope that they will cast their ballots in the right way when the election takes place.

On the Pacific coast we have perhaps a rather less well developed point of view- we are a primitive people of course-and we look at the matter in a more or less objective manner, as to the best way to develop our fishing industry, without too much regard to the political auspices under which that development takes place.

In fact I can recall only one instance in recent years where politics have entered into a discussion of fisheries and that was during the campaign of my friend the hon. member for Coast-Capilano when at a meeting one of his opponents was asked if he did not agree that the hon. member for Coast-Capilano had made an excellent minister of fisheries, the opponent very quickly said, "Oh yes, I think he did and if I were a salmon I would certainly vote for him." However, by and large we do not pay very much attention to the political aspects of the administration of the fisheries department. We have the idea that sometimes the department is not wise, but we do not make the mistake of imagining that it is a shortcoming in the higher political echelons.

I should like first of all to express my very real appreciation of the courtesy of the new Minister of Fisheries this summer when he was in my constituency in coming out to visit me at my house before going to the constituency of my colleague, the hon. member

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for Comox-Alberni. In many years of sitting as an opposition member, both in the legislature and in the House of Commons, I must say this is the first time a cabinet minister has considered it important enough to call on me as an opposition member.

I have a number of specific matters which I wish to bring to the attention of the minister. I discussed during the Christmas recess with officers of the fishermen's union in Vancouver, and I imagine the minister has already been made aware of this point, the question of the re-institution of the bounty on dogfish. The dogfish population on the coast appears to have been increasing very rapidly in the last year or so and has been causing very great damage, both to the fish and to the nets, causing considerable loss to the fishermen.

1 can understand the difficulties with which the minister may be faced in re-instituting this bounty because, of course, the history of the way in which the bounty was taken advantage of by certain fishing companies does present problems. As soon as the bounty was instituted the price paid by the companies for dogfish was reduced by that amount. In a very adroit way, of course, the fishing companies succeeded in having the federal treasury pay for half the dogfish they bought.

There is a similar matter I would like to bring to the minister's attention and that is the question of reducing the population of sea lions which has become very acute once again on our coast and the fishermen with whom I have discussed the matter are of the opinion that the government might well take some action at the rookeries of these animals to reduce the population sharply.

They have also been concerned for a year or two with the question of whether or not Japanese fishermen in the Pacific are actually catching fish which had their origins in Canadian rivers. I understand there was a sort of expedition made from the biological station of Nanaimo a year or so ago into the western Pacific waters in an attempt to solve this problem and to get some factual information about it. Some of the fishermen with whom I discussed the matter are of the opinion that expedition did not go far enough and that they would have been better advised to have made arrangements to go out with the Japanese fishing fleet. I believe the union in fact asked permission for one or more of their members to be sent on such an expedition so they could report to the fishermen on the coast as to the evidence that might be found with regard to this matter.

I have also received a letter from the northern branch of the fishermen's union at

' Mr. Cameron.]

Prince Rupert which is connected with this question and this letter sets forth the present position with regard to territorial waters and suggests that the present three-mile limit is wholly inadequate to protect Canadian fisheries from foreign fishing in what are virtually, so far as fishing is concerned, our own territorial waters. I would like the minister to take note of that matter although, of course, that particular question does not come within the purview of his department.

Another matter was discussed by me with the union of which I was reminded by the hon. member for Halifax when he was speaking. He was citing as a black mark against the Liberal administration the fact that the numbers of fishermen engaged in fishing in his part of the world had been steadily declining. Our trouble in British Columbia is the exact opposite-the numbers of fishermen have not been declining nearly enough to make up for the modern gear and methods of fishing that have been instituted. The fishermen's union in discussing this matter, twice have told me they thought it was time the government was beginning to consider the question of some method of limiting licences without imposing unfair penalties on bona fide fishermen at the present time, but that there should be a program of progressively limiting the number of licences. As licence holders die or leave the industry the licences should not be replaced in order that the fishing fleet might be reduced to a size where there would be an adequate livelihood for those engaged in the industry, without endangering the conservation methods. I might say that all the fishermen with whom I have spoken are in hearty support of such conservation methods and I believe this is evident in the very short fishing seasons now permitted in the waters between Vancouver island and the mainland. These have been progressively reduced in recent years by conservation methods in order to preserve the fishing industry and I feel that probably one of the reasons this has had to be done is the size of the fishing fleet. With such an enormous number of fishermen engaged, the limit of the catch which the conservation policy will allow is reached within a very short period, and this, I think, is a matter which the minister should seriously consider, namely the possibility of rationing the industry and reducing the number of commercial fishing licences issued during the fishing season.

Several hon. members have spoken of the conflict between power and fish in British Columbia, and I should like to underline what some of those who have spoken before me have said. I feel it is a very dangerous

attitude to take at the present time to say that power must take precedence over fish, and my attitude is not dictated entirely by purely economic reasons, either. I remember that last year when I was speaking on the fisheries estimates the then minister of fisheries made the comment-not at all an offensive comment, but a pleasant one, I thought-that I had placed this problem on a more fundamental basis by pointing out that we have in the world today a tremendously dangerous development in our thinking which would subordinate life and living things to manufactured goods of every kind and for every purpose; and I believe it is very important that we should be as cautious as possible about taking any steps which would destroy one of the major miracles of nature to be found in our country, namely the mysterious return of the salmon from the ocean every four years to spawn in the streams of the Pacific coast, a sight which cannot but impress anyone who sees it.

To destroy this in order to produce more aluminum, more this or more that, would seem to me to be an offence against the very purpose of life. In view of possible power developments in the future which might make installations of the present kind uneconomic it would seem to me most injudicious and most unwise to relax for one moment our determination to maintain the fisheries based on the rivers of our country. I think we should feel extremely regretful in 10 or 15 years from now, if having destroyed the fisheries on the Fraser river, one of the great fisheries of the world, we found that the hydro development there was no longer an economic project in the light of new developments in the use of atomic power. There have been indications from Britain in recent weeks that such developments are within measurable distance of achievement. I hope the Department of Fisheries will maintain the rigid determination that has been shown in the past to avoid any rash destruction of fisheries in favour of a short term advantage in the generation of power for manufacturers.

These are some of the matters which fishermen on the coast wish to have brought to the attention of the minister. I think most of these fishermen take the position that no matter what government is in office these matters will, and must be, attended to. They will be watching very carefully of course just what action the present administration will take in these matters, but their criticism will, I think, in the future as well as in the past be directed rather to the actual administration of fishery policies by civil servants of the department than to anything else. I hope the new minister will examine some of the actions which have been taken and

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perhaps review them and take heed of the views of the commercial fishermen on the Pacific coast who, I think by and large, are well seized of the necessity of careful conservation measures with a view to maintaining the industry on which the livelihood of so many people depends.

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SC

Frederick George Hahn

Social Credit

Mr. Hahn:

At the outset, Mr. Chairman, I should like to congratulate the minister on his appointment to his present post in charge of the Department of Fisheries. I think this is a recognition of the fact that he has always taken an active part in discussions on fisheries matters and shown a keen interest on many occasions, not merely in the fisheries problems of the east but also in those of the west coast. I was particularly pleased that the new minister should have taken the time, while he was on the Pacific coast studying the fisheries question in that area, to call on myself and others-not just on members of his own political party-in order that we might discuss with him some of the problems which affected our constituents.

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LIB

Charles-Arthur Dumoulin Cannon

Liberal

Mr. Cannon:

On a point of order, I wonder whether the shorter member for Halifax is still in the chamber or whether he left after he had delivered his own speech, as he accused the hon. member for Charlotte of doing.

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SC

Frederick George Hahn

Social Credit

Mr. Hahn:

I am, frankly, not amazed at what has just taken place in the committee, but I certainly wonder what the hon. member for Halifax has to do with the member for New Westminster, except that we both have the problems of the fishing industry on our minds. I trust that in future any interruptions which may occur will have something to add to what I have to say, or that they will seek to show that the arguments I am making in respect of the fishing industry on the Pacific coast are incorrect.

I certainly agree 100 per cent with a few of the points which have been raised today. The hon. member for Nanaimo has just referred to three important problems: the bounty on dogfish, the reduction in the population of sea lions, and the question of territorial waters. I think these are three matters of which the minister should take very careful note because they are matters which much concern the fishermen on the west coast. I do not wish to add to the hon. member's remark on these subjects at this time; but I wish merely to point out that these are questions which have been drawn to my attention as well as to his and, no doubt, they have been placed before each of the hon. members representing constituencies on the Pacific coast.

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Mr. Chairman, there remain several matters which have not been mentioned in the committee today but which have been drawn to my attention, possibly only because the constituents whom I have the honour to represent live along the Fraser river. One of these questions has to do with the equalization of the time allotted for catching fish. The gillnet association members have a particular complaint in this respect. They complain of the fact that the fishermen in the Johnston straits area who are permitted to fish five days a week with seiners, are being treated much more fairly than the corresponding fishermen on the Fraser river who are only permitted to catch fish during two days of the week. The reason for their complaint is well founded. They say it is exactly the same run of fish which is in question, the same fish comes up the Fraser river as passes through the straits and, therefore, they think they should be given the right to fish for as many days as the fishermen in the seine vessels. There is a certain feeling that a particular group is being favoured, and they do not think this should be the case.

It is a grave problem this year, particularly in view of the fact that the Minister of Labour announced that there were some

698.000 unemployed as of December 26. While he did mention the fishermen, I would say that a good many of those he mentioned are undoubtedly from the Fraser valley and they cannot qualify because they do not have a sufficient number of weeks devoted to fishing to qualify them for unemployment insurance benefits under the regulations.

Another question that has disturbed this group of fishermen is the division of time which is proposed under the regulations dated December 5, 1957. The first of these regulations reads as follows:

That a split fishing day for salmon purse seines and salmon gill nets be established in area 6 (Butedale) area 7 (Bella Bella) and area 8 (Bella Coola-Namu), whereby during each fishing week salmon purse seines would operate from 6.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. daily, and salmon gill nets from

6.00 p.m. each day to 6.00 a.m. of the day following; provided that the opening day (Sunday) of each week would be exempted from this arrangement; also it would not quite apply to Burke Channel above Kwatna, nor to Dean Channel above Edward Point.

I realize, Mr. Chairman, that this does not relate exclusively to my own riding but it does concern fishermen. The regulation continues:

It is represented that such arrangement would aid in the ever-increasing problem of conservation of salmon runs in these particular areas; also that separation of the two types of gear would assist in orderly and effective operations by each and would be generally advantageous.

(Mr. Hahn.]

Then there is this particular note:

Note: If there appeared to be doubt that such a regulation could be applied successfully to the whole of each area, there is the alternative suggestion that the proposal be implemented on a trial basis for the 1958 season by confining its application to particular waters of the three areas, i.e. Whale Channel, Matheson Channel-Kynoch Inlet, Seaforth Channel, Fisher Channel-Fitzhugh Sound.

The observation made by the gillnet fishermen in this respect is that the time allotment is completely in reverse of what they think it should be. The fishermen cannot gill at night and if this proposal is put into effect the seiners would have the full advantage of getting the bulk of the fish.

The hon. member for the Fraser Valley raised the question of the ownership of the Japanese fleet. I asked the former administration about deep-sea fishing and the former minister of fisheries, the hon. member for Coast-Capilano, as recorded at page 1711 of Hansard of February 27, 1957, had this to say:

It may be that there is some slight mingling in the centre of the ocean-it is a very big ocean- between the salmon which have left the Siberian streams and the salmon which have left our British Columbian and Alaskan streams.

These hon. members who were here might recall that at that time I raised the question as to whether Japanese fishermen were catching salmon which might have spawned in the Fraser river or upstream from the Fraser and had gone out to sea and were being caught by Japanese and other fishermen. In his reply which I read a moment ago the minister said that there was perhaps some slight mingling in the middle of the ocean but he went on to say:

As far as the pink salmon is concerned it is highly unlikely, because they are only a small five-pound fish at maturity and they cannot go that far. The sockeye are out there for four years and the springs may be there for five years, so it is possible that the big ones may get that far. Some of the Siberian fish may turn up over here and some of our fish over there.

The question I would raise, Mr. Chairman-

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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

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SC

Frederick George Hahn

Social Credit

Mr. Hahn:

We have suddenly been plunged into darkness, Mr. Chairman, because the lights have all gone out.

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Some hon. Members:

Carry on.

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CCF

Alistair McLeod Stewart

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Stewart (Winnipeg North):

The Hansard reporter will be unable to continue in the dark.

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SC

Frederick George Hahn

Social Credit

Mr. Hahn:

Mr. Chairman, do you wish me to continue or shall I wait for a few minutes to see if the lights come on again.

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PC

Charles Edward Rea

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Rea):

If the hon. member wishes he could take his seat for a moment until we see if the power failure can be corrected.

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg Norlh Centre):

Mr. Chairman, I think it should be pointed out that this once happened under the Liberals, too.

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LIB

Leonard T. Stick

Liberal

Mr. Slick:

You can rest assured there will be no chance of having it happen under the C.C.F.

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January 11, 1958