June 3, 1960

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Maurice Brasset

Mr. Brisset:

I will not say that I am speaking for the Canadian government here. I am trying to explain-

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Mr. Dorn@

But you are implying that you do speak for the Canadian government, however.

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PC

George Harris Hees (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hees:

I think I can explain that without there being any need for the hon. member to read further. This case is, of course, very well known to me. The shipping federation had no authority whatever to speak for the Canadian government. They did so on their own, and as soon as we found out what the federation had said and done we reprimanded them severely for so doing. We also informed the United States government that they were not speaking for the Canadian government.

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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Official Opposition House Leader; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

How did you reprimand them, by slapping their backs?

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PC

George Harris Hees (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hees:

As I remember it, we spoke to them rather sharply.

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CCF

Douglas Mason Fisher

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

Mr. Fisher:

The minister, in his reply to my question, said the matter was taken up on May 29, 1959 at a meeting of officials with the pilotage committee of the shipping federation.

This raises a matter which is bothering me as one who is, in a sense, an involuntary spokesman for some of the pilots. Since many of the pilots have now become civil servants it has been suggested that the shipping federation has become a spokesman for some of the policies followed by the government. There have been complaints that the shipping federation has had the ear of the Department of Transport right down the line. Whatever the Department of Transport does usually

Supply-Transport

follows the policies of the shipping federation of Canada. This being the argument, I want to ask the minister if he has received from the St. Lawrence river pilots a review of the situation by the shipping federation of Canada and, if he has, I should like to know if he is in agreement with the following suggestion made by the federation on page 8 of the pamphlet. These read as follows:

It is the opinion and recommendation of the Shipping Federation of Canada, Inc., that a system of dealing with the pilotage situation should be evolved which would:

1) Pay the pilots fairly and adequately in relation to their competence and the service performed.

2) Remove, permanently, as a subject of discussion with pilots, the tariffs which are to be applied to the shipping industry. It is the opinion of the federation that this can and should be done by establishing a non-political commission to administer pilotage and to determine-after discussion with pilots and shipping interests-fair levels of remuneration for them. Matters of tariffs, service charges and other assessments against the industry would be worked out between the commission and representatives of the shipping industry.

The present monopolistic position of the pilots is capable of creating serious discrepancies between services performed and the cost of the service. Instability of pilotage service can affect not only the shipping industry but the entire Canadian economy adversely. The present system is conducive to instability, and is deteriorating rapidly. The Shipping Federation of Canada Inc. regards it as most urgent to establish immediately a system of pilotage which will ensure-

Eight points are then listed, and I do not wish to take up time by reading them all. What I should like to ask is this: are these, now, the objectives of his department and, if not, what are his department's views?

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PC

George Harris Hees (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hees:

To go back to the first question which was asked. The hon. member says that the shipping federation has the ear of the department. I can assure him that the shipping federation quite often says to us that the pilots have the ear of the government. We get it from both sides. We have meetings with both parties quite often and we listen with great interest to what each side has to say. Then we try to work out the best possible policy from the point of view of the pilots and the shippers.

With regard to the pamphlet which the hon. member has mentioned, I am aware of the pamphlet but I do not want to comment on the question which was raised. I may say that no federation makes government policy.

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CCF

Douglas Mason Fisher

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

Mr. Fisher:

Could the minister tell me whether the dominion marine association or the lake carriers association have recently presented their views on the pilotage situation to the minister and, if so, what are those views?

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PC

George Harris Hees (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hees:

It depends on what the hon. member means by "recently". They meet with us two or three times a year. We would have

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to know the subject to which the hon. member is referring, or the time. Whenever we get together, pilotage is always one of the subjects that come up for discussion.

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CCF

Douglas Mason Fisher

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

Mr. Fisher:

What I meant by "recently" is that there have been indications from the annual meetings-they usually have a joint meeting with the lake carriers-.that their objections were much more in line with those of the United States pilots' union than with the views of the shipping federation of Canada. Anyway, there is a conflict of views here, and I should like to know something about how this is to be resolved, and what is the attitude of the department.

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PC

George Harris Hees (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hees:

I should like to assure the hon. member that the government is not dictated to in these matters by the shipping federation or the dominion marine association or by the pilots group. We meet with them all. We listen to them all and we try to adopt the best policy we can. Nobody is telling us what to do in their own particular interest.

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CCF

Douglas Mason Fisher

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

Mr. Fisher:

I should like to read an extract which appeared at page 43 of the October 1, 1959 issue of Fairplay magazine:

In a recent article which appeared in an American magazine, Mr. Carl E. McDowell, executive vice president of the American institute of marine underwriters, referred to some of the problems which were confronting underwriters with regard to the opening of the St. Lawrence seaway. He said that the records of the American institute of marine underwriters had reported 62 casualties or accidents to vessels in the St. Lawrence river, the seaway, and the lakes since the seaway opened (to June 19) compared with 39 in the same period in 1958. (This is exclusive of fishing vessels and barges, and ice damage.) Many of these accidents, however, were of a kind which marine underwriters have come to associate with this new approach which makes an "eighth sea" of the great lakes. Many of the vessels now entering the lakes have never done so before. Their masters and crews, no matter how able and experienced in ocean navigation have little or no experience with the especially difficult narrow and restricted passages which constitute much of the seaway. "Rules of the road" for navigation in the seaway and great lakes differ in many respects from those used on the high seas. Mr. McDowell said marine underwriters were hopeful that legislation would be passed by both Canada and the United States which would require experienced great lakes pilots to be aboard all vessels using the seaway and the lakes. They supported a bill sponsored by the United States coast guard which would have accomplished a good part of this aim. Unfortunately, however, this legislation was not passed during the last session of congress and is still pending.

The viewpoint expressed therein is that there has been an increasing number of accidents on the lakes as a result of foreign shipping coming in and that they stem from the unfamiliarity of the foreign masters with the rules of the road and all the difficulties of narrow and restricted passages. Would the

[Mr. Hees.l

minister inform us what the record indicates in the first year of the seaway operations and this year as far as the accident pattern is concerned and if there has been the marked shift that this article alleges has occurred?

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PC

George Harris Hees (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hees:

I do not have that specific information available at the moment but I shall be glad to secure it for the hon. member and give it to him.

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CCF

Douglas Mason Fisher

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

Mr. Fisher:

The minister will admit that this type of allegation lends some support to the stand of the admiral of the United States coastguard and of those people who argue that foreign shipping should have Canadian or United States pilots on board. I would appreciate the minister giving us a summary of the experience in this regard. Is there an increased danger of accidents as a result of foreign ships being within the great lakes waterways? If so, what is the incidence of accidents and what steps could be taken to solve the problem if it exists?

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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Official Opposition House Leader; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

Mr. Chairman, may I be allowed to follow up what the hon. member for Port Arthur has said. I think there is no doubt but that because of the additional number of ships and particularly foreign vessels that have come into the waterway there has been an increased number of accidents but that was to be expected. I am sure that when you have mariners who are not familiar with the canals and who have never operated an ocean-going ship in inland waters, particularly having regard to the winds and other elements, on the canals and the great lakes, there would be an increased number of accidents. I feel sure, however, that with the experience of 1959 behind us there will be in 1960 fewer accidents than in the previous year because the masters and mates will be more familar with the route and also because of the precautions that I am sure will be taken by both entities, the St. Lawrence seaway authority and the St. Lawrence seaway development corporation.

I had the opportunity of speaking with one of the members of the St. Lawrence seaway corporation at Massena not long ago. He gave it as his opinion that while it was true there had been a number of accidents caused by inexperience and curiosity seekers from overseas on the great lakes he was sure that in 1960 these accidents would be substantially reduced.

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PC

George Harris Hees (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hees:

I think the hon. member for Laurier has put the case very well. As I say, I shall be glad to get these figures for the hon. member for Port Arthur. I will certainly have them by the time the bill dealing with pilotage comes before us and perhaps even

before that. As soon as I have them I will let the hon. member for Port Arthur have them.

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CCF

William Arnold Peters (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Peters:

What is the liability of foreign ships that use and damage the canal system without pilotage, particularly if damage is caused to property owned by the authority as a result of the inability of the ship's officers to understand the rules?

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PC

George Harris Hees (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hees:

It depends on the nature of the accident. If it is a slight accident and one which it is considered has come about through no fault of the master there probably would be no recourse taken but if it is a serious accident of any kind with a considerable amount of damage these cases may all be taken up in the courts between the government and the shipping company concerned.

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CCF

William Arnold Peters (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Peters:

Let me give an example. At Cornwall last year a boat took out one gate. I was there shortly afterwards and was told it happened regularly. The masters on the ships did not understand the signals used and were not used to judging distances in cramped quarters.

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PC

George Harris Hees (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hees:

It would all depend on our assessment of the case as to whether or not we considered the master of the ship had been negligent. If we considered the accident had occurred through no fault of the master because of conditions beyond his control or some mistake on our part or on the part of the canal authority in not signalling him properly we would not proceed against the company. If we considered that the damage was caused by negligence on the part of the ship, however, then we would certainly prosecute.

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June 3, 1960