July 3, 1935 (17th Parliament, 6th Session)


Finlay MacDonald

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacDONALD (Cape Breton):

I find myself more or less in sympathy with the objects behind the bill, and particularly is that true of hon. members representing shore fishermen. Hon. members from constituencies adjoining fishing grounds must be well aware of the desperate condition under which fishermen are living. But those of us who know the particular requirements of fishermen cannot, I fear, get very much hope from any of the provisions in the bill. Our fishermen do

Mortgage Credits jor Fishermen
not require any large amount of money. All that the boat fisherman needs is a small amount, possibly S50, S75 or $100 at the beginning of the fishing season so that' he may fit out his boat, gear and other equipment. They require, further, a ready market for their product.
In a cumbersome way this bill seeks to deal with a very simple question. Of course there is no doubt that under the provisions of the bill a large amount of money could be raised, but it is when we come to the distribution of the money among the fishermen that I see great difficulty so far as possible benefits are concerned. Evidently the bill is drafted along the lines of the farm loan legislation. Those of us who have studied the matter do not believe that the farm loan board is adapted to provide money for fishermen and the machinery set up by that board cannot be used to their advantage.
I repeat that this bill provides only a very cumbersome method of financing, and the fishermen I represent are not in a position to avail themselves of its provisions. Any fisherman who has security sufficient to enable him to comply with the provisions of the act would not have to avail himself of those provisions. He could secure any financial assistance he required either through the banks or through private agencies. Then, there is no provision in the bill for marketing. My view is that if by more simple means we can attain the objects sought by the fishermen there is no necessity for the cumbersome method provided in this measure. The ordinary fisherman wants fifty or seventy-five or a hundred dollars in the spring, and that is all he wants. That enables him to secure his boat, fix up his nets and get his plant. There should also be some provision for insurance against the loss of his little plant, which everybody knows is quite apt to happen because of the hazardous nature of the fisherman's calling. We used to have a very simple method of assisting farmers in the purchase of their seed in the spring. An amount of money was provided and placed in the hands of a responsible party who advanced seventy-five or one hundred dollars to the farmer, taking his notes, and repayment being made when the harvest came in the fall. There is no reason why such a procedure could not be adopted in dealing with the fishermen, and particularly the boat fishermen of whom I speak. I do not wish to delay the house. All I want to do is to go on record as expressing with some reluctance my own view which is that this bill will not be of any assistance to the fishermen I have the honour to represent in this house.

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