April 21, 1939 (18th Parliament, 4th Session)

LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

The department simply carries out the legislation. I was mistaken when I said that the legislation was mandatory that a wharfinger must be appointed. That is not so, because a great many of the docks handle only fish or business that is exempt from wharfage. The branch handling these wharves recommends to the minister that certain wharves have a revenue for which a wharfinger is required, and recommends the appointment of a wharfinger at that place. Where the department makes that recommendation, under the act it is the duty of the minister, as I conceive it, to endeavour to appoint a wharfinger. I believe it is well worth while for any community to have a wharfinger. It is impossible for the department to give proper service to a dock and to keep it in repair unless there is someone looking after 71492-195
it, and it is impossible to do the writing and that sort of thing unless there is some little revenue. The Government Harbours and Piers Act provides that no funds can be spent except funds collected in the operation of the dock. W7e are not able to spend any of the funds of the department in operating any dock under the Government Harbours and Piers Act. Obviously, if there is a warehouse at the dock, someone must look after it or it serves no useful function. We try to appoint wharfingers as well located in respect to the wharf as possible, but of course sometimes a wharf is some distance from the settlement. I think that on the whole our wharfingers take their work seriously, endeavour to give service to their public, and that in the great majority of communities they have overcome the first prejudice which existed against anyone charging for the use of government property and have built up goodwill. I could name many communities in which the wharfinger is highly respected for the work he does.

Topic:   REFERENCE OF ITEMS IN ESTIMATES TO COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP TRANSPORT
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