Hon. J. E. MICHAUD (Minister of Transport) :
Mr. Speaker, the hon. leader of the opposition was kind enough to send me advance notice of the question. It is true that on account of severe weather and ice conditions it has been difficult to maintain regular ferry communications across the strait of Northumberland with the only combined ice breaker and car ferry that we have at our disposal. During the latter part of January and for the better part of February it has been very difficult to maintain regular operation of the service. On some days it has taken between twelve and fourteen hours to make a single crossing of nine miles. However, lately conditions have changed for the better, and I am informed that yesterday there were twelve crossings between Cape Tormen-tine and the island and eleven crossings the day before. To relieve the situation with respect to the potatoes it has been decided to transfer merchandise from box cars to refrigerator cars at Cape Tormentine, thus adding to the supply of cars available for the winter shipment of potatoes. Until ice conditions are improved it is impossible to remedy the situation because there is only one combined ice breaker and car ferry in the whole service. When there is a change in the weather and ice conditions we will transfer one other car ferry from another section of the maritimes to help relieve the situation between Cape Tormentine and Prince Edward Island.
Subtopic: COMMUNICATIONS WITH MAINLAND