I think the suggestion a
very good one, but I do not think it necessary to ask for a special vote. The fund is a trust fund which, although voted by parliament, does not come out of the general revenue at all. It is administered by the accountant in my department on very strict rules. There seems to be almost a conspiracy on the part of many medical men to exact enormous fees from this trust fund which belongs to the sailors, and we have some difficulty in getting their fees kept down to a proper figure. There has been a change in the policy during the last ten or twenty years. Formerly the department used to build marine hospitals at the seaports, and we had our own staff there, but this was found very expensive, and we have adopted the plan of utilizing the many excellent hospitals which have been buiit in most of the cities and towns of the Dominion. In Montreal, we are under contract with the larger hospitals for so much for seaman per day. and the seamen get in these institutions the most scientific treatment at much less cost than if we had them in hospitals of our own.
But there are places where they have not facilities and where we have to provide hospitals. We have one at Pictou. As a result of an inspection made a short time ago, we find some repairs and improvements necessary. We propose also the construction of a cottage marine hospital at Louisburg, the shipping of which port has largely increased within the last few years. Hitherto, we have farmed the men out, as it were, in private houses. But there are no houses where the men can get proper hospital treatment, and to take a sick man and ship him to Sydney for treatment in the hospital may expose him to dangers on the trip. Considering the circumstances, we have decided to build a new cottage hospital at Louisburg, estimated to cost about $5,000. The hospital at Sydney, owing to the enormous increase of shipping there, needs a new wing, and besides we want to improve and modernize the appliances there. This will cost about $5,000. Thus there will be $5,000 for the new hospital at Louisburg, $5,000 for new wing and modern appliances at Sydney and about $2,000 for improvements at Pictou.