February 1, 1926 (15th Parliament, 1st Session)


Jean George Robichaud



I was quite amused
when the hon. member for Kent (Mr. Dou-cet) made his first appearance in the county of Gloucester. What doctrine did he preach there? He stated that the government had announced that it intended to stop illegal fishing in the Maritime provinces, and my hon. friend announced that it was bad pdlicy to do so. He argued that it was bad policy to stop poaching and other illegal practices. We all know, Mr. Speaker, that the fisheries in the Maritime provinces need some protection, but instead of co-operating with this government in doing that hon. gentlemen apposite tried to throw slurs in the faces of their opponents and endeavoured to make the people down there believe that poaching should be allowed, that the fisheries are practically inexhaustible and that no restriction should be enforced. Why, Mr. Speaker, our effort has been to make our fisheries more productive, and to perpetuate them for all time, if we can. In that connection I mention especially the lobster fisheries.
My hon. friend made a reference to the mounted police. It ill becomes hon. gentlemen opposite to make such an allusion in

view of the prosecutions to which the good fishermen of the county of Gloucester were subjected by the Conservatives between 1911 and 1921. For what purpose did the hon. member for Kent indulge in this denunciation of the mounted police during the campaign? For no other reason than to secure his election to this House and at the expense of one of our most precious industries.
While I am on the subject of fisheries, I think I should explain to the House the great advantage that my people in the constituency of Gloucester have derived from this industry. We have in Gloucester one of the finest, if not the finest, fishing fleet in the . Dominion of Canada. I believe that in intelligence and in capacity of every description the French Acadian fishermen excel almost any other class that I know of. The French Acadian fisherman is the pioneer of the fishing industry in this country. Long before the creation of this Dominion, fishermen from Normandy, on the other side of the ocean, fished on the great banks of Newfoundland, Mowing the example of the Norwegians and other fishermen from the northern parts of Europe. The French fishermen from Normandy migrated from the coast of Newfoundland and 'have settled, for "the first time in history, in my constituency of Gloucester, in my own native parish. To give to the House a further evidence that the fishing industry was introduced at an early date in my constituency of Gloucester, I may say that the first business man who came across the ocean to engage in the fisheries of the Maritime provinces was an English gentleman by the name of Robin. He came from the Old Country, opened up fishing posts on the shores of Baie de Chaleur, and later on his firm settled at Shippegan and now occupy the very fishing plant which these people possessed some two hundred years ago. When my friends opposite carried on a contest in the constituency of Gloucester and described the representative of that constituency as a traitor to his fishermen friends, I say that they were not loyal, nor were they fair to the fishermen and to myself. I serve notice on my hon. friends from the province of New Brunswick that when they visit my constituency for the purpose of campaigning, they must be careful what words or phrases they use.
A great deal has been said about freight rates. It has been pointed out in New Brunswick that this parliament should legislate in regard 'to freight rates. Members from the province of Nova Scotia have taken the same ground. It has been demonstrated time and time again on the floor of .this House that this

The Address-Mr. Robichaud
government was not doing its duty because it was not legislating with a view of reducing the freight rates on shipments to and from the Maritime provinces. I wonder if this is in accord with the belief of most hon. members of this House. Is it in accord with the position taken by the right hon. leader of the opposition when he opened his campaign in Nova Scotia, when he most em-9 p.m. phatically declared that this parliament should not, could not and ought not to legislate in regard to freight rates; that that should be left to the railway commission? I have before me the very words of the right hon. leader of the opposition in this respect. They are as follows:
I believe in the integrity of the railway commission. The judicial status of that authority must be maintained, and it is the proper body to fix rates. Parliament should not be permitted to interfere with the commission's jurisdiction because of the demands of any one section of the country.
Now, Mr. Speaker, if the right hon. leader of the opposition bad obtained a majority on the 29th of October last, my hon. friends from Nova Scotia would have demanded that he enact certain legislation in order to fix freight rates for the Maritime provinces, and my Tight hon. friend would have said, "I cannot do this, I cannot do that, because I made a solemn declaration that this parliament should not interfere with freight rates."
A little further on he Stated that the railways of this country should be subsidized. If the business interests of the country had approached the government and obtained subsidies for the railway service, and thereby obtained reduced cost of transportation, I say the country would then be embarking on a very dangerous precedent. If we were to legislate in this manner for the Maritime provinces, then the province of Quebec, with its extensive territories covering the large peninsula of Ungava; Ontario, with its immense tract of land to the north; Saskatchewan and Alberta, with their large areas of land, and British Columbia, which extends away up north to the region of Alaska, would demand the same rights; and where would we find ourselves? There would be no limit to the drain that would foe made on the treasury of this country.
The problems and the conditions in the Maritime provinces would not be so bad, after all, were it not for the wailing in regard to hard times by these pseudo-Maritime righters; and I believe that conditions would be much better, much nearer normal, in that section of the country. Business is increasing by leaps and bounds. Much has been said about the business which passes through the ports
of St. John and Halifax, and it has been suggested that these ports have not been getting the business which should have gone to them. But let us see, for the sake of comparison, what the port of Halifax is receiving to-day and what it was receiving under the Conservative regime in 1913, the year before the war commenced. I have before me an extract from an editorial in the Regina Leader of January 1st, 1926 which deals with an article published by a newspaper in Halifax, referring to a report of Mr. E. A. Saunders, Secretary of the Halifax board of trade. Now, Mr. Speaker, I think that these words, the utterances of the Halifax board of trade, should be considered as authentic. They should be considered as disclosing the conditions as they exist in Halifax. According to this gentleman, the business of the port has increased considerably since 1913. Let me quote from the editorial in question:
The 'business of the port for the past year, in comparison with that of earlier years, is reviewed. In 1913 the shipping tonnage of the port was 4,000,000 tons, in 1925 it was 11,000,000 tons. During last year the port had 213 calls from ships of over 10,000 tons, and from thirty-five to forty of the largest steamship lines operating on the North Atlantic use the port. The inward and outward tonnage of freight has increased enormously over any previous year except those in which munitions and war supplies were being carried. Halifax, too, as a city, does a greater business than ever before. Her bank clearings increased from 96 millions in 1910 to 154 millions in 1925. The exports and imports of Halifax were 28 millions in 1917 and were last year 64 millions. The customs receipts of the port were 2J millions in 1913 and well over 3 millions last year.
This goes to show that business is after all not so bad in that part of the Maritime provinces as hon. gentlemen opposite would have us believe. And as regards New Brunswick, is there anything the matter with that province except perhaps the fact that a Conservative government is in power? Hon. gentlemen opposite profess to have Maritime rights very much at heart, and yet. they sent down from this House the Hon. Mr. Baxter, a man whom I admit I admire for his capacity and intelligence, to defeat one of the most progressive and capable governments which the province of New Brunswick has ever had.

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