Hon. P. J. A. CARDIN (Minister of Marine and Fisheries):
Mr. Chairman, I realize the importance of the matter which was raised by my hon. friend last night, but I doubt very much if he appreciates the extent of the expenditure necessary were the government to accede to all the representations which are made in regard to the establishment of live-saving stations. The government last year considered the matter of placing a life-saving station at Scatarie island, and it also considered the placing of similar stations at Whitehead and Halifax. When the matter of costs was looked into it was found that it would cost $550,000 to set up these three stations with modern life-saving equipment. The committee will realize what it would cost if this service were extended all over the country. I must confess that when my officers submitted that figure I was somewhat frightened, and I hesitated to ask parliament to vote such a large sum for the establishment of these life-saving stations. The department is not losing sight of the importance of such stations at certain points, but we must realize that it would be impossible for Canada to meet all the requests which have been made for the establishment of life-saving stations. During the last session hon. members from Toronto complained because the department had not established sufficient life-saving stations on the great lakes and that we were not fulfilling our duty in protecting life on these inland waters. If we were to establish modern life-saving stations all over the country it would cost millions of dollars. The United States has been cited as an example, but I visited one of their life-saving stations last year and as far as efficiency is concerned I do not thinlc they are very much ahead of Canada. In that .country the life-saving organization is joined with the coast guard service and Canada might consider the joining of our life-saving service with the protective and patrol service of the National Revenue department and the Fisheries department. I was told by the man in charge of this station which I visited that he had been there for twenty-five years and during that time he had not used the devices which were placed at his disposal. A small gasoline boat on the great lakes would be of very little assistance to a vessel which might be in difficulties in the middle of the lake or at the opposite end, and to give effective service it would mean
Supply-Marine and Fisheries
the establishing of a very expensive organization, and I think we should hesitate before entering into such a large program.
The case of Scaterie island is still being considered by the department. At the present time the deputy minister is in England investigating the system which they have there, and I would advise the hon. member for Richmond-West Cape Breton (Mr. Macdonald) that the case of Scaterie island is very well known to the deputy minister. After giving this matter very careful and full consideration I came to the conclusion that if these requests are to be met it will be necessary for me to come before parliament and ascertain if it is the desire of the house that we have a yearly expenditure of over $1,000,000. The amount for which we are asking is not very large, $80,000, when one considers the extended service which is provided. Our Object always has been to meet the conditions which arise at particular points which we consider to be the most important as far as protecting life is concerned. I realize that Scatarie island is an important point and I can assure my hon. friend that that matter is not being lost sight of.
Subtopic: MARINE AND FISHERIES