Harry Bernard SHORT

SHORT, Harry Bernard

Personal Data

Conservative (1867-1942)
Digby--Annapolis (Nova Scotia)
Birth Date
September 1, 1864
Deceased Date
April 15, 1937

Parliamentary Career

October 29, 1925 - July 2, 1926
  Digby--Annapolis (Nova Scotia)
September 14, 1926 - May 30, 1930
  Digby--Annapolis (Nova Scotia)
July 28, 1930 - August 14, 1935
  Digby--Annapolis (Nova Scotia)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 139 of 140)

March 1, 1926


They sent a solid sixteen in 1921 and expected something of them, but what did they get? Not one of them stood up in this House and opened his mouth for the province of Nova Scotia. During the whole four years they were here they were nothing but voting machines; that is all they were. But the members now on this side of the House from Nova Scotia are not going to be mere voting machines. We are here to look after the interests of Nova Scoba, and we are going to do it. One of my Progressive friends the other day said that he was sick and tired of hearing about Nova Scotia, and I told him, "You have only commenced to hear about it, and if we are here until next summer you are going to hear more about Nova Scotia every day we get an opportunity."

The time has arrived when the people of Nova Scotia will no longer be satisfied with any government that will not deal fairly and squarely with them, that will not treat them as an integral part of this great Dominion and see to it that the promises made to us under the terms of the confederation pact are carried out. We must, Mr. Speaker, be given a fair share of the shipments of the western wheat that now go through foreign ports. It was intended when the Grand Trunk Pacific was built, at such a tremendous cost to this country, that Canadian products handled by this railway should be shipped through Canadian ports. Why should this country spend hundreds of millions of dollars of the people's money in building a railway to carry freight to be shipped out of foreign ports? It has been stated that geography was against us in the Maritimes, that freight must be shipped by the shortest haul. Geography was not against us when the Great war was on. What would Canada have done then had it not

The Address-Mr. Short

been for the ports of the Maritime provinces, where it was necessaiy to assemble ships to carry our troops overseas? Not only troops, but freight also was carried to the Maritimes and shipped from there. If these ports were necessary to the country then, why are they not just as essential in times of peace? The geography is just the same now as it was when we entered into confederation, and I say to this House that we will not be satisfied in the Maritimes until we get our share of Canadian products shipped out of our ports during the winter season at least. This talk about not having the ships available for the business is all nonsense. Ships will always follow the freight. If the management of the Canadian National Rail ways were at all anxious to carry western products to the Maritimes for shipment overseas, the ships would be forthcoming, but the fact of the matter is the management of the railway is wedded to Portland and other American ports, and just so long as the people of this country will stand for it that is the way our freight will be routed. But I can assure this government that the people of the Maritimes do not propose to stand for this sort of treatment any longer. The time has arrived when they demand that they get their fair share of the country's business.

At six o'clock the House took recess.

After Recess

The House resumed at eight o'clock.

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March 1, 1926


Mr. Speaker, when the House rose at six o'clock I was discussing the position of the Canadian National Railway. I want to read a few extracts from a bulletin issued by the Railway Users' Association of Canada in connection with this railway, and also quote from a speech delivered by Sir Henry Thornton, president and general manager of the Canadian National Railways, 'before a convention of the Western Retail Lumbermen's Association in Winnipeg on January 28. Sir Henry on that occasion is reported to have made this statement:

He emphasized tthe fact that the Canadian National Railway was ready to support anything that would move the grain through Canadian ports, explaining that ft was to its advantage having no interest in Buffalo or any other United States port.

I should like to know how Sir Henry could make such a statement, in view of the fact that the Canadian National Railway has a contract with the White Star Dominion line by which the former undertakes to deliver as much tonnage as possible to the vessels of that line at the port of Portland, Maine.

[Mr Short.]

In giving evidence before the select committee of the United States Shipping Board at Washington, Mr. D. O. Wood, Foreign Freight Traffic Manager of the Canadian National Railway, said:

The traffic which comes through the port of Portland is, I should say, without going into exact figures, possibly SO or 90 per cent of Canadian origin.

The port of Portland has been practically built up by the Grand Trunk Railway, and largely, from Canadian traffic.

There are other lines coming to Portland, of course, besides the White Star Dominion, but we have no contract with them; they come there because we were instrumental in the early days in having them come here by trying to help them fill their ships as far as we could.

If that service were not there I do not know where it would be; most likely it would come to St. John, N.B.

In another part of his evidence Mr. Wood states that,-"'this contract may be terminated on six months' notice, such notice to be given prior to March 1st of the calendar year."

I think, Mr. Speaker, it would be good business on the part of this government to have that contract cancelled, because it is certainly not in the interests of Canada, and not at all in the interests of the Maritime provinces. A statement is then given in the bulletin referred to of the amount of Canadian grain that had been shipped through Canadian ports and through American ports:

For the crop year ending August 1, 1924, the clearings from the undermentioned ports were as follows:


Canadian Pacific ports, via Vancouver.. 53.809,505

Canadian Atlantic ports, Montreal via St.

Lawrence 63 568,444

St. John, N.B 9,412,231

Quebec, via St. Lawrence 2.309,412

Halifax, N.S 302

Total Canadian Atlantic ports 75,290.389

United States Atlantic ports:

New York 63.091,140

Philadelphia 23,204.838

Baltimore 14.989.417

Norfolk 12,568,440

Portland, Maine 7,713.330

Boston, 7,173 269

All other United States ports 12.318.903

Total United States Atlantic ports.. .. 141,079 337

In 1919-20 the shipment of Canadian oats via United States ports was 5,802,538 bushels, but in 1923-24 it was 16.856,865 bushels.

The amount of all kinds of grain exported from Halifax during the crop year of 1919-20 was 2,695,677 bushels. In 1922-23 the amount of all kinds of grain shipped via that port was 203,831 bushels, and in 1923-24 the amount of all kinds of grain shipped via that port was only 342,404 bushels.

These figures tell a story that should cause every thinking Canadian to stop and consider the direction in which he and his country is being carried. The increasing costs of ralway service in Canada is not only diminishng producton and causing people to emigrate,, but it is diverting what tonnage this country continues to produce, to -the railroads of the United States at the nearest crossing point on the boundary. The Canadian National Railway cannot afford to carry grain from Montreal to Halifax, a distance of 841 miles, or to St.

The Address-Mr. Chabot

John, a distance of 481 miles; but it can carry Canadian grain from Fort William and the bay ports and other lake ports, to the boundary at Niagara, which is practically the same distance from Fort William as is Montreal, from where the railroads of the United States carry it to Philadelphia, a distance of 416 miles, to the amount of 23,000,000 bushels a year, and to Baltimore, a distance of 600 mi'les, to the amount of 15,000,000 bushels a year, and even to Norfolk, a distance of 860 miles, -to the amount of 12,500,000 bushels a year. No wonder that the press of these three cities are loud in their praise of Sir Henry. We cannot find that there has been any credit given in the papers of these cities to an official of any other Canadian road in this matter. Since Sir Henry has had charge of the Canadian National Railway, the Canadian people's road has carried practically no grain, and very little tonnage of any other kind, to any Canadian port outside of Montreal and Quebec, and to these ports a constantly diminishing quantity.

This is a paragraph which I should like the House to note:

If the port of Halifax had a railway system that pulled as hard for it as does the Western Maryland and the Pennsylvania railroad for Norfolk, Baltimore and Philadelphia, it would be one of the largest ports on the Atlantic coast. (Norfolk has an elevator Capacity of only 750,000 bushels, while Halifax has a capacity of 1,500,000 bushels.)

But it must not be overlooked that the Pennsylvania railroad has an exceptional advantage in that Sir Henry Thornton got his start in the railroad business with that company. For twenty years he was in its employ. He began with it in 1894 as an engineer, and rose gradually until he was General Superintendent of the Long Island railway, a subsidiary of the Pennsylvania railway system. In 1914 he was taken to England by the Great Eastern railway. From there he came to Canada.

This may explain why Sir Henry Thornton is not sympathetic to the Maritime provinces, and why we get none of that grain there. The facilities at the port of Halifax are certainly much better than those at Norfolk, where 12.500.000 bushels went in 1924 as against 342,404 bushels to Halifax. Does the country wonder why we in Nova Scotia are dissatisfied? Do hon,. members think we are going to stand for that sort of thing? I say, no.

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March 1, 1926


There has been a grain elevator at Halifax for years.

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March 1, 1926


The same elevator is there

that, was there in 1920. It was dismantled1 not in 1024, but only last fall. It was dismantled in 1925, if I read' the press correctly.

Mr. Speaker, it is proposed, according to the Speech from the Throne, that a royal commission be appointed to look into the affairs of the Maritimes and report to this House.


We want no commission to tell us what is required to bring prosperity to this part of the country. The Maritimes are represented by twenty-nine members of this parliament, who know thoroughly the conditions there and who are in a much better position to advise the government than any commission that can be appointed. Why wtaste the country's money on needless expenditures of this kind? We have no faith in commissions of this sort; they will not satisfy the minds of the people. The country has already had too many commissions and too little action.

Conditions in Nova Scotia are serious and are getting worse instead of better. Why, Mr. Speaker, every time the census is taken we lose representation in that province. During the last redistribution we were the only province in the Dominion that lost any of its members, and we lost two. In the last House our province had sixteen members; now we only have fourteen. If we were as prosperous as the hon. member for Queens-Lunenburg (Mr. Duff) would have us believe, why did we lose two members in the last redistribution? If something is not done to improve the situation we will go on losing in membership until we have only a handful of representatives coming to this House from that section of this country. Conditions are getting alarming in Nova Scotia, and it is absolutely necessary that the government of this country do something to right our wrongs and give us a chance to take our proper place along with the other provinces of this great Dominion.

I have in my constituency other industries than the fisheries, of which I spoke at length this afternoon. I refer to agriculture and fruit raising, particularly apples. A very large section of my constituency, known as the Annapolis valley, is devoted to appleraising, but I do not propose to weary the House at the present time with any further remarks in connection with those indtisfries. At some future day I shall have something to say with regard to them.

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March 1, 1926

Mr. H. B. SHORT (Digby-Annapolis):

Mr. Speaker, as one of the new members from Nova Scotia, may I along with my predecessors be permitted to extend to you my felicitations and congratulations upon your reappointment as Speaker of this House? I have been very much impressed with the fairness and dignity with which you administer the affairs of your high office and the courtesy that you always show to new members.

I have been designated by hon. members opposite as one of the Maritime lighters' group. They jnay call us what they like, but I support the policy of my right hon. leader, the leader of the opposition (Mr. Meighen) who, when the campaign opened last September, declared he realized that the Maritime provinces have their problems; that they had not received a fair deal from the late government, and that he was ready if he came into power to solve those problems even if it were necessary to take from the revenue of this country a sufficient sum to do so. Contrast this statement with the one made by the Right Hon. Mr. Mackenzie King, Prime Minister of this Dominion. Speaking at Kent-ville, Nova Scotia, he asked the audience: "What are Maritime rights?" He said: "If I knew what they were I would try to right them." Is it possible that he did not know? If he did not, he had for two years in this House sixteen members from Nova Scotia known as the "solid sixteen," and for three years he had fifteen members from that province. If the Prime Minister did not know what those problems were, surely those members who were sent to parliament as representatives from Nova Scotia should have told him. They certainly were, to use a slang phrase, not on to their job; they must have been asleep at the switch, because according to the records I have failed to find that one of those gentlemen during the term of their office from 1921 to 1925 ever stood up on the floor of this parliament and had anything to say about the needs and wants of Nova Scotia.

What those problems and rights are is well known. Under confederation we were conceded certain rights which have never been given to us. The question of Maritime rights was not the only issue in the late election in Nova Scotia. The tariff was also a most important issue, and the policy on this issue as laid down by my right hon. leader was declared on every platform by the eleven members who were returned as his supporters on this sidle of the House. We in Nova Scotia realize that if we are to make any progress we must have an adequate tariff, a tariff sufficient to protect the industries of our province. Two of our great industries there are steel and coal, from the latter of which the province derives its greatest revenue, and unless these industries are protected and fostered we cannot succeed and be prosperous. We must have a market for these, and that market is the Canadian market. If we cannot get our coal into the central provinces of Quebec and Ontario, we cannot expect to prosper. Why

The Address-Mr. Short

is it that our Canadian National railways cannot haul coal from Nova Scotia to Quebec and Ontario when United! States railroads can haul the Same kinds of coal from Pennsylvania and Wfest Virginia to those points? The distance is no greater from Nova Scotia than from the points named, and I am of opinion that if the management of our National railways were anxious for business and if the government of this country desired to assist Nova Scotia, a way out of this difficulty could be found. Arrangements have already been made with the National railways to have

25.000 tons of coal hauled from Alberta to Ontario at seven dollars a ton. But when an arrangement on the same mileage basis rate is asked for Nova Scotia to haul coal from Sydney to Montreal to relieve distress in that district, what are we told? We are told that the management of the Canadian National Railways cannot do so. This is one of the Maritime rights. If the Canadian National Railways can haul Alberta coal into Ontario for seven dollars a ton, why cannot the same mileage rate be granted to Nova Scotia? This can and should be done and it is the duty of the government to see that our province is treated fairly in this respect.

We have in Nova Scotia another great natural industry, one which I am surprised to find is not mentioned in the Speech from the Throne, namely, the fishing industry. I am proud to say that I have been connected with that industry for the past thirty years, and I feel therefore that in whatever I say on the subject in this House I know whereof I speak. In the constituency of Digby-Annapolis, which I have the honour to represent, we depend very largely-in fact one section of my constituency depends almost entirely-upon the fishing industry for a revenue. I am. surprised that the Prime Minister, when he framed this Speech from the Throne, should have overlooked this important industry!, because it employs in Nova Scotila alone some 25,000 persons, and in the whole of Canada some

70.000 persons. There is invested in vessels and equipment about $50,000,000', and the industry produces in wealth annually between $40,000,000 and $50,000,000. Surely therefore it is an industry that should receive some consideration from the government. It has not made the progress which would have been possible had it received from this and previous governments the assistance to which it is entitled. It is capable of wonderful development and instead of producing $40,000,000 or $50,000,000 per annum of wealth to this country it should, and indeed could, produce double that amount. If the government will

give more attention to fostering this great industry and assisting in its development in every way I am sure the expansion which I have stated as possible will be realized.

What we need now is an improvement in breakwaters along the coast to provide facilities for the fishermen to prosecute their vocation. We need also further markets for these products and cheaper transportation to these markets. True, the home market 'has shown a considerable increase in the last few years. This is due partly to the advertising propaganda which .has been carried on during the past two years in which the government has borne half of the expense and the dealers the other half. While the amount expended has brought good results, I have no doubt that if double that amount is spent in judicious advertising in the future, to bring this great food product to the attention of the public, a much greater demand will be created, and that will go a long way towards putting the industry on a more prosperous basis.

The people of Canada should eat more fish, as it is one of nature's best foods. The consumption of fish per capita in Canada is 21 pounds per annum, in the United States 18 pounds, and in England, where more fish is eaten than in any other country except Japan, it is 54 pounds per annum. If we could only induce the Canadian people to eat as much fish as they do in England, say 54 pounds per capita per annum, we should be able to find a great outlet for our fish products and at the same time furnish a cheap, nutritious and palatable food for the country. This can be done if the government will only give to the industry that assistance to which it is entitled. The government should look at the matter from a national point of view and try by means of adequate and proper advertising to induce the people of Canada to eat more of this food product. If this were done it would be 'better for the country and it would provide us with an outlet for a wonderful Canadian product.

It is a well known fact that fish is one of the most helpful .and nutritious foods known to man. If we could create a further market for our fish it would stimulate the industry and give increased employment to our fishermen, thus keeping our own folks at home rather than having them leave our shores to seek a livelihood in foreign countries. While our 'home market has shewn some improvement in the past year or two, I am sorry to say that our export market has hardly held its own; as a matter of fact, I do not think we are exporting as much

The Address-Mr. Short

fish to-day as we did some years ago. The American market, to which certain sections of Nova Scotia have always had to look for an outlet, is practically closed to us to-day because of the Fordney tariff, and it is only when there is a scarcity in the United States of certain varieties of fish that we can ship our product into that country, because the}' are themselves large producers and exporters of this commodity. Of course, we send shellfish there such as lobsters, scallops and other varieties of that class, inasmuch as there is no duty, the reason being that the United States do not produce a sufficient quantity of this class of fish to provide their own markets. On all other varieties however they have a prohibitive duty, and, as I have just said, it is only in times of scarcity there that-we can get our fish into that market. The Fordney tariff is so framed that it practically shuts us out and we have to look to other markets for an outlet for our dried and pickled fish, principally the West Indies, South America, the Mediterranean and other places.

This government, I think, should do everything possible to assist the industry in increasing its trade with foreign countries by having our trade agents in those countries put forth every effort to secure orders for the Canadian producers, at the same time educating the fishermen of Canada in improved methods of curing fish for export. At the present time, I regret to say, our dried and pickled fish for export does not compare favourably with the same class of fish produced in Norway and other countries, and it is the duty of our government to give all the instruction they possibly can to the industry so that the Canadian product when exported may receive as good a price as is obtained for the same class of product put up in Norway and other fishing countries. In the green State our fish is equal to that produced anywhere else in the world.

We have in this country a market that is capable of great development for fish, both fresh and frozen. I find according to statistics compiled by the Fisheries department that the amount of fresh and frozen fish shipped from the Maritime provinces last year to Quebec, Ontario and points further west was 42,000,000 pounds. Yet the hon. member for Queens-Lunenburg (Mr. Duff), speaking some days ago, made the statement that only about one per cent of the fish produced in Nova Scotia was sold in Canada. Let me examine the facts. Since the figures for 1925 were not available I have secured from the department the figures showing the total catch of all kinds of fish, except shellfish, for 1924 in the province of Nova Scotia. The total

[Mr Short.]

catch for that province was 195,823,300 pounds and of this amount 42,000,000 pounds of fresh, frozen and smoked fish were shipped to Quebec, Ontario and the west. It must be remembered that that 42,000,000 pounds would represent at least double that quantity, or about 80,000,000 pounds, because a large proportion of the product is converted into finnan haddies and filets, and 50 per cent is lost in processing. The consumption of Nova Scotia fish in Canada is therefore at least 30 per cent of these varieties alone. In addition to this a considerable quantity of pickled and salt fish is sold. Now, what becomes of the statement of the hon. member for Lunenburg (Mr. Duff) that only one per cent of the Nova Scotia catch is consumed in Canada? If the hon. member's statements regarding the other matters in Nova Scotia which he spoke of are no more correct than his statement with regard to our fisheries, which he claims to have some personal knowledge of, what credence can the House place in his entire speech?

Now, Sir, I want to show the House what handicaps we have to overcome. Yet under these adverse conditions we have been able to market 30 per cent of our catch in Canada. If we are given the transportation rates that we are entitled to, and the government give the attention it should to the fishing industry, you can readily see what a wonderful expansion is possible. I think the hon. gentleman must have been speaking of his own constituency when he stated that Canada used only one per cent of the catch of Nova Scotia, because it is from his constituency that most of the fish is exported. But there are other sections of Nova Scotia which also produce large quantities of fish, and a substantial proportion of it is sold as fresh, frozen or smoked in the Canadian market. What we require to increase this business is better transportation facilities, cheaper freight and express rates, and a government that is ready and willing to assist the industry in every way possible.

When the hon. member for Pictou (Mr. Cantley) was addressing the House recently he quoted some freight rates to show how Nova Scotia was discriminated against. Now I want to show the discrimination against our province in the way of express rates on fish as compared with similar rates in effect from the Pacific coast. The express rate on carloads of fish from Vancouver or Prince Rupert to Winnipeg is $3.59 per 100 pounds net weight. The distance from Vancouver is 1,465 miles and from Prince Rupert 1,785 miles. But the express rate from Halifax- I might say that this rate is practically the same from all other points in the province- to Winnipeg is $8.05 per 100 pounds gross

The Address-Mr. Short

weight, or $10.06 per 100 pounds net weight. This is a further discrimination against Nova Scotia. The carload and less than carload rates are based on the gross weight and 25 per cent is added for package and ice. The mileage from Halifax to Winnipeg is 1,993. This rate constitutes a difference of 146 per cent over the rate from Vancouver and Prince Rupert to the same point. Do you wonder, Sir, that we are discontented when we realize the unfair way in which we are treated in transportation matters? Let me quote another comparison. The express rate from Vancouver or Prince Rupert to Chicago is $3.93 per 100 pounds net weight. The distance from Vancouver to Chicago is 3,224 miles, and from Prtince Rupert, 3,595 miles. The express rate from Halifax and other points in Nova Scotia to Chicago is $4.30 per 100 pounds (gross weight, and $5.37 per 100 pounds net weight. The distance from Halifax to Chicago is only 1,669 miles. The difference against us there in favour of the Pacific coast is only 195 per cent I Do you think, Sir, that we can prosper with such unjust discrimination against us in express rates on our fish? And this discrimination goes on all down the line, it applies on our shipments to Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia. For instance, the percentage against us to Boston compared with the Pacific coast rate is 325 per cent. How can we ever expect to build up'an industry in the Maritime provinces in the face of such discrimination?

Off the coast of Nova Scotia we have the greatest fisheries in the world. Our ports are so much nearer the fishing banks than those of the United States that we may reasonably look forward to the time when the fishing ports of Nova Scotia will be the bases from which vessels will operate and supply the fish markets of this country as soon as the government gives us the assistance that our industry is entitled to. The total value of the fisheries of Canada for 1924 was $44,534,235. Of this amount our exports represented $30,925,769, the balance of $13,608,466 being the value of the fish sold in Canada; in other words, as I have just stated, 30 per cent of the total value of our fish production found a sale in the home market. If we could increase domestic consumption to 50 per cent of our total production, it would stabilize the industry wonderfully, as there is no market like the home market. This increase would take place if the government would help develop our fisheries as it should. But, Mr. Speaker, very little attention has been given to our fishing industry by the government of the Dominion. One of the reasons for this comparative neglect is, I think, that usually the Minister of the Department of Marine and Fisheries has been selected from one of the inland provinces. As a rule such a man is not conversant with the needs and requirements of our fishing industry. I have always felt that the department should be presided over by a minister from the Maritime provinces, preferably Nova Scotia. Do you know, Sir, that Nova Scotia has not had a minister in that department for some thirty years? I think Sir Hibbert Tupper was the last member from Nova Scotia to preside over the Department of Marine and Fisheries, and that must be thirty years ago, or more. A man from the Maritime provinces is naturally familiar with all the local facts of the industry. I have no fault to find with the present minister (Mr. Cardin) but I understand he is a lawyer from the province of Quebec, and therefore he could not be supposed to have very much knowledge of the fishing industry.

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