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
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.
Topic: GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic: ADDRESS IN REPLY