Mr. H. S. CLEMENTS (Comox-Alberni) :
Mr. Speaker, I promise that at this late hour I shall occupy the attention of the House for only a few moments. I do not intend to go fully into the subject matter of the resolution; I rise only to reply to the hon. member for Lunenburg, who, I regret, is not in his seat. I regret also that I have not been able to follow the hon. gentleman who has just spoken (Mr. Boyer).
The hon. gentleman for Lunenburg (Mr. Duff) made the bald statement that he spent eight days in British Columbia. I assume that he spent probably one day in Victoria and two in Vancouver. He said that he spent three days in Prince Rupert; the remainder of the time would be occupied in travelling between these three points. Having spent this much time in our province, the hon. member assumes that he knows the fisheries of British Columbia. Well, in my opinion the hon. member knows very little of the fisheries of British Columbia. It might be as well for him to give his attention to the province from which he comes; I hope he knows more about the fisheries of his own province than he does of those of British Columbia.
The hon. gentleman indulged in a tirade against the Minister of Marine (Mr. Ballan-tyne) and the Minister of Railways (Mr. Reid). He laid great stress on the shortage of cars at Prince Rupert, and he discussed the halibut situation and the salmon situation in British Columbia. Why, one would think that the hon. gentieman had been
raised in that province. I should like to discuss the natural resources of British Columbia and those of the Dominion generally but time will not permit. I want to say, however, to the hon. member for Lunenburg and to all hon. members of this House that the late Liberal government from 1895 to 1911 had created the greatest combine in connection with the fisheries of British Columbia that ever existed. I represent probably three-quarters or more of the total fishery districts of British Columbia, the remainder being represented by the membr for Skeena (Mr. Peck). Let me say to the member for Lunenburg that in 1911 when Prince Rupert budded out as a growing town, having been practically planted by the late government-I lived in Prince Rupert and I know the conditions -a merchant or a hotel keeper could not buy a single fish in Prince Rupert for home or hotel use. That condition was the result of the combine brought about by the late Liberal government so far as the fishing interests of the province were concerned. When the Government of 1911 took office, through the efforts of hon. Mr. Hazen, the Minister of Marine and Fisheries, and of myself as a private member, regulations were put into force with a view to breaking up the combine in British Columbia, and Prince Rupert was put on the map as a fishing town, being allowed the privilege of having American and foreign fishing boats unload their catches, take on bait and buy supplies and equipment. That was accomplished by the present Government.
Now, so far as the canning industries were concerned, under the old conditions it was useless for any individual fisherman to apply for a cannery license or a seining license-and I am speaking of purse seining or drag seining; even gill-net seining-the whole thing was controlled by this combine. But things were changed when the Liberal government went out of office in 1911. The present Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Ballantyne)-all credit to him-threw the fisheries of British Columbia absolutely open so that any one might, by paying the necessary fee, obtain a license to can or to fish. The present Government and the Union Government absolutely broke up that monopoly which had been created by the Liberal government prior to 1911, and today we have absolutely open fishing in that province.
I regret that I did not have the opportunity of listening to the remarks of the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. McQuarrie). Since 1911 I have had the
honour of a seat in this House as a representative from British Columbia. I have always, from that time up to the present, advocated that the rivers and streams leading up to the natural spawning grounds of the fish in that province should be cleared and the natural spawning grounds preserved so that the fisheries could be kept up and maintained. But, Sir, from 1895 up to 1911 practically every stream entering into the natural spawning areas of the fish in that province had been jammed, and not a dollar had been spent in clearing them or providing for the care of the natural spawning grounds. But I want to give the present Government credit for spending a good deal of money in this connection. Since 1911 steps have been taken to remedy this condition, and so far as I know the great maj ority of these streams to-day are cleared so that the fish can ascend to their natural spawning lakes and areas.
I suppose my hon. friend from New Westminster has discussed the hatchery situation in British Columbia and in the Dominion. We have always maintained-of course there have been arguments pro and con-that the hatcheries of British Columbia-and I suppose the same would apply to the Atlantic coast-have not been rendering the service which many of the cannery men would like to see rendered. But I agree with some of the professors and some of the cannery men that large rearing ponds in connection with our hatcheries in British Columbia would be a great asset.
My hon. friend from Lunenburg censured the Minister of Marine and Fisheries for the neglect of the halibut fisheries of British Columbia, stating that they had been depleted and were practically lost to the fishermen. Well, I venture to say that if the hon. member were in his seat he would not be able to tell me where the halibut grounds in British Columbia are. I say that in all sincerity, and without any desire tc reflect upon the hon. member in any way; I want to be as kind to him as I possibly can. Now, many who know the situation better than I do have always contended that Hecate straits belong to the Dominion.
But that area, as many hon. members will know, lies between the mainland and Queen Charlotte islands, and by all natural events and observations, that water, in my opinion at least and in the opinion of many experts, belongs and always did belong to the province of British Columbia and the Dominion of Canada. The late Government-and I am sure the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's (Mr. Fielding)
knows the situation as well as I do-knew that all that water of Hecate strait was fished out by the Americans, and the immense halibut banks which existed in those waters have been absolutely destroyed. The halibut which is brought into Prince Rupert to-day is all caught beyond the three-mile limit and many hundreds of miles from Prince Rupert and, indeed, there is a little halibut caught on the west coast which finds its market in Prince Rupert.
I regret the hon. member for Skeena (Mr. Peck) is not in his seat. There is no doubt there was a few months ago a certain shortage of cars in Prince Rupert to handle the fishing trade, and I say, in all sincerity, that if I believed the Minister of Railways (Mr. J. D. Reid) was deserving of censure in that regard, I would certainly give it to him; but so far as I can judge the situation, the minister is not to be censured at all. Last session, orders were given for refrigerator cars; I think money was voted for the purpose, and if the car companies fell down in the delivery of those cars, it seems to me that the matter was entirely up to the management of the railways and not to the Minister of Railways. The number of cars which were ordered had not been delivered, but the management of the railways divided up what cars they had throughout the Dominion; Prince Rupert received its fair share of refrigerator cars, and so far as I know to-day no great complaint is coming from Prince Rupert as regards any shortage of cars in that city.
I rose simply to answer the hon. member for Lunenburg (Mr. Duff) in regard to the fishery question. I would certainly like to have had the opportunity and pleasure of discussing many of the natural resources of Canada and especially the pulp industry, because I have many large pulp concerns in the constituency which I have the honour to represent, and there is room for many more. I hope I have not censured the hon. member for Lunenburg too much, but I trust that before he rises again in this House to discuss the fisheries of British Columbia he will get a little better posted upon the subject. If he does so, it will be more in his interest and the interest of the province from which he comes.
Topic: A NEW ANGLE TO THE SOCKEYE SALMON HATCHERY QUESTION.