Mr. Langlois (Gaspe):
As I explained to the committee when the bill was considered there, this amendment is to provide that ships are exempted from the requirement to be registered if their net tonnage does not exceed 15 tons. Here we are dealing
Canada Shipping Act
with net tonnage. The law as it stands puts that limit at 10 tons and we are now asking that it be raised to 15 tons. I wish to remind hon. members that owners of ships below 15 tons net tonnage will still have the privilege of registration if they wish to do so. Otherwise they must take out a licence, which involves a much simpler method. I also wish to repeat what I said in the committee, to the effect that this has nothing to do whatsoever with building standards and inspection requirements. The ships that are registered or licensed will be subject to the same requirements that apply to all other ships covered by the inspection regulations.
I also wish to add that in adopting the new limit we are following the same practice that has been adopted in the United States and in the United Kingdom. All we are doing is to relieve the owners of these small craft from the trouble of going through the complicated procedure of registration when we think that registration achieves no practical purpose. As the hon. member for Vancouver-Quadra put it, and I think I used the same expression in the committee, all we want to do is to cut red tape and cut down on formalities when we are of the opinion that formalities and red tape achieve no practical purpose.
Moreover, in the committee I also gave figures indicating that even with the present exemption for ships below 10 tons net registered tonnage our list of shipping shows that well over 1,000 ship owners with ships below 10 tons have found it convenient to register them, and they are in fact registered and appear in our shipping list. Raising the exemption from 10 tons to 15 tons does not necessarily mean that all owners of ships between 10 tons and 15 tons will take advantage of the new limitation, but they will be at liberty to register or license their ships as they wish.
A while ago the figure of 3,000 ships was mentioned as being the number of ships which will be affected by the change, but it must be said that this is the number of ships between 10 and 15 tons net tonnage which are actually registered. The amendment of the provisions of the present section raising the limitation to 15 tons does not mean that these ships will automatically cease to be on the registry. They can be withdrawn from the registry only on application of the owner, and unless the owner takes that action the ships will continue to be registered.
As far as the attitude of the department is concerned, I expressed it in the committee when I stated that the department was not
Canada Shipping Act unduly insisting for this amendment, but I must say that we have since considered the remarks made in the committee and we have not been convinced that the amendment proposed in the bill should not be carried. We must bear in mind that the registry of these small ships involves a lot of work in the department, and if we can cut down that work when we think it is possible to do so without affecting the requirements of the department as far as inspection is concerned, I think we should do so. For these reasons I believe the proposed clause should remain as it is. As I said a moment ago, all we are seeking to do is cut down on red tape and formalities which achieve no practical purpose.
Topic: CANADA SHIPPING ACT
Subtopic: AMENDMENTS RESPECTING REGISTRATION, CERTIFICATES, ETC.