Mr. L. W. JOHNSTONE (Cape Breton North-Victoria):
Mr. Speaker, in regard to
the motion introduced by the hon. member for Inverness (Mr. Macdougall) I have very little to say. It does not affect my riding to any very great degree. We have a number of fishermen in my constituency and yet I have never had a complaint from any one of
them with regard to the trawlers, which do not interfere with them to any great degree so far as I have been able to judge. The trawlers come into our ports and get their supplies and coal in the port of North Sydney.
I agree with the hon. member for Shel-burne-Yarmouth (Mr. Ralston) that something should be done to relieve the conditions now existing among the fishermen. I was sorry I was not able to take part yesterday in the discussion that was held recently in regard to the establishment of refrigerator plants and bait warehouses for looking after the curing of fish and the supplying of bait. Those are two very important questions, but to my mind they are of minor importance in comparison with the larger question of relief for the fishermen. Only to-day I have a letter from some fishermen in my constituency asking me to do something in the way of a breakwater so that after they come in from a hard day's fishing they would not have to jump out of their boats and stand waist high in the cold water in the month of October to haul their boats ashore. Through the kindness of the Minister of Public Works I have succeeded in getting four or five hauling engines installed in different places along the coast of Victoria county and they have been a great boon to the fishermen. One can imagine what a hardship it is for fishermen to have to drag in their boats standing in cold water after coming in from a long fishing trip, but with one of these hauling engines all they do is to step ashore and start the engine and the boats are hauled ashore. That is one of the few things we have been able to do. I had a letter last year from a merchant asking me whether it was possible for the government to provide a sum of money for the purpose of helping the fishermen in the spring or in the fall when they go fishing, because, he said, they were destitute; they had no proper equipment, neither rubber boots nor boats. Their lines were crippled and their boats destroyed. This all happened after a very heavy storm in Victoria county. Now, I think that there should be something in the form of a government loan to those engaged in the fishing industry, which is a very important occupation in this country. The farmers of Canada, judging from the bills which are before the house to-day, are largely protected, but apparently the fishermen are excluded from these loans which are being given to the farmers. I think it is up to the government and the members of this house to see that fishing, which is an industry second almost to none in this country, should receive proper care and attention.
I am sorry that this subject did not come up before. I do hope however that before this house gets through we shall be able to go to the fishermen and say that we have done something for them and that this talk has not been all useless. I hope that we shall be able to tell them that we have evolved a practical method by which the fishermen can be assisted, not only in connection with bait and refrigerator plants, but by means of a loan which will enable them to obtain boats and to get whatever equipment is necessary. This is a serious matter with them, because I know that to-day there are people who cannot go fishing because they have not the materials-lines, proper clothing and often boats. I am very glad that the subject has been brought up. I feel responsible for not having introduced it before but I am glad of this opportunity to say something on behalf of our fishermen.
Topic: BEAM TRAWLERS
Subtopic: PROPOSAL THAT PERMITS BE NOT GRANTED OR RENEWED IN NOVA SCOTIA