February 27, 1902

L-C

Gilbert White Ganong

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. GANONG.

I feel myself that transportation is the greatest problem that we have before us, and the greatest factor in Hon. Mr. SUTHERLAND (Oxford).

that problem is to make it possible for ships safely to carry our products after they have been put on board the vessel. I am not going to advertise any stock company in which I have any interest, but I desire to call the attention of the minister and of the committee to a new means that has been devised for protection of coastal waters. I had an opportunity the other day when in Boston, of examining a recently patented device, and I think that our deputy minister and our chief engineer also had the privilege of looking into this matter to some extent a year ago. However, it has been perfected very much since then. The United States government have felt so interested in it that they have placed at the disposal of the inventor one of their own vessels in order to test the matter in and around Boston harbour. It is not a Bell telephone, but it is a telephone from a bell. The system generally is that of submerging a bell which will be rung automatically. They have already tested this system 12 miles off the coast and succeeded in getting an absolute service from it. I think at the time when the deputy and our engineer were there, some portions did seem to be very cumbersome and difficult to handle, but since then the receiver, which was quite a large piece of machinery, has been reduced in size so that its disc is scarcely larger than an American dollar. It certainly seems to be admirably adapted not only for coastal service but perhaps for the waters of a river. I feel that we should have this matter looked into, as it is likely to be of the greatest possible benefit in warning vessels, either in entering or leaving our harbours. I hope that the minister will find it possible to make a thorough examination of this system 'which is now being worked out. I may say that on the day I came from Boston the United States navy had representatives there looking into the matter themselves.

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CON

Alfred Alexander Lefurgey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LEFURGEY.

Under this item I would like to make a few remarks to the Minister of Marine and Fisheries about the steamer 'Stanley.' I understand the steamer now is some 12 years old, and is engaged in a very important service during the winter, plying between Summerside and Cape Tor-mentine. I have information that this boat is not in a condition to perform satisfactorily the service, and that many of her plates are in such a condition, bent in contact with the ice, as to render her efforts to a great extent inoperative. I also understand that the steamer now requires new boilers and engines. In order to make a complete success of the winter service between Summer-side and Cape Tormentine and also to make the boat suitable for the service of the fisheries during the summer season I would like to call the attention of the hon. minister to the fact that there will require to be extensive repairs made both to the hull and to the engines, and I would like to see, in the supplemeutary estimates, a sufficient sum to put this boat in condition to secure a proper service during next winter between tbe island and tbe mainland.

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CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARKE.

X want to emphasize tbe remarks which have been made by my colleague from Toronto (Mr. Osier) in regard to allegations which are made as to the inadequacy of the lighthouse, range light, and target service on the upper lakes. I was up there during the past autumn and X had conversations with more than one mariner engaged in the service on those upper lakes. I heard a great many complaints made as to the insufficiency of the service on the Georgian Bay and on Lake Superior. I am very glad to hear the statement made by the hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries as to the steps he purposes taking during the coming recess to improve the navigation of the waters to the east of us. I have been credibly informed that representations have been made to the department from time to time as to the insufficiency of the service on the upper lakes and X hope the hon. minister will take steps during the coming summer to make an investigation into these complaints to ascertain whether they are well founded or not, and to ascertain whether it is a fact that the lighthouses, targets and range lights which were promised years ago have not yet been undertaken or completed. I can say to the hon. gentleman that I have heard comparisons not at all favourable to Canada made respecting the efficient service given on the American coast as compared with what is claimed to be the inadequate service on our own coast. I shall content myself with drawing the attention of the minister to the complaints I have heard made and ask him to give the question of the improvement of lighting on the upper lakes more attention than it lias received for some years past.

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The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES.

In reply to the hon. member for West Toronto (Mr. Clarke) and his colleague (Mr. Osier) I may say that there was a meeting of the lake carriers some time ago and that they furnished the department with a good deal of information together with their views on what was required in connection with this particular service on the upper lakes. I can say that provision is being made now for the establishment of four or five new lights, and I think that the hydrographic survey that we are going to undertake this summer of Lake Superior will be of very great advantage to those sailing on the upper lakes. One new boat will go up there. The matter which my hon. friend from Prince Edward Island (Mr. Lefurgey) has brought up will receive consideration. I am desirous and hopeful that this service should be a success, but I think he will agree with me that the businesslike and

sensible way to deal with this matter is to find out what is best to be done, to prove the practicability of the route and then to make proper provision by furnishing a boat to perform the service. I am sure that the committee will sustain me when I say that the most necessary thing now to be done is to demonstrate tlie practicability of the route. The matter is somewhat new to me, as I suppose it is to the majority of the hon. members of the House, except in a general way, and I have no desire to ask for a large expenditure of money until we have more information upon the subject. On the contrary I believe true economy is getting good value for the money expended and doing what is necessary. My utmost effort will be, before bringing down a report or asking for anything from parliament, to get the best possible information of the latest improvements in all directions. My hon. friend from Charlotte (Mr. Ganong) has referred to one, of course, there is not one of these improvements that is not referred to the department. It will be the desire of the officers of the department and myself to do everything witlnn our means to improve the route and I am of the opinion that there is nothing too good m the way of lights, sirens and whistles for tbe improvement of this service. I shall to the best of my ability get the best information there is to be had, and I hope that I may be able to start out upon some systematic plan. Of course, we cannot do all this in a few months, or perhaps one or two years, but we desire to adopt a plan that wiil receive the approval of those who know most about it and which will have the confidence of every one interested 1 making the route better.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

I would like to ask the hon. minister if it is his intention to bring down supplementary estimates in which provision will be made to carry out some of the urgent reforms! that were asked for last year by the shipping interests 1

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The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES.

I might say to the hon. gentleman (Mr. Monk) that we expect, out of some of the estimates passed, to make a considerable improvement in the direction of the representations made to us by the shipping interests. Further, I cannot say positively at the present moment what recommendation I will bring down. Probably, if I am satisfied, that these recommendations are the best and the most practicable, 1 will, in the supplementary estimates, ask for some amount to carry out more of the work than is provided for here.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

I asked the question because last year the underwriters and shippers represented to the government that the St. Lawrence route was defective from the gulf up to Montreal. The lights were bad, the lighthouses themselves were condemned, the system of signals, the sirens, wex-e pro-

nounced defective and tlie lighting of the river between Quebec and Montreal was pronounced to be very defective. It was urged that it was possible to come up from Quebec to Montreal at night by the expenditure of a reasonable amount of money for the lighting of the route. The high rates of insurance that discriminaije so greatly against the St. Lawrence route were ascribed to these obstacles and also to the defects in the pilotage system. When this matter was discussed in the House last year the predecessor of my hon. friend denied that there was sucli a need. I remember distinctly that he stated that he had on the occasion of two crossings of the Atlantic called the captains of the steamers into his room and asked them if there were any improvements to suggest along the St. Lawrence route and they had said that they really could suggest nothing. The underwriters ascribed the high rates to the causes that I have just indicated to the committee and shippers ascribed the high rates of freights to these causes also. I am sure that both sides of the House would willingly vote any amount that might be required to remove those objections to the route that were so forcibly put before us last year. The shippers held an expensive inquiry, in which the government did not take part, and we had the whole of the evidence, and a resume of the evidence, put before us. This is why I think it is very important that the question should be considered by my hon. friend and that these objections which militate so strongly against the St. Lawrence route should be removed as soon as possible.

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The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES.

If my hon. friend (Mr. Monk) had been in the House when I referred to this matter he would have heard me say that I had spent several hours to-day with representatives of the shipping interests and had gone over the items of the whole route, and that they are coming on another day next week to complete the consideration of the subject. There are differences of opinion on this question, I find, among the engineers and those interested, but, by meeting together and having a good business talk, I find that they generally arrive at some practical solution in regard to the various points. We are putting in three sirens in place of fog whistles. We are putting a new light on Belle Isle, and a new siren at Fame Point, and in addition to that we are asking for tenders for a new permanent lighthouse at the Traverse which will be a very important work.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I introduced this subject because of the specific assurance of the minister (Sir Louis Davies) last session that everything was perfection as regards i he lights and buoys. As to the number of casualties that took place on the Sc. Lawrence last year, it will be desirable to know Mr. MONK.

how many of these were due to preventable causes such as defective lights or buoys or want of sufficient water. The country will be glad to hear that the new Minister of Marine intends to adopt some intelligent plan to carry out this work, after consultation' with the shippers, and we suppose we may have hopes for the future. It would seem from the departmental report that there has been some carelessness in the de-partement because the buoys above Three Rivers were frozen in last year, and as the report says, they will have to be replaced at considerable expense. I find that the following reference is made in the departmental report to the chartered steamer which took the place of the ' Newfield ' :- During the season of 1900, the steamer 'New-fleld' was wrecked, and consequently the department found it necessary to charter a steamer for lighthouse and buoy service in Nova Scotia, but owing to lack of equipment necessary for lifting and placing buoys on board of the chartered steamer, the service was not as satisfactorily done as. by the 'Newfield.'

In other words, I presume there was a good deal of loss because the steamer was not properly equipped. The sooner the minister and the vessel owners of Canada get together and adopt the best possible system of lighting and buoying the St. Lawrence so as to reduce the danger of accidents and thereby reduce insurance, the better it will be for the people of the whole country. The route is getting into disrepute because of some defects, and the sooner they are remedied the better it will be.

The MINISTER OF MARINE AND

FISHERIES. I am afraid I will have to plead guilty to some extent for the damage done to the buoys, but I left them out at the request of the shipping interests, and perhaps I went too far to try and i lease them.

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CON

Hiram Augustus Calvin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CALVIN.

You did not. You did the right thing. It was the right thing for you to do under the circumstances.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, hear.

The MINISTER OF MARINE AND

FISHERIES. We did the best we could, but the frost set in two weeks earlier than usual. I hope the loss will not be very great.

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LIB

Duncan Cameron Fraser

Liberal

Mr. FRASER.

There are certain places in which there is some certainty as to leaving out the buoys each year, and there are other places where there is great uncertainty. It will always be necessary for the department to give some discretion to those in charge as to how long the buoys will be left out. In the county I represent there is a regulation that the buoys shall be taken in at a certain time, but it is wise in some seasons to leave them out longer. There is no human means of judging of the weather conditions during any particular year. Tt

is easier to deal with this matter in Nova Scotia than it is in the St. Lawrence, hut even in Nova Scotia the seasons vary. I congratulate the department and the minister on what has been done to aid navigation in the lower provinces. During the last five or six years more has been done to recognize the wants of the fishing and shipping interests than was ever done before. Today, take the coast of Nova Scotia from Canso to Yarmouth, and particularly from Canso to Halifax, and there never was a time when better facilities were provided for those engaged in the shipping trade. I would again point out that no definite rule can be made as to when these buoys should be taken in and that the best man to judge of that is the officer in charge in the locality. One season you have to remove them in November, and another season you may leave them out till January. The rule of ilie department used to be elastic in this respect.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

That is left entirely to the discretion of the minister and he can give whatever orders he likes. In so far as the buoys were left out for the purpose of testing winter navigation no complaint can be found, but these buoys which were lost were above Three Rivers, and it was not intended to test winter navigation there.

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The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES.

There were several belated vessels and the owners pressed very hard to have the buoys left out.

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LIB

Onésiphore Ernest Talbot

Liberal

Mr. TALBOT.

In the province of Quebec winter set in this year a month earlier than usual. We had winter on the 18th of October this year and we generally do not have it until the middle of November. These buoys between Quebec and Montreal were caught in the ice and that was due to the extremely cold weather which came a month earlier than any one could have anticipated.

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CON

Hiram Augustus Calvin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CALVIN.

There seems to be no doubt that'the minister (Hon. Mr. Sutherland) did the correct thing in allowing these buoys to remain out last fall. They were left out for the benefit of the shipping, and at the urgent request of those interested in steamers sailing from the port of Montreal. I do not know how many steamers were enabled to pass down the river because those buoys were left out so late, but even if only two or three steamers were benefited thereby, the expense caused by the loss of the buoys was a mere trifle compared with the great advantage which the shipping derived from the action of the minister. It must be a great relief to this House, as I am sure it will be to the producers and shippers of this country, to know that we have a Minister of Marine whose intentions are good, who intends to be progressive, and that we are to be no longer confronted, as we were last session, with a dead stonewall. It is satisfactory to know that we will not be met with the

invariable reply : Oh, this department is all right; it does nothing wrong; it cannot possibly be improved. We have a minister now who intends to improve it, and whether he will be able to do so or not remains to be seen. But it must be a matter of satisfaction to the hon. gentleman himself to know that he is at the head of a department which can do the greatest good for the transportation interests of this country. In his hands are the lighthouses and other aids to navigation throughout our great waterway, and as one who uses that great waterway in its western part, I shall welcome every help that can be given it by means of new lights and buoys. As a citizen of this country, and as one who is in the transportation business, I am quite convinced that the greatest barrier in the way of transportation along the St. Lawrence is the insurance rates to and from Montreal and Quebec, and more especially from Quebec to the sea. By whatever route our products may reach our seaboard, whether by rail or water, does not matter, they must all go outwards from Quebec to the gulf, and inwards, too, our trade must use that same waterway, and the hon. minister's attention must be specially directed to the improvements from Quebec to the sea, so that that part shall be made so perfectly safe that the insurance rates will fall to a minimum. It is nonsense for us to say that these insurance men charge too much. Let us make that part of the river perfectly safe and then the rates will come down.

Mr. McLennan (Inverness). I wish to make a suggestion to the hon. minister in connection with the lighting of Port Hood Harbour. The instructions last fall were that the light should be kept at the entrance of that harbour up to the 1st January. So long as that port was merely used for local business this was all right, but now its business has greatly extended. A very vigorous coal company have taken the coal mines into their hands and they are rapidly developing that property. Last January the shipping was at a considerable disadvantage owing to the fact that the lights at the entrance of the harbour were not kept in operation after the first of the month. I now throw out the suggestion to the hon. minister that sufficient supplies should be furnished the lighthouse keeper at Port Hood to keep the lights going throughout the whole season of navigation.

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The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES.

That is a reasonable request and will be attended to.

Maintenance and repairs to lighthouses including the maintenance and pay of crew of lighthouse steamer 'Brant,' $250,000.

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The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES.

In making improvements to navigation, after the first expense has been incurred with the buoys and lighthouses, the only increase, of course, is in the two items

of salaries and allowance of tlie keepers and maintenance and repairs. If parliament endorses tlie expenditure we would not he going into something blindly, because we can estimate pretty closely what tlie annual expenditure on these two items will amount to. This is the same amount as last year. Although the expenditure last year was * a little larger than the estimate, on going over the items we thought we could get through on the $250,000.

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John William Bell

Mr. BELL.

Is there to be anything done about building another lighthouse in the Traverse ?

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The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES.

The plans and specifications are now prepared, and I am now considering whether I should invite tenders or take the figures from the engineer and give the work to some competent responsible contractor. It is a very important work, one that will require to be done by men of experience and responsibility.

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February 27, 1902