Mr. THOMAS EARLE (Victoria, B.C.).
Before the Orders of the Day are called, there is a matter which very seriously
affects the salmon canning Industry of British Columbia to which I would wish to direct the attention of the government. Of course, as we know, the canning industry of my province is one of the most important industries on the Pacific coast. I express my regret incidentally that the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Hon. Mr. Prefontaine) is not in his seat this morning. However, X would ask the Minister of Finance, who is now leading the House, to call the attention of tlie Fisheries Department to the matter which X am about to mention, and to urge upon the minister immediate action in the line which is indicated by the following telegram, which I received from the Canners' Association of British Columbia :
Vancouver, B.C., 26th.
Thos. Earle, M.P.,
Following message sent to-day to Hon. R. Prefontaine. The Fraser River Canners' Association, in view of the lamentable short run of sockeyes on the Fraser river and the entire absence of salmon from the spawning grounds, respectfully pray that your department will prohibit all fishing on the Fraser river_ from August 29 to September 12 inclusive, in 'order that the balance of sockeyes remaining outside may be enabled to reach the spawning grounds, and the hatcheries get some supply of spawn. If close season not ordered future of industry seriously threatened. Immediate consideration and favourable reply by wire is earnestly requested in the interests of the canners and fishermen. Your energetic support most earnestly requested.
When we find that last year the output of salmon was not much over one-half what it was the previous year, and that this year it is scarcely one-third of last year, it is evident that there is reason for the canners becoming very greatly alarmed that the Fraser river may be depleted of its fish. The canners make the request contained in the telegram in the hope that if their prayer is granted the fish will have an opportunity of getting up to the spawning grounds, and thus the supply of fish maintained by increased opportunities for breeding. This is becoming a necessity to the existence of the industry. I take this opportunity of calling the attention of the Finance Minister, who now leads the House, to the matter, and I ask him to bring it before the proper department with a recommendation that the Minister of Marine and Fisheries should see his way clear to grant this request for a close season, which I believe to be in the interest of the salmon industry of British Columbia. If there is anything in the idea these gentlemen have in regard to tlie breeding of the salmon, it certainly will be in the interest of the industry to grant tliis protection, and it can, at ail events, do no liarm, because it will indict no injury upon any class of the community.
Mr. It. I,. BORDEN (Halifax). Slight I be permitted to say a word in connection
with the same matter. A telegram of the same purport as that read by my hon. friend (Sir. Earle) has been placed in my hands, and I have ibeen asked to draw the attention of the government to the matter. This telegram is very much on the same lines as the telegram received by my hon. friend from Victoria (Sir. Earle), and it reads as follows ;
Vancouver, B.C., August 27,1903.
Fraser River Canners' Association have petitioned department for close season from 29th instant to September 12 inclusive. Situation here extremely critical, as I can certify. Fu-lure of industry absolutely threatened, as no salmon have yet reached spawning ground and the run is practically over. Act'with British Columbia members and senators, urging upon the 'department imperative necessity of prompt action. A few days now may save the industry.
This telegram was handed to me by my hon. friend from Hastings (Mr. Porter) to-day, as he was obliged to leave to catch a train, and it is at his request that I bring it to the attention of the government. If the situation is as disclosed in the telegram, then the Minister of Finance, who is leading the House will no doubt admit that it should demand the immediate and earnest consideration of the government.