February 3, 1916

CON

Clarence Jameson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. JAMESON:

The hon. member has taken it for granted that I did not make a protest with respect to the increase in the freight rates. I may tell him that I did make this the subject of an interview, a somewhat warm one, between the Minister of Railways and myself. And that is what I mean when I say that you can not do anything with these men who are not at the top and who are , not themselves responsible for the rates. The hon. gentleman, I am sure, will agree with me in that.

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LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR:

I am glad my hon. friend did make a protest, but I am sorry that it was not effective.

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CON

Clarence Jameson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. JAMESON:

That is why we want to get their experts before the committee provided for in the resolution. We will then be able to show them the facts, and perhaps convince them.

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LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR:

Perhaps I do not understand my hon. friend, but surely this is a matter which the minister and his department can settle. If the minister wishes to give an advantage to the transportation of fresh fish, it is quite within his power to do so. ,

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CON

Clarence Jameson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. JAMESON:

But the point taken was that the Minister of Railways was advised by his officers that certain rates had to be charged in order to make the business pay, and he did not want to use the railway to give a bonus; he said the Department of Marine Was giving a bonus.

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LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR:

I am not referring to what the Department of Marine is doing- the assistance that department is giving to pay the express rates is satisfactory-but I am referring to the freight rate from Mulgrave to points along the Intercolonial, where the increase was, I think, much larger than it ought to have been, and which increase has interfered, I have no doubt, with the trade.

I am glad to see the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster) in his place, also the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Hazen), and the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Borden), and I would like to impress upon these gentlemen the importance of assisting the transportation of fresh fish from points on the eastern coast of Canada to the Boston and New York markets. I have no douot that it would be of immense advantage to the fishing industry. Ask any merchant on the coast and he will tell you that if we could get in touch with those markets we could get better prices, and could be sure that we 'would always sell our fish. Why should we subsidize ships to distant parts of the world and leave unimproved an opportunity to develop the greatest Canadian industry that it is possible to develop? The supply of fish is inexhaustible; we have the whole Atlantic ocean to draw upon, and you cannot fish it out. They have been fishing cod off Canso for 300 years; the Breton fishermen were there in the fifteenth cen-

fury. The fishermen are on the same banks to-day, and the banks are as prolific and as well stocked as when the fishermen first came. It is a question of giving the fishermen an opportunity to put the fish on the market whenever they catch them. That is the problem for the Government. Can they do anything?

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CON

Fleming Blanchard McCurdy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. F. B. McCUEDY (Shelburne and Queens):

Mr. Speaker, the House will, I

trust, unanimously adopt the resolution under consideration. The inquiry will come under the direction of my hon. friend the member for Pigby. Appreciating, as the House does, the diligent interest of the hon. member in, and his keen understanding of, the problems surrounding the fishing industry, the more readily will it consent to the committing of this matter to the committee over whose deliberations my hon. friend so ably presides.

The investigation of the subject will be peculiarly interesting because any benefits to follow will be twofold in their effect, in that they may advance the interest of the consumer as well as that of the primary producer, the hardy fishermen who constitute the commercial and social fabric of the communities in so many of the important districts particularly along the eastern seaboard of Canada.

The divergence in market prices existing at points of production and consumption in a great many lines of business in Canada and elsewhere has been a matter of bewilderment in many cases, even to those most directly engaged in such businesses. Official inquiries as to the primary causes for such divergences both in Canada and the United States have in different instances been made. I believe some of these inquiries have resulted in improvement in conditions, and it seems to me that of all lines of business that of the catching and marketing of fresh, fish lends itself best to an inquiry such as is proposed.

The difficulties of operating >a diversified fishing business will readily suggest themselves to all who consider the fundamental necessities of such an industry.

The food value of fish has long been very widely recognized, and is doubtless attracting more attention year by year. It is, of course, of the greatest importance that the product should reach the market in the freshest condition possible, other-vise consumption will not be encouraged. A considerable improvement of conditions in the trade has already been accomplished

by Government aid. to cold storage, the provision of refrigerator oars and of a fast refrigerator freight service, and other ways in which the Government has -assisted. '

Should the inquiry develop that there are substantial ways by which further Government assistance can improve conditions under which the industry operates, the Government should not be slow, and I am satisfied, will not'be slow, to recognize the desirability of giving -such assistance.

During the past fen years, a great deal of governmental attention has been given to particular industries in, Canada. Generous bounties were made available to producers of iron, steel, lead -and other metals; a system of interior and terminal elevators has been provided to foster the grain interest; steamship subsidies have been granted to encourage and promote general export business; enormous sums of money have been paid out in railway subsidies, and immense obligations undertaken by means of bond guarantees to provide railway transportation, and a programme has been undertaken involving the expenditure of $10,000,000 in the improvement of the great agricultural industry of the country.

All the above have been put forward in the general interest, and industry has been quickened and conditions improved as a result of many of the expenditures mentioned. It can be expected then that generous consideration will be given by Parliament of any feasible assistance required by the very important basic fishing industry.

The total value of the fish -catch of Canada for the fiscal year 1913-14, according to reports furnished by the Department of the Naval Service, amounted to $33,207,748, and for 1914-15, 'to $31,264,631.

There possibly exists the temptation that Parliament, in the exploitation of our new found prairie wealth and magnificent resources of the western part of Canada, should overlook the older, but no less substantial, resources to whose value we may have become somewhat calloused, on account of long knowledge and association.

So long ago as the year 1758, the fishery was one of the most important industries in the whole country. A very interesting account of those fisheries is given in Brown's "History of Gape Breton." It states that 726 vessels and 1,555 shallops, which is a smaller type of fishing vessel, employed 15,138 men,-the number engaged in the fishing industry of Cape

Breton. The catch of the former class of vessels averaged 700 quintals per vessel, or about 508,200 quintals, and the shallops averaged about 300 quintals each, or 466,500 quintals in all, making a total of 974,700 quintals of fish, which would be worth roughly, at to-day's market price, $6,000,000.

In 1871 the Nova Scotia catch was valued at $6,570,000 and in 1872 at $6,016,000. Continuously then year by year the sea has yielded up its wealth, to be had for the taking, in good years and bad, furnishing employment to a large population of as fine a class of citizens as exists in the whole Dominion.

So that it can be seen that this industry is a very old one, that it has furnished a means of livelihood to a large population for over a century and a half, and has been the base of substantial and steady commercial activity, and supplied a commodity which the province oi Nova Scotia at any rate, as part of the Dominion of Canada, has utilized year by year to pay off a substantial portion of the annual foreign trade balance.

The exports of fish from Canada, according to the returns of the Statistical Department of the Marine and Fisheries and Naval Service Departments for the past ten years have been as follows:

1904-05 $11,114,318

1905-06 16,025,840

1906-07 . . . . 10,362,142

1907-08 13,867,36 8

1908-09 13,319,604

1909-10 15,663,162

1910-11 15,675,544

1911-12 , 16,704,678

1912-13 16,336,721

1913-14 . . . . 20,623,560

Total

Average $14,969,299

The average annual export value of fish from the province of Nova Scotia alone has been $6,141,093, while in 1914 the export rose to the banner amount of $7,438,625. British Columbia coming second with $6,946,231, and New Brunswick third among the provinces with $2,437,469. So that while in the past decade the average annual catch has been $28,097,973, the average annual export has been $14,969,299.

Students of the present economic situation in Canada cannot fail to appreciate that the present great need of Canadak is for increased production. For years we have carried on a great construction programme.

We must now get down to the great question of a bigger production.

One of the great problems of Canada today is rural depopulation, with its corresponding increase in urban population. The production of natural products of the country is greatly exceeded by their consumption, which fact is one of the most important features to-day in the high cost of living. The people of cities must turn their attention to economy and to production; if it is not possible for them to produce in the cities, they must, of necessity, go to the land, or go to some other part of the country where their labour or knowledge can be utilized to produce wealth. They must utilize undeveloped land, they must exploit every avenue offering productive occupation.

We call, and properly, for improvement in conditions making easier the production of wealth from the soil, and improving the living conditions and attractiveness of rural life. I support the resolution which suggests consideration of ways and means to make possible a larger production of wealth from our fisheries, to remove any restrictions or drawbacks under which this portion of our productive populace labour, and that will lead to improvement in living conditions and an increase in the fishing population of the country.

I can safely assert that while the attention of Canada during the period of the past few years has been largely directed towards the development of the West, the resources and possibilities of the Maritime Provinces, where fundamental conditions are probably as sound as in any part of the world, have during that period been partially overlooked. But they are attracting more attention to-day. The production of the Maritime Provinces has always greatly exceeded (consumption, and this excess has been piling up year after year as a great cash reserve. The vast majority of property there is free from encumbrance. Here may be found not only millions of acres of choice farm lands, plenteous timber and pulp limits, coal, iron ore, gold, copper, gypsum, limestone, petroleum, natural gas and other minerals, but, as important as any other, the fisheries.

All these resources are concentrated, and navigation is open twelve months of the year. In 1913-14 the exports of Canada were some $300,000,000 below the imports. That situation has fortunately since been righted, but a substantial portion of the export is in the item of war munitions-the need for

which every one prays may at an early date be removed by the return of peace. When that item of export disappears we shall want further items of natural products to take its place. With the natural resources which we possess, and the character of the people inhabiting the Dominion, we may be sure that production generally will continue to increase. Meanwhile, if we are to be make good to our creditors, we must continue to concentrate our efforts towards economy and production

Enormous sums of money have been devoted by Canadian Parliaments during the past ten years and longer to facilitate the construction of rail transportation systems. We have gone the limit in the provision of assistance to railway promoters and builders. Some careful observers, whose opinions are entitled to great consideration, are of the opinion that the country has handled the transportation needs very badly, and that undue sums have been expended or wasted in the construction of parts of our railway systems, or the unnecessary duplication of systems, and they have much to support them in their views. There has undoubtedly been great waste in the building of our railway systems. I presume there will always be some waste in large construction enterprises.

The excuse, if not the reason, which is put forward in justification of the immense amounts of public moneys and credit given or loaned to the railway corporations, has been that production, particularly in the West, should be accelerated.

While subsidiary advantages have accrued to the more easterly parts of Canada in connection with the large construction pro' gramme of the past ten years or longer, still the fact remains that every resident of Canada, even in remote and inaccessible parts, has shouldered nis share of the burden in providing the great transportation systems, largely for the direct anticipated benefit to the tiller of the soil. I therefore wish to take advantage of the present opportunity to bring the attention of the minister and the House to the necessity for giving the greatest attention to facilities for the prosecution of the very important fishing industry.

I am not unmindful of the assistance which has been given to that industry in the past. This assistance has, apart from tariff protection, mainly taken the form of facilitating transportation.

Notwithstanding the assistance given for shipments of fresh fish and the very large increase in the business at Montreal, the

railways have not, I am advised, given any 'lower rates. The rates for small shipments appear to be too high, and prevent profitable business being done by small dealers unless the consumer is charged beyond reason. With reasonable rates and proper facilities for handling, it would appear, prima facie, that the retailer should be able to sell at lower than current retail rates and still have a fair profit.

The hon. member for Guysborough (Mr. Sinclair) and other hon. gentlemen have at different times urged in this House that provision be made by the Government for a steamship service to carry the output of the fisheries fresh to foreign markets. The hon. member, with his extensive knowledge of business, will appreciate the desirability of this service being performed by private effort if possible. My hon. friend from Guysborough (Mr. Sinclair) will probably agree that if private initiative,will establish such a service it will be apt to secure a better demonstration than if undertaken by ' Government.

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LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR:

If my hon. friend will

excuse me. I did not propose that the Government should establish a line of boats as a Government line. If my hon. friend took that meaning from what I said, it is not what I intended. My idea was that they should give a substantial subsidy to enable private enterprise to put a private line of fast boats on the route between eastern Nova iScotia and the Boston and New York market. I would like to know if my hon. friend is in favour of that.

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CON

Fleming Blanchard McCurdy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McCURDY:

The arrangement to

which I referred was one under which private interests should provide a steamship service with cold storage equipment, between a leading Nova Scotia fish producing port and foreign markets without any expense to the Government. No subsidy was asked for. Unfortunately, however, the war intervened and these projects have not been carried out, but I am assured that they have nbt been abandoned. These interests are to be congratulated on their enterprise. The experiment will, as soon as it can be undertaken, I am sure, be watched with interest, and _if successful, I trust that my hon. friend may find that, in the constituency which he specially represents, as well as elsewhere, enterprising trade interests may afford the advantages of such a service to the fishing industry of the different producing districts.

there is a United States duty of three-quarters of a cent a pound on this commodity which duty is taken out of the pockets of our fishermen.

I am sorry to say that the lot of the fisherman is getting harder year by year. I was sorry to be informed just a few days ago that the price of rope has advaiiced to 20 cents a pound, and that the price of gasolene has advanced very largely, and is likely to go still higher. With these prospects in view, I am sure our fishermen can not expect as large profits in the future as they have had in the past unless something is done for them by the Government. I do not think that the hon. member for Lunenburg makes any suggestion at all for the amelioration of the lot of the fisherman, unless it might be that indicated in the remark which he made that it was important to get the fish as quickly as possible from the fishermen to the mouths of the consumers. The best way in which that could be done-and it would satisfy the constituencies of ray hon. friend from Shelburne and Queens and my hon. friend from Digby, as well as my own constituency, and, in fact, all of the western counties-would be by the Government subsidising a line of boats running between Boston and Yarmouth so, that the boats would put in proper cold storage plants. The matter was discussed last year at some length, but I am sorry to say that up to the present time nothing has been done in reference to it. It would certainly help the fishermen to a very large degree.

Another way in which the fishermen could be helped would be to give a bonus, or a bounty, in some form to them. There is no line of industry in the world that is fraught with so much danger and hardship as the fishing industry. In my own constituency the fishermen carry on a very large industry in live lobsters, as will be seen by the figures which I have given to the House. This industry is carried on between the 15th of September and the 15th July, and it therefore takes practically the whole of the winter season. These fishermen are obliged to go out day after day, exposing themselves to hardship and cold as well as to danger and death. If there is any way in which the Minister of Marine and Fisheries and his department can alleviate the difficulties and hardships of the fishermen, it would certainly be appreciated by those who are engaged in this industry. I have no fault to find with the

motion which has been moved by my hon. friend from Digby. If anything can be done for the fishermen by submitting this matter to the committee, I shall be heartily in accord with it. I am sorry to say that I am afraid that the hon. gentleman is commencing at the wrong end of this question. Unless the committee consider the question of free fish into the United States, which is the natural market, and without which market the fish business in the western part of Nova Scotia would be entirely obliterated, I am afraid that we can not hope for any great results.

At six o'clock, the House took recess.

The House resumed at eight o'clock.

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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN (Halifax):

Mr. Speaker, I have just a few words to say on the resolution of the hon. member for Digby (Mr. Jameson), and I am afraid I shall disappoint my hon. friend the member for Algoma (Mr. Boyce) if his kind reception of myself is an indication that he expects an instructive or a lengthy speech from me. I of- course very cordially approve of the remarks of the hon. member for Digby, and if as the outcome of this brief discussion, the fish trade will be benefited in any way, the House I am sure will be indebted to the hon- member who has introduced this subject. The wording of the resolution rather indicates the subject for discussion as being the cause of the difference in the price of fish between the points of production and the points of consumption,' in the interior portions of the domestic market I assume, namely, in Canada. If that be the point which the hon. gentleman desires discussed in this House, I would say that it is rather an abstract and a very much involved issue, and to discuss it intelligently it would be necessary for one to have a very extensive knowledge of the fish trade; 'for instance, as to the cost of catching fish, methods of curing, methods of marketing, and then to some degree a knowledge of the tastes of the consumer. But the hon. member for Digby and the hon. gentlemen who have followed him have practically confined their remarks to the fresh fish trade and the cost of transportation, and I will therefore assume that, after all, those were the two points largely in the mind of the hon. member for Digby when introducing this resolution. In the few remarks I have to make I shall, therefore, confine myself to that aspect of the case.

The marketing and transportation of fish involves a great many issues, and it is very difficult to assign any disadvantages in our marketing and transportation of fish to any one cause. For instance, it might be that some of the disadvantages might lie with the fishermen in their methods of catching, others with the fish exporter, and others again with those who transport and market the fish. A great deal would also depend upon the consuming population, that is as to whether they were a fish-consuming people.

The domestic fish trade of Canada is, of course, largely of the fresh fish business. In the Maritime Provinces our experience largely relates to the salt fish trade. We have been engaged in that form of fish trade for a long number of years, and our markets are to be found throughout the whole world. Consequently, as our long experience has been mostly in the salt fish trade, we are not so well acquainted with the fresh fish trade. In the province of British Columbia their experience largely relates to the fresh and canned fishing business. In fact, with the exception of the Maritime Provinces, the experience of the rest of Canada is largely with the fresh fish business. The experience of the Maritime Provinces has, until recent years at least, been practically confined to the salt fish business. The fresh fish trade presents many difficulties, not only in Canada, but also in the United States. For instance, it is necessary to have a regular supply of fish, and a regular and fairly cheap system of transportation. Again, the fresh fish market is more easily disturbed by weather conditions than the salt fish market. Those who have any knowledge of the fresh fish trade understand very well that it is a much more hazardous business than the salt or cured fish trade. In connection with the Canadian fresh fish trade, there are also difficulties which are peculiarly due to conditions in this country.' In the first place, we have a very small and a very scattered population, and in this respect we are at a very much greater disadvantage than are those engaged in the same trade in the United States. For instance, the port of Boston is probably the largest fishing port in North America, and probably in the world, and in connection with the fresh fish trade it has tremendous advantages over any Canadian port. If there is a surplus of fish on the Boston market after that city and nearby places have been supplied, the Boston fish

merchants can readily load several cars, or even a train, with the surplus and dispose of it in the towns of the States of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, where they will find a large number of customers. If they are unable to dispose of their surplus in these cities and towns they have the market of Montreal, even in the face of the duty. It is for these reasons that the American fresh fish trade has many advantages over persons engaged in that business in Canada. I have heard the suggestion made more than once by fish merchants in Canada that the Canadian people per capita do not consume fish to the same extent as people in the United States, and I fear there is an element of truth in that. What it is due to I would not venture to say. I would imagine, however, that Canada being a cold country, on the whole, that there is not the same desire to use fish as a foodstuff as would be in warmer countries.

T-he hon. member for Guysborough (Mr. Sinclair) expressed his disagreement with the policy of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries in assigning to the Naval Branch of that department the administration of fisheries. I was not aware that this was the case. I had been under the impression that merely the administration of the steamers and ships belonging to the Government had been placed under the Department of Naval Affairs for administration. I concur in the view expressed by the hon. member for Guysborough. To have fisheries administered by the Naval Branch is apt to bring that service into ridicule and contempt. I do not mean 'to *say that the administration of fisheries is injured in efficiency by being placed under the control of the naval branch, but upon the face of it, and upon paper, it looks rather absurd and is apt to bring the service more or less into ridicule. I quite approve of the work of the department in producing the little booklet dwelling upon the value of fish for food purposes, but I think the booklet is made less effective by bearing on its face the announcement that it was issued by the Naval Branch. For there is no relation whatever between the administration of fisheries and the administration of the naval service. I think I mentioned this last year in the House, or else I spoke to the minister privately about it. I have forgotten what reasons he gave me on that occasion for the course of the department in this matter. I am not making these remarks in any cen-

sorious spirit, and will close my remarks on this point by again urging the minister to restore the administration of the fisheries to the Fisheries Branch.

I think the country may fairly complain of the interest manifested by the Department of Marine and Fisheries in fisheries matters. I do not attach blame to this Government more than to its predecessors, for I think there never has been an aggressive, intelligent, scientific administration of fisheries ;in this country. The entire staff of the department seems to be given up to administrative affairs, largely clerical work. Very little scientific or research work has been done by anybody in connection with the department. For instance, Professor Prince's duties relate to scientific affairs, yet his time for a great many years has been broken in upon by special matters assigned to him. Being a scientific man his work in the department should *be scientific, and the special or extra work given to him of late years should be given to some other person. Little or no study is given by the department to the transportation and marketing of fish. There is little or no circulation of literature by the department for the purpose of instructing the country in the use of fish as a food, or in the methods of using it or marketing it. Everything is left to individual effort, which ordinarily I approve of; hut I do think that by more aggressive and modern administration of fishery affairs by the department, our fisheries might be made to contribute a>

great deal more to the good of the country. In saying this, I repeat, I would not have the minister understand me as attacking the administration of the department by himself or by the present Government, any more than that of previous ministers and of previous Governments. I think there is great opportunity for reform and progress in our fisheries administration.

The bon. member for Shelburne and Queens (Mr. McCurdy) spoke of the importance of increasing our fishery production- Of course, any wealth produced from the sea is as valuable in our accumulation of wealth as that produced by agriculture, lumbering, mining or manufacturing. There is this difference to be noted-and it is to the advantage of bur fisheries-that the supply is not diminished, apparently, by the annual catch. Further, no expenditure of capital or labour is needed in preparing and cultivating the source of supply, where-

*as, especially in agriculture, the producers must devote a great deal of money and time to cultivation in order to assure the yield. I cannot but realize, however, that the increase in production from fisheries in Canada depends largely on the possibility of marketing the product. We cannot increase our fisheries production to any great extent if we must depend upon the domestic market alone. I should not look for such an increased consumption of fish products in Canada within the next few years as would increase our fish production to any great extent. We must seek markets in other countries. The hon. member for Shelburne .and Queens, in 1911, when the question of markets for fish was a vital and prominent issue, took the position that the Canadian markets were of more importance to the Canadian fishermen than the markets of the United States. I believe that it is hopeless to expect any great increase in our production of fish unless we gain a greater market in the United States. Upon some fish products we have free entry into that market to-day; upon others we encounter a small duty. We have advantages in production over the Americans, and with access to that market we should easily be able to hold our own against the producers in that country. I am inclined, therefore, to favour the suggestion made by the hon. member for Guysborough: to

encourage, if we can, the marketing of fish in the United States-I speak largely from the standpoint of the Maritime Provinces -by aiding the establishment of a shipping service between the Maritime Provinces and the United States.

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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN (continuing):

Mr. Deputy Speaker, I think that it would be quite appropriate if, I should extend to you my hearty congratulations on your first appearance in the Chair. Your fellow-members from Nova Scotia are greatly pleased indeed to see this distinction conferred upon, you, and I am sure that you will do honour to the position.

I was saying that if a regular steamship service, designed particularly for the carriage of fish between the Maritime Provinces and the United States, could be established by the granting of a small but reasonable subsidy, it would be invaluable to the fishing interests of Nova Scotia. I would say further-I think the hon. member for Guysborough made the same suggestion this

afternoon-that the fishing industry in the Maritime Provinces is possible only because of the market in the United States. It would be hopeless to talk of increasing our domestic markets if we were not able to carry on the fishing business in the large way that we do at the present time, and the extent of the industry is made possible by the fact that the United States is the largest market that we have, and that we export to that country fish valued at millions of dollars. As the hon. member for Queens-Shelburne suggests, I am always pleased to see an industry developed by private initiative; I do not like to see the Government extend aid to any form of industry if it is possible for that industry to make progress by itself. If a substantial increase in the fresh fish export business of the Maritime Provinces could be made by the granting of a subsidy to a line of steamships which would serve a number of ports, I would gladly support any steps taken in that direction. Indirectly that would benefit the consumers of fish in Canada, because it would make it possible to ship fish much more readily and much more cheaply to our home markets. Our catch would be much greater and there would at all times be a surplus which could be satisfactorily disposed of in the home market.

There is nothing further that I desire to say upon the resolution of the hon. member for Digby except that I heartily concur in it, and I trust that some good may come from its reference to the Committee upon Fisheries for their consideration.

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LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Liberal

Mr. D. D. McKENZIE (North Cape Breton and Victoria):

Coming from a

county that is largely interested in the fish business, I should like to offer a word of commendation to the resolution that has been introduced by the hon. member for Digby (Mr. Jameson). Before saying anything upon that resolution, let me join with my hon. friend the hon. member for Halifax (Mr. A. K. Maclean) in congratulating you, Mr. Speaker, upon your elevation to the position which you occupy. I adopt the words, sentiments, hopes and aspirations of the hon. member for Halifax in regard to your elevation to this office, and as to your reflecting honour and dignity upon the position. '

I am glad that the hon. member for Digby has brought forward this motion as it gives us an opportunity to discuss the fisheries, which we do not often have; and the subject is well worthy of discussion.

As has been said, one of the first essentials for the carrying on of a successful fishing industry is an efficient system for the collection of the fish into shipping centres and their rapid transportation to markets. It is all very well to talk about having vessels run along the shores of Cape Breton, Guys-borough and Halifax counties touching at the different fishing centres, collecting fish and taking it to Halifal for shipment to Boston or New York; but such a system must necessarily be a slow one. I believe that for the rapid collection of fish we must depend on failways. We have now a *railway along the shore from Halifax to Yarmouth, and I believe there is one running down the valley to Yarmouth. Trains on these lines collect fish at the various stations and take them to one of these ports, whence they are shipped to Boston or New York. If the few gaps that we have in our railway lines were filled in so that there would be railway connection with every fishing centre, then trains could collect the fish each morning and convey them to Halifax or Yarmouth, whence they could be transported to the American market which, aftef all, I believe is our natural market for fish.

There are two ways in which the Minister of Marine and Fisheries can greatly assist the fisheries. The first of these is by inducing his colleague the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Rogers) to further improve the harbours along our coasts. These harbours have been greatly improved of late years and our fishermen have thus been benefited; but there is still room for improvement. Owing to the enlargement of our harbours, the fishermen have been enabled to use larger boats and thus to catch much greater quantities of fish. In this way they have been able to attract attention in the Bostpn market, and large Boston dealers now send agents among our fishermen to buy their fish, which, of course, is of great advantage to our men. The further enlargement and improvement of our harbours would enable our fishermen to better compete with the Americans who go upon the fishing grounds with large vessels, equipped with auxiliary gasolene engines, which they are able to use because of the good harbours in the United States from which they operate. If our fishermen had as good harbours they could employ the same class of boats and thus make greater catches. I would therefore urge very strongly on the minister that he use his influence with the hon. Min-

ister of Public Works to have the good work of harbour improvement continued.

My second suggestion is, I believe, a new one. In some parts of Cape Breton there are fishermen who have practically no land. Many of these people came from Newfoundland where they had been engaged in the fisheries all their lives. When these people came to Nova Scotia most of the land from which it would be possible to operate on the good fishing grounds had been taken up. The fishing companies will not part with their land, and these fishermen are hugging the shore, I might almost say, scraping the beach, trying to get a foothold from which to carry on fishing operation. I would suggest to the minister that he take power to expropriate lands where necessary, in order that these people may have an opportunity to properly carry on their fishing operation. I do not say that the minister should give them land for nothing; but it is in the public interest that these men should be encouraged to prosecute the fisheries and it is almost impossible for them to do so unless they have at least some land. As I have said, these men have come from Newfoundland. They are sturdy, fearless, seafaring men, of the same stock as those fishermen of Newfoundland who, in the Empire's hour of need, have left the fisheries and gone home in large numbers to join the Imperial Navy. If they are encouraged in the way I have suggested, not only will we have an increased fishery production but, when the call goes forth for recruits for the Imperial Navy, the officers can go among these men and secure the best naval recruits to be found in the world. I trust that the minister will give this matter his most favourable consideration.

Topic:   TRANSPORTATION AND MARKETING OF FISH.
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LIB

William Stewart Loggie

Liberal

Mt. W. S. LOGGIE (Northumberland, N.B.):

Mr. Speaker, will you allow me ffirst to congratulate you on the honour conferred upon you by your appointment to the responsible and dignified position of deputy speaker.

If, Sir, I were to say that I know something about the fisheries, I might he told: you knew something about the

fisheries-for there are new developments in our fishing industry every day. It was contended at that time that the express rates from Portland and Boston were much less than from Halifax, and that the merchants of Montreal and Toronto were importing their fish both from Boston and Portland. In order to

meet that difficulty, it was decided to assist the producers on the Atlantic seaboard to aupply the large dealers of Montreal. That concession was granted, and in my best judgment it was a concession that was wisely granted. The result of it was a larger distribution of fish from the Atlantic seaboard to Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto. I do not know whether it would be wise in the interests of the industry to extend that concession to all the inland places in the Dominion, at any rate to the inland places ih Ontario and Quebec-The concession is not made to such places, as I understand. What might be a good thing, in the interests of the fisheries on the Pacific seacoast would be to grant the concession to fish which is expressed to the east. [DOT]

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CON

John Douglas Hazen (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

It is.

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LIB

William Stewart Loggie

Liberal

Mr. LOGGIE:

It is on fish expressed

from the west to the distributing centres Montreal, but there are distributing centres further east which do not get the benefit of the concession. However, so far as I am concerned, I think it would be a retrograde movement if the suggestion of the minister made at Ottawa were carried out. I would like very much if the minister would favourably consider the idea that it would be in the interests of the fisheries if this concession were continued. I want to tell the minister and the public that I can ship frozen ,salmon from Chatham to London in better condition that I could ship them by express from Chatham to Montreal.

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LIB
LIB

William Stewart Loggie

Liberal

Mr. LOGGIE:

Yes, London, England.

The minister may wonder how it can be done. Let me explain first of all that salmon or frozen fish for export are packed in tight boxes, and loaded in refrigerator cars which are charged with tons of salt forty-eight hours before the fish are put into them. The fish are kept there until they go on board the steamer at say Montreal, and they are again put into a refrigerator, and kept in a reasonably even temperature until they arrive at London or Liverpool, where they are immediately put into cold storage. Thus they arrive in the hands of the consumer in fairly good condition- Salmon are even brought from the Pacific coast and transported t6 London in good condition. On the other hand, let me tell the minister, that if I wanted to convey that , same box of

salmon, say in the middle of January, to Ottawa, I would have to put it on board a heated car which is ruinous to frozen fish. The car has lo be heated because the express man must live in it and he must have a certain temperature, but the result is that within twenty-four hours the oil which is in the salmon, which is a very rich fish, there being no such salmon in the world as the Restigouche or Miramichi and Gaspe salmon-

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CON

John Douglas Hazen (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

St. John harbour salmon.

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LIB

William Stewart Loggie

Liberal

Mr. LOGGIE:

I forgot about the St. John harbour salmon. By the time the salmon arrive at Montreal the oil has gone out of the fish, and you see a white scum on the skin. That fish must be consumed almost immediately, as in that condition it is not up to the standard. Now if that difficulty could be got over, if the minister would be willing to take up the matter with the Railway Department, and insist that the fish be put in a car with a partition so that one end could be kept cool while the express man could have his quarters in the other compartment, the fish would arrive in Montreal in perfect condition. The cost of such an arrangement would not be very large. I realize perfectly that the matter is surrounded with difficulty, because of the uncertainty . as to the quantity of fish that would be put on the cars and expressed. But I believe that the proper way in which to carry fresh fish in small quantities is by express. You must keep the temperature of that portion, of the car in which the fish is placed reasonably cool. I do not think it would be a very difficult proposition to have some arrangement with the Government railways and with the other railways for carrying the fish to Montreal under such conditions. So far as the Government railways are concerned at any rate, I think the proposition might be favourably considered. My hon. friend from Halifax said that we could not greatly increase the domestic consumption of fish. I do not care how much we increase the domestic consumption; that depends upon how fast the population grows. .What I want to do is to give the people whom we have in this country our Atlantic fish. I think it is a reasonable proposition that we ought to consume our own fish, and not have them caught by American fishermen and shipped from Portland and Boston to Montreal and Toronto. In order to accomplish that, we must give the producers at the Atlantic end

the best transportation facilities possible. I regret I was not present when the hon. member for Guysborough advocated the subsidising of a line of steamers between Canso, I think, and Boston. That, to my mind, is a very desirable proposition, but it would not necessarily fill the bill, because it would serve only one section of the country, whereas the express companies touch nearly every point in the Maritime Provinces.

If the Government would carry out the policy that they have already laid down of extending the Intercolonial Railway by means of branch lines to these producing centres they would serve the fishing industry in a marvellous way, and do a great deal to encourage th-e marketing of fish. Then the hon. member for Digby could hardly say what he has said in his resolution. The point that the hon. gentleman makes in his resolution is that the fish should be placed in prime condition, and at moderate prices, on the interior markets of the country. This, I am sure, is a laudable idea and one that we can promote by providing for prompt transpdrtation. For fresh fish express transportation is the only kind that is feasible for reasonably long distances, such as that between Montreal and the Atlantic seaboard.

' With reference to prices, I am not sure that the hon. gentleman is right in what he says about that subject. I am inclined to believe that fish is to-day sold at moderate prices in the consuming centres, of the Dominion. I have never known of any unreasonable price being asked for fish. The hon. gentleman must not forget, when discussing the difference between the cost of production and the cost to the consumer, that this commodity is something like vegetables. You will recall, I am sure, the discussion there has been regarding the difference between what the farmers get for their vegetables and what the consumer pays for them on the market, but if any hon. gentleman will go into the business of distributing vegetables, or into the retail fish business, in any of our large cities, he will find how great an expense there is in conducting a business of that character. Therefore, I am not sure that the hon. gentleman is right in that part of his resolution. In my judgment, fish are sold at moderate prices all over the Dominion. He says that the prices seem unreasonably high, and that this condition militates against the end in view, which is to encourage the greater consumption of fish

throughout Canada. I shall be very pleased to support the resolution to have this matter discussed before the Marine and Fisheries Committee.

At this time Mr. C. R.

9 p.m. Stewart, Chief Doorkeeper of the House of Commons, came hurriedly into the 'Chamber and called out: "There is a big fire in the reading room; everybody get out quickly." The sitting was immediately suspended without formality, and members, officials, and visitors in the galleries, fled from the Chamber. Some of them were almost overcome by the rapidly-advancing smoke and flames before reaching a place of safety. The fire, which had originated in the reading room, gained momentum with extrme rapidity and was soon beyond control. It continued till the following day, resulting in the almost total destruction of the Parliament buildings, together with the loss of several lives.

Friday, February 4, 1916.

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February 3, 1916