My concern is this: While apparently the amendment is for the benefit of the harbours of Quebec and Montreal, they really do not need the amendment because the minister could attend at those points. It seems to me that in effect the amendment will apply only to the points far away. If there is any benefit in having the act as it was before, with the minister acting as pilotage authority, it does not seem to me that those points should be deprived of a benefit simply because other points happened to be nearer. I am in accord with the idea of delegating authority to a certain extent in special cases. But this amendment goes much further by way of delegation than is usually the case. As a rule the term "minister" includes an acting minister. The present amendment, however, goes further and provides for the "deputy minister," and then there is further provision "in the absence of the minister." As a matter of fact there is usually an acting minister, if the minister is absent any length of time. It seems to me that that should cover the case, rather than have a further delegation not only to the deputy but to someone else altogether, namely the superintendent of pilots. Then from the superintendent of pilots it goes to someone else. I submit this is delegation with a vengeance.
I am showing that the delegation is not done by by-law. The delegation is done simply by someone writing a letter. In any other function of the minister you do not have the minister delegating his power; the acting minister always has power. Sometimes the deputy minister has power, but you do not have a further delegation to the superintendent of pilots, then to some
other official, and then from him to somebody else. It seems to me we are making the section more involved than is necessary. As pilots from outside points have not been consulted, there may be some objections. I do not know whether or not there could be, but if there was any benefit in having the act as it stood before and as it has been for many years, why change it just at this time, and have all these powers of delegation?
The hon. member has stated that the proposed amendment may be useful in outside districts such as Halifax and Vancouver, but that perhaps it may not be necessary at other points because the minister could go to Quebec and perform his pilotage duties. However if there were an inquiry held even at Quebec I should hesitate to go myself. In some circumstances I believe it would be proper to delegate powers to hold an inquiry even in Quebec, instead of forcing the minister to leave his office for that purpose.
Mr. Chairman, I still maintain my contentions in connection with the amendment proposed. Last year, an official of the department, Captain Robertson, on his own responsibility, suspended seven pilots. A number of pilots having refused to undertake some special service, those who had made the request immediately communicated with Ottawa. At the time, the hon. Minister of Marine was absent What happened? Captain Robertson, on his own authority, suspended six or seven pilots, by telegram. These Quebec pilots were suspended because they had refused to undertake some special service, notwithstanding the fact that such pilotage authority was not vested in the superintendent. Not only he had not that authority but he was unaware of the provisions of a contract between the shipping federation and the Quebec Pilots' Union. If that authority is vested in the superintendent, the same thing will happen as last year, he will suspend without any cause these pilots. I again contend that the authority to appoint pilots and fix pilotage rates should not be vested in officials of the:
Canada Shipping Act
department, but that this authority should be left with the minister or, perhaps, the deputy minister and no other official.
Could the hon. member for Quebec-Mont-morency (Mr. Dorion) inform the house as to what happened to -these seven pilots? I understand -they were suspended in virtue of the authority delegated by the minister?
were not suspended under authority delegated by the minister. Fortunately, the minister after examining the facts of the case, gave instructions that -these -pilots be reinstated. Nevertheless, the superintendent of pilots was under the impression, when the suspensions took place, that he was the pilotage authority. That is exactly why this amendment to the act is moved this evening, i-t is -to avoid a similar occurrence in the future. After a pilot is dismissed or suspended by an official of the Department of Marine, what recourse will we have, if this amendment is adopted? The minister will then reply that the pilotage authority had made such and such a decision, I am helpless.
I contend that such powers should be vested in the minister or deputy -minister only.
Whenever the minister is appointed as pilotage authority for any district, his successors in office or any acting minister or, in the absence of the minister, his lawful deputy, shall be the pilotage authority, and any such pilotage authority may by by-law confirmed by the governor in council, authorize the superintendent of pilots in the district to exercise any of his functions, and for such time or such purpose as he may decide, authorize any person to exercise any particular function or power vested in the pilotage authority by this act or any by-law made hereunder.