March 13, 1934

CON

Alfred Duranleau (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of Marine)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DURANLEAU:

I have no report to

make on the subject as yet. It is true that conferences and interviews took place and that correspondence has been exchanged between the provincial and federal authorities with regard to cooperation having in view the betterment of fisheries in Quebec, but nothing definite has been arrived at as yet. We had planned a French school for fishermen and inspectors on the Gaspe coast, in Gaspe itself. I hope these negotiations will eventually lead to the establishment of such a school, where two or three French teachers will instruct in the curing and canning of fish and so on, but nothing definite has been agreed upon. The provincial government was supposed to supply the building and the federal authorities were to provide the teachers.

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LIB

Joseph Philippe Baby Casgrain

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

During the last few days I have been in receipt of many resolutions from various municipalities in the province of Quebec, who apparently are alarmed because the government has not made the headway that was expected. I have none of the resolutions before me, but I think I received about a half dozen to-day, and they all complain of the situation which exists in the fishing industry in the province of Quebec. Some of them even go so far as to ask that the order in council passed in 1922 giving the administration of fisheries to the provincial

government should be repealed, if that is the only way to bring about an improvement in the condition, and I think I even went so far as .to advocate such a step during the course of the debate in this house two or three years ago. In view of the difficulties with which we are faced to-day, and in view of the fact that a moment ago the minister said that it was hoped to do something on the coast of Gaspe, though apparently nothing has been done yet, I think this is the proper time to have the minister who is in charge of this very important department make a statement not only as to what is supposed to have been done but as to something tangible that will be done in order to relieve the situation. It is all very well for the minister to come here year after year and tell us that negotiations have been entered into between his government and the provincial government, but nothing has been done, and the people on the north shore are asking that action be taken by this government.

I do not think the minister can get away with that answer to-day. Last year we were told that an institution would be established on the coast of Gaspe to help the fishermen in the province of Quebec. I think at that time the minister said he could not proceed with the project because of the lack of money, that they were not ready to undertake this work. This year I think some steps should be taken in that direction, because if this is not done the fishing industry will go from bad to worse. The people in that part of the country have had a hard time to make both ends meet; they have been barely able to secure a living for their families and themselves, and most of the fishermen in the part of the country which I have the honour to represent are on direct relief. I have no doubt the minister has recevied many requests that these people be assisted. I think we should be given a better statement than the minister has given so far; I do not think it is enough to say that this project could not be proceeded with. Why has nothing been done? Why can they get nothing done for the fishermen of the province of Quebec, when a resolution was adopted by this house two years ago urging this government to cooperate with the government of that province? That resolution was tantamount to an order directing the government to take some steps in that direction. What steps have been taken, and in what way? To-day the minister is mum; he has nothing to say as to what is going to be done, if anything. If we cannot get ministers of the crown more responsive

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to the people than .those we now have sitting on the treasury benches, some day the people will clear out the whole administration. I am surprised that the minister is not able to give me any answer.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Give him a chance.

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LIB

Joseph Philippe Baby Casgrain

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

I am going to give him a chance. I ask him to give me the reason why this school has not been started in Gaspe, which was supposed to be the first step. The minister need not tell me there is no money; there is money for some other institutions, some other boards and for other ventures which here and there the government have seen fit to patronize. Surely there ought to be a certain amount of money to put at the disposal of the Department of Fisheries for the help of the fishermen of the province of Quebec.

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CON

Charles Napoléon Dorion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DORION (Translation):

Mr. Chairman, may' I add a few words to what has been stated by the hon. member for Charlevoix Saguenay (Mr. Casgrain). It cannot be gainsaid that the situation of fishermen on the Gaspe coast and of those on the north shore of the St. Lawrence river is absolutely intolerable. However, we must take into consideration the fact that in 1922 the Liberal government, passed an order in council transferring all its fishery rights to the government of Quebec. Since that date, the fisheries come directly under the administration of the provincial government. It is now requested that the Dominion government collaborate with the Quebec government, and it is contended that if there is no co-operation or if anything goes wrong, the Dominion government will be held responsible; but when all is well the Quebec government gets the credit for it. There is but one remedy and that is to cancel the 1922 order in council.

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LIB
CON

Charles Napoléon Dorion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DORION (Translation):

What should be done is the return of the control of all the Quebec fisheries to the Dominion government and to put matters as they stood before this order in council was passed. Were we to probe this question, or hold an inquiry in order to find out why the control of the Quebec fisheries was taken away from the Dominion government, it would be shown that it was simply to favour a few persons who wanted to take possession of the salmon fishing in the rivers on the north shore and the Gaspe coast.

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LIB
CON

Charles Napoléon Dorion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DORION (Translation):

The list would be too long; the hon. member for Laprairie Napierville (Mr. Dupuis) must be aware of this fact because he has had the occasion of visiting Gaspe and the north shore. These persons intended not only to take possession of the salmon rivers of the Gaspe peninsula and the north shore of the St. Lawrence, but to also control the estuaries of these rivers and that was the reason the dominion government was requested, in 1922, to pass an order in council. I think that the only real remedy to the situation, under the circumstances, as I had the occasion of suggesting to the Minister of Marine (Mr. Duranleau) would be to cancel the order in council of 1922, so that the control of the fisheries of Quebec would be returned to the dominion government as it was previously and as it is the case in all other provinces.

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LIB

Joseph Philippe Baby Casgrain

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN (Translation):

I do not agree with all the remarks of the hon. member for Quebec Montmorency (Mr. Dorion), for instance, when he states: when all is well the government of the province of Quebec takes the credit, and when all goes wrong, the Dominion government is blamed.

All are aware that if depression exists in this country, the dominion government must be held responsible. It is not the provincial government which is at the helm of affairs in Ottawa, but those who sit to your right, sir. The fisheries are federal property and only their administration is the prerogative of the provincial government.

As to the repeal of the order in council of 1922, I suggested it, when I brought up the subject about two years ago and a discussion ensued. I again suggest it, to-day, because the Quebec government has not at its disposal experts like the dominion officials of the Department of Marine. The order in council not having been repealed, we are forced to request the co-operation and good will of the two governments. The hon. minister cannot assert that Quebec refused to cooperate in improving the fisheries of the province. He cannot make such a statement, because it would not be true. The Quebec government is willing to co-operate with the Ottawa government-whether it is a Liberal or Conservative administration-to improve the situation. Negotiations have been carried on to this effect. I should like to know why, after stating, I think, last year, that a biological station would be established on the Gaspe coast as soon as possible, the minister did not implement this promise of establishing that station to help the fisheries of Gaspe and those of the north shore of the St. Law-

Supply-Fisheries-Conservation

rence river. Why this delay to open up this biological station? The establishment of this station with the co-operation of the hon. minister and his officials together with that of the Quebec department of Fisheries, would be an embryo, a first help, on the part of both governments, to improve the situation of the fisheries on the Gaspe coast and the north shore of the St. Lawrence river.

We agree on that point: we must endeavour to improve the situation of the fisheries, however to reach this aim, the dominion government and the hon. Minister of Marine must show their good will and put in practise what they advocated. We are informed that the dominion government could not do more because apparently no funds were at their disposal. The government seem to have funds for many enterprises; however, when it is a question of the Quebec fisheries, there seems to be very little funds. I think the government could find the necessary funds to establish this biological station and the Quebec government would certainly contribute its quota.

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LIB
LIB
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT (Translation):

Referring to page 606 of Hamsard, I find that the fish exports to the various parts of the British Empire, in 1933, that is, after the Imperial Conference, amounted to $2,116,116 less than in 1930, and to foreign countries, $9,521,337 less; a total decrease, comparing 1938 to 1930, of $11,637,453. Therefore, the Canadian fish exports to the various parts of the British Empire and foreign countries have considerably decreased.

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CON

Joseph Léonard Duguay

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DUGUAY (Translation):

Would the hon. member kindly give the amount in pounds instead of money?

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT (Translation):

My reply to the hon. member is that I put the same question to the Bureau of Statistics and I could not obtain the amount in pounds. The answer would have been too long because the quantity of each species of fish would have had to be enumerated. If the hon. member wishes to get the information he may forward his request to the hon. Minister of Marine who, he will find, is always willing, courteous and an example for the hon. member to emulate in the house. As to fish and fishery products, by comparing 1932 to 1930, we note a decrease of $21,847,107. May I ask the Minister of Marine why this decrease in value in the

fishery products and how many fishermen were affected by this situation?

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LIB
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT (Translation):

I shall avail myself of this opportunity-without wishing to interrupt the hon. member for Bonaventure (Mr. Marcil)-to point out an error in Hansard on the same page, in a quotation by the right hon. Prime Minister. In the second column 188 cwts. of fish is mentioned, while it should read 188,000 cwts.

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LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. MARCIL (Translation):

Mr. Chairman, this question of cooperation between the two governments of Ottawa and Quebec in connection with the fisheries, dates away back. I had the privilege, in 1897, of being the Liberal candidate, in Gaspe, against the Hon. Mr. Flynn, then Prime Minister of Quebec, His campaign plank was the fishery question, he maintained that the fisheries should be the prerogative of the Quebec government. He won his election by a majority of one vote-that was rather a small majority. Eleven votes which he gained following a recount, were the result of a cablegram from London, which he received a few days before the voting day, informing him of the Privy Council's decision, that in the future salmon fishing permits would be issued by the Quebec government. So they have been issued for quite a long time. Therefore, if we go back to 1897, almost ancient history, thirty-five years ago, we note that, at that period, there already existed a divergency of views between the two governments.

It gave me much pleasure, to hear from the lips of the minister, on Friday, that he was, at present, negotiating with the Quebec government in order to come to some arrangement in this respect. What interests me most, is the welfare of the people. These poor fishermen, on behalf of wbom Mgr. Ross, the eminent bishop of Gaspe, has pleaded, are very downcast, at present, and an "entente" between the two governments is greatly hoped for. I am pleased to hear that the hon. Minister of Fisheries is considering the question, and I have the assurance that the Hon. Mr. Laferte, Minister of Fisheries, in Quebec, is also disposed to do everything possible to arrive at some arrangement. If it is necessary, for the welfare of the fisherman and the success of the Quebec fisheries, that the provincial government should release the control which it has over the fisheries, at present; I feel certain that the Quebec prime minister, who is broadminded and highly esteemed in the province would take such a

Supply-Fisheries-Conservation

step. Proofs would have to be given him first-and that is but fair-that the Quebec government is not in a position to look after the fisheries in deep water. On the south shore of the Baie des Chaleurs, the fisheries are owned by the province of New Brunswick. This province allows the Dominion government to administer its fisheries. Such an arrangement might be possible between the Quebec provincial government and the Dominion government.

I was pleased to hear the hon. Minister of Fisheries state, last Friday, that, while on his visits to the GaspS peninsula he had had a talk with Bishop Ross, and had himself ascertained that Quebec fisheries were, indeed, in a sad plight. I trust that before long some "modus vivendi" will be agreed upon between the two governments and a considerable improvement will be the result.

Meantime, I congratulate the minister on his intention of establishing a biological school at Gaspe or in the best suited locality the commission may find in that county, thus giving these people whose forbears were the first to settle this country, instructors speaking the French language. We too often forget, we, French Canadian members, who constantly speak English in deference to our colleagues, that both languages are official. When the Dominion government places English speaking instructors in New Brunswick, the people of Quebec are likewise entitled to have French speaking instructors- I was, therefore, pleased to hear that the minister intended to place French speaking instructors in this new biological school which will cater not only to the counties of Gaspe, Bonaven-ture and the Magdalen Islands, but also to the whole gulf of St. Lawrence, including the counties of Saguenay and Chicoutimi; thus putting us on an equal footing with the people >f other provinces. We have to contend with our climate and strive against difficulties which exist neither in British Columbia nor in Nova Scotia where the fisheries are opened twelve months in the year. For these reasons, I think the Minister of Fisheries and the Dominion government should see that the people of Gaspe receive the necessary help, even a generous one. Owing to the difficulties encountered in earning a livelihood, the population of my county, I regret to state, has dropped by a few thousands within the last 25 years, due to the lack of encouragement, communication facilities, markets to dispose of their fish and other reasons for which no government in particular is responsible, neither provincial nor federal.

[Mr. Marcil.3

Indeed, this problem must be solved and if the hon. minister can come to some arrangement with the Quebec government in order to settle this question, he will be looked upon as the benefactor of those people.

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CON

Alfred Duranleau (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of Marine)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DURANLEAU (Translation):

Mr. Chairman, first, in reply to the question of the hon. member for Temiscouata (Mr Pouliot) who has noted a decrease in the exportation of the fishery products, I may state, that in no way is this astonishing, ii we consider that, owing to the world-wide crisis, which has lasted three or four years, all countries are exporting less products. The lower price obtained is also one of the causes of the decrease in exports.

I can only state to my hon. friend that the Department of Fisheries is doing its utmost to foster the exportation of our sea and river products, by making regulations and seeing that they are enforced, so that our products may be shipped abroad in the best condition possible, endeavouring thereby, to raise the standard of our products on foreign markets. I feel certain that within a few years our fish exports will greatly increase.

I am somewhat amazed to hear the hon. member for Charlevoix-Saguenay (Mr. Cas-grain) criticize so sharply the Quebec provincial administration of fisheries.

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LIB

March 13, 1934