June 13, 1947

CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. ANGUS MacINNIS (Vancouver East):

Mr. Speaker, there is very little I wish to say in this connection, because, as other hon. members have said, the ground has been fairly well covered. But in my opinion the government-and by that I mean of course the Department of Fisheries-will have to give more attention to the conservation of our fish resources. I do not know that there is any natural resource which will respond more quickly to proper conservation methods than the fishing industry. On the other hand, the industry can be quickly depleted if orderly fishing and other conservation methods are not provided for. Of course orderly fishing in itself is a method of conservation.

From what I can hear and read my impression is that the fishing industry is getting into a bad way. Certain kinds and classes of fish have now' reached the point where the supply is greater than the demand

Fisheries Research Board

If that condition continues or develops to any considerable extent, the fishermen, who never were very prosperous, will again be in a bad way.

I hold in my hand the bulletin for April of the Fisheries Council of Canada. I wish to draw the attention of hon. members to one or two statements made by Dr. D. B. Finn, formerly deputy minister of fisheries, now director of the fisheries division of the food and agriculture organization. I gather from what Dr. Finn has said that he believes we shall have to enter into international marketing arrangements in connection with fish and in saying this I do not believe I am placing too wide an interpretation on what he said. Dr. Finn stated that the surplus of fresh and frozen fish already developing would probably lead to more fish under salt, and eventually produce a surplus in that commodity. He said that might lead to a fall in price. And to quote him-

If this occurs the danger is that fishermen's incomes will fail to support them at minimum standards of living. Price support subsidies and relief will follow.

Then he went on to point out that aggressive countries in need of markets are already recapturing some of the markets we had during the war. To quote further:

The resulting fight will mean ruin to all-the downward spiral, which we know so well, will have commenced. He offered as solutions the conviction and understanding that this problem is common to all countries-

-and that it should be studied cooperatively, in an effort to find an orderly method of marketing. Then, further in this regard he said:

I am sure that we all wonder what the result will be when, after recovery, Europe's normal production is added to that which we already have. The fish canning industry is well aware of such questions. Once again we shall have to face the problem of adjusting the power of the world to consume the goods if we are to avoid the consequences of expanded capacity to produce, the consequences which we felt in the depression of the inter-war period . . .

Surely, if there is a solution, it lies in the direction that has already been struck. It lies in a thorough examination of the nature of the problem, such as is taking place in Washington by the preparatory commission on world food proposals.

So that all I would care to add to what has already been said is that the fishing industry in this country is an exceedingly important one. It is important in the matter of the wealth produced, and in the production of fish as a healthful and staple food. Any serious setback to the fishing industry would be a serious setback to the economy of Canada. Every-

thing that possibly can be done by the Depart-of Fisheries to help the fishing industry should be done.

Topic:   FISHERIES RESEARCH BOARD
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IND

John Lambert Gibson

Independent Liberal

Mr. J. L. GIBSON (Comox-Alberni):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to add a few words to what has already been said. I shall be as brief as possible so that this measure may be passed, because there is a great deal of work before the house.

First I would compliment hon. members who have spoken in the debate, because I believe all have added something to the general knowledge on the subject. I believe all hon. members will agree that this is a pretty fair bill; it is a step in the right direction. I believe it is fairly well agreed in the house that what we need for. a solution of the basic problem confronting the fishing industry of Canada is a greater consumption of fish.

I believe, too, all hon. members agree that the Fisheries Prices Support Act should be implemented in due course. However there seems to be considerable disagreement among hon. members as to just how this legislation can be most effective.

The hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Maelnnis) has just read a statement which would indicate that probably subsidies will be necessary, unless some action is taken. In the House of Commons there are about twenty men representing fishing constituencies. All look like intelligent chaps-at least they talk like them-and it has occurred to me that members of parliament may depend too much on the minister and his officials in dealing with problems which we as members should be helping them to meet. We know a good deal about fish, and the marketing of fish. It is pretty well agreed that we would eat larger quantities of fish if it was presented in the proper way, if it was palatable, and if the purchaser could always be assured of its freshness. If between now and the time the estimates for the Department of Fisheries are before the committee hon. members were to give some study to the problem, I am sure they would be able to give the minister and his officials some good suggestions as to how we can increase our consumption of fish.

The hon. member for Qu'Appelle (Mrs. Strum) said last year she was certain the women in the prairie provinces would be glad to eat more fish if it were made available to them at reasonable prices, and if they could be assured of its freshness. I happen to be associated with the fishing industry and I have seen products offered for sale to the consumers of Canada that I would not feed to my cat and to tell you the truth I do not care much for cats.

Fisheries Research Board

One of the areas in Canada turned down the opportunity to have the government inspect their canned products. I think that was one of the greatest mistakes that area ever made. They did not want to have the government grade their fish and guarantee to the consumer that it would be good fish when he got it. They just have not sold their product. Up in the restaurant you get excellent food, as the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. Reid) has said, but the finnan haddie they serve does not taste like the finnan haddie I used to eat. I think the cause of this is that there is not enough smoke in it. Smoking dries out the fish, and it does not weigh so much, but that is the only way you can get flavour into finnan haddie. I think the fish packers in the mari-times could put out an excellent product, but they seem to have decided that there is more money in selling water than in selling smoke.

There are many ideas which the fish packers themselves could introduce in order to make their products more attractive. The hon. member for Skeena (Mr. Archibald) says that he would like to see this a government controlled enterprise, but I do not think anyone would be eating fish after a few years of that.

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. KNOWLES:

He said a cooperative.

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IND

John Lambert Gibson

Independent Liberal

Mr. GIBSON (Comox-Alberni):

I think there is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to assist the minister in solving this problem. It is a great problem in Canada. If all we have to do to cure the ills of the fishing industry in Canada is to have people eat five pounds more per year, I do not feel we should have any difficulty in solving the problem provided we use a little imagination.

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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. A. M. NICHOLSON (Mackenzie):

Mr. Speaker, hon. members from the east and west coasts have made important contributions to the debate, but I would remind the house that there is a fishing industry in the central portion of Canada. WThile there are not many people depending upon the fishing industry for a livelihood in my constituency, it is an important industry in the far north. When the act was passed in 1937 apparently that fact was lost sight of, because section 4 reads:

The board shall consist of fifteen members appointed by the minister as follows: two from the department, two representing the fishery industry on the Atlantic coast, two representing the fishery industry on the Pacific coast, and nine scientists selected from a list including nominations which may be made by any Canadian university whose staff embraces scientists engaged in research work in any way bearing upon fishery problems . . .

I note that no proposal has been made to revise the act to make sure that there would be representatives from the prairies on the board.

I take exception also to the continued policy of the government that no member of the board shall receive payment or emolument for his services as such, but that each member shall receive such payments for his travelling and other expenses in connection with the work of the board as may be approved by the governor in council. As a matter of policy I do not think we should limit membership on important boards to those who are able to give all their time without compensation. If the members of the board are to do a worthwhile job the minister should not make any apology in coming to parliament and asking that they be paid for the time spent doing this important work.

When the minister was speaking in April to the council he said :

It is a commonplace to say that the prosperity of Canada depends mainly on the levels of export trade. But of all Canadian industries, there is hardly one more dependent on exports than is the fishing industry.

I want to support the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. Reid) who said that we have a market here in Canada which has never really been cultivated. W'hen we consider that our consumption is less than ten pounds per person per year as compared with over 100 pounds in Denmark and Japan, as he pointed out, I think we should be looking at our own market. Those of us who were at the luncheon at the chateau the other day will agree I think that if they had to select one item on the menu and none other they would have taken the Gaspe salmon. That is the kind of food that one remembers having eaten. It show's that Canadian fish can be served in Canadian restaurants and provide pleasure 1o those who eat it. I think more could be done to make sure that the scientific information we have with regard to the handling of fish is acted upon in order that our own citizens, and tourists and visitors, may be able to get good quality fish in all parts of the country more frequently than once a week.

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PC

Douglas King Hazen

Progressive Conservative

Mr. D. KING HAZEN (St. John-Albert):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to say just, a word about the amendments to the act proposed by this bill. It seems to me that they will add to the efficiency of the board. As the bill is to be referred to a committee I was surprised at the length of time this debate has taken. It seems to me it would have been more appropriate to discuss the matter of fisheries when

412S

Fisheries Research Board

(he estimates were before the house. However, that is perhaps a matter upon which I cannot speak with any authority.

I want to support the hon. member for Charlotte (Mr. Stuart) who has requested that further attention be given to establishing lobster hatcheries along the bay of Fundy on the Atlantic coast. Two years ago I proposed in the house that lobster hatcheries should be established and the matter was referred by the minister to the biological research board which made an adverse report.

This report, of which the minister kindly let me have a copy, says that the lobster fisheries aiong the New England coast have more than doubled in the last few years. I have not the figures before me, but. I know the lobster fisheries along the bay of Fundy have not increased in any such proportion. If the lobster fisheries along the New England coast have increased to such a great extent there must be reasons for it. It seems to me that one of the reasons is the fact that lobster hatcheries were established in the state of Maine. There may be others, but surely there must be some connection between the increase in the lobster fisheries along the New England coast and the establishment of the lobster hatcheries. I have been informed that the lobster fishermen on the island of Grand Manan attribute their increased catches to the Maine hatcheries.

If there is nothing in these hatcheries, if they are to be damned as the report submitted to the minister suggests, how is it that only last year the state of Massachusetts established one or more of them? New England people are long-headed; they do not throw their money away merely for the purpose of erecting hatcheries if they do not produce results. The fisheries people in Massachusetts must have investigated the matter pretty thoroughly before they went ahead and put up their hatcheries. I know it is difficult for the minister in view of the report he has received, but I would urge upon him that he give further consideration to the establishment of lobster factories along the shores of the bay of Fundy. Let him give the matter another try, in view of the experience of and the modern methods which have been adopted in the state of Maine and wall be adopted in the hatcheries in Massachusetts.

There was one thing said by the hon. member for Charlotte (Mr. Stuart) in the course of his remarks-perhaps more than one-with which I did not agree. He said, if I understood him correctly, that too much time was taken up in the minister's department with inland fisheries and sport fisheries.

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LIB

Andrew Wesley Stuart

Liberal

Mr. STUART (Charlotte):

I said that the research board was taking up too much time with inland and sport fisheries.

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PC

Douglas King Hazen

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HAZEN:

With that statement I do not agree. I think the board has been carrying on important investigations in inland and sport fisheries, and I have no criticism to offer of what they have been doing. I hope heir work along these lines will be continued and their investigations if necessary extended, and that increased sums will be appropriated to carry on the work that should be done.

If I were the Minister of Fisheries or a member of the fisheries board my chief objective would be to make two fish grow where one growls now. That is the target to aim at. I am perturbed about the salmon fisheries in the bay of Fundy. I noticed recently that the minister was taking some interest in the dams in the Nashwaak river with a view to improving the salmon fisheries in those waters, and 1 think he is to be commended for what he has done. It seems to me that all the tributaries of the Saint John river and the rivers that enter in the bay of Fundy should be investigated, not only from the angling point of view, but also from the point of view that salmon will come up these rivers to spawn if they get the opportunity and are protected. The better the returns we have from these rivers, the better the commercial fishing in the bay of Fundy should be.

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PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. G. K. FRASER (Peterborough West):

Mr. Speaker, when the minister makes his statement in reply will he tell the house what his department is doing in regard to what the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. Reid) mentioned as to the proper keeping and distribution of fish throughout the country. I brought up this question on the minister's estimates last year. I pointed out that by the time the fish reaches our cities in Ontario it was not fit for human consumption, and that proper check should be made of the freezing, preserving and distribution of the fish.

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LIB

Hedley Francis Gregory Bridges (Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Hon. H. F. G. BRIDGES (Minister of Fisheries):

Mr. Speaker, it is not my intention to make any extended remarks at this stage, but I feel that it is advisable I should place certain facts on the record in order that the house may be a little better informed concerning certain matters in view of what was said in one or two of the addresses which were made on the second reading of this bill.

In the first place, I do not believe that the house as a whole realizes that the board operates certain stations across Canada. There is, first of all, the biological station at

Fisheries Research Board

Nanaimo; the fisheries experimental station at Vancouver; the central fisheries research station at Winnipeg; the Gaspe fisheries experimental station at Grand River; the Atlantic biological station at St. Andrew's, New Brunswick; the Atlantic fisheries experimental station at Halifax; and the biological substation at Ellerslie, Prince Edward Island.

The present act which sets up the fisheries research board definitely sets out that:

The board shall have charge of all dominion fishery research stations in Canada, and snail have the conduct and control of investigations of practical and economic problems connected with marine and fresh water fisheries, flora and fauna, and such other work as may be assigned to it by the minister.

My reason for placing that on the record is so that the members of the house will have definitely in their minds just what are the functions of the fisheries research board and also the functions of the fisheries stations which are operated in Canada.

The hon. member for Nanaimo (Mr. Pearkes) when speaking yesterday made several statements which I regard as extravagant. I am sorry he is not in the house this afternoon to hear my reply, but I feel that I cannot let some of his statements go unanswered. I notice that at page 4086 of Hansard of yesterday he is reported as saying:

It would appear to me that a thorough reorganization of the fisheries research board is long overdue, not as the fault of the scientists, but as the fault of the government in neglecting to support the board.

Again, at page 4160 he made this statement:

Rather do I accuse the government of failure to support that board adequately in the past, and I hope that this new bill is a step in the right direction.

Then, again, he culminated his address by saying this:

Finally, I should like to commend all those who are connected with the board and who have made a definite contribution to the industry, and excellent attempts to overcome the almost insurmountable obstacles they have had to face, in spite of what I feel has been in the past a rather half-hearted government support.

Having listened to remarks such as that, I consider that I should give the house some information as to just what support this government has given to the work of the fisheries research board.

If we are to carry on fisheries research the first thing that is absolutely essential is an adequate amount of money to spend on research. I am frank to admit that I do not always get all the money I ask for and have asked for in the past, and I think any other member of the cabinet will have to be frank and admit the same thing.

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PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GRAYDON:

What stops it?

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LIB

Hedley Francis Gregory Bridges (Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. BRIDGES:

Quite often it is the opposition. In other cases it is the financial position of the country. I would point out that the hon. member for Nanaimo when he made that statement had evidently not made any study of the expenditures which have been made on research by this government. It might interest the house to know that in 1920-21, when the old biological board, as it was called at that time, was in being, only S30.6fi0.ll was spent on research, whereas in 1946-47 up to February 28-1 have not the final figures up to the end of the fiscal year 8626,341.19 was spent. In other words, in a period of some twenty-five years the amount of money spent on fisheries research has gone from a little over $30,000 to over $625,000. It is of special interest to me that the amount of money spent on research has increased greatly during the present administration. I am going to compare for a moment the time when the government under the leadership of Mr. Bennett was in power and the amount of money spent on research at that time. I do this only to show-and I think I can show it conclusively-that this government has not given only half-hearted support to the work of the fisheries research board. I have the figures for a certain number of years but I shall not put them all on the record. In 1931-32 there was approximately $275,665 spent on research. In 1932-33, $228,062 was spent on research. In 1933-34, $176,239 was spent on research.

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PC

John Ritchie MacNicol

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacNIOOL:

The minister should state that that was during the depression.

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LIB

Hedley Francis Gregory Bridges (Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. BRIDGES:

I am quite frank to admit that it was during the depression, but what I want to impress upon the house is that this government is not giving merely half-hearted support to the work as was alleged in the house yesterday by the hon. member for Nanaimo. In 1944-45 this government spent S338.428.0S on the research board. In 1945-46 we spent $502,009.76. Just a few moments ago I gave the figures of the amount that was spent during the past fiscal year which, up to February 28, 1947, amounted to $626,341.19.

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PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. SMITH (Calgary West):

Will the minister permit a question?

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LIB

Hedley Francis Gregory Bridges (Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. BRIDGES:

Yes.

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PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. SMITH (Calgary West):

In other words, the increase in the amount spent on this board does not begin to keep pace with the increased revenue of the country, does it? I am speaking comparatively.

Fisheries Research Board

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LIB

Hedley Francis Gregory Bridges (Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. BRIDGES:

Probably the hon. member knows the exact percentages. I have not worked them out; I do not know. Maybe he has; maybe he has not.

The hon. member for Nanaimo also made some reference to the expenditures which were being made on the Nanaimo station which, incidentally, I believe is very close to his own constituency and in which he is interested. In 1935-36 when this government took office we spent on the Nanaimo station 848,610; in 1936-37, 849,284; in 1937-38, $40,739; in 1938-39, $60,722; in 1939-40, $61,332; in 1940-41. S60,0S1; in 1941-42, $51,886; in 1942-43, S53,629; in 1943-44, $52,874; in 194445, $88,041; in 1945-46, $140,304 and in 194647 up to February 28, instead of up to the end of the fiscal year, $166,795. I believe- and I think the house will agree with me

that this shows conclusively that this government is not giving merely half-hearted support to the work of the fisheries research board. As a matter of fact one of the reasons why we have introduced this bill is to make a certain change in the administrative set-up of the board. We have done that because I found, as the minister in charge of the department, that the expenditures were running to such amounts each year that I felt some one person should be charged with responsibility of supervising, at least to some extent, the work of the fisheries research board.

In the past the fisheries research board has been comprised of, as was said a little while ago, a group of persons, two of whom represented the department, two represented the fisheries industry on the Atlantic coast, two represented the fisheries on the Pacific coast, and nine scientists. These men met annually once a year in Ottawa and outlined their programme for the year. It so happened that the assistant deputy minister of fisheries, Major D. H. Sutherland, acted as honorary secretary of the board. But what impressed me was the fact that the expenditures ran up to the figure of $600,000 and that no one person was charged with the responsibility of that amount of expenditure. It was for that reason that this section has been put in the bill.

The hon. member for Mackenzie (Mr. Nicholson) when he spoke a few moments ago referred to the fact that there was no representation on the fisheries research board from the prairie provinces. He said he hoped that the act would be amended to include representation on the board from the prairie provinces. I, of course, was not here in 1937 when the Fisheries Research Board Act was passed, but I assume-and this is only conjecture on my part-that the reason there are

no members of the industry from the prairie provinces on the board, as set out in section 4 of the act, is that the federal Department of Fisheries does not administer the fisheries in the prairie provinces. I make that statement only as an assumption of my own. However I would point out that the distinguished chairman of the board, Doctor A. T. Cameron, professor of biochemistry of the university of Manitoba, does live in the city of Winnipeg. I assume that Manitoba can be regarded as one of the prairie provinces.

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PC

John Ritchie MacNicol

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacNICOL:

Will the minister permit

a question? Does the department not administer the fisheries in the Northwest Territories? In that area there are two great lakes from which vast quantities of fish are shipped, Great Bear lake and Great Slave lake.

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LIB

Hedley Francis Gregory Bridges (Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. BRIDGES:

I quite agree with the

hon. member. In these lakes the research board has done quite extensive research work in the past.

I would also point out to the hon. member for Mackenzie that we do maintain a central fisheries research station in Manitoba. From information I have received, not from the board itself, but from others, I believe that it is doing good work there.

A great many other remarks have been made concerning a great variety of subjects which I do not believe are really germane to the issue before the house, namely, the principle of the bill. It is not my intention to make any statement regarding the great variety of subjects which were discussed. I feel, as the hon. member for St. John-Albert (Mr. Hazen) does, that these matters can be discussed much more appropriately when the estimates are before the committee.

Just before taking my seat, I should like to reply to the hon. member for Charlotte (Mr. Stuart) and the hon. member for St. John-Albert regarding lobster hatcheries. The hon. member for St. John-Albert told the house exactly what did happen. I am not a scientist; I do not know the answer, but I do happen to know that when this subject of lobster hatcheries was referred to the scientists of the fisheries research board they did report adversely on the proposition. I should like to give both these hon. gentlemen the assurance that I shall see that further consideration is given to the matter.

I do not think there is any necessity of my going any farther at this stage. After the bill receives second reading, it is my intention to move that it be referred to the standing com-

Merchant Seamen

mittee on marine and fisheries, and there will be ample opportunity to discuss it in detail.

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June 13, 1947