May 6, 1939 (18th Parliament, 4th Session)


René-Antoine Pelletier

Social Credit


The minister states
that this resolution is to precede legislation which will create a board in order to bring about improvements in the fishing industry, especially with relation to packing for export. A moment ago the minister admitted frankly that his foreign market had vanished. I do not see any reason why he should not be quite frank about it and say clearly: We used to depend on foreign markets, but we now find that owing to changes in world conditions and for various other reasons the fishermen are without any more markets.
It seems to me that this type of resolution is the same as the resolution which was presented by, for example, the Minister of Labour (Mr. Rogers) to assist employment and to alleviate agricultural distress.. At this time it happens to be for the salt fishermen of Canada, and of course I admit that they need this assistance. But I can never understand why it is necessary for various departments of the government to set up boards of this kind in order to help out one particular branch of one industry. I do not see any reason why it should not be said at once that unemployment and distress are national problems. Instead of the government trying to evade its responsibility, or only partly fulfilling its duty, by segregating each industry and setting up a board for one industry or another, I do not see why the whole thing could not be consolidated and the government properly accept its responsibility throughout the country. The Minister of Fisheries (Mr. Michaud) admits that his markets have vanished. The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner), I know, is experiencing difficulty in finding markets for Canadian exports. The same can be said to apply in respect of almost every producing industry in this country. That is why I say that instead of creating a whole flock of boards, each to take care of one industry, it should be possible for the government to centralize these activities and admit its responsibility on a national basis.
Is it the intention, through the legislation to be based on this resolution, to give

Salt Fish Board
assistance in the way of relief grants, as we are doing under the Department of Labour or the Department of Agriculture to assist distress, or will the efforts of this board be simply confined to locating new markets and assisting in better packing? Does this mean more bonus legislation by way of assistance to the salt fish industry? Is it general assistance in the form of relief, but under the guise of a board, or just exactly what is intended?

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