June 14, 1905 (10th Parliament, 1st Session)


Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)



My hon. friend (Mr. Foster) was not in the House two sessions ago when this matter was discussed. For years past the shipping federation lias unanimously agitated for a revision of the laws governing the pilots. In the year 1887 a strike took place amongst the Montreal district pilots who were then under the control of the harbour commissioners, and a commission was appointed to inquire into the whole question. For twenty years past the shipping interests have agitated in favour of putting the pilots under the administration of the Marine Department, and it is only the year before last that the objections of the pilots themselves and of the Montreal Harbour Board were removed, and that a Bill was passed putting the licensed pilots between Quebec and Montreal under the control of the department.
loss of a vessel and its cargo to the value of $250,000. Then the shipping people asked us to take away the Saguenay river at least from the pilotage authorities of Quebec and put it under the control of tlie Department of Marine and Fisheries, and last year I introduced a Bill- for that purpose. The department succeeded in getting tlie corporation of the pilots of Quebec to select four or five of tbeir number wbo knew the Saguenay river very well, and place them under the control of the department. The result was that last year there was scarcely any accident, and matters went on better than they had done before. This year the corporation of the pilots of Quebec, in view of the way matters had gone on between Montreal and Quebec, came to the Minister of Marine and Fisheries, and asked that they should be put under the control of bis department. They felt that that would be more satisfactory to them and that the regulations would be better attended to ; and therefore, with the consent of the Harbour Commissioners of Quebec, I bring forward this Bill with the view of having the whole of the St. Lawrence pilotage under tlie control-of the Department of Marine and Fisheries. The pilots' organization will of course keep its entity as it is, while the Department of Marine and Fisheries will be the pilotage authority as regards examinations and regulations for the admission of pilots, and all that is necessary to guarantee to the shipping interest the elimination as much as possible of all dangers from incompetency.

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