May 4, 1908 (10th Parliament, 4th Session)


Angus McLennan


Mr. ANGUS MCLENNAN (Inverness).

Port Hastings, that very important coaling station, happening to be in the county I have the honour to represent, I wish to say a few words in connection with the complaint mentioned in the letters and other papers referred to by the hon. member for Queens, Prince Edward Island (Mr. A. A. McLean), It seemed to me as if these gentlemen had exhausted the grievances of Prince Edward Island and, like Alexander, had gone abroad for other worlds to conquer. It would seem to me also that a certain gentleman has called perhaps, undue attention to any trouble in regard to the shipping of coal at Port Hastings. There is one particular point in connection with the agitation which has been set on foot that I would like to mention. A Mr. Alexander G. Bailey has been very much in evidence in the press for a number of months past and I may say, in order that the House may understand the matter, that there is something back of Mr. Bailey's agitation and It is this : Mr. Bailey was sales agent for the Inverness Coal Company, and, for some reason, the Inverness Coal Company dispensed with the services of that gentleman. From that day on every thing has gone wrong at Port Hastings with the shipping pier of the Inverness Coal Company. Nothing, in fact, in the eyes of Mr. Bailey, has been right since then. But, it must be conceded that there are occasions when there is a considerable congestion of shipping at the various shipping piers of the coal companies, and I may say, in passing, that the shipping and selling of coal have always been held, and rightly so, to be a private enterprise. What the government of the province or of this Dominion can have to do with a private enterprise of that character I fail to see. If there were any means by which the Dominion government or any of the provincial governments could do anything to rectify any grievance that might exist in this
.MAY 4, 1908
connection no person would be better pleased than myself, but, like all other lines of business I think that this mining business will adjust itself. There are occasions, particularly in the fall of the year, when coal is very much in demand, and when there is, consequently, great congestion at the shipping piers. It is something like the shipping of wheat in the west. All the lines of railway are pressed into the service and while they are not equal to the task of shipping the grain out of that part of the country just as speedily as the producers would like them to do, no person would say that the railways are not doing the best they can. So are the coal mining companies. There is one feature in connection with the selling and shipping of coal and that is that there are two markets-the local market and the distant, or foreign market. There was hitherto considerable competition among the Nova Scotia coal companies for the St. Lawrence market but fortunately for the coal trade and for the owners of sailing vessels the growth and extent of the local market which is supplied by the sailing vessels, is convincing the coal producers that it is fast becoming a very valuable market and that it requires recognition from them. Only the other day I was speaking with Mr. D. D. Mann, of the Inverness Coal Company, and he assured me that so profitable was the local market becoming that his company had made up their mind that it would be a case of first come first served as regards sailing vessels or steamrs at their shipping ports. The Mabou mine, another valuable mine in Inverness county, has vigorously started out to produce coal, and they advertise that as between the sailing vessel and the steamer it will also be a case of first come first served. There is another feature in connection with this congestion of shipping at Port Hastings and other Inverness coal ports which I might call the attention of the House to, and that is the very great superiority of the coal produced there.

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