There seems to be no doubt that'the minister (Hon. Mr. Sutherland) did the correct thing in allowing these buoys to remain out last fall. They were left out for the benefit of the shipping, and at the urgent request of those interested in steamers sailing from the port of Montreal. I do not know how many steamers were enabled to pass down the river because those buoys were left out so late, but even if only two or three steamers were benefited thereby, the expense caused by the loss of the buoys was a mere trifle compared with the great advantage which the shipping derived from the action of the minister. It must be a great relief to this House, as I am sure it will be to the producers and shippers of this country, to know that we have a Minister of Marine whose intentions are good, who intends to be progressive, and that we are to be no longer confronted, as we were last session, with a dead stonewall. It is satisfactory to know that we will not be met with the
invariable reply : Oh, this department is all right; it does nothing wrong; it cannot possibly be improved. We have a minister now who intends to improve it, and whether he will be able to do so or not remains to be seen. But it must be a matter of satisfaction to the hon. gentleman himself to know that he is at the head of a department which can do the greatest good for the transportation interests of this country. In his hands are the lighthouses and other aids to navigation throughout our great waterway, and as one who uses that great waterway in its western part, I shall welcome every help that can be given it by means of new lights and buoys. As a citizen of this country, and as one who is in the transportation business, I am quite convinced that the greatest barrier in the way of transportation along the St. Lawrence is the insurance rates to and from Montreal and Quebec, and more especially from Quebec to the sea. By whatever route our products may reach our seaboard, whether by rail or water, does not matter, they must all go outwards from Quebec to the gulf, and inwards, too, our trade must use that same waterway, and the hon. minister's attention must be specially directed to the improvements from Quebec to the sea, so that that part shall be made so perfectly safe that the insurance rates will fall to a minimum. It is nonsense for us to say that these insurance men charge too much. Let us make that part of the river perfectly safe and then the rates will come down.
Mr. McLennan (Inverness). I wish to make a suggestion to the hon. minister in connection with the lighting of Port Hood Harbour. The instructions last fall were that the light should be kept at the entrance of that harbour up to the 1st January. So long as that port was merely used for local business this was all right, but now its business has greatly extended. A very vigorous coal company have taken the coal mines into their hands and they are rapidly developing that property. Last January the shipping was at a considerable disadvantage owing to the fact that the lights at the entrance of the harbour were not kept in operation after the first of the month. I now throw out the suggestion to the hon. minister that sufficient supplies should be furnished the lighthouse keeper at Port Hood to keep the lights going throughout the whole season of navigation.