Under this item I wish to direct the attention of the committee and the Minister of Fisheries to an item which probably does not deal directly with salmon. The matter to which I shall refer is one which has been brought to the attention of two and probably three ministers of fisheries in the last few years. While in some cases the ministers have given their decided opinions in the matter, yet the parties who have been injured have not had their claims satisfied. I refer to the subsidized fishing steamer, Amla. The owners of this particular fishing steamer had a contract made in the year 1929, and under their contract they interviewed the fishermen of Prince Edward Island. We find that the contract was not carried out in detail and that the people who were injured were
the crew of the subsidized steamer Amla. I shall read the memorandum of agreement:
Memorandum of Agreement in duplicate mad* and entered into on the fourteenth day of May in the year nineteen hundred and twenty-nine between His Majesty, King George V, represented herein by the Honourable P. J. Arthur Cardin, Minister of Marine and Fisheries, of the Dominion of Canada, hereinafter referred to as the minister or the party of the first part, and the International Fresh Fish Corporation Limited, Georgetown, Prince Edward Island, owner of the boat "Amla", hereinafter referred to as the party of the second part;
Witnesseth that for and in consideration of the covenants, agreements and stipulations herein contained on the part of His Majesty, the party of the second part, themselves, their successors and assigns do hereby covenant and agree to and with His Majesty, his heirs and successors in the manner and to the effect following, viz:
To provide and operate at their own cost the steamer "Amla" for collecting and transporting fish.
The "Amla" shall operate as above indicated along that portion of the north coast of Prince Edward Island from Alberton to Souris or Georgetown, making at least three trips per week, and calling at the different fishing points in order to collect and purchase the catch from the fishermen and bring the same to Souris or Georgetown, where the fish can be shipped by rail in special refrigeration cars.
The "Amla" shall be equipped with refrigerating compartments and have on board a special fish instructor and inspector to instruct and guide the fishermen.
The party of the second part guarantees to the fishermen a price of at least one cent per pound for fish as it comes from the water and 2ic. per pound for lightly salted fish.
Payment for fish purchased from the fishermen shall be made by the party of the second part on a basis of at least once in every two weeks.
The party of the second part agrees to submit to the minister or the party of the first part a certified cheque on a chartered bank in the Dominion of Canada or other security satisfactory to the. minister for the amount of five thousand dollars to be held as a guarantee for the faithful performance of this contract and that the fishermen shall receive payment as indicated above for the fish purchased from them and also to protect the fishermen against loss should the party of the second part fail to fulfil its obligations, which certified cheque or other security shall be forfeited, as w'ell as any moneys due under this agreement should the party of the second part fail to carry out any of the terms of this contract.
The party of the second part agrees to transport fish and other products for other producers and to facilitate the collection and shipments of potatoes and similar farm produce during the fall to the nearest railroad station, it being distinctly understood that the transportation and collection of fish must at all times be given preference.
The party of the second part shall maintain a sufficient crew on the "Amla" to properly operate the boat and handle the fish with proper expedition.
The "Amla" is to be properly insured against loss, and it is a condition of this agreement that the party of the first part assumes no liability for damage to the "Amla" by act of God, fire, reasonable wear and tear and all and every other dangers and accidents of the seas, rivers and navigation of whatever nature and kind soever, provided that if the said boat be totally lost or damaged to such an extent as to justify abandonment thereof as for a constructive loss, this agreement shall thereupon be deemed to have expired and the party of the first part shall be subject to no further liability thereunder.
This agreement shall be effective from the first day of June, nineteen hundred and twenty-nine, to the thirty-first day of December, nineteen hundred and twenty-nine, or for such length of time as may be determined by the minister or the Party of the first part, in consideration whereof His Majesty represented herein by the minister as aforesaid agrees to pay to the party of the second part a subsidy at the rate of one thousand eight hundred dollars per month of lawful money of the Dominion of Canada, it being understood and agreed that, in the event of any trip or trips, or a portion of any trip or trips being missed owing to it being impossible to perform the same on account of weather or ice conditions, upon satisfactory evidence to that effect being furnished to the minister, he may direct that no deduction shall be made from the subsidy otherwise payable for the trip or trips so missed. But in the event of a trip or trips being missed through accident to machinery or the vessel, a deduction shall then be made from the subsidy provided in this agreement, said deduction to be made on a pro rata basis, the number of days so missed to be taken as fractions of the month.
Where the context allows, the expression "minister" shall include the Deputy Minister of Fisheries and the successors in office for the time being of the minister or such deputy.
In witness whereof the party of the first part, the minister as representing His Majesty as aforesaid, and the party of the second part have hereunto signed their names and set their seals.
Done this fourteenth day of May in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and twenty-nine.
Signed and sealed by the minister in the presence of:
F. J. Petry.
Wm. A. Found, Deputy Minister of Fisheries.
Signed and sealed by the said party of the second part in the presence of
I. A. Ryan.
O. W. Nordin,
International Fresh Fish Corporation Ltd.,
I read this memorandum of agreement to show that the boat Amla was subsidized to dievelop the fishing on Prince Edward Island, to take care of the catch and to help in the marketing of it.
Afterwards O. W. Nordin came to Prince Edward Island and interviewed several fishermen, farmers and others, told them of the
agreement and then produced it. On the strength of the agreement he succeeded in shipping his crew, and it is on behalf of those men that I am placing this matter before the hon. Minister of Fisheries. Nordin hired the crew on the 23rd of April. The following are particulars of the crew, their length of service, and the wages owing to them:
W. P. Burke, captain Charlottetown-
5 months wages at $150 $750
4 months board at $25 100
(April 23rd to Sept. 23rd)
L. Winchester, engineer Charlottetown-
5 months wages at $150 $7504 months board at $25 100(April 23rd to Sept. 23rd)
John Skerry, cook Alberton-
5 months wages at $80 $4004 months board at $25 100
Peter Parrington, mate Lower Montague-
4 months wages at $65 $2603 months board at $25 75
Daniel Jarvis, seaman North Rustico-
4 months wages at $60 '.$2403 months board at $25 75
Lome Flood, seaman Southport-
2 months wages at $60 $120
1 month board at $25 25
James McCabe, fireman Charlottetown-
2 months wages at $80 $1601 month board at $25 25
Edward Smith, fireman Charlottetown-
2 months wages at $80 $160
1 month board at $25 25
These are the claims totalling $3,365, by the men against the ship and against the owner personally or under his firm name of the International Fresh Fish Corporation, Limited. After the crew had worked for a month naturally they asked for their wages. Mr. Nordin told them that the government had not yet sent his subsidy, but in a few days he would receive it and they would be paid their wages. Time went on without the men receiving anything and they became anxious, and finally, through their solicitor, they appealed to the courts and had the ship seized. She was sold in September, but the price realized was only sufficient to pay the legal expenses and some minor repairs. Thus after five months' service the crew were left without any recompense. As soon as this was known several people became interested in their plight. Delegations were sent to different quarters, and I am advised that a
delegation interviewed the government here. However, there was a letter sent by the members of the crew to the Minister of Fisheries, stating what they were up against and the loss they had sustained. I want to read this memorandum to the minister, which is dated Charlottetown, December 6, 1929, and addressed to Hon. P. J. Cardin, Minister of Marine and Fisheries, and also to members representing Prince Edward Island. It reads: Honourable and dear sirs:
Mr. O. W. Nordin, president of the International Fish Corporation, came here and stated that he had a contract with the Department of Fisheries and was being allowed $1,800 a month as a subsidy. On the 23rd of April we went to work on the steamer Amla (Ex. C. G. S. Brant) to get her ready to fulfil the contract. On the latter part of May we tried to get some wages, but although Mr. Nordin promised several times to pay us, we got nothing.
We are informed by several persons, and on good authority, that the company was not solvent and that we had better look out for our wages. On June 8th we applied to the admiralty court for a settlement, and after waiting until September 10th, the steamer was offered by sheriff's sale but did not sell. On or about the 23rd of September she was sold by private sale, but up to the present time we have not received our wages.
It is now nearly eight months since we started work and we have practically lost a season's employment through the International Fresh Fish Corporation's failure to carry out their contract.
We are enclosing a statement of wages-*
That is the statement I have already read.
which will show that some of the crew were compelled to leave without any remuneration whatever before the steamer was sold.
As the International Fresh Fish Corporation had submitted bonds for the faithful performance of the contract, which they failed to fulfil, we respectfully request that these bonds be estreated to such an amount as will satisfy our claim for wages.
Trusting to have your favourable consideration as soon as possible, we remain your most humble and obedient servants,
(Signed) W. P. Burke, master
Lemuel Winchester, engineer John Skerry, cook Peter Parrington, mate Daniel Jarvis, seaman Lome Flood, seaman James McCabe, fireman Edward Smith, fireman.
To supplement this letter a large petition was circulated throughout Prince Edward Island, and I should like to read part of it to show how it supports the letter written by the crew. It is addressed to Hon. P. J. Cardin, Minister of Marine and Fisheries, at Ottawa, and also to members representing Prince Edward Island, and reads as follows:
We, the public and supporters of the Liberal party in the province of Prince Edward Island,
are conversant with the facts as contained in the enclosed letter from the crew of the S. S. Amla, ex C. G. S. Brant, and we consider their request only fair and just before our members, to be paid their wages from these bonds.
We understand that Mr. Nordin was president of the International Fresh Fish Corporation, and further that this company had a contract with the Department of Fisheries and was granted a subsidy of $1,800 (eighteen hundred dollars) per month, which induced the crew to hire with the above company, and also induced the merchants of Charlottetown, to supply her with fittings, to prepare the ship for her work. We are also informed that the company gave bonds, for the faithful performance of the contract, which among other things were to protect the fishermen.
The company never functioned, and we ask you in the name of our king and country, that these bonds should be used, or as much of them as possible, toward paying those poor men.
We would respectfully request you to give this petition your most favourable consideration, so that the crew, who have completely lost their summer, through the failure of 0. W. Nordin. Some of these men have served their King and country for over three years.
A labourer is worthy of his hire and their wages should be paid.
I have a copy of this petition but I will not read the signatures, since it is signed by over three hundred people throughout Prince Edward Island. In addition, there were numerous other letters and telegrams sent to members of parliament; the crew of the . Amla were led to believe that they would be paid, but so far that has not been done. An election was approaching; the letters became very numerous and very promising, and I want to read some of the letters received by members of the crew. By doing so I will show that some assurance must have been given by the Minister of Fisheries that the crew would be paid. A short time ago I noticed that the hon. member for Prince was very anxious that agreements with the government should be lived up to. Here we have an agreement with the members of the crew of the Amla, but as yet they have not been paid. On May 9, 1930, the hon. member for Prince wrote Captain Burke as follows:
Dear Captain Burke:
I received the information to-day from the Minister of Marine and Fisheries that he will endeavour to arrange to have your claims adjusted, and I suppose he will have to put this in the supplementary estimates, and until those are through it would not be safe to give out any information.
However, I thought it well to let you know that the minister's intentions are good and that he will do his best on your behalf.
A. E. MacLean.
You will note that according to this letter no information was to be divulged at that time.
Topic: DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES