A WRETCHED SUGGESTION.
The Canadian Marine Association, an institution composed very largely of capitalists, had a meeting in Toronto a day or two ago, and discussed, among other things, the law which compels them to carry certified officers upon their lake-trading crafts. The delegates to the meeting aforesaid regard this law as a grievance, and a delegation will seek to have it removed from the statute books. Against this we emphatically protest, and we do so in the name of two-thirds of those who are not capitalists and find occupation in sailing upon the lakes. The protection of life and property demands the enforcement of the act to which objection has been taken, aye, and demands that it be respected by the rich corporations and forwarding companies as much as by the small vessel owners who find it difficult enough, even now, on even terms, with a fair field and no favor, to make ends meet.
The government, if it is not bound to class interests, or not given to the perpetration of the rankest injustice, cannot for a moment listen to the appeals of members of the Canadian Marine association upon this point. They do not desire the right; they want a monopoly, since the vessel men can not hope to compete with them for the trade of the lakes and give them the advantages for which they agitate. Why should a barge not be commanded by one as competent as the mate of a vessel? Why should those who have adopted sailing as a profession be confined, for occupation, to the craft that are not towed? Are the storms of the lake not as trying to a barge as to a schooner? Is one not as liable to mishap as another? Have we not in the record of disasters cases in which, cut adrift, a craft has been at the mercy of the wind and sea? Are the dangers of shipwreck not reduced by the skill of the man in command?
Let it be borne in mind that those who seek the change in the law are the advocates of cheap labour. The vessel owners, who have seen hard times for many years, running behind some seasons instead of ahead in their finances, must, forsooth, have their property in charge of competent crews; the towing associations and the forwarding companies, which have paid dividends of 8 and 10 per cent the dullest seasons, and as high as 30 and 40 per cent in the busier ones, think they should be allowed to hire upon barges whom they like, and whatever talent they like, and whether or not they have certificates. Wherein is the justice of such a course? And what government can countenance it for a moment? An election is now on. The vessel men and the mariners should bestir themselves. They can fight with those who could deprive them of their bread and butter, or they can fight against the monopolists, and they can make their opposition tell. The remark of one of the officers of the association is ominous - that if the government has not made them greater concessions the fault is clearly their own. This is significant talk, especially on the eve of an election, and if it does not provoke resentment on the part of the captains and mates and sailors generally they are not what we have so long regarded them.
p.8 Deputation of Mariners - Yesterday a deputation of mariners waited upon us and detailed their grievances against certain officials of the Canadian Marine Association. Some of these are embodied in an article in our editorial columns.