House of Commons.
Mr. Robertson, (Hamilton) moved for returns of reports in reference to the seizure of the steam tug "Sarah E. Bryant," for an alleged breach of the Coasting and Revenue Laws.
Mr. Robertson explained the circumstances of the case, and after some remarks from Mr. McCallum and Mr. DeCosmos, he suggested that the motion should be amended by adding "to bring down certain papers in the Department of Marine and Fisheries." The House would have an opportunity of seeing that proposals had been made to the United States Government for allowing wrecking tugs on both sides to be used for the relief of wrecking vessels.
Mr. Mills said if the matter were looked into it would be found that Canadian vessels had a right to navigate on the coast of the United States, and American vessels had an equal right to our shores.
Mr. Bowell said he had no objection to bring down the figures asked for.
Mr. Burpee eulogized the American tug service, which he said was much better than the Canadian.
Sir Albert J. Smith said the Congress of the United States had passed a Bill operative on condition of a similar law being passed by this Dominion for reciprocity in the matter. A larger number of wrecks occurred on our shores than on the American, so that they would have all the advantage. Therefore, while he was prepared on the one hand to introduce a similar measure in the House, it was opposed by important interest in Ontario.
Sir John Macdonald said that all the wrecking work was done by Americans, and Canadian vessels were charged exorbitant prices for services rendered. In self defence a Canadian tug company was got up to give our wreckers a chance in the business. So soon as the American tug owners found this out the Bill was introduced into Congress. He characterized it as a sham reciprocity, and he blamed the late Government for it. When the papers came down the matter would be discussed at great length.
Mr. Mackenzie had been informed that it cost $20,000 to get the vessel off, while had the Company been allowed to have a United States steamer it would have cost one fourth of the amount.
After some further discussion the matter was agreed to.
p.3 The Rideau Canal - repairs to locks has started.