The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 23 Nov 1899

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The tug Thomson arrived with three light barges from Montreal and cleared for Oswego with one barge to load coal.

The tug Maggie May towed the schooner Maggie L. and sloop Dandy to Prescott today. The latter are grain-laden.

The dredges Queen and Nipissing are being repaired in the government drydock. They will remain here all winter.

The dredge Ontario in tow of the tug St. John touched at this port last night and cleared later for Lachine. This dredge was working at Whitby all summer.

p.3 The Barge Jennie Injured - A day or two ago the barge Jennie, one of the M.T. company's fleet, in tow of the tug Thomson, while leaving Charlotte harbor, coal laden for this port, had the misfortune to meet with an accident. The pilot became confused by the light signals and the barge crashed into a government dredge anchored in the harbor. The barge returned to Charlotte, where it was found her stern was twisted and badly damaged. Temporary repairs were made, after which the tow cleared for Kingston.



Deputations Wait Upon The Government.

Ottawa, Nov. 22nd - Last month the government of Canada, after examining into the representations made by the Montreal corn exchange and the Winnipeg board of trade and a number of gentlemen engaged in the grain trade, passed an order-in-council suspending for the remainder of the season the operation of coasting laws in so far as steamship traffic between Fort William and Georgian Bay ports was concerned. Under the Act United States vessels are prohibited from carrying cargoes from one Canadian port to another.

The commercial bodies referred to stated to the administration that the western wheat crop was so phenomenally large and the scarcity of Canadian carriers so great that it was imperatively necessary that the shippers be permitted to charter United States bottoms, the coasting laws to the contrary not withstanding. And so it was the order-in-council was passed.

Immediately there were protests from gentlemen engaged in the Canadian upper lake marine and in shipbuilding. Sir Wilfred Laurier was asked to receive a deputation representing these interests, and this afternoon the first minister and several of his colleagues spent three hours in listening to the arguments of the gentlemen who, with much eloquence and skill, presented their case.

Although no final annoucement was made that the government would pledge itself to take no similar course in the future, the members of the delegation have every reason to feel well pleased with the results of the interview.

The first minister made the important statement that if it be deemed necessary temporarily to suspend the workings of the law in future, the matter will be placed before parliament. This course, if necessary, will be as easy in the future as it was impossible in the present case.

Last month the situation was such that it appeared from the advices received by the government that serious congestion would result if an immediate remedy were not applied.

In the future there will be no such necessity for haste, for the shipbuilders here today averred that next season will see a great increase to Canada's merchant fleet on the upper lakes. It was also conceded that no injury has been done the shipping interests of Canada by the government's recent action, for one United States vessel, and one only, carried a cargo of wheat or anything else from Fort William to the Georgian Bay.

At the interview Kingstonians spoke as follows: B.M. Britton, M.P., pointed out that as Kingston is a lake city its citizens were greatly interested in the present case. The United States government rigidly enforced its coasting laws against Canadians. The city was also the headquarters of a large transportation company. The matter was one of the greatest importance to both the city and the dominion.

Capt. Gaskin, the outside manager of the Montreal transportation company, stated that his company had fifty boats, all registered at Montreal, which did business on the lakes, and which do not appear in the Ontario list. When trade should demand it they would build more boats. For years the company had annually built two or three barges in Kingston, but this autumn they had not laid down one. If the government continued to allow J.R. Booth to run American boats they would help to kill the Canadian lake marine.

Mayor Ryan held that it was unfair to give privileges to Americans when they would not reciprocate. Our sailors were not allowed to sail on their boats, while their men competed with the Canadians. For the government to adhere to the present regulations would mean the killing of shipbuilding in Kingston and in Ontario. The farmers who sold the lumber would also be hurt, and the injury to the community would be great.

Hiram Calvin, former M.P. for Frontenac, stated that the shipbuilding trade in Canada was nearly dead, and that the order-in-council came near being its coffin. Nearly everything used in building a ship paid duty, while ships came in free, as the duty of ten per cent on the hull and twenty-five per cent on the machinery was never collected.

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23 Nov 1899
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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pd [more details]
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), 23 Nov 1899